Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” earlier this week to plug his annual Earth Day fundraiser:
Click here to watch the video:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” earlier this week to plug his annual Earth Day fundraiser:
Click here to watch the video:
FROM THE RUMOR MILL
It appears that Senator Barack Obama is already thinking forward to January, and has some very firm ideas in mind as to who will serve in his administration.
According to Politico.com, a couple of Kennedys are on his short list, and RFK Jr. is one of them.
Citing “sources close to Barack Obama,” the article says that Caroline Kennedy may be tapped as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is being given “serious consideration” for Secretary of the Interior.
The list of other potential cabinet officials is long and fascinating, indeed – how about Sen. Gary Hart as Homeland Security Director? Bill Richardson as Secretary of State? Al Gore as “Ambassador at large on climate change” (hey, is that a real job?) and even a few Republicans as well, most notably California Governor (and Kennedy cousin-by-marriage) Arnold Schwarzenegger as Secretary of Energy.
If Obama wins the presidency next Tuesday, it looks very possible that for the Kennedys, an Obama administration could become a “family affair.”
KENNEDY’S “CRIMES AGAINST NATURE” FILM IN PERIL
(SORT OF LIKE THE PLANET)
Roger Friedman of FoxNews reports on his blog that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s planned documentary film “Crimes Against Nature” may not see the light of day anytime soon – if ever. He writes:
I told you more than a year ago that filmmakers were busily putting together a documentary based on Robert Kennedy Jr.’s book, “Crimes Against Nature,” sort of his “Inconvenient Truth.”
In Denver, during convention week, I was told several times that there were going to be screenings of some kind on the Pepsi Center campus. There was also word at the Toronto Film Festival that it would be seen. Neither scenario materialized.
Alas, I now hear that the people who’ve made the film are at war among themselves and there is chaos instead of expected unity for this investigative take on environmental politics.
In one corner, there is director Angus Yates. He comes with quite a pedigree. Stepson of Mike Wallace, son of late journalist Ted Yates, Angus has a long list of filmmaking credits. He also grew up with Kennedy, which gives some advantage when it comes to making this film.
In the other corner, there’s wealthy newspaper heiress Clara Bingham, who put up a lot of the money for “Crimes Against Nature.” Even though she hasn’t seen the film, sources say Bingham wants to take it away from director Yates and give it her own imprimatur. She has no prior filmmaking credits, but is a journalist who did write the book upon which Charlize Theron’s movie “North Country” was based.
Calls to Bingham at her New York apartment were attempted, but a recorded message said the voicemail box was full.
In the middle of this: producer Sarah Johnson Redlich, who wants Yates to finish his film but with compromises.
“I like Angus and I think he’s made a good film. But he also tried to make a Michael Moore film. It doesn’t work. He took Clara’s script and threw it out, and used his own. Bobby didn’t think it was good.”
As for who controls the finished work, that remains to be seen. Yates has told friends that he owns the film, and can so what he wants with it. That may include a surprise screening next week to get reaction, thus pushing Kennedy to take the director’s side and end the controversy. In the end, it will be up to Bobby Kennedy which version of “Crimes Against Nature” is final.
But Redlich says that only she and Bingham have money in the project. “Angus doesn’t have one cent in it,” she said.
She adds: “If we could just get him to do these final things. To me, it’s where you place things. I come from a staunch Republican family. If you start with an attack on George Bush, and clips of George Carlin, they’re going to walk right out. The message is too important for that.”
Story copyright 2008, Fox News.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hm. From what I gather, this basically means that someone is trying to tone down RFK Jr.’s message. Yes, why start a film about the destruction of our environment with an attack on George Bush, the worst environmental president in history? That just makes too much sense! Better tone that rhetoric down, Bobby…how dare you point out the obvious?
NADER TAKES RISKY-BUT-BRAVE STAND
On the 7th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, Ralph Nader has become the only presidential candidate (besides Green party nominee Cynthia McKinney, who has been a 9/11 Truth advocate since 2002) to demand a “real investigation” into the events of that fateful morning.
It was more than just campaign rhetoric; more than just the usual faux indigination we so often get from the candidates on days like these. Ralph Nader made it a promise, a solemn pledge to the American people.
So if you’re skeptical of the government’s official story about 9/11, and you want to see a real investigation into this national tragedy, looks like Ralph Nader’s your man this November. Or Cynthia McKinney is your woman.
Nobody else in this race is going to crane their necks very hard looking for the truth. They’re all too busy reading the TelePrompTer, checking their hairstyles in the mirror, and putting lipstick on pigs.
Remember that old Southern saying, “when pigs fly?” That’s exactly what you’ll hear from both John McCain and Barack Obama if you ask them for a new investigation into 9/11.
When pigs fly, indeed. Next thing ya know, we’ll be watching painted pigs flying into skyscrapers.
Hey, stranger things have been known to happen in America.
If, by some miracle, Nader actually got elected, I think I’d feel pretty good about letting him run the store. One thing I do know about Ralph Nader: he loves the Constitution and knows the law like nobody’s business. He prosecutes people who violate it, which is more than I can say for our Democrats in Congress.
Here’s the full story and video of Ralph Nader’s explosive comments:
RALPH NADER CALLS FOR “REAL” 9/11 INVESTIGATION
Independent presidential candidate says he supports 9/11 truth movement
Story by Steve Watson
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader pledged support for a new investigation into the events of 9/11 Monday, commenting that the 9/11 Commission was “flawed, right from the get go”.
Nader was questioned by members of We Are Change Ohio at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio earlier this week.
Asked if he supported the 9/11 Truth Movement and the efforts of activists and victims’ families to expose the lies surrounding the attacks, Nader responded;
“I was there when they were collecting signatures in the audience and I supported it.” Nader ommented, referring to We are Change’s activities at the meeting.
“The 9/11 Commission, first of all, it took the members of the great families to push the administration even to have an inquiry, can you imagine an attack like that and the government didn’t even want to have an inquiry?” stated Nader.
“And second, the ground rules for the 9/11 Commission were that they weren’t going to name names, or hold anybody responsible, that’s a real investigation,” he added with irony.
“So right from the get go it was flawed and there needs to be another one, and the best place to have it is New York City.” Nader concluded.
Nader was a key figure in the original movement to establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a government agency that has been fiercely criticized for its role in declaring the air at ground zero safe to breathe, when in reality it contained deadly toxins that have led to the chronic illnesses and slow deaths of hundreds of first responders.
Nader recently spoke with Alex Jones (Mp3) concerning the lack of difference between the two main party candidates, the violations of the Constitution by the current administration, the futility of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the reasons he is running for president for a fifth time.
HERE’S THE VIDEO FROM NADER’S SPEECH YESTERDAY:
(Apologies for poor audio/video quality)
NADER ASKS RON PAUL SUPPORTERS TO JOIN HIM
* Ralph Nader posted this message on his website after holding a news conference at the National Press Club yesterday with former presidential candidate Ron Paul:
Today, along with other third party candidates, I joined Congressman Ron Paul to endorse a common agenda that stands up for the US Constitution by ending illegal wars, and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We also jointly called for an immediate halt to the increase in the national debt, an end to corporate subsidies and taxpayer bailouts of corporations, and to start aggressively pursuing prosecution of corporations that commit crimes and frauds.
Both Congressman Paul and I also support holding President Bush and Dick Cheney to account for their transgressions against our Constitution.
Today’s coming together of third party candidates marks the beginning of the realignment of American politics.
While Congressman Paul and I do not agree on all things — such as health and safety regulations and health insurance systems and how to handle areas where the market fails or is not up to the task of getting the best outcomes for the American people — on the overriding foreign policy, reckless waste financed by deficit spending, and civil liberties issues of the day, we stand together. He is a stalwart who has consistently stood up for what he believes in and never wavered when he is opposed by the legions of commercial interests and lobbyists that swarm the Capitol.
Congressman Paul said today, “the strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems.” He also called on his supporters to vote for Nader/Gonzalez or one of the other non-establishment, principled candidates, who support the joint statement issued today.
For all the millions of people who have broken free from the establishment parties’ domination over our dwindling democracy, Nader/Gonzalez presents a clear choice for those who want to support a candidate who will stand up against the war and stand up for personal liberties and privacy that have been trampled on by the notorious, misnamed, PATRIOT Act, the FISA ‘snoop’ Bill, and the unilateral dictates of the Bush/Cheney regime.
Some unfairly paint the Nader/Gonzalez candidacy as being for big government. Nothing could be more untrue.
Nader/Gonzalez supports a government of the people, by the people, for the people. We agree with Congressman Paul that government is rife with waste and corporate demands, and needs to be scaled back in many areas — most of all the bloated, wasteful US military budget, which is half of the government’s total operating budget.
We are also against big government doling out hundreds of billions in corporate welfare, subsidies, and bailouts to companies.
We support abolishing income tax on the first $50,000 of income to be made up with a fraction of a percent Wall Street speculation tax, especially on derivatives.
Click here to listen to Ralph’s remarks at yesterday’s press conference.
* This just in: couple more RFK Jr. appearances on today’s DNC schedule. If you’re in Denver and want to attend the concert, unfortunately it seems to be by invitation only. But the NEA event is open to the public. See below for full details on both events.
RED ROCKS CONCERT KICKS OFF DNC WEEK
The Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee will present an official welcoming concert event for invited guests to celebrate the City’s greening efforts around the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as well as to raise environmental awareness. “Green Sunday At Red Rocks,” an opening act to Denver’s hosting of the Convention, will feature performances by recording artists and environmental advocates including Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, Sheryl Crow and Sugarland.
The event also will feature addresses by Laurie David, global warming activist and producer of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”; Van Jones, founder and president of Green For All; Bill McDonough, architect and sustainable living pioneer; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., senior attorney for NRDC and chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance.
Executive hosts for the event will be Gov. Bill Ritter Jr., Mayor John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. Congresswoman Diana DeGette and Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia also will appear.
The event is made possible by donations from BNSF Railroad, MolsonCoors, Xcel Energy, Level 3, Diageo, and Liberty Media.
WHAT: Green Sunday at Red Rocks, a Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee event.
WHO: Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, Laurie David, Van Jones, Bill McDonough, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Gov. Bill Ritter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, Gov. Tim Kaine, Elbra Wedgeworth, Steve Farber.
WHEN: Sunday, August 24, 7 p.m., on the eve of the Convention.
ALSO TODAY: KENNEDY TO ADDRESS NEA DELEGATES
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to Address Hundreds of Education Activists,
Voting Delegates Attending Democratic National Convention
The National Education Association, in conjunction with the Colorado Education Association, will host Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and hundreds of educators — and voting delegates — on the eve of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., underscoring the historic role activists and educators have played as one of the largest delegations to the convention for decades. Kennedy will speak to the NEA members and delegates.
Millions of dedicated educators and party activists are expected to play a critical role in the 2008 election. The hundreds of NEA members and DNC delegates, including 22 superdelegates, come from 41 states and the District of Columbia. NEA members attending the convention aim to put education and other pocket-book issues front and center in this election cycle and will work to inform the public and draw distinctions about where the candidates, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama, are on the issues of concern to Americans. It’s one of the reasons NEA has launched a $50 million campaign to elect pro-public education candidates like Sen. Obama in the November election. The Association’s more than 3.2 million members live in every state, in every congressional district, and in every precinct in America.
WHO: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
NEA President Reg Weaver
NEA President-Elect Dennis Van Roekel
Colorado Education Association President Beverly Ingle
WHAT: NEA and Colorado Education Association host party activists and delegates to Democratic Party Convention
WHEN: Sunday, August 24, 2008 12 p.m. (noon) – 2:00 p.m. MDT
WHERE: Hyatt Convention Center
Centennial Ballroom E, 3rd Floor
615 15th Street Denver, CO 80202
* Here’s the latest “Unearthed” news from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle (report courtesy of the Huffington Post).
NEWS OF THE WEEK THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA FORGOT TO REPORT
Supreme Court Slashes Exxon Valdez Judgment
The Supreme Court slashed a $2.5 billion punitive damages award for the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to just $500 million. An Alaskan jury originally awarded $5 billion in 1994 in punitive damages for the fishermen, Native Americans and residents of Prince William Sound whose lives were devastated by the 11 million gallon oil spill which spoiled 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline. Exxon Mobil waged a protracted, 14-year legal battle to appeal that award; in 2006 a federal appeals court cut the amount in half to $2.5 billion. Exxon appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to completely reject punitive damages because the company claims it spent $3.4 billion in fines, penalties and cleanup costs related to the accident.
In the court’s 5-3 decision (Justice Samuel Alito was recused since he owns over $100,000 in Exxon stock) Justice David Souter wrote that the Exxon Valdez spill was “profitless” for the company and that the penalty should be “reasonably predictable” in its severity.
Of the 33,000 plaintiffs who were originally eligible to share in the jury award handed down in 1994, 20 percent have died over the course of Exxon’s 14-year appeal.
Surviving plaintiffs will collect an average of about $15,000 a person in punitive damages, one-tenth what they were awarded under the original $5 billion judgment.
Oil still oozes from the beaches in Prince William Sound, continuing to impact the ecosystem which was devastated by the spill that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals. Exxon Mobil’s first-quarter 2008 profits were $10.9 billion. The company’s 2007 profit was $40.6 billion.
White House Blocks EPA Draft On Global Warming Emissions
The White House is working to block the Environmental Protection Agency from publishing a document which outlines how the government could regulate global warming emissions under the Clean Air Act while benefiting the economy. The document is based on a multi-year, multimillion-dollar study by EPA and its findings could ultimately serve as a legal roadmap for regulating U.S. global warming emissions.
That is, until it faced review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Bush’s OMB is demanding that EPA delete sections of the document that outline how greenhouse gas emissions could be regulated, delete any references asserting that emissions endanger public welfare, and delete an analysis of the benefits to the economy of regulating greenhouse gases here and abroad.
The OMB instead wants the document to suggest that the Clean Air Act is ineffective and that greenhouse gases should be regulated under new legislation. The draft is effectively being held hostage until EPA makes OMB’s changes, since the White House must approve a final draft before EPA can release the document publicly.
The draft EPA document confirms that fuel efficiency could be improved to well above 35 miles per gallon by 2020; CO2 emissions could easily be regulated through the government-permit process and through a cap-and-trade system similar to existing programs for acid rain and mercury; and that overall, the regulations would be beneficial to the U.S. economy.
“The net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion,” according to the draft document.
Polar Scientists Predict Possibility of Open Water at North Pole This Summer
Polar scientists predict that Arctic sea ice could break up and leave a large patch of open water at the North Pole this summer for the first time in human history. Satellite data from recent weeks indicates that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when the Arctic experienced an all-time record loss of summer sea ice.
“From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water,” said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. Dr Serreze predicts that “it’s even-odds whether the North Pole melts out” this summer.
Ice scientists are quick to point out the difficulty in predicting exactly how much of the ice will melt this summer, but note that the presence of large amounts of thinner ice formed over a single year is more vulnerable to melting than the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole. Global warming has increased average temperatures far more at the polar regions than elsewhere, and the loss of sea ice leads to more dark, open ocean which absorbs more heat and could raise polar temperatures even higher.
BLM Halts Solar Projects Citing Need for Environmental Review
The Bureau of Land Management declared a moratorium on new solar power projects on public land until it studies their potential environmental impact, a process that could take two years and cripple the booming solar industry. Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants as demand for alternative energy accelerates daily, BLM says it will spend up to two years conducting an extensive study to determine how the solar plants might affect the environment of 119 million acres of public land the bureau oversees in the West, most of which is ideally suited for solar energy.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Holly Gordon, vice president of Ausra, a California-based solar thermal energy company. “The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry.”
The moratorium, combined with the uncertain future of federal solar investment tax credits set to expire at the end of the year because Congress has failed to renew them, could stifle solar industry growth and prevent or delay the creation of thousands of jobs in the process. During 2006-2007, when the tax credit was solidly in place and the BLM was calling for projects to be approved in a “timely manner,” the solar installation boom generated 6,000 new jobs and injected $2 billion into the U.S. economy.
Due to BLM’s decision to shelve new proposals until they finish the study, small solar energy businesses may be forced to turn to more expensive private land for development, adding another barrier to the rapid deployment of viable alternative energy sources.
U.S. Mayors Resolve to Avoid Burning Dirty Tar Sands Oil
The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution this week discouraging the use of high carbon fuels such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale.
“We don’t want to spend taxpayer dollars on fuels that make global warming worse,” said Mayor Kitty Piercy, of Eugene, Oregon, who submitted the resolution.
The mayors’ resolution discourages participating U.S. cities from purchasing oil derived from the tar sands operations in Alberta, Canada, noting that “… the production of tar sands oil from Canada emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as does conventional oil production and significantly damages Canada’s Boreal forest ecosystem – the world’s largest carbon storehouse …”
The process of extracting oil from tar sands also uses more water and requires larger amounts of energy than conventional oil extraction.
“Not only will we give preference to clean, renewable energy sources, we are standing our ground when it comes to synthetic petroleum-based fuels that exacerbate global warming,” said Mayor Marty Blum of Santa Barbara, California.
More than 850 mayors are signatories to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their respective cities in the absence of federal leadership under the Bush administration.
Bush Signs $162B War Spending Bill for Iraq, Afghanistan
President Bush signed a $162 billion war spending bill this week, bringing the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war since it began in 2003 to more than $650 billion and in Afghanistan to nearly $200 billion.
Those figures don’t represent the total amount spent by the military, however, since a new Congressional Research Service report shows the U.S. government has spent about $700 billion on “military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks.” Roughly 75% of that money has been devoted to the war in Iraq, CRS estimates.
Afghanistan Civilian Death Toll Rises Sharply
The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in the first half of 2008 climbed by almost two-thirds compared with last year, according to the United Nations. Nearly 700 civilians have died, demonstrating the instability and violence afflicting the country, which is struggling to deliver emergency aid to civilians. Sixty percent of the casualties were caused by insurgents, while government or foreign troops killed 255 people, the UN said. The causes of 21 other deaths were unclear.
U.S. Officials Advised Iraqi Oil Ministry on No-Bid Contracts
The State Department led a team of American advisers who played an integral role in setting up no-bid contracts for five major Western oil companies to develop Iraq’s largest oil fields. Despite earlier claims to the contrary, the Bush Administration had direct involvement in the negotiations to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development, sending U.S. government lawyers and private-sector consultants to Iraq with contract templates and detailed suggestions on how the deals should be drafted. Sources familiar with the proceedings confirmed that representatives of the State, Commerce, Energy and Interior Departments have all aided the Iraqi Oil Ministry on how best to commercialize Iraq’s oil deposits.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed on Fox News earlier this month that “The United States government has stayed out of the matter of awarding the Iraq oil contracts. It’s a private sector matter.”
The no-bid contracts were widely anticipated to be awarded Monday to Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Chevron, but the Iraqi Oil Ministry balked at the last minute. The Ministry revealed that the Western oil companies demanded to receive a share in the profits from future oil development, rather than cash payments for services rendered which the Iraqi government prefers.
The confirmation of Bush administration meddling in Iraq’s oil dealings leaves little question that the real intent of the invasion of Iraq was to earn American companies a piece of Iraq’s oil endowment.
“We pretend it is not a centerpiece of our motivation, yet we keep confirming that it is,” said Frederick D. Barton, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Despite the fact that other countries provided free advice and services in the past few years to help the Iraqi Oil Ministry prepare to ramp up production, only Western companies have received the bigger oil contracts so far.
Scalia Continues to Blame Al Gore for the 2000 Election Debacle
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told the Telegraph (UK) that Al Gore should have conceded the 2000 election without legal action. Scalia played an integral part in stopping the Florida recount, joining four other justices who ruled the recount method impractical and handed the presidency to George W. Bush. Scalia said, “if you don’t like it, don’t blame it on me. I didn’t bring it into the courts. Mr Gore brought it into the courts. So if you don’t like the courts getting involved talk to Mr Gore.”
“So I have no regrets about taking the case and I think our decision in the case was absolutely right. But if you ask me ‘Am I sorry it all happened?’ Of course I am sorry it happened there was no way that we were going to come out of it smelling like a rose. I mean, one side or the other was going to feel that was a politicized decision but that goes with the territory.”
KBR Accused of Knowingly Exposing U.S. Troops to Highly Toxic Chemical in Iraq
Defense contractor KBR is accused of knowingly exposing U.S. troops to sodium dichromate, a potentially lethal, carcinogenic chemical. KBR failed to warn 250 U.S. soldiers assigned to guard a crucial part of Iraq’s oil infrastructure that the chemical was present all over the site. Witnesses, including a former KBR employee responsible for health and safety at the site, testified at a Capitol Hill hearing this week that many of the exposed soldiers were “bleeding from the nose, spitting blood,” and getting sick while guarding the plant.
Scientific studies show that even short-term exposure to sodium dichromate – the same chemical that poisoned residents in Hinkley, CA made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich” – can cause cancer and harm the liver and immune system, among other impacts.
Witnesses at the hearing testified that KBR supervisors initially told the soldiers that sodium dichromate was a “mild irritant,” but finally acknowledged that the chemical was a potentially deadly substance and moved to clean up the site once soldiers starting getting ill.
Send tips about other stories the mainstream media forgot to report: firstname.lastname@example.org
NAME THAT TICKET: KENNEDY/??????
Just for grins (this ain’t no scientific poll!), we’d like to know your thoughts:
If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran for President of the United States, who would you like to see as his running mate? Who should he pick for VP?
A few names have already been floated over the past year as potential running mates – we’ve heard some great suggestions so far, such as:
These are just a few ideas that have been suggested – some are flat crazy, some make sense. But we think the readers of this blog probably have some better ideas. Many of you are Bobby’s biggest fans – you know better than anyone who would make a great running mate for him – so let us know your thoughts.
We want to hear from you: imagining not only a winning ticket on the campaign trail, but who would serve him best in a presidential administration. Who would you like to see as Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s Vice President?