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For a clean nuclear-free climate – theme for September 21

I’m afraid that we’re kidding ourselves, if we think that we can do any more than to slow the onset of climate change. “Disruptive impacts from climate change are now inevitable”. Jem Bendell, A British Professor of Sustainability now says that nothing in our civilization is sustainable.  The emphasis must now also be on adaptation to climate change. Elizabeth May, Leader of Canada’s Green Party, has recently stressed, on Radio Ecoshock,   that not only grandchildren, and later generations will be affected, but today’s children will experience the social, and health disruptions of climate change.

The Power of One Green – Elizabeth May in 2018

As for the nuclear threat – it’s no wonder that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock stays now at 2 minutes to midnight, with aggressive leaders like Trump and Putin, with weapons’ companies and military brass salivating about new, advanced weapons, even space warfare.

Still, nations continue to sign up to the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. It’s a start.

For the “peaceful” nuclear industry – the good news is that it’s becoming  a failing economic disaster. It would die a faster death, if it were not so valuable to the nuclear weapons industry.   Colossal waste problems in USA, Japan, UK, are stalling plans for new reactors . Russia and China are not publicly divulging information on their wastes, but both are keen to export nuclear technology, rather than develop it at home.

The nuclear industry continues its lies about nuclear solving climate change -lies that are mindlessly regurgitated by the mainstream media. Media also faithfully parrot the promises of “new nukes” – the “Generation IV” nuclear designs that do not yet exist, and would be prohibitively expensive, requiring huge tax-payer subsidies..

Stilll, good people continue to do good things. And, we just can’t afford to give up hope – as Greta Thunberg tells us “Look for action – then the hope will come”


September 11, 2021 Posted by | Christina's themes | 18 Comments

Forget plans to lower emissions by 2050 – this is deadly procrastination

This might seem to have nothing to do with nuclear powet. But I think that it does. The politicians, the pundits, the journalists – well – most will be dead by 2050, or at least out of the limelight.. In the meantime, the technofix spruikers can confidently spruik their favourite fix – clean carbon, ccarbon capture and storage, geoengineering, – with the nuclear lobby enthusiastically joining in the procrastination

Forget plans to lower emissions by 2050 – this is deadly procrastination, Peter Kalmus

 Fixating on ‘net zero’ means betting the future of life on Earth that someone will invent some kind of whiz-bang tech to draw down CO2

The world has by and large adopted “net zero by 2050” as its de facto climate goal, but two fatal flaws hide in plain sight within those 16 characters. One is “net zero.” The other is “by 2050”.

These two flaws provide cover for big oil and politicians who wish to preserve the status quo. Together they comprise a deadly prescription for inaction and catastrophically high levels of irreversible climate and ecological breakdown.

First, consider “by 2050”. This deadline feels comfortably far away, encouraging further climate procrastination. Who feels urgency over a deadline in 2050? This is convenient for the world’s elected leaders, who typically have term limits of between three and five years, less so for anyone who needs a livable planet.

The world has by and large adopted “net zero by 2050” as its de facto climate goal, but two fatal flaws hide in plain sight within those 16 characters. One is “net zero.” The other is “by 2050”.

These two flaws provide cover for big oil and politicians who wish to preserve the status quo. Together they comprise a deadly prescription for inaction and catastrophically high levels of irreversible climate and ecological breakdown.

First, consider “by 2050”. This deadline feels comfortably far away, encouraging further climate procrastination. Who feels urgency over a deadline in 2050? This is convenient for the world’s elected leaders, who typically have term limits of between three and five years, less so for anyone who needs a livable planet.

Pathways for achieving net zero by 2050 – meaning that in 2050 any carbon emissions would be balanced by CO2 withdrawn through natural means, like forests, and through hypothetical carbon-trapping technology – are designed to give roughly even odds for keeping global heating below 1.5C. But it’s now apparent that even the current 1.1C of global heating is not a “safe” level. Climate catastrophes are arriving with a frequency and ferocity that have shocked climate scientists. The fact that climate models failed to predict the intensity of the summer’s heatwaves and flooding suggests that severe impacts will come sooner than previously thought. Madagascar is on the brink of the first climate famine, and developments such as multi-regional crop losses and climate warfare even before reaching 1.5C should no longer be ruled out.

Meanwhile, “net zero” is a phrase that represents magical thinking rooted in our society’s technology fetish. Just presuppose enough hypothetical carbon capture and you can pencil out a plan for meeting any climate goal, even while allowing the fossil fuel industry to keep growing. While there may be useful negative-emissions strategies such as reforestation and conservation agriculture, their carbon capture potential is small compared with cumulative fossil fuel carbon emissions, and their effects may not be permanent. Policymakers are betting the future of life on Earth that someone will invent some kind of whiz-bang tech to draw down CO2 at a massive scale.

The world’s largest direct air capture facility opened this month in Iceland; if it works, it will capture one ten-millionth of humanity’s current emissions, and due to its expense it is not yet scalable. It is the deepest of moral failures to casually saddle today’s young people with a critical task that may prove unfeasible by orders of magnitude – and expecting them to somehow accomplish this amid worsening heatwaves, fires, storms and floods that will pummel financial, insurance, infrastructure, water, food, health and political systems.

It should tell us all we need to know about “net zero by 2050” that it is supported by fossil fuel executives, and that climate uber-villain Rupert Murdoch has embraced it through his News Corp Australia mouthpiece.

So where does this leave us? Stabilizing the rapidly escalating destruction of the Earth will require directly scaling back and ultimately ending fossil fuels. To lower the odds of civilizational collapse, society must shift into emergency mode.

It will be easy to tell when society has begun this shift: leaders will begin to take actions that actually inflict pain on big oil, such as ending fossil fuel subsidies and placing a moratorium on all new oil and gas infrastructure.

Then rapid emissions descent could begin. I believe the global zero-emissions goal should be set no later than 2035; high-emitting nations have a moral obligation to go faster, and to provide transition assistance to low-emitting nations. Crucially, any zero goal must be paired with a commitment to annual reductions leading steadily to this goal year by year, and binding plans across all levels of government to achieve those annual targets. If this sounds extreme, bear in mind that climate breakdown has still only barely begun and that the damage will be irreversible.

Negative emissions strategies must also be left out of climate planning – in other words, forget the “net” in “net zero”. Otherwise they will continue to provide the distraction and delay sought by the fossil fuel industry. It would be beyond foolish to gamble our planet on technologies that may never exist at scale.

Due to the decades of inaction dishonestly engineered by fossil fuel executives, the speed and scale now required is staggering. There is no longer any incremental way out. It’s time to grow up and let go of the fantasy that we can get out of this without big changes that affect our lives. Policy steps that seem radical today – for example, proposals to nationalize the fossil fuel industry and ration oil and gas supplies – will seem less radical with each new climate disaster. Climate emergency mode will require personal sacrifice, especially from the high-emitting rich. But civilizational collapse would be unimaginably worse.

As a climate scientist, I am terrified by what I see coming. I want world leaders to stop hiding behind magical thinking and feel the same terror. Then they would finally end fossil fuels.

This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of news outlets strengthening coverage of the climate story.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

Jane Goodall still has hope for humanity. Here’s why

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 11: Dr Jane Goodall poses for a photo at Taronga Zoo on October 11, 2008 in Sydney, Australia. Goodall, the world renowned primatologist, has acknowledged the breeding and work research carried out by the Chimpanzee Group at Taronga Zoo over recent years. (Photo by Robert Gray/Getty Images)

How a tree, a dog and a chimpanzee taught Jane Goodall to hold on to hope
ABC Radio National /  By Karen Tong and Meredith Lake for Soul Search 11 Sept 21,

Throughout her life, acclaimed ethologist Jane Goodall has witnessed an array of environmental destruction, from deforestation to the loss of biodiversity to the catastrophic effects of climate change.

But despite this, Dr Goodall still has hope. Lots of it.

“I saw places that we had utterly destroyed, covered with concrete, but give nature a chance and she’ll reclaim it,” she tells RN’s Soul Search.

“I saw animals on the very brink of extinction, [but] because people care, they’ve been given another chance.”

This outlook has not come easily, and Dr Goodall credits it to a collection of “teachers” in life who have given her lessons of “humanity and hope.”

Five of these most important “teachers” include a reading tree, her first dog and – of course – her beloved chimps…………………

Hope for the future

Dr Goodall is still pushing boundaries as a conservation leader and activist – and she’s still cultivating an extraordinary capacity for curiosity, wonder and hope.

“I can’t wave a magic wand, but I can spend all my effort in trying to get everybody to realise that if we get together, if each one of us does what we can to make a difference every day, we start moving away from the doom and gloom,” she says……

September 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

We need global action on climate, just like global action on pandemic – Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall says global disregard for nature brought on coronavirus pandemic, ABC South West Vic / By Kirsten Diprose and Matt Neal, 11 Apr 2020  Renowned conservationist and activist Dr Jane Goodall is hoping the coronavirus pandemic will be a wake-up call, warning the crisis is a result of human disregard for nature and animals.

Key points:

  • Dr Jane Goodall, marking 60 years of field research and discovering that chimpanzees make and use tools, says animal habitat loss and intensive farming are part of the viruses jumping species
  • She says as forests disappear, animals come in closer contact with each other and humans
  • Dr Goodall equates the human disregard for nature as also the root cause of climate change

Dr Goodall said we should have known a pandemic-like coronavirus was coming because other viruses, such as SARS and HIV, also jumped the species barrier from animals.

Both SARS and COVID-19 are types of coronavirus
 and have been traced to live animal markets, or wet markets, in China.

But Dr Goodall said the loss of animal habitats and intensive farming are part of the problem, making it easier for viruses to spread from one animal to another and then to humans.

“We have to learn to think differently about how we interact with the natural world,” she said.

And one of the problems is that as more and more forests have disappeared, so animals themselves have come in closer contact with each other.

“Most of these viruses that jumped to us have come through an intermediary. So there’s a reservoir host like a bat and in [the case of COVID-19] it’s thought to have jumped into a pangolin and then into us.”…………

Dr Goodall is marking 60 years since she first entered the jungles of Tanzania at the age of 26, to study chimpanzees.

It was her unorthodox approach of immersing herself in their habitat that led to the discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools.

The 86-year-old is also concerned the global chimpanzee population could become infected with COVID-19.

“The genetic makeup between humans and chimps differ by only just over one per cent,” she said…………..

‘Treating climate change like a pandemic’

Dr Goodall said it is the same disregard shown by humans towards nature that is also the root cause of climate change.

“The way we have treated the planet with our reckless burning of fossil fuel and coal mines — you know all about that in Australia, and how it is heating up the planet,” Dr Goodall said…..

She said the global community should have been treating climate change long ago as if it was a pandemic “because it’s actually far more devastating in terms of loss of life and people being driven from countries simply because the habitat is so inhospitable”.

”So why haven’t we been? Why haven’t we been treating climate change as the disaster it is?” Dr Goodall said.

“You only have to look around at some of the political leaders in different countries to understand why. Because people don’t want to think about making the changes necessary because it would impact their success in business.”

But Dr Goodall said there is reason to hope with the way leaders and communities are working together to fight coronavirus — evidence of what humanity is capable of.

Maybe it has taken something like this COVID-19 to wake us up and realise you can’t eat money,” she said.

“If we go on destroying nature in this way, go on disrespecting the other beings whom we share this planet, it’s a downward trajectory.

“So hopefully this [coronavirus response], which is affecting the whole world, will give us the jolt we seem to need to start behaving and thinking in a different way”……

September 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear sharing must end in Europe

[ by Angelika Claussen Angelika Claussen speaks at Büchel nuclear base on September 5. […]

Nuclear sharing must end in Europe

[On September 5, IPPNW regional Vice President Angelika Claussen spoke at a demonstration at the Büchel nuclear base in Germany, where 800 activists formed a human chain to call for the removal of the 20 US nuclear bombs that are stored there
From a peace and security policy perspective, the year 2021 has been particularly marked by two events: 

1. The entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in January 2021 and

2. The defeat of the USA as a world power in Afghanistan.

The entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a huge success story of the worldwide peace movement! The peace movement is a real success story. We, global civil society, in alliance with the countries of the global South and courageous, outstanding politicians from countries in Europe, from Austria and from Ireland, have achieved a nuclear ban. We expected resistance from the nuclear weapons states, as the TPNW is diametrically opposed to their interests!

Now it’s Europe’s turn! Nuclear sharing must end in Europe: in Germany, in Belgium, in the Netherlands and in Italy. We can also achieve this goal together if we are clever in our approach.

The first step is to call NATO’s nuclear dogma, the dogma of nuclear deterrence, into question.

And this is where the second major event comes into play: the defeat of the world power USA in Afghanistan. It is now crystal clear that military-based security policy is extremely destructive. The military and the arms race, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, are completely unsuitable as means to meet the humanity’s challenges in times of climate crisis. The military itself is a climate killer.

Instead, we need a civil security and peace policy that implements the important steps towards a socio-ecological transformation in cooperation with other countries.  Détente and cooperative security policies require drastic disarmament steps for climate justice.

The European peace movement is therefore putting nuclear disarmament in NATO on the agenda. Why does NATO need to use nuclear weapons at all?

Now is the time for nuclear sharing countries to take concrete steps together. “Nuclear free Europe” is the name of our joint campaign to create a dialogue between the peace movement and politicians on what a roadmap to end nuclear sharing in Europe could look like.

We are in the process of building our network in Western and Eastern Europe that includes Russia. Many NGOs and some willing politicians from European nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states are involved; ICAN, IPPNW, the IPB and the trade unions are also members.  

Our deadline for ending nuclear sharing is in five years. That is the time that the START treaty between the US and Russia has been extended. Talks have begun between experts from the two states with the aim of reducing military-related nuclear risks. But this is not enough for us.

Let’s build the campaign for a nuclear weapons-free Europe together in all of our countries! A campaign for a new policy of détente in Europe that explicitly includes Russia.

Let us jointly expand the cooperative relations that have long since begun in the area of climate policy to the area of security and peace! Let us look to our strengths, to our successes. A world free of nuclear weapons, stemming the climate crisis including climate justice and our right to life and health – all these goals belong together! That is what we are working for together here in Büchel!

September 11, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

29 Democrats demand Biden cut exorbitant spending on new nuclear weapons


Twenty-nine Democrats call out the president’s embrace of Trump-initiated nuclear weapon programs as the White House creates sweeping new policy.
The Intercept, Sara Sirota September 11 2021,  CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS Chair Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., is leading a group of Democrats in pushing back on President Joe Biden’s plans to continue spending exorbitant sums on an expanding nuclear arsenal.

“We write today to express our grave concern that your Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal for nuclear weapons does not reflect your longstanding efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons,” Jayapal and 28 Democratic colleagues wrote Biden today in a letter obtained by The Intercept. (In 2010, Biden led the White House’s efforts to convince the Senate to approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The treaty, which passed with a bipartisan majority, reduces the U.S. and Russia’s deployment of nuclear weapons.)

Their letter comes months after Biden caused alarm among progressives and the arms control community by proposing a defense budget that funded nuclear weapon programs initiated by the Trump administration that the Obama administration had deemed unnecessary. The budget also increased funding to develop highly controversial missiles started under President Barack Obama.

The stakes couldn’t be higher as the U.S. continues to grow its nuclear arsenal with an array of new warheads, bombs, cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and delivery vehicles, which activists warn increase the risk of nuclear war. Meanwhile, as Democrats face accusations of hiking the deficit to fund significant investments in health care, family benefits, and clean energy, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated Biden’s FY-22 budget proposal would result in costs of $634 billion over 10 years.

Jayapal and her colleagues see an opening for Biden to reverse course as the president works on crafting a nuclear weapons strategy to replace the Trump administration’s. “We respectfully urge you to use the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to set a nuclear strategy that aims to limit the role of nuclear weapons in our national security, reduces unnecessary spending, and sets the stage for progress towards your recent agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to pursue additional arms control and risk reduction measures,” they wrote.

They specifically call out Biden for his administration’s request for funds to develop a new high-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead known as the W93 that Donald Trump greenlighted and for his plans to maintain the B83 gravity bomb, which has an explosive yield up to 100 times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Obama administration had opposed these initiatives, they note, but Biden is now continuing them. (Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz pledged to retire the B83 since the government is replacing it with the B61-12 bomb.)………………..

September 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Texas bans storage of highly radioactive waste, but a West Texas facility may get a license from the feds anyway

The new law may soon be in conflict with federal regulators. A decision from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on one company’s license could come as early as Monday.

BY ERIN DOUGLAS  TEXAS TRIBUNE,  SEPT. 10, 2021  Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday night signed a bill into law that attempts to block a plan to store highly radioactive nuclear waste at a site in West Texas.

House Bill 7 effectively bans highly radioactive materials from coming to Texas, targeting one company’s plan to build such a facility near the New Mexico border in Andrews County.

But, the new state law may soon be in conflict with federal regulators. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is advancing the company’s application for a license to allow the high-level nuclear waste to Texas, and a decision from the federal agency could come as early as Monday, a spokesperson with the commission said.

For years, environmental and consumer advocates have protested a proposal by a West Texas company, Waste Control Specialists, to build with a partner an interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste, which is mostly spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants. Waste Control Specialists has been disposing of the nation’s low-level nuclear waste, including tools, building materials and protective clothing exposed to radioactivity, for a decade in Andrews County.

Scientists agree that spent nuclear fuel, which is currently kept on-site at nuclear power plants, should be stored deep underground, but the U.S. still hasn’t located a suitable site. The plan by the WCS joint venture, Interim Storage Partners, proposes storing it in above-ground casks until a permanent location is found. Spent nuclear fuel can remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years.

The joint venture, Interim Storage Partners, applied to the NRC for a license to store spent nuclear fuel — the most dangerous type of nuclear waste — on a site adjacent to that existing facility until a permanent underground repository is built. No such facility currently exists in the U.S…………

The legislation includes a ban on disposing of high-level radioactive waste in Texas other than former nuclear power reactors and former nuclear research and test reactors on university campuses (nuclear power plants must keep the waste generated from operations on-site until a long-term disposal site is created). The law will also bar state agencies from issuing construction, stormwater or pollution permits for facilities that are licensed to store high-level radioactive waste.

Environmental groups applauded the state law: “We hope [the law] sends a clear message to the feds: We don’t want it,” said Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, in a statement.

Karen Hadden, director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, an alliance of businesses and organizations that has long opposed the nuclear waste facility, said in a statement that the law will “prevent unnecessary transportation risks nationwide.”

Landgraf said in a statement that the state law should halt the construction of a site to store high-level nuclear waste because the law now bars the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from issuing the state permits that would be necessary to construct such a facility. He said the law protects Texas from “becoming the storage site for the entire country’s high-level radioactive waste.”

September 11, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Irradiated man kept alive for nuclear research

Paul Richards
, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, 10 Sept 21

Although most of Hisashi Ouchi’s body had been completely destroyed, including his DNA and immune system, the doctors kept him alive as a human experiment.They kept him alive for a total of 83 days until he died of multiple organ failures.

During those 83 days, Hisashi Ouchi underwent the first transfusion of peripheral stem cells, as well as several blood transfusions and skin transplants.However, neither the transfusions or transplants could keep his bodily fluids from leaking out of his pores.

During the first week of experiments, Hisashi Ouchi had enough consciousness to tell the doctors“I can’t take it anymore… I am not a guinea pig…”but they continued to treat him for 11 more weeks. The nurses caring for him also recorded the narcotic load to abate pain was not enough to give him relief. At the time of recording his death, his heart had stopped for 70 minutes and the doctors chose this time not to resurrect him.

UNBREAKABLE RECORD To this day, Hisashi Ouchi holds the record for the most radiation experienced by a surviving person, however, this is not an accomplishment that his family likely celebrates.

The case of malpractice by these doctors is extremely horrific and one of the greatest examples of human torture of the 20th century.Thankfully, medical professionals values, would not be superseded by the nuclear state, so this record in all probability will never be broken._____________More on why the accident happened:…/abs/10.1080/00963402.2000.11456942 from

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

How America’s war machine is bankrupting us, both financially and morally

“Napoleon said that it’s not necessary to censor the news. It’s more efficient to delay it until it no longer matters. In terms of the dead, it no longer matters.”

Norman Solomon on what the media won’t say: “The American people live in a warfare state” by Chauncey DeVaga — Rise Up Times

Author and activist Norman Solomon on how America’s war machine is bankrupting us, both financially and morally, By CHAUNCEY DEVEGA  Salon  September 8, 2021 ” …………….. America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan is now technically over.

…………………The Afghanistan war cost the American people at least $2 trillion. That amount will increase significantly from the interest paid on the massive debt incurred by the war over the next few decades.

America’s ugly withdrawal from Afghanistan leaves behind many “what ifs” that will haunt the nation’s collective memory for years to come. For example, what if the terrorist attacks of 9/11 had been treated as a law enforcement problem and not a military crisis that led to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? (Especially since the latter nation had no connection to al-Qaida or the 9/11 attacks.)

What role did the War on Terror and its thousands of U.S. casualties (disproportionately concentrated in the Rust Belt and the American South) play in the election of Donald Trump and the rise of American neofascism? Would Trump ever have become president if there had been no endless war in the Middle East?

The withdrawal from Afghanistan also illustrates how poorly America’s collective memory reflects facts and history. Too many members of the media and political classes, still haunted by the ghosts of Vietnam, the Afghan retreat is being invoked as somehow equivalent to the fall of Saigon in 1975. It is not.

………. These first drafts of history about America’s retreat from Afghanistan are very much works in progress.

As writer and cultural critic Gore Vidal once observed, “We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing.” To that point, the American people will not be asked to make sense of Afghanistan and the War on Terror in the context of a much larger history. (And if they were asked, would not generally be able to answer, or interested in doing so).

Here is the central question that is being avoided: What does all this illustrate or exemplify? The answer: America is addicted to war. Since the end of World War II, the country has been involved in dozens of conflicts and interventions around the world. In that sense, America’s war in Afghanistan is part of a much older and much longer story.

To discuss both that longer story and the one before us now, I recently had a conversation with author, activist and journalist Norman Solomon (a frequent contributor to Salon). He is the author of many books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death” and “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.” Solomon is the national director and co-founder of the online activist initiative and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy,

In this conversation, Solomon explains how he believes the American people are propagandized into supporting war by political leaders, the mainstream news media and other elites. He also reflects on how Afghanistan, Iraq and the larger War on Terror have been counterproductive on their own terms — leaving the American people less safe and less secure — as well as profoundly immoral and ruinously expensive.

He explains how human rights and justice demand that the American people learn to practice radical empathy for the Afghan people and others around the world who have suffered immeasurably from American military power. Toward the end of this conversation, Solomon explains that the lives of average Americans could be greatly improved if the U.S. did not spend vast sums of money on a military machine used almost entirely for destructive ends.

As a whole, the news media and the pundit class are generalists and professional “smart people.” They have little specific policy expertise on America’s forever wars or the Middle East, yet are presented as authoritative voices on that subject and too many others. How does the business of “expertise” and “punditry” actually work?

The qualification is largely that you have some type of institutional credential or be in a powerful position in Washington. You also have to stay more or less within the parameters of the bipartisan consensus about American politics, especially in terms of foreign policy.

What is verboten in such conversations?

In terms of U.S. foreign and military policy, there is a type of mass media housekeeping seal of approval. It is not completely monolithic. There are cracks in the wall. However, just because there are cracks does not somehow mean that the wall no longer exists.

The essence of propaganda is repetition. I believe there is a paradigm, a rule where there’s terrain that the corporate media tends to be very comfortable having discourse and debate on and within. Essentially, the mass media are part of the war-making apparatus.

How do you make sense of this public rehabilitation project for the likes of George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, two of the most prominent figures who made the decisions that led to these disastrous wars?

Consider all the praise, for example, that was visited on the late Donald Rumsfeld during his obituary period. There were so many members of the mainstream American news media who just basically licked Rumsfeld’s boots when he was giving his daily briefings during the war. Top journalists in the United States, on camera, were saying to Rumsfeld that he was like a “rock star,” that he was a “stud,” because he was articulating U.S. policy so well during those first weeks of the bombing of Afghanistan. I think of that spectacle all the time, where the media bows down to the warmakers in this country………..

The press is supposed to help the public understand current events so they can make better decisions about government, policy and leadership. But relatively few in the mainstream news media gave extensive coverage to the “Afghanistan Papers,” which were leaked not long ago and extensively documented that the war in Afghanistan had been lost for years. There is much fake surprise about the sudden end of the war and the Taliban taking over so quickly. The United States government knew of this highly probable outcome some time ago.

There is tremendous conformity-pressure. Being ahead of the discernment curve is very rarely a career enhancement. Whereas going with the herd, or being a little ahead of the curve but not going too far out on a limb, is a winning strategy for so many people who have risen through the ranks in mass media — and for that matter in government.

Napoleon said that it’s not necessary to censor the news. It’s more efficient to delay it until it no longer matters. In terms of the dead, it no longer matters. The last mistake is chalked up as in fact being just an error. But people who are going deeper in the analysis are saying, “There’s a fundamental dynamic here.”

We, the American people, live in a warfare state. As President Dwight Eisenhower warned as he was leaving office, we have a military-industrial complex. It’s striking how rarely we even hear that term being uttered by a prominent Democratic or Republican leader in Washington. It’s almost verboten………..

How do we better explain to the American people the role of profiteering by private interests and big business in the country’s wars?

When we hear that the war in Afghanistan was a “failure,” it really depends on what vantage point one is talking about. Every war is a colossal success for the military-industrial complex and huge numbers of Pentagon contractors. We call it the “defense industry.” That is a benign term.

I’m not against a defense budget. Too bad we don’t have one! We have a military budget that’s so much larger than a genuine defense budget would be. The profit-taking is enormous.

Where does the $700-something billion a year from the Pentagon go? Add in nuclear weapons and other items that are outside the Pentagon budget, and the number rises to $1 trillion. So much of that money is just going to these huge corporations. How often do we see a serious examination in the mainstream news media of the corporations that are making a killing, literally and figuratively, from the misery and death that’s part of the U.S. warfare state?

How has war been sold to the American people by the country’s leaders? What narratives are used to propagandize them into supporting American empire and war-making?………

Has the mainstream news media ever seen a war they didn’t like?

If there’s a deep division on Capitol Hill within or between the two parties, then the mass media, to some significant extent, might be against it. Again, war is framed around the question, “Is it winnable?”

Ultimately, that is the wrong question. Even now there are critics of the Afghanistan war saying, “It was a terrible idea. It could have never been won.” I can reasonably conclude that the seven-year-old girl I met with one arm didn’t really care if the U.S. won or lost. She didn’t care that Barack Obama was a Democrat overseeing the air war that took one of her arms.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | media, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council supports Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

 The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes
yesterday’s decision of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to
unanimously pass a resolution supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of
Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), as part of the ICAN Cities Appeal. Merthyr Tydfil
becomes the fourth Welsh Council to pass such a resolution, following on
from Gwynedd County Council, Bangor City Council and Nefyn Town Council.

 NFLA 9th Sept 2021

September 11, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dispute in U.S, Congress over costly nuclear weapons modernisation

Lawmakers set for battle over next-gen nuclear missile, Defense News, By Joe Gould  10 Sept 21, WASHINGTON ― Nuclear modernization opponents and defenders are gearing up to fight again over the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile and other efforts.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and a skeptic of nuclear spending on the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed he plans to offer nuclear-themed amendments when the annual defense bill receives House floor consideration later this month. One aims to pause the Air Force’s nascent Ground Based Strategic Deterrent in favor of maintaining the missile it would replace, the Minuteman III; another would zero out funds for the GBSD’s warhead, the W87-1.

…………  For the land-based missile, the stakes are high for Northrop Grumman, which received a $13.3 billion contract last year to develop GBSD. Last month, Northrop executives cut the ribbon on a $1.4 billion facility in Colorado Springs dedicated to GBSD and other strategic weapons programs.

………. Skeptics have argued modernization plans are dangerously escalatory, exceed what’s necessary for a credible nuclear deterrent and waste money that would be better spent on domestic programs. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., proposed a bill earlier this year to divert $1 billion from the GBSD program to fight the coronavirus………..

September 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pentagon calls on corporations for nuclear-powered propulsion for its satellites

General Atomics, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin are the prime contractors on that effort

Pentagon taps industry for nuclear-powered propulsion for its satellitesBy Nathan Strout  WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is looking to industry for nuclear-powered propulsion technology to drive its spacecraft, freeing them from the low-energy limitations of current electric and solar-based propulsion systems.

…….  DIU’s government customers are looking for lightweight, long-lasting commercial nuclear power solutions that can provide greater propulsion and electric power for small and medium-sized spacecraft. Interested companies that can show a plan for prototype development within three to five years could be awarded other transaction authority contracts to support laboratory-based prototyping of such systems, followed by a path to flight-based testing.

This isn’t the military’s first time dipping its toe into developing nuclear-powered spacecraft. Most recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency issued contracts to three companies in April to design a nuclear thermal propulsion system for space. The program, known as the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, seeks to build nuclear thermal propulsion that can enable rapid maneuver in space, particularly for cislunar operations.

General Atomics, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin are the prime contractors on that effort……….

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Canada, space travel | Leave a comment

BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) reaffirmed commitment to preventing an arms race in space.

BRICS countries reaffirm commitment to preventing arms race in space,“We stand together for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and enhancing safety of space operations through implementation and development of the relevant UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space guidelines,” the leaders noted in the New Delhi Declaration,

NEW DELHI, September 9. /TASS/. BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) reaffirmed commitment to preventing an arms race in space in the New Delhi Declaration adopted at the 13th BRICS summit on Thursday.

“We confirm the commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, and the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. In this regard, we note the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects,” the document reads.

“We stand together for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and enhancing safety of space operations through implementation and development of the relevant UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) guidelines,” the leaders pointed out.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment

U.S., Japan, S.Korea to meet over N.Korea nuclear standoff

U.S., Japan, S.Korea to meet over N.Korea nuclear standoff, By Josh Smith   SEOUL, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan will hold a meeting on North Korea next week in Tokyo, South Korea’s foreign ministry confirmed on Friday.

The three countries have been discussing ways to break a standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which have drawn international sanctions.

……………. U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it will explore diplomacy to achieve North Korean denuclearisation, but has shown no willingness to ease sanctions.

…… Pyongyang has also said it is open to diplomacy, but that it sees no sign of policy changes from the United States, citing issues such as sanctions as well as joint military drills with South Korea.Reporting by Josh Smith and Hyonhee Shin in Seoul and David Brunnstrom in Washiington; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Alistair Bell

September 11, 2021 Posted by | politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Mururoa nuclear test veterans fight for their children and grandchildren

Mururoa nuclear test veterans fight for their children and grandchildren, Stuff Jimmy Ellingham, Sep 11 2021  Forty-eight years after 500 Kiwi sailors were sent to French Polynesia to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific the effects on their health and families continue to reverberate.

Those aboard the HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury were several dozen kilometres away from the atmospheric tests they witnessed at Mururoa Atoll.

The sailors drank, washed in and cleaned their clothes in desalinated water from the fallout zone, and the ships’ decks were washed down with it.

In 2020, an Otago University study of 83 sailors and 65 children published in the New Zealand Medical Journal found they were at higher risk of transferring genetic illnesses across generations.

The research found 30 per cent of veterans had cancer and 31 per cent joint problems. Among their children, 40 per cent reported fertility problems, while many chose not to have offspring of their own because their fathers were exposed to radiation.

The veterans can get help or certain health conditions. Their descendants can’t get anything.

The Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group, an incorporated society representing the men from the two frigates and HMAS Supply, is working to change this.

Retired Rear Admiral Jack Steer, who didn’t serve at Mururoa but works with the group to advocate for veterans, said children and grandchildren were affected by their fathers and grandfathers being exposed to radiation on the protest mission.

The group wants to see as many veterans and descendants as possible tested to see if there is a link.

“A number of the veterans have died of various forms of cancer and some of them are very unwell. They believe they were eradiated. This test will prove beyond reasonable doubt whether they were.”

The group wanted to collect blood samples, so they’re available for scrutiny as science advances. It’s a costly process. Each sample costed $117, although the group had secured a place to store them, Steer said.

The group was hoping to secure government funding for testing, as had happened for Operation Grapple veterans, who witnesses British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 1950s.

Steer said the Mururoa veterans weren’t after compensation.

“What they want is that testing proves that their children and grandchildren were exposed to radiation or affected by their dads’ exposure to radiation.”

The group had recently secured $50,000 funding from the Returned and Services’ Association to start the testing project…….

September 11, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment