IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Congressional Republicans attack the military's clean energy programs; NC Republicans vote to outlaw physics; Germany sets solar energy world record; Warming Arctic now growing 'pop-up forests'; PLUS: US wildfire season, off to a roaring --- and record --- start... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Top 5 US cities most vulnerable to hurricanes; House GOP's 7 bills increasing drilling, rolling back public health standards; Cost of deaths from coal pollution higher than value of electricity produced; Big US firms to develop plant-based plastics; Secrets of the first artificial leaf; Geo-engineering may disrupt rainfall; Solar Plane completes intercontinental voyage; Why are US taxpayers subsidizing the coal industry? ... PLUS: Warning: you are approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Recently, The BRAD BLOG criticized the undemocratic features of the new "Top Two" open primary system (aka the "Cajun Primary") in California. The new system, approved via a ballot initiative in 2010, changes the state's primary to system to allow a single, open primary in which the two candidates who receive the highest numbers of votes, go on to face each other in the November general election even if the combined totals of the 'Top Two' do not amount to a majority of votes cast in the primary.
In our critique, we cited the race for the newly created CA-26 Congressional seat where, despite a Democratic Party voter registration advantage, come November, voters may be forced to choose between a 'Tea Party' Republican and a stealth Republican who changed her party registration to independent just days prior to the candidate filing deadline because the two are matched against four Democrats on the June 5 "Top Two" primary ballot.
Our analysis drew criticism in comments from some right-leaning readers claiming our critique was simply a case of sour grapes by a progressive author. But, the state's upcoming U.S. Senate race reveals that the undemocratic potential of the 'Cajun Primary' cuts both ways; that there is a distinct possibility that all Californians, come November, will be forced to choose between the incumbent corporate Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein, and the Occupy Wall Street-connected, computer scientist David Levitt (see video below), who is also a Democrat...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Ominous start to summer fire season; Watch out for hot air in a newly uncovered anti-wind propaganda campaign; The Saudi Arabia of Oil wants to become the Saudi Arabia of Solar; PLUS: House Republicans working to block advanced biofuels for the U.S. military ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Public willing to pay for more green energy, but not nuclear; Why utilities are afraid of solar (hint: the competition); Arctic Ocean itself yet another global warming feedback loop; New GA nuclear reactors now $900m over-bduget; Germany 's rooftop solar strategy reduces electric bills 40% nationwide; Heartland Institute grows isolated as donors exit; NREL scientist: we must phase out natural gas; Arguing with deniers like Monty Python 'Argument' sketch: scientist ... PLUS: Death on Earth: how the world's wildlife is vanishing ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Yet, the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) make it a priority to target California medical marijuana dispensaries and to raid Oaksterdam University, a school founded by Richard Lee, a legalization activist who offers training in the cultivation and use of medical marijuana. It does so even though, in 1996, CA voters, by a wide margin, passed an initiative that "allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation...to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use." The raids were also made against the backdrop of polls showing that a majority of Americans support legalization of marijuana.
In this three-part series, we will advance the hypothesis that this seemingly irrational obsession with busting medicinal marijuana dispensaries and fending off legalization of even the most innocuous of drugs, Cannabis, can only be understood in the context of U.S. Empire and the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex.
In this first part of the series, we examine both historical and recent links between the CIA and the illicit drug trade. We touch upon the extent to which the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been used as cover for the CIA's covert import of narcotics, both into the U.S. and other nations, in order to fund the mischief the Agency engages in on behalf of U.S. Empire. That operation, evidence strongly suggests, continues to this day.
At the core of that hypothesis is the question as to whether an end to the phony 'War on Drugs' and its replacement by controlled legalization, taxation and medical, educational and psychological assistance in avoiding substance abuse would cut off a key, illicit source of covert CIA funding...
Did you know that Democrats will have a progressive alternative to President Barack Obama on the ballot in New Hampshire tomorrow? We're guessing you didn't.
Moreover, how ironic is it that Darcy G. Richardson, the only progressive Democrat with the courage to challenge the incumbent Democratic President in tomorrow's "First-in-the-Nation" primary, at one time managed the 1988 Presidential campaign of the late Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy? It was McCarthy's receipt of 42% of the vote in the 1968 NH Democratic primary which led to the announcement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for President.
How predictable is it, given the utter failure of the corporate owned media to fulfill its constitutionally envisioned function of insuring an informed electorate, that so few Americans are so much as aware of the fact that President Obama is not running "unopposed" in tomorrow's 2012 NH Democratic Primary?
While I may have something else to share with you on this later tonight, for now, just a few very thoughts on today's somber 10th anniversary of 9/11. While my thoughts this afternoon are, naturally, with the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11, they are as much today with those exponentially many more families who have lost loved ones, needlessly, in this nation's childish and/or cynical and/or opportunistic and/or cowardly responses to that horrific day.
I am also thinking of those countless many --- a great number of whom also lost family members on both 9/11 and during our response --- who carried on with exceptional courageousness nonetheless during the course of our lost decade since. To those who were not cowed by the events of 9/11 --- and by our far more damaging responses to it --- I thank you today, again, for your selfless persistence in exercising your freedoms and liberties to do what is right, as opposed to what, no doubt, would have been far easier and far less costly on so many levels.
Beyond that (and beyond the additional thoughts, as noted, I may have later tonight), I suspect you've seen plenty in relation to the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 by now. So allow me to offer just a few short links to a few short and sweet articles or clips, all very much worth reading or watching, from over the last several weeks, as they offer a great deal about what now seems to matter most --- even as much of the nation's media choose instead to travel the very same road today as they did back then, and ever since...
• MSNBC: And in additional support of Edmonds' thoughts above, another clip from Day of Destruction, Decade of War, this one on the cynical, systematic, and criminal (if still shamelessly uncharged) use of tactics once known, and prosecuted by our country, as "torture"...
Anti-war sentiments today are strikingly similar to what they had been in March 1968 when Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) challenged fellow Democrat and incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. In March 1968 only 41% of Americans said "no" when asked whether we made a mistake in sending troops to Vietnam. Today six out of every ten Americans surveyed (70% of Democrats) favor an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. Another 59% oppose our involvement in Libya.
While opposition to war is similar, the "democracy deficit" --- what Prof. Noam Chomsky refers to in Failed States as the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their elected representatives --- is much wider today than it had been in 1968.
Medicare, the centerpiece of President Johnson's Great Society, like Social Security, the centerpiece of FDR's New Deal, remains immensely popular with the American people. As revealed by a recent Washington Post poll, 78% of Americans oppose cutting Medicare. 72% favor raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 and only 17% oppose raising taxes on those making more than $250,000.
Yet, the political elites of both major parties, operating, as they did during the Wall Street bailout of 2008, under a contrived crisis mode, are advancing alternative deficit reduction proposals that will, in the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (see video below) "do just the opposite of what the American people want."
While third parties are an option, today we sorely need an option that was available in 1968: a Eugene McCarthy...
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - Ramazan Bashardost finished third in 2009's openly fraudulent presidential election. When the first-place finisher, Hamid Karzai, failed to beg, borrow, or steal 50% plus one he was required to participate in a runoff. When the second-place finisher bowed out, Bashardost was entitled, under the Afghan Constitution, to be in that runoff. It never happened.
Bashardost is currently a Member of Parliament here, having previously served as Minister of Planning. Bashardost was educated in France and speaks fairly good English, as well as a number of Afghan languages. He's an opponent of war, a harsh critic of President Karzai, and someone on the inside who tries to represent the suffering people of this beat-down, kicked around country.
I interviewed Dr. Bashardost for a couple of hours in his office on April 4th, a day of some significance to US advocates of nonviolence. Bashardost is an admirer of Gandhi's model for social change. In the clip embedded below, I asked Bashardost what he would say if President Barack Obama were in the room.
Bashardost's message to Obama is that the ongoing war in Afghanistan is losing U.S. taxpayer dollars, losing U.S. soldier lives, and losing America's values.
He says that U.S. tax dollars are spent to pay U.S. soldiers to guard corrupt Afghan officials, war lords, Islamists, and criminals who rape children in fancy palaces and buy $100,000 cars. The Taliban, he says, kill U.S. soldiers even without ill-will toward the United States, because the soldiers are between them and these officials. This war, Bashardost explains, began in 1994, and American soldiers have now gotten into the middle of it.
So, who benefits? Bashardost suggests that U.S. lobbyists and President Karzai may benefit from this war, but that the people of Afghanistan do not. But, then, I suspect President Obama knew that already...
Islamabad, Pakistan: December 24 - America's NORAD tracking facilities in Virginia confirmed that at 2:06 PM today they lost contact with Santa Clause's sleigh. At the time the signal showed Santa's slay over the autonomous tribal regions that share a border with Afghanistan.
"We have no further information at this time," said a NORAD spokesman. "The last transmission we had from Santa was when he filed his flight plan upon leaving Iranian airspace headed for Afghanistan. We had issued Santa the standard travel warnings about the region, but he insisted on keeping to his traditional flight track."
Pentagon sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said a CIA listening post on the Afghan/Pakistan border picked up a garbled distress call around the time NORAD lost Santa's signal. "It was barely legible," the sources said, "but there was something about going down and something about a drone. After that all we heard were jingle bells ringing like holy hell followed by twelve 'splat-like" sounds and then silence."
As we went to press al Qaeda in Pakistan issued a statement on Santa's disappearance.
"The infidel Claus was struck from our skies by the hand of Allah who caused a US drone to fire on his craft. Our fighters reached the crash site and report that reindeer taste like goat, but tougher. The infidel Claus is alive and is being held for interrogation. Our demands for his release will follow shortly. In the meantime, thanks for the printer cartridges. As for the mens' underwear, we clearly asked for briefs, not boxers. You are not only infidels but also stupid."
And last Sunday, the good Mr. Swanson came to Los Angeles for a book event at the home of actress and PDA advisory board chair Mimi Kennedy where I joined him, along with KPFK's Lila Garrett and Truthout's Jason Leopold, on a panel to discuss it.
The over-flow event --- impressive for any day in laid back L.A., much less in the middle of record rainfall --- was video-taped and is now posted below in seven parts, if you're interested.
(If you're looking for me in the videos below, my opening statement is near the beginning of Part 3, and my closing statement is in Part 7, beginning just before the 4 minute mark. As mentioned in my remarks, please support independent media and, along with it, the truth. You can help do so, among other ways, by buying David's book here.) Enjoy...
...is posted below, commercial-free, in case you missed it the first time around when it ran live, as guest hosted by yours truly.
Lots of important stuff discussed, much of which, I predict, will be worth remembering in the days, weeks, months (and possibly even years) ahead as the fallout continues around WikiLeaks (the new new media), and as the outrageously irresponsible governmental/state media assaults against both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and alleged leaker PFC Bradley Manning continue to disinform the American people.
HOUR 2: ...Rowley (and the 17 compatriots in her van heading back to MN with her) continue with us for a few more minutes. Then we take some calls and offer some thoughts on the allegations made against Julian Assange and the deplorably inhumane captivity of Bradley Manning. Download MP3 or listen online below...
Secrets and lies. Secrets and lies. Virtually every problem our nation (and world) now faces, seem to stem from secrets and lies. We'll be discussing that throughout the evening, as WikiLeaks changes our world, and as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show once again tonight.
We're BradCasting LIVE once again from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
Don't miss tonight's show!
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
MUCH MORE ON SECRETS & LIES: Including CNN's recent (and shameful) segment/interview with FBI vet Ray McGovern in which the cable net compared WikiLeaks Assange to a "TERRORIST", and (so far, unreported) details on my conversations with both Lemon and CNN that followed; The deplorably inhumane condititions alleged leaker Manning is being held in, and support for him by other legendary whistelblowers such as "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg (who I also recently interviewed on this topic); My thoughts on the tremendous, maddening and heart-breaking new film Fair Game, telling the story of secrets, lies and purposely harmful leaks by the Bush Administration in the Valerie Plame case, and much much more...
PLUS: As if that's all not enough, whatever else comes up along the way and your calls at 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
Snow-covered peace activists and military veterans --- as well as legendary whistleblowers and former intelligence officers --- were arrested today in front of the White House while protesting the War in Afghanistan and rallying in support of WikiLeaks and for the exposure of war crimes.
The BRAD BLOG spoke with one of those arrested, the FBI's 9/11 whistleblower and TIME's 2002 Person of the Year Coleen Rowley, within the past two hours, shortly after she was released from custody by the Capitol Hill police. Rowley had traveled some 22 hours with a group of about 17 fellow Minnesotans to participate in today's protest and paid a $100 fine for the charge of "refusal to obey a lawful order."
"Over a hundred of us got arrested standing at the White House fence, singing and showing our signs," the former FBI analyst told us. "We sang all 15 versus of 'We shall Overcome', versus that you probably never heard, and sang new words to 'Down by the Riverside' as 'Down at the White House Fence.'"
Rowley will be our guest tomorrow night (Friday) on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, which we are again scheduled to co-host.
"We were protesting against war crimes and for exposing war crimes," Rowley explained earlier tonight. She said she made her own sign back home Minnesota before traveling to D.C.. She says her sign had "The War is a Lie" on one side and "Expose War Crimes, Free Bradley Manning" on the back, with photos from WikiLeaks' "Collateral Murder" video revealing a U.S. Army Apache helicopter firing and killing approximately a dozen individuals, including two Reuters employees, and wounding two children. The video is alleged to have been leaked to WikiLeaks by Army PFC Bradley Manning who, Salon's Glenn Greenwald reported yesterday, has been detained and held "in intensive solitary confinement" for the past seven months "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture," even as he has reportedly behaved as "a model detainee"...
In "Plumbing the Depths of Lawless Executive Depravity", I argued that targeted assassinations threaten the very foundation of our republic. This occurs not only due to the potential for collateral damage but due to the distinct possibility that many whom we target as "suspected" terrorists may be entirely innocent.
These two articles, and former CIA field operative Robert Baer, in a must-see RethinkAfganistan.com video (embedded at end of this article), assume the targets of the drone strike are suspected insurgents and terrorists. Both of them deal with the counterproductive effect of unintended civilian deaths ("collateral damage") which serves to destabilize "friendly" governments, provide a recruiting tool for those bent on revenge, and increase the likelihood of "blowback," a CIA term that describes "the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people."
Have Baer and I erred in assuming these strikes are not aimed at civilians?...