25 Jan 2011

Steps I stepped: 4864. A walk around the supermarket this evening was 1300 steps. Step step step.

I’m so very tired now. If I write little bits of the blog during the day, that’s going to be easier.

Our new Outwell tent, porch, carpet and footprint arrived today. We haven’t opened up the bags but it’s looking like it’s very good quality. Little Danish flags on each bit of kit. I don’t like flags but on kit they say ‘good quality’, don’t they? Especially Scandinavian ones.

Nearly finished the yoga course. Today you are finally allowed to headstand after three weeks of preparation. Fair enough if you are new to it. The common mistake is headstand before one’s arms are strong enough, so too much weight comes through the head and neck. So this course builds up the muscles needed ahead of the short hold.

The foundations for the Pavilions project are proceeding. It’s really happening after some years of planning and permissions. Today there was a very long drill on site:

Who is the biggest polluter on the planet? The US Military. Not including all the contractors they contract, they are using up nearly a third of a million barrels of oil every single day. That’s preposterous.

Environmental journalist Johanna Peace reports that military activities will continue to be exempt based on an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that calls for other federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Peace states, “The military accounts for a full 80 percent of the federal government’s energy demand.”

As it stands, the Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest US chemical companies combined. Depleted uranium, petroleum, oil, pesticides, defoliant agents such as Agent Orange, and lead, along with vast amounts of radiation from weaponry produced, tested, and used, are just some of the pollutants with which the US military is contaminating the environment. Flounders identifies key examples:

- Depleted uranium: Tens of thousands of pounds of microparticles of radioactive and highly toxic waste contaminate the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans.

- US-made land mines and cluster bombs spread over wide areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East continue to spread death and destruction even after wars have ceased.

- Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War, dioxin contamination is three hundred to four hundred times higher than “safe” levels, resulting in severe birth defects and cancers into the third generation of those affected.

- US military policies and wars in Iraq have created severe desertification of 90 percent of the land, changing Iraq from a food exporter into a country that imports 80 percent of its food.

- In the US, military bases top the Superfund list of the most polluted places, as perchlorate and trichloroethylene seep into the drinking water, aquifers, and soil.

- Nuclear weapons testing in the American Southwest and the South Pacific Islands has contaminated millions of acres of land and water with radiation, while uranium tailings defile Navajo reservations.

- Rusting barrels of chemicals and solvents and millions of rounds of ammunition are criminally abandoned by the Pentagon in bases around the world.

So Wikileaks are due to release the tax records of 2,000 fat cats, potentially exposing large scale illegal tax evasion and money laundering. The guy who handed Assange the data has been charged with breaking Swiss secrecy laws. No one is safe.

In a carefully choreographed handover in central London, Rudolf Elmer, formerly a senior executive at the Swiss bank Julius Baer, based in the Cayman islands, said he was handing the data to WikiLeaks as part of an attempt “to educate society” about the amount of potential tax revenues lost thanks to offshore schemes and money-laundering.

“As banker, I have the right to stand up if something is wrong,” he said. “I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. I want to let society know how this system works because it’s damaging our society,” he said.

Today’s Watsky video. He kind of reminds me of Mike D.

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