Source: Traci Braaten
Source: Traci Braaten
In March 2014, a new study partly-sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center found that modern civilization will collapse in mere decades unless humans reduce inequality and shift to renewable resources. The scientists created a NASA-funded new cross-disciplinary model – Human And Nature DYnamics or …
According to The Guardian, the study came to a conclusion that history is replete with evidences that advanced, complex civilizations are susceptible to collapse. Its authors claimed that HANDY offered a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations, business and consumers to recognize that policy and structural changes are required immediately to avoid societal collapse.
“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”
The study further investigated factors, which may be most closely linked to civilizations’ downfalls, including population, climate, water, agriculture, and energy. Together, these factors can create resource strain and a wide gap between rich and poor. Increased strain on resources and widening gap between rich and poor may lead to industrial civilization’s collapse, the study warned.
The researchers offered a series of doomsday scenarios. In the first, for instance, the elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. In the second, the decline of the commoners occurs faster, while the elites are still thriving. Eventually the commoners collapse completely, followed by the elites.
In order to avoid the catastrophe, the authors recommended two key solutions: to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.
However, the study, which simply sought to investigate if the possibility of a societal collapse was real and whether complex, advanced civilizations can really collapse, and offered solutions hard to implement [for obvious reasons], was rebutted quickly by NASA.
All hell broke loose when NASA called media reports crediting the agency with the study as erroneous and promptly issued a clarification:
“A soon-to-be published research paper ‘Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies’ by University of Maryland researchers Safa Motesharrei and Eugenia Kalnay, and University of Minnesota’s Jorge Rivas was not solicited, directed or reviewed by NASA. It is an independent study by the university researchers utilizing research tools developed for a separate NASA activity. As is the case with all independent research, the views and conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone. NASA does not endorse the paper or its conclusions.”
Did NASA fund civilization collapse study, or not?
NASA’s funding for the very research behind the study is explicitly acknowledged in the paper:
“This work was partially funded through NASA/GSFC [Goddard Space Flight Center] grant NNX12AD03A.”
The US National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, where the lead author carried out his research for the project, issued an official clarification:
“Motesharrei received minor support from NASA to develop a coupled earth system model. Some of this funding was spent on the mathematical development of the HANDY model.”
The HANDY model was indeed funded by NASA; even if the conclusions of the study do not represent the views of the space agency. That makes one ponder – was the NASA connection played up to sell the study to the public? Or was there more to NASA’s response than meets the eye? Remember – global inequality is growing, with half the world’s wealth now in the hands of just 1% of the population? Do you think NASA would like to offend its own direct/indirect funders by accepting it funded the HANDY study whose outcome suggests the rich mend its ways?
But what about the study?
William Matt Briggs, a statistical consultant and adjunct professor of statistical science at Cornell University, criticized the research and called the interpretations [of the study] as just pulled out of the sky, and have nothing to do with any real human society.
“The authors note that “cultural decline and social decadence, popular uprisings, and civil wars” can cause or contribute to societal collapse. But none of these have to do with the environment, our modern obsession. So the authors ignored all possible causes except the environmental in “a simple model, not intended to describe actual individual cases, but rather to provide a general framework that allows carrying out ‘thought experiments’ for the phenomenon of collapse and to test changes that would avoid it.” They call this curiosity the “Human And Nature DYnamics (HANDY)” model.
“It’s based on standard predator-prey models which work like this: a population of wolves eat the locally available deer, whose population necessarily declines, perhaps to the point where some wolves starve, decreasing their population; the concomitant reduced predation allows the deer to rebound, which gives the opportunity for more hot dinners for the wolves, which begins the cycle anew. HANDY swaps the wolves for human beings and the deer for “Nature”.”
However, The Guardian observed:
Although the study based on HANDY is largely theoretical – a ‘thought-experiment’ – a number of other more empirically-focused studies – by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance – have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.
(See Part 1 Progressives Who Oppose Gun Control)
I’ve always been curious how American progressives got on the anti-civil liberties side of gun control. I’m not terribly surprised to learn that corporate lobbyists (US gun manufacturers) wrote the first gun control legislation in 1958. Their goal was to restrict Americans’ access to cheap imports.
Owing to obvious civil liberties implications (ie the Second Amendment), the bill encountered stiff Congressional opposition. Ten years later President Lyndon Johnson played the race card and used the inner city riots to pass a watered down version of the industry’s original gun control bill. It required gun dealers to register guns and ammunition, banned the mail order and interstate sale of guns, and instituted a lifelong ban on felons (even on non-violent convictions) owning guns.
Progressive anti-gun control commentary generally makes two equally salient points: 1) the aim of gun control legislation is not to control guns but people (mainly disenfranchised minorities and the poor) and 2) countries with strict gun control laws restrict the use of deadly force to the police and army, as ordinary citizens aren’t trusted to play any role (including self-defense) in maintaining law and order.
Using Gun Control to Control African Americans
America’s extreme preoccupation with gun control appears directly related to its 200 year history of slavery and oppressive Jim Crow laws that followed emancipation. As Steve Ekwall writes in the Racist Origins of US Gun Control and Clayton Cramer in Racist Roots of Gun Control, the targeting of blacks with early gun control laws is extremely blatant.
In the south, pre-civil war “Slave Codes” prohibited slaves from owning guns. Following emancipation, many southern states still prohibited blacks from owning guns under “Black Codes.” This was on the basis that they weren’t citizens and not entitled to Second Amendment rights. After the 1878 adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, which formally acknowledged blacks as citizens, southern states imposed high taxes or banned inexpensive guns, so as to price blacks and poor whites out of the gun market.
Ekwall quotes gun control advocate Robert Sherrill, author of The Saturday Night Special and Other Guns (1972). Sherill states unequivocally that “The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, not to control guns, but to control blacks.”
Ekwall goes on to describe the unprecedented 1965-68 race riots in 125 American cities, in which the violence was graphically magnified by extensive TV coverage. The paranoia this engendered in the corporate and political elite was greatly heightened by Stokely Carmichael and other Black Panthers openly advocating violent revolution and the well-publicized protests (and police riot) at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
The Last Pro-Gun Democrat
As the late Joe Bageant writes in Deer Hunting with Jesus, the 1968 pro-war Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey uttered the last breath of Democratic sanity over the gun control issue. It’s really sad how radical he sounds in 2014:
“The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”
Obama has recently introduced a new gun control bill in Congress that effectively bans all semi-automatic firearms in the United States including handguns, shotguns and rifles.
How Progressives Got on the Wrong Side of Gun Control
I’ve always been curious how American progressives got on the anti-civil liberties side of gun control. It strikes me as a grave strategic error. I have written elsewhere about the extreme difficulty liberals and progressives face in engaging the working class. I have also been highly critical of their tendency to get sucked into “lifestyle” campaigns (anti-smoking, anti-obesity, vegetariansim, etc.), owing to the strong class antagonism this engenders in blue collar voters.
Contrary to popular misconception, class differences – and class hatred – are alive and well in the US. From the perspective of a blue collar worker, the progressive movement is the middle class. They’re the teachers, social workers, psychologists, doctors, lawyers and religious leaders who make the rules for the rest of this. Thus when they tell us not to smoke, eat big Macs, or buy guns, we don’t see this as political reform. We see it as an extension of their (privileged) class role.
The History of Progressive Opposition to Gun Control
For liberals and progressives, taking a stand against gun control is a pretty lonely place. However I’m not utterly alone. There’s a 1979 book edited by Don Kates entitled Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out. There’s also an organization called the Liberal Gun Club, whose mission is to “provide a voice for gun-owing liberals and moderates in the national conversation on gun rights, gun legalization, firearms safety, and shooting sports.”
Then there’s Sam Smith’s excellent article in the Progressive Review: “Why Progressives Should Stop Pushing for More Gun Control Laws.” Among Smith’s numerous arguments, three leap out at me: the exacerbation of “cultural conflict” between rural and urban and wealthy and not so well off, the tendency for gun restrictions and prohibition to be intersect with a drive to restrict other civil liberties, and the need for progressives to stop treating average Americans as though they were “alien creatures.” He seems to share my view that progressives lose elections as much because of their condescending attitudes as their issues.
In January 2011 (following Representative Gifford’s shooting and renewed calls for gun control), Dan Baum wrote in the Huffington Post that progressives have wasted a generation of progress on health care, women’s rights, immigration reform, income fairness and climate change because “we keep messing with people’s guns.” He likens gun control as to marijuana prohibition – all it does is turn otherwise law-abiding people into criminals and create divisiveness and resentment.
None of this explains how progressives got on the wrong side of this issue in the first place.
(continued in Part 2 How Progressives Came to Oppose the 2nd Amendment)
Mind control jackass person of the year: John Kirby.
Phew, I am so glad the US brought peace to Syria and all other countries in the area. Thank you USA!
State Department spokesperson John Kirby is raising eyebrows after he released a recap of 2015 “success stories.”
State Department spokesperson John Kirby is raising eyebrows after he released a recap of 2015 “success stories” in which he credits the United States for bringing “peace” and “security” to Syria and “stepping up” to help the country’s people at a difficult time.
“The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need,” wrote Kirby in his laudatory year-in-review released late last week. He went on to claim that “the United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011.”
“Led by Secretary Kerry, the United States also continues to push for a political transition in Syria, and under his stewardship, in December, the [United Nations] Security Council passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution that puts forward a roadmap that will facilitate a transition within Syria to a credible, inclusive, nonsectarian government that is responsive to the needs of the Syrian people,” the report continued.
Using the hashtag #2015in5words to highlight America’s wins last year, Kirby boasted: “Bringing Peace, Security to Syria.”
Kirby’s claims of victory did not go unnoticed, with Foreign Policy reporter David Francis writing on Monday: “When it comes to Syria, ‘peace’ and ‘security’ might not be the best choice to describe what the United States delivered there in 2015.”
And indeed, a roundup of empirical evidence paints a far more bleak picture.
The United Nations Security Council reported in August that the Syrian conflict has now killed 250,000 people and displaced 12 million. According to a report released by the UN’s Relief and Works Agency in March, more than 80 percent of Syrians were living in poverty in 2014.
What’s more, despite the role of U.S. military intervention in fueling the rise of ISIS and conflict in Syria and Iraq, the American humanitarian response is severely lagging. The United States has admitted just 1,854 Syrian refugees since 2012, and according to the administration of President Barack Obama, 10,000 will be resettled next fiscal year.
This compares with 2.1 million Syrian refugees registered by the UN in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon; 1.9 million Syrians registered by Turkey; and nearly 30,000 in North Africa. All of these numbers are likely low, as many refugees do not register.
In addition, many have argued that U.S. aid donations are dismally inadequate, given the country’s status as the biggest economy in the world.
While aid falls short, U.S. intervention continues to escalate—despite warnings that there is no American military solution.
According to the calculations of journalist Chris Woods, November 2015 “saw the greatest number of Coalition actions yet reported in the 16-month war,” with the U.S. and allies conducting 232 bombings in Syria, as well as 529 in Iraq. And earlier this month, the United States announced it is deploying more special operations forces to Iraq, where they will be given license to operate unilaterally in neighboring Syria.
Meanwhile, a report released by Amnesty International earlier this month found that ISIS has formed a formidable arsenal, in part thanks to large stockpiles of U.S. weapons seized from Iraqi forces and Syrian opposition.
Kirby’s declaration of “success” in Syria was not, however, the only controversial claim in his annual roundup. Also included under the hashtag #2015in5words were “Protecting Arctic Climate and Communities” and “Open Door to Free Trade.”
With your help, a new law requiring politicians to wear the logos of their corporate donors will be on the ballot in 2016.
December 28, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Popular memes calling for politicians to wear the logos of their corporate sponsors have circulated the internet for years, but the suggestion may soon be a reality for California legislators. In the next week, a potential ballot measure, submitted to the Office of the Attorney General in October, is expected to receive title and summary for the 2016 election, meaning its advocates will be able to collect signatures in order to secure its official place on the ballot. The proposed law would require legislators and candidates to sport the emblems of groups that donate money to their campaigns.
As the advocacy group that launched the measure, California is Not for Sale, muses:
“Imagine this: a California Senator is speaking on the floor and proposes a bill he just drafted that will give oil companies huge tax advantages. Now imagine if on his jacket, he was wearing Chevron, Shell, and BP logos – some of his top ten contributors. Our law will bring this under-the-table-corruption to the surface and expose these politicians who take political contributions in exchange for favors for what they really are: corrupt.”
The ballot’s sponsor, John Cox, is an entrepreneur from San Diego and long-time advocate of reforming the California legislature, which is rife with scandal and corruption. The legislature has been plagued with multiple ethics violations and hearings, and last year, members of the governing body flew to Maui to meet with corporate executives and union bosses, who funded the trip by funneling funds through a non-profit organization. The Los Angeles Times reported on the doublespeak-inspired “Independent Voter Project,” which sponsored the event:
“The group gets its money from about 24 entities, many putting up at least $7,500. They include Occidental Petroleum Corp., the Western State Petroleum Assn., Eli Lilly, the Altria tobacco firm, the California Cable and Telecommunications Assn., the state prison guards union and the California Distributors Assn., which represents distributors of tobacco and other products.”
This ongoing political climate in Sacramento, California’s capital, has inspired Cox’s activism for years. Before launching the logo initiative, Cox promoted the idea of electing more legislators to provide more direct representation to California’s large voting population. Whereas New Hampshire has one representative for every 4,000 voters, California has one for about every 483,000. Considering most voters are opposed to adding more legislators, however, Cox developed California is Not for Sale.
At the end of August, the group organized a protest outside the state capitol building, setting up life-size cutouts of over 121 state legislators, including Governor Jerry Brown. They were all decorated with their corporate donors’ logos, from 7-11 to AT&T and Walmart. The demonstration was well-received, drawing significant attention from passersby and the lawmakers themselves.
At the end of October, Cox officially submitted a request to add the measure to the 2016 ballot. In addition to requiring lawmakers to wear the logos of their top ten contributors every time they appear in the legislature, the proposed measure would also require political candidates to disclose their top ten donors in political advertisements.
After filing the petition, Cox said, “It’s a corrupt system and it’s got to change,” adding that “[i]f they don’t take any money, they won’t have to wear any stickers.” He explained the goal was not to embarrass lawmakers or attack corporations, unions, and collective bargaining, but rather, to raise awareness about big money’s influence in politics. “I think many of them, most of them, are probably good people. But they’re caught in a corrupt system,” he said.
The group announced late Sunday it is “preparing to receive title and summary in the next week and will then begin collecting signatures across California.” They must receive 365,000 signatures to secure a spot on the 2016 ballot, and are confident they will meet the requirement. As Ryan Smith, a coordinator for California is Not for Sale, told Anti-Media, “We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from the community so far. People love this idea. Their entire lives they have felt helpless and abused by politicians; our measure puts the power back in their hands.”
Unsurprisingly, the initiative has drawn mixed reviews from lawmakers. Smith said the organization has received angry emails from some legislators demanding the group stop using life-size cutouts of their image. Senator Marty Block told San Diego’s local ABC affiliate that he “supports reasonable measures to provide more transparency to our legislative process,” but did not explicitly endorse the measure.
Though assembly member Rocky Chavez acknowledged the legislature needs more transparency, he argued that “[t]o have everyone decked out like race car drivers would be a circus element which wouldn’t really benefit the public.” Instead, he suggested requiring candidates and legislators to list their top ten donors on their websites, though this would likely mean far less exposure than displaying them on the floor of the legislature.
Asked about Chavez’s claim the proposed law would create a “circus element,” Smith responded, “You know what’s a circus? That politicians can openly take money from corporations and unions and have no accountability afterwards. It’s a complete joke. If Mr. Chavez doesn’t like this, I have a brilliant solution for him: stop taking money. Problem solved, circus avoided!”
Either way, one thing is clear: as Cox said, “These people are not going to change it on their own.” As California is Not for Sale’s website asserts, “Big money in politics has gone too far. Average citizens don’t have a voice and it’s time that changes. By highlighting big money in politics, we can raise awareness around this issue and give citizens the voice they deserve.” Smith says the proposed ballot measure is only the first of several steps the group will launch over the coming years, “all with the goal of ending political corruption in our country.”
Throughout the world, the name Fukushima has become synonymous with nuclear disaster and running for the hills. Yet, Fukushima may be one of the least understood disasters in modern times, as nobody knows how to fix neither the problem nor the true dimension of the damage…
Source: Fukushima Today
With permission from
December 29, 2015
Throughout the world, the name Fukushima has become synonymous with nuclear disaster and running for the hills. Yet, Fukushima may be one of the least understood disasters in modern times, as nobody knows how to fix neither the problem nor the true dimension of the damage. Thus, Fukushima is in uncharted territory, a total nuclear meltdown that dances to its own rhythm. Similar to an overly concerned parent, TEPCO merely monitors but makes big mistakes along the way.
Over time, bits and pieces of information about Fukushima Prefecture come to surface. For example, Arkadiusz Podniesinski, the noted documentary photographer of Chernobyl, recently visited Fukushima. His photos and commentary depict a scenario of ruination and anxiety, a sense of hopelessness for the future.
Ominously, the broken down Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant looms in the background of everybody’s life, like the seemingly indestructible iconic image of destruction itself, Godzilla with its signature “atomic breath.”
Podniesinski’s commentary clearly identifies the blame for the nuclear accident, namely: “It is not earthquakes or tsunami that are to blame for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but humans. The report produced by the Japanese parliamentary committee investigating the disaster leaves no doubt about this. The disaster could have been foreseen and prevented. As in the Chernobyl case, it was a human, not technology, that was mainly responsible for the disaster,” Photographer and Filmmaker Arkadiusz Podniesinski Visits Fukushima, Axis of Logic, Dec. 27, 2015.
Four years after the fact, more than 120,000 residents are not able to return home. Radiation zones have been established with the color red demarcating the highest levels of radioactive contamination, the Red Zone, meaning > 50 mSv/y. There is no decontamination work in Red Zones. It is unlikely that residents will ever return, although the Abe government claims otherwise.
Radiation is accumulative. As a general rule, a person can only survive for one hour with exposure of 1 Sv/hour or 1,000 mSv/hour. The recommended lifetime human dosage of radiation should be less than 500 mSv. A chest x-ray produces 0.10 mSv. The standard limit for nuclear workers worldwide is 20 mSv/year (Source: Radiation Survival Cheat Sheet). However, Fukushima, because of the emergency, allows workers to receive up to 100-mSv exposure before they must leave the site
Within Fukushima, Orange Zones are designated as less contaminated but still uninhabitable because radiation levels run 20-50 mSv/y, but decontamination work is underway. Residents are allowed to visit homes for short duration only during the daytime. However, as it happens, very few people are seen. Most of the former residents do not want to go back and the wooden houses in many of the towns and villages are severely dilapidated.
The lowest radiation areas are designated the Green Zone (< 20 mSv/y), where decontamination work is complete and evacuation orders are to be lifted.
Enormous black sealed bags filled with radioactive soil and all kinds of sizzling waste are stacked across the countryside, as approximately 20,000 workers thoroughly cleanse soil, rooftops, streets, and gutters. House-by-house, workers scrub rooftops and walls by hand.
The radioactive-contained black bags are trucked outside of towns to the far outskirts where thousands upon thousands upon thousands of big black bags are stacked. An aerial view of these temporary storage sites appears like gigantic quilts of rectangular shapes neatly, geometrically spread across the landscape for as far as the eye can see. The government claims the radioactive-contained black bags will be gone from the countryside within 30 years, but where to?
The formidable decontamination process is not without potential drawbacks. The primary areas of decontamination surround homes, farmland, and 10-metre strips along roads. As such, forests, mountains and other terrain are left untouched, which may, in turn, eventually wash radioactive isotopes back onto the decontaminated areas because of heavy rainfall or forest fires carrying radioactive isotopes. According to Podniesinski, that happened twice in Chernobyl within the past year alone.
In order to visit towns within the “No-Go” zone or the Red Zone, a separate permit is required for each town. Applicants must have a legitimate reason to obtain a permit and streets are heavily guarded. Podniesinski spent two weeks in Fukushima getting to know the right people to make contacts to get a permit. Because of his extensive background and numerous visits to Chernobyl, he was finally granted a permit.
Podniesinski, wearing a whitish translucent gown as protective clothing, blue over-boots, a mask, and dosimeter, was allowed to visit the town of Futaba in the No-Go Zone. Futaba, former population 6,113, borders the Fukushima power station and is one of the towns with too much radiation to consider decontamination at the present time, and maybe forever.
The town was a commercial fishing and agricultural center known for its carnations, an important agricultural business for the region. On the morning of March 12th, 2011 the town was suddenly evacuated en masse. Interestingly, according to photos, the Futaba town hall is a modern 4-story red brick structure with wide windows and sharp black trimming that would appear natural in any mid-sized American city but yet out of character for in an older Japanese town, which served as the center of ancient Futaba District during the Edo period, 1603-1868.
A banner hanging over the main street reads: “Nuclear Energy is the Energy of a Bright Future.” Podniesinski was invited to tour Futaba with Mitsuru and Kikuyo Tani, aged 74 and 71. They took him to their former home which they visit once a month for a couple of hours to see if the roof is leaking and whether windows are damaged in order to make minor repairs. Their monthly trip is purely sentimental. Futaba is their home of origin, but in their hearts, they know it is nothing but a memory of a past that lingers forever, never to return.
Futaba is where time stood still all of a sudden. Nothing has changed since that fateful day. Photos show buildings slowly deteriorating and automobiles covered with shrubbery and vines. It’s like a scene from the hit TV series “The Walking Dead,” where zombies rather than radiation terrorize the town, leaving an empty imprint of lifelessness, a dreary vacuous town that eerily haunts within the impress on a still photo, as if the world stopped spinning altogether.
Podniesinski’s photo of Kikuyo Tani dressed in a surgical-type white gown rolled up around blue over-boots, skin-tight gloves, hair net and face mask seated at the entrance to her home captures an expression of deep resignation, as she drearily and blankly stares out into space, a forlornness that only still photography can convey. Her forehead and piercing eyes are the only real life from within an otherwise haunting photo that emerges as lifeless.
In another riveting photo in the town, a life-sized three-dimensional Colonel Sanders dressed in his trademark all-white suit proudly stands next to a KFC in an empty mall where the photo seizes the moment, an eerie stillness, an abandoned shopping cart and liter covering the floor, evidence that people dropped whatever they were doing and ran, and ran with groceries left for the ages.
The herculean cleanup of Fukushima Prefecture involves 105 cities, towns, and villages. Unlike Chernobyl where authorities declared a 1,000 square mile no-habitation zone and resettlement of 350,000 people, thus allowing radiation to dissipate over decades-to-centuries, Japan is attempting to remake Fukushima back into its old self. But, radioactive material collected in millions of black bags is a vexing problem for the ages.
In that regard, Japanese authorities have commissioned construction of a massive landfill just outside of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, expected to contain 16-to-22 million bags of debris, enough to fill 15 baseball stadiums. Unfortunately, bags filled with radioactivity are more than a mere headache; they are more like a severe migraine. A truck can carry 6-8 of the huge bags at a time, and with so many, it could take decades to move the material. Adding to the lingering problem of transporting and storing radioactive waste, over time, the bags will likely deteriorate and need to be replaced with fresh bags. It is an endless cycle.
Handling radioactive waste in Japan may become generational employment, similar to how second and third generation workers eventually completed the grand cathedrals of Europe, like Notre Dame de Paris with a cornerstone laid in 1163 resulting in major construction completed circa 1250.
32 Million Japanese Affected by Fukushima
According to 2015 Fukushima Report released March 11, 2015 by Green Cross/Geneva founded by former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, thirty-two million people in Japan are negatively affected by the nuclear disaster.
The Green Cross criteria is based upon direct exposure to radiation as well as people influenced by stress factors due to the disaster, all of whom are at risk of long-term and short-term consequences, including neuropsychological and/or cancer disorders.
“According to estimates, 80 percent of the released radiation was deposited in the ocean and the other 20 percent was mostly dispersed within a 50 km radius to the northwest of the power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture. While the expected cancer risks to humans caused by the radiation released over the Pacific Ocean are small, trace amounts of radiation have already reached the North American continent and, in particular, parts of the northern West Coast of the United States. The risk of cancer overall will increase, especially for those individuals who were still children at the time of the accident. Their health will be at risk over their entire lifetime as a result of the radiation released by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant,” (Green Cross Switzerland, Media Release, Zurich, March 11, 2015).
The 2015 Fukushima Report was prepared under the direction of Prof. Jonathan M. Samet, Director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California (USC), at the initiative of Green Cross Switzerland.
Yet, proponents of nuclear power, including several distinguished climate scientists, promote more nuclear to solve the world’s greenhouse gas problems, claiming nuclear accidents are so rare as to be low risk. But, that logic misses an important point. When nuclear disaster does strike, it lasts a lifetime, affecting millions upon millions. It only takes one disaster like a Chernobyl or a Fukushima to be equivalent to untold thousands of disasters by renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
As for a lifetime of radiation misery, one only need visit one of a couple hundred homes for Chernobyl children hidden in the back woods of Belarus. They all have physical if not mental defects or both. Because of one nuclear accident, 6,000 children are born every year in Ukraine with genetic heart defects; the country experiences a 250% increase in congenital birth deformities; 85% of Belarusian children carry “genetic markers” that could affect health at any time; UNICEF found children’s disease rates off the map, for example, a 63% increase in disorders of the bone, muscle and connective tissue; more than one million children still live in contaminated zones. Belarusian doctors have seen a dramatic increase in cancers, including a 200% increase in breast cancer, a 100% increase in leukemia, and a 2,400% increase in incidence of thyroid cancer. All from only one nuclear disaster! (Source: Chernobyl Children International)
Meanwhile, China plans on building 400 nuclear power plants along waterways and coastlines where water is plentiful, thus cooling radioactive power. Imagine the fateful range of possibilities!
2015 was the year the conservatives were supposed to win The Great Canadian Culture war. But shit doesn’t always go as planned.
Canada’s cool dad amid non-subtle subtext. Photo via Twitter.
Well hello my friends. We had a pretty big year. The Jays made a pennant run in October and Jose Bautista flipped his bat in the air and it was the coolest thing to happen in Toronto since the ex-mayor got busted for partying too hard. We also got a new Grimes album. It’s actually been a pretty stellar year for CanCon.
But 2015 was a pretty banner year for another reason: this was the year of the Canadian cultural war.
Early 2015 is basically a lifetime ago for those of us in the Age of Clickbait. But back then, Canada was conservative as fuck. Alberta was still wrestling with the radical idea of letting gay and straight kids be friends with each other on school property. It was still possible to believe that the country’s oil-powered economy wasn’t in as hard shape as it seemed. The federal government was belligerently opposed to treating Indigenous women like human beings and kept warning us about reefer madness. They were even seriously entertaining the thought of erecting a giant statue of something called Mother Canada on the eastern shores of Cape Breton (because that’s where Canada ends, I guess).
We were nearing the end game of a decade-long struggle over the soul of Canada. 2015 was going to Year Zero, the moment when the country’s clock rolled over and The Big Shift would be a real thing and the new conservative century would finally take hold.
All in all, a bang-up year to be an Old-Stock Canadian.
In retrospect, there were a lot of signs that this entire enterprise was in the process of coming off the rails. The day before Valentine’s Day, the Sun News Network—aka “Fox News North” among pearl-clutching Upper Canadians—abruptly vanished from the airwaves after a four-year struggle to be taken seriously. (A moment of silence for all our legitimate media comrades impacted by the closure.)
For the vast majority of you who never watched it (you monsters), Sun News was an attempt to correct for the obvious Marxist and/or liberal bias of Canadian media by being “unapologetically patriotic.” Most of its hosts took this to mean “screaming about David Suzuki” and “calling Justin Trudeau’s mom a slut” and “saying racist things about the Roma.” The result was, according to one former host, “mind-bendingly bad television,” and after begging the CRTC to make the channel a mandatory part of basic cable—which failed to elicit any sympathy from the regulatory body, or taxpayers in general for that matter—the owners pulled the plug. Fortunately for the rest of us, all its best contributors quickly regrouped over atThe Rebel, where they continue to bring you the realest news and hottest takes this side of the 49th parallel, freed from the tyranny of corporate oversight or basic audio/visual production technology.
The conservative vanguard, running their green screen out of a Nintendo 64 on election night. Image via The Rebel.
There were a few bright spots for the country’s Islamophobia industry early this year, which had a strong first quarter showing after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France and continued this upward trajectory when the government managed to pass its comprehensive anti-terror law (Bill C-51). But despite years of the federal government’s best efforts to veto, Omar Khadr was finally released this spring after 13 years of incarceration. It ended up being a pretty triumphant moment for human rights activists in Canada, even if Elizabeth May put a damper on the whole occasion by getting way too excited (or too “overtired”) about it and dropping an f-bomb at the Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner in Ottawa. (Everyone knows cursing in Canada is a mortal sin.)
Of course, everything really started coming apart at the seams after the NDP took Alberta, which we can probably say conclusively at this point was the wildest thing to happen in this country in 2015. A progressive insurgency in wild rose country was a sure sign that the conservative century was in jeopardy. Shit came so unglued that competing sets of Canadian culture warriors launched boycotts against Tim Hortons—one because Tims loved oil pipelines too much, and another because Tims didn’t love oil pipelines enough. Tim Hortons is our country’s most precious national symbol—more popular than the Queen, the last time anyone checked, so this was pretty fucking serious business. In retrospect though it’s possible that most of these people were just very agitated that they weren’t getting any action on Ashley Madison.
Pity also poor Mike Duffy. It’s bad enough that thanks to this year’s trial, his picture is going to be next to the word “corruption” in all future dictionaries of Canadian English. It’s worse still that the time he wrote in his diary about his explosive cabbage roll farts is now a matter of public record. But the worst of all that most of the country was more emotionally involved with a dead raccoon on a Toronto sidewalk than in giving a shit about the mechanics of the Canadian Senate. Such is life in the North.
Then came that godawful election and Canada seemingly transformed overnight. Or three interminable months, whatever. We started giving a shit about Syrian refugees and a middle class no one could actually define and having a “cool” prime minister who loved selfies. Suddenly we were having a referendum on Canadianness before the Conservatives’ nationalist renovation was finished and the whole blessed enterprise blew up in their faces. The Big Shift ended up as a big shit, and Thomas Mulcair will be forever haunted by the knowledge that if he’d appeared on TV dancing to “Hotline Bling” before October 19, the NDP would have taken every seat in the country.
Canada is back, baby, because it’s 2015. JT brought sexy back and also established the country’s first literal dynasty. Accustomed to Stephen Harper’s dumpy rectangular frame for ten years, both national and international media spent a solid month ogling Trudeau like a gaggle of teenage girls who’d just picked up a copy of Tiger Beat and an aggressively large can of Red Bull. The Trudeaus appeared in Vogue and people all across the country started melting down. Jihadis are shooting up Parisian theatres and our prime minister has the audacity to be a publicly recognizable and affable man? This outrage will not stand. God forbid Canada is ever cool about anything for more than 15 fucking minutes.
The only remotely real scandal to emerge so far in the new Trudeau era was #nannygate, in which people got really upset that the prime minister’s children had a taxpayer-funded caretaker. Naturally, instead of focusing on the real issues—why are Trudeau’s nannies paid so abysmally? Why isn’t publicly funded childcare available for those of us who actually need it?—most people were hung up on “look at this rich piece of shit.” Not that I’m opposed to soaking the rich, but this is the laziest class war ever.
Depending on who you ask, Canada is either too far gone or not far gone enough. The Liberals are too radically PC because they committed to gender parity in cabinet but also not PC enough because the prime minister justified his decision by smugly stating the current year instead of rattling off the collected works of bell hooks. If Harper’s key public relations strategy was to blithely ignore all criticism, Trudeau’s might lie in disarming it with charm (and smarm). I’ll let you decide which is worse.
Not that it’s misguided to worry whether Trudeau’s rhetorical nod to social justice is more talk than walk. Many Canadians are still unprepared to have adult conversations about complicated topics like race or gender. The prime minister himself has played into clumsy anti-black stereotypes about gangster rap and absentee fatherhood. For every person calling out police carding in Toronto as part of white supremacy, there are more prepared to justify practical racism. A yoga class in Ottawa got canceled and half the country started openly wondering whether openness to the concerns of disenfranchised peoples had gone too far.
Canadian settler society remains mired in a neurotic tizzy. La plus ca change, etc.
But there are positive signs. Despite flareups of xenophobia (sometimes encouraged by the government), most Canadians have managed to hold it together when it counted. Kim Thuy’s Ru—a novel about Vietnamese refugees struggling to fit into Canada—won Canada Reads 2015, foreshadowing that maybe our collective hearts weren’t totally made of stone. In a moment of beautiful irony, Zunera Ishaq became the face of Canadian multiculturalism when she wore the niqab at her citizenship ceremony in October and the nation didn’t disintegrate. And concerns about cynical photo-ops aside, the way Syrian refugees were welcomed to Canada this year was genuinely heartwarming.
Meanwhile, Indigenous peoples—the real beating heart of any Canadian cultural revolution—have finally started seeing some of the institutional recognition they deserve. Indigenous consciousness and activism has been on the uptick in Canada since Idle No More first erupted at the end of 2012, and this year saw a lot of the movement’s gains consolidated. Indigenous music has cleaned up in Canada this year with Tanya Tagaq taking a Juno, Buffy Sainte-Marie taking a Polaris, and two 11-year-old Inuit throat singers dominated Trudeau’s cabinet swearing-in ceremony in November.
More importantly, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission wrapped up its work this year. They issued 94 calls to action in June and a final report in December after spending 7 years collecting testimony and evidence from survivors of Canada’s residential school program all around the country. The Liberals have promised to enact all 94 of the commission’s recommendations, which includes launching the long-demandednational inquiry into the more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada since 1980. This is a stark contrast to Conservative minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt sitting down through a standing ovation when the TRC called for that inquiry in June.
Maybe the best visual metaphor for what happened in Canada this year.
That the Trudeau Liberals are committed to following through on the TRC is a beautiful thing. But whether they actually stick to the hard work of establishing a real “nation-to-nation” relationship in 2016 and beyond is another thing entirely. The federal government has never even figured out how to properly deal with Quebec on a nation-to-nation basis, so god only knows how they’re actually going to make this work.
But we have some reasons to be hopeful. 2015 started with a government celebrating John A MacDonald’s 200th birthday and ended with a new government endorsing a 3,700-page report detailing the cultural genocide he established.
America would never flip off their deadbeat dad(s) like that. Say what you will about Canada these days, but that’s pretty fucking cool.
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Swiss army chief André Blattmann warned, in a Swiss newspaper article on Sunday, the risks of social unrest in Europe are soaring. Recalling the experience of 1939/1945, Blattman fears the increasing aggression in public discourse is an explosively hazardous situation, and advises the Swiss people to arm themselves and warns that the basis for Swiss prosperity is “being called into question.”
As Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten reports,speaking on the record for the first time since the November Paris terror attacks, Blattmann told the paper that despite a rise in security incidents over the past two years Switzerland’s means of defense were being reduced.
The situation is growing increasingly risky, Blattman begins.
“The threat of terror is rising, hybrid wars are being fought around the globe; the economic outlook is gloomy and the resulting migration flows of displaced persons and refugees have assumed unforeseen dimensions.”
Blattmann: “Social unrest can not be ruled out”, the vocabulary in public discourse will “dangerously aggressive.”
“The mixture is increasingly unappetizing” Blattmann sees the basis of Swiss prosperity, “has long been once again called into question.”
He recalls the situation around the two world wars in the last century and advises Switzerland, to arm themselves.
The Swiss Armed Forces had held many years ago maneuver, in which the starting point was focused on social unrest in Europe.
Swiss politicians, of course, responded with disbelief to the army chief and hold his warnings are exaggerated.
Comment: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. André Blattman advises the Swiss people to ‘arm themselves’ in preparation for social unrest, but that suggestion alone seems like just more fear-mongering. A collapse certainly looks like it’s coming, as the West is more interested in bombing than solving problems. But it’s critical to learn the daily habits of prepared people and take a look at prepping a truly healthy diet. After all, without our health, both physical and psychological, we’re just as likely to collapse as our society is. Also see: Top threats to your life when the SHTF and how to prepare for them
Oh the hypocrisy…
A civil rights grievance has been filed against the city of Pittsburgh, with officers claiming that being required to undergo mandatory drug testing is a violation of the Constitution.
By Lisa Rough / Leafly
December 30, 2015
In an incredibly backwards display of irony, the union representing the Pittsburgh police has filed a most unusual lawsuit. A civil rights grievance has been filed against the city, claiming that officers being required to undergo mandatory drug testing is not only a violation of their contract but of the Constitution as well.
Curiously enough, it appears that this unconstitutionality only applies to police officers, not to the public that they are meant to protect and serve. The officers’ argument is that a urine drug analysis constitutes an “illegal search and seizure,” and police would be forced to “forfeit their constitutional rights to protect the city from a civil liability.”
Officers may be subjected to drug testing in three circumstances:
The lawsuit arose as a result of a car chase and crash on Baum Boulevard. As the officers were involved in the car chase that led to the car crash, both were ordered to submit to testing. Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay contends that the contract allows the squad to test officers involved in pursuit, regardless of whether or not they were involved in the crash.
Workplace drug testing, particularly unwarranted drug testing, is certainly a hot-button issue, and one for which constitutionality can easily become a concern. Some might say that if you have nothing to hide, why object to drug testing at all? Truly, what it comes down to is a right to privacy and a right to be left alone, according to the National Workrights Institute.
Drug testing can be a degrading process in and of itself. It involves an embarrassing bodily function and may even require the employee to strip in the presence of an observer to prevent cheating. Additionally, the analysis of a urine test may be more revealing than simply the presence or absence of drugs, as it could disclose personal medical information about the employee being tested.
A big problem with drug tests is that they’re not a measure of job performance. In fact, even if the employee being tested is under suspicion of impairment, the test cannot measure how recently a drug was used and, therefore, cannot be considered wholly reliable. This is particularly relevant when it comes to drug testing for cannabis.
A urine or blood analysis can only measure metabolites or traces of the substance in question, and cannabis traces can remain in one’s system for more than a month after ingestion – or even longer if you’re a regular consumer. (This is also one of the major arguments against cannabis-related DUI charges, as a urine or blood test can’t determine when the cannabis was consumed and whether the driver is, in fact, under the influence or simply carrying residual cannabis traces in his or her system.)
It has been scientifically proven that mandatory drug testing does not deter, prevent, or treat drug use. At best, it is an unrealistic, not to mention costly and ineffective, “quick fix” to a far more wide-ranging and complex issue that results in a loss of work hours and qualified employees.
Getting back to the Pittsburg police force’s lawsuit, it’s unnecessary and expensive to test employees for drugs and alcohol, especially for a car accident in which they weren’t directly involved. Is it unconstitutional? It very well may be. Should this decision help determine the future of drug testing in the workplace? It’s possible. But should the ruling only apply to police officers, or should it extend to the general public as well?
In this eye-opening talk, veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how astroturf, or fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests very effectively manipulate and distort media messages.
Crippling government austerity measures are forcing schoolchildren in Scotland to go hungry, steal food from their peers and develop mental health issues, teachers have claimed.
An Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) survey, which quizzed more than 300 primary and secondary school teachers about life in Scottish schools in 2015, found there had been a 51 percent rise in the number of children going to school hungry.
One in five respondents identified an increase in the number of times pupils stole food from their peers and asked teachers for sustenance, according to the findings.
The EIS also reported a 22 percent rise in the number of children older than the P3 age group, which ranges from 6 to 8, taking free school meals.
Attendance at free breakfast clubs increased by 27 percent, with a 7 percent increase in the number of parent referrals to food banks, findings show.
“It’s not unusual for students to steal food from the staff room because they haven’t been given a packed lunch,” one secondary school teacher from Edinburgh, who chose to remain anonymous, told the EIS.
“There’s an unbelievable level of poverty which I see every day,” the teacher added.
It appears the hunger crisis had also caused pupils to develop mental health issues.
Nearly three quarters of teachers surveyed said they had noticed a 71 percent increase in the number of children displaying signs of anxiety, stress and low mood.
The EIS said it is evident the dearth of food is causing children’s mental and physical health to deteriorate.
The union said the survey’s findings offer a “stark warning” of the “damaging impact of poverty and the politics of austerity.”
“One of the most troubling findings is evidence of increasing food poverty affecting more pupils in our schools. Fifty-one percent of responses reported an increase in the number of pupils coming to school without any food, such as the traditional ‘play-piece’ that has been a feature in Scottish playgrounds for many years,” EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan told the National.
“The fact that teachers are reporting such very high increases in both mental and physical health issues in pupils is a huge concern, and highlights the true cost of political choices that have driven more families into poverty and widened the gap between the rich and the poor,” he added.
The Scottish government described the survey’s findings as “shocking” and said no child should go to school hungry.
“This government is taking many positive actions to tackle the impacts of poverty on our children,” a spokesperson said.
“Tackling inequalities is at the heart of our Programme for Government. We have scrapped prescription charges, are encouraging employers to pay the Living Wage and are investing £296 million over three years to protect people from UK government’s welfare cuts and austerity agenda which are increasing the numbers of children living in poverty.”
The findings come one week after the Child Poverty Action Group said more children receiving school meals are going hungry during holiday periods because parents are struggling to feed them.
As the year comes to an end, there is reason for cheer on the international drug reform front.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org
The global anti-drug regime has been in place for more than a half century now, but the prohibitionist consensus has been crumbling for at least 20 years, and the decomposition continued apace this year.
The international treaties that make up the legal backbone of international drug prohibition still stand, but they are under increasing attack at the United Nations, which will take them up again next year. They are increasingly being breached (especially by marijuana legalization at the national and sub-national level) and nibbled away at around the edges by moves like drug decriminalization and some harm reduction measures such as supervised injection facilities.
The Western hemisphere is becoming especially fruitful ground for drug reforms. As the United States retreats from drug war excess at home, its imposition of drug war orthodoxy south of the border erodes, and Latin American countries that have suffered some of the worst drug war excesses now search out different paths. From Tierra del Fuego to the Yukon, change is in the air in the Americas.
Here are nine signs that international drug prohibition eroded more this year.
1. Canada Elects a Marijuana-Legalizing Prime Minister.We may have a handful of legal pot states, but Canada is about to become the first country in North America to free the weed. Newly elected Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made marijuana legalization a central plank of his election campaign. This month, he immediately ordered his new Justice Minister to get on it after winning the election, and in the annual throne speech this month, his government reiterated its intention to legalize pot. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s coming, and that will make Canada the first Western power to do so.
2. Jamaica Decriminalizes Ganja. In February, parliament voted to approve a government-supported decriminalization bill, and the law went into effect in April. Now, anyone, including foreign tourists, can possess up to two ounces of ganja and face only a $5 fine. Any household can now grow up to five plants and adult Rastafarians can use the herb for religious purposes. The law also paved the way for a regulatory authority for medical, scientific and therapeutic uses. In July, Justice Minister Mark Golding signed an order to expunge minor marijuana convictions, and by December, the government had granted its second “marijuana exemption” allowing Rastafarians at festivals to partake of (and possess and transport) jah herb without fear of arrest
3. U.S. Is No Longer the Bogeyman of International Drug Reform. It’s not like 2001, when Jamaican decriminalization was put on the back burner after thunderous protests from the U.S. embassy, or even 2009, early in the Obama administration, when more muffled protests from the U.S. helped put the kibosh on drug decriminalization in Mexico. It’s more difficult for Washington to criticize other countries when the Obama administration has signaled it can live with legal marijuana in U.S. states, but the administration seems less inclined to do so, anyway. Last year, William Brownfield, the head the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs enunciated a policy of tolerance toward reform efforts abroad, and the State Department reiterated that again this year. It’s not all roses, though; the prohibitionist beast may be weakening, but its tail still twitches.
4. Laying the Groundwork for UNGASS on Drugs. The UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs is coming next spring, and the international drug reform movement was busy preparing for it this year. In May, during the High Level Thematic Debate on drugs, reform groups released an open letter calling on the UN to respect countries’ drug policy reform efforts, and in June, while UNODC marked global anti-drug day, global civil society fought back with events and demonstrations around the globe. Then, in October, Sir Richard Branson provoked a kerfluffle by leaking a UNODC draft document urging governments to consider drug decriminalization, forcing the agency to walk it back under pressure from at least one country. At year’s end, the European Parliamentary Council called for a public health-oriented global drug policy. A lot more has been going on behind the scenes, but drug reform at the UN moves at a glacier pace. Stay tuned.
5. Columbia Stops Aerial Spraying of Herbicide on Coca Fields, Farmers. With U.S. backing and encouragement, the Colombian government sprayed the herbicide glyphosate on coca crops for years despite peasant protests that it was causing illness and damaging crops and livestock. But in April, after a World Health Organization report reclassified the herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” the health ministry called for the suspension of spraying. The following month, Colombia ended the program despite U.S. pressure to continue it. Then in September, President Juan Manuel Santos deepened the departure from two decades of U.S.-style drug policies, unveiling a new national drug strategy that will emphasize alternative development.
6. Mexico Marijuana Moves. In a country that is a major marijuana producer, but where public opinion does not favor legalization, the Mexican government approved the first medical marijuana patient in September and opened the door for more to follow. Then, the Supreme Court stunned the nation in November by ruling that people have the right to grow and use marijuana. The decision does not undo Mexico’s marijuana laws, but does set the stage for a wave of legal actions that could end in their being rewritten. It also opened the door for a national debate on marijuana policy, with President Enrique Pena Nieto promising it will occur early next year.
7. Medical Marijuana Advances. More countries okayed the use of medical marijuana in 2015, including Australia, Croatia, and just this past week, Colombia. Meanwhile, Chile harvested its first medical marijuana crop in April, the Italian army began growing it in May (to address shortages within the country), and the Dalai Lama endorsed it in June. That same month, Costa Rica outlined requirements for a pending medical marijuana bill, and in July, Israel announced it would make it available in pharmacies and allow more doctors to prescribe it.
8. Iran Drug Death Penalty Mania Shows First Signs of Receding. Iran has executed hundreds of people for drug offenses this year, but a campaign to end European and UN funding of Iran’s drug war has been picking up steam. Some European countries, including Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland have stopped funding, and in October, the UN special rapporteur on Iran warned that it was using UN support to justify its aggressive use of the death penalty. But that didn’t stop the UN Office on Drugs and Crime from this month increasing funding for Iranian anti-drug operations. While the struggle continues on the international front, this month, Iranian parliamentarians expressed discomfort with the death toll. At least 70 are supporting an effort to end the death penalty in nonviolent drug smuggling cases. Lawmakers are now preparing a bill to present to the parliament.
9. Supervised Injection Sites Expand. The harm reduction measure allows drug users to use their drugs under medical supervision and without fear of arrest and has been proven to improve outcomes for users and the community without increasing crime or other negative consequences. At the beginning of the year, there were supervised injection sites in eight countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. By year’s end, two more countries got them up and running, France in the spring and Slovenia in the fall. Late in the year, Ireland approved a supervised injection site in Dublin. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Drug Policy Alliance and other advocates are mounting a campaign to open one in New York City, which would be the first (official) one in the country.