• As I noted in UPDATE to my short stub story this morning linking over to the MoJo article, the Kochs finally decided to respond today, first to Jake Tapper at ABC News, after days of their refusing to give me a response --- even though I pressed them, multiple times in advance, for an explanation of Charles Koch's seeming comparison of "Saddam Hussein" to Barack Obama and the 2012 election as the "Mother of All Wars." See their response, and my response to it, in that UPDATE.
• CNN's Brian Todd did a decent report on the Situation Room today, in which I offer a quick comment...
• After years of appearing on Fox "News" and CNN, it was nice to finally be invited today to appear on MSNBC for the first time. Here's my appearance this evening on The Ed Show...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Texas is roasting! (and Rick Perry is still denying); 2011 disasters are getting expensive; Climate science is vindicated --- again; PLUS: Obama calls for infrastructure jobs - again - but undercuts clean air rules ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Regulator says Murdoch oil shale company must fix faulty wells; Bachmann dodges question on whether God uses weather to send messages; China challenges U.S. supremacy in shale gas; Oil exploration under Arctic ice could cause 'uncontrollable' natural disaster; If you eat strawberries, you should know about Methyl Iodide; Iran’s 1st nuclear power plant goes into operation; New microbe can clean up uranium; Solar power innovator Solyndra files for bankruptcy; NSFW: Don Cheadle is Captain Planet; Fukushima’s long link to a dark nuclear past ... PLUS: Scientist: “The Murdoch media empire has cost humanity perhaps one or two decades in battle against climate change ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hurricane Irene Special Report: Assessing the damage, and the response; Catastrophic flooding in VT; Rightwing's nutty response to disaster (We're talking to you, Howard Kurtz, George Will, Eric Cantor & Ron Paul!); PLUS: Making the link with climate change - the corporate media won't do it, so we will ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Despite protests, Keystone oil sands pipeline moves one step closer to approval; NASA's Hansen: We Will Continue To Fight Tar Sands Pipeline; Climate scientist vindicated again; Koch Industries fighting against tougher national security rules on chemical plants; Calfornia's 'solar highways' faces regulatory speed bumps; Reversible OLED Solar building tiles light the night; Powering your car with old newspapers?; Wind Power Gains As Gear Improves; More oil drilling in Obama era than Bush era; Earthquake may have exceeded VA nuclear plant's safeguards; Source of Gulf oil sheen near BP oil well is unclear; After Recall, Egg Farms Rack Up Violations; UN warns new mutant strain of bird flu on the rise; Monsanto GMO corn losing bug resistance ... PLUS: Republicans Against Science ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Bracing for Irene; Hey, how's your infrastructure? Earthquakes and now hurricanes test the East Coast; Fukushima Exclusion Zone to become permanent; Hundreds more tar sands protesters arrested at the White House; PLUS: Did Fox "News" just accidentally acknowledge human-caused climate change?!?! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Hockey Stick' climate scientist vindicated again; India & China spar over water; TX record-breaking drought getting 'worse by the day'; BP Oil Spill Fund has paid out $5B; 'Green Scissors' proposal to cut billions oil subsidies; EPA to creates mini-Civilian Conservation Corps for Great Lakes; Van Jones slams misleading NYT article on green jobs; "The Intermittency of Fossil Fuels"; Shell plugs North Sea pipeline spill; Shell’s shoddy safety record in the UK; GOP bashes Obama Admin for refusing to promote oil shale; Since 9/11, Koch Industries has fought tougher rules on chemical plants; National Review twisted in knots over GOP science denial; US natural gas reserve estimates cut by 80% ... PLUS: Climate cycles are driving wars: When El Nino warmth hits, tropical conflicts double: study...
In apparent response to GOP leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee who requested in June that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Julius Genachowski "strike the Fairness Doctrine from the agency's rulebook," the former corporate media executive has announced exactly that today, striking the rule, and 82 others, from the official FCC rulebook...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama plays the infrastructure card; Perry jumps in; Huntsman refers to EPA as 'terrorists', while all of the GOP candidates positions on science and global warming are difficult to swallow; the Summer of Records continues; PLUS: Arctic ice melting 4 times faster than predicted ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): DoE panel calls for more study on natural gas fracking; After North Sea oil spill, Shell to drill in Arctic; New GMO corn for gas, not food; Battle over new coal depot in WA; China to double solar capacity by year end; Coast Guard: Arctic oil spill response capability lacking; Record-breaking electric car gets 1000 miles on one charge; CNN FAIL on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining; Coping With Change: can humans adapt again?; "The (Polar) Bear Facts," checked; Massive protest shuts down Chinese chemical plant; Federal judge throws out Obama drilling rules ... PLUS: Monsanto's Roundup herbicide research shows plant, soil problems ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Obama in Holland --- Holland, MI, that is --- pushing back against Republicans with investment in jobs & clean energy... while Republicans fight harder for Big Dirty Oil; Not enough praying? Record TX heat wave still breaking even more records; Japan, five months after disaster; PLUS: Goo-B-Gone: mysterious Cheeto blob blankets an Alaskan town ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Arctic Death Spiral: Sea Ice Passes De Facto Tipping Point; Joe Bastardi Pulls a Charlie Sheen on Fox News, Pushing “Utter Nonsense”; Sen. Sanders: Tar Sands Pipeline "Will Keep America Addicted to Oil"; New Deal: Charge your elec. car with home solar; Utilities, not residents, will gain from smart metering; Why the meat industry sells salmonella; Hot river shuts Tennessee nuke plant for 2nd time; Enviros call on Super Committee to energy subsidies & tax breaks; US fracking advisory group has abundant ties to energy industry; Gas Fracking panel finds serious environmental risks; US Launches Eco-Network; BP to return to MI for clean-up; "Remember, Nature always bats last" ... PLUS: How to profit from climate change, resource wars, and ecological mayhem ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Tempers boil over as town runs out of water while drought deepens in TX; Devastating famine spreads in East Africa; New rules for heavy trucks; Japanese officials withheld radiation information from residents; PLUS: Al Gore calls 'BULLSH**T!' --- literally --- on the Climate Change Denial industry ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Fracking: groundwater contamination documented by EPA in 1987; Koch's ALEC Conf touts 'The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment'; Australia's new carbon tax will boost jobs, revenues: study; China shuts down 583 lead-acid battery plants; U.S. invests in more solar power; TN nuke plant shut down due to hot river; Japan withheld radiation data, leaving evacuees in peril; 'Brave' Fukushima workers expect to 'die within weeks'; Israel to build $423m desalination plant; Consumers get a break on gas prices; St. Louis to pay $5B to repair sewers; Last of the Lobstermen: Chasing a vanishing treasure... PLUS: BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ FAKES test in order to criticize electric cars...
On my Pacifica Radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles today, I interviewed Karen Bernal, chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) on their new resolution in support of a primary challenge to President Obama. [Audio posted below.]
I was struck during my conversation this afternoon with Bernal when she mentioned the CDP had actually considered "punishment" for the caucus for, apparently, even daring to suggest such a challenge to Obama, much less for overwhelmingly passing a resolution in favor it by some 75 of their members. While attacking the party's nominee might be in violation of the party's rules, the fact is, to my knowledge, the DNC has yet to nominate a candidate for the 2012 Presidential election.
It seems the CDP might do well to remember what the "D" stands for in their name.
Since today's interview, the San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli has posted a column on the matter, including some comments from Bernal and, of more note here, some, uh, colorful comments about the Progressive Caucus resolution and the idea of a primary against the President, by California Democratic Party chair John Burton. It's worth noting, as Garofoli did, that Burton supported the primary challenge against President Jimmy Carter by Sen. Ted Kennedy back in 1980. He's singing a different tune now. Of course, Kennedy didn't win that primary challenge, Carter won the re-nomination and he ended up losing in a landslide to Reagan --- for whatever that comparison may be worth. (Not too much, in my humble opinion.)
Also, progressive author and journalist David Swanson sent me a link to this new website, StopHoping.org, at which you can vote on whether Obama should be primaried and, if so, by whom.
[NOTE: My radio interview today with Karen Bernal, head of the CA Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus, on my KPFK/Pacifica show, about the groups' resolution in support of a Democratic primary challenge to Obama, as detailed below --- and the state party's troubling reaction to it --- is now posted here. - BF]
Nader argued that without a primary challenge and vigorous debate on issues important to the Democratic base, Obama would "be able, for another four years, should he win, which is likely, to turn his back on the liberal progressive base and become Obama/Bush Administration 2. Just look at all the similarities with the Bush Administration."
Host David Shuster challenged Nader by suggesting that "a primary challenge to President Obama would hurt him, cause fissures in the democratic party and possibly impede the party efforts in the the general election."
"Well, it's just the reverse," Nader countered. "It will challenge him, bring the best out of him and there's nothing worse for a candidate in terms of lessening the enthusiastic level for him than to go through an unchallenged routine of repetitious primaries."
The former Green and then independent Presidential candidate discussed a soon-to-emerge, campaign by Democratic progressives to organize an initiative in the coming days "not designed to defeat [Obama], in the Democratic Primary, but designed to generate a robust debate, and put the liberal progressive issues on domestic policies, including job production and foreign and military policy, on the national Presidential agenda in 2012."
He said that without such a challenge, Obama would be allowed to continue serving little more than just "the corporate warlords and corporate barons of Wall Street."
By the way, in an article last January, Canning called on Nader himself to register as a Democrat and consider exactly such a primary challenge to Obama.
Nader is not the only high profile figure to discuss the possibility of a primary challenge to the President. Vermont's extremely popular Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said on Thom Hartmann's radio show the Friday before last that he thought "it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition."
Then, over this past weekend, as word of the debt ceiling "deal" brokered between Obama and the Republicans, featuring historic spending cuts but no increases in revenue, leaked out, word came in that some 75 Progressive Caucus members of the California Democratic Party (CDP) had passed a controversial resolution in support of, you guessed it, a Democratic primary challenge to Barack Obama.
According to a statement posted with their resolution at WarisaCrime.org: "Gathering in Anaheim during an Executive Board meeting of the CDP, the group overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution following a discussion on the importance of not only challenging the far-right agenda of unmitigated corporate greed but also the current administration's willingness to slash 650-billion dollars from Social Security and Medicare."
And a house divided is united, ever so briefly, as Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) made a surprise appearance tonight during the U.S. House vote on the contentious debt ceiling agreement. The dramatic appearance on the floor to cast her vote in favor, was her first since being shot in the head in Tucson on January 8th. The chamber erupted into applause.
"I had to be here for this vote," she said in a statement. "I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."
Giffords voted against raising the ceiling previously, in December of 2009 and February of 2010, but voted in favor of it today, as her staff noted that "this vote was substantially different, with the strength of the U.S. economy hanging in the balance."
The measure passed in the House following Giffords' appearance, by a vote of 269 to 161, with most of the 74-person Progressive Caucus, the largest in the House, voting against it. Democrats ultimately split their vote 95 to 95 on the controversial bill brokered by President Obama and Republicans, featuring the largest spending cut in the nation's history. GOP members voted overwhelmingly in favor of passage, 176 to 66.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the bill tomorrow, prior to the August 2 deadline when the U.S. Government is said to be no longer able to pay all of it's obligations unless the debt ceiling is raised. Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already expressed their support.
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UPDATE 8/2/11, 11:03am PT: Debt ceiling agreement has passed in U.S. Senate by a 74 to 26 margin. 19 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted against it. The President signed the bill, promising some $2 trillion in spending cuts, just moments ago, privately in the Oval Office. Mission Accomplished.
Please don't say we didn't try to warn you. We even caught a bit of flak from folks on the "Left" and were quoted by Brit Hume on Fox "News" for our comments at the time.
Back on April 1, 2007 --- in what wasn't an April Fools Day joke, unfortunately --- The BRAD BLOG highlighted pretty much everything you needed to know about Barack Obama. In the middle of a tense debate over a military spending bill passed by Democrats and threatened with a veto by George W. Bush since it included a requirement for the President to set timelines for a withdraw from Iraq, Obama told AP that even if Bush vetoed the bill, Senate Democrats would simply send back another bill that didn't include the timeline requirement.
In short, he sold out his own caucus by showing their hand and thus paved the way for Bush to call their bluff with a veto without consequence. That's exactly what Bush did.
If we ever need to negotiate for anything, remind us to not call on Obama to represent us.
"I think that it's important for voters to get a sense of how the next president will make decisions in a foreign policy arena," he told AP.
Great. We've just gotten that "sense," and if that's your plan, then thanks but no thanks.
Yes, President Obama has been forced to deal with an unprecedented extremist GOP willing to use terrorists tactics to get their way, creating phony "hostage crises" time and again --- in the latest episode putting a gun to the head of the world economy. But negotiating with terrorists only ensures the likelihood of the bad guys taking another hostage in the future, which the Republicans have repeatedly done, and will continue to do. Capitulating to them, as he has now done time and again, is inexcusable.
Following whatever the resolve may be of this phony debt "crisis" created by the Republicans, the FY 2012 budget debate will very quickly begin and we're likely to see the very same tactics and Republican victory resolution played out all over again. (Bookmark this post for use in October, when the FY '12 year begins and the GOP will be staging another hostage crisis.)
What was clear to us as long ago as 2007 was that Obama was the worst. negotiator. ever. His time in office to date has done nothing to assuage us of that initial assessment, as he has negotiated with himself and capitulated to terror tactics again and again, acceding to virtually every demand of the hostage takers by the end.
From giving away the store with un-stimulating tax cuts in a much-smaller-than-needed stimulus package, to giving up away the public option (much less single payer) right off the bat in the health care reform bill, to capitulating on extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich earlier this year, and now accepting a "bargain" which tosses out everything he had formerly promised to be a "bottom line" for any debt ceiling deal, the President has done almost precisely as he projected he would 4 years ago when we pointed it out, so that we could "get a sense of how the next president will make decisions."
If you didn't notice then, please don't blame us. We tried to tell you.
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On the wonky details of the President's latest capitulation...For one of the best critiques that we've seen to date, on the dangers posed to jobs and the economy by the current Dems-give-all-GOP-gives-nothing "deal," please see Krugman, who charges "The President Surrenders." He offers an argument that his "deal" will make things much worse, rather than better, both economically and politically. He says that "we're witnessing here...a catastrophe on multiple levels"...
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...
NOTE: Due to a technical malfunction, we were unable to produce the usual audio version of today's Green News Report. The GNR was planning to be off next week anyway, so the "vacation" comes a bit earlier, unfortunately, as we wait for replacement equipment to arrive in time for our return on the week of July 17.
Nonetheless, the stories we had planned to discuss in today's audio report, and our usual 'Green News Extra' coverage, all follow below. - DD & BF
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: ExxonMobil's oil spill credibility problem; NEW rules for coal pollution; Night-time solar power in Spain; Jellyfish attack ANOTHER nuclear plant ... PLUS: Final voyage for the U.S. Space Shuttle: America can still do big things ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
No audio report today. Please see NOTE above. - Desi & Brad
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Proposed Keystone XL pipeline Is 20x bigger than Exxon's faulty pipeline; US funds project to produce fuel from corn waste; Chinese oil spill went unreported for a month; Fertilizer phosphate starting to run low; Salazar slams GOP push for deep conservation cuts; Imported fish with banned chemicals reaching US consumers; White House Study Explains Why GOP Targets EPA; French Nuclear Power Plant Explosion Heightens Safety Fears; U.S., Europe World's Apart on Climate Science Coverage; Solar thermal plants scrap steam for photovoltaic ... PLUS: An Historical Perspective on the Energy and Climate-Change Debate ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama calls again for eliminating billions in oil subsidies; Coal mine owner Massey Energy kept two sets of books; U.S. Interstate Highway system proves federal infrastructure good for business; PLUS: Jellyfish attack a nuclear power plant --- no, really --- natural disasters and the Achilles heel of the U.S. nuclear industry ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2010: Second warmest year on record; How rising temperatures change weather; CA delays nation's 1st cap-and-trade emissions auctions; AAAS decries intimidation, threats aimed at climate scientists; Undercover video links major retailers to barbaric handling of pigs; How the meat industry turned abuse into a business model; Dick Cheney's Big Fracking Mess; Google's plan for cleantech world dominance; More radioactive water leaks from Fukushima; "Our economic system must adapt to climate change"; A clean, green economy will arrive 'like a grenade in a glasshouse; How to make solar panels with paint; Environmentalists Speak Out Against Excessive Cheese Logging; Did ExxonMobil break its promise to stop funding climate deniers?; CA to delay its greenhouse gas emissions trading system; Sierra Club Can't Join U.S. Lawsuit Seeking BP Spill Damages ... PLUS: Republican governors AWOL during state emergencies to attend secret Billionaire Koch Brothers event ...