TV: “Astronomical amounts of radiation” found in downtown Tokyo… Directly outside gov’t building

August 23, 2016

ENENews


TV: “Astronomical amounts of radiation” found in downtown Tokyo… Directly outside gov’t building — ‘Horrific’ readings where kids playing in Fukushima, ‘extreme’ levels found where food is grown for elementary school lunches — Nuclear expert shocked, upset by discovery (VIDEO)

Posted: 22 Aug 2016 09:10 AM PDT

Abe’s Super Mario act gets social media buzzing in Japan

August 23, 2016

Abe's Super Mario act gets social media buzzing in JapanJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a surprise appearance dressed as Super Mario during the closing ceremony of the Rio Games on Sunday night.AFP

TOKYO —

Japan on Monday reacted with a mix of surprise, delight and cynicism at the sight of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as video game icon Super Mario in a comical cameo at the close of the Rio Olympics.

Social media immediately lit up as scenes of Abe wearing a Super Mario costume proved jaw-dropping to Japanese watching the spectacle on television half a world away.

“I was impressed to see a national leader sacrificing his reputation and showing up in cosplay at this world event,” posted a Japanese-language Twitter user.

“He is great.”

Most had apparently never conceived of the normally blue-suited and politically conservative Abe and the moustachioed Mario merging into one.

“I never thought of having Prime Minister Abe play Mario, let alone him emerging from plumbing,” another Twitter user said.

That was a reference to Abe’s entrance before the vast crowd at Rio’s Maracana stadium where plumber Super Mario came out from underground after drilling down from Tokyo into the earth to reach Brazil.

Some voices, however, were sharply critical.

“He popped up from a pipe grossly contaminated by radiation,” said one tweet, apparently referring to the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was crippled by a massive 2011 tsunami.

Abe came under fire in 2013 after he made a global promise to Olympic chiefs just ahead of a decision to award the Games to Tokyo, saying of the plant: “Let me assure you, the situation is under control.”

The facility is being decommissioned and that is expected to take decades to achieve, while some areas around it remain uninhabitable due to high levels of radiation.

The closing ceremony and transfer of the Olympic flag to Tokyo was the top story in Japan’s evening newspapers, with some including short items on Abe’s transformation into Super Mario.

Tamayo Marukawa, the Japanese minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Games, told reporters in Tokyo she was not informed of Abe’s plan to portray the popular Nintendo game character.

“I didn’t know about this at all,” she said. I never imagined he would play Mario.”

She then suggested Abe should start calling himself “Shinzo Mario Abe” to raise his global profile.

Abe himself seemed satisfied.

“I wanted to show Japan’s soft power to the world with the help of Japanese characters,” he told reporters.

“I wasn’t sure how the audience would react,” he added. “But I received so many cheers. I appreciate it.”

© 2016 AFP

___________________________

Comment: Why spending time (when nukes not under control, Takae osprey-pad endangering people and environ, Abenomix failing, …) and money (PM plane, travel cost, …)?

Dress to End War

August 18, 2016

Let’s help army find its $6.5 trillion

August 16, 2016

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org

I volunteer to help the U.S. Army find its missing $6.5 trillion!


Click here to sign.

To: The U.S. Army

Please allow us to visit your facilities and to conduct unimpeded inspections until we determine exactly where the unaccounted for $6.5 trillion ended up — the $6.5 trillion that you said in the report linked below you just can’t locate. We are willing to do this on a contingency basis, accepting as payment a 0.0001% finder’s fee each.

Sign now.

Why is this important?

$30 billion a year could end starvation and hunger worldwide.

$11 billion a year could provide clean drinking water to everyone who needs it.

All the green energy projects ever envisioned that could preserve life on earth would collectively cost significantly less than this pocket change of yours that has gone missing.

We realize you didn’t drop it in the yard with your keys somewhere, that you SPENT it on things you don’t really want to go into details about with us, even though it was our money to begin with. Nonetheless, we’ll help you identify exactly where it all went. It shouldn’t be hard if you give us proper access.

Here’s your report on the unaccounted for money:
http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2016-113.pdf

How the petition will be delivered

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here:http://davidswanson.org/donate.

If you were forwarded this email please sign up at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/activism-alerts-from-david-swanson.

HOLLER BACK – [NOT] VOTING IN AN AMERICAN TOWN

August 14, 2016

HACKING THE MACHINES – COVERAGE FINALLY!

August 12, 2016

A recent spate of articles and audio programs is acknowledging that the manipulation of election results using electronic voting equipment is a distinct possibility. NPR, Wired, the Washington Post, Science Friday, and most comprehensively – an almost 9000 word article at Politico, are all reporting on the vulnerabilities of the machines that we vote on. The networks have joined the chorus with coverage at ABC, NBC and CBS. It’s a welcome sight to see this coverage, and it’s also about time. A small army of election integrity activists, computer scientists and journalists like Brad Friedman and Victoria Collier have made the point repeatedly over the last ten years; Collier most emphatically in an eye-opening 2012 article in Harper’s Magazine.

I have been one of those voices. In 2008, I released a documentary Holler Back – [not] Voting in an American Town. As part of the filming, I recorded the hack of the AccuVote-TS voting machine that is described in the Politico article. The hack is by then-graduate students Alex J.Halderman and Ari Feldman, working with Professor Ed Felten at Princeton. The documentary clip is 5 minutes long and well worth watching. It contains back and forth cuts between Halderman and a Lehigh County Pennsylvania election official, where Halderman explains how they overcame every single one of Lehigh County’s security measures.

Lehigh County Former Chief of Staff Levi Price, “We changed the passwords for each election.”

Halderman, “The password didn’t stop us for more than a few seconds.”

Lehigh County, “You have to have the technological capability of altering the software.”

Halderman,“The memory card is just a standard off-the-shelf memory card that you use in your digital camera.  The smart cards you can buy over the internet.”

Lehigh County: “We have 700 separate machines. Each of those 700 separate machines is locked with a different key.”

Halderman, “You don’t need to break all 700 locks. Because a viral attack is possible, all you need to do is infect one or a small number of machines. And then the virus and your malicious vote-stealing software will spread from machine to machine during normal election procedures.

My narration: But what if we had a paper trail for the touch-screen machines. Would that make them more reliable?

Brad Friedman, (of Bradblog.com) “There is no reason to trust a touchscreen or DRE system with or without a paper trail. Period. You can hack the paper trails as easily as you can the internal numbers.”

That was in 2008.

HACKING IS NOT THEORETICAL

Which brings me to my next point: while the coverage is welcome, there are still some problems with the current narrative.

One problem with these stories is that they all take the position that this is a theoretical issue that they are concerned could happen. From the Politico article, “’You would be hard pressed to find an example of our voting systems ever being hacked in a real election environment, as opposed to that of a hack attempt inside of a laboratory environment in which zero real world physical election processes are utilized,’ writes Kathy Rogers, a spokesperson with ES&S, in an email, and correctly so—it’s never been proven that an election was deliberately hacked.”

This is actually not true. As early as 1994, the election of Nelson Mandela in South Africa was successfully attacked through the computers. According to Peter Harris, the head of the official election monitors, “The electronic count was compromised by a hacker who went in and multiplied the vote. The electronic count was then closed down. It stopped. That’s when the results stopped going to South Africa and the rest of the world.” The BBC reports that, “The secret manual system saved the day.”

If hacking the voting equipment is as easy as buying a memory card and a mini-bar key on the internet, and allows one control of local, state, and federal budgets it is not hard to imagine that it is already happening. The media may suffer from a lack of imagination, but hackers do not.

Our research does not prove that elections are being hacked. But the reported totals do not look accurate when analyzed statistically, and after extensively looking for other causes, we conclude that the manipulation of the count is the most likely explanation. The data indicates this is already occurring, and has in all likelihood been happening for years in both Democrat and Republican primaries, as well as general elections.

OPTICAL SCAN MACHINES ARE VULNERABLE

One concern about the current narrative is that some security experts are recommending optical scan machines as the solution to our election security woes. Our research indicates that computerized elections with a paper trail are as vulnerable as those without.

We performed a detailed statistical analysis of New York, a state that votes on paper, and then runs the ballots through optical scan machines. According to those familiar with the process, the results of the optical scan machines are all centrally tabulated by computer. In an interview Professor Halderman confirmed that central tabulation is a vulnerable security opening, where results could be assigned new percentages. “If you’re manipulating the central counting systems, then you can make an overall adjustment.” Asked whether it’s possible to get access to the central counting software, he replied, “Probably. It’s been our experience in the last decade with the Diebold systems, for instance, that it was certainly possible in the machines and counting systems we examined.”

Voting on paper is necessary, but if we want to be confident the results are accurate, it is also necessary to count the votes by hand. This is a conclusion that most of the European democracies have come to. As Ben Wofford points out in the Politico article, “Eight countries in Europe that once flirted with digital voting have seen six go back to paper; Britain counted its Brexit votes by hand.”

Below is the segment of our report showing how problematic the New York Democratic 2016 primary results are. For those who have not read the full report we found that a significant difference in the percentages that the candidates receive in small and large precincts is a cause for concern. There is no demographic explanation that is large enough to account for these variations. Furthermore, the variations are consistently helping or hurting certain candidates, ruling our random error as the problem.

New York State — Multiple Issues Raise Serious Concerns

In the 2016 New York Democratic presidential primary, the statistical patterns of certain counties are irregular (Figure 1). Both Richmond County (Staten Island) and Kings County (Brooklyn) reveal a strong correlation between precinct size and candidates’ percentages.

Fig. 1 — 2016 NY Dem pres primary. Richmond and Kings Co., show irregular statistical patterns

 

Columbia County, New York — a hand-counted county — offers a good point of comparison to the above graphs (Figure 2).

Fig. 2 — 2016 NY Dem pres primary

Columbia Co. – this hand-counted county has an expected statistical pattern

In this graph, there is a large degree of fluctuation both up and down on the left side of the graph. Then, by about 1,300 votes, the graph settles into a fairly even straight line, with small, random fluctuations. It maintains a basically flat line through all of the largest precincts. This is a very normal-looking CVT (cumulative vote tally) graph. Unlike the Richmond County, Kings County and Bronx County graphs, Clinton and Sanders have approximately the same percentages in the small and large precincts.

Earlier in the paper we demonstrated that hand-counted and machine-counted ballots in Kings County give different percentages for the candidates (Figure 3).

Fig. 3 — Hand-counted ballots show

a consistently higher return for Sanders in the 2016 New York presidential primary

Graph by Anselmo Sampietro

 

The suspect CVT graph in Kings County reinforces the findings of irregular election results presented earlier, and paints an increasingly troubled portrait of potentially compromised vote totals. But there is another odd factor in this state’s results.

Precise Percentages

We are showing the New York City graphs (Figure 1) to illustrate a very specific point. The data supports the idea that the overall state vote totals are being massaged to achieve a predetermined percentage.

The final reported totals in New York state were almost exactly 58% Clinton to 42% Sanders. It is necessary to go to the third decimal digit to see a difference: 57.995 versus 42.005.

Doug Johnson Hatlem reported on this issue, pointing out that, “The overall results in New York, as announced on election night, deviated from a perfect 58–42 split by 0.005345. That’s 97 votes out of over 1.8 million.”

In Kings County, the reported totals were almost exactly 60% Clinton, to 40% Sanders: (59.72% Clinton, 40.27% Sanders.) The .27 difference is caused by about 800 votes out of 300,000. In the Bronx, the percentages were almost precisely 70% to 30% (69.59% Clinton to 30.41% Sanders), the difference being just 616 out of 151,908 total votes. The Bronx County CVT graph is also irregular (Figure 4).

Fig. 4 — 2016 New York Democratic presidential primary

The Bronx County graph shows a strong correlation between precinct size and candidate percentage

New York City already had two unusual pieces of data giving cause for concern:

  • The difference between hand-counted and machine-counted results
  • Irregular statstical graphs in multiple counties

Add to that:

  • Precise percentages in the total election results could be an indication that the results have been manipulated to achieve a specific percentage for the candidates.

These are three separate but reinforcing facts, illustrating why the totals for this state are suspect.

 

COUNTING BY HAND – THE BEST SOLUTION

Our recommendation is

  • Paper ballots marked by the voter, counted by hand in the precinct with secure chain of custody and transparent processing that is open to scrutiny by the public and the media.

In this age of speed and automation many people cringe at the thought of sitting down at a publicly-monitored table and counting the votes one by one. But there are well-developed protocols for counting votes by hand publicly at each precinct, immediately following the close of polls, with good chain of command security, that make this a feasible enterprise. The process would be open to the media and could make for some very dramatic television – especially in a close race. People counting the votes by hand could give the networks hours and hours of dramatic air time to speculate about the possible outcomes.

Yes, it’s true, most of us use a calculator to add 17 + 24, but there are still a few things we would never want a machine to do. Would you want a machine to read a bedtime story to your child? Would you want a machine to make the final confirmation that a loved one was dead? Would you want a machine to determine whether or not we engage in nuclear warfare? After all, that is the ultimate decision we are deciding at the ballot box. Collectively we are determining who will make crucial decisions for us at the moment of crisis. It’s worth the extra time and effort to make sure we get it right.

The Pro-Nuclear War Party

August 14, 2016
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According to a Wall Street Journal report, the following people and entities would like the United States to begin a nuclear war: Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the U.K., France, Japan, South Korea, and Germany. If any of those people or entities believe they can prove a case of libel, it might be a huge one. (Are you listening, Rupert?)According to Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper, the White House has been discussing the possibility of declaring that the United States no longer has a policy of engaging in the first use of nuclear bombs. The trouble is that those individuals and nations named above object. They insist, we are told, that the United States should have the policy of beginning a nuclear war.

Have the people of the UK, France, Japan, South Korea, Germany, or the United States itself been polled on this? Has any legislature pretending to represent any of those populations voted on this? Of course not. But what we could do, perhaps, is amend the policy to read: “When the United States begins the nuclear war, it shall announce that it is doing so in the name of democracy.” That should be good.

Has Mr. Kerry, Mr. Carter, or Mr. Moniz been evaluated by a psychiatrist? Was Mr. Kerry against this before he was for it? The important question, I believe, is whether they want to start the nuclear war with any hatred or bigotry in mind. If what they intend is a loving, tolerant, and multicultural nuclear war, then really what we ought to be worrying about is the unfathomable evil of Donald Trump who has said that he’d like to kill families — and particular types of families.

Now, I am not claiming to have fathomed the evil of Mr. Trump, but it has been U.S. policy since before there was a United States to kill families. And it is my strong suspicion that a nuclear war and the nuclear winter and nuclear famine it would bring to the earth would harm at least some families of every existing type.

The non-nuclear nations of this off-its-axis planet have been moving forward on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. That sort of strong and sane proposal could have something to do with the White House interest in advancing something as weak as a statement of no longer planning to be the first to start the apocalypse. But you can see the logic of the profiteers quite clearly. The same White House has laid out a plan to dump a trillion dollars in the coming years into building smaller, more “usable,” nukes. If the United States commits to not using them first, as other nuclear nations have already done, and if that commitment becomes universal, well, then nobody will ever use them, and at some point in the 23rd century it might occur to some bureaucrat that if nobody’s ever going to use them, it might not be the best use of unfathomable levels of spending to keep building them, and then where would we be?

But, not to worry, the Wall Street Journal and a pair of aspiring politicians have got you covered, because “a decision by Mr. Obama to press ahead with the declaration appears unlikely in his remaining months, given the controversy it would stir in the midst of a presidential election.” If you believe Mr. Obama is against controversy in the election, I’ve got an argument for the deterrent value of nuclear weapons to sell you. If Hillary Clinton were against first-use, so would Obama be. But she isn’t. Neither is His Huckstership, the Republican nominee.

Opening presidential election debates to include Jill Stein would create the controversy on this and other issues that Mr. Murdoch and his fellow media overlords would prefer to avoid. And Obama would find himself on the same side of that controversy as anyone else who has completely and utterly lost all sense of human decency.

 

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David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

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Fiddling while the Doomsday Clock ticks

August 8, 2016
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Last Jan. 26, unnoticed in the sound and fury of the presidential primary season, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that its famous Doomsday Clock would remain at 3 minutes to midnight (=global catastrophe): “As the signatories to this reportmake clear, the Earth remains perilously and inexcusably close to metaphorical midnight.”The Bulletin was first published in 1945 by scientists who had helped develop the atomic bomb. In 1947 The Bulletin began using the image of a Doomsday Clock to symbolize how close nuclear weapons technology had brought us to the destruction of civilization. They have since included the threat from human-induced global warming. The only other years the clock was this close to midnight were in 1949 when the Soviets acquired their atomic bomb, in 1953 when the U.S. and USSR acquired the hydrogen bomb, and in 1984 when cold-war tensions were at their peak.

The start of the Doomsday Clock signaled a new era in human history: one in which humans had acquired the power to destroy their planet but lacked the wisdom and institutions that would make its use unlikely. That’s why the clock was set from the start at the final minutes of the last hour, and since then never earlier than 17 minutes before midnight. What now alarms the Bulletin’s panel of scientific experts (including 16 Nobel Laureates ) is a combination of rising tensions among nuclear powers and the inadequate international response to accelerating climate change.

Climate Change

Seashore flooding and increasing weather extremes make it hard to ignore the threat from climate change. According to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society’s annual State of the Climate report, in 2015 greenhouse gases, global land and sea surface temperatures and global sea levels were the highest on record.

The latest international attempt to address global warming was the Paris Agreement signed on Earth Day by the leaders of 175 nations. Unfortunately, as the New York Times points out, the agreement will not have the legal force of a treaty because it would “be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill without the required two-thirds majority vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.” Of all the major political parties in the democratic world, only the GOP rejects climate science.

Republicans have nominated for President a climate-change denier who has shown himself to be a narcissistic man-child. They also want him to be commander-in-chief of U.S. nuclear forces. The GOP is a major threat to human survival.

Nuclear War

On August 6, 1945 the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It instantly killed 70,000 people, and 140,000 more died from radiation effects. The city of 310,000 was obliterated. A second atomic bomb on August 9 caused similar devastation in Nagasaki. The first bomb had an explosive power of 15 kilotons (=15,000 tons of TNT), while the second was 22 kilotons. The estimated totaldestructive force of the current nuclear arsenal is 570,000 kilotons (570 megatons) for the U.S. and 660+ megatons for Russia, equal to 38,000 and 44,000 Hiroshimas respectively.

According to the Arms Control Association, the world’s nuclear powers now possess a total of 15,300 nuclear warheads, 90% of which are held by the U.S. and Russia. About a third of these are retired and await dismantlement. Each nation has about 4500 warheads stockpiled for potential use. Russia has 1648 warheads deployed on ballistic missiles or heavy bombers, while the U.S. has 1538. Each side maintains a “nuclear triad” consisting of land-based ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and strategic bombers.

It’s a terrible irony that we nearly ended the threat of a nuclear doomsday 30 years ago at the 1986 Reykjavk summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Both offered to completely eliminate their nuclear arsenals, and then backed off. The obstacle was Reagan’s refusal to limit the development of his so-called Star Wars anti-ballistic missile system even though the elimination of the missiles would make the system unnecessary.

The kind of irrationality that led to the failure of the Reykjavk summit is now at work in U.S. foreign policy toward Russia. The immediate background of the current threat is the American-sponsored expansion of NATO to the borders of Russia, incorporating many former Warsaw Pact countries. NATO even announced that Ukraine, despite its deep historic and economic ties with Russia, would be considered for membership.

As Noam Chomsky put it recently: “One can imagine how the United States would react if the Warsaw Pact were still alive, most of Latin America had joined, and now Mexico and Canada were applying for membership.”

In 2013 the U.S. supported a coup that ousted the democratically elected Ukrainian President Yanukovych, replacing him with a Western-leaning regime. This was the last straw for Russian President Putin. He responded by annexing Crimea, an ethnically Russian part of Ukraine that included port facilities for the Russian Black Sea fleet. He also supported a separatist insurrection in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine that continues today.

The American narrative from politicians and the mainstream media is that Russia is an aggressor that needs to be contained by economic sanctions and military threats. NATO is moving military forces close to the border with Russia, and Russia is responding with its own troop movements. There is a growing acceptance of a New Cold War.

Instead of urgently pushing for nuclear arms reduction, President Obama (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) has committed to a trillion-dollar renewal program for the U.S. nuclear triad. It envisions weapons and delivery systems that “move toward the small, the stealthy and the precise” ( NYT , 1/11/16). The Russians have noticed, and are scrambling to catch up. The Doomsday Clock is ticking.

 

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Hiroshima: the Crime That Keeps on Paying, But Beware the Reckoning

August 8, 2016

On his visit to Hiroshima last May, Obama did not, as some had vainly hoped he might, apologize for the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the city. Instead he gave a high-sounding speech against war. He did this as he was waging ongoing drone war against defenseless enemies in faraway countries and approving plans to spend a trillion dollarsupgrading the US nuclear arsenal.

An apology would have been as useless as his speech. Empty words don’t change anything. But here was one thing that Obama could have said that would have had a real impact: he could have told the truth.

He could have said:

“The atom bombs were not dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘to save lives by ending the war’. That was an official lie. The bombs were dropped to see how they worked and to show the world that the United States possessed unlimited destructive power.”

There was no chance that Obama would say that. Officially, the bombing “saved lives” and therefore, it was worth it. Like the Vietnamese villages we destroyed in order to save them, like the countless Iraqi children who died as a result of US sanctions, the hundreds of thousands of agonizing women and children in two Japanese cities remain on the debit side of the United States accounts with humanity, unpaid and unpunished.

“It Was Worth It”

The decision to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a political not a military decision. The targets were not military, the effects were notmilitary. The attacks were carried out against the wishes of all major military leaders. Admiral William Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his memoirs that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…” General Eisenhower, General MacArthur, even General Hap Arnold, commander of the Air Force, were opposed. Japan was already devastated by fire bombing, facing mass hunger from the US naval blockade, demoralized by the surrender of its German ally, and fearful of an imminent Russian attack. In reality, the war was over. All top U.S. leaders knew that Japan was defeated and was seeking to surrender.

The decision to use the atom bombs was a purely political decision taken almost solely by two politicians alone: the poker-playing novice President and his mentor, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes.[1]

President Harry S. Truman was meeting with Churchill and Stalin in the Berlin suburbJohnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450 of Potsdam when secret news came that the New Mexico test of the atomic bomb was a success. Observers recall that Truman was “a changed man”, euphoric with the possession of such power. While more profound men shuddered at the implications of this destructive force, to Truman and his “conniving” Secretary of State, James Byrnes, the message was: “Now we can get away with everything.”

They proceeded to act on that assumption – first of all in their relations with Moscow.

In response to months of U.S. urging, Stalin promised to enter the Asian war three months after the defeat of Nazi Germany, which occurred in early May 1945. It was well known that the Japanese occupation forces in China and Manchuria could not resist the Red Army. It was understood that two things could bring about Japan’s immediate surrender: Russia’s entrance into the war and U.S. assurance that the royal family would not be treated as war criminals.

Both these things happened in the days right after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But they were overshadowed by the atom bomb.

And that was the point.

That way, the U.S. atom bombs got full credit for ending the war.

But that is not all.

The demonstrated possession of such a weapon gave Truman and Byrnes such a sense of power that they could abandon previous promises to the Russians and attempt to bully Moscow in Europe. In that sense, the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only gratuitously killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. They also started the Cold War.

Hiroshima and the Cold War

A most significant observation on the effects of the atomic bomb is attributed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. As his son recounted, he was deeply depressed on learning at the last minute of plans to use the bomb. Shortly after Hiroshima, Eisenhower is reported to have said privately:

“Before the bomb was used, I would have said yes, I was sure we could keep the peace with Russia. Now, I don’t know. Until now I would have said that we three, Britain with her mighty fleet, America with the strongest air force, and Russia with the strongest land force on the continent, we three could have guaranteed the peace of the world for a long, long time to come. But now, I don’t know. People are frightened and disturbed all over. Everyone feels insecure again.”[2]

As supreme allied commander in Europe, Eisenhower had learned that it was possible to work with the Russians. US and USSR domestic economic and political systems were totally different, but on the world stage they could cooperate. As allies, the differences between them were mostly a matter of mistrust, matters that could be patched up.

The victorious Soviet Union was devastated from the war: cities in ruins, some twenty million dead. The Russians wanted help to rebuild. Previously, under Roosevelt, it had been agreed that the Soviet Union would get reparations from Germany, as well as credits from the United States. Suddenly, this was off the agenda. As news came in of the successful New Mexico test, Truman exclaimed: “This will keep the Russians straight.” Because they suddenly felt all-powerful, Truman and Byrnes decided to get tough with the Russians.

Stalin was told that Russia could take reparations only from the largely agricultural eastern part of Germany under Red Army occupation. This was the first step in the division of Germany, which Moscow actually opposed.

Since several of the Eastern European countries had been allied to Nazi Germany, and contained strong anti-Russian elements, Stalin’s only condition for those countries (then occupied by the Red Army) was that their governments should not be actively hostile to the USSR. For that, Moscow favored the formula “People’s Democracies” meaning coalitions excluding extreme right parties.

Feeling all-powerful, the United States sharpened its demands for “free elections” in hope of installing anti-communist governments. This backfired. Instead of giving in to the implicit atomic threat, the Soviet Union dug in its heels. Instead of loosening political control of Eastern Europe, Moscow imposed Communist Party regimes – and accelerated its own atomic bomb program. The nuclear arms race was on.

“Have Our Cake and Eat It”

John J. McCloy, labeled by his biographer Kai Bird as the informal “chairman of the U.S. establishment”, told Secretary of War Henry Stimson at the time that: “I’ve been taking the position that we ought to have our cake and eat it too; that we ought to be free to operate under this regional arrangement in South America, at the same time intervene promptly in Europe; that we oughtn’t to give away either asset…”[3] Stimson replied, “I think so, decidedly.”

In short, the United States was to retain its sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere, claimed by the Monroe Doctrine, while depriving Russia of its own buffer zone.

It is necessary to recognize the sharp distinction between domestic policy and foreign policy. The nature of the Soviet internal regime may have been as bad as it is portrayed, but when it came to foreign policy, Stalin scrupulously respected deals made with the Western allies – abandoning, for instance, the Greek Communists as they were crushed by the Anglo-Americans after the war. It was the United States that reneged on the deals made at Yalta, which were then stigmatized as sellouts to “communist aggression”. Stalin had absolutely no desire to promote communist revolution in Western Europe, much less to invade those countries. In fact his failure to promote world revolution was precisely the basis of the campaign against “Stalinism” by Trotskyists – including Trotskyists whose devotion to world revolution has now shifted to promotion of US “regime change” wars.

There is a prevailing Western doctrine that dictatorships make war, and democracies make peace. There is no proof of that whatsoever. Dictatorships (think of Franco Spain) may be conservative and inward-looking. The major imperialist powers, Britain and France, were democracies. Democratic America is far from peaceful.

As the Soviet Union developed its own nuclear arsenal, the United States was unable to interfere effectively in Eastern Europe and fell back on lesser enemies, overthrowing governments in Iran and Guatemala, getting bogged down in Vietnam, on the theory that these were surrogates for the Soviet communist enemy. But now that the Soviet Union has collapsed, abandoning Russia’s buffer zone in Eastern Europe, there appears to be a resurge of the sort of confidence that overcame Truman: a euphoria of limitless power. Why else would the Pentagon undertake a trillion dollar program to renew America’s nuclear arsenal, while stationing troops and aggressive military equipment as close as possible to the Russian border?

In his 1974 book about his relations with his brother Dwight, The President Is Calling, Milton Eisenhower wrote: “Our employment of this new force at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a supreme provocation to other nations, especially the Soviet Union.” And he added, “Certainly what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki will forever be on the conscience of the American people.”

Alas, the evidence so far is all to the contrary. Concerned critics have been marginalized. Systematic official lies about the “necessity to save American lives” have left the collective American conscience perfectly clear, while the power of the Bomb has created a lasting sense of self-righteous “exceptionalism” in the nation’s leaders. We Americans alone can do what others cannot, because we are “free” and “democratic” and they – if we so decide – are not. Other countries, not being “democracies”, can be destroyed in order to liberate them. Or simply destroyed. This is the bottom line of the “exceptionalism” that substitutes in Washington for the “conscience of the American people” which was not aroused by Hiroshima, but asphyxiated.

The Moral Sleep

As a guest in Hiroshima, Obama pontificated skillfully:

“The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.”

Well yes, but no such moral revolution has taken place.

“…the memory of the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, must never fade. That memory allows us to fight complacency. It fuels our moral imagination. It allows us to change.”

“Change” is an Obama specialty. But he did nothing to change our nuclear arms policy, except to beef it up. No sign of a “moral imagination” imagining the devastation that this policy is leading us toward. No imaginative ideas to bring about nuclear disarmament. Just promises not to let the bad guys get ahold of them. They belong to us.

“And since that fateful day,” Obama continued, “we have made choices that give us hope. The United States and Japan have forged not only an alliance but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war.”

This is sinister. As a matter of fact, it was precisely through war that the U.S. forged this alliance and this friendship – which the United States is now trying to militarize in its “Asian pivot”. It means that we can wipe out two of a country’s cities with nuclear weapons and end up with “not only an alliance but a friendship”. So why stop now? Why not make more such “friends” in the same way, for instance in Iran, which Hillary Clinton has expressed willingness to “obliterate” if the circumstances are right.

“That is a future we can choose,” said Obama, “a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”

But so far, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are very far from marking the “start of our own moral awakening”. On the contrary. The illusion of possessing limitless power removed any need for critical self-examination, any need to make a real effort to understand others who are not like us and don’t want to be like us, but could share the planet peacefully if we would leave them alone.

Since we are all-powerful, we must be a force for good. In reality, we are neither. But we seem incapable of recognizing the limits of our “exceptionalism”.

The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki plunged the United States leadership into a moral sleep from which it has yet to awaken.

Notes.

[1] All of that is known to experts. The documentary proofs were all laid out by Gar Alperovitz in the 800 pages of his 1995 book, The Decision to Use the Atom Bomb. However, official lies outlive documented refutation.

[2] Alperovitz pp 352-3.

[3] Ibid p.254.

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50 Years Ago: The Start of America’s Mass School Shooting Epidemic

August 8, 2016

And the Story of the “Clock Tower Sniper”

It is a fact that 90% of America’s school shooters were on prescription brain-altering psychiatric drugs – drugs that are well known to cause inebriation, intoxication, loss of impulse control, rage, aggression, homicidal ideation, suicidal ideation, and temporary drug-induced mania and/or psychosis.

But the well-documented psychiatric drug connections to school shootings and a host of other widely-publicized episodes of “senseless violence” has been treated as a taboo subject by Big Media, Big Pharma and the medical profession. (For much more on the connections between psych drugs and “irrational” behaviors of many types.)

The first cover-up started rather innocently after August 1, 1966, when a likely drug-intoxicated (and/or drug-withdrawing) ex-Marine sharp-shooter named Charles Whitman earned his infamous title as the “Clock Tower Sniper” at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin.

Whitman was likely drug-intoxicated because of his prescribed amphetamine (Dexedrine) and barbiturate drugs, for he had been a patient of a campus physician during his second try at being a college student. (He had flunked out after his first matriculation and re-joined the Marines for a second “tour of duty”. However, he was court-martialed by the Marine Corps and re- enrolled in college.)

From Whitman’s homicide/suicide note, one only has hints of the psychological and spiritual traumas that he suffered during his child-rearing years. His biological parents had divorced, and dysfunctional families always cover up family violence so there is not much family history to research.

But Whitman wasn’t an outcast in his childhood. He had been an Eagle Scout before he went into the Marines, and seemed to have been generally well-liked, at times being described as an “all-American boy.” After the shooting spree, Whitman’s father-in-law said that he was “just as normal as anybody I ever knew, and he worked awfully hard at his grades. There was nothing wrong with him that I knew of.”

Whitman took his prescribed Dexedrine and barbiturates, and, not surprisingly when one knows amphetamines and what withdrawal symptoms can come from the highly addictive barbiturates, he had chronic headaches. (Although a benign brain tumor was found at autopsy.) He hated his stern father, a self-made man whom Whitman was never able to please.

After stabbing his mother to death hours before the shootings, Whitman wrote the following explanatory note: “The intense hatred I feel for my father is beyond description. My mother gave that man the 25 best years of her life,” He explained that he had killed his mother to ease her suffering. “[My father] has chosen to treat her like a slut that you would bed down with, accept her favors and then throw a pittance in return.” Any child who experiences seriously dysfunctional parents, especially if there is a lot of punishment involved, feels intense humiliation and shame, which, in the case of American boys, often motivates aggressive violence. In the case of American girls, it motivates self-blame and depression.

In the case of Whitman, one would also like to know if he had suffered humiliations, hazing or other forms of psychological or physical violence during his Marine Corps basic training or during his 18 month tour at Guantanamo Bay, which can be a miserable tour. The records that might have identified the reasons for his court-martial from the Marines have probably been “lost”. Whitman was never deployed to Vietnam.

One also would like to know what the symptoms were that made him seek psychiatric “treatment”. What information was he given about the dangers of the two prescribed brain-altering drugs together before he took them? Why was he given a combination of two powerful psych drugs that had never been tested for safety even in the rat labs? What were the doses of the drugs? What was the frequency with which he took them, and what adverse effects did he experience?

But the 50 year-old trail is cold, and the journalists who write for the corporate-controlled media, whose editors and publishers are beholden to advertising dollars from Big Pharma and Big Medicine, are not inclined to truly investigate and report on such issues as prescription drug-induced violence, drug-induced suicides, drug-induced dementia, vaccine-induced autoimmune diseases, vaccine-induced developmental disorders, etc, etc. Iatrogenic disorders that expose Big Medicine and Big Pharma are taboo subjects.

Harry Chapin and “Sniper”

But in 1972, singer-songwriter Harry Chapin wrote a brilliantly insightful song about Whitman, which he titled “Sniper”. The song contains verses about parental abuse and neglect, social isolation, rejection and subsequent homicidal rage that have, since 1966, became common denominators in America’s unique epidemic of young white male school shooters. What Chapin couldn’t have known about was the brain-altering, violence-inducing and suicidal effects of Whitman’s highly addicting psych drugs — amphetamines and barbiturates — that he had been prescribed by his unaware and probably well-meaning campus psychiatrist.

After his second tour of duty with the Marines ended in disgrace, Whitman tried again to make it as a student by re-enrolling at UT Austin. During the summer months before the shooting rampage, he became a patient of a psychiatrist and was on, or was withdrawing from, the two drugs. While under the influence of the drugs (or while experiencing crazy-making withdrawal symptoms after stopping or cutting down on them) he killed 14 and wounded 31 during a five-hour shooting spree from the top of the Austin campus clock tower. Whitman had already stabbed to death his mother and his wife – probably experiencing the now well-understood reality of psychiatric drug-induced remorselessness and rage.

As referred to above, Whitman had been a victim of parental conflict that led to his parent’s divorce. He had likely suffered physical abuse, not just emotional abuse, from his strict father, and he had suffered the humiliation of his court martial and failure at college. Extracting some revenge, even at the expense of innocent scapegoats like his mother and wife, may have seemed logical to his drug-altered brain.

And then, at the last moment of his tragic life, like the ex-military veteran and PTSD-afflicted “madman” and drug-intoxicated Adolf Hitler two decades earlier, he avoided having to face the humiliation of a trial by jury or the hangman by committing “suicide by cop”. Whitman didn’t actually kill himself, but rather orchestrated the inevitable suicide when his position on the observation deck of the tower was stormed by city police officers.

Going out in a “Blaze of Glory”

Whitman may have gained some psychological satisfaction by not killing his despised father. Leaving him alive would make him pay for his sins for the rest of his life. He may have gained some satisfaction via his “control” over the scapegoated victims on the mall below him. He knew that he would finally be getting recognition – albeit negative – via the intense media attention and that he would get to go out in a “blaze of glory” rather than living in humiliating obscurity. At least he would be famous for something rather than being a “nothing” who failed both in his military and academic careers. Whitman had become an unloved, invisible, inconsequential failure that, except for the temporary power over others that his guns gave him, would otherwise never have been remembered for anything.

Angry, sociopathic men, who threaten to shoot or actually shoot their estranged ex-lovers or wives are often motivated by similar feelings of humiliation when they act out violently. And it is more likely to happen when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether the drugs are prescribed or illicit. Guns and drugs don’t mix.

The Similarities Between the Austin, Columbine and Aurora Shooters

Unlike the Littleton, Colorado shooter Eric Harris (who realized that he could ratchet up his hostility, hatred and rage by altering the dose of his Prozac-like drug Luvox), Whitman had no way of knowing that his “senseless” behavior was intimately connected to his psychiatric drugs, just like the Aurora, Colorado shooter James Holmes, who also didn’t realize that he was under the brain-altering influence of neurotoxic and psychotoxic synthetic prescription drugs Zoloft (Pfizer) and Klonopin (Roche) when he was making his irrational online purchases of assault gear, assault weapons and ammunition.

It is common knowledge that virtually all American psychiatrists reflexively “treat” with psychotropic drugs over 95 – 98% of their out-patients (and 100% of their in-patients) in various combinations of neurotoxic and psychotoxic, brain-altering synthetic chemicals like Holmes’s Zoloft {Pfizer}, which has an amphetamine base molecular structure and is known to adversely affect impulse control and to cause homicidal impulses, suicidal impulses, agitation, aggression, mania, psychosis, etc). Neither of the shooters, Whitman or Holmes, were aware that the barbiturates or the benzodiazepine (Klonopin) act on brain synapses like long-acting alcohol, which are crazy-making whether one is taking those drug or withdrawing from them.

Harry Chapin immortalized Whitman and his tragic (possibly even preventable) story in the powerful, haunting, and psychologically accurate song “Sniper.” Here are the lyrics:
Sniper

It is an early Monday morning.
The sun is becoming bright on the land.
No one is watching as he comes a-walking.
Two bulky suitcases hang from his hands.

He heads towards the tower that stands in the campus.
He goes through the door, he starts up the stairs.
The sound of his footsteps, the sound of his breathing,
The sound of the silence when no one was there.

I didn’t really know him.
He was kind of strange.
Always sort of sat there,
He never seemed to change.

He reached the catwalk. He put down his burden.
The four sided clock began to chime.
Seven AM, the day is beginning.
So much to do and so little time.

He looks at the city where no one had known him.
He looks at the sky where no one looks down.
He looks at his life and what it has shown him.
He looks for his shadow it cannot be found.

He was such a moody child, very hard to touch.
Even as a baby he never smiled too much. No, no. No, no.

You bug me, she said.
You’re ugly, she said.
Please hug me, I said.
But she just sat there
With the same flat stare
That she saves for me alone
When I’m home.
When I’m home.
Take me home.

He laid out the rifles, he loaded the shotgun.
He stacked up the cartridges along the wall.
He knew he would need them for his conversation.
If it went as he planned, then he might use them all.

He said Listen you people I’ve got a question
You won’t pay attention but I’ll ask anyhow.
I found a way that will get me an answer.
Been waiting to ask you ’til now.
Right now!

Am I?
I am a lover who’s never been kissed.
Am I?
I am a fighter who’s not made a fist.
Am I?
If I’m alive then there’s so much I’ve missed.
How do I know I exist?
Are you listening to me?
Are you listening to me?
Am I?

The first words he spoke took the town by surprise.
One got Mrs. Gibbons above her right eye.
It blew her through the window wedged her against the door.
Reality poured from her face, staining the floor.

He was kind of creepy.
Sort of a dunce.
I met him at the corner bar.
I only dated the poor boy once.
That’s all. Just once, that was all.

Bill Whedon was questioned as he stepped from his car.
Tom Scott ran across the street but he never got that far.
The police were there in minutes, they set up barricades.
He spoke right on over them in a half-mile circle.
In a dumb struck city his pointed questions were sprayed.

He knocked over Danny Tyson as he ran towards the noise.
Just about then the answers started coming. Sweet, sweet joy.
Thudding in the clock face, whining off the walls.
Reaching up to where he sat, their answering calls.

Thirty-seven people got his message so far.
Yes, he was reaching them right where they are.

They set up an assault team. They asked for volunteers.
They had to go and get him; that much was clear.
And the word spread about him on the radios and TV’s.
In appropriately sober tone they asked “Who can it be?”

He was a very dull boy, very taciturn.
Not much of a joiner, he did not want to learn.
No, no. No, no.

They’re coming to get me, they don’t want to let me
Stay in the bright light too long.
It’s getting on noon now, it’s going to be soon now.
But oh, what a wonderful sound!

Mama, won’t you nurse me?
Rain me down the sweet milk of your kindness.
Mama, it’s getting worse for me.
Won’t you please make me warm and mindless?

Mama, yes you have cursed me.
I never will forgive you for your blindness.
I hate you!

The wires are all humming for me.
And I can hear them coming for me.
Soon they’ll be here, but there’s nothing to fear.
Not any more though they’ve blasted the door.

As the copter dropped the gas he shouted “Who cares?”.
They could hear him laughing as they started up the stairs.
As they stormed out on the catwalk, blinking at the sun,
With their final fusillade his answer had come.

Am I?
There is no way that you can hide me.
Am I?
Though you have put your fire inside me.
Am I?
You’ve given me my answer can’t you see?
I was!
I am!
and now I will be,
I will be,
I will be,
I will be,
I will be,
I WILL BE!

Dr Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN. Dr Kohls has been actively involved in peace, justice and nonviolence issues for much of his adult life and, since he retirement, has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader. His Duty to Warn columns mostly deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism and other movements that threaten American democracy. He can be reached at:gkohls@cpinternet.com. Read other articles by Gary.

Wake up: These Unneeded Instruments Can Wreck Mass Destruction

August 8, 2016

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has recently advanced a clean energy plan which mandates that New York transition half of its energy needs to renewables by 2030. By regressive contrast, New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved enormous subsidies for three aging nuclear power plants―Ginna, Nine Mile Point and FitzPatrick―located in Upstate New York.  Estimates of the costs of these subsidies range from $59 million to $658 million by 2023, with specialists such as Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group predicting that costs could grow to $8 billion. New York consumers will be covering the tab via their utility bills.

Ginna and Nine Mile Point are owned by the Exelon Corporation, and Exelon has plans to purchase the FitzPatrick plant. You can be sure that Exelon is frothing at the mouth for this huge bailout that was approved without adequate public scrutiny.  Approval of this plan gives New York State the not-so-honorable distinction of being one of the first states to bailout the aging nuclear industry in our increasingly green energy age. The long-coddled nuclear industry is hoping that other states will follow suit.

Unfortunately, subsidizing the nuclear industry in the United States is nothing new.  Since the first nuclear plants opened back in the 1950’s, taxpayers have assumed nearly all of the financial risk.  One of the most telling warning signs about the real cost of investing in nuclear power is that fact that Wall Street will not finance the construction of a nuclear plant without a full loan guarantee from the U.S. government. The reason for such caution by financial wheelers and dealers is the long history of delays, cost overruns and reactors that never came online. Whether the plants open or not, obeisant politicians pass many of the nuclear boondoggle costs to the taxpayers.

Atomic energy is also uninsurable in the private insurance market. Under the Price-Anderson Act of 1957, taxpayers must cover almost all of the costs if a catastrophic nuclear accident should occur.  Think of the devastation caused by Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island.  Three Mile Island, which experienced only a partial meltdown in 1979, cost approximately $1 billion to clean up.

The case to preserve the New York nuclear power plants is that they are an “emissions-free power source.”  There are, however, much better, more affordable and safer low carbon options that would replace the need for nuclear energy in New York.  These options were not even discussed or evaluated.  A more sensible approach would have been for the PSC to present some alternative scenarios, so that citizen taxpayers could compare the risk and costs of a massive nuclear bailout against significant investments in other energy-generating options like wind and solar, in addition to energy conservation measures.

Consider the absurdity of the complex and expensive nuclear fuel cycle itself. It begins with uranium mining which produces radioactive tailings and dust, followed by the fabrication and refinement of fuel rods, the risky transport of these rods to the plant where they are installed, and then firing up the reactor so it goes critical with a huge amount of radioactivity. The end goal? To boil water to generate steam to turn turbines to produce electricity!

What other method of boiling water has to have specific population evacuation plans?

There is also the significant problem of spent fuel rods which are stored in pools at nuclear plants.  No permanent storage sites exist for these deadly radioactive wastes, which pose national security risks, and which must be kept for thousands of years.

Indian Point nuclear plant

Indian Point nuclear plant

It’s notable to point out that the Indian Point nuclear plants in New York, which are located near an earthquake fault just thirty miles from Manhattan, were excluded from the PSC proposal. Even cautious Governor Cuomo and Hillary Clinton, when she was a Senator, have acknowledged the imminent danger that Indian Point poses to the Greater New York City area and urged its closing.  The 5 PM rush hour in New York’s metropolitan area is bad enough without adding the chaos of a panicked mass evacuation of millions of people.So what about those who live within the fallout zone of these three upstate plants that will be the recipients of billions of dollars of taxpayer money?  Why is Governor Cuomo trying to close Indian Point while saving these other plants? One explanation could be right out of the classic nuclear industry handbook―hold the state hostage by threatening that the lights will go out if they don’t pony up.

The public was given just 14 days to comment on the bailout proposal. Despite pushback from anti-nuclear activists, the nuclear industry prevailed.  Is two weeks enough time for a thorough public debate on the merits of bailing out the costly, risky, dirty nuclear power industry? Shame on the indentured PSC and Governor Cuomo!

Rather than prop up deteriorating nuclear plants with a huge hand out, New York officials should be focused on phasing out nuclear energy entirely.  Nuclear power has been proven many times over to be unnecessary, uneconomic, uninsurable, unevacuable, unsafe and unfit for use in the unstable modern world.

New Yorkers―don‘t take this lying down. Write and call Governor Cuomo’s office and tell them that you oppose the PSC’s huge bailout to the nuclear industry. And, we hope that some citizen groups will challenge the decision in state court.

Have you seen the print, TV and radio ads touting atomic energy by the Nuclear Energy Institute? Its top executives and the CEOs of the nuclear energy corporations have not been willing to debate publically the assertions in these ads about cost, subsidies, evacuation, risk, alternatives and climate change. I’m confident that Peter Bradford, former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and former chairman of the New York PSC would agree to a debate in a neutral forum such as the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. So too would Amory Lovins, physicist, author and energy consultant to agencies from electric utility companies to the Pentagon.

Can you, readers, demand that the Nuclear Energy Institute open themselves up to informed debate? After all, they represent big corporate welfare kings that have taken taxpayers for a ride of hundreds of billions of dollars for the last sixty years. They owe you!

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of Unstoppable The Emerging Left Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State(2014), among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph, or visit Ralph’s website.


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