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Trump with Covid-19 – a potential power vacuum. E-6B Mercury nuclear war command posts in flight on each coast

Covid 19 coronavirus: Why ‘doomsday’ nuclear planes have taken to the skies in the US,  By: Jamie Seidel, 2 Oct 20,   America’s doomsday planes are in the air following news that the nation’s commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, has Covid-19.

Two US Navy E-6B Mercury nuclear war command posts were observed in flight Friday, one on each coast of the United States. They were initiating the “Take Charge and Move Out” (TACAMO) defence protocol – essentially dispersing the command and communications facilities needed to control the US nuclear arsenal.

These aircraft are activated by the Pentagon when it is deemed necessary to communicate with the US Navy’s secretive nuclear missile submarines, stealth bombers and missile silos.

The move underscores the potential severity of the situation.

The President of the United States is also the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces, including its nuclear forces. The incapacitation of whoever holds this position could be seen as an opportunity by potential belligerents.

Covid-19, which has so far killed 200,000 US citizens, is particularly deadly among older sufferers. President Trump is 74 years old.

It was announced this morning that he is already experiencing “mild symptoms”.

The two E-6Bs appeared on flight tracking systems 30 minutes before Trump announced his condition.

It’s no accident the aircraft were seen.

Military aircraft and ships usually fly with their radio identification transponders turned off in order to avoid being tracked and identified.

Doomsday Planes

Based on Boeing 707 airliner airframes, the E-6B aircraft have been built to be particularly resistant to electronic warfare and the electromagnetic-pulse generated by nuclear bursts.

About 16 of the aircraft were delivered from 1986. The fleet underwent a major upgrade in 2006.

Their job is to get into the air in the time of crisis. But an unknown number is also maintained aloft at any one time.

In the event of war, their job is to relay commands from the president and defense secretary directly to the deterrent nuclear force. The heart of this force are the Ohio-class nuclear ballistic-missile submarines hiding deep in the world’s oceans. Their immense payloads of nuclear missiles constantly threaten the prospect of a devastating retaliatory blow.

I would expect them to pop up if he tests positive,” US open-source intelligence hobbyist Tim Hogan tweeted with flight tracking maps identifying the flights.

“It’s the plane that has the ability to order the killing of everyone on earth if someone attacks the US with nukes in a first strike. It can talk to our missile subs under water even if DC is gone.”

Talking to submarines deep underwater is no easy task.

Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio can reach about 20m beneath the ocean’s surface. But its transmission speed is very slow and require large, high powered emitters for broadcast. In order to operate this equipment, the E-6B must unspool a kilometres-long wire to act as an aerial.

Command and Control

The US Constitution deals with the prospect of a president who is physically or mentally unable to discharge his duties. The role “shall devolve on the vice president”, it states.

What it doesn’t make clear is how the judgement to “devolve” should be made, or by whom.

The 25th Amendment, enacted in 1967, is supposed to provide a framework for this decision. But it was not initiated in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan was shot. For 10 days Reagan lay near death. But his key powers were not transferred to Vice President George H. W. Bush.

This has raised further questions about how presidential powers would be divested in an emergency. The 25th Amendment calls for a signed statement from the serving President, or if “the vice president and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” a similar statement.

Congress and vice presidents, however, may be hesitant to act out of fear of being accused of attempting to seize power.

The resulting power vacuum, especially in the role of US Commander-in-Chief, potentially poses a strategic risk in times of international – and internal – crisis.


October 3, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Good living standards for the world can be attained with reduced energy use

Decent living for all does not have to cost the Earth

 October 1, 2020,  University of Leeds
A new study reveals that decent living standards could be provided to the entire global population of 10 billion that is expected to be reached by 2050, for less than 40% of today’s global energy. This is roughly 25% of that forecast by the International Energy Agency if current trends continue. This level of global energy consumption is roughly the same as that during the 1960s, when the population was only three billion.

Global energy consumption in 2050 could be reduced to the levels of the 1960s and still provide a decent standard of living for a population three times larger, according to a new study.

The study led by the University of Leeds has estimated the energy resource needed for everyone to be provided decent living standards in 2050 — meaning all their basic human needs such as shelter, mobility, food and hygiene are met, while also having access to modern, high quality healthcare, education and information technology.

The findings, published in in the journal Global Environmental Change, reveal that decent living standards could be provided to the entire global population of 10 billion that is expected to be reached by 2050, for less than 40% of today’s global energy. This is roughly 25% of that forecast by the International Energy Agency if current trends continue.

This level of global energy consumption is roughly the same as that during the 1960s, when the population was only three billion.

The authors emphasise that achieving this would require sweeping changes in current consumption, widespread deployment of advanced technologies, and the elimination of mass global inequalities.

However, not only do the findings show that the energy required to provide a decent living could likely be met entirely by clean sources, but it also offers a firm rebuttal to reactive claims that reducing global consumption to sustainable levels requires an end to modern comforts and a ‘return to the dark ages’.

The authors’ tongue in cheek response to the critique that sweeping energy reform would require us all to become ‘cave dwellers’ was: “Yes, perhaps, but these are rather luxurious caves with highly-efficient facilities for cooking, storing food and washing clothes; comfortable temperatures maintained throughout the year, computer networks — among other things — not to mention the larger caves providing universal healthcare and education to all 5-19 year olds.”

The study calculated minimum final energy requirements, both direct and indirect, to provide decent living standards. Final energy is that delivered to the consumer’s door, for example, heating, electricity or the petrol that goes into a car, rather than the energy embedded in fuels themselves — much of which is lost at power stations in the case of fossil fuels.

The team built a final energy-model, which builds upon a list of basic material needs that underpin human well-being previously developed by Narasimha Rao and Jihoon Min.

The study compared current final energy consumption across 119 countries to the estimates of final energy needed for decent living and found the vast majority of countries are living in significant surplus. In countries that are today’s highest per-capita consumers, energy cuts of nearly 95% are possible while still providing decent living standards to all.

Study lead author Dr Joel Millward-Hopkins from the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds said: “Currently, only 17% of global final energy consumption is from non-fossil fuel sources. But that is nearly 50% of what we estimate is needed to provide a decent standard of living for all in 2050.”

“Overall, our study is consistent with the long-standing arguments that the technological solutions already exist to support reducing energy consumption to a sustainable level. What we add is that the material sacrifices needed to for these reductions are far smaller than many popular narratives imply.”

Study co-author Professor Julia Steinberger leader of the Living Well Within Limits project at the University Leeds and professor at the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland said: “While government official are levelling charges that environmental activists ‘threaten our way of life’ it is worth re-examining what that way of life should entail. There has been a tendency to simplify the idea of a good life into the notion that more is better.

“It is clearly within our grasp to provide a decent life for everyone while still protecting our climate and ecosystems.”

Study co-author Professor Narasimha Rao from Yale University said: “This study also confirms our earlier findings at a global scale that eradicating poverty is not an impediment to climate stabilization, rather it’s the pursuit of unmitigated affluence across the world.”

Study co-author Yannick Oswald, PhD researcher at the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds said: “To avoid ecological collapse, it is clear that drastic and challenging societal transformations must occur at all levels, from the individual to institutional, and from supply through to demand.”

October 3, 2020 Posted by | ENERGY, environment | Leave a comment

The climate crisis is heating up nights faster than days in many parts of the world

Global heating warming up ‘nights faster than days’

Effect seen across much of world will have profound consequences, warn scientists .   Damian Carrington Environment editor @dpcarrington, Thu 1 Oct 2020 09. The climate crisis is heating up nights faster than days in many parts of the world, according to the first worldwide assessment of how global heating is differently affecting days and nights.

The findings have “profound consequences” for wildlife and their ability to adapt to the climate emergency, the researchers said, and for the ability of people to cool off at night during dangerous heatwaves.

The scientists compared the rises in daytime and night-time temperatures over the 35 years up to 2017. Global heating is increasing both, but they found that over more than half of the world’s land there was a difference of at least 0.25C between the day and night rises.

In two-thirds of those places, nights were warming faster than the days, Continue reading

October 3, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

It’s important to bust the pro-nuclear spin

It’s important to bust the pro-nuclear spin, Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere  (MAHB),  Noel Wauchope | October 1, 2020  ”……………. cutting through the spin, where do we start? The reason that I start with the nuclear industry is that it is utterly symbolic of the lies, the deceptions, that prop up the polluting industries that are ruining the natural world on which we depend.

It is the most dangerous arena of industry lying because its proponents have very successfully put across the idea that only the ”experts” those with technical knowledge of nuclear physics, can have a valid opinion. I think that’s why journalists world-wide are content to simply regurgitate industry handouts as ”news” – often as an excited recitation of a sequence of technical procedures, with detailed technical illustrations. The only bit that is easily understood is the bit where they’ll say that nuclear power is “zero-carbon” “essential to combat climate change”. But is that bit true?

Any doubt about nuclear power fixing climate change is not explored, because, after all, the society at large, including the journalists, do not understand nuclear physics. They might know a bit about history, ecology, biology, radiation effects, sociology, economics, indigenous rights, conflict resolution, – but hey, that’s all soft stuff and doesn’t matter.

The lying began with the very conception of the nuclear monster. First, the idea that it’s OK for war attacks to focus on massacring civilians – this reached its greatest acceptance with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then came that first big factual lie, that this bombing was necessary to end the war. This comfortable belief has been refuted by many recent studies that indicate that the real motive was to intimidate the Russians and that Japan was already set to surrender, anyway. The persecution of Wilfred Burchett, and the suppression of his reporting, set off the deception that the effects of ionizing radiation are not all that bad, really.

The next lie, again a very comforting belief, is that this new horror could be turned into something really good – nuclear reactors, safe, cheap, electricity – a peaceful purpose.

It was never safe. You just ignore the cancers among the uranium mining communities, and nuclear workers. You ignore the many radiological and nuclear accidents and messes, even the big ones – Chalk River, Rocky Flats, Windscale, Soviet ice-breaker Lenin, Mayak, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Tomsk, Hanford, Fukushima. The risk of terrorism, using nuclear materials, is ever-present.

It was never cheap. You just ignore the costs of the health and environmental damage due to uranium mining, and to the many accidents. The insurance industry understands this, which is why laws like the Price Anderson Act are there, to make sure that the tax-payer cops the costs of nuclear accidents. You just don’t count the costs of disposing of the virtually eternal radioactive wastes, including dead reactors, and the necessary security involved.

It was never peaceful. The prime purpose of nuclear reactors was to produce that novel element – plutonium, for nuclear weapons. Every country that now has nuclear weapons began that process by getting “peaceful” nuclear power. We must wonder why Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, with abundant oil and sunshine resources, are so keen to get nuclear power. Today, the nuclear industry no longer makes the pretense that there is no connection between commercial and military reactors. and indeed, calls for government subsidy because of its role in national security. It is particularly worrying that the media enthuses over space research, while the USA and other nuclear nations are planning for nuclear-powered weapons in space.

When it comes to global heating, it’s a terrible shame that the media keeps on buying the nuclear deception about this. Even if nuclear power were ”zero-carbon” – there would have to be thousands of reactors, (millions of small ones) operating very quickly, to have any effect. But global heating is happening too fast for that. “Zero carbon” is also nonsense when you consider the whole nuclear fuel chain – those many operations that go on from uranium mining through to the building and operation of nuclear waste dumps.

Nuclear medicine is becoming somewhat of a fig leaf on the industry. It still has its role. But, non-nuclear technologies – cyclotrons are coming into operation, and produce the medical radioisotopes far more conveniently, and near hospitals, close to the point of use.

The nuclear lobby’s most questionable deception, which was shown in its glossy propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise”, is that the world needs endless energy use, for the world’s expanding human population. Indeed, we learn that nuclear is needed to set up colonies on Mars when we’ve mucked up this planet.

Not that the nuclear lobby is the only one advocating endless energy use. Some renewable energy advocates have this same idea. It’s an idea tied to our mistaken culture of growth.

During this period of pandemic economic paralysis, and despite all the suffering, many people have the chance to reflect on the world’s rather perilous situation. Many citizen scientists, citizen journalists, are asking the necessary questions. We need to be aware, to bust through, the vested interests, the jargon, the lies, that keep us hooked to the growth paradigm. There is no better spin bubble to bust than the nuclear one.

October 3, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

As Donald Trump gets coronavirus, USA’s ”doomsday” planes take flight

Donald Trump Tests Positive For COVID—And America’s Nuclear Doomsday Planes Launch Controversy, Forbes, 
David AxeContributor  2 Sept 20,  U.S. president Donald Trump tested positive for the novel-
coronavirus on Friday morning. Shortly before the news broke, the U.S. Navy’s doomsday planes launched on both American coasts.

Some observers asserted that the two things were related. But military spokespeople and some experts explained it was coincidence.

The E-6B Mercury is one of the Pentagon’s airborne nuclear command posts. The four-engine planes—derivatives of the Boeing 707 airliner—carry special communication systems and crews for commanding the Navy’s Ohio-class nuclear ballistic-missile submarines.

The Navy has 16 Mercuries. One often is in the air, and it’s not unheard-of for two or more to be airborne at the same time. But the timing of Friday’s twin sorties seemed noteworthy to some.

In an atomic war, the E-6s would relay orders to the Ohio boomers, helping the boats’ crews to target enemy cities and military bases with nuclear-tipped Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles, or SLBMs.

It could be no accident that E-6s were airborne over both coasts in the minutes before Trump’s announcement that he was infected, tweeted Tim Hogan, an American open-source intelligence practitioner. “I would expect them to pop up if he tests positive.”……….

October 3, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Daunting task of removal of Russia’s spent nuclear fuel rods from Andreeva Bay

One-third of all nuclear waste removed from Cold War dump site

Another 12 special design casks with spent nuclear fuel from Cold War submarines are soon to be shipped out of Andreeva Bay on Russia’s Arctic Barents Sea coast. ByThomas Nilsen October 02, 2020

About 35% of the 21,000 spent uranium fuel elements originally stored in three rundown tanks is so far lifted out, repacked and sent to Russia’s reprocessing plant at Mayak in the South-Urals, informs Aleksandr Krasnoshchekov, director of the SevRAO’s branch in Andreeva Bay. SevRAO is the federal enterprise for handling radioactive waste in the northwestern region.

The company has a staff of 100 in Andreeva Bay in the Litsa fjord, a closed-for-civilians fjord near the border to Norway where the Northern Fleet has two basing points for nuclear submarines.

Here, the navy started to store casks with highly radioactive spent uranium fuel from its first nuclear-powered in the 1960s. First in rusty containers outdoor, later in a pool-building that broke down. In the 1980s, the elements were moved over to three concrete tanks in very poor conditions.

After nearly 20 years of improving the infrastructure, securing the site from leakages and building a new crane at the port, the first shipment with nuclear waste left Andreeva Bay in 2017.

Neighboring Norway has spent more than €30 million to support the cleanup of the nuclear dump located only about 50 km from its border.

Also Sweden, Great Britain, Italy and the European Commission have contributed. Italy, as an example, paid for building the “Rossita”, a special purpose ship sailing in shuttle from Andreeva Bay to Atomflot in Murmansk where the containers are reloaded to rail wagons. According to director Krasnoshchekov, the ongoing work is done based on contracts with these countries, he says in an interview with Vesti Murman.

Most of the work done so far concerns the elements easy to lift out.

Way more challenging times are ahead, as the damaged elements in the third tank, 3A, are to be secured and lifted out.

Take a closer look at the photo below to understand the scoop of the challenge. Some of these rusty, partly destroyed steel pipes contain fuel rods where the uranium will fall out if lifted straight up.

The work on tank 3A is scheduled to start in 2023, after tank 2A and 2B is completed. The experts are don’t want to start the most risky work before as much as possible of the other waste elements are removed. A criticality accident in Andreeva Bay is worst-case scenario.

As previously reported by The Barents Observer, the total radionuclide inventory in the three tanks is estimated to be equal to the remains of Rector No. 4 inside the Chernobyl sarcophagus in Ukraine. This according to a study by the British nuclear engineering company Nuvia.

The original 22,000 spent fuel elements dumped in Andreeva Bay are coming from 90-100 reactor cores powering the Soviet Union’s Cold War submarines sailing out from the naval bases along the coast of the Kola Peninsula from the late 1950s to 1982.

The first reactor cores of the November class submarines were reloaded in the early 1960s.

Additional to the spent fuel elements, some 10,000 cubic meters of solid radioactive waste from Andreeva Bay are shipped to the regional handling and storage facility in Saida Bay, a few hours sailing to the east on the Kola Peninsula. Huge piles of solid radioactive waste were stored outdoor summer and winter in the same area. Now, a building is erected to protect the boxes from rain and snow, before being repacked and shipped to the Saida Bay.

October 3, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, Reference, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Ionising radiation – the tragedy of the ”radium girls”

They weren’t just making paints, they were doing the painting, too. According to NPR, US Radium hired scores of girls and young women — as young as just 11-years-old — to paint watch dials with the glow-in-the-dark, radium-based paint. As if just working with the paint wasn’t bad enough, they were also encouraged to put the brush between their lips and twirl it into a point. It was the best way to get truly precise numbers and brush strokes, but with each lick of the brush, they were swallowing radium.

the human body isn’t great at telling the difference between radium and calcium. Radium gets absorbed into the bones just like calcium does, and when that happens, the rot starts.

Writer and historian Kate Moore documented the cases of the Radium Girls (via The Spectator) and found that there were a whole host of symptoms. Some started suffering from chronic exhaustion. For many, it started with their teeth — one by one, those teeth would start to decay and rot. When they were removed, their gums wouldn’t heal. In some cases, the jaw would just simply disintegrate at the dentist’s touch. Bad breath was common. Skin became so delicate that the slightest touch would tear open wounds. Ulcers formed for some, and those that were pregnant bore stillborn babies.

The Radium Girls weren’t just sick, they were very literally radioactive. Mollie Maggia was exhumed in 1927, in the hopes that her bones would give still-living Radium Girls the evidence they needed to win in court. According to Popular Science, her coffin was lifted out of the ground, and her body? It glowed. That wasn’t entirely surprising, considering her bones were found to be highly radioactive — and considering radium’s half-life is 1,600 years, they’re not going to stop glowing any time soon.

Eventually, 16 separate sites around Ottawa would be classified as Superfund sites. 

NPR Illinois says that many have been cleaned up, but as of 2018, there was at least one site — a 17-acre plot of land on the Fox River — that still remained a highly radioactive and terrifying legacy of the Radium Girls.

History is filled with episodes that prove mankind is just sort of making everything up as it goes. There’s no shortage of things that can kill us or do horrible, terrible things to our soft and squishy bodies, and every time we think we know about them all, it turns out there’s something else lurking around the corner.

And sometimes, it’s disguised as something awesome. Need proof? Look no further than the Radium Girls.

Yes, that radium. Today, the Royal Society of Chemistry says there’s really only one use for radium — targeted cancer treatments, because it’s so good at killing cells. It was first discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, after they extracted a single milligram from ten tons of a uranium ore called pitchblende. And it was pretty darn cool. It glowed, and seriously, how exciting is that? Unfortunately, it was also deadly — as the so-called Radium Girls would find out.

Continue reading

October 3, 2020 Posted by | history, radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

The road to fascism. Trump is quite open about his plans to derail the election

Trump Isn’t Keeping His Fascist Plan Secret. He’s Trying to Derail the Election.   David Renton, Truthout, October 1, 2020 

In the 1930s, when a New York publishing company was thinking of bringing out an unexpurgated English-language edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, its editors first approached the radicals of New York’s New School for Social Research, who assembled a specialist team of anti-fascist German refugees to do the translation. Why would the refugees do that — one might think — hadn’t they suffered enough? But the translators agreed readily. They wanted the world to know what Hitler was thinking, to take his ideas seriously, to grasp how different his politics was from the “normal” right-wing politics that had come before.

We should look at Trump’s comments in Tuesday’s presidential debate in the same spirit and take them as seriously as he does. We should think about the exchange when Trump was asked, “What are you prepared to do to reassure the American people that the next president will be the legitimate winner of this election?”

He answered, “Don’t tell me about a free transition…. We won’t know. We might not know for months because these ballots are going to be all over.”

Trump wasn’t saying he would reject an election that Biden won. Rather, he was threatening to use the office of the president to prevent there from being a decisive outcome against him………

In-person votes will be counted first. So, even if by the time all postal votes have been counted, Biden can be shown to have won by, say, seven or more clear percentage points, Trump may be ahead on election night.

It’s much easier to challenge postal votes than it is to challenge in-person votes. What if the security envelopes are marked, or there are no security envelopes at all? What if the envelope arrives but the postmark is almost invisible? Trump wants Republican vote counters to object to every postal vote they can, raising the natural 1 or 2 percent rejection rate to more like 30 or 40 percent.

If that happens, then we may never get to the point where anyone can say with any clarity that Biden did in fact win by seven clear points, because state after state is going to be bogged down in partisan recounts………

For one thing, Trump is calling on his supporters to attend the polls in person and “watch” (by which he likely means “demonstrate”). “I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully,” he said. “They’re called poll watchers, a very safe, very nice thing.”

There’s a long and honorable tradition of neutral observers traveling to watch disputed elections in semi-democratic states. That’s not what Trump is getting at. He’s not planning to mobilize neutrals; he’s calling out his own base.

A model for this kind of behavior happened in Fairfax, Virginia, where, in September, a group of Trump supporters walked into the polling place waving flags and shouting, “Four more years.” So powerful is the megaphone of Trump’s Twitter account with its 86 million followers that we should see this as a real threat……..

Finally, Trump signaled at the debate to his armed supporters that if the election does go the way of Florida in 2000, he expects them to play their part in backing him. It’s in that context that Trump’s “stand by” order was given to the Proud Boys……..

In turning to his street supporters, Trump is calling on people who feel no doubts about using violence. For since 2016, attacks on left-wing demonstrators have become ever more frequent. The best known remains the killing of anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer at Charlottesville, when James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car at protesters after being photographed earlier brandishing a shield with Mussolini’s fasces symbol, complete with an executioner’s axe.

Since late May, more than 100 white supremacists have attempted to disperse anti-racist protests by driving their cars at demonstrators.

At the heart of Trump’s plan is the idea of using crowds of hostile people to bring the election counts to a halt, to so foul up the reality of which votes went to which candidate that no one could say any longer what was fake and what was real.

However, massive voter turnout — particularly in-person voting — could thwart Trump’s plan. ……..

October 3, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

U.S. election: Progressive groups are mobilizing to de-escalate far right violence at the polls

Progressive Groups Are Mobilizing to De-Escalate Far Right Violence at the Polls, Ella Fassler, Truthout, October 1, 2020   In preparation for potential voter intimidation this year, the Women’s March, Working Families Party, Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream and other organizations are mobilizing “election defenders” to de-escalate tense situations as well as provide voters with personal protective equipment and water on Election Day.

“So far, more than 6,000 people across the country have signed up to be election defenders,” Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell told Truthout. “Trump is operating from a place of weakness, not strength, and the single best way to avoid a contested election is for voters to repudiate him at the polls by an overwhelming margin.

Mobilization efforts are likely to ramp up following Trump’s call-to-action during the first presidential debate on Tuesday. “I’m urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen,” he said at the debate. “I am urging them to do it.” In addition Trump told the far right paramilitary group the Proud Boys, who have said on tape “Hitler did nothing wrong,” to “stand back and stand by.”

Already, roughly 20 Trump supporters had descended on a polling booth in Fairfax, Virginia, intimidating early voters and election staff.   The demonstrators gathered from a “Trump Train” parade, according to The New York Times; some chanting “Four more years, four more years!” and holding Trump flags, while others drove circles around the voters. Election officials provided escorts for voters and moved the line indoors……..

 contributor Mark Bray, an author and historian of human rights, terrorism and fascist movements, says we can’t treat this election as any other. Bray tweeted: “Trump has articulated his plan to mobilize fascists for voter intimidation, reject the outcome of the election, and hold on to power (while not denouncing white supremacy). If he and his followers won’t recognize the vote, then ‘just vote’ is a woefully insufficient response.”

There’s a strong precedent for statements like Trump’s, which sow deep distrust in the electoral process……….

Whether Trump’s supporters will disrupt polls on a wide scale this time around remains to be seen. But, from Trump’s “joking” about holding power beyond his term limit, to enfeebling the integrity of mail-in ballots without evidence, it’s clear that voter intimidation may be the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.

October 3, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Joe Biden on climate change

What a Joe Biden presidency would mean for five key science issues. The coronavirus pandemic, climate change and space exploration are among the issues that Biden will influence if he wins the upcoming US election. Nature, Amy Maxmen, Nidhi Subbaraman, Jeff Tollefson, Giuliana Viglione &  Alexandra Witze, 2 Oct 20, 

”……………..Pandemic response

If Biden wins the election on 3 November, he will inherit not only a country in the throes of a pandemic that’s destroyed lives and livelihoods — but also one in which public opinion is deeply divided over the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken to abate it. Despite public-health agencies counting more than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths in the country, some Trump supporters feel that the impact of the virus has been exaggerated in an effort to control the populace.

Biden would also inherit a haphazard pandemic response, researchers say ……….. Biden’s pandemic plans — which his team has been preparing since March, say sources close to the campaign — promise to ramp up the country’s test-and-trace programmes; address racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infection rates and outcomes; and rebuild pandemic-readiness programmes cut by the Trump administration……… The Biden team will need to change the public-health messaging so that it supports the science without driving sceptics even further away,……

If Biden wins, his administration will have to tackle public mistrust of the federal agencies leading the US response to curtail the pandemic. …….

If elected, Biden has committed to supporting the World Health Organization (WHO), which Trump began to withdraw the United States from in July. …….

Climate change

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only divisive issue that Biden would face if elected — he would also be confronting climate change. Trump has moved to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate treaty, rolled back a suite of regulations intended to reduce greenhouse-gas regulations and called global warming a hoax.

In contrast, Biden is now campaigning on the most aggressive climate platform ever advanced by a US presidential nominee in the general election. Addressing the demands of an increasingly vocal liberal base, his US$2-trillion plan calls for massive investments in clean-energy research and development and low-carbon infrastructure, such as public transit and energy-efficient buildings. It also calls for the United States to generate 100% clean electricity by 2035 and to produce “net-zero emissions” by 2050. The question facing Biden and his team, if they win in November, is how to make it happen.

Biden has said he will have the United States rejoin the Paris climate accord, making the country an active partner of the more than 190 nations that have committed to limiting global warming to 1.5–2 oC above pre-industrial levels. He would also appoint climate-friendly leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency and quickly move to restore — or even bolster — climate and environmental regulations rolled back under Trump over the past four years. It could take a few years to finalize those changes, but Biden could do so with existing authority under federal law……

October 3, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Extinction crisis: ′The window of opportunity is closing′ 

Extinction crisis: ′The window of opportunity is closing′

Stopping mass species extinction is possible if the world pulls together, says leading ecologist Gerardo Ceballos in an interview with DW.

October 3, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

From 38 million English-language articles, study shows Trump as world’s biggest driver of coronavirus misinformation

Donald Trump has been the world’s biggest driver of coronavirus misinformation, study finds,  SBS News 1 Oct 20,  The study from Cornell University looked some 38 million English language articles in traditional media outlets around the world in the first half of this year.

US President Donald Trump has been the world’s biggest driver of COVID-19 misinformation during the pandemic, a study from Cornell University said Thursday.

A team from the Cornell Alliance for Science evaluated 38 million articles published by English-language, traditional media worldwide between 1 January and 26 May of this year.

The database they used aggregates coverage from countries such as the United States, Britain, India, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and other African and Asian nations.

The authors found that comments by Mr Trump drove major spikes in the “miracle cures” topic, led by his 24 April press briefing where he mused on the possibility of using disinfectants inside the body to cure the coronavirus.

Similar spikes were seen when he promoted unproven treatments like hydroxychloroquine.

“We conclude therefore that the president of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic’,” the team wrote.

Sarah Evanega, who led the study and is director of the Cornell Alliance for Science, said: “If people are misled by unscientific and unsubstantiated claims about the disease, they may be less likely to observe official guidance and thus risk spreading the virus……..   They identified 522,472 news articles that reproduced or amplified misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic, or what the World Health Organization has called the “infodemic.”…..


October 3, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Call to Indonesia to ratify UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

“Indonesia running in circles in bid to ratify anti-nuclear weapons treaty”.  Dian Septiari The Jakarta Post Jakarta   /   Fri, October 2, 2020

Indonesia is still dragging its feet in the ratification of an international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons that it signed more than three years ago, even as its neighbors have one by one made good on their commitments. Malaysia was the latest to submit its instrument of ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on Wednesday, making it the 46th country to pass the treaty into law. Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the country’s ratification brought the international community one step closer to amassing the 50 national endorsements needed to bring the treaty into force, Bernama reports.

Adopted on July 7, 2017, the treaty prohibits all activities related to nuclear weapons, including their development, testing, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use and stationing. In Southeast Asia, Thailand was the first nation to sign and ratify the treaty, only a few months after it was adopted. Vietnam ratified it the following year, followed by Laos in 2019. Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia was one of the first 50 countries to sign the treaty in 2017, but the ratification itself was still ongoing. “Of course, ratification cannot be done instantly, because it involves many stakeholders and progress is currently a bit constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is expected to participate virtually at the High-Level Meeting on Friday to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which fell on Sept. 26. Muhadi Sugiono, a campaigner for the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), expressed regret that the ratification of the nuclear prohibition treaty had not been made a priority issue in Indonesia’s foreign policy.

………. As the de facto leader of ASEAN, Indonesia is expected to shore up resources against global nuclear proliferation, which the bloc collectively agrees to oppose through the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) treaty. As a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and a coordinator of its working group on disarmament and nonproliferation since 1994, Indonesia was among cosponsors of the 2017 United Nations General Assembly resolution to enforce the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. Various observers have since called on Indonesia to make good on its


October 3, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

October 2 Energy News — geoharvey

Of Special Note: ¶ “Coronavirus: Donald Trump And Melania Test Positive” • US President Donald Trump has said he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus and are now in quarantine. The president, aged 74 and therefore in a high-risk group, announced the news in a tweet. “We will get through this […]

October 2 Energy News — geoharvey

October 3, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brazil has 1.2 million renewable energy jobs. — GO ECO GREEN21

ENERGIA LIMPIA XXI. Renewable energy continues to bring socio-economic benefits by creating numerous jobs worldwide, according to the latest figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today. The seventh edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review shows that jobs in the sector reached 11.5 million globally last year, led by solar […]

Brazil has 1.2 million renewable energy jobs. — GO ECO GREEN21

October 3, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment