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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.

CHARLIE HEBDO & NUCLEAR TERROR

Terror Attack on Charlie Hebdo Ignites Fear of Global Nuclear Disaster

 | EcoWatch

The powerful global response to the terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo must now face a terrifying reality: It’s a horrible thing when an organ of free speech is assaulted and journalists die.

It will be an apocalyptic thing when it happens to an atomic reactor and whole continents are irradiated, with children first to suffer, a death toll in the millions and eco-economic impacts beyond calculation.


Slain cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were allies of anti-nuclear movement. Here’s a cover from the September-October 2012 issue of Charlie Hebdo.

For decades our global security apparatus and its attendant media mavens have pretended that the radioactive elephant in the room of global terror does not exist. But after Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, 9/11, Charlie Hebdo and so much more, a terrible reality has become all too clear.

We have seen four American-designed reactors explode and three melt at a single Japanese site. A severely escalated thyroid cancer rate has followed, with more health disasters yet to come. Some two dozen sibling GE reactors currently operate in the U.S.

We have seen an entire continent—and more—irradiated by Chernobyl, with at least one major study calculating well over a million downwind deaths. Chernobyl-style reactors still operate in Europe.

We have seen a U.S. reactor rocked by a 1979 hydrogen explosion and melt-down (repeatedly denied by its owners) that poured still-unknown quantities of radiation into the Pennsylvania countryside.

Today, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission is poised to force ratepayers to subsidize the fault-riddled Davis-Besse nuke—a Three Mile Island clone—with millions of gouged dollars to keep it running despite profound vulnerability to its own advanced deterioration and the absolute impossibility of protecting it from a possible terror attack.

It has long been established that the accused 9/11 attackers contemplated hitting the reactors atIndian Point, 35 miles up the Hudson from Manhattan.

Neither U.S. military nor local police forces could not have stopped such an attack, which could have poisoned millions of people in the American northeast and gutted the entire U.S. ecology and economy.

Worldwide there are more than 430 commercial reactors still operating. There are more than 50 in France, just under 100 in the U.S.

Not one of them can be effectively guarded against a concerted terror attack. Each could spew massive radiation releases and do untold damage to the human race, the planetary ecology, the global economy.

Every serious student of terrorism knows that such an attack is merely a matter of time. Every serious expert on atomic reactors knows the potential human costs simply cannot be calculated.

It’s impossible for a sane world to comprehend why someone would want to attack one of these reactors.

But it’s impossible to deny that there are probably those right now contemplating how to do just that.

Perfectly protecting these reactors is impossible. But their owners are almost entirely shielded from liability from the consequences of such an attack.

And the fallout would utterly dwarf any other catastrophe the world has yet seen.

We now have the ability to replace all these reactors with renewable sources and added efficiencies that are cheaper, cleaner, more reliable and—above all—safer than atomic reactors.

No city will be irradiated by an attack on a wind farm. No downwind children will die from a terrorist machine-gunning at a solar facility.

All across the world, from Illinois and Ohio to France and Japan, corrupt corporate reactor owners demand public subsidies to keep these obsolete, non-competitive, supremely dangerous machines in operation.

But in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and of so much else we now know about today’s world, there’s no excuse for running these reactors—anywhere.

Why must we wait for the inevitable disaster to occur, and for the talking heads to then tell us that such insanity “could not have been predicted?” And that there is “nothing to worry about?”

Charlie Hebdo was an anti-nuclear publication. Its cartoons repeatedly lampooned the horrible dangers of this insane technology.

Its warnings now bear an added dimension, far deeper than the atomic industry—or the world’s leaders—seem willing to face.

As millions march in fear and mourning, will we now ignore Charlie twice? Are you willing to pay the next radioactive price?

Or will you act, and shut them all down?

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and has reported on security risks at nuclear reactors since the 1970s.

Activists Permanently Shut Vermont Nuke

Activists Permanently Shut Down Vermont Yankee Nuke Plant Today

 

Ecowatch.com

hwassermanThe Vermont Yankee atomic reactor goes permanently off-line today, Dec. 29, 2014. Citizen activists have made it happen. The number of licensed U.S. commercial reactors is now under 100 where once it was to be 1,000.

Decades of hard grassroots campaigning by dedicated, non-violent nuclear opponents, working for a Solartopian green-powered economy, forced this reactor’s corporate owner to bring it down.

vy2600
Vermont Yankee is the fifth American reactor forced shut in the last two years.

Entergy says it shut Vermont Yankee because it was losing money. Though fully amortized, it could not compete with the onslaught of renewable energy and fracked-gas. Throughout the world, nukes once sold as generating juice “too cheap to meter” comprise a global financial disaster. Even with their capital costs long-ago stuck to the public, these radioactive junk heaps have no place in today’s economy—except as illegitimate magnets for massive handouts.

So in Illinois and elsewhere around the U.S., their owners demand that their bought and rented state legislators and regulators force the public to eat their losses. Arguing for “base load power” or other nonsensical corporate constructs, atomic corporations are gouging the public to keep these radioactive jalopies sputtering along.

Such might have been the fate of Vermont Yankee had it not been for citizen opposition. Opened in the early 1970s, Vermont Yankee was the northern tip of clean energy’s first “golden triangle.” Down the Connecticut River, grassroots opposition successfully prevented two reactors from being built at Montague, Massachusetts, where the term “No Nukes” was coined. A weather tower was toppled, films were made, books were written, demonstrations staged and an upwelling of well-organized grassroots activism helped nurture a rising global movement.

A bit to the southwest, in the early 1990s, it shut the infamous Yankee Rowe reactor, which had been hit by lightening and could not pass a verifiable test of its dangerously embrittled core.

But Vermont Yankee persisted. Entergy, a “McNuke” operator based in New Orleans, bought Yankee from its original owners about a dozen years ago. It signed a complex series of agreements with the state. Then it trashed them to keep Vermont Yankee spiraling ever-downward.

But hard-core organizers like Deb Katz’s Citizen Awareness Network never let up. Working through a network of natonal, state and local campaigns, the safe energy movement has finally forced Entergy to flip the off switch.

Protestors hold signs during a vigil to support the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant at the Statehouse Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Protestors support the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant at the Statehouse in January 2012 in Montpelier, Vermont.

Vermont Yankee is the fifth American reactor forced shut in the last two years. Two at San Onofre, California, were defeated by citizen activism. Wisconsin’s Kewaunee went down for economic reasons. Crystal River in Florida was driven to utter chaos by incompetent ownership.

Five reactors are officially under construction in the U.S. But their fate is also subject to citizen action. Two others targeted for Levy County, Florida, have recently been stopped by ratepayer resistance.

Throughout the U.S. and the world, the demise of atomic energy is accelerating. Some 435 reactors are listed worldwide as allegedly operable. But 48 in Japan remain shut in the wake of Fukushima despite the fierce efforts of a corrupt, dictatorial regime to force them back on line. Germany’s transition to a totally nuke-free green energy economy is exceeding expectations. The fate of dozens proposed and operating in China and India remains unclear.

But the clock on the inevitable next disaster is ticking. Cancer rates and thyroid problems around Fukushima continue to accelerate. Massive reactors like California’s Diablo Canyon and Indian Point, New York, are surrounded by volatile earthquake faults that could reduce them to seething piles of apocalyptic rubble, killing countless thousands downwind, gutting the global economy.

Every reactor shutdown represents an avoided catastrophe of the greatest magnitude.  As the takeoff of cheap, clean, safe and reliable Solartopian technology accelerates, greedy reactor owners struggle to squeeze the last few dimes out of increasingly dangerous old nukes for which they ultimately will take no responsibility. Vermont Yankee alone could require 60 years for basic clean-up. Fierce debate rages over what to do with thousands of tons of intensely radioactive spent fuel rods.

It remains unclear where the money will ultimately come from to try to decontaminate these sites, but clearly they are all destined to be dead zones.

As will the planet as a whole were it not for victories like this one in Vermont. This weekend the No Nukes community will celebrate this accursed reactor’s final demise.

Many hundreds more such celebrations must follow—soon!

Harvey Wasserman edits NukeFree.org and works to shut all Vermont Yankee’s mutant siblings so Solartopia can take root.

 

the Spiral of US History: Preliminary Video

The Brown/Garner Killings are about a Larger State of Official Terror

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

Pastor Martin Niemoller, speaking about Nazi Germany

 

 

First, they’ve come for the people of color.

 

America’s police forces increasingly serve as a a private corporate army, beyond the reach of the law.

 

But our nation is distracted by race.  And millions of white Americans are under the illusion that what was done to Michael Brown and Eric Garner can’t happen to them.

 

These un-prosecuted killings of African-American men go way beyond racial prejudice.

 

They are the calling card of an Orwellian state:

 

America’s founders established grand juries to protect citizens from frivolous prosecution.  But today’s corporate state has twisted the system to protect killer police from public scrutiny, putting them above the law.

 

 

The ultimate message is clear:  police can kill American citizens without cause and face no public trial.  (Steven Rosenfeld lays out the details at Alternet http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/10-ways-system-rigged-protect-cops-who-kill )

 

The current focus is on skin color.  Thankfully, Americans throughout the US have risen up in protest, demanding social justice and an end to racism.

 

But the larger issue is a police apparatus now inflicting random terror in service of a corporate state that has mutated far beyond public control.

 

We are still being assaulted by a cynical 40-year drug war used to disenfranchise and violate the basic rights of millions of Americans with no real recourse.

 

In the name of that drug war, and the one on terror, police randomly confiscate (steal) billions in cash from citizens of all races, in direct violation of the Bill of Rights and any sense of a real legal system.  Police departments use these officially sanctioned armed robberies to help fund heavy war-time weaponry also coming to them as “surplus” from the federal military.

 

Citizens of color, the young, the poor and the elderly are being systematically stripped of the right to vote by a modern electronic Jim Crow.  The dominance of a corporate one-party system is furthered by the use of privately-owed, easily-rigged electronic voting machines.   .

 

The NSA and other official agencies are spying on us without restraint.

 

Our ability to communicate through an open, neutral internet is also under attack.  Meanwhile a San Diego rapper with no record of violence has been charged with multiple “crimes” based on his lyrics.  As anger with America’s billionaire elite spreads, we can certainly expect the counter-attacks on open speech to escalate.

That the victims of these latest police killings are most often men of color is tragic.  It also gives the corporate media the perfect distraction behind which to hide the root problem.

 

Throughout our history, race has been the reliably lethal facade for all sorts of political repression.  It’s the hate-filled poison perfectly designed to divide and distract us.

 

The sickness is real enough.  But the ultimate cancer we face is the rise of an all-powerful corporate state and its iron grip on a violent, unaccountable private army licensed to kill—no matter what the race or cause—while knowing that the once-sacred right to a public trial does not apply to them.  Should the attacks on the internet succeed, we’ll also be hearing less and less about them.

 

Thus we are all in the shoes of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  Those who think themselves somehow above it all by virtue of race or class are simply not paying attention.

 

Unless we rise up to secure social justice and our basic legal rights, we’re all just a single cop away from being as dead as the very latest victim of official violence… at any time, for no reason, with no recourse.

 

—————–

HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.solartopia.org along with SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH.  His upcoming book is THE SPIRAL OF US HISTORY.

 

Can We Ever Recover from the Murder of John Kennedy?

 

Can We Ever Recover from the Murder of John Kennedy?

The images we ingest never cease to shape us.

Just 51 years ago, the head of a profoundly gifted young man was blown apart.

A few months earlier he’d given a speech that promised a new dawn.

He reached out to our enemies. He talked of going to the moon, of technological breakthrough and human promise. And he stopped the radioactive madness of atmospheric Bomb testing, a reason many of us are alive today.

It’s easy to idealize John Kennedy.

jfk

We still debate what he might have done in Vietnam.

But since the war did escalate, and we know the horrible costs to us all, then the possibility that he might have gotten us out gnaws at our soul.

So does not being sure about who actually killed him.

And then there’s the horror of the moment itself. A fellow human, blown apart before our eyes.

It hurts to think about it. To write about it. How can sorrow not reign in our hearts over this terrible human image that so deeply  defines us?

As a nation, we still feel the murder of Abraham Lincoln. Having won a Constitutional Amendment to end slavery, he was the only one to smooth the transition from civil war to progressive peace. We still pay for losing him.

And for the image of a good man, seated happily in a theater, next to his wife … as a time for healing is unbearably shattered by a bullet to the head.

Russia never really recovered after Alexander II, a rare reformist czar, was murdered in 1881 while moving his nation toward a democratic constitution.

Michael Collins was a violent Irish revolutionary who turned to peace amidst a horrendous civil war.

Could he have ended it? All we know is the Troubles dragged on a ghastly seven decades after he was shot.

Mahatma Gandhi led the world’s first successful nonviolent anti-imperial campaign, then fasted nearly to the death to help halt a Hindu-Muslim civil war.

Then he was shot. And what is the outcome?

Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin were also murdered. And what’s come since?

In America … Medgar Evers and Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy … and then John Lennon.

Around the world, names we don’t know. Faces we haven’t seen. Social movements crushed, freedoms lost, good people killed (too often by our own government) deadening the soul.

And who is next? Does all this mean activists of great heart and artists for social change inevitably court a death sentence?

It’s long been clear, for a wide variety of reasons, that we cannot rely on “great leaders” to save our world for us.

But can our minds and souls ever recover from such horrible images repeatedly rammed into our brains?

Lynn Stuart Parramore has written with brilliance at AlterNet about the traumas we all face in today’s America.

In their wake, we are being poisoned by a ghastly, malignant class of zombie corporations somehow granted human rights and no human responsibilities.

They have gutted the Democratic Party and seized our government.

Their cancer is of injustice, cynicism, pollution and war.

Avoidable poverty, racism for the hell of it, a gutted democracy, eco-suicide for private profit, perpetual war for its own sake … they all metastasize to feed the corporate tumor.

Another election has been bought, rigged, stolen and lynched. The internet is endangered. Likewise our civil liberties.

So do we turn our heads “until the darkness goes”?

Or do we face the unthinkable head-on, and refuse to blink (except momentarily—we all need a break from time to time) at what we see?

Somehow we have survived since John Kennedy was killed. Kids have been born … and so have social movements … along with many surprising twists of fate.

We are winning a culture war barely begun in 1963.

Silent Spring had just been published. An avid sailor, we don’t know how JFK might have interacted with a nascent environmental movement.

But born it was. A half-century later, Solartopian technologies are poised to green-power our economy. We have the means to survive in harmony with our Mother Earth.

But can we muster the political power to cure our corporate cancer?

Richard Nixon has come and gone. So have Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Now “Hope and Change” join them in the compost of history. They came too cheap. They meant too little.

Apparently we have more lessons to learn, more inner strength to build.

Departed friend, whoever you might have become, whatever you might have done, you have left us no choice.

The better angels of our souls now demand that we ask not what our planet can do for us …

HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.solartopia.org, along with SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH. In 1960, he saw John Kennedy speak on the steps of the Ohio statehouse.

How the GOP Bought, Rigged, Stole & Lynched the 2014 Election

How the GOP Bought, Rigged, Stole and Lynched the 2014 Election

 

By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

 

Freepress.org/Solartopia.org

 

first in a series

 

 

Since the Bush-Cheney-Rove theft of the 2000 election in Florida, the right of millions of American citizens to vote and have that vote counted has been under constant assault.

 

In 2014, that systematic disenfranchisement may well have delivered the US Senate to the Republican Party. If nothing significant is done about it by 2016, we can expect the GOP to take the White House and much more.

 

The primary victims of this GOP-led purge have been young, elderly, poor and citizens of color who tend to vote Democratic. The denial of their votes has changed the face of our government, and is deepening corporate control of our lives and planet.

 

There’s no doubt the Democrats have alienated their core constituency and given millions of their former supporters little reason to vote. Perpetual war, blank checks for mega-banks, stiffing the working poor while giving away the planet to the rich—-these are all part of the malaise.

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Our political landscape is currently defined by corporate personhood and its gutting of the Democratic Party.

 

Part of that is the destruction of our electoral rights, and the refusal of the Democrats to even face the issue, let alone do something about it. Our voting system is, to put it mildly, bought and rigged, further feeding the deadening sense of public futility and frustration.

 

As the GOP moves toward total control of our governance—the media, the internet, the Supreme Court, the Congress, local government and, in 2016, the presidency—our future depends on knowing the nuts and bolts of how the destruction of our democracy proceeds, and what we can do to stop it.

 

In this year’s takeover of the US Senate and many statehouses, barely more than a third of the eligible citizenry was credited with having voted. Official vote counts gave the GOP a consistent “bonus” of about 5% over pre-election polls. In the US Senate race in North Carolina and the Governor’s race in Florida, that margin clearly gave the Republicans their victories, and probably did the same in many other close races.

 

The GOP’s Jim Crow disenfranchisement campaign has outright robbed millions of citizens of their right to vote. It’s deliberately created an air of confusion and doubt that’s further suppressed the turnout.

 

Greg Palast, for example, has reported extensively on the Kansas-based “cross-check” technique, used in 28 states, where Republican secretaries of state denied voting rights based on arbitrary judgements that allowed them to eliminate several million potential Democratic voters. (Greg will discuss this on the Solartopia Show at prn.fm Tuesday, 11/11, 5pm EST; the show will be archived for later listening).

 

Deliberate (and often illegal) disinformation campaigns, destruction of voter registration forms, outright intimidation, repressive photo ID requirements and other suppression techniques made things worse. It’s by design, not accident, that America’s voter turnout is ranked 120th among all nations.

 

In evaluating the actual vote count, manipulation of untrackable electronic voting machines must also be accounted for.

 

Over the years, Bev Harris, Brad Friedman, Jon Simon, Richard Charney and many others have added vital research leading to the inevitable conclusion that the 2014 election—like 2000 and 2004—was essentially bought, rigged, stolen and lynched.

 

We do not believe the Republican Party legitimately won the US Senate or many of the statehouses they’ve been granted, any more than George W. Bush should have been handed the White House in 2000 and 2004.

 

Unless we finally face the core issues of election protection, history could repeat itself in 2016 as both tragedy and farce.

 

Because the dust is still settling, many of the specifics about 2014 remain hidden. In the coming weeks we’ll present as much of the evidence as we can gather.

 

In the meantime, we welcome President Obama’s new statements supporting net neutrality. There’s no more important foundation for what shreds of democracy remain to us than the ability to freely communicate. Handing control of the internet to mega-corporations, as proposed by the current (Democratic) head of the Federal Communications Commission, would be catastrophic. As with reclaiming our elections, our future on this planet demands an open global highway for unfettered communication. We must do everything we can to preserve and expand it.

 

We also congratulate US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for proposing that election day become a national holiday. After the 2004 debacle, we proposed a four-day election holiday to cover the first Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday in November. (The Constitution requires that voting happen the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November). This four-day stretch would help enshrine access to our election process as the sacred ritual it should be.

 

We also propose universal automatic voter registration, universal hand-counted paper ballots, abolition of the Electoral College, and a massive reform of the role of money in politics.

 

We hope Sen. Sanders’ initial proposal opens the door to a bottom-up remake of our electoral system. Without it, our democracy is nothing more than a hollow shell.

 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll explore how that shell was cracked yet again in 2014.

 

All indicators are that it could be be definitively crushed in two years if we don’t act now.

 

to be continued….

 

———–

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, which are at www.freepress.org, along with Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES. HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US is at www.solartopia.org, along with his SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH.

An Election—and a Nation—Lost in Vietnam & Afghanistan

An Election—and a Nation—Lost in Afghanistan & Vietnam

By Harvey Wasserman

 

The GOP/corporate coup d’etat is nearly complete.

The Republicans now control the major media, the Supreme Court, the Congress and soon the presidency.

Think Jeb Bush in 2016.

All throughout America, right down to the local level, buried in a tsunami of cash and corruption, our public servants are being morphed into corporate operatives.

Our electoral apparatus is thoroughly compromised by oceans of dirty money, Jim Crow registration traps, rigged electronic voting machines, gerrymandering, corrupt secretaries of state.

The internet may be next. Above all, if there is one thing that could save us a shred of democracy, it’s preserving net neutrality. This fight could in fact outweigh all the others, and may be decided soon. Whatever depression you may now feel, shake it off to wage this battle. If we now lose the ability to freely communicate, we are in the deepest hole of all.

The roots of this corporate coup reach where they always do when empires collapse—useless, cancerous, debilitating, endless imperial war.

Lyndon Johnson lit the fuse in March, 1965. He had a chance to get us out of Vietnam. For many complex reasons—none of them sane—he escalated. He never recovered, and neither has our nation.

In 1967-8, an aroused generation marched for peace at the Pentagon, Chicago and elsewhere. We were accused of shattering the Democratic Party. But in fact we forced Johnson to negotiate a pre-election truce that might have saved the presidency for Hubert Humphrey.

As we all now know, that truce was treasonously sabotaged by Richard Nixon, in league with Henry Kissinger. LBJ knew what had been done, but said nothing. Had he trusted the American public with that knowledge, Nixon would have been gone long before Watergate, the war might have ended far sooner, the Democratic Party might still have meant something.

Instead, the party and the rest of us became prisoners of imperial war, captives of the corporations that profit from it.

From Watergate all we got was a punchless, corporate Jimmy Carter.

And from a dozen hellish years of Reagan-Bush, we got a showy, corporate Bill Clinton…and not a single substantial social reform. But the corporations got NAFTA, gutted social welfare, soaring college tuitions, abolition of New Deal safeguards against Wall Street greed, and much more.

They also got the death of the Fairness Doctrine from Reagan, and then a 1996 telecommunications act from Clinton that gave them full control of the major media. The age of Fox “News” was born in double-think.

Meanwhile Al Gore and John Kerry allowed the corporations to gut our electoral system. Gore won in 2000, saw the election stolen in Florida, and—like LBJ with Nixon’s treason—said not a word. It was absurdly easier to blame Ralph Nader for Gore’s blithe discard than to buckle down and fight for an election protection apparatus to preserve the vote so many had fought and died to win.

Kerry won in 2004, saw the election stolen in Ohio, and repeated Gore’s meek, mute skulk to oblivion. The Democrats let a corporate Jim Crow gut the registration process, deny millions of Americans their vote, install a national network of easily flippable electronic voting machines…and they said nothing.

Along the way the Supreme Court was handed to the corporations. Soon enough, they would open the floodgates.

But from the ashes of the Iraq war and the horrors of Bush 2, enough public power remained in 2008 to finally put an African-American in the White House. With his apparent opposition to the Iraq War, and loads of rhetoric about hope and change, Barak Obama won a mandate to heal the wounds inflicted by yet another Bush corporate presidency.

Obama expanded national medical coverage, and talked the talk of the global ecology and public good.

Then he sank

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us in the quicksand of Southwest Asia.

In analyzing this latest electoral debacle, our Orwellian corporate bloviators avoid like the plague any mention of corporate money or imperial war.

But like LBJ in Vietnam…Afghanistan and Obama’s other wars have gutted his presidency and all he might have been. They’ve drained our shrunken moral and financial resources. They’ve turned yet another Democratic harbinger of hope into feeble corporate cannon fodder. They’ve battered and alienated yet another generation of the progressive core.

Thus the GOP has been enthroned by a half-century of Democrats who’ve helped drag us into endless war, ignored our electoral rights and sold their souls—and the nation’s—to a zombie army of corporate operatives.

The money power has ruled this nation before. This time it means a whole new level of all-out war against social justice, our basic rights, our ability to live in harmony with our Mother Earth.

Beset by a whole new level of global disaster, we have no choice but to find some completely new answers. Our survival depends on it.

It will take all our creative and activist juices. Nothing is clear except that it won’t be easy.

And that no matter which corporate party tries to lead us there, the path to the promised land does not go through the deadly quicksand of imperial war, empty rhetoric or corrupted elections.

If we’re to get there at all, a whole new way must be found.

HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.solartopia.org, as is his SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH.

12 Ways Jim Crow is Winning in 2014

by Bob Fitrakis

and Harvey Wasserman

Jim Crow is already the big winner in this year’s election.

The corporate elite needs him to gouge the planet, wage perpetual imperial war and rule the rest of us.

So the voting rights of millions of student, elderly, black, Hispanic and other citizens are being lynched.

Which may now decide control of the US Senate, many state legislatures…and the White House in 2016.

The corporate-Christian right has long used the drug war to disenfranchise millions of citizens of youth and color. Gay and reproductive rights, feminism and the politics of hate have mobilized Christian crusaders to flood the polls for the GOP.

But we have turned the corner on the culture war. With the winding down of marijuana prohibition, widespread gay rights victories and more, Republicans now need the outright destruction of democracy itself to win an election:

1. The Corporate Cash Tsunami: The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allows gargantuan sums of corporate money to shape this election. It’s now the norm for unlimited cash to buy air time, fake “news” reports, billboards, phony astro-turf campaigns, and key election officials in charge of counting the ballots.

2. Killing Voter Registration: With a wide range of tactics, corporate/GOP functionaries are restricting access to the polls. In Ohio and elsewhere millions of citizens have been stripped of their voter registration rights, almost all in dense-packed urban areas that lean heavily Democratic. “Golden Days” when voters can both register and vote have been eliminated. Voter registration organizations like ACORN have been destroyed and strict restraints have been placed on others, all with the focused agenda of making it increasingly difficult for grassroots, non-millionaire citizens to vote.

3. Denying and Destroying Absentee Ballots: More than 40,000 absentee ballots are now “missing” in Georgia, as they were in Ohio 2004. Georgia’s critical US Senate race may well be decided by fewer votes than were “lost” in the mail, and we expect parallel outcomes elsewhere.

4. New Poll Taxes: Despite the 24th Amendment abolishing the poll tax, voter ID and other requirements put targeted restrictions on who can vote. Citizens registered at the same address for decades are being turned away at the polls. At least 500,000 Texas voters may be disenfranchised by ID laws aimed at students, the elderly and people of color, more than enough to turn most key elections in the state, including the widely watched governor’s race.

5. Discriminatory ID Demands: Student IDs are being rejected in Texas and elsewhere, with the obvious impact of denying young people the vote. Gun owners’ permits are being accepted as valid voter ID.

6. Electronic Vote Theft: Easily manipulated electronic voting machines were key to Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 victories for George W. Bush. They have spread far and wide. The easy electronic flipping of entire elections has obvious appeal to hugely funded corporate players throughout the US.

7. Suppressing Electronic Dialog: But the Democratic Party generally refuses to even discuss electronic vote theft, apparently fearful the mere dialog will scare away voters. The Daily Kos website has banned numerous election protection bloggers (us included), apparently for just that reason. But without hand-counted paper ballots, anti-corporate campaigns are mere exercises in futility.

8. Bought Democrats: Democrats also depend on corporate money and regularly vote pro-corporate. As with Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, they walk away from elections they legitimately won, and refuse to fight for the basic rights of their core supporters to safely vote and have those votes counted, even if it means their own defeat

9. Buying Rigged Legislatures: Numerous key states have been gerrymandered to guarantee GOP majorities no matter what the states’ citizens want. Ohio’s strong popular Democratic majority is “represented” by an overwhelmingly GOP state legislature. And 12 out of Ohio’s 16 US representatives are Republican. Throughout the US, corporate money is buying parallel GOP control of legislatures and Congressional delegations in states with Democratic majorities.

10. Buying the US Senate: With unlimited cash, Jim Crow attacks on registration and voting, electronic vote theft and much more, the corporate GOP is on the brink of taking over the US Senate. Even if they only come

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close, corporate billionaires can count on Democratic timidity and easily purchased swing votes.

11. Assaulting Local Activists: In Ohio, the conservative governor John Kasich has a “hit list” of anti-fracking activists. Pennsylvania state police and the FBI have put environmental activists in terrorism pamphlets. Wherever a governor or mayor or town council or grassroots activist group has risen to block corporate theft, a heavily funded coup d’etat ensues. In Richmond, California, Chevron is spending millions to remove a mayor and town council that have been trying to bring a local refinery to heel. Wherever corporate interests are threatened, huge sums of cash now pour in to rid local governments of grassroots citizens and legitimate regulators. On the local, state and federal levels, public servants are everywhere being replaced by corporate flunkies.

12. Killing Hope: The corporate media regularly denies, ignores and marginalizes election integrity activists and campaign finance reformers. The for-profit punditocracy continually declares the “popular support” for their bought politicians, as they will again should the GOP sweep on Tuesday. (Think 1980, when network bloviator George Will declared a “sea change” for Ronald Reagan while hiding his role as a paid Reagan operative). Now and forever, expect the usual corporate wind bags to proclaim great “grassroots victories” for corporate flunkies as they buy, steal and lynch their way into the new Gilded Age.

Through it all, the activist community must maintain our balance—and our levity. The new Dark Age of Robber Baron excess will only last forever if we fold our tents, ignore the problem and fail to fight for our core beliefs.

Despite the temporary triumphs of corporate personhood, it’s the human survival instinct that must bat last.

——————————————-
Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored numerous books on election protection, which are at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES can be found. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.

 

How We Win on Climate Change

‘New Orleans: The Seas Are Rising And So Are We.’ (Common Dreams: CC BY-SA 3.0 US)

Okay, so we had this historic march a little while ago.

It was….

…joyous, beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring, life-confirming…and in many ways turning point.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can see that it will change things for a long time to come.

It proved to ourselves and the world that we have a huge, diverse, broad-based movement. And that we can put aside our differences and all get along when we have to.

We are our species’ ever-evolving immune system. We are the survival instinct that must defeat the corporate profit motive.

We are also part of a mighty activist stream that’s campaigned for peace, civil rights, social justice, workers’ rights, women’s rights, gay pride, election protection, No Nukes and so much more.

We’ve endured the circular firing squad and want it abolished.

Our hard-earned commitment to non-violence allows for a calm internal space and the great power that emerges from it. So in a diverse movement of good people with very strong opinions, we are learning to cut each other plenty of slack.

But how do we now build on this? What do we do next?

Politically, we operate at two essential levels: the local, and the global.

And to stay functional, we need: net neutrality, corporate accountability, election protection, social justice, peace.

1. Local organizing is our ultimate source of power.

The green movement has the great luxury of tangible targets. The King CONG corporations (Coal, Oil, Nukes, Gas) need actual land on which to do their dirty work. So we can fight them inch-by-inch, at the source.

We can count the number of nukes Nixon wanted to build (1000) and how many we stopped or shut (about 900 in the US; far more worldwide).

We can name scores of reactors that didn’t get built, did get cancelled, are now being shut, will soon be stopped.

There are also mines undrilled, mountaintops not removed, oil rigs not pumping, fracking wells cancelled, polluting factories greenly altered, and much more we’ve beaten quietly, on the ground.

There are also solar panels on rooftops, windmills generating power, electric cars in the pipeline, recycling programs in place, consumption reduced, the overall vision of a green-powered Solartopia becoming ever more tangible.

In this movement, “what can I do?” always has a ready answer: fight the polluter next door. Pick one and shut it down!

So after our joy walk in New York, we return to our letter writing, phone calling, neighborhood speeches, strategy meetings, classroom educating, town council lobbying, around the corner picket lines, civil disobedience, finance-sabotaging, office seeking, rate withholding, fund raising, dog-that-corrupt-politician work.

Some of these fights we may seem to lose, at least for the time being. But it’s never over til we quit, which our survival instinct won’t let us do. A polluter once opened can always be shut if we never give up.

So at the grassroots, we are the individual immune cells that fight toxic industrial poisons and cancerous trash at the source. That’s the revolution that’s not televised.

2. But our planet as a whole is now infected with a lethal mega-virus—the global corporation, a metastasized cancer that usurps human rights but shuns human responsibilities.

A toxic tumor that demands just one thing: a constant flow of dollars, don’t ask how.

If it can make an extra dime by killing the planet, it’s bound to do just that.

Big gatherings to fight this menace can be risky, divisive, diverting and expensive. They can come and go without apparent impact.

But they can also be amazingly effective, often in ways that are hard to see.

Last century, mass strikes built the labor movement. They withstood violent corporate/government assaults. Without them, we would have no unions.

In 1932 a “Bonus Army” was attacked by by Herbert Hoover. Two marchers were killed. It seemed a dismal failure. But it opened the door to the New Deal.

During World War 2 the mere threat of a mass march by labor leader A. Philip Randolph extracted major civil rights concessions from a reluctant Franklin Roosevelt.

Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” march changed civil rights forever.

LBJ and then Richard Nixon scorned the anti-war gatherings. But both were forced to resign, and Nixon (NEVER forget this!) said those marches stopped him from nuking Vietnam.

Civil disobedience at Seabrook, Diablo Canyon and other reactors prompted a flood of cancellations, and opened the door to Solartopia, a green-powered Earth.

Ronald Reagan scorned the millions who marched to freeze nuke weapons, but somehow went eight years without using one.

Bush/Cheney “ignored” 15 million marchers and attacked Iraq. But what more would they have done had we not marched?

Now millions have gathered against global warming. And the day after, Barack Obama attacked Syria.

Did we fail? Should we march again soon, this time with massive civil disobedience?

3. As we work this through, there are inter-related issues we can’t avoid:

NET NEUTRALITY defines the core nervous system of what’s left of global democracy. The corporations want it killed. This demands everyone’s immediate attention.

CORPORATE PERSONHOOD must die by Constitutional Amendment.

ELECTION PROTECTION demands universal hand-counted paper ballots, an end to Jim Crow vote theft and a ban on the corporate billions that poison what’s left of our democracy.

SOCIAL JUSTICE, including workplace democracy and a universal living wage, means we can all live and work with integrity, no matter our diverse religions, race, gender, sexual preference, etc. Poverty is an unsustainable form of planet-killing pollution.

PEACE means ending the suicidal idiocy of permanent imperial war.

All these difficult issues are essential to the health of our species. We don’t get to a green-powered Earth without bringing them with us.

4. For each of us there’s also a deep internal dimension to this work. Being an activist is itself a great leap of faith. It can have a long list of personal costs.

But the rewards—spiritual, of the heart, in terms of inner peace—can be incomparable.

If undertaken in good faith, and with success, the ability to do movement work can be one of life’s great gifts. Amazing joy can come with saving our only home.

After all, we are seven billion sentient beings, thinking and breathing together, inseparable from each other and the planet that gives us life.

One way or another, our Mother Earth lets us know how to undo the damage done by our baser instincts. Our greatest test now is to cure the cancer of the global corporation.

To fight it, we might listen to our gut instincts, accept what we’re good at doing, heed our natural passions, respect our comfort zones, heal in concert with our fellow citizen who are struggling to do the same. As the good Dr. Spock once told the young mothers of a new generation, “you know more than you think you know.”

No victory is too small to count, no polluter is too big to beat.

As we saw on this march, and in so much else we do, when we fly with non-violence and consensus, our living planet gives us generous margins.

So the specifics of our next moves are up for a good, healthy debate. But we all know we have no

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choice but to win.

And that as we work our newfound power toward joyful agreement, and a peaceful trust in the will of our species to survive, we cannot fail.

Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are at www.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.” He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, at www.freepress.org.

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