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The current crisis aboard the USS Roosevelt lays bare the dangers of blind obeisance to President Trump.

TRUMP BROKE FAITH WITH CAPT. CROZIER AND ALL OUR SAILORS,  Crooked,  KEN HARBAUGH / APR.3.20  More than a dozen members of Congress on Friday condemned the U.S. Navy’s decision to dismiss the Commanding Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Earlier this week, in a memo leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, Capt. Brett Crozier accused the Navy of jeopardizing the lives of his crew, by failing to take swift action to mitigate an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard his ship. “Keeping over 4000 young men and women aboard the TR,” he wrote, “is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.” ….

How did we reach this point, with the commanding officer of one of America’s most powerful warships pleading for the lives of his crew? The U.S. Navy, like the rest of America’s military, is rigidly hierarchical. It has to be. Deployed forces must be relied upon to carry out the orders of their commander in chief. From day one, every service member learns the importance of adhering to the chain of command. But what happens when the most unreliable link in that chain is its very first one?

President Trump has demonstrated, time and again, that he has no qualms about using the military to advance his personal political ends. He routinely stages uniformed personnel as props for partisan speeches. He treats deployments like political theater, as when he dispatched elements of the 82nd Airborne to the southern border to stoke fears of an immigrant invasion. And he undermines discipline and unit cohesion, pardoning war criminals convicted by military juries.

The rot may start at the top, but it reaches downwards………..

The current crisis aboard the USS Roosevelt lays bare the dangers of blind obeisance to President Trump. When the COVID-19 virus first began to impact the military’s overseas operations, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned commanders not to take any action that might surprise or embarrass the White House, or challenge the president’s messaging about the crisis. For those on board the USS Roosevelt, the downstream effect of that order may well be deadly.  …….

How do we support these leaders, those with the courage to challenge blatantly political directives that needlessly endanger the lives of those they lead? To begin with, we must acknowledge what civilian control of the military actually means. It is not simply allegiance to the president. It requires Congress to perform effective oversight. Now, more than ever, America needs its elected representatives to hold military leaders accountable.

By law, every service member has a right to alert any member of Congress about issues within the military, provided no classified information is exchanged. For those in uniform who may not trust their own representatives, there are plenty of young veterans now in Congress (including one bad-ass female Navy pilot), who have no patience with the sycophancy infecting the Pentagon. Many of these representatives have come to the defense of Capt. Crozier.

Most importantly, the American public must do its part. We must remain alert whenever our armed forces are misused by the president. The American military belongs to us, not him. In his letter, Capt. Crozier alludes to the absurd politics behind the catastrophe unfolding aboard the USS Roosevelt. “This will require a political solution,” he writes, “but it is the right thing to do. Sailors do not need to die.” ………..

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives. Follow him on Twitter at @Team_Harbaugh. https://crooked.com/articles/trump-betrayed-crozier-sailors/

 

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump blasts the fired navy captain, Brett Crozier

‘He shouldn’t be talking that way’: Trump rips ousted Navy captain, Politico, 5 Apr 20

The president criticized Capt. Brett Crozier in harsh terms for a letter he wrote to Navy leaders notifying them of a spike in coronavirus cases among sailors on his carrier.  Trump said he fully supported Crozier’s removal….

“I thought it was terrible, what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear powered. And he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter,” Trump said……

More than 150 Roosevelt crew members have so far tested positive for Covid-19, the Navy said on Saturday. Forty-four percent of the crew has been tested, while more than 1,500 sailors have moved ashore as a smaller crew remains on board to sanitize the ship and keep its essential systems running.

Democrats in the House and Senate are now asking the Pentagon’s top watchdog to investigate whether Modly acted improperly [in firing Captain Crozier]. In a letter to acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine, 17 Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, requested a probe of both Crozier’s firing and the carrier’s outbreak……. ……https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/04/trump-brett-crozier-letter-165020

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

President Trump supports Navy decision to fire Captain Crozier

Trump Backs Dismissal of USS Roosevelt Captain President criticized Capt. Brett Crozier for writing memo pleading for help dealing with coronavirus outbreak at sea, By Andrew Restuccia,  April 5, 2020,

WASHINGTON—President Trump said he agreed with the Navy’s decision to fire Capt. Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, after a memo in which the captain pleaded for help with a coronavirus outbreak at sea leaked to the media.

The president said Saturday that it was inappropriate for Capt. Crozier to write the four-page memo in which he demanded that superiors allow him to take the carrier to the port in Guam to offload sailors stricken with Covid-19, the pneumonialike disease caused by the virus….(subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-backs-dismissal-of-uss-roosevelt-captain-11586042319

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Senators concerned about coronavirus response plan at Limerick nuclear plant

Sen. Muth seeks answers about coronavirus response plan at Limerick nuclear plant, The Mercury By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter, Apr 2, 2020  

LIMERICK — A state senator who represents parts of Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties called upon Exelon to improve its commitment to worker and community safety during a refueling at the Limerick Generating Station amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Thus far, Exelon has provided an inadequate pandemic response plan, withheld information from county and state officials, and failed to prioritize the safety of its employees, contract workers, community first responders, as well as all residents of the 44th senatorial district and entire region,” Senator Katie Muth (D-44th) wrote in an April 1 letter addressed to Exelon executives. “This is grossly irresponsible as Exelon has brought at least 1,400 workers to the epicenter of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 pandemic.”…….

Arkoosh said she was “deeply concerned” to learn that a number of the estimated 1,400 contract workers were staying at AirBnBs, private homes, campsites, hotels and other rental units in the Tri-county region, which saw its first cases of coronavirus on March 7.

Muth said she too is concerned and asked Exelon officials to provide a complete list of worker accommodations…….https://www.pottsmerc.com/news/coronavirus/sen-muth-seeks-answers-about-coronavirus-response-plan-at-limerick-nuclear-plant/article_7706e28e-7505-11ea-a590-6307cba4e976.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Covid 19 and government responses are affecting nuclear construction world-wide

April 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

The pandemic is being used by Trump administration to help polluting industries

Trump Administration is using a pandemic to hand out gifts to its favorite polluters

The Trump Administration is using COVID-19 to further its dismantling of environmental protection. Environmental Health News, Peter Dykstra 5 Apr 20, “……… far away from the justifiably wall-to-wall coverage of COVID-19, the Trump Administration is unrepentantly using the pandemic to hand out gifts to its favorite polluters.COVID-19 news deeply saddens me. This other stuff infuriates me.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) sent a 10-page letter to the White House requesting a loosening of regulations, citing the COVID-19-related crash in oil and gas prices and the threat it posed to the fossil fuel industry. The White House, via Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, granted their wish list and then some.

Past talk warning against the feds “picking winners and losers” in energy went by the boards.

Five days later, Wheeler issued an order that gave API even more than it asked for, calling for a suspension of any enforcement of EPA regulations if any company, fossil fuel-based or not, or local government can prove that COVID-19 was the cause of its failure to comply.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, now the President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the move “an open license to pollute.”

The EPA required companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. No more. Because coronavirus.

Wheeler also took the heat off entities forced by court-sanctioned consent decrees to fix pollution problems. Because coronavirus.

EPA cut frackers a break on wastewater discharges. Because coronavirus………. https://www.ehn.org/trump-epa-pollution-coronavirus-2645628019.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear project: community has lost faith in the integrity of EDF

April 6, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Russia’s response to coronavirus risk for nuclear stations – isolate the nuclear workforce

Russia’s nuclear workers isolated onsite as coronavirus spreads, Bellona, April 3, 2020 by Charles Digges,   charles@bellona.no

Workers at Russia’s nuclear power plants will be isolated from the general public and required to live in onsite clinics at their respective stations as nuclear authorities tighten their response to the coronavirus after a number of industry infections.

The order came Tuesday from Rosenergoatom, Russia’s nuclear utility, and specified that both primary and back up crews of nuclear technicians, who “facilitate process continuity” would now be required check in to dispensaries at their plants, where they would be provided with daily living essentials and isolated from outside contact.

Rosenergoatom, which is a subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is responding to a Tuesday video address by Andrei Likhachev, the corporation’s CEO, which outlined the isolation measures.

Earlier this week, Likhachev confirmed that four Rosatom employees had tested positive for the coronavirus, the spread of which has all but ground the world economy to a halt as the number of those infected worldwide surpasses 1 million.

Russians have been told to stay home through next week on a government ordered holiday. There have been 4,149 cases of coronavirus reported by Moscow as of Friday, 34 of which have resulted in death. In his address, Likhachev asked all Rosatom employees who could feasibly work remotely had been asked to do so, though he said the corporation’s overseas reactor building projects would continue.

Rosenergoatom’s unprecedented steps to protect highly skilled nuclear specialists from falling ill from the virus mirror measures other countries are taking for their own workers to avoid power interruptions or outright plant shutdowns.

In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering isolating its own workers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, while France – the world’s most nuclear-dependent nation – is weighing staff cuts of its own. Both France and the United Kingdom have shut down a number of their nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities in response to a spike in local infections

Rosenergoatom didn’t make clear precisely how many of Russia’s nuclear workers have been put in isolation, but its parent company Rosatom controls a sprawling network of reactors, laboratories, commercial structures and fuel fabrication facilities that employ some 250,000 people…….

Workers at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant, 1,800 kilometers to Moscow’s east, have already been working in isolation for more than a week, after the wife of one of the plant’s technicians tested positive for the virus.  https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2020-04-russias-nuclear-workers-isolated-onsite-as-coronavirus-spreads

April 4, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, politics, Russia | Leave a comment

UK ‘s new nuclear projects further delayed

April 4, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Navy fires captain who warned of Covid 19 on nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Sailors cheer for aircraft carrier commander who was removed after issuing coronavirus warning By Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, CNN April 3, 2020  Sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier cheered for Capt. Brett Crozier as he disembarked the ship for the last time, an overwhelming show of support for their leader who was relieved of his command after issuing a stark warning about a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

New video obtained by CNN shows a large crowd gathered to give Crozier a warm and loud send off, clapping and chanting his name as he left the ship. It was a clear expression of appreciation for their former commander who was removed for what the acting Navy Secretary called “poor judgment.”
“Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker,” acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Thursday,
The decision came days after Crozier wrote a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship’s crew. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” it read, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN.
News of Crozier’s removal comes after a US defense official told CNN Friday morning that 137 sailors from the Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus, representing more than 10% of all cases across the US military…..

Escalating outbreak

The outbreak on the ship is escalating rapidly. Last week the Pentagon confirmed three sailors on the Roosevelt had tested positive, and that number had risen to 25 two days later. It rose to at least 70 on Tuesday and more than 100 on Thursday. On Monday, a US defense official told CNN that a second US aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is facing a “handful” of positive cases.
In his memo, Crozier implored Navy leaders to take immediate steps to address the situation.
“Decisive action is required. Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure,” his memo said.

“This is a necessary risk. It will enable the carrier and air wing to get back underway as quickly as possible while ensuring the health and safety of our Sailors. Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care,” Crozier added……. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/03/politics/uss-theodore-roosevelt-aircraft-carrier-captain-send-off/index.html

April 4, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, employment, health, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump repeatedly reverses his decisions – but if he pressed the nuclear button, there’s no reversing

The Coronavirus Teaches Us Not to Let Trump Press the Nuclear Button  BY TOM Z. COLLINA, DEFENSE ONE, POLICY DIRECTOR, PLOUGHSHARES FUND  1 Apr 20, Some of the president’s poor decisions on COVID-19, like proposing to reopen the nation by Easter, have been reversed. But a presidential decision to start nuclear war cannot be.

President Trump has swung from calling the coronavirus pandemic “totally under control” to a “national emergency” and back. Trump’s latest idea that the nation could be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter” did not stand up to scrutiny. Amazingly, we are months into this crisis and the president is still struggling to get it right.

But what if the president needs to get a decision right the very first time, no do-overs? And what if the wrong decision could lead to a disaster even worse than COVID-19?

Chillingly, that is where we find ourselves on another underappreciated but even more catastrophic threat: —nuclear war. Instead of a relatively slow-moving pandemic, this crisis could have involved strategic warning of a massive Russian nuclear attack. The president would have not weeks but just minutes to decide if the attack was real and, if so, whether to launch U.S. nuclear weapons before the attack arrives. If he decides to launch, there is no going back. No mulligans.

What would the president do? Judging by the coronavirus experience, Trump would likely be uninformed about the specifics of the threat and so would fall back on his gut instincts, assume he knows best, and proceed with dangerous over-confidence. But unlike the current crisis, he would only have time to consult with a few advisors, under intense time pressure, and only if he chooses to. The president has the sole authority to order the launch of U.S. nuclear weapons with no oversight from Congress, the Secretary of Defense, or anyone else …….

It is a deeply troubling reality that if early warning systems show a massive nuclear attack on the way, the president might decide to launch an immediate retaliation and has the absolute authority to do so. This would be a catastrophically bad decision for a number of important reasons, none of which may be obvious to an uninformed president.

First and foremost, the president might not know that the attack is probably a false alarm. There have been multiple false alarms like this in the United States and Russia, and the rise of sophisticated cyberattacks make this danger even worse…..

We need to limit the president’s unchecked and unnecessary authority to launch. Trump’s reckless mistakes on COVID-19 are a call to action: we cannot allow the president to make a unilateral decision to start nuclear war.https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/04/coronavirus-teaches-us-not-let-trump-press-nuclear-button/164280/

April 2, 2020 Posted by | Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Trump doesn’t ‘get it’ -climate change as the next great engine for the next pandemic

With the Coronavirus, It’s Again Trump vs. Mother Nature, The president’s failure to understand his limits is very costly. NYT, By Thomas L. Friedman, March 31, 2020

  • Today’s news quiz: What do these data points have in common?Jan. 22: President Trump is asked by CNBC: “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?” Trump answers: “No. Not at all. And we’re, we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. … It’s — going to be just fine.”

    Jan. 31: Moving to counter the spreading coronavirus outbreak, Trump bars entry by most foreign nationals who had recently visited China…….

Nov. 26, 2018: CNN reports that Trump “dismissed a study produced by his own administration … and more than 300 leading climate scientists, warning of the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change.” Asked why, Trump told reporters, “I don’t believe it.” Asked if he read it, Trump said, “some.”

March 30, 2020: This newspaper reports that Trump completed plans to scrap Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards that limited climate-warming tailpipe pollution — a move that will “allow cars on

American roads to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the vehicles.”

What’s the common theme? We have a president who is enamored with markets but ignorant of Mother Nature, and we have paid a steep, steep price for that — and will pay an even bigger price when it comes to climate change, if Trump remains in charge……..

 there is one huge difference between the coronavirus and climate change: Climate change doesn’t “peak” — and then flatten out and then maybe dissipate or be permanently prevented by vaccine — so normal life resumes.

No, when the Greenland and Antarctic ice melts, it’s gone, and we humans will have to contend with the implications of sea level rise, mass movements of populations and various kinds of extreme weather — wetter wets, hotter hots and drier dries — forever.

There is no herd immunity to climate change. There are only endless impacts on the herd.

Thinking about climate change, even in the middle of this pandemic, is actually useful in a number of ways. For starters, they follow similar natural laws and have common mitigation strategies………

Finally, epidemiologists will tell you that climate change may well be the next great engine for the next pandemic — only this virus could easily be carried by mosquitoes, which, because of warmer temperatures in the global north, are able to migrate up from places they’ve never migrated from before.

For all these reasons, as we invest in infrastructure to stimulate our economy out of this corona crisis, we should be doing it to make our society more resilient against both pandemics and climate change. ……

Now that we have tasted Mother Nature’s wrath in the form of both Covid-19 and climate change, let’s get her on our side. She’s as happy to help as to destroy. Let’s use chemistry, biology and physics, not to mention sun and wind, to create the vaccines and power systems that immunize us from viruses and weather extremes — and not double down on bad habits that will only make us sick again. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/opinion/covid-trump-climate-change.html

April 2, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commissions plans for lengthy lifetimes for U.S. nuclear power plants

April 2, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Some politicians realising that climate change needs dramatic action, too

FT 30th March 2020  As the coronavirus pandemic has sent governments scrambling to respond, many politicians have drawn a parallel with another global threat: climate change. “We have to act dramatically, boldly, if we’re going to save lives in this country and around the world,” Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic presidential contenders, said recently. “I look at climate
change in the exact same way.”

Yet while the principles may be the same, the politics of the two pressing challenges are very different. The analogies between the coronavirus and climate change are easy to understand. The radical measures adopted to fight the pandemic look like precedents for addressing the potentially greater danger from climate change.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, has suggested that the need for widespread intervention by governments to
prevent economic collapse should be seen as a “historic opportunity” to
direct energy investment into technologies that reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Large-scale investment to support solar and wind power,
batteries, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage would “bring the twin
benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy
transitions,” he wrote earlier this month.

https://www.ft.com/content/13ce469c-68fa-11ea-a6ac-9122541af204

March 31, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry uses coronavirus to gouge $billions of tax-payer money

March 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment