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How to Reform the Corrupted U.S. Electoral System

by Harvey Wasserman

Originally published at Truthdig on September 22, 2017

President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump visit a fourth-grade classroom at Saint Andrew’s Catholic School in Orlando, Fla.,in March. (Shealah Craighead / White House)

Election theft is now the core reality of American politics.
It has poisoned every corner of the United States government, put the world at the brink of atomic and climate catastrophe and robbed every generation of its inherent right to a sane and prosperous future.
We are under the thumb of a vicious corporatocracy in a nation that desperately desires social democracy. A fascist government—in a nation that, at heart, hates fascism—rules us.
We are being robbed of universal health care, decent public education, renewable energy, environmental protection, accountable policing, basic human rights, nuclear disarmament and much, much more because unelected billionaire corporatists control our government instead of dedicated, accountable public servants.
The Jim Crow stripping of our voter rolls has denied millions their most basic right.
The electronic flipping of our voting machines has thrust into power a horrific horde of the most cynical, unqualified and outright destructive rulers our nation has ever seen.
Donald Trump is in the White House despite losing the 2016 popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and losing the exit polls in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. George W. Bush buried us in the cancerous destruction of Iraq and the rest of the Middle East despite losing the popular vote by 500,000, because, as reported by Greg Palast and Bev Harris, his brother stripped and flipped the vote count in Florida 2000. As reported at freepress.org, Bush2 got a second term through the electronic theft of Ohio’s electoral votes in 2004.
All of this happened without a meaningful word from Al Gore, John Kerry or Hillary Clinton. They’ve made their disagreements with Donald Trump known. But with a corrupted electoral system, there’s no chance of changing the balance of governmental power, and all such rantings are, as William Shakespeare put it, “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Today, our Supreme Court, Congress, state and local governments are packed with reactionary corporatists who owe their power to manipulated elections. Through the Obama years, more than 1,000 federal, state and local offices changed hands in elections rife with fraud. In 2014 and 2016, six U.S. Senate seats went to Republicans who lost in the exit polls. Our entire electoral system is riddled with deceit. What has been done to our government is a mirror image of what our military and intelligence operatives have done to developing nations too many times to count.
A mere year ago, a self-proclaimed socialist, the New Deal Democrat Bernie Sanders, helped ignite the biggest movement for social democracy in modern American history. Deeply rooted in the millennial generation, this grass-roots uprising promised an ecologically sustainable future built on tolerance, justice, equality and peace. It offered the prospect of a decent, survivable future. It also challenged the corporate party elite and the Clintons’ Democratic Leadership Council.
And, as shown by its internal emails, the Democratic National Committee also conspired to deny Sanders the nomination. It ignored and abused the massive social uprising that comprises our nation’s last, best, hope for a progressive, sustainable future.
Despite that, Sanders then supported the Clinton candidacy. She rightfully won the presidency. Then she walked away, and, among other things, prevented a Green Party recount in Michigan and elsewhere.
And now we have Donald Trump in the White House.
To this day, Clinton has done nothing about the fact that the election was stolen. But she’s gone out of her way to trash Sanders and further alienate the movement he helped ignite. Without the youthful energy of that uprising, the Democratic Party has no meaning and the nation has no future. But we also need fair, accountable elections.
Despite being the rightful winners of the 2000, 2004 and 2016 elections, the corporate Democrats continue to say nothing about the utter debasement of our electoral system. Because of the top-to-bottom manipulation of that system, we have a government completely controlled by corrupt corporatists.
Predictably, an entire federal juggernaut is now aimed at prolonging this tyranny. Kris Kobach, vice-chair of President Trump’s electoral-integrity commission, as reported by Palast, masterminded the Crosscheck computer program used to rob countless Americans—mostly black and Hispanic—of their votes in 2016, thus putting Donald Trump in the White House. One commission member is J. Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state, who electronically flipped Ohio 2004 to George W. Bush.
Trump has now appointed Republican attorney Cameron Quinn, a high-profile enemy of voting rights, to head the civil rights division at Homeland Security. It’s an obvious escalation of the nationwide assault on the voting rights of citizens of color, the young, the elderly and the non-millionaire majority.
Trump, the GOP and the Gore-Kerry-Clinton Democrats know full well that given fair elections, the American people would throw this pack of ravenous corporate beasts entirely out of power. To get an electoral system that actually works for the public good, here’s what we needed:

 

● Universal automatic voter registration, with registration rolls that can be easily monitored, so individual citizens can confirm their status as they come to the polls.
● A four-day weekend for voting, with ample polling stations providing convenient access for all.
● Universal hand-counted paper ballots that are kept in translucent, video-monitored containers that do not move.
● An end to gerrymandering.
● Abolition of the Electoral College.
● A ban on the corporate purchase of our campaigns.
In the long run, the only thing that can save this planet from utter destruction is the will of the people, legitimately empowered. Donald Trump’s uniquely crazed genocidal/suicidal corporatocracy is the most obvious indicator it is being denied, and the consequences are lethal.
If we want any kind of future on this planet, an electoral system that works is the only answer. Win it, or die.

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Harvey Wasserman is the host of “California Solartopia,” a radio show that is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica 90.7 FM in Los Angeles on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. His weekly “Green Power & Wellness Show” is podcast from prn.fm. “Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth” is at www.solartopia.org, as is “The Strip & Flip Disaster of America’s Stolen Elections: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, co-written with Bob Fitrakis.

Nuclear Plants Plus Hurricanes: Disasters Waiting to Happen

by Harvey Wasserman

Originally published at Progressive.org on September 21, 2017

Lucie GoodSt. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant at Port St. Lucie, Florida

Although the mainstream media said next to nothing about it, independent experts have made it clear that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma threatened six U.S. nuclear plants with major destruction, and therefore all of us with apocalyptic disaster. It is a danger that remains for the inevitable hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters yet to come.
During Harvey and Irma, six holdovers from a dying reactor industry—two on the Gulf Coast at South Texas, two at Key Largo and two more north of Miami at Port St. Lucie—were under severe threat of catastrophic failure. All of them rely on off-site power systems that were extremely vulnerable throughout the storms. At St. Lucie Unit One, an NRC official reported a salt buildup on electrical equipment requiring a power downgrade in the midst of the storm.
Loss of backup electricity was at the core of the 2011 catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan when the tsunami there and ensuing flood shorted out critical systems. The reactor cores could not be cooled. Three melted. Their cores have yet to be found. Water pouring over them flooded into the Pacific, carrying away unprecedented quantities of cesium and other radioactive isotopes. In 2015, scientists detected radioactive contamination from Fukushima along the coast near British Columbia and California.
Four of six Fukushima Daichi reactors suffered hydrogen explosions, releasing radioactive fallout far in excess of what came down after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Extreme danger still surrounds Fukushima’s highly radioactive fuel pools, which are in varied stages of ruin.
“In addition to reactors, which at least are within containment structures, high-level radioactive waste storage pools are not within containment, and are also mega-catastrophes waiting to happen, as in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane,” says Kevin Kamps of the activist group Beyond Nuclear.

In 1992 Hurricane Andrew paralyzed fire protection systems at Florida’s Turkey Point and so severely damaged a 350-foot-high tower it had to be demolished. The eye of that storm went directly over the reactor, sweeping away support buildings valued at $100 million or more.
There’s no reason to rule out a future storm negating fire protection systems, flinging airborne debris into critical support buildings, killing off-site backup power, and more.
As during Andrew, the owners of the nuclear plants under assault from Harvey and Irma had an interest in dragging their feet on timely shut-downs. Because they are not liable for downwind damage done in a major disaster, the utilities can profit by keeping the reactors operating as long as they can, despite the obvious public danger.
Viable evacuation plans are a legal requirement for continued reactor operation. But such planning has been a major bone of contention, prompting prolonged court battles at Seabrook, New Hampshire, and playing a critical role in the shutdown of the Shoreham reactor on Long Island. After a 1986 earthquake damaged the Perry reactor in Ohio, then-Governor Richard Celeste sued to delay issuance of the plant’s operating license. A state commission later concluded evacuation during a disaster there was not possible. After Andrew, nuclear opponents like Greenpeace questioned the right of the plant to continue operating in light of what could occur during a hurricane.
Throughout the world, some 430 reactors are in various stages of vulnerability to natural disaster, including ninety-nine in the United States. Numerous nuclear plants have already been damaged by earthquakes, storms, tsunamis, and floods. The complete blackout of any serious discussion of what Harvey and Irma threatened to do to these six Texas and Florida reactors is cause for deep concern.

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Harvey Wasserman’s California Solartopia show airs at KPFK 90.7 fm  Los Angeles; his Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at prn.fm. He is the author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth and co-author of Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation.

Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Hour – 08.24.17

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Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour – 08.24.17

ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT, RENEWABLE GREEN POWER & THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE fill our souls today in Solartopia today.

With my long-time co-conspirator BOB FITRAKIS of www.freepress.org we study the history of electronic voting machines as presented to the political science profession in a breakthrough moment where mainstream academia seems finally to be taking seriously the theft of our elections.  An attorney and full professor, Fitrakis’s pioneer work on the electronic debasement of what’s left of our democracy is key to our understanding how we wound up with the corrupt, insane Donald Trump in the White House.

 

We’re also joined by KEVIN KAMPS of BeyondNuclear.org to dissect the latest pro-fossil/nuke “report” from Energy Secretary Rick Perry (Texas’s former “Governor Good-Hair”) fomenting the obscene absurdity that somehow renewable energy must defer to Trump’s polluters destroying the Earth.  In tandem we discuss Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich’s opposition to a massive bailout for decayed nuke reactors in Ohio versus New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo’s support for a massive bailout of four reactors in upstate New York.

 

Along the way we also visit the NFL and COLIN KAEPERNICK’s spreading protest, putting forth a demand that we exchange the racist, pro-slavery Star-Spangled Banner for something better, like THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND.  The concussions dealt by the intense military presence at pro football games are damaging our national soul, and need to be replaced by the rising tide of progressive athletic consciousness now sweeping the sports world.

 

Robert E. Lee’s Treason Still Divides & Kills

lee terror

 

By Harvey Wasserman

Yet another deadly firestorm now swirls around Robert E. Lee. As his statues head to the ash heap, a life defined by slavery, betrayal, and slaughter again divides our nation.

Lee was an icon of the Confederacy and the architect of its defeat. He was a traitor to the United States of America. He cost humanity uncounted lives….right up to now.

Lee’s gentlemanly portraits are a surface illusion. He could be gracious and chivalrous, a dashing strategist and later a beloved college president. .

But his core was medieval and obsolete. He was the ultimate undertaker of a culture of death.

Robert was the son of Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, a Revolutionary officer descended from Virginia’s early slaveowners. But in the early 1800s he served a year in debtor’s prison, and died when Robert was eleven, leaving the family disgraced and in dire straits.

Robert excelled in mathematics and graduated West Point near the top of his class. He served as an engineer and pathfinder in the American conquest of Mexico, where he fought alongside US Grant, who would ultimately defeat him.

In 1859 Lee arrested and hung John Brown after his legendary attempt to deliver weapons from the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, to a slave revolution.

In personal letters, Lee questioned secession and doubted chattel slavery. But bitter controversy still surrounds his treatment of the slaves on his own plantation.

Abraham Lincoln offered Lee a high command in the Union army. Instead he led southern armies against the nation of his birth. That act of treason cost countless lives and still divides our nation.

Though his first first commands were mixed, Lee was a far superior tactician to most early Union generals. His key campaigns protected Richmond, threatened Washington DC, and inspired the Confederacy to press ahead.

But victory fed Lee’s arrogance. In July, 1863, while foolishly attacking the north at Gettysburg, he ordered the legendary “Pickett’s Charge” that cost some 7,000 lives in a matter of moments, breaking the back of the Confederate Army.

As the slaughter dragged on, droves of poor whites fled Lee’s army. To combat desertion, he ordered a mass hanging, and marched his infantry past the corpses.

Thankfully, at war’s end, Lee resisted calls for a prolonged guerrilla resistance. He surrendered himself and his army in tact.

Lincoln and Grant never put him on trial. They gave his defeated troops safe haven, rations and the freedom to return to their farms—-with their personal weapons—-for spring planting. It was among the most magnanimous and far-sighted amnesties ever granted by a conquering army.

In defeat, Lee advocated moderate treatment for freed blacks but opposed their right to vote. His own franchise was stripped along with ownership of the family estate, which became Arlington National Cemetery.

As an individual, Lee radiated charisma and grace.

But the treatment of his own slaves, his military defense of America’s “peculiar institution” and his treasonous attack on the nation of his birth make him one of America’s most murderous criminals. That statues still stand to him anywhere is an affront to our standing as a human community. That beloved individuals like Heather Heyer should die in his wake is all too consistent with the life he led.

Heather’s racist murder in Charlottesville, and the death of two Virginia police officers along with her, form a tragic epitaph to the decisions Robert E. Lee made and the slaughter he helped perpetrate.

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HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US is at www.harveywasserman.com, where his AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH: THE ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY will soon be published.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A No Nukes Nation to Trump: RESIGN!!!

By Harvey Wasserman

In the shadow of Santa Monica’s legendary “Chain Reaction” monument, a clear message was sent to the unelected interloper in the White House: RESIGN!!!

Yesterday was the 72d anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, and the 43d of the resignation of Richard Nixon. Nixon was the last president to seriously threaten the use of nuclear weapons. Amidst the debacle of the Vietnam war, Nixon told then top advisor Daniel Ellsberg that he wanted to drop atomic bombs on Southeast Asia, but that he feared the response of the global anti-war movement.

While peace activists gathered yesterday across the street from Santa Monica’s Rand Corporation, where Ellsberg once worked, Dan himself addressed a parallel crowd at the Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay, where atomic research still proceeds.

In Santa Monica, investigative reporter Greg Palast, actor/activist Mimi Kennedy, and many more mourned the mass slaughter in Nagasaki and urged the departure of the most recent White House psychopath to threaten the planet with atomic annihilation.

conrads peace 8.9.17

In a 90-minute rally soon to be broadcast on KPFK-Pacifica, speakers such as legendary activist Blasé Bonpane, Denise Duffield of Physicians for Social Responsibility, peace campaigner Jerry Rubin and many more mourned the nightmare of having an irresponsible madman like Trump with his finger on the nuclear button.

In combination with the apparently unhinged leadership of North Korean, Trump has brought the world to the brink of atomic suicide. The clock ticking on the likelihood of a nuclear apocalypse has leapt toward midnight with Trump’s inflammatory, adolescent school-bully rantings.

The atomic “fiery fury” Trump has promised is terrifying the world. During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy stood up to a room full of crazed generals ready to obliterate the planet. Today we have a spoiled child in the White House who lacks even the simplest understanding of what’s involved with nuclear war….or with the basics of civilized diplomacy.

resign!

The Santa Monica rally was framed by the 26-foot-high “Chain Reaction” mushroom cloud that stands as a monument to peace activism. The monument was saved through a multi-year campaign to preserve and protect it.

 

In its shadow and elsewhere, the human species is now engaged in a vital campaign to stop both nuclear war and the ecological destruction wrecked by nuclear power plants and so many other polluters.

 

The madness of Donald Trump, like that of Richard Nixon, threatens to kill us all—-in the short term with nuclear weapons, and in the bigger picture with ecological, economic and spiritual ruin.

donald cloud

But with the kind of grassroots social activism welcomed and enshrined in rallies like those yesterday, we know that peace…and people…and the planet really do have a chance.

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Harvey Wasserman was among those marching to end the Vietnam war….and all others!

 

 

 

 

 

NAGASAKI/HIROSHIMA REMEMBRANCE & NIXON DAY RALLY

TODAY!!! WEDNESDAY,  AUGUST 9, 2017

7:00 to 8:30 PM

 

conrad chain reaction with palms

SANTA MONICA CIVIC CENTER

CHAIN REACTION

 

QUENCH THE FIRE! CHILL THE FURY!! 

ARE WE NEARING A NUCLEAR WAR?

NAGASAKI/HIROSHIMA

REMEMBRANCE

And NIXON DAY RALLY

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

GREG PALAST, MIMI KENNEDY, LILA GARRETT, BLASE BONPANE,

HARVEY WASSERMAN, JAY PONTI, DENISE DUFFIELD, JERRY RUBIN& Others

taped 4 KPFK California Solartopia

 

 

7:00 PM to 7:30 PM

& 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Both At:

CHAIN REACTION

SANTA MONICA CIVIC CENTER

1855 Main Street, Santa Monica 90401

 

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC;  FREE PARKING

 

CONSECUTIVE, SEPARATE RALLIES TO 

 

  1.  COMMEMORATE THE ATOMIC BOMBINGS OF HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI

 

  1.   REMEMBER THE RESIGNATION OF RICHARD NIXON & DEMAND TRUMP DO THE SAME

 

At 7:00-7:30 PM 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Public Remembrance and Peace Vigil will commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 and Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. We will call on all nations to work together toward an abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide, as supported by the United Nations. We will light 72 candles forming a peace symbol around the 26-foot tall nuclear mushroom cloud-shaped monument.

The ‘Chain Reactionpeace sculpture was created in 1991 and gifted to the City of Santa Monica by 3-time Pulitzer Prize winning artist Paul Conrad through a $250,000 donation from peace philanthropist Joan Kroc. Mr. Conrad inscribed at the base of the sculpture: “This is a statement of peace. May it never become an epitaph.”

 

The peace event is free to the public and is being sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, Pax Christi of Southern California, Solartopia, International Health and Epidemiology Research Center, and Friends of Chain Reaction.

 

For Further Information: Visit psrla.orgpaxchristisocal.orgsolartopia.orgiherc.orgfacebook.com/FriendsOfChainReaction  

or Call: 310-399-1000.

 

At 7:30:  A GROUP PHOTO WITH “RESIGN” SIGNS;

EVERYONE IS ENCOURAGED TO WEAR ORANGE JUMPSUITS OR T-SHIRTS & A YELLOW HAT OR WIG

donald cloud 

At 7:30 – 8:30PM

“Orange is the New Orange”: 

To Prevent New Nuclear Wars, Election Theft, Planetary Destruction, etc., we will commemorate the 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon & demand Trump do same.

 

Trump was not legitimately elected.  He presents a clear and present danger by inciting a new nuclear war.  Then-Pentagon advisor Daniel Ellsberg says Nixon wanted to use nukes in Vietnam, but was stopped by the anti-war movement.  A similar message must be sent to Trump.

 

Contact Harvey Wasserman via: www.solartopia.org .  

Goodbye Nuclear Power. Construction of Two of Four Remaining Planned U.S. Plants Just Canceled

by

(Originally published on August 1, 2017 at The Progressive)

wind power

Two of the last four commercial nuclear power plants under construction in the United States—both of them at the V.C. Summer site in South Carolina—have been cancelled. A decision on the remaining two, which are in Georgia, will be made in August.

“DING DONG, Summer is dead,” says Glenn Carroll, one of a core group of safe energy activists who have labored for decades to rid the southeast of these last four reactor projects.

“This project has been a multi-billion-dollar disaster,” adds Stephen A. Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “We also call on Georgia Power and their utility partners to protect their customers from the similarly risky, mismanaged project” at the Vogtle site in Georgia.

Should those two plants in Georgia also be cancelled, as seems increasingly likely, the United States would be free of all new commercial reactor construction for the first time since the 1950s. It would mark the definitive death of the dream of “too cheap to meter” radioactive energy, and end an era marked by massive cost overruns, soaring operating and maintenance expenses, a string of bankruptcies, two major meltdowns, an unsolved radioactive waste burden.

The U.S. nuclear fleet, which  Richard Nixon projected in 1974 would reach 1,000 reactors by the year 2000, never got higher than about 250 on line or in the works. Currently, 99 nuclear plants now operate in the United States. Five have shut in the last several years, with dozens more poised to follow, primarily due to their inability to compete with cheap gas, solar, and wind power.

The fate of two reactors under construction in South Carolina was sealedJuly 31, with the unanimous vote of the board of the publicly owned Santee Cooper utility, which owns 45 percent of the project. The SCANA Corporation, which owns 55 percent, immediately followed with a statement saying it would also abandon construction, first proposed in 2007.

Santee Cooper had been forced to raise rates five times to pay for construction at Summer. SCANA had raised them nine times.

The two Summer reactors were slated to come on line in 2017 and 2018. The plants were to be Westinghouse AP 1000 designs, an upgraded version of the traditional light water reactor, of which some 430 are now licensed worldwide. Westinghouse pioneered and built the Pressurized Water Reactors that count for about half the world’s fleet.

The AP 1000 was meant to provide a safer, more economical upgrade. But anunending stream of technical failures and soaring costs, as well as plummeting prices for gas, wind, and solar, and a drop in electricity demand, doomed the project. In a catastrophic financial failure, the four reactors it was building in South Carolina and Georgia drove Westinghouse into bankruptcy in March. (The iconic company dated back to the 1800s, when it won the contract to produce and deliver the first major loads of commercial electricity from Niagara Falls to the American northeast using technology developed by the legendary Nikola Tesla.)

The Westinghouse bankruptcy has driven its parent company, Toshiba, to the brink of bankruptcy as well. Toshiba has offered some $2.2 billion to help finish the South Carolina project, but many doubt the giant company could actually make good on the pledge. Some $11 billion or more could be needed to finish the two new Summer reactors. Among other things, their owners have concluded that they could not meet a 2021 completion date to qualify for a critical federal tax credit.

The news about the South Carolina plants is just the latest in a series of death shudders from the nuclear power industry.

Reactors under construction at Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flamanville, France, are also massively over budget and teetering on the brink of collapse. In the American northwest, construction of five reactors for the Washington Public Power System triggered the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. More than forty reactors remain shut in Japan in the wake of the 2011 multiple meltdowns and explosions at Fukushima. Two U.S. reactors, Fermi I near Detroit and Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, have also melted, along with the catastrophic 1986 explosion at Chernobyl.

In Georgia, America’s two remaining nukes under construction at the Vogtle site are on the precipice. Though President Barack Obama provided the project with $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees, the massive cost overruns, multi-year delays, Westinghouse’s bankruptcy and public anger over repeated rate increases have cast a long shadow.

Worldwide, only China is still proposing to build large numbers of atomic reactors, a decision it will hopefully soon reverse.

With massive hot water and steam emissions, plus carbon emissions in plant construction, waste management and the production of nuclear fuel, atomic reactors are a significant factor in unbalancing planetary weather patterns. Their cancellation, alongside the rise of green technologies like solar and wind power, bring the Earth a giant step closer to preservation.

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See Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth. He edits www.nukefree.org. This article is written with profound thanks to the great activists who helped make this vital victory happen.

Orange Is the New Orange: Why Trump Must Resign by Nagasaki/Nixon Day

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Originally posted on August 27, 2012 at Reader Supported News

donald cloud

ngst, fear, and loathing are the overwhelming emotions six months into the disastrous Trump presidency. Just exactly who or what do we have at the helm of the United States Ship of State, and the little red button that could end life as we know it?

The planet and its leaders are watching in horror as the ship appears to be capsizing. Trump and his fools enrich themselves, all the while gleefully decimating domestic social programs, dooming the environment, and destroying our nation’s relationships around the world.

Simply put, what we have is an international criminal hell-bent on continuing his crime spree within and without his corrupt administration. Making the world safe for oligarchy.

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Casinos, luxury hotels: Money laundering

Let’s see, casinos, pricey real estate, the Russian mob, the U.S. mafia … hmmm. One plus one plus one equals money laundering.

The notorious meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and assorted Russian operatives spawned new allegations and suspicions that the Trump family colluded with Russian intelligence to try to gain electoral victory over Hillary Clinton. The details remain murky but the truth is likely more diabolical.

Not that Clinton wasn’t busy demonizing the Russians and using the Clinton Foundation for political payoffs.

The meetings with Putin’s comrades and Trump’s entourage may indicate the president may merely be a bagman and money washer for the Russian mafia.

This perception is magnified by Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release his tax forms, which may indicate his net worth to be largely in rubles.

Trump has a long history of involvement with the Russian government. Trump’s first visit to Russia was in 1987 at Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubin’s invitation.

Craig Unger’s New Republic article, “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” essentially argues that Trump’s money laundering for Russian mobsters is what propelled his worldwide real estate empire.

Trump’s closely-held private real estate holdings, according to Unger, provide the perfect resources for illegal money laundering. Unger cites “a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia.” He points out, “Over the past three decades at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of the Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money.”

Business Insider noted that U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice recently settled a major money-laundering case involving a real estate company owned by the son of powerful Russian government official Pyotr Katsyz, former vice governor of the Moscow region. Katsyz’s son Dennis owns the real estate company Prebezon, which was accused of laundering millions of dollars through New York City real estate when the case was “unexpectedly settled two days before going to trial in May,” according to Business Insider.

The attorney representing the Katsyz family was none other than Natalia Beselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. on June 9, 2016, to allegedly disclose damaging information concerning Hillary Clinton. She was described as a “Russian government attorney” in Trump Junior’s emails. Democratic House Judiciary Committee members sent a letter to Sessions inquiring about Beselnitskaya’s involvement in the settlement.

Also in attendance on June 9 was Renat Akhmetshin, described by CNN as “a U.S. citizen lobbyist promoting Russian interests and a former Soviet military officer,” and Aras Agalarov, owner of the Crocus Group, a Moscow-based property company.

The mystery man, or the 8th person who emerged at Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians, turned out to be Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a Crocus Group vice president accused of laundering more than $1.4 billion into the U.S. from Eastern Europe. Kaveladze allegedly used 2,000 shell companies to launder money into the U.S.

Essentially, Trump Jr.’s meeting was a perfect Russian triumvirate representing an alleged money launderer, the Russian military, and a pro-Putin oligarch.

If Trump is to be impeached and his clumsy cover-up of Russian ties revealed, it will be because the laundered money was easy to follow from the election tampering to Putin meddling.

Forget about the Russians, Trump supports American-made election riggers

While Trump’s apparent law-breaking focuses on the Russians, his primary anti-American assault is his bogus Election Integrity Commission led by Kris Kobach, whose Crosscheck program stripped countless non-millionaire citizens from the voter rolls in at least 30 states, critical to putting Trump in the White House. The man who rigged Ohio’s 2004 election, Ken Blackwell, also serves on the Commission.

As Americans, we cannot allow this high-tech Jim Crow destruction of the electoral process to lead to a permanent, one-party dictatorship.

This official lynch mob must be replaced by a national commission to promote universal hand-counted paper ballots and universal automatic voter registration, with legally protected, transparent voter rolls.

At least now the media and establishment have to admit U.S. election systems can be and have been hacked — a fact the Free Press has investigated and reported for over 15 years.

Resign or be convicted

All of this raises the blackmail issue. Which foreign entities, including crime syndicates, have information to compromise Trump and his close personal entourage?

It’s not just the Russian connections we should be investigating. As The New Yorker pointed out, “Throughout the Presidential campaign, Trump was in business with someone that his company knew was likely a partner with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”

Trump’s “Trump Tower Baku” was a failed luxury hotel project in Azerbaijan, considered one of the world’s most corrupt nations. His partner was Zaya Mammadov, a billionaire oligarch tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, who worked as the Azerbaijan Transportation Minister for $12,000 a year.

The Guardian reported in mid-June that “Donald Trump – like Richard Nixon” is now “under investigation for obstruction of justice.” There is already speculation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating Trump’s alleged money laundering.

Trump has questioned Mueller’s impartiality regarding the Russian investigation and has contemplated firing Mueller in perhaps his own version of the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Donald Trump must resign the presidency by August 9, the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and the resignation of Richard Nixon.

In Trump’s brief tenure, he’s already fired James Comey, the FBI Director, for failing to pledge personal loyalty. Trump went on to try to intimidate Comey by suggesting he might have “tapes” of their conversations. The Washington Post reported that Trump then tried to get CIA director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats to kill the FBI investigation into Trump’s Russian connections.

Trump’s coverups must stop. If by August 9 he hasn’t resigned, he needs to be convicted, perp-walked, and removed.

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP DISASTER OF AMERICA’S STOLEN ELECTIONS (www.freepress.org) where Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are also available. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! is at www.solartopia.org, along with HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US.

Ohio’s Anti-Wind Regulation Comes at a Serious Cost

by Harvey Wasserman

July 26, 2017 (originally posted at Progressive.org)

Blue_Creek_Township_wind_farm

Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township, Ohio

In the corporate war against renewable energy, a single Ohio regulation stands out.

It is a simple clause slipped into the state budget without open discussion, floor debate, or public hearings.

The restriction is costing Ohio billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

The regulation demands that wind turbines sited in the Buckeye State be at least 1,125 feet from the blade tip to the nearest property line, about 1300 feet total—nearly a quarter-mile.

Ohio’s setback rule is similar to one in Wisconsin, where progress on wind power has atrophied. Lincoln County in South Dakota just passed a requirement that turbines be at least a half-mile from any residence. And Vermont is pondering a rule change to require a setback of ten times the turbine height, which in the case of a 500-foot turbine would be nearly a mile.

Such regulations threaten to kill wind power, thus protecting corporate investments in nuclear power and fossil-fuel generators. The situation is Ohio is especially egregious.

FirstEnergy, owner of Ohio’s two dying reactors at Perry and Davis-Besse, is now strong-arming the legislature and regulators for $4.5 billion in handoutsto sustain two money-losing nukes whose electricity is far more expensive than what would come from currently approved wind projects, and whose 1,400-odd jobs would be dwarfed by the new turbine construction. Should the wind projects proceed, northern Ohio would be flooded with cheap, clean, reliable electricity that would push the two nuclear “mistakes by the lake,” as they’ve been called, even further outside the competitive pale.

Energy expert Ned Ford, based in southwestern Ohio, estimates it would take seven years or less for new wind construction to fully replace the production from Ohio’s two old reactors, and to do it at prices well below their current cost. A report by the American Wind Energy Association says proposed Ohio wind-energy projects could generate $4.2 billion in private investment, producing thousands of jobs in Ohio-based production, installation, and maintenance while generating billions in local income, much of it for badly stressed farmers.

Together, the cost to Ohio of this regulation adds up to $8.7 billion.

Proponents claim that tall turbines somehow threaten the value of neighboring properties. But the quarter-mile rule would thin out potential turbine installations to the point of making nearly all proposed wind farms economically unsustainable.

Ironically, northern Ohio has one of the world’s most potentially profitable wind regimes. The breezes coming down off the Great Lakes are strong and steady. The land is flat. The area is covered with access roads and established transmission lines. The power source is close to urban areas, such as Toledo and Cleveland, making transmission losses relatively marginal.

Major global wind companies such as Spain’s Iberdrola have long-since won approval for a fleet of Ohio wind farms whose capital investments range into the hundreds of millions, and whose construction jobs would be in the thousands, far outstripping the numbers working at the state’s residual reactors. Hundreds more jobs would come with long-term turbine maintenance.

According to Eric Thumma, director of policy and regulatory affairs for Iberdrola, the regulation “basically zones new wind projects out of Ohio.” That would include at least ten wind farms Iberdrola has had fully permitted since 2014, one of them with 304 megawatts of capacity, plus two more waiting in the wings.

Farmers in the region strongly support wind-energy projects. The footprint of a utility-scale turbine covers up just an acre of land. Farmers who host them lose a small fraction of their agricultural productivity, and access roads to build turbines can temporarily cost some crop space. But in many cases, once the windmills are in, farmers just plough over and plant those strips of soil on the usually safe bet that not much will go wrong.

Once installed, the turbines provide farmers with substantial lease payments that can even exceed what they make from actually raising crops other than electricity.

Ohio also stands to benefit from long-stalled projects slated for the middle of Lake Erie, where steady winds are among the world’s most powerful. Amidst relatively shallow waters, the sites, like those on land, are relatively close to major population centers. But while FirstEnergy beats up the legislature demanding billions in reactor subsidies, capital has been slow to flow to the offshore projects.

Recent attempts to rescind the anti-wind restriction are backed by some of the state’s strongest manufacturing, financial, and commercial interests. According to energy expert Ford, lifting the restriction could allow billions in currently stalled projects, and open the door to more. Even without the ones in the lake, Ford calculates that land-based turbines and solar panels could easily supply all Ohio’s electrical needs and make the state a major energy exporter.

In 2010, under then-Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat, the Ohio legislature enacted a sweeping mandate in support of renewable energy. It was killed when Republican Governor John Kasich came to power and the GOP gained a death grip on both houses of the legislature. Many Republicans argued then (and now) that “market forces” should determine where Ohio’s energy will come from—while simultaneously demanding the uncompetitive reactors be bailed out and doing all they can to sabotage the influx of cheap renewables.

But according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ohio has more than sixtywind-related manufacturing facilities, more than any other state. In 2016, amidst a nationwide green power boom, that industry supported between 2,000 and 3,000 Ohio jobs, more than the 1,400 at Ohio’s two decrepit nuclear plants.

So the death of Ohio’s renewable energy mandate has not only cost it cheaper long-term electric rates and countless installation and maintenance jobs, it continues to cripple the domestic infrastructure poised to produce much of the hardware for the state’s own wind farms.

It’s a lose-lose proposition. The people of Ohio deserve better.

“`

Harvey Wasserman’s most recent piece for The Progressive is “The Unstoppable Green Power Revolution.” He is author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth and co-author, with Dan Juhl, of Harvesting Wind Energy as a Cash Crop.

JIM CROW GOP STEALS ANOTHER ELECTION AS BRAIN DEAD DEMOCRATS & MEDIA SAY NOTHING

Electronic Voter Fraud, Pencil Version

Electronic Voter Fraud, Pencil Version

By Bob Fitrakis & HarveyWasserman

 

 

 

The Jim Crow GOP has stolen yet another Congressional election, this time in Georgia.   As always, the media and Democrats are saying nothing about it.

 

And now the US Supreme Court will allow secretaries of state to completely trash the ballots of anyone they choose.

 

So the Trump/GOP domination of American elections is essentially secure for the foreseeable future. Anyone believing the 2018 or 2020 elections will provide realistic opportunities to overthrow Trump/GOP control of the government is living in a dream world.

 

That dream world fits an historic pattern we outline in our new STRIP & FLIP DISASTER OF AMERICA’S STOLEN ELECTIONS (www/freepress.org). Its latest incarnation has just surfaced in Jim Crow Georgia.

 

The much-hyped Congressional race between Democrat John Ossof and former Georgia GOP secretary of state Karen Handel was the most expensive in US history, costing more than $50 million.

 

It has ended with yet another victory for Jim Crow election theft as surely as if the KKK had run rampant through the countryside, lynching potential voters.

 

When the seat was vacated by a Trump cabinet pick, Ossof apparently won a run-off election. Early reports showed him with well over 50% of the vote. But as usual where electronic voting machines are involved, Ossof’s margin mysteriously fell under the majority as the evening proceeded, forcing a run-off.

 

Not one major media outlet reported that GOP secretaries of state like Handel have been using the infamous Crosscheck program to strip untold numbers of minority and other suspected Democrats from the registration rolls. As reported by Greg Palast in THE BEST DEMOCRACY MONEY CAN BUY, Crosscheck was developed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to eliminate millions of non-white voters from the registration rolls. In 2016 some 30 GOP secretaries of state used it to help put Trump in the White House.

 

Trump has since appointed Kobach to a special national commission on elections. Trump also picked J. Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state responsible for flipping the 2004 presidential election from John Kerry to George W. Bush. The commission will be a perfect weapon to further enhance the Republican apparatus for stealing elections.

 

Meanwhile, in their endless fund-raising e-mails and public rantings, the corporate Democrats continue to focus on alleged Russian hacking. They avoid any real attention to the Crosscheck program and other forms of homegrown Jim Crow disenfranchisement that helped cost them the presidency and innumerable seats in the state and US legislatures, giving the GOP a growing iron grip on our government.

 

They fail to mention that a data analytics firm working for the Republican National Committee “accidentally leaked the sensitive personal details of roughly 198 million citizens … on the web for nearly two weeks.” As Business Insider explained: “This is what you can use to steal an election.”

 

In Georgia, Greg Palast has reported in that a grassroots citizens’ group recently compiled some 10,000 registration forms for Korean-Americans to vote in the disputed Ossof-Handel district. The completed forms were delivered to GOP election officials, but somehow the names were never entered onto the voter rolls.

 

When registration activists complained, Georgia authorities claimed to never have received the forms. According to Palast, when the activists told election officials they had photo-copied the forms, the state launched a legal lynching, threatening the activists with criminal prosecution and destroying their voter registration organization.

 

Those 10,000 disenfranchised Korean-Americans, combined with votes stolen by Crosscheck, could easily have won the first run-off election for Ossof, and the follow-up as well.

 

This is the third consecutive Congressional election the Democrats have lost since Trump took power. They also just lost one in South Carolina.

 

Pelosi and company are trying to crow about how close they came in heavily Republican districts, many of which re growing increasingly diverse.   But those seats still belong to Trump’s Jim Crow GOP. Like Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2016, the party still refuses to even discuss how these critical elections were stripped with massive disenfranchisement and then, where necessary, flipped by electronic means.

 

To make matters much worse, the Supreme Court has just upheld partisan election stripping in Ohio, refusing to hear a challenge to Ohio’s Jim Crow habit of trashing ballots with minor errors on them.

 

The process has been perfected by current GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted, who regularly orders that ballots be discarded with tiny variations in details like omitting a zip code, missing a digit in a social security number, writing in legal cursive rather than roman letters.

 

Like Blackwell before him, Husted swings elections by pitching thousands of provisional, mailed-in and other suspected Democratic votes into the trash on the slightest pretext. The practice was challenged in court by the Democrats and the Northern Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. But the corporatist Roberts Supreme Court has left this electoral lynch process in place.

 

In essence this marks the death of the Democratic Party in Ohio and wherever else there’s a Trump/GOP secretary of state. Popular progressive US Senator Sherrod Brown, for example, will stand no chance for re-election in 2018 in a balloting where Husted can eliminate as many Democratic votes as he needs to flip the seat to the GOP, no matter who they run for it.

 

Major stories at Huffington Post, the New York Times and elsewhere make no mention of the trashing of those Asian-American registration forms or of the Crosscheck program stripping untold numbers of registered voters in Georgia.

 

Endless Democrat harping on Russian meddling, followed by countless fundraising emails signed by Nancy Pelosi, ignore that the party has zero chance of stopping the Trump GOP until registration forms are actually honored and votes are actually counted.

 

Neither the corporate media nor the corporate Democrats seem able to handle the inconvenient truth that our electoral system is, as Donald Trump says, totally rigged.

 

He should know. His party is the one doing it, Jim Crow-style, in Georgia and throughout the rest of the country.

 

The Democrats and their media cohorts are now beginning to mourn the weakness of the “Democrat” brand.

 

But they seem unwilling and/or unable to face the simple reality that these elections are being stripped and flipped. Until they do, there will be zero meaningful electoral challenge to the Trump catastrophe.

 

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of the newly issued STRIP & FLIP DISASTER OF AMERICA’S STOLEN ELECTIONS: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT now at www.freepress.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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