Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump Must NOT Pardon Arpaio


Trump is planning on visiting Phoenix and there are rumors that his intent is to pardon the notorious x-sheriff, Joe Arpaio:
Liz Goodwin (August 18, 2017). A Trump pardon of Joe Arpaio would break Justice Department guidelines Yahoo, https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-pardon-joe-arpaio-break-justice-department-guidelines-195641654.html
Sheriff Joe is notorious around the world for his inhumane treatment of prisoners and his arbitrary enforcement of illegal immigration. Here are some sample headlines:

Hector E. Sanchez (2009, August 27). (op-ed). A Torturer On U.S. Soil: Arizona's Sheriff Arpaio. NPR http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112296948

Tess Owen (2016, April 3). How 'America’s Toughest Sheriff' Treats Mentally Ill Prisoners. Vice.https://news.vice.com/article/joe-arpaio-americas-toughest-sheriff-mentally-ill-prisoners-aclu-lawsuit 
Eric Balaban (2014, October 3). Victory Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Jails, Where Too Many Have Suffered and Died From Neglect. ACLU National Prison Project. https://www.aclu.org/blog/mass-incarceration/victory-against-sheriff-joe-arpaios-jails-where-too-many-have-suffered-and?redirect=blog/victory-against-sheriff-joe-arpaios-jails-where-too-many-have-suffered-and-died-neglect
Arpaio's vileness afflicted Arizona for too many years. For those of you who applaud his "enforcement" of illegal immigration I would like to tell you how it worked.

Arpaio's forces were quite pleased to descend and arrest illegal immigrants at work sites but large employers, and the contractors they employed, were rarely (never?)  held accountable for their hiring practices.

So, for example, in housing construction an entire workforce would disappear briefly after a housing site was raided before more expendable people were brought in as workers, with the builder and contractors making excessive profits.  Sales-people sitting in new homes would make between $300,000-$600,000 a year at some builders, while the people building the houses on site would work for sub-standard wages, sometimes even below minimum wage, and without benefits of any kind.

The system operated as a kind of black-market corporate welfare, yet for some reason too many people were happy to look the other way, ignoring the obvious hypocrisies and injustices to immigrants whose former livelihoods in Mexico, in particular, were compromised by NAFTA, which was very detrimental to Mexico's small-to-mid-sized farmers, retailers, and markets, who couldn't compete with Walmart and US agribusiness.

Indeed, the same blight of consolidated corporate power over markets that killed American mom-and-pop enterprises and family farmers was responsible for pushing people out of Mexico while the pull to Arizona was the Fed-fostered housing bubble.

Arpaio deflected attention from the economics of a system that pitted working class people against one another by re-focusing attention on the imagined immigrant, a person who doesn't exist in reality but is rather the imaginary embodiment of xenbophobic attitudes about the other.

Arpaio's fundamental meanness and brutality were a blight upon the state.

Trump must NOT pardon Arpaio. To do so would not only be morally reprehensible, but it would also cross a symbolic line that will fracture beyond any repair the schism opened in Virginia.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Contaminated Water "Leaks" at Fukushima as Rain Deluges Plant


It has been raining very hard and continuously for the last couple of days at Fukushima Daiichi. I can imagine that there has been considerable migration of contamination resulting from the deluge. The Mainichi is reporting on a small, but quite radioactive, leak:
Highly radioactive water has leaked from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 17. (August 18, 2017 ). https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170818/p2a/00m/0na/001000c#cxrecs_s
The estimated 50 milliliters of contaminated water remained inside the station dike, and there was no leakage to the outer environment, plant operator TEPCO said. An analysis found that the tainted water contained 22 million becquerels per liter of beta-ray-emitting radioactive materials. 

I am not familiar with the construction materials of the station dike where the contaminated water was allegedly contained but I find it hard to believe TEPCO can successfully contain all the migration of contaminated water that occurs in this type of deluge:
August 20, 2017

August 20, 2017


August 19, 2017