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Problems for Elizabeth Warren’s policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons

October 26, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

U.S. presidential candidates should state their position on nuclear weapons

Candidates should state position on nuclear weapons,   https://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20191014/column-candidates-should-state-position-on-nuclear-weapons   David Wright, The upcoming Democratic Party presidential debate in Ohio provides an opportunity for candidates to address an issue that a majority of Ohio voters want to hear about: their plans for U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

A recent Zogby Analytics poll found that more than 80% of Ohio residents believe it is critical that the candidates state their positions on this issue.

They are right to want to hear the candidates’ views. Ohioans understand that the risk of nuclear war remains one of the greatest threats to civilization, and security experts warn that the potential for a nuclear war is greater than it has been in decades.

The good news is that the next president could make America safer by changing U.S. nuclear policy.

Under current policies, the United States could start a nuclear war by mistake. How? Let me explain the chain of events.

The Pentagon keeps its 400 land-based missiles on hair-trigger alert so they can be launched quickly upon warning of a Russian missile attack before they could be destroyed by incoming Russian missiles. If the military received such a warning, the president would have less than 10 minutes to decide whether to launch U.S. missiles. But that warning is generated by computers based on radar and satellite data, all of which are fallible. Indeed, there have been false alarms over the years due to a range of technical and human errors. This tight time span in which to make a decision increases the risk of starting a nuclear war based on a false warning. U.S. missiles cannot be recalled or destroyed in flight, even if the Pentagon belatedly realized that the warning had been false.

Keeping missiles on hair-trigger alert is not only dangerous, it is also unnecessary. Most U.S. nuclear weapons are hidden at sea on submarines where they are safe from attack, so the United States can wait to see if a nuclear attack is actually happening before it retaliates. Debate moderators should ask the candidates if they would remove U.S. missiles from hair-trigger alert and eliminate the possibility of starting a nuclear war by mistake.

The next president also could reduce the chance that the United States would deliberately start a nuclear war. Current policy permits the United States to use nuclear weapons first in a non-nuclear conflict with Russia, China or North Korea — all of which are nuclear-armed. Doing so would almost certainly provoke a devastating nuclear response against the United States.

Moderators should tackle that topic as well. They should ask the candidates whether, if elected, they would clearly state that the only purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack and establish a policy that the United States will never use nuclear weapons first. Such a policy also would make America safer by making it less likely that our adversaries would attack us with nuclear weapons first out of fear that a U.S. nuclear strike was imminent.

The Zogby survey polled Ohioans about this “first use” issue, too. When asked if there were any acceptable circumstances for the United States to use nuclear weapons first, nearly two-thirds said no.

Finally, the United States has long relied on verifiable international agreements to constrain its adversaries’ nuclear forces. Today the United States and Russia still possess 92% of all nuclear weapons, yet the United States recently pulled out of a longstanding nuclear arms treaty with Russia and has threatened to walk away from the landmark treaty that limits long-range nuclear weapons. Debate moderators should ask the candidates if they are committed to maintaining such agreements, how they would reinvigorate U.S.-Russian negotiations and how they would address North Korea and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Voters want to know, but they will only if debate moderators ask the right questions. The presidential candidates must clarify what they would do, if elected, to reduce the nuclear threat and guarantee national — and international — security.

David Wright, co-director and senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, grew up in Lima and attended Miami University and Ohio State University.

October 15, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Pro-Nuke Holocaust Denier Cory Booker Must Not Be President

Harvey Wassermann, 21 Sept 19, Senator Cory Booker has become a Pro-Nuke Holocaust Denier and must not be president or vice.
As desperate mostly-young millions march worldwide for the survival of our Earth, Booker embraces explosive atomic 500-F climate killing machines that are roasting Her.
Any of our 96 badly run, rarely inspected US nukes could explode into a nuclear holocaust at any time.
In Booker’s New Jersey, three dying public-subsidized nukes spew heat, radiation and carbon.  Their safety is “guaranteed” by Trump’s fake Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  They’re dangerously decrepit, but what’s he done to to guarantee their safety?  (Hint:  they can’t get private insurance).
Now he’s Trump-style slandering the global grassroots safe energy movement for demanding nuke accountability.
Nuke reactors spew gargantuan quantities of waste heat and deadly radiation.  That includes Carbon 14, a global warming agent.
Carbon-emitting reactor fuel production demands carbon-emitting mining, milling, transport and enrichment.  So does fuel to run pools for spent rods that will explode if not forever cooled (see WIPP, New Mexico).
40 years ago this month 90,000 eco-fans heard the Musicians United for Safe Energy Concerts over 5 nights in Madison Square Garden.  Some 200,000 rocked our rally at Battery Park City.
Three Mile Island had earlier poured radiation into central Pennsylvania.  TMI’s owner denied the melt-down, the emissions, the health impacts.
But after the concerts I visited local farms, met the families, consulted their doctors.…and veterinarians…  The feds had long since predicted a reactor accident could wipe out an area the size of Pennsylvania and kill thousands.
At kitchen tables I heard awful tales of death and disease, of stillborn infants, dying children, Down’s Syndrome, dead animals and orchards.  I held a dog born with no eyes, saw a cat that couldn’t stand, horses that couldn’t breed, a pile of dead wild birds.  The Baltimore News-American confirmed the stories, as did Dell/Delta’s Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation (now free on line), and others.
In 1996, in Kiev and Russia, I heard far more/worse stories from Chernobyl survivors.  I will not return to Japan, where I’d joined giant marches demanding Fukushima not be built on seismic faults washed by tsunamis.
Over nearly a half-century of activism I’ve never met a No Nuker who denies climate change.  Saving our eco-balance remains everywhere a major motivation to shut all nuke reactors before the next one blows up.
But now the come-lately genius Corey Booker tells us we’re all Climate Deniers.
He might’ve joined the debate with dignity and respect.   But since any of the three falling-down Trump-run nukes in his own state (where I have children and grandchldren) could at any time render the entire east coast a radioactive ruin, filled with human agony and ecological horror, let’s just call him what he is:  a Holocaust Denier.
Harvey Wasserman coined the phrase “Solartopia” and helped with “No Nukes.”  His The People’s Spiral of US History will soon be at www.solartopia.org.  He hosts California Solartopia at KPFK-FM in Los Angeles and Green Power & Wellness at www.prn.fm.  

September 20, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Cory Booker Compares Anti-Nuclear Democrats To Republican Climate Deniers

  Huffington Post, 20 Sep 19 “…….The remark ― one of the most pointed critiques of the anti-nuclear position in the Democratic primary so far ― grazes a particularly sensitive nerve in the climate policy debate.The United States hasn’t licensed a new reactor in a quarter century. Yet nuclear power is deeply unpopular. In 2016, Gallup found a majority of Americans opposed nuclear energy for the first time since the pollster began surveying the question in 1994. If the 2011 meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, stoked fear in a generation too young to recall 1979’s Three Mile Island accident, HBO’s new hit miniseries “Chernobyl” exposed viewers to the horrors of radioactive contamination. ……

In a presidential election, Nevada, where voters who cast ballots in a decisive early primary staunchly oppose storing nuclear waste in the desert, raises the stakes.  ……..

Now consider the climate platforms top Democratic presidential candidates proposed…. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pledged to start “weaning ourselves off nuclear energy” with the goal of shutting down existing plants by 2035.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took an even firmer stance against nuclear power. He led the charge to shut down the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, which closed in late 2014, and proposed a bill last year to start decommissioning plants across the country.  …….

a heating planet raises some of nuclear power’s biggest risks. Nuclear reactors require 720 gallons of cooling water per megawatt-hour of electricity they produce ― a concern as water resources grow scarcer on a hotter planet, as HuffPost previously reported. The threat of violence increases in a heated world with depleted resources and unprecedented numbers of refugees, raising concerns of nuclear sabotage in terrorist attacks or war.

“From transportation, to storage, to waste that remains lethal for more than 100,000 years, nuclear plants pose numerous threats to our families and our communities,” said John Coequyt, the Sierra Club’s global climate policy director. “Meanwhile, clean energy from solar and wind is outcompeting dirty fuels and only getting cheaper, while new nuclear plants are outrageously expensive, over budget by billions, and economically failing.”

Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko warned that even mini-reactors will mean more accidents.

“Every day almost you see a new story, talking about how we’re not going to solve the problem of climate change without nuclear reactors,” Jaczko told WBUR this week. “And when I see those things I scratch my head and wonder if they’re talking about the same industry I’ve been familiar with, because I don’t see how nuclear power plants are going to solve that problem.”

Building new plants will be costly, and it’s not clear such an investment is a better deal than renewables that continue to grow cheaper. And Democratic presidential candidates, despite stark differences on new nuclear plants, are less clear on more pressing, wonky questions, said Jesse Jenkins, an energy systems engineer and professor at Princeton University. Those likely include whether candidates support state or federal subsidies to keep financially distressed nuclear plants open, or if they’d extend licenses up to 60 years on stations deemed safe. ….. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/cory-booker-nuclear_n_5d8299bae4b0957256b0ad04

September 20, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Warren’s comprehensive plan for Anti-Corruption Reforms

September 19, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Sen. Elizabeth Warren pledges not to invest in nuclear energy and focus on renewables instead

Sen. Elizabeth Warren pledges not to invest in nuclear energy and focus on renewables instead, MassLive, By 8 Sept 19, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made clear in a Sept. 4 climate town hall meeting that if she is successful in taking office as president, she will not invest in nuclear energy.

The Democratic presidential hopeful pledged to not only prevent the building of new power plants, but also said she would phase out all nuclear power by 2035 and replace it with renewables. After 52 years of producing energy, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station closed its doors on May 31.

Warren was asked what her opinion on nuclear energy replacing fossil fuels are during the Climate Town Hall.

“[Nuclear energy] is not carbon based, but it has a lot of risks associated with it,” said Warren. “Particularly the risks associated with spent fuel rods.”

According to a Gallup poll in 2016 many Americans have expressed worry about nuclear power and the waste from nuclear in the past and are concerned about the effects on the environment …… https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/09/sen-elizabeth-warren-pledges-not-to-invest-in-nuclear-energy-and-focus-on-renewables-instead.html

September 10, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Warren is vowing to wean the country off nuclear power if elected president

Elizabeth Warren Says ‘No’ to Nuclear Power: Campaign Update, Yahoo Finance, Ari Natter September 5, 2019  (Bloomberg) — Elizabeth Warren is vowing to wean the country off nuclear power if elected president, joining a number of candidates who say the risks outweigh the benefit of the carbon free electricity source.

“The problem is it’s got a lot of risks associated with it, particularly the risks associated with the spent fuel rods,” Warren said during a presidential forum on climate change hosted by CNN. “In my administration we are not going to build any new nuclear power plants.”

Warren’s remarks come as Democratic candidates split over their support for the power source, which has drawn opposition from progressives and some environmental groups who have qualms over nuclear waste storage and mining uranium for fuel. Other candidates who either want to phase out the use of the fuel or stop the construction of new plants include Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg, and Julian Castro.

Joe Biden, the Democratic race’s front-runner, has called for funding new nuclear technologies.

Sanders says U.S. Shouldn’t Fund Coastal Rebuilds (10:14 p.m.)

It’s “pretty stupid” to keep giving coastal residents federal money to rebuild homes in areas with repeated natural disasters, Senator Bernie Sanders said at a nationally televised climate town hall…… https://finance.yahoo.com/news/harris-sets-10-trillion-climate-100000578.html

September 7, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

USA Democratic candidates split nuclear energy

Democrats split over nuclear energy amid climate fight, The Hill, BY MIRANDA GREEN – The use of nuclear power is splitting Democratic presidential candidates, with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and businessman Andrew Yang among those calling for new plants and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arguing vehemently against any expansions.

Somewhere in the middle stand former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who oppose building new reactors but support maintaining those already in operation.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is vying with Sanders for the progressive mantle in the nomination fight and has been in the top three in polls alongside Sanders and Biden, hasn’t spelled out her position. Neither has Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), one of the Democratic hopefuls who released their stand-alone climate plan in the final hours leading up the forum.

Nuclear power is one of the only environmental and energy issues that splits the Democratic candidates, who generally agree on the big-picture need to take action to address climate change and to strengthen regulations to protect the environment. But there is no clear consensus when it comes to the role of nuclear energy.

As candidates are looking to distinguish themselves in a crowded field, and with two climate forums this month, some environmentalists say candidates’ stances on nuclear power will be the most telling. That belief is especially true for climate activists who oppose nuclear altogether.

“Given that we don’t have a way to deal with the waste from our existing nuclear reactors, let alone any additional ones, that’s a cause for concern,” said Mitch Jones, climate and energy program director at Food and Water Action.

“If you’re trying to extend the life of existing nuclear power, then you do not have the most environmentally friendly approach to the problem.”……..

the industry is struggling financially. So far this year, two reactors are expected to be retired despite various government subsidies helping the industry. Only one new nuclear power plant has come online since 2010.

The energy source also has a tainted past, rife with references to Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. And nuclear waste remains an issue to this day.

Few permanent solutions have been determined as to where the toxic waste from reactors, which takes thousands of years to decay, should be stored………   https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/459829-dems-split-over-nuclear-energy-amid-climate-fight

September 5, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders climate plan phases out nuclear power – angers the pro nuclear shills

Attacks on the Sanders’ climate plan appear to have less to do with the ongoing viability of nuclear power as a legitimate climate solution and more to do with an ongoing effort to convince the public to subsidize another unsuccessful sector of the energy industry.  

August 31, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

The Green New Deal – Bernie Fraser

August 26, 2019 Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

Back from the Brink platform, a Green New Deal for the nuclear threat.

Climate change isn’t our only existential threat,  https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/06/opinions/nuclear-war-climate-change-2020-opinion-helfand/index.html, By Ira Helfand, July 6, 2019    (CNN)America confronts a long list of critical problems and they all require urgent attention. But among them, two issues stand out: catastrophic climate change and nuclear war are unique in the threat they pose to the very survival of human civilization. The enormity and imminence of these twin existential threats cannot be overstated and how to confront them must be the central issue of any presidential campaign.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Nuclear Weapons and the 2020 USA Presidential Candidates

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The Other Existential Threat: Nuclear Weapons & the 2020 Presidential Campaign https://blog.ucsusa.org/sean-meyer/nuclear-weapons-candidates-primaries

SEAN MEYER, | JULY 3, 2019   The 2020 presidential campaign kicked off in earnest with last week’s Miami debates, and many of the “high profile” topics were covered: climate change, immigration, gun control. One topic was a little more unexpected: nuclear weapons. On the first night, three of the ten candidates on stage said nuclear weapons or the threat of nuclear war is the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States.

This should not be surprising: recent polling shows that in key primary states, including New Hampshire and Iowa, over 80% of respondents want to know what candidates think about nuclear weapons. We also know from recent national polling that more than 80% of people support arms control treaties with Russia.

Unfortunately, current US policies put the public at danger from nuclear use. Today, the United States retains the right to use nuclear weapons first in a crisis and maintains hundreds of land-based missiles on hair trigger alert. New, more usable nuclear weapons are being developed as part of a trillion-dollar plan to re-build and maintain the entire nuclear arsenal (a proposal mind you that dates to the Obama administration). For its part, the Trump administration has pulled out of crucial nuclear agreements that have kept us safe, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and seems poised to walk away from the New START Treaty as well.

These kinds of policies should be a major topic of discussion among candidates in the 2020 election, and candidates are already being asked about their positions on the campaign trail. Their responses and comments show a range of thought and understanding on the topic. You can see videos of the conversations with the presidential candidates about nuclear weapons on our YouTube channel.We’ll keep adding videos to this channel as members of the public and activists around the country continue to have these conversations with the candidates in the months ahead.

Indeed, voters have a critical role to play by raising the profile of these discussions and helping to elevate this important conversation and debate—both within our communities and online.

Nuclear weapons and climate change are the two existential threats facing humanity. They are serious. They are growing. They are urgent.  And our country and leaders must act—before it’s too late.

So that’s where “we the people” come in. Let’s educate others. Let’s raise our voices. Let’s insist that those who wish to lead our country do just that—lead us on a path that reduces the risks these horrible weapons pose.

The Union of Concerned Scientists aims to increase public discussion about the use of nuclear weapons; we are posting these videos to highlight such discussion by candidates for president. As a 501c3 nonpartisan organization, UCS does not support or oppose any candidate for election.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

U.S. presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard spells out the danger of nuclear war

Was Tulsi Gabbard’s nuclear war warning during Democratic debate hyperbole, or all too real?   In a rapid-fire question-and-answer portion of the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday evening, each candidate was asked about the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S.   abc news, By LEE FERRAN Jun 27, 2019

“This suggests that things are as bad as they ever have been, but not worse,” said Wolfsthal, who sits on the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The threat of nuclear weapons – a survival issue, but ignored in the U.S. Presidential debates

 

The formal debates for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President have begun this week. While there are many substantive topics that need to be covered, there are two existential threats that demand to be addressed. The threat of climate change has been discussed nominally though hardly with the urgency that it requires to stop our steady drift to ever greater catastrophic climate events. The other threat is that of nuclear war which increases as environmental degradation, resource depletion and its associated conflict follows. Yet the threat of nuclear weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence has not and is not likely to be discussed. Despite growing scientific evidence of the increasing vulnerability and threat posed by these weapons, we seem incapable of having a national dialogue on why they should even exist. Ultimately, they threaten every single thing we care about every moment of every day.

At a time when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists calculates that we are closer to nuclear war either by intent, cyberattack or accident than at any time since the height of the cold war, we would be well advised to take note so as to take appropriate action and educate our citizenry to eliminate these risks. In keeping their 2019 Doomsday Clock at 2 Minutes to Midnight, the Bulletin’s advisory board noted the close interplay of climate crises with growing international conflict, and the risk of nuclear war.

Our nation and the world need a virtual IQ test to understand the risk we face from these weapons. Each of us and every presidential candidate should be required to take this test and respond to these questions so we can have a greater understanding of the devastating risks we face.

Such an IQ assessment might go as follows:…….

The risk of nuclear war remains with us as long as these weapons exist. The only way to eliminate this risk is by the complete abolition of these weapons. The non-nuclear nations of the world, refusing to be held hostage by the nuclear states, are moving forward in the process of making these weapons illegal by international law and norms in the same way every other weapon of mass destruction has been dealt with before.

Ultimately, nuclear weapons are not a political issue but rather a survival issue. The understanding of this fact by our next president may very well determine our future. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/28/nuclear-iq-presidential-debates-and-our-future

June 29, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Sad to see U.S. progessive politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sucked in by the nuclear lobby?

Say It Ain’t So, #Ocasio! (#AOC)   https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify/say-it-aint-so-ocasio-aoc?fbclid=IwAR1J2uPjFoiyDMFfHBT7Ucb6I-MmxZbu4rQ2VrYDzg5reSSvc3M6Yqb0Oc0.by Arnie Gundersen

Since early 2019 we’ve been hearing about the Green New Deal, a program that did not initially include nuclear power. Then suddenly, after an extensive lobbying effort by the atomic power industry, we heard: Ocasio-Cortez: Green New Deal ‘Leaves the Door Open’ on Nuclear.

How Green are the atomic power reactors proposed by the nuclear power industry?  Fairewinds has produced a two minute animation showing that carbon reduction via atomic power reactors is a nuclear industry marketing ploy.

Let’s look at the history of atomic power and the way governments and the atomic weapons and power industries have worked together to promote nuclear power. Nuclear physicists  discovered the nuclear chain reaction in 1938, and power has been produced using the atom since the 1940’s beginning with the Manhattan Project for the creation of the atomic bomb. Splitting the atom and creating nuclear weapons and power are old technologies that began more than 80 years ago! During that 80-year timespan, Americans and ratepayers in other capitalist countries were told  that using nuclear power as a source of electricity would be “too cheap to meter” if taxpayers would only subsidize more research.

Now we see impending financial collapse of almost all of the US nuclear power plants due to green energy! Solar, wind, wave, battery storage, and even newer technologies have proved that electricity can be created anywhere in the world in a manner that creates jobs, saves billions of dollars, and makes the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink much safer for all of us.

Instead of admitting nukes cannot compete with renewable energy, the atomic industrial complex is now proposing dozens of new designs that it claims on paper will compete in timeliness to successfully impact the growing climate crisis, including atomic reactors utilizing thorium and molten salt and new designs like Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), Micro-reactors, Traveling Wave, etc. Once again, the atomic power industry, which is the handmaiden to the nuclear weapons manufacturers, is sending lobbyists to convince your Congressional representatives that the atomic future will be different than the past. Lobbyists now claim that society will be so much better off when taxpayer funds bail out the aged, dangerous, and non-performing nukes and if the atomic power and weapons lobbies are given even more research subsidies.

Since the early 1960s there have been 250 applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and its precursor the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to generate electricity for profit using atomic power reactors. None of these 250 proposed atomic reactors  have been built on time or within budget. You did not misread; truly, every single proposed nuke went millions and then billions of dollars over budget and have started generating electricity years later if at all.

If a baseball player was at bat 250 times and struck out 250 times, would he still be playing baseball? Yet, the atomic lobbyists marketing nuclear power want us to pay them for more chances to use our money and strike out one more time.

Renewables, storage and conservation already have a well-proven track-record of lower costs, more jobs, and environmental compatibility than any of these newly imagined nukes will ever have – I say newly imagined because I have spent my career life as a nuclear engineer. When I first began my career, I drank the Kool-Aid and believed that nuclear power reactors were the solution to the world’s energy shortages and that atomic power created from the same technology as the atomic bomb was as safe as the nuke power industry claimed. As the 5 commercial meltdowns during the last 40-years have proved, especially the 3 major meltdowns that included explosions at Fukushima, nuclear power is simply not a safe method of generating electricity. The impact of the devastation from three simultaneous meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi to the social culture, environmental legacy, personal health, and financial welfare of Japan in 2011 is not a legacy that should be passed onto future generations.

Why then is the US Congress, including AOC – one of the brightest members of this new Congress and the creator of the Green New Deal (#GND) – “leaving the door open” for the  same old atomic power marketing ploys? For more than 80-years, we have witnessed the economic failure, ratepayer bailouts, subsidized atomic meltdown insurance, and actual catastrophic meltdowns.

When will they ever learn?

June 17, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | 1 Comment