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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

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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.

file://localhost/Users/Home/Desktop/Harvey%20Book%20text%201%20pp%201-60.pdf

WILL LANDMARK COURT DECISION SPEED DIABLO'S DEMISE?

http://ecowatch.com/2015/02/24/court-ruling-diablo-nukes-demise/

Landmark Federal Court Decision: Will It Speed Diablo Nuke’s Demise?

Harvey Wasserman | February 24, 2015
New revelations about earthquake dangers have shaken the future of California’s Diablo Canyon nukes.

In a rare move, Washington DC’s Federal U.S. Court of Appeals will hear a landmark challenge to their continued operation.
California’s two remaining reactors are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo cores, which also sit just 45 miles from the massive San Andreas fault—half Fukushima’s distance from the epicenter of the quake that destroyed it. Photo credit: San Francisco Citizen
The suit says Diablo’s owners illegally conspired with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to weaken seismic standards. “This is a big victory,” says Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric won’t admit—hundreds of thousands of people are put at immediate risk by earthquake danger at Diablo Canyon.”

Diablo is also vulnerable on state and federal water quality regulations, economic concerns and more. Citizen activism has also shut operating reactors at Humboldt, Rancho Seco and San Onofre. Proposed projects have been cancelled at Bodega Bay and Bakersfield.

California’s two remaining reactors are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo cores, which also sit just 45 miles from the massive San Andreas fault—half Fukushima’s distance from the epicenter of the quake that destroyed it.

The two 1,100-plus megawatt Diablo nukes overlook a Pacific tsunami zone, nine miles southwest of San Luis Obispo. Since the 1980s they’ve hosted some 10,000 arrests—more than any other U.S. site.

U.S. courts generally treat the nuclear industry as a law unto itself and rarely question NRC proceedings.

But in this case, says Friend of the Earth’s S. David Freeman, “PG&E’s recent study revealed that the earthquake threat at Diablo Canyon, as measured by its original license, could be far greater than that for which the reactors were designed. So PG&E and the NRC secretly amended the license to relax the safety requirements.”

Freeman is former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Dr. Michael Peck, the NRC’s own chief seismic expert, warned that the Diablo reactors could not meet seismic safety standards. Peck was then transferred to NRC offices in Chattanooga.

The case follows a successful FOE filing showing that the NRC conspired with Southern California Edison to ignore steam generator violations at San Onofre. Amidst a massive grassroots upheaval, San Onofre was officially shut in 2013 (similar violations at Ohio’s Davis-Besse reactor have had little impact).

Safe energy activists staged major January gatherings in San Luis Obispo and San Francisco. A “Don’t Frack/Nuke Our Earth” conference may soon follow in the Bay Area.

Earthquake issues are not the only ones poised to doom Diablo.

The two reactors dump huge quantities of hot wastewater directly into the ocean. They’re out of compliance with state and federal water quality standards. So PG&E might soon be required by state law to build cooling towers, with cost estimates ranging from $2 billion to $14 billion.

The state Water Resources Control Board may meet on the issue this spring. The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace and others ask the public to write the board and attend its next public hearing.

If required to build those towers, which might take years to do, PG&E would ask the California Public Utilities Commission to make the public pay for them. A vehement grassroots opposition would instantly erupt.

PG&E is much hated. Its negligence caused a 2010 gas explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno. Huge state and federal fines, criminal indictments and visceral public contempt have followed.

The CPUC is also under public fire amidst an astonishing array of scandals and law-breaking. Former chair Michael Peevey has retired in disgrace and faces a series of indictments for conspiring in secret with the utilities he was meant to regulate.

PG&E currently makes money at Diablo, says attorney John Geesman, “Only because ratepayers guarantee it against market price levels—nuclear power in states where prices are set by competitive markets are either closing (e.g., Vermont Yankee, Kewaunee, etc.) or going to the legislatures and seeking sweetheart subsidies (e.g., Illinois).” Forcing Diablo to actually compete in the marketplace would throw it into the red … and maybe out of business.

Amidst all that chaos, a requirement to pay for cooling towers might force Diablo shut. Parallel issues have erupted in New Jersey (a 2017 closure was negotiated at Oyster Creek), New York (Indian Point), Florida (Turkey Point) and elsewhere.

Draft shutdown resolutions are now circulating among cities, towns and counties in PG&E territory. A similar wave of endorsements helped force the two reactors at San Onofre to close.

A ratepayer revolt is also being organized by Code Pink’s Cynthia Papermaster. With PG&E customers withholding all or part of their bill, the potential economic impacts could be incalculable.

Diablo’s current license is set to expire by 2024. PG&E has begun the re-licensing process, but has missed key deadlines, prompting speculation they may give up.

According to intervenor sources, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has equal standing with the NRC on the license renewal. PG&E is late with answers to six pages of the CCC’s questions. Public comment period at the commission’s open meetings begins at 9 a.m.

The California Energy Commission has a bi-annual scoping review upcoming in Sacramento. The CEC addresses California’s energy future, aiming for a reliable supply. It lacks “direct regulatory authority over whether the plant continues to operate,” says Geesman. But its recommendations are “taken very seriously” and “have resulted in legislation,” according to another source close to the process. The CEC is “very public-friendly and very important” with five commissioners “who listen.”

The Diablo Canyon Independent Peer Review Committee and the Independent Safety Committee may also play a role, and are open to public testimony.

A constant flow of Diablo-related legislation is expected in the coming months.

A possible state-wide initiative could require cooling towers and make the utility pay for them, or take up waste issues, or the seismic issue, or force a strong feed-in tariff to support the conversion to renewables.

Just under 400,000 signatures would be needed to get on the 2016 ballot. Doing that and then actually winning the vote would be a daunting task.

But to head off a 1976 ballot measure, the legislature passed an effective ban on new nuke construction. The ballot measure then failed, but the ban remains in place.

California also has a powerful anti-fracking movement that parallels its No Nukes campaign. A joint May conference in San Francisco may launch a unified green push.

With combined grassroots forces pushing on water, seismic, regulatory, economic and other issues … through the legislature, NRC, courts, Water Board, Coastal Commission, CPUC and other agencies … with creative lobbying and activism, a resolution campaign, rate revolt, initiative process and more … California is poised to make itself nuke free.

Will that happen before the next catastrophe?

The answer will come from the people of California … now maybe with a boost from the courts.

Harvey Wasserman edits NukFree.org and hosts the Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show. He wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth.

OHIO'S CRUMBLING HUNK OF RADIOACTIVE JUNK

http://ecowatch.com/2015/02/14/ohioans-pay-bill-keep-davis-besse-alive/

OHIO’S CRUMBLING HUNK OF RADIOACTIVE JUNK

Harvey Wasserman WWW.ECOWATCH.COM

As the world’s nuke reactors begin to crumble and fall, the danger of a major disaster is escalating at the decrepit Davis-Besse plant near Toledo, Ohio.

Now the plant’s owners are asking the Ohio Public Utilities Commission to force the public to pay billions of dollars over the next 15 years to subsidize reactor operations.

But Davis-Besse’s astonishing history of near-miss disasters defies belief. Its shoddy construction, continual operator error and relentless owner incompetence would not be believed as fiction, let alone as the stark realities of a large commercial reactor operating in a heavily populated area.
Time and again Davis-Besse has come within a fraction of an inch and an hour of crisis management time. Today its critical shield wall is literally crumbing, with new cracks opening up every time the northern Ohio weather freezes (like this week).

The company’s owners have blacked out the entire Northeast including 50 million customers—the largest such disaster in world history.

They allowed boric acid to eat within 3/16th of an inch of a Chernobyl-scale disaster that would’ve permanently irradiated the Great Lakes region. They have set the record for fines by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and continue to drain billions of ratepayer dollars from Ohio’s bleeding economy.

Now they want those ratepayers to fork over billions more to keep this reactor running beyond the brink.

Hear about Davis-Besse’s astonishing story, by listening to this incredible hour-long interview with local attorney Terry Lodge and Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, along with Tim Judson of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, three of the key expert activists working to get Davis-Besse shutdown.

Many wild stories have been told about atomic power over the decades, but it’s hard to top the true tales from Davis-Besse. In this case, hearing is believing—and holding your head in dismay:

http://greenpowerwellnessshow.podbean.com/

If you want Davis-Besse shut write the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at docketing@puc.state.oh.us. Use this label in the subject line of the email, as well as the body of the email message, so PUCO can route the public comments to the correct proceeding: OPPOSITION COMMENT UNDER CASE # 14-1297-EL-SSO.

At Last! A Frack/Nuke Alliance!!

 

Our Earth is being destroyed by fracking and nukes.

These two vampire technologies suck the energy out of our planet while permanently poisoning our air, water, food and livelihoods.

The human movements fighting them have been largely separate over the years.

No more.
Listen to the passionate hour-long dialog on saving our Earth with long-time anti-fracking activist David Braun who speaks with Linda Seeley of the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, the legendary grassroots group that has fought Diablo Canyon for more than four decades.
In the wake of Fukushima, the global campaign to bury atomic power has gained enormous strength. All Japan’s 54 reactors remain shut. Germany is amping up its renewable energy generation with a goal of 80 percent or more by 2050. Four U.S. reactors under construction are far over budget and behind schedule. Five old ones have closed in the last two years.

In New England and elsewhere, as the old nukes go down, safe energy activists shift their attention to the deadly realities of fossil fuel extraction.

The issues are familiar. Fracking in particular poisons our water and spews out huge quantities of lethal radiation. Ironically, in Ohio and elsewhere, the seismic instability it creates threatens atomic reactors still in operation.

In California, the burgeoning movement to shut the two remaining nukes at Diablo Canyon has run parallel with the powerful grassroots opposition to fracking. In both cases, water issues in this drought-plagued state have moved front and center.

Now the gap is being bridged. In a passionate hour-long dialog on saving our Earth, long-time anti-fracking activist David Braun speaks with Linda Seeley of the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, the legendary grassroots group that has fought Diablo Canyon for more than four decades.

In their Solartopian radio conversation, and in a call to convene this coming spring, we see the seeds of an intertwined alliance that can help save our Earth:

http://prn.fm/solartopia-green-power-wellness-hour-02-03-15/

OHIO'S ANTI-GREEN SUICIDE

Swing state Ohio is plunging ever deeper into the fossil/nuke abyss.

Its Public Utilities Commission may soon gouge the public for $3 billion(BILLION!) to subsidize two filthy 50-year-old coal burners and America’s most dangerous nuke.

Approval would seal Ohio’s death notice.
Ohioans speak out against the $3 billion bailout to subsidize coal plants and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant owned by its unregulated affiliate, FirstEnergy Solutions. Photo credit: Ohio Citizen Action
None of those coal/nuke burners can compete with the rising revolution in renewable energy. Throughout the world, similar outmoded facilities are shutting down.

In 2001, Ohio deregulated its electric markets. But the state’s nuke owners demanded nearly $10 billion in “stranded cost” handouts so the obsolete Davis-Besse and Perry reactors on Lake Erie could allegedly compete with more efficient technologies.

Today, despite the huge subsidies, renewables and fracked gas have completely priced them out of the market.

Davis-Besse—a Three Mile Island clone—is infamous worldwide for its horrific breakdowns, including two of the five worst in U.S. history since 1979 as listed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 2002 a boric acid leak was found to have eaten nearly all the way through its reactor pressure vessel. A Chernobyl-sized disaster was missed by a fraction of an inch. The ensuing fines comprise the biggest in NRC annals. The $600 million spent on replacement power could have funded an opening transition to a renewable economy. Instead, fires, operator error and chronic malfunctions continue to define Davis-Besse’s public-sponsored dotage.

Designed in the 1960s and opened in the late 1970s, Davis-Besse threatens the entire Great Lakes region. Unique in all the world, another dead nuke’s vessel closure head (from Midland, Michigan) was pasted in, failed, and was then replaced yet again within a ramshackle shell now thoroughly cut, cracked and compromised by cold weather, malfeasance, uncaring incompetence and more.

In short, Davis-Besse is being run by owners who believe—with good reason—that they can get away with anything.

Perhaps that’s because, should it blow, FirstEnergy is shielded by federal law from virtually all liability for downwind financial, ecological and human health damage, which would be incalculable.

So now the company wants the public pay still more billions to keep Davis-Besse operating, no matter the consequences.

The demand epitomizes Ohio’s technological, economic and ecological demise.

Republican Governor John Kasich’s first act upon taking office in 2011 was to kill a $400 million federal grant meant to restore passenger rail service linking Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Virtually unique among the western world’s capital cities, the last passenger train left Columbus in 1979.

The project would have created hundreds of jobs while reviving depressed communities along the route. A Wall Street multi-millionaire, Kasich has instead lavished public cash on the state’s obsolete highway system. Meanwhile the corporate-owned legislature has fought the sale ofTesla electric cars.

In 2008, Ohio adopted one of America’s most advanced green energy programs. Its sophisticated array of targets and incentives sparked a clean energy boom. Millions of private investment dollars began pouring in for massive wind, solar and conservation projects. As in Germany’s transition to green power, Ohio energy prices were poised to plummet along with greenhouse gases and radioactive waste. Thousands of jobs were on the drawing boards.

But as Koch-funded Republicans took control of the state in 2010, Ohio became the first American state to roll back its green power program. Rampant fracking has brought increasedseismic activity and destroyed much of the state’s drinking water. Ohio’s ancient coal burners are being propped up with public cash. Its dying nukes—Perry was the first U.S. reactor to be damaged by an earthquake—continue to operate at huge public danger and expense.

In Illinois, New York, California, Michigan and elsewhere, the nuclear industry is demanding public cash to keep rickety, uncompetitive reactors in operation. But Ohio is unique for its across-the-board assault on green energy, passenger rail service, electric cars, fossil-fueled green house gases and common sense about reactor radiation, safety and heat emissions.

Ohio’s PUC will soon decide on this latest scam to squander still more public money on its cancerous fleet of fossil/nuke dinosaurs.

If they cave once again to the corporate interests, you can officially consign the Buckeye State to the radioactive ash heap of failed technological, ecological and economic history.

Based in central Ohio, Harvey Wasserman is author of SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and edits nukefree.org. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at prn.fm.

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