Republicans are quietly rigging election maps to ensure permanent rule

Stephan:  While the media focuses on morons like Lauren Boebert, and the failure of Merrick Garland to act, the long strategy of the christofascists is playing out. We are going to know in 2022 whether they have succeeded. Our election system has been rigged to keep White racist christofascists in power, in control of economics and social policies. Behind the the Hawleys, Greene-Talyors, Boeberts and other MAGAt grotesques, unwitting clowns whose function is to catch your attention,  there are people with enormous wealth. They have hired neuroscientists, social scientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists and paid them, through think tanks, to study the psychophysiology of politics, and design ways to put their priorities into power (see SR archive for my paper on this.) And now they are playing it out.
Photograph: Cory Clark/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

The long-term health of American democracy is in peril, to a degree far worse than people imagine. But not where most people are looking.

While many eyes go to Washington DC or Mar-a-Lago, the attack on democracy is actually most concentrated and coordinated in state capitals. Whether it’s gerrymandering or voter suppression or attacks on offices that provide needed checks and balances – the states have become widely undemocratic. As I outline in my book Laboratories of Autocracy, the consequences of this anti-democratic movement are only getting worse.

The past decade in Ohio, where I served in recent years as chair of the state Democratic party, shows how bad it can get – and how quickly.

When Fox News called Ohio for Barack Obama in 2012, it meant he’d be president for another term. Ohio’s Democratic senator Sherrod Brown also won handily that night. But how did these victories in America’s bellwether state translate at the congressional level?

Not at all.

Even though it was Democratic in 2012, a state that only […]

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How ‘Climate Migrants’ Are Roiling American Politics

Stephan:  I have been telling you this for several years, and now it is happening with enough impact that publications like Politico are taking note, and this is just the beginning. Soon there will be millions of Americans on the move, and later in this century it is going to change American politics profoundly.

When Puerto Rican native Olga González became the first Latina mayor of Kissimmee, Fla., last year, she credited God for her victory. Others pointed to climate change.

A fast-growing Orlando suburb of 80,000 people, Kissimmee saw its Puerto Rican population grow substantially after the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017 prompted many struggling families to leave the island for Florida.

Kissimmee gained a whopping 10,000 new residents between 2017 and 2020, according to census data. Osceola County, where Kissimmee is located, and neighboring Orange County saw their combined Puerto Rican population jump more than 12 percent. The changes were so profound that González found herself competing with two other Puerto Rican candidates to become Kissimmee’s mayor.

“Hurricane Maria … served as a reintroduction of the Puerto Rican population into Central Florida,” said Fernando Rivera, director of the Puerto Rico Research Hub at the University of Central Florida. Now, “we’re seeing growth in the leadership [of Puerto Ricans].”

The concept of climate migration — population shifts forced by destructive weather changes […]

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TEPCO determined to discharge Fukushima water into Pacific

Stephan:  There are a number of reasons why I think nuclear power technology has no place in a non-carbon power era, and the most compelling argument against nuclear is the waste problem. Every time something goes wrong, whether it is Chernobyl, Fukushima, or St. Onofre, the attempts at solutions are always inadequate. No one has a really functional idea about how to deal with nuclear waste, a pollution form that must be measured not in days, week, months, years, or even centuries. Try thousands of years, an absurd period to consider. Fukushima presents a current test case because that disaster produced over a million tons of waste which the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company have no a clue how to handle. They are now talking about diluting the liquid waste and dumping it into the Pacific Ocean, where it can spread around the word doing no one knows what. Whenever you hear someone promoting nuclear power you can be certain of one thing only: They are either willfully ignorant, or they have financial reasons behind their promotion.  
The sea off Fukushima Credit: CGTN

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the problematic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is determined to discharge contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear accident into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s state broadcaster NHK reported Friday.

TEPCO plans to begin a geological survey on Saturday to prepare for the construction of a 1-kilometer undersea tunnel that will be used to drain diluted contaminated water into the ocean, starting in the spring of 2023.

About 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water is stored at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, all in large tanks. The Japanese government decided in April to filter and dilute the contaminated water and release it into the sea. The move has sparked strong international concern and domestic opposition.

In 2011, the cores of three reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melted down following a major earthquake and tsunami.

Dismissing domestic and foreign questioning and criticism, the Japanese government has insisted on discharging the nuclear-contaminated wastewater over an expected period of 20 to 30 years.

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Radioactive particles from Cold War-era nuclear tests found in American honey

Stephan:  I don't thing anything could more clearly make my point about the problems concerning nuclear waste and pollution than this sad little tale about honey.
Credit: Roman Odintsov/Pexels

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA During the Cold War, the United States and Russia regularly tested atom bombs throughout the mid-to-late 20th century. Now, a recent study finds the radioactive particles of those nuclear experiments are still present today — and they’re in the food that Americans eat, including honey.

What began as a small spring break assignment for students at William and Mary soon grew into a multi-year study of the lingering effects of Cold War era bombs. Their results? U.S. honey contains significantly more radioactive particles than other foods in the study.

To illustrate how these bombs still linger in our food, Jim Kaste, an associate professor in William and Marys’ Geology department, instructed students to bring back local food following spring break. When measuring the isotope cesium-137, a relic of atom bomb tests, they found honey to have almost 100 times the cesium levels as all other foods.

“I measured it again because I thought something happened to the container or my detector was bonkers. I […]

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Editor’s Note – The Deadly Silence

Stephan:  I decided this afternoon, after looking at the responses to the MAGAT Representative Boebert's comments -- so awful she had to make a sort of apology -- to dedicate this day's edition to an historical significant silence. We have a serious problem in the United States, one of the two political parties is no longer interested in actual governance. Today I give you four reports describing what I am talking about. They want authoritarianism that will assure a White supremacy, male dominant christofascist culture. While democracy still exists, they must be voted out of office. The Democrats must come out of the 2022 election with a strong majority so that the country can prepare for the reality of the near future. That depends on you and me, and that there be enough of us to win irrefutably.  
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