Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fallout

I had an interesting question posed to me during the last Drinking Liberally podcast. With the polar ice caps melting and the environment in crisis, why are we focusing on abortion? In other words, if the country were suddenly underwater, what difference would it make whether or not women had access to abortion? My initial reaction to this question was to jump all over poor Gavin Shearer, who posed it. The first thing that ran through my mind was, if I am to be forced to surrender sovereignty over my own body to the government, then I’d rather drown in melting ice caps. I tend to focus on the most immediate threat first and with South Dakota banning all abortions in a clear attempt to force the issue up the ladder to the Supreme Court in the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade, that felt at the time like the most immediate threat. Upon further reflection and without my knee jerking so fast it short circuits my reasoning, I understand the point Gavin was trying to make. But I still think there’s another environmental concern that trumps even global warming.

President Bush’s hometown paper, The Lone Star Iconoclast, has put together an amazing collection of articles and interviews shedding some much needed light on the use of depleted uranium in Iraq by US forces. It is a sobering read, but well worth the time (thanks to Roberta at God’s Madmen for bringing it to my attention). Leading scientists from around the world agree that depleted uranium and low-level emissions from nuclear power plants are doing serious damage to the planet and its inhabitants. Rises in thyroid cancer, breast cancer even obesity and diabetes can be linked to the aerosol sized particles released from DU munitions and nuclear reactors that travel far and wide and are easily inhaled by people and animals and contaminate water and soil. The implications of this are frightening, yet few people know much about it.

Dr. Chris Busby, Ph.D., has served on the European Committee on Radiation Risk and recently completed a study that contends depleted uranium from the “shock and awe” start to the Iraq war, traveled all the way to Britain by means of wind currents. The evidence of this was found in higher levels of radiation that were recorded by the British government in the days following the initial strikes in Iraq and we know from Chernobyl that radioactive contaminants can crisscross the globe causing damage for years to come. Nothing in his study or in the opinions expressed by the other scientists came as much of a surprise. I think we all know in our bones that nuclear contamination is real and that even so-called “acceptable” amounts of low-level emissions from nuclear power plants have measurable negative impacts on those exposed. But what is surprising is how little is being done to minimize the impact, let alone eradicate it all together. Some European countries are taking action by converting their energy sources away from nuclear power and towards a variety of other, less harmful sources like wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Here in America on the other hand, we are being urged in the direction of more nuclear power by our President and we, through the use of depleted uranium munitions around the world, continue to be the source of the problem, rather than the cure.

With news today that the US has launched the largest air assault since the beginning of the war, we should all be concerned about what those bombs being dropped are doing to the Iraqi people, but we should also recognize that there is likely to be very real and immediate blowback for us. There is little doubt that innocents will get caught in the crossfire which will only further damage our standing in the world, but beyond the political blowback, we are unleashing uranium aerosols that will travel far and wide and indiscriminately do damage to people, including us, and to the planet that we share. It is quite possible that the strikes on Iraq could easily meld into strikes on Iran. We keep hearing from our President that “all options are on the table” in regards to Iran, and we know what that is shorthand for. There have been reports that the US will use “tactical nukes” to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, and when I read that these nuclear weapons are safe, produce less fallout and reduce collateral damage, it somehow doesn’t quite ring true. If depleted uranium from conventional weapons can travel from Iraq to Britain, it seems likely that fallout from “tactical nukes” could have an even wider reach. I guess it comes down to what “collateral damage” means and how much of it is acceptable. I don’t imagine that what is acceptable to this administration in this regard, would be acceptable to most Americans. I guess that’s why we’re not seeing much discussion about mini-nukes and depleted uranium on our televisions or reading about it in our hometown newspapers. Nothing new there, though, that’s for sure.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Cathie said...

I too had a knee jerk reaction to Gavins question, in fact it’s still a jerkin away. The danger in creating a hierarchy of issues is that if and when we correct one problem we have to go back and undue the damage that we let slip by while working on what we considered “greater” issues. Abortion is a human right.
Women having control over if and when they have children touches many issues: poverty, classism, sexism and yes, even the environment.
We all have to choose where to invest our time. If Gavin is fighting for the environment, I thank him for that. I will continue to fight the fight for choice!

2:14 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Cathie--I agree with you about the hierarchy of issues. It seems that we should be able to pull together a complete and whole political agenda that tackles all of the critical issues simultaneously. I guess first we'll have to get some representation in government that can walk and chew gum at the same time.

And I thank you for your continued effort in the fight for choice! If you are the Cathie I think you are, I believe you're even being honored next week for your effective and continuing efforts to protect and even expand the rights of women. I am very proud of you indeed.

2:25 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Oh, and I paraphrased Gavin's question. He is a great guy and certainly on our side when it comes to choice. I don't think he meant the question to be divisive, but that did little to tame my knee-jerk reaction.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Roberta Kelly said...

My mother had an abortion in 1949. It was her right then as it is every woman's right to declare sovereignty over our own bodies. She taught me from day one that my right as a woman is to claim my body as my own. I can share it should I chose to but never do I have to surrender it to anyone, most especially one who would think they are God when they are not.

Obviously it wasn't legal at the time she had the abortion but that didn't stop her and I'm certain it won't stop the women in the "red" states as ~ THEM ~ try to control our reproductive rights.

The fact is, no one should be able to turn back time when it takes such a long time to get our rights in the first place. Women have been discriminated against long enough and when history is examined it is clear that women have had to fight tooth and nail for every single right.

Thank you Mollie for publishing the Iconoclast coverage of DU. Leon Smith and I have become friends and he is wonderful! What a beautiful soul to print what he did to help people understand that a nuclear holocaust has already been set in motion and it began with the first Gulf war. How dare these people call "Gulf War Syndrome" a "mysterious illness which can't be diagnosed."

I worry for all the young people from ages 0 to 50. I'm heading into the decade of the 60s so my life isn't as vulnerable as those of you who are still so young and vital.

This link is very, very difficult to watch. However, I suggest everyone who is NO younger than highschool age, and older, watch it for the sake of our humanity.

www.beyondtreason.com

I'll do everything I can 24/7-365 to stop this madness because you people deserve to inherit the Earth!


Voltaire
Author and Philosopher
1694 - 1778
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

I don’t think we should compromise on any of our values. Every single thing we compromise on will be extremely difficult to get back. Even if we are able to gain control of the executive branch and the legislative branch in the next two elections we are going to be hard pressed to undo the damage Bush and his ilk have caused. It will take a long time and I am not certain the voters will give us an adequate amount of time to heal the country before they return one or both branches back to the republicans. You can bet your bottom dollar that every single roll back that we attempt to achieve, when we gain the majority, will be fought tooth and nail by the republicans. Because they know that they will eventually return to power. And that is why it is important that the democrats stand firm of every issue they are able to.

Some of the damage, particularly our new status as world pariah, will take decades to reverse. Perhaps it never will be entirely reversed. Trust is a peculiar animal. Once you lose it, it is extremely difficult to regain. Think about the car mechanic who screwed you over but good once. It is likely you have never been back to him.

I don’t think men should have much at all to say about choice. In fact, I would be so bold as to suggest that it would be appropriate to pass a federal law or Constitutional amendment that forbade men from having any legal influence on female reproduction. For example if a state legislature was voting on something that affected women’s reproduction all male legislators would have to abstain. Anything about female reproduction should be off limits to male decision making. Whether it is about choice, or plan B, or contraception of any form, or even what is taught to young men and women in high school health class about reproduction. I find it unethical and hypocritical for a man to think he should be able to have a legal right to make health decisions for women.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Roberta Kelly said...

Bravo Jonathan!

Hey Mollie, here is a red state Molly and she is awesome.

http://mollysavestheday.blogspot.com/
2006/02/for-women-of-south-dakota-abortion.html

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Cossack said...

lGND, all

Oboy, here we go...I fear this will be a long one.

1) Granted, when standing on a trap door and waiting for that final drop, the question of abortion becomes ancilliary. However, short of so drastic a choice, the question is, in a very real sense, one of life and death, and not only for the fetus.

2) I agree that men should have very limited input on matters of women and reproduction. I do believe, however, that as soon as a woman realizes that she is pregnant, she should face her impregnator (obviously only in cases of consensual impregnation) and face him with the fact. The male should then be allowed to make a very pivotal decision; either he agrees to support the mother and child at which time he accepts parental rights or, should he not accept his responsibility, he would forever be barred from any parental rights (visitation, tax deductions, etc). This may sound brutal but, in this way, the woman would know, early on, what the factual situation is that she has to deal with. And, this being the case, the woman should have the entire panoply of options open to her, without pressure or coercion.

3) Having a good deal of experience in the field of radiation I can tell you that 'depleted uranium' is hardly as 'harmless' as the military and government would have you believe. Yes, depleted uranium has little in the way of high energy, high level radiation (gamma). However, depleted uranium rounds are pyrophoric i.e., they combust upon being fired. When they combust the DU rounds atomize and these very fine particles are easily spread by wind, contaminate ground and water (and yes, they can and do show up in the water table and in the food chain as well as dust in the air). Though the minute particles are alpha (low level) radiation emitters, once internalized these particles tend to lodge in tisuse (lung, intestine, bladder, etc) and, when so lodged, tend to irradiate surrounding tissue for a long period of time and cause serious tissue damage from radiation as well as being heavy metal poisons. Yes, DU rounds are extremely dangerous and will provide long term blowback, to the Iraqis and our troops who will also be exposed to the dust.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

The abortion issue is Pandora’s Box, it has already been opened; you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube. But to say only women should be allowed to vote or decide on abortion laws is ridiculous. Should only minorities vote on affirmative action laws? Perhaps you want only immigrants to vote on immigration laws? Maybe only those Senators who have law degrees can vote for judicial nominees? Abortion laws are not dominoes that as soon as one falls the next are sure to follow. Abortion laws are more like a work in progress that needs to be changed and altered to fit with society. If my 16 year old daughter can’t get into a movie without me she sure as hell should not be allowed to have an abortion without me as well.

8:01 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Roberta--You are so right, it has been a long, hard fight and it is infuriating to see these bastards attempting to strip us of our dignity! It makes me so mad that I had to work the topic into a post about something else because, unlike my friend Cathie, I become so irrational when confronted with this affront that all I see is red. Thank goodness for women like her who can turn their anger into productive action. She is much stronger than I.

Jonathan--I couldn't possibly agree with you more!

Roberta--I do like her site but her commenters are SCARY!!

Cossack--Thank you for adding your expertise on the subject of DU. What I read at the Lone Star Iconoclast was sobering to say the least.

8:06 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Publius--I agree that the issue of abortion is a complicated one, except when it comes to legislating it. Then it becomes real simple. It is my body and no one else's religious beliefs should control what I do with it. I can choose to abide by the dominant religion's doctrines, but in a democracy, I should never be forced to.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

well, population control is perhaps the central environmental issue ... the frickin' icecaps are melting because there are too many goddam humans consuming too many resources ... the world is not gonna sustain the human population as it continues to expand ... then again in the long run, one could really say so what? we ain't the end of evolution ... the huge tribal warfare that goes on all over the world is partly a population issue ... fighting for resources, land, etc. its gonna get more desparate as population and consumption continue up while resources remain constant ... so ... all these issues are seamless ... they all relate ... depleted uranium ... another environmental poison put out there ... one of these days we're gonna be like the osprey and ddt back in the day ... dying off big time and wondering how the hell it happened ... anyway ... reproductive choice and freedom have a lot to do with population ... those issues are tied together in this administration's mind (look at abstinence only programs and how fucked they are as compared to true education and freely available birth control/morning after pills etc) well, I'm a jumpin' around, but let me close this here comment with the comment that once again you've done a great provocative post .... finally, every issue comes back to the environment in some way (polar ice cap being emblematic of that) ... whether depleted uranium, abortion, or whatever ...

11:09 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Rory--You are so right, I hadn't really thought about it in those terms. I have never been a big environmentalist, instead I always found myself most concerned with how people were being treated, but in the end, it is all the same. When the population runs out of room and resources get scarce, people get treated badly right along with the planet. It's all connected, and probably the only real answer is a holistic political philosophy that is concerned with, and addresses all things at once.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous cathie said...

Publius,
I hear your concerns about your daughter having an abortion without you knowing about it. As the mother of a teenager myself, I know how scary it can be. I also know that women have and will always find a way to have abortions if that is what they need to do. I worked at a clinic that provided a full range of reproductive services, including abortion. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of young women that came in with a parent or talked about discussing this decision with their parents. The best thing that we, as parents, can do to ensure that our children will have these conversations with us is to initiate the discussions before the issues arise and keep the lines of communication open. Some young women don’t have a parent where that is an option, dysfunctional families, abuse and violence is their reality. Fear of repercussions from parental notification could lead them to make desperate, unsafe choices. It is not just “our” children that we must consider, but all young women. The question is do we want young women to have access to safe and legal abortions or risk that they will seek out other means?

11:48 PM  
Blogger GraemeAnfinson said...

the bombs are gifts that keep giving. if they don't blow your ass up right away. maybe they will give you cancer years down the road

12:43 AM  
Anonymous roberta kelly said...

Mollie, I didn't read the comments thus I'll have to go and do my due diligence. I shall also post some very scary stuff too (smile cause you know I will).

To the gentleman with a 16 year old daughter ~ educate her about safe sex and this is not just about protecting oneself from STDs, etc., it is about learning the value of sharing such a great gift as one's body with another and cultivating the dual sexual energy of yin and yang.

I have birthed two sons and prior to birthing them I had two abortions. I shared in raising my sister's two daughters from their birth and my current husband's two daughters from teenagers, as well.

I studied Taoism to get past my mother's Jewish and my father's Catholic, religious dogma.

My sons have both been raised with the Taoist practices and disciplines about energy and especially, sex.

Basically, I have been blessed with sharing in the raising of six children and this means lots more because our homes were always open to our children's friends, all of them, black, white, green and orange.

I consider sex one of the greatest gifts to humanity. Porpoises engage in sex for the pure fun and pleasure of it and so do humans.

Thus, as it is with all gifts, we must value them as such.

Abortion used as a contraceptive is ignorance. Education about sex like what is taught in the East, Tantric Sex (Kama Sutra) and the Taoist sexual cultivation of male and female energy isn't taught in the US because we're still at a level of understanding that is puritanical, treating sex shops as though they are bad. Good grief until one has visited the sex shops in Europe and Asia they have never seen a sex shop!

That being said, should we evolve our consciousness and realize that sex is here to stay, well then, the obvious next step is to enlighten ourselves to the fact that it is a great gift and how do we honor it as such? As always, study the masters of any art form and become the master.

My husband and I recently watched the film Kinsey. What an incredible movie. I recommend it most highly but I put the warning label on it first ~ KEEP AN OPEN MIND ~ this is the most important energetic response to understanding the nature of humanity.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous roberta kelly said...

Since I’ve chosen to be transparent and we’re on one of my favorite subjects ~ sex, women, men, children and babies, and the right to choose ~ let me share the Taoist belief about energy ~ it never dies. Just as Einstein proved, energy is infinite. Thus, to women Taoist masters should a soul want into the Earth plane to be an energy form human, they believe that the subtle form can become anxious and enter into the flesh too soon and be born to the wrong parent or parents. How often do we see children who are unwanted? Too often. Another Taoist thought is that a soul may need to come in at a certain energy frequency and then leave again IMMEDIATELY (abortion and/or death of whatever cause), to come back and be a different frequency, more subtle than the first entrance into the flesh. It is all about energy and the frequencies which vibrate into forms.

The Taoist practices are more than 9,500 years old. Now obviously this disputes any of our western ideas about how life works. Taoist women masters never take birth control and they only have babies exactly when they choose to and with whom because they understand energy. Women Taoist masters are very scary in their power. I have been fortunate to study the cultivation of female sexual energy with one such Taoist woman master, many years ago.

My guilt about getting pregnant and having an abortion was unbelievable. I had been attending the university and I was a practicing vegan plus I practiced celibacy. Graduating after years of working full time and going to school was a dive from serious order into serious chaos. This was in the early 1970s. My mother scheduled and took me to my first abortion.

I was born in 1948 at Keisler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Only six hours old and the radiation machines being the new miracle healing machines, the nurses put me under one to “heal” this small pin point skin disorder where my buttocks touched my upper thigh. Presto, the melting of the skin became the magic healing truth. Radiation in my system has caused me much concern and it drove me into healing myself, body, mind and spirit. Point being, I couldn’t take birth control pills due to the radiation in every cell of my body and when I tried I became very ill. But, the fertility part of it worked too well.

I wasn’t ready to be pregnant and the men I had sex with were not ready to have children either. This is a simple remedy with abortion and I believe the spirits chose the father they actually wanted to bring them into this energy of human. My sons are here because I wanted them to be born from my womb and they are amazing men.

Regarding men having the right to choose whether or not they have children is critical. No man should be forced to have a child because a society dictates it to be. Again, we’re back to education and this fits into the over population and global warming problems. My friend William Engdahl says to be careful around the over population idea because many of the Global Elite believe that getting rid of all but a select number to continue being “slaves” or what I call the Matrix food, is a goal of those who believe they are Gods. Also, DU is definitely contributing to our Earth’s “development of a fever to rid herself of an infection.”

Every man, woman, child and all energy forms should be talking about “Ban the Bomb” until it is real. Taoist masters transform energy in whatever form it is, from dense, coarse, gross, into subtle. Like sand in the oyster which creates the pearl.

We’re NOT Taoist masters so we’d best scream bloody murder about DU.

8:21 AM  

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