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White House fury as Russian nuclear planes visit Venezuela 

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December 13, 2018 Posted by | Religion and ethics, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA, USA | Leave a comment

NCR’s Fox crosses the line, goes to trial to protest nuclear weapons

 https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/ncrs-fox-crosses-line-goes-trial-protest-nuclear-weapons, Dec 3, 2018 by Thomas C. Fox

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Legal, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

America’s depraved politics ignores two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war

Noam Chomsky: Moral Depravity Defines US Politics  BY C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout, NOVEMBER 21, 2018 

……..Noam Chomsky: The most striking features are brutally clear.

Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war. These were virtually ignored in the campaign rhetoric and general coverage. There was plenty of criticism of the Trump administration, but scarcely a word about by far the most ominous positions the administration has taken: increasing the already dire threat of nuclear war, and racing to destroy the physical environment that organized human society needs in order to survive.

These are the most critical and urgent questions that have arisen in all of human history. The fact that they scarcely arose in the campaign is truly stunning — and carries some important, if unpleasant, lessons about our moral and intellectual culture.

To be sure, not everyone was ignoring these matters. They were front and center for those who are constantly vigilant in their bitter class war to preserve their immense power and privilege. Several states had important ballot initiatives addressing the impending environmental catastrophe. The fossil fuel industry spent huge, sometimes record-breaking, sums to defeat the initiatives — including a carbon tax in the mostly Democratic state of Washington — and mostly succeeded.

We should recognize that these are extraordinary crimes against humanity. They proceed with little notice.

The Democrats helped defeat these critically important initiatives by ignoring them. They scarcely mentioned them “in digital or TV ads, in their campaign literature or on social media,” a New York Times surveyfound. Nor, of course, were they mentioned by the Republicans, whose leadership is dedicated to driving humanity off the cliff as soon as possible — in full knowledge of what they are doing, as easily demonstrated……….

The concentration of wealth and enhancement of corporate power translate automatically to decline of democracy. Research in academic political science has revealed that a large majority of voters are literally disenfranchised, in that their own representatives pay no attention to their wishes but listen to the voices of the donor class. It is furthermore well established that elections are pretty much bought: electability, hence policy, is predictable with remarkable precision from the single variable of campaign spending, both for the executive and Congress. Thomas Ferguson’s work is particularly revealing, going far back and including the 2016 election. And that is a bare beginning. Legislation is commonly shaped, even written, by corporate lobbyists, while representatives who sign it have their eyes on funding for the next election………..

How do we explain the fact that while US politics seems nastier, more polarized and more divided than any other time in recent history, both parties stay away from addressing the most critical issues facing the country and the world at large?

In 1895, the highly successful campaign manager Mark Hanna famously said: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first ismoney, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Those who control the wealth of the country have their own priorities, primarily self-enrichment and enhancement of decision-making power. And these are the priorities that prevail in a neoliberal democracy with the annoying public dismissed to the back rooms where they belong.

The CEOs of major banks surely understand the extraordinary threat of environmental catastrophe but are increasing investment in fossil fuels because that’s where the money is. Like the energy corporations, they are hardly eager to support candidates warning of the serious crimes they are committing. Lockheed-Martin and its cohorts are quite happy to see vast increases in the military budget and are surely delighted with such declarations as the Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy, just released by the US Institute of Peace (lacking a sense of irony, the bureaucracy is quite happy to caricature Orwell).

This somber document warns that our dangerously depleted military, which almost overwhelms the rest of the world combined, might not be able to prevail in a two-front war against Russia and China. Of course, neither military industry nor the distinguished authors of the report believe that such a war could even be fought without terminal destruction, but it’s a great way to siphon taxpayer dollars away from absurdities like health and education and into the deserving pockets of the captains of industry and finance……….

the actual constituency of the Republican Party remains great wealth and corporate power, even more dramatically so under Trump. It is quite an achievement to serve this actual constituency with dedication while maintaining a hold on the voting base.

As their voting base shrinks, Republican leaders understand that the GOP is becoming a minority party, which is why they are so dedicated to finding modes of voter suppression and packing the courts with reactionaries who will support their efforts……….. https://truthout.org/articles/noam-chomsky-moral-depravity-defines-us-politics/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | 2 Comments

Catholic Church urges countries to sign and ratify the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban

October 25, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jobs Are No Excuse for Arming a Murderous Regime

 Portside,   LOBE LOG Regardless of what ultimately happened to Khashoggi, continuing U.S. arms sales and military support to Saudi Arabia under current circumstances is immoral. Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime. If indeed the Saudi government is indeed behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi there should be consequences—political, military, economic, and reputational.

Unfortunately, President Trump begs to differ. His reaction to questions about whether the United States would cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia if Riyadh is proven to be behind the killing of Khashoggi has been to say that he does not want to jeopardize the alleged $110 billion in arms deals his administration has struck with the Saudi regime, and the U.S. jobs that come with them.

In his recent interview with CBS 60 Minutes, Trump specifically cites the needs of U.S. weapons manufacturers as reasons to keep U.S. arms flowing to the Saudi regime, even if it ends up being responsible for the murder of Khashoggi:

They are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted that order. Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it…I tell you what I don’t wanna do. Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these [companies]…I don’t wanna hurt jobs. I don’t wanna lose an order like that.

Trump tells CBS’s Leslie Stahl that “there are other ways of punishing” Saudi Arabia without cutting of U.S. arms sales, but he fails to specify what those might be.

Regardless of what ultimately happened to Khashoggi, continuing U.S. arms sales and military support to Saudi Arabia under current circumstances is immoral. Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime that not only may be behind the assassination of a U.S. resident and respected commentator but is responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in its three-and-one-half-year military intervention in Yemen—the majority killed with U.S-supplied bombs and combat aircraft and U.S. refueling and targeting assistance.

The Khashoggi case merely underscores the approach of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the power behind the throne in Riyadh who is the most ruthless and reckless leader in Saudi history……https://portside.org/2018-10-16/jobs-are-no-excuse-arming-murderous-regime,

October 18, 2018 Posted by | Religion and ethics, Saudi Arabia, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov saved the world

September 28, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, history, PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Reference, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Vatican will continue condemning nuclear weapons

Arch. Gallagher: Holy See will continue opposing nuclear weapons, Vatican News 

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, addresses a United Nations General Assembly meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons. By Robin Gomes, 27 Sept 18

The Holy See said on Wednesday it will continue to argue against both the possession and the use of nuclear weapons, saying the total elimination of nuclear weapons is not only a security issue, but a moral, humanitarian and environmental imperative.

The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher made the statement at a high-level meeting at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly to mark the September 26 International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Threat of annihilation

“The world is not safer with nuclear weapons; it is more dangerous,” Archbishop Gallagher said.  “A policy that relies on the possession of nuclear weapons,” he said, “is contradictory to the spirit and purpose of the United Nations because nuclear weapons cannot create for us a stable and secure world, and because peace and international stability cannot be founded on mutually assured destruction or on the threat of total annihilation.”

Environmental, humanitarian consequences

Speaking about the environmental disasters and humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, the Holy See official whose portfolio is equivalent to that of foreign minister, encouraged all countries to make the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) a reality by ensuring its entry into force….https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2018-09/holy-see-un-gallagher-nuclear-weapons.html

September 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protecting counterprotesters; nuclear repentance -National Catholic Reporter

Justice Action Bulletin: Protecting counterprotesters; nuclear repentance, National Catholic  Reporter,Aug 14, 2018by Maria Benevento

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Arrests of USA activists protesting against nuclear weapons

Arrests at nuclear sites mark 73rd anniversary of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki http://www.nukeresister.org/2018/08/07/arrests-at-nuclear-sites-mark-73rd-anniversary-of-atomic-bombings-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/  from the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Activists honor Catholic archbishop, who was a prophetic voice for peace, on anniversary of atomic bombingby Leonard Eiger Silverdale, Washington: Activists blockaded the West Coast nuclear submarine base that would likely carry out a nuclear strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should President Donald Trump give the order.

Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate beginning on the evening of August 5th and continuing into the morning of August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Approximately sixty activists were present at the morning vigil, and twelve participated in a nonviolent direct action in which participants blockaded the base at the peak of the morning shift change by carrying a banner onto the roadway of the main entrance gate.

The banner read, “Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound – Raymond Hunthausen.”

The activists stopped traffic entering the base for ten minutes before being removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol Officers, cited for being in the roadway illegally, and released on the scene.

The twelve activists cited are Phil Davis, Bremerton, WA; Susan Delaney, Bothell, WA; Lisa Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Ann Kittredge, Quilcene, WA; James Knight, Altadena, CA; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend, WA; Elizabeth Murray, Poulsbo, WA; George Rodkey, Tacoma, WA; Ryan Scott Rosenboom, Bothell, WA; Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA; and Jade Takushi.

Raymond Hunthausen, retired archbishop of Seattle, died on July 22nd at age 96. Frank Fromherz, author of the the soon to be released book, “A Disarming Spirit: The Life of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen,” said of Hunthausen:

“It was in the early 1980s that Archbishop Hunthausen denounced the Trident nuclear submarine fleet harbored in his archdiocese, famously calling it ‘the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.’ His opposition inspired Catholics worldwide, but gained him powerful opponents in the U.S. government during the era of President Reagan’s military buildup. Catholic peace activist Jim Douglass, a native of British Columbia, introduced Archbishop Hunthausen to the practice of contemplative nonviolent direct action.”

Douglass once described his longtime friend as ‘a holy prophet of nonviolence in the nuclear age.’ In what would become a truly historic address on June 12, 1981 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Hunthausen spoke these prophetic words: ‘Our security as people of faith lies not in demonic weapons, which threaten all life on earth. Our security is in a loving, caring God. We must dismantle our weapons of terror and place our reliance on God.’”

Eight of the US Navy’s fourteen Trident ballistic missile submarines are based at the Bangor Trident base, which is just 20 miles west of Seattle. It is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force (the bomb dropped on Hirosima was between 13 and 18 kilotons). The Trident bases at Bangor and Kings Bay, Georgia, when combined, represent just over half of all warheads deployed by the United States.

While the US has been calling for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, it continues to modernize and upgrade its nuclear weapons and delivery systems, among them the Trident system. It has declared, along with some other nuclear weapon states, that it will never sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also known as the Ban Treaty.

Monday morning’s action was the culmination of a weekend commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Activities included keynote presentations by former CIA officer and peace activist Ray McGovern, and Backbone Campaign executive director Bill Moyer. Activists at Ground Zero Center also welcomed participants of the Interfaith Peace Walk and held a waterborne protest, “Boats by Bangor,” on Hood Canal by the Bangor base waterfront where Trident submarines are prepared for their patrols.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington. We offer the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

August 11, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA | 2 Comments

Catholic action against nuclear weapons

Justice Action Bulletin: Catholic worker among protestors breaching nuclear weapons bunker https://www.ncronline.org/news/justice/justice-action-bulletin-catholic-worker-among-protestors-breaching-nuclear-weapons, Jul 24, 2018, by Maria Benevento  POULSBO, Washington — The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action is planning nearly a week of activities to commemorate the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and call attention to and oppose nuclear weapons today.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Catholic Church urged to make care of environment a legal obligation – Vatican’s former legal chief

Vatican’s former legal chief says canon law should include care of creation, CRUX, Elise Harris, CNA, Jul 18, 2018, ROME – The Vatican’s former top advisor on canon law has made a public call to insert legal obligations for the care of creation into the Church’s universal canon law –  making it a legal duty for Catholics not only “not to harm” the environment, but to improve it.

According to veteran Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, former head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, made the proposal during a July 12 event in Rome titled “Dialogue on Catholic Investments for the Energy Transition.”

During the closed-door discussion, representatives from the Vatican and Catholic organizations spoke about how to invest responsibly towards a transition to renewable energies.

In an interview with Vatican Insider, Coccopalmerio discussed canons 208-221 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which enumerate “Obligations and rights of all the faithful.”

This section “outlines an ‘identikit’ of the faithful and of their life as a Christian,” the cardinal said, but noted that nothing is mentioned “about one of the most serious duties: That of protecting and promoting the natural environment in which the faithful live.”

The proposal he outlined, which he suggested could be submitted to the pope but considered by his former department, would be to ask for a new canon to be added to the obligations of all the faithful, specifically treating environmental responsibility………

Drawing inspiration from Laudato Si’, Francis’s 2015 encyclical on the environment, participants at the event agreed on the Catholic Program of Disinvestment, sponsored by the Catholic Climate Movement, which urges ecclesial institutions to make a public commitment to move away from financial investments in fossil fuels.

Participants also highlighted the importance of pursuing ethical investment strategies in line with the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, according to Tornielli……..https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2018/07/18/vaticans-former-legal-chief-says-canon-law-should-include-care-of-creation/

July 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Japanese Buddhist priest joins movement to divest from fossil fuels and nuclear power

 Lions Roar, BY HALEIGH ATWOOD


“Right now the greenery that we have, the earth, the soil — everything is a product of the things that people who have come before us have left behind,” Narita told NBC News. “We can’t just treat those things carelessly.”

June 1, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, Japan, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

  The “forbidden life” of those caring for abandoned animals in Fukushima

Hero rescues pets from Fukushima nuclear wasteland

The 3/11 kitten that wasn’t   The “forbidden life” of those caring for abandoned animals in Fukushima, Beyond Nuclear , By Linda Pentz Gunter, 20 March 18   “………. countless animals were indeed abandoned in Japan due to the natural disasters and the forced exile of those living too close to the stricken nuclear plant. Some international rescue groups did go in to try to help, but early on found conditions and access restrictions challenging if not prohibitive.

However, there were also individuals and groups in Japan who were not willing to sit back and watch animals starve. In addition to the rescue operations, a spay-neuter organization began work to prevent the inevitable proliferation of pets who, if they had survived at all, had now become strays. Shelters were eventually built with funds donated by supporters.

But there were some, chronicled in several remarkable films, who either never left, or who quickly returned to Fukushima Prefecture, with one sole purpose in mind: to look after the animals. Their charges soon multiplied and for some, it has become a full-time vocation.

In a 2013 ITN short news segment, we are introduced to 58-year old Keigo Sakamoto, who had already established an animal sanctuary in Nahara, just over 12 miles from the Fukushima plant. He was one who refused the order to evacuate, then found himself completely trapped within the zone, cut off from supplies. He survives on the generosity of individuals and stores outside the zone where he regularly collects discarded food and other supplies essential to keeping his animals — and himself — alive.

Then there are farmers who returned to save their livestock. One such, 53-year old Naoto Matsumura, is featured in the 18-minute Vice documentary, Alone in the Zone. He lives in what was then the ghost town of Tomioka — whose station reopening story we featured last week. But Matsumura could not accept the idea that dogs, cows, goats, ducks and even ostriches should be cast off without a care.

At first he evacuated with his family, fearing all the reactors were going to blow. But when his family faced rejection by relatives who said they were “contaminated”, and the hassle of evacuation shelters became unendurable, he returned home alone. And stayed. “I couldn’t leave the animals behind,” he said. “I am opposed to killing off the animals in the zone.”

Feeding them, and refusing to sign the “death warrant” requirement from the government, will, he hopes, spare them from slaughter. “So many of their fellow cattle died in pain,” he said, recalling the tragedy of cows left in barnes to starve. “To me, animals and people are equal.” ……https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/16/the-3-11-kitten-that-wasnt/

 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging nations not to damage Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement

UN Chief Warns Against Endangering Iran Nuclear Deal  https://www.rferl.org/a/un-chief-guterres-warns-against-endanger-iranian-nuclear-deal-unrelated-issues-ballistic-missile/28982016.html  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging nations not to damage Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers because of concerns they may have with Iran’s nonnuclear military activities in the Middle East.

“Issues not directly related to the [nuclear deal] should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement and its accomplishments,” Guterres said in a statement on January 17.

The deal is a “major achievement of nuclear nonproliferation and diplomacy, and has contributed to regional and international peace and security,” he said.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Iran’s ballistic-missile development as well as support for Syria’s government in a six-year civil war and its backing of Yemeni Huthi rebels, while demanding major changes in the nuclear deal.

On January 12, Trump threatened to pull out of the deal unless it is changed to clearly prohibit ballistic-missile development, among other changes he is seeking.

Trump said he was waiving U.S. nuclear-related sanctions for another 120 days, as required under the deal in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities.

But he said was doing so for the “last time” to give U.S. and European negotiators a “last chance” to enact measures to fix what he called the deal’s “disastrous flaws.”

Iran has ruled out any changes in the agreement, maintaining that Trump’s demands violate terms of the deal sealed by the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama and signed by Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia.

While the Trump administration insists that Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear weapons violates the “spirit” of the nuclear accord, Guterres noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly concluded that Iran is fulfilling its side of the agreement.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

January 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope Francis strongly criticises climate change deniers – speaks up for science

Pope Francis rebukes ‘perverse’ climate change deniers over rejection of science behind global warming
Pontiff encourages policymakers to accelerate their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions at Bonn summit I
ndependent, Nicole Winfield, 17 Nov 17,  Pope Francis has rebuked those who deny the science behind global warming and urged negotiators at climate talks in Germany to avoid falling prey to such “perverse attitudes” and instead accelerate efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Francis issued a message to the Bonn meeting, which is working to implement the 2015 Paris accord aimed at capping global emissions.

In it, Francis called climate change “one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing.” He urged negotiators to take action free of special interests and political or economic pressures, and to instead engage in an honest dialogue about the future of the planet. ……. In his message, the Argentine pope denounced that efforts to combat climate change are often frustrated by those who deny the science behind it or are indifferent to it, those who are resigned to it or think it can be solved by technical solutions, which he termed “inadequate.”  “We must avoid falling into these four perverse attitudes, which certainly don’t help honest research and sincere, productive dialogue,” he said.  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/pope-france-climate-change-deniers-perverse-global-warming-greenhouse-gas-emissions-bonn-germany-a8060746.html

November 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment