The extraordinarily powerful magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan were truly terrible — many lives were lost and there was great destruction.
President Obama’s heart went out to the people of Japan and he did his presidential best: “during this enormous tragedy, please know that America will always stand by one of its greatest allies during their time of need.” We know that’s true because he wrote it and because he told us, compassionately, to assist the Japanese while filling out brackets for the NCAA basketball tournaments:
One of the things I wanted to do on the show was, as people are filling out their brackets — this is obviously a national pastime; we all have a great time, it’s a great diversion. But I know a lot of people are thinking how can they help the Japanese people during this time of need. If you go to usaid.gov — usaid.gov — that will list all the nonprofits, the charities that are helping out there. It would be wonderful for people to maybe offer a little help to the Japanese people at this time — as they’re filling out their brackets. It’s not going to take a lot of time. That’s usaid.gov. It could be really helpful.
As White House press secretary Jay Carney stated, it was
“entirely appropriate for the president to be addressing a crisis of this gravity as he’s standing before a whiteboard talking about the basketball tournament [.] There are crises all the time,” he said, “for every president.”
“And again, this one is happening halfway around the world, and it is severe, and it is important, and it is the focus of a great deal of the president’s attention, as are the events in the Middle East, as are the agenda items that he is pursuing to grow the economy,” Carney said.
“It’s a hard job, it requires a lot,” Carney said. He also noted that Obama took a moment on ESPN to urge Americans, while they are doing their brackets, to go to usaid.gov and make a donation for earthquake victims.
Having done so much, President Obama and his delightful family were off to Rio, where they substantially improved the image of the United States while giving other great world leaders amusement. They needed it and were appropriately grateful. Some have been critical of the timing of the visit, but these criticisms are unjustified. As President Obama’s communications director said, “You can’t allow what’s happening in the world to consume the presidency. You have to be able to walk, chew gum and juggle at the same time.” President Obama excels at all three, albeit not necessarily at the same time.
We can do little more than to help Japan, as best we can, to mitigate the damage as best they can. We also have our own serious problems with which to deal; flying into fits of self-recrimination and searching for scapegoats will do neither the Japanese nor us any good. Recognizing, however, that it is certain to happen, here are some modest proposals.
1. Unfortunately, we do not yet know with certainty how massively, or even which, human activities cause earthquakes or, therefore, how to prevent them. Well-funded academic research must now begin so that answers to these perplexing questions can soon be found. In the meantime, to whatever extent earthquakes are not caused by man-made climate change, former Governor Palin, former President Bush, or other Republicans, little can be done to prevent them. Trying harder to appease Gaia might help; it is possible that sacrificing virgins or goats would as well. Unfortunately, reputable scientific experts in the relevant fields of study have been unable to reach a consensus, probably due to lack of critically needed federal funding.
2.Far less immediately destructive than the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the nuclear power plant problems seem to be on their way to resolution, one way or another. Nevertheless, they have caused much “rethinking” in Germany, where
Judging by the near-panic with which Europe’s largest nation is responding to the Fukushima incident, one might assume that a toxic cloud had already arrived.
The whole world is anxiously watching the video footage showing plumes of smoke rising from the stricken plant, and questions are being asked in most countries about the safety of nuclear power.
But the reaction has been strikingly angst-ridden in Germany, which is over 5,500 miles away from Japan. The Japanese, one could be forgiven for thinking, are facing their plight with a lot more stoicism than the Germans.
There is less panic in Israel, but Prime Minister Netanyahu said on March 17:
We had some research plans but not anything on a significant scale, and I don’t think we’re going to pursue civil nuclear energy in the coming years.
He added that since Israel found a significant amount of natural gas offshore, “I think we’ll go for the gas and skip the nuclear.”
El Presidente Chávez of Venezuela, a great visionary, has
announced a freeze in plans to develop nuclear power in Venezuela due to the growing emergency at a nuke plant in earthquake-stricken Japan.
“It’s very sad what has been seen, a tragedy, a catastrophe. What’s happening in the last few hours is absolutely risky and dangerous for the entire world,” said Chavez with regard to the ongoing events in Japan.
President Obama has already ordered a safety review of all one hundred and four operational nuclear power plants in the United States, a good start, but no more.
Anti-nuclear activists-and-crawlers have been crawling actively, showing us the way, the truth, and the light. A Chernobyl-on-the-Hudson has been said to be possible even with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. There are “very long odds, but as the lottery ads say, hey, you never know.” It may be that
a Chernobyl-on-the-Hudson would pose a dire threat to people as far as 500 miles away and necessitate the evacuation of 93 million Americans and Canadians for as long as a year.
Specific and highly reliable information of this sort is obviously good and far more is needed; action must be taken in due course, in the fullness of time, and following ample studies, deliberations, bipartisan compromises, and meetings of the mind.
3. Immediately, however, even more intense and rigorous rethinking must attend the far worse dangers inherent in other sources of energy, particularly all which are both dangerous and environmentally unfriendly. Effective steps can and must be taken immediately to ameliorate these deadly problems. Use of unnatural resources has caused far more human death and suffering than even the recent nuclear disaster in Japan plus that years ago at Chernobyl — thought to have been the worst in history. Unless steps are taken immediately, fire and its ancillary demons will continue to plague us. It must be kept firmly in mind, however, that all sources of energy — even Gaia-given and therefore natural wind can cause death and destruction when used to power unnatural man-made wind turbines.
Although fire may be thought to have beneficial uses, it can cause horrific problems beyond even the release of greenhouse gasses; it did so in the past and will again unless halted. The Great Chicago Fire burned from Sunday, October 8, 1871, to early Tuesday, October 10. It killed hundreds and destroyed about four square miles in Chicago:
The fire’s spread was aided by the city’s overuse of wood for building, a drought prior to the fire, and strong winds from the southwest that carried flying embers toward the heart of the city. The city also made fatal errors by not reacting soon enough and citizens were apparently unconcerned when it began. The firefighters were also exhausted from fighting a fire that happened the day before. The firefighters fought the fire through the entire day and became extremely exhausted. Eventually the fire jumped to a nearby neighborhood and began to devastate mansions, houses and apartments. Almost everything that crossed the fire’s path was made of wood, that had been dried out for quite a while. After two days of the city burning down it began to rain and doused the remaining fire. It is said that over 300 people died in the fire and over 100,000 were left homeless.
At least in Chicago, Gaia took pity and extinguished the fire. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is another example of the inherent dangers of fire, particularly in association with earthquakes. Gaia, offended by our failure to stop using fire following the incident in Chicago, probably sent the earthquake as a wake-up call. We have yet to heed it:
An estimated 28,000 buildings had been consumed in the great fire, and property damage losses ranged up to $500 million [presumably in 1906 dollars.] City fathers, worried that future investors might be scared off, downplayed the number of casualties. Various figures were bandied about, but they had one thing in common — they were suspiciously low, at least given the magnitude of the disaster. One early estimate claimed 667 dead and 352 missing. Pioneering research by San Francisco City Librarian Gladys Hansen put the death toll at more than 3,000 people, while recent researchers suggest around 4,000. All generally agree that 250,000 people were rendered homeless.
The solution is so simple that anyone, even a Librul cretin, can understand it: just say no to fire and all of its related demons. The infernal internal combustion engine uses fire; hence the name. In 2009, there were 30,797 fatal automobile crashes in the United States alone. The nuclear incidents in Japan and at Chernobyl, the Chicago fire, and the San Francisco fire combined produced fewer deaths. Even if all human death and suffering caused by man-made climate change were added to the total, the gross disparity would remain. A related opinion is presented here by John Sanbonmatsu, associate professor of philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He argues that Al Gore knows best and that man-made climate change is the worst demon of all.
4. We have abundant sources of alternative energy. The unemployed should be put to work on treadmills (thereby diminishing unemployment and stimulating the economy); lots of electricity could be generated through their efforts. Federal support for the construction of hundreds of thousands of treadmills would create new industries and also help the economy greatly.
We also have alternative sources of transportation which rely neither directly nor indirectly on internal combustion: bicycles, rickshaws, horses, donkeys, and mules, for example. The federal government must support the manufacture of bicycles and rickshaws and provide mandatory classes on how best to use and care for horses, donkeys, and mules.
We must use these natural resources instead of demons powered by unnatural, man-made internal combustion. Cessation will have the substantial additional benefit of terminating our dependence on foreign (as well as domestically produced) oil. Despite its apologists, oil is the devil’s excrement.
A famous Venezuelan, Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo, referred to oil as the devil’s excrement. For countries, easy wealth appears indeed to be the sure path to failure. Venezuela might be a clear example of that.
We should have learned by now that the same is true of oil-importing countries.
The burning of coal also creates fire and coal is very dirty. Sometimes, coal mining causes deaths and it might produce earthquakes. The use of natural gas, even though natural, involves fire and requires the environmentally hostile construction of facilities. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems to be working at cross purposes:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Environmental regulators proposed rules on Wednesday that would force aging coal-fired power plants to choose between installing costly anti-pollution technology or shutting, which could ensure reliance nuclear power and natural gas.
This disregards the dangers of both natural gas and unnatural nuclear power; all must be forsaken.
Fire, automobiles, and their related demons are, as all must surely now understand, even more extraordinarily dangerous than nuclear power. They are particularly so when coupled with earthquakes as was the San Francisco fire. Since we cannot yet prevent earthquakes, the federal government must prohibit fires of every type. Until we learn the poignant lessons of the Japanese and Russian nuclear disasters and apply them, not only to nuclear power, intelligent life on earth will be endangered.