Nuclear Radiation is a Symptom of Crony Capitalism

Before America can protect itself from Nuclear Radiation, we must first teach the children how to recognize propaganda, and how to avoid it’s influences.  The Nuclear industry sponsors Dr. Bill Wattenburg on the radio to perpetually espouse the benefits of Nuclear power.  He denies the risks and hazards.  His supportive callers sound brilliant, his opposition and detractors are made to sound like crazy people.

Overcoming the propaganda in favor of nuclear power will be more difficult than convincing a generation not to litter.  But that’s the best place to start.  Remember the first campaign, “Don’t be a Litter Bug”  It took years to convince a generation of kids, to care about their environment and not just toss trash everywhere.  One of the closing campaign’s was “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” which expanded the message to include Industrial polluters, hoping that Voters would include some of their new wisdom at the ballot box in favor of candidates who supported  Environmental regulations. 

Now in 2011, as the world watches Japan facing nuclear disaster, every layer of the propaganda machine is getting caught bending the story away from the truth.  From Japan Electric, to the Japanese prime minister to President Obama, and every Nuclear expert in the U.S.

It’s obvious the Nuclear systems in Japan were not safe.  13 out of 13 back-up generators failed to work when the reactors were shut down.  This is only the first level of cooling back-up.  The Nuclear industry experts constantly claim, “multiple layers of  redundancy in the systems to insure safety.”  Now is when the propaganda becomes out right Lies.  Too late for the hundreds of thousands who will suffer radiation sickness and death. If Nuclear power were safe, U.S. Senators would be storing the spent fuel rods under their own homes instead of trying to bury them in our backyard in Nevada. 

It’s been 60 years and the Nuclear lobby is so strong, they have their hand deep into the taxpayers pocket for a criminal amount of funds.  And the flow continues as long as they spend enough on congressional reelections.  Building and Operating Nuclear Power plants is highly profitable.  The extra profit is because they claim there is so much risk.  The risk is something the profiteers never pay for in the end.  If we could take the profit out of Nuclear power, the campaign contributions and lobbyist efforts would fade away.

You can’t get a windmill on the Hill in your town, both nuclear and Oil industries won’t allow it.

You can’t get Solar on your roof-top because the prices are pushed up by Tax incentives that inflate the market by $15,000 per installed site.  The economic impact is a reverse application of supply-side economics, push the price higher to make it less affordable. Maybe, America will have a champion in congress who can battle the Cronyism, come 2012.  Could Norman Solomon be that champion?  Read the article below and see what you think of his reasoning. 

Norman Solomon
March  17, 2011
Hello Friend,
The other night, as news from Japan took a turn for the worse, I stayed up late and wrote about Nuclear Power Madness. I hope you’ll read the article and pass it on.
My opposition to nuclear power is longstanding. In the late 1970s, while advocating for solar and wind energy as well as conservation, I devoted two years to public education and nonviolent civil disobedience that aimed to shut down a large nuclear power plant operating just forty miles from Portland, Oregon. Later, I served as director of the National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims and co-authored Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation. (The book is now online; if you’d like to take a peek, click here.)

Despite the latest in a long line of presidential assurances, the nuclear facts are dire. As the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program wrote this week, “There are alternatives. Had Japan invested in rooftop solar and wind turbines to the degree it spent maintaining and building nuclear reactors, the country wouldn’t be grappling with the potential of a full-scale nuclear meltdown.”The ominous power of the nuclear industry extends from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., where an atomic lobbying force throws buckets of money at Capitol Hill.

Elected officials routinely offer doubletalk or remain silent. Meanwhile, as the New York Times reported on Monday, “most of the nuclear plants in the United States share some or all of the risk factors that played a role at Fukushima Daiichi: locations on tsunami-prone coastlines or near earthquake faults, aging plants and backup electrical systems that rely on diesel generators and batteries that could fail in extreme circumstances.”

As I move toward running for Congress in the North Bay, I fully intend to challenge the conventional energy wisdom that enables nuclear-invested outfits like PG&E and General Electric — and their tacit allies in elective office — to impose a nuclear shadow on future generations. Willingness to confront the nuclear establishment is crucial.

A few days ago, when Marin IJ political columnist Dick Spotswood wrote that Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey “is expected to announce her retirement by midsummer,” he noted that “Solomon’s positions are virtually identical with that of Woolsey.” The North Bay must continue to have strong progressive representation in Congress. I want to invite you to one of the house parties and related events where I’ll be speaking over the next few weeks in Mill Valley, Bolinas, San Geronimo, San Francisco and Sebastopol. For details on those upcoming events, please click here.

The winter has dealt us some grim setbacks. But spring is arriving — and with it, new possibilities. We can make grassroots democracy work!
Best wishes,

P.S. — Meanwhile, struggles for democracy continue in the Middle East. If you’d like to read my recent article Totalitarian Loyalty, which appeared in the Pacific Sun, click here

Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in Japan, the official stance is more disconnected from reality than ever.

Political elites are still clinging to the oxymoron of “safe nuclear power.” It’s up to us — people around the world — to peacefully and insistently shut those plants down.

There is no more techno-advanced country in the world than Japan. Nuclear power is not safe there, and it is not safe anywhere.
As the New York Times reported on Monday:

Most of the nuclear plants in the United States share some or all of the risk factors that played a role at Fukushima Daiichi: locations on tsunami-prone coastlines or near earthquake faults, aging plants and backup electrical systems that rely on diesel generators and batteries that could fail in extreme circumstances.

Nuclear power — from uranium mining to fuel fabrication to reactor operations to nuclear waste that will remain deadly for hundreds of thousands of years — is, in fact, a moral crime against future generations.

But syrupy rhetoric has always marinated the nuclear age. From the outset — even as radioactive ashes were still hot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — top officials in Washington touted atomic energy as redemptive. The split atom, we were to believe, could be an elevating marvel. President Dwight Eisenhower pledged “to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma” by showing that “the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.”
Even after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 — and now this catastrophe in Japan — the corporate theologians of nuclear faith have continued to bless their own divine projects.

Thirty years ago, when I coordinated the National Citizens Hearings for Radiation Victims on the edge of Capitol Hill, we heard grim testimony from nuclear scientists, workers, downwinders and many others whose lives had been forever ravaged by the split atom. Routine in the process was tag-team deception from government agencies and nuclear-invested companies.

By 1980, generations had already suffered a vast array of terrible consequences — including cancer, leukemia and genetic injuries — from a nuclear fuel cycle shared by the “peaceful” and military atom. Today, we know a lot more about the abrupt and slow-moving horrors of the nuclear industry.

And we keep learning, by the minute, as nuclear catastrophe goes exponential in Japan. But government leaders don’t seem to be learning much of anything.  On Sunday, even while nuclear-power reactors were melting down, the White House issued this statement:

The president believes that meeting our energy needs means relying on a diverse set of energy sources that includes renewables like wind and solar, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power. Information is still coming in about the events unfolding in Japan, but the administration is committed to learning from them and ensuring that nuclear energy is produced safely and responsibly here in the U.S.

Yet another reflexive nuclear salute.
When this year’s State of the Union address proclaimed a goal of “clean energy sources” for 80 percent of U.S. electricity by 2035, Obama added: “Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.”

Bipartisan for nuclear power? You betcha. On Sunday morning TV shows, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell voiced support for nuclear power, while Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer offered this convoluted ode to atomic flackery:

We are going to have to see what happens here — obviously still things are happening — but the bottom line is we do have to free ourselves of independence from foreign oil in the other half of the globe. Libya showed that. Prices are up, our economy is being hurt by it, or could be hurt by it. So I’m still willing to look at nuclear. As I’ve always said it has to be done safely and carefully.

Such behavior might just seem absurd or pathetic — if the consequences weren’t so grave. Nuclear power madness is so entrenched that mainline pundits and top-elected officials rarely murmur dissent. Acquiescence is equated with prudent sagacity.

In early 2010, President Obama announced federal loan guarantees — totaling more than $8 billion — to revive the construction of nuclear power plants in this country, where 110 nuclear-power reactors are already in operation.

“Investing in nuclear energy remains a necessary step,” he said. “What I hope is that, with this announcement, we’re underscoring both our seriousness in meeting the energy challenge and our willingness to look at this challenge, not as a partisan issue, but as a matter that’s far more important than politics because the choices we make will affect not just the next generation but many generations to come.”

Promising to push for bigger loan guarantees to build more nuclear power plants, the president said: “This is only the beginning.” 

Norman Solomon’s books include “Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation” (1982), co-authored with Harvey Wasserman



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