by Harvey Wasserman Hillary Clinton’s victory in the 2016 presidential popular vote count keeps climbing. With more than 2,000,000 votes still uncounted in California alone, her public triumph over Donald Trump may ultimately reach 2.5 million votes or more. There’s a widespread assumption that the Electoral College vote is a done deal. But a series of key swing state recounts could change control of the presidency, as well as the Senate and Supreme Court. So could a Congressional challenge to the key Electoral College delegations. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party must do justice to the public will. They must fund the recount effort, not only for the presidency, but also for at least three key senate races where exit polls indicated Democratic victories. Congressional Democrats in the current House and Senate also must challenge the certification of the key Electoral College delegations in disputed swing states that could decide control of the White House. Sign our petitions at solartopia.org and elsewhere to help make this happen. Despite the current reporting, exit polls showed Clinton the likely winner in the critical swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with Michigan extremely close. Those states, if allocated to Clinton, would rightfully (and legally) change the outcome of this election. We also question the outcomes in three key Senate races—-Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Missouri—-where exit polls showed Democrats winning. These three seats could determine control of the Senate and thus the nature of the Supreme Court for decades to come. The vote count in all those states and many more is extremely suspect. If this election were held in a foreign country, the State Department would not certify it. Thanks to the reporting of Greg Palast (gregpalast.com) and others, we know that millions of mostly black/Hispanic/Asian-American/Muslim citizens were stripped of their right to vote in those and 30 or more other states around the US. Thanks to the research of Bev Harris, Jon Simon and others, we know that the electronic vote count throughout the country is also highly suspect ( black box voting ). Computer expert J. Alex Halderman and election attorney John Bonifaz have joined many others in calling for recounts. The details of this election are still being uncovered. An evolving overview is currently available at www.solartopia.org. By no means have the final words been written on an outcome where millions of Americans were stripped from voter rolls while the vote count was flipped with “black box” electronic machines. Those who say otherwise should more than welcome a national recount, with special focus on the swing states that hold the deciding Electoral College votes. Until those swing states are recounted, the Electoral College delegations should not be allowed to cast votes for the presidency. The incumbent Republican Governor of North Carolina was declared the loser in his race for re-election, but is now challenging that defeat. He may also try to to use a loophole in North Carolina law to get the Republican-controlled legislature to give him the governor’s mansion again even if he’s found to be the official vote count loser. In 2000, a full recount of the Florida popular vote (which was stopped by the US Supreme Court before it could be finished) would have rightfully put Al Gore in the White House rather than George W. Bush. Gore won the national popular vote by more than 500,000 ballots, a fraction of Hillary Clinton’s current lead. He rightfully won the Electoral College vote, but was deprived of a full and timely recount. That must not be allowed to happen in 2016. In Ohio 2004, US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined US Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Cleveland, since deceased) to challenge the Ohio delegation to the Electoral College. More than 100,000 votes are still uncounted from that election. In an election officially decided by 118,775 votes, more than 300,000 voters were stripped from Ohio’s registration rolls amidst serious questions about the electronic vote count, indicating Kerry rightfully won Ohio’s 2004 Electoral votes and thus the presidency. But despite a federal court order, no legitimate recount was ever held. Any US Senator in conjunction with a US Representative has the Constitutional right to challenge the seating of an Electoral College delegation. It is the obvious responsibility of the Democratic Party to now exercise this right to the fullest extent. We recall, of course, that GOP candidate Donald Trump reserved the right the inspect the outcome of this presidential election before he would accept it. Ask yourself what Donald Trump would now be doing had he won the popular ballot by more than 2,000,000,000 votes while losing in the Electoral College. Would he meekly do nothing while Hillary Clinton walked into the White House? The Green Party is now raising money for recounts in the key swing states ( the Guardian ) . But Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have the readily available resources and the sacred duty to stand for those who voted for them. They need to fund these recounts. They need to challenge these Electoral College delegations in Congress. The