Archive 2: 2009
Pirate Television is a weekly 58 min Public Access Television program broadcast in Seattle Washington USA. Pirate TV challenges the Media Blockade by bringing you alternative information and independent programming that is unavailable on the Corporate Sponsor-Ship. The show features talks, interviews and documentaries.
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Nomi Prins: It Takes a Pillage,
The famous bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked by FBI agents, “Why do you rob banks, Willie?” He said: “Because that’s where the money is.” My guess is that if you were to ask the ‘banksters’ who just made off with 13 trillion or so of our money why they rob the treasury, you would get a similar answer. Last I heard, the FBI is not looking for them. If they were, they would be easy enough to find. They are running the government.
If you are looking for someone to explain the ongoing banking crisis, deregulation scam, and subsequent bailout in all its gory details, you couldn’t do better than Nomi Prins. The former managing director with Goldman Sachs turned investigative journalist saw it all from the shop floor. She’s here to fill us in and bring us up to date on the latest financial skullduggery and legislative mayhem.
media credits are too numerous to list.
Let’s just say she is a prolific writer and now works as
Fellow at the progressive think-tank: Demos.
She is the author of several bestselling
books. Her latest is: It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses,
Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from
Pirate TV Climate Series: Amanda Little:
investigative journalist from the
Thanks to Carl Chatski for videotaping and Elliott Bay Books for letting us
Pirate TV Climate Series: William Calvin: Putting the CO2 Genie Back in the Bottle, Monday 11/2/09 8-9pm PST
In this Pirate TV exclusive, Ed interviews Dr. William Calvin, author of Global Fever, How to Treat Climate Change. With the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit looming, we are hearing a lot about the “irreversible damage” that is being done to the biosphere as well as what can be done to stop the increase in the excess CO2 in the atmosphere. But as Dr. Calvin points out, CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time, thousands of years and where most of that carbon goes when it finally leaves the atmosphere is into the oceans. This is already causing the oceans to become dangerously acidic. Nobody is talking about this. Even kicking our carbon addiction will need to be done much faster than most people are ready to accept, but it is the excess carbon already there that is the source of the irreversible damage. It must be removed.
William Calvin is a research scientist who studies brain evolution. He has written some books about how abrupt climate change played a key role in human brain development. This research coupled with a heavy physics background has led him to the cutting edge of climate science. But William Calvin is foremost a doctor, so his approach to solving the climate crisis stems from the perspective of a physician who endeavors to treat a sick patient. A wise doctor knows that he can at best only facilitate the body’s own healing processes.It might be said the living organism that is the earth has its own immune system. Left alone, Gaia will eventually remove the carbon and restore the balance in the atmosphere. However this will most likely happen long after the nasty human infestation that is the source of the illness is gone. As part of that infestation, I would like to have a say in this! In this show, the good doctor outlines some clever but relatively inexpensive methods for us, if we move fast, to utilize the earth’s own healing processes to draw down the excess CO2 and rid us of the ocean acidification problem at the same time.
Dahr Jamail: The Will to Resist, Wed 11/4/09 noon-1pm PST
The broadcast version of this talk is edited down from almost two hours. The entire talk is posted on the Pirate TV Website. In the intro which I cut off, Dahr told the story of how after 8 months of reporting from Iraq on the horrors of the US occupation he ended up with a pretty serious case of PTSD. In his rage against what he had witnessed, the best he could come up with was that all US soldiers no matter what their rank should be behind bars ASAP. It was in fact, a member of Veterans for Peace who recognized the PTSD and steered him towards counseling. This is when he began to recognize that the soldiers themselves were also the victims of a US foreign policy establishment bent on world domination through extreme violence.
And this brings us to the subject of this talk and his latest book. Dahr recognizes as I do that it is most likely a rebellion in the ranks that will finally bring an end to the current endless wars for conquest and profit we see in Iraq and Afghanistan. -As in Viet Nam, only when the Masters of War and their political henchmen come to the realization that the military can no longer be trusted to carry out their crimes. This type of rebellion is already well underway but if you are waiting to see it in “main stream” corporate media; you’ve got a long wait. Best get it here now. I recommend you watch the entire two hours on line. It’s extraordinary.
This talk was a fundraiser for Coffee Strong, the G.I. resistance coffeehouse. Support Coffee Strong!
Pirate TV Climate Series:
Maass: The Violent Twilight of
Earlier this week Nation writer Mark Hertsgaard published an article called Climate Roulette. He talks about his latest “Oh Shit” moment (the moment most people have when the grim reality of the climate crisis sinks in). This time it was a study released in July by a German government advisory panel that says that if we are to stand a two thirds chance at avoiding “catastrophic climate change” (read extinction) the United States must reach net-0 or be carbon neutral in ten years. Even then, at two thirds, Russian Roulette would give you twice again better odds.
anybody like to consider the odds that our present
government of, by, and for corporate profit actually has the capacity
accomplish anything of significant positive benefit including even
own ass? But
if we don’t find the will to change, our
dependence on fossil energy is sure to make us all fossils. So
we need to be thinking about it over the
next few weeks (those few that still have that capacity here in this
illusion”) as the 2009
United Nations Climate Change Conference
in Copenhagen swiftly approaches.
So I’ve decided to bring a little food for thought
to the table starting this
week as we consider the true costs of oil. These
would include the toll not only to the the
environment but also in human suffering and war as well as how oil dependence warps
and corrupts governments.
To help us in this endeavor is NY Times Magazine writer Peter Maass, here this week with his new book: Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.Thanks to
Cecile Andrews & John DeGraaf, Less is More, Monday 9/21/09 12-1 and
People in the United States are brainwashed to think that if they were rich they would be happy. It’s not true, in fact after a certain basic level of sustainability is attained, more money or more stuff doesn’t seem to help. The sort of happiness that comes from outside objects, even a new boyfriend or girlfriend wears off quite rapidly and the time limit seems to be fairly standard. Study after study has reviled that most people say that happiness comes from more esoteric values such as relationships- family and otherwise, respect- of their peers and community, as well as the kind of rewards that come from life fulfilling work, fun, etc. This is the basis of the philosophy practiced by those of us who have rejected materialism and over-consumption as the central principles of our lives.
This movement is known as the Simplicity and Sustainability movement. Two of the leading movers and shakers in this have been Cecile Andrews & John DeGraaf. Both are prolific writers. John is national coordinator of Take Back Your Time and is best known for his PBS documentary: Affluenza, and book of the same name. Cecile Andrews is founder of the Phinney Ecovillage and authored Slow Is Beautiful; The Circle of Simplicity; and contributed to John's book Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America. These two subversives were at Elliott Bay Bookstore last week talking up Cecile’s new collection of essays: Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness. Join us for a most rewarding and fulfilling conversation.
Thanks to Elliot Bay Books
Thomas Frank: The Wrecking Crew (slight return) 9/14/09 12-1 and
-A moment to think about what we’ve got (which we don’t know till it’s gone):
I was unable to tape Thomas Frank last year when he was here with the hard cover edition of The Wrecking Crew. I had been hearing him over and over on other alternative media. I desperately wanted to get his talk on Pirate TV but I wasn’t getting any response back from his publisher. This is an indirect process. Different publishers handle these things differently. The authors themselves often never find out that I’m trying to get permissions. Lately when this happens I’ve been calling on the Town Hall for help. They were able to get through to the right people and take care of it so that I could tape Chris Hedges and Thomas Frank and put them on TV. Apparently there are some people at Town Hall who have become great fans of Pirate TV and appreciate what it is I’m doing. I appreciate them too. So should you.
You may wonder why
so much of the content on Pirate Television comes from events put on by
Town Hall and/or Elliott Bay Books. It’s
because they deliberately go out of their way to present the greatest
thinkers of our times. While many
especially the giant chains are deliberately cutting back on political
I’ve been thanked
enough. I think some thanking needs to
go to them. When you see one of these
talks that you really like from the safety and security of your own arm
to you for free, please note where it came from. Even
if you never set foot in the Town Hall, it’s
coming from them. It couldn’t happen
they weren’t there.
I know that we can’t afford to buy all the books from the great speakers we see on this show but if there is a “must read” please buy it from the bookstore that sponsored the event. –And don’t forget: Tell them that Pirate TV sent you. I want to make it clear that nobody asked me to say this and I’m not getting anything from it, but if a lot of you call and tell any of these venues how much you appreciate the hospitality and graciousness they have shown by putting up with me, it goes a long way toward insuring that you will continue to see great stuff like this in the future.
-Now back to Thomas Frank…
Frank has written
some landmark books, most notably his latest two, What’s
the Matter with
While Frank doesn’t
specifically use the term “neoliberalism” he is essentially
describing the international
corporatist political/economic agenda or “Corporate
Globalization” as it is
being applied in the
In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein describes neoliberal “Free Market” economic ideology as manifest in so called Chicago School Economics championed by Milton Freedman and how it was foisted onto the world (not to mention how people can become immunized as long as they can recognize it). What Thomas Frank is describing in this book is how all this is being foisted on us. The agenda is the very same: institute corporate rule over the state, deregulate and privatize everything, disempower labor unions, eliminate: social spending, safety net programs, and progressive taxation so as to leave the citizens with essentially no control over the economy allowing the Banksters and Gangsters to run wild. Free Market Economics is a bogus ideology developed to give intellectual cover for theft and economic tyranny- a return to feudalism “corporate style”. This has largely been accomplished through debt peonage –both individual and national. This could also be accurately described as Fascism -according to Mussolini: “the merger of state and corporate power.” I wish those conservatives would read this so that they could get their “isms” straight.
While Frank was making his rounds laying out how all this happened, connecting it to its ideological roots, as well as carefully tracing it back through the entire cast of characters thus making him a big hit last year, it’s old news now. He used the opportunity of this visit to bring it all up to date through current events. This might be a pretty sobering subject, but as usual you can’t escape his wit. How he manages to describe this and simultaneously get you rolling on the floor is something to see. As my friend Jeff Pearson is fond of saying: “Sometimes we like to ‘chuckle in the graveyard’.”
Video by Landon
The medical health insurance industry and Big Pharma are parasite industries that serve no useful purpose to society. They suck the blood out of their customers for the profit of shareholders and outrageously overpaid CEOs. The health insurance corporations do not provide any healthcare but make huge profits by grossly overcharging on the input side and denying care on the output side killing (depending on whose figures you want) at least 18-22 thousand Americans every year either because they’ve been priced out of the healthcare market, couldn’t get insurance because of a preexisting condition or because their insurance companies cut them off at the very time they most needed it. Many more have to suffer with conditions that their health insurance won’t pay for. In addition, 60% of bankruptcies in the US are due to medical costs. These are just a few of the statistics that were covered by Congressman Inslee in this “town hall” meeting. This is not news to you or me. Anybody who reads my stuff has probably seen Sicko at least once. Neither would any of us likely be fooled by the right wing tome that this is the “free market”. These For Profit corporations grew out of previous health care “reform” Republican style and exist largely by feeding at the public trough. Let’s face it, they are neoliberal kleptocratic entities –same as the Banksters who just clipped us for does anybody know how many trillions? If this were a real democracy governed by the rule of law rather than money they pilfered from us, we wouldn’t have to fight them because they’d already be in jail. Murder for profit is a crime for corporate “persons” too.
I went down to Inslee’s forum to vote with my feet and I took my camera because I wanted to see the circus for myself and get some wackos on tape. I got there 10 or 15 minutes before the event was to start and there was only one wacko out front. I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to reason with him on camera. You can watch this for yourself but I just want to illuminate a couple points here. This guy’s main spiel was that, “Healthcare is not a right, it’s just like car insurance, you have the option to buy it or not.” I don’t think I have to comment on how ludicrous this is. So I used this line of reasoning: “What about the fire department? What about the police?” All of which he said were rights because he pays for them with his taxes. So I said: “Is Medicare a right?” To this he responded again, it was his right because he pays for it with his taxes. So I asked, “Why shouldn’t we all be able to get it and pay for it with our taxes?” At this point he immediately switched the subject to another right wing bugaboo: illegal aliens. “It will go to illegal aliens”, he says. I shouldn’t have taken the bait. I started to argue with him about whether or not this was true. I should have said: “So OK, but let’s say that aliens couldn’t get it”, and take it from there.
This illustrates how the “single payer is best but not politically feasible” Democrats and the bona fide single payer advocates totally blew it. If instead of compromising right off the bat and shooting for a bogus “public option”, if they had just proposed lowering the age of Medicare to zero and called it “Medicare for all”, there would have been nothing the brown shirt wackos and their corporate masters could say. Everybody seems to like Medicare and everybody understands what it is. No amount of demagoguery or propaganda could have won the day.
I hear tell that Obama is going to formally drop the public option this week. According to Kip Sullivan of Physicians for a National Health Program in his article: Bait and Switch: How the "Public Option" Was Sold, the only thing robust about the public option being touted by the Democrats is that it is robustly nothing. The public option has been so watered down and dismantled from the original concept first proposed in 2001 by Jacob Hacker (now a professor of political science at Berkeley) that it amounts to no option at all. I just happened to catch Kip Sullivan on the radio last night. He says that at most the public option may insure 10 million (House "tri-committee" bill), but more likely it will insure no one (Senate HELP committee). This is according to the Congressional Budget Office. It’s not going to offer any competition to the health insurance cartel because the pool would be too small and you are going to be buying it from them anyway. It has no possibility of controlling costs and it is not possible that it will ever lead to a single payer system. What spawned because of public outrage as a long overdue attempt at reforming a corrupt collapsing system that has the potential of bringing down the whole economy suddenly transmogrifies into another honorarium for parasites while the public gets screwed. Sound familiar? Is this the Shock Doctrine again?
The public option debate is a ruse within a ruse. Sullivan said that the Progressive Caucus knows that the public option is a hollow shell but they are locked into their commitments to Labor and other progressive organizations. It would be better to drop the bogus public option rather than let it kill the whole bill. It causes more harm than it does good because we would then be stuck forever with a non solution “solution”. Dropping it would free the public option and single payer advocates to immediately unite behind Medicare for all. Sullivan says that very few countries that got single payer health care achieved it at one fell swoop. But that would mean that some couch potato progressives would have to get off their asses, organize and start voting with their feet. The wackos or at least their masters are obviously extremely well organized but as this video illustrates, being essentially cowards, wackos are more likely to mind their manners when they are greatly outnumbered. I thought the way Jay Inslee handled them was masterful. There’s a place [online version towards the end] where somebody suggested that the healthcare bill would run up the deficit. Inslee said that the deficit had always been a major concern of his too and he began to mention some of George Bush’s contributions in that arena. The wackos went totally bonkers for it seems like forever. The hypocrisy of these people never ceases to amaze me. We’re going to take a deep look at the pathology and origins of the current crop of American brown shirts when Max Blumenthal gets here later this month. I don’t want to give it all away but if you want to create some authoritarian personality types just follow James Dobson’s advice and beat your kids.
How organized are they? Back in 1999 when this show was still called “Crack the CIA” as the subject matter kept expanding, I had this idea that the show had to contain at least one reference to the CIA. Otherwise people might wonder what the WTO had to do with the CIA. (Of course we know everything has to do with everything. But I wasn’t sure everyone would get that.) So I used to ask the guests to mention the CIA. I said this to author John Sauber of the Center for Media & Democracy (formerly PR Watch) who was about to give a talk on the scary tactics of the invisible trillion dollar PR industry and he told me that they are the “same thing”. Was he talking about the revolving door between high level officials of the CIA and some of the giant PR firms, the fact that they use essentially the same tactics, or the fact that they more or less serve the same masters and goals? His talk revealed that it was all of these. The 1.5 million that the health insurance industry and Big Pharma are spending every day lobbying Congress to thwart the will of WE THE PEOPLE is just the tip of the iceberg.
The wacko that I interviewed kept on talking about the “Dean Amendment”. It turns out he was talking about an amendment proposed by Dean Heller (R-NV) that would have mandated that people prove citizenship before they could receive taxpayer funded health care benefits. Just as an aside: As John Gibler pointed out on this show, most illegal aliens in the US are Mexicans forced Northward by the dumping of cheap US government subsidized corn on Mexican markets as a result of NAFTA. People usually don’t leave their land and families to become economic refugees if they have any choice in the matter. Unless they are working completely under the table, taxes are withheld which they never see. Why shouldn’t they receive the same benefits as right wing dim-wits? But I digress… I knew that the House bill specifically excluded illegal aliens in there somewhere. I did a search and was surprised that I couldn’t find it. What I did find were page after page of propaganda web sites about the Dean Amendment. All making it appear that the Bill allowed aliens to recieve health care at taxpayer expense and that the Democrats had voted down the only chance of stopping it. They all appeared to be right wing phony news operations or Astroturf organizations. Finally after countless Google pages I found one tiny article that actually quoted the section of the bill that I was looking for. This is a massive Covert Operation! The Big PR has moved into the internet. These are the same kind of tactics the CIA used to overthrow the government of Iran for the benefit of Big Oil in 1953: rumor campaigns and destabilization bymercenary mobs. In this case substitute the word “brainwashed” for mercenary and you’ve got it.
The brown shirts are on the move. I don’t particularly want to sit around and wait to get “Mossaddeqed” by a bunch of ignorant lost suckers and their corporate puppet masters. We tried voting. Voting didn’t work. A close reading of history reveals that real social progress never originated in the ballot box anyway. It comes when millions of people put their bodies in the gears of the machine. So we turned out a million people once. Did we really think we were going to stop the war machine with a demonstration or two? Did we really think it was going to get coverage? Silly people: the revolution will not be televised and the news has been cancelled. The Hondurans are a lot smarter than us. But they have the benefit of an excellent education [for which they paid dearly] courtesy of the School of the Americas. They are shutting their country down and they are not going to stop until the generals are out of power and in jail. They realize that their very lives depend on it. When enough of us realize that, we’ll get out in the streets and stay there. In the mean time it doesn’t hurt to call your elected officials and show up to keep the wackos in check.
Hearing this talk on TUC Radio reminded me of
Firesign Theater riff- “Everything you know is
wrong”. It’s what
compelled me to ask Maria Gilardin if I could show it on Pirate TV.
not only sent me the complete video but also sent Peter Dale
Howard Dean: Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform
The good doctor, former Governor of Vermont, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee was in town last week talking about his new book: Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform: How We Can Achieve Affordable Medical Care for Every American and Make Our Jobs Safer. In this talk he dissects the 12 myths being perpetrated by the right wing media about a single payer health care system and explains what he thinks the strategy is that President Obama is employing to get real healthcare reform through Congress.Thanks to Seatle Town Hall
Peter Dale Scott: State of
Maria Gilardin of TUC Radio was kind enough to share this eye-opening talk that she videotaped with one of my greatest heroes: UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Peter Dale Scott. The poet, veteran of the Canadian Diplomatic Service, researcher, and prolific author of many books on political-history as well as poetry traces the ongoing process of democracy roll back in the USA to an elite group of extreme right wing government/business operators connected to the military industrial complex during the Nixon Administration and the formation of the "Committee on the Present Danger".
Nixon and Kissinger’s pursuit of détente and the loss of
profits that it
represented they were able to reengineer
Support Alternative Media!Eva Golinger:
TRT: 2hrs and 10min
Eva Golinger gave
From: Axis of Logic
Eva Golinger is a
Venezuelan-American attorney and author of the best- selling books,
Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in
Achieving Health Care for All Forum, Monday
7/13/09 Noon-1 & 8-9pm PST
Diamond: Collapse, Monday 2/21 8:30 -9:30 PM
Geographer Jared Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize for his study of the organic roots of human civilizations in flora, fauna, climate and geology- Guns, Germs, and Steel. He was at Town Hall in Jan of 05 talking about his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which continues on in that line of study to compare societies that have, sometimes fatally, undermined their own ecological foundations. It is particularly apt at this time. Just as one wonders what the person who chopped down the last tree on Easter Island was thinking, we might be wondering what the oil industry and their henchmen who run our government are thinking by rejecting the Kyoto climate treaty. Civilizations don’t always last forever.
Bedrock reality is that our economy and the very survival of our species are based on nature.
This important and timely presentation demonstrates the historical consequences that befell societies that ignored that reality as well as examples of societies that have survived because they were able to adapt and live in a sustainable way. A professor of geography at UCLA, Prof. Diamond has received the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, among his various honors.
Is the FBI infiltrating your group? - Support Eric McDavid Tour
Jun 20, 2009
This is the story about how the FBI infiltrated activists groups and put several people in prison for more than 20 years for basically what amounts to thought crimes!
Eric was arrested (along with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner) on January 13, 2006, as part of the government's ongoing Green Scare campaign. All three were charged with "Conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and an explosive." His arrest was the direct result of a government informant - known only as "Anna" - who spent a year and a half drawing him in and working with the FBI to fabricate a crime and implicate Eric in it. Anna was paid over $65,000 for her work with the FBI. Eric was imprisoned for what amounts to thought-crime - no actions were ever carried out, and Eric was charged with a single count of "conspiracy" - a powerful legal tool often used by the state to crush dissent.
of Eric will be presenting information about his case, which serves as
a lens through which to study the basic concepts of entrapment, the use
of informants, and government repression in general.
Unfortunately, the use of these tools by the state is becoming more and
more prevalent, and it's imperative that people understand how they
This effects ANYONE who protests the Government. This could happen to anyone of us, including YOU!
Kajumulo & the Original Sound in Concert, Monday 6/29/09 Noon-1 and
High resolution [1500 kbps wmv file]
Low Resolution [256 kbps]
Alex Kajumulo got his start making records in 1999 producing an album
for "Cool James" Dandu, also known as Mtoto wa Dandu. The Album
was called "CJ Massive: African Most
and was a big hit in East Africa and in African communities around the
world. Unfortunately Cool James was later killed in a car
accident but the experience inspired Alex to continue to create his own
music. The Tanzania born singer/songwriter has written over 500
songs and his first album- Never
was a best seller all over the world. His songs have been in the
top ten on airplay lists internationally ever since, rising to number
one in different places.
Already an international superstar from his days as a soccer champion, Alex financed, produced, and promoted his own record, skirting the corporate music industry monopoly control system by using the internet and getting airplay mostly on non-corporate collage and community radio stations. He pioneered new venues selling his records on CD Baby and i-tunes, helping to make the founder of CD Baby a rich man.
This was probably all for the best because from what we know of censorship by giant media monopolies like Clear Channel it is questionable whether Alex could have gotten much airplay on commercial radio here in the US at that time. That’s because Alex is not afraid to touch on subject matter that may not provide the kind of “hospitable advertising environment” that commercial media crave. His song, Super Size People is a direct slam on junk food corporations like McDonalds and Burger King for “poisoning our children” and “making them fat”. He doesn’t write a whole lot of love songs and instead chooses to focus on social issues like global warming, the American injustice system, discrimination, human rights, imperialism, and propaganda. He says the world is too screwed up to be singing about “baby, baby” all the time but insists however, that his music is not “political”.
I think this is
an interesting point. For instance, why is talking about global
warming considered political? I think it is because if you allow
yourself to be victimized by a corporate media system whose purpose is
to distract you and make you forget, then almost anything that is not
strictly “entertainment” will therefore be perceived as
“political”. And that is an essential albeit subtle
element of thought control in the United States.
Known as “the Bushman”, Alex is a unique character. Literally born into a Stone Age tribe in “the bush” of Africa, he spent the first 13 years of his life running around naked. He is fond of comparing this to the Garden of Eden. He ate the apple of soccer and started playing professionally at 15 eventually becoming an international sensation. He later coached his own teams and started a sports clothing line designing, manufacturing, and selling soccer uniforms and gear to teams and individuals around the world. He teaches and coaches soccer and has written a book: Soccer Monster. All this has given him the financial independence to underwrite his own music projects and tours. Since the release of Never Before, Alex has put out 5 more albums.
Alex’s music is an interesting blend that is not easily categorized. It combines elements of funk, rap, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, as well as many other styles but is built on a “rock solid” foundation of the afro beat groove. Alex likes to call it “people’s music” because it is world fusion. He calls his band the “Original Sound”.
This concert was filmed on May 30th at the 4th Avenue Pub, Olympia’s premier music venue. He set up the concert specifically to film the touring band for promotional purposes. Alex is working on booking tours of Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. He is a superstar in Africa and will be taking his band to Africa in late December for a Global Warming/Justice for Mankind tour filling stadiums and returning to South Africa for a FIFA World Cup Tour in May of 2010. He wants to bring some attention to the effects that climate change is having on the environment in that part of the world. One of the stadiums in Tanzania was already sold out as of last month [May]. If you want to catch them live the band will be playing in Seattle at the Black Community Festival at Judkins Park on the 4th of July, 4-5pm.
Malkan: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, Monday, 6/22/09 12-1 and
So you think that the amount of poison that food processors and giant agro-monopolies like Monsanto get away with putting in our food is horrific? Guess what, cosmetics aren’t regulated at all! Neither does the FDA require cosmetic companies to test their own products for safety. It is often difficult to find out what is safe because there aren’t any rules on what can be labeled as “Natural” or “Organic”. For example, the top-selling shampoo in the United States is Clairol Herbal Essences, which until recently claimed to offer users an "organic experience." However, there isn't much about this product that is either herbal or organic; it contains more than a dozen synthetic petrochemicals.
Stacy Malkan who calls herself a recovered cosmetics addict, says that with all the elaborate skin regimes, make-up, hair products, nail polish, etc. that she put on every day as a teenager, she was exposing herself to over 200 chemicals before she even left for school. The $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful that they've manage to keep themselves unregulated for decades. So you end up with stuff like lead in lipstick, dioxane in baby soap, and coal tar in shampoo.
• The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just 10.
• Only 11% of chemicals used in cosmetics in the US have been assessed for health and safety – leaving a staggering 89% with unknown or undisclosed effects.
• More than 70% of all personal care products may contain phthalates, which are linked to birth defects and infertility.
• Many baby soaps are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4 dioxane.
It's not just women who are affected by this chemists' brew. Shampoo, deodorant, face lotion and other products used daily by men, women and children contain hazardous chemicals that the industry claims are "within acceptable limits." But there's nothing acceptable about daily multiple exposures to carcinogenic chemicals — from products that are supposed to make us feel healthy and beautiful.
Clearly, everybody needs to watch this show and follow up by reading Stacy’s book: Not Just a Pretty Face- The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. In the mean time here are a few links to get you started:
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Environmental Working Group
Stacy Malkan is communications director for Health Care Without Harm.
Recorded at the Seattle Green Festival 2008.
Energy & Weapons in 2009: How Do We Assure a
Nuclear-Free Future? Monday,
The environmental and human cost of the nuclear arms race has been staggering, with large areas of this country uninhabitable due to radiation leaks and contamination. To achieve the peace and climate stability required to reverse global warming the
Bob Alvarez is the Director of the Nuclear Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in
Ward Churchill: Colonization, Genocide, and Education, Monday 5/25/09 12-1 &
Soon after the 9/11
attacks, as the Bush Crime Family were gearing up to channel the shock
“New Pearl Harbor” into the political momentum needed to
defenseless populations in countries that never attacked us, there was
person who was not only questioning why it was forbidden to ask why
have reason to attack the United States but even worse, asserted that
this was “Karma”. That person
was me. In
this case Karma is just another word for “blowback”. There are so many reasons for this blowback
that one wonders why it took so long.
For instance, let’s say I were a Guatemalan Indian, a
Chilean, a Vietnamese…
wait let’s just skip that. This will
take too long, let’s just concentrate on
Small wonder that to
even hint that the 9/11 attackers [if we are to believe the official
have had their reasons could earn you a visit by the secret police. If the
If we are to
observe an Honest Memorial Day, I can think of no one better to help us
Ward Churchill. Not long after the 9/11
attacks I had the good fortune to broadcast a talk he gave at the
his job hasn’t shut him up. The ex-professor
of Ethnic Studies and coordinator of American Indian Studies for the
of Colorado is still an ardent chronicler
of the dirty little secrets of US history and one of the most outspoken
of US imperialism (cultural and otherwise). He
is perhaps the foremost expert on the FBI
and the secret COINTELPRO operation in which the
Churchill's many books include: Fantasies of the Master Race, Struggle for the Land, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, From A Native Son, Critical Issues in Native North America, The COINTELPRO Papers, Indians R Us?, Agents of Repression, Since Predator Came, and A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas.
Special thanks to
As the US plunges deeper into a military abyss in Central Asia “where empires go to die” it’s time to take a closer look at what is really going on and the complex history of that area which now comprises Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the US involvement in instigating the chaos which now threatens to engulf the entire area. To help us in this task are three experts:
University of Washington professor Cabeiri deBergh Robinson a socio-cultural anthropology researcher and expert on Pakistan, refugees and terrorism ties this history in with the rise of the Taliban as a cultural response to US imperialist intervention.
Stephen Zunes, Professor of
and International Studies at the
University of San Francisco,
where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies brings
constructive alternatives to the expanded war.
A prolific writer and frequent guest on Pirate TV, he is the
author of Tinderbox:
talks make up the regularly scheduled program which will be broadcast
However, after the speakers gave their
presentations, they joined together to compose an extraordinary panel. Taking questions from the audience they delved
even deeper into the details of a complex situation, exposing why if
Abu Jamal: Jailhouse Lawyers, A Community Book Reading, Monday 5/11/09
12-1 & 8-9pm PST
There was a nationwide book reading in honor of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal’s birthday on April 24th and the release of his new book: Jailhouse Lawyers- Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. In Seattle, this event took shape as a community book reading held at the Hidmo Resturaunt on Capital Hill. Fmr. revolutionary Black Panther and member of the George Jackson Brigade, Mark Cook was on hand to talk about his experience as a political prisoner in the US and as a jailhouse lawyer himself. Mark Cook is now a member of the National Lawyers Guild. Several other community leaders, activists, and up and coming spoken word artists took part in this event including: Nichelle Alderson a.k.a. iNfinity, Laura “Piece” Kelly-John, John Page- V.P. King Co. NAACP, Alex Beach, Geneva Arunga, and a little boy named Samual.
Thanks to Hidmo Restaurant and Left Bank Books
Mark Rudd: Underground, Monday 5/4/09 12-1 & 8-9 PM PST
Mark Rudd was the leader of the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] during the 1968 Columbia University student rebellion. He was a key instigator in the formation of the radical guerilla organization Weather Underground and later lived as a federal fugitive for several years. After the political assassinations of the sixties many in the anti war movement came to conclusion that it was time to take up arms against the violence of the state. Mark says that he has come to learn that political organizing is much more effective than guerrilla warfare, especially in the belly of the beast as we say. Come to think of it there haven’t been a lot of successful violent revolutions lately. Join us for a review of some important lost history as well as an interesting perspective on what it all means. Mark Rudd’s book is: Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen.Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliott Bay Books
Wangari Maathai: The Challenge for
Monday 4/27/09 8-9pm PST
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. has been beaten, harassed and imprisoned for her environmental activism. Here in the U.S. from her home in Nairobi, the Kenyan activist who first became known for her work in starting the Green Belt Movement, was at the Town Hall talking about her latest book The Challenge for Africa. The Challenge for Africa seeks to dispel many of the stereotypes and assumptions laid out by the western media and, at the same time, casts a strong challenge to African people themselves to redirect their individual and collective destinies.
Thanks to Elliott Bay Books and Seattle Town Hall
Doug Fine: Farewell, My Subaru, Monday 4/20/09 12-1 &
Doug Fine, NPR
environmental correspondent and contributor to Public Radio
the hilarious story of how he went green on his ranch in
Suzuki- The Big Picture, Monday, 4/13/09 12-1 and 8–9pm PST
Presented by People for Puget Sound, Dr. David Suzuki, the highly regarded author of over forty books, scientist, and host of CBC Television's The Nature of Things, was back in Seattle addressing the subject matter of his latest book co-authored with Dave Robert Taylor, "The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet." Suzuki details what real change entails and what must be done to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st Century.
Thanks to People for Puget Sound
Elliott Bay Books and Seattle Town Hall
I asked Xinran Xue the London based Chinese journalist and broadcaster, in light of the fact that the Chinese are putting on line two coal fired plants a week, what ordinary people there think about global warming. The answer is illustrative of the almost blanket dearth of understanding that exists in the West about China. In fact the average Chinese probably knows very little about climate change since about 80% are dirt poor illiterate peasants. If they should by chance have heard about it, very few are likely to have an understanding of what it has to do with them. In many rural areas there are children who have never even seen an electric light. As Xinran points out, this is a hard thing for people like us who take for granted the standard of living we were raised with to comprehend. Even harder is the unbelievable hardship, suffering and monumental struggles that hers and the previous generation have had to endure just to survive.
Anyone who has the
stomach to have endured a viewing of the movie Nanking
will have gotten a small taste of what was inflicted by the
Japanese, but then came civil war, revolution, famine, the onset
cultural revolution, predatory capitalism and “Free Trade”
slavery. Not surprisingly the recent
history of killing,
government repression, and harsh conditions in a country where the idea
collective guilt is endemic and where freedom of speech can be
produced a generation that is more than a little tight lipped. As this generation ages and begins to die
Xinran Xue, the
author of 5 books began working for Chinese Radio in the late 80s and
one of China's most successful journalists.
She migrated to London in the late 90s.
She has spent 20 years traveling around China doing interviews,
and patiently coaxing the stories of the 20th century out of
generation. Her latest book, China
Voices from a Silent Generation is a major work of
oral history. As I told Xinran, I believe
Keith McHenry: Food Not Bombs! An American Saga, Monday 3/30/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST
The Food Not Bombs movement began in 1980 by a group of anti-nuclear activists from the Clamshell Alliance in Cambridge MA who were organizing against the Shoreham Nuclear Power project. The organizers stumbled upon the revolutionary tactic of distributing free speech with free food. Of course no good turn goes unanswered and although last time I checked, free speech and free food were not illegal; this transgression against the established order has not escaped the ire of the authorities. The loose affiliation of social justice anarchist collectives dedicated to nonviolence has been repeatedly attacked by police in the United States and has been under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Pentagon and other intelligence agencies. It has been designated one of the 10 top “terrorist threats” by the FBI. A number of Food Not Bombs volunteers have been arrested on terrorism charges. Of coarse none of this has ever stood up in court because as I said, handing out free speech and free food is not illegal. Government repression has only resulted in the rapid spread of Food Not Bombs collectives throughout the world. As we will see, the powers that be have good reason to feel “terrorized” because not only is this movement spreading out of control but it has spawned many offshoots such as Pirate Radio and the Indymedia movement, Rainforest Action, the Direct Action Network and other anti-corporate globalization operations, as well as recent by-products such as Food Not Lawns, Bikes Not Bombs, and the Homes Not Jails project.
Keith McHenry, one of the original 8 instigators of Food Not Bombs tells the story of the 30 year struggle on Pirate TV this week. The entire 60 minute talk plus an additional half hour of Q&A is posted on the Pirate TV website.
Address to VFP,
McGovern worked for the CIA as an analyst for 27 years starting with
and ending with George Bush Sr. He gave daily security
President Reagan, and his staff.
Later, McGovern was one of several senior CIA analysts who
President's Daily Brief (PDB) during the first Bush
retirement McGovern grew so despondent over the Bush Sr.
fixing of intelligence in the lead up to the first Gulf War that he and
other retired intelligence officers formed Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Later during the
Administration he returned the Intelligence Commendation Medal he had
from W's father when he found out that the CIA was systematically using
torture. He became famous for his confrontation on live TV
then Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in May of 2006 when he nailed
lying about Iraq pre-war Intelligence.
I had the opportunity to ask McGovern off camera from his vantage point as someone who had a “view from the top” if he had any ideas why Obama would pursue such an obviously foolish policy as to send more troops into a loosing quagmire like the war in Afghanistan. He said: “You heard of the Military Industrial Complex? He gave them half a loaf.” In other words, we find ourselves in a situation where we are ruled by vampires who must purée children daily to survive and not even the likes of Presidents dare take their food away. –Something to think about.
Ray McGovern gave this speech on March, 8th at the NW Regional Conference of Veterans for Peace.
David Korten, Agenda for a New Economy, Monday 3/16/9
Visionary and dean of the anti-corporate globalization
movement, David Korten has
a leading force in plotting the course to a new kind of economy where
serve the real needs of people and life rather than the currently
collapsing money-serving institutions based on the
creation of what he calls “Phantom Wealth”.
This quest has led him to create YES! Magazine,
A Journal of Positive Futures
and write many books including: When
Corporations Rule the World, The Post-Corporate
World: Life After Capitalism, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth
and most recently, Agenda for a New
Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth. He gave this
keynote address to the Northwest
Regional Conference of Veterans for Peace.
The title of the conference
was: "Peace at the Crossroads, Where Do We Go from
wonder that they chose Korten to give the keynote speech!
A lot of people were
ashamed- even shocked to
find out about how the government has been treating –more
not treating the Iraq war
veterans who supposedly went into harm's way for our sake.
But this is just part of a bigger continuum.
These soldiers were not sent to multiple
Aaron Glantz is an independent journalist who has been following the plight of veterans since he got back from covering the first three years of the occupation that he wrote about in his first book which became a best seller: How America Lost Iraq, (Penguin, 2005). He is a Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism at the Carter Center. He was here last week to talk about his latest book, The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans. Pirate TV was on hand to cover him.
John Gibler: Mexico Unconquered, Monday 3/2/09 8-9pm PST
When I heard that John Gibler was coming to give a talk in Seattle, I knew that it was going to be magnificent. I wasn't disappointed. Mexico’s President told the Associated Press Thursday (2/26) that more than 1,000 people were killed due to narco-violence in that country so far this year (8 weeks) but insisted that Mexico is not a “failed state” because he hasn't ''lost any single part -- of Mexican territory'' [sic]. It can be argued as to whether or not Mexico is a failed state, but it is most certainly the foremost narco-state in the world rivaled only by Afghanistan (currently under US occupation) and Colombia the third largest recipient of US “aid”. This is all driven of course by the “war on drugs”. You would be surprised how many US client states can be classified as narco-states. [Goggle Narco-state and see what happens.] Isn't that strange given that the US is the world's leading purveyor of prohibition? -Maybe not. If the US were to take the profit out of illegal drugs by decriminalizing and moving toward a harm reduction policy as opposed to the current mass incarceration policy, the economies of many of its best client states would immediately collapse. This would likely take what's left of the US banking system with it and cause great damage to weapons manufacturers, the people warehousing industry, and just about every other big industry. This would also rob the Empire of it's best tool for internal repression as well as covert external repression since drugs have always been the best source for large amounts of untraceable cash. Clearly the endless drug war is as essential an element of empire as is endless war itself.
In fact just using the term “War on
Drugs” may be a
self defeating and unacceptable surrender of linguistic territory in
the cognitive frame war. The invasion
of Iraq was sold as a “War against Saddam”.
Saddam is long gone but the illegal invasion and occupation that has
killed over a million people still drags on and on. The
Empire is unlikely to give up its hard fought new territory no matter
what Obama says. Whatever the case may be, Saddam had
very little to do with the actual reasons for the US
intervention. The war
was against the population of Iraq who stood in the way of the
prerogatives of the US power structure. Calling drug prohibition
policies a “War on
Drugs” is a similar sort of ruse. If the
aim was actually to stop drugs, US policymakers would have given up and
something else decades ago. Drugs don’t
go to prison, people [mostly poor and dark skinned ones] do. It
is also their communities that are
destabilized by gang and police violence that are a direct result of
prohibition. These policies have the
same effect in Mexico as they do here but the violence we are seeing in
Mexico is the result of US drug prohibition policy writ
Mexico is also a brutal police state in the swash buckling tradition of US sponsored Latin American neo-colonial fascist regimes. It’s a neo-con Friedmanesque paradise with all the classic elements: massive disparity in wealth topped by a corrupt oligarchic elite maintained by a corrupt military trained and equipped by the US. This military/police apparatus exists not for protection from any external threat but for repression of the “have-nots”. It is rife with torture and massacres done by death squads who kill at night and patrol the streets in police uniform during the day.
Thanks to NAFTA –another neo-liberal wet dream come true, Mexico has the world's most exploited work force. It exports more of its labor than any other country. This is another clever neo-con ruse: First, they deliberately flood Mexico with cheap subsidized US corn emptying much of the rural area of its male population who are driven north to seek work. Next the US regime acting like they are trying to stop the migration pilfers the public trough building useless border walls and passing laws to criminalize the very same refugees that they themselves created. -Thereby robbing the migrants of any labor rights at all essentially making them slaves. This in turn drives down the price of labor in the US while their constituents (the haves and have mores) profit handsomely. There could be no clearer example of why John Gibler says that poverty creation is deliberate.
To accept notions like these is truly radical because they go far beyond basic myths and assumptions that even many who call themselves liberal are afraid to part with. But the subject of this talk is not about despair. It's about hope. It's about the valiant rebellions by poor campesinos, indigenous people, students, and teachers against the massive economic and paramilitary violence as they struggle to take back their commons and build democracy. And mostly, it's about the media: First, the corporate media in the US that systematically ignores and distorts the realities exposed in John’s book. Second, the Mexican corporate and state media that is its mirror image which systematically lies to the Mexican population about the rebellions. Third and more importantly, the independent media composed of courageous alternative media producers from Mexico, the US and all over the world who daily risked their lives to tell the real story.
John Gibler, a Global Exchange Media Fellow is one of these who has been living and writing from Mexico since 2006. This talk focuses largely on the Teacher Rebellion in Oaxaca of that same year. Seattle based documentary film producer Jill Freidberg, producer of This is What Democracy Looks Like was also on hand to share a clip from her international award winning documentary Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad (A Little Bit of So Much Truth) -Corrugated Films. Together they tell the story of the teacher’s strike which became a full blown rebellion and resulted in the take over of 14 radio stations and a TV station. I only wish that 10% of the US population had the courage and savvy of the poor campesinos of Oaxaca.
The full title of John Gibler’s book is: Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt. He has reported for Left Turn, In These Times, Znet, Z Magazine, New Politics, Common Dreams, Yes! Magazine, Colorlines and Democracy Now!.Thanks to the
Resisting Empire at Home and Abroad: Class Struggle and Resistance in the US, Monday Feb. 9th and 16th 8-9pm PST
Part 1 Part 2
This panel was given as the Closing Plenary
Conference, Saturday, November 8, 2008
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.
As the economy goes into the worst crisis since the Great Depression, banks and billionaires are being bailed out while workers continue to lose their homes and jobs.
U.S. aggression abroad has inflicted a humanitarian catastrophe- with millions of people killed or turned into refugees. And while a majority of Americans oppose the wars, both candidates in the last election wanted to send more troops to Afghanistan and expand the war. American troops continue to suffer and die, while schools, hospitals, and infrastructure fall apart for lack of much needed funds.
A new resistance needs to be built from the ground up. To build it, we need to hear the stories the mainstream media refuse to tell: the stories of war resisters, rank and file union activists, and community organizers who are resisting the attacks at home and abroad ever day.
Resisting Empire starts with us.
Panel Participants Part One:
Don Grinde is a 31-year crane operator at Boeing and a veteran union activist in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. This strike at Boeing is his fifth time on strike. He helped to lead a “vote no” campaign on the last Boeing contract proposal. He spoke about the lessons of the Boeing strike and why solidarity is key to rebuilding the labor movement.
Tim Harris is the Executive Director of Real Change News, Seattle's weekly activist publication with an ear to the street. Real Change exists to create opportunity and a voice for low-income people while taking action to end homelessness and poverty. Tim spoke about the new jail and what it means to the black community who know that it will be their children and relatives who will be disproportionately targeted to feed Washington’s growing prison industrial complex.
One of the Freightliner Five-members of the bargaining committee of United Auto Workers Local 3520* in Cleveland, N.C. who were terminated after leading a legal walkout at a Freightliner truck plant after their labor contract had expired. The Five have been fighting to get their jobs back for 19 months, recently five separate arbitrators ruled on their cases individually and two members were reinstated while three, including Allen Bradley lost their arbitration and remain fired. Allen talked about their struggle and the lessons for the U.S. labor movement.
Panel Participants Part Two:
James Bible is an attorney and president of the Seattle Chapter of the NAACP now celebrating it’s 95th year of serving the civil and human rights interests of all people. Bible, no stranger to Pirate TV, talked about some recent shocking examples of the seemingly never ending acts of police brutality and racism perpitrated by “Seattle’s Finest”.
Co/founder of the UW branch of CAN –Campus Anti-War Network, Fawthrop gave an excellent run-down of the history of anti-war organizing from the 60s until present times.
Jesse Hagopian is a teacher in the Seattle Public Schools has been an activist and a voice for many progressive struggles. Jesse served as campaign manager for Aaron Dixon’s 2006 Green Party senatorial candidacy, with the theme, “Out of war and into our communities.” Jesse was a leader in the Troops Home now Coalition that organized a huge turnout to shutdown the military recruiting center in the Central District of Seattle. As a member of the Ehren Watada organizing committee, Jesse helped to build support across the NW for the courageous lieutenant who was the first officer to refuse to redeploy to Iraq. His writing in defense of public education has appeared in the Seattle Times and the Seattle PI and Commondreams.org. His essays against war and racism have appeared in Counter Punch and Socialist Worker.
Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía was the first veteran to publicly refuse to redeploy to Iraq. Mejía participated in the invasion of Iraq, and he refused to return to his unit after a two-week furlough because he believed the war was unjust, arguing that “no soldier should go to Iraq and give his life for oil. ”Mejía was sentenced to a bad conduct discharge and one year of hard labor. He is the Board Chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and is the author of, Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia.
Robert K. Musil: Hope for a Heated Planet, Monday, 2/2/09 8-9pm PST
Bob Musil has written a critically acclaimed book: Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future. In this talk he discusses how many Americans go from climate change denial directly to a state of paralyzing despair. Neither state is at all productive. In reality there probably is still time left to stop runaway climate destabilization although not much thanks to 20 years of denial and mainstream media invisibility. This is of course due to a massive PR disinformation campaign which is still being waged by the fossil fuel industry at this time. However, it’s important to remember that those of us who wish to save the planet are not alone. The growing world-wide movement to stop climate change is probably the biggest popular movement in the history of humanity. However, you wouldn’t know it if you got your information from corporate media sources. The bright side is that if our species somehow manages to survive, the changes produced by the struggle will likely leave us much better off. The key here is how to organize. This is the main focus of this book. Although it provides a comprehensive analysis of the causes and cures for global warming as well as an excellent guide to the forces at work on both sides, the book is meant to be a handbook for political organizing from a man who is not only an esteemed academic scholar and physician but a Washington insider of many years who knows his way around the inside of the beltway.
I wanted to send Dr. Musil a copy of a letter I had sent to my state legislators last week to see what he thought about it. I decided to send it out to a number of the people who had attended this talk also, most of whom were members of Washington Physicians for Responsibility. I couldn’t help but add more comments and send it to some other climate scientists as well. Our friend the British scientist David Wasdell immediately wrote back and attached the latest update to his work on feedback dynamics. He says that he is “now certain we have passed the threshold of runaway behaviour in the climate system with only a narrow window left to restabilise it. And “that attempting to maintain a concentration level of 440 ppm of CO2 equivalent does not lead to an eventual equilibrium of 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperature, or at any other level! The threshold of runaway behaviour is already activated at this concentration.” If this is true, this means that things are much worse than previously thought even by him and that previous assessments of what it will take to stabilize the climate are way off the mark. Never the less, Wasdell backs it up with the numbers.
I think it imperative to get this information out to everyone even remotely aware of the climate crisis so I am creating a “Documents” page on the Pirate TV website and will post this paper there. Please feel free to use this and spread it far and wide. Although it is a scientific paper, if you take the time to read it through you can get the gist. I am also posting most of the correspondence from this discussion including Bob Musil’s response to my letter on the “Comments” page. Feel free to contact me if you have anything to add.
Robert K. Musil is a scholar-in-residence at
American University where he teaches in the Program on Global
Environmental Politics and the Nuclear Studies Institute. He is the
past executive director and CEO of the Nobel Peace Prize–winning
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
Thanks to Park Place Books
Dr. Max Power: America's Nuclear Wastelands, Monday 1/26/09 8-9pm PST
Max Power, author of America's Nuclear Wastelands: Politics, Accountability, and Cleanup talks about the complex issues of public policy, cleanup, and accountability that are involved in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation remediation. Located along the Columbia River near Richland, Washington, Hanford Nuclear Reservation was the military production facility for plutonium and is now the largest environmental remediation project in human history. Dr. Max S. Power is an independent government consultant with a long career in Pacific Northwest nuclear waste issues. He is a former Rhodes Scholar, Yale University Fellow, and Danforth Fellow. Power currently serves on the Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board and on the Hanford Concerns Council.
Thanks to Third Place Books
A Call to End All
Torture! Monday 1/12/09 and Monday 1/19/09 8-9pm PST
the program will be broadcast in two parts
Brig. General Stephen Xenakis, US Army
(Ret). M.D. Psychiatrist, former Commanding General of the Southeast
Regional Army Medical command; board member of NRCAT and works with
Physicians for Human Rights on the issue of torture.
Jorge Quiroga - Board member of Church
Council of Greater Seattle, and an organizer for SEIU Local 6, was
tortured for three years in Argentina in the late 1970s.
David Marshall, J.D. - Seattle attorney who
represents three prisoners at Guantanamo in cooperation with the Center
for Constitutional Rights.
J. David Kinzie, M.D. - Professor of
Psychiatry and Director of the Torture Treatment Center of Oregon.
The Rev. Michael Denton - Conference
Minister, Pacific North West Conference for the United Church of Christ.
Ardis Dumett - Congressional Staffer for Senator Patty Murray reads a statement from the Senator
James N. Allen - Congressional staffer, Rep. Jim McDermott reads a statement from the Congressman
Rob Crawford, facilitator for WSRCAT, presents signatures calling for an Executive Order to Ban Torture Without Exception.
What is “Change”?
On November 12, a coalition of religious groups from all over the country called for a National Day of Witness to Torture. This coalition, The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a growing membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and is made up of over 200 religious groups including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikh communities. The Washington State affiliate of this campaign (WSRCAT) in conjunction with The Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) staged press conferences and events throughout the state. On November 12th panel discussions made up of various experts including victims of torture were held in Seattle and Tacoma with the purpose of calling on President-Elect Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning all torture without exception. Obama has said, "The secret authorization of brutal interrogations is an outrageous betrayal of our core values . . . . When I am president America will once again be the country that stands up to these deplorable tactics."
We all wish Obama the best in this noble endeavor to restore us to the glory days when just about anybody could believe the myth of American exceptionalism (if they only tried). But as many long time peace activists and other astute observers of US history may know, these “core values” were betrayed long ago as referenced in this program by the testimony of Jorge Quiroga who was kidnapped and tortured for 3 years in the 70s by the Argentine military junta, one of the brutal Latin American fascist regimes created under the helpful tutelage of Nixon and Kissinger and backed by subsequent administrations. Furthermore, as we have seen, the “state of the art” torture techniques or “psychological” methods designed for attacking the personality itself including: sensory depravation, sensory overload, prolonged isolation, self inflicted pain, stress positions, disorientation, sleep cycle manipulation, environmental manipulation (harsh heat or cold), phobia exploitation, and cultural and sexual humiliation were developed by the CIA in the 50’s through experimentation on hapless human guinea pigs and exported to US supported torture regimes throughout South and Central America in the 60’s and on to US client states all over the world up to the present day.
Those interested in a fact based assessment of reality must dispense with the canard that the purpose of this torture was to get information. Torture was used as a weapon of terror and political control then just as now. The truth is, the US has routinely used torture as an instrument of foreign policy for at least half a century. The only difference is that they weren’t so foolish as to openly admit it and were careful in most cases to leave the dirty work to cutouts. Therefore we can conclude that this is the real “outrageous betrayal” that Obama must be talking about and the obvious reason why the current crop of thugs don’t appear to be the slightest bit worried about the prospect of doing real time (short of the unthinkable advent of genuine regime change). Just as Nancy Pelosi declared impeachment “off the table” it is almost certain that the Democratic leadership will fight to the death to prevent any substantial attempt at bringing any of the Bush war criminals to justice. This is in spite of the latest polls which show 70% in favor of investigation and prosecution of the Bush Crime Family. [Democrats who live in glass houses are wise to not throw stones.]
I wouldn’t want to rain on anybody’s parade of course. The very fact that the Bush goons have made such a mess of things gives us an excellent opportunity for reform. The NCRAT folks in their wisdom are putting it politely; they say they are waging a campaign to “help Obama end torture”. Do I detect a whiff of satire? As we will see through this testimony, many of these people are intimately familiar with the US contradictory policy towards torture since they have either been victims or have treated victims of US sponsored torture for decades. Me, I don’t have to be so subdued. I know who my audience is. Those who think it’s safe to sit around and wait for any US President [or political party] to save us from anything at this point, a collapsing economy (with tax cuts and bailouts for thieves no less), runaway climate destabilization, or the “sorrows of empire”, are dangerously foolish –maybe even fatally foolish. And if there so happens to be anybody reading this still emotionally attached to their delusions, they have my encouragement to jump into a bed of roses. I don’t care if Obama were Jesus in the flesh, he won’t (and most likely can’t) do anything that even moderately threatens the status quo unless we force it. No doubt there are the equivalent of “economic hit men” here too who are expert in exerting a myriad of pressures, subtle and not so subtle. Bottom line: let us not forget what happed to some other presidents who took the idea of fulfilling their campaign promises, serving the interests of the many, or their constitutional oaths a little too seriously. It takes a lot more than an election to accomplish meaningful change in the United States.
So get yourself set for a sustained campaign of militant mass action. Does this mean dust off your guns and start making Molotov Cocktails? I’m sorry but a few firebombs and pea shooters aren’t likely to intimidate the Masters of War. In fact that’s what they want. If there are no domestic “terrorists” in the peace and justice movement it will be necessary to invent them. Witness the case of Brandon Darby a co/founder of the Common Ground Collective who as it turns out was an FBI spy. He will be testifying for the government in the trial of two Texas activists who were arrested at the RNC on charges of making and possessing Molotov cocktails. There is strong evedence that Darby was not only a spy but an agent provocateur who had a habit of causing disruption and dissention within the many organizations he involved himself with, advocating violence at every opportunity and that the young activists he fingered were in fact entrapped -encouraged and provoked by him. Typical, the pigs have only one playbook.
The thing that has always terrified the elite “few” is the fear that the “many” may get to the point whereby they see through the divide and rule game and the phony democracy [BTW this works for dictatorships too] and refuse to submit to their “authority” –in mass. In this respect, the people of Thailand have recently demonstrated that they are miles ahead of us. You don’t need guns, you don’t need bombs, you don’t need rockets or any other means of violent coercion. These are all counterproductive. The most effective weapon is an ass, a brain with the will and patience to sit on that ass for as long as it takes, and a lot of friends with the same idea. The machine grinds to a halt. -But what then? Be wary that overthrowing corporate rule is not likely to be easy. The faint hearted can take solace in the realization that there is probably no other choice. It is helpful to know what we are up against.
Let’s get back to what happened in Argentina. The same military dictatorship that tortured Jorge Quiroga, taking the opportunity that the rollback of democracy in that country afforded, instigated the neoliberal economic paradigm with rigorous precision following the World Bank/IMF recipe to a tee. They privatized, deregulated, globalized, and looted until they ran a country that once possessed a standard of living rivaling that of many European counties into a state of complete bankruptcy and social collapse finally driving the population into the streets banging pots and pans in a massive general strike driving out 3 successive presidents in two weeks. So what was the response from the elites? They organized a bogus Tweedledum Tweedledee election. This was the setting for Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ documentary “The Take”. Although the film focuses on the growing “factory recovery” struggle whereby displaced workers seize and transform closed factories into worker cooperatives, it illustrates why political control without economic control is still tyranny; which brings us back to the present in the United States.
I began to list all the changes that the Democrats would have to make in order to set back the clock on the damage done to our democracy over the last 8 years and changed my mind because: 1. the list was too long, 2. we all know what they are, 3. it will never happen, and 4. it doesn’t matter because it only gets us back to the Clinton era. We’d still need to roll back Clinton era neoliberal “reforms” represented by the globalization of corporate rule through “trade” agreements such as NAFTA and the WTO, accelerated media consolidation, banking deregulation, and the end of welfare “as we know it”, etc. This would only be a start since all this began in the Reagan era. If we successfully rolled back the Reagan “revolution” we would need to remember that before that we were still ruled by the tyranny of a military industrial [congressional media] complex. Many people are clamoring for a restoration of the New Deal but the New Deal was undone by big business before it had a chance to be completed. For example, thanks to business associations like the AMA we never got universal health care. A fundamental restoration of democracy would need to target the damage caused since the 1880’s by revoking corporate personhood and so on.
If we were truly serious about accomplishing meaningful change, these are some of the things we would be thinking about. Almost none of this is likely to originate from the Democratic Party or anywhere in the political system as it now exists. Change always comes from the bottom and rises upwards. The world needs a massive rebellion in the United States, the likes of which has never been seen if it is to have a chance to survive. Actually, I’m uncharacteristically optimistic that it will happen. In fact, I think it is inevitable. Not because of organizing by us. Those of us with a social conscience have always been too few in number to bring about structural change by ourselves. Real change almost always happens because events on the ground force an awakening of political consciousness in the general population. The reason I say rebellion is inevitable is because things are only going to get worse until it happens. We organize because we need to have our own ducks in order so that we are ready with the right narrative (story) to put the events in a realistic context and to have the necessary solutions ready so that this energy is channeled toward positive social evolution rather than fascism. Judging from the massive turnouts in the last precinct caucuses, I would say that this awakening is well under way. The rebellion of the 60’s was unsuccessful in bringing about the necessary changes which resulted in cooptation and fascist backlash. The question is, will the next rebellion be strong enough and soon enough to save the planet?
Historically, a great deal, probably a majority of political organizing in the United States has happened in churches. It’s heartening to see people of all faiths banding together in the advancement of human rights. Over the past six months, WSRCAT has organized local congregations to display anti-torture banners on their buildings. At present, 21 congregations in Washington State are participating in the "Banners Across America" campaign. Nationally, over 350 congregations have displayed banners. In addition to seeking an executive order, the coalition is calling for a Congressional Investigation of interrogation practices under the Bush administration. NCRAT will hold a national telephone press conference on January 14th and a broad coalition of prominent religious leaders are urging Obama to sign an executive order ending torture on the day he takes office. In Washington, D.C. a local affiliate of NRCAT is organizing a solemn procession and public witness in front of the White House. NRCAT affiliates, which usually include local religious leaders, are also visiting Congressional offices across the country to press Senators and Representatives to convey the message to Obama to dismantle the torture infrastructure created by the current administration, quickly after he assumes office in January.
You can also help by contacting NRCAT or WSRCAT and signing the online petitions as well as contacting Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jim McDermott thanking them for their support and urge Sen. Maria Cantwell and the other representatives to join the effort.
NRCAT Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order on Prisoner Treatment, Torture and Cruelty
Though we come from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life, we agree that the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against prisoners is immoral, unwise, and un-American. In our effort to secure ourselves, we have resorted to tactics which do not work, which endanger US personnel abroad, which discourage political, military, and intelligence cooperation from our allies, and which ultimately do not enhance our security. Our President must lead us by our core principles. We must be better than our enemies, and our treatment of prisoners captured in the battle against terrorism must reflect our character and values as Americans. Therefore, we believe the President of the United States should issue an Executive Order that provides as follows:
The "Golden Rule." We will not authorize or use any methods of interrogation that we would not find acceptable if used against Americans, be they civilians or soldiers.
One national standard. We will have one national standard for all US personnel and agencies for the interrogation and treatment of prisoners. Currently, the best expression of that standard is the US Army Field Manual, which will be used until any other interrogation technique has been approved based on the Golden Rule principle.
The rule of law. We will acknowledge all prisoners to our courts or the International Red Cross. We will in no circumstance hold persons in secret prisons or engage in disappearances. In all cases, prisoners will have the opportunity to prove their innocence in ways that fully conform to American principles of fairness.
Duty to protect. We acknowledge our historical commitment to end the use of torture and cruelty in the world. The US will not transfer any person to countries that use torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
Checks and balances. Congress and the courts play an invaluable role in protecting the values and institutions of our nation and must have and will have access to the information they need to be fully informed about our detention and interrogation policies.Clarity and accountability. All US personnel—whether soldiers or intelligence staff—deserve the certainty that they are implementing policy that complies fully with the law. Henceforth all US officials who authorize, implement, or fail in their duty to prevent the use of torture and ill treatment of prisoners will be held accountable, regardless of rank or position.
Malik Rahim, After Katrina, Monday 1/5/09 8-9pm PST
Malik Rahim, former Black Panther political prisoner who ran for Mayor of New Orleans and just recently Congress was back in Seattle this month and gave this talk at the New Hope Baptist Church. The co-founder of the Common Ground Collective, an organization providing direct humanitarian aid to over 80.000 victims of Katrina gave an update on the ongoing struggle of the people of that devastated community to rebuild despite the efforts of the racist power structure to keep them out.Mailk recently appeared on Democracy Now! this month (12/19) with A.C. Thompson an investigative reporter who has written an article “Katrina’s Hidden Race War” in The Nation magazine. In this show Malik goes into more detail about his experience with white vigilantes who it is now confirmed shot at least 11 African Americans in the aftermath of the storm. As to be expected, this story has not garnered a lot of coverage in the “main stream” press as well as the whole sordid story of the continuing victimization of New Orleans’ “unworthy” refugees. This was left to a film crew from Denmark who captured several of the white vigilantes bragging about shooting their black neighbors. Their film: Welcome to New Orleans is on U-Tube.
The Common Ground Collective has helped rebuild thousands of homes devastated by Katrina, founded several health clinics, and provides ongoing services to that beleaguered community. For this they have received only harassment from the government. If you would like to help, go to the Common Ground web site: www.commongroundrelief.org. Joe Szwaja is organizing a group of Nova High School students who are going to spend their spring vacation volunteering in New Orleans. They are calling this the New Orleans Social Justice Trip. Many of these students cannot afford the 500 dollars that the trip will cost and are having to fund raise. If you would like to help send one of these students to New Orleans, contact:Joe Szwaja- 206 523 3278
or go to: