Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear waste is growing as battle over dump site heats up

Government says nuclear waste cannot continue to build up and it will work with traditional custodians of proposed Kimba site

Guardian Tory Shepherd 14 Oct 22,

Australia is accumulating more intermediate-level nuclear waste than previously thought, a new inventory has found, as the battle over a nuclear waste dump heats up.

After 40 years of different governments talking about a national nuclear waste facility, the Morrison government chose a site near the town of Kimba in South Australia. But the local Barngarla people are united against the plan, and have vowed to keep fighting to stop it happening.

The federal resources minister, Madeleine King, said the waste “cannot continue to build up” and she would continue to work with the Barngarla people to protect the cultural heritage of the site and deliver economic benefit to the traditional custodians.

Opponents of the site hope the new Labor government will be more likely to abandon the plan, but King said the government was committed to “progressing the facility”……………..

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) recently updated its inventory of waste, to inform the development of the Kimba facility. It found there was 2,061 cubic metres of intermediate-level waste in 2021, compared to 1,771 cubic metres in 2018. And it projects 4,377 cubic metres in the next 50 years, compared to 3,734 cubic metres projected in 2018.

ARWA notes that more waste categories and holders were included in 2021, increasing the current levels of waste, and that estimates for future years were revised.

Currently waste is stored in more than 100 places around the nation, but most of it is held at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) facilities in Lucas Heights, Sydney.

The Australian Conservation Foundation and others argue that Ansto should be expanded to become the national storage site.

The chief executive of Arwa, Sam Usher, wrote in the report that Kimba would be used to dispose of Australia’s LLW, and to hold ILW temporarily while a permanent solution was found.

“To ensure the facility has capacity to house Australia’s current and future waste holdings, ARWA has undertaken extensive work to provide an updated national inventory of radioactive waste,” he wrote.

The Kimba site was announced after an Australian Electoral Commission ballot found the majority of the people in the council area were in favour. However, that ballot did not include Aboriginal people who count the area as part of their traditional lands.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation chair, Jason Bilney, said his people were never consulted, and they are unanimously opposed.

“We were excluded,” he said. “Unanimously, we do not want it on our country.

“We’ll keep fighting this.”

Bilney said his people were organising a rally in Port Augusta on Saturday to remind people what is happening. He said his concern was that the site would start accepting waste from outside Australia. He also said it made more sense for the Lucas Heights facility to expand into waste storage, because the proposed Kimba site was only meant to be temporary storage for ILW anyway, with a permanent site yet to be determined.

“Why would you keep kicking the can down the road?” he said.

There was an ongoing court process with Barngarla people fighting for access to government documents, and King said she would not “pre-empt” the outcome of that. She said nuclear medicine, which most Australians benefit from at some point, produced radioactive waste…………

“While there is no native title on the site, the government is committed to progressing the facility in a way that protects cultural heritage and delivers economic benefit to the traditional custodians.”

The site is freehold, but on the traditional lands of the Barngarla.

Dave Sweeney, the ACF’s nuclear free campaigner, said there was room at Lucas Heights, and pointed to $60m awarded to Ansto in 2021 to expand its storage.

“That’s approved,” he said. “It’s been through the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (Arpansa).”

“Arpansa has said that it’s consistent with international best practice and that means that material can be safely stored there for decades to come. So they’ve got the capacity, they’re actually growing the capacity.”

The South Australian Labor premier, Peter Malinauskas, supports the Barngarla people, and says he will try to influence the federal Labor government. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/oct/14/australias-nuclear-waste-is-growing-as-battle-over-dump-site-heats-up?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

October 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

A conversation with Paul Keating: Australia’s strategic interests, alliances and standing up for ourselves

Stability in Asia can no longer be imposed by a non Asian power, and least of all by direct application of US military power.

On Taiwan, Keating said again that it is not a vital interest for Australia. ‘Why would we want to be part of a US defeat over Taiwan?’.

 https://johnmenadue.com/a-conversation-with-paul-keating-australias-strategic-interests-alliances-and-standing-up-for-itself/ By John Menadue, Oct 14, 2022,

Not many were given a continent, says Keating on the challenges and opportunities that Australia faces. We have to stop ignoring the realities of the region in which we are positioned.

More than 4,000 people from Australia and around the world tuned in to A Conversation with Paul Keating, held by La Trobe University’s Ideas and Society Program. The online discussion between former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, and James Curran, the Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney and author of Australia’s China Odyssey, uncovered issues fundamental to the future of Australia, such as our relations with China and the United States.

Key to the discussion was the negative impact of our current view of China and the region in which Australia is positioned. Ignoring the historical elements that underpin the issues of the 21st century including the importance of identity and culture, puts Australia in a position of having to make choices.

The rise of China and the escalating tensions driven by  the US have been front and centre. Australia can no longer ignore the geopolitical forces in our region and decision makers need to make a stand against geo strategic enmeshment with the USA and AUKUS, akin to outsourcing our sovereignty, security and strategic relationships. This leaves Australia isolated.

Opening the conversation with the fall of Singapore 80 years ago, Keating reminded the audience that it was WWll that dragged Australia into Asia, showing us that we could not depend on the UK.

He reminded us of Wilson and Roosevelt and the multi-polar world that each envisaged through the League of Nations and the United Nations and the dream to end colonialism. The end of the Cold War saw the US declaring victory. What followed was the failure of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations who instilled a unipolar view of the world that had no place for China and Russia.

Instead of settling the world’s issues with war and then afterwards asking for conversation, we should be able to have the conversation first.

There will never be a peaceful, well-operating world while there are western structures like the G7”, Keating reminded us.

He went on to say that there needs to be a place of respect for China:

  • According to the IMF, their GDP is 20 percent larger than the USA
  • They have 20 per cent of the world’s humanity
  • They have a very large navy
  • They have solved hunger for 20 per cent of the world’s population
  • They are not exporting an ideology

Stability in Asia can no longer be imposed by a non Asian power, and least of all by direct application of US military power.

The USA could run the world alongside China, where the US consolidates the Atlantic, including Russia, while China provides the balance in the East and the Pacific. It is naive to assume China’s interests lie only in the Pacific. In fact they have more interest in the Asia continent and the Stans and Turkey.

China doesn’t want to be a stakeholder in a proprietary system run by the US and why should it? Keating asked.

On the US in Asia, Keating said that ‘the US has no idea what to do with itself in Asia’. He bluntly added that the US is not interested in ‘thinking allies’. It wants ‘dummies’.

He described the QUAD as a strategic nonsense and a waste of time.’Can anyone seriously think that the Indian Navy is going to confront China in the South China Sea?’

On Taiwan, Keating said again that it is not a vital interest for Australia. ‘Why would we want to be part of a US defeat over Taiwan?’.

On Australian strategic commentators and advisors Keating said: ‘The problem with the immaturity of the Australian international debate is that people as ordinary as Medcalf (Head of the National Security College at the ANU), who fail to understand basic things, should not be supported by editorial managers in any of the newspapers’. Medcalf  he said wants Australia to try and persuade India to change its national interests!

Keating said that he hoped the Australian Government did not listen to Andrew Shearer, the Director of the Office of National Intelligence.

Australia can do its own foreign policy, its own security arrangements and pacts, and develop its own defence capability without being owned by anyone else. But ‘our strategic sovereignty is being out sourced to another country, the US’.

AUKUS should be an exchange of ideas and no more than that. It is not too late for the Australian Government to back out of the agreement. ‘Keeping Australia in the AUKUS alliance would be a tragedy for Australia. I mean going to Cornwall (in the UK) to find our security in Asia. James Cook and Arthur Philip left 230 years ago. Do we really need to go back there?’.

This doesn’t mean we don’t need friends like the US. And Indonesia on our door step is vitally important.

The challenge of governments is to make their own stories. That is what the present day government should be brave enough to do. Tone needs to become substance.

Australia currently has a very poor idea of itself, not sure what it should be, yet we have a continent.

It is time to consider a republic. King Charles might welcome it, Paul Keating said.

Australia needs a leader like Paul Keating. View the conversation with Paul Keating here.

October 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Is a Dead End. We Must Abandon It Completely.

In fact, the knock-out arguments against the nuclear industry today are reactors’ cost and deployment time. The greatest barriers to this claimed renaissance—and it is primarily talk, not investment—is its inability to deliver affordable power on time and on budget.

Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) -both slower to deploy than conventional reactors and more expensive per kilowatt capacity. overall, SMRs are inferior to conventional reactors with respect to radioactive waste generation, management requirements, and disposal options.

Even given Europe’s energy crisis, the case against nuclear power has never been so conclusive—and so important.

The Nation, By Paul Hockenos 13 Oct 22,

BERLIN—Amid a confluence of crises—the Ukraine war, an energy crisis, and climate breakdown—nuclear energy is experiencing a renaissance, at least in the rhetoric of politicians and pundits across Europe, North America, and beyond. After all, it’s tempting to propose these generators of low-carbon energy as a panacea to this daunting phalanx of calamities.

But in fact, the case against nuclear power and for genuinely renewable energies has never been so conclusive—and so important. In early March, Russia captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine—the largest in Europe with six reactors, each the size of the one that melted down in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster—and transformed it into an army base from which it fires artillery at Ukrainian positions.

Although this weaponizing of nuclear reactors had long been recognized as a threat, the vulnerability of nuclear power plants in conflict zones is now center stage in Europe. The battlefield in this case is controlled by an unpredictable autocrat who has threatened that he’ll use every means at his disposal to destroy Ukraine. At the Zaporizhzhia station, the Russian military has taken the Ukrainian nuclear engineers hostage, and is working them at gunpoint. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned in August that there’s a “real risk of nuclear disaster” unless the fighting stops. Russia could sabotage a power plant like Zaporizhzhia and attempt to shift the blame onto Ukraine. A nuclear weapon strike would be a crime against humanity, but a disaster at nuclear plant could blur responsibility and complicate the international response. Nuclear plants, where military-scale security is nonexistent, are sitting ducks for acts of terrorism and wartime targeting.

At the same time, the world’s nuclear power champion, France, has punctured the myth that nuclear power is a round-the-clock energy source that can operate without back-up reserves—a favorite trope of wind and solar power skeptics. Nowhere in Europe today is the energy crisis more acute than in France, where for much of this year, between a third and over half of France’s 56 nuclear reactors have been shut down either because weather-warmed rivers cannot cool their systems or on account of corrosion damage, hairline cracks, staff shortages, and pending maintenance work on their geriatric hardware. The outages have forced France to rely on Germany for electricity imports—culled in large part from the wind and solar farms that supply almost half of Germany’s electricity. In August, France’s power prices hit €1,100 per megawatt-hour, more than 10 times the 2021 price, smashing records across the continent………………………………………

Critics’ original concern with nuclear power, namely its safety, remains paramount. The two most catastrophic meltdowns, in 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union and the Fukushima site in Japan, in 2011, had horrific repercussions that still haunt those regions. But these mega disasters are only the most well known. According to IAEA, there have been 33 serious incidents at nuclear power stations worldwide since 1952—two in France and six in the United States.

These accident numbers don’t include the toxic fallout from lax disposal and storage of nuclear waste.

Between 1945 and 1993, 13 countries, including the UK, the US, and the Soviet Union, heaved barrels of nuclear waste into their seas—a total of 200,000 tons—presuming the vast ocean waters would dissolve and dilute it. Those casks still lie there today.

This sad chapter belongs to the 80-year-old saga of nuclear waste. Currently, there’s over a quarter-million metric tons of spent fuel rods sitting above ground, usually in cooling pools at both closed-down and operative nuclear plants, waiting like Samuel Beckett’s protagonists Vladimir and Estragon for a definitive solution that will never come.

In northern Europe, the Finns claim that they’ve solved it by digging 100 tunnels 1,400 feet into the bedrock of an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Bothnia. Underway now for decades, this $3.4 billion undertaking, the first permanent repository in the world, will eventually hold all of Finland’s spent nuclear refuse—less than 1 percent of the world’s accumulated radioactive remnants—until about 2100. This highly radioactive mass will, its operators promise, remain catacombed for 100,000 years. (Since nuclear waste is lethal for up to 300,000 years, these sites are a time-bomb for whoever or whatever is inhabiting the planet then, assuming geological conditions allow it to lie peacefully for that long.) In light of Finland’s small volume of radioactive waste, the full lifetime price tag of nearly $8 billion dollars is significantly more per ton than the estimated $34.9 billion, $19.8 billion, and $96 billion that the France, Germany, and the United States respectively will shell out for nuclear waste management, according to the World Nuclear Waste Report 2019.

Most countries don’t have barren islands far from groundwater sources, so they have to make do, like Switzerland did in September when it announced that it intends to excavate a geological storage repository near the German border, closer to German towns in Baden Württemberg than Swiss ones. Germany’s borderland communities are vigorously contesting the choice, which will probably be abandoned by the Swiss. Nearly all proposed sites end up scratched for the obvious reason that nobody wants to live next to a nuclear waste dump.

Nowhere in the world has anyone managed to create a place where we can bury extremely nasty nuclear waste forever,” Denis Florin of Lavoisier Conseil, an energy-focused management consultancy in Paris, told the Financial Times earlier this year. “We cannot go on using nuclear without being adult about the waste, without accepting we need to find a permanent solution.”

The inherent danger of nuclear power is often relativized by advocates as the bitter pill we must choke down in light of its other advantages. In fact, the knock-out arguments against the nuclear industry today are reactors’ cost and deployment time. The greatest barriers to this claimed renaissance—and it is primarily talk, not investment—is its inability to deliver affordable power on time and on budget.

Nuclear energy is such a colossal expense—into the tens of billions of dollars, like the $30 billion Vogtle units in Waynesboro, Ga.—that few private investors will touch them, even with prodigious government bankrolling.

The UK government finally found a taker for its Hinkley Point C station in 2016 when it offered lavish subsidies to the French energy firm EDF. But even that deal becomes less sweet the higher construction costs spiral and the longer EDF postpones its opening beyond 2025. So catastrophic are the cost overruns of EDF’s projects worldwide that the company could no longer service its €43 billion debt and this year agreed to full nationalization. But experts say this alone won’t solve any of the fundamental problems at Hinkley C or the Flamanville plant in Normandy, which is 10 years behind schedule, with costs fives times in excess of the original budget. Cost overruns are one reason that one in eight new reactor projects that start construction are abandoned.

