Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

Thanks Giving – an occasion to express gratitude to family, community and nation at large for benevolence and service except,

The prevalent practice is lacking in reciprocation especially by those deriving benefits from others’ sacrifice and trust.

Traditionally the native inhabitants of this great land –America acknowledged Mother Nature for bountiful crops and produce in the harvest season.

The selfless beings then shared fruits of labor amongst the known and unknown spreading kindness and generosity to emphasize the gift of giving.

Unfortunately, today the expectations to receive the most exceeds the necessity to provide the least – largely emanating from greed and insolence overriding fairness concept without boundaries and self-restraint.

Conscientious actions prevent upheavals that otherwise eventually affects the doer for not heeding moral guidance from within.

The deliberate course to inflict pain and suffering on vast majority despite opportunity to reverse trend depicts individual slight for endowed reasoning faculty resulting in personal doom based on poor judgment, false sense of security and confidence.

Deeds performed for greater good against paradoxical paradigm succinctly eliminates misconceptions on virtuosity delivering pervasive positive outcome.

The contemporary world paralyzed with stalemate on every solvable issue is predominantly due to myopic perception and magnified exclusive interests at significant plight depleting resources and human elements again ultimately to the source detriment.

Multidimensional perspectives in observance of the day earmarked to appreciate others dedication is primarily attributed to  –

Reap what one sows in life underscoring empathy towards common goals as the enhanced quality.

Although the recipient in daily life has many to be thankful for beginning with parents,

The treatment of women in particular violating human dignity and respect arguably raises the legitimacy factor for those behind the abhorrent act –

Whether their emergence and existence possible without maternal ordeal in child bearing and rearing more often prolonging into adulthood demonstrated in reprehensible crimes such as sexual assault of women in any setting?

Sincere regard for own mother as life emblem would prohibit abusive conduct against women in recognition of their identity i.e. mother, daughter and sister…in human relations.

Simultaneously posing the question for reaction upon their family subjected to similar disgrace given the female role as mother, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter, daughter-in-law and mother-in-law…in a civilized society.

Besides dishonoring women by use of force and violent means denigrates perpetrators diminishing in human values and stature.

Society progress is reflected in inclusive political representation, equal rights and justice premised on – None above the law.

Altruism enriches human character in the commitment to national and public service.

Instead authoritarianism depriving freedom of expression, peaceful assembly not withstanding free and fair elections is maintained for dominance.

Thanksgiving is not merely a reminder for beneficiaries to remember and honor members in the family and community.

It is an indicator for checks and balances refining the art of living.

Outreach to assist not just the next of kin but also anyone near and far promoting compassion to human tragedies all around.

Political leaderships delivering campaign promises with honesty and integrity through effective policies would address citizens and country’s requirements.

Economic sector investments on workers and employees long-term employment with appropriate income distribution for collective productivity could clear the persistent overcast on job prospects.

Military confined to defending national territory rather than infringe on citizens’ rights undermining sovereignty would exemplify discipline – the hallmark of defense academy.

Religious leaders focus on national unity and communal harmony clarify the spiritual purpose in life.

Finally, Thanksgiving could not be more profound than global society holistic approach to environment protection leading to universal peace and prosperity.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

India – Tamil Nadu Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Standoff

November 11, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

Nuclear power plant Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district of southern state Tamil Nadu, India is currently faced with confrontation between people and government.

Local residents comprising fishermen and other traders along with families living near the site do not approve the nuclear power station and were opposed to the project since inception.

Thorough review of both positions including nuclear technology repercussions could perhaps shed light on core issues with viable alternatives concluding 25 years old citizens’ protest against nuclear option.

In the People v. Government nuclear standoff,

The population concern is largely related to –

Nuclear waste management,

Reservoir contamination,

Radiation exposure,

Nuclear plant design and operational expertise especially during emergency shutdown,

Government preparedness to deal with nuclear accidents such as –

Nuclear reactor malfunction in Chernobyl, Ukraine (Former USSR) in 1986

Fukushima Daichi disaster, Japan in March 2011

Upon investigation in June 2011, radioactive tritium leaks detected in nearly three quarters of all nuclear plants in the United States.

Close observation show more than half of them have concentration level beyond federal drinking water limit although main distribution source not yet affected with the exception of leaks in three plants having contaminated nearby drinking wells for home supply.

Nuclear waste processing plant explosion at Marcoule in Chusclan France on September 12, 2011 with one fatality and four workers severely injured.

Ammonia leaks from San Onofre Power Plant in Southern California, USA on November 1, 2011.

Public grievances are factual and legitimate considering industrialized nations’ experiences with nuclear power plant mishaps and systemic failure.

Despite stringent control and mechanism in place to address predictable and untoward circumstances, the developed nations are unable to guarantee risk free functionality.

Further, citizens’ conviction on industrial accidents is also attributed to government and private sector ineptness combined with apathy witnessed in Union Carbide gas leaks in Bhopal, India and,

The Gulf Coast BP oil spill in the United States last year – resulting in deaths and destruction of life leaving victims mere collateral damages in the worst disasters due to human negligence.

Meanwhile European nations – Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland are renouncing nuclear power and shutting down reactors entirely for a safer, cleaner and healthier environment.

Indian government stance on Koodankulam is a matter of huge investment estimated at US $3 billion (Rs. 13,615 Crores) with total production capacity 2GW electric power becoming the largest nuclear power complex in the nation allowing additional capability for 2 more reactors over ten years.

The bilateral agreements with Russia for third generation reactors and United States to import advanced uranium is another factor in government resistance to citizens’ request on nuclear projects termination.

Government moving forward through powerful advocates to support nuclear power plants nationwide without heeding citizens’ thoughts is exacerbating the contentious debate.

Apart from Koodankulam,

The other sites – Kalpakkam, Jaitapur, Kaiga, Rawatbhata, Kakrapar are planned for this purpose with some in existence and others under construction.

The government emissaries as experts in the nuclear field presenting qualified opinion strictly related to plant safety features only address the limited technical aspects of the vast nuclear issue.

Nuclear concept in the contemporary era is burgeoning security threat to mankind and environment at large proliferating nuclear status under nuclear power pretext regardless of abundant energy availability.

Besides, prevalent discord in honoring NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) specifically by nuclear states viz. United States, Israel, India and Pakistan – the prominent non- NPT members with targeted adversaries and maintaining fragile neighbor relations respectively create impediments for universal treaty on nuclear disarmament.

United States in an effort to avert proliferation contrarily facilitate nuclear arsenal possession in the U.S. – NATO nuclear weapons sharing policy through deployment of U.S. manufactured nuclear weapons in NATO states – Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.

The consignment dispatch and storage is in clear violation of NPT Article 1 and II eliminating impetus for nuclear and non-nuclear members cooperation.

Recognition and acknowledgment of individual responsibility is imperative to absolve the world of nuclear menace – the premise for protracted warfare at irreversible loss of human lives.

Notwithstanding financial burden in waging wars on trillion dollars deficit budget i.e. borrowed money escalating debts and economy to the brink of collapse.

Last but not the least endangering planet sustenance – the only habitat for life.

Shifting focus to solutions on India and global energy demand – the concerted action to harness renewable energy – solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, biofuel, geothermal etc. could adequately meet humanity’s energy requirements,

Alongside prohibiting arms race and wars in quest for oil – primary contributor to economic and political turmoil.

The nuclear power plant in Koodankulam and elsewhere could effectively be converted into solar, biodiesel and biofuel generator becoming the powerhouse for the nation promoting business and employment opportunities at home.

Vegetation from land cultivation for substantial biodiesel, biofuel output maximizing the present use of cow dung, oil yielding plants e.g. Jatropha plant seeds readily usable after extraction without refining process among diverse choices deserve investments to resolve energy crisis.

Modernizing mass transit system to suit commuter convenience could considerably reduce energy consumption.

Simultaneously adjusting urban lifestyle with energy saving appliances and customized routine would cutback energy expenditure.

Indian leaderships in favor of global consensus on arms embargo and nuclear non-proliferation launching ambitious nuclear power programs based on the ‘responsible’ nuclear state perception foment nuclear competitiveness in the region.

Not to mention the conflict of interest in the two dimensional nuclear goals.

Governments around the world increasingly ignoring citizens’ voices misusing people granted power to serve all but the electorate needs.

Electoral mandate is to prioritize immediate and life dependent challenges rather than executing extemporaneous policies evidently detrimental in reality.

The government leaderships and eminent experts are urged to abandon nuclear power for greater good on a broad perspective and,

Change course in energy pursuits adopting pragmatic and peaceful approach to transportation in the high-speed technology age.

Hopefully rationality would prevail in the anti-nuclear settlement with strong political will to accept facts and alleviate citizens’ plight ending the months long non-violent dissent.

Good Luck! To residents and activists in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Kaiga…and other nuclear sites in the commitment to nuclear free zone.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant







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Hydrofracking – Endangering Life and Environment

April 19, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

Despite oil spills, mining accidents, gas and nuclear power plant leakages proved catastrophic to life on planet, the exploration continues in defiance of environment laws further endangering lives and livelihoods.

Congressional Democrats investigation revealed the drilling process known as hydrofracking i.e. hydraulic fracking – an operation carried out by the oil and gas industry injecting toxic chemicals into underground bedrocks to extract petroleum and gas is a direct threat to the natural sources of drinking water.

The findings also suggest that the water contamination from the several million gallons of heavily concentrated hazardous chemicals used in the wells is a serious health concern and portends major risks for residents in more than thirteen states across the nation.

Oil companies’ discreet policies and reluctance in complete public disclosure on the chemicals poured in substantial volumes is a greater challenge in identifying the exact chemical compounds presenting an imminent danger to life.

The hydrofracking companies hired by the energy industry are evidently in violation of the safe drinking water act due to the pervasive carcinogenic effects from the harmful agents such as benzene and lead in massive quantities for fossil fuel production.

Democrat lawmakers’ report is an awakening for setting rigorous standards calling for ban on hydrofracking given the devastating impact on water supply and the residue settlements on the wastewater treatment plant for redistribution into the rivers.

With the BP oil spill anniversary on April 20, 2011 it is poignant to recall the irreparable damages caused by the biggest environment disaster yet to be contained in various fronts and,

The subsequent permits issued by the federal agency not to mention the moratorium on offshore drilling lifted even prior to addressing the environmental and economic losses from the negligence as well as delayed action in plugging the hole.

As for the energy industry assuming responsibility in preventing environment degradation –

Unfortunately prolific investments are made in maintaining the status quo and any political efforts in passing legislation successfully derailed through representatives against environment preservation.

These impediments combined with persistent environment abuse prevalent in the exploration techniques contribute to pollution thereby increasing health problems.

Hydofracking is obviously detrimental to health and environment.

The elimination of such dangerous methods is essential to safeguard life and only possible through mass intervention seeking legislative prohibition along with granting authority to EPA in monitoring the abandonment of drilling to sustain purity in natural elements like water.

Clean air and safe drinking water are fundamental requirements for survival and adversely affected by untested and unverifiable applications depleting the vital reserves in the quest for energy fuel.

Affordable alternative energy from solar, wind, water and biofuel are the best hope to meet the growing energy demands across the globe besides providing healthy living conditions for all inhabitants.

Finally sparing Mother Earth from systemic assaults on air, land and water would guarantee the desirable results in promoting life, abundance growth and fair distribution of resources among the nations currently deprived from such access.

Ending hydrofracking and offshore drilling would be choosing to save life over greed driven profits.

Thank you.


Padmini Arhant

http://youtu.be/j2Nc-kxWfmc http://youtu.be/dZe1AeH0Qz8 http://youtu.be/9Ks7wrJ3bzk http://youtu.be/lyCvOgJPIXw http://youtu.be/jM4QQ0mte78 http://youtu.be/njyzBDRdqmg

Environmental Disaster – Gulf Coast Oil Spill

June 7, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Ever since the explosion at the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that initially claimed 11 lives, the avalanche of unmitigated losses has become the reality.

