For a majority of Americans, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (along with the follow up extended military occupations) were viewed through the abstract lens of our digitally connected, 24/7, talking head e-world. Some people learn about American foreign policy from reading a book or from watching CNN. This blogger was lucky enough to get my first taste of our wonderful geopolitical world sitting inside a sandbagged CONEX (shipping storage container) at the Port of Mogadishu, Somalia. After 9-11, I took several taxpayer funded vacations to Kabul and Baghdad.
After more than 26 years in uniform, I retired and moved to the People's Republic of China. For six weeks (July & August 2008), I taught summer school in the city of Huadu. After just a few days, my wife and I started developing serious, painful skin rashes from the local water supply. After looking at the arms and legs of my students, it was visually evident that EVERYONE in the city had some degree of skin problems. Indeed, EVERY DAY, one or two students would cry from the rashes. Why?
Well, the Communist Party's version of the EPA has no real authority. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the world continues to ship its e-waste (along with its dirty industries) to China. Unknowingly, my wife and I had moved downstream from an e-waste generated ecological disaster.
Can you say "Love Canal"?
Thankfully, once we relocated to the city of Shenzhen, our skin problems quickly cleared up. So, when a candidate talks about "abolishing" the EPA, I question that individual's political motives. Are guys like the Koch Brothers pulling the candidate's strings? Anyhow, this blogger asks this simple question, "what kind of world do we want to leave our children's children?"
Biologic Pollution Mask
"A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation." ~ Adlai Stevenson
If you're a Ron Paul for President supporter, please stop reading this post. For this blogger, this Libertarian's continued misguided belief that corporations will somehow police themselves in a pure free market economy is Utopian lunacy.
If you're a Newt Gingrich for President supporter, PLEASE see a doctor. Poor students cleaning up rich kids urine and shit is a jobs plan? Having children competing with their parents for the handful of jobs in poor neighborhoods will somehow "morally" fix the country? WTF?
Here's an idea:
Army Private Paris Hilton.
YES, there are real reasons why this country was a world leader in creating and then enforcing Child Labor Laws. The current GOP Flavor of the Month REALLY needs another HISTORY lesson.
Anyhow, please forgive this blogger for temporarily straying away from the original topic of this specific post.
In the People's Republic of China, while the Chinese government claims goose stepping adherence to its version of Communist ideology (socialism with Chinese characteristics), when it comes to actually enforcing the country's weak environmental laws, the free market reigns supreme. Beyond the token measures taken by the Central Government prior to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, when it comes to protecting the manufacturing engine which drives the country's economic growth, both Chinese and foreign-based corporations enjoy a free market with ZERO environmental accountability. Can you say limited government in its purest form? Can you say profits before people?
With that said, it appears the Chinese people themselves are beginning to question the government's laissez faire response to the country's rapidity developing environmental crisis.
Blue Beijing Skies?
Photo by Peter Rimar
Beijing releases pollution data after public pressure?