Saturday, July 9, 2016

Fukushima Apocalypse: Here’s How You Are Being Poisoned

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It's been 5 years since an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0-- the greatest in the country's documented history and among the five most powerful recorded ever around the globe-- and subsequent tsunami ruined parts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, eventually killing more than 20,000 men, women and children; displaced over 200,000; and brought untold scary and suffering to many survivors. The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe on March 11, 2011, led to huge radioactive contamination of the Japanese mainland, along with it brought to the forefront the threats of around the world of nuclear radiation. Five years later on, after-effects of the disastrous event continue to plague the world, making it the biggest environmental disaster in recorded history. Here are 10 terrible truths about the ongoing Fukushima nuclear holocaust that will terrify you...  

# 1 300 tons (272,152 liters) of radioactive water, enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every 8 days goes into the Pacific Ocean. Harvey Wasserman, journalist and supporter for sustainable energy, told RT:
“This is an apocalyptic event. This is something that could contaminate the entire Pacific Ocean. It is extremely serious. The reality is that Tokyo Electric does not know what is happening and does not know how to control what is going on. Our entire planet is at risk here.”

# 2 The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant holds 11,400 fuel rods. Fukushima reactor No. 4 alone has 1300 fuel rods kept in a leaking pool. These fuel rods have to be by removed manually, in addition to 6,300 fuel rods stored nearby. Given that the fuel rods, which radiation levels are comparable to 14,000 times the quantity released when the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, need to be drawn out manually to prevent an even worse disaster than the March 2011 crisis, even the smallest error could cause a chain reaction.

# 3 In 2013, TEPCO, the Japanese power company accountable for the Fukushima reactor, confessed that radiation levels in its groundwater observation hole on the east side of the turbine buildings had reached 310 Becquerels per liter for cesium-134 and 650 Becquerels per liter for cesium-137. According to the World Health Organization, drinking water at 300 Becquerels per liter is comparable to one year direct exposure to natural background radiation, or 10 to 15 chest X-rays.  

# 4 In the immediate after-effects of the catastrophe, the plant was spewing an approximated 5,000 to 15,000 terabecquerels (trillion Becquerels) of cesium-137 a month. According to Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Innovation, the plant continues to leak 10 billion Becquerels of cesium-137 per day into the Pacific Ocean.


# 5 Within 2 years of the disaster, TEPCO confessed that they had actually spotted the extremely toxic strontium-90, a byproduct of nuclear fission that can cause bone cancer if consumed, at levels 30 times the permitted rate. It also openly admitted that an advancing 20 trillion to 40 trillion Becquerels of radioactive tritium had actually leaked into the sea given that the disaster.

 # 6 Apart from Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, the plant continues to leak huge amounts of Iodine-131 into the air. Because the thyroid rapidly soaks up Iodine-131 in a radioactive event, the resultant internal contamination damages the thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism, cancer and death. Harvey Wasserman states:
Iodine-131 can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40% of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer.”
# 7 Experts call it the greatest release of radiation to a body of water in the history of the world, much worse than Chernobyl. They forecast that the entire Pacific Ocean will have Cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher than what they were at the peak of atomic bomb testing decades ago.  

# 8 Radiation from the Fukushima disaster has currently spread out across the world. Last December, researchers found a spike of cesium-134 off the coast of California-- about 11 Becquerels per cubic meter of water. They also found about 10 Becquerels per cubic meter of water 1,500 miles north of Hawaii-- a level around twice as high as levels they found on previous missions.  

# 9 According to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Market (METI), more than 1,100 square kilometers of villages, mountains and forests remain uninhabitable; totally cleaning up the site will require half a century.  

# 10 We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our life times, but our children's lifetimes, concludes scientist Christina Consolo. She tells RT:

…The worst case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse… A weather event, power outage, earthquake, tsunami, cooling system failure, or explosion and fire in any way, shape, or form, at any location on the Fukushima site, could cascade into an event of that magnitude as well.”


Economic inequality soars in US

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Economic inequality leapt ahead in 2015 in the United States, with the average incomes of the top 1 percent rising twice as fast as the incomes of the remaining 99 percent of households, according to a study released Friday for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The top 1 percent had an average income of $1.4 million last year.
By far, the largest growth in incomes came in an even narrower section of the super-rich, the top 0.1 percent of households. These one-in-a-thousand households saw their incomes rise by nearly 9 percent to an average of $6.75 million.
The top 1 percent increased its share of total US household income from 21.4 percent to 22 percent. The top 10 percent collected more than half of all US household income, 50.5 percent, up from an even 50 percent in 2014. This was the highest figure for any year in US history, except for 2012.
These figures are based on an analysis of tax data by Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is well known for groundbreaking research into income and wealth inequality. The data from the Internal Revenue Service gives a more accurate picture of the growth of income inequality than US Census data, which exclude capital gains and other sources of non-wage income, which go almost entirely to the wealthy.
The year 2015 was unusual compared to the rest of the period since the 2008 financial crash in that the wealthy did not monopolize all of the gains in real income. Average income for the bottom 99 percent rose by 3.9 percent to $48,768, the biggest annual increase since 1998, but only half the rate of increase enjoyed by the top 1 percent. This still left the bottom 99 percent of US families below the level of 2007.
“It is indeed the best growth year for the bottom 90 percent and bottom 99 percent since the late 1990s,” Saez told the Associated Press. “At the same time, top incomes grow even faster, leading to a further widening of inequality, which continues an alarming trend.”
The analysis by the Berkeley economist disproves claims by the Obama administration that the 2012 tax increase on the highest-income households, the result of a bipartisan deal with congressional Republicans, has had a significant impact on income inequality. Instead, the wealthy shifted income between years in order to avoid the impact of the higher tax rates.
“This suggests that the higher tax rates starting in 2013 will not, by themselves, affect much pre-tax income inequality in the medium-run,” Saez wrote, adding, “it seems unlikely that US income concentration will fall much in the coming years, absent more drastic policy changes.”
The Saez study gives the US side of a global phenomenon—the rapidly increasing economic inequality generated by the capitalist system on a world scale and exacerbated by the impact of the 2008 Wall Street crash.
A second report issued this week, by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, examined social polarization within the United States from the standpoint of access to a college education. While 14 million new jobs have been created over the past 68 months (more than five-and-a-half years) of “economic recovery,” it is well known that the vast majority of these jobs are lower-paying and more precarious than the jobs they replaced.
The Georgetown study found that these newly created jobs have been filled almost entirely by college-educated workers. Of the 11.6 million jobs created between January 2010 and January 2016, 11.5 million went to people with some form of college education. Some 75 percent of new jobs went to workers with a bachelor’s degree or better, and fully 99 percent went to workers with some college training. This left few or no new jobs available for those without a college education.
The report argued that “workers with a high school diploma or less hear about an economic recovery and wonder what people are talking about. … Of the 7.2 million jobs lost in the recession, 5.6 million were jobs for workers with a high school diploma or less.”
The study found that high school-educated workers have recovered only about 1 percent of those lost jobs over the past six years, and have seen virtually “no growth among well-paying jobs with benefits” during that period. There are 5.5 million fewer jobs for workers with no more than a high school education than there were in December 2007.
This continues a longer-term trend, with a decline of 13 percent since 1989, a loss of 7.3 million jobs, available to those with only a high school education. The number of jobs held by college-educated workers has doubled during the same period, with the result that “In 2016, for the first time ever, workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher comprise a larger proportion of the workforce than those with a high school diploma or less.”
College graduates comprise 36 percent of the work force, while 30 percent of workers have some college education, and 34 percent have only a high school education or less.
The Georgetown study demonstrates that, despite incessant claims that education is the road forward for working class youth to escape a life of economic deprivation, there is really no way out under capitalism.
Those who have not gone to college face a future of long-term unemployment, with little prospect of the decent-paying jobs their parents and grandparents once held. Those who have gone to college are employed, for the most part, in dead-end jobs for which they are overqualified, and where the wages are too low to allow them to repay their college loans. This year, student loan debt reached another all-time record, at $1.35 trillion.
These two reports underscore the objective, class basis for rising social discontent among working people and youth in the United States, discontent that finds only the most distorted expression within the political system, controlled by a two-party monopoly in which both parties represent the interests of the super-rich.
In the Republican Party, billionaire Donald Trump appealed to the discontent, particularly of older and less-educated workers, offering them the poison of economic nationalism and anti-immigrant racism.
In the Democratic Party, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won support, particularly among young people, for his condemnation of the “millionaires and billionaires” and his call for college tuition to be free at all public universities. But Sanders is now fulfilling the basic political aim of his campaign—to serve as a lightning rod for social discontent and channel it back behind the Democratic Party. He is folding up his campaign and shifting to support for Hillary Clinton, the candidate of Wall Street, the military-intelligence apparatus, and the bulk of the US political establishment.