Friday, July 10, 2015

Paying For Endless Wars

James Risen

Ever since 9/11 America has fought an endless war on terror, seeking enemies everywhere. James Risen reveals the shocking corruption, waste and abuse of our metastasizing Homeland Security Industrial complex.

From the bankrupting of the American taxpayer to the moral bankruptcy of the state, James details the price Americans are paying for the war on terror. He is interviewed by Francesca Rheannon. Power corrupts, but it is endless wars that corrupt absolutely.

James Risen has worked for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author or co-author of two books about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a book about the American public debate about abortion. Risen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

Read more at Alternet Greed, Power, and Endless War -- James Risen Tears the Lid off America's Dirty Wars

George Marshall

Why Our Brains Ignore Climate Change

Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. George Marshall talks about what’s been keeping the climate crisis from seizing the hearts and minds of the public and how to change that. Marshall is the founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network and writes the blog climatedenial.org. He is interviewed by Francesca Rheannon.
Podcast source: writer's voice: Paying The Price Of The War On Terror. Also, Talking Climate For Everyone

Francesca Rheannon

Reducing Sulfur Saves Lives

Sulfur in gasoline makes automobile engines less efficient and creates more pollutants, which pose a public health threat. The EPA has released regulations to cut the amount of sulfur in gasoline. Dan Greenbaum from the Health Effects Institute tells Steve Curwood that the new rules are expected to save money and prevent more than 2,000 premature deaths.
Podcast source: living on earth: Reducing Sulfur, Saving Lives

Download or Play Paying For Endless Wars Part 1
Download or Play Paying For Endless Wars Part 2
Download or Play Paying For Endless Wars Part 3
Download or Play Reducing Sulfur Save Lives



Music includes Stiff Little Fingers - Wasted Life, Weird Al Yankovic - Christmas At Ground Zero, Capitol Steps - 401K, David Rovics - In The Heat Of The Summer, Capitol Steps - Secret Service Man, Roy Zimmerman - Cliven Bundy's Cattle, Compassionate Conservatives - White House Crock, The Producers Soundtrack - Springtime for Hitler, Capitol Steps - Ebony and Ovaries, David Rovics - Here At The End Of The World, Capitol Steps - We Need A Little Isthmus, The New Lost City Ramblers - How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, Stephan Smith - The Bell, Odetta - Midnight Special, Joan Baez - Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Woody Guthrie - Pastures of Plenty, Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It, Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile, Andres Segovia - Leyenda Albeniz

Friday, June 26, 2015

Genocide In Guatemala

Oscar Castaneda, a survivor of the slaughter of Dos Erres that occurred during the civil war in Guatemala.

In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. This is the true story of Oscar Alfredo Ramírez Castañeda and genocide in Guatemala. Guatemala is a mainly mountainous country in Central America.

After a religious ceremony, a procession of nearby residents carried the urns with the remains of the victims of the massacre at Dos Erres to the cemetery of a nearby village to bury them in a collective grave. (Silvana Turner/EAAF)

Civil war existed in Guatemala since the early 1960s due in part to inequalities existing in the economic and political life. In the 1970s, the Mayans began participating in protests against the repressive government, demanding greater equality and inclusion of the Mayan language and culture. In 1980, the Guatemalan army instituted Operation Sofia, which aimed at ending insurgent guerrilla warfare. This program specifically targeted the Mayan population, who were believed by the Guatemalan army to be supporting the guerilla movement.

A view of the base of the well and the remains of a child. By the end of the Argentine team's investigation, at least 162 skeletons were recovered. (Silvana Turner/EAAF)

Over the next three years, the army destroyed 626 villages, killed or “disappeared” more than 200,000 people and displaced an additional 1.5 million, while more than 150,000 were driven to seek refuge in Mexico.
Podcast source: This American Life: What Happened At Dos Erres

General Ríos was the first ex-head of state to stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in his home country. President Reagan is on the right. This photo is from December 5, 1982.
Clinton States Support for Guatemala Was Wrong

GUATEMALA, March 10, 1999 — President Clinton apologized today for United States support of right-wing governments in Guatemala that killed tens of thousands of rebels and Mayan Indians in a 36-year civil war.
"For the United States," Mr. Clinton said, "it is important that I state clearly that support for military forces and intelligence units which engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong, and the United States must not repeat that mistake."
Source: Washington Post: Clinton: Support for Guatemala Was Wrong

Also see
The New York Times: Clinton Offers His Apologies To Guatemala
Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala
This American Life on Guatemalan Genocide
Washington's role is a story not worth telling by Keane Bhatt

Why Civil Resistance Movements Succeed

Steve Inskeep talks to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan about why non-violent resistance campaigns work better than armed rebellion.
Podcast source: npr: Why Civil Resistance Movements Succeed

The Growing Threat From Methane

Over the short term, methane is 80 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The White House has launched plans to control methane emissions from most U.S. sources, but as Helen Palmer and Michael Obeiter tell Steve Curwood, evidence from prehistory suggests methane was a major factor in Earth's largest extinction, and warming projections warn of ballooning emissions in the future.
Podcast source: living on earth: The Growing Threat From Methane

Download or Genocide Guatemala Play Part 1
Download or Play Genocide Guatemala Part 2
Download or Play Genocide Guatemala Part 3
Download or Play Threat From Methane



Music includes Chumbawamba - Jacobs Ladder, Rise Against - Hero Of War, Alex Smith - Too Hot, Chocolate Ghost House - Party at the NSA, Cisco Houston - Pastures of Plenty, Capitol Steps - Obama Mania, Alpha Blondy - Bloodshed in Africa, Odetta - With God On Our Side, Capitol Steps - Sony, Capitol Steps - Who'll Drop a Bomb in Ramadan?, Buffy Sainte-Marie - No No Keshagesh, Roy Zimmerman - Vote Republican 2.0, Pete Seeger - Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, Fred Steiner - Perry Mason, Central American Marimba Band Of Guatemala - Captain Betty 1917

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Cost of Carbon Emissions - A Debate


With potentially staggering costs involved, are efforts to make major reductions in carbon emissions even worth it? Would the money be better spent elsewhere? Or, does the amount of money involved become less important when considering the possible consequences of climate change? One of the most concerning aspects of climate change is the potential for catastrophic damages. Catastrophic damages are characterized as low probability-high damage events.


For the motion, Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions are Not Worth the Money:
Peter Huber, Partner of the Washington, D.C. Law Firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans, and Figel, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a Columnist for Forbes
Bjorn Lomborg, Author of the Bestsellers Cool It and The Skeptical Environmentalist
Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor and Biogeographer from the University of London, UK

5 Ways to Pay

Against the motion, Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions are Not Worth the Money:
L. Hunter Lovins, President of Natural Capitalism Solutions
Oliver Tickell, Author and Journalist Adam Werbach, Global Chief Executive Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi
John Donvan is moderator, author and correspondent for ABC News.
Podcast source: intelligence2: Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions are Not Worth the Money



Hello, I'm Calling From 'La Mafia'

For bus owners in Honduras making payments to gangs is routine. Extortion in Honduras is a way of life. Not only does result in a terrible human toll but it's a major drag on the already weak economy. Forty bus drivers have been killed in 2014.

Extorting buses and taxis has been so lucrative that the gangs have expanded into the selling clothes in the market and lawyers. Marlon Bishop of the NPR show Latino USA and German Andino contributed to this report.
Podcast source: npr: Hello, I'm Calling From 'La Mafia'

Elie Wiesel's Call for Justice

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel has inspired generations to social action. "This is what we must do -- not to sleep well when people suffer anywhere in the world," Professor Wiesel told the audience of more than 1,000. "Not to sleep well when someone's persecuted. Not to sleep well when people are hungry all over here or there. Not to sleep well when there are people sick and nobody is there to help them. Not to sleep well when anyone somewhere needs you. You don't sleep well."
Podcast source: YouTube: Elie Wiesel's Call for Justice: 'Don't Sleep Well When People Suffer'

Download or Play Cost of Carbon Part 1
Download or Play Cost of Carbon Part 2
Download or Play Cost of Carbon Part 3
Download or Play Extortion In Honduras


Music includes Tracy Chapman - Heaven's Here on Earth, Soylent Gringo - Let Start A War, Ben Harper - Both Sides of the Gun, Capitol Steps - California Gay Men, David Rovics - The Face Of Victory, Capitol Steps - Rick Perry is a Bush Clone, Chumbawamba - Everything You Know is Wrong, Capitol Steps - Polonium 209, Jim Page - I'd Rather Be Dancing, Capitol Steps - The Lies About Benghazi, Jeff Foxworthy - Naked Eating Cheetos, Tom Lehrer - Smut, Roy Zimmerman- Vote Republican 2.0, Capitol Steps - T.B. on a Jet Plane, Beatles - All You Need Is Love, Philip Glass - Metamorphosis One

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Limits of American Exceptionalism


Andrew Bacevich discusses the diminishing returns of America's long-held foreign policy of expansionism, the dangers of rampant consumerism at home and a imperial executive president.

Debt And The New American Exceptionalism

"As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extent into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.

Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew." ~ Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post


"After 9/11, the United States launched a military effort vaguely intended to pacify or democratize or otherwise “fix” the Greater Middle East, thereby supposedly reducing the Islamist threat emanating from that quarter. Based on the outcomes achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan that military effort must rate as an utter failure. Indeed, if anything, wars waged in the Islamic world only serve to exacerbate the sense of angry alienation felt by at least some Muslims residing in the West. War is making matters worse.
...
As for the West’s ongoing war in the Islamic world, surely the time has come to acknowledge its futility. The application of military power will not change “them.” At best, it may be able to protect “us.” The central tenet of US military policy in the Islamic world should be to butt out, and the sooner the better.

We have arrived at a teachable moment. Whether we will learn what that moment has to offer remains to be seen." ~ Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston Globe

The American Exceptionalism Sweepstakes
"Andrew Bacevich explains how our ‘empire of consumption’ contains the seeds of its own destruction and why our foreign policy establishment in Washington is totally incapable of coming to grips with it.” ~ Chalmers Johnson, author of the Blowback Trilogy
Podcast source: YouTube: The Limits of Power and the End of American Exceptionalism

Radioactive Risks From Fracking Waste

New techniques allow companies to extract oil and gas from deep in the ground, but as Matt Richmond of WSKS and the Allegheny Front tells Steve Curwood, naturally radioactive rocks above the Marcellus shale in the eastern U.S. can create a dangerous waste product.
Podcast source: living on earth: Radioactive Risks From Fracking Waste

Americans Are Disappointed About The Economic Recovery

Scott Horsley reports on a survey by Rutgers University that found two out of three Americans felt no improvement in the last year. Only about one in four expect things to get better in the year to come.
Podcast source: npr: Survey: Americans Are Grumpy About Economic Recovery

Download or Play American Exceptionalism Part 1
Download or Play American Exceptionalism Part 2
Download or Play American Exceptionalism Part 3
Download or Play Radioactive Risks


Music includes Black Eyed Peas Ft Justin Timberlake - Where Is The Love, Peacesong - Enemy Me, Capitol Steps - I Like Big Cuts And I Cannot Lie, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes, Capitol Steps - Monster Cash, The New Lost City Ramblers - How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, Terry Gangstad - Make Money, Mamavibe - Reggae Vibration, Capitol Steps - Look Away, Roy Zimmerman / Sandy Riccardi - My Conservative Girlfriend, Capitol Steps - Newt Newt Newt Goin' Out My Back Door, Larry Estridge - Spirits of the Revolution, The Producers(Movie) - Springtime for Hitler, The Beatles - Your Mother Should Know, Ira Newborn - Police Squad, Also Sprach Zarathustra - 2001 A Space Odyssey

Friday, June 5, 2015

GMO - OMG

Biotechnology engineer examining immature corn cob on field

Agricultural plants are frequently cited as examples of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world's growing population. Advances have also been made in developing crops that mature faster and tolerate aluminum, boron, salt, drought, frost, and other environmental stressors, allowing plants to grow in conditions where they might not otherwise flourish. Several animals have also been genetically engineered to increase yield and decrease susceptibility to disease. For example, salmon have been engineered to grow larger and mature faster, and cattle have been enhanced to exhibit resistance to mad cow disease.

One controversy is over the use of a genetically modified plant involves the case of Bt corn. Bt corn expresses a protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Before construction of the recombinant corn, the protein had long been known to be toxic to a several pest insects, including the monarch caterpillar, and it had been successfully used as an environmentally friendly insecticide for several years. The benefit of the expression of this protein by corn plants is a reduction in the amount of insecticide that farmers must apply to their crops. Unfortunately, seeds containing genes for recombinant proteins can cause unintentional spread of recombinant genes or exposure of non-target organisms to new toxic compounds in the environment.

The ethical issues surrounding GMOs include debate over our right to "play God," as well as the introduction of foreign material into foods that are abstained from for religious reasons. Some people believe that tampering with nature is intrinsically wrong, and others maintain that inserting plant genes in animals, or vice versa, is immoral. When it comes to genetically modified foods, those who feel strongly that the development of GMOs is against nature or religion have called for clear labeling rules so they can make informed selections when choosing which items to purchase. Respect for consumer choice and assumed risk is as important as having safeguards to prevent mixing of genetically modified products with non-genetically modified foods.

The motion was "Should We Genetically Modify Food?." Before the debate, the audience voted 32 percent in favor of the motion, with 30 percent against and 38 percent undecided. Afterward, 60 percent agreed with the motion, and 31 percent disagreed — making the side arguing in favor of the motion the winners of this debate.


For The Motion

Robert Fraley is executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto, where he has worked for more than 30 years. Robert currently oversees the company's global technology division which includes plant breeding, biotechnology and crop protection research facilities in dozens of countries.

Alison Van Eenennaam is a genomics and biotechnology researcher and cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis. Alison outreach program focuses on the development of science-based educational materials, including the controversial biotechnologies of genetic engineering and cloning.

Against The Motion

Charles Benbrook is a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, and leader of the center's program Measure to Manage: Farm and Food Diagnostics for Sustainability and Health. Charles spent the first 18 years of his career working in Washington, D.C., first for the Executive Office of the President, then as the staff director for a U.S. House of Representatives agricultural subcommittee.

Margaret Mellon is a science policy consultant in the areas of antibiotics, genetic engineering and sustainable agriculture. Margaret has published widely on the potential environmental impacts of biotechnology applications, and served three terms on USDA's Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.
Podcast source: intelligence2: Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?


The Long-Term Benefits Of A Welfare Program

Steve Inskeep talks to Shankar Vedantam about poverty. Data from the Mothers Pension Program, launched at the turn of the 20th century, finds benefits on education, income and longevity. It has documented long-term benefits over the span of a century.
Podcast source: npr: Study Shows Long-Term Benefits Of Welfare Program

The cracked-dry bed of the Almaden Reservoir near San Jose shows the strain of California's megadrought.
The governor has declared a drought "state of emergency."
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ, AP

California's Water Crisis

To cope with California’s drought, farmers are both carefully selecting which crops they plant and overpumping from deep underground aquifers. The President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick tells Steve Curwood that the water crisis requires rethinking priorities and conserving much more water.
Podcast source: living on earth: California's Water Crisis

Download or Play GMO Part 1
Download or Play GMO Part 2
Download or Play GMO Part 3
Download or Play Welfare Program


Music includes John Cremona - I Know A Place, Sassafrass - No More Dirty Coal, Lenard Cohen - Everybody Knows, Capitol Steps - Under the Sea, Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox - Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, Capitol Steps - Help Rwanda, Neil Young - Lets Impeach The President, David Rovics - Guantanamo Bay, Capitol Steps - Bein' Pope, Geoff Scott - Change The Story, Capitol Steps - Three Little Wives of Newt Gingrich, Roy Zimmerman - Vote Republican, Hair - The Flesh Failures (Let The Sunshine In), Andres Segovia - Leyenda Albeniz

Friday, May 29, 2015

Is Organic Food Marketing Hype? - A Debate


The European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification based on government-defined standards to market food as organic within their borders. Although sales of organic food increased greatly over the last decade, organics are still a tiny fraction of the food Americans eat.


Processed organic food usually contains only organic ingredients. If non-organic ingredients are present, at least a certain percentage of the food's total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States, Canada, and Australia). Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed as long as they are not synthetic. However, under U.S. federal organic standards, if pests and weeds are not controllable through management practices, nor via organic pesticides and herbicides, "a substance included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production may be applied to prevent, suppress, or control pests, weeds, or diseases."


Are organics worth the extra costs? Or does organic grossly overstating the health benefits?

For the motion that organic food is marketing hype: Dennis Avery, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues and Blake Hurst, Freelance Writer for Wall Street Journal, Wilson Quarterly, and the American and John Krebs, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.

Against the motion that organic food is marketing hype: Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist of The Organic Center and Urvashi Rangan, Director of Technical Policy for Consumers Union and Jeffrey Steingarten, Food Critic for Vogue Magazine.

The moderator is John Donvan, author and correspondent for ABC News.
Podcast source: intelligence2: Organic Food Is Marketing Hype


Honeybee Collapse Linked To New Insecticides

Honeybees are essential pollinators for fruits and vegetables. No bee species existed in the New World during human times before the introduction of bees by Europeans. In early 2007, abnormally high die-offs (30–70% of hives) of European honey bee colonies occurred in North America and such a decline seems unprecedented in recent history. Harvard School of Public Scientist Alex Lu tells Steve Curwood about new research connects the collapse to the recent introduction of a new type of pesticide, neonicotinoids.
Podcast source: living on earth: Honeybee Collapse linked to New Insecticides


Water Conservation Technologies

Turn on the faucet, and water pours out. Pull out the drain plug, and the dirty water disappears. Most of us give little thought to the hidden systems that bring us water and take it away when we’re done with it. But these underappreciated marvels of engineering face an array of challenges that cannot be solved without a fundamental change to our relationship with water.

Increasing population density and changing climate stress our cities’ water supply. UC Berkeley professor David Sedlak discusses future water infrastructure with Steve Curwood.
Podcast source: living on earth: Water 4.0

Download or Play Food Marketing Hype Part 1
Download or Play Food Marketing Hype Part 2
Download or Play Food Marketing Hype Part 3
Download or Play Honeybee Collapse

Music includes Chumbawamba - Everything You Know is Wrong, Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox - Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, Capitol Steps - You Can't Hide This Biden Guy, Ben Harper - Both Sides of the Gun, Democracy Killed, Capitol Steps - Under the Sea, JFK 6-10-1963, Jim Page - When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Neil Young - Lets Impeach The President, Bunny Sigler - Climate Change, Groovy Judy - Peace And Love, Pete Seeger - Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, Craymo & Brandon Harrett - One Love One World, Mariachi Aguila Real - El Jarabe Tapatio, Aaron Copland - Walk To The Bunkhouse

Friday, May 22, 2015

Too Many People?


Alan Weisman talks with Francesca Rheannon about the population crisis and how we can solve it. The Earth’s population is expected to be somewhere around 11 billion people by the end of this century. Alan says overpopulation already underlies much of the conflict we see in the world today, including Israel/Palestine and Pakistan. Also the population crisis means we’re going to have to produce more food in the next 50 years than has been consumed in all of human history.

Photo by www.blog.adw.org

"He makes a strong case for slowing global population growth - and even for reducing overall population numbers - as a prerequisite for achieving a sustainable future...Weisman's book...offers hope... Weisman's emphasis on expanding access to contraception as the next-best strategy is both pragmatic and workable, as past efforts have shown. It is to be hoped that his message may be heeded sooner rather than later." ~ Nature magazine
Podcast source: writer's voice: Alan Weisman, Countdown

Abby Frazier

A New Climate

In just a few decades the coldest day you experience in January will be hotter than the warmest days your parents had in January and the hottest day you get in July (in the Northern hemisphere) will simply be hotter than any day anyone has ever felt in your city to date.

Scientists at the University of Hawaii have figured out a way to pinpoint when weather extremes at a given location will move outside the range of anything we’ve known in modern times. Geographer Abby Frazier tells Steve Curwood it’s going to be sooner then we might think.

Check out an interactive map of the climate departure dates around the world. Read the paper on climate departure here. Abby Frazier’s website is here.
Podcast source: living on earth: Climate Departure Date

Download or Play Too Many People Part 1
Download or Play Too Many People Part 2
Download or Play Too Many People Part 3
Download or Play A New Climate


Music includes Matrix movie - Choice, Capitol Steps - Ebony and Ovaries, David Rovics - Terror In The Skies, Capitol Steps - Guantanamo Driver, Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World, JFK 6-10-1963, Woody Guthrie - Jesus Christ, Playing for Change - A Music Revolution, Bette Midler - From a Distance, Matrix movie - A Slave, Dave Puls - We Won't Be Here Forever, Wizard Of Oz movie - If I Only Had A Heart, Pink Floyd - End The Blockade Of Gaza, Jimi Hendrix - Red House, Hair - Where Do I Go, The Bobs - You Really Got a Hold on Me, Modern Gustin Trio - Yellow Submarine

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