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Trump’s European Trainwreck…2 – The Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, a Chance for Improved U.S.-Russian Relations, Derailed by the Mueller Indictments

July 17, 2018

Dangerous, irresponsible language

How did a meeting between the U.S. president, Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin that was geared towards a modest possible shift in U.S. Russian relations, turn into such a circus, its progressive potential waylaid even before Trump’s airplane left the ground from the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport? In this increasingly bitter, now open divide within the U.S. ruling class, the Putin-Trump Helsinki Summit was little more than a sideshow. Trump tried to use the summit to increase his plummeting international credibility by giving a nod to renewing a more constructive U.S.-Russian dialogue. Not showing the least concern for having sabotaged a step towards possible reduction in the nuclear arms race at a time when current agreements are about to run out in 2021, the Democratic leadership was intent on torpedo-ing any positive results.

Lost in this factional slugging match between different sectors of power in the United States in which,  those recently pushed aside and those trying to consolidate their hold on the nation’s political future, is the fact that the credibility of the United States as a world power just took another hit as did the possibility of inching a few steps away from an increasingly ratcheted up nuclear weapons arms race. Read more…

Trump’s European Trainwreck…1

July 15, 2018

Rather than revealing Washington’s strength, “making America great again,” Donald Trump’s European tour is more of an ongoing political train-wreck so far, a glaring example of the limits of Washington’s power as he bulls his way from Brussels to the outskirts of London, to Helsinki where he will rendezvous with Vladimir Putin in a few days. Everywhere he goes angry demonstrations – 250,000 demonstrating against him in London, thousands already in Helsinki, etc. The London anti-Trump protests are being described as the largest since the end of the Iraq War, the largest protests ever against another world leader.

Certainly on a public relations’ scale he’s at rock bottom.

But not so fast.

What is it that he tried to accomplish in his meetings in Brussels, and Great Britain, and how successful was he at doing it? As usual all the media buzz tends to cloud unfolding dynamics, not all of which are clear, but some of the main themes are starting to come into focus. In a nutshell, Trump’s goal in the Brussels and Great Britain stages of his European tour is to fan the flames of division and he did just that, to deepen the tensions within the European Union, to cripple it to the degree possible to keep Europeans fighting among themselves. Read more…

Nuclear Notes – 5 – More Accidents of Radioactive Waste – Rocky Flats Nuclear Pollution Lives On In Idaho, New Mexico

July 7, 2018
2017 - 10 - 07 - Minuteman Missile Site - 1

Protesting the 49 on hair-trigger nuclear missile sites in Colorado., October 07, 2017. This at N-8, a Minuteman Missile site outside of Raymer, Colorado. Left, Bob Kinsey, of the Green Party and Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Center, Judith Mohling of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center out of Boulder. I don’t know the person on the right in the black shirt and red hat.

Nuclear Notes – 5

Once upon a time – thirty years ago – there was a powerful popular movement aimed at derailing both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Today it has shrunk to naught, or nearly. We need a national movement to cut the military budget, transfer the funds to human needs, press our government to once again seriously engage in international negotiations for nuclear disarmament, and stop with feeding the population the illusion that there is a technological fix that will make nuclear energy safe. “Gaseous Ignitions” are radioactive explosions.

As the time when the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge opens to hikers and the like – this despite widespread public opposition and outcry of the possible-to-probable remaining radiation dangers, stories of Rocky Flats related radioactive contamination are again in the news. A news story in the latest Spring, 2018 edition of Nukewatch Quarterly a nuclear weapons and energy watchdog publication out of Luck, Wisconsin, has an article by John LaForge, the publication’s editor, entitled “Rad Waste’s ‘Gaseous Ignition’ & ‘Exothermal Events’ are explosions.” Read more…

Nuclear Notes – 4 – Rocky Flats – Nuclear Stain on Colorado’s Front Range

July 3, 2018
2012 - 10 - 20 Kristen Iversen 5a

2012. Kristen Iversen, author of “Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats” talking about her then about-to-be-published book in a bookstore in Lakewood Colorado. As I recall, several former Rocky Flats employees were present who reacted positively to Iversen’s commentary.

Nuclear Notes – 4

Nuclear weapons and nuclear war manufacturing and planning have been a part of the Colorado landscape since the end of World War II and dawn of the nuclear weapons age. The 49 Minuteman III missiles on hair-trigger alert in Colorado’s northeast, the state is home – or was home – to other aspects of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Just outside of Colorado Springs, 75 miles south of Denver, lies the Cheyenne Mountain Complex and Peterson Air Force Base, the latter now the headquarters of NORAD. Although not part of the nuclear weapons complex, at two lesser known sites on Colorado’s Western Slope, Rulison and Rio Blanco, underground nuclear blasts took place (Rulison-1969, Rio Blanco – 1973) Then there is the Air Force Academy, just north of Colorado Springs, that among other things, trains many of the pilots that will someday after graduation fly nuclear-weapons bearing bombers.

“Rocky Flats,” he told them, “is the largest unlicensed nuclear burial site in the United States.” – Jerry St. Piedro, former Rocky Flats employee, one of the few to see a map where much of the radioactive contaminated materials are buried at the site. (Quoted in “The Struggle To Remember the Nuclear West” by Hannah Nordhaus, High Country News. February 17, 2009)

Rocky Flats: Colorado’s Contribution to Environmental Pollution Read more…

Colorado’s 49 Nuclear Weapons on Hair Trigger Alert…and a Drunken Air Force General in charge of 450 Land-based ICBMs.

June 26, 2018

Sisters Ardette Platte and Carol Gilbert at N-8, a Trident III nuclear missile site where a protest against the nuclear arms race took place, October 7, 2017

 

Nuclear Notes – 3

N-8, One of Colorado’s 49 nuclear missile silo sites.

They go up there once a year.

“They” are people from a number of groups whose concern from the dangers of nuclear have never wavered, even though the issue has faded from the front pages and hardly makes a ripple anymore. They include Coloradans active in the Green Party, the indomitable Sisters of Loretto, and their circle of supporters, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center out of Boulder, folks associated with the Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War and a few associated stragglers like myself.  The people involved are knowledgeable and committed, overwhelmingly pacifist, many religious. They are also among those who do annual events marking the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki here in Denver that Nancy and I try to attend when possible.

“There” refers to a nuclear missile site just west of New Raymer, Colorado, called “N-8,” one  of 49 sites in N. E. Colorado with Minuteman III missiles on hair-trigger alert, that are of the 300-500 kiloton magnitude – The Hiroshima bomb was 20 kilotons by way of comparison. Colorado’s 49 nukes are part of a larger system of land based nuclear missiles that includes 450 of these death machines scatter among seven, states, mostly in the northern Mid Western states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska as well as Missouri. Read more…

Chernobyl Fires, Then and Now – 2 – “The Silent Summer”

June 21, 2018

Six legged deer, one of many mutated animals from the post-accident Chernobyl exclusion zone

Nuclear Notes – 2

The area of a terrible nuclear accident, now safe for animals and people?

Over the years, largely because I visited the place long ago, (see Chernobyl Fires, Then and Now – 1), I have checked in with the developments at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine that exploded as the result of an accident on April 26, 1986. The top of Chernobyl’s Reactor Four was blown off, releasing 400 times the amount of radiation from the Hiroshima bomb into the atmosphere.

The explosion contaminated significant areas of the northern Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and much of Europe. The United Nations estimated that over the next twenty years some 600,000 people died from Chernobyl related negative impacts (cancer, leukemia, circulatory and other chronic diseases). There are other estimates suggesting that the figure is greater yet, surpassing a million victims. Read more…

Chernobyl Fires, Then and Now – 1

June 19, 2018

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, April, 1989. (R. Prince photo)

Nuclear Notes – 1…Chernobyl

1.

A few weeks ago brush fires were reported to have spread not far from the decommissioned and contaminated Cherobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. According to Agence France-Presse, one broke out in the grass some six miles from the plant well within what is referred to as “the exclusion zone” – the heavily contaminated area of some 1000 square miles surrounding the plant.

The fire started on June 4, 2018. Three days later, by June 7 Ukrainian authorities reported that the fire had been extinguished and that radiation levels throughout the region had not acceded “acceptable levels.” They did not say however whether the radiation levels, even with in normal bands, had increased as a result of the fire nor what is included within the framework of “acceptable levels.

Nor is this the first time fires have erupted in the area. Similar brush fires broke out in June of 2017 and a much larger conflagration took place in April 2015. According to a Facebook post from Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, also quoted by AFP, “There’s no need to worry.” Groysman asserted that the radiation levels there remained within safe limits. Ukraine’s nuclear industry regulator said nothing untoward had taken place inside the former nuclear power station, which is not at risk from the flames. Read more…