stakes could not be higher. Please sign these this petition at moveon.org and demand they finally come forward ( http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ask-clinton-the-democrats ): WE ASK HILLARY CLINTON AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO FUND PRESIDENTIAL RECOUNTS IN FLORIDA, NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, MICHIGAN AND WISCONSIN, AND ALL OTHER APPROPRIATE STATES. WE ASK THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO FUND RECOUNTS IN US SENATE RACES IN PENNSYLVANIA, WISCONSIN AND MISSOURI, AND ALL OTHER APPROPRIATE ELECTORAL RACES. This petition can also be reached at www.solatopia.org. ————————————————- Harvey Wasserman co-wrote (with Bob Fitrakis) THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT (www.freepress.org / www.solartopia.org), along with SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH and the upcoming AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH: THE ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY, due out in 2017. PLEASE NOTE THERE IS A HIGH LIKELIHOOD OUR WEBSITES WILL BE CRASHED AS WE GATHER PETITIONS. PLEASE KEEP TRYING.]]>
Cross-posted on The Progressive on November 3, 2016 by Harvey Wasserman
(cross posted at Eco Watch) The New York Times published an astonishing article last week that blames green power for difficulties countries are facing to mitigate climate change. The article by Eduardo Porter, How Renewable Energy is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course, serves as a flagship for an on-going attack on the growth of renewables. It is so convoluted and inaccurate that it requires a detailed response. Our planet is burning up from fossil fuels and being irradiated by decrepit money-losing reactors that blow up. Blaming renewable energy for all that is like blaming the peace movement for causing wars. ~ As Mark Jacobson, director of Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, pointed out to me via email:
The New York Times article “suffers from the inaccurate assumption that existing expensive nuclear that is shut down will be replaced by natural gas. This is impossible in California, for example, since gas is currently 60 percent of electricity supply but state law requires non-large-hydro clean renewables to be 50 percent by 2030. This means that, with the shuttering of Diablo Canyon nuclear facility be 2025, gas can by no greater than 35-44 percent of California supply since clean renewables will be at least 50 percent (and probably much more) and large hydro will be 6-15 percent. As such, gas must go down no matter what. In fact, 100 percent of all new electric power in Europe in 2015 was clean, renewable energy with no new net gas, and 70 percent of all new energy in the U.S. was clean and renewable, so the fact is nuclear is not being replaced by gas but by clean, renewable energy. “Further, the article fails to consider the fact that the cost of keeping nuclear open is often much greater than the cost of replacing the nuclear with wind or solar. For example, three upstate New York nuclear plants require $7.6 billion in subsidies from the state to stay open 12 years. To stay open after that, they will need an additional $805 million/year at a minimum, or at least $17.7 billion from 2028-2050, or a total of $25.3 billion from 2016 to 2050. If, on the other hand, those three plants were replaced with wind today, the total cost between now and 2050 would be $11.9 billion. Thus, keeping the nuclear plants open 12 years costs an additional $7.6 billion; keeping it open 34 years costs and additional $25.3 billion, in both cases with zero additional climate benefit, in comparison with shuttering the three plants today and replacing them with onshore wind.”Gideon Forman, climate change and transportation policy analyst at David Suzuki Foundation, also shared his dismay on the Times piece:
“The notion that non-renewable power sources are necessary is questionable at best. Some scientists believe that, over the next few decades, renewables could provide all our power. One is Stanford Prof. Mark Jacobson. He has done modeling to show the U.S. could be entirely powered by renewables by 2050. “Porter is wrong to claim that nuclear produces ‘zero-carbon electricity.’ If we look at the full nuclear cycle, including production of uranium fuel, we find it involves considerable carbon emissions. Jacobson and his co-author, Mark A. Delucchi, have written, ‘Nuclear power results in up to 25 times more carbon emissions than wind energy, when reactor construction and uranium refining and transport are considered.’ “Porter says if American nuclear plants were replaced with gas-fired generators it would lead to 200 million tons of additional CO2 emissions annually. But it’s wrong to suggest that nuclear could only be replaced by natural gas. A full suite of renewables—along with energy storage and conservation programs—could meet demand, certainly in the not very distant future. “Porter suggests that nuclear power can ‘stay on all the time.’ But of course, nuclear plants, like all generators, are sometimes out of service for maintenance. This downtime can be considerable. For example, it is expected that from 2017 to 2021, Ontario’s Pickering nuclear station will require back-up almost 30 percent of the time.”Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, called the Times piece “outrageous.” He told me:
“The Times piece continues the paper’s long record of minimizing and downplaying—not recognizing and indeed often denying—the deadly impacts of nuclear power. It’s been a shameful journalistic dysfunction. As Alden Whitman, a Times reporter for 25 years, told me, ‘there certainly was never any effort made to do’ in-depth or investigative reporting on nuclear power. ‘I think there stupidity involved,’ he said, and further, ‘The Times regards itself as part of the establishment.” Or as Anna Mayo of The Village Voice related: ‘I built a full-time career on covering nuclear horror stories that the New York Times neglected.'”So where do I stand on the Porter piece? Here are my eight biggest complaints: 1. Though viewed as the “journal of record,” the Times has been consistently pro-nuclear. Its slanted coverage has served as an industry bulwark for decades. A long-time atomic beat reporter, Matt Wald, went straight from the Times to a job with the Nuclear Energy Institute, the primary public relations front for the reactor industry. The Times has a long history as a cheerleader for nuclear power dating back to the atomic bomb era, when it consistently denied health problems from radioactive fallout. It also denied health problems resulting from radiation releases at Three Mile Island, and much more. Now it has taken a major role in defending the nuclear industry from the renewable energy revolution that is driving it to bankruptcy while bringing a tsunami of reactor shut downs. It’s these shut downs that now seem to worry the paper. 2. The primary technological transition in the world of electric power today is from fossil and nuclear fuels (King CONG: Coal, Oil, Nukes, Gas) to a Solartopian system based on green power. But there’s a deeper shift going on: from centralized, grid-based corporate control to decentralized citizen-based community control. When nuclear power and its apologists defend continued operations at dangerously deteriorated reactors, they are more broadly defending the power and profits of huge corporations that are completely invested in a centralized grid. When they argue that renewables “can’t do the job,” they’re in fact working to prolong the lives of the large generators that are the “base load” basis of a corporate grid-based supply system. 3. But that grid is now obsolete. What strikes the ultimate terror in utility boardrooms is the revolutionary reality of a decentralized power supply, free of large generators, comprised instead of millions of small photovoltaic (PV) panels owned by individuals. Industry sources have widely confirmed that this decentralized, post-grid model means the end of big utilities. Thus when they fight against PV and for nuclear power, they are fighting not for the life of the planet, but for the survival of their own corporate profits. 4. Some utilities do support some renewables, but primarily in the form of large centralized grid-based solar and wind turbine farms. Pacific Gas & Electric said it will replace the power from the Diablo Canyon nuke plant with solar energy. But PG&E is simultaneously fighting rooftop solar, which will allow individual homeowners to disconnect from the grid. Germany’s transition from fossil-nukes to renewables has also been marked by conflict between large grid-based wind farms versus small community-based renewables. 5. PG&E and other major utilities are fighting against net metering and other programs that promote small-scale renewables. The Koch Brothers’ American Legislature Exchange Council (ALEC) has spread a wide range of taxes and disincentives passed by the states to make it ever-harder to go solar. All this is being done to preserve the grid-based monopolies that own large fossil/nuclear facilities. 6. The idea that nuclear power might fight climate change, and that environmentalists might support it, is a recent concoction, a disgraceful, desperate load of utility hype meant to defend the status quo. Fukushima, unsolved waste problems and the plummeting price of renewables have solidified the environmental community’s opposition to nuke power. These reactors are dirty and dangerous. They are not carbon-free and do emit huge quantities of heated water and steam into the ecosphere. The utility industry can’t get private liability insurance for them, and relies on the 1957 Price-Anderson Act to protect them from liability in a major catastrophe. The industry continually complains about subsidies to renewable energy but never mentions this government protection program without which all reactors would close. 7. Not just nuke power but the entire centralized fossil/nuke-based grid system is now being undermined by the massive drops in the price of renewable energy, and massive rises in its efficiency and reliability. The critical missing link is battery technology. Because the sun and wind are intermittent, there needs to be energy storage to smooth out supply. Elon Musk‘s billion-dollar Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada and many other industrial ventures indicate major battery breakthroughs in storage is here today. 8. Porter’s NY Times piece correctly says that the massive amounts of cheap, clean renewables flooding the grid in Europe and parts of the U.S. are driving nuclear power plants into bankruptcy. At least a dozen reactor shut downs have been announced in the U.S. since 2012 and many more are on their way. In Japan 52 of the 54 reactors online before the Fukushima disaster are now closed. And, Germany has pledged to shut all its reactors by 2022. But Porter attacks this by complaining that those nukes were supplying base load power that must be otherwise—according to him—shored up with fossil burners. Here’s his key line:
“Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.”But as all serious environmentalists understand, the choice has never been between nukes versus fossil fuels. It’s between centralized fossil/nukes versus decentralized renewables. Porter’s article never mentions the word “battery” or the term “rooftop solar.” But these are the two key parts in the green transition already very much in progress. So here is what the Times obviously can’t bring itself to say: “Cheap solar panels on rooftops are now making the grid obsolete.” The key bridging element of battery back-up capability is on its way. Meanwhile there is absolutely no need for nuclear power plants, which at any rate have long since become far too expensive to operate. Spending billions to prop up dying nuke reactors for “base load” generation is pure corporate theft at the public expense, both in straight financial terms and in the risk of running badly deteriorated reactors deep into the future until they inevitably melt down or blow up. Those billions instead should go to accelerating battery production and distribution, and making it easier, rather than harder, to gain energy independence using the wind and the sun. All this has serious real-world impacts. In Ohio, for example, a well-organized shift to wind and solar wasderailed by the Koch-run legislature. Some $2 billion in wind-power investments and a $500 million solar farm were derailed. There are also serious legal barriers now in place to stop homeowners from putting solar shingles and panels on their rooftops. Meanwhile, FirstEnergy strong-armed the Ohio Public Utilities Commission into approving a huge bailout to keep the seriously deteriorated Davis-Besse nuke operating, even though it cannot compete and is losing huge sums of money. Federal regulators have since put that bailout on hold. Arizona and other Koch-owned legislatures have moved to tax solar panels, ban solar shingles and make it illegal to leave the grid without still paying tribute to the utilities who own it. Indeed, throughout the U.S. and much of the western world, corporate-owned governments are doing their best to slow the ability of people to use renewables to rid themselves of the corporate grid. For an environmental movement serious about saving the Earth from climate change, this is a temporary barrier. The Times and its pro-nuke allies in the corporate media will continue to twist reality. But the Solartopian revolution is proceeding ahead of schedule and under budget. A renewable, decentralized energy system is very much in sight. The only question is how long corporate nonsense like this latest NY Times screed can delay this vital transition. Our planet is burning up from fossil fuels and being irradiated by decrepit money-losing reactors that blow up. Blaming renewable energy for all that is like blaming the peace movement for causing wars. The centralized King CONG grid and its obsolete owners are at the core of the problem. So are the corporate media outlets like the New York Times that try to hide that obvious reality. ““““ Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH can be found at this very website: www.solartopia.org, where his AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH: THE ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY is soon to arrive. He editswww.nukefree.org and hosts the Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show at www.prn.fm.]]>
As the Democratic Convention opens in Philadelphia, there’s just one one clear message that matters from the Republicans: Donald Trump will be within ten points of Hillary Clinton in the fall election. Thus, unless the Democrats do something about the issue of election protection, it will be within the power of key GOP swing state governors to give Donald Trump the presidency. For all its problems, the wildly disorganized and fractious gathering in Cleveland all boiled down to Trump’s final speech. It was rambling and often incoherent. But it delivered the classic strongman message: You need ME to protect you. Given the chaos, violence, and injustice of imperial America in 2016, that message is almost certain to sell with enough Americans to keep Trump close enough to Hillary Clinton to allow the election to be electronically stripped and flipped. In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama was able to overcome these barriers with a huge popular margin in more states than the GOP could reasonably steal. This year, in a close election, given how the mechanics of our election system operate, the decision of who will enter the White House will be in the hands of the GOP governors of such swing states as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. Those will be the only six votes that really count in November. Should all or most of these governors (with their GOP Secretaries of State) flip the vote count for Trump, he likely has a lock on the White House. Two major “strip and flip” forces can doom the Democrats in 2016. First, the GOP stripping of millions of suspected Democrats from the voter roles is proceeding. As Greg Palast reports in his brilliant new film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy – a Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits,” computer programs coordinated by Kris Kobach, Kansas’s GOP secretary of state, are being used to disenfranchise millions of mostly African-American, Hispanic and young citizens. As exposed by Palast, the stripping technique entered the computer age in 2000, when Florida governor Jeb Bush dropped more than 90,000 blacks and Hispanics from the registration rolls in an election ultimately decided by 537 votes. In 2004 the Ohio GOP stripped more than 300,000 inner city voters in an election decided by 118,775 officially, though more than 90,000 votes still remain uncounted. Palast shows that in 2016, the Democratic constituency will be electronically stripped of millions of voters in at least two dozen key states, easily enough to make the difference in a close election. But if that isn’t enough to put Trump in the White House, the final count can be flipped with computerized “adjustments” made in the dark hours of election night. In both Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, electronic manipulation put and kept George W. Bush in the White House. In 2016, well over half the votes will be cast on electronic voting machines. Most of these are ten years old or more. All can be easily manipulated by their owners, which are private corporations, primarily Warren Buffett’s ES&S. The courts have ruled that the software on these machines is proprietary. So there is no effective public monitoring or accountability of the tallying process. At the end of election day, if they are in agreement with each other, the governor and secretary of state can make the vote count pretty much whatever they want. In a close election, the six key swing states electronically available to the GOP are likely to comprise more than enough votes to swing the Electoral College. The question is: will their governors give those electoral votes to Trump? Florida’s governor is the far-right Rick Scott. After 2000, Florida reformed the secretary of state position used by Katherine Harris to help Jeb Bush put George W. Bush in the White House. But the governor’s power over the vote count remains potentially decisive. Florida also has a key Senate race involving Marco Rubio, which gives the GOP an added incentive North Carolina has also made adjustments to its vote count system, and has a Democratic secretary of state. But its disenfranchisement measures are legendary and could be decisive. Michigan, Iowa and Arizona could all be strip-and-flip locks for the GOP. So as always, Ohio may be the key. Governor John Kasich has made very clear his disdain for Donald Trump. But the US Senate race pits his good friend Rob Portman against the former Democratic governor Ted Strickland. Kasich may be willing to throw Trump under the bus. But he and his secretary of state, Jon Husted, will be strongly committed to sending Portman back to the Senate. Thus they won’t want the unlikely discrepancy of a GOP Senate victory alongside a GOP presidential loss. Whatever the case, no matter how many hundreds of millions are spent on this campaign, no matter how many thousands of hours the bloviators blab about this issue or that, when push comes to shove, this election will be decided on election night by the swing state governors and secretaries of state who have their hands on the electronic vote count. Thus, no matter what happens in Philadelphia, the smart money would be on Donald Trump entering the White House in January 2017. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman’s Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft is at www.freepress.org, along with The Fitrakis Files. Harvey’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History can be found at www.solartopia.org. ]]>
This past Tuesday, June 28, 2016 the California State Land Commission met to hear public and staff comment, and to decide whether the Commission should extend PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuke plant leases of the People of California’s coastal tidelands beyond 2018 and 2019. In a last minute turn around the commission staff recommended the leases be be extended without a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) required Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Here is a transcript of California State Land Commissioner Betty T. Yee’s closing remarks: Betty Yee: I’ll start. Gavin Newsom: I’ll pick up on it Betty Yee: All right. Gavin Newsom: Either one of us. We gotta upack all of this. Betty Yee: We do have to unpack all this. And actually Commissioner Newsom, I took to heart – I think your guidance to all of us a few months ago and that is that we have to the stewards of fact with respect to how we move forward. And uh these are not easy issues. I have uh um – I did take time to visit Diablo Canyon Power Plant, and uh had an opportunity to really understand the operation and to meet some of the employees. Uh and first I just have to say um hats off to you for forty years of reliable service, and professional service. It is something that we don’t applaud – frankly – uh, in terms of how we – where we come since the plant was first constructed. That I was struck by how safety is by far the foremost concern in that facility from every aspect of the operation – to every conversation that I had with every employee on that site. It all had to do with safety and reliability. And what I want to say about the CEQA issue is this – uh – you know I think we live in times where were just surrounded by a lot of uncertainty. And I do think we’ve heard a lot of speculation. I’m not sure that I’m comfortable that I’ve heard a lot of facts. Uh – my own sense of the authority that this Commission can exercise independently is that – uh – the uh – the uh facts are not there. And frankly I feel like if they were there we would have grabbed onto them already. And so – uh – I know we live in dangerous times with respect to seismic risks. This is a different world with respect to being susceptible to terrorism and acts of terrorism. But we also have – um – I think a responsibility here to balance all of these different interests and needs. And – uh – yeah with respect to the issue of the marine life and um what we can expect if um the Commission decides to approve these leases – uh – I do want to say that you know a lot of work has actually been done at this State Water Resources Control Board with respect to mitigation measures – um to ensure compliance with the Once Through Cooling Policy – and uh – I think – um – if this Commission is prepared to approve the leases – I would like to direct staff to um – just call on the Water Resources Control Board to remind them that we do want them to um fully implement those mitigation measures to ensure compliance. These are not new requirements – these have been established – uh – I think people are familiar with what they are – all parties are familiar with what they are – but this is about – um – really – all state agencies – all hands on deck to be sure that we’re moving forward responsibly. And there are going to be a lot of agencies – state and federal and local involved – uh – in the transition – uh should this Commission approve the leases um to look at what will transpire over the next nine years. The other aspect I just want to comment about is that um – I really encourage PG&E and frankly all of the ah regulatory agencies and oversight agencies throughout this process to err on the side of more public input – um – I heard a lot of information today that frankly was shared uh really out of ignorance – and – there is a lot of misinformation going back and forth – this is not the time for that – and I think – uh – I just wanna get a commitment from PG&E that in terms of the public input process in the next thirty days that uh it will also include public education and really uh – having the patience to answer any and all questions with respect to what we’re really facing uh in this agreement that you have entered into with uh various parties of the environmental community. So – um – given that this is a tough decision – um – Mr. Geesman, you’ve admonished us and in terms of our voting to live with this decision – it is a serious decision – and uh – but frankly I go to sleep every night feeling susceptible to a lot of different threats – and uh – to the extent that I continue to serve on this body I’m gonna be sure that – um – whatever process unfolds – and much of it before the CPUC that uh can be assured that this uh transition happens responsibly – so I’m – I am prepared to accept the staff recommendation. [end transcript] [caption id="attachment_599" align="alignnone" width="465"] Betty Yee, Then candidate for California State Controller. October 8, 2014, Santa Monica, California.[/caption] ]]>
Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition.
Five U.S. reactor closures have been announced within the past month. A green regulatory decision on California’s environmental standards could push the number to seven.
The focus is now on a critical June 28 California State Lands Commission meeting. Set for Sacramento, the hearing could help make the Golden State totally nuke free, ending the catastrophic radioactive and global warming impacts caused by these failing plants. A public simulcast of the Sacramento meeting is expected to gather a large crowd at the Morro Bay Community Center near the reactor site. The meeting starts at 10 a.m., but environmental groups will rally outside the community center starting at 9 a.m.
The three State Lands Commissioners will decide whether to require a legally-mandated Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If ordered, a public scoping process will begin, allowing interested groups and individuals to weigh in on the environmental impacts of operation of two nuclear reactors on California’s fragile coastline.
In 1969 and 1970 PG&E got state leases for tidewater acreage for Diablo’s cooling system. These leases are set to expire in 2018 and 2019. If the State Lands Commission does not renew them, both reactors will be forced to shut down.
Signed in 1970 by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, CEQA requires more extensive Environmental Impact Reports on such leases. Included among the issues to be evaluated are water quality, potential damage to human and other life forms, chemical and radiation releases, and impacts on threatened and endangered species. The commission will not decide whether Diablo will continue to operate, only whether it will now be required to meet CEQA standards.
Pro-nukers say PG&E is at the brink of shutting Diablo’s reactors. They cannot economically compete with renewables or gas and are sustained by an intricate network of subsidies, liability protection and tax breaks. Many believe the cost of new environmental studies and of meeting updated standards would be a death blow. More protestors have been arrested at Diablo than any other American nuke, and the public pressure to finally shut it is intense.
One of the commissioners is Gavin Newsom, California’s Lieutenant Governor, 2018’s leading gubernatorial candidate. Newsom said he sees no long-term future for Diablo.
Another commissioner, state controller Betty Yee, is widely thought to favor the requirement.
State finance director Michael Cohen is the third commissioner. He generally votes as instructed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown opposed Diablo early in his career, but has recently waffled.
Among other things, Diablo dumps daily some 2.5 billion gallons of super-heated water into the ocean, killing vast quantities of marine life and worsening the global climate crisis. The project’s chemical runoff infamously killed millions of abalone years before it operated.
Diablo may soon face regulatory challenges from other state and federal agencies that could, among other things, require cooling towers, at a cost of up to $14 billion. PG&E would then face a fierce public fight over who would pay for them.
Diablo is surrounded by a dozen earthquake faults. It is half the distance from the San Andreas as was Fukushima from the shock that destroyed it. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s former resident inspector Dr. Michael Peck has warned Diablo might not survive a similar quake. Such a disaster would irradiate the Central Valley, which supplies much of the U.S. with its fruits, nuts and vegetables. It would send radioactive clouds into Los Angeles within about five hours, and across virtually the entire continental U.S.
Closing Diablo would make California entirely nuke-free. Grassroots activists, with help from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Friends of the Earth, recently shut two big reactors at San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego. They also closed plants at Rancho Seco (near Sacramento) and Humboldt Bay, and stopped proposed projects at Bodega and Bakersfield.
Along with most nukes around the world, the only other remaining west coast reactor, WPPS2 on Washington’s Hanford military reservation, is also losing massive amounts of money.
Because they can’t evenly compete with renewable energy or gas, a tsunami of shut-downs has swept away a dozen U.S. reactors since October, 2012. Dozens more teeter at the brink, including two at Indian Point, just north of Manhattan, and Ohio’s rapidly crumbling Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo.
In Japan, more than 40 reactors remain shut despite intense government pressure to reopen them in the wake of the Fukushima catastrophe. Germany’s energiewende
By Harvey Wasserman
June 13, 2016he good ship Golden Rule is a miracle of the modern peace movement. In its iconic quest for global peace and ecological sanity, it has been re-floated, revived … and now hit by a police boat!!!
The boat was first launched from a dock near Los Angeles in 1958 by Quaker activists intending to sail into the Marshall Islands to stop nuclear weapons testing.
Among those present was the legendary singer John Raitt, star of the stage shows Carousel and Oklahoma, and leading man in the film Pajama Game. His daughter, multiple-Grammy-winner Bonnie Raitt, has carried on the tradition of No Nukes commitment throughout her stellar career.
The 1950s Golden Rule crew of four were arrested before they could get into the test zone. One sailor for peace, Jim Peck, contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned in Honolulu.
But their cause was picked up by another boat, the Hiroshima Phoenix, which did affect the testing. The entire effort contributed mightily to a global disarmament movement that won a lasting atmospheric test ban in 1963. Millions of living creatures (possibly including you) have been saved from death and disease by the halt in radioactive fallout from the US and USSR’s flood of bombs.
The Golden Rule subsequently sank in Humboldt Bay, California. But in 2010 it was rescued by Leroy Zerlang. A crew led by Chuck DeWitt of Veterans for Peace spent five years restoring her to seaworthiness, and the Golden Rule was relaunched on June 20, 2015.
On June 8, 2016, the reborn Golden Rule sailed into Portland, Oregon, to “greet” Fleet Week – an annual maritime invasion of US and Canadian warships meant to put on a public display of military might. This year the warships include a PT boat and numerous other armed vessels.
On Thursday, June 9, the Golden Rule set sail around 1:00 p.m. to travel up the Willamette River. The drizzle was steady. The purpose was to show our colors for peace amidst the fleet week warships.
With the ship moving by motor power, the crew unfurled large red sails featuring its peace sign and the Veterans for Peace logo. Through the gray, chilly chop, the ship sailed peacefully around the men of war. There was no intent to stage a blockade or to do civil disobedience.
In the steady rain, podcasting via cell phone from the ship’s deck, the “Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show” was wet but sustainable. It featured activists Helen Jaccard and Mimi German, who discussed the ship’s history and the movement in the northwest to shut the WPPS2 nuclear power plant, the region’s last operating commercial reactor, which is losing tens of millions of dollars per year.
Finally, while preparing to sail back to dock, the Golden Rule idled behind a drawbridge, waiting for it to rise. Suddenly a Washington County patrol boat with a two-man crew came along our starboard side. The Golden Rule had been peacefully boarded at least once during the day, and there was extensive, cordial communication between us and various police patrols.
But while inexplicably floating right next to the Golden Rule, the Washington County boat suddenly gunned its engine. Neither its lights nor sirens were on. As it turned sharply away, the sharp corner of its rear smacked into the hull of the Golden Rule, about a yard directly below my feet.
“The Sheriff’s Patrol boat made an emergency maneuver to avoid an impending serious collision,” says an official press release. “The port aft of the Sheriff’s Patrol boat collided with the starboard of the sailboat.” The Sheriff’s office says the damage was “minor.”
In a separate statement, the crew of the Golden Rule called the damage “cosmetic” and said, “We were unintentionally ‘hit’ by incompetent Sheriff’s deputies.”
Standing directly above the point where the police boat’s tail smacked into our hull, it wasn’t clear to me what the two officers meant to do, or why they had sailed in choppy waters to sit within just a few feet of us. The officer in the back of the boat in stood in clear view about fifty feet from me. He showed no emotion when his boat hit the Golden Rule. I could not see the driver.
But activists working with the Golden Rule cite ongoing problems. “They decided to come up on us without any warning or signals,” says Jaccard, of Veterans for Peace. “They were not in control of their boat.”
“It was an act of aggression,” says German, of No Nukes NW. “They fucking rammed The Golden Rule peace boat!”
Meanwhile, the ship will be sailing throughout the West Coast promoting the cause of peace.
Some 58 years after its maiden voyage, this legendary little boat is once again at center stage in the global struggle against the nuclear madness.
In a nation bristling with atomic weapons and reactors, where innocent civilians are regularly gunned down en masse, this graceful vessel represents an ark of civility, nonviolence and hope.
Six decades after it first helped stop a bomb-testing program that spewed deadly radiation throughout the atmosphere and threatened all life on Earth, the Golden Rule is back to say that peace is possible … and essential to our survival.
Harvey Wasserman’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of Us History can be had via www.solartopia.org. The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, co-written with Bob Fitrakis, is at www.freepress.org.]]>
Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis discuss their new book: THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft – Sunday, May 29, 2016 event with special guests Greg Palast, Bev Harris and Mimi Kennedy
3-6 PM Sunday May 29, 2016
JAN GOODMAN * JERRY MANPEARL * LARRY DILG
* LILA GARRETT * MYLA RESON * NINA MERSON *
ILENE PROCTOR * FRANCES FISHER
$20 Donation includes
Memorial Day Hot Dogs, Spicy Sausages, Black Bean Burgers, Vegan Stuff and all the Trimmin’s!
For Location & More Details contact
MYLA RESON — firstname.lastname@example.org (310) 663 -7660
ILENE PROCTOR — email@example.com (310) 858 6643]]>
www.prn.fm will honor Michael Marriott. [caption id="attachment_569" align="aligncenter" width="581"] Our Hero – Michael Marriotte[/caption]