Fukushima plant is dumping nuclear waste into ocean on a daily basis; “There’s no foreseeable end to it… and nobody has any good ideas on how to stop it”

By ENENewsAsahi Shimbun, Oct 26, 2015 (emphasis added): [TEPCO announced] the construction of seaside walls to block radiation-contaminated groundwater from seeping into the sea has been completed at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant… TEPCO officials said the underground walls will reduce the daily flow of contaminated groundwater into the sea from the previous estimated 400 tons to 10 tons. However, they said it will take a month or two to confirm the effectiveness of the barriers.

Japan Times, Oct 26, 2015: Tepco hopes the wall will significantly reduce the amount of contaminated water that has continued to flow into the Pacific more than four years after the 2011 meltdown crisis… 400 tons of groundwaterwas draining along the sides of the buildings and into the sea each day, after being contaminated with fallout from the 2011 meltdown crisis, according Tepco. The utility says an estimated 150 tons of underground water is still flowing into the basements of the damaged reactor buildings each day… Recent tests of water samples from the nearby sea have detected radioactive substances such as cesium-137 and strontium-90, but scientists have said the density is so low that it poses no immediatedanger to human health. Yet, the ongoing flow of tainted water from the plant has raised anxiety and concerns among local fishermen and many consumers across the country. Tepco plans to keep monitoring the density of radioactive materials in the nearby sea over the next month. To isolate the four reactor buildings from the underground water, Tepco hopes to freeze the soil around them… The Nuclear Regulation Authority has yet to give permission for the operation, saying creation of frozen soil could drastically change the underground water level around the plant. If the water level outside falls lower than that inside, the contaminated water could leak out. Meanwhile, Tepco has not explained exactly how it will control the water levels, an NRA official said.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, former World Health Organization regional adviser for radiation and public health, published Oct 23, 2015 (at 37:00 in): “I’m reallyappalled at the way the international system has failed… Quite frankly, we don’t get anything through the media… There is no general understanding of the situation here in Europe, because the media are not putting this view forward. In fact, I think many people would be very surprised that it was still  a matter for discussion. They would be even more surprised to learn that it’s still an ongoing accident, and that it hasn’t terminated yet. They’d be even more surprised that nobody has any good ideas on how to stop it. So this is a very big black point… for the nuclear industry — that they can cause a situation like this, where there’sno foreseeable end to it. It’s against international law to dump radioactivity into the sea, but that is precisely what is happening on a daily basis.”

Watch Baverstock’s presentation here

  1. Officials have “admitted failure” at Fukushima plant — Giving up on attempts “to prevent highly contaminated water from pouring into ocean” — Regulator asks “What was all the trouble over the past months for?” — Gov’t experts worried cement barrier is going to crack (VIDEO) November 23, 2014
  2. Engineer: Outright failures continue to plague Fukushima plant — “Public may think worst is over… Nothing could be further from the truth” — Japan TV: New method failing to stop flow of highly contaminated water — Experts: ‘Diluting’ radiation in ocean adds to danger; Spreading it out only makes health damages worse (VIDEO)January 12, 2015
  3. NHK: Attempts to stop Fukushima contamination flowing into ocean have failed — Japan Nuclear Expert: “Most likely flowing fairly quickly into sea” from nearby Reactor No. 2 September 11, 2013
  4. TV: Fukushima underground dam not working, radiation levels now exceeding gov’t limit near shore — Tepco Official: “The flow of contaminated water into ocean is causing problems… It’s quite difficult to stop” (VIDEO) February 9, 2014
  5. Japan Expert: Contamination from Fukushima is traveling “under the seabed” and spreading further out in Pacific Ocean — Measures needed to stop flow September 3, 2013
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Canada: The Cover-Up and Theft of Another Election.

Harper fraude

The Memory Hole of Continuous Proven Fraud  over Nine Years

Canadians are within a few days of stopping or allowing the Harper regime to continue to destroy the democracy and life fabric of Canada. But the dots are taboo to connect. The PR-led opposition has joined the corporate media in a public stage ritual of forgetting. The endless lies, election cheats, and bullying abuses through nine years of PMO civil destruction go scot free.

The Harper regime has cheated or stole every election. Yet not even the Conservative robo-call fraud to deprive up to 500,000 citizens of their votes in the 2011 election has been raised in the official campaign. No-one on stage remembers any of it back to the first Harper theft of power in 2006, featuring the Harper-RCMP deal to falsely accuse the Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale in criminal investigation just prior to the election. Nor is Harper’s violation of his own Election Act in calling the 2008 election and its massive illegal spending on attacks ads filling the airwaves with public hate just before the vote. All has been proven off the campaign stage, but all has been silenced on it. The regime’s near-daily record of lies, scandals and violations has gone the memory hole of the electoral campaign, with $54 million on hand for attack ads.

Nothing sticks because public information is repressed in every form by the Harper PMO, the corporate media publish only transient details and flattering pictures, and the mainstream parties silently submit to the rule of amnesia. Yet every destruction tracks back to the Mafia-like despotism of the Harper PMO whose rule of fear, division, lies, character assassination and public sector dismantling runs free with no connection on stage. Even as I write, Harper tells more public lies that “there are no cuts at the CBC” and that “marijuana is far more dangerous than tobacco’.

The Wheat Board clause is the addition replacing the gagging clause (which comes in enough). We may recall how the proven big liars and war criminals of the US Republican party getting re-elected there despite their crimes against democracy and law. Harper is the branch-plant version with more years allowed to strip the country’s public accountability and wealth to serve the rich. Constituencies of bigotry and greed provide the energies of attack always in motion.

