Going into this July 4th weekend I think it’s appropriate to point out that freedom is merely the will to ask questions. I remember in the 1970’s when everyone started worrying about peak oil and the potential for societal collapse. My grandma and I were watching a story about it on the news. “What’s going to happen if the world runs out of gas?” I asked. My grandma, god love her, could not have been less concerned. She shrugged and waved it off. “Eh, don’t worry. They’ll figure it out.”

All these years later I’m still trying to determine who “they” are. And while I don’t know any names I’m starting to narrow it down.

“It was an open secret that Britain’s decision to back nuclear power in 2006 was pushed through government by a cosy group of industrialists and others close to Tony Blair, and that a full debate about the full costs, safety and potential impact on future generations was suppressed.

But the release of 80 emails showing that in the days after the Fukushima accident not one but two government departments were working with nuclear companies to spin one of the biggest industrial catastrophes of the last 50 years, even as people were dying and a vast area was being made uninhabitable, is shocking.

For the business department to then argue that “we really need to show the safety of nuclear” and that “it’s not as bad as it looks”, is shameless. But to argue that the radiation was being released deliberately and was “all part of the safety systems to control and manage a situation” is Orwellian. An ignorant government that relies for its information on companies it is planning to reward with contracts for billions of pounds smacks of corruption.

Instead, the news from Japan gets worse by the day. Tepco, the nuclear company which owns Fukushima, has admitted that the accident may have released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl; an area of around 966 square kilometres near the power station is now probably uninhabitable for generations; there is a strong likelihood that children living in or near Fukushima were exposed to radiation internally; the costs run possibly to hundreds of billions of dollars.” – THE GUARDIAN

This story is about the British government and industry in particular. But, this situation is repeated to some extent in every country including ours. And just because I’m far more afraid of private industry than I am of the government doesn’t mean I trust either of “them”.

“They” are not going to “figure it out” because that’s not what “they” do. “Their” only real skills are subterfuge and profiteering. For months now we’ve all kind of known that the catastrophe in Japan was far worse than anyone was saying. You know, don’t want to cause a panic even though your grandchildren might be born with their organs inside out or some shit like that. Heaven forbid we should disturb the stock market.

Then again, as sinister as propaganda is, I often can’t help but feel angry at people who trust everything they see and hear. Liars would be powerless if more people questioned them. And even though I tout myself as being on the “frontline between reality and bullshit” I still urge people to question and take issue with me. I’m more interested in making people think (and occasionally laugh) than I am making them agree with me.

I guess that’s what I hope to impart to my kids. They don’t have to respect their crazy and paranoid blogger dad who spends his days writing about world events and pornography. But, I hope they respect the fact that when it comes to the truth nobody gives it to you. You have to take it. And until we do, we’ll be sitting complacently by like my grandma thinking that “they” are busy “figuring it out”.



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