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The motivation of climate denial groups

Climate deniers want to protect the status quo that made them rich
Sceptics prefer to reject regulations to combat global warming and remain indifferent to the havoc it will wreak on future generations ,
Guardian,  John Gibbons, 22 Sept 17   From my vantage point outside the glass doors, the sea of grey hair and balding pates had the appearance of a golf society event or an active retirement group. Instead, it was the inaugural meeting of Ireland’s first climate denial group, the self-styled Irish Climate Science Forum (ICSF) in Dublin in May. All media were barred from attending.

Its guest speaker was the retired physicist and noted US climate contrarian, Richard Lindzen. His jeremiad against the “narrative of hysteria” on climate change was lapped up by an audience largely composed of male engineers and meteorologists – mostly retired. This demographic profile of attendees at climate denier meetings has been replicated in London, Washington and elsewhere.

How many people in the room had children or indeed grandchildren, I wondered. Could an audience of experienced, intelligent people really be this blithely indifferent to the devastating impacts that unmitigated climate change will wreak on the world their progeny must inhabit? These same ageing contrarians doubtless insure their homes, put on their seatbelts, check smoke alarms and fret about cholesterol levels.

Why then, when it comes to assessing the greatest threat the world has ever faced and when presented with the most overwhelming scientific consensus on any issue in the modern era, does this caution desert them? Are they prepared quite literally to bet their children’s lives on the faux optimism being peddled by contrarians?

“We have been repeatedly asked: ‘Don’t you want to leave a better Earth for your grandchildren,’” quipped the comedian and talk show host John Oliver. “And we’ve all collectively responded: ‘Ah, fuck ’em!’” This would be a lot funnier were it not so close to the bone.

Climate Change (Abbreviated): Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Short-termism and self-interest is part of the answer. A 2012 study in Nature Climate Change presented evidence of “how remarkably well-equipped ordinary individuals are to discern which stances towards scientific information secure their personal interests”.

This is surely only half the explanation. A 2007 study by Kahan et al on risk perception identified “atypically high levels of technological and environmental risk acceptance among white males”. An earlier paper teased out a similar point: “Perhaps white males see less risk in the world because they create, manage, control and benefit from so much of it.” Others, who have not enjoyed such an armchair ride in life, report far higher levels of risk aversion…….

Facing up to climate change also means confronting the uncomfortable reality that the growth-based economic and political models on which we depend may be built on sand. In some, especially the “winners” in the current economic system, this realisation can trigger an angry backlash.

This at last began to make sense of these elderly engineers crowding into hotel rooms to engage in the pleasant and no doubt emotionally rewarding group delusion of imagining climate change to be some vast liberal hoax.

In truth, the arguments hawked around by elderly white male climate deniers like Fred Singer, William Happer and Nigel Lawson among others are intellectually threadbare, pockmarked with contradictions and offer little more than a cherry-picked parody of how science actually operates. Yet this is catnip for those who choose to be deceived.

It is, however, deeply unfair to tar all elderly white men as reckless and egotistical; notable exceptions include the celebrated naturalist David Attenborough……

A century after elderly military leaders cheerfully sent millions of young men from the trenches to their slaughter in the first world war, the defiant mood of today’s climate deniers is best captured by the stirring words of Blackadder’s General Melchett: “If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through!” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/22/climate-deniers-protect-status-quo-that-made-them-rich

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September 23, 2017 Posted by | climate change, culture and arts, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

A new psychiatry book warns about Donald Trump

“A Duty to Warn” and the Dangerous Case of Donald Trump Renowned psychiatrist says despite “Goldwater Rule,” mental health experts have unique responsibility when someone in power may be dangerous, Common Dreams by Bill MoyersRobert Jay Lifton , 15 Sept 17 

There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, the work of 27 psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts to assess President Trump’s mental health. They had come together last March at a conference at Yale University to wrestle with two questions. One was on countless minds across the country: “What’s wrong with him?” The second was directed to their own code of ethics: “Does Professional Responsibility Include a Duty to Warn” if they conclude the president to be dangerously unfit?

As mental health professionals, these men and women respect the long-standing “Goldwater rule” which inhibits them from diagnosing public figures whom they have not personally examined. At the same time, as explained by Dr. Bandy X Lee, who teaches law and psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, the rule does not have a countervailing rule that directs what to do when the risk of harm from remaining silent outweighs the damage that could result from speaking about a public figure — “which in this case, could even be the greatest possible harm.” It is an old and difficult moral issue that requires a great exertion of conscience. Their decision: “We respect the rule, we deem it subordinate to the single most important principle that guides our professional conduct: that we hold our responsibility to human life and well-being as paramount.”

Hence, this profound, illuminating and discomforting book undertaken as “a duty to warn.”

The foreword is by one of America’s leading psychohistorians, Robert Jay Lifton. He is renowned for his studies of people under stress — for books such as Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (1967), Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans — Neither Victims nor Executioners (1973), and The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide(1986). The Nazi Doctors was the first in-depth study of how medical professionals rationalized their participation in the Holocaust, from the early stages of the Hitler’s euthanasia project to extermination camps.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump will be published Oct. 3 by St. Martin’s Press.

Here is my interview with Robert Jay Lifton — Bill Moyers………

“And that’s what I call malignant normality. What we put forward as self-evident and normal may be deeply dangerous and destructive. I came to that idea in my work on the psychology of Nazi doctors — and I’m not equating anybody with Nazi doctors, but it’s the principle that prevails — and also with American psychologists who became architects of CIA torture during the Iraq War era. These are forms of malignant normality. For example, Donald Trump lies repeatedly. We may come to see a president as liar as normal. He also makes bombastic statements about nuclear weapons, for instance, which can then be seen as somehow normal. In other words, his behavior as president, with all those who defend his behavior in the administration, becomes a norm. We have to contest it, because it is malignantnormality. For the contributors to this book, this means striving to be witnessing professionals, confronting the malignancy and making it known”……..

“the only reality he’s capable of embracing has to do with his own self and the perception by and protection of his own self. And for a president to be so bound in this isolated solipsistic reality could not be more dangerous for the country and for the world. In that sense, he does what psychotics do. Psychotics engage in, or frequently engage in a view of reality based only on the self. He’s not psychotic, but I think ultimately this solipsistic reality will be the source of his removal from the presidency.”………https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/15/duty-warn-and-dangerous-case-donald-trump

September 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, psychology - mental health, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Fear and Loathing Within America’s ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

INSIDE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: PARANOIA AND STIFLED WORKBased on interviews with 47 current and former EPA employees, a new report paints a picture of a deeply divided and stymied agency. Pacific Standard, FRANCIE DIEP, JUN 20, 2017 A new report paints the Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt’s leadership in a particularly bad light.

Among the allegations from the report, which relies on anonymous sources: that Pruitt, despite his role as EPA head, has almost never met with environmental groups, and is, in fact, hamstringing his own agency’s law enforcement and regional offices; that Pruitt has banned employees from taking pen and paper into meetings out of fear of information being leaked; and that Pruitt’s office suppressed plans for an agency Earth Daypicnic because it seemed too combative.

“Beneath the veneer of Pruitt’s public statements and appearances, I think there’s a lot of dysfunction,” says Christopher Sellers, a history professor at Stony Brook University who interviewed 32 current and former EPA employees for the report, which was released publicly today by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, an activist group of university professors. EDGI organized shortly after President Donald Trump’s election in a response to what founders saw as anti-science sentiment in the administration.

The new EDGI report indicates there’s widespread demoralization and dissent within the EPA. That’s not surprising. Trump has long called for policies that are sure to be unpopular at the agency. While running for office, he vowed to shutter the agency. Since then, he has blamed environmental regulation for killing jobs; worked to repeal EPA rules; and, in his proposed budget, called for a 31 percent cut to the agency’s funding, which would likely eliminate thousands of jobs. Pruitt, meanwhile, has denied the reality of climate change, then later said he thought the Earth is warming, but wasn’t sure how much human activity had to do with it. What the new report offers are fresh details about Pruitt’s internal decisions and how they may already be affecting the agency’s work.

For the report, Sellers worked with seven other academics to interview 10 current and 37 former employees of the EPA between December of 2016 and May of this year. They recruited their sources through EPA alumni groups and by asking people they were already in contact with to refer them to others. They did not reveal their sources’ identities to Pacific Standard. Requests for comment from the EPA were not returned.

EDGI’s work paints a picture of an imbalanced agency that favors certain industries and constituents over others and is stymied by distrust between its head and his staff. Indeed, some doubt whether Pruitt wants the EPA to work at all. “I think the plan is to get rid of EPA,” one employee told the EDGI interviewers. “I think this is just phase one.”

ONLY SOME STAKEHOLDERS

Pruitt hasn’t been around for his staff, interviewees told EDGI. Few of the interviewees had seen him in the Washington, D.C., office. Instead, the sources said Pruitt seems to travel frequently and to pay attention to a select group of stakeholders: He’s gone to meet the governors of Western states, farmers, and coal miners, for example. He decorated headquarters with posters showing him shaking hands with miners. In late March, Trump visited the EPA headquarters to sign an executive order rewriting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and starting the process of lifting a moratorium on coal leasing on federal land. He did so with Pruitt at his side and several coal miners surrounding him. “You know what it says, right?” Trump told the miners. “You’re going back to work.”…..https://psmag.com/environment/paranoia-and-stifled-work-at-epa

June 26, 2017 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment

The devastating social and mental health legacies of atomic bomb testing

The worst effects of our nuclear programme are the ones that nobody talks about http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nuclear-war-threat-weapons-us-north-korea-russia-nuclear-testing-worst-thing-a7739131.html  Between 1946-1996, more than 2,000 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the US, UK, Soviet Union, France and China. Most of these took place in locations selected on the basis of colonial history, and in lands belonging to indigenous peoples Beyza Unal , 16 May 17  A quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, interest in nuclear weapons has revived, not reduced. But still a taboo surrounds our nuclear legacy. For all the debate over the tensions between the United States and North Korea, a taboo still surrounds the lingering impacts of nuclear weapons testing and fears for their future use in conflict.

Our latest research looked not only at the implications of a potential future nuclear conflict, but also the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons testing for more than seven decades.

Between 1946-1996, more than 2,000 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the US, UK, Soviet Union, France and China. Most of these took place in locations selected on the basis of colonial history, and in lands belonging to indigenous peoples. And the impacts were severe.

  • As well as devastating costs to their health and environment, many affected communities still live with the social, cultural and economic consequences of these tests. Subjected to forced displacement, they lost their land and connection to that land forever. Many were prevented from pursuing their traditional livelihoods. Not everyone was compensated, and those affected reported a lack of official accountability.Nuclear tests have adversely impacted mental health, by fostering climate of fear over radiological exposure in test locations, and through the creation culture of social stigma and discrimination.
  • One of the less tangible legacies of nuclear tests has been a sense of humiliation and alienation from society. This was seen following the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when hibakusha women – survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – faced marriage discrimination, but it echoed at testing sites. As a UNIDIR study noted, women from the Marshall islands suffered “humiliating” examinations by US military medical and scientific personnel as a result of the American nuclear weapons testing programme until 1958.
  • oday, the potential use of nuclear weapons, deliberate or accidental,  represents a great risk to humanity. Two decades on from its inception, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) – an agreement to ban all types of nuclear detonations, including atmospheric, underground, space and underwater tests – has still not entered into force. The international nuclear order is in peril: the US and Russia have increased investment in nuclear modernisation; North Korea has conducted five tests in the past decade and has the will to continue, regardless of sanctions or threats of action.Nuclear testing is part of weapons research and development: several steps ahead of a test is the decision to be ready, in principle, to use a nuclear weapon. There is an important connection between the widely-supported comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, and attempts to ban nuclear weapons altogether. A ban on testing has been pursued largely due to unacceptable effects on human life and the environment; precisely the same concerns drive current efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons.
  • Last week, the British and Australian governments announced healthcare aid for the indigenous communities who were exposed to radiation as a result of British nuclear tests 50 years ago. In a personal interview with us last year, Sue-Coleman Haseldine, a first-generation nuclear test survivor in Australia,  told us the only possible compensation to her community would be “a world free of nuclear weapons”.It’s time to start talking about the long-lasting effects of nuclear weapons. After all, unless we do, the nuclear taboo will only exist until a devastating detonation occurs somewhere in the world.

    Dr Beyza Unal is a research fellow in nuclear weapons policy at Chatham House

May 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, social effects, weapons and war | Leave a comment

DECODING THE DONALD PHENOMENON

 Call it what you want. There is an explanation for his behavior. https://twoifbycharmwordpress.wordpress.com/

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, we have seen numerous examples of Donald Trump’s behavior fitting neatly into the blueprint presented in this blog.  The “black heart” and “lack of empathy” Mr. Khan so eloquently spoke of falls within the framework of a dangerous personality disorder according to experts.  Some call it Narcissistic Personality Disorder, while other experts describe this behavior as sociopathic, or psychopathic.

The purpose of the original posting below (link to WordPress article dated 07.14.16 is posted here) is to call attention to an apparent mental health issue relating to Trump.  It is to provoke thought and incite a broad discussion around Donald Trump’s apparent dangerous personality disorder, and to provide a reliable and consistent profile of Trump’s behavior.

Based on Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Martha Stout’s highly-touted book, The Sociopath Next Door, Trump seems to fit the bill of a sociopath, and that is why I speculated that he is a sociopath in the original posting.  A reasonable person must admit that Trump’s behavior does align with the description in her introductory chapter (YouTube link is here).

Many experts believe Trump is a narcissist.  In fact, a retired psychotherapist, with over 40 years of experience, wrote a comment about my article, stating that he believes everything I wrote about him in the posting is “precise and true,” though he believes Trump “fits into the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, one of the most severe I and most other psychotherapists I have talked to, and who have written about it, have ever seen.”

Call it what you want to.  diagnosis is for the experts.  My thesis below is simply that “Trained in sociopathy or not, I can state one certainty: If there is a debate about whether a person is a narcissist or a sociopath (or any of the related personality disorders), there is much cause for alarm if you are within that person’s sphere of influence. The stakes are even higher if the questioned individual is in contention to lead the free world.”

With or without agreement to the posting’s proposition, if you believe this discussion should be had on a broader level, I kindly ask you to chime in, and to share it.  I believe it gives a strong perspective, in real-life terms, on what the world is observing in Donald Trump’s campaign and behavior.  It also provides an education that could help everyday people gain perspective and healing when they are affected by someone with a personality disorder, such as sociopathy.

Thank you for reading this post, your comments.  This article has now been read in 30 countries worldwide, and several experts have chimed in favorably towards the thesis.

Note:  Please leave your comments at the original postinglink to WordPress article dated 07.14.16 is posted here so it will be combined with the broader discussion.  This posting may be updated or replaced from time-to-time.

May 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment

Some US Republicans are worried about President Trump’s mental state

Republicans Close To Trump Say President Is Showing Signs Of Mental Illness http://www.politicususa.com/2017/03/20/republicans-close-trump-president-showing-signs-mental-illness.html By  , Mar 20th, 2017 
Republican strategist and MSNBC contributor Nicolle Wallace said that people outside of the administration who have spent time with Trump said that the president is showing signs of paranoia and delusion over his belief that Obama wiretapped him.

Wallace said, “I sense that they have no plans today of walking away from this claim. This is still the president’s belief. Some folks still close to the president, but not on the White House staff said it’s a word I can’t say on family-friendly TV, but the initials are B and S. Another person who spent time with the president this weekend in Florida said it was signs of paranoia and delusion around this idea that he’s so right. Interestingly, he has sought to have people outside the government corroborate this wiretapping claim, which either suggests this observation of paranoia and delusion is in fact operation or extreme ignorance of all the powers at his disposal and all the investigative powers of the federal government.”

These are Republicans close to Trump who claimed that the President Of The United States is paranoid, delusional, and believes that Obama wiretapped him. Wallace’s comments on MSNBC were a statement that the President might be mentally ill.

Before anyone asks, the constitutional standard for the removal of a president contains no discussion of mental fitness. It would be difficult to nearly impossible to remove Trump from office due to mental illness. It would have to be demonstrated that Trump is physically unable to perform the job of president.

The Trump claim that Obama wiretapped him was not some brilliant diversion. Trump’s belief that Obama spied on him is the mark of a paranoid, and mentally ill president.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | politics, psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s divide and conquer tactics produce a toxic White House environment

Trump White House is ‘a pretty hostile environment to work in,’ and staff are getting paranoid, Daily Kos, By Laura Clawson   Mar 16, 2017 As the head of a private business, Donald Trump is known for keeping his employees divided and suspicious of one another, and his White House is not turning out any different. Add an ongoing beef with the intelligence community and the mere existence of civil servants throughout government who aren’t Trump loyalists, and Trump’s people are descending to full-on paranoia. A senior administration aide told Politico that “People are scared” in a White House that’s “a pretty hostile environment to work in.” But there’s more:

March 18, 2017 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment

The connection between optimism, and having a global point of view

Thinking globally linked to optimism EurekAlert, 4 Oct 16 SOCIETY FOR CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY As the world becomes increasingly global, people often respond one of two ways: They start to consider themselves part of the larger global community, or they strengthen their association with their smaller national or local community.
world-in-hands

These differences can lead to heated debates, such as the Brexit situation which pitted English citizens against one another as the country decided whether or not to leave the E.U. What if our global or local mindsets influenced the types of goals we set and the way we think about our own lives?

This was the question that researchers set out to answer, and their findings are available online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. The investigators suspected that people with a global mindset would adopt goals that encourage growth and advancement (promotion goals).

“Previous research has shown that people with a promotion mindset think more broadly and about the future,” says researcher Rajeev Batra, a professor in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “They are more optimistic and want to maximize the positive things in their lives.”

People with a local mindset, however, would most likely focus on goals that center around roles and responsibilities (prevention goals). “These people think about the here and now and want to minimize the negative, prevent losses and think about reasons not to do things,” Batra says……

The researchers also conducted two other experiments that showed similar variations between people who associated with global versus local identities.

“These mindset differences might help us understand why we see some of the population adopting a more broad, optimistic view while others are more protective of the status quo,” Ng says. “Policy makers who want to influence people to think more globally may want to design campaigns about global issues, such as climate change, that help people connect with the worldwide community.” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/sfcp-tgl100316.php

October 4, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Pro Nuclear Environmentalists trivialise Chernobyl with lies about psychological trauma

Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll, Ecologist, Dr Jim Green 7th April 2016“……..Psychological trauma

liar-nuclear1Finally, PNEs [Pro Nuclear Environmentalists] also trivialise Chernobyl by peddling the furphy that the psychological trauma was greater than the biological effects from radiation exposure. There’s no dispute that, as the WHO states, the relocation of more than 350,000 people in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster “proved a deeply traumatic experience because of disruption to social networks and having no possibility to return to their homes.”

How to compare that psychological trauma to estimates of the death toll, such as the UN/WHO estimate of 9,000 cancer deaths in ex-Soviet states? Your guess is as good as mine.

Perhaps the biological damage and psychological trauma can be compared and ranked if we consider the second of the two defensible positions regarding the long-term death toll – UNSCEAR’s position that the death toll is uncertain. Does the psychological trauma outweigh the 50 or so known deaths, around 6,000 non-fatal thyroid cancers (withanother 16,000 to come), and an uncertain long-term death toll?

The argument only begins to make sense if you accept the third of the two defensible positions regarding the death toll – the view that there were no deaths other than emergency workers and a small number of deaths from thyroid cancers. Thus Mark Lynasasserts that “as Chernobyl showed, fear of radiation is a far greater risk than radiation itself in the low doses experienced by the affected populations” and he goes on to blame anti-nuclear campaigners for contributing to the fear.

But the trauma isn’t simply a result of a fear of radiation – it arises from a myriad of factors, particularly for the 350,000 displaced people. Nor is the fear of radiation necessarily misplaced given that the mainstream scientific view is that there is no threshold below which radiation exposure is risk-free.

Most importantly, why on earth would anyone want to rank the biological damage and the psychological trauma from the Chernobyl disaster? Chernobyl resulted in both biological damage and psychological trauma, in spades.

Psychological insult has been added to biological injury. One doesn’t negate the other.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where a version of this article was originally published. Nuclear Monitor, published 20 times a year, has been publishing deeply researched, often critical articles on all aspects of the nuclear cycle since 1978. A must-read for all those who work on this issue! http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987515/radiation_harm_deniers_pronuclear_environmentalists_and_the_chernobyl_death_toll.html

 

April 8, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The philosophy of science denial within the nuclear lobby

the cancers near the nuclear sites are caused by internal exposures, to Plutonium, Uranium, Tritium, internal emitters

Strontium-90, Caesium-137, Iodine-131, Carbon-14, particles and huge amounts of radioactive noble gases Krypton-85 and Argon-41. There are more nasty isotopes but that will do.And internal exposures can deliver doses to the cell and to the DNA which are far above the small doses that the hormesis people are citing. They are talking about low external doses around external natural background, up to 10 mSv.



Thorium-snake-oilNuclear radiation, Kierkegaard, and the philosophy of denial, The Ecologist, Chris Busby 8th January 2016
 As the evidence of the extreme harm to health inflicted by nuclear radiation mounts, the denialists are resorting to ever greater extremes, writes Chris Busby. On the one hand, advancing the absurd claim that ionising radition is not merely harmless, but health-enhancing. On the other, closing down the experiment that would have provided the strongest evidence yet………

I want to apply the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s approach to something that Science can explain and has: the health effects of ionising radiation.

Kierkegaard said of belief that it becomes stronger the more impossible and threatened it is. And this seems to be rapidly coming true in the case of nuclear energy. The torture imposed on logic, reason and observational data by the advocates of nuclear power has now reached the level of clinical psychosis.

A psychosis is a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired. There is so much evidence that nuclear power kills, causes cancer, mutates populations, reduces fertility and kills babies that only a mad person would continue with the belief that it is a good thing and should be pursued no matter what the cost in money and death.

And as they move to even greater levels of psychotic delusion they present two new survival strategies which make it brilliantly clear that the proponents of nuclear are off their heads.

First the recent move to petition the US nuclear regulators to accept the idea that small amounts of radiation are actually good for you (Yes!); we should all be forced to be irradiated like food, maybe at birth in the equivalent of a mass vaccination. In you go, Jimmy: BZZZZZ, there you are, that didn’t hurt did it?

And the second, as I wrote about recently, is to cancel the US nation-wide study of cancer near nuclear plants.

Are these two moves related? You bet! If the National Academy of Sciences Cancer Study found that people are dying because of the ‘low doses’ received from the emissions, then obviously low doses of radiation can’t be good for you. We are back to the Dark Ages. Continue reading

January 8, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The nuclear terror motivations of extremists of Salafi jihadists and of White Supremacists

elephant-terror-in-roomBreak-In at Y-12 How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites .New Yorker, BY ERIC SCHLOSSER , 9 March 15 “…….After considering the threat of nuclear terrorism for many years, William C. Potter, the director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Gary Ackerman, the director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, at the University of Maryland, outlined some of the motives that could drive a terrorist group to obtain a nuclear weapon. The group might hope to create mass anxiety or mass casualties. It might want to deter attacks by a state with nuclear weapons. It might want to destroy a large area belonging to an adversary. It might want the prestige that nuclear weapons seem to confer, the status of being a world power. And it might seek to fulfill a religious goal. Groups that have an apocalyptic outlook—that believe “an irremediably corrupt world must be purged to make way for a utopian future,” that celebrate violence as a means of achieving those aims—could be especially drawn to nuclear weapons, Potter and Ackerman found. Today, the number of those groups seems to be multiplying.

“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it,” Osama bin Laden declared in 1998. Al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has said that his mood won’t improve until America vanishes. And he quoted, with approval, a radical imam’s view that using a nuclear weapon against the United States would be sanctified by God: “If a bomb were dropped on them, destroying ten million of them and burning as much of their land as they have burned of Muslim land, that would be permissible without any need to mention any other proof.”

The Salafi jihadist world view promoted by Al Qaeda stresses the religious duty to purify corrupt states through violence, drive out infidels, and create a new caliphate—a perfect state in which religious and political leadership will be merged. Seth G. Jones, the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, estimates that there are about fifty Salafi jihadist groups worldwide. They focus primarily on local struggles, battling the “near enemy,” not the “far enemy”: the United States. The groups most likely to commit terrorist acts on American soil are Al Qaeda, its offshoot Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). None have thus far engaged in nuclear terrorism, preferring more conventional and reliable forms of violence.

Salafi jihadists aren’t the only millenarian group that might be drawn to nuclear weapons. During the early nineties, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) attempted to buy nuclear weapons in Russia, purchased land in Australia to mine for uranium, and sought technical assistance from scientists at Moscow’s leading institute for nuclear research…….
White supremacists in the United States have also fantasized about using nuclear weapons to purify society. Before Timothy McVeigh destroyed Oklahoma City’s federal building with a truck bomb, in 1995, he travelled the country selling copies of “The Turner Diaries,” a 1978 novel long considered the bible of the white-power movement. It features a protagonist who flies a plane carrying a nuclear weapon into the Pentagon, committing suicide in order to destroy Washington, D.C. In the book’s “happy” ending, white patriots use nuclear weapons stolen from Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, to annihilate inferior races throughout the world. Although the threat of Islamic terrorism has received a great deal of media attention, since 9/11 more people have been killed in the United States by American extremists than by foreign jihadists……….http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/09/break-in-at-y-12?mbid=social_twitter

 

March 7, 2015 Posted by | psychology - mental health, safety, social effects | Leave a comment

Fukushima mothers feel intimidated against speaking about radiation anxieties

INTERVIEW/ Yukihiko Kayama: Experts should help Fukushima mothers speak up about radiation fears, Asahi Shimbun  December 26, 2014 By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer  FUKUSHIMA--Psychiatrist Yukihiko Kayama said it is becoming more embarrassing, with the passage of time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, for mothers in Fukushima Prefecture to casually discuss their fears of radiation.

In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Kayama attributed the trend to a “division” within the population of Fukushima Prefecture, whereby a divergence in their lifestyles according to their residential areas, available economic resources and other factors has made it difficult for them to relate to each other’s feelings.

He proposed meetings of experts with small audiences of residents, where participants could feel at ease talking about their own experiences, concerns and other problems. That would ease the speakers’ emotions to a certain extent, Kayama said.

Excerpts of the interview follow:……………

“….For one thing, people consciously keep from talking about radiation because many of them have found their own ways of coming to terms with radiation in their lives. But rather, I think it is truer to say that, with the passage of time since the nuclear disaster, it is becoming more embarrassing to talk about radiation at all.

That is partly because you are afraid you could be taken for being eccentric if you don’t react to radiation concerns the way others do. Some are concerned they could be taken for nervous ones who still worry about radiation if they just mentioned the topic of radiation.

You also tend to keep your mouth shut when you don’t know the background of the people you are talking to………..”  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/opinion/AJ201412260004

December 26, 2014 Posted by | Japan, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

America’s dangerous thinking about national security and nuclear weapons

America-eagleBeyond M.A.D.: Reviving Nuclear War, Huffington Post,6 Dec 14 

 Become a fan “Some of the key technocrats and scientists of the Cold War say the nation has become overly confident about its nuclear deterrence. The nuclear enterprise, they say, ‘is rusting its way to disarmament.'”

Let’s meditate on this irony — that disarmament, finally, means no more than growing old and weak and pathetic.

What brilliant Cold War Revival propaganda, masquerading, in the Los Angeles Timeslast week, as objective reporting. Let’s meditate on the dark chuckles of the Cold War technocrats, as they attempt to summon an extra trillion dollars or so from the national coffers to restore America’s nuclear weapons program to the glory of the 1960s and push on vigorously with the design and development of the next generation of nukes: our national strength, the foundation of our security. All that’s missing from the article — “New nuclear weapons needed, many experts say, pointing to aged arsenal” — is Slim Pickens screaming “Ya-hoo!” as he rides the bomb into human oblivion at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

The ostensible focus of the article, as well as a second article published two weeks earlier, both by Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan, is the decrepitude of the American nuclear arsenal, with its myriad sites and delivery systems hampered with out-of-date technology and indifferent maintenance, e.g.: “Today, the signs of decay are pervasive at the Pantex facility in Texas, where nuclear weapons are disassembled and repaired. Rat infestation has become so bad that employees are afraid to bring their lunches to work.”

Oh, the horror. Rats and nukes. Next up, Godzilla? Any serious challenge to nuclear weapons as the ultimate manifestation and symbol of national strength is absent from these articles; so is any rational account of the danger their hair-trigger presence poses to humanity — not to mention the insanity of their ongoing development.

For instance:

“John S. Foster Jr., former director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and chief of Pentagon research during the Cold War, said the labs should design, develop and build prototype weapons that may be needed by the military in the future, including a very low-yield nuclear weapon that could be used with precision delivery systems . . .” (emphasis added).

During the Cold War, the primary justification for our gargantuan nuclear arsenal was contained in the acronym M.A.D.: mutually assured destruction. No more world wars, boys and girls! With the Cold War superpowers in possession of the means to destroy the human race, the only wars we could wage were relatively small, proxy wars in Third and Fourth World countries.

“Those who like peace should love nuclear weapons,” said Kenneth Waltz, Cold War academic extraordinaire and founder of the school of neorealism (as quoted recently by Eric Schlosser in The Guardian). “They are the only weapons ever invented that work decisively against their own use.”

But seven decades into the nuclear era, mission creep is making its presence felt along with the rust and rats. Link low-yield nuclear weapons with a word like “precision” and their use in a real war starts to feel almost justifiable — and so much more satisfying, apparently, than simply maintaining a nuclear arsenal for the purpose of never using it. Threat is power in the abstract. But a mushroom cloud over Central Asia or the Middle East is power made manifest, especially if one lacks the mental and spiritual capacity to grasp the consequences……….

What seems desperately outmoded and nearing collapse isn’t our nuclear infrastructure but our thinking about national security. The United States of America, nation of Manifest Destiny, was built on conquest and exploitation. This is the basis of its inability to believe that security could be based on anything except near-absolute power and the reason why, in the corridors of political power, disarmament is synonymous not with sanity but neglect.

Unless the paradigm shifts and we redefine ourselves as a nation — and we redefine our relationship to other nations, including our alleged enemies — our future is nuclear weapons we can use. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-koehler/beyond-mad-reviving-nucle_b_6272094.html
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available. Contact him atkoehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Psychopaths useful as leaders after a nuclear war?

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Not as strange as it sounds. In the early 1930s quite a few political and business leaders knew how dangerous Adolph Hitler was, but supported him because he looked like  a good ‘law and order’ leader
Government plan to let psychopaths rule after nuclear war, Yahoo News Rob Waugh – Thu, Oct 30, 2014 Post-apocalyptic films such as Mad Max often portray a lawless world ruled by violent psychopaths – and this was an option seriously debated by the Home Office in 1982 in a nuclear ‘war game’ scenario
Post-apocalyptic films such as Mad Max often portray a lawless world ruled by violent psychopaths – and this was an option seriously debated by the Home Office in 1982 in a nuclear ‘war game’ scenario.

A scientific advisor to the Home Office raised the idea as part of plans for how Britain might rebuild after a nuclear attack – in a test exercise where the Home Office envisaged half of Britain facing ‘unimaginable’ destruction from bombs.

Home Office scientific advisor Jane Hogg suggested that psychopaths could be used to maintain order in lawless areas, saying that pscyhopaths tend to be, ‘very good in crises’.

Hogg pointed out that, ‘They have no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical.

‘It is… generally accepted that around 1% of the population are psychopath. These are the people who could be expected to show no psychological effects in the communities which have suffered the severest losses.’

Hogg suggested psychopaths might be necessary to shore up numbers, as police would be tied up helping victims in areas which had suffered the most devastation from the blasts.

Her bosses were markedly less keen on the idea, and it was eventually shelved…..https://uk.news.yahoo.com/government-plan-to-let-psychopaths-rule-after-nuclear-war-110249378.html#G7vMEaZ

 

November 4, 2014 Posted by | psychology - mental health, UK | Leave a comment

Discrimination against the victims of nuclear radiation

radiation-warningThe Radiation That Makes People Invisible: A Global Hibakusha Perspective Robert Jacobs The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 30, No. 1, August 3, 2014.

“…………Discrimination– People who may have been exposed to radiation often experience discrimination in their new homes and may become social pariahs. We first saw this dynamic with the hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who found it very difficult to find marriage partners, since prospective spouses feared they would have malformed children, and found it difficult to find jobs since employers assumed that they would be chronically sick. Hibakusha children, moreover, often become the targets of bullying. It became very common to attempt to hide the fact that one’s family had been among those exposed to radiation.6

Many people are familiar with the story of Sadako who died at the age of twelve after being exposed to radiation from the nuclear attack on Hiroshima ten years earlier. Sasaki Sadako folded paper cranes in accordance with a Japanese tradition that someone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish. Sadako’s story has become well known and children around the world fold paper cranes when they learn her story, many of which are sent to Hiroshima. While Sadako has become a symbol of the innocence of so many hibakusha, her father tried to hide this fact so that his family would not suffer discrimination and was upset that his daughter had become so famously afflicted.

Children whose families evacuated from Fukushima prefecture after the triple meltdowns at Tepco’s nuclear power plant frequently became victims of bullying at their new schools. Cars with Fukushima license plates were scratched when parked in other prefectures. Often this is the result of the natural fear of contamination that is associated with people exposed to a poison. In the Marshall Islands those who were evacuated from Rongelap and other atolls that became unlivable after being blanketed with radioactive fallout from the US Bravo test in 1954 have had to live as refugees on other atolls for several generations now, with no prospect of return home. The Marshall Islands have a very small amount of livable land and so being moved to atolls that traditionally belonged to others left them with no access to good soil and good locations for fishing and storing boats. They have had to live by the good graces of their new hosts, and endure being seen as interlopers.

Becoming medical subjects– Many people who have been exposed to radiation then become the subjects of medical studies, often with no information about the medical tests to which they are subjected, and frequently without provision of treatment by those conducting the tests. Hibakusha of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki became medical subjects of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission during the American occupation of Japan after World War Two. This study has continued to this day under the now jointly administered US-Japan Radiation Effects Research Foundation. In the early days of the study Japanese hibakusha had no choice about being subjected to the medical exams. An American military jeep would appear in front of their homes and they had to go in for an examination, whether it was a good time or not. Not only did they receive no information about the results of their tests but the US government provided no treatment.7 This has happened in many radiation-affected communities.

In 1966 a US nuclear bomber blew up in midair and the debris fell on the small village of Palomares, Spain. Four H-bombs fell from the plane, one into the sea, and three onto the small village. None exploded but two broke open and contaminated part of the town with plutonium and other radionuclides. To this day some of the residents of Palomares are taken to Madrid each year for a medical examination as the effects of exposure on their health is tracked. They have never been given any of the results of the tests nor informed if any illnesses they develop were related to their exposures. They are subjects, not participants in the gathering and assessing of the effects of radiation on their bodies. There is no doubt that such studies contribute data to scientific understanding of the health consequences of radiation exposures (the data itself is contentious for reasons cited below)8, however for those from whom the information is gathered, being studied but not informed reduces one’s sense of integrity and agency in one’s health maintenance. Many Pacific islanders exposed to radiation by the nuclear tests of the US, the UK and France had such experiences where they were examined and then sent off with no access to the results and no medical follow-up. Many report feeling as if the data had been harvested from them and at their expense.

Anxiety– Often those exposed to radiation are told that they have nothing to worry about. Their anxieties are belittled. Radiation is a very abstract and difficult thing to understand. It is imperceptible – tasteless, odorless, invisible – adding to uncertainty that people feel about whether they were exposed, how much they were exposed to, and whether they and their loved ones will suffer any health effects. The dismissal of their anxieties by medical and governmental authorities only compounds their anxiety. When other members of their community develop health problems, such as thyroid cancer and other illnesses years later it can cast a pall over their own sense of wellbeing for the rest of their lives.

Every time that they run a fever, every time that they experience stomach pains, nosebleeds, and other common ailments, this anxiety rears up and they think – this is it, it’s finally got me. These fears extend to their parents, their children and other loved ones. Every fever that a child runs triggers fears that one’s child will die. Sadako was healthy for nine years following her exposure to radiation when she was two years old in Hiroshima, then one day her neck suddenly began to swell and she was soon diagnosed with leukemia. This is the nightmare world that the parents of children exposed to radiation, or who even simply suspect radiation exposure, experience on a daily basis. Every ailment can rip them apart.

Radiophobia and blaming the victim– Since it is often the case that who is and isn’t exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, especially to internalized alpha emitting particles, is unknown, large numbers of people near a radiological incident of some kind worry about their health and the health of loved ones. Among this group, some have been exposed and some have not. The uncertainty is part of the trauma. Often, as is currently the case for the people of FukushimaNorthern Japan, all of these people are dismissed as having undue fear of radiation, and are often told that their health problems are simply the result of their own anxieties. In some cases that may be true, but it is beside the point.

For those who have experienced a nuclear catastrophe, who may have been removed from their homes and communities and lost those bonds and support systems, who are uncertain as to whether each flu or stomach ache is the harbinger of the end, and who cannot be certain that contamination from hard to find alpha emitting particles is still possible when their children play in the park, anxiety is the natural response. Regardless of whether it causes acute health problems, forces outside of their control have upended their lives. They now must live a life of uncertainty and often experience discrimination. Of course they are going to suffer from the anxiety that this situation produces. To blame them for this is to blame the victims and is a further form of traumatization.9……….http://japanfocus.org/-Robert-Jacobs/4157

 

August 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, Reference, social effects | 2 Comments