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Future of Bradwell nuclear project in doubt – Chinese company might withdraw

BANNG 22nd Oct 2018 ,  BANNG has long maintained that there is no need for a new nuclear power
station at Bradwell. The costs, in terms of the long-lasting, physical
damage to the tranquil and vulnerable Blackwater estuary, of the finances,
of the potential for terrorist attacks and of the uncertainties around
investment by a potentially hostile state, are too high.
Nuclear power is an old-fashioned technology and given the continuing success and decreases
in the costs of renewables and storage, there will be no need for it by the
time Bradwell B could be in operation.
In its partnership with EDF, CGN, a Chinese state-owned nuclear company, is the majority two-thirds stakeholder
in the Bradwell B project. However, it seems now that CGN is wavering. In
the Financial Times of 18 September it was reported that CGN ‘has
admitted that political sensitivities could prompt it to give up the chance
to operate a new atomic power plant in the UK’.
The Chinese withdrawal, should it come, would appear to reflect widespread concerns about the
security issues surrounding Chinese investment into a highly sensitive part
of the UK’s national infrastructure. In the Financial Times, Zheng
Dongshan, Chief Executive of CGN’s UK subsidiary, is reported as
acknowledging that it would take time for CGN ‘to show the public, the
government they can trust us’. Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG, said: ‘The
project may be doomed anyway as the Bradwell B site is totally unsuitable
and is opposed by communities all around the Blackwater estuary.’
https://www.banng.info/news/is-bradwell-b-going-down-the-drain/

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October 25, 2018 Posted by | China, psychology and culture, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s 2020 Olympic Games a public relations cover-up of the Fukushima fiasco, for the nuclear industry

Pay no attention to that radiological disaster behind the curtains https://globalhibakusha.com/page-2/?permalink=hiding-fukushima-behind-the-curtains-in-official-japan  by Bo, 

The government of Japan is clearly intending that the 2020 Olympics will function as a public relations win in which the image of Japan, and especially of Northern Japan and Fukushima are cleansed of images of radiological contamination. Even as the Fukushima Daiichi site itself, and the traces where the plumes of its explosions deposited fallout throughout the area remain un-remediated, the public perceptions will be remediated. This is typical of the behavior of governments in the developed world that suffer radiological disasters. The disasters themselves are so difficult to clean up, and take decades to even begin the clean up, that money is allocated for extensive public relations efforts. These become tasks that CAN be completed and CAN be considered successful. They function both to advance the public image agenda of the governments, and also deliver a sense of agency when the overall tone of nuclear disaster remediation is one of lacking effective agency.

Towards that end, the Japanese government is planning to integrate Fukushima sites and perceptions into the upcoming Olympics media fest. The journey of the Olympic torch through every prefecture of Japan will begin in Fukushima, a symbolic rebirth intended to facilitate the repopulating of the local communities that were evacuated, many of which have had few returnees since the government has declared them “safe” and cut public funds to those forcibly evacuated.

The government is also planning to hold multiple Olympic events in Fukushima prefecture including baseball and softball events. “Tokyo 2020 is a showcase for the recovery and reconstruction of Japan from the disaster of March 2011, so in many ways we would like to give encouragement to the people, especially in the affected area,”said Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori last March.

This active rebranding of Fukushima as safe involves removing physical reminders of ongoing risk. The central government has recently announced that it will be removing 80% of public radiation monitors from the region. An argument can be made that the presence of these monitors is theatrical in that they only measure external gamma radiation levels, which are not the primary risk to residents (this comes from internalizing radioactive particles that blanketed the region in the fallout of the plumes of the explosions of March 2011), and that positioning these gamma detectors in midair produces low readings since the particles are primarily on the ground. However, they are a tangible, embodied reminder that risk remains.

While there is a clearly an active campaign to rehabilitate the image of the region leading up to the 2020 Olympics, an effort that will no doubt intensify as the event draws near, there is also pushback and resistance in the local and national communities. A recent sculpture unveiled at the JR train station in prefectural capital Fukushima City (about 80km from the Daiichi nuclear site) has been stirring up controversy.  A Guardian article explained:

“The statue, by Kenji Yanobe, depicts a child dressed in a yellow Hazmat-style suit, with a helmet in one hand and an artistic representation of the sun in the other.
Yanobe said his Sun Child, which was installed by the municipal government after appearing at art exhibitions in Japan and overseas, was intended to express his desire for a nuclear-free world.
The artist said he did not mean to give the impression that local children needed to protect themselves from radiation more than seven years after the Fukushima Daiichi plant became the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
He pointed out that the child was not wearing the helmet and that a monitor on its chest showed radiation levels at ‘000’.”

While some, including the mayor of Fukushima City, have praised the statue for emphasizing a hopeful future for local children, others have criticized the statue for suggesting that there is any danger to local children.

Regardless of how one interprets the sculpture, it does confront people with the fact that things are far from normal in the region. This, in spite of the central government’s strong efforts to implore people not to pay any attention to what is happening behind the curtains it has been raising.

 

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, psychology and culture, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Minnesota Senate passes legislation that would change approval process for Xcel nuclear costs

 Legislation’s foes fear it would shift risk from shareholders to ratepayers , By Mike Hughlett Star Tribune, MAY 14, 2018 

May 16, 2018 Posted by | psychology and culture, USA | Leave a comment

Foreign policy run by macho males: it’s just so dangerous!

American Foreign Policy Has A Masculinity Problem, Huffington Post, Lauren Sandler, Columnist  15 Mar 18 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, psychology and culture, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Trump has made fear the dominant emotion of our times.

I wrote The Art of the Deal with Trump. He’s still a scared child, Guardian, 

“I alone can do it.” These five extraordinary words kept coming back to me as I reflected on Donald Trump’s first year as president of the US. He made this claim during his speech accepting the Republican nomination in July 2016. At the time, it struck me simply as a delusional expression of his grandiosity. Looking back, I also hear the plaintive wail of a desperate child who believes he is alone in the world with no one to care for him. “I alone can do it” is Trump’s survival response to: “I must do it all alone.”

There are two Trumps. The one he presents to the world is all bluster, bullying and certainty. The other, which I have long felt haunts his inner world, is the frightened child of a relentlessly critical and bullying father and a distant and disengaged mother who couldn’t or wouldn’t protect him.

Trump’s temperament and his habits have hardened with age. He was always cartoonish, but compared with the man for whom I wrote The Art of the Deal 30 years ago, he is significantly angrier today: more reactive, deceitful, distracted, vindictive, impulsive and, above all, self-absorbed – assuming the last is possible.

This is the narrative I’ve been advancing for the past 18 months. With the recent publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, it turns out that even those closest to Trump recognise his utter lack of fitness to be president, even if they are too cowed and cowardly to do anything about it.

 Fear is the hidden through-line in Trump’s life – fear of weakness, of inadequacy, of failure, of criticism and of insignificance. He has spent his life trying to outrun these fears by “winning” – as he puts it – and by redefining reality whenever the facts don’t serve the narrative he seeks to create. It hasn’t worked, but not for lack of effort…….

Trump has made fear the dominant emotion of our times. This, I believe, is his primary impact on the body politic after a year in office……..

Trump skilfully exploited the fears of supporters who felt powerless and disenfranchised by presenting himself as their angry champion, even though the policies he has since pursued are likely to make their lives worse.

About the only thing Trump truly has in common with his base is that he feels every bit as aggrieved as they do, despite his endless privilege…….

If fear gets sufficiently intense, or persists for long enough, we eventually move into “freeze” – meaning numbness and submission. This is my own greatest fear. As Trump violates one norm after another day after day, the risk is that we lose our sense of outrage and our motivation to speak out.

The challenge we face is to resist our own fear without sacrificing our outrage. That requires widening our perspective beyond Trump’s, and beyond Trump himself. The future is ours to shape, not his. ……….

Trump himself has become the embodiment of the limits of traditional masculinity. “We raise boys,” writes the author Terrence Real, “to live in a world in which they are either winners or losers, grandiose or shame-filled, … perpetrators or victims. Society shows little mercy for men if they fail in the performance of their role. But the price of that performance is an inward sickness.”

Trump represents an extreme version of a sickness from which most men suffer, to some extent. The most powerful stand we can take in opposition to Trump’s values and behaviour is to pursue a higher purpose every day, seek more common ground amid our differences, and find better ways to take care of others and add value wherever we can. As he looks backward, we must look forward……… https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2018/jan/18/fear-donald-trump-us-president-art-of-the-deal

 

January 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality | Leave a comment

What if White House officials really did have to physically stop President Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war?

Matt Lauer to John Brennan: Will Military Leaders ‘Lock’ Trump ‘in A Room’ to Stop Nuclear War? https://www.mediaite.com/tv/matt-lauer-to-john-brennan-will-military-leaders-lock-trump-in-a-room-to-stop-nuclear-war/, by Caleb Ecarma October 19th, 2017 

As talks of military confrontation between the US and North Korea continue to escalate, Today Show host Matt Lauer raised an incredible question: What if White House officials really did have to physically stop President Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war?

As ridiculous as the idea may seem, there have been reports circulating in which WH aides suggest that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis may have formulated a plot to physically apprehend Trump before he reaches the nuclear football.

These reports inspired Lauer to ask Brennan the following:

“I feel weird asking you this, but you’ve read the same stories I’ve read. You know the key players around the president in Mattis, Mcmaster and John Kelly. Stories are going around out there that if the president inches closer to some kind of a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that those guys are going to do something. They’re going to lock him in a room. They’re going to tackle him. You’re smiling. But these are the stories that are out there. And they will prevent him from carrying out any action that would cause that. Is that all nonsense?”

Despite the preposterous, slapstick image that Lauer’s question conjures up — Kelly or Mattis leaping like an NFL safety at Trump while he’s mid-nuclear launch — the always professional Brennan calmly clarified that the president alone has “unilateral authority” on military action. The former CIA director said Mattis’ options for protest include trying to talk the president out of it or tendering his resignation — the possibility of tackling Trump was not a listed option, though.

When asked whether or not he would follow unethical orders from his authorities, Brennan said that in certain cases — such as a command to bring back waterboarding — he would choose getting fired over following directives.

As for the Mattis, Kelly, and H.R. McMaster, Brennan commended all of them, saying, “They’re patriots… They understand the gravity of this situation, and I don’t think Trump does.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s “Relation to Reality” is Dangerous to Us All

Here’s how Trump’s ‘malignant narcissism’ will end his presidency, according to psychiatrists — and it’s going to be wild  HTTPS://WWW.RAWSTORY.COM/2017/09/HERES-HOW-TRUMPS-MALIGNANT-NARCISSISM-WILL-END-HIS-PRESIDENCY-ACCORDING-TO-PSYCHIATRISTS-AND-ITS-GOING-TO-BE-WILD/ SARAH K. BURRIS, 12 SEP 2017 

Dr. Lance Dodes is one of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts who came together to give an educated assessment of President Donald Trump for a new book. In an interview with Salon, Dodes explained the consensus among the professors is that “the evidence suggesting that Donald Trump may have serious mental health problems is overwhelming.”

 Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton on Duty to Warn: Trump’s “Relation to Reality” is Dangerous to Us All

No other medical practitioner is restricted by confidentiality the way psychiatrists are, but Trump is no one’s patient. Many trained in mental health can observe Trump and match his speech and behavior patterns to specific disorders. That’s as far as anyone can go without doing an actual in-person exam of Trump.

Dodes began with a diagnosis of “antisocial personality” and the qualities that people who have that exhibit. Comparing it to Trump, he thinks this is one of Trump’s problems.

“It is people who lie and cheat,” Dodes explained as part of the qualities Trump exhibits. “Everybody lies some of the time, but in this instance we mean people who lie as a way of being in the world, to manage relationships and also to manage your feelings about yourself. People who cheat and steal from others. People who lack empathy … the lack of empathy is a critical aspect of it. People who are narcissistic.”

He went on to say that Trump’s case of “malignant narcissism” is particularly acute because he also seems detached from reality when he is agitated. An example is Trump’s boasting of his crowd size being the largest in history, despite proof to the contrary.

“That is very troublesome because what it means is that he needs to believe it,” Dodes told Salon. “He is able to give up reality in exchange for his wished-for belief. Sometimes we call that a delusion.”

He said that in the past many have refrained from using the word “delusional” to describe Trump because it can be confused with people who think they’re the Queen of England or the second coming of Christ. However, “Trump has a fluid sense of reality, which is a sign of a very sick individual,” Dodes said.

Sociopathy is another sign of a mentally ill person. The intersection of cheating, lying and having an emotional disorder typically converge to sociopathy.

“It is not just bad behavior that people have to lie and cheat the way he does, it is an incapacity to treat other people as full human beings,” Dodes said. “That is why his focus is on humiliating others to aggrandize himself, as he did in the Republican primaries when he was debating and calling people names.”

Trump has done the same with women, LGBT people, immigrants, those with special needs and others. Part of being a human being is seeing the plight of others and feeling something. When Trump fails to see the harm in separating immigrants from children it shows his lack of empathy.

Trump manages to score supporters regardless and Dodes explained this is because many search for strong leaders while others are suspicious of them.

“As children, we all want to believe that our parents are good and strong and great and will protect us forever,” he told Salon. “So if you have someone who comes along say, ‘I am good and strong and great and I will protect you forever,’ a certain number of people will follow that person.” For many, Trump is the strong parent being attacked by media or Democrats and they want to protect him.

People trust that they’ll speak up for him, the problem, according to Dodes, is that Trump is a liar, so it’s “a one-sided bargain.”

“Trump is a very primitive man. He is also a man who has a fundamental, deep psychological defect,” he said. “It is expressed in his inability to empathize with others and his lack of genuine loyalty to anyone. You will notice that Trump wants everyone to be loyal to him, but he is loyal to nobody.”

Being a narcissist doesn’t make someone evil or dangerous, according to Dodes, but Trump’s other questionable qualities are what make it concerning and defines it as “malignant.”

As for how this all ends for Trump, Dodes has two possible scenarios for the presidency. First, if there’s a “Reichstag fire”-type event that Trump can use to attack his opposition, the country will rally around him. Dodes thinks it will be North Korea and he’ll end up dropping bombs on the country and the dominoes will begin to fall in Asia.

The second piece involves the Republican Party and the point at which they abandon Trump to preserve their own political careers. They’ll either invoke the 25th Amendment or impeach him. If that happens, Dodes thinks Trump will “cut bait” and leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

“Trump will resign and say, ‘I am still the best and the only savior, and these evil people and their evil media have forced me out,’” Dodes told Salon. “He will keep his constituency, he’ll leave with honor in his own mind and by the way, keep his businesses.”

 

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Fact checking Donald Trump’s statement on Sen Bob Corker – verdict FALSE

“Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal.”

— Donald Trump on Sunday, October 8th, 2017 in a tweet

 
Is Sen. Bob Corker responsible for the Iran deal, as Donald Trump claims? POLITIFACT By John Kruzel President Donald Trump escalated a war of words with Sen. Bob Corker by blaming the Tennessee Republican for the Iran nuclear deal Trump has long derided……..

We decided to take a closer look at Corker’s role in the brokering the agreement.

Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

Trump’s claim is contradicted by the fact Corker vocally opposed the deal that would eventually emerge from negotiations with Iran in July 2015, and urged Republican colleagues to oppose it, too.

The deal “leaves the United States vulnerable to a resurgent Iran wealthier and more able to work its will in the Middle East,” Corker wrote in an August 2015 opinion piece in the Washington Post. “Congress should reject this deal and send it back to the president.”

Corker himself voted against the deal, though Republicans ultimately lacked the votes to reject it.

When asked how Trump could say that Corker was responsible for the deal, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a bill Corker sponsored paved the way for the Iran deal and gave it credibility.

“Sen. Corker worked with (Democratic House Leader) Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration to pave the way for that legislation, and basically rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal,” she said in an Oct. 10 press briefing, adding, “He not only allowed the deal to happen, he gave it credibility.”

The legislation Sanders was referring to is the Corker-sponsored Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. After initial resistance from President Barack Obama, the bill passed with overwhelming majorities in both chambers, and was signed into law in May 2015.

Corker’s office described the law as enhancing Congress’ authority to review any nuclear agreement with Iran before allowing a president to lift congressionally-imposed sanctions.

So if Corker’s law aimed to give Congress more say over the agreement, what to make of the Trump administration’s assertion that it paved the way for the deal?

“This is astonishingly wrong,” said Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar on global energy policy at Columbia University, who previously served as the lead sanctions expert for the U.S. team negotiating with Iran during the administration of President Barack Obama. “The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act gave Congress the most direct way of killing the deal, quickly and easily.”

Kelsey Davenport, the director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, also said the Trump administration was way off the mark.

“It is ludicrous to argue that Senator Corker and Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act are responsible for delivering the nuclear deal with Iran,” she said. “If anything, (the law) nearly prevented the deal’s implementation and undermined the agreement.”……..

Our ruling

Trump said, “Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal.”

Corker sponsored legislation to enhance Congress’ authority to review the Iran nuclear deal before allowing the president to lift congressionally-imposed sanctions. He also vocally opposed the deal, urged lawmakers to reject the agreement and voted against it.

We don’t see how this could reasonably be construed as Corker giving the United States the Iran deal. Trump’s claim doesn’t make logical sense.

We rate this False. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/oct/12/donald-trump/sen-bob-corker-responsible-iran-deal-donald-trump-/

October 14, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Inside the mind of Donald Trump – interview

Inside Trump’s Head: An Exclusive Interview With the President, And The Single Theory That Explains Everything, By Randall Lane, FORBES STAFF , 12 Oct 17,  This story appears in the November 14, 2017 issue of Forbes. If Trump really did call the White House a “dump,” he’s over it. Inside the small West Wing study—where he stacks his papers and takes his meals atop what he calls his “working desk,” the president talks volubly about a chandelier he had installed and the oil paintings of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. He pokes open the door to his pristine private bathroom, a must for the germophobe-in-chief. He takes us outside to see the serene swimming pool. And inside the Oval Office, freshly renovated with drapes, carpet and fixtures that lean heavily on gold, he slides his hand across the same Resolute desk where JFK handled the Cuban Missile Crisis and Reagan fought the Cold War, adorned with nothing but two telephones and a call button. “This looks very nice,” says the president.

He could as easily be pitching a Trump Tower penthouse or a Doral golf club membership, and over the course of a nearly one-hour interview in the Oval Office, President Trump stays true to the same Citizen Trump form that Forbes has seen for 35 years.

He boasts, with a dose of hyperbole that any student of FDR or even Barack Obama could undercut: “I’ve had just about the most legislation passed of any president, in a nine-month period, that’s ever served. We had over 50 bills passed. I’m not talking about executive orders only, which are very important. I’m talking about bills.”

He counterpunches, in this case firing a shot at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who reportedly called his boss a moron: “I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

And above all, he sells: “I also have another bill… an economic-development bill, which I think will be fantastic. Which nobody knows about. Which you are hearing about for the first time… Economic-development incentives for companies. Incentives for companies to be here.” Companies that keep jobs in America get rewarded; those that send operations offshore “get penalized severely.” “It’s both a carrot and a stick,” says the president. “It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so—if you leave, it’s going to be very tough for you to think that you’re going to be able to sell your product back into our country.”

And so here we are, the first president to come solely from the private sector, representing the party that for more than a century championed laissez-faire capitalism and free trade, proposing that government punish and reward companies based on where they choose to locate factories and offices. Is the president comfortable with that idea?

“Very comfortable,” he replies. …………..
For Trump, numbers also serve as a pliant tool. American business has fully embraced Big Data, Moneyball -style analytics and machine learning, where figures suggest the best course of action. But Trump, for decades, has boasted about how he conducts his own research—largely anecdotal—and then buys or sells based on instinct. Numbers are then used to justify his gut. He governs exactly that way, sticking with even his most illogical campaign promises—the kind other politicians walk back from once confronted with actual policy decisions, whether making Mexico pay for a border wall when illegal immigration is historically low or pulling the U.S. from the Paris climate accords, despite the fact that compliance is voluntary—citing whatever figures he can to justify his stances. When asked about Russian interference in the election, for example, he notes that he got 306 electoral votes and adds that the Democrats need “an excuse for losing an election that in theory they should have won.” For the greatest-ever American salesman (yes, including P.T. Barnum), statistics serve as marketing grist………..

there’s precious little about running the Trump Organization that provides the kind of experience that it takes to run the ultimate organization in America: the U.S. government. At the Trump Organization, he owns basically everything. There’s no known board of directors, no outside shareholders and no real customer base, save onetime luxury real estate buyers and golf club members. It’s far closer to running a family office than running Wal-Mart……..

Trump does have experience leading public companies, but even then there was only one shareholder who mattered. When Trump controlled 40% of publicly traded Trump Hotels & Casino, he used it to buy a casino he privately owned for $500 million, even though one analyst thought it was worth 20% less. At one point, he also owned more than 10% of Resorts International. He cut a deal with that company that garnered him millions in fees at the expense of other owners. Neither ended well: Trump Hotels filed for bankruptcy (for the first time) in 2004; Resorts had gone bankrupt some years earlier after Trump cashed out……….

Trump intends to run the country more like the Trump Organization in other ways. Much has been made about how slow he’s been to nominate people to key positions. In the State Department, for example, he has failed to put up names for more than half of the comfirmable positions. That’s apparently not an accident.

“I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be—because you don’t need them,” he says. “I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary. They have hundreds of thousands of people.”

And how does this man, who’s never really had a boss, feel about now having 330 million of them, to be exact? He acknowledges the fact, but then answers in a way that is perfect, consistent Trump: “It doesn’t matter, because I’m going to do the right thing.” https://www.forbes.com/donald-trump/exclusive-interview/#26a98c32bdec

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Healthy masculinity requires a healthy environment

Masculinity and the Environment: A Double-edged Sword, Trump, populist masculinity, and the Paris Agreement., The Good Men Project ,June 23, 2017 by Joseph Gelfer , Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, with its disastrous consequences for our collective future, has been met with dismay by politicians and citizens from around the world. Of course, this decision comes as no surprise, not just because of his previous signaling on the matter, but because resistance to environmental concerns is a key value of the type of populist masculinity that underpins his presidency.

The connection between Trump-like masculinity and its perception of the environment is well known. A 2011 study in the journal Global Environmental Change shows that “conservative white males are significantly more likely than are other Americans to endorse denialist views.” The cast of populist masculinity celebrities that support Trump has also been keen to embody this view. For example, Alex Jones’ publication Infowars ran numerous articles such as Globalist Cucks Triggered After Trump Puts America Before Paris Agreement. The masculinity element is not just implicit here, but explicit, with the use of the emasculating term “cuck” and the fact that the article was illustrated with a picture of Trump giving a hand gesture indicating that someone has a tiny penis. Breitbart and other publications that platform populist masculinity views ran similar articles. Elsewhere, the likes of Paul Joseph Watson and Milo Yiannopoulos have thrown their weight behind Trump on this issue, as well as Mike Cernovich, who upped the muscular ante by asking, “How do these people know so much about climate change? These people can’t even lift, bro!”

While there is a danger of blaming everything on masculinity and being distracted from bigger geo-political culprits, it is fair to say that masculinity has a damaging effect on the environment. It’s not just Trump and the populist masculinity celebrities. More generally, stereotypical masculine values work against sustainability, whether it be violence, domination and exploitation of people and natural resources, or even connecting lifestyle choices such as eating less meat with being unmanly. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Stereotypical Masculinity for the Environment

There are also men in the public eye who look stereotypically masculine but who are working towards a more sustainable future. Soon after the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the exemplar of muscularity Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appeal to Trump to think again, using the logic not of tree-huggers, but job-creators. While Schwarzenegger may not have been an ideal governor for California, he did at least do his bit for standing up for the environment, and he did it with a certain masculine clout such as his famous facebook post, “I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change.”

In a similar way, we can point to Elon Musk who stepped down from Trump’s advisory councils after the Paris announcement. Musk makes his money in some of the most stereotypically masculine things on the planet: sleek cars and phallic rockets. Yet at the same time it is arguable that between championing electric cars at Tesla, green energy at SolarCity and ultimately interplanetary existence with SpaceX, Musk is doing more for our sustainability as a species than any other business person alive.

We can look at Leonardo DiCaprio whose playboy lifestyle, complete with a penchant for supermodels, is the epitome of a certain type of stereotypical masculinity. But his environmental activism over the years has turned countless people on to this issue, and far outweighs the private-jet-hypocrisy snipes gleefully made by populist masculinists such as Paul Joseph Watson. And there are countless other men, both in the public eye and in private life, who may look in some ways like standard masculine climate change deniers, but whose values and behavior say something altogether different.

Both Remedy and Poison…..

ecofeminism should [not] be discarded, rather complemented. In short, the environment needs to be turned into a “men’s issue.” Conservatives do not have a monopoly when it comes to masculinity and the environment. The binary between women tending towards environmental protection and men tending towards environmental destruction is false, in exactly the same way as the binary between femininity and masculinity is false.

 The message needs to be clear: healthy masculinity requires a healthy environment. This does not even necessitate moving outside of the frame of stereotypical masculinity. Ensuring a healthy environment is logical as it secures existential survival; it means the environment must be protected and requires strength. Men need to champion this issue as if their lives and those of their families depended on it: because they do.https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/masculinity-and-the-environment-a-double-edged-sword-wcz/

June 26, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology and culture | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons and the politics of domination

Power to the People vs. Power to the Bomb: Alternatives to Nuclear Domination Sunday, June 04, 2017By Ira Chernus, Truthout   Even before the first atomic bomb exploded, the United States government had a single, simple principle to guide it through the nuclear age: domination. We would prevent other nations from getting the bomb.Franklin D. Roosevelt established that principle when he decided not to tell the Soviet Union anything, and not to tell his closest ally, Britain, everything that Americans knew about the bomb. Harry Truman gave classic expression to that principle when he crowed about his power over the Soviets: “I’ll certainly have a hammer on those boys.”

Of course, Truman didn’t have the hammer long. The Soviets soon had the bomb, and other nations followed. So the basic principle had to have a corollary: If we could not be the world’s sole nuclear power, we would be the strongest.

Every president since has followed the same principle in shaping nuclear policy. Some, like FDR and Obama, did it quietly. Some, like Truman, did it more noisily. Donald Trump may turn out to be the noisiest nuclear warrior of all in the White House. As a candidate, he threatened that he might use nukes in the Middle East and in Europe. He has loudly voiced his insistence that Iran and North Korea must cease their nuclear programs.

All presidents, and all those who have helped them shape nuclear policy, have agreed on the basic meaning of “nuclear power”: The bomb must give us the power to dominate as much of the world as possible and to make sure that no other nation can dominate us. (The other meaning of “nuclear power” — the electricity that comes from nuclear-powered generators — is merely an ancillary “benefit” of the science that created the bomb.)

Beneath this way of thinking lies a fundamental premise: The world is divided into dominators and dominated. To have power is to be among the dominators and to avoid becoming dominated. That’s what power means in the world of the nuclear warriors: domination over others.

It’s also what power means in the cultural world of most Americans, which is why the public has generally supported, or at least accepted, the massive nuclear arsenal, despite its phenomenal costs in tax dollars and its much, much higher cost to our sense of personal safety.

We as a nation have largely learned to stop (consciously) worrying and live with — if not love — the bomb for many reasons, no doubt. Most Americans have probably believed presidential claims that we would use the bomb, as we supposedly use all our other military weapons, only to promote peace and democracy around the world.

At a deeper level, though, such moral claims serve mainly to ease our national conscience over our desire to have, and our pleasure in having, seemingly infinite power. If those who do not dominate are bound to get dominated, it makes perfect sense to want, to get and to keep infinite power over others.

Is there any alternative view of power to show us a way out from under the nuclear shadow? The history of the antinuclear movement offers a clue.

“Power With,” Not “Power Over”

There have been two brief eras when the US public’s demand for safety grew stronger than its demand for power. Those eras spawned movements to reduce, and some even said abolish, our nuclear arsenal: once in John F. Kennedy’s presidency and again in the early years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency…….

some had begun to explore the possibility of living life with a very different idea of power: Power means the ability to make things happen. We are most able to make things happen when we work together with others toward shared goals. Real effective power comes not from competition, but cooperation. It is “power with,” not “power over.”

One key source of this idea was the African American civil rights and Black power movements. Nonviolent civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. agreed with Black power advocates on some basic truths about power. Power is always political. It is (in King’s words) “a social force any group can utilize by accumulating its elements in a planned, deliberate campaign to organize it under its own control.”

And there is nothing intrinsically bad about political power. Indeed, disempowered groups, like Black Americans, had to get more power, because the only way to get real reconciliation between groups is first to equalize their power.

So King’s vision of the beloved community, as an ideal that can be realized in this world, would not eliminate power relationships. But it would set them right: “Power at its best is the right use of strength.” The right use is to share power so that no one dominates and everyone is helped to be free to fulfill their personal potential. “Freedom is participation in power,” MLK taught. “Participation” suggests that no one possesses power. Rather, it is a force that all share in………

From Resistance to the Revolution of “Power With”

The idea of “power with” has been slowly growing in influence over the last 50 years. However, it has often remained on the fringes of American society, as toxic masculinity has hampered efforts for the idea to become mainstream. But a whole generation of activists who learned to be political in the late ’60s understands it well enough. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they have built their political lives around it.

Now the quirks of the American electoral system have given us a president who lost the election by nearly 3 million popular votes but still entered the White House on January 20. It is surely no coincidence that the massive uprising of protest the very next day was a “Women’s March.” ……..

When it comes to power, we may have no choice. Whenever we resist Trump and the Republicans, we are not only resisting the traditional notion of “power over,” we are also, necessarily, promoting the idea of “power with.” As Dr. King and so many others have taught us, we can never dispense with power in society altogether. But we can choose the forms that power will take and the ways we will understand the workings of power.

“Power over” and “power with” are the only two concepts of power that are generally available in American political culture. By rejecting “power over,” we necessarily advocate and promote “power with.” Why not do so consciously, even enthusiastically, moving from mere resistance to real revolution, with a nod of gratitude to the roots of today’s movement that stretch back to the 1960s?

IRA CHERNUS

Ira Chernus is a professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Colorado and author of MythicAmerica: Essays. He blogs at mythicamerica.us, hosted by History News Networkhttp://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40819-power-to-the-people-vs-power-to-the-bomb-alternatives-to-nuclear-domination

June 5, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology and culture | Leave a comment

President Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces is no longer a laughing matter.

TrumpThe Trump Nuclear Threat, It’s time to worry about Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces. US News, By Louis René Beres | Feb. 21, 2017,

“The man who laughs,” warned the poet Bertolt Brecht, “has simply not yet heard the horrible news.” President Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces is no longer a laughing matter.

Further, no longer does such a concerning conclusion have to be extrapolated from this president’s overall indifference to reason, facts and logic. Now, instead, it flows directly and unambiguously from his explicit press conference declaration last week that, regarding a Russian ship off the East coast, “the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water.”  There was absolutely no defensible reason for this gratuitous declaration. These are not the musings of an ordinary or normal American president. Rather, extraneous to any other purpose than incessantly bizarre self-promotion, they represent revealingly clinical warnings of deep emotional disturbance, especially when examined together with other blatant and incontestable signs of malignant narcissism. Naturally, all decent and informed U.S. citizens will hesitate to concur offhandedly, or to in any way appear disrespectful to longstanding presidential authority, but there now also exists a much higher citizen obligation: This is the unavoidable responsibility to speak openly and candidly about a plainly emerging existential threat.

To be sure, as I know personally from almost 50 years of scholarship involving core matters of U.S. senior command authority (National Command Authority, or NCA), there are various institutional protections built into any presidential order to use nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, virtually all of these safeguards are prescriptively operational only at lower command levels, and not at the very highest level of decisional authority. In other words, succinctly, there are no permissible or codified legal grounds to disobey a presidential order to use nuclear weapons.  This means, inter alia, that if a U.S. president were sometime to issue an irrational nuclear order, the only way for the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and possibly several relevant others to obstruct this unwarranted order would be prima facie illegal. Of course, such informal safeguards might still manage to succeed, but we really ought to inquire, now, about implementing certain other more suitably predictable and formally structural impediments….

…..Thus far, we have witnessed a new president who inappropriately analogizes the conduct of world affairs to real estate haggling, and who confuses personal bluster and bravado for usable strength and power. More than anything else, we must now prepare to speak more openly about this confusion, and also about Trump’s correspondingly dangerous behaviors. American national security can never be properly served by a president who proudly announces his own decisional infallibility (“I alone can fix it”), and who identifies growing international chaos as a distinctly positive negotiation opportunity.http://www.usnews.com/opinion/world-report/articles/2017-02-21/the-existential-threat-of-donald-trump-and-nuclear-weapons

February 22, 2017 Posted by | politics, psychology and culture, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Our only hope against nuclear pollution and annihilation – an informed citizenry

 

Hope-Dove-FlyingExtremely Cautionary Catastrophes: Fukushima And Chernobyl, By Robert Snefjella, 28 May, 2016, Countercurrents.org “………wherein does our best chance lie of reducing the harm and risk of our nuclear folly? How do we provide the basis by which we could begin to dismantle our folly and reconstruct cultures that are viable.

Those iconic personages Albert Einstein and Dwight Eisenhower are among the many concerned people who have located hope for policy sanity in an informed public:

Einstein found our “only hope” [regarding nuclear technology] in “an informed citizenry” [that] “will act for life and not for death.”

Eisenhower offered that

“only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Note well: they did not base their hope on experts or oligarchs or generals or silly people who are enthralled by the illusion of their own extraordinary intelligence. They based hope on a well informed us.

Implied in Einstein and Eisenhower’s hope is that the broad public, well informed, has a far greater potential repository of creativity and common sense and decency and such – beneficent functionality – than any cult, tribe, institution or faction thereof. Continue reading

May 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology and culture | Leave a comment

Psychology and Culture: the Pitfalls for Nuclear Deterrence

The nuclear deterrence game: Promises and pitfalls , BY  on JANUARY 29, 2016 in ASIA TIMES NEWS & FEATURES  By Michael Rühle ………….Perhaps the most common mistake in thinking about nuclear deterrence is the belief that the larger your nuclear arsenal, the more credible your deterrent. This is way too simplistic. Since a state will only take nuclear risks in defense of existential interests, an opponent may still resort to force if he concludes that the issue at stake is not existential to the defender.

That’s why allies of nuclear powers constantly need to be reassured by their protector that he considers their security a truly vital interest. Or, as former British Defense Secretary Denis Healy aptly noted, during the Cold War it took only 5% credibility to deter the Soviet Union but 95% to assure one’s allies.

psychologyPsychology. A stable deterrence regime requires all actors to adhere to a “rational” cost-benefit calculus. Thus, nuclear deterrence cannot work against actors that are “irrational” to begin with, e.g. suicidal fanatics.

Deterrence may also fail when rationality evaporates, for example, when ideological beliefs make certain leaders adopt risky offensive strategies.

However, the most likely scenario in which rationality could disappear is defensive. Since humans fear suffering losses more than they value gains, the fear of losing something valuable will make leaders take far greater risks than the opportunity of changing the status quo in their favor.

Hence, as much as one would want to have the upper hand in a crisis, one should still avoid pushing a nuclear adversary into a corner.

text cultureCulture. Deterrence may be a universal concept, but its practical application may well be culture-specific. For example, a culture which attaches great value to sacrifice or martyrdom will be much harder to deter by the prospect of military punishment than a “post-heroic” society. This is not to say that certain states cannot be deterred, yet their cost-benefit calculus might be so different as to render the defender’s deterrence message ineffective.

To ensure that an adversary understands one’s deterrence message, one needs to have a fairly good grasp of his “strategic culture”: historical experiences, values, core beliefs, and military traditions. Obtaining such a thorough understanding of one’s adversary is extremely difficult. But simply hoping that an impressive nuclear arsenal will deter just by its mere existence would be a dangerous gamble. In the deterrence business, ignorance isn’t bliss — it might well be fatal.

Michael Rühle heads the Energy Security Section of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division http://atimes.com/2016/01/the-nuclear-deterrence-game-promises-and-pitfalls/

January 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology and culture | Leave a comment

Propaganda war between the two Koreas

flag-N-Koreaflag-S-KoreaKoreas Ramp Up Psychological Warfare After Nuclear Test VOA News, Brian Padden January 14, 2016 SEOUL—North Korea’s fourth nuclear test earlier this month ended a short period of inter-Korean cooperation and restarted the Cold War standoff between Seoul and Pyongyang.

While avoiding direct military confrontation that could easily escalate into a hot war, both North and South have resumed psychological war games and tactical maneuvers to demonstrate military readiness and resolve.

On Wednesday a suspected North Korean drone was sighted crossing the inter-Korean demilitarized zone. South Korean forces responded by firing about 20 machine gun rounds at the unidentified flying object but apparently did not hit it.

“Our military fired warning shots after broadcasting a warning. Then it returned to the northern side of the border right away,” said Jeon Ha-gyu, the head of public affairs for the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea’s armed forces.

North Korean propaganda

There have also been reports this week of pro-North Korean leaflets scattered throughout Seoul and its suburban areas. South Korea’s military suspects the propaganda leaflets were sent from the North by hot air balloons.

“North Korea was seen scattering leaflets from the northern area yesterday afternoon and early this morning,” Jeon said Wednesday. …….

Defense officials from China and South Korea are scheduled to meet Friday in Seoul to discuss the increasingly tense security situation on the Korean peninsula. http://www.voanews.com/content/koreas-ramp-up-psychological-warfare-after-nuclear-test/3145316.html

January 15, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, psychology and culture, South Korea | Leave a comment