Diablo Shutdown Marks End of Atomic Era

By Harvey Wasserman

June 23, 2016

As worldwide headlines have proclaimed, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) says it will shut its giant Diablo Canyon reactors near San Luis Obispo, and that the power they’ve been producing will be replaced by renewable energy.

PG&E has also earmarked some $350 million to “retain and retrain” Diablo’s workforce, whose union has signed on to the deal, which was crafted in large part by major environmental groups.

On a global scale, in many important ways, this marks the highest profile step yet towards the death of U.S. nuclear power and a national transition to a Solartopian green-powered planet.

diablo solartopia 6.23.2016

For Californians, as we shall see, there’s an army of devils in the details, which cannot be ignored. But let’s deal with the big picture first.

The three most important lines on nuke power’s Diablo tombstone may be these:

1. A major U.S. utility has admitted that the energy from a nuke—one of the world’s biggest—can be effectively replaced with renewables.

Over the past decade the nuke industry has spent more than $500,000,000 hyping an utterly failed “nuclear renaissance” partly on the premise that green power can’t make up for the energy production lost by shutting reactors. One of the world’s top nuclear utilities has now signed a major public document saying that this is not true.

2. A major union has approved an agreement that provides retraining for soon-to-be-displaced workers at a soon-to-be-shut nuke.

For years the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and other unions representing atomic workers have fought reactor shut-downs because of lost jobs. The IBEW’s partnership in this agreement shows that with planning and funding, a smooth transition for displaced reactor workforces can be charted.

3. The agreement was crafted with leadership from two major national environmental organizations—Friends of the Earth (FOE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The corporate “nuclear renaissance” hype has conjured up a cadre of “environmentalists for nuclear power.”  Like clockwork the corporate media breathlessly reports from time to time that formerly green activists are now flocking like lemmings to the atomic sea.

Thus the Wall Street Journal recently published a major feature alleging a pro-nuke shift at the Sierra Club, which it then mutated into yet another re-run of the “greens for atoms” meme. The piece was sharply denounced by Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune, who reaffirmed the club’s staunch opposition to nuke power.

As environmental mainstays, FOE and NRDC’s role in this Diablo agreement re-confirms the core stance of a green community whose “No Nukes” stance has deepened since Fukushima and with the rise of renewables.  Greenpeace, the Abalone Alliance, Mothers for Peace, Alliance 4 Nuclear Responsibility, World Business Academy in Santa Barbara and many others hold more fiercely than ever to the anti-nuke/pro-renewables positions they’ve sustained for decades.

A tiny, top-down “greens for nukes” front group is currently shouting around California in support of Diablo.  But this agreement renders the “atomic environmentalist” charade even more marginal.

Meanwhile corporate media outlets throughout U.S. have accepted this Diablo news as nuclear power’s definitive death notice. The SFGate called it the “End of an Atomic Era.” I saw it reported that way on a streaming news wire high above downtown Cleveland. What Linda Seeley, a multi-decade veteran of the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, thought was a local radio interview went nationwide on NPR.

Closing Diablo will make our largest state nuke-free. The agreement embodies the sixth and seventh U.S. reactor shut-downs announced in the last month, the fifteenth and sixteenth since 2012. WPPSS2, the only other operating reactor on the west coast, is bleeding cash and may be among the next to go.

Safe energy activists can warmly embrace this announcement. More have been arrested at Diablo than any other U.S nuke. This would never have happened without citizen activism.

So all you tried and true “No Nukes” greenies … go out and have a party!

But … then listen to the rest of the news, and get back to work.

• What PG&E has actually announced is something that’s been expected for quite a while, which is that it won’t pursue NRC re-licensing. The agreement thus predicts closures in 2024 and 2025, when Diablo’s current licenses expire.

• But unlicensed operations continue at New York’s Indian Point. Fail-proof legal safeguards are needed to make sure that doesn’t happen at Diablo.

• The agreement comes just prior to a crucial June 28 hearing in front of the California State Lands Commission. PG&E wants the State Land Commission to renew leases issued in 1969 and 1970 that allow Diablo’s cooling systems to pollute coastal territory. Just after that, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act, imposing a wide range of requirements and reporting on state lands. Diablo can’t meet those requirements, and PG&E doesn’t want to do the studies.

At least two of the three commissioners have indicated they would expect PG&E to now comply with CEQA. But many fear this agreement might incline them to now let those requirements go unenforced until the alleged new shut-down date, rather than forcing the reactors to close in 2018 and 2019, when the leases expire. Grassroots activists are circulating petitions and exerting as much pressure as they can to make sure the commissioners hold the line.

• PG&E is now in what amounts to a federal murder trial, and may hope this agreement will soften the prosecution. Despite repeated warnings, in 2010 the company’s badly maintained gas network blew up in San Bruno. It killed eight people through what amounts to criminal negligence. The usually docile California Public Utilities Commission has already fined the company $1.4 billion. PG&E executives may see this agreement as something of a federal plea bargain in an extremely serious prosecution.

• Worldwide studies show cancer and infant disease rates climb when reactors open, and decline when they shut. Such numbers have been confirmed at Diablo and at Rancho Seco in studies commissioned by the World Business Academy, which warns that the longer Diablo operates, the more the public health will suffer.

• Diablo is in clear violation of state and federal water quality laws. It daily sucks in 2.5 billion gallons of sea water which it returns far hotter (18-20 degrees Farenheit) than allowable. Regulatory hearings on the near horizon would tell whether PG&E will be forced to build cooling towers to spew the heat into the air instead of the water. Cooling tower cost estimates range from $2 billion to $14 billion. Should the towers be required, PG&E would face a wild melee over who’d pay for them. But faced with a shut-down date, regulators might just let Diablo continue in violation (as has been done at New Jersey’s Oyster Creek).

• PG&E may be short hundreds of millions of dollars in funds necessary to decommission Diablo. Bitter disputes have already erupted over decommissioning San Onofre and other down U.S. reactors, including Vermont Yankee. Major technical problems, including serious leaks, have already emerged at Diablo and are certain to escalate in both confrontation and cost.

• PG&E and its fellow centralized utilities worldwide are terrified of home-owned roof-top solar panels, whose escalating spread could spell their doom. While hyping its entry into the solar world, PG&E will continue to assault net-metering and other essentials of the distributed generation revolution that threatens its core.

• The agreement includes no guarantee from Mother Nature that one of the dozen earthquake faults surrounding the plant won’t go off before the reactors finally shut. Diablo is half the distance from the San Andreas that Fukushima was from the epicenter of the quake that destroyed it. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s former resident inspector Dr. Michael Peck has warned PG&E has never proven Diablo could withstand such a shock.

• Tsunami expert Dr. Robert Sewell has also testified that a nearby undersea landslide could cause a wave capable of destroying Diablo, including its vulnerable intake pipes. His official report has been buried by the NRC for more than a decade.

There is more …

But above all, no independent observer believes PG&E has signed this agreement out of love for the planet, its workers, the public well-being or the spirit of the law. It could mark a significant leap toward shutting Diablo Canyon, but it does not seal its fate. Indeed, unless accompanied with fierce activism, some fear it could offer PG&E political cover to prolong its operations.

Globally, this landmark treaty embodies a nuclear utility’s admission that renewables can replace nukes, that union-endorsed provisions can ease the transition for workers at closing reactors and that a purported “green shift” to nuke power is mere industry hype.

None of which mitigates the reality Diablo Canyon could be melting as you read this. No matter what this agreement says, no matter when the anointed close-down date … until those reactors at Diablo Canyon are dead, dismantled and somehow buried, we all live at the brink of a potential apocalypse.

Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org, along with his upcoming AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH: THE ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY.  With Bob Fitrakis he has co-authored six books on election protection (www.freepress.org). He was arrested at Diablo Canyon in 1984. 

==============

Diablo Shutdown Marks End of Atomic Era by Harvey Wasserman is crossposted at EcoWatch.com

5 More U.S. Nukes to Close, Will Diablo Canyon Be Next?

by Harvey Wasserman

June 17, 2016

(cross-posted at ecowatch.com)

A  rising tsunami of U.S. nuke shut-downs may soon include California’s infamous Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition.

Five U.S. reactor closures have been announced within the past month. A green regulatory decision on California’s environmental standards could push the number to seven.

diablo 4 harvey 6.17.2016

The focus is now on a critical June 28 California State Lands Commission meeting. Set for Sacramento, the hearing could help make the Golden State totally nuke free, ending the catastrophic radioactive and global warming impacts caused by these failing plants. A public simulcast of the Sacramento meeting is expected to gather a large crowd at the Morro Bay Community Center near the reactor site. The meeting starts at 10 a.m., but environmental groups will rally outside the community center starting at 9 a.m.

The three State Lands Commissioners will decide whether to require a legally-mandated Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If ordered, a public scoping process will begin, allowing interested groups and individuals to weigh in on the environmental impacts of operation of two nuclear reactors on California’s fragile coastline.

In 1969 and 1970 PG&E got state leases for tidewater acreage for Diablo’s cooling system. These leases are set to expire in 2018 and 2019. If the State Lands Commission does not renew them, both reactors will be forced to shut down.

Signed in 1970 by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, CEQA requires more extensive Environmental Impact Reports on such leases. Included among the issues to be evaluated are water quality, potential damage to human and other life forms, chemical and radiation releases, and impacts on threatened and endangered species. The commission will not decide whether Diablo will continue to operate, only whether it will now be required to meet CEQA standards.

Pro-nukers say PG&E is at the brink of shutting Diablo’s reactors. They cannot economically compete with renewables or gas and are sustained by an intricate network of subsidies, liability protection and tax breaks. Many believe the cost of new environmental studies and of meeting updated standards would be a death blow. More protestors have been arrested at Diablo than any other American nuke, and the public pressure to finally shut it is intense.

One of the commissioners is Gavin Newsom, California’s Lieutenant Governor, 2018’s leading gubernatorial candidate. Newsom said he sees no long-term future for Diablo.

Another commissioner, state controller Betty Yee, is widely thought to favor the requirement.

State finance director Michael Cohen is the third commissioner. He generally votes as instructed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown opposed Diablo early in his career, but has recently waffled.

Among other things, Diablo dumps daily some 2.5 billion gallons of super-heated water into the ocean, killing vast quantities of marine life and worsening the global climate crisis. The project’s chemical runoff infamously killed millions of abalone years before it operated.

Diablo may soon face regulatory challenges from other state and federal agencies that could, among other things, require cooling towers, at a cost of up to $14 billion. PG&E would then face a fierce public fight over who would pay for them.

Diablo is surrounded by a dozen earthquake faults. It is half the distance from the San Andreas as was Fukushima from the shock that destroyed it. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s former resident inspector Dr. Michael Peck has warned Diablo might not survive a similar quake. Such a disaster would irradiate the Central Valley, which supplies much of the U.S. with its fruits, nuts and vegetables. It would send radioactive clouds into Los Angeles within about five hours, and across virtually the entire continental U.S.

Closing Diablo would make California entirely nuke-free. Grassroots activists, with help from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Friends of the Earth, recently shut two big reactors at San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego. They also closed plants at Rancho Seco (near Sacramento) and Humboldt Bay, and stopped proposed projects at Bodega and Bakersfield.

Along with most nukes around the world, the only other remaining west coast reactor, WPPS2 on Washington’s Hanford military reservation, is also losing massive amounts of money.

Because they can’t evenly compete with renewable energy or gas, a tsunami of shut-downs has swept away a dozen U.S. reactors since October, 2012. Dozens more teeter at the brink, including two at Indian Point, just north of Manhattan, and Ohio’s rapidly crumbling Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo.

In Japan, more than 40 reactors remain shut despite intense government pressure to reopen them in the wake of the Fukushima catastrophe. Germany’s energiewende conversion to 100 percent renewables, which aims to shut all its reactors by 2022, is ahead of schedule and under budget. Much of the rest of Europe, including France, is now moving that way.

Should California follow suit at Diablo, its conversion to a wholly green-powered economy would accelerate, likely leading Los Angeles to become the world’s first Solartopian megalopolis.

Ironically, with citizen action, a big push in that direction could now come from a state commission’s decision to enforce environmental protections signed into law by California’s most pro-nuke governor.

Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is atwww.solartopia.org, along with his upcoming AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH: THE ORGANIC SPIRAL OF U.S. HISTORY. He has co-written six books on election protection with Bob Fitrakis (www.freepress.org), and was arrested at Diablo Canyon in 1984.

 

 

The Iconic Peace Ship Golden Rule Is Hit by a Police Boat!

By Harvey Wasserman

(cross posted at Reader Supported News)

June 13, 2016

golden rule

he good ship Golden Rule is a miracle of the modern peace movement. In its iconic quest for global peace and ecological sanity, it has been re-floated, revived … and now hit by a police boat!!!

The boat was first launched from a dock near Los Angeles in 1958 by Quaker activists intending to sail into the Marshall Islands to stop nuclear weapons testing.

Among those present was the legendary singer John Raitt, star of the stage shows Carousel and Oklahoma, and leading man in the film Pajama Game. His daughter, multiple-Grammy-winner Bonnie Raitt, has carried on the tradition of No Nukes commitment throughout her stellar career.

The 1950s Golden Rule crew of four were arrested before they could get into the test zone. One sailor for peace, Jim Peck, contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned in Honolulu.

But their cause was picked up by another boat, the Hiroshima Phoenix, which did affect the testing. The entire effort contributed mightily to a global disarmament movement that won a lasting atmospheric test ban in 1963. Millions of living creatures (possibly including you) have been saved from death and disease by the halt in radioactive fallout from the US and USSR’s flood of bombs.

The Golden Rule subsequently sank in Humboldt Bay, California. But in 2010 it was rescued by Leroy Zerlang. A crew led by Chuck DeWitt of Veterans for Peace spent five years restoring her to seaworthiness, and the Golden Rule was relaunched on June 20, 2015.

On June 8, 2016, the reborn Golden Rule sailed into Portland, Oregon, to “greet” Fleet Week – an annual maritime invasion of US and Canadian warships meant to put on a public display of military might. This year the warships include a PT boat and numerous other armed vessels.

On Thursday, June 9, the Golden Rule set sail around 1:00 p.m. to travel up the Willamette River. The drizzle was steady. The purpose was to show our colors for peace amidst the fleet week warships.

With the ship moving by motor power, the crew unfurled large red sails featuring its peace sign and the Veterans for Peace logo. Through the gray, chilly chop, the ship sailed peacefully around the men of war. There was no intent to stage a blockade or to do civil disobedience.

In the steady rain, podcasting via cell phone from the ship’s deck, the “Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show” was wet but sustainable. It featured activists Helen Jaccard and Mimi German, who discussed the ship’s history and the movement in the northwest to shut the WPPS2 nuclear power plant, the region’s last operating commercial reactor, which is losing tens of millions of dollars per year.

Finally, while preparing to sail back to dock, the Golden Rule idled behind a drawbridge, waiting for it to rise. Suddenly a Washington County patrol boat with a two-man crew came along our starboard side. The Golden Rule had been peacefully boarded at least once during the day, and there was extensive, cordial communication between us and various police patrols.

But while inexplicably floating right next to the Golden Rule, the Washington County boat suddenly gunned its engine. Neither its lights nor sirens were on. As it turned sharply away, the sharp corner of its rear smacked into the hull of the Golden Rule, about a yard directly below my feet.

“The Sheriff’s Patrol boat made an emergency maneuver to avoid an impending serious collision,” says an official press release. “The port aft of the Sheriff’s Patrol boat collided with the starboard of the sailboat.” The Sheriff’s office says the damage was “minor.”

In a separate statement, the crew of the Golden Rule called the damage “cosmetic” and said, “We were unintentionally ‘hit’ by incompetent Sheriff’s deputies.”

Standing directly above the point where the police boat’s tail smacked into our hull, it wasn’t clear to me what the two officers meant to do, or why they had sailed in choppy waters to sit within just a few feet of us. The officer in the back of the boat in stood in clear view about fifty feet from me. He showed no emotion when his boat hit the Golden Rule. I could not see the driver.

But activists working with the Golden Rule cite ongoing problems. “They decided to come up on us without any warning or signals,” says Jaccard, of Veterans for Peace. “They were not in control of their boat.”

“It was an act of aggression,” says German, of No Nukes NW. “They fucking rammed The Golden Rule peace boat!”

Meanwhile, the ship will be sailing throughout the West Coast promoting the cause of peace.

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.

Six decades after it first helped stop a bomb-testing program that spewed deadly radiation throughout the atmosphere and threatened all life on Earth, the Golden Rule is back to say that peace is possible … and essential to our survival.

 


 

Harvey Wasserman’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of Us History can be had via www.solartopia.org. The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, co-written with Bob Fitrakis, is at www.freepress.org.

Southern California May 29th Event! Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis, Greg Palast & Friends

Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis discuss their new book: THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft – Sunday, May 29, 2016 event with special guests Greg Palast, Bev Harris and Mimi Kennedy

123. Jan and Harvey final Poster for approval (1)

3-6 PM          Sunday          May 29, 2016

Join hosts 

JAN GOODMAN * JERRY MANPEARL * LARRY DILG 

*  LILA GARRETT  *   MYLA RESON * NINA MERSON *

ILENE PROCTOR * FRANCES  FISHER

$20 Donation includes

Memorial Day Hot Dogs, Spicy Sausages, Black Bean Burgers, Vegan Stuff and all the Trimmin’s!

For Location & More Details contact

MYLA RESON — myla.reson@gmail.com (310) 663 -7660

ILENE PROCTOR  ilenepr@sbcglobal.net (310858 6643

 

Michael Marriotte Radio Tribute TODAY

Today’s SOLARTOPIA GREEN POWER & WELLNESS SHOW at  www.prn.fm will honor Michael Marriott.

Our Hero - Michael Marriotte

Our Hero – Michael Marriotte

The show runs from 5-6 pm Eastern time.
We’ll start with Mary Olson and Paul Gunter.  Kevin Kamps will be at the memorial gathering with a cell phone he’ll make available to talk on the show.
After 5:15, if you wish to say a few words, please call 888-874-4888.  We’ll try to accommodate everyone, and produce a document his kids & grandkids will
be proud of.
Michael was a great guy.  It was/is an honor to work with him.
no nukes/4 solartopia….harveyw

We Need the “Ohio Plan” to Stop the “Strip & Flip” of American Elections

booths

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
21 January 2016

As the 2016 election approaches, we must remember that our electronic voting system as it currently stands is thoroughly rigged. The entire outcome can be flipped with a few late night keystrokes, as was done in Ohio 2004.

This year, at least 80% of the nation’s votes will be cast on electronic machines whose outcome can be altered by a governor and secretary of state with just a few keystrokes, and without detection.

There is a way – we call it “The Ohio Plan” – by which we can attain a fair and reliable vote count.

The Ohio Plan is this:

    1. Voter registration must be universal and automatic for all citizens as they turn 18.

 

    1. Electronic poll books are banned, with all voter registration records maintained manually.

 

    1. All elections happen over a 4-day weekend – Saturday, Sunday, Monday,Tuesday – which together comprise a national holiday, preferably around Veterans Day in November.

 

    1. All voting happens on paper ballots, using recycled or hemp paper.

 

    1. All vote counting is done manually, with ballots preserved at least two years.

 

  1. Polls are run and ballots are counted by the nation’s high school and college students, who will get the days off and be paid a “scholarship” for their work at $15/hour.

Part One of the Ohio Plan is to guarantee all citizens are registered to vote when they turn 18. Postage-free mail-in forms are available at schools, post offices, driver’s license bureaus, etc.

Today millions of Americans, mostly of color, are being wrongfully denied their right to register, with decisive partisan impacts dating at least to Florida 2000.

Part Two of the Ohio Plan requires that these registration records be maintained on paper logbooks that will be present at the voting precincts on election day.

The great investigative reporter Greg Palast has reported that a proprietary computer program being used by the GOP is center stage in the purging of countless voters in more than a dozen states as you read this. Those being stripped of their right to vote are mostly African-American and Hispanic, as well as students and the elderly.

Stripping at least 90,000 such voters in Florida 2000 was key to putting George W. Bush in the White House for the first time. His official margin was less than 600 votes. More than 300,000 voters were stripped from electronic logbooks in urban, largely Democratic areas of Ohio prior to the 2004 election, which was officially given to George W. Bush by less than 119,000 votes.

Under the Ohio Plan, all voter registration rolls must be maintained on paper files with double-blind multi-partisan supervision (to include Greens and other minority parties as well as the Democrats and Republicans) to guarantee they are not illegally purged in the lead-up to Election Day.

Part Three of the Ohio Plan requires our elections include extensive voting hours over a full four-day weekend, including Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Vote counting should begin as the polls close on Tuesday.

The Constitution requires voting happen the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, i.e. sometime between November 2 and November 8. But Tuesday is a work day, and millions of working Americans are deprived of their vote due to employment requirements. By extending access to the polls over a four-day holiday weekend we guarantee access to the millions who work as well as those who don’t.

Part Four of the Ohio Plan is to require all voting be done on paper ballots.

Electronic machines as currently constituted are virtually all corporate-owned. Courts have ruled the software is proprietary, meaning even the election boards that buy or lease the machines cannot verify the outcome. Internet voting is also impossible to verify. Thus our elections can be easily flipped with a few keystrokes by shadowy operatives, and without open public verification, as happened in Florida 2000, Ohio 2004 and elsewhere.

Germany, Ireland, Romania, Japan and Canada all conduct their elections on hand-counted paper ballots. Ours should be printed on recycled paper or paper made with hemp grown in the United States.

Part Five of the Ohio Plan requires that the ballots be hand-counted and preserved under federal protection for at least two years. Recounts are automatic, no matter what the apparent margin of victory, at public expense.

Part Six of the Ohio Plan provides for the nation’s polls to be run by our high school and college students, and for them to do the vote counting. They will be given time off from school to participate in this great civics lesson, and be paid at the level of any American city or state’s highest minimum wage, at this point $15/hour.

The provision for universal automatic voter registration has been endorsed by Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders has endorsed the requirement of universal hand-counted paper ballots, as has more than 90% of the American public.

It should be understood that the ongoing electronic stripping of our poll books, as reported by Greg Palast, has already eliminated hundreds of thousands of American voters, most of them people of color.

The way things stand in 2016 with electronic vote counting, there is no paper trail, no transparency and no public verification. The Information Technology companies with the state contracts to tally most US elections have full control over the outcome, with no public scrutiny or recourse.

Thus the election of 2016 is likely to be decided by a tiny handful of governors, secretaries of state and computer operators in the deep hours of election night, with no verification or recourse available to the public, and no necessary connection to how the public actually voted.

We support strict regulation of campaign financing. But without the mechanics of reliably registering our citizens to vote and guaranteeing an open, public, verified vote count, all else is moot.

We hope at least that much can be dealt with by Election Day 2016, lest it more accurately be known, once again, as Corporate Selection Day.

===========================================

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are election protection activists. Bob & Harvey’s “The Sixth Jim Crow: Electronic Election Protection & The 2016 Strip/Flip Selection” is available at www.freepress.org and www.solartopia.org along with six other books on election protection.  “Harvey’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History” is coming soon.

======================================

cross posted at Reader Supported News

Copyright © 2016 solartopia, All rights reserved.
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Will the GOP Strip & Flip the 2016 Election?

By Harvey Wasserman, Mimi Kennedy and Bob Fitrakis

rep pres hopefuls

t is midnight, Election Day, 2016.

The votes (80% of them electronic) have been cast all across the United States. Except in Hawaii, the voting stations are now closed.

By all credible calculations, the Democratic presidential candidate (Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton) has won a solid victory in the public vote. All polls have shown a strong national margin. A solid majority of the key swing states have gone to the Democrats, giving them an apparent victory in the Electoral College.

With that have come solid advances in the US Senate and House races, plus major gains in statehouses and local elections across the board.

Divisions among the Republicans, shifting demographics, revulsion against the concentration of wealth, gun issues, civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, climate chaos, green issues, and a wide range of other factors are generally viewed as the key reasons for the Democratic sweep.

But as of midnight, the Electoral College could still be flipped by six key swing states where there are Republican governors and Republican secretaries of state. Those states are Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. Taken in tandem they have more than enough electoral votes to swing the presidency, and enough clout to decide who will control the US Senate and much of the House.

In each of these “decider” states, the governor and secretary of state control how the election is administered, and how the votes are counted and reported.

In the lead-up to Election Day, millions of African-American, Hispanic, elderly and young voters (especially college students) have been systematically purged from the voter rolls. Without those purges, far more than just these six major swing states would be in play.

Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and other GOP multi-billionaires have poured in limitless dark money millions. The corporate media has duly reported the usual late “shift in momentum” to the Republicans.

But even that has not been enough. The people have spoken.

From Tallahassee to Raleigh to Columbus, Lansing, Des Moines and Phoenix, the governors and secretaries meet quietly and alone with a shadowy third party – their chief of Information Technology. They know full well how the popular vote has gone, and what the consequences might be.

So they ask the IT expert what can be done about it.

The expert tells them what they already know: that the electronic voting machines from which the official vote count must now be extracted are owned by private corporations, nearly all of them with strong Republican roots. The courts have ruled that the source code is proprietary.

There have been various feints loudly staged to simulate a paper trail. They’re meant for public consumption. Any recount in any of these states is pre-rigged to be a sham.

In fact, as in Ohio 2004, there is no way for the public or the media or the Democrats or international monitoring agencies or anyone else on this Earth to definitively monitor or verify how the American people have actually voted in 2016.

So the question is asked: having already stripped the voter rolls, how long will it now take to flip the outcome?

The IT expert gives the obvious answer: about 60 seconds, maybe less. Not only the presidency but control of the Congress, statehouses, state legislatures and much more can be flipped in tandem.

In the process, the expert says, it’s customary to plant media stories of “glitches” in the voting process that will delay the reporting of the vote count. In Ohio 2004 the flipping process was stretched from 12:20 am to 2 am, during which John Kerry’s 4.2% margin of victory became a 2.5% George W. Bush margin of victory, giving him a second term.

But the process is clear, simple and long-since prearranged. Funded by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the vast majority of America’s electronic voting machines date back at least a decade. Many can be flipped at the precinct level by operatives driving by with WIFI apparatus. In other cases, “technicians” from the voting machine companies have already recalibrated the tabulators while Election Day was in progress, or immediately after.

So the months of campaigning, endless media bloviation, and millions in campaign expenditures can all be funneled down to about a minute of one hired hacker doing a few quick keystrokes that no one will ever be able to fully unearth or overturn.

All that’s then needed as follow-up is to adjust the pre-election exit polls, which are usually extremely accurate, to match the official vote count, which will have been flipped by 2 or 3 am. (Sooner or later, such polling will be banned altogether).

In the meantime, in this dark post-democracy night, there is a pause. Each IT expert asks each governor and secretary of state in each of these key swing states what they wish done. And how much the Koch Brothers will be paying them to do it.

See if you can guess the answer.

And then look for what to do about this in our upcoming articles, along with Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman’s “The Sixth Jim Crow: Electronic Election Theft & The Strip/Flip Selection of 2016,” all due out in 2016.

Mimi’s Action Tips:

First learn your state’s laws and voting systems on The Verifier. Then visit National Election Integrity Coalition or Black Box Voting for ideas for action based on your voting system. Definitely be a poll worker. You’ll learn your system’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Who services machines when they fail? Are many voters forced to vote provisionally? Why? Is it a problem that can be corrected before the General Election? Ask to tour your county elections office. If you’re denied, ask why, and publicize the answer. Observation deters crime. Ask to observe the count. If told you’re obstructing well-run elections, bravo! You and your election officials are on common ground. You both want well-run elections – which require public oversight! Finally, learn to hand-count ballots. Copy an online template or ask for your county’s sample test ballot. Copy a dozen of those and vote them randomly. Copy that dozen to a precinct-sized batch (about 300) then go to People Demanding Action and follow the instructions. You are not a Luddite. You’re learning the election equivalent of jury duty – by which democracy will be regained.

 


Mimi Kennedy, Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are election protection activists.

This article was originally published by Reader Supported News: Link

Wind Power Guru: Nukes Fail to Gain Traction in Monumental Paris Accord

by Harvey Wasserman

January 4, 2016

Paul Gipe is one of the world’s great Solartopian pioneers. His early work on wind power helped make the industry possible. His website publishes some of the most up-to-date and reliable information on the wind and solar industry. His books form the basic library for the progress of wind energy. His newest book, Wind Energy for the Rest of Us: A Comprehensive Guide to Wind Power and How to Use It, will be available in mid-2016.

i want to live

Based in Bakersfield, California, Gipe is known throughout the business as a brash, independent straight shooter with an incorruptible vision of a green-powered economy and how to best get there.

So when I interviewed him recently on my Solartopia radio show, I was curious to hear his reactions to the Paris accord, since some time has passed to let the dust settle.

But Gipe’s take on this landmark agreement comes from well outside the mainstream. Gipe is devoted to community-controlled energy and to the integrity of the green technologies that will take us there.

Gipe minces no words about the horrors of nuclear power. And recent reports of a rising death toll of “Nuclear Gypsies” being sacrificed at Fukushima have not made things any better.

But for Gipe, “Paris was a watershed event,” especially with the failure of the nuclear industry to gain real traction there.

Gipe said:

“The world, for the first time, agreed there is a problem with climate change and that we should do something about it. This occurred despite two decades of a sophisticated campaign to downplay and even deny that climate change was occurring.

“Further, several states, regions and provinces agreed for the need to put a price on carbon and numerous cities announced plans to meet 100 percent of their energy needs with renewables.

“There appeared to be a consensus that renewable energy’s time has come and that renewables are the future. Regardless of a massive lobbying effort by the nuclear industry there was a sentiment that nuclear is too little, too late and too expensive.

“Another indication of the success of Paris in drawing attention to climate change and need for action has been the shrill cry of right-wing shills for the fossil-fuel industry calling the event a ‘sham’ because COP 21 didn’t include binding targets. They know what happened in Paris and like cornered beasts are reacting with tooth and claw to slow or stop progress toward our renewable future.

“Of course, Paris could have done much more, but considering the opposition of the most powerful corporations on Earth and the nations that profit from the burning of fossil fuels reaching agreement on the need for action is historic.

“Quickly on the heels of Paris, the U.S. Congress, where the party in power in both chambers publicly denies climate change, voted overwhelmingly to renew and extend the subsidies for solar and wind energy. While the wrong policy, the vote revealed that the party’s rhetoric about its opposition to subsidies and subsidies particularly to renewable energy is simply a charade.”

Gipe concluded though that there’s ample room for skepticism. He said that there’s no doubting which way the future is going. The Koch Brothers with their fossil/nuclear investments have a lot of clout. But time is not on their side. And when the GOP sides with the renewable energy industry, it’s only because there’s sufficient financial clout to drive it there.

“There’s money to be made in renewables and a lot of it as the world moves toward renewable energy,” Gipe said. “Even the Republican party sees that.”

And if the Republican party is lining up even partially around renewables, the end for King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas) has surely drawn near.

Here’s the link to my interview with Paul Gipe

 

At 70, Baby Boomers Face a New Acid Test

by Harvey Wasserman

 

On New Year’s Day, the first baby boomers will turn 70.

From Jan. 1, 1946, through the end of 1964, 76 million babies were born in the U.S., more humans than lived in this country in 1900.

With a little help from LSD and our friends, we’ve won a cultural and technological revolution.

But our earthly survival depends on beating the lethal cancer of corporate domination-and the outcome is in doubt.

The GIs coming back from World War II kicked Rosie the Riveter out of the factories and into the suburbs.

The GI Bill gave them cheap home loans and free college tuition, birthing one of the world’s great university systems and one of its best-educated workforces.

Millions of boomers entered those colleges in the early ’60s. They lit the torch for a cultural revolution. They also invented the personal computer and the Internet.

Pot and psychedelics were essential to both.

The cultural revolution began with race and gender. The movements demanding equality for black, Hispanic and female Americans is far from finished. But all have progressed many orders of magnitude since the first boomers were born.

The birth control pill opened the floodgates for sexual freedom. But except for socialist and feminist Emma Goldman in the 1910s, America had hosted virtually zero public dialogue about homosexuality-until the Stonewall riots of 1969. Gay activists were at last openly out, vocal and explicit. An astonishingly powerful, fast-paced movement has transformed the mainstream and media, where gay and interracial couples have become “no big deal” in record time.

In tandem has come the music. Rock ’n’ roll grew organically from the blues, ragtime, gospel, swing, bebop, and rhythm and blues. It rode the 1930s invention of the electric guitar. But it took a quantum leap in the ’60s as pot and LSD morphed the music of Jimi, Janis, Dylan, the Doors and especially the Beatles and their Sgt. Pepper. From Monterey to Woodstock, the Stones to the Dead, something happened to the pop/rock culture and we’re still not sure exactly what it was, but LSD and pot were at the bottom of it.

The media tried to drown it out with a tedious tsunami of endless psychobabble. In 1971, Richard Nixon launched his racist, anti-youth drug war, complete with 41 million arrests, aimed at crushing the civil rights and counterculture movements.

But something else was happening and we didn’t know what thatwas, either. In Northern California, around Stanford University and some early Silicon Valley startups, a transcendent band of uniquely stoned code warriors blew open the bravest new world of human interconnection. A million stoned rants about how we humans are “all of one mind” suddenly became tangible with the personal computer and the Internet, all miraculously linked.

Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and a host of merry geeksters merged cannabis and psychedelics with music and activism (see John Markoff’s “What the Dormouse Said”) into a magical, digitalmystery tour, a transcendent PC/Internet wave that we all now ride. Humankind has never known a more transformative amplification of consciousness and technology.

With it has come a revolution in green power. The silicon chip has yielded the silicon solar cell and the ability to turn the sun’s energy into electric current and amazingly efficient LED lighting. With them have come massive wind turbines with escalating efficiency and the power to envision a solartopian earth freed of the grid-to be totally electrified by cheap, sustainable, job-creating green energy that is owned and managed through a democratized network of small communities and stand-alone rooftops.

To that has been added a new level of mass transit (see the train systems in Europe, China, Japan) and the electric car-zero emission, low maintenance, increasingly affordable-with a conjoined revolution in mass-produced batteries ready to stretch our range and smooth the “intermittency” of renewable generation.

Would this all have been possible if LSD had not mimicked for a new American generation what peyote and other ritual substances did for our indigenous tribal (and matriarchal) ancestors so long before the whites came? Did that ancient prophecy really say a generation of whites would someday come with a Hopi-sounding name (“hippies”) to bring lasting peace?

More critical is to finally pay attention to the wisdom our indigenous forebears had to share about living in harmony with our Mother Earth.

And how to transcend the corporate cancer that’s killing us all.

In medical terms, we’re at a breakthrough moment. A mix of natural cures (like cannabis), balanced with carefully targeted DNA-based chemotherapies, stem cells and genetic therapy, have transformed the fight to survive. Stem cells in particular promise a wide range of treatments we can only barely envision.

My friend Peter Simon, one of our generation’s great photographers, has seen a new “boutique” chemotherapy (taken with cannabis suppositories) reduce his lung cancer by half. Another friend’s lung cancer has been defeated with new stem-cell therapy.

With new ideas being facilitated by the PC and shared on the Internet, saturation chemo and contempt for natural cures are being blown away by a radical new storm of holistic integrated treatments.

But the fight against the most lethal cancer of all seems seriously stuck. We have transformed our culture and our technology. But our politics have been metastasized by the lethal toxins of corporate cash.

Somehow our courts grant corporations human rights with no human responsibilities. Their DNA carries just one imperative—make money. If a corporation can make an extra buck by killing you and your family, it’s legally bound to do so. They can slash maintenance at your local nuclear power plants, melt them down, blow them up, exterminate you and your family with no liability to the corporate entity. Their profoundly anti-human ethos protects them from paying the human and planetary costs because they are immune. Yet they’re programmed to gouge out as much financial excess as possible for their unelected CEOs, no matter what happens to workers or the surrounding population or to the world in which we all live (but that they seem to be just visiting).

A corporation cannot sacrifice short-term profit for long-term environmental benefit. Greed is the absolute master of all the corporation does, with human and ecological consequences of zero concern except for public relations reasons, which fluctuate.

When a corporation does business, it expects to gouge you. When it crashes, it expects you to bail it out, with no penalties to those in charge (see the crash of 2007). When it demands global trade deals, it expects to negate the power of the human community.

If you wanted to design an economic/industrial entity more perfectly suited to eradicating human life and destroying our planet, you could hardly do better than the modern transnational corporation.

Our species at this time seems impotent to control this malignancy. We may have hugely transformed our views on race, feminism, sexuality, sexual preference, music, the arts, the environment, organic food, imperial war and much more; but the global corporation is the twisted, mean-spirited sociopath that turns all it touches to death itself.

By legal charter these malignant parasites cannot stop sucking the life force from all of us. Unopposed, they will persist until every possible ounce of profit can be extracted from our bodies, souls and planet, even as they hire armies of PR bloviators to make us believe that’s how “the system” must work: Fukushima is good for us. Smoking does not cause cancer. Aspartame will make you thin. Slave wages will make you free. Ignorance is strength.

And, above all, war is peace.

In response, a new world of music provides a fabulous soundtrack to accompany our class and culture war. We know how to love each other beyond race, gender, class and preference. We understand that the earth is one and we humans are neither separate nor superior.

What we don’t yet know is how to dethrone greed, how to strip from the corporate genetic code the power and proclivity to kill us all.

The real acid test of the baby boomers is to unite with those who’ve come before and since to rid our body politic of the power of money and the poisons it produces.

Feed your head, the dormouse said. And may the force be with us.

####

Fukushima4 Fuels Solartopian Revolution

The catastrophe that began at Fukushima four years ago today is worse than ever.

But the good news can ultimately transcend the bad—if we make it so.

An angry grassroots movement has kept shut all 54 reactors that once operated in Japan. It’s the largest on-going nuke closure in history. Big industrial windmills installed off the Fukushima coast are now thriving.

Ohio’s Davis-Besse, New York’s Ginna, five reactors in Illinois and other decrepit American nukes could shut soon without huge ratepayer bailouts.

Diablo Canyon was retrofitted—probably illegally—with $842 million in replacement parts untested for seismic impact. Already under fire for illegal license manipulations and an avoidable gas explosion that killed eight in San Bruno in 2010, Pacific Gas & Electric has plunged into a legal, economic and political abyss that could soon doom California’s last reactors.

Meanwhile, Germany is amping up its renewable energy generation with a goal of 80 percent or more by 2050.

France—once nuke power’s poster child—has turned away from new reactor construction and is moving strongly toward renewables.

Worldwide the Solartopian revolution is ahead of schedule and under budget. Predictions about its technological and economic potential are being everywhere exceeded.

More than twice as many Americans now work in solar as in coal mines. As the head of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund recently put it: “We are quite convinced that if John D Rockefeller were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy.”

Even America’s Tea Party has developed a green wing promoting renewables.

Vital focus now centers on battery breakthroughs needed to escalate rooftop solar, electric cars and other post-nuke game-changers.

But there’s plenty of bad news. The State Secrets Act of Japan’s authoritarian Abe regime renders unreliable all “official” information from Fukushima. Grassroots nuclear campaigners are under serious attack.

At least 300 tons of radioactive water still pour daily into the Pacific Ocean. The utility wants to dump even more untreated outflow into currents that are already testing radioactive along the California coast. Details of fuel rod bring-downs and site clean-ups remain unknown.

Thyroid damage rates are soaring among downwind children. Abe is forcing evacuees back into areas that are seriously contaminated. Fukushima’s owner (Tepco) is the #1 money funnel to his Liberal Democratic Party, which flips untold billions back to the utility.

More than 128,000 petitioners asking that the world community take charge at Fukushima have been ignored by the United Nations since November, 2013.

Throughout the world decaying reactors threaten our survival. Ohio’s Davis-Besse containment is literally crumbling. Diablo Canyon is surrounded by 15 known fault lines, one just 700 yards from the cores. New reactor sites in Finland, France and Georgia show slipshod construction, substandard parts and corrupted supervision that would make them instant threats should they go on line.

Citizen activism challenges all that. Today Solartopian activists will picket Japanese consulates worldwide.

An evolving electricity boycott to “unplug nuclear” and a growing grassroots demand for green energy herald a new era of people power.

Four years after the endless Fukushima disaster began, that renewable revolution defines our survival.

It’s a fight we can’t afford to lose. It’s a victory we must soon embrace … with the utmost relief and joy.
—————
Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and edits www.nukefree.org. His Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at prn.fm.

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