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Archive for February, 2017|Monthly archive page

Donald Trump Casually Suggests the U.S. Should Lead the World Into a New Nuclear Arms Race

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on February 24, 2017 at 10:59 pm

By Elliot Hannon, Slate, Feb. 23, 2017

Donald Trump, after a lifetime of real-estate deals and reality TV show whatever, is now the president of the United States, and as the president, he now gets to have an opinion about things he knows little about, has never shown an interest in, and, unfortunately, affect us all. The latest example of this is Trump’s advocating—in an interview with Reuters Thursday—for the United States to bulk up its nuclear arsenal. Really. “It would be wonderful; a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” Trump said. Russia currently has roughly 400 more deployed nuclear warheads than the U.S., which has 1,367 deployed, according to the State Department.
That’s unsettlingly loose rhetoric after decades of careful negotiation to try to limit the supply of nuclear weapons and their potential for use. Trump went one step further during the interview, suggesting that he was dissatisfied with the New START strategic arms–limitation treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which requires both countries to limit their nuclear arsenals to equal levels over the next decade. “The treaty permits both countries to have no more than 800 deployed and non-deployed land-based intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear weapons, and contains equal limits on other nuclear weapons,” according to Reuters.

At least in December he was only about to be the leader of the free world, he wasn’t the actual thing yet.

If you were watching a news program, say, three years ago on any station, even Fox News, and a discussion about nuclear proliferation came on, and the anchor turned from his panel of guests and said “let’s bring Donald Trump in on this discussion to get his take on things,” you would have lost your mind. But here we are.

North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test early on Sunday morning (local time), the first such test of the new Trump administration. The missile was fired into the sea, a provocative, though not unprecedented move by Pyongyang, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning such tests by North Korea in order to deter the country from developing nuclear capability.

Here’s more on the test from CNN:

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told CNN that the missile appears to be a modified intermediate-range Musudan level missile. Earlier analysis had guessed it to be a shorter-range Rodong. They ruled out the possibility that it was a longer-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — which are usually designed to carry nuclear warheads — based on the flight distance. Sources told CNN that the missile traveled 500 kilometers (310 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, and that it was launched from North Pyongan Province.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the test from Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, stating that it “can absolutely not be tolerated.” “The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” Trump said on Saturday.

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MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN APPARENTLY INCLUDES COLD WAR-ERA DOMINANCE

In Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on February 24, 2017 at 11:18 am

Washington Post — February 23, 2017
By Philip Bump

President Trump has called nuclear weapons “the single greatest problem the world has” – but he’s also made some controversial statements about them. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

At the end of last year, after he won the election but before he was inaugurated, President-elect Donald Trump decided to proactively set U.S. nuclear policy via Twitter.

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he tweeted Dec. 22. It was an out-of-the-blue declaration that made sense only as a response to a comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made earlier in the day, in which Putin suggested that his country planned to strengthen its own strategic nuclear arsenal.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Trump revisited the issue, declaring that the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.” He placed some of the blame for this on the 2010 New START agreement, a successor to the 1991 START agreement that was signed by President Barack Obama and aimed at further reducing the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States. New START, Trump said, was “another bad deal that the country made.”

“I am the first one that would like to see nobody have nukes,” he said, “but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country. We’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.”

“If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” he added.

During his daily news briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the comments by Alexis Simendinger of RealClearPolitics.

“What he was very clear on is that the United States will not yield its supremacy in this area to anybody,” Spicer said. “That’s what he made very clear in there. And that if other countries have nuclear capabilities, it will always be the United States that has the supreme … supremacy and commitment to this.”

“Obviously, that’s not what we’re seeking to do,” he continued, apparently referring to expanding the nuclear arsenal. “The question that was asked was about other people growing their stockpiles. And I think what he has been clear on is that our goal is to make sure that we maintain America’s dominance around the world and that if other countries flout it, we don’t sit back and allow them to grow theirs.”

There’s a reason that the United States is cutting nuclear deals with Russia, of course: Only our two countries have nuclear arsenals of any significance. It’s a bit like Paul McCartney and John Lennon entering a music competition against two Nickelback cover bands and Jimmy Buffett. There are really only two people in the running.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how many nuclear weapons each nuclear nation has (such things are generally not public information), the Federation of American Scientists puts together estimates. Per its numbers, the United States has an arsenal of about 6,800 weapons to Russia’s 7,000 — with the next most heavily equipped nation being France at 300.

A lot of considerations come into play when assessing nuclear arsenals, including the nuclear triad, the tripartite delivery system the military relies on for delivery. The Obama administration had proposed modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including the triad, though it later sought to scale that back.

The position of the United States and Russia as defined in the New START agreement was that both nations desired to “forge a new strategic relationship based on mutual trust” and, therefore, work to “bring their respective nuclear postures into alignment with this new relationship” and “to reduce further the role and importance of nuclear weapons.”

It’s not clear where Trump sees a threat to our nuclear position, if not from Russia. It’s not as though North Korea’s nascent nuclear program is going to suddenly challenge our own, necessitating a quick ramp-up in developing intercontinental ballistic missiles. If Trump’s concerned about Russia having slightly more nuclear weapons than us, well, it has for some time.

According to the FAS, Russia (then the Soviet Union) had passed the United States in the size of its nuclear arsenal before Ronald Reagan took office.

Trump’s assertions in December and to Reuters fit with his broad policy toward military strength: peace through dominance. While Spicer is correct that this doesn’t necessarily mean an immediate build-up of nuclear capability, it continues to represent a break from Trump’s predecessors — and from the negotiated New START agreement, which remains in effect until February 2018.

full story with graphics — https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/02/23/making-america-great-again-apparently-includes-cold-war-era-nuclear-dominance/

In age of Trump, apocalyptic rhetoric becomes mainstream

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Peace, Politics, Public Health, War on February 23, 2017 at 9:06 am

By Jessica Mendoza, Christian Science Monitor,
Staff writer | @_jessicamendoza
FEBRUARY 22, 2017 LOS ANGELES

The longer President Trump is in office, the more Cat Deakins worries about the future – for herself and her children.

With every executive order and cabinet appointment, she envisions another scenario: an America that rejects immigrants, that succumbs to climate change, that erupts in war.

“It’s scary to me that [people within the administration] are promoting this idea of, ‘We are at war with Islam.’ That’s the kind of thinking that leads to World War III,” says Ms. Deakins, a cinematographer in Los Angeles. “I don’t think we can be alarmed enough.”

It’s a strain of thought that’s begun to take root in leftist narratives as the Trump administration enters its second month. The idea is that since taking office, the president has led the nation – and continues to lead it – down a path that will culminate in a dictatorship, a police state, or both. As Slate columnist Michelle Goldman writes, “To talk about Trump as a menace to our democratic way of life understates the crisis.”

To some degree, such statements reflect the pendulum swing of political power; conservatives made similar claims during former President Barack Obama’s tenure. And observers warn against reacting in an apocalyptic way to policies that are merely partisan.
Still, Mr. Trump is unpredictable, a president unprecedented in modern times, who has already used an expanded set of executive powers to pursue his agenda – one that many see as threatening widely held democratic principles.

“There is legitimate basis for concern,” says John Pitney Jr., a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. “While apocalyptic rhetoric might be exaggerated, there have been real invasions of civil liberties, deep threats to civil rights. It’s perfectly appropriate to be watchful and wary.”

A sense of alarm

Sinister talk and ominous rumors are not new to American politics – from Ronald Reagan’s supposed propensity toward nuclear war with the Soviet Union to the Clintons’ purported involvement in the death of White House attorney Vince Foster.

“It was on the fringes,” Professor Pitney says. “But what we’ve seen since the turn of the century is the mainstreaming of apocalyptic rhetoric.”