While safety concerns drive up the cost of nuclear plant insurance, the price of renewables is predicted to sink by 50 percent or more by 2030. Study after study attests that wind and solar cost a fraction of the price of nuclear power: at least three to eight times the bang for the buck in terms of energy generation and climate protection, at a time when the exorbitant cost of energy is causing recessions and street protests across Europe. It is because solar photovoltaic and wind power are the cheapest bulk power source in most of the world that renewables, grids, and storage now account for more than 80 percent of power sector investment. In 2021, companies, governments, and households invested 15 times as much in renewable energy than in nuclear. They’re simply the better buy.

NUCLEAR IS MUCH TOO SLOW

Indeed, in the face of an ever more cataclysmic climate crisis that demands solutions now—like hitting the EU’s 2030 targets of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 55 percent of 1990 levels by 2030—the build-out of nuclear is painfully, prohibitively slow. In Europe, just one nuclear reactor has been planned, commissioned, financed, constructed, and put online since 2000—that’s Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 reactors (March 2022). Europe’s flagship nuclear projects—called European Pressurized Reactors—have been dogged by delays from the start. The Olkiluoto-3 reactors in Finland, which had been scheduled to go online in 2009, still isn’t heating homes. Globally, the average construction time—which count the planning, licensing, site preparation, and arranging of finances—is about a decade.

Small-scale modular reactors (SMR), advanced with funding during the Obama administration, are supposedly the industry’s savior—the so-called next generation—although they’ve been around for decades. Purportedly quicker to build, with factory-made parts, they generate at most a 10th of the energy as a conventional reactor. Yet they are not significantly different in terms of their problems. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2022 claims that, so far, they have been both slower to deploy than conventional reactors and more expensive per kilowatt capacity. A recent study conducted by Stanford University and University of British Columbia came to the conclusion that “overall, SMRs are inferior to conventional reactors with respect to radioactive waste generation, management requirements, and disposal options.”

NUCLEAR AND RENEWABLES DON’T MIX

Finally, the last claim of nuclear supporters is that the massive baseload supply that reactors provide when they’re up and running is just what systems reliant on weather-based renewables need at down times. In fact, nuclear is the opposite of what decentralized clean energy systems require.

Renewables and nuclear energy don’t mix well in one system, explains Toby Couture of the Berlin-based think tank E3 Analytics. “What renewables need is not so-called baseload power,” he told me, “which is inflexible and unable to ramp up and down, but flexible, nimble supply provided by the likes of storage capacity, smart grids, demand management, and a growing toolbox of other mechanisms, not the large and inflexible supply of nuclear reactors.”

Couture added, “The inability of nuclear power to ramp down effectively to ‘make room’ for cheap wind and solar is one of the main reasons why France’s own domestic renewable energy development has lagged behind its peers.” According to Couture, France’s inability to flexibly accommodate wind and solar has exacerbated the continent-wide power supply crunch.

In light of the energy crisis, Germany may extend the lifetime of two of its three remaining nuclear plants for three months, in a reserve capacity beyond their scheduled end-of-year closure date. This emergency measure, a direct consequence of the previous governments’ failures, does not alter the logic against nuclear power, which even Germany’s own nuclear industry now accepts. Renewables, clean tech, and energy efficiency are easy to rollout, cost-effective, safe, and proven. Let’s concentrate on deploying these technologies at full speed to decarbonize our world before the impacts of climate change overwhelm us. https://www.thenation.com/article/world/nuclear-power-europe-energy/

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. tax-payers’ aid to Ukraine $67.5 billion – Taiwan will be the next beneficiary

Nothing But Welfare Queens: American Aid to Zelensky and Tsai Ing-wen

Libertarian Institute, by Patrick Macfarlane | Oct 13, 2022,

As it pertains to the American public, Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion can be summed up with two words: “Zelensky demands.”

To date, Washington elites and their politicians have been happy to provide—at public expense—lining their own pockets in the process.

As of this writing, U.S. aid for Ukraine has reached approximately $67.5 billion, a figure greater than Russia’s entire 2021 military budget. According to the State Department, this support includes $15.2 billion in direct military assistance. The support comes although 60-70% of lethal aid never reaches the front lines, according to a now-redacted CBS interview with on-the-ground activists.

Not only is the American taxpayer supporting much of the Ukrainian military, it is also supporting the Ukrainian government. The same working class Americans who were deemed “nonessential” in 2020—who saw their businesses shuttered and burned down—now have to pay entitlement programs both at home and in Ukraine. As of September 30, 2022, the U.S. has provided $13 billion in “direct budget support,” which is ostensibly used;

…to pay government salaries, meet pension obligations, maintain hospitals and schools, and protect critical infrastructure[,] support continuity operations at the national, regional, and local levels, support for [sic] the health sector, agricultural production, civil society, [and enable] programs to hold Russia and its forces accountable for their actions in Ukraine.

Although American taxpayers have already matched Russia’s 2021 military budget, Ukrainian president Vlodomyr Zelensky only demands more. During a Tuesday phone call, President Biden reviewed Washington’s latest $625 million dole to Zelensky. It includes, inter alia, 4 additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 16 155mm Howitzers, 75,000 155 mm artillery rounds, 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 16 105mm Howitzers, 30,000 120 mm mortar rounds, and 200 MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles.

This latest boon notwithstanding, in the same phone call, Zelensky urged Biden to provide Ukraine with air defense systems that would be used to shoot down Russian planes.

………………… Republicans like Taylor-Greene, Gaetz, and Hawley understand the cost of empire: endless warfare, a decaying homefront, and a beclowned international reputation. They understand that a war between the U.S. and Russia will be unlike anything Americans have ever experienced. Although they cloak their condemnation of war with Russia in criticism of “weak Joe Biden,” they understand it is the West that provoked this conflict and seeks to prolong it “to the last Ukrainian.” They know that the conflict—even if it remains by-proxy—is a cost war-weary working class Americans do not want and cannot afford.

They must, then, realize that the same Washington elites waxing American fat off the Ukraine conflict are cultivating Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as a Zelensky in-waiting.

Although U.S. military aid to Taiwan traditionally comes by way of arms sales, that may soon change. Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham have introduced the Taiwan Policy Act—a piece of legislation that would radically overhaul Sino-American relations.

In short, “the Taiwan Policy Act would give Taiwan $6.5 billion in military aid, give the island the benefits of being a ‘major non-NATO ally,’ expedite arms sales to Taipei, and require sanction in the event of Chinese aggression.” The bill would also authorize up to $2 billion in loans to Taiwan.

On September 14, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rather than passing it as a standalone piece of legislation, the bill’s supporters currently seek to incorporate “much” of the bill into the $817 billion 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. As of Wednesday, it is not clear exactly which provisions would be incorporated.

As above noted, the Taiwan Policy Act was introduced in the Senate on June 16, 2022 by Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham. Both Menendez and Graham are ardent supporters of Ukraine and Zelensky.

Graham met with Zelensky in July to hand deliver a plaque of his proposed Senate resolution to designate Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Since the Russian invasion, Graham has made regular appearances on Fox News whipping up lethal aid for Ukraine while calling for regime change in Moscow.

Menendez, as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has spearheaded Washington’s Ukraine support. In January, he began and continues to lead the comprehensive U.S. sanctions campaign against Russia. In March, Menendez lambasted Congressional Republicans, mainly Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), for undermining Ukraine aid. In May, Menendez, among others, introduced a Senate resolution approving the bids of Finland and Sweden to join NATO (something Josh Hawley correctly opposed).

On June 23 Menendez specifically invoked the 75th anniversary of the Marshall Plan to stoke support for Ukraine, but the Marshall Plan came after WWII, not during it, when similar support further involves the U.S. in the conflict.

Republicans opposing U.S. support for Ukraine should take note that both Menendez and Graham have repeatedly met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to pledge American support for Taiwan. In their latest visit on April 15, 2022, president Ing-wen called Lindsey Graham a “pillar of strength for Taiwan in the U.S. Congress” and dubbed Menendez one of Taiwan’s “staunchest friends.”

In his meeting remarks, Graham likened U.S. support for Ukraine to its support for Taiwan, saying:……………………………………………….

Menendez echoed Graham’s sentiment in his own remarks, shedding light on Washington’s Ukrainian plans for Taiwan:…………………..

Menendez followed up these remarks with an op-ed in The New York Times, stating:…………………………

These remarks should terrify working class Americans. Essentially, Menendez is proposing a redoubling of military support for Taiwan—the same “preventive policy” which played a large role in provoking Putin to invade Ukraine. We simply cannot afford it.

The above-named Congressional Republicans were right to oppose aid to Ukraine. For those same reasons, they should oppose adding Tsai Ing-wen to the same dole as the entitled and ungrateful Zelensky. Like Rand Paul, they should oppose the Taiwan Policy Act in all its forms.  https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/nothing-but-welfare-queens-american-aid-to-zelensky-and-tsai-ing-wen/

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. tax-payers’ aid to Ukraine $67.5 billion – Taiwan will be the next beneficiary

Nothing But Welfare Queens: American Aid to Zelensky and Tsai Ing-wen

Libertarian Institute, by Patrick Macfarlane | Oct 13, 2022,

As it pertains to the American public, Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion can be summed up with two words: “Zelensky demands.”

To date, Washington elites and their politicians have been happy to provide—at public expense—lining their own pockets in the process.

As of this writing, U.S. aid for Ukraine has reached approximately $67.5 billion, a figure greater than Russia’s entire 2021 military budget. According to the State Department, this support includes $15.2 billion in direct military assistance. The support comes although 60-70% of lethal aid never reaches the front lines, according to a now-redacted CBS interview with on-the-ground activists.

Not only is the American taxpayer supporting much of the Ukrainian military, it is also supporting the Ukrainian government. The same working class Americans who were deemed “nonessential” in 2020—who saw their businesses shuttered and burned down—now have to pay entitlement programs both at home and in Ukraine. As of September 30, 2022, the U.S. has provided $13 billion in “direct budget support,” which is ostensibly used;

…to pay government salaries, meet pension obligations, maintain hospitals and schools, and protect critical infrastructure[,] support continuity operations at the national, regional, and local levels, support for [sic] the health sector, agricultural production, civil society, [and enable] programs to hold Russia and its forces accountable for their actions in Ukraine.

Although American taxpayers have already matched Russia’s 2021 military budget, Ukrainian president Vlodomyr Zelensky only demands more. During a Tuesday phone call, President Biden reviewed Washington’s latest $625 million dole to Zelensky. It includes, inter alia, 4 additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 16 155mm Howitzers, 75,000 155 mm artillery rounds, 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 16 105mm Howitzers, 30,000 120 mm mortar rounds, and 200 MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles.

This latest boon notwithstanding, in the same phone call, Zelensky urged Biden to provide Ukraine with air defense systems that would be used to shoot down Russian planes.

………………… Republicans like Taylor-Greene, Gaetz, and Hawley understand the cost of empire: endless warfare, a decaying homefront, and a beclowned international reputation. They understand that a war between the U.S. and Russia will be unlike anything Americans have ever experienced. Although they cloak their condemnation of war with Russia in criticism of “weak Joe Biden,” they understand it is the West that provoked this conflict and seeks to prolong it “to the last Ukrainian.” They know that the conflict—even if it remains by-proxy—is a cost war-weary working class Americans do not want and cannot afford.

They must, then, realize that the same Washington elites waxing American fat off the Ukraine conflict are cultivating Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as a Zelensky in-waiting.

Although U.S. military aid to Taiwan traditionally comes by way of arms sales, that may soon change. Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham have introduced the Taiwan Policy Act—a piece of legislation that would radically overhaul Sino-American relations.

In short, “the Taiwan Policy Act would give Taiwan $6.5 billion in military aid, give the island the benefits of being a ‘major non-NATO ally,’ expedite arms sales to Taipei, and require sanction in the event of Chinese aggression.” The bill would also authorize up to $2 billion in loans to Taiwan.

On September 14, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rather than passing it as a standalone piece of legislation, the bill’s supporters currently seek to incorporate “much” of the bill into the $817 billion 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. As of Wednesday, it is not clear exactly which provisions would be incorporated.

As above noted, the Taiwan Policy Act was introduced in the Senate on June 16, 2022 by Senators Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham. Both Menendez and Graham are ardent supporters of Ukraine and Zelensky.

Graham met with Zelensky in July to hand deliver a plaque of his proposed Senate resolution to designate Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Since the Russian invasion, Graham has made regular appearances on Fox News whipping up lethal aid for Ukraine while calling for regime change in Moscow.

Menendez, as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has spearheaded Washington’s Ukraine support. In January, he began and continues to lead the comprehensive U.S. sanctions campaign against Russia. In March, Menendez lambasted Congressional Republicans, mainly Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), for undermining Ukraine aid. In May, Menendez, among others, introduced a Senate resolution approving the bids of Finland and Sweden to join NATO (something Josh Hawley correctly opposed).

On June 23 Menendez specifically invoked the 75th anniversary of the Marshall Plan to stoke support for Ukraine, but the Marshall Plan came after WWII, not during it, when similar support further involves the U.S. in the conflict.

Republicans opposing U.S. support for Ukraine should take note that both Menendez and Graham have repeatedly met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to pledge American support for Taiwan. In their latest visit on April 15, 2022, president Ing-wen called Lindsey Graham a “pillar of strength for Taiwan in the U.S. Congress” and dubbed Menendez one of Taiwan’s “staunchest friends.”

In his meeting remarks, Graham likened U.S. support for Ukraine to its support for Taiwan, saying:……………………………………………….

Menendez echoed Graham’s sentiment in his own remarks, shedding light on Washington’s Ukrainian plans for Taiwan:…………………..

Menendez followed up these remarks with an op-ed in The New York Times, stating:…………………………

These remarks should terrify working class Americans. Essentially, Menendez is proposing a redoubling of military support for Taiwan—the same “preventive policy” which played a large role in provoking Putin to invade Ukraine. We simply cannot afford it.

The above-named Congressional Republicans were right to oppose aid to Ukraine. For those same reasons, they should oppose adding Tsai Ing-wen to the same dole as the entitled and ungrateful Zelensky. Like Rand Paul, they should oppose the Taiwan Policy Act in all its forms.  https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/nothing-but-welfare-queens-american-aid-to-zelensky-and-tsai-ing-wen/

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Caitlin Johnstone: US Rejects Moscow’s Offer to Talk

It is time for the United States to supplement its military support for Ukraine with a diplomatic track to manage this crisis before it spirals out of control

“Would that open the way to negotiations, diplomacy? Can’t be sure. There’s only one way to find out. That’s to try. If you don’t try, of course it won’t happen.”

It’s inexcusable that these direct peace negotiations are not already underway. The recent escalation of this war makes peace talks more necessary, not less

 https://consortiumnews.com/2022/10/13/caitlin-johnstone-us-rejects-moscows-offer-to-talk/ By Caitlin Johnstone CaitlinJohnstone.com 14 Oct 22

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow was open to talks with the U.S. or with Turkey on ending the war in Ukraine, claiming that U.S. officials are lying when they say Russia has been refusing peace talks.

Reuters reports:

“Lavrov said officials, including White House national security spokesman John Kirby, had said the United States was open to talks but that Russia had refused.”

“This is a lie,” Lavrov said. “We have not received any serious offers to make contact.”

Lavrov’s claim was given more weight when U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price dismissed the offer for peace talks shortly after it was extended, citing Russia’s recent missile strikes on Kyiv.

We see this as posturing,” Price said at a Tuesday press briefing.

“We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression against the people and the state, the Government of Ukraine.”

This is inexcusable. At a time when our world is at its most perilous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis according to many experts as well as the president of the United States, the U.S. government has no business making the decision not to sit down with Russian officials and work toward de-escalation and peace.

They have no business making that call on behalf of every terrestrial organism on this planet whose life is being risked in these games of nuclear brinkmanship. The fact that this war has escalated with missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital makes peace talks more necessary, not less.

This rejection is made all the more outrageous by new information from The Washington Post that the U.S. government does not believe Ukraine can win this war and refuses to encourage it to negotiate with Moscow.

“Privately, U.S. officials say neither Russia nor Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright, but they have ruled out the idea of pushing or even nudging Ukraine to the negotiating table,” WaPo reports. “They say they do not know what the end of the war looks like, or how it might end or when, insisting that is up to Kyiv.”

These two points taken together lend even more credibility an argument I’ve been making from the very beginning of this war: that the U.S. does not want peace in Ukraine, but rather seeks to create a costly military quagmire for Moscow just as U.S. officials have confessed to trying to do in Afghanistan and in Syria.

Which would explain why U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the U.S. goal in Ukraine is actually to “weaken” Russia, and also why the empire appears to have actively torpedoed a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia in the early days of the conflict.

This proxy war has no exit strategy. And that is entirely by design.

Many have been calling for the U.S. to abandon its policy of actively sustaining this war while avoiding peace talks.

“President Biden’s language, we’re about at the top of the language scale, if you will,” former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen told ABC’s This Week on Sunday regarding the president’s recent remark that this conflict could lead to “Armageddon.”

“I think we need to back off that a little bit and do everything we possibly can to try to get to the table to resolve this thing,” Mullen said, adding, “As is typical in any war, it has got to end and usually there are negotiations associated with that. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.”

“One thing the United States can do is… drop the position, the official position, that the war must go on to weaken Russia severely, meaning no negotiations,” Noam Chomsky argued in a recent appearance on Democracy Now.

“Would that open the way to negotiations, diplomacy? Can’t be sure. There’s only one way to find out. That’s to try. If you don’t try, of course it won’t happen.”

“It is time for the United States to supplement its military support for Ukraine with a diplomatic track to manage this crisis before it spirals out of control,” said the Quincy Institute’s George Beebe following the Monday missile strikes on Kyiv, calling it “a major escalation in the war” that was bound to “bring the world closer to a direct military collision between Russia and the United States.”

“The Americans have to come to an agreement with the Russians. And then the war will be over,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at an event on Tuesday, adding that “anyone who thinks that this war will be concluded through Russian-Ukrainian negotiations is not living in this world.”

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Caitlin Johnstone: US Rejects Moscow’s Offer to Talk

It is time for the United States to supplement its military support for Ukraine with a diplomatic track to manage this crisis before it spirals out of control

“Would that open the way to negotiations, diplomacy? Can’t be sure. There’s only one way to find out. That’s to try. If you don’t try, of course it won’t happen.”

It’s inexcusable that these direct peace negotiations are not already underway. The recent escalation of this war makes peace talks more necessary, not less

 https://consortiumnews.com/2022/10/13/caitlin-johnstone-us-rejects-moscows-offer-to-talk/ By Caitlin Johnstone CaitlinJohnstone.com 14 Oct 22

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow was open to talks with the U.S. or with Turkey on ending the war in Ukraine, claiming that U.S. officials are lying when they say Russia has been refusing peace talks.

Reuters reports:

“Lavrov said officials, including White House national security spokesman John Kirby, had said the United States was open to talks but that Russia had refused.”

“This is a lie,” Lavrov said. “We have not received any serious offers to make contact.”

Lavrov’s claim was given more weight when U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price dismissed the offer for peace talks shortly after it was extended, citing Russia’s recent missile strikes on Kyiv.

We see this as posturing,” Price said at a Tuesday press briefing.

“We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression against the people and the state, the Government of Ukraine.”

This is inexcusable. At a time when our world is at its most perilous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis according to many experts as well as the president of the United States, the U.S. government has no business making the decision not to sit down with Russian officials and work toward de-escalation and peace.

They have no business making that call on behalf of every terrestrial organism on this planet whose life is being risked in these games of nuclear brinkmanship. The fact that this war has escalated with missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital makes peace talks more necessary, not less.

This rejection is made all the more outrageous by new information from The Washington Post that the U.S. government does not believe Ukraine can win this war and refuses to encourage it to negotiate with Moscow.

“Privately, U.S. officials say neither Russia nor Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright, but they have ruled out the idea of pushing or even nudging Ukraine to the negotiating table,” WaPo reports. “They say they do not know what the end of the war looks like, or how it might end or when, insisting that is up to Kyiv.”

These two points taken together lend even more credibility an argument I’ve been making from the very beginning of this war: that the U.S. does not want peace in Ukraine, but rather seeks to create a costly military quagmire for Moscow just as U.S. officials have confessed to trying to do in Afghanistan and in Syria.

Which would explain why U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the U.S. goal in Ukraine is actually to “weaken” Russia, and also why the empire appears to have actively torpedoed a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia in the early days of the conflict.

This proxy war has no exit strategy. And that is entirely by design.

Many have been calling for the U.S. to abandon its policy of actively sustaining this war while avoiding peace talks.

“President Biden’s language, we’re about at the top of the language scale, if you will,” former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen told ABC’s This Week on Sunday regarding the president’s recent remark that this conflict could lead to “Armageddon.”

“I think we need to back off that a little bit and do everything we possibly can to try to get to the table to resolve this thing,” Mullen said, adding, “As is typical in any war, it has got to end and usually there are negotiations associated with that. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.”

“One thing the United States can do is… drop the position, the official position, that the war must go on to weaken Russia severely, meaning no negotiations,” Noam Chomsky argued in a recent appearance on Democracy Now.

“Would that open the way to negotiations, diplomacy? Can’t be sure. There’s only one way to find out. That’s to try. If you don’t try, of course it won’t happen.”

“It is time for the United States to supplement its military support for Ukraine with a diplomatic track to manage this crisis before it spirals out of control,” said the Quincy Institute’s George Beebe following the Monday missile strikes on Kyiv, calling it “a major escalation in the war” that was bound to “bring the world closer to a direct military collision between Russia and the United States.”

“The Americans have to come to an agreement with the Russians. And then the war will be over,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at an event on Tuesday, adding that “anyone who thinks that this war will be concluded through Russian-Ukrainian negotiations is not living in this world.”

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France’s national embarrassment: half of its nuclear reactors to remain out of action for months

France’s nuclear reactors will not work as normal any time soon. The
trouble will persist well into next year. when edf, the French energy giant,
warned in May that nuclear-electricity production this year would be lower
than previously forecast because half its reactors were out of action, the
timing could not have been worse.

Thanks to its nuclear industry, France is
usually Europe’s biggest net exporter of electricity. The closures turned
the country into a net power importer for the first time, just as the
continent faced an energy crunch. When in September edf then announced that
even by 2024 output would still be well below normal levels, the problem
became a national embarrassment.

France’s current nuclear troubles are
partly due to routine maintenance of the country’s 56 reactors, half of
which are about 40 years old. Each ageing reactor needs periodically to be
shut down, on a rotating basis, for inspection. During the pandemic,
scheduled maintenance was interrupted by lockdowns. The real crunch,
though, came after corrosion issues were detected in late 2021 at one
pressurised-water reactor. By this September no fewer than 25 reactors were
out of action: ten for routine maintenance, the rest for corrosion analysis
or repairs.

Economist 13th Oct 2022

https://www.economist.com/europe/2022/10/13/frances-nuclear-reactors-will-not-work-as-normal-any-time-soon

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Across Europe, USA and NATO to hold a show of their nuclear weapons

NATO’s annual nuclear exercise gets underway, NATO News, 14 Oct. 2022

Air forces from across NATO will exercise nuclear deterrence capabilities involving dozens of aircraft over north-western Europe starting on Monday (17 October 2022). The exercise, which runs until 30 October, is a routine, recurring training activity and it is not linked to any current world events. [Ed. oh yeah! Pull the other leg!]…………………………..

Exercise “Steadfast Noon” involves 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft. As in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part; this year, they will fly from Minot Air Base in North Dakota. Training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom. …………………………………

 NATO’s goal is a safer world for all; we seek to create the security environment for a world without nuclear weapons.“ [Ed. Whaa aa t?]  https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_208399.htm

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 14 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “XPeng’s Flying Car Looks Super Cool, But What Kind Of Future Does It Have?” • XPeng got a lot of headlines this week for the first global public flight of XPeng Aeroht’s XPeng X2 flying car. It was a fun event and you can watch a video of the milestone here. Seeing the […]

October 14 Energy News — geoharvey

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment