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Of scientists and charlatans:

Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster


Republican presidential aspirants Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum all describe themselves as devout Catholics and, like most Republican candidates, they argue that religion should play an expanded role in American politics and government. However, on matters related to global warming, Messrs. Bush and Rubio both agree with Mr. Santorum, stating that we should, “...leave science to the scientists.”
Fortunately for these Republican candidates, Jorge Bergoglio, a chemist from Argentina, has stepped forward to address the concerns of those who think that global warming issues should be only confined to scientists. Recently, Bergoglio, analyzed the available data and produced a most remarkable treatise titled “Care for Our Common Home.” His book is well worth reading.

Bergoglio has an interesting past. In 1929 his family fled fascism in Mussolini’s Italy and migrated to Argentina, where he was born in 1936. He is well credentialed. He attended Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, a school of the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires, and entered the technical school Escuela Técnica Industrial #27. After graduation he began work as a chemist at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory in Buenos Aries (to finance his education, he also worked as a bouncer in an Argentine bar). 
Thanks to a most magnificent, almost lyrical writing style Bergoglio's book should be be easily understandable by the general public — and even by politicians. His words are firm. He resolutely reflects on the general state of our environment, and particularly on the contribution of modern society to environmental degradation. He writes:

Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.” He continues, saying that society creates a  “… pollution that effects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. 

Seeing little hope in industrial technology as a solution, he states:

Technology, which linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create another.

As global warming melts Greenland's massive ice cap, its surface exposes centuries of soot and ash, becoming ever darker and melting ever faster -- just one of myriad vicious climate change circles.As global warming melts Greenland's massive ice cap, its surface exposes centuries of soot and ash, becoming ever darker and melting ever faster -- just one of myriad vicious climate change circles.

The L.A. Times goes to Cuba:

OMG! The Food’s So Proletarian, and Pets are Hard to Find


The Los Angeles Times sent one of its managing editors to Cuba a few months ago, to report on the status of the society, culture, etc. Good that they sent a big gun, instead of just a run-of-the-mill reporter. Here are two of the stunning findings from this report. (brace yourself!):

If you travel to Cuba, be prepared for a squash fest. At every lunch and dinner, we were offered pumpkin soup or cooked butternut squash or squash stew. It was rarely bad but never great, which was true of much of the food we consumed.

Annnnnd. . .

Cuba doesn’t have the agriculture, the infrastructure or the economy to support anything resembling the flatbreads, house-cured pastrami and vinegared cauliflower that we’ve come to expect in Venice or Los Feliz or DTLA.

Well! That darn Cuba! Here the USA has reestablished relations, and Cuba does not even have the goddamned decency to offer squash stew that is "great." Sheesh. Harrumph! How dare those tyrannized, dirt-poor people! Good thing the LAT sent one of its managing editors to get this scoop. I mean, think of how an inexperienced reporter might have handled the assignment!


And then we have the vital, earth-shattering news that Cuba does not have the "agriculture, infrastructure, or economy" to produce the "flatbreads, house-cured pastrami, and vinegared cauliflower that we’ve come to expect in Venice, Los Feliz or DTLA” (the new “hipster” way of referring to downtown L.A..) Darn that Cuba again! Here Obama went to all that trouble to let American citizens haul their fat asses down there, and my God, those Cubans don't have the courtesy to produce pastrami as good as Venice, Los Feliz, and "DTLA." Unforgivable! Didn’t they know that U.S. citizens with big, rumbling guts and discriminating palates were coming? Thank God for this hard-hitting, incisive, pithy, empathetic, moving account of life in Cuba under Castro! Can a Pulitzer be far off?

The split between Europe and the U.S. just got wider!

EU Court Advocate General Deals Severe Blow to NSA Surveillance


A legal case, virtually unreported in the U.S., could very well unhinge a major component of this country's surveillance system. In any case, it certainly challenges it.

Yves Bot, he Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (the European Union's litigation arena) just published an "opinion" that the privacy and data sharing arrangements between the EU's 28 countries and the United States are "invalid", must be revised and cannot now be used to regulate data transfer.

This is to surveillance what an earthquake would be to a city: it wouldn't halt surveillance but it would destroy one of its major components. While the EU court's 15 justices have yet to issue their ruling on the opinion, they seldom deviate very much from their AG's advice and, given that they published his opinion and circulated it to the media, it's a good bet they are going to approve something close to it. They'll make that ruling later this year.

 taking on a giant!Maximillian Schrems: taking on a giant!

But the opinion alone is undoubtedly sending shudders through the halls of the NSA which gets all kinds of data from cooperating big-data companies (like Facebook and Google) and steals data from the ones that don't cooperate through a program called PRISM.

Mainstreaming the Preferential Option For the Poor

Pope Francis Drops a Bomb on Washington

A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.
                              - Pope Francis speaking to the US Congress
Pope Francis' speech to the US Congress struck me as a message with strains long demanded in the corrupt halls of our government. It was a message that took me back 30 years to my travels in Central America during the Reagan years, which was a pivotal moment in modern US history for the rise of a money class and the problems of inequity we currently face.

Pope Francis arriving by Fiat and speaking in front of VP Joe Biden and House Speaker John BoehnerPope Francis arriving by Fiat and speaking in front of VP Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner

I was raised an atheist by a right-wing militarist. As a little boy, when my father worked in research for a pharmaceutical company in suburban New York, there came a time he aspired to enter the corporate end of the business. So I was sent to Sunday school for a brief period. There I learned that Jesus Christ was this cool guy in robes who loved people and was nice to them.

My father’s honeymoon with the corporate side of the company did not last long. I imagine it was a bitter affair, because soon enough he collected his wife and three sons and moved to a house in the truck farming area of south Dade County below Miami. I recall him saying he was going “bohemian.” He got a job lecturing in physiology at the University of Miami Medical School and he set up our rural property as an amateur nursery, where he worked a hobby of botany, treating seeds aimed at the creation of strange new versions of sub-tropical plants.

You might say dear old Dad was a bit eccentric. He had been a PT boat captain in the Solomon Islands, Peleliu and Okinawa for a couple years and, though it wasn’t an issue then, he must have had some variant of PTSD that contributed to his eccentricities. He and I fought most of our lives over politics, me taking a critical, leftist line, especially following my stint in Vietnam. Still, he was a complicated man and I recall him saying about me in public more than once, “Sometimes, at night, I wonder whether you might be right.” The one thing we saw absolutely eye-to-eye on was a disbelief in some kind of supernatural deity who knew or cared what we humans were thinking and doing. What he believed in was biology.

One of the things we regularly fought over was Ronald Reagan. “If I could I’d vote for him five more times,” he said at the end of Reagan’s second term. I once responded to him by saying, “When you were in your PT boat hiding in terror in the mangrove from the Japanese, some starlet was rubbing suntan oil on your hero Ronald Reagan’s ass beside a pool.” He grimaced and said, “You really know how to hurt a guy.”

Comedian's serial drug and rape scandal drags university ever deeper into the gutter

Law Professor Says Temple University Cosby Scandal Will Worsen, Not Fade

In a recent interview on Progressive Radio Network's "This Can't Be Happening!" program, Temple Law Professor Marina Angel says her university's president and board of trustees are deluding themselves if they think that by ignoring or denying the burgeoning scandal of celebrated Temple grad and (until recently) trustee Bill Cosby and his long history of drugging and then allegedly sexually assaulting young women, it will all go away. Rather, like the Penn State Sandusky scandal, she warns it will get worse, dragging the school down, and its dismissive leaders with it.

In the latest development, a prosecutor in neighboring Montgomery County, PA says she is considering whether to refile criminal sexual assault charges against Cosby, based on the release of his once-sealed deposition transcript in a civil suit brought by one of his victims, Andrea Constand, a Temple employee at the time. Constand's criminal case, once dropped by a prior Montgomery County DA who felt he didn't have enough solid evidence to convict, is still within the 12-year statute of limitations for the next four months, and Cosby's deposition, now public, is devastating, as is the testimony of some 47 other women who have subsequently come forward with similar stories of being drugged and then molested, assaulted or raped by Cosby while rendered unconscious or semiconscious.

Temple law Prof. Marina Angel, Andrea Constand,Bill Cosby and Cosby lawyer and Temple Board Chair Patrick O'ConnorTemple law Prof. Marina Angel, Andrea Constand,Bill Cosby and Cosby lawyer and Temple Board Chair Patrick O'Connor

Temple's problem, according to Prof. Angel, is that its current Board of Trustees Chair Patrick O'Conner was Cosby's attorney and a Temple trustee during the Constand case, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed payment by Cosby. Since Constand had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of that settlement, and the Cosby deposition was sealed, nobody outside the case knew of Cosby's admission under oath to providing knock-out drugs to the young women he was offering to "mentor," and with whom he admitted having sex. But clearly O'Connor, as Cosby's attorney at the time, knew exactly what Cosby had said. He also knew that before the case was settled out of court, 13 other women had offered to testify about similar alleged abuse by Cosby (no doubt a factor in Cosby's decision to settle).

Angel says Cosby's belated resignation from his trustee position is not enough. She further says O'Connor, partner in one of Philadelphia's most powerful law firms, had a serious conflict of interest in serving as as a trustee of the university at the same time as he was representing fellow trustee Cosby in a case involving abuse of a junior level employee of the university (a violation not just of law but of Temple's sexual abuse regulation). She says O'Connor should have either resigned his position or been forced out by the rest of the board. Instead the board later elevated him to chair of that body which runs the school -- a position he still holds, and from which he still defends Cosby.

Hear the full interview, which aired last week on's weekly program This Can't Be Happening!

Apartheid law enforcement in the US

Standing While Black in New York Can Get You Attacked by NYPD Thugs


If tennis great James Blake had done the obvious thing and resisted being tackled by an apparent thug on a New York sidewalk who didn’t identify himself as a cop before attacking him, he would probably be dead today like Eric Garner, or at least seriously injured or tased.

Blake, 35, a well-known black athlete who not too long ago was the fourth-ranked tennis player in the world, was just leaning against the front of the Grand Hyatt where he was staying in midtown Manhattan when five undercover cops, who claim they “mistook” him for the suspect in a cellphone theft case, walked towards him, whereupon one of them, James Frascatore, suddenly jumped him, threw him violently to the ground face first, climbed on top of him, yanked his arms behind his back and cuffed him, in the process causing minor injuries to an elbow and eye (injuries that are no small matter for an athlete!).

There is so much wrong with what happened to Blake it’s hard to know where to begin. In a surveillance video, Blake can be seen just resting there on the sidewalk and actually smiling at the men approaching him, he says, because he assumed, as a celebrity, that they were fans who had recognized him and were coming to greet him. Blake, a Harvard grad, was calm and relaxed, not armed, and not at all acting like someone who planned to flee. There was, in other words, absolutely no reason for the officers not to simply identify themselves and ask politely to see his identification. Even then, if at that point they still suspected him, they could have taken him peacefully to the station for questioning, as they would ordinarily do had he been a well-dressed white guy, instead of a well-dressed black guy.

NYPD Chief Bill Bratton has apologized to Blake for the outrageous incident, as has Mayor Bill DeBlasio. At least Frascatore, who was particularly brutal on the video that captured the assault, has been pulled off the street and put on “administrative duties” by the chief, who said he was “disturbed” by the video. But Bratton insists that Blake is wrong to think that what happened to him had anything to do with his race, despite the fact that his assailants were all white. And there's the matter of Frascatore's four partners, who apparently have not been disciplined at all, though clearly they should have stopped Frascatone's unprovoked assault on Blake and instead did nothing. Why aren't they being pulled off duty, too?

Bratton certainly realizes the role of racism in this incident and that his assertion that race wasn’t involved is laughable. He also knows full well that Frascatore, the cop who tackled Blake instead of just identifying himself as a cop and asking politely for Blake’s identification, has a four-year history of complaints about abusive behavior -- behavior that has led to two lawsuits, and for which neither the Frascatone nor Bratton has ever apologized. Want to guess the race of the victims of that abuse?

How many white bankers or stockbrokers get thrown to the ground and cuffed when they are busted for their crimes? Was Bernie Madoff tackled and pushed face down on the sidewalk while he was cuffed? Think about it -- have you ever seen a well-heeled white guy of Blake’s stature and appearance get treated that way when police need to question, or even arrest him? Even mobster John Gotti, known as the Dapper Don, wasn't tackled like that when he was busted!

It just doesn’t happen. In fact, well-heeled white guys, if they’re cuffed at all during an arrest, generally don’t even have their hands cuffed behind their backs, where they become vulnerable to falls. While police always claim that painful and dangerous procedure is “regulation procedure,” the tonier white suspects always seem to get to keep their hands cuffed in front of them, where they can discretely drape a jacket over them to hide the embarrassing-looking cuffs from any lurking paparazzi camera.
Images of NYPD thug undercover cop attacking tennis star James Blake without warning, throwing him to the ground and cuffing himImages of NYPD thug undercover cop attacking tennis star James Blake without warning, throwing him to the ground and cuffing him

Big donations are great, but what we really want are lots and lots of small ones

We're over 10% of the Way to our Goal. Let's make it 90%! Readers, please step it up!

Good news! Some of our readers are starting to come through. We have, four months into this first ever fund-raising effort, raised one-tenth of our goal: $2000 in mostly small donations. That is great as far as it goes, but really, people are paying into all kinds of crazy Kickstarter campaigns. Why not just support great journalism?

What's been raised so fare is not nearly the kind of money that would allow the dedicated members of this collective -- who put out the reports on this award-winning site for nothing, doing the reporting and writing in our spare time -- to cut back on our day jobs and actually devote serious time to alternative news reporting, but it's the start. If you, our readers, can get into the habit of occasionally supporting a site like this that you turn to regularly or even occasionally to know what's happening, big things will happen here.

We know this can work. You all clearly want what we are producing, and value our reports (we know that because you keep coming back and reading what we write), and yet still far too many of you, our readers, are just taking what we do for free. That isn't going to help build a movement. We need solidarity to build a new media model. And solidarity aside, just from the point of view of self-interest, we could provide so much more of the unique news we have been providing for almost four years if we had some serious money coming in to support us in that work.

So readers, hear our call! Join those TCBH! readers who are coming through with support, show some solidarity for a change, support what we do, don't just take it, and send us what you can. We're hoping from $5 per reader, but even $1 would help, if you all did it.

It's easy: use the handy Paypal button above, or send cash or a check made out to Dave Lindorff/TCBH to POB 846, Ambler, PA 19002

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Evil (an open letter to my dead father)

Dad, you believed in evil
To your dying day.
You weren’t a Christian
But it was just your way
Of forgiving human beings for
All the sadistic
Blood-thirsty things they have done almost non-stop
Throughout the histories of so-called civilization.
To you, there just had to be
Something evil out there
That infects the souls
And the good intentions of people,
Then you could forgive
Your own humanity.
You and I. . .
We went on for hours about this
Over the years.
I argued that if you believe in an ultimate good,
Then you are stuck with its opposite.
If you have God,
Then you have the devil to deal with
And there are a lot of Christians out there.
I often suspected you should
Really be having it out with a priest!
But you didn’t believe in an ultimate good,
Much less a personification of good,
Just in an ultimate evil.
Eventually you did grant
The possibility of a universal spirit of life,
But only as a concession.
It sounded too philosophical to me,
Too intellectual.
But evil, and specifically the evil
That possessed certain members of the human race
Stalked you.
Evil bruised your ability to believe
In any other super-human power!
I, your son, and proud of it,
Also do not believe in an ultimate good,
But, while you were alive,
I tried so hard to get you to see that the Earth
Is a Great Spirit.
You were thrown off by the notion that matter
Could be alive, or sentient.
I don’t blame you Dad.
Until I took the magic mushroom
At the age of 54,
The sentience of matter
Was just something I embraced on faith.
I would say to you,
But where is your “evil” in nature?
You would just stare at your coffee.
I would say,
Evil is a human projection.
If we torture, maim, commit atrocities,
Turn our desperate brothers and sisters
Away from our borders,
It is because we are lonely,
Hurting, angry, afraid, jealous, confused,
Controlled by our twisted leaders.

You would listen patiently
And then you would say,
What about Hitler?

Accommodating Abuse

Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial


Over 1,500 miles separate Harris County, Texas and Harrison Township, New Jersey yet public officials in those two jurisdictions seemingly share a similar posture on persons who protest against abuse by police.

Recently Ron Hickman, the Sheriff of Harris County, Texas, blasted the Black Lives Matters movement blaming that surging anti-abuse entity for being an impetus for the brutal murder of a Harris County deputy.

Hickman readily acknowledged that he didn’t have all of the facts surrounding the murder of Deputy Darren Goforth, particularly the motive for that murder. However, that lack of facts didn’t stop Hickman from his hair-trigger blast at Black Lives Matters for that murder committed by a man known to have a long history of mental illness who had no involvement with Black Lives Matter.

Earlier this year, the governing committee of Harrison Township, NJ approved a resolution “Recognizing and Honoring” the service of law enforcement officers. But that resolution contained flawed assertions like most critics of police brutality are “career criminals and agitators who seek to divide our nation…”

Curiously overlooked by many critics of those who criticize police brutality is the fact that the overwhelming majority of persons who participate in anti-brutality protests are law-abiding citizens opposed to unnecessary use of excessive force by law enforcers. Persons that have led anti-brutality protests in South Jersey communities near Harrison Township have been respected members of the clergy and prominent community leaders, not the “career criminals” referenced in that resolution approved in February.

Although the Black Lives Matters movement certainly is not beyond criticism, it is disingenuous to bash that social justice protest as an initiator of attacks on police.

‘Calling Out’ police abuse is not the same as issuance of calls to attack police. Black Lives Matter does ‘assail repeated failures across America to corral police brutality but it does not ask people to attack police.

 No connection, no equivalenceTwo men shot and killed, one a fleeing man in South Carolina, one a Texas sheriff: No connection, no equivalence

Worst president ever?

History Should and Probably Will Judge President Obama Harshly


President Barack Obama is on track to go down in history as one of the, or perhaps as the worst and most criminal presidents in US history.

He started out, campaigning in 2008, as someone would would restore the rule of law in US international affairs and here at home after eight years of criminality during the Bush and Cheney administration, as saying he would end America’s wars and bring back an era of international cooperation and negotiation, and as saying that he would confront the dire threat of global climate change.

On the basis of that promise, he won a dramatic election victory, raising hopes across the country and across many voting blocks. On that basis, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize -- the first time the award was given before anything had been done by the laureate being honored. And on the basis of that promise, people expected action on climate change and on ending America's wars.

But the president began backpedaling almost instantly. Instead of restoring the rule of law, he almost immediately announced that he would not permit his Justice Department to engage in any prosecutions of CIA, FBI, military of Bush/Cheney administration personnel for violations of international law or of US law (that, for the record, is one of the supreme crimes under the Nuremberg Principles later codified into the UN Charter, to which the US is a signatory). He introduced new secrecy rules, launched a record number of prosecutions of government whistleblowers, including an international manhunt to arrest or kill NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden which included the forcing down of a presidential aircraft carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales, wrongly suspected of flying Snowden from Russia to that Latin American country, and a secret espionage indictment against Wikileaks founder Julien Assange, who has thus been trapped for years in the little UK embassy of Ecuador where he's been granted asylum. And most egregiously, Obama sabotaged the first international meeting on climate change held in Copenhagen, and has ducked every opportunity since then to have the US lead on reaching an international agreement to seriously reduce global carbon emissions.

During the three Congressional electoral cycles and his re-election campaign in 2012, Obama studiously avoided campaigning on any of these key issues, and especially on climate change. His position == “all of the above” -- for energy development, has seen the US move, not towards carbon emission reductions, but towards expanded production of gas, oil and even coal extraction, making the US the largest oil producer in the world, and a major provider of dirty coal to both US electric companies and large coal using countries abroad, including China.

Obama in Alaska talking about the urgency of fighting climate change, while Shell's arctic ocean drill platform heads north to search for more oil in the arctic sea floor, with White House approvalObama in Alaska talking about the urgency of fighting climate change, while Shell's arctic ocean drill platform heads north to search for more oil in the arctic sea floor, with White House approval

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Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

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by Dr. Radut