“When the truth offends we lie”

I’d like to suggest you get HBO Now.

It’s the streaming version of HBO. You can watch it on your phone, tablet, Roku, Apple TV or however else you like to stream tv.

Just cancel Netflix for a month and get HBO Now. It’s $15 with a 7 day free trial.

You can catch up on Game of Thrones. And there are great comedy shows too.

But I’d also like you to watch the 5 episode series, “Chernobyl.”

It’s the story of how nuclear reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.

An explosion at a nuclear power plant simply is not supposed to happen.

Meltdowns can and do happen. They happen when the heat generated by a nuclear reactor exceeds the heat removed by the cooling systems to the point where at least one nuclear fuel element exceeds its melting point.

Fukushima was a meltdown. It happened after the Tōhoku earthquake caused a tsunami that flooded the emergency generators that were providing power to the pumps that cooled the reactors.

Anatoly Dyatlov was Chernobyl’s tsunami. He was deputy chief-engineer of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and the supervisor of the catastrophic safety test which resulted in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

On the surface, both nuclear disasters have an easy scapegoat. An earthquake that caused a tsunami and an over zealous engineer that just wanted to get done with a test that had been hanging over his head for some time.

But that’s not the end of the story.

While those surface failures did indeed play a part, in both cases of Chernobyl and Fukushima there was an underlying systematic failure that allowed these mistakes to cause the disastrous effects they did.

From here: On 5 July 2012, the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) found that the causes of the accident had been foreseeable, and that the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), had failed to meet basic safety requirements such as risk assessment, preparing for containing collateral damage, and developing evacuation plans.

And as for Chernobyl, the chief reasons for the accident lie in the “peculiarities of physics and in the construction of the reactor.”

From here, “The accident can be said to have flowed from a deficient safety culture, not only at the Chernobyl plant, but throughout the Soviet design, operating and regulatory organizations for nuclear power that existed at that time.”

In both cases safety procedures were ignored. Things. Important things slip through the cracks and the public relations position is that the government did nothing wrong. It was just these uncontrollable external factors that caused the problem.

In episode 5 of “Chernobyl” starting at about 53 minutes, Valery Legasov stands up to the USSR and exposes the truth of what happened at Chernobyl. He was an inorganic chemist and a member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He’s mainly remembered for his work as the chief of the commission investigating the Chernobyl disaster.

He is standing in a courtroom, recounting what actually happened on that disastrous day.

The judge then responds:

“If you mean to suggest that the Soviet State is somehow responsible for what happened I must warn you, you are treading on dangerous ground. ”

Legasov then responds this way:

“I’ve already trod on dangerous ground. We’re on dangerous ground right now. Because of our secrets and our lies. They are practically what define us. When the truth offends we lie and lie until we can no longer remember that it is even there. But it is… still there. Every lie told incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.”

This is how disasters come to be.

“When the truth offends we lie.”

I see so many parallels with dictatorial regimes and our city of Akron.

We have no checks and balances in Akron.

Our newspaper is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the administration. They never dare say anything against the administration’s actions.

And Republicans are so weak and so under represented they don’t even really try any more to win political seats. They haven’t had a seat on city council in over 20 years.

City council is terrified to say anything publicly against the administration because they are deathly afraid of finding themselves in the cross hairs of that machine.

And because we aren’t a disaster of national or global significance, there are no grand commissions coming in to uncover the truth.

We did, however, get a study.

The University of Minnesota Law School created a study, “American Neighborhood Change in the 21st Century: Gentrification and Decline.”

They write:

The Cleveland region features two central cities, Cleveland and Akron. The regions neighborhoods are experiencing powerful economic decline and virtually no gentrification or growth.

The report goes on to say:

But neighborhood decline is much more severe in the cities of Akron and Cleveland, where about 75 percent of population lives in a strongly declining area.

Akron is experiencing its own nuclear reactor meltdown. And no one is doing anything about it.

And what does our mayor do? He talks about parks.

Mayor Dan Horrigans 2019 State of the City Address February 20, 2019:

In 2018, I announced the Akron Parks Challenge an exciting collaborative effort, that allows neighborhood residents to pitch their vision for their favorite park and work together with city officials and design professionals to co-create welcoming accessible,and engaging public spaces that all of us can enjoy.

He goes on to say:

Additionally, I am happy to announce that June 8th thru the 15th, we will hold the inaugural celebration of Akron Parks Week a city-wide effort to engage businesses and residents in volunteering to beautify, clean, and maintain our parks and community centers, all while meeting neighbors and having fun.

Why does he care so much about parks?

There are 2 words in the paragraph above that tell the actual truth. He says: “Perceptions matter.”

“When the truth offends we lie and lie until we can no longer remember that it is even there.”

Our mayor is overseeing a nuclear meltdown and telling us to look at the parks.

We are in the midst of systemic, infrastructural failure. We live in a town of systemic hopelessness brought on by the lack of good jobs.

That leads to despair which leads to depression which leads to drug and alcohol use which leads to depression which leads to despair. We are in a feedback loop of meltdown.

The poverty rate in Akron is 24.1%. One out of every 4.2 residents of Akron lives in poverty.

That is 47,681 people.

Our director of planning and urban development, Jason Segedy, said it himself: “The trend line is that low income population is increasing, Segedy said. I think the trend in Akron and cities like it is that middle income people have been moving to the suburbs. You have people of slightly greater means moving from the city.

The truth is there if you put the pieces together.

The solution is good jobs, good schools and reducing racial segregation. Those are the key things that matter in our Akron disaster story. Everything else is just frosting on a rotten cake.

But you also have to stop the bleeding.

  • Get homeless people some place that is safe, clean and secure.
  • Get guns out of the hands of kids and criminals.
  • Stop dirty drugs from entering our city that are causing endless overdoses.

We need radical, immediate leadership. Talking about parks while your city is on fire just makes the problem worse.

Just as in Chernobyl and Fukushima, in Akron “the accident had been foreseeable” and “were on dangerous ground right now.”

(And yes, for the record, I am suggesting the Akron administration is “somehow responsible for what happened.” The machine that has been growing into monstrous proportions for the last 3 decades which include the Summit County Democratic Party, The Chamber of Commerce and other large businesses that make up the SuperPAC Partners Advancing Our Future are destroying us for their own profit and power. They are the root cause of our systemic failure. THEY are the reason our meltdown is happening.)



One response to ““When the truth offends we lie””

  1. Thank you for publishing that remarkable quote about lies. We just watched Chernobyl and I really wanted to write that quote by Legasov down.