Friday, December 30, 2016

Sanctions for Election Hacking? More Escalation of the New Cold War

The Obama Admin is sanctioning Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 election cycle:
Obama administration announces measures to punish Russia for 2016 election interference. The Washington Post,
Proof of the means and effects of the alleged election hacking have not been disclosed.

I've blogged previously about the absolute strangeness of the allegations and the equivocations produced across US national intelligence agencies. For example, see What is Real and Who Decides?

Film Director Oliver Stone's observations and commentary about the alleged role of Russian hacking of the election are well worth reading at his Facebook account. (hat tip: ZeroHedge).

Stone points out that "When one group-think controls our national conversation, it becomes truly dangerous...." 

Stone recommends several articles as an antidote to the rising jingoism that is turning the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post scarlet (I read these papers daily and agree strongly with Stone's assessment):
Robert Parry, “Making Russia ‘The Enemy’,” Consortiumnews

Joe Lauria, “Russia-Hack Story Another Media Failure,” Consortiumnews

Justin Raimondo, “Stop the CIA Coup,”

Robert Parry, “The Need to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable,” Consortiumnews

Ray McGovern, “US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims,” Consortiumnews

Mark Ames, “Site behind Washington Post’s McCarthyite Blacklist,” Naked Capitalism

Robert Parry, “A Sour Holiday Season for Neocons,”

I don't understand what is driving the Democratic Party to escalate tensions with Russia, particularly given recent, hostile US and NATO policies, as noted by Mikhail Gorbachev, who with US President Ronald Reagan ended the first Cold War:
Will Worley and Matt Payton. July 9, 2016. Mikhail Gorbachev says Nato is escalating Cold War with Russia 'into a hot one'. The Independent.

Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev has accused Nato of preparing for "offensive operations" against Russia. As the Western alliance held a summit in Warsaw, Poland, Mr Gorbachev criticised Nato’s decision to deploy 4,000 more international troops in Eastern Europe. Tensions have been mounting between Russia and Nato member states, in particular the US, as diplomatic spats and military excercises have increased in frequency.

Mr Gorbachev, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, said: “Nato has begun preparations for escalating from the Cold War into a hot one. “All the rhetoric in Warsaw just yells of a desire almost to declare war on Russia. They only talk about defence, but actually they are preparing for offensive operations.”

What is the point of this new cold war?

Energy expert Michael Klare suggests its a function of the race to secure what is left of the world's resources:

No one wins this war and human resources are the most quickly dispensed with, because population is no longer considered a source of wealth, as it was under early capitalism.

In the new era, human resources are transformed into liabilities, as I have documented in my published book monographs and research articles. For example, see my journal article here:

Unfortunately, the population is too fractured and at war with itself to confront the ecological collapse that threatens our species. And the population is too easily led on matters beyond the pragmatic realities of everyday lives.

Of course, who can tell what is true in this new fun house of mirrors we have forged for perhaps the last time.


Cold War Update

Majia's Blog: New Cold War: We the People of the World DON'T Want it!

Majia's Blog: New Cold War Update

Majia's Blog: New Cold War Enriches Industries of Death, Leavin

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Eisenhower's Warning and Regulatory Capture in the Nuclear Industry

US: Eisenhower described and warned against the rise of an interlocking complex of private contractors and government “defense” organizations that threaten democracy with consolidated power and control over research, national policy, and public opinion:
Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. Reading copy of the speech [DDE’s Papers as President, Speech Series, Box 38, Final TV Talk (1); NAID #594599]. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Presidential Home, Abilene Kansas. Accessed October 6, 2015. Available:

Eisenhower’s concerns about the rise of the military industrial complex were echoed by many other observers of the time, but his comments are especially relevant given the unique vantage points offered by his biographical experiences in the U.S. military and executive branches.

The greatest risk to liberal democracy is endogenous, internal to the institutional structures founding liberal societies.

Regulatory capture is a symptom of the centralization of ownership and decision making in our critical financial, energy, and food infrastructures, among others. Regulatory capture erodes liberal democracy from within.

We see instances of regulatory capture far too often, as recently illustrated:
Oliver Moody. December 28, 2016. Nuclear safety watchdog under review after series of accidents. The Financial Times,
Whitehall is investigating the nuclear regulator after The Times revealed that several serious accidents had been dismissed as posing no safety risk. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has come under fire from experts who argue it is too close to the industry to police it rigorously.
Yesterday an investigation disclosed that the inadvertent discharge of a torpedo at a nuclear submarine docks in Plymouth, a complete power cut at the country’s nuclear weapons base and the contamination of at least 15 workers with radioactive material were among the events it had said were of no concern.
Lack of adequate regulatory safety has been a problem since the beginning of the nuclear industry. Decision-making in this industry is centralized and too often suborned by purposes counter to the public welfare, as I demonstrate in my academic research.

The government of radiation is predicated upon the idea that “low levels” of contamination produced by the nuclear-industrial-military complex pose relatively few and predictable risks to impacted human populations and ecologies. Consequently, using cost-benefit analyses of radiation risks and benefits, government agencies in nuclear nations allow routine contamination by radionuclides, although each nation sets official limits and deploys government bureaucracies to monitor and evaluate exposure levels.

Decades ago, authorities from governmental regulatory agencies and from nongovernmental organizations such as the International Committee for Radiation Protection created permissible exposure for human populations levels based on uniform, mathematical models of dose effects.

However, most extant models for governing radiation flows and exposures fail to incorporate salient bodies of knowledge about radiation ecology and genetic mutagenesis carved out scientifically during the Cold War, primarily by authorities whose research was funded by the nuclear complex.

Radiation has operated as a “privileged pollutant” and the current trend in some countries, such as the US, has been to raise allowable exposure levels, rather than to decrease them.

I have blogged about regulatory capture in the US and Japan quite extensively. Here are some examples of problems I've discussed:
Kageyama, Yuri (2012, Nov 4) Inspector Authority Accepted Money. The Arizona Republic, A4.
[Excerpted] (AP) "Four members of a Japanese government team that sets atomic reactor safety standards received funding from utility companies or nuclear manufacturers, raising questions about their neutrality in the wake of last year's tsunami-triggered disaster. [end excerpt]

New nuclear regulatory body not to continue 'stress tests' The Mainichi Sep 25, 2012

[excerpted] (Kyodo) -- Japan's new nuclear regulatory authority will not continue the current procedure to assess the safety of reactors for their reactivation because it plans to create fresh criteria, the authority's head Shunichi Tanaka said Monday.

"We will not use 'stress tests' as our judgment criteria," Tanaka said in an interview with Kyodo News, referring to the two-stage safety examination process that the government introduced after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi complex erupted in March last year.... But Tanaka's remarks mean that utilities will have to go back to square one in trying to restart their reactors....

Dumping tritium from Fukushima into sea is best option: ministry THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, April 20, 2016 at 14:55
The industry ministry concluded that releasing diluted radioactive tritium into the sea is the most feasible option in dealing with contaminated water accumulating at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Regulatory capture is exacerbated by courts that uphold non-democratic processes for assessing risk from nuclear as illustrated here:
Court rejects appeal to halt operations of Sendai reactors April 6, 2016 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

MIYAZAKI--A high court here rejected an appeal by Kyushu residents seeking to shut down the only two nuclear reactors operating in Japan, ruling that it is impossible to secure absolute safety with nuclear energy.  Presiding Judge Tomoichiro Nishikawa of the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court said April 6 that current science and technology standards cannot reach a level of safety in which no radioactive materials are emitted regardless of the severity of the accident at a nuclear plant.

“A judgment has to be made based on the standard of what level of danger a society would be willing to live with,” Nishikawa said.
The judge's decision is not necessarily representative of majority public opinion in Japan given polling results conducted by Japan's mainstream news media.

Regulatory capture of the judicial apparatus is perhaps the final death knell of liberal democracy.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fukushima Daiichi Update December 27-28 2016

The temperature has been in the high to mid-30s F in Fukushima with high humidity but the "visible" emissions are down significantly over the last few days. I am not sure whether the cold weather alone can explain this reduction in visible emissions or whether TEPCO's nitrogen injections were successful.

December 27, 2016 00:32

December 28, 2016 00:12


December 28, 2016 00:13

You will notice that December 27 looks better than December 28. It will be interesting to see what conditions look like tomorrow.