From Fraud, War against Science and Dispossession of the Poor to tthe Niqab Sting

Fraud, war against public knowledge, and dispossession of the poor are the hallmarks of the Harper regime exposed in many forms off stage from an aroused Canadian public. But they are amnesiac in the official campaign. They continue with impunity and the tacit support of official opposition silence. The clear majority of citizens loathe the man destroying Canada’s common life substance and identity. But the pathological meaning is taboo to name on the public stage.

In the turning point of the election campaign that Harper was losing on the ground, national  attention was suddenly diverted to the veil rights of two indoctrinated women claiming duty to Allah and the Prophet to keep their faces hidden in citizenship ceremony. How could such a red herring reverse the Harper defeat overnight when not even the Koran prescribes veils?

Yet a feudal harem duty became solemnly claimed as a public right by the politically correct even in swearing citizen allegiance to Canada. Incredibly the leader of the Quebec stronghold of the opposition NDP took  the bait. Playing against the role that had been long fit up for him by the corporate press – the angry man – he donned the image of liberal tolerance. He stood up for the symbol of an ancient, foreign right of possession of women, and predictably alienated his Quebec support. Along with the NDP’s me-too neo-liberalism of “no deficit”, the party blew the national election lead into third place within days.

Public relations and political correctness are dear to marketing men and pollsters running the NDP too. But they do not work with citizens who dislike turncoats to neo-liberal dogma and are used to seeing people’s faces as fellow citizens.

Thus dragged into a stand enabling no-one’s life in the country, the campaign for the working people of Quebec and Canada became weak and alien – a betrayal of its voter base. In truth, the stand does not even protect the veiled immigrants. Their fathers and husbands can now demand the right of their proprietorship over them as a sacred right in Canada itself against long evolved citizen norms of openness and trust. Thus the entire Harper record of perpetual lies and harms against the common life interest of Canada disappeared into the memory hole over a false right serving no-one’s better existence in the country.

Thus a total diversion to a sectarian demand in citizenship oath itself succeeded. It completely switched the life-and-death of the 2015 election to an unconscious visceral plane where emotional knee-jerk was guaranteed – the master psych-op of the Harper regime. The fact that the issue is still before the courts known to rule against Harper over-stepping laws of every kind was ignored. But Harper rule won again by appeal to the knee-jerk unconscious of the masses.

This is in fact the crypto-fascist key of all Harper public appeal. Play the primeval fear card and step up PMO command to stop the fabricated danger to the country. Transnational attack dog Lynton Crosby, “master of the dark arts of dirty politics”, was on hand to orchestrate the diversion in the midst of a losing election. Simultaneously Harper’s-re-jigged Election Commission overrode the Election Act that says no non-Canadian may “induce anyone to vote” one way rather than another. Anything goes in this regime of corruption all the way down.

The Underlying Grammar of Amnesia and Illusion

The underlying deep structure of amnesia and illusion can be formulated in one sentence. National elections are increasingly reduced to a corporate market game of propagandas to sell one product rather others to targeted private-interest groups who will behave predictably as an aggregate as buyers of commodities for sale. The first premise here is that public intelligence does not exist, and the second is that any lie and fraud you can get away with is smart. .

No-one seems to see the entailment that the common life interest of citizens is ruled out a priori.Slogan rhetoric and partisan hype is all there is for the P-R managers of the game. “Middle class” can be asserted as vehemently by one party as the other with no meaning. The health, home and literacy of all citizens, not just the middle class having more money, is repelled by the marketing mind. Here the common interest is the latest opinion poll of selves with no facts involved.

The deciding force is private money, but this too is taboo to speak on the public stage. So is is the predictable  result. Those who control more money more fund the party that wins even it cumulatively destroys the collective life capital of society and world.

The party meant to oppose this refuses to say it nd the mass media never allow it into their ad vehicles. So the ‘left’ party buys in and presses everyone on its lists to give more money to pay corporate media for more ads. One X on a card at the end decides it all in the end. Yet ever more people cannot access even that.  This is the design of Harper’s Orwellian ‘Fair Elections Act’, excluding all those without an official identification resident address – in short, the poor and native citizens. Buttressing this fix of the election, Harper rule redefines electoral boundaries at the same time so that his party picks up an extra 22 seats, compared to the NDP and the Liberals adding six and two seats respectively. The riggings and frauds never stop.

In the dominant value system, the underlying formula is that more money in private pockets is the final good. Worship of riches that contribute no life function and increasingly pollute and deplete the world are kept out of public view. That the global gold baron patron of the Munk Institute debate been featured in this election is a metaphor of this regime’s total corruption. The instant institute becomes the private corporate ground for where Harper is willing to debate. No media or even opposition party reports that the Munk institute is a special recipient of many millions from Harper’s government, lavishes Tory front-men with rich company positions when they step down, helps to reset University of Toronto to a transnational corporate propaganda site, and causes continual human rights abuses in poor countries by its world-leading gold extractions from their lands. The right-wing audience repeatedly applauded Harper alone, and no mass media reported the fix.

This is one way in which the Harper regime reduces the country to a looting basin for borderless corporate market vehicles. His “economic record” never deviates from this outcome, but this again is taboo to say in the campaign. Mass ignorance rules along with absolute power to command. But no-one names the game. What distinguishes the Harper regime, from prior administrations is its war on public knowledge and democracy at every plane  – its market-fascist logic. But who thinks through the meaning of every step?  None is seen or connected on stage. Aan Orwellian propaganda field is the ocean to the voters and citizens surrounded by it.

As always in this totalizing corporate game, images are the only reality. Corporate media carry the only common messages the majority see. The truth becomes whatever sells.

Yet which contending party does not buy in?  For the Harper regime, taxes like death are bad by definition, and the more money in private pockets is the ruling public value. One meta law governs the war of movement – to feed without limit on the public purse and expropriate all life-serving programs outside private profit and control.

The Harper Corruption of Canada Spreads by the Taboo Against Naming It.

Even the official opposition with the most progressive tradition of the three major parties has played the corporate-ad game instead of naming the proven despot, liar, and fraud in the PMO.  As in BC in 2013, the NDP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory by empty advertising logic with no life substance. And as with Jack Layton who first let the fanatic Harper in the door by attacking only Liberals in the 2006 debates, the NDP is too busy going after Liberals to expose the usurper destroying the country.

A narcissism of small differences prevails, with the Liberals now outflanking the NDP to the left. The NDP’s leader, Thomas Mulcair, has the capacities of an ace prosecuting attorney to expose the Harper regime as tyrannically corrupt. Yet there has been no mention of the Harper record of continual public lies, cheating, criminal behaviors, war-mongering, and – most lethal to democracy – stripping of public science, communications and accountability at every level.

Consequences follow. The Harper regime has not only torn up the Kyoto Protocol. It has closed down scientific monitorings of everything from freshwater fish and contaminants to unique carbon load detectors, fired 2000 federal scientists, shut down and destroyed public archives of fisheries and oceans, prohibited any public communication of scientific information by those remaining, and abolished habitat-protecting laws 99% of Canada’s waterways.

Not only Canada’s environment and environmental knowledge, laws and resources have been attacked non-stop by the Harper regime. It wages war against all life-protective intelligence and knowledgethat can recognize the disastrous consequences. Its master goal is to serve the runaway global corporate juggernaut that devours the world to maximize private money demand as the only value there is.

Try to think of an exception. The long train of lies, abuses, interferences, public information destructions, criminal appointments, violations of laws, and vengeful uses of the state beggars belief in its perversion of the democratic process. Even more deeply, the collective life capital bases on which every one of us depends from the atmosphere to the ocean bottoms to the rule of life-protective law and common knowledge are exactly what are targeted and defunded to turn all of government into more private market riches at the top.

Yet the near-daily Harper outrages have already come and gone with no connected tracking of them in the official campaign. So silenced have the public positions of the opposition parties been that a complicity under partisan appearances seems hard to deny. Yet we need to know the depth of the corruption that has spread into Canada’s very metabolism and marrow. Unconscious submission to the ruling game of corporate mass sales has become the way we decide how to live even if it increasingly destroys Canada and life on earth.

Tracking the Beast Not Named

We need to recall out of the memory hole of all that has been forgotten in the 2015 election what destruction Harper has wrought on Canada’s abilities to function as a democratic society and intelligent civilisation. In fact, his meta program is to destroy everything that cannot be bought and sold for private profit – the underlying fanatic goal that is not seen.

It includes what is not publicly tracked or connected – destroying the public post delivery and financially gutting the nation’s only public broadcaster CBC; attacking the prairie family farm by dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board; continuous gaggings of elected representatives; continual appointment of criminals to office; stripping Statistics Canada and the mandatory Canada Census that are the recording memory of the nation; destroying the country’s gun registry against provincial and law-enforcement requests; continual anti-union interference in collective bargaining; smearing of veteran advocates resisting abuse and dismissal of their federal ombudsman; tax agency attacks on venerable social charities not towing the Harper line; gag orders on any federal civil servant not controlled by partisan public relations officers; lying attack ads without remission on any opposition leader who may compete against Harper; putting protestors under blanket state surveillance with black lists of their leaders; covering up torture and lawless police and armed-force killings across continents; risking the lives of Canada’s foreign troops for Harper photo-ops (he forbids any photographers but his own at press conferences); continuously false cost estimates of public money for new institutional violence, dispossession and caging policies; falsification or disappearance of documents across jurisdictions; use of Government of Canada identifiers and publication channels for party propaganda including even government cheques, altogether costing over $700 million of taxpayer funds;  implicitly accepting bribes in return for public offices on the public purse for significant donors in every possible form of partisan pay-off; public contempt of parliament twice as prime minister with endless parliamentary abuses; fixed blocking of parliamentary and individual access to public information; silencing of the public service in every domain; forced loyalty oaths to political incumbents; omnibus bills that sneak through fascist-style overwhelming of any debate; secret trade deals that ruin the productive lives of countless thousands of citizens; dismembering Statistics Canada and lying about it;  arbitrary shut-downs of Parliament when convenient for continued rule; incessant interferences in independent bodies like the National Energy Board, the CRTC, the Integrity Office  and  – for reporting vast sums of illegal spending – the Parliamentary Budget Office itself.

As for foreign affairs, Harper’s attack-dog regime has been by far the most war-mongering administration in Canada’s history. It has declared without any evidence Iran as the “greatest threat in the world” while applaudingd the continuously war-criminal actions of the Israel state. It has led the NATO  bombing of once thriving Libya to irreversible ruin. It has jumped to recognise the violent and neo-Nazi-led coup in Ukraine and blame Russia for the resulting civil war and failed state. It has constructed endless false claims of Islamic terror threats and rushed to bomb in the Middle East to “stop ISIS” in ignorance of its Saudi-CIA funding, arming and creation. It has completely reversed Canada’s tradition as a peacemaker nation, voted off even the UN Human Rights Commission.

All follows the fascist pattern not named. Harper long ago gave notice of his readiness to commit the supreme crime under law in demand that Canada join the war-criminal bombing and genocide of Iraq on completely false pretexts in 2003. Here again, however, he has been given a free pass by the opposition parties in Parliament and on the 78-day campaign.

The Cover-Up Not Seen

Marketing elections run by private money for private money can override or silence all that a society needs for its better life. Once the corporate media control all perceptions to serve self-maximizing marketers from the top down with no common life interest binding across differences, no shared life value or ground can be seen.

If corporate-market PR machinations capture opposition parties themselves, there is no centre of gravity of the common good. There are only sales pitches to targeted consumers. Nothing else gets in. Since private money alone can buy the media time to pitch political products, the competition becomes over who has more money to buy ads.  That the election is won by those with most private money backing is an underling meaning that disappears into the frenetic contest to get more of it to win.  Nothing else is defined but more-money-needed in the 2015 campaign of the NDP even after all the evidence is in.

The shared life infrastructures of air to breathe, green space to enjoy and vocations to serve disappear from the conversation. Even the continuous frauds, lies, civil society destructions, and giveaways to the corporate rich are forgotten in this cover-up process not seen. Incredibly, no-one charges Harper for his proven record to destroy the very fabric of Canada’s democracy and capacity to govern for the public. It does not exist in this field of meaning. Only the memory hole remains on the campaign stage.

Do You Trust this Man? 

The electoral opposition to the Harper regime’s decade of society destruction and transfer of public wealth to the rich has one more big lie to consider. Just 12 days before the election, it was announced that the TPP (‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’) had been rammed through before the election and before Canadians or Parliament have had a chance even to read it. No matter. Harper proclaims he “is 100% certain that it is good for Canada and all Canadians”. All the terms and details remained secret and inaccessible. Not one of the factually certain costs to Canadians is admitted as an issue. No citizen or party and knows any more than allowed to be told to them. The Trade Minister refused to be interviewed.  All the certain life sacrifices of local economies, people’s secure livelihoods, food security, and vast new transportation pollution and carbon loads  are simply erased from the ledger. They do not exist to this mind-set.

The TPP was announced the day I complete this analysis. But already one can recognize that every step follows in the tracks of Harper’s absolutely unaccountable and fraudulent rule – unlimited central control, complete secrecy, exclusion of public information in every detail, silencing of everyone else around including his own party’s elected MP’s, worship of the transnational corporate system of ever more profit as infallible, omnipotent boast of knowing the future for all citizens, and a very big-lie core of all he proclaims.

One might say Harper is a fanatic beyond all precedent in Canada’s prime ministry, and a pathological liar by demand of the corporate market doctrine of which he is a creature. This is why the life-blind inner logic of what drives him is not available to his mind. What sustains him are the corporate media barons and the extreme right-wing business roundtables from which he graduates. This is why he must always have them around in debates, as at the Munk centre. They pump him on in the CEO-despotism and greed they all bow to that destroys the world.  The same happens across oceans in different variations. The TPP organizes corporate rule across the most distant continents into global dictatorship over all sovereign governments involved, over new and old unions of organized workers who can withdraw labour, over public policy shifts to serve people instead of endless foreign profits out of their countries, and over evolved recourses of democracy and  government by collective life need.

This is the covered up meaning of Harper’s certitude of better lives for all. What life-blind doctrine has ever been so mindlessly ignorant of the facts of human life and the common life support systems of our planet?  They simply do not exist to this corruption of mind. A borderless corporate market ever larger and more unaccountable to the public, human life and the biosphere itself is the God of the world destruction.

Masked in the absurd slogan of “free trade” which is free for none but transnational corporations – and why they always love it – no media challenges this deranged mind-set any more than its big advertisers. And the two mainstream parties are always funded by its agents.  This is why the evil consequences are always ignored even though they follow necessarily from these one-sided treaties of transnational corporate rights. These are the real certainties that even the money masters and  their servants cannot deny – that big transnational foreign corporations will always displace and ruin small and local businesses in every sphere they enter; that jobs and wages will always be lost, lower and less secure in the aggregate; that organized workers in unions will always be smashed or reduced further; that environmental restraints and regulations will always be eliminated if they do not conform to corporate rights to the profits they expect;  that no-one except corporate lawyers will be able to judge by secret tribunal operations accountable to no one or no international law whether a public policy is valid if a private corporation sues it at public expense; and that every penalty for not conforming to this corporate treaty mechanism, with no non-profit public body allowed to dispute it, is without upper limit of money punishment to be paid by the taxpayers of the country that has disobeyed the new global corporate rights as judged by the private and unelected corporate-lawyer tribunal made up of the same people who wrote the treaty in secret and without public debate.  

This is the already established format of the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ which no-one can truthfully deny, and this what Stephen Harper is “certain is good for Canada and Canadians” as he gives away Canada’s sovereignty and imposes still secret foreign terms on the country in the middle of an election. Official Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair has for the first time in this election stood against the job-destroying, hollowing-out system that Harper leads with big lies – just as Brian Mulroney did before him with NAFTA promising “jobs, jobs, jobs” when 500,00 secure manufacturing  jobs with living salaries and benefits were soon destroyed in fact.

The Harper regime has already lost 400,000 jobs under its watch. But the TPP will disemploy more than that when race-to-the-bottom Asian wages, safety, financial and environmental regulations are available to transnational corporations and banks to feed on at the expense of Canadian society, sovereignty, family security, youth opportunities and natural life and resources. This is the competition to the lowest denominators of life and life ruin that Harper adores as his ideal, ‘the free market’ of private corporate money sequence that override all else. .

Yet the real Canada beneath corporate-money functions sees through the endless lies and betrayals that are masked as “Conservative”. This worse-than-Mulroney despot and quisling of money power might come unstuck in his latest destruction of the common life bases of the country. Recall that this party of sell-out to private and transnational money powers ended up with two seats once the people caught on to the fraud.

Your organic cotton tee-shirt probably poisoned a river in Asia

by

Dyed yarn hanging on a fence at the Jubilee Farm in Snoqualmie, part of a class on using natural plant dyes. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)
Dyed yarn hanging on a fence at the Jubilee Farm in Snoqualmie, part of a class on using natural plant dyes. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)

Your soft cotton tee shirt is the ultimate warm fuzzy. Snuggling gratefully into its soft fibers, you feel virtuous about buying a product that was made of natural organic materials. Think of all those barrels of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers that weren’t sprayed on foreign cotton fields thanks to you. Think of the smiling cotton farmers in Turkey and India growing those pure white organic tufts for you to snuggle into.

Sigh.

Bet you a tidy sum that the label boasting of organic fiber on that shirt says nothing about the luscious color. And for good reason.

We tend to be blissfully unaware of the myriad health problems attributed to the textile dyeing process, as most of our clothing is not from around here.

Yet somewhere in India, a river runs fluorescent pink. Or electric blue, or tangerine orange.

Perhaps the most infamous of these is India’s Noyyal River, which carries toxin-dense waste water from factories in Tirupur — a metropolis also known as “Knit City.” The effluent resulting from dyeing that imported cotton shirt you love pours from the dyeing plant into the Noyyal and other Indian and Chinese streams and rivers, carrying with it toxic chemicals – cancer-causing cadmium, lead, chromium, mercury, and more.

A Japanese-owned textile dyeing facility in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area in Northeastern China. (Photo from Flickr by Matthew Stinson)
A Japanese-owned textile dyeing facility in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area in Northeastern China. (Photo from Flickr by Matthew Stinson)

But one Seattle woman believes that we don’t have to pay such a heavy price for our penchant for color, and she is sharing her passion for plant-based, low-water dyes, adding to a “slow clothing” movement.

On a sunny recent August afternoon, Kathy Hattori leads a small band of acolytes to the cutting flower garden on Jubilee Farm, an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) grower in Washington state’s fertile Snoqualmie valley.

She stops in front of a backdrop of enormous sunflowers and faces her students from behind a row of blanket-flowers, a daisy-like bloom glowing with streaks of orange, gold, pink, and coral. “Gaillardia,” she pronounces. “Let’s cut these – we should get some good color.”

The gloved throng bends to gather the bright flower heads, filling baskets.

Despite the jeans and encyclopedic knowledge of plant-based dyes, Hattori’s past career was rooted not in textiles or art but in the corporate world.

“The specter of Death drove me from the high-tech world,” she joked in an earlier interview.

A degree in environmental studies originally led to a job with the EPA. Her administrative flair led to a highly-paid but draining stint in the Silicon Valley. But discontent with the unfulfilling work led her to establish a new life in Seattle.

Leveraging her business background and following a long-time love of textiles, Hattori went to work for a natural dye company. There she became aware of the toxicity bedeviling conventional clothing. It was the 2005 GreenPeace report, “Toxic Threads” that galvanized her explorations with natural dyes.

Kathy Hattori at the Jubilee Farm. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)
Kathy Hattori at the Jubilee Farm. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)

She learned about places like “Knit City,” where about a third of nearby villagers find themselves suffering from a range of ailments attributed to dye-related pollution, including gastritis, joint pain, and more.

Azo dyes, which are used for about 70% of textiles made, carry significant health and cancer risk, as do other chemicals used in the process like benzidine, pthalates, and formaldehyde.

Large amounts of precious potable water in clothing producing countries like China, India, and Bangladesh, is diverted from human and animal use, to be used in the dyeing process and then released back into streams. Neighboring farmland can be rendered unusable, exacting a heavy toll on health, livelihoods, and the environment.

The clothing produced arrives in the shopping bags of first world consumers with toxic residue, continuing the threat of toxic run-off to our own local water supplies. This is particularly concerning with regard to children’s clothing.

“I’d known that there were some pretty aggressive chemicals in the textile dyeing industry,” Hattori said. “But I didn’t realize just how toxic the substances are, and I hadn’t known about the amount of effluent produced and the enormous amount of water used in these processes. It had a huge effect on me.”

In 2010, she formed her own company, Botanical Colors, producing natural dyes for hobbyists and eventually for the fashion industry.

“I now work with small designers,” Hattori told me. “Younger designers are frustrated by not being able to make sustainable designs.”

Yarns dyed with natural indigo hang on a tree at the Jubilee Farm. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)
Yarns dyed with natural indigo hang on a tree at the Jubilee Farm. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)

To that end, Hattori collaborates with New York design house Eileen Fisher, overdyeing gently-used clothing for Eileen Fisher’s clothing recycling initiative, Green Eileen.

Re-sellers like Green Eileen address a related concern of Hattori’s: the impact of the enormous amount of clothing we purchase in the developed world — as much as 70 pieces of clothing per person per year, by some estimates.

Producing dyes in bulk is a part of Hattori’s commitment to sustainability.

“National brands find it difficult to adapt to using natural dyes, but many of them have committed to fix their supply chains by 2020. I want to figure out how to bring the process to the point where it is practical for them to use; to be an evangelist,” she said as we sat in her Ballard facility. “If I can get their attention and then their buy-in, we can start to make a change. But natural dyes are challenging to mass-produce. You never eat the same piece of spinach twice, and it’s that way with natural dyes.”

But by accumulating large quantities over a season, maintaining disciplined procedures, and exercising her artistry – assessing and modifying the color as her eye tells her – Hattori is succeeding. Well-known Dharma Trading Company, a California-based fiber art supply company, now uses Hattori as one of their suppliers.

Even so, Hattori keeps what she calls “a visceral attraction to the work of the hand” at top of mind, accepting teaching requests in an ever-wider geographical range. That is how we find ourselves in that idyllic field, dipping organic and locally-raised wool into pots of water infused with color from blanket flowers, marigolds, and cochineal insects. Blouses, wool skeins, and even canvas shoes find their way into vats of indigo. As we lift out skeins of wool, now glowing with intense yellows, oranges, reds, and delicate green, depending on the ingredient, I ask Michael Fromberger, a Google programmer, what has drawn him to this decidedly low-tech pastime.

“I think that through human history, we’ve been surrounded by plants and used them in all kinds of ways. Now we seem aware of only a small number, and we think of them only as food,” he muses. “What I enjoy about this is that it reminds me that we’re not so alien from the natural world, and I love having this skill.”

Melissa Bob, a student in Hattori's class, cuts flowers for textile dyeing. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)
Melissa Bob, a student in Hattori’s class, cuts flowers for textile dyeing. (Photo by Carolyn Higgins)

Melissa Bob, an artist of Coast Salish heritage who has also joined the class, wanted to learn the methods her ancestors used to create their distinctive textiles and adapt them to her own work. Beth Murphy, herself a knitwear designer, and Jade Getz, an artist and photographer, are interested in sustainable clothing and art. Enthusiasts of the Fiber Shedmovement, which is dedicated to locally and sustainably-produced clothing, they were keen to expand their skills to produce and enhance fibers for their art and their clothing. Several participants likened the growing movement to the organic food crusade of a generation ago.

Anna Dianich, owner of Tolt Yarn and Wool, which offered the class, underscored that commitment.

“People like to know the farmer when it comes to yarn and natural dyeing goes along with that,” she said. She sees evidence of that in registrations for the classes offered by Tolt; summer classes generally fill slowly but Kathy Hattori’s natural dyeing and indigo classes filled almost immediately.

As we spoke, the gathering of artists, and hobbyists lay freshly dyed clothing on the grass under a late summer sun. On the other side of the earth, workers in China and India – and increasingly, in other less industrialized Asian countries – were laboring among vats of synthetic dyes laced with toxins. That’s what Kathy Hattori wants to change.

“Someone dying for my clothing is wrong,” she says.

ELECTION 2016 Bernie Sanders Is Exceeding Obama’s Historic 2008 Run in Crowds, Donors and Polling

In three key areas, Sanders is actually ahead of the insurgent campaign Barack Obama ran in 2007 and 2008.

When Bernie Sanders announced he would be running for president late in the Spring of 2015, many observers didn’t take it seriously – making analogies to failed perennial candidates like Ron Paul, who had a fervent base but did not make traction in the election.

The problem with these early predictions is that it quickly became clear that they were underestimating the Vermont Senator’s campaign.

In three key areas, Sanders is actually exceeding the insurgent campaign Barack Obama ran in 2007 and 2008.

Record-Breaking Crowds

Over the summer, it became clear that Sanders was drawing some of the largest crowds in Democratic primary history – with tens of thousands pouring out into cities to see the senator.

Up until this point in 2007, the largest rally Obama had held was a rally in New York City, our nation’s most populated location, that brought out 24,000 people. Sanders has exceeded that in numerous locations that are actually much smaller in population – Boston, Portland, and Los Angeles.

Earlier this month, Sanders set a record for the largest Democratic primary rally in Boston’s recorded history.

Sanders also has a campaign that is working hard to translate these crowds into volunteers. In late July, his campaign mobilized over 100,000 people for community meetings to support his bid; today, his campaign has developed a map that shows all of the organizing events currently planned:

Record-Breaking Donations

At the end of September, the Sanders campaign announced that it had hit one million donations – faster than any presidential campaign in history. This was a target that the Obama campaign did not hit until February 2008 during its own challenge to Hillary Clinton.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that this milestone was achieved with an average contribution of $24.86; although the Obama campaign was quick to boast of its sizable number of small donors, 47 percent of his money ended up coming from small donors, less than half.

Polling Stronger Than Barack Obama

Obama managed an upset of frontrunner Hillary Clinton that few believed to be possible. But at this point in his initial campaign, he was polling well behind her. Real Clear Politics has a chart showing polling averages among major pollsters for that primary. In early October, Obama was at 22.6  percent to Hillary Clinton’s 48.2 percent:

They also have one for this primary

Sanders is at 25.4 percent to 42 percent for Hillary Clinton, meaning that the gap is around 17 points, when it was 26 points between Obama and Hillary at this time.

Deciding Days

None of this is to say that Sanders will necessarily defeat Clinton. Much of that depends on his ability to defeat her in early primary and caucus states, which would give him the momentum for Super Tuesday and the rest of the nation’s primary elections. The Obama campaign’s strong ground teams in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina gave him the momentum to increase turnout and defeat the frontrunner who was trouncing him just a few months prior.

For Sanders, these early elections will be the deciding days, to see if he can continue on a viable path to the White House.

The Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared

thumb73By Jeremy Malcolm

Today’s release by WikiLeaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.

Since we now have the agreed text, we’ll be including some paragraph references that you can cross-reference for yourself—but be aware that some of them contain placeholders like “x” that may change in the cleaned-up text. Also, our analysis here is limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter, but analyses of the impacts of other parts of the chapter have been published byWikiLeaks and others.

Binding Rules for Rightsholders, Soft Guidelines for Users

If you skim the chapter without knowing what you’re looking for, it may come across as being quite balanced, including references to the need for IP rules to further the “mutual advantage of producers and users” (QQ.A.X), to “facilitate the diffusion of information” (QQ.A.Z), and recognizing the “importance of a rich and accessible public domain” (QQ.B.x). But that’s how it’s meant to look, and taking this at face value would be a big mistake.

If you dig deeper, you’ll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever.

Another, and perhaps the most egregious example of this bias against users is the important provision on limitations and exceptions to copyright (QQ.G.17). In a pitifully ineffectual nod towards users, it suggests that parties “endeavor to achieve an appropriate balance in its copyright and related rights system,” but imposes no hard obligations for them to do so, nor even offers U.S.-style fair use as a template that they might follow. The fact that even big tech was ultimately unable to move the USTR on this issue speaks volumes about how utterly captured by Hollywood the agency is.

Expansion of Copyright Terms

Perhaps the biggest overall defeat for users is the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years (QQ.G.6), despite a broad consensus that this makes no economic sense, and simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from users to large, rights-holding corporations. The extension will make life more difficult for libraries and archives, for journalists, and for ordinary users seeking to make use of works from long-dead authors that rightfully belong in the public domain.

Could it have been worse? In fact, yes it could have; we were spared a 120-year copyright term for corporate works, as earlier drafts foreshadowed. In the end corporate works are to be protected for 70 years after publication or performance, or if they are not published within 25 years after they were created, for 70 years after their creation. This could make a big difference in practice. It means that the film Casablanca, probably protected in the United States until 2038, would already be in the public domain in other TPP countries, even under a life plus 70 year copyright term.

New to the latest text are the transition periods in Section J, which allow some countries a longer period for complying with some of their obligations, including copyright term. For example, Malaysia has been allowed two years to extend its copyright term to life plus 70 years. For Vietnam, the transition period is five years. New Zealand is the country receiving the most “generous” allowance; its term will increase to life plus 60 years initially, rising to the full life plus 70 year term within eight years. Yet Canada, on the other hand, has not been given any transition period at all.

Ban on Circumventing Digital Rights Management (DRM)

The provisions in QQ.G.10 that prohibit the circumvention of DRM or the supply of devices for doing so are little changed from earlier drafts, other than that the opposition of some countries to the most onerous provisions of those drafts was evidently to no avail. For example, Chile earlier opposed the provision that the offense of DRM circumvention is to be “independent of any infringement that might occur under the Party’s law on copyright and related rights,” yet the final text includes just that requirement.

The odd effect of this is that someone tinkering with a file or device that contains a copyrighted work can be made liable (criminally so, if wilfullness and a commercial motive can be shown), for doing so even when no copyright infringement is committed. Although the TPP text does allow countries to pass exceptions that allow DRM circumvention for non-infringing uses, such exceptions are not mandatory, as they ought to be.

The parties’ flexibility to allow DRM circumvention also requires them to consider whether rightsholders have already taken measures to allow those non-infringing uses to be made. This might mean that rightsholders will rely on the walled-garden sharing capabilities built in to their DRM systems, such as Ultraviolet, to oppose users being granted broader rights to circumvent DRM.

Alongside the prohibition on circumvention of DRM is a similar prohibition (QQ.G.13) on the removal of rights management information, with equivalent civil and criminal penalties. Since this offense is, once again, independent of the infringement of copyright, it could implicate a user who crops out an identifying watermark from an image, even if they are using that image for fair use purposes and even if they otherwise provide attribution of the original author by some other means.

The distribution of devices for decrypting encrypted satellite and cable signals is also separately proscribed (QQ.H.9), posing a further hazard to hackers wishing to experiment with or to repurpose broadcast media.

Criminal Enforcement and Civil Damages

On damages, the text (QQ.H.4) remains as bad as ever: rightsholders can submit “any legitimate measure of value” to a judicial authority for determination of damages, including the suggested retail price of infringing goods. Additionally, judges must have the power to order pre-established damages (at the rightsholder’s election), or additional damages, each of which may go beyond compensating the rightsholder for its actual loss, and thereby create a disproportionate chilling effect for users and innovators.

No exception to these damages provisions is made in cases where the rightsholder cannot be found after a diligent search, which puts the kibosh on ideas for the introduction of an orphan works regime that would cap remedies available against those who reproduce these otherwise-unavailable works.