It is evident in the oil dripping Pelicans, dolphins and lifeless birds alongside the economically devastated fishermen, tourist industry and restaurateurs.

Approximately 1.6 million gallons of oil reportedly gushed from the spill that is yet to be completely contained.

Meanwhile, it has evolved into the economic and environmental disaster for the entire Gulf Coast threatening the inhabitants in the adjacent regions with oil plumes traced as farther in Florida.

Further, the BP oil company liable for the calamity has maintained that it could take until August 2010 to stop the leak in the face of extensive damages to the states near the Gulf Coast.

During the congressional hearing on the major environmental catastrophe, it was clear the BP executives including the federal regulators responsible for monitoring the risks failed in their assessment of the pervasive repercussions from the oceanic accident prior to issuing permits.

Like any other hearing, the company CEOs’ concern for the shareholders interest superseded national interest when they evaded the obvious questions leading to the cause and aftermath of the accident.

The disappointments following the oil spill is the BP’s unsuccessful action to block the leak and more disturbing is the legislators, especially Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and others rejecting the Democrat Senator Bill Nelson’s bill to increase the cap for oil spill damages to $10 billion from $75 million,

Thereby, eliminating the possibility to hold BP accountable in the greatest man-made environmental destruction.

As it turns out, according to the NYT June 5, 2010 report – titled ‘Gulf Oil Spill’:

“The letter co-signed by Janet Napolitano, the director homeland security, said that federal agencies had already spent $93 million on the spill response, which BP is yet to reimburse.”

When the industry representatives in Congress are in the forefront protecting them from financial liabilities and diligently transferring the burden on the taxpayers,

Besides allowing the federal agency to issue more permits for offshore drilling continuation,

The combined power in Washington and Wall Street determination to ruin the habitat with unsustainable policies is conspicuous.

Not to mention their decisions adding insult to injury endured by ordinary citizens across the coastal region having a ripple effect overall.

The reason to proceed with shallow water or deep water offshore drilling is provided as the necessity to meet the enormous energy requirement in the United States.

With energy and environment directly linked to consumption and conservation, the pursuit of clean energy from natural sources – solar, wind, hydropower and bio-fuel comprise the absolute safe energy solution against the increasingly risky and hazardous resources viz. coal, oil and nuclear energy.

Now the argument is immediate availability of the latter and the projected longer duration to harness the former.

Even though the solar, wind, hydrothermal as well as bio-fuel technology is currently in use, the U.S. investment in these abundant sources is replaced by the energy industry preferred limited resources i.e. oil, coal and nuclear power.

The simple explanation for the less importance to plentiful alternatives over scarce energy resources – which has led to perpetual wars, nuclear proliferation and consequently standoff is profit driven strategy set by the OPEC, ONGC, Coal and Nuclear industry.

Anything that is freely accessible to a large extent with a higher possibility to trade within national and international territories i.e. solar, wind and hydrothermal projects are secondary choices due to the broadening energy supply capabilities inducing competition to the energy monopolies in the industry.

The recent mining accident in Virginia, oil spill in the Gulf Coast, civilian nuclear program used as a pretext for nuclear weapons –

The latest being Myanmar, the military junta is apparently involved in uranium enrichment for a nuclear warhead,

All of it underscore the urgency to adopt energy programs that are environmentally conducive.

In terms of curbing the extraordinary energy demand, the society consuming less and leaning towards environmentally healthy lifestyle is the viable remedy to the burgeoning energy shortage.

For example, California’s recent announcement to ban plastic bags throughout the state and,

Previously guiding the nation on stringent carbon emission standards through EPA regulation to avoid legislative rigmarole are the positive steps to energy saving and life enhancement on earth.

Concentrating on the green technology development to boost green jobs is a favorable short and long term economic and environment goals.

Again, divestment from the conventional minerals to natural elements is the ideal alternative to energy independence.

Unless vigorous investments are made in the solar, wind, hydrothermal, biodiesel etc.,

The world will never be ready to migrate from the life endangering fossil fuel and nuclear energy to the truly green energy production.

Planet sustenance is dependent upon the ecosystem optimized preservation that is violated through prevalent drilling and mining for oil, coal and uranium.

The limitless human wants and desires have contributed to the status quo –

A dire economy, prolonged wars, cataclysmic changes to the environment in the form of extreme drought, flood, tornadoes, hurricane and tsunamis…beyond human control.

It is made worse by the lack of recognition to rein in on the profit oriented energy opportunities depleting the earth’s resources with no regard for the present or the future.

If the energy industry giants conscientiously engage in the energy derivation from sun, wind, water and bio-fuel the demand and the affordability factor can be effectively addressed, particularly with the hydrosphere phenomena –

Oceans covering the two-thirds of the earth’s surface supplemented by sunshine and windy conditions in the equatorial zones.

Instead, polluting and contaminating the natural habitat through risky mechanisms is opted regardless of the carnage from it.

Notwithstanding, the democratic powers political appeasement of the “Petro-dictatorial” regimes merely to replenish the ever growing contemporaneous energy needs.

There are several ways to relieve the society from the energy deficiency.

Reducing the usage and maximizing the above outlined potentials is the origin to end the energy and environment crisis.

Manufacturing and distribution of eco-friendly products and services is an emerging trend but not popularized in practice.

The existing problems related to the economy, energy, environment and political issues are attributed to excess greed, self-interest and dominance ultimately affecting all.

Unfortunately, the political and economic powers resist the environmental dangers in the Gulf coast oil spill and a range of energy industry mishaps for they refuse to steer away from the traditional means irrespective of the tragic outcome.

Expecting different results from the same methods fits the fantasy than the fact.

The position on the ‘presumed’ job losses from these sectors as the justification to resume offshore drilling in spite of massive environmental harm does not bode well for it ignores the similar, if not severe economic experience by the local industries and residents affected in the oil soaked areas.

Moreover, the energy industry is being requested to retain the workforce and not abandon them by diverting to solar, wind, hydrothermal and bio-fuel sources that aptly qualify as –

“Clean energy substitutes.”

Collective reaction rather than actions is witnessed in the Gulf oil spill with BP not demonstrating the ability to terminate the leak altogether into the seventh week of the horrific incident, rendering the numerous livelihood and lives dispensable.

Monetary compensation to the victims and the states impacted by BP’s negligence is the least the oil company could offer in this instance.

Marine life has been significantly impaired creating an ecological imbalance reflective in the deteriorating food pyramid.

Offshore drilling moratorium is negated by simultaneous shallow water drilling permits despite no guarantee in the so-called ‘risk free’ process.

Conflicting preparations are detrimental to the planet, the natural habitat for all species.

Energy challenges in the modern era are best dealt with natural and holistic approach.

Gulf Coast oil spill is just the tip of the iceberg in the energy exploration.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Congress Adjournment

September 29, 2008

Review of the current article on;

Congress moves to adjourn with no deal on AMT

By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago – Thank you.

WASHINGTON – The House prepared to adjourn for the year Monday with no deal on a major tax relief package, increasing the odds that businesses will lose out on critical tax breaks and millions could get hit by the alternative minimum tax this year.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., suggested that it might be next year before consensus can be reached on a tax initiative that includes adjusting the AMT, providing tax relief to disaster victims and extending tax credits for renewable energy development, business investment and individual education and child care costs.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate stressed that the bill would create tens of thousands of jobs and contribute to the nation’s energy independence. But House Democrats insisted that more of the package, totaling $138 billion in House bills, be paid for so as not to increase the deficit. Senate Republicans, averse to new taxes, said any changes in the Senate-passed tax bill would kill the entire package.

The House “has taken the morally and fiscally responsible position,” said Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., a leader of the 49-member Blue Dogs, a group of fiscally conservative Democrats. Meanwhile, “Republicans in the Senate continue to hold up this important legislation,” he said.

As Ross spoke, across the Capitol Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tried to bring up a House-passed bill dealing with renewable energy and extension of business and individual tax breaks that expired last year or will lapse at the end of this year. Republicans objected to consideration of the bill.

Reid acknowledged that “we can’t get it done” because Senate Democrats don’t have the votes to move the bill without GOP cooperation. He said he hoped the Blue Dogs “would understand we are not trying to embarrass them or anyone else.”

Hoyer, joining the Blue Dogs at a news conference, said “there’s not an intention” to return to Washington after the House votes on the financial bailout bill and adjourns Monday afternoon.
“I’m going to continue to work with Sen. Reid to see what can be done even if it is next year,” he said.

That delay would be a blow, at least temporarily, to a wide group of business and individual taxpayers. Without congressional action, those affected by the AMT, originally aimed at just a few very rich tax dodgers, would grow from around 4 million to up to 26 million. Those hit by the tax, most earning less than $200,000, would pay an average extra tax of $2,000.

The solar industry alone has estimated that it could create more than 400,000 jobs if it receives an eight-year extension of its investment tax credit.

“With hundreds of thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars in clean energy investment at risk, we urge congressional leaders not to leave for the election recess” until reaching an agreement, the CEOs of national hydropower, geothermal, solar and wind energy associations said in a statement.

Business groups have warned of serious repercussions if Congress does not renew the R&D credit, which expired at the end of last year, and various advocacy groups have pleaded for renewals of individual tax breaks affecting those paying college tuition, those from states with state and local sales taxes and teachers with out-of-pocket expenses.

The Senate last week, on a 93-2 vote, passed a massive package that included AMT relief, $8 billion in tax relief for those hit by natural disasters in the Midwest, Texas and Louisiana, and some $78 billion in renewal energy incentives and extensions of expiring tax breaks. In a compromise worked out with Republicans, the bill does not pay for the AMT and disaster provisions but does have revenue offsets for part of the energy and extension measures.

That wasn’t enough for the House, which insisted that there be complete offsets for the energy and extension part of the package.

Fiscal irresponsibility was a major factor in Wall Street’s meltdown and the need for Congress to step in with a bailout plan, said Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif. “It’s time for us to say no more.”
The House included steps to boost tax revenues from the oil and gas industries and close loopholes used by hedge fund managers and corporations to avoid taxes on their overseas incomes.
Senators also included in their bill a far-reaching measure to ensure parity in insurance benefits for mental health problems.

Review and Analysis: The democratic society exercise voting rights to elect a representative in Congress and Senate to address issues affecting their daily lives and pass necessary legislation to primarily benefit the people through businesses and other economic infrastructure.

The legislators’ “priorities” from the above article should be of concern to the constituents. Their decision to leave for the election recess “after having returned from a long recess in August”, without reaching an agreement on issues like energy independence, tax relief to millions in small businesses, education and childcare costs reflects minimal importance to major economic crisis.

With election around the corner, it is important for legislators to recognize their obligations to the electorate and fulfill the commitments in restoring the nation back on track. In a gloomy economic climate, that is saddled with multi-trillion dollar debt conveniently passed on to the hard working lower and middle income groups struggling to meet ends, vacation should be the last thing on the mind of the lawmakers.

The electorate should demand that their elected officials resolve all of the above issues related to tax initiative that includes adjusting the AMT, providing tax relief to disaster victims and extending tax credits for renewable energy development, business investment and individual education and childcare costs with no further procrastination.

To quote the House Speaker “Nancy Pelosi” at the announcement of bailout deal “The Party is over” not just for the “Wall Street” but the entire “Power” specifically elected for policymaking and solving problems confronting the nation at all fronts.

When the “Presidential candidates” are advocating “performance based” salaries for “teachers” and others , the same principle should apply to “Washington” and “Wall Street” that are primarily responsible for the current economic mess.

The voter frustration and disappointment with “Washington” and “Wall Street” should be clearly demonstrated in the forthcoming electoral process.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant