Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Socialist Geese Consecrate Beckapalooza!

It must be getting a bit frightening for the immediate family of Glenn Beck. His megalomania and delusions make for an odd kind of entertainment but one wonders, how does this stuff look to people who have to live with him? Yesterday as he was mistily recounting the Saturday rally, he started to talk about some Canada geese that flew over the mall in a V shape just as Beckstock was getting under way and says it was likely a message from God. No, really!

The idiots in the MSM should be ashamed of themselves for treating this guy seriously. Maybe there is divine providence looking after him, after all John Stewart's on vacation for two weeks!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Katrina Plus Five

President Obama was in New Orleans over the weekend pleading his devotion to the Big Easy. Five years
after the storm that tore the city apart New Orleans battles to regain its footing on the banks of the Mississippi. The legacy of Katrina, Mr. Obama said, must be “not one of neglect, but of action; not one of indifference, but of empathy; not of abandonment, but of a community working together to meet shared challenges.”

Resident  of New Orleans actor-comedian and documentarian Harry Shearer speaks about his film The Big Uneasy.

Interview with Harry Shearer on Coast 2 Coast Am. (audio only)

just for fun The Dirty Dozen Brass Band a great New Orleans band with Gov't Mule playing a Herbie Hancock tune Chameleon

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

I'm at a loss for words as to what to say about a media that treats Glenn Beck's megalomania as worthy of coverage -- C-Span covered the whole thing and then replayed it! I also don't understand what this snake-oil salesman has done to merit any credibility. Having a TV show that plays to the rubes and bilks them is no great accomplishment. Watch this video collection of some of the most self-aggrandizing moments not featured on the WWE that you'll ever witness or hear:

Bonus link to a great kos diary with pics of the very white rally ( and some teabagger fools climbing all over a WWII memorial!) -- you might want to note that MLK's rally was about 1/4 white while Beck's was 1/1000th black. And because I love you, here's a clip from that movie Keith Olbermann is always referring to in his op-eds about Glenn Beck's alter-ego, Lonesome Rhodes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Media Demagogues - First In A Series

At the top of the list of modern day media demagogues is self-styled spokesperson for all things Christian is Glenn Beck (even though he is a Mormon). He is getting ready to hold a rally on the anniversary of the "I Have A Dream" speech, and dishonour the name of Martin Luther King. I say self-styled because there is nothing about his behaviour that is remotely Christian. The event which he has claimed will be non-political, will be decidedly political with the NRA as sponsors and Americans for Prosperity, a major conservative political organization backed by right-wing billionaire David A. Koch of the oil giant Koch Industries, providing buses to rally. He will also encourage attendees to join the right-wing group FreedomWorks, which is chaired by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Listening to Beck discussing NYC Islamic center, he asks, "After you've killed 3,000 people, you're going to now build your mosque?" You have to wonder who the you in the question is. The people who want to build the community center didn't kill 3,000 people on 9/11 -- but it sure is a great way to tar 1.5 billion people and drum up hatred. What major religions would Jesus demagogue?

Glenn Beck even goes so far as to rail and campaign against "social justice" regularly on his program as if such an idea sprang from the devil himself instead of being an idea that runs throughout the Old and New Testaments and includes such virtues as "caring the for the poor and speaking about human rights.

He has helped to normalize this kind of vitriolic speech. Listen to Glenn below talking about rivers of blood:

Keith Olberman takes a look at the the delusions of Glenn Beck:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Earth Blues

And we're back! Seventeen minutes past the big hour and we've got lots of stories but rapidly running out of time here tonight.

Starting with a story that should be getting way more ink, Pakistani government officials admitted that they deliberately sabotaged secret peace talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban because they resented being excluded from those talks. And in some news from the middle-east that actually might be called good news, turns out the prospect of an alliance between the Iraqiya and Iraqi National Alliance (INA) blocs and the formation of a coalition government could be closer than anyone realized.

Sadly that's where the good news ends for Iraq, as the country has between 25 and 50 percent unemployment, a dysfunctional parliament, rampant disease, an epidemic of mental illness, and sprawling slums. The killing of innocent people has become part of daily life.  All brought about by the havoc the United States has wreaked in Iraq.

The right has the brothers David and Charles Koch, heirs to the oil and chemical conglomerate Koch Industries the Koch family to orchestrate not only the Tea Party movement, but much of the modern right-wing infrastructure. They have founded or funded dozens of conservative or libertarian publications, think tanks, and attack groups. Grass roots my ass! The New Yorker goes further in exposing the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers delight in misleading and muddying the waters about the nature of climate change -- they are not alone in this endeavor and there are a myriad of ways to do so. To paraphrase a song I heard, you don't believe in climate change, you understand it or you don't. The above link from Skeptical Science, in an article entitled How Climate Skeptics Mislead, looks at some of things that help us understand climate change. The point to signs of warming that are found all over the globe:

•From space and the Earth’s surface, we see more heat being trapped by carbon dioxide

•Nights are warming faster than days
•The upper atmosphere is cooling while the lower atmosphere is warming
•Ice sheets are melting
•Sea levels are rising
•Biological changes in tens of thousands of species
•Glaciers are retreating
•Seasons are shifting
•Species are becoming extinct

Also from Skeptical Science, in an article about Arctic sea ice volume, they ask the question why do skeptics only think in two dimensions?

To close out on some troubling environmentally related stories, starting with a story from Julia Whitty over at Mother Jones, the IWC (International Whaling Commission) has granted Greenland an aboriginal quota to kill 27 humpback whales starting in October. But (maddeningly) the hunters aren't waiting for the season to start.

From Science Daily, A previously undefined expanse of the western North Atlantic has been found to contain high concentrations of plastic debris, comparable to those observed in the region of the Pacific commonly referred to as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

And from Nigeria, what happens when sweet crude turns sour.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

POD CAST- UnderGate With WalterGate

Efraim E. Diveroli accused ams dealer
Arms Dealer Busted in Florida. Would you hire him? The Pentagon did. This story and more with WalterGate at UnderGate. Be sure to download first ever POD CAST!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Julain Assange is Now a Target

I awoke this morning to charges that Julian Assange (terrific profile from the BBC) was wanted for rape in Sweden. Considering the outright furor of the Americans over the leaking of 70,000 documents relating to the war in Afghanistan and the promised release of 15,000 more, I had my doubts as to the veracity of the complaints.

The Pentagon has recently demanded WikiLeaks immediately erase the huge cache of secret US military files about the Afghan war it has posted online and hand over another 15,000 classified records in its possession. The defence department has no power to enforce its demands, but the increasingly threatening language is seen as a bid to deter WikiLeaks from releasing the 15,000 Afghan war records it has not published as well as an encrypted file recently added to the site entitled "insurance".

So two hours after reading that Julian was being charged I read the warrant for his arrest  has been rescinded. I know, shocking! So if it wasn't obvious before it sure is now, Assange is a target for people who don't like whistle-blowers. We need people like Julian in this not so brave new century. If you feel inclined to help him and his WikiLeaks organization go here.

Cross-posted at NMPCanada

Late Night Blogging

On Friday morning, the radio show featured a week's news about the war in Afghanistan. The link is from our sister site and it's pretty much a collection of links to  mostly alarming reports about course of the war for the NATO allies. For example, from the Washington Post: With most Afghan and NATO troops stationed in the country's south and east, villagers in the path of the Taliban advance into the once-peaceful north say they are powerless and terrified, confused by the government's inability to prevail -- and ready to side with the insurgents to save their own lives. Go read at the whole post and don't be surprised when the realization that in spite of all that you may have read previously, things are deteriorating for the NATO allies in the Afghanistan war.

In Pakistan, floods have not just devastated the lives of millions of people, they now present an unparalleled national security challenge for the country, the region and the international community. Lest anyone under-estimate the scale of the disaster, all four of Pakistan's wars with India combined did not cause such damage.

And there are a myriad of other problems that have been created: Millions of acres of crops have been destroyed and villages washed away. Joblessness and helplessness will lead to more young men joining the militants ...and the floods have not stopped the rampant violence in the country. The Pakistani Taliban continue to carry out suicide bombings and assassinations and have vowed to wipe out the Awami National Party which governs KP province. The Taliban are now threatening to prevent Pakistani non-governmental organisations from carrying out relief work.

There's also the scourge of water-borne diseases and the risk of an epidemic:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Late-Nite Breaking News

Late Night Funny dedicated to our friends at Fox and CBS and NBC and CTV and CBC etc. etc.

(viewer discretion some "bad" words in the video. but then again there are no bad words only bad intentions.)

Late Night Improv

During an editorial meeting here at New Media and Politics for our upcoming  Blunt video Mr. Winters name came up.  So kick back, forget the ills of  the day and watch a man and his stick. Enjoy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hey there, and thanks for showing up! Just wanted to pop back in and post the rest of the links to the days' stories on my radio show. No narratives just the links, okay? Feel free to drop me a note from time to time - you could tell me what kind of stories you'd like to see/hear more of and what kind you could do without.

The Gulf spill doesn't get as much coverage as it should in the media so you have to go digging to find out what's been happening there of late. For starters, the Obama administration announced Monday that it is no longer fast-tracking offshore drilling projects in deep water by exempting them from detailed environmental review.

Two weeks ago, as federal officials prepared to declare that some three-quarters of the estimated 5 million barrels of oil released into the Gulf over three months had disappeared, Mark Williams, a fishing boat captain hired by BP to help with the spill cleanup, encountered tar balls as large as three inches wide floating off the Florida coast -- he has been instructed by BP not to report them.

No matter what you hear or read in the MSM the oil spill still poses threats to human health and seafood safety, according to a study published Monday by the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association.

No doubt you've heard about the NY mosque controversy. It really shouldn't be an issue, but that's not how it works any longer. The right screams and whines about some trumped up nonsense and eventually the MSM covers it. To get an idea of how overheated the rhetoric can get go read what Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove have to say about the issue. Gird your loins for those nazi comparisons.

Don Lemon of CNN demonstrates his absolute whorishness in an interview he conducted with Eboo Patel (video below). As Glenn Greenwald notes, it's sad that the point has to be made but Muslims did not attack on 9/11 - terrorists did. Muslims died on 9/11 and some were 1st responders. Fanatics come in all sizes and of all stripes as far as religions go - if you want to demonize all because of the reprehensible actions of a few the consequences could be more severe than the original attacks and plays into the hands of extremists. There are some unlikely allies on the side of defending the rights of the people who want to build the mosque.

A little something to confuse the climate science denier in your life -- the paradox of Antarctic sea ice. While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology provide an explanation for the seeming paradox of increasing Antarctic sea ice in a warming climate.

I Wish I Was A Negro...

Something funny and light-hearted from the National Lampoon people on a very serious subject:

As I watch and listen to the endless stream of dog-whistles and demagoguery from the right about people of colour, immigrants and the NYC mosque, I vaguely remember the image I had in my mind's eye for how the 21st century was going to look and it didn't include petty hatred and racism. In fact I was kind of hoping people would get around to the noticing that race was a human construct and merely a way of dividing us one from the other -- there is in point of fact only one race. Ask any anthropologist.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is This Is Just The Beginning?

I'm pretty happy to see the MSM covering the changing climate this week the way it should have been covered these last few years. I'm afraid the so-called tipping points are long past but there's always hope. It might be a lot more difficult to be glib or optimistic if I were in Moscow where toxic smoke has now enveloped a rain-soaked Moscow and doctors have warned that this summer's heat wave could drive more people to alcohol and suicide. Or in Pakistan where the scale of Pakistan's floods are considered to be worse than the 2004 tsunami, Haiti and Kashmir quakes combined.

As former US Army Chief of Staff, General Gordon Sullivan says, we can argue about the metrics of climate change (exact consequences , when where, how, etc) but the trends and indicators all point to it happening now. In his estimation it also points to likely wars for oil, food water and mass migrations of a kind and on a scale heretofore unseen in modern history. This is pretty dire stuff - the kind of thing that usually results in people being called alarmists. The people in the re-posted video below are not the kind prone to being alarmists. They are men who rose to the very top of their profession in a very conservative organization: the US Military.

Sadly, there's not much hope for this spate of recent disasters moving the powers that be to take the action necessary to change the current dynamics. Let's hope they're wrong.

So while the MSM sorts out how they're going to report on all these natural catastrophes and their possible causes, I thought it might be a good time to look at sea level rise, what's predicted and what it might mean in the near and long term future.

Starting with this report from October of 2009, where researchers reporting in the journal Geology, found that 20th-century sea-level rise to be three times higher than the rate of sea-level rise during the last 500 years. Then in December of the same year, a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warned that sea levels could rise much faster than previously expected, and by the year 2100, global sea level could rise between 75 and 190 centimetres (30 to 74 inches).

In April of this year research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, made what is the first assessment of how quickly floating ice is being lost today. This is causing sea levels to rise -- by a mere hair's breadth today, but possibly much more if melting trends continue.

And the most recent research predicts sea levels rising by as much as one metre before the end of this century. Melting glaciers, it is now believed,  may contribute more to the rise in sea levels than scientists have previously realised.

Melting glaciers and the melting ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic will account for 75% of the rise in sea levels, while expansion of the water as it warms will account for 25 %," said Director Jan-Gunnar Winther of the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

NYT's Talks Climate Change!

The MSM has been the lap dog of corporate interests for the first decade of this new century. They have deliberately muddied the waters over the issue of ACC (anthropogenic climate change) to the point where most in the west do not believe the changes in the climate have been caused by human activity even though as the National Academy of Sciences reports, 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It's not that the MSM doesn't report what's going on it that it's mixed in with opinions on what's going on and those opinions are given equal weight with scientific fact. So if you haven't been paying close attention to the debate but relying instead on your local fish wrap to keep you informed you can be excused for not knowing what's really taking place.

Well, the extreme weather events that have been taking place around the world this year (floods that have battered New England, Nashville, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Saskatchewan, and a deluge in Pakistan that has one fifth of the country under water and has affected the lives of 20 million people -- summer heat waves that have baked the eastern United States, parts of Africa, eastern Asia, and Russia, which lost millions of acres of wheat and thousands of lives in a drought worse than any other in the historical record), has the MSM outlets finally getting around to reporting on the link between all this and climate change. The New York Times has joined the chorus along with the BBC, Reuters, USA Today and Time all reporting on these long ago predicted consequences.

What's important to remember in the discussion of ACC is that there's a lot more to this than extreme weather. For example the changing climate is the cause of great swaths of pine trees that are dead or dying from a disease called white pine blister rust caused by the the mountain pine beetle. These forests used to be immune because of harsh winters and cool summers. Now, the warmer winters and summers have allowed the beetle to breed quickly and to move to the higher elevations favored by white bark pines.

U.S. Shadow War

According to the New York Times the Obama administration has expanded the secret war against Al Qaeda started under President Bush.  The White House has intensified the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone missile campaign in Pakistan, approved raids against Qaeda operatives in Somalia and launched clandestine operations from Kenya.

 Sarah Palin Video of the day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Afghan Army Not Quite Ready For Prime Time

In A bold move the Afghan army started an ambitious strike against the Taliban without the aid of the Nato forces. On August 3rd a force of 300 soldiers began the operation against the Taliban in Kunar province. According to a Afghan Ministry of Defence the plan was betrayed and the Taliban was able to ambush the Afghan army. In the insuing confusing army commoners lost contact with the battalion. The Taliban was able to inflict heavy damage before Nato forces could aid the besieged Afghans.

An old vid from some four years ago but it's always good to see a Democrat bashing Fox news. Heard there were lots of fancy canvas shelters at Chelsea's wedding, you know how Bill loves his tents.

When Did We Lose Out Dignity?

Signs of the times with this video very scary video on so many levels, how's that capitalism workin' out for ya?

Speaking of corrupt ideals the Rod Blagojevich trial seems to be deadlocked and will continue going over the facts. In case you forgot he's the dude who allegedly tried to sell the Presidents old gig. Also in the running for capitalist of the week is BP, remember them that little oil spill in the gulf, seems so long ago doesn't it. Anyways the plan is to pay for the wreck they made with the profits from new drilling. Like they say you can't keep a good drill down. Some days I'm just so proud to be human, makes me wanna puke.

thought I'd end on something positive, the video may be sappy but not the point.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Much Trouble In The World - Time To Find A New One

                                                                                    Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images 

So much trouble this week on Mother Earth you think she might be trying to tell us something. Moscow smog and heat, amplified by the wildfires burning just outside the city. Moscow's health chief has confirmed the mortality rate had doubled during the current heatwave.

In the photograph Pakistani villagers try to evade floods in Multan. The United Nations says the floods have altered the lives of 13.8 million people. The Pakistani President. Asif Ali Zardi seemed to learn his trade from President Bush, was busy touring Europe and failed to return when the disaster first occurred. This delay led to Islamist groups providing food and aid to the victims. Some fear that this will lead to greater resentment towards the government and more power to the Taliban.

In China more than seven hundred are confirmed dead in the massive Land slide. According to the BBC's Chris Hogg buildings that were seven stories tall crumpled like paper. It had been raining for hours when the wave of mud crashed down on the town of  Zhouqu. Many victims were buried as the slept, one woman Chen Yu Han was trapped for twenty four hours but survived. More rain is expected which could slow down the rescue efforts.

If Mother Nature isn't trying to tell us anything, Stephen Hawking is and he's telling us to book, get out of town, leave the planet, time to pack, get the heck out of dodge before we snooze and loose. (Personally I think it's too late) In his latest comment he says the
survival of the human race depends on them finding a new home planet. According to Mr. Hawking the planet is due for disasters of biblical proportions and the constant depletion of resources. (Sounds like a good idea to me. It worked so well the last time humans searched new lands for resources, just ask your Aztec neighbor. )

Monday, August 9, 2010

Linda McMahon Slams The Opposition Against The Ropes

Linda McMahon ex CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment has her Republican opponent Rob Simmons in a head lock leading into the vote. With her way ahead in the polls it's good to see her 22 million dollar investment hasn't gone to waste. 22 million spent on the race to run, how much will she spend when she is actually competing against the Democrat contender Richard Blumenthal? As a side note this must be some good job being a Senator to spend that much money for the chance to get it.  
Senate hopeful Linda McMahon

What Do We Do With Our Lives Now Anyways? Or Screw This World They Made I'm Going On Dead Tour, If Only For One Last Show

Going to be a bad day just lost my post, disappeared into the nether world. It started off by saying, It's a sad day for Dead Heads, condolences one and all. Also the 65th anniversary of the atomic bomb being used twice too often so how can I post anything other than Jerry singing Morning Dew.

As for other news Canadian Omar Khadr is going in front of a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, thought they closed that facility, can believe everything your told I guess. Interesting article proclaiming his innocence. Lets see what else is happening, lots of bombs and killing in Iraq and Pakistan and of course Afghanistan. According to the NY Times a radical cleric was arrested in Indonesia, he is supposedly linked to the Bali nightclub bombing. They plugged the well in the Gulf, declared a success, reminds me of a little banner reading mission accomplished. It's far too late to call any cap a success, the damage is done and the humans as well as the fish are screwed. Good luck to  the next dominate species. So everybody return to normal, except  for the people devastated by the deed and move on. Already it's less in the news and the clean up goes on for years to come. Pass the shrimp.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

WikiLeaks and the HOPE Conference

"WikiLeaks Is Not One Person...We Are All the Threat"-- Hacker Magazine Editor Says WikiLeaks Is Bigger Than Julian Assange

Amy Goodman speaks to Emmanuel Goldstein, an important figure in the hacker community and the editor of the magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. He is also the organizer of the HOPE conference (Hackers On Planet Earth). Adrian Lamo, the man who turned in the leaker Bradley Manning is featured and discussed along with a host of issues related to the recent release of the 90,000 plus documents by WikiLeaks.

A Day's Odds and Ends

Just a whole bunch of unrelated stories instead of one long narrative, okay?

Beginning with the decline or crisis of the middle-class in the US. It's a story that all should pay close attention to, especially when going to vote. There are people actively doing what they can to shrink the middle-class and that term the hate-mongers on the right like to throw around as they talk about the left and their evil intent to redistribute... well it's already happened! Wealth has been redistributed from the middle-classes to the wealthy and is the cause of how we got into such a nasty recession in the first place.

A former Republican firebrand ousted by a tea party nutjob gets honest about his party's tactics - guess what? Apparently Republicans are intentionally playing into the racism, anger, and paranoia we see daily on the news.

That freak out over the Muslim community center being built near ground zero is a great example of right-wing demagoguery. Happily, the NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg was having none of it and eloquently defended their rights to worship how and whomever they please asking, "...should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion?"

From over at the NYT's, someone whose columns have given credence to those touting "climategate" comes an op-ed that notes while the climate bill in the US is paralyzed, the climate isn't (I predict everyone's going to get very brave on the subject of climate change soon - evidence pouring in from all directions will do that). Anyhow, he links to a fascinating interview conducted by Tom Yulsman, whom he calls an an old friend and journalism professor at the University of Colorado, with Jim White, a climate specialist there who just returned from Greenland.

He writes: In White’s view, it’s already too late to turn back the clock on climate change to save low-lying coastal cities like Miami. The ice cores that he and his colleagues drill from Greenland and Antarctica tell us that the last time greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were as high as they are today, the world was even warmer than it is now, Greenland was largely deglaciated, and sea level was 10 to 15 feet higher.

In the interview, White barely mentioned reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases to mitigate climate change, although I know he thinks this would be a very good idea. Instead, he emphasized the need for societies to adapt to what he considers to be inevitable and very significant changes.

In a sane world that would be a very sobering statement - want a Xanax?

Obama has had to deal with massive republican obstructionism at every turn - even on issues they once supported. Rachel has the details:

So, anytime someone says to you, I like that Obama guy but I just wish he'd do more. Well, here's a list of what he's managed to get done amidst all that attempted gridlock and fear-mongering:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

College Tuition Inflation Bill increasing the amount of federal Pell Grant awards and stripping banks privileges as intermediaries for student loan servicing

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Health Care Reform

SCHIP health-care program

Public Lands bill

Credit card industry reform

Jobs bill

Government Transparency especially on lobbyist’s access to the White House

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees

Instructed HHS to allow hospital visitation rights to LGBT couples

Banning of job discrimination based on gender identity

Giving benefits for Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Foreign Service Employees

Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court

Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

No permanent bases in Iraq

Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

No torture policy

Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB

Housing rescue plan

US Auto industry rescue plan

Federal support for stem-cell research

Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars stimulating auto sales

Making more loans available to small businesses

Increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act

Expand the Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers

Increase minority access to capital

Establish a credit card bill of rights

Close the "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug plan

Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions

Expand eligibility for Medicaid

Increase funding to expand community based prevention programs

Signed the nuclear reduction Treaty with Moscow to reducing warheads by 30%.

Securing $20,000,000,000 from BP to help those that have been affected by the oil spill and to clean up the mess around the gulf.

The most profound restructuring of financial regulation since the Great Depression (Financial Reform Bill)

$90.9 billion Education Investment

$82.5 billion Aid to low income workers, unemployed and retirees

$80.9 billion in Infrastructure Investment

$61.3 billion investment in Energy Smart Grid, Energy Efficiency, and environmental clean-up

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How Low Can They Go?

The outrages are so many and really horrible things disappear down the memory hole so fast I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't just repost stories that I thought were important in the first place. Sadly, there's an unending stream of effluvia coming from the media, the corporate whores and the American right-wing (some of the players can wear all three hats) and that makes it very difficult to do so. But seeing as how I'm going on vacation next week and it's hugely important for me to do some research (I'm trying to write a book), I'm going to have my partner in crime repost the most important stories that we've talked about here that have not received sufficient attention from the MSM. I will check in once or twice, so feel free to leave me a note.

So there was a story of yet another right-wing nutjob who decided that doing the work of an extremist group bent on overthrowing the U.S. government was a fabulous idea. Police in south-central Pennsylvania have arrested prison guard Raymond Franklin Peake for the murder of Todd Getgen on July 21 at a Pennsylvania Game Commission shooting range - he claims to have found him dead and stolen his gun so it could be used to "defend his country." These types of insane beliefs come from somewhere and must be carefully nurtured for people to go to such extremes.

On this morning's show the first hour was spent on debunking MSM claims that the oil has disappeared, that it was wise to use Corexit and that it is not doing any more harm to wildlife that just plain crude would. Scientists have found signs of an oil-and-dispersant mix under the shells of tiny blue crab larvae in the Gulf of Mexico...

We also listened to whistleblower Hugh Kaufman a senior policy analyst in the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, allege that agency administrator Lisa Jackson sidestepped the issue that the chemicals present a threat to public health and the Gulf ecosystem and should be banned.

There are lots of scientists who believe BP's spin on the spill is ridiculous and that this will have far-reaching and catastrophic consequences. Some of the Obama administration's scientists admit alarm over the huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Previous studies, including a 400-page study by the National Academy of Sciences, have warned that the combination of oil and dispersants is more toxic than oil on its own, because the chemicals break down cell walls, making organisms more susceptible to oil.

As for the oils that's been recovered from the Gulf, Colorlines tells us where it's being dumped: More than half (five out of nine) of the landfills receiving BP oil-spill solid waste are located in communities where people of color comprise a majority of residents living within near the waste facilities.

In addition, a significantly large share of the BP oil-spill waste, 24,071 tons out of 39,448 tons (61 percent), is dumped in people of color communities. This is not a small point since African Americans make up just 22 percent of the coastal counties in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, while people of color comprise about 26 percent of the population in coastal counties

These are communities already pummeled by the a triple-blow of Hurricane Katrina, economic paralysis and racial inequality. Within these populations, the pollution may strike women and children the hardest. Exposures to oil chemicals, such as benzene, along with the mystery cocktail of dispersants, may pose major risks to reproductive and maternal health, though much more research is needed.
So if you thought it couldn't get any worse or BP couldn't behave more reprehensibly than they already have, you'd be wrong.

A Quick Hitter

While I get ready to blog some news, here's a quick hitter from one of the most despicable characters on the American political landscape. This man is fomenting violence racism and hatred daily on his fox news program and hate-radio show. This should not be tolerated but instead earns him upwards of $32 million dollars per year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Clear Victory For Obama!

There are few issues that are as cut and dried as this one for Obama. When everyone decried the auto bailout - called it socialism etc. he hung in, got them their money and in 18 short months there's been a remarkable turnaround. With so many other industries dependent on the auto industry this is a big win. Have a listen to all the details:

Brief Hiatus

Had to take a couple of days off. Between the radio show and the blogging I got a bit burnt. Not so's you'd notice just enough for me to. I'm going on vacation next week and will spend the entire week doing research of a different kind. This morning's radio show was a mixed bag beginning with the hate-spewing monsters of talk radio in the US. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

When discussing the crazy propaganda the aforementioned hate-meisters spew, what's important to remember is no matter how crazy or untrue it may sound to you, it's effective if it's heard often enough and it will be believed. The right-wing media absolutely relies on that to be true. The conservative media dreamland, for instance, ensconces its audience in an impregnable bubble -- you eat breakfast with the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, you drive to the office with right-wing radio, you flit between Breitbart and Drudge at work, you come home to Fox News. The ideas bouncing around in this world -- say, ideas about the Obama administration allegedly favoring blacks -- don't seem like propaganda to those inside the bubble.

This holds true for the so-called debate about anthropogenic global warming. There is little debate about the science within the scientific community - 97% of scientists believe it is settled science. You can debate the models and the minutiae but global warming has a human footprint. To the public at large, it's not so cut and dried where only 26% are convinced and as you can see in the chart the media coverage mirrors public perception.

For those who don't have time to read the science or vet all the claims, you can understand their confusion. In the same day you can have an excellent must-read article about climate change, cause and effects published in the Washington Post, and something completely moronic printed in the former paper of record, The New York Times. The reverse could also happen. The MSM are driving people's understanding of the issue (or lack thereof) and as such are responsible for the lack of action taken thus far to stem the worst effects.

Of course they couldn't do it alone, there are organizations like the US Chamber of Commerce to help spread the disinformation. Increasingly there are signs that some within the Chamber want to distance themselves from their policies:  a breakaway group of local chambers is getting ready to publicly split with the business lobby's hardline stance against climate legislation. The new climate coalition, known as the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE), will press Congress to take stronger action on climate and energy issues. It has already signed up about a dozen chambers and will officially launch later this year. Hooray for a little sanity!

In economic news I went back down the memory hole to have another look at Robert Reich's Nation article  about how the wealthy are raking in an absurd portion of the wealth -- Median wages are continuing their downward slide, and those at the top continue to rake in the lion's share of income. That's why the middle class still doesn't have the purchasing power it needs to reboot the economy, and why the so-called recovery will be so tepid—maybe even leading to a double dip. It's also why America will be vulnerable to even larger speculative booms and deeper busts in the years to come.

About economists, Dean Baker over at Truthout writes:  It is amazing that angry mobs have not risen up and chased all the economists out of the country. While the greed of the Wall Street gang provided the fuel for the bubble, the economists played an essential role as enablers. This was most directly true for economists in policymaking positions, like Alan Greenspan at the Fed.

It's hard to summarize what's been going on in the Gulf this past week (Truthout gives it a good go) but the oil has been dispersed by toxic chemicals and everyone's trying to pretend that's a good thing. Recall that dispersant and oil are more lethal to the environment than just plain oil. So now as they get ready to kill the spill once and for all there are reports that there is a dead zone in the Gulf the size of Massachusetts.

Pity The Rich

Happy August! have lots of stuff to log from the radio show and around the intertubes. Thought it might be fun to post a quick hitter in case anyone stopped by and needed a good laugh. From the great people at the Onion: