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Small nuclear reactors to fix climate change? IT’S A LIE ! – theme for March 2020

They depend on  long carbon -emitting chains of mining, transport, construction, and then demolition,  disposal of long lasting toxic radioactive trash.

Even if Small Nuclear Reactors did work against climate change (which they don’t) –  any such effect would require millions of them to be set up immediately.  Go figure.

March 7, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Christina's themes, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Dr Chris Busby exposes the facts on Cancer in US Navy  Nuclear Powered Ships

They reported the results of their own epidemiology study which they carried out on the Ronald Reagan sailors. This compared the illness yield (including cancers) of the 4,843 RR sailors with a matched control group of 65,269 sailors on nuclear powered ships that were not anywhere near Fukushima.
There were 30% more cancers in the control group after adjusting for age. But what I did was to compare the control group with the National population, using data on cancer rates by age group from the SEER database [3]. The result showed an astonishing 9.2-fold excess of cancer in the sailors on nuclear-powered vessels.

Cancer in US Navy  Nuclear Powered Ships https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/03/06/cancer-in-us-navy-nuclear-powered-ships/   by CHRIS BUSBY   Here is a good one. In 2011, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100km off the coast of Japan at the time of the Tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima reactor explosions. It was directed by the US government to ride to the rescue in what was later called Operation Tomodachi (friendship)–to provide assistance to the victims of the floods. What no-one on board was told was that the reactors had exploded and a plume of highly radioactive material was blowing east from the site into the path of the vessel. Of course, when this arrived, all the radiation monitors on the boat started screaming, and the planes and helicopters that had flown the rescue sorties were contaminated.

In 2014 I was engaged by some California attorneys to advise on a court case being taken against the Japanese company TEPCO and the US reactor makers GEC on behalf of the sailors who served on the aircraft-carrier. A significant number of the Ronald Reagan crew were reporting a wide range of weird illnesses including cancers, all of which they were attributing to their radiation exposures. Between 2014 and now, the court arguments were all about procedure: whether the cases should be heard in Japan or in the California where the vessel’s home port of San Diego was. There was a lot of publicity [1]. Eventually, and recently, the California judge decided that the case had to be heard in Japan. This is (in passing) monstrously unjust since Japanese law is different and the sailors cannot afford to go to Japan and hire Japanese lawyers. But this is not the story here.

In 2014, following all the publicity about the cancers, a number of US Senators and important people were asking pertinent questions—the Navy had to do something to answer the accusations that the Fukushima radiation was killing those who sailed on Operation Tomodachi. They panicked. A big report was prepared by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), entitled: Final Report to the Congressional Defense Committees in Response to the Joint Explanatory Statement Accompanying the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, page 90, “Radiation Exposure” [2]. Never use one word when ten will do Continue reading

March 7, 2020 Posted by | health, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s America prepares to use low-level nuclear weapons as “a viable option” – Russia fears

Russia Fears US Under Trump Now Ready to Use Nuclear Weapons as ‘Viable Political Option’ https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/06/russia-fears-us-under-trump-now-ready-use-nuclear-weapons-viable-political-option“This dramatically increases the chance of a nuclear exchange due to miscalculation or human error.”by Eoin Higgins, staff writer   
The Russian government is regarding U.S. moves to increase and upgrade its low-level nuclear arsenal as a sign that the White House is prepared to use nuclear weapons as a political option on the world stage.

March 7, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deceit and Dark Money -Ohio’s nuclear subsidy saga 

Dark money dominated Ohio’s nuclear subsidy saga ENERGY NEWS NETWORK, Kathiann M. KowalskiMarch 5, 2020  

FirstEnergy Solutions paid nearly $2 million to at least one group, but most other data remains hidden.

After-the-fact filings show that FirstEnergy’s generation subsidiary paid nearly $2 million to Generation Now, one of the special interest groups that orchestrated ads, political donations and other efforts behind Ohio’s nuclear and coal bailout.

But legal loopholes make it harder to find out the total spent and who else was behind xenophobic advertising, dueling voter petitions, alleged intimidation and other claims of foul play. And none of those actions fully disclosed who was behind them.

The scant public filings that are available show additional connections to FirstEnergy Solutions (now Energy Harbor), as well as the law firm of an outspoken legislator who has long fought the state’s clean energy standard, and others with high-level political influence.

House Bill 6 gutted Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards while putting ratepayers on the hook for nearly $1 billion in subsidies for nuclear power plants, plus an additional amount for aging coal plants. Multiple groups spent heavily to promote HB 6 and prevent a referendum on the law following its passage.

In some cases, nonprofit and for-profit organizations funded each other or shared the same spokesperson. Groups active in the HB 6 campaign also had links to some of the same lobbyists and consultants who acted for companies that stood to benefit from HB 6, or unions with workers at their plants. But only limited amounts of funding could be traced.

ON ORIGINAL – INTRIGUING INTERACTIVE DIAGRAM HERE _ shows interrelationships of individuals and groups Continue reading

March 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Big Oil Big Soda and plastically polluted Planet Earth

They really sold people on the idea that plastics can be recycled because there’s a fraction of them that are,”..“It’s fraudulent. When you drill down into plastics recycling, you realize it’s a myth.” …… “Recycling delays, rather than avoids, final disposal,” the Science authors write. And most plastics persist for centuries. …….

We are all guinea pigs in this experiment, as plastics accumulate in the food web, appearing in seafood, table salt, and ironically even in bottled water. Many plastics are mixed with a toxic brew of colorants, flame retardants, and plasticizers. 

PLANET PLASTIC, How Big Oil and Big Soda kept a global environmental calamity a secret for decades, Rolling Stone, By TIM DICKINSONMARCH 3, 2020   

Every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week. These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food, and even the air, according to an alarming academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental delays. Since the paper’s publication last year, Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week,” Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, “You’re eating this, folks!”

With new legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, Udall is attempting to marshal Washington into a confrontation with the plastics industry, and to force companies that profit from plastics to take accountability for the waste they create. …….

The battle pits Udall and his allies in Congress against some of the most powerful corporate interests on the planet, including the oil majors and chemical giants that produce the building blocks for our modern plastic world — think Exxon, Dow, and Shell — and consumer giants like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Unilever that package their products in the stuff. Big Plastic isn’t a single entity. It’s more like a corporate supergroup: Big Oil meets Big Soda — with a puff of Big Tobacco, responsible for trillions of plastic cigarette butts in the environment every year. And it combines the lobbying and public-relations might of all three………

Massive quantities of this forever material are spilling into the oceans — the equivalent of a dump-truck load every minute. Plastic is also fouling our mountains, our farmland, and spiraling into an unmitigatable environmental disaster. John Hocevar is a marine biologist who leads the Oceans Campaign for Greenpeace, and spearheaded the group’s response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Increasingly, his work has centered on plastics. “This is a much bigger problem than ‘just’ an ocean issue, or even a pollution issue,” he says. “We’ve found plastic everywhere we’ve ever looked. It’s in the Arctic and the Antarctic and in the middle of the Pacific. It’s in the Pyrenees and in the Rockies. It’s settling out of the air. It’s raining down on us.”

More than half the plastic now on Earth has been created since 2002, and plastic pollution is on pace to double by 2030. At its root, the global plastics crisis is a product of our addiction to fossil fuels. The private profit and public harm of the oil industry is well understood: Oil is refined and distributed to consumers, who benefit from gasoline’s short, useful lifespan in a combustion engine, leaving behind atmospheric pollution for generations. But this same pattern — and this same tragedy of the commons — is playing out with another gift of the oil-and-gas giants, whose drilling draws up the petroleum precursors for plastics. These are refined in industrial complexes and manufactured into bottles, bags, containers, textiles, and toys for consumers who benefit from their transient use — before throwing them away. Continue reading

March 7, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Japan may have to cancel the Olympics – a “cruise ship on land”

March 7, 2020 Posted by | health, Japan | Leave a comment

Westinghouse nuclear reactors – a very poor deal for India

  Pushing the wrong energy buttons,  https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/pushing-the-wrong-energy-buttons/article30965454.ece?fbclid=IwAR1ymOL6TLlSxlUKkVVSL6_ukPPeiSzDlI_JM-He3CMG2qBD4HaBU0vezog, M.V. Ramana,   Suvrat Raju, MARCH 03, 2020 

The idea of India importing nuclear reactors is a zombie one with serious concerns about their cost and safety

For more than a decade, no major meeting between an Indian Prime Minister and a U.S. President has passed without a ritual reference to India’s promise made in 2008 to purchase American nuclear reactors. This was the case in the latest joint statement issued during U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official two-day visit to India (February 24-25), which stated that “Prime Minister Modi and President Trump encouraged the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Westinghouse Electric Company to finalize the techno-commercial offer for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India at the earliest date”.

Red flags in the U.S. deal

Because of serious concerns about cost and safety, the two organisations should have been told to abandon, not finalise, the proposal.

Indeed, it has been clear for years that electricity from American reactors would be more expensive than competing sources of energy. Moreover, nuclear reactors can undergo serious accidents, as shown by the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Westinghouse has insisted on a prior assurance that India would not hold it responsible for the consequences of a nuclear disaster, which is effectively an admission that it is unable to guarantee the safety of its reactors.

The main beneficiaries from India’s import of reactors would be Westinghouse and India’s atomic energy establishment that is struggling to retain its relevance given the rapid growth of renewables. But Mr. Trump has reasons to press for the sale too. His re-election campaign for the U.S. presidential election in November, centrally involves the revival of U.S. manufacturing and he has been lobbied by several nuclear reactor vendors, including Westinghouse, reportedly to “highlight the role U.S. nuclear developers can play in providing power to other countries”. Finally, he also has a conflict-of-interest, thanks to his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, who accompanied him during the India visit.

In 2018, the Kushner family’s real-estate business was bailed out by a Canadian company that invested at least $1.1-billion in a highly unprofitable building in New York. Earlier that year, Brookfield Business Partners, a subsidiary of that Canadian company, acquired Westinghouse Electric Company. It violates all norms of propriety for Mr. Kushner to be anywhere near a multi-billion dollar sale that would profit Brookfield enormously.

What renewables can offer

Analysts estimate that each of the two AP1000 units being constructed in the U.S. state of Georgia may cost about $13.8 billion. At these rates, the six reactors being offered to India by Westinghouse would cost almost ₹6 lakh crore. If India purchases these reactors, the economic burden will fall upon consumers and taxpayers. In 2013, we estimated that even after reducing these prices by 30%, to account for lower construction costs in India, the first year tariff for electricity would be about ₹25 per unit. On the other hand, recent solar energy bids in India are around ₹3 per unit. Lazard, the Wall Street firm, estimates that wind and solar energy costs have declined by around 70% to 90% in just the last 10 years and may decline further in the future.

How safe?

Nuclear power can also impose long-term costs. Large areas continue to be contaminated with radioactive materials from the 1986 Chernobyl accident and thousands of square kilometres remain closed off for human inhabitation. Nearly a decade after the 2011 disaster, the Fukushima prefecture retains radioactive hotspots and the cost of clean-up has been variously estimated to range from $200-billion to over $600-billion.

The Fukushima accident was partly caused by weaknesses in the General Electric company’s Mark I nuclear reactor design. But that company paid nothing towards clean-up costs, or as compensation to the victims, due to an indemnity clause in Japanese law. Westinghouse wants a similar arrangement with India. Although the Indian liability law is heavily skewed towards manufacturers, it still does not completely indemnify them. So nuclear vendors have tried to chip away at the law. Instead of resisting foreign suppliers, the Indian government has tacitly supported this process.

Starting with the Tarapur 1 and 2 reactors, in Maharashtra, India’s experiences with imported reactors have been poor. The Kudankulam 1 and 2 reactors, in Tamil Nadu, the only ones to have been imported and commissioned in the last decade, have been repeatedly shut down. In 2018-19, these reactors produced just 32% and 38%, respectively, of the electricity they were designed to produce. These difficulties are illustrative of the dismal history of India’s nuclear establishment. In spite of its tall claims, the fraction of electricity generated by nuclear power in India has remained stagnant at about 3% for decades.

The idea of importing nuclear reactors is a “zombie idea” that, from a rational viewpoint, should have been dead long ago. In fact an earlier plan to install AP1000s in Mithi Virdi, Gujarat was cancelled because of strong local opposition. In 2018, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani declared that the reactors “will never come up” in Gujarat. The Prime Minister should take a cue from his own State and make a similar announcement for the rest of the country.

March 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, ENERGY, India, Legal, politics international, safety | Leave a comment

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus?

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus?   Owen Jones  Guardian, 6 Mar 2020  No Cobra meetings, no sombre speeches from No 10, yet the consequences of runaway global heating are catastrophic, It is a global emergency that has already killed on a mass scale and threatens to send millions more to early graves. As its effects spread, it could destabilise entire economies and overwhelm poorer countries lacking resources and infrastructure. But this is the climate crisis, not the coronavirus. Governments are not assembling emergency national plans and you’re not getting push notifications transmitted to your phone breathlessly alerting you to dramatic twists and developments from South Korea to Italy.More than 3,000 people have succumbed to coronavirus yet, according to the World Health Organization, air pollution alone – just one aspect of our central planetary crisis – kills seven million people every year. There have been no Cobra meetings for the climate crisis, no sombre prime ministerial statements detailing the emergency action being taken to reassure the public. In time, we’ll overcome any coronavirus pandemic. With the climate crisis, we are already out of time, and are now left mitigating the inevitably disastrous consequences hurtling towards us. While coronavirus is understandably treated as an imminent danger, the climate crisis is still presented as an abstraction whose consequences are decades away. Unlike an illness, it is harder to visualise how climate breakdown will affect us each as individuals. Perhaps when unprecedented wildfires engulfed parts of the Arctic last summer there could have been an urgent conversation about how the climate crisis was fuelling extreme weather, yet there wasn’t.  In 2018, more than 60 million people suffered the consequences of extreme weather and climate change, including more than 1,600 who perished in Europe, Japan and the US because of heatwaves and wildfires. Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were devastated by cyclone Idai, while hurricanes Florence and Michael inflicted $24bn (£18.7bn) worth of damage on the US economy, according to the World Meteorological Organization.As the recent Yorkshire floods illustrate, extreme weather – with its terrible human and economic costs – is ever more a fact of British life. Antarctic ice is melting more than six times faster than it was four decades ago and Greenland’s ice sheet four times faster than previously thought. According to the UN, we have 10 years to prevent a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial temperature but, whatever happens, we will suffer.

Pandemics and the climate crisis may go hand in hand, too: research suggests that changing weather patterns may drive species to higher altitudes, potentially putting them in contact with diseases for which they have little immunity. “It’s strange when people see the climate crisis as being in the future, compared to coronavirus, which we’re facing now,” says Friends of the Earth’s co-executive director, Miriam Turner. “It might be something that feels far away when sitting in an office in central London, but the emergency footing of the climate crisis is being felt by hundreds of millions already.”

Imagine, then, that we felt the same sense of emergency about the climate crisis as we do about coronavirus. What action would we take? ….. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/05/governments-coronavirus-urgent-climate-crisis

March 7, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Middle East nuclear arms race to begin, as United Arab Emirates to open world’s largest nuclear reactor?

UAE’s nuclear plant fuels fears of Middle East arms race World’s largest reactor seen as a threat to stability in highly charged region Nikkei Asian Review, NESREEN BAKHEIT and HIDEMITSU KIBE, Nikkei staff writers, MARCH 06, 2020 DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates will soon become the newest player on the nuclear stage as it prepares to open the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant.

State-run Korea Electric Power Corporation of South Korea is finishing work on four nuclear reactors in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. Known as Barakah and owned by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the plant is scheduled to go online later this month with a capacity of 5.6 gigawatts.

Barakah is likely to fuel fears in the already tense region, given the uncertainty over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran nuclear deal, and Israel’s lack of transparency over its nuclear program. Experts warn about more nuclear plants, increased uranium enrichment, and a possible nuclear arms race in what is arguably the most volatile region in the world……

the UAE’s neighbors are far from comfortable with the new plant.

Qatar expressed concern in a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stating that an accidental discharge of radioactive material from Barakah could reach the capital of Doha in under 13 hours.

There are also concerns that the facility could be attacked. Paul Dorfman, researcher at University College London, told Nikkei that the risk of a missile attack on a nuclear facility is not to be discounted. Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility for just such an attack that targeted Barakah while still under construction in 2017. ……

Egypt and Jordan have also jumped on board the nuclear bandwagon. Egypt is set to build four nuclear reactors this year in collaboration with Russia in the El Dabaa region west of Cairo. Lawmaker Ahmed al Tantawi is wary of his country’s nuclear program, stating that Egypt already has a surplus of electricity.

Jordan’s nuclear program, however, faces problems such as financing and how to mitigate potential terrorist attacks. There is also a shortage of water needed to cool reactors, as it is one of the world’s most arid countries.

Iran’s nuclear ambitions are the most alarming. The country already has one nuclear power reactor at the Bushehr power plant and has two other Russian-designed reactors in the works. Construction on one began in November 2019 and is scheduled to finish in 2023. Another is still in the planning stage.

Tehran had curtailed enrichment under the nuclear deal, from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018. But the situation drastically changed in January after the U.S. drone assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani.

“Iran is still adhering to some of its duties under the JCPOA, such as International Atomic Energy Agency oversight,” Mohammed Marandi, political analyst at the University of Tehran, told Nikkei. “But with regards to research and development, the Iranians will no longer accept limitations due to the Europeans and Japanese [not cooperating],” he added.

The European Union tried to save the Iran Nuclear Deal after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew. Later, however, the U.K., France and Germany invoked the dispute settlement framework in the deal after Iran increased enrichment activities on the heels of Soleimani’s assassination. Even Japan tried to help by mediating between Tehran and Washington but ultimately failed to ease tensions.

Israel, which is notably not a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, has a highly advanced military. The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a U.S. nuclear research entity, warns that Israel possesses nuclear weapons along with a large supply of ballistic and cruise missiles to deliver them. And there is no open consensus among experts as to the extent of Israel’s nuclear program.

Analysts say that U.S. policy is encouraging a Middle East nuclear arms race in two ways. First, the U.S. defense and nuclear industries view the region as a lucrative market, with Saudi Arabia being a key buyer. Second, the inaction of Europe, Russia and China to counter U.S. sanctions against Iran do not encourage Tehran to remain a party to the nuclear deal. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/UAE-s-nuclear-plant-fuels-fears-of-Middle-East-arms-race

March 7, 2020 Posted by | politics international, United Arab Emirates, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Film lauding Japan’s Fukushima heroes warns against complacency,

Film lauding Japan’s Fukushima heroes warns against complacency, Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) – As aftershocks rock the Fukushima nuclear plant, a small band of workers defy their bosses to stay on and fight to stop an even bigger disaster from irradiating a wide swathe of Japan.

The scene is from a movie that opened on Friday – “Fukushima 50”, which tells the true story of the hours after a quake and tsunami set off meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors on March 11, 2011.

Almost nine years to the day after that disaster, its depiction of individual heroism in the face of official bungling and overwhelming catastrophe has struck a chord with early viewers……

nine years on, workers in protective suits are still removing radioactive material from Fukushima’s reactors, and the film’s scenes – mixed in with news footage from the time – still pack an emotional punch. ……

“The Fukushima Fifty” was the name given to the group of workers and engineers who stayed behind after the tsunami knocked out the power and cooling systems at the plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)……

“When I made the film ‘Letters from Iwo Jima,’ I felt that Japan isn’t very good at learning lessons from the past,” Watanabe told a news conference after filming finished last year, referring to the Clint Eastwood film depicting the World War Two battle.

“I feel the same way about Fukushima,” he added.

Editing by Andrew Heavens  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-fukushima-film/film-lauding-japans-fukushima-heroes-warns-against-complacency-idUSKBN20T1GV

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Belgian nuclear plants now could shut down earlier than planned

March 7, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

Dark nuclear-lobby money effects political changes in Ohio, and where next?

Support for HB 6 comes from beyond the state and reaches into some top levels of national politics.

The forces that passed Ohio’s subsidy law are poised for further action to shore up utilities and protect fossil fuel interests.

Dark money helped shift leadership in the General Assembly.Dark money dominated Ohio’s nuclear subsidy saga ENERGY NEWS NETWORK, Kathiann M. KowalskiMarch 5, 2020   “…………..Dark money groups such as Generation Now and the Growth & Opportunity PAC spent roughly $1 million in the 2018 election cycle. That election replaced Kasich with Mike DeWine as governor.

Other groups were also active, sometimes popping up for just a few months. At least one group launched a $100,000 negative ad campaign against an Ohio representative running in a congressional primary after she opposed subsidies for FirstEnergy.

The 2018 election also led to a leadership shift in the Ohio House of Representatives. Larry Householder, R-Glenford, the new speaker, proved to be a major force shepherding HB 6 through the General Assembly, even to the point of holding up a budget agreement last summer until the subsidy bill passed.

Dark money efforts while the bill was pending included advertising, coordination of bill testimony, and blocking a referendum effort that would have let voters reject HB 6 this November. Groups’ actions sparked critics to complain about misleading ads, alleged harassment of signature collectors, buyouts of petition workers, and even alleged assault.

At the end of the day, someone paid big money” for all those efforts, Hill said. “They didn’t do that [as] an un-self-interested contribution to a public policy debate.”

Groups’ efforts overlapped and linked with each other from before 2017 through the present.

Public reports reflect partial funding and cross-transfers among organizations whose backers remain secret.

Generation Now formed in 2017 as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. That code section covers a broad range of civic and “social welfare” organizations. An IRS filing identified its president/secretary as JPL & Associates, rather than a specific individual.

Generation Now gave $1,050,000 to the Growth & Opportunity PAC in 2018, which in turn ran ads and took other steps to support candidates who would favor Householder’s selection as House speaker, preparing the way for the subsidy bill. In 2019, Generation Now continued to spend money for pro-HB 6 ads and to discourage voters from signing referendum petitions. The total amount of its spending is not yet known.

Neither Generation Now spokesperson Curt Steiner nor Jeff Longstreth, a principal at JPL & Associates, responded to questions about the organization’s funding and its activities.

Unions reported giving $840,000 to Generation Now in 2018 and 2019. Generation Now also got money from other 501(c)(4) organizations, according to IRS filings. A group called Empowering Ohio’s Economy gave $100,000 to Generation Now in 2017 and another $50,000 for advocacy in 2018. That group also gave $200,000 for public advocacy to the Coalition for Growth & Opportunity in 2017, which in turn gave $59,000 to Generation Now over the course of 2017 to 2018.

The Coalition for Growth & Opportunity has also donated money to the Growth & Opportunity PAC. And it paid roughly $103,000 in 2018 for services from Communications Counsel, Inc., a public relations firm that has represented many Republicans in Ohio politics. Mark Weaver, a principal in the firm, is also an attorney with the Isaac Wiles law firm in Columbus. Other lawyers there filed incorporation papers and serve as registered agents for Ohioans for Energy Security. That group was formed on July 30, a week after Gov. DeWine signed HB 6.

When asked about that organization, Weaver said the law firm “represent[s] a wide range of political action committees and non-profit organizations” that have free speech rights and that its lawyers “follow the law and ethical rules in every respect.” He did not answer questions about the group’s funding.

As a for-profit entity, Ohioans for Energy Security doesn’t have to report its funding sources or spending. The group’s print and video ads featured a debunked Chinese conspiracy claim. The group also took part in some blocking activities related to the referendum, such as working to hire or otherwise “buy out” workers who had been hired to collect signatures from voters.

An affidavit filed in federal court in October provides a copy of a form contract for one of those proposed buyouts. The contracting party is shown as Ohioans for Energy Security. However, it said, any notices for Ohioans for Energy Security should go to Generation Now, care of Jeff Longstreth in Columbus.

Additional blocking efforts included the circulation of rival petitions, arranged by Ohioans for Energy Security. Those petitions had no binding value. Yet they looked enough like the real thing to cause some confusion, said critics, such as Hill.

“Under the shroud of disclosure loopholes, corporations can outright lie to voters without any accountability,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “This is particularly concerning about complex issues like Ohio’s energy policy, which ultimately will affect Ohioans economically and environmentally for years to come.”

Yet another group, Protect Ohio Clean Energy Jobs, bought Facebook ads urging people to remove their names from referendum petitions. Its treasurer, Alex Thomas, also played a coordinating role for the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance. The alliance’s website says it’s a “coalition of Ohio community leaders and organizations” and is “powered by FirstEnergy Solutions.” The spokesperson, Carlo LoParo, also acted as spokesperson and president for Ohioans for Energy Security.

LoParo did not answer questions about funding for either Ohioans for Energy Security or the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance.

FirstEnergy Solutions is connected to dark money groups through its spending and through several consultants and lobbyists.

Even before the July 2019 wire payment from FirstEnergy Solutions to Generation Now, its lobbyistsMatt Borges and Alex Thomas, then with Roetzel Consulting Services, worked behind the scenes for passage of HB 6. During that time, Thomas helped get organizations to sign on to a June 12 letter to the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee in support of HB 6. Committee records show that letter as coming from the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance.

Other FirstEnergy Solutions lobbyists and consultants coordinated efforts on HB 6. Among other things, materials in the FirstEnergy Solutions bankruptcy case reflected payments to help get the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance underway. A former FirstEnergy external affairs director, Murphy Montler, who is now deceased, was a consultant for FirstEnergy Solutions. He provided local public officials linked to the alliance with drafts of their testimony on HB 6.

Labor unions that provided funds to Generation Now also appear to have members who work at the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants. The political education arm of International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18 gave $250,000 in 2018 and another $105,000 through November 2019. The AFL-CIO also ran anti-referendum ads in 2019. And an AFL-CIO affiliate gave $250,000 to Generation Now in 2018.

Meanwhile, employee “contests” at the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants recruited workers as part of the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance’s “employee ambassador” program. FirstEnergy Solutions employees appeared in a pro-HB 6 ad presented by the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance.

At least two employees at FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear plants are also in a video ad from Ohioans for Energy Security. “Don’t sign the petition to allow China to control Ohio’s power,” the ad’s voiceover announcer said.

FirstEnergy Solutions’ spokesperson declined to answer questions about the company’s relationship with the nonprofits.

Law firm links also factor prominently in activities linked to HB 6.

Continue reading

March 7, 2020 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Australia’s former foreign minister calls on Australian govt to intervene to release Julian Assange

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government, WSWS, By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Popular opposition to the ongoing imprisonment and state persecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is increasing following last week’s extradition hearing in Britain. The four-day show trial, which blatantly violated Assange’s basic legal rights and subjected him to even more psychological torture, has deeply shocked many people and intensified the determination of those fighting for Assange’s release.

Addressing a public meeting last week in the New South Wales (NSW) parliament, Bob Carr, a former federal foreign minister and state Labor premier from 1995–2005, denounced the bogus espionage charges against Assange and warned that if extradited to the US, he would die.

Carr and other speakers, including Assange’s Australian lawyer Greg Barns and former SBS television journalist Mary Kostakidis, insisted, however, that those defending Assange should concentrate on lobbying state and federal MPs.

This orientation, they suggested, would pressure the Liberal-National Coalition government and Foreign Minister Marisa Payne to ask Washington to release the WikiLeaks publisher.

Carr called for Payne to have a “friendly chat” with Mike Pompeo, the former CIA chief and current US Secretary of State, and offered some talking points…….

Carr said nothing about Pompeo’s threatening denunciations of WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” his visit to Sydney last August when he demanded greater Australian involvement in Washington’s aggressive confrontations with Beijing and Iran, or his role as former CIA chief.

As for Payne, she rejected any defence of Assange, declaring in the Senate a day earlier that the WikiLeaks publisher would receive a fair trial and disparaging UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s reports on the decade-long persecution of Assange.

Carr’s opposition to the US-led vendetta against Assange, which he first voiced in May, appears to constitute a remarkable political turn around. Eight years ago, as foreign minister in the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard—from early 2012 to September 2013—Carr, like other federal Labor MPs and the party as a whole, was virulently hostile to Assange…….

The demonisation of Assange by Australia’s political establishment and the corporate media, which is part and parcel of its commitment to the US alliance, has not convinced tens of thousands of ordinary Australians. Important layers of workers, young people, students and middle-class people have taken up Assange’s defence as part of a growing international movement. …… https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/03/06/carr-m06.html

March 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

The world’s Big Oil giants now turn to plastics to grow their industries

PLANET PLASTIC, How Big Oil and Big Soda kept a global environmental calamity a secret for decades, Rolling Stone, By TIM DICKINSONMARCH 3, 2020

March 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment