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U.S. politicians want transparency about the radiation risks of the fire afflicted Santa Susana nuclear site

Public Risks from the Woolsey Fire and the Santa Susana Field Laboratory: A Letter to DTSC https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/11/20/18819268.php, by Bradley Allen (bradley [at] bradleyallen.net)  Nov 20th, 2018    

On November 19, representatives Henry Stern and Jesse Gabriel authored a joint letter to Barbara Lee, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). In their letter, Senator Stern and Assembly member Gabriel call for “full transparency” to “ensure the public is fully aware of any public health risks posed by the Woolsey Fire on Santa Susana Field Laboratory.”

Prior to the first round of data analysis, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control reported that its scientists “do not believe the fire caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.”

“A common denominator in every single nuclear accident – a nuclear plant or on a nuclear submarine – is that before the specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’ They do this before they themselves know what has happened because they are terrified that the public might react violently, either by panic or by revolt.” 

—Jacques-Yves Cousteau

On November 19, representatives Henry Stern and Jesse Gabriel authored a joint letter to Barbara Lee, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). In their letter, posted to social media, Senator Stern and Assemblymember Gabriel call for “full transparency” to “ensure the public is fully aware of any public health risks posed by the Woolsey Fire on Santa Susana Field Laboratory.”

Henry Stern represents nearly 1 million residents of the 27th Senate District, which includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, part of Santa Clarita and the following Los Angeles communities: Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Lake Balboa, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills.

Jesse Gabriel represents Assembly District 45 comprised of the cities of Calabasas and Hidden Hills, a small portion of unincorporated Ventura County and several neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles: Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Northridge, Reseda, Tarzana, Warner Center, West Hills, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills.

Senator Stern and Assemblymember Gabriel outline five specific requests regarding transparency from the DTSC, and conclude, “Given the serious and unsettling nature of this situation, we respectfully request that all information and data be disclosed as quickly as possible. Our community—and the broader public—deserve answers.”

Letter from Senator Stern and Assembly member Gabriel to DTSC,  Continue reading

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November 22, 2018 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S.senator joins call from 75 organisations to scrutinise plan to reclassify some High Level Nuclear Wastes

 

November 22, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s endless cycle of weapons spending is set to get more extreme

Trump’s Defense Spending Is Out of Control, and Poised to Get Worse https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/trump-defense-spending-757028/  15 Nov 18, 

Using a time-honored trick, a bipartisan congressional panel argues we should boost the president’s record defense bill even more

November 22, 2018 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Donald Trump’s climate denialism – in the face of California’s climate tragedies

Climate Change Denial Is Raking the Ashes of Paradise ,   William Rivers Pitt, Truthout, November 20, 2018″………….The Camp and Woolsey fires are two of the 10 worst fires in California history, and have so far caused an estimated $19 billion in damages. Eight of the worst California wildfires on record have happened in the last two years. These disasters are increasing in number and severity due to a collection of factors — 100 years of forest policies aimed at stopping fires entirely rather than controlling them, corporate malfeasance on the part of companies like PG&E, unsafe construction zoning and poor water management, to name but a few — but accelerating human-caused climate change looms above them all.

“The ongoing California drought is the driest period in the state’s history since before Charlemagne ruled the Holy Roman Empire,” reportedScience News in 2014. In 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown declared California to be in a drought state of emergency. “Drought and dry soil conditions widened to 100 percent of flame-whipped California from 26 percent a year earlier,” Bloomberg News reported this weekend. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, some 23,824,000 California residents currently live in drought conditions.

“Climate change is drying the state,” states the California Chaparral Institute in a Facebook post. “Dryer conditions lead to a more flammable landscape. We may see more of the kind of winds that powered the Camp Fire into Paradise. More fires will dramatically alter the kinds of habitats we are used to seeing. Non-native weed-filled landscapes that dominate places like Riverside County will likely become more common.”

The ocean is coming. The fires are here. The inexorable violence of climate change has arrived, and the president of the United States still believes it’s a hoax. Because he does, efforts to mitigate the onrushing, inevitable damage are not begun, or are deliberately undone. There is no good time for someone like Donald Trump to be in charge of the country, but there can be no doubt that his ascendancy has come at the worst possible moment for the planet.

Two days after the Camp Fire began, when the full scope of the calamity was becoming evident, Trump took to Twitter to weigh in with his thoughts on the matter. “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” he wrote at 2:08 am. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”……….

At the end of the Paradise press conference, Trump was asked point-blank if he believed climate change had a hand in the deadly fires. “No,” he replied bluntly. “I have a strong opinion,” he continued. “I want great climate. We’re going to have that, and we’re going to have forests that are very safe. That’s happening as we speak.”

And that, as they say, is that…….https://truthout.org/articles/climate-change-denial-is-raking-the-ashes-of-paradise/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | 1 Comment

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo orders South Korea to slow down on being friendly with North Korea

Pompeo to Seoul: Nuclear progress must not lag better Korea ties, REUTERS, November 21, 2018 WASHINGTON--The United States has told its ally South Korea it should not improve ties with North Korea faster than Pyongyang takes steps to give up its nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

Speaking as a working group with South Korea to coordinate North Korean policy held an inaugural meeting in Washington, Pompeo indicated that Washington had been concerned that Seoul had moved too quickly with Pyongyang.

“We have made clear to the Republic of Korea that we do want to make sure that peace on the peninsula and the denuclearization of North Korea aren’t lagging behind the increase in the amount of inter-relationship between the two Koreas,” he told a news briefing………

Last month, in a rare sign of discord between Seoul and Washington, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Pompeo had expressed “discontent” at an inter-Korean military pact reached during a summit in September.

The Koreas also agreed in October to begin reconnecting rail and road links despite U.S. concerns that the rapid North-South thaw could undermine efforts to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

At an unprecedented summit in June, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to work toward denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula and establish new relations.

But negotiations have since made little headway, with Pyongyang upset by Washington’s insistence that international sanctions must remain until it gives up its nuclear weapons.

Last week, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said in Washington it was important to provide North Korea with motivation to denuclearize but that sanctions would stay in place “until we see actual progress on denuclearization.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811210041.html

November 22, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA | 1 Comment

The world heads for Armageddon, as nuclear weapons control is wound back

November 22, 2018 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

The Engineer invites you to vote on nuclear power for UK

Poll results as at late 21st November 
It’s essential to our low carbon future. Government must sort out its funding policy.  32.12 %  
It’s the end the road for big nuclear, SMRs are the future  20.73%   
Nuclear won’t deliver. It’s time to prioritise investment in renewables  20.92%   
None of the above  3.64% 

This week’s poll: has UK nuclear new build hit the rails? The Engineer, UK

20th November 2018 It is now more than five years since former Prime Minister David Cameron, announcing the deal with EDF to build Hinkley Point C, hailed the start of new era of nuclear power generation in the UK.

Today, the controversial project remains the only truly tangible manifestation of Cameron’s rallying cry, and following Toshiba’s recent decision to wind up NuGen (the company which was to build a new power plant in Cumbria) it is the only member of the UK’s fleet to actually get the go ahead…….

Meanwhile, NuGen CEO Tom Samson, said that the government’s recent introduction of a new legislative framework for nuclear new build had put off potential buyers for the project.

In this week’s poll we’re asking what you think the future holds for this increasingly problematic area of the UK energy sector. With no-one stepping up to rescue the Cumbrian project, does the NuGen decision represent the first nail in the coffin for the UK’s nuclear new build plans? Or is there another way forward?….https://www.theengineer.co.uk/nuclear-new-build-poll/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s robots

Fukushima’s robots
Meet the robots looking for fuel after Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear disaster https://www.cbsnews.com/news/meet-the-robots-looking-for-fuel-after-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-disaster-60-minutes/

Seven years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused a massive nuclear meltdown in the Daiichi Power Plant, Lesley Stahl reports on the unprecedented cleanup effort. Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS

Chernobyl remains the world’s worst nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, but the worst radioactive mess the world has ever dealt with is in Fukushima, Japan. Seven years after the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan led to a massive meltdown in the Daiichi Power Plant, Lesley Stahl reports on a clean-up effort that looks like a science fiction film. Her story on how one-of-a-kind robots are being designed for the decades-long task will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS.

The earthquake struck March 11, 2011, causing several huge tsunami waves that swamped Daiichi, cutting power to the seaside facility’s cooling pumps. Three reactors melted down, creating up to 3,000 tons of deadly radioactive fuel and debris that lays in the plant’s ruins.  Finding it and containing it safely will be a historic task says nuclear engineer Lake Barrett. “This is a unique situation here. It’s never happened in human history. It’s a challenge we’ve never had before,” he tells Stahl. Barrett oversaw the cleanup of the Three Mile Island partial meltdown in 1979, the worst nuclear accident at a power plant in the U.S. He is also a consultant on the Daiichi project.

Daiichi can’t be encased in concrete, like Chernobyl, says Barrett, because the potential for another earthquake or tsunami that could compromise the structure is too high. Humans can’t get near the material; it will remain deadly for thousands of years. Authorities hope specially designed robots will find, remove and secure the toxic material in special containment vessels.  But it could take 50 years and cost an estimated $200 billion.

There are four-legged robots, some that climb stairs and even robots that can swim into reactors flooded with water. They’re equipped with 3-D scanners, sensors and cameras that map the terrain, measure radiation levels and look for the deadly material.

The Japanese government set up a research facility nearby to develop and test the robots. Some have been deployed in what amounts to experimentation at this early stage, says Barrett. One robot is called the Scorpion for its ability to raise its camera-carrying tail. It struck debris and became stuck only ten feet into its $100 million mission. Says Barrett, “You learn more from failure sometimes than you do from success.”

Other early versions of robots died quick deaths, too, their cameras and operating systems fried by the intense radiation. It’s a slow and steady project, says Barrett, that he is confident will get done, but not in his lifetime, nor those of many others involved. The task has been compared to putting a man on the Moon. “It’s even a bigger project in my view. But there’s a will here to clean this up as there was a will to put a man on the moon,” says Barrett.

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Residents of the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture to sue govt and TEPCO over compensation for nuclear disaster damage

Residents of nuclear crisis hit Namie to sue TEPCO, gov’t after settlement talks failNovember 19, 2018 (Mainichi Japan)  KORIYAMA, Fukushima — Residents of the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, are set to sue the government and the operator of nearby Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station for more compensation over damages caused by the plant’s March 2011 triple core meltdown, lawyers for the residents said on Nov. 18.

The lawyers told a press conference here that the residents decided to take the case to the Fukushima District Court on Nov. 27 after the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), repeatedly rejected settlement proposals offered in an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process.

The lawyers said roughly 100 people from the town in northeastern Japan are expected to launch the suit, but the number will likely reach about 2,000. Participating residents held a meeting on Nov. 18 to establish a group of plaintiffs in the prefectural city of Koriyama.

This will be the first time that a group of residents has filed a class action lawsuit after an ADR effort over the nuclear disaster was discontinued, according to the attorneys…….

In the suit, the residents will demand compensation for being forced to evacuate from their neighborhoods, having their communities destroyed by the disaster and having their expectations for a settlement betrayed by the utility.

Evacuation instructions have been lifted in Namie except in areas designated as zones where it will be difficult for residents to return in the foreseeable future. However, the residents will demand a uniform amount of damages in the suit they will launch. They will also sue the government in order to clarify the state’s responsibility for the nuclear accident in March 2011……….

(Japanese original by Toshiki Miyazaki, Fukushima Bureau)  https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181119/p2a/00m/0na/015000c

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

OLympics chief part of the propaganda to minimise the seriousness of the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima

Revival hopes as Olympics chief set to visit Fukushima https://www.france24.com/en/20181121-revival-hopes-olympics-chief-set-visit-fukushimaTOKYO (AFP)  21 November 2018 Olympics chief Thomas Bach will visit Japan’s Fukushima this weekend, a region devastated by the 2011 tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster that officials hope to revive by bringing some events to the region.

International Olympic Committee President Bach will on Saturday visit a stadium set to host 2020 Olympics baseball and softball games, and meet 60 students who play the sports, organisers said in a statement.

Bach will also speak with local high school students and meet Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed hopes of showing the world the recovery of Fukushima and other disaster-hit areas during the sporting event, for which Tokyo is the designated host city.

Fukushima was also chosen as the starting point for the Olympics torch relay.

The passing of the flame is scheduled to start on March 26, 2020, and the torch will head south to the subtropical island of Okinawa — the starting point for the 1964 Tokyo Games relay — before returning north and arriving in the Japanese capital on July 10.

The March 2011 tsunami, triggered by a massive undersea quake, killed around 18,000 people and swamped the Fukushima nuclear plant, sending its reactors into meltdown and leading to the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Tens of thousands of people evacuated their homes. Authorities have been working to rebuild the region, about 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Tokyo, although areas near the crippled plant remain uninhabitable because of radiation dangers.

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Sir David Attenborough to speak for the people at UN climate summit

Sir David Attenborough to speak for the people at UN climate summit https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/21/sir-david-attenborough-to-speak-for-the-people-at-un-climate-summit

Filmmaker takes new ‘people’s seat’ and will form speech with input from social media Sir David Attenborough is to address the UN’s climate change summit in Poland in December, taking up a newly established “people’s seat” at the negotiations.

The people’s seat initiative, which launched on Wednesday, will give citizens around the world the opportunity to send their messages to leaders via social media, using the hashtag #TakeYourSeat. These views and information from opinion polling will then form the basis of Attenborough’s speech to leaders.

“We all know climate change is a global problem – and for that it requires a global solution,” said Attenborough. “This is an opportunity for people from across the globe, regardless of their nationality or circumstances, to be part of the most important discussion of this century; the unprecedented action needed to reach the Paris agreement targets.”

“I encourage everyone to take their seats and to add their voice so that the ‘people’s address’ truly represents a mix of voices from across the world,” he said.

The world’s governments are meeting in Poland to negotiate how to implement the Paris agreement on climate change, secured in 2015. They will also discuss how to increase global action to meet its goals to curb global warming.

The summit follows a warning in October from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that urgent and dramatic action across the whole of the economy and society is needed to cut emissions and prevent dangerous climate change.

The people’s address will also trigger the launch of the Facebook Messenger “ActNow” bot on the United Nations’ central Facebook account. This is intended to make it easier for people to understand the actions they can take personally in the fight against climate change by making recommendations, such as taking public transport and eating less meat. The number of actions will be tracked to highlight the impact collective action could make.

“The challenge to humanity that climate change represents is of such epic proportions that only through collective global action will we have a chance to combat it successfully,” said Michael Moller, director-general of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who first suggested the new initiatives.

“Every single human being on our severely stressed planet has to take responsibility,” he said. “If we don’t, we all fail with catastrophic consequences. The people’s seat initiative provides the impulse for seriously ramping up global solidarity, especially among the young who, at the end of the day, are the ones who will have to deal with the mess we have left them with.”

November 22, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Study shows that women care more than men do, about climate change

Gender Differences in Public Understanding of Climate Change, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication By Matthew BallewJennifer MarlonAnthony Leiserowitz and Edward Maibach , 21 Nov 18, While political views play a strong role in Americans’ opinions on climate change, there are many other individual, social, and cultural factors that influence public understanding of the issue. Here we explore how views on climate change differ between men and women. A large body of research shows a small—but consistent—gender gap in environmental views and climate change opinions. On average, women are slightly more likely than men to be concerned about the environment and have stronger pro-climate opinions and beliefs. Scholars have proposed several explanations for this gender gap, including differences in gender socialization and resulting value systems (e.g., altruism, compassion), perceptions of general risk and vulnerability, and feminist beliefs including commitment to egalitarian values of fairness and social justice. Some researchers also note that some of the strongest gender differences are found in concern about specific environmental problems, particularly local problems that pose health risks.In our research, we find that, although a similar proportion of men and women think global warming is happening and is human-caused, women consistently have higher risk perceptions that global warming will harm them personally, and will harm people in the U.S., plants and animals, and future generations of people (Fig. 1 on original). Also compared with men, a greater proportion of women worry about global warming, think that it is currently harming the U.S., and support certain climate change mitigation policies, specifically regulating CO 2 as a pollutant and setting strict CO 2 limits on coal power plants……….

on average, women scored lower than men in scientific knowledge on climate change ……..Women were also more likely than men to express uncertainty about a variety of questions. For instance, respondents were asked how much several factors contribute to global warming (e.g., deforestation, nuclear power plants, burning fossil fuels, the sun, cars and trucks). Across many of these questions, a greater proportion of women said “don’t know” than did men

Closing gender gaps in knowledge and understanding of the problem, therefore, ought to receive more attention in climate education and outreach efforts to further engage and empower women in climate issues. This is especially important because women are more likely than men to be harmed by environmental problems like climate change—both nationally and globally. In a recent BBC News Science & Environment article, U.N. data show that globally women make up 80% of people who are displaced by climate change. Because women in many countries tend to have roles as primary caregivers and food providers—and tend to have less socioeconomic power than men—they are more vulnerable to climate problems including natural hazards like flooding, droughts, and hurricanes. In the U.S., for instance, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that 83% of low-income, single mothers did not return to their homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. In terms of public health, air pollution is considered a leading threat to pregnant women and their babies-to-be.

Women play an essential role in responding to climate change. In fact, out of 100 substantive climate solutions identified through rigorous empirical modeling, improving the education of women and girls represents one of the top solutions (#6) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming—similar in ranking to restoring tropical forests and ranking above increased solar energy generation. Women in leadership positions can also foster climate policy solutions. A study on gender equality and state-level environmentalism found that, across 130 countries, women in government positions were more likely to sign on to international treaties to reduce global warming than men. Promoting the participation of diverse women in leadership positions, as well as climate science, can also inspire young women to participate too.

……… For more information on survey methods, please review the 2010 Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change report and 2018 Climate Change in the American Mind reporthttp://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/gender-differences-in-public-understanding-of-climate-change/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA, Women | 1 Comment

France could shut down up to six nuclear reactors by 2028

France could shut down nuclear plants in energy plan due next week https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-nuclearpower/france-could-shut-down-nuclear-plants-in-energy-plan-due-next-week-idUSKCN1NQ17V, PARIS (Reuters) 21 Nov 18 – France could shut down up to six nuclear reactors by 2028 among other options, French media reported, as part of its medium-term energy policy to be presented next week.

“I can confirm that there are three scenarios on the table that we are looking at, we are making final adjustments and all will be presented next week,” French Environment Minister Francois de Rugy told France Inter radio, without specifying a date.

The so-called PPE energy plan will lay out France’s energy goals over the next 10 years with the aim of reducing the share of nuclear power in its energy mix to 50 percent from 75 percent by 2035, curb carbon emissions and boost renewables.

French news agency AFP reported on Tuesday, citing government working documents, that the government could shut down up to six nuclear reactors by 2028, including the planned closure of France’s oldest Fessenheim nuclear plant which is scheduled to stop production in 2021, according to one scenario.

It said another six reactors could close by 2035, which could set France on the path to curb nuclear generation by 50 percent.

The second intermediate scenario does not foresee any additional closures beside Fessenheim until 2028, and then 12 reactors would be shutdown between 2028 and 2035, AFP quoted the document saying.

The final option would also see no additional closures until 2028 after which, only nine reactors would be halted by 2035, which could miss the 50 percent nuclear target.

Jefferies analysts, who have a “buy” rating on the shares of state-controlled utility EDF, said in a research note that two out of the three options seem to favor EDF, which operates all of France’s 58 nuclear reactors.

Even the accelerated nuclear phase-out option appears to offer some protection, via compensation, wrote Jefferies.

Reporting by Bate Felix and Mathieu Rosemain

November 22, 2018 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

America’s depraved politics ignores two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war

Noam Chomsky: Moral Depravity Defines US Politics  BY C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout, NOVEMBER 21, 2018 

……..Noam Chomsky: The most striking features are brutally clear.

Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war. These were virtually ignored in the campaign rhetoric and general coverage. There was plenty of criticism of the Trump administration, but scarcely a word about by far the most ominous positions the administration has taken: increasing the already dire threat of nuclear war, and racing to destroy the physical environment that organized human society needs in order to survive.

These are the most critical and urgent questions that have arisen in all of human history. The fact that they scarcely arose in the campaign is truly stunning — and carries some important, if unpleasant, lessons about our moral and intellectual culture.

To be sure, not everyone was ignoring these matters. They were front and center for those who are constantly vigilant in their bitter class war to preserve their immense power and privilege. Several states had important ballot initiatives addressing the impending environmental catastrophe. The fossil fuel industry spent huge, sometimes record-breaking, sums to defeat the initiatives — including a carbon tax in the mostly Democratic state of Washington — and mostly succeeded.

We should recognize that these are extraordinary crimes against humanity. They proceed with little notice.

The Democrats helped defeat these critically important initiatives by ignoring them. They scarcely mentioned them “in digital or TV ads, in their campaign literature or on social media,” a New York Times surveyfound. Nor, of course, were they mentioned by the Republicans, whose leadership is dedicated to driving humanity off the cliff as soon as possible — in full knowledge of what they are doing, as easily demonstrated……….

The concentration of wealth and enhancement of corporate power translate automatically to decline of democracy. Research in academic political science has revealed that a large majority of voters are literally disenfranchised, in that their own representatives pay no attention to their wishes but listen to the voices of the donor class. It is furthermore well established that elections are pretty much bought: electability, hence policy, is predictable with remarkable precision from the single variable of campaign spending, both for the executive and Congress. Thomas Ferguson’s work is particularly revealing, going far back and including the 2016 election. And that is a bare beginning. Legislation is commonly shaped, even written, by corporate lobbyists, while representatives who sign it have their eyes on funding for the next election………..

How do we explain the fact that while US politics seems nastier, more polarized and more divided than any other time in recent history, both parties stay away from addressing the most critical issues facing the country and the world at large?

In 1895, the highly successful campaign manager Mark Hanna famously said: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first ismoney, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Those who control the wealth of the country have their own priorities, primarily self-enrichment and enhancement of decision-making power. And these are the priorities that prevail in a neoliberal democracy with the annoying public dismissed to the back rooms where they belong.

The CEOs of major banks surely understand the extraordinary threat of environmental catastrophe but are increasing investment in fossil fuels because that’s where the money is. Like the energy corporations, they are hardly eager to support candidates warning of the serious crimes they are committing. Lockheed-Martin and its cohorts are quite happy to see vast increases in the military budget and are surely delighted with such declarations as the Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy, just released by the US Institute of Peace (lacking a sense of irony, the bureaucracy is quite happy to caricature Orwell).

This somber document warns that our dangerously depleted military, which almost overwhelms the rest of the world combined, might not be able to prevail in a two-front war against Russia and China. Of course, neither military industry nor the distinguished authors of the report believe that such a war could even be fought without terminal destruction, but it’s a great way to siphon taxpayer dollars away from absurdities like health and education and into the deserving pockets of the captains of industry and finance……….

the actual constituency of the Republican Party remains great wealth and corporate power, even more dramatically so under Trump. It is quite an achievement to serve this actual constituency with dedication while maintaining a hold on the voting base.

As their voting base shrinks, Republican leaders understand that the GOP is becoming a minority party, which is why they are so dedicated to finding modes of voter suppression and packing the courts with reactionaries who will support their efforts……….. https://truthout.org/articles/noam-chomsky-moral-depravity-defines-us-politics/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | 2 Comments

Architects awarded contest prize for nuclear project that is now cancelled

Nuclear power station contest winners announced – after project is axed, Architects Journal UK, 21 NOVEMBER, 2018 BY MERLIN FULCHER    Reiach and Hall Architects and K2 Architects have been named winners of the RIBA’s Moorside contest to provide a visitor centre and workers accommodation for the Cumbrian nuclear power station that was cancelled earlier this month

The contest, launched by the RIBA almost three years ago, sought proposals for the 200ha site’s visitor centre and for a workers’ accommodation campus nearby.

On Monday (19 November) NuGen finally announced Reiach and Hall Architects had won the contest for the workers’ accommodation campus while K2 Architects had been chosen for the visitor centre. Neither project will go-ahead.

A shortlist was revealed in May 2016 but the announcement of winners was postponed. Last year the troubled £10 billion project was placed under review after joint-funder ENGIE withdrew and the reactor manufacturer Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy.

Earlier this month, the project’s sole remaining backer Toshiba announced it had failed to bring its preferred bidder Korea Electric Power Corporation on board and would be winding up its subsidiary NuGen, which had been tasked with delivering the ambitious scheme.

In a statement, NuGen said: ‘Though prizes for the competition itself have been awarded, NuGen had hoped to be able to announce the intention to work with winning entrants, regrettably though as NuGen is the process of being wound up, there will not be the opportunity.

‘NuGen thanks all entrants to the competitions and wishes them the best of success in their future projects.’

………. A separate competition, organised by the Landscape Institute, was also launched in January 2016 to find ‘creative and sustainable’ proposals for the facility’s surroundings but no winner has been announced…

……The two competitions together had a £20,000 prize fund, with the winning architect and landscape architect receiving £5,000 each and a chance to bid for work on the scheme.

Reiach and Hall confirmed to the AJ that they had been paid the honorarium……. https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/nuclear-power-station-contest-winners-announced-after-project-is-axed/10037412.article

November 22, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment