Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Fire Memorials without Attention to Environmental and Safety Solutions

For the past couple of weeks there has been an enormous amount of coverage of the anniversary of the Boston Bombings. This has been surrounded by an enormous amount of hype and like the coverage immediately after it occurred it does little or nothing to understand why the bombings occurred and how to prevent them. Someone with a short memory might not realize that when the bombing took place the area was put into something close to martial law, if that isn't what happened. I went into this more last year in "Boston Strong" propaganda downplays martial law.

Earlier this month Firefighters From Around World Paid Final Respects To Boston Lt. Ed Walsh and Boston blaze revived pain in Worcester about another massive fire that caused the death of 6 other firefighters.

These fire memorials and other types of memorials are, of course, quite helpful for those that are dealing with remorse; however they would be much more helpful if they were accompanied by better efforts to understand and prevent these disasters from happening over and over again. It may not seem respectful to some to criticize this; however some might consider it even less respectful to ignore solutions that actually work while promoting an enormous amount of hype that keeps people distracted without solving problems.

In the few days following this fire I noticed several other fires, mostly local that weren't being covered in the national press; and once I started taking notice of them it quickly became clear that they happen much more often than most people realize, although most of them aren't nearly as big as the ones that killed firefighters in the Back Bay or in Worcester, or at least not individually; the cumulative amount of deaths is actually much higher. There appear to be one or two fires relatively local just about every day; and if these aren't being reported nationwide, and the ones in other parts of the country aren't being reported locally, it indicates that there are probably dozens of house fires or other significant explosions, including some in businesses and car or truck fires every day.

The news routinely reports these as isolated incidents which they hype for a brief amount of time then they quickly forget them without much if any effort to figure out how to make these disasters less likely, perhaps much less likely and inform the public how to prevent them. That doesn't mean that there isn't research to figure out how to make these disaster much less likely; but that research isn't generally presented to the public in a high profile manner and it is rarely a top consideration when it comes to implementing policies that might reduce these disasters.

If they did this more they might find that there are an enormous number of simple things that can be done to reduce the threat from many of these disaster and they often save far more money than they might cost.

Believe it or not there is an incredibly simple two step process that they could use if they wanted to to make these disasters much less likely.

Step one: Find the causes of these disasters.

Step two: Prevent the causes of these disasters.

OK, maybe in practice it isn't quite that easy but if you keep this simple method in mind it won't be that much more complicated as the media and the political establishment often implies which prevents them from recognizing and implementing an enormous amount or relatively simple solutions. In practice there are almost always multiple causes to many problems and these causes to some problems often also contribute to other problems as well as could be seen while reviewing some of the incidents that happened in the past.

However since the majority of the political and media establishment hasn't been doing this very well perhaps it would be worthwhile to consider at least one other possible way to address the situation. Perhaps we should consider the following alternative two step process.

Step One: find all contributing causes that don't interfere with the economic interests or the ideologies of those that control the political and media outlets and blame them for the disasters.

Step two: make lame attempts to try to address them and create an enormous amount of propaganda to convince the public that the politicians are doing the best they can to solve these problems, while selling the public all kinds of stuff that they might not need and might not have anything to do with solving problems.

OK, now that obviously sounds stupid and if anyone thought it was a good idea there is no way they would phrase it that way. Frankly if you want the spin that the traditional establishment puts on it you can probably find it easy enough on your own; I'm going back to my own two step program which could be repeated over and over again instead of just saying we're "Boston Strong" over and over again without solving problems. And this shouldn't be limited to just one problem like fires, natural disaster, or violent crime; it should be considered as a matter of routine for solving all problems. 

Doctor, Doctor help me please, I know you'll understand
I got a massive headache and there are big bumps on my head.
How did that happen?
I don't know; but the same thing keep happening to me over and over again.
What were you doing when this happened?
Banging my head against the Wall.

Banging my head against the Wall.
No wait, never mind; I don't want to know.
I'll treat it this time but stop banging your head against the wall and you'll stop having this problem.