During former President Barack Obama’s tenure, conservative pundits regularly made apocalyptic pronouncements about his heritage and religion. Some on the far right predicted his presidency would transform America into an Islamist or communist state.

Those prophecies proved groundless – and fed into a dangerous cycle of partisan antipathy, political analysts say.

Today, the sense of alarm has trickled down into the lives of some Americans who face a constant barrage of headlines and disputes, especially on social media.

Olaf Wolden, a documentary filmmaker in New York City, says he worries about Trump’s strained relationship with the press and the truth. “When information doesn’t fit the narrative he needs, he attacks it,” Mr. Wolden says. “That’s a classic move out of the playbook of [Joseph] Stalin or [Augusto] Pinochet.”

Others, like Deakins, are troubled by the upheaval in the administration’s early days, such as the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. “It’s horrifying to watch it roll out,” she says.

Still others point to the president’s attitude toward immigrants, which they say stokes racism and xenophobia.

“Building a border wall, scapegoating immigrants as one of the major problems for folks here in America – that is a threat to democracy,” says Alex Montances, an advocate for the rights of Filipino migrants in Long Beach, Calif.

That said, a line must be drawn between critiques of poorly crafted policies and apocalyptic concerns, says Peter Berkowitz, an expert on US conservatism and progressivism at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

There’s a difference, he says, between those who harshly criticized Mr. Obama because they saw the Affordable Care Act as government overreach and those who cast him as un-American and a tyrant based on false allegations about his race or religion

Likewise, a distinction must be made between those who are horrified by Trump’s immigration policy – like his border wall and temporary ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries – and those who say that the US is now a fascist state.

Journalists remain free to cover the news as they see fit, the Supreme Court to block executive orders it deems unconstitutional, and Congress to wrangle over laws they disagree about, he points out.

“Some of Trump’s rhetoric provides reason for heightened concern,” Berkowitz says. “That we are already fascistic – none of the evidence I see brought forward suggests that.”

Not being judicious in one’s criticism risks losing credibility, says Erik Fogg, co-author of the 2015 book, “Wedged: How You Became a Tool of the Partisan Political Establishment, and How to Start Thinking for Yourself Again.

“Regardless of what party you come from – but in particular for the left right now – the key is to be very, very selective about where they raise the alarm,” says Mr. Fogg.

A dangerous cycle

A key consequence – and driving factor – of apocalyptic rhetoric is political polarization.

In 2004, only about 1 in 10 Americans were consistently liberal or conservative across most values, the Pew Research Center reports. By 2014, the figure had doubled. The same year, Pew found that 27 percent of Democrats saw the Republican Party as “a threat to the nation’s well-being.” Thirty-six percent of Republicans said the same of the Democratic Party.

Such mistrust has paved the way for more extreme partisanship.

In one of countless tirades against the former president, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh – whose program remains one of the most popular talk shows on the air today – lambasted Obama in 2012 for saying that the rich often have help earning their wealth.

“Barack Obama is trying to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “This is what we have as a president: A radical ideologue, a ruthless politician who despises the country and the way it was founded and the way in which it became great.”

Progressive pundits have since made their own proclamations of Trump’s evil intentions.

In January, Salon politics writer Chauncey DeVega accused the GOP of mobilizing “anti-black and anti-brown animus for political gain” and blamed “obsolete journalistic norms of ‘fairness,’ ‘balance,’ and ‘objectivity’ ” for failing to call out Trump’s fascism.

“Donald Trump and his supporters represent the tyranny of minority opinion,” Mr. DeVega wrote. “Consequently, they are the worst example of the will, spirit and character of the American people.”

“You have extremity on both sides of the spectrum. That’s what leads to apocalyptic thoughts about politics,” says Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “But there are probably apocalyptic thoughts that lead to polarization. It’s all rather cyclical.”
By making caricature monsters of the other side, “you make reconciliation harder and harder,” says Fogg, the author. And it also could affect both parties’ ability to see the real threat, he adds.

“You can’t write off the other team’s apocalyptic ideas as pure hysteria and embrace our own, and then when it doesn’t come to pass let it go,” he says. “I think the trick is going to be … figure out the real threat, and counter that. If we don’t, we’ll be scattered.”

Gamma Radiation Only. Is your city on the List or close by?

In Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Radiation Standards on February 19, 2017 at 4:07 am

GAMMA RADIATION REPORT: YRTW SOL No 3 and 4 (Your Radiation This Week)
By Bob Nichols on February 11, 2017, Veterans Today

NOTICE: I have determined that it is necessary for Public Health and because the many nuclear reactors are Venting radioactive gases and Steam at nights and on weekends that all residents must stay inside at nights and on weekends. Especially hard hit are the cities listed in YRTW. See the latest Your Radiation This Week for the most recent list of contaminated cities.

Personal letter from Bob Nichols, Thursday, February 9, 2017
jeeeeez, all up and down the East Coast down to South Carolina the big gigawatt reactors turned on at about the same time this morning.
All of the East Coast graphs at Netc.com had the same straight up line on the 2nd Page Paid Graphs as the radioactive emissions climbed straight up for six hours. The graphs looked like the old oil burning junker cars like many of us have had at one time or another. Folks, this IS hell on a radioactive earth. This is horrible.

Bob Nichols
Writer
Veterans Today

(February 11, 2017) – Good Day, this is “Your Radiation This Week” for the past 2 weeks. These are the Recorded Total Gamma Radiation Highs that affected people around the United States. YRTW is published every two weeks on Saturday. The next publication dates are February 25 and March 11, 2017.

New York City more Radioactive than Tokyo, Japan

New Radiation Measurements just released by Bob Nichols, columnist for Veterans Today, show New York City is more radioactive than Tokyo, Japan.

San Diego, on the West Coast of America, far exceeds both beleaguered cities in the deadly radiation sweepstakes. The Race for the Rad is deadly precisely because there are no winners in this contest; only death and disillusionment.

Tokyo … 50 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
New York City … 68 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
San Diego … 108 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
Tokyo hit 50, New York City reached 68 and San Diego, California was crippled by Nailing 108. The measurements are made in the widely accepted nanoSieverts per Hour, abbreviated world wide as nSv/Hour.

These numbers finally give normal people a way to compare like with like in the ever more dangerously radioactive world. You can easily compare New York City and Tokyo.

Eight Absorbed Sieverts per Hour and you are a dead duck; you are history; a Goner. Got it? Oh yea, remember that the Rad is cumulative.

_______________________________________________________

ALERT: The Readings below are in CPM, NOT Sieverts. They are Very Different. It’s a matter of maiming, life and death; the usual stuff in the world of Rad; the only question is “What’s the magic cumulative number that kills or disables you.”

Listed in Counts per Minute, a Count is one Radioactive Decay Registered by the Instrument. CPM and Sieverts are used by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency,) to measure ionizing, deadly radiation.
The Top Reporting Radioactive Cities are listed. The highest radiation reporting cities are listed by their Radiation Reading and alphabetically.

Still, all reporting cities are above normal. The reporting Radioactive Cities are a few of the radioactive cities in the States. For 2017 YRTW SOL will list some America’s cities Total Gamma Radiation. Take all necessary precautions.
Total Gamma Radiation CPM * City State

See New Video: All Reactors Leak All Of The Time

COUNT CPM, Times Normal, CITY, STATE TYPE OF RAD CORRUPTED?
11,139 CPM, 2227.8 Times Normal, Navajo Lake, NM. MIA
Yes
10,676 CPM, 2135.2 Times Normal, ColoradoSprings, CO. All Gamma Yes
10,564 CPM, 2112.8 Times Normal, Raleigh, NC. All Gamma Yes
9,852 CPM, 1970.4 Times Normal, Grand Junction, CO. All Gamma Yes
9,689 CPM, 1937.8 Times Normal, Spokane, WA. All Gamma Yes
9,439 CPM, 1887.8 Times Normal, Amarillo, TX. All Gamma Yes
9,385 CPM, 1877 Times Normal, Billings, MT. All Gamma Yes
9,255 CPM, 1851 Times Normal, Bakersfield, CA. All Gamma Yes
8,901 CPM, 1780.2 Times Normal, Little Rock, AR. All Gamma Yes
8,866 CPM, 1773.2 Times Normal, Fresno, CA. All Gamma Yes
8,583 CPM, 1716.6 Times Normal, Worcester, MA. All Gamma
8,535 CPM, 1707 Times Normal, Rochester, NY. All Gamma
8,308 CPM, 1661.6 Times Normal, Harrisonburg, VA. All Gamma Yes
8,189 CPM, 1637.8 Times Normal, Portland, ME. All Gamma Yes
8,183 CPM, 1636.6 Times Normal, Yuma, AZ. All Gamma Yes
8,074 CPM, 1614.8 Times Normal, Tucson, AZ. All Gamma
8,056 CPM 1611.2 Times Normal, Champaign, IL. All Gamma Yes
8,035 CPM, 1607 Times Normal, El Paso, TX. All Gamma
7,906 CPM, 1581.2 Times Normal, Riverside, CA. All Gamma
7,899 CPM, 1579.8 Times Normal, Louisville, KY. All Gamma Yes
7,871 CPM, 1574.2 Times Normal, San Diego, CA. All Gamma Yes
7,789 CPM, 1557.8 Times Normal, Rapid City, SD. All Gamma
7,704 CPM, 1540.8 Times Normal, Pittsburgh, PA, All Gamma Yes
7,582 CPM, 1516.4 Times Normal, Hartford, CT. All Gamma
7,300 CPM, 1460 Times Normal, Kansas City, KS. All Gamma Yes
7,299 CPM, 1459.8 Times Normal, Augusta, GA. All Gamma Yes
7,282 CPM, 1456.4 Times Normal, Cleveland, OH All Gamma
7,259 CPM, 1451.88 Times Normal, Reno, NV. All Gamma
7,015 CPM, 1403 Times Normal, Boston, MA. All Gamma Yes
7,007 CPM, 1401.4 Times Normal, Charleston, WV. MIA Yes
6,859 CPM, 1371.8 Times Normal, Tulsa, OK. All Gamma Yes
6,820 CPM, 1364 Times Normal, Idaho Falls, ID. All Gamma Yes
6,776 CPM, 1355.2 Times Normal, Los Angeles, CA. All Gamma Yes
6,774 CPM, 1354.8 Times Normal, Anaheim, CA All Gamma
6,754 CPM, 1350.8 Times Normal, Boise, ID All Gamma Yes
6,593 CPM, 1318.6 Times Normal, Albuquerque, NM. All Gamma Yes
6,559 CPM, 1311.8 Times Normal, San Bernardino Cty All Gamma
6,544 CPM, 1,308.80 Times Normal, Concord, NH. All Gamma Yes
6,450 CPM, 1290 Times Normal, Oklahoma City, OK All Gamma Yes
6,393 CPM, 1278.6 Times Normal, Casper WY. All Gamma Yes
6,144 CPM, 1228.8 Times Normal, Wichita, KS. All Gamma Yes
6,089 CPM, 1217.8 Times Normal, Phoenix, AZ All Gamma Yes
5,892 CPM, 1178.4 Times Normal, New York City, NY. All Gamma Yes
5,699 CPM, 1139.8 Times Normal, Bismarck, ND. All Gamma Yes
5,658 CPM, 1131.6 Times Normal, Shreveport, LA. All Gamma
5,553 CPM, 1110.6 Times Normal, Salt Lake City, UT. All Gamma Yes
5,329 CPM, 1065.8 Times Normal, Ft Worth, Tx. All Gamma
5,182 CPM, 1036.4 Times Normal, Mason City, IA. All Gamma Yes
4,769 CPM, 953.8 Times Normal, Carlsbad, NM. All Gamma Yes
4,725 CPM, 945 Times Normal, Knoxville, TN. All Gamma Yes
4,505 CPM, 901 Times Normal, Aurora, IL All Gamma Yes
4,382 CPM, 876.4 Times Normal, San Francisco, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,173 CPM, 834.6 Times Normal, San Jose, CA All Gamma Yes
4,104 CPM, 820.8 Times Normal, Eureka, CA. All Gamma
3,777 CPM, 755.4 Times Normal, Sacramento, CA. All Gamma Yes
3,214 CPM, 642.8 Times Normal, Yaphank, NY. All Gamma
2,849 CPM, 569.8 Times Normal, Washington, DC. All Gamma Yes
Count – 57 Cities

Rad Cities in Alphabetical Order

COUNT CPM, Times Normal, CITY, STATE TYPE OF RAD CORRUPTED?
6,593 CPM, 1318.6 Times Normal, Albuquerque, NM. All Gamma Yes
9,439 CPM, 1887.8 Times Normal, Amarillo, TX. All Gamma Yes
6,774 CPM, 1354.8 Times Normal, Anaheim, CA All Gamma
7,299 CPM, 1459.8 Times Normal, Augusta, GA. All Gamma Yes
4,505 CPM, 901 Times Normal, Aurora, IL All Gamma Yes
9,255 CPM, 1851 Times Normal, Bakersfield, CA. All Gamma Yes
9,385 CPM, 1877 Times Normal, Billings, MT. All Gamma Yes
5,699 CPM, 1139.8 Times Normal, Bismarck, ND. All Gamma Yes
6,754 CPM, 1350.8 Times Normal, Boise, ID All Gamma Yes
7,015 CPM, 1403 Times Normal, Boston, MA. All Gamma Yes
4,769 CPM, 953.8 Times Normal, Carlsbad, NM. All Gamma Yes
6,393 CPM, 1278.6 Times Normal, Casper WY. All Gamma Yes
8,056 CPM 1611.2 Times Normal, Champaign, IL. All Gamma Yes
7,007 CPM, 1401.4 Times Normal, Charleston, WV. MIA Yes
7,282 CPM, 1456.4 Times Normal, Cleveland, OH All Gamma
10,676 CPM, 2135.2 Times Normal, ColoradoSprings, CO. All Gamma Yes
6,544 CPM, 1,308.80 Times Normal, Concord, NH. All Gamma Yes
8,035 CPM, 1607 Times Normal, El Paso, TX. All Gamma
4,104 CPM, 820.8 Times Normal, Eureka, CA. All Gamma
8,866 CPM, 1773.2 Times Normal, Fresno, CA. All Gamma Yes
5,329 CPM, 1065.8 Times Normal, Ft Worth, Tx. All Gamma
9,852 CPM, 1970.4 Times Normal, Grand Junction, CO. All Gamma Yes
8,308 CPM, 1661.6 Times Normal, Harrisonburg, VA. All Gamma Yes
7,582 CPM, 1516.4 Times Normal, Hartford, CT. All Gamma
6,820 CPM, 1364 Times Normal, Idaho Falls, ID. All Gamma Yes
7,300 CPM, 1460 Times Normal, Kansas City, KS. All Gamma Yes
4,725 CPM, 945 Times Normal, Knoxville, TN. All Gamma Yes
8,901 CPM, 1780.2 Times Normal, Little Rock, AR. All Gamma Yes
6,776 CPM, 1355.2 Times Normal, Los Angeles, CA. All Gamma Yes
7,899 CPM, 1579.8 Times Normal, Louisville, KY. All Gamma Yes
5,182 CPM, 1036.4 Times Normal, Mason City, IA. All Gamma Yes
11,139 CPM, 2227.8 Times Normal, Navajo Lake, NM. MIA Yes
5,892 CPM, 1178.4 Times Normal, New York City, NY. All Gamma Yes
6,450 CPM, 1290 Times Normal, Oklahoma City, OK All Gamma Yes
6,089 CPM, 1217.8 Times Normal, Phoenix, AZ All Gamma Yes
7,704 CPM, 1540.8 Times Normal, Pittsburgh, PA, All Gamma Yes
8,189 CPM, 1637.8 Times Normal, Portland, ME. All Gamma Yes
10,564 CPM, 2112.8 Times Normal, Raleigh, NC. All Gamma Yes
7,789 CPM, 1557.8 Times Normal, Rapid City, SD. All Gamma
7,259 CPM, 1451.88 Times Normal, Reno, NV. All Gamma
7,906 CPM, 1581.2 Times Normal, Riverside, CA. All Gamma
8,535 CPM, 1707 Times Normal, Rochester, NY. All Gamma
3,777 CPM, 755.4 Times Normal, Sacramento, CA. All Gamma Yes
5,553 CPM, 1110.6 Times Normal, Salt Lake City, UT. All Gamma Yes
6,559 CPM, 1311.8 Times Normal, San Bernardino Cty All Gamma
7,871 CPM, 1574.2 Times Normal, San Diego, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,382 CPM, 876.4 Times Normal, San Francisco, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,173 CPM, 834.6 Times Normal, San Jose, CA All Gamma Yes
5,658 CPM, 1131.6 Times Normal, Shreveport, LA. All Gamma
9,689 CPM, 1937.8 Times Normal, Spokane, WA. All Gamma Yes
8,074 CPM, 1614.8 Times Normal, Tucson, AZ. All Gamma
6,859 CPM, 1371.8 Times Normal, Tulsa, OK. All Gamma Yes
2,849 CPM, 569.8 Times Normal, Washington, DC. All Gamma Yes
6,144 CPM, 1228.8 Times Normal, Wichita, KS. All Gamma Yes
8,583 CPM, 1716.6 Times Normal, Worcester, MA. All Gamma
3,214 CPM, 642.8 Times Normal, Yaphank, NY. All Gamma
8,183 CPM, 1636.6 Times Normal, Yuma, AZ. All Gamma Yes
Count – 57 Cities

Radiation knocks out your Immunities
Everywhere we look – worldwide – old and new diseases are on the march. In its most basic kill attribute Ionizing Radiation is an all out attack on our Immune systems. As the immunities of the whole planet are taken down a notch, new and old diseases come roaring to life.

Oddly, it is not that the diseases are anything especially new or unusual. It is the Immunities of the human, animal and plant hosts that are destroyed and diseases rush in to feed on the newly unprotected food sources.

It is very likely that the new and old or mutated diseases will last much longer that the newly susceptible hosts – including humans. Here’s the big picture from Eco-Health Alliance on killer viruses:

Eco Health Alliance interactive map of killer viruses
https://eidr.ecohealthalliance.org/event-map

Follow Bob Nichols on Blog, Twitter and YouTube now.

Have a wonderful radioactive weekend and remember to Dodge the Rads, it’s dangerous out there.

Copyright by Bob Nichols @ 2017: Reproduce and distribute. Give full attribution to Bob Nichols at duweapons@gmail.com
________________________________________
Notes and Sources
1. The Radiation charts and graphs of the EPA. Individual queries can be built at the EPA RadNet Query Builder.
2. The EPA based reporting of NETC, an LLC.
3. These stations’ Radiation equals Total Gamma Radiation. Gamma Radiation Monitors are reporting publicly at all these locations.
4. CPM. “Although we can’t see it, taste it, smell it or hear it we can measure radiation and observe its effects. One way to measure radiation which the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has chosen to use on its radiation websites is in Counts Per Minute or CPM. Each Count is One Radioactive Decay.” Quote from the ‘Your Radiation This Week’ Apr 3, 2015.
5. Radiation destruction of chitin, IAEA, by Ershov, B.G.; Sukhov, N.L.; Nud’ga, L.A.; Baklagina, Yu.G.; Kozhevnikova, L.G.; Petropavlovskii, G.A. (Institute of Physical Chemistry, Moscow (Russian Federation)
6. “Plutonium Air” by Dr Paolo Scampa, AIPRI Blog, Aug 19, 2016,
7. “Radioactive Fertilizer,” AIPRI by Dr Paolo Scampa, September 23, 2016, AIPRI: Les engrais radioactifs,
8. “Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds,” By ABBY GOODNOUGH OCT. 19, 2016,
EPA Proposal Allows Radiation Exposure in Drinking Water Equivalent to 250 Chest X-Rays a Year
9. “Forty-five (45) years later, the Nuclear States officially raise the amounts of “permitted radiation levels” by hundreds and sometimes thousands of times to maintain the utter and absolute dominance of the Nuclear State over everything, everywhere, for all time. No tolerance given.” [10] “In the never ending war between the suits (politicians) and the physicists, the suits win yet again; by changing the rules. It takes more than logic to fight these animals and win.”
10. US Gov: Walk Slow May 24, 2013
11. “Baghdad” by Dr. Paolo Scampa, AIPRI, Saturday 12 November 2016 http://aipri.blogspot.it/2016/11/bagdad.html
12. “News Release, New Aerial Survey Identifies More Than 100 Million Dead Trees in California,” USDA Office of Communications, “This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million,”
13. Caribou herd in Alaska suffering from mysterious decline, November 30, 2016, Noel Kirkpatrick, MNN Mother Nature Network, “The Central Arctic caribou herd in Alaska is experiencing a “steep decline” in its population, and scientists are researching the reasons why.”
14. “Facing a Dying Nation,” a line from the 1979 Tribal Rock Musical HAIR. A scene with “Facing a Dying Nation” starring Treat Williams from the movie is here: The character Pfc. Berger is KIA in Vietnam in 1968.
15. It is Eugen Wigner’s name as a Verb. It’s about all things Wignerized. See Notes on Your Radiation This Week No. 69 and 70
16. sie·vert, ˈsēvərt/, noun Physics, noun: sievert; plural noun: sieverts; symbol: Sv, the SI unit of dose equivalent (the biological effect of ionizing radiation), equal to an effective dose of a joule of energy per kilogram of recipient mass. Google: Sievert or https://www.google.com/search?q=sievert&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
17. Eco Health Alliance interactive map of killer viruses https://eidr.ecohealthalliance.org/event-map

Nuclear Arsenal

In Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

The Independent Newspaper
Thursday, February 16, 2017

I participated in the U.S. and international movements to ban nuclear weapons in the 1980’s. Progress was made at that time in the US/Russian commitment to decommission and destroy accumulated nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of a world without such weapons.
That commitment to disarm has deteriorated, and the world is now only two and one-half minutes from midnight according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They have moved the hands of their iconic Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to the nuclear hour that marks the end of humanity.
The Bulletin cited several reasons for the darkening of the global security landscape including deteriorating relations between the US and Russia (together possessing more than 90% of world’s nuclear weapons), North Korea’s continuing weapons development, the march of arsenal modernization programs in nuclear weapons states, and new doubt over the future of the Iran Nuclear Deal, (though it proved successful in meeting goals in year one.)
These are all matters President Trump has signaled that he would make worse due to “ill-considered comments about expanding and even deploying the US Nuclear arsenal, a troubling propensity to discount or outright reject expert advice about international security, including the conclusions of intelligence experts ,” according to the Bulletin. I would add to this list his condoning of fake news and alternative facts.
I think that no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. Stopping and reversing this ruinous nuclear race must be a priority. See trivalleycares.org or wagingpeace.org to take action.
Patricia Moore, MSW
Livermore

The author of this artice is a member of Tri-Valley Cares of Livermore, CA, an affiliate of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

Report: U.S. nukes to cost $400B over next decade

In Cost, Nuclear Guardianship, Plutonium on February 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm

 

By Mark Oswald, Journal North, February 15, 2017

SANTA FE – The cost over the next decade of operating, maintaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal – including for work at national laboratories like Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico – is estimated to be $400 billion, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office.

That’s up from the last decade-long estimate of $348 billion that the budget office made in December 2013 for the years 2014 to 2023.

The new report says the expected average of $40 billion in nuclear weapons expenses per year through 2026 takes into account that programs are further along than when the previous estimate was made and some modernization efforts, particularly for a new bomber, have become better defined. Also, updates of intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles “have increased in scope or have been accelerated,” says the CBO report.

The $400 million estimate for the decade includes $87 million for the national laboratories around the country, including costs related to “maintaining current and future stockpiles of nuclear weapons.” In New Mexico, that work includes ramping up the production of plutonium “pits,” the grapefruit-size cores of nuclear bombs that serve as triggers, at Los Alamos. No new pits have been made since 2011, but LANL is under a mandate to make as many as 80 by 2030.

The huge nuclear arsenal modernization plan now underway was part of President Barack Obama’s deal with Congress over ratification of the New START Treaty on arms control that Obama signed in 2011.

Greg Mello of the local Los Alamos Study Group research and advocacy organization said the CBO’s report leaves out some big-ticket items, such cleanup for nuclear weapons work and disposing of old nuclear weapons buildings, which put the actual 10-year costs at more than $500 billion.

“No one can tell what these huge, multi-decade programs will cost but, over the next 30 years, the total cost will certainly be above a trillion dollars,” said Mello. “These modernization plans conflict with other DoD (Department of Defense) acquisition plans. Nobody has any politically realistic idea of where all this money will come from.”

Other projected costs for the next 10 years include: $189 billion for weapons delivery systems such as missiles, ballistic missile submarines and long-range bombers; $9 billion for “tactical” nuclear weapons delivery systems, such as shorter-range aircraft; and $58 billion for the DoD’s “command, control, communications and early warnings systems.

Another $56 billion was included as coverage in the event that the cost of nuclear programs exceed “planned amounts at roughly the same rates that costs for similar programs have grown in the past.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/950875/report-u-s-nuke-arsenal-will-cost-400-billion-over-next-decade.html

Trump and the Doomsday Clock

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 13, 2017 at 11:06 pm

By Jeffrey D. Sachs FEBRUARY 12, 2017
The most chilling concern about Donald Trump is the worldwide fear that he puts our very survival at risk. This is not loose talk or partisanship. It was recently expressed by the most thoughtful experts who monitor the risks to our survival: The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who are the keepers of the Doomsday Clock. These experts have just told the world it is “Two and a half minutes to midnight,” where midnight signifies the end of civilization. This is the closest to doom since 1953, when both the United States and Russia first possessed thermonuclear weapons capable of destroying the world.

Let’s not panic. Instead, let’s think, plan, and act. As President John F. Kennedy famously declared, “Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man.” The problem of Donald Trump can be solved too, by the institutions of American democracy and the international rule of law.
The Doomsday Clock was created 70 years ago, in the early days of the Cold War and the nuclear weapons race between the United States and the Soviet Union. For the first time in human history, mankind possessed the means of causing not only great carnage and suffering, but also the very destruction of humanity. The early generation of atomic scientists recognized the profound and unprecedented dangers of the new weapons and sought to warn the world. In the first edition of the clock, in 1947, they set the it to seven minutes before midnight, nuclear Armageddon. As the Cold War intensified, and atomic bombs gave way to vastly more powerful thermonuclear bombs, the minute hand moved five minutes closer to midnight.

When JFK came into office he powerfully expressed the existential paradox of modernity. “For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” We never came closer to the end than in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, when mistakes by both the United States and the Soviet Union led the world to the very brink of nuclear war. In 1963, brilliant diplomacy by Kennedy, supported by the moral leadership of Pope John XXIII and the bold statesmanship of Nikita Khrushchev, led to the signing of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Humanity was spared. The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock moved back to 12 minutes before midnight, a margin of safety.

With America’s escalation of the Vietnam War under Lyndon Johnson, the minute hand began to move once again toward midnight, while Richard Nixon’s “detente” with the Soviet Union again reduced the tensions and put the minute hand back to 12 minutes before midnight. Then tensions escalated with Ronald Reagan’s new arms buildup, until Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev launched the process of political and economic reform, perestroika, that culminated in the end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union itself in 1991. Humanity had, it seemed, reached a moment of relative safety; the minute hand stood at 17 minutes before midnight that year.

Yet if ever a historic opportunity for safety was squandered, this was it. Every US president since then — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — has contributed to a decline of global safety, with the minute-hand moving from 17 minutes before midnight to just three minutes before midnight last year, even before Donald Trump became president. And after just a few days in office, Trump has contributed to another 30-second jump of the minute-hand toward midnight.

What went wrong between 1991 and now? Two grave mistakes. The first was the failure to capitalize on the end of the Cold War by establishing a trustworthy relationship between the United States and Russia. While most Americans would blame Vladimir Putin for that, they should follow the Gospel advice of Jesus: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Instead of working with Russia after 1991, the United States unilaterally asserted its military power, expanding NATO toward Russia’s borders and invading several countries in the Middle East. The Cold War was revived, not ended.
The second mistake was to turn a blind eye to the second existential threat: human-induced global warming. While the threat from nuclear weapons was easy enough to perceive (though also easy to forget day to day), the existential threat from human-induced climate change was far more difficult. To understand it requires at least a basic awareness of quantum physics, the Earth’s physical dynamics, and Earth’s climate and economic history. Our presidents and Congress have lacked that. They understand money from lobbyists — oil and gas companies — not quantum physics.

There are dire risks of our continued burning of coal, oil, and gas. When these fossil fuels are burned, they emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has the special quantum-mechanical property that it absorbs infrared radiation and thereby acts as a kind of atmospheric “greenhouse” for Earth, causing the planet to warm. This is of course clear to atmospheric chemists but not to most politicians. The science and Earth history also make clear that we are recklessly gambling with future survival. The ocean level could rise by 20 feet or more as a result of even slight further increases in temperature. Only a fool would say that since such an outcome is not completely certain, we should simply continue to burn fossil fuels at the maximum rate.

After just a few days as president, Trump induced the atomic scientists to move the minute-hand another 30 seconds toward midnight. They explained their unprecedented move as follows:

“The board’s decision to move the clock less than a full minute — something it has never before done — reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days. Many of his Cabinet nominations are not yet confirmed by the Senate or installed in government, and he has had little time to take official action. Just the same, words matter, and President Trump has had plenty to say over the last year. Both his statements and his actions as president-elect have broken with historical precedent in unsettling ways.’’

They then cite Trump’s recklessness both toward nuclear weapons and climate change. On nuclear weapons, Trump has casually suggested that Japan and Korea should become nuclear powers; that a new nuclear-arms race is welcome; and that the use of nuclear weapons (e.g., in regard to ISIS) is not “off the table.” Yes, for every statement such as these, there are equal and opposite statements as well. There is, in short, casualness, inconsistency, and incoherence.

On climate change, the inconsistencies are not the problem; denial is. Trump has completely turned his administration’s environmental policies over to the oil and gas industry. The State Department is now in the hands of ExxonMobil; the Environmental Protection Agency is in the hands of politicians like Scott Pruitt, long financed by the fossil-fuel industry. The word on Capitol Hill is simple: The mega-billionaire Koch brothers, who own the nation’s largest private fossil-fuel company, own Congress, or at least the Republican side.

Trump is a bully whose bluster is designed to intimidate and wrong-foot a foe, and in Trump’s worldview, just about everybody is a foe. As he has famously explained, in an attitude inherited from his father, there are “killers” and there are “losers.” The bluster is designed to put Killer Trump ahead of the losers. The key to survival in the Trump era is to look past the bluster, face down the bullying, and prevent Trump’s poorly controlled emotions from guiding the policies of the United States on these life-and-death issues.

Despite the bravado of the flood of executive orders, most of them are mere statements of intent, not legally binding instruments. The courts will have their say; and the regulatory agencies must follow rigorous procedures to change existing regulations, all of which are subject to court review and congressional supervision. This is not to say that bullies do not get their way; they can. But bullies only get their way when others back down.

Trump’s recklessness can be checked in five ways.

First, the courts will scrutinize these poorly prepared and ill-considered executive orders; many will be quashed. The Muslim ban on entry to the United States is now on hold, perhaps never to be implemented. Every one of Trump’s early executive orders is likely to face court challenges and prolonged litigation.

Second, it will just take a few patriotic Republican senators joining with the Democrats to put a stop to Trump’s mad rush of recklessness. Will Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, or Ron Paul, among others, really stand by if Trump acts recklessly brings us to the brink of nuclear war? Or would these and other senators allow the corruption and greed of the Senate to gut the Paris Climate Agreement? Of course, that’s possible, but these senators have children and grandchildren too, and most are not as stupid as their party’s official position on climate change.

Third, Trump is rapidly uniting the world — against the United States. Within just two weeks of office, Trump had the European Union president listing the Trump administration alongside Russia, China, and the Middle East as threats to the European Union. China’s President Xi Jinping has offered to take up the internationalist mantle that Trump is so eager to relinquish. Almost all of the world is also united in urging the handful of nuclear-weapons countries to honor their solemn obligations, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament, and not to instigate a renewed and dangerous arms race.

Fourth, while consumers have little sway over nuclear weapons, they have considerable sway over climate change. America’s brand names need to be put on notice: If you cower to the Koch Brothers, American Petroleum Institute, and Chamber of Commerce, you will pay a price. General Electric, are you with us or against us on saving the planet? How about you, Pepsi, Walmart, IBM, Walt Disney, GM, and other companies on Trump’s “strategic and policy forum”? Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has already walked out of the forum because of Trump’s Muslim travel ban. For those who remain, the millennial generation of consumers will soon walk out on you if you are accomplices to Trump’s attempt to gut the treaty agreements restricting global warming and the domestic regulations to implement them.

Fifth, of course, is electoral politics. In moments of pessimism, it may seem that Trump will trample American democracy, thereby preventing a course correction in 2020 or earlier. Yet Trump is no Caesar or Augustus, and America is no republican Rome on the verge of succumbing to dictatorship. No doubt Trump can do great damage; our institutional checks and balances have been gravely weakened by decades of rule by the military-industrial-intelligence complex. Presidents indeed have the power to launch wars, even secret ones run by the CIA and special ops units that can kill vast numbers of innocents. Yet the first days of Trump’s mayhem show that the American people, and our political institutions, are not ready to accede to bullies. I’m counting on the millennials to lead the way.

**********

Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and author of “The Age of Sustainable Development.”

What Trump Doesn’t Get About Nukes

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 12, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Will Trump come to his senses in time to avert an arms race and a nuclear war?

By Bruce Blair, Politico, February 11, 2017
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/trump-putin-call-nuclear-weapons-214768

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet premier, warned in an extraordinary article late last month that the “increasingly belligerent” tone of geopolitical debates looked to him “as if the world is preparing for war.” He urged the United Nations Security Council to “adopt a resolution stating that nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought.”

To almost everyone, this call from a far-sighted leader may seem self-evident, but what about President Donald Trump?

Trump has suggested he is willing to launch a new nuclear arms race, despite the costs and the risks. In his phone call with Vladimir Putin last month, Trump reportedly rebuffed the Russian president’s apparent offer to extend the New START agreement that otherwise expires in 2021. This extension was a key aim of President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the arms deal. It would enable the United States to continue to closely monitor Russia’s strategic nuclear deployments and prevent Russia from uploading huge numbers of warheads onto those forces. Without the extension, the U.S. intelligence community would need to spend billions of additional dollars to monitor Russia. And the uncertainty and unpredictability of each side’s deployments would likely spark a costly nuclear arms race and increase the instability of a nuclear crisis and the likelihood of nuclear conflict.

After reportedly checking with his advisers to learn what treaty Putin was talking about (the White House says he was asking for an opinion), Trump apparently told the Russian leader the entire agreement was just another bad deal signed by his predecessor, even though its provisions impose identical obligations on both sides, and even though it was supported by the U.S. Senate and all the key national security players, including the U.S. Strategic Command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Instead of seizing upon a good offer (as well as an offer to convene talks on a range of other nuclear issues, including strategic stability, according to a former U.S. official familiar with the call) that would strengthen U.S. national security, Trump signaled a willingness to embark on an expensive, pointless new arms race that he boasts the United States would win.

This is a foolish, dangerous delusion. Trump seems to believe he can bend opponents to his will. And, although he evidently knows little about nuclear weapons, he seems to embrace the Dr. Strangelove view that they are for war-fighting and war-winning. During the presidential campaign, for instance, he refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons to fight the Islamic State, despite the absurdity of wielding them against a lightly armed terrorist group. Against a heavily armed nuclear state like Russia or China, the notion of nuclear war-fighting is beyond absurd. Once nuclear weapons are unleashed, a conflict would almost certainly escalate to all-out proportions and kill hundreds of millions of people.

Will Trump come to understand his folly in time to avert an arms race, a nuclear crisis and a nuclear war? His mindset recalls President Ronald Reagan, who also entered the White House intent on launching a nuclear buildup and believing that a nuclear war could be fought and won. Soon after taking office, Reagan signed a presidential directive calling upon the nuclear establishment to plan and prepare for prevailing in a nuclear conflict lasting as long as half a year.

Reagan intended to convince the Soviets that they would lose a nuclear war and therefore they had better not start one, but his aggressive rhetoric and nuclear build-up had the unintended effect of provoking the Soviets. The president was startled to learn from top secret reports based on intelligence from a KGB spy working for the British that the Soviet leadership so feared a U.S. nuclear first strike that it was seriously preparing to pre-emptively strike the United States. He also faced massive public pressure for a freeze on the arms race. Reagan quickly backpedaled. By the start of his second term, he sought arms-control talks with the Soviets and agreed with Gorbachev on the goal of banning nuclear weapons.

By then, Reagan and Gorbachev understood that the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won is the height of self-delusion. The whole point of nuclear weapons, rather, is to deter their use. Believing a nuclear war can yield victory only creates incentives to strike first while inviting a breakdown of command and control and the abandonment of all restraint.

This still holds today. In the case of wars with Russia or China, escalation culminating in a civilization-ending nuclear exchange seems the most plausible outcome. Practically every U.S. nuclear force exercise involving a Russia scenario ends exactly this way—in a full-scale nuclear exchange that kills tens of millions of civilians.

Nuclear crises involving coercion and threats meant to subdue an adversary are likewise fraught. Bullying the other side in a nuclear confrontation might succeed, but it just as easily could provoke escalation to the brink of war and possibly beyond. The definitive study of the effectiveness of nuclear blackmail during the Cold War finds it had mixed results, even when the United States enjoyed overwhelming nuclear superiority. In some cases, the United States forced the Soviet Union or China to back down, but in others the threats were counter-productive. Hubris in this arena today, too, threatens to fuel escalation and yield a nuclear war instead of a diplomatic victory.

By the end of the Cold War, both the United States and Soviet Union had learned that arms races are expensive and dangerous. Far better to stave them off through mutual agreements based on equal security. Thousands of nuclear weapons on each side have been disarmed and dismantled since the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty 30 years ago.

Trump needs a crash course on the probable consequences of a nuclear exchange with our nuclear rivals, especially Russia because of its vast arsenal. His education should include a thorough repudiation of the delusion of U.S. nuclear primacy. No matter what armchair strategists may claim, U.S. strategic nuclear forces and missile defenses are not capable of blocking Russian retaliation to a U.S. first strike. Not by a long shot.

Even if the United States could surreptitiously raise its nuclear readiness to a war footing and launch a surprise, full-scale nuclear strike that caught Russia flat-footed, the U.S. would suffer massive casualties. At least 145 Russian warheads could be delivered by surviving Russian mobile nuclear missiles alone, according to a new study by Global Zero. If those missiles were allocated one to every American city with a population above 172,000, nearly 150 cities would be utterly destroyed in retaliation. Twenty-two million people would die.

Trump’s hometown would suffer the most. Nearly 2 million people would be killed by a single nuclear detonation above Times Square in New York City. His newly adopted home of Washington, D.C., would suffer more than half a million fatalities.

After Trump received the nuclear codes, he described the experience as “very sobering” and “a very, very scary thing.” He could offer proof by announcing, together with Putin, that “nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought.”

Bruce G. Blair is a nuclear security expert and a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton and the co-founder of Global Zero.

Building a System-Changing Response to Trump and Trumpism at All Levels

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Peace, War on February 11, 2017 at 11:55 pm

By Gar Alperovitz, Truthout | Op-Ed, November 30, 2016

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/38545-building-a-system-changing-response-to-trump-and-trumpism-at-all-levels
Any serious perspective on how to respond tothe election of Donald Trump must begin by recognizing that his victory flowed in substantial part from the growing global crisis of capitalism, which demands a specific strategic response. The response must begin with — but also go beyond — the urgent work of defending, wherever and however possible, the individuals and communities most at risk.

At the most obvious level, our collective response must build upon the energies illuminated by Bernie Sanders’ “democratic socialist” campaign, Black Lives Matter, climate justice, the mobilization in Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Green Party, LGBTQ activism, immigration activism, People’s Action and many, many other efforts. It must also find ways to bring such energies together with the community-level organizing aimed at democratizing the economic system from the ground up, starting with the development of alternative institutions and building toward a larger vision.

The Global Economic Crisis

The angry and unpredicted Brexit vote in Britain was clearly related to the anger that produced the Trump election. Something deeper than the contingencies of the electoral cycle is at work: both upsets are related in part to the fact that globalization is destroying jobs and undermining economic stability in nation after nation, even as the collapse of traditional unions (the previous muscle behind progressive politics) has weakened social democracy everywhere.

Anger at this economic decay, exacerbated by longstanding racism and fear of “outsiders” — immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, and a host of others — is fueling a toxic political mix throughout the world. Almost certainly we will see further explosions of unexpected political challenge as social democracy fails to deliver the goods and backing deepens for right-wing movements in support of Marine Le Pen in next year’s elections in France and political challenges to Angela Merkel’s government in Germany.

The global crisis is not likely to lead to a full collapse, as some Marxists once held (though not Marx himself in certain writings about the United States, Britain and the Netherlands). Rather, it is likely to be a crisis of protracted economic decay and deepening pain, punctuated by explosive episodes and the continuing erosion of legitimacy — and with it potentially, too, the slow build-up of a response at all levels, both practical and systemic in direction.

The Collapse of Labor Power

In the United States, the collapse of labor union strength as the basis of traditional liberalism has been dramatic: Labor union power has gone from 34 percent of the labor force to a mere 11 percent overall and 6 percent in the private sector, and it continues to decline. Though many other elements are involved, organized labor has been the necessary foundation of modern progressive politics. The right understands this fully: From Ronald Reagan’s dismantling of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s all-out attack on public unions, undermining labor has been a central — and highly effective — way to gut the power base of traditional liberalism. When combined with ongoing conservative efforts to suppress the vote in communities of color by any means necessary, the results are disastrous. “Institutions matter,” observes historian Michael Kazin of unions. In addition to contributing directly to the building of political power, unions “give their members (or audience) a community in which to learn about politics and discuss ways to tilt the world in a progressive direction.” Without institutional connections, individuals swim in a lonely political sea, ready to be preyed upon by the likes of Trump.

We must actively support unions whenever and wherever viable, but they are not likely to return in strength — and not only because of hostile legislation and policy, but because of structural forces at work in the global economy. Whatever can be done to strengthen unions must be done, but a new institutional base for a serious progressive direction must clearly be developed elsewhere.

Lessons From History

We may take some guidance from history. The civil rights movement, the feminist movement, the LGBTQ liberation movement — and even the modern conservative movement (which had limited capacity in the 1940s) — all understood that the development of a new political direction can only come from a long, long struggle. It is a struggle that involves practical organizing, institution-building and political activism, along with the build-up, too, of a morally serious vision of a new future direction.

Prior to the 1930s, key elements of what became the New Deal were developed slowly, step by step, in the state and local “laboratories of democracy” — as was a new politics that built from the bottom up as it created new institutions and a progressive liberal vision that, at the time, offered something to hope for, work for and counter the traditional embedded corporate power that dominated the final decades of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th.

In our own time, anew politics must build a new and different institutional power base, step by agonizing step, along with a compelling new vision of the future based on a radical democratization of the economy, starting at the community level and working up. It must be fleshed out with the powerful and explicit political energies illuminated by Bernie Sanders’ “democratic socialist” campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, augmented and intensified by the movement-building efforts of many allied groups — above all, those organizing in defense of the civil rights of the rising new electorate in what will soon be a nation in which no single racial or ethnic group can claim the majority.

Unless an energized new fusion of local organizing, institution-building and national progressive political energies is achieved and steadily brought together around a compelling and transformative vision, the imbalance of power illuminated in the recent election is likely to get worse, not better. Donald Trump will not be the last right-wing politician who will exploit the deepening economic crisis, fear of immigrants, the collapse of union power and the lack of deep economic organizing on the left.

Building on “Local Socialism”

That millions of Americans are open to — and responsive to — a politics of “democratic socialism” is an important lesson of the Sanders campaign and of numerous polls demonstrating such support, particularly among the young who are building and will build the next politics. What is missing is recognition that institutional foundations must be established if a broad-based new politics involving diverse groups and a new direction is to move beyond sporadic explosions of excitement to the achievement of real power.

This is where little-discussed “new economy” work going on at the local level in many parts of the country comes into play: Given the decay, conservatism and disinterest of the corporate media, there has been minimal awareness of intense activist efforts to build “democratized” economic institutions at the local level in diverse parts of the nation. Nonetheless, in community after community, activists are developing cooperative businesses grounded in community ownership, community land trusts to confront gentrification and displacement, city-owned public banks and community financial institutions in response to the brutal abstractions of financialization, public broadband companies in many cities, even attempting the takeover and socialization of electric utilities to deal with climate change.

Taken together, rather than anecdotally and in isolation, there is a wave of energy invested in a steadily expanding range of cooperative and “local socialist” institutions of democratic ownership designed to lift up and strengthen local economies.

Though the intensity of this growing effort — and its likely expansive future trajectory — have yet to be fully acknowledged, three quite distinct realities are critical:

The first is that new institutions of democratic ownership are beginning to suggest the outlines that a radically decentralized, pluralist, community-nurturing democratic socialist vision might take — one that mirrors and extends some of the things Sanders pioneered long ago locally as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

The second reality is that the developing trajectory is slowly building a new institutional power base for a politics that can add strength to — but also transcend — traditional election mobilizations.

The third is that local developments are also beginning to suggest the direction of overarching, larger and longer-term, system-wide possibilities.

Working Toward a Pluralist Commonwealth

The development of a new local democratic economy buildup is also on track to converge with the current strictly political mobilization that the Sanders campaign has demonstrated is possible. It is likely to be expanded and deepened by the Sanders “Our Revolution” effort, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, by Rep. Keith Ellison and by movement activists working on critical issues at every level throughout the country.

Ultimately, both the local efforts and the national political mobilizations will have to move beyond the faltering ideology of progressive liberalism in the United States and social democracy in Europe — both of which accept the theory that corporate power at the center of the system can be regulated and “incentivized” to achieve democratic outcomes. Those days, even at their best, were limited in their outcomes (the United States ranked last among advanced systems on virtually every major social and environmental indicator, even before Trump’s victory.)

Ultimately, too, larger institutional power must be confronted. The US government de facto nationalized General Motors, Chrysler, AIG and, in a different way, several major banks during the most recent crisis. The reconstruction of the idea of democratic ownership from the bottom up, along with a new politics, is the precondition of building a movement and the basis of a longer-term strategy that understands the need to create — and decentralize — democratically controlled public institutions at every level, including the very largest.

The diverse and plural forms democratic ownership is already taking — and is likely to take — suggest a vision that might be called a “pluralist commonwealth.”

What is perhaps even more significant than the Trump victory is Sanders’ demonstration that the ideological hegemony that has blocked new and bolder thinking can be challenged: That millions of Americans voted for a democratic socialist in the recent campaigns suggests that a compelling and practical approach that challenges the stale neoliberal consensus in ways far beyond the initial Sanders program may be viable.

This is especially the case if a new vision of community, in many senses of the word, is built and put forward from the ground up — a vision that also does not duck the larger regional and national questions as time goes on.

Facing the Challenges of the Trump Era

Clearly, the first challenge of the Trump era is to defend and protect those most threatened — including Latino and Latina, Black and Muslim communities, the gay and transgender communities, and the women who will likely face a Supreme Court hostile to their basic right to control their own bodies.

The second is to work to achieve whatever limited gains may still be possible through traditional political efforts. The deeper challenge, however, is not simply political (though it is that.) It is profoundly existential: to recognize, personally, the depth of the crisis we face and the need to deal with, rather than avoid, its demands. The old ways are now dying and are unlikely to be rebuilt in significant ways.

Even as resistance is mobilized, unless a much more serious politics is steadily developed — one that does not ignore “current” possibilities, but one that is also profoundly aware of the need to move thoughtfully beyond to deeper institutional and systemic change — there is little likelihood the powerful forces gathering around Trump in the United States and others even more dangerous in other advanced systems will be seriously challenged.

As we do the necessary work of defending those most in danger, and seek to slowly build a new coming together of traditional progressive politics with the institutional development of a radically decentralized community-based vision, it may accordingly help to reflect on the position of civil rights workers in Mississippi in the 1930s and 1940s, the decades before the movement became a movement — a time of acute brutality and danger. As in the prehistory of all great eras of change, activists in that moment consciously worked to lay down the institutional foundations as well as the politics of a transformative new direction. This sort of work takes time and commitment for the long haul. Sometimes it is darkest before the dawn.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Gar Alperovitz, author most recently of What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution, is cochair of the Next System Project and cofounder of the Democracy Collaborative. Alperovitz was deeply involved in the teach-ins on the Vietnam War.

Why Did Trump Pick a Fight with Putin Over the Nuclear Weapons Treaty?

In Nuclear Guardianship, Peace, War on February 11, 2017 at 12:23 am

Joe Cirincione, The Global Business Brief, February 9. 2017

President Trump took a hard line over New START with Russia. It’s an odd battle to choose — and a dangerous one.

President Donald Trump has already picked a fight with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over nuclear weapons and the New START treaty. It is a curious battle to choose. The treaty enjoys the overwhelming backing of America’s top national security leaders and military commanders. Trump reportedly didn’t know what the treaty was but seems to be adopting the rhetoric of the far-right and their losing battle to block it in the Senate since 2010. To back out now would uncap the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world, worsening a burgeoning new arms race. Even more worrying, it could leave Russia’s arsenal dangerously uncounted.

We learned Thursday, in yet another leak to the press from concerned White House staff, that Trump railed at Putin in their recent phone call, denouncing the 2010 New START nuclear arms limitation pact as a “bad deal.” It should have been a routine courtesy call. But according to Reuters, “When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty… Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was.” He then reprised campaign rhetoric about how one-sided the treaty is, claiming that it gave Russia a strategic nuclear advantage.

Approved by a vote of 71-26, New START is a modest arms reduction treaty that trims U.S. and Russian “operationally deployed strategic weapons” to 1,550 on each side and extends crucial inspection and verifications procedures, allowing each side to ensure that the other is complying with the limits. It expires in 2021. Putin’s effort to simply extend the agreement failed to get an answer from the irate Trump.

Here’s the reality: “The New START Treaty has the unanimous support of America’s military leadership — to include the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of the service chiefs, and the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, the organization responsible for our strategic nuclear deterrent,” said then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2010, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “This treaty deserves [to be ratified by the U.S. Senate] on account of the dangerous weapons it reduces, the critical defense capabilities it preserves, the strategic stability it maintains, and, above all, the security it provides to the American people.”

Then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen agreed, “I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security.”

Some Senate opponents of the treaty blocked it for purely political reasons; not wanting to give the Democratic president a victory is a crucial election year. But others took their cues from hardliners such as Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy, who warned that because of Russian aggression “the United States, its allies and interests are at greater risk by the day. New START would actually reward the Kremlin for such behavior, rather than end it.” They preferred an arms race to arms control, calling then, as now, for an increase in nuclear weapons with more “usable” designs and a broader range of potential targets.

Military leaders warned about the consequences of this approach. Former commander of STRATCOM Gen. Kevin Chilton, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “If we don’t get the treaty, the Russians are not constrained in their development of force structure and…we have no insight into what they’re doing. So it’s the worst of both possible worlds.”

Seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Air Command and Strategic Command backed up Chilton, writing the Senate Armed Services Committee, “Although the New START Treaty will require U.S. reductions, we believe that the post-treaty force will represent a survivable, robust and effective deterrent, one fully capable of deterring attack on both the United States and America’s allies and partners.”

Another reality check: Under New START the U.S. is still capable of deploying 240 nuclear missiles on America’s submarine-launched nuclear forces alone; each carrying up to 8 nuclear warheads for an estimated 900-1,000 warheads deployed at sea almost around the clock. We also keep 400 intercontinental ballistic missies, or ICBMs, ready to launch at a moment’s notice, and 60 strategic bombers capable of carrying 1,168 nuclear weapons.

This “bad deal” allows the United States to keep enough destructive force to destroy all of human civilization several times over. Forget deterrence, we are still well into Mad Max scenarios.

What if Trump backs out of this treaty?

“Without New START we will be compelled to waste military resources, not to mention tax dollars,” warned retired Lt. Gen. John Castellaw,a 36-year veteran of the Marine Corps “A precise accounting of the Russian arsenal and predictability going forward informs our strategic force structure. Frankly, it is to our advantage to verifiably reduce the Russian deployment because it allows us to use our resources more effectively.”

As former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell wrote in 2010, “Obviously, the United States does not sign arms control agreements just to make friends. Any treaty must be considered on its merits. But we have here an agreement that is clearly in our national interest, and we should consider the ramifications of not ratifying it.”

Nor does it seem that the president consulted either his secretary of state or secretary of defense prior to launching his diatribe. Both support the agreement. Before Trump turns his tweets about a new nuclear arms race into a terrifying new policy, the new president might want to listen to the people who actually know what they are talking about.

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Joe Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund and the author of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.