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Syria is an Epic Victory for the SuperPower of Peace, by Harvey Wasserman

5:42 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

Harvey Wasserman

Syria is an epic victory for the SuperPower of Peace
September 15, 2013
www.freepress.org
The United States is not now bombing Syria.

Let’s savor that again: for the moment at least, the United States is not now bombing Syria.

That alone qualifies as an epic, unprecedented victory for the SuperPower of Peace, the global movement to end war, win social justice and somehow salvage our ecological survival.

Will it mark a permanent turning point?

That a treaty has been signed to rid the Assad regime of its chemical weapons is icing on the cake, however thin it proves to be. We don’t know if it will work. We don’t know if the restraint from bombing will hold.

But in a world that bristles with atomic weapons, where the rich get ever richer at the expense of the rest of us, and where stricken Japanese reactors along with 400 more worldwide threaten the survival of our global ecology, we must count any victory for peace—even if potentially fleeting—as a huge one. Let’s do some history.

Ten years ago, George W. Bush took the United States into senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Millions of citizens marched in the United States and worldwide to prevent the coming debacle. But Bush and his cronies made a point of ignoring us all, as if the public demand for peace was somehow a sign of weakness.

Since then, utterly pointless slaughter has claimed countless thousands of lives, including those of at least 7,000 Americans. That number does not include the thousands more who have returned poisoned physically and mentally, with ailments that have driven so many to suicide, hopelessness and debilitating disabilities.

The war was sold as a campaign to rid Saddam Hussein of his alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction. Vice President Dick Cheney assured the American public that as our troops attacked, the Iraqi people would spread rose petals of gratitude at their feet.

But Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. And the Iraqi people had run out of rose petals. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remain in abundant supply.

None of which deterred Team Bush-Cheney-Rove or the corporatist military machine that continues to reap millions in profits from a decade of disaster.

They did rid the world of Saddam Hussein. But in his wake came…what? A lesson learned in Iraq—for those paying attention–is the “you break it, you’ve bought it” syndrome. If you remove a dictator, however nasty, you still must have something better to put in his place.

That was clearly beyond the caring or grasp of the Bush Administration. Lethal discord has defined Iraq since the demise of Saddam, with no end in sight.

There’s been more of the same in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and much of the rest of the middle east. What once seemed an “Arab Spring” of popular liberation may be tragically degenerating to a regional slaughterhouse of counter-revolution and chaos.

The stakes could not be higher. As Fukushima boils at the brink of catastrophe, the global environmental movement—the SuperPower of Solartopia—strives to convert humankind’s energy supply from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables and efficiency. Green energy—primarily wind and solar—is by far the fastest-growing new source of supply. Increased efficiency has saved billions of dollars and oceans of oil and gas that will not feed the demon of climate chaos.

But the corporate addiction to middle eastern oil remains a defining force. And the presence of a reactor near Damascus and of nuclear weapons in the hands of the US, Russia, Israel and god-knows-what random terror groups, make our every move in Syria a matter of life-and-death on a global scale.

With that backdrop, the Obama Administration’s decision to back off air strikes takes on an epic dimension. There are all sorts of modifiers that can and should be used.

But contrasted with what George W. Bush told the world ten years ago, Obama’s speech to the nation last week was a pillar of sanity.

He referenced our ten years of disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan. He acknowledged that while Assad is a terrible dictator, there’s no guarantee what follows would be any better. And he conceded that the attempt to use force could lead to costs we cannot predict.

He also made it clear that he was facing down the firewall of an overwhelming public and Congressional demand for peace that would not be denied.

A decade ago, George W. Bush deceived just enough of the American public to go to war.

This time, no deal. Whatever it proves to be worth, a treaty has been signed. We have a precious moment where bombs aren’t flying. We’re a few steps back from the nuclear brink. And our economy is not spiraling down into another senseless military firestorm.

It may prove a small respite…but it’s a victory by any reckoning.

Now the SuperPower of Peace—all of us—-must make it stick.

—————

Harvey Wasserman is senior editor of the Columbus Free Press and , where this was first published. He edits www.nukefree.org and is co-author, with Bob Fitrakis, of THE SUPERPOWER OF PEACE. His Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at . Special thanks to David Swanson.

Atomic Rate Rape & the New China Syndrome

12:38 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

Atomic Rate Rape & the New China Syndrome

 

 

By Harvey Wasserman

 

 

Small wonder the death knell of new US nukes may be upon us.

 

Two reactors proposed for Florida will now, say its would-be builders, cost $24 billion or more…up from their original maximum guess of $4 billion each…far beyond comparable renewables and efficiency ( http://nukefree.org/florida-nukes-delayed-3-more-years-cost-now-19-24-billion ).

 

Two Georgia nukes still wanting tax-funded loan guarantees have been caught pouring faulty concrete and using non-design rebar steel

( http://nukefree.org/nrc-says-vogtle-steel-does-not-match-requirement ).

 

Currently licensed reactors from California to Vermont, from Texas to Ohio to Florida are leaking radiation, shut for faulty steam generator tubes, closed for failed repairs running over $1 billion and being fought tooth and nail by local downwinders who are tired of rate rape want them shut forever.

 

But the fate of the Earth may ultimately rest on which China emerges after Fukushima:   the green one pushing solar, or the dictatorship pushing nukes that threaten us all.

 

What we Americans can do about it remains problematic.

 

But shutting down our own industry begins with killing proposed federal loan guarantees for two new nukes at Vogtle, Georgia

( http://nukefree.org/please-do-sign-petition-stop-new-nuke-loan-guarantees ), and stopping the rate rape being perpetrated to build two more at South Carolina’s V.C. Summer ( http://nukefree.org/ncwarn-duke-rigging-rates-pay-nukes ).

 

Throughout the US, wanna-be nuke builders are pushing regulators and legislatures to force ratepayers to foot the bill for new reactors while they’re being built.  In Iowa, Missouri and Florida ( http://nukefree.org/editorsblog/obamas-atomic-solyndra-0 ) , an angry public is pushing back—hard.

 

Progress Energy’s staggering new cost estimate for Levy County is a game changer.  The idea of paying $12 billion for reactors that can’t even begin construction for at least three years is beyond scale.  Progress has blown at least $1 billion on its botched repair and expansion job at north Florida’s Crystal River, which may now never reopen ( http://nukefree.org/editorsblog/nuclear-powers-green-mountain-grassroots-demise ).

 

Failed steam generator tubes at California’s San Onofre may also keep two reactors there forever shut. In Vermont, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and virtually everywhere other home to geezer nukes, grassroots opposition has seriously escalated.  movements are gaining increasing strength.  Sooner or later, they will win.  We must all pray that happens before yet another nukes blows.  It will be a close call.

 

In part because fracking (another environmental disaster) has made natural gas so cheap ( http://nukefree.org/small-towns-begin-rising-fight-fracking ), and in part because the price of wind and solar continues to plummet, 2011 was the first year since deep in the W Administration that the Executive Branch did not ask for new reactor loan guarantees.   If the money can be nixed for Vogtle, and the rate rape for Summer defeated, the whole “nuclear renaissance” could could definitively disappear.

 

Small modular nukes must still be fought ( http://nukefree.org/are-small-modular-reactors-future-nuke-power ).  But the numbers on this imperfected technology do not work without massive taxpayer subsidies or public liability insurance.

 

Europe’s one-time “nuclear poster child” is about to lose its pro-nuke Sarkozy is poised to the Socialist Francois Hollande ( http://nukefree.org/french-frontrunner-cools-reactor-shut-downs ), who may or may not begin shutting the nation’s reactors.  But French public has moved strongly toward renewables and probably won’t tolerate new ones.

 

Led by Germany, Europe’s nuclear future is past.  Proposed reactors in Great Britain and elsewhere are stalled.  Bulgaria has cancelled two.

 

Of Japan’s 54 licensed post-Fukushima units, just one now operates—and may soon shut.  Tokyo wants to open more, but grassroots resistance is fierce.  Ditto India, where massive demonstrations and hunger strikes have erupted against the Koodankulam project ( http://nukefree.org/10-000-india-hunger-strike-v-koodankulam-reactor ).

 

South Korea and Taiwan still want new reactors.  Korea may sell at least one to the United Arab Emirates.  The Saudis and Jordan may soon start construction.

 

But the global key now rests with China.  Despite its campaign to corner the world market in wind and solar hardware, China has been poised to bring on line close to 100 reactors. It may claim the largest number of new proposals—more than 30.

 

But Fukushima prompted a suspension of new approvals ( http://www.technologyandpolicy.org/2012/03/05/chinas-nuclear-energy-industry-one-year-after-fukushima/ ) and a move toward a national energy plan.  A final rejection could blow the floor out of any global nuclear future.

 

With a rising tide of grassroots environmentalism in China, any No Nukes movement there must be embraced worldwide.  In its hands may lie the future of the Earth.

 

Reactor backers desperately hype potential orders from China and India, and from small nations like Turkey and Taiwan.  But who will protect us —or even tell us—when they explode?

 

This weekend the Sierra Club while host a packed national gathering of grassroots No Nukers ( http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=159641 ) to plan the Us nuclear industry’s final demise.  There’s much to celebrate.  The campaign for a green-powered Earth has become one of her most successful non-violent social movements.

 

But the disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima are far from over.  The radiation they still spew threatens our survival.

 

Without a truly global Solartopian uprising, the ultimate China Syndrome may yet come in China…and spread worldwide.

 

In economy and ecology, we have no future without finally cleansing from every corner on Earth the lingering plague of the failed atom.

 

—————————

 

Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, is at www.solartopia.org , along with THE LAST ENERGY WAR.  His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm.  In 1973 he helped coin the phrase No Nukes.

America’s 2 New Nukes Are On the Brink of Death

6:48 am in Uncategorized by solartopia

MyFDL Editor Notes: Title edited to remove all caps in accordance with MyFDL rules. Image link also removed as image was not from an approved source for MyFDL, also covered under MyFDL rules.

Harvey Wasserman

America’s 2 new nukes are on the brink of death
April 5, 2012

The only two US reactor projects now technically under construction are on the brink of death for financial reasons.

If they go under, there will almost certainly be no new reactors built here.

The much mythologized “nuclear renaissance” will be officially buried, and the US can take a definitive leap toward a green-powered future that will actually work and that won’t threaten the continent with radioactive contamination.

As this drama unfolds, the collapse of global nuclear power continues, as two reactors proposed for Bulgaria have been cancelled, and just one of Japan’s 54 licensed reactors is operating. That one may well close next month, leaving Japan without a single operating commercial nuke.

Georgia’s double-reactor Vogtle project has been sold on the basis of federal loan guarantees. Last year President Obama promised the Southern Company, parent to Georgia Power, $8.33 billion in financing from an $18.5 billion fund that had been established at the Department of Energy by George W. Bush.

Until last week most industry observers had assumed the guarantees were a done deal. But the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group, has publicly complained that the Office of Management and Budget may be requiring terms that are unacceptable to the builders.

Southern and its supporters remain ostensibly optimistic that the deal will be done. But the climate for loan guarantees has changed since this one was promised. The $535 million collapse of Solyndra prompted a rash of angry Congressional hearings and cast a long shadow over the whole range of loan guarantees for energy projects. Though the Vogtle deal comes from a separate fund, skepticism over stalled negotiations is rising.

So is resistance among Georgia ratepayers. To fund the new Vogtle reactors, Southern is forcing “construction work in progress” rate hikes that require consumers to pay for the new nukes as they’re being built. Southern is free of liability, even if the reactors are not completed. Thus it behooves the company to build them essentially forever, collecting payment whether they open or not.

All that would collapse should the loan guarantee package fail.

A similar fate may be awaiting the Summer Project. South Carolina Electric & Gas has pledged to build the two new reactors there without federal subsidies or guarantees. But it does require ratepayer funding up front. That includes an apparent need for substantial financial participation from Duke Power and/or Progress Energy customers in North Carolina who have been targeted to receive some of the electricity projected to come from Summer. [cont.] Read the rest of this entry →

Where Occupy and No Nukes Merge and WIN!!

7:25 pm in Uncategorized by solartopia

Harvey Wasserman testifying

Harvey Wasserman testifying

COLUMNS
Harvey Wasserman

Where Occupy & No Nukes merge & win!!!
October 23, 2011

The global upheaval that is the Occupy Movement is hopefully in the process of changing—and saving—the world.

Through the astonishing power of creative non-violence, it has the magic and moxie to defeat the failing forces of corporate greed.

A long-term agenda seems to be emerging: social justice, racial and gender equality, ecological survival, true democracy, an end to war, and so much more. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power,” said Jimi Hendrix, “the world will know peace.”

Such a moment must come now in the nick of time, as the corporate ways of greed and violence pitch us to the precipice of self-extinction.

At that edge sits a sinister technology, a poisoned cancerous power that continues to harm us all even as 3 of its cores melt and spew at Fukushima.

Atomic energy, the so-called “Peaceful Atom”, has failed on all fronts. Read the rest of this entry →