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This week’s show looks at the 99% and the 1%.
- According to the United Nations, world population will reach the 7 billion mark today. Is this massive population the cause of environmental issues? Discussing this topic will be Chris Williams
- Occupations and Public vs Congress and Super Committee. The CBO just released a study finding that the top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades. David Swanson returns to the show to talk about his activism, the Occupy Movement and military spending
Chris Williams is author of “Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis” and a professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University.He joins The Monitor to talk about population and the environment.
Quote: “It isn’t population growth that is causing food scarcity or is primarily responsible for the many accelerating global environmental crises. Even if population growth were to end today, worsening rates of starvation, the growth of slums, and ecosystem collapse would continue more or less unabated. Food production continues to outstrip population growth and therefore cannot be considered the cause of hunger. Clearly, there are very serious planetary problems of soil erosion, overfishing, deforestation and waste disposal, to name only a few, which are putting pressure on the sustainability of food production over the long haul. However, these are all inextricably bound to questions of power and a system run in the interest of a small minority — the 1% — where profit continually outweighs issues of hunger, waste, energy use, or environmental destruction. Concentrating on population confuses symptoms with causes.”
David Swanson is with the group RootsAction and has been involved in the Freedom Plaza occupation in Washington, D.C. Some from that occupation have protested at recent congressional hearings. Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.”
Quote: “Super Congress Member John Kerry’s home state is fifth in the nation in military spending, employing lots of registered voters building machines of death for Raytheon, whose former head was brought in by the Obama administration as Deputy Secretary of Defense and who told the Washington Times in June, ‘The wars of the future will be longer, deadlier and waged against a more diverse variety of enemies than ever before.’ “Super Congress co-chair Patty Murray, Democrat from Boeing, since 2007 has taken $276,000 from war industries, Max Baucus $139,000, Dave Camp $130,000, John Kerry $73,000, and so on. The President who must sign or veto whatever comes out of the Super Congress and the Less Than Super Congress took over $1 million from war industries just in the 2008 election, not to mention $39 million from finance, insurance, and real estate. Targeting our social safety net is a goal that Wall Street and the military industrial complex have shared for many years. And of course the general corporate exploitation of foreign resources and workers depends on the threat of military force. Military spending has increased at the President’s request each year since 2008 as well as since 2001. “Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, a conversation has been launched about the damage the wealthiest one percent is doing to the rest of us. California just pulled out of a mortgage fraud settlement deal that is expected to let the crooks off easy. Who’s to say Occupy Wall Street didn’t influence that decision? “The Super Congressional crusade to slash spending can only be carried through without causing massive misery and death in one of two ways, neither of which the U.S. Congress or President wants to touch, but both of which are central demands of the Occupation movement. The first is to significantly raise taxes on the super wealthy. The second is to significantly cut spending on the military. A progressive demand right now is not ‘Jobs Not Cuts’ but ‘Jobs Not Wars.’ “Seventy members of Congress have pointed out that ending the two biggest current wars in fiscal year 2012 would save $1.8 trillion over the following decade, above planned savings from promised reductions in troops. But war spending is pocket change in comparison with the overall military and security budget. “Leon Panetta, who holds the position that we used to more usefully call ‘Secretary of War,’ considers $350 billion over 10 years, or $35 billion per year, to be serious cuts to the national security budget. But he’s discussing cuts to dreamed-of future budgets. The current budget would still increase under those so-called cuts. But imagine really taking $35 billion from a budget of well over a trillion. (According to Chris Hellman of National Priorities Project, the security budget is $1.2 trillion, including the spy agencies and various other departments.) That would be a cut of less than 3.5 percent. “China spends about $114 billion per year on its military. Let’s generously assume there are enough hidden costs in China’s budget to double it to $228 billion. And let’s assume that we must spend twice as much as they do, because … well, just because. Now we’re at $456 billion. How do we get from there to Panetta describing a U.S. security budget of $965 billion as the lowest we can safely go, and a budget of $950 billion as ‘doomsday’? Is the danger here to us or to the profits of the weapons makers who are also demanding that any cuts made be made to troops’ benefits rather than to weaponry?”
Friend of the show and best-selling author Greg Palast is coming to Houston as part of his book tour and will be speaking to KPFT listeners to raise money for the station.
This event is a benefit for KPFT.| Print |
Praise for Greg Palast:
“A cross between Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes” (Jim Hightower, The Nation), Greg Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud and racketeering. Palast’s reports appear on BBC’s Newsnight and in Britain’s Guardian, Rolling Stone and Harper’s.
Palast directed the US’ government’s largest racketeering case in history (that garnered a $4.3 billion jury award) and the investigation of the Exxon Valdez.
Palast is recipient of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Prize for his BBC television documentary, Bush Family Fortunes.