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Fukushima Fascism 21/01/2014

Posted by zoidion in History, Mundane.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Oh what a beautiful morning, the chill notwithstanding. It was a calm, clear, seven-below dawn as I stepped outside and tramped to the end and back of the partial labyrinth I’ve made–the Nazca pattern, to be more precise. That’s a first-time thing, motivated by the lack of one at Coldwater Spring and the recognition that wintertime living so easily becomes rutted and dreary, routinized by moving about in limited pathways through the snow: more than a foot deep now. No doubt the frost is also deep, deeper below than the snow lies above. But somewhere down there, below the sleeping worms and roots and seeds, water is moving, even as only a tiny trickle. The cherry tree, the pear trees wait patiently, along with the currants, the sorrel, the comfrey, the garlic. The mosquito eggs too. All awaiting Earth’s signals.

I was drawn further, toward a view of the horizon, and I was rewarded with the sight of Venus reborn as a morning star, and the sight of Moon and Mars near the zenith. A beautiful day, or at least a beautiful start.

Not far from my mind’s surface: the scene last week at a restaurant that has conspicuously supported the local food movement, where two urban beekeepers reported on the destruction last year of several honey beehives. Not by vandalism, as subsequent investigation revealed, but by the application of a fungicide at some distance. There was no overt comment about the date, but I suppose it was commonly noted: 11 September. And as the events of twelve years before were at least facilitated by domestic ineptitude, this destruction was committed by a society seemingly rushing toward collective suicide. How many more such sumptuous meals will Earth provide when bees, monarchs and other pollinators are decimated?

With a state legislator and city council member speaking, another (newly elected) city council member and two park board commissioners present, there was plenty of talk and plans for a “pollinator resolution” to be presented at caucuses next month. It’s a state legislative election year, and that’s the level of “control” over chemical pesticides: The State of Minnesota has preempted any local laws regulating “any matter relating to the registration, labeling, distribution, sale, handling, use, application, or disposal of pesticides.” One of many ways in which home rule across the country has been hijacked by agents of the corporate juggernaut and their elected hench(wo)men.

I’m not a beekeeper, and have no plans or dreams to begin. But I’ve made efforts to help a more healthy habitat become established in my modest urban yard, yet I have no say in the spraying that takes place literally in the next yard–but if I wanted to host a beehive, I’d have to obtain those residents’ approval. Fat chance of that. Multiply that situation, dominated by values of decorative appearances, by many thousands, and a vast body of resistance comes into view. And with a powerful industrial agriculture machine reaching across the southern half of this state–the chemicals flushed each year out of the Minnesota River watershed contribute disproportionately to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico–a healthier shift soon enough seems most unlikely.

Though I felt strengthened in meeting familiar and new people with a common recognition of our collective predicament, I couldn’t conjure a sense of hopefulness. Among the flyers I brought home is one on how to build a “beehouse” for wild bees; I’ll do it–I’ve been mulling the idea for a couple of years–but the prospect fails to suffice. Despite reports of excellent and dedicated work by the Bee Lab, hope seems more than audacious: false. 

Hope: “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Nope.

It’s that certain thing that’s a problem: It’s a would-be solution, and I’ve forsworn solutions. But that doesn’t mean it would be pointless to look into other responses. Maybe not. Perhaps there is a point to looking at Leila Darwish’s Earth Repair: A Grassroots Guide to Repairing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes, and the county library has three copies. 

Halfway across the world, other efforts to manage contamination and breakdown are, well, breaking down rather badly. As fans of “amateur” sports salivate for the impending opening of the winter Olympic games at Sochi, in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, another set of Olympic politics is beginning to unfold thousands of miles away, in Shinzo Abe’s Japan: Tokyo has been chosen to host the summer 2020 Olympics. It’s just as ugly, so much so that it’s being soberly summed up as Fukushima Fascism.

Hyperbole? Even politicians inside Japan’s ruling bloc, which recalled and re-installed–well, there were elections–the discredited Abe in December 2012, admit that a major motivation for desperate measures is to silence the critical media, squelch whistleblowers, and ensure that the nuclear disaster is out of sight and out of mind well before the Olympics. The new state secrets law, passed by Parliament on 6 December 2013 and diplomatically approved by the government of Barack Obama’s America, stipulates up to ten-year prison terms for violations by public officials and private citizens, and five-year terms for journalists. Official denial reigns, while dire but plausible reports leak out.

Meanwhile, the ecological and social fabric continues to fray: A zone of contamination is seeing five centimeters (slightly less than two inches) of soil scraped away–and dumped where? Many families in the accident area are being broken by “Fukushima divorces”: the women and children leaving the radiation zone, the men staying. Big cities, especially Tokyo, have become the theatre for recruitment of homeless men to work–until radiation sickness takes them–in the attempt to secure the stricken power plant.

Containing the sundered reactors at Fukushima has been a fruitless quest. Groundwater was not a problem at Chernobyl, where the Soviet authorities built a giant “sarcophagus” to contain the failed reactor. The situation is quite different and profoundly more serious at the Fukushima plant: built at the seashore, on a former riverbed, over an active aquifer. In a short video, nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson explains why groundwater makes Fukushima so hard to clean up, and why radiation levels there will require an exclusion zone for at least a century.

And for many of the hapless sailors of the USS Reagan, life is also cruelly unraveling. That vessel was directed to provide assistance in the emergency immediately after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, and its personnel were in the path of radioactive fallout. With essential no precautions or warning, they were silently sacrificed: Some even playfully participated in on-deck snowball fights: scooping up, hurling and being hit by radioactive snowballs.

Across the Pacific credible reports of dangerously increased radioactivity in the air, ocean currents and fish have been made, but the curtain of official silence has descended. One example: The State of Washington’s Health Department says: “For a period of time after Fukushima nuclear reactors were damaged, we posted daily readings of radiation around the state. We stopped posting readings when radiation levels were what we normally see.”

Everything’s fine, folks. Go back to the mall. Get your minds back on those apps.

But it’s hardball politics in Japan, with echoes of a not-so-distant past. The crackdown on whistleblowers and journalists is just one thing that has Koichi Nakano worried. A professor at Sophia University in Tokyo and director of the Institute of Global Concern, he stated in an interview on “Democracy Now”:

“It is particularly worrisome because it reminds us of what happened before the Second World War, actually, when Tokyo was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1923. And the peace preservation law that eventually led to the birth of state secret police and the brutality of the military regime was also enacted two years right after the big earthquake that destroyed Tokyo back in the 1920s. So, the parallel is quite spooky.”

The push toward a resurgence of militarism in Japan throughout the era of defeat, occupation and deference to America, has been insistent, with more and more end runs around the constitutional prohibition against permanent military forces. See, for example, “The Sun Also Rises.”

The astrological pattern for the current incarnation of the Japanese nation–represented by the restoration of sovereignty (28 April 1952, 10:30 pm. local time, Tokyo)–shows the military factor barely held in check: the Sun in opposition to Mars in domicile in the relentless sign of Scorpio. (Each Sun-Mars opposition–when Earth is between Sun and Mars–is also when Mars is at perigee: closest to Earth.) The opposition represents a crisis unresolved, however, and anytime that configuration is repeated–such as (especially) in April 2014–there is strong potential for events and a shift of political energies that break the channels that have defined the state.

A number of astrological factors point out the coming months as crucial: the alignment of Sun and Mars (exact on 9 April at 19 degrees of Aries and Libra) closely with the vertical axis of the sovereignty chart, and with Neptune. The latter represents the nation’s sense of universal purpose and significance, and–just as problematically–its scandals, corruption of vision, and the results of confusion and deception. One outcome of this period is likely to be a greater unavoidable reckoning with the nation’s long-running economic decline.


In the weeks to follow, Mars–continuing the retrograde phase begun on 1 March–tightens and energizes the already-tight configuration of Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto: all configured with Mercury (communication media), Saturn (the apparatus of state control), and Uranus (rebellious, especially fascistic, elements). Thus, astrologically literate people can anticipate national and even international deployment of forces to contain a situation rapidly unraveling: ecologically, economically, politically. (To add punctuation to the drama of the period, a solar eclipse is scheduled for 29 April at eight degrees fifty-two minutes Taurus: on the exact degree of the Sun in the sovereignty chart.)

Note that the conclusion of Mars’ retrograde phase on 19 May takes place zodiacally at nine degrees and two minutes of Libra: exactly on the place of Saturn in the sovereignty chart. Watch for clues to defining governmental actions in the week before and the week after this date. What is decided and what happens in the months to follow will largely determine the answers to two very large questions that ripple through every part of the post-modern world: How long can that island nation–lacking virtually all the ingredients of industrial civilization on its own soil–remain a modern corporate state? How tortuous must be the process of “going medieval”?

< – zoidion – >

P.S. Re: Militarization: In late December 2013, the Japanese legislature passed a measure to increase military spending by 5% over the next five years.

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