One of the scariest parts of the TPP is that not only can you be made liable to fines and criminal penalties, but that any materials and implements used in the creation of infringing copies can also be destroyed (QQ.H.4(12)). The same applies to devices and products used for circumventing DRM or removing rights management information (QQ.H.4(17)). Because multi-use devices such as computers are used for a diverse range of purposes, this is once again a disproportionate penalty. This could lead to a family’s home computer becoming seized simply because of its use in sharing files online, or for ripping Blu-Ray movies to a media center.

In some cases (QQ.H.7), the penalties for copyright infringement can even include jail time. Traditionally, this has because the infringer is operating a business of commercial piracy. But under the TPP, any act of willful copyright infringement on a commercial scale renders the infringer liable to criminal penalties, even if they were not carried out for financial gain, provided that they have a substantial prejudicial impact on the rightsholder. The copying of films that are still playing in movie theaters is also subject to separate criminal penalties, regardless of the scale of the infringement.

Trade Secrets

The severity of the earlier language on trade secrets protection has not been abated in the final text. It continues to criminalize those who gain “unauthorized, willful access to a trade secret held in a computer system,” without any mandatory exception for cases where the information is accessed or disclosed in the public interest, such as by investigative journalists or whistleblowers.

There is no evident explanation for the differential treatment given to trade secrets accessed or misappropriated by means of a computer system, as opposed to by other means; but it is no surprise to find the U.S. pushing such a technophobic provision, which mirrors equivalent provisions of U.S. law that have been used to persecute hackers for offenses that would otherwise have been considered much more minor.

Top-Down Control of the Internet

ICANN, the global domain name authority, provoked a furor earlier this year over proposals that could limit the ability for owners of domain names to shield their personal information from copyright and trademark trolls, identity thieves, scammers and harassers.

The TPP has just ridden roughshod over that entire debate (at least for country-code top-level domains such as .us, .au and .jp), by cementing in place rules (QQ.C.12) that countries must provide “online public access to a reliable and accurate database of contact information concerning domain-name registrants.”

The same provision also requires countries to adopt an equivalent to ICANN’s flawed Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), despite the fact that this controversial policy is overdue for a formal review by ICANN, which might result in the significant revision of this policy. Where would this leave the TPP countries, that are locked in to upholding a UDRP-like policy for their own domains for the indefinite future?

The TPP’s prescription of rules for domain names completely disregards the fact that most country code domain registries have their own, open, community-driven processes for determining rules for managing domain name disputes. More than that, this top-down rulemaking on domain names is in direct contravention of the U.S. administration’s own firmly-stated commitment to uphold the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. Obviously, Internet users cannot trust the administration that it means what it says when it gives lip-service to multi-stakeholder governance—and that has ramifications that go even even deeper than this terrible TPP deal.

ISP Liability

The provisions on ISP liability (Appendix Section I), as we previously found in the last leaked text, are not quite as permissive as we hoped. It will still require most countries to adopt a version of the flawed U.S. DMCA notice-and-takedown system, albeit with a few safeguards such as penalties for those who issue wrongful takedown notices, and allowing (but not requiring) a Japanese-style system of verification of takedown notices by an independent body of ISPs and rightsholders.

It is true that Canada’s notice-and-notice regime is also allowed, but effectively only for Canada—no other country that did not have an equivalent system as of the date of the agreement is allowed to benefit from that flexibility. Even in Canada’s case, this largesse is only afforded because of the other enforcement measures that rightsholders enjoy there—such as a tough regime of secondary liability for authorization of copyright infringement.

Similarly Chile’s system under which ISPs are not required to take down content without a judicial order is explicitly grandfathered in, but no other country joining the TPP in the future will be allowed to have a similar system.

In addition, although there is no explicit requirement for a graduated response regime of copyright penalties against users, ISPs are still roped in as copyright enforcers with the vague requirement (Appendix Section 1) that they be given “legal incentives…to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyright materials.”

Good Points?

Quite honestly there are no parts of this agreement that are positively good for users. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not improved over the earlier, horrendous demands of the U.S. negotiators. Some of the areas in which countries rightly pushed back against the U.S., and which are reflected in the final text are:

  • The exhaustion of rights provision (QQ.A.11) that upholds the first sale doctrine of U.S. law, preventing copyright owners from extending their control over the resale of copyright works once they have first been placed in the market. In particular, this makes parallel importation of cheaper versions of copyright works lawful—and complementing this is an explicit authorization of devices that bypass region-coding on physical copies of such works (QQ.G.10, though this does not extend to bypassing geoblocking of streaming services).
  • A thoroughly-misguided provision that would have extended copyright protection to temporary or “buffer” copies in a computer system was one of the earliest rightsholder demands dropped by the USTR, and rightfully so, given the damage this would have wreaked to tech companies and users alike.

But we have struggled to come up with more than two positive points about the TPP, and even then the absence of these tragic mistakes is a pretty poor example of a positive point. If you look for provisions in the TPP that actually afford new benefits to users, rather than to large, rights-holding corporations, you will look in vain. The TPP is the archetype of an agreement that exists only for the benefit of the entitled, politically powerfully lobbyists who have pushed it through to completion over the last eight years.

There is nothing in here for users and innovators to support, and much for us to fear—the ratcheting up of the copyright term across the Pacific rim, the punitive sanctions for DRM circumvention, and the full frontal attack on hackers and journalists in the trade secrets provision, just to mention three. This latest leak has confirmed our greatest fears—and strengthened our resolve to kill this agreement for good once it reaches Congress.

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