Nuclear fuel reprocessing operator violated safety rules: regulator

October 15, 2017

Workers are seen inside the central control room at the Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited’s (JNFL) Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility in Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture. Photo: REUTERS
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Japanese nuclear regulators say that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd violated legally binding safety rules by failing to conduct necessary checks for over a decade at its uncompleted spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the country’s northeast.

The failure of checks at an underground portion of the plant in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture for some 14 years eventually resulted in about 800 liters of rainwater flowing into a building housing an emergency diesel generator in August this year. The generator is a crucial device in times of crisis such as the loss of external power.

Japan Nuclear Fuel President Kenji Kudo said at a Nuclear Regulation Authority’s meeting that he will prioritize inspections of all facilities at the plant and suspend its operations to seek a safety approval on the plant to put it onstream.

The utility plans to check its facilities and some 600,000 devices by the end of this year before requesting the authority to resume its safety assessment for the plant.

The body applied for a safety assessment of the plant in 2014 and aimed to complete it in the first half of fiscal 2018, but the goal is likely to be delayed due to the need for inspections.

The envisioned nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is a key component of the government’s nuclear fuel recycle policy, which aims to reprocess spent uranium fuel and reuse extracted plutonium and uranium as reactor fuel.

But the Rokkasho plant has been riddled with problems, with its completion date postponed 23 times since 1997, its initial target. It also had to meet as new, tougher safety standards made in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, triggered by the 2011 deadly earthquake and tsunami.

The authority also said holes and cracks at exhaust pipes discovered at Japan Nuclear Fuel’s uranium enrichment plant in September also violate safety rules. The defects were left undetected for a long time due to a lack of inspection.

A utility compiles safety programs, which need to be assessed and approved by the authority.

If any grave flaws are found, the authority can issue an order to stop the operation of the plants or retract its approval to construct a nuclear plant.

Japan Nuclear Fuel “should have a substantial sense of crisis,” a member of the authority said. “We will take necessary measures if an improvement is not seen in ensuring the safety (in operating the plant).”

© KYODO

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Is Trump Unraveling?

October 15, 2017

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The Unraveling President
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Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Corker’s interview was followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who wrote that the situation has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a nuclear attack. Kelly has tried to keep Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House and restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisers believe he is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly.

 
Is Trump really unraveling? Are Republican leaders ready to pull the plug? I phoned an old friend, a Republican former member of Congress who keeps up with what’s going on. I scribbled notes as he talked:

Me: So what’s up? Is Corker alone, or are others also ready to call it quits with Trump?

He: All I know is they’re simmering over there.

Me: Flake and McCain have come pretty close.

He: Yeah. Others are thinking about doing what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit. Dangerous.

Me: Well, they already knew that, didn’t they?

He: But now it’s personal. It started with the Sessions stuff. Jeff was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on him was like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on Mitch for the Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others.

Me: So they’re pissed off?

He: Not just that. I mean, they have thick hides. The personal stuff got them to notice all the other things. The wild stuff, like those threats to North Korea. Tillerson would leave tomorrow if he wasn’t so worried Trump would go nuclear, literally.

 
Me: You think Trump is really thinking nuclear war?

He: Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the nuclear codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare all of them. That’s really why Bob spoke up.

With Bomber Flyover, Trump Denounced for ‘Trying to Provoke War’ With North Korea

October 15, 2017

Published on
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
byCommon Dreams

Trump “is trying to provoke war to not be the aggressor,” says one observer
byAndrea Germanos, staff writer
75 Comments
B-1B Lancer bombers flanked by Japan Air Self Defense Force F-2 fighters
B-1B Lancer bombers flanked by Japan Air Self Defense Force F-2 fighters take part in a mission over the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Japan Air Self Defense Force/flickr/cc)
Amid the latest signs of escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, President Donald Trump was blasted on Wednesday for ordering B-1 bombers to fly over the Korean peninsula—a move critics characterized as a dangerous but intentional provocation.

According to John Dean, former White House counsel to President Nixon, Trump “thinks he’ll be admired for killing millions… so he’s trying to provoke war to not be the aggressor.”

He thinks he’ll be admired for killing millions. His stupid base would approve, so he’s trying to provoke war to not be the aggressor. https://t.co/VMYaxRQzyE

— John Dean (@JohnWDean) October 11, 2017

Others on social media similarly saw it as a move “to provoke war”:

A statement from the U.S. military said the display, which included missile drills over the waters east and west of the peninsula, was the first nighttime exercise conducted between the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and Republic of Korea air force units.

It came hours after President Donald Trump met with his top military advisors to discuss “a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons,” and weeks after Kim Jong Un’s regime—following ominous threats by Trump—warned of its “right to shoot down the U.S. bombers even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country.”

U.S. Air Force Maj. Patrick Applegate said of Tuesday drill: “This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime anywhere.”

The development comes as a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows that two-thirds of Americans believe Trump’s comments about the situation with North Korea have made it worse.

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Trump’s Scary Strategy on North Korea

October 15, 2017

Opinion | OP-ED COLUMNIST

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Nicholas KristofOCT. 12, 2017

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A North Korean propaganda poster reads, “If war breaks out in this country again, the U.S. will not be safe!”

A North Korean propaganda poster reads, “If war breaks out in this country again, the U.S. will not be safe!”
On just the first day of a war between the United States and North Korea, according to a Stanford University assessment, one million people could be killed. (スタンフォード大学の査定では米朝間の戦争第一日に百万人が死ぬ)

Yet after my five-day visit to North Korea with three New York Times colleagues, such a nuclear war seems terrifyingly imaginable. In the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, it was clear that President Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea had backfired and is being exploited by Kim Jong-un for his own propaganda and military mobilization.

The country has seized on Trump’s words to reinforce its official narrative that its nuclear arsenal is defensive, meant to protect Koreans from bullying American imperialists. And North Korean officials use Trump’s bombast as an excuse for their own.

“The American Trump uttered nonsense about demolishing our country,” a military officer, Lt. Col. Hwang Myong-jin, told me. “So as soon as our supreme leader gives us an order, we will turn the entire country of the U.S. into fire.”

One typical propaganda image shows a powerful North Korean soldier stepping on the face of an evil-looking blond American soldier and reads, “Death to invaders.”

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Nicholas Kristof

Human rights, women’s rights, health, global affairs.

Why I Went to North KoreaOCT 14

Inside North Korea, and Feeling the Drums of WarOCT 5

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Kim doesn’t want to appear weak and seem as if he is caving to American pressure, and officials in North Korea repeatedly cited Trump’s threats to justify their military mobilization and their reluctance to engage in dialogue or conciliation.

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A North Korean propaganda poster reads, “Death to invaders!”
“The current Trump administration’s aggressive remarks about how he can totally destroy my country make it unthinkable that we can start any dialogue,” said Ri Yong-pil, a senior Foreign Ministry official.

My visit left me thinking that Trump’s entire strategy rests on a series of fundamental and dangerous misconceptions.

The first misconception is that sanctions and talk of war will lead North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. (第一の誤解は貿易制限と戦争の話が北朝鮮の核兵器放棄をさせるというもの。)Every North Korean official we spoke to insisted that this was impossible, and the U.S. intelligence community likewise believes that this just won’t happen, for (as I mentioned in my last column) North Korea sees nuclear warheads as crucial to its survival.

We did see signs that sanctions are biting, for businessmen complained about China cracking down on trade; gas prices have doubled; and electricity is rationed. Power outages are routine even in the capital.

Yet solar panels are becoming more common, and Kim has moved to liberalize the economy in ways that generate growth despite sanctions. Collective farms are allowing greater use of private plots, factory managers enjoy more responsibility to turn profits and street markets are more tolerated than before.

The bite of sanctions on elites is also dulled by a Kim initiative to inject a bit of fun into life in the capital (special permission is needed for North Koreans to visit Pyongyang, let alone live there). This is still the most totalitarian country in the world, but it does have an amusement park, a water park, a ski area and a dolphin show — North Korea’s version of SeaWorld. (I genuinely enjoyed the dolphin show, until it ended with wide-screen images of missiles.)

Economic reforms helped generate G.D.P. growth, after long stagnation, of 3.9 percent last year, according to South Korea’s central bank. That’s more than twice the growth rate last year in the U.S. of 1.6 percent.

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The second American misconception is that China can transform North Korean behavior. (第二の誤解は中国が北朝鮮の講堂を変えさせうるというもの。)We’ve always exaggerated Chinese influence on North Korea. Kim has gone out of his way to humiliate President Xi Jinping, and Chinese officials fear that this will happen again this month with a missile launch or nuclear test during China’s 19th Communist Party Congress.

North Korea has refused even to allow a visit by the Chinese point man for North Korean affairs, Kong Xuanyou. “We know what Kong would say, so he doesn’t need to say it here,” one North Korean official told me scornfully.

The third American misconception is the assumption that the North Korean regime is near collapse, and that huffing and puffing will accelerate this (第三の誤解は北朝鮮政権が崩壊に近くコケオドシがそれを促進させるというもの。). In the early 1990s my wife and I chose to be Tokyo correspondents for The Times partly because that would enable us to cover North Korea — and its impending collapse. We’re still waiting.

Yes, at some point it’ll happen, but don’t count on it tomorrow. And the economic reforms, however modest, may give the regime a bit more life.

Trump has genuinely increased the economic pressure on North Korea through United Nations sanctions, and the pinch may increase. But one of the worst mistakes in international relations, plaguing us from Vietnam to Iraq, is to operate on wishful thinking rather than reality, and I fear that’s what’s happening here in a perilous way. To be blunt, Trump’s strategy frightens me.

In speech and through Twitter, he is escalating a conflict and trumpeting military options as he insists on a goal of denuclearization that is unachievable, a tactic of Chinese pressure that is unrealistic and a premise of regime fragility that is wishful thinking.

That’s how wars happen.

I invite you to sign up for my free, twice-weekly email newsletter. Please also join me on Facebook and Google+, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter (@NickKristof).

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A version of this op-ed appears in print on October 12, 2017, on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump’s Scary Strategy on North Korea. Today’s Paper|Subscribe

How Gore, Kerry and Clinton Put Trump in the White House

October 15, 2017

OpEdNews Op Eds 10/12/2017 at 16:41:13

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Amidst the hellish chaos of the Donald Trump catastrophe, it’s more essential than ever to understand how he got into the White House and who put him there. Then we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

In her recent blame-everybody-else-while-doing-nothing screed, “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton fingers James Comey, the Russians and Bernie Sanders.

But, in fact, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry put this madman in office.

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This trio of multi-millionaire corporate Democrats won the presidential races of 2000, 2004 and 2016. Then they lay down, said hardly a word and did even less as they let George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump rule the land.

All three presidencies were stolen by stripping large numbers of black, Hispanic, Asian-American and young citizens from the voter rolls, and then electronically flipping the vote count. In 2000 and 2016, the thefts were finalized by the Electoral College.

Along the way, the United States House, Senate and a thousand state, federal and local offices also have been flipped. The Supreme Court has come along for the ride.

The impacts — eight years of George W. Bush and an eternity of Donald Trump — have been somewhere between catastrophic and apocalyptic.

We will recover only if we do what the corporate Democrats have not: Face up to how our entire electoral system has been become a sham and then change it.

Let’s start with Al Gore and Florida 2000.

In 2000, Gore was duly elected president of the United States. He won the popular vote nationwide by more than 500,000 ballots. Later, independent assessments showed he rightfully won Florida, which would have given him a majority in the Electoral College.

Officially, Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. In its infamous 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision, the Supreme Court stopped the recount that might have given Gore the presidency. The deciding vote was cast by Clarence Thomas. Gore, as a U.S. senator, had voted to put him on the bench.

But then-Gov. Jeb Bush, George’s brother and son of the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, actually prevented the legitimate citizen votes that would have won Gore the presidency. In shifting Florida from Gore to George W. Bush, Jeb Bush used a wide array of strategies perfected by their father at the CIA for overthrowing Third World regimes that American corporate interests deemed inconvenient. Florida 2000 was the logical follow-up.

As Greg Palast reported, Jeb used the ChoicePoint computer program to strip some 90,000 mostly black and Hispanic citizens from the voter rolls. As reported by activist Bev Harris, some 20,000 votes were electronically bounced around in Volusia County and elsewhere. At critical points on election night, they kept Bush2’s chances alive.

About 50,000 votes were tallied for the great consumer activist Ralph Nader in Florida 2000. Corporate Democrats still scream at him for daring to run at all. That pubic assault has shifted the focus away from how the election was actually stolen while undercutting America’s most effective corporate critic. In the perennial war waged by corporate Democrats against social democrats, this has been the new millennium’s centerpiece.

But had Nader not run, and had all who voted for him tried to vote for Gore, Bush still would have become president. With computerized stripping of the voter rolls, and electronic flipping of the vote count, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris showed that a governor and secretary of state can take any reasonably close statewide vote and engineer whatever outcome they want.

Until very recently, Al Gore never publicly challenged the existence of the Electoral College, which was originally formed in part to empower slave owners. He was the fifth presidential candidate to rightfully win an election but lose the White House.

After 17 years, Gore still has not confronted publicly the issue of Jeb Bush’s stripping the voter registration rolls or flipping the electronic vote count. Gore has never used his considerable public persona or immense personal wealth to open a public dialog about that election’s corrupted outcome — or to work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Indeed, while presiding over the U.S. Senate as vice president, Gore crushed a legitimate challenge to Florida’s stolen Electoral College delegation that put the GOP in the White House.

Gore has since got a Nobel Prize for his work on climate change. But his actions were the first inconvenient steps to a Trump administration now making climate chaos infinitely worse.

Four years later, John Kerry followed suit.

In Ohio 2004 — as in Florida 2000 — the voter rolls were stripped and the electronic vote count flipped. This time, the prime perpetrator was GOP Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, today a member of Trump’s “election integrity” commission.

Working with Bush2, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, Ohio’s first African-American secretary of state unleashed a veritable barrage of dirty tricks to take the Buckeye State — and the presidency — away from John Kerry.

In Democratic urban strongholds and college towns, precincts were riddled with chaos that was distinctly lacking in rural Republican regions. Incorrect addresses were posted on the state’s official website, and polling stations were shorted on voting machines. While Blackwell spread confusion about the weight of the paper stock required for ballots, he refused to send usable ones to precincts short on voting machines. As a result, thousands of Ohioans — many students and people of color — simply could not vote.

Official letters were also sent to “ex-felons” threatening criminal prosecution if they dared to vote, even though ex-felons can legally vote in Ohio and many who were threatened weren’t ex-felons anyway. At least 300,000 citizens were stripped from the voter rolls, nearly all in heavily Democratic urban areas. Some absentee ballots in southern Ohio were sent out missing Kerry’s name.

In some Democratic strongholds, voters who pressed Kerry’s name on touchscreen machines saw Bush’s name light up. Some who chose Kerry saw that their choice had disappeared by the time they got to the end of the ballot.

There was much, much more, which Bob Fitrakis and I have documented in “How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election,” at freepress.org.

On Election Day, Bush and Rove made one trip out of Washington, D.C. — to check in with Blackwell. They made no public appearances and didn’t bother with Ohio’s GOP governor, Bob Taft.

At 12:20 on election night, despite mass chaos and huge lines (up to five hours long) in Democratic precincts, CNN showed John Kerry winning Ohio — and thus the presidency — by 4.2 percent of the vote. The projected margin was well over 200,000 ballots.

Somehow, a “glitch” stopped the tally. The “problem” was in a server in Chattanooga, Tenn., where the email accounts of Karl Rove and the national Republican Party also resided. They were all managed by Michael Connell, a Bush family high-tech consultant running Ohio’s vote count under a no-bid contract from Blackwell. [Editor’s note: Connell died in a small plane crash in Ohio in 2008, after recently being subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit alleging vote rigging in the 2004 Ohio election.]

When the flow resumed at 2 a.m., all was flipped. Bush somehow won by 2.5 percent — a 6.7 percent shift. Scholars such as Ron Baiman deemed this change a “virtual statistical impossibility.” Bush’s Blackwell-approved Ohio margin was a beyond-improbable 118,000-plus votes, much of it from three southwestern counties riddled with chaos.

Kerry’s staff was thoroughly briefed on the likely fraud. At noon the next day, with 250,000 votes still uncounted, Kerry conceded. Then he went windsurfing.

Kerry has yet to say a public word about what happened in Ohio 2004, or in other states that year where election theft was blatantly obvious. The fraudulent tactics the GOP “test marketed” in 2004 have been used full force right through the “Trump triumph” of 2016, flipping an untold number of critical elections along the way.

Like Gore and Kerry in 2000 and 2004, Hillary Clinton was the designated winner in 2016. And like them both, she has said and done nothing about the third theft of the U.S. presidency in the first five presidential elections of the new millennium.

Clinton won the national popular vote by at least 2.9 million, despite a massive Jim Crow vote-stripping fraud perpetrated by GOP governors and secretaries of state in about 30 states. Parallel to ChoicePoint in Florida 2000, they used a program called Interstate Crosscheck, spread by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. As reported by Greg Palast, Crosscheck stripped voter rolls on the pretext that citizens were double-registered, even if their names did not match from one state to the other.

Palast estimates that at least 1 million voters were denied their ballots in this way, most of them likely Clinton voters who were black, Hispanic, Asian-American, Muslim and young. As featured in Palast’s book and movie “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” Kobach chairs the White House commission aimed at stripping registration rolls in upcoming elections. Clinton mentions Kobach briefly in “What Happened,” but offers no meaningful discussion of how his Jim Crow disenfranchisement campaign might have turned the 2016 outcome — or how to prevent it from happening again.

Clinton also briefly mentions the Electoral College that cost her the White House, but — like Gore and Kerry — gives no indication she plans to do anything significant about abolishing it.

She also fails to explore the fact that she won the exit polls in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — more than enough to give her an Electoral College victory. In all those states, the official vote count was deeply tainted with massive registration stripping and widespread electronic flipping.

But she harshly assaults Green candidate Jill Stein, echoing Democrat party-line attacks on Nader.

Trump’s total alleged margin in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania was under 100,000. As in Florida 2000, Clinton counts Stein’s votes and complains that had they all gone to her, she could have won.

But she never mentions that she stiffed Stein’s attempts to investigate the obvious fraud in all three states. As Palast has reported, more than enough Wisconsin voters were stripped from the registration rolls using new photo ID requirements to flip that key state to Clinton. In lawsuits filed on behalf of the Stein campaign, Bob Fitrakis has established that Wisconsin also failed to provide transparent electronic voting machine source codes, as required by law.

In Michigan, where Clinton allegedly lost by about 10,000 votes, some 70,000 ballots were recorded without a presidential preference. In the face of obvious manipulation, Clinton has never questioned the absurd presumption that tens of thousands of Democratic voters in Detroit and Flint would slog through long lines and official abuse to cast ballots without marking a choice for chief executive.

In fact, Clinton killed Stein’s attempt to force a recount in Michigan. When a judge ruled Stein lacked standing, but that Clinton had it, Clinton’s lawyers refused to support the recount. They also stonewalled Stein’s investigations in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

None of this is mentioned in “What Happened” or in Clinton’s public appearances. The candidate who rightfully won the 2016 election never mentions the obvious stripping and flipping that defined her losses in the three states that put Trump in the White House. Like Gore and Kerry, she has never indicated anywhere that she intends to do anything to stop this from happening again.

Clinton does, however, famously attack former FBI Director James Comey and the Russians for allegedly derailing her campaign at crucial moments.

Comey’s announcement of an investigation of her emails did, in fact, put a crimp in Clinton’s campaign. She still won the popular vote and the exit polls in the five key states that could have won her the Electoral College.

The Russians may or may not have hacked our electronic voting machines. But it’s abundantly clear, 17 years after Florida 2000, that those machines can be hacked with ridiculous ease, and that the likeliest culprits will always be local officials whose access is universal, quick and predictable.

The Russians may or may not have also released emails showing that Clinton’s cronies on the Democratic National Committee wrongfully sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Again and again, Clinton contemptuously assaults Sanders for his allegedly lukewarm support of her candidacy. But she completely ignores the massive grass-roots social democratic uprising that continues to make him America’s most popular politician.

Instead, she locked up her boring, uninspired candidacy behind the mighty fortress of corporate Democrats who seem to fear the social/green democrats to whom the party must ultimately belong if it’s ever again to take power. She let her personal hatred of Vladimir Putin convince even many of her followers that she might well spark a new Cold War with Russia.

Thus, she still misses and disses the activist nation that nominated Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, helped him survive the GOP’s strip-and-flip assaults, and thus escape the Electoral College death trap.

 
In 2016 the grass-roots “Hope and Change” tidal wave segued into the “Sandernista” uprising. It became the most powerful grass-roots movement for eco-social democracy in modern U.S. history. The latest incarnation is now in a desperate struggle to take the Democratic Party back from the “Clintonista” corporate elite that has gutted it. Its agenda is to turn the party into a force for peace, social justice and ecological sanity that can actually win elections.

Had Clinton lowered herself to embrace it, she might well have overcome a thoroughly corrupted electoral system and kept Trump out of the White House.

But as of now, there is no indication that either she, Al Gore or John Kerry are awake to the power of that movement, or to the need to confront an electoral system that strips millions of citizens from its registration rolls, flips electronic vote counts, and has used the Electoral College twice in this century to elect the likes of Bush and Trump as president.

With the corrupt remnants of the Clintons’ corporate-owned Democratic Leadership Council (which Hillary praises in “What Happened”) still in control of the party machinery, more than a thousand federal, state and local offices have slipped to the Republicans since 2000. Much of that clearly stems from grass-roots disgust with a party run by a dull, tone-deaf corporate cabal whose agenda on war, trade, welfare and more, is often indistinguishable from that of the GOP.

But much also has to do with the death grip Republican governors and secretaries of state have on the electoral apparatus. In 2016 and 2018, six U.S. Senate seats went to Republican candidates who lost in the exit polls, a virtual statistical impossibility. With those races went control of the upper House — and the Supreme Court.

Trump’s federal commission on “voter fraud,” headed by Kobach, with Blackwell by his side, is escalating the Jim Crow assault on our voter rolls. Easily hacked electronic voting machines guarantee flipped outcomes. The Electoral College still lets small red states deny the duly elected presidential candidates rightful access to the White House.

The reforms we need to our electoral apparatus include universal automatic voter registration, transparent poll books to guarantee duly registered citizens can actually vote, a four-day holiday for voting, easily accessible polling stations, and, above all, universal hand-counted paper ballots, to stay where they are cast in translucent containers with clear chain of custody until they can be tallied in full daylight, with open national oversight.

We also need an end to gerrymandering, the death of the Electoral College and an end to corporate money in campaigns.

All this seems beneath the corporate Democrats. But without such reforms, it’s a sad illusion that the Congress can be retaken in 2018, or that the GOP rampage through state and local legislatures can be reversed.

As for 2020, with the current electoral claptrap, a progressive presidency is almost certainly out of reach.

It will be up to the grass-roots sequel to the Sandernista movement to end this nightmare.

If “What Happened” and their timid inaction are any indicator, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore still don’t get it. That they opened the door for Donald Trump will be their most profound collective legacy.

“Truth!” shouts Jack Nicholson at the end of the legendary film “A Few Good Men.” “You can’t handle the truth!”

Until they can, these three biggest losers — and their moribund corporate Democrats — are destined for the scrapheap of history.

The sooner, the better.

Harvey Wasserman edits  www.nukefree.org . His SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at  www.solartopia.org . The Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show airs at  www.progressiveradionetwork.com .

HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US is available at http://www.harveywasserman.com/, as is A GLIMPSE OF THE BIG LIGHT and clues to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017 (7 comments)     

 
 
How Gore, Kerry and Clinton Put Trump in the White House Trump’s federal commission on “voter fraud,” headed by Kobach, with Blackwell by his side, is escalating the Jim Crow assault on our voter rolls. Easily hacked electronic voting machines guarantee flipped outcomes. The Electoral College still lets small red states deny the duly elected presidential candidates rightful access to the White House.Monday, September 25, 2017 (2 comments)     

 
 
It’s A Lousy “Anthem” Anyway Words to the Star Spangled Banner were written by Francis Scott Key, a slaveowner. He commemorated the failure of the British to conquer Baltimore in the War of 1812, an utterly useless conflict. The Brits had just burned our nation’s capital, partly in response to our burning their Canadian headquarters at York, now Toronto.Sunday, September 24, 2017 (3 comments)     

 
 
How to Reform the Corrupted U.S. Electoral System We are being robbed of universal health care, decent public education, renewable energy, environmental protection, accountable policing, basic human rights, nuclear disarmament and much, much more because unelected billionaire corporatists control our government instead of dedicated, accountable public servants. The Jim Crow stripping of our voter rolls has denied millions their most basic right.Thursday, September 21, 2017 (4 comments)     

 
 
Nuclear Plants Plus Hurricanes: Disasters Waiting to Happen Harvey and Irma threatened six reactors with catastrophic failure, and all of us with apocalyptic disaster.Sunday, March 19, 2017     

 
 
Trump’s Budget Assault on the Environment Packs a Wallop The administration’s budget cuts $2.4 billion from the EPA’s operating funds — roughly 31 percent — taking the agency’s annual budget from $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion, the smallest since it was formed in 1970. These cuts will cripple regulation of air and water quality, strip oversight of a wide range of land management programs, and loosen restrictions on chemical emissions from industrial facilities.Sunday, January 22, 2017     

 
 
We Are Mourning — But We Are Marching and Organizing for Democracy and the Earth Trump has brought home the infection: imperial, greedy, misogynist, incompetent, uncaring, egomaniacal, sociopathic, a destroyer of the Earth. This is what we’ve been imposing on the rest of the world for so many decades. He is part of the price we pay for corrupting other countries and wrecking the lives of so many innocents within them.Sunday, December 11, 2016 (71 comments)     

 
 
Electoral College Must Not Confirm Trump Until His Possible Involvement in Russian Hacking is Investigated As the CIA has reported it, such foreign meddling in an American election is unprecedented—and illegal. If Trump or any of his staff or associates conspired with the Russians to thus win the US Presidency, it would clearly be an impeachable offense. The legal ramifications would ignite a Constitutional crisis even before Trump could take office.Tuesday, September 27, 2016 (52 comments)     

 
 
How Nuclear Power Causes Global Warming Supporters of nuclear power like to argue that nukes are the key to combatting climate change. Here’s why they are dead wrong.Tuesday, August 16, 2016 (2 comments)     

 
 
Bonnie Raitt Just Keeps Getting Better I continue to be amazed by the level of professionalism, heart and freshness Bonnie Raitt brings to the halls. There is never a dull moment in her shows, never a lag or a lapse. She is humble, conscientious and committed to her audiences. She laughs, she banters, she is on top of things.Tuesday, June 14, 2016     

 
 
The Iconic Peace Ship Golden Rule Is Hit by a Police Boat! Some 58 years after its maiden voyage, this legendary little boat is once again at center stage in the global struggle against the nuclear madness. In a nation bristling with atomic weapons and reactors, where innocent civilians are regularly gunned down en masse, this graceful vessel represents an ark of civility, nonviolence and hope.Monday, June 6, 2016 (5 comments)     

 
 
What Will Finally Shut Down Diablo Canyon Nukes? Could a Bernie Win Help? Since the Diablo license is soon up for renewal, and its operations depend on federal subsidies (most importantly for liability insurance), a Sanders victory in Tuesday’s California primary might mark a step toward shutting Diablo. But far more important is that Sanders’ supporters stick with the issue. To make a real difference, Sanders voters in California and elsewhere must escalate their activism after they vote.Saturday, May 14, 2016 (1 comments)     

 
 
How the Electoral College Could Make Paul Ryan President in 2016 Just when you thought you’d heard everything about this year’s chaotic race for the presidency, you might want to go back and look at the 12th Amendment. It could, among other things, make Paul Ryan president.Sunday, April 10, 2016 (12 comments)     

 
 
Are You Ready for President Paul Ryan? Why We Desperately Need a Plan C The Democratic party is teetering on the brink. The green/peace/social justice community needs a Plan C. The Republicans have one. The Democrats don’t. The impacts could be catastrophic.Wednesday, March 23, 2016 (1 comments)     

 
 
America’s Astounding Human Rights Hypocrisy in CubaFriday, March 18, 2016     

 
 
Run Bernie, Please Keep Running We all win when Bernie Sanders runs. We need him to continue through the Democratic Convention and beyond.Monday, February 8, 2016 (1 comments)     

 
 
New Hampshire is the Birthplace of Electronic Election Theft As the New Hampshire primary lurches toward the finish line, the reality of electronic election theft looms over the vote count. This year in New Hampshire, we have Bernie Sanders rolling into Election Day with a very strong lead. Barack Obama did much the same (though with far smaller margins) in 2008, and emerged the loser. Could a similar outcome follow for Bernie?Wednesday, November 25, 2015 (2 comments)     

 
 
Nuclear Reactors Make Isis an Apocalyptic Threat As you read this, a terror attack has put atomic reactors in Ukraine at the brink of another Chernobyl-scale apocalypse. Transmission lines have been blown up. Power to at least two major nuclear power stations has been “dangerously” cut. Without emergency backup, those nukes could lose coolant to their radioactive cores and spent fuel pools. They could then melt or explode, as at Fukushima.Monday, November 2, 2015 (1 comments)     

 
 
Will Ohio Legalize Pot on Tuesday? By all accounts the Drug War has had little impact on drug consumption in the US, except to make it more profitable for drug dealers. It’s spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry in prison construction, policing, prison guards, lawyers, judges and more, all of them invested in prolonging the drug war despite its negative impacts on public health.Saturday, October 3, 2015 (7 comments)     

 
 
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors Fukushima and Germany’s transition to renewables have escalated the energy debate to a new level. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders need to address nuclearSunday, June 21, 2015 (2 comments)     

 
 
A Fitting “Life Penalty” for the Charleston Murderer The cries for the death of the Charleston murderer are already mounting. But we can do better.Sunday, June 7, 2015     

 
 
‘San Andreas’ Blockbuster Has Huge Radioactive Omissions Acknowledgement that the actual San Andreas could turn Diablo Canyon nukes into a seething heap of radioactive rubble could have been mentioned in the blockbuster San AndreasMonday, April 13, 2015 (2 comments)     

 
 
Randy Hayes: 9 Planetary Boundaries to Ensure a Healthy Planet Nine great Planetary Boundaries. If we work hard enough, they just might help us survive “Wednesday, April 1, 2015 (1 comments)     

 
 
How Ohio’s Energy Economy Became a Radioactive 19th Century Relic Today Ohio’s fossil-fueled, landlocked capital city is the western world’s largest with neither internal commuter light rail nor access by passenger train service from anywhere else. After being at the cusp of major solar & wind power advances, the state has all but killed the prospects for any large new green energy projects. The state may now miss one of history’s biggest and most profitable technological transformationsSunday, March 29, 2015 (4 comments)     

 
 
36 Years of Three Mile Island’s Lethal Lies …and Still Counting The lies that killed people at Three Mile Island 36 years ago on March 28, 1979 are still being told at Chernobyl, Fukushima, Diablo Canyon, Davis-Besse ” and at TMI itself. As the first major reactor accident that was made known to the public is sadly commemorated, and as the global nuclear industry collapses, let’s count just 36 tip-of-the iceberg ways the nuclear industry’s radioactive legacy continues to fester:Tuesday, February 24, 2015 (1 comments)     

 
 
Landmark Federal Court Decision: Will It Speed Diablo Nuke’s Demise? In a rare move, Washington DC’s Federal U.S. Court of Appeals will hear a landmark challenge to their continued operation.Tuesday, January 20, 2015 (2 comments)     

 
 
Ohio’s Anti-Green Suicide The Ohio Public Utilities Commission may soon gouge the public for $3 billion to subsidize two coal burners and America’s most dangerous nukeTuesday, January 13, 2015 (4 comments)     

 
 
Terror Attack on Charlie Hebdo Ignites Fear of Global Nuclear Disaster – EcoWatch The terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo must now face a terrifying reality: It’s a horrible thing when an organ of free speech is assaulted and journalists die.Monday, December 29, 2014     

 
 
Activists Permanently Shut Down Vermont Yankee Nuke Plant Today Throughout the world, nukes once sold as generating juice “too cheap to meter” comprise a global financial disaster. Even with their capital costs long-ago stuck to the public, these radioactive junk heaps have no place in today’s economy–except as illegitimate magnets for massive handouts.Saturday, December 6, 2014 (28 comments)     

 
 
The Brown/Garner Killings are about a Larger State of Official Terror we are all in the shoes of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Those who think themselves somehow above it all by virtue of race or class are simply not paying attention.Wednesday, November 5, 2014 (5 comments)     

 
 
An Election—and a Nation—Lost in Afghanistan & Vietnam The GOP/corporate coup d’etat is nearly complete. The Republicans now control the major media, the Supreme Court, the Congress and soon the presidency. Think Jeb Bush in 2016.Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (11 comments)     

 
 
Gorgeous global march shows how to win the climate fight The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance and relentless charm.Thursday, September 18, 2014 (19 comments)     

 
 
Corporate Personhood Is the Ebola Virus of Climate Chaos But nothing truly lasting will happen until we eradicate the virus that’s killing us all–the unrestrained corporate power over our lives and planet. The core engine of our economy must at last be made directly accountable to humankind and our Mother Earth.Saturday, September 13, 2014 (2 comments)     

 
 
Let’s Bury King C.O.N.G. at People’s Climate March The corporate beast that’s killing us all draws its power from a lethal mutation with no basis in law or sanity. Without a free and open internet to bring it down, our struggle to survive is in serious jeopardy. We can win. But to do so we must preserve net neutrality, transform the corporation and bury King C.O.N.G. in the Solartopian compost heap.Monday, July 21, 2014 (4 comments)     

 
 
Fukushima’s Children are Dying Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.Tuesday, June 3, 2014 (3 comments)     

 
 
News Flash: Fukushima Is Still a Disaster The corporate media silence on Fukushima has been deafening even though the melted-down nuclear power plant’s seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches.Wednesday, April 9, 2014     

 
 
Fighting Our Fossil-Nuke Extinction Our choice is not between nuclear power and fossil fuels. Either is sufficient to kill us outright or strand us alone on a dead planet. We can no more survive on a planet burned and poisoned by fossil fuels than we can on one mutated and heated by atomic energy. Time is short and the two movements must make their peace. We have the means. Now we need the will.Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (5 comments)     

 
 
The Nuclear Omnicide Burning coal spews still more radiation into our air, along with mercury and other lethal pollutants. Fracking for gas draws toxins up from the earth’s crust. Industry apologists say reactors can moderate the climate chaos caused by burning those fossil fuels. But fighting global weirding with atomic power is like trying to cure a fever with a lethal dose of X-ray. The larger biospheric clock is ticking. We need to act.Thursday, March 6, 2014 (2 comments)     

 
 
The USS Reagan Is Fukushima’s Unlucky Dragon Fifty-seven years before the USS Ronald Reagan was swept with radiation from the Fukushima meltdown, a similar, terrible fate befell the crew of a small Japanese fishing boat called the “Lucky Dragon.” – 2014/03/04Thursday, February 27, 2014 (5 comments)     

 
 
Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago.Thursday, February 20, 2014 (6 comments)     

 
 
Obama’s Nuke-Powered Drone Strike on America’s Fiscal Sanity So the “all the above” energy strategy now deems we dump another $6.5 billion in bogus loan guarantees down the atomic drain. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced finalization of hotly contested taxpayer handouts for the two Vogtle reactors being built in Georgia. Another $1.8 billion waits to be pulled out of your pocket and poured down the radioactive sink hole. A nuke-powered drone strike on fiscal sanity.Monday, February 3, 2014 (8 comments)     

 
 
50 Reasons We Should Fear the Worst from Fukushima This “see no evil, pay no damages” mindset dates from the Bombing of Hiroshima to Fukushima to the disaster coming next … which could be happening as you read this. Here are 50 preliminary reasons why this radioactive legacy demands we prepare for the worst for our oceans, our planet, our economy … ourselves.Saturday, January 11, 2014 (20 comments)     

 
 
Toll of U.S. Sailors Devastated by Fukushima Radiation Continues to Climb The roll call of U.S. sailors who say their health was devastated when they were irradiated while delivering humanitarian help near the stricken Fukushima nuke is continuing to soar. So many have come forward that the progress of their federal class action lawsuit has been delayed.Monday, November 4, 2013 (9 comments)     

 
 
Pro-Nuke Scientists Should Go To Fukushima The four scientists who have advocated more nuclear power as a solution to global warming should go to Fukushima. Atomic energy is a failed technology & the radiation now constantly gushing from that stricken site is already harming us all. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is incapable of handling this worsening crisis. The Japanese government must turn the site over to a global task force of the world’s best scientistsMonday, October 28, 2013 (1 comments)     

 
 
Robert Stone must film Fukushima now, before Japanese Censorship Kicks In We are in desperate need of documentary filmmakers at Fukushima. The Japanese government is about to pass a national censorship law clearly meant to make it impossible to know what’s going on there.Friday, October 18, 2013 (5 comments)     

 
 
Thousands of Nuclear Regulators Sent Home During Shutdown All of this has hurt the nuclear industry. A long, drawn-out shutdown would have gone further, killing the re-licensing process and the endless flow of rubber-stamped regulatory exceptions on which the industry thrives. An unmanageable accident in the midst of this shorthanded mess would have been another chime in a chorus of death knells.Wednesday, October 2, 2013 (3 comments)     

 
 
The demand for a global take-over at Fukushima has hit critical mass The petitions circulating through the Internet ask that the United Nations take over. They ask the world scientific and engineering communities to step in. The signatures are pouring in from all over the world. By November, they will be delivered to the United Nations. The corporate media has blacked out meaningful coverage of the most critical threat to global health and safety in decades. The Rootsaction petition also askSaturday, September 21, 2013 (17 comments)     

 
 
Humankind’s Most Dangerous Moment: Fukushima Fuel Pool at Unit 4. “This is an Issue of Human Survival.”Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 comments)     

 
 
Five Ways a Wider Syrian War Could Go Nuclear Should DU weaponry be used yet again, this time in Syria, the contamination would be widespread and irreversible. Many thousands of innocent people — including the countless unborn — would suffer greatly. As with all radioactive fallout, the lethal effects will stretch through the generations.Wednesday, August 28, 2013 (2 comments)     

 
 
Dr. Hansen, We Need You at Fukushima and Diablo Canyon When you draw a line from Three Mile Island through Chernobyl and Fukushima, what comes next? At the very least — before anyone spends time and money on still more atomic pipe dreams — we need a unified global scientific community to put an end to the escalating radioactive horror that’s with us now.Friday, June 7, 2013 (3 comments)     

 
 
Massive Grassroots Activism Victory: San Onofre Is Dead & So Is Nuclear Power From his California beach house at San Clemente, Richard Nixon once watched three reactors rise at nearby San Onofre. As of June 7, 2013 , all three are permanently shut.Thursday, May 16, 2013 (2 comments)     

 
 
Grassroots Activism Brings San Onofre to the No Nukes Brink In January, it seemed the restart of San Onofre Unit 2 would be a corporate cake walk. With its massive money & clout, Southern California Edison was ready to ram through a license exception for a reactor whose botched $770 million steam generator fix had kept it shut for a year. But a funny thing has happened: a No Nukes groundswell has turned this routine rubber stamping into an epic battle the grassroots might winMonday, April 29, 2013 (1 comments)     

 
 
Los Angeles to San Onofre: ‘Not So Fast!’ There is a deep-rooted public opposition to resumed operations at reactors perched in a tsunami zone near earthquake faults that threaten all of southern California & much of the Southwest.Sunday, March 10, 2013 (12 comments)     

 
 
Fukushima is already harming our children Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima. They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.Friday, February 15, 2013 (2 comments)     

 
 
Our Atomic Dominoes Are Falling Every promise the nuclear energy industry has made—from “too cheap to meter” to “reactors don’t explode” to “radiation is good for you”—has turned toxic. Green technology can save us from all this.Monday, November 12, 2012 (1 comments)     

 
 
An Election Protection Agenda for 2016 Winning all this will require the usual blood, sweat and tears of a long, hard national grassroots campaign. Since Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, this movement has made great strides in exposing the corrupt nature of an all-too-vulnerable electoral system. But the hard work has just begun. If we are to live in a democracy, we have no choice but to win. So let’s do it!Friday, November 9, 2012 (1 comments)     

 
 
Romney would have won if it had all come down to Ohio Had this election been closer,your media days would now be filled with breathless bloviators perched here in Columbus,searching for hanging electronic chads.We would be in the throes of yet another losing Constitutional crisis,courtesy of an Electoral College whose roots are in slavery,and electronic registration and voting systems that should have been abolished long ago.If any of that is still in place in 2016,shame on us.Saturday, November 3, 2012 (2 comments)     

 
 
Will America’s 2012 Election Be Stolen? National Press Club, Monday, November 5 Press conference will focus on the ownership, programming, operation and management of America’s electronic vote count, an on-going threat to the verifiability of our national vote count. Lisagor Room, National Press Club, 12:00 PM on Monday, November 5, 2012. With Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein and authors of WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey WassermanThursday, November 1, 2012 (3 comments)     

 
 
Why we fight to prevent stolen elections in 2012 and beyond Pay very close attention to what happens in this election, following with a powerful social movement that will deliver real democracy to this country.Which candidate gets your vote is not our concern here.As Americans,we agree on one thing: all citizens must have their right to a ballot and to have it counted.In the long run,our one best hope for a sustainable future is the power of a fully enfranchised people.Monday, September 24, 2012 (3 comments)     

 
 
Will 9 GOP governors put Romney in the White House? Republican governors of the nine key swing states above have the power to flip the election without significant public recourse. Except for exit polls there is no established way to check how the official electronic vote count might square with the actual intent of the electorate. And there is no legal method by which an electronic vote count can be effectively challenged.Thursday, September 6, 2012 (5 comments)     

 
 
Will the GOP steal America’s 2012 election? For those working on the 2012 election, and for democracy in general, it will take an extraordinary commitment to protecting the registered status of millions of Americans, getting them to the polls, guaranteeing their right to vote once there, and making sure there is an accurate vote count — electronic and otherwise — once those votes are cast.

Columbus: Criminal, Ignoramus And Mass Murderer

October 10, 2017

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From flickr.com: Columbus Day, America {MID-174376}
Columbus Day, .America.
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Every year most Americans celebrate and venerate a man whose life and times had very little to do with anything that he’s credited with including the “discovery” of America. I have to tell you this: Christopher Columbus is no hero — period. The sad thing is that the vast majority of Americans that celebrate “Columbus Day” each year know diddlysquat about the man. If history is a guide then he’s not worthy of a national celebration and holiday. The man’s no hero by any yardstick or historical measurement.

What he was and is something very different. Columbus was an incompetent ignoramus, a self-promoting opportunist and a man given to lies, brutality, and religious zealotry. In fact, his stated objective was to not only find new lands to conquer, but to convert those yet unfound and discovered “heathens” to his brand of dogmatic, rigid Eurocentric Christianity. As a white European supremacist Columbus’s ideology was one of enslavement by conquest, a colonial mindset that was accompanied by rape, pillage for gain, murder, violence, enslavement and genocide. It was his white “manifest destiny” to conquer distant lands for Spain.

Born Cristobal Colon in Genoa, Italy — he changed his name to the more sexy Christopher (meaning Christ Bearer) Columbus to find favor with the Spanish court after being laughed at by Italian royalty for his crack-pot theories. His main objectives were to convert all heathens (read indigenous peoples) to Christianity and raise enough money to reconquer the Holy City of Jerusalem — something that underscored his religious zealotry and his delusions of grandeur.

No one knows exactly how or when Columbus came up with the grand idea of leading a sailing adventure west to find a new trade route to Asia and India. At the time, he was just a lowly trader and mapmaker in Portugal. But he was smart enough to change his social station by marrying into an aristocratic Portuguese family. In Portugal his efforts to get financing for his dream of conquering new lands and establishing a new trade route to India and Asia fell on deaf ears. For one thing the Portuguese had already established a trade route to Asia, around the southern tip of Africa. They literally laughed at Columbus. So he went to Spain where his ideas took root in a country that was busy trying to expel its former African conquerors, the Moors.

But the man was persistent. Give him that. And after eight years of lobbying, begging and badgering, his efforts finally paid off. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to fund Columbus’s expedition in 1492. He presented maps, based upon the calculations of ancient Greek philosopher Ptolemy, Marco Polo, the first European adventurer who had visited Asia hundreds of years earlier, and his own warped interpretation of the Christian Bible.

As part of the deal Columbus secured certain concessions from the Spanish king and queen including the right to govern and rule over whatever “lands” he “discovered,” and a percentage (10%) of all profits received as a result of the voyage. Columbus convinced Spain to support him, although most of his geographic theories were plain dumb and crazy — even for those unenlightened times. For example, most educated Europeans knew that the world was round, although no one expected there to be large continents blocking a western passage to Asia.

They also believed the world was about 24,000 miles in circumference, meaning 10,000 miles separated Europe’s west coast from Asia’s east coast (too far to sail in the small ships of the day). Columbus, using his understanding of the Bible and other spurious ancient sources, created his own version of history and reality, and argued instead that the world was much smaller. He “calculated,” based on his flawed data, that Asia was only 3000 miles away. The bottom line was that Christopher Columbus was ignorant of even basic geography and he used the lack of information of the day to dupe and con his way into support of a voyage that was based on lies, ignorance and untruths.

From his very first voyage Columbus renamed the indigenous peoples that he came into contact with in the Americas. They became Indians to continue to lie to his Spanish benefactors that he’d in fact reached India and Asia. He arrogantly renamed the islands that he stumbled on that were populated with indigenous peoples for the Spanish nobility and Christian holidays days that won him high praises in Madrid. And he set in motion the first major genocide in the East that would see the indigenous peoples of the Americans and the Caribbean wiped out of existence in just about 45 years. Along with Columbus came Tuberculosis, Chicken and Small Pox, venereal diseases of all types, Typhoid, Dysentery and many other diseases that were never seen or known in this part of the world.

By his second voyage Columbus was boasting about the profitable potential of these islands. He’d over inflated the prospects of gold and silver setting in motion a mad scramble for the Americas and the Caribbean that would see the entry of untold and uncontrolled brutality. It was he who pointed out to his Spanish supporters that the indigenous peoples were easily enslaved and well suited to producing wealth for the Spanish royalty. And it was Columbus’s action that would give every subsequent white crusader and conquer the rationale for their acts of barbarism and brutality. The indigenous people deserved to be enslaved and conquered because they were not civilized, not Christian and were little more than beasts walking on two feet. To make his point Columbus brought back to Spain captured indigenous people that he humiliated and paraded naked and afraid before the Spanish nobility.

Christopher Columbus was responsible for bringing the first enslaved peoples across the Atlantic. He was the first slave trader of record in the so-called New World. When Indians fought back, he responded ferociously with attack dogs and swords, killing thousands of unarmed indigenous people with impunity. Then he boasted about his exploits. Christopher Columbus died on May 20, 1506, at the age of 55. Up to his death he never realized that what he found was a new continent rather than a shorter route to India and Asia. He died a total ignoramus.

Let me end by pointing out an indisputable set of facts to those who still celebrate Columbus Day. Although born in Italy, he spent most of his life outside of that country. He also never set foot on land that would become the United States. He was a poor geographer, a cruel and incompetent administrator. Columbus held rigid, dogmatic and, even by the standards of that time, outmoded and misguided religious views.

Here’s a very short record of Christopher Columbus (compliments Indian Country Today https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com ):

Columbus Provided Native Sex Slaves to His Men
In addition to putting the Natives to work as slaves in his gold mines, Columbus also sold sex slaves to his men–some as young as 9 years old. Columbus and his men also raided villages for sex and sport.

In the year 1500, Columbus wrote: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

Columbus’ Men Used Native People as Dog Food
In the early years of Columbus’ conquests there were butcher shops throughout the Caribbean where Indian bodies were sold as dog food. There was also a practice known as the montera infernal, the infernal chase, or manhunt, in which Indians were hunted by war-dogs. These dogs–that also wore armor and had been fed human flesh, were a fierce match for the Indians. Live babies were also fed to these war dogs as sport, sometimes in front of horrified parents.
Christopher Columbus Returned to Spain in Shackles–But Was Pardoned
After a multitude of complaints against Columbus about his mismanagement of the island of Hispaniola, a royal commissioner arrested Columbus in 1500 and brought him back to Spain in chains. Though he was stripped of his governor title, he was pardoned by King Ferdinand, who then subsidized a fourth voyage.

So I ask you again: Is Christopher Columbus A hero?

MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS
Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York

Over the past 20 years I’ve been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running successful campaigns at the City, State and Federal levels. I’m a published author and award-winning journalist. I’ve been honored and recognized for my deep, hard-hitting analytical work on socio-economic and political issues confronting the United States in general and New York City in particular. I’m he Senior Consultant, COMMONSENSE STRATEGIES (www.commonsensestrategies.biz ), a Marketing, Social Media & Communications company based in Brooklyn. I also host two weekly podcasts at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/shangoking .The first, aired on Saturday mornings is called BTS — Business, Technology and Social Media and the second, The Roberts Report, is aired on Sundays. You can also follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mdvroberts. (347) 279-6668.

Why L.A. is right to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day

October 10, 2017

On, Thursday, November 18, Grand Canyon National Park celebrated Native American Heritage Month with a day of special events.
In this photo, the Dishchii’ Bikoh’ Apache Group from Cibecue, Arizona, demonstrates the Apache Crown Dance.
Native American Heritage Month is a time to pay tribute to the many accomplishments, contributions and sacrifices of the indigenous peoples of North America.
What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the First Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.
This is the second year that Grand Canyon National Park has celebrated Native American Heritage Month. Our celebration will continue to grow and evolve as we strengthen the relationships with our associated tribes.
NPS Photo by Erin Whittaker.

Native American Heritage Month

Children listen as L.A. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who is a member of the Wyandotte Native American Tribe, makes an appeal concerning Native American Heritage Month at City Hall on Nov. 4, 2016. (Los Angeles Times)
Steven W. Hackel

After much debate, both the Los Angeles City Council and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors recently voted to replace the Columbus Day holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day, beginning no later than 2019. Although to many this change will seem long overdue, others wonder why our elected officials have ventured into this political thicket.

This week marks 525 years since Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas. Nobody questions the historical significance of that feat, but how we understand Columbus and his place in world history has changed dramatically over the centuries.

Throughout the 1800s and 1900s, civic leaders hailed Columbus as the man who brought culture and civilization to the Americas and in so doing planted the seeds that grew into the democratic republic of the United States. They honored this proto-Founding Father in innumerable proclamations, statues, monuments, street names and public plazas. All this adoration culminated in 1937, when, following massive Italian immigration to the U.S., the federal government proclaimed a national holiday in his honor. The city of Los Angeles followed suit that year.

Today, however, those who know most about the life of Columbus see him as more than a skilled mariner, expert promoter and courageous explorer. Increasingly they point to the other aspects of his character and life: his arrogance, his poor administration of his colonial ventures and his blinkered conscience, which was untroubled by the enslavement of Native Peoples, even when doing so went against the wishes of his royal backers.

Even though California was among the last regions to be colonized by Spain, the shadow cast by Columbus reached all the way to our shores.
Moreover, Columbus’ landfall ushered in one of the greatest injustices in human history: the wholesale transfer of wealth and lands from native peoples to Europeans; the unprecedented depopulation of vast swaths of the Americas as European diseases reduced native populations by 90%; and the violent oppression of indigenous culture and beliefs, as Spanish conquistadors and missionaries sought to convert indigenous peoples into servile laborers and observant Catholics.

That the colonization of the Americas made possible by Columbus was both cruel and tragic is not a matter of debate. The history is settled.

This is why, since 1992, municipalities large and small across the country have been stepping back from their public commemorations of Columbus. It’s why, in July 2015, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church “for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.” And it’s why the City Council and Board of Supervisors voted to change the holiday in his honor.

Even though California was among the last regions to be colonized by Spain, the shadow cast by Columbus reached all the way to our shores, and his namesake holiday is a particular affront to Californians whose ancestors suffered as a result.

Before Spanish colonization, the regions that make up modern California were home to the largest and most densely settled population of indigenous people north of the Valley of Mexico. Some 350,000 people lived here before Spanish missionaries and soldiers arrived in 1769. By the 1830s, the Franciscans had baptized more than 80,000 Natives, but 60,000 of them had died in the missions, and nearly 25,000 of the dead were children under 10.

It’s fitting to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day because Natives from California, and indigenous people who immigrated here from other regions, played a crucial role in the early history of Los Angeles.

The first indigenous settlers to arrive in the L.A. Basin, in the 1780s, had been displaced from Baja California and from the regions that are now the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa. Once here, these newcomers hired Gabrielino-Tongva villagers to work as farmhands.

These indigenous newcomers built the pueblo that would become Los Angeles, establishing farms, ranches and commercial networks. Hundreds of Gabrielino-Tongva, who had weathered the storm of colonization, found work in the community. A newer indigenous L.A. grew up alongside the survival of an older one.

But after the U.S. acquired California from Mexico in 1848, the Gold Rush drew a tidal wave of Anglo Americans from the U.S., who brought with them a murderous racism that worked to oppress indigenous people and render them all but invisible.

Nevertheless, indigenous people — those native to California and those who had settled here — persisted in Southern California, and many more continued to move here from all corners of the Americas. In fact, according to recent census information, no county in the country has a higher percentage of indigenous people than L.A. County.

Some trace their California ancestry back hundreds of generations, others are more recent arrivals, but all have played a crucial role in the history of this city. Indigenous Peoples Day correctly celebrates and honors their place in L.A.’s past, present and future.

Steven W. Hackel is a professor of history at UC Riverside and the author of three books, including “Junipero Serra: California’s Founding Father.”

Jimmy Carter offers to talk peace with North Korea’s Kim, says academic

October 10, 2017

In an intervention likely to irritate Donald Trump, former US president says he is willing to travel to Pyongyang to discuss a treaty
Jimmy Carter on a visit to Pyongyang in 2010 to try to win the release of a jailed American.
Jimmy Carter on a visit to Pyongyang in 2010 to try to win the release of a jailed American. Photograph: KCNA/Reuters
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Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Tuesday 10 October 2017 01.52 EDT
Jimmy Carter has reportedly said he is willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a bid to defuse tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes, and bring “permanent peace” to the Korean peninsula.

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In an intervention that is likely to irritate Donald Trump, the 93-year-old former president told a South Korean academic that he was willing to travel to the North Korean capital if it meant preventing war.

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“Should former president Carter be able to visit North Korea, he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss a peace treaty between the United States and the North, and a complete denuclearisation of North Korea,” Park Han-shik, a professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia, told South Korea’s JoongAng Daily newspaper.

Park said Carter told him during a meeting at his home in Georgia at the end of September that he wanted to “contribute toward establishing a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula.

“He wants to employ his experience visiting North Korea to prevent a second Korean war,” he added.

Carter’s recent comments on North Korea have angered the White House, which last month reportedly asked him not to speak publicly about the crisis amid fears he was undermining Trump, who refuses to entertain any form of rapprochement with the regime.

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Media reports said a senior US state department official had visited Carter at his home to pass on Trump’s request.

Carter’s conciliatory stance sits uneasily with attempts by the Trump administration to intensify sanctions against Pyongyang and threats to use military force if the US or its allies are threatened by the regime.

Carter, however, does not appear to be listening to his successor in the White House.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post last week, he described the North Korean situation as “the most serious existential threat to world peace” and implored Washington and Pyongyang to find a peaceful way to defuse tensions and “reach a lasting, peaceful agreement”.

Carter said all the North Korean officials he had met, including the former leader Kim Il-sung, had told him that all they wanted were direct talks with the US to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the uneasy ceasefire reached at the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.

Attempts to pressure the North into abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes will fail for as long as the regime believes its survival is at stake, Carter wrote.

“The next step should be for the United States to offer to send a high-level delegation to Pyongyang for peace talks or to support an international conference including North and South Korea, the United States and China, at a mutually acceptable site.”

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Carter’s brand of gentle diplomacy has won concessions from the North Koreans before.

In 1994, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, he persuaded Kim Il-sung to freeze his country’s nuclear programme in a deal that may have averted conflict with the US.

In August 2010, he secured the release of Aijalon Gomes, an American who had been sentenced to eight years in prison for entering North Korea illegally.

Park, who helped organise the 1994 and 2010 trips to North Korea, said he had communicated to Pyongyang Carter’s wish to lead a US delegation to the country.

“We have yet to get answers from the North Koreans, but I’m sure they’re giving it deep consideration,” Park told the Yonhap news agency.

“We still have to watch North Korea’s reaction. We might be able talk with Trump again if North Korea sends an official invitation. Should Trump steadfastly oppose the idea then we have to think about what we’ll do next.”

Even an unofficial delegation led by Carter would need to be approved by the US government following the recent introduction of a ban on American citizens traveling to North Korea.

Since you’re here …

Trump’s threats against North Korea signify real danger of war

October 10, 2017

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Donald Trump continued his campaign of incendiary statements over the weekend, threatening to launch a war with North Korea that could unleash a nuclear catastrophe.

On Saturday afternoon, the US president tweeted that past administrations “have been talking to North Korea for 25 years.” This “hasn’t worked,” he wrote, adding: “Sorry, but only one thing will work!” Asked later to elaborate on what he meant, Trump replied, “You’ll figure that out pretty soon.”

These threats came three weeks after Trump’s tirade at the United Nations General Assembly September 19, when he declared that the US was “ready, willing, and able” to “totally destroy” North Korea, a country of 25 million people. Four days later, Trump threatened to assassinate the North Korean leader. If the North Korean foreign minister’s speech at the UN “echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man [Kim Jong-Un],” Trump wrote, “they won’t be around much longer!”

On Thursday, Trump organized a White House dinner with US military leaders, which had all the hallmarks of a meeting of a war cabinet. During a photo op before the dinner, Trump, surrounded by generals in military uniform, likened the moment to “the calm before the storm.” Asked what storm he was talking about, Trump would only say, “You’ll find out soon.”

To the extent that Trump’s words are interpreted as a genuine expression of the policy and plans of the United States government, the inescapable conclusion is that the world stands on the brink of the most devastating military conflict since the outbreak of World War II. Were language and reality in correct political alignment, the present situation would be described officially as an “Imminent danger of war.”

Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, embroiled in a political conflict with Trump, warned that the president’s reckless threats were leading the United States “on the path to World War III.” But despite Corker’s statement on Sunday, there is, within the ruling elite and its media, a staggering disconnect between consciousness and reality. The public declarations emanating from the White House are being reported by the media as if they will have no consequences. The thinking seems to be that Trump doesn’t mean what he says. The consequences of a war would prove to be so catastrophic that Trump is simply bluffing.

But what if he isn’t? What if the North Korean government takes the threats of the American president, as it must, seriously? With Trump having publicly declared that he will destroy North Korea and that the doomsday hour is fast approaching, how will the Pyongyang government interpret American military actions near the borders of its country? With only minutes to make a decision, will the regime view the approach of a US bomber toward North Korean airspace as the beginning of a full-scale attack? Will it conclude that it has no choice but to assume the worst and initiate a military strike against South Korea? Will it fire missiles, as it has threatened, in the direction of Japan, Guam, Australia, or even the United States?

From a purely legal standpoint, North Korea can claim, in light of Trump’s threats, that such action on its part would be an act of self-defense, a legitimate response to an imminent military threat.

Aside from the calculations of Pyongyang, one must assume that the regimes in Beijing and Moscow are also looking at the unfolding developments with increasing alarm. While the American media, as is its wont, responds complacently and thoughtlessly to Trump’s threats, the Chinese regime cannot avoid viewing them with deadly seriousness. Trump is, after all, the commander in chief of the American military. He has the power — which Congress has shown no interest in challenging — to order military actions.

A US attack on North Korea would pose an overwhelming threat to China. As in 1950, a war against North Korea would — even if it did not rapidly escalate into a nuclear exchange — lead inexorably to an American incursion across the 38th Parallel. The last time the US military crossed the border into North Korea, the Chinese responded with a massive military counterattack. There is no reason to believe that the present-day regime in Beijing would remain passive in the face of a new US invasion of North Korea. It would view an American invasion as an unacceptable violation of a geopolitical arrangement on the Korean peninsula that has been in existence for nearly 65 years.

Beijing’s reaction would be influenced by the already tense conditions that exist in the Asia-Pacific region. For years, the US has been systematically building up its military forces in the South China Sea under the “Pivot to Asia” initiated by the Obama administration. The purpose has been to militarily encircle China, which dominant sections of the ruling class consider the major competitor to US interests. Over the weekend, China’s main regional competitor, Japan, declared that it fully backed Trump’s threats against North Korea.

Thus, the outbreak of war between North Korea and the United States would inevitably involve China, which, in turn, would draw all of Asia, as well as Australia, into the bloody maelstrom. Nor would it be possible for Europe and Latin America, which have their own interests in Asia, to stand aside.

Little has appeared in the American media about the consequences of war with North Korea. An article in Newsweek in April concluded that a war would leave one million people dead, assuming that it did not involve the use of nuclear weapons or any other outside powers. In a comment in the Los Angeles Times last month, retired Air Force Brigadier General Rob Givens calculated that 20,000 South Koreans would die every day in a war on the peninsula, even without the use of nuclear weapons.

If the war were to develop into a nuclear exchange — as the Trump administration has threatened — the consequences would be catastrophic. In addition to the millions or tens of millions killed outright, climate experts warned in August that even a regional nuclear war would cool the planet by up to 10 degrees Celsius, potentially sparking a global nuclear winter that would wipe out agricultural production.

Despite all the evidence that war could break out at any time, the American media persists in its refusal to take the events seriously.

The New York Times epitomized this media effort at chloroforming the population in its October 6 article on Trump’s remarks before the generals, which stated that Trump has a “penchant for provocative statements” and takes “an obvious delight in keeping people guessing.” Writing as if what was involved was merely a matter of White House gossip and intrigue, the Times stated that the “timing” of the “calm before the storm” statement was “particularly tantalizing.”

“But it is equally plausible,” the article concluded, “that Mr. Trump was merely being theatrical, using the backdrop of military officers to stir up some drama.”

The efforts of the media to downplay the danger are contradicted by signs of serious divisions within the Trump administration. There are rumors that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be forced out or could resign, following statements from Trump last month directly undermining Tillerson’s moves to resume negotiations with the North Korean government. Thursday’s meeting of top advisers in the White House, decked out in their uniforms, may have been an effort by Trump to ensure that he has the military on his side in advance of war.

These divisions, however, are tactical in character. In the final analysis, Trump speaks not simply for himself, but for the US ruling class. The dominant factions of the ruling oligarchy are united on the basic strategy of using its military force to maintain its hegemonic position abroad.

Trump uses exceptionally crude and brutal language to justify American foreign policy. But he is not the author of Washington’s hegemonic strategy. The United States has been at war almost continuously for more than 25 years. This weekend marked the sixteenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. The Pentagon is conducting military actions all over the world, usually without the American people being informed of the deployment of military personnel. The death in combat this past week of four American soldiers in the African country of Niger came as a total surprise to the public.

A war with Korea could break out at any time. This is the reality of the situation. Rather than speculating idly over whether Trump is merely bluffing, the critical task is the building of a powerful movement, based on the working class, against the drive to war. The very fact that the American president smirks and laughs as he threatens millions with annihilation is itself sufficient proof that the US political system is terminally sick and capable of any crime.

Fukushima court rules TEPCO, gov’t liable over 2011 disaster

October 10, 2017


Plaintiffs suing the state and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, over the 2011 nuclear crisis, hold up signs saying “Ignore Fukushima. No!!” in front of the Fukushima District Court in Fukushima on Tuesday. Photo: KYODO
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By Mari Yamaguchi

 
TOKYO

A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered the government and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant to pay 500 million yen to thousands of former area residents who were demanding compensation for their livelihoods lost in the 2011 nuclear crisis.

The Fukushima District Court said the government had failed to order Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to improve safety measures despite knowing as early as 2002 of a risk of a massive tsunami in the region.

The 3,800 plaintiffs, who sued in 2015, form the largest group among about 30 similar lawsuits involving 12,000 people pending across Japan.

It was the second verdict that held the government accountable in the Fukushima meltdowns.

The court upheld the plaintiffs’ argument that the disaster could have been prevented if the economy and industry ministry had ordered TEPCO to move emergency diesel generators from the basement to higher ground and make the reactor buildings water-tight based on 2002 data that suggested there was a risk of a tsunami as high as 15.7 meters (51 feet).

The plaintiffs also had argued that TEPCO ignored another chance to take safety measures when a government study group warned in 2008 of a major tsunami triggering a power outage at the plant.

The tsunami that swept into the plant on March 11, 2011, knocked out the reactors’ cooling system and destroyed the backup generators that could have kept it running and kept the nuclear fuel stable.

The government and the utility have argued that a tsunami as high as what occurred could not have been anticipated and that the accident was unavoidable.

Tuesday’s ruling, however, dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand that radiation levels in their former neighborhoods be reduced to pre-disaster levels.

The ruling followed a decision in March by the Maebashi District Court, which ordered the government and TEPCO to pay damages ranging from 70,000 yen to 3.5 million yen to 62 plaintiffs, or 38 million yen altogether, in addition to the compensation TEPCO had already paid them.

Last month, the Chiba District Court ordered TEPCO to pay a total of 376 million yen to most of the 45 plaintiffs who sought compensation over the loss of their livelihoods and communities because of radiation contamination. But the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim that the government should also be held responsible for failing to enforce tsunami safety measures.

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