Events to mark WWI, MLK, nuke ban treaty

March 30, 2017

 
 
 

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org 

2:00 PM (3 hours ago)

 

 
 
 
 
 
April 4, 2017, marks 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to enter World War I, and 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke against war on Vietnam. Treaty negotiations are underway in New York to ban nuclear weapons. We’ve planned events with fantastic speakers to consider all of these topics.

Join us in New York City on April 3.

Join us in Washington DC on April 4 or watch the live video from anywhere.

To go more in-depth, sign up for our online course in War Abolition 101. It starts on April 10.

Join David Swanson in Cambridge, Mass., on April 13, and in Burlington, Vt., on April 22.

Here are lots more events happening all over the world.

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.

New radiation spikes detected in multiple countries

March 30, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

New radiation spikes detected in multiple countries — Mystery deepens as officials work to triangulate source — Nuclear Expert: “It is serious… likely means a continuing release still going on”
Posted: 29 Mar 2017 05:53 AM PDT

Nuclear Power Suffers Major Blow With Westinghouse Bankruptcy

March 30, 2017

Published on
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
byCommon Dreams

Chapter 11 filing marks a ‘defining moment in the decades-long downward spiral of the global nuclear power industry’
byNika Knight, staff writer
23 Comments
A Westinghouse nuclear plant under construction near Waynesboro, Georgia.
A Westinghouse nuclear plant under construction near Waynesboro, Georgia. (Photo: Reuters)
Major nuclear power company Westinghouse, a U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday in a massive blow to the industry.

The filing marked “a defining moment in the decades-long downward spiral of the global nuclear power industry,” wrote Greenpeace Japan in a statement.

“Toshiba/Westinghouse is responsible for building more nuclear reactors worldwide than any other entity,” the group observed. “With the financial meltdown of Westinghouse, Toshiba also recently announced its plans to withdraw from foreign construction projects—a move that has far-reaching implications outside Japan and the U.S., such as the construction of three reactors in the U.K. at Moorside.”

“We have all but completely pulled out of the nuclear business overseas,” Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa said at a news conference, according to the New York Times.

The Times further reports:

The filing comes as the company’s corporate parent, Toshiba of Japan, scrambles to stanch huge losses stemming from Westinghouse’s troubled nuclear construction projects in the American South. Now, the future of those projects, which once seemed to be on the leading edge of a renaissance for nuclear energy, is in doubt.

“This is a fairly big and consequential deal,” said Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. “You’ve had some power companies and big utilities run into financial trouble, but this kind of thing hasn’t happened.”

“Toshiba/Westinghouse find themselves a victim of their own hubris and a nuclear industry where financial prudence was never a strong point,” Greenpeace Germany added in a brief (pdf).

It’s underscoring the global meltdown of the nuclear power industry, argued Greenpeace Japan energy campaigner Ai Kashiwagi. “If we look at how nuclear stacks up against renewables, it’s clearly in freefall,” Kashiwagi said. “An estimated 147 gigawatts of renewable power was added in 2015, compared to just 11 gigawatts for nuclear power in the same year.”

“For too long the nuclear industry has locked away huge amounts of capital at the expense of developing increasingly affordable renewable energy and updating energy grids,” Kashiwagi added. “The future of energy in Japan and globally will be renewables and it’s time governments get on board.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Doomsday is approaching: Nuclear danger posed by Trump has only grown

March 27, 2017

SUNDAY, MAR 26, 2017 06:29 PM CDT

What you can do about an erratic commander-in-chief controlling a vast and vulnerable arsenal of mass destruction
JEFFERSON MORLEY, ALTERNET SKIP TO COMMENTS
TOPICS: ALTERNET, COLD WAR, DONALD TRUMP, NUCLEAR WEAPONS, RUSSIA, VLADIMIR PUTIN, POLITICS NEWS, NEWS

Doomsday is approaching: Nuclear danger posed by Trump has only grown
Donald Trump (Credit: Getty/Chip Somodevilla)
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
AlterNet

As if you didn’t have other things to worry about, add “think about the threat of nuclear war” to your to-do list.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says we are, metaphorically speaking, only two and half minutes away from nuclear doomsday — the Bulletin’s closest Armageddon estimate since the early 1980s. Former Defense Secretary William Perry says he is “terrified.” Novelist Philip Roth says what is most frightening about President Donald Trump “is that he makes any and everything possible, including, of course, the nuclear catastrophe.”

And the hell of our predicament, experts say, is that Trump’s emotional instability is only part of the problem. The 45th president sits atop a command and control system that is already aging, prone to accidents and vulnerable to hacking, according to Eric Schlosser, author of “Command and Control,” a gripping history of the U.S. nuclear complex.

And the American political economy offers vast incentives to those who want to expand and modernize America’s nuclear arsenal, instead of reducing and restraining it, as policymakers across the political spectrum recommend.

Before the 2016 election, Schlosser said the notion of Trump “with the launch codes, capable of devastating cities and countries, is extraordinary. It’s like the plot out of a science-fiction film.”

Now that film is reality, and the opening scenes are already scary.

Cold War to Gold War

The early hopes that Trump’s admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin might translate into a new nuclear arms agreement went a-glimmering on Feb. 24 when Trump told Reuters that he thought the existing U.S. Russia accord, known as New START, was “one-sided.”

In fact, the New START treaty limits both countries to the same number of deployed nuclear warheads — 1,550 — by Feb. 2018. And, in any case, Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that the United States could reduce its nuclear arsenal by a third without harm to U.S. security.

“Mr. Trump’s comments suggest, once again, that he is ill-informed about nuclear weapons and has a poor understanding of the unique dangers of nuclear weapons,” said Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association in Washington.

“Discarding New START would irresponsibly free Russia of any limits on its strategic nuclear arsenal and would terminate the inspections that provide the United States with significant additional transparency about Russian strategic nuclear forces,” Kimball wrote.

The United States is going from “Cold War to Gold War,” said Tom Collina, director of policy at Ploughshares Fund, a global security group in Washington, D.C. He noted that when Trump recently announced plans to seek an additional $54 billion in defense spending, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that a key priority would be “restoring our nuclear capabilities,” meaning more money for nuclear weapons.

“To be fair,” Collina adds, “Trump did not start this arms race. That dubious distinction goes to former President Obama, who set the United States on a misguided course to spend more than $1 trillion on nuclear weapons over the next three decades.”

What can be done?

Perry, a scientist who served as defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, is hoping for a meeting with Trump and/or his national security team, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has said some sensible things about reducing nuclear weapons.

Perry’s message for the Trump administration is stark.

“We are starting a new Cold War,” he told Politico. “We seem to be sleepwalking into this new nuclear arms race. . . . We and the Russians and others don’t understand what we are doing.”

To get a grip on nuclear reality, you could do worse than take Perry’s online course on “Living at the Nuclear Brink.”

Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Ted Lieu of California, both Democrats, have proposed legislation to prohibit any president from launching a first-strike nuclear weapon without a declaration of war from Congress.

You can sign a petition supporting the Markey-Lieu bill; more than 139,000 people already have.

You can join GlobalZero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Yet, the Pentagon is actually pressing for more nuclear weapons. In a recent report, the Defense Science Board recommended “a more flexible nuclear enterprise” that could include a “tailored nuclear option for limited use” and “lower yield, primary-only options.”

“With Trump’s call to ‘expand’ the U.S. nuclear arsenal, there is a growing possibility that these recommendations could turn into reality,” write Philip E. Coyle and James McKeon, analysts at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, in Politico.

“This is terrifying,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Washington Post, “and deserves a swift, full-throated rebuke.”

Antidote to dread

The only antidote to dread, said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, is action.

“Objectively speaking, the risk of nuclear weapons use is greater now than it has been at any time [since the end of the Cold War], though it is not as severe [as] during the worst crises of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War,” Kimball, a 27-year veteran of disarmament work, told AlterNet in an email.

“It is not just the uncertainty about Trump’s impulses about nuclear weapons and his temperament, but the growing regional tensions on the Korean Peninsula, in South Asia and with Russia that could lead to nuclear consequences,” he wrote.

“Now, as in the past, there are practical solutions that can steer us away from the precipice and we must all look for way to work together to effectively engage our elected leaders to take the actions that reduce the nuclear dangers. As the old saying goes, ‘don’t mourn, organize!’”

Jefferson Morley
Jefferson Morley is a staff writer for Salon in Washington and author of the forthcoming book, Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan Talese/Doubleday).
MORE JEFFERSON MORLEY.

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Opposition parties demand Abe’s wife testify over school land scandal

March 24, 2017

POLITICS MAR. 24, 2017 – 07:00AM JST ( 25 )
Opposition parties demand Abe’s wife testify over school land scandal
Akie Abe
Reuters photo
TOKYO —
Opposition parties stepped up calls Thursday for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife Akie to be summoned to testify in parliament, after the head of a nationalist school operator reiterated under oath in the Diet earlier in the day that she had handed over a donation for the organization on the prime minister’s behalf.

The ruling camp led by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party dismissed the claim by Yasunori Kagoike, which was previously denied by Abe’s wife.

“The curtain did not close on the problem (with Kagoike’s testimony in the Diet), but rather just opened,” main opposition Democratic Party leader Renho said in a press conference, emphasizing the party’s resolve to pursue Abe over the scandal.

Despite Abe’s repeated denials, the Moritomo Gakuen chief told the Diet that the prime minister had donated 1 million yen ($8,900) through Akie to help build a new elementary school.

“Mr. Kagoike’s testimony was one-sided. It is necessary to arrange an opportunity to confirm the facts with Madam Akie under the same conditions,” Renho said, calling on Abe’s wife to appear in parliament as a sworn witness.

The Osaka Prefecture-based school operator has been under fire since it was revealed that it paid a fraction of the appraisal price for land purchased from the state in the city of Toyonaka to open the school. The dubious land deal sparked suspicions of political interference and led to scrutiny of Kagoike’s ties with the Abes.

Akira Koike, the head of the Japanese Communist Party’s secretariat, said, “It is suspected Prime Minister Abe had something to do with (the land deal). We believe this is an extremely serious problem.”

Meanwhile, LDP Diet affairs chief Wataru Takeshita said, “It is clear that we have drawn a line. Nothing new has come out at all about the state-owned land.”

Hakubun Shimomura, executive acting secretary general of the LDP, said, “I believe the people understood that the cut-price state land deal was not affected by political power.”

Kagoike’s comments were in sharp contrast with the explanation provided by the prime minister’s office regarding the alleged donation.

Kagoike said Thursday that the prime minister’s wife handed over the money when they were alone together in a room at a Moritomo Gakuen kindergarten that she was visiting to make a speech. But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied in a press conference that Kagoike and Akie Abe had met alone.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the LDP’s junior coalition partner the Komeito party, cast doubt on the credibility of Kagoike’s testimony, stating the chief of the school operator had “failed to present any supporting evidence.”

But an LDP lawmaker expressed concern over the possible negative impact on the Abe Cabinet’s support ratings. “The Moritomo problem will drag on. The prime minister will continue to be faced with difficulties.”

© KYODO

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TV: Explosion hits US nuclear plant — Officials declare emergency alert

March 23, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

TV: Explosion hits US nuclear plant — Officials declare emergency alert — “Fire shuts down reactor” — Gov’t conducting special investigation, possible “serious safety consequences” — “Atmospheric steam dumps” required (VIDEO)
Posted: 23 Mar 2017 04:40 AM PDT

Updates, successes, and events

March 21, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
2:58 PM (1 hour ago)

Hi everybody,

We got my city council here in Charlottesville, Va., to pass a resolution last night telling Congress to move money from the military to human and environmental needs instead of the reverse. Try this at home! Let me know if you need help!

I’ve signed on for a trip to Russia in May to meet with activists, authors, others in Moscow. But of course it’s going to cost more than I’d been told, and I’m flat broke. If you can help, please donate. Thank you to those who already have!

I’m also headed to speak in these places:
March 23 Charlottesville VA – Syria, Yemen, and U.S. Warmaking

April 3 New York – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

Apr 4 Washington DC – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

April 8: Huntsville, Alabama: 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

April 13: David Swanson speaking in Boston, Mass.

April 22: David Swanson speaking in Burlington, Vermont

June 16-18: David Swanson and many others speaking at United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) annual conference in Richmond, Va.

August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.

Find more events here.

Also I’m one of the instructors in an online course you may want to sign up for:

Before April 10: Sign up for Online Course: War Abolition 101

Here’s some recent writing, etc.:

City of Charlottesville Passes Resolution Asking Congress to Fund Human and Environmental Needs, Not Military Expansion

Trump’s Budget Counts on Us to Be Dumber Than He

Mike Signer: Profile in Cowardice

Russia Conspiracists Claim to Possess Reality

Talk Nation Radio: William Geimer on Why Canada Should Stay Out of Other People’s Wars

Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump

Listen to Black Agenda Report Radio

Help “The End of War” Win

City to Vote on Resolution Opposing Trump’s Budget

The Problem With the CIA and Drones

Talk Nation Radio: Ellen Schrecker on McCarthyism Then and Now

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, Day Two: David Swanson

Deep state & MSM hysteria

Charlottesville to vote on resolution urging Congress to fund human and environmental needs, not more militarism

Is Advocating Humane Policies Inhumane?

Talk Nation Radio: Tressie McMillan Cottom on For-Profit Colleges and the Society That Produces Them

I confess to meeting with the Russian ambassador in Charlottesville

Audio from Event in Arlington in January

Audio: From Canadian Radio

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

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

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Nuclear Investigator: Worry over underground explosions at Fukushima

March 21, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

Nuclear Investigator: Worry over underground explosions at Fukushima — New data shows molten fuel is “dropping lower each day”, melting deeper into ground below plant — Disaster far worse than public being told — “Why aren’t we reading about this everywhere?”
Posted: 20 Mar 2017 12:28 PM PDT

“Massive leak” at nuclear plant after reactors contract “small pox” — Stunning Discovery: Contagion has spread all over critical structures — Multiple large cracks found — Experts befuddled… Literally a plot similar to a movie thriller
Posted: 21 Mar 2017 04:07 AM PDT

Update: we start banning nuclear weapons in one week

March 20, 2017

The ICAN team info@icanw.org via mail36.suw15.mcsv.net
9:36 AM (1 hour ago)

Our chance to change the world
View this email in your browser

Dear friends,

As an international community, we have prohibited biological and chemical weapons. We have prohibited landmines, blinding lasers, and cluster munitions.

And in one week, we will start prohibiting the most destructive weapon of them all: nuclear weapons.

This is a historic moment for civil society’s 70 year long fight against nuclear weapons and it is the result of tireless campaigning and activism all around the world. This treaty could be a unique tool that makes real progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons. But those with nuclear weapons will do everything they can to stop us.

What civil society has done in order to get to this point is proof of what we can do when we work together. But we still have a long way to go and the stakes for the world are high — the risk of a nuclear detonation is on the rise.

We need your help to ensure that this treaty will be a strong, effective legal tool, and that it has an impact on nuclear-armed states even if they do not participate in the negotiations. This campaign has succeeded so far because of committed people around the world. That’s why your contribution is so important.

With one week left to go, make a donation – or a monthly contribution – to ensure that we take this chance to get a strong and effective treaty that will be the beginning of the end for nuclear weapons.
Contribute
Thank you,

The ICAN team
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All forms of ocean life dying in stunning numbers across Pacific

March 20, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

Report: Hundreds of millions of Pacific salmon missing, presumed dead — Gov’t issues emergency order along US West Coast — Japan suffering historic collapse, fish starving to death — All forms of ocean life dying in stunning numbers across Pacific
Posted: 19 Mar 2017 12:40 PM PDT