Harvey Wasserman

The crisis the world faces at Fukushima is devastatingly simple: Neither the utility (Tepco) nor the government (Japan) can handle a situation that threatens us all.

It's not clear that a task force of the world's best scientists and engineers can do the job either. But we cannot settle for less.

It is time for the United Nations to assemble the best team humankind can muster and use it to take command of the Fukushima site.

Here are some basic facts:


Just when it seemed things might be under control at Fukushima, we find they are worse than ever.

Immeasurably worse.

Massive quantities of radioactive liquids are now flowing through the shattered reactor site into the Pacific Ocean. And their make-up is far more lethal than the "mere" tritium that has dominated the headlines to date.


An overheated world now threatens the ability of nuclear reactors to operate at all.

Just as the sales pitch that atomic energy could help with global warming gets its biggest hype, the reactors themselves go very wrong.

And as a "renaissance" turns into a rout, a "new generation" of reactors fades ever-deeper into the realm of expensive fantasy.

The bad news on nuclear power and global warming comes most recently from Cape Cod Bay. All commercial reactors spew huge quantities of waste heat into the rivers, lakes and oceans they use for coolant.


Radiation leaks, steam releases, disease and death continue to spew from Fukushima in a disaster that is far from over. It's most profound threat to the global ecology -- a spent fuel fire -- is still very much with us.

This week, Tokyo Electric, the owner of the nuclear plant, again admitted that groundwater that was contaminated by radiation from the 2011 meltdown is leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

And last week, the company admitted that the plant was leaking steam, which raised fears around the planet. Another steam leak was reported there today.

(Editor's Note: On Friday, Southern California Edison announced that it was not going to restart the San Onofre nuclear power plant and that, in fact, the plant was going to be shut down.)

From his California beach house at San Clemente, Richard Nixon once watched three reactors rise at nearby San Onofre. As of June 7, 2013, all three are permanently shut.

It's a monumental victory for grassroots activism. it marks an epic transition in how we get our energy.


Swing state Ohio mocks the very idea of democracy. As it so often does, Ohio reflects a national trend: this one the plunge toward corporate one-party state governments very much at odds with what the public thinks and wants.

But even an apparently absolute moneyed take-over of the Buckeye Heartland has its limits when it comes to workers' rights.

Like far too many sibling states, Ohio's ruling superstructure -- its governor, his cabinet, the legislature and the state supreme court -- is far to the right of the voting populace.

There it stood, 500 feet of insult and injury. And then it crashed to the ground.

The weather tower at the proposed Montague double-reactor complex was meant to test wind direction in case of an accident. In early 1974, the project was estimated at $1.35 billion, as much as double the entire assessed value of all the real estate in this rural Connecticut Valley town, 90 miles west of Boston.

Then -- 39 years ago this week -- Sam Lovejoy knocked it down.

The Electoral College is the only college where George W. Bush did really well. He and his cohorts used it to steal two consecutive presidential elections and put the nation through 8 years of political hell.

Now the GOP wants to make the purgatory permanent.


The Second Amendment does NOT guarantee the right of any and all citizens to own any and all kinds of guns.

It DEMANDS, in the name of national security, that we regulate it.

NEVER let assertions of the so-called "sanctity" of the 2d Amendment bully you into thinking it guarantees unregulated weapon ownership.

It does NOT.

Contrary to the propaganda perpetrated by the gun lobby, the 2d Amendment is the most heavily modified, curbed, explained, complex and contradictory of all the first ten Amendments.

The earthquake and tsunami that ripped through the ten reactors at Fukushima, Japan, did not come as a surprise to me.



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This time we’ve got some advantages.


We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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