Rupture feared; Workers contaminated; New evacs 'recommended'... PLUS: German study uses French data to corroborate findings from Austrian, U.S. scientists, suggesting Fukushima disaster should be reclassified as 'level 7' accident, on par with Chernobyl...
UPDATE The original graphic we used above had been posted by Pelosi's office on 5/3/11, even though they had updated the graphic on 5/19/11. We had linked to the updated one, but had posted the older one here (which illustrates the same idea, though George W. Bush's increase to the debt was seen as 115% versus 86% in the update, and Barack Obama was responsible for increasing the debt by 16% versus 35% in the updated version, which is now posted above.) Thanks to longtime BRAD BLOG commenter Soul Rebel for catching the mistake!
"I don’t want to pollute the water. I don’t want to pollute streams," said Paul, "If you dump benzene in the stream, I want you to go to jail."
Really, Senator? Are you calling for the billionaire Koch brothers --- likely two of your biggest and wealthiest fans --- to be thrown in jail then?
As Fang details, Koch Industries was indicted by the DoJ in 2000 for knowingly dumping "at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams" at its Corpus Christi refinery, and for conspiring to cover it up in an attempt to deceive regulators.
After George W. Bush took office in 2001, however, "his Attorney General John Ashcroft dropped 88 counts against Koch for the benzene spill and cover-up" in exchange for a guilty plea to falsifying documents and a $20 million fine (a settlement from $350 million in potential fines.)
The Kochs made out pretty well in exchange for their $32,200 contribution to the 2000 Bush campaign. The job killing Koch brothers are making out even better under Barack Obama. But more on that later. [UPDATE: Those thoughts now here.]
Suffice to say, neither the Kochs, nor anybody who works for them, went to jail for "dump[ing] benzene in the stream," as Paul is calling for, even as he calls for doing away with even more environmental regulations in his remarks to The Street.
A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.
"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.
Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.
In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...
Republicans are planning to paint Warren as a liberal Harvard elitist — they’re already referring to her as “Professor Warren” — because they believe that she will have trouble winning over the kind of blue collar whites from places like South Boston that helped power Scott Brown’s upset victory.
But as this video shows, Warren is very good at making the case for progressive economics in simple, down-to-earth terms. Despite her professorial background, she sounds like she’s telling a story. She came across as unapologetic and authorative [sic], without a hint of the sort of defensiveness you hear so often from other Democrats when they talk about issues involving taxation and economic fairness. This is exactly what national Dems like about Warren.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The President fights back; the EPA doesn't --- for now, anyway; Shell Oil one step closer to drilling in the Arctic; Massive anti-nuke protests in Japan; PLUS: Australia's prime minister faces the global warming fight head on ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Clinton blasts Republicans on climate change denial; Poll: More Americans now believe world is warming; 3rd hottest summer globally; The Solyndra Timeline; Solyndra is the next 'Climategate'; Siemens quits nuclear industry; 'Gasland' wins Emmy; Are cosmic rays causing global warming? [No.]; Safety violations at ExxonMobil refinery; More shale well cement problems; China invests billions in Canada oil sands; Rising seas to wash out California tourism; China's crackdown on rare earth metals; New study links Gulf War vets illnesses to area of service; Missing global heat may hide in deep oceans; China closes solar panel plant after anti-pollution protests; America and oil: declining together? ... PLUS: Best way to convince deniers: Butter them up ...
In a lengthy piece in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, former Executive Editor, now opinion piece writer, Bill Keller attempted to come to terms with both his own, and his paper's, major failures during the lead-up and follow-through in the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
While Keller eventually comes around to admitting that both he and the paper got it wrong (albeit with lots of justifications for the failures along the way) he continued to hedge one very crucial bet in just the fifth paragraph, as he wrote [emphasis ours]:
...Iraq, a place that had, in the literal sense, almost nothing to do with 9/11, but which would be its most contentious consequence.
We have been attempting to contact Keller since Sunday, asking via both email and Twitter:
"Almost"? Okay, I'll bite. What exactly was Iraq's role in 9/11?
Today Keller replied, admitting that that part of his Sunday story --- a story about the Times' costly failure of getting the Iraq War wrong --- was wrong as well...
Fair point. "Almost" is one of those wiggle words writers use to allow for the possibility they might have missed something. I know of no evidence whatsoever that connects Saddam to 9/11, and I assume the widespread popular belief that there is some connection is a myth. But of course it's hard to prove a negative, so it's cautious - perhaps over-cautious - to say a connection is unproven rather than disproven.
But, of course, Keller hadn't written that a connection between Iraq and 9/11 was "unproven," as he avers in his response above. He asserted, in no uncertain terms, as late as this past Sunday, a full 10 years since 9/11, in an article meant to come to terms with his paper's --- "the paper of record's" --- unspeakably costly inaccuracies, that Iraq had "almost nothing to do with 9/11," suggesting that they had, in fact, had some very small role in it.
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"...
While Brad Friedman recently exposed Matthew Vadum to be but the latest in a long line of fraudulent right-wing propagandists who flat-out lie about "voter fraud" as part of the billionaire-funded assault on the right of the those who would be inclined to vote against the GOP, no one could have done more to demolish Vadum's credibility than Matthew Vadum.
"Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?," asks Vadum in the latest of his series of wingnut welfare op-eds/commercials for his laughable new anti-ACORN book:
Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians. Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery.
Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals
Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor. It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money.
In claiming that the poor are but a "burden" on society and that registering the poor to vote is "like handing out burglary tools to criminals," who seek "to help themselves to others money," Vadum not only advanced long-discredited hard-right ideological beliefs but revealed the abhorrence that the billionaire class and its paid-for propagandists have for democracy, itself...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fox 'News' wants to abolish FEMA, but VT's Emergency Management team --- and even NJ Gov. Chris Christie(!) --- beg to differ; Talking energy innovation in Vegas; PLUS: Now even Snooki gets it! Well...um...sort of... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Letter from a Utah jail: Tim DeChristopher speaks; Solar setback: Solyndra files for bankruptcy; ConocoPhillips says 'virtually all' of China spill cleared; Germany sets renewables record; Oil shale mining would suck the West dry: report; Panel confirms fix was in at Japan's nuclear public meetings; Australia to get its first utility-scale solar plant; Attack of the Monsanto Superinsects; The greenest building on Earth; Rising Biomass Demand Could Drive Land Grabs: Report; Exxon Reaches Arctic Oil Deal With Russians; San Bruno Pipeline Explosion: 'A Failure of the Entire System' ... PLUS: NSFW: Don Cheadle IS Captain Planet! ...
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 ...
Earlier today, Brad Friedman reported that, despite high unemployment and food stamp usage at an all-time record high, U.S. corporations were experiencing record profits.
Simultaneously, Los Angeles Times reported that Senate leaders have reached an accord to pass three more NAFTA-like "free trade" agreements (Panama, Colombia, and South Korea) when Congress returns from its August recess. The Times stated: "Proponents [e.g.,the U.S. Chamber of Commerce] say the trade agreements...will pump as much as $14 billion into the U.S. economy and add more than 250,000 jobs."
The reality was better captured by Ross Perot during a 1992 Presidential Debate when he warned (video reminder below) that NAFTA would produce "a giant sucking sound of jobs headed South"...
[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."
They voted for it, before they voted against it. But that was the 7 times they voted to raise the debt ceiling when it was their "President" in the White House.
As ThinkProgress notes in their blog item accompanying the following video compilation of Republicans arguing on the House floor in 2002 and 2004 to raise the debt limit in a clean bill with no spending cuts, "no less than 98 currently serving House GOP members" voted in favor of doing exactly that --- back then --- in order to pay the bills for spending they'd previously approved.
But that was then, with a Republican in the White House, before they decided to create a fake "crisis" in order to terrorize the nation's economy in a shameful attempt to return to power. Hypocrisy on parade...
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...
As taken last year during a great 4th of July fireworks display in Culver City, CA, as sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce.
Upon entering the fairgrounds, they were kind enough to hand everyone a plastic U.S. flag (which included a special note, see above), to help us all celebrate our patriotism and remind us of our independence.