If you look at enough of these fires, for example, it is clear that a large percentage of them are a result of problems with heating systems. And the use of these fossil fuels also contributes to deaths from Carbon Monoxide poison, (an average of 430 deaths per year) air pollution which causes 7 million deaths each year according to the World Health Organization, and Climate Change, which according to a Report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Food Shortages Caused by Climate Change will Leave Millions Hungry. this doesn't include the impact of foreign policy and increased threats of war that is caused by our dependence on oil.

Clearly simple ways to reduce our reliance on oil could save millions of lives in a variety of ways and in some cases it can be done without even reducing our quality of life, although other potential solutions might require some form of sacrifice or expense. Some of the most effective ways to do this almost certainly involve conservation and improved insulation in homes. Declining to buy things that people don't need and cutting down on heating bills will save people money without increased economic activity, which is considered bad for the economy based on reduction of the GDP; however this actually improves the quality of life for consumers who save money; the ones least likely to like this idea are those that lose business and profits as a result.

Traditional economist often imply that all economic activity is good for the economy; however they fail to mention that an enormous amount of the growing amount of activity is due to fraud or to the need to replace things that are low quality due to poor workmanship or unnecessary disasters.

If someone suggested you help the economy by allowing a hazard that leads to a fire so that you will have to work harder to replace your house after it burnt down would you consider that a good idea? It might be profitable for the businesses that sell you replacement stuff but not for you.

One of the relatively simplest methods to dramatically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and make these fires and other explosions much less common could involve geo-transfer heating and cooling systems which are much safer than traditional heating systems and cost less money to maintain in the long run although they cost more in the short run to install. If homeowners added solar panels as well then they would be completely clean energy unless you count the manufacturing process to build them which could be addressed in other ways.

The Solar panels might not save consumers as much money as the Geo-tranfer system initially however if people took into consideration the damage done to the environment and the added amount of health care costs by dirty fuels even that would still save money. If politicians were willing to hold energy companies accountable for what they call "negative externalities" and made them include these expenses in the cost of their products one way or another then fossil fuels would be more expensive and clean energy that doesn't cost lives would be more competitive. This could easily be done with some form of carbon tax that could go towards heath care expenses for the damage done by pollution or towards a subsidy for clean energy projects. This would, presumably, be described as driving up the cost of energy by the oil companies; however it would actually be reducing over all costs since it take into consideration the full expense of the damage done by burning fuels, polluting the air and rising health care costs and increased deaths.

Additional advantages of Geothermal Heating and Cooling can be found in 8 Advantages of Geothermal Energy Systems and Ten Myths About Geothermal Heating and Cooling. Additional research from sources that aren't highlighted by the traditional media or the political establishment will also turn up many ways to take advantage of wind or solar as well as other conservation methods. Unfortunately while the media sells an enormous amount of air time to oil and coal companies for their propaganda to convince us their products are safe, contrary to the evidence they do an incredibly bad job warning the public about the real damage done by them. The same goes for an enormous percentage of politicians who collect their campaign contributions from energy companies.

Doctor, Doctor help me please, I know you'll understand
I got a massive headache and there are big bumps on my head.
How did that happen?
I don't know; but the same thing keep happening to me over and over again.
What were you doing when this happened?
Banging my head against the Wall.

Banging my head against the Wall.
No wait, never mind; I don't want to know.
I'll treat it this time but stop banging your head against the wall and you'll stop having this problem.

A close look at many of these fires or other disaster will indicate that a lot of them are also a result, indirectly or directly, of social and poverty related problems. One simple example is that poor people are much less likely to be able to take advantage of the clean energy solutions that require up front investments but save money in the long run. Another common example is a large number of fires that have been started by cigarettes which kill close to 1,000 people a year. The most effective way to prevent this would of course be to do a better job educating people about the damages of cigarettes before they start smoking and become addicted. The tobacco companies have even resisted "fire safe cigarettes" which extinguish more quickly than standard cigarettes if ignored reducing waste for smokers and profits for tobacco companies since they also reduce sales.

Exploring how poverty leads to an enormous amount of problems and makes many of these disasters much more likely would require an enormous amount of research but there is plenty of it available and there is also a lot of evidence to indicate that business and political practices have been doing much more to increase problems with poverty than they have to reduce them.

But you won't see that discussed in the media or by politicians. Practices like marketing for cigarettes, gambling and many other things, including Alex Trebek's ads for Colonial Penn that target the lower income and prevent them from getting out of poverty are given much more coverage than the views of those that point out how these things add to poverty and how they don't benefit the consumers that pay for them. A lot of the research to indicate that poverty and lack of resources to educate poor people isn't quite as clear cut, or at least it doesn't seem that way to many people but there is still an enormous amount of research to support this conclusion. I went into some of this previously on several posts including Continued withholding of solutions in Clackamas and Newtown, many of the same contributing causes to mass shootings are the same one to the Boston Bombings or many of the arson's that lead to a lot of these fires and deaths.

Poverty is one of the two leading contributing factors to the Worcester Fire however the only way they attempted to address this involved charging the homeless people with manslaughter. These Charges were later Dismissed and there was little or no attempt to acknowledge the fact that poverty might have contributed to the potential for this fire. They attempted to blame them for not reporting it to the police but they made no sincere attempt to consider what it is like for many homeless people with few or no resources to survive. The implication is that the threat of prosecution would deter them from starting the fire or declining to report it. The assumption that they started it intentionally was absurd and that is why they dropped the charges. It was nine months before they dropped charges even though the evidence indicated that they may have been mentally retarded and apparently one of Julie Barnes, age 19, pass times was coloring in a coloring book.

The government spends an enormous amount of money keeping poor people in jail, often for trivial things but they are very reluctant to provide the social services that would enable them to get a reasonable education or protect them from predatory corporations that use globalization to drive down wages for people with limited skills that do work that does benefit society like basic manufacturing. At the same time the remain silent corporations that provide an enormous amount of financial incentives for union busters and advertisers to help them suppress wages and convince consumers they're t getting their money's worth even when they aren't since oligarchies are using their market power to deprive consumers of better products or real competition.

Another one of the major contributing factors of the fire is abandoned buildings which are widely known to present potential fire hazards, yet they didn't even consider holding the owners of the building for abandoning it, nor do they consider any major plans to tear down buildings when they're abandoned. Unlike the commercial media and the political establishment there are at least some organizations that attempt to figure out at least some of the ways to reduce these disasters including Fire fighter Nation which reported Remembering and Learning from the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire Tragedy, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and The National Fire Protection Agency, however they get very little coverage from the media and their recommendations are rarely considered much by those that make policy.

Furthermore even though they do a far better job than the commercial media they focus mainly on short term solutions that might reduce dangers by preventing disasters shortly before they happen, instead of long term solutions that would reduce poverty abandoned buildings and activities like child abuse that lead to escalating violence later in life. There are other organizations that focus on these problems too but they don't get much if any attention from the commercial media or the political establishment either.

One of the leading causes to an enormous amount of crime is child abuse and how it escalates, including the use of corporal punishment in schools which has been proven to cause an enormous amount of problems according to many studies some of which are described in the following excerpt.

19 States Still Allow Spanking in Schools and the Statistics Are Shocking

Urban districts often have local bans, so that the majority of school spanking is carried out in rural areas. Disabled students are spanked at a disproportionately high level, despite research suggesting that those with mental handicaps are least capable of understanding why they are being punished. Minorities are also punished at a higher rate. In a particularly egregious example, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction found that while Native American students constituted only 2% of students, they received 35% of the state's corporal punishment. Across all races, about 80% of those punished are boys. The number of non-disabled white women spanked in the United States in 2009 was considered statistically insignificant by the Department of Education.

The disproportionate effect of these policies on minority and disabled students in rural districts could help explain how school spanking remains in place despite majority opposition. More privileged students with more privileged parents (including the 10% with students in private school) are rarely effected and thus unlikely to give the issue much thought. Those most passionate about changing these policies may lack the political power to influence the legislative or media agenda. Complete article

This is also supported by a 2002 study, Correlation Between High Rates of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools and Social Pathologies, which says that "Of the states with the ten highest murder rates in the United States, educators paddle children in eight of them; Of the states with the ten lowest murder rates in the nation, educators paddle children in one of them; Of the ten states with the highest percentage of the population in prison, educators paddle children in nine of them; and Of the ten states with the lowest percentage of the population in prison, educators do not paddle children in any of them." Despite this evidence the political establishment in states that continue to allow corporal punishment is unwilling to ban it and the media rarely provides much if any coverage on how much of a problem it is.

Neither our government or the commercial media is inclined to discuss the most credible research on any given subject and use it to base their decisions; instead they seem to be much more inclined to base their decisions on the agenda of those that either buy commercial air time giving the media their profits or donate enormous amounts of money to campaigns enabling politicians to buy propaganda ads to get themselves elected. Apparently even a new study by Princeton University's Martin Gilens and Northwestern University's Benjamin Page finds that America is an Oligarchy and NOT a Democracy or a Republic This study has even been reported by the Washington Times; unfortunately the vast majority of the rest of the traditional media continues to ignore it.

Instead of reporting the news or basing their decision on rational research or public opinion the government is now relying on massive amounts of propaganda like Deval Patrick's recent speech where he repeated ‘There Are No Strangers Here’ on numerous occasions in a dramatic fashion that many people would be reluctant to criticize especially when it is surrounded by an enormous amount of propaganda to glorify the "Boston Strong" campaign and the victims and heroes of that disaster. The quote "There Are No Strangers Here" appears to come from William Butler Yeats who he declines to cite; however that is trivial when you consider that he doesn't address any of the root causes for any of the major problems facing society, whether it is the Boston Bombings, the recent fires killing two firefighters, hundreds if not thousands of other fires that could be prevented, the growing amount of problems being caused by his escalating push to build more casinos or many other problems where politicians routinely ignore the will of the peoplke or the most credible research about important issues.

To add insult to injury there is a semi-popular trend by politicians to label their opposition as terrorists when they disagree with them even when there is no threat of violence from them, just differences of opinion; and a close look often indicates that they might be doing this because of the poor quality of their own positions. It doesn't seem that long ago that Bush's Education Secretary Called Teachers Union 'Terrorist Organization' and according to several reports politicians and the FBI have often desribed envirnmentalists and animal rights protectors as terrorists including the following excerpt from Democracy Now.

AMY GOODMAN: And how does the government organize? I mean, number one on the domestic terrorism list, according to a top FBI official, is eco-terrorism, is the animal rights movement. We don’t hear very much about white supremacists except when something horrific like this happens.

MARK POTOK: Well, let me say, the idea that eco-terrorists, so-called, are the major domestic terror threat, which was in fact said to Congress a couple of times by FBI leaders during the Bush years, I think is just patently ludicrous. You know, no one has been killed by anyone in the radical animal rights movement or the radical environmentalist movement. Complete article

During the same show Amy Goodman reported on Killing Nature’s Defenders: Study Finds Global Surge in Murders of Environmental Activists. In most cases, I suspect, it isn't the multinational corporations that are killing these environmentalists, or at least not directly. Instead it is far more likely that those that are lured in by some of their local subsidiaries do so and the multinational corporations maintain what they consider plausible deniability.

While they're demonizing the environmentalists and looking the other way while violent organizations advance their goals, with or without, there direct involvement they're also promoting an enormous amount of war propaganda including the semi-regular surprise visits to families from soldiers that come home from war unexpectedly. This has become so common that it seems to happen almost every week if not much more often; presumably if I tracked all the surprise visits across the country they would be much more common. The latest was reported nation wide when a New Jersey Staff Sergeant Surprises Family At Medieval Times dressed as a knight in medieval armor.

If someone were to try to explain to these children that their father is helping, intentionally or not, to promote war propaganda they would probably be considered quite rude to put it mildly. Unfortunately there is some degree of truth to that. This soldier might actually believe what he is doing is right but there are enormous amounts of problems with our foreign policy activities. With all this propaganda many could easily forget that the reason the Boston Bombers set off explosions is because the US is constantly killing Muslims all over the world.

One of the common explanations for all this hype about the Boston Marathon, according to someone they featured on TV, is that it is "a symbolic gesture to show that we won't cower" to the terrorists. While the hype was saturating the traditional media a much lower profile story on Democracy Now reported on U.S. Drone Strikes Killing Dozens in Yemen. Do they expect the majority of those abroad to cower before us? Fortunately the vast majority isn't inclined to act as the Boston Bombers do but there will continue to be a minority that might and as in the past we will almost certainly not be able to catch them before they act.

And when the next terrorist attack happens against us, if we don't learn, then we can go through all this propaganda all over again. And anyone who asks to many questions can be demonized.

We keep wondering Why Do They Hate Us?

Doctor, Doctor help me please, I know you'll understand
There's a time device inside of me, I'm a self-destructin' man
There's a red, under my bed
And there's a little green man in my head
And he said, "you're not goin' crazy, you're just a bit sad
'Cause there's a man in ya, gnawin' ya, tearin' ya into two."

Silly boy ya' self-destroyer.
Paranoia, the destroyer

One of the few exceptions where global governments, perhaps including the US are acting on rational evidence is a new global program was launched recently; if it goes according to plan Trillions in Public Spending Will Shift to Greener Purchases. This is supposedly supported by the EPA; however even if it does go according to plan there are still many cases where the government continues to subsidize the energy companies that are doing an enormous amount of damage and the EPA has often acted to protect them instead of the environment.

On several other occasions in the past I have compiled long lists relatively quickly to demonstrate how many environmental disasters and protests have been reported briefly, and in most cases only at the local level, at best, in the commercial media then quickly forgotten to let people know how much more problems we have than the political establishment is willing to acknowledge. This also includes examples where there have been people at the local level that have already implemented solutions, in most cases without help from the political establishment. In many cases these successes happened despite the opposition of the media and politicians, not with their help; and they have often been reported only in alternative media outlets. The following are a few more along with some other related material. As in the past, even though this seems like a long list it almost certainly misses much more than it includes.

MEMO: Deval Patrick is rich and worked for a company that contributed to global financial meltdown

FBI hunt for most-wanted domestic terrorist narrows to Hawaii

Domestic Terrorism

10 Terrorist Organizations Operating In The US

Domestic terrorism in the United States

Fire Bad Teachers or the Terrorists Win

Washington community grieves growing toll in U.S. mudslide

Pipeline Spills 10,000 Gallons of Oil into Nature Preserve in Ohio

Industrial Logging to Blame For Deadly Washington Mudslide?

Washington State DNR Allowed Clearcuts On Unstable Oso Slope

Ngabe People in Panama Facing Eviction from Honduran Energy Corporation

Cape Cod Activists 'Guilty' for Plymouth Nuclear Plant Protest

Man sought in connection with suspicious deaths in Manchester NH home explosion

Cause of North Conway NH home fire still unknown

3 hurt in explosion in Tewksbury Ma. home that may have been caused by butane vapors

Massive fire burns down a controversial Montrose apartment complex in Houston Tx., engulfing the city in smoke and ash

How Dangerous Are the Gas Pipes Under Your City?

Two firefighters die in Beacon Street blaze

Crews Work to Contain Galveston Bay Oil Barge’s Leak in Texas

2013’s extreme weather due to human-induced climate change, United Nations says

State is easing rules for some pollutants Environmentalists bridle developers call it overdue

Toxins Add New Element of Danger to Washington Landslide Cleanup

‘Out-Of-Control’ Rig In The Gulf Gushing Methane Freely Into The Atmosphere

Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill

Tons of highly toxic coal ash pouring into North Carolina river

Fire at Savannah Port Contained, Residents Warned of Dense Smoke

Breaking: Hundreds of Youth Arrested at White House Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline

Hundreds Protest Dropped Charges over Fukushima Crisis

An Open Letter to the NO KXL Movement

NY Judge Rules for Chevron in Ecuador Case

Al Jazeera Discusses Ag-Gag Laws and the Corporate War on “Eco-Terrorism”

Greenpeace Activists Face 9 1/2 Years for Epic Anti-Palm Oil Banner Drop

Palm Oil Company Kills Indigenous Community Member in Sumatra

Announcing the 2014 Australia Speaking Tour Against #AgGag Laws

Santa Cruz Indigenous Solidarity on Networks of Resistance to Fracking

New Sabotage Follows 5-day Blockade Against Waste Site in Algeria

Anti-Fracking Protesters Take Over Manchester City Centre

700 Villagers Clash with Cops at anti-Hydro Power Blockade in Georgia

Klamath River Indigenous Youth and River Activists Bring a Message from the Amazon

Mohawk People Block Rail Line in Protest to Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

240 Greenpeace Activists Take Action Against Ageing Nuclear Reactors in Europe

30 Climate Activists Arrested in Philly Demonstration

Hondurous: Indigenous Tulopanes Return to Territory Six Months After Massacre

Burmese Cops Sieze Land, Villagers Fight Back

Tribes Begin Defense Against Keystone XL

Itallian Judge Orders Shutdown of Coal Units Responsible for Hundreds of Deaths

Guatemala: Peaceful Anti-Mining Protest at “La Puya” Celebrates Two Years

Judge Blocks the Reopening of Herring-Roe Fishing Off Vancouver Island

FBI Held 2012 Strategy Meeting with TransCanada, Industry Partners

Illinois Blockade Stops Peabody Loggers

Forced Relocation of Sengwer People Proves Urgent Need to Cancel REDD

Three Arrested At Action Against Megaload In Missoula

New Social Media Company Uses Monetary Rewards to Incentivize Riot Control from Within If the entire group of protesters sign up then don't disperse this won't work.

Big Oil and Bad Air: Report Exposes Link Between Fracking and Toxic Air Emissions in Texas

FBI hunting Hawaii for top domestic terror suspect

East Harlem NY explosion, collapse leaves 8 dead, 70 hurt

TransCanada Whistleblower’s Evidence Ignored, KXL South Rushed Into Operation

Indonesia: Politician Given 14 Year Jail Sentence for Illegal Logging Permits

BC is Hostile Territory for Oil Pipelines

Many West Virginians Still Dependent on Volunteer Efforts for Safe Water

Indigenous Vow: We’ll Be ‘Dead Or In Prison Before We Allow’ Keystone Pipeline

Federal grand jury looks into Duke Energy NC spill

Breaking: Duke Energy Caught Dumping Wastewater from Coal Ash Lagoon Into NC Watershed (2nd nearby location)

Duke Energy Caught Dumping 61 Million Gallons of Coal Waste Into North Carolina Water

Via Rail Blockade by First Nations Halts Montreal-Toronto Trains

Greenpeace Activists Occupy French Nuclear Plant

The Former Soviet Republic Georgia’s ‘Guerrilla Gardeners’ Defend a City Park — and Introduce People Power

California City Temporarily Bans All New Oil Drilling Over Fracking Concerns

UK Documents Show Collusion Between Environmental Ministry and Fracking Bosses

A Year After Mayflower Disaster, Exxon Pegasus Pipeline Will Restart

Hundreds of Tibetans Protest Land Seizure Over Gold Mining Activities

Activists Scale ExxonMobil Rig 25 Years After Exxon Valdez Spill

Galveston Bay the Largest Gulf Oil Spill Since Deep Horizon Threatens Bird Migration

Canadian Spy Agency Was Monitoring Idle No More

Appalachia Resist and ACFAN Blockaders Plead to Reduced Charges

BP Confirms Tar Sands Spill in Lake Michigan

Another Megaload Stopped and Turned Back by Cheyenne River Sioux

Congolese Protestors Say “No!” to British Oil Exploration in World Heritage Site

Chevron Bought a California Newspaper to Mask its Record on Safety Abuses

The Most Powerful Family In New Brunswick Wants To Make The Keystone Pipeline Irrelevant

The Dark Side of Brazil: Oil Giant Petrobras Moves into ‘Deepest Amazon’

Cambodia: Four-Day Protest to Stop Don Sahong Dam

World’s Biggest Coal Company, World’s Biggest PR Firm Pair up to Promote Coal for Poor People

Chile Derails “Monsanto Law” That Would Privatize Seeds

Emergency Action At BP’s Chicago Headquarters

China: Thousands Protest To Stop the Construction of Blue Ocean Chemical Plant

Mi’kmaq Women Shut Down Energy Minister Briefing

Natural Gas Storage Facility Explodes in Washington

BREAKING: Bill McKibben Locked Down at Keystone XL Southern Leg Construction Site

Breaking: Police Disrupt Earth First! Journal Office with U-Locks

Uncontacted Indians ‘Abandoned to Their Fate’ as Loggers and Drug Smugglers Invade

Pipeline Rupture Report Raises Questions About TransCanada Inspections

Eco-Terrorism: Reflections on the Efficacy of Political Violence

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