Q&A: LESTER BROWN – FULL PLANET, EMPTY PLATES

Written on December 25th, 2014
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Aired: 12/23/12

Recorded: 10/17/12

When gas prices were at or near record highs a few months ago in the US, that got people’s attention. What about food prices? Have you noticed them rising? Are you making different choices in the supermarket? If not, it might be because of two things.
One, in America so much of our food is processed, packaged and marketed, that raw commodity prices make up only a fraction of the price of the food we buy. In other countries, especially the less developed ones, an increase in the price of rice or corn can have a major effect on how much a family can afford to eat. Two, Americans spend only 9% percent of their income on food, while millions around the world spend 50-70%. Millions of households now routinely schedule foodless days each week-days when they will not eat at all. A recent survey by Save the Children shows that 14% of families in Peru now have foodless days. India, 24%. Nigeria, 27%.

In his newest book, FULL PLANET, EMPTY PLATES, LESTER BROWN writes,
“The U.S. Great Drought of 2012 has raised corn prices to the highest level in history. The world price of food, which has already doubled over the last decade, is slated to climb higher, ushering in a new wave of food unrest. This year’s corn crop shortfall will accelerate the transition from the era of abundance and surpluses to an era of chronic scarcity. As food prices climb, the worldwide competition for control of land and water is intensifying. In this new world, access to food is replacing access to oil as an overriding concern of governments. Food is the new oil, land is the new gold. Welcome to the new geopolitics of food.”

 

www.earth-policy.org

 

 

Q&A: ETHAN NADELMANN, DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE

Written on December 11th, 2014
  Aired 08/15/10 Prohibition has failed -- again. Instead of treating the demand for illegal drugs as a market, and addicts as patients, policymakers the world over have boosted the profits of drug lords and fostered narcostates that would frighten Al Capone. Today, there are more drugs on our streets at cheaper prices than ever before. There are more than 1.2 million people behind bars in the U.S., a large percentage of them for nonviolent drug usage. Under our failed drug policy, it is easier for young people to obtain illegal drugs than a six-pack of beer. Why? Because the sellers of illegal drugs don't ask kids for IDs. As soon as we outlaw a substance, we abandon our ability to regulate and control the marketing of that substance. There is smarter approach usually called harm reduction. Reducing drug use is not nearly as important as reducing the death, disease, crime, and suffering associated with both drug misuse and failed policies of prohibition. But there are signs of change in the wind. The US Congress recently reversed years of inaction to make sentencing for crack and powder cocaine more equal and proposition 19 on the ballot in CA in November would legalize marijuana. I caught up with Ethan Nadelmann founder and executive director of the DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE in early July at a daylong conference in Los Angeles - New Directions California: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy and he agreed to join me on the radio. http://www.drugpolicy.org/homepage.cfm For info re CA Prop 19: Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 http://taxcannabis.org/

Q&A: RAJ PATEL, Writer, activist, and academic

Written on November 27th, 2014
  Aired 08/01/10 RAJ PATEL has worked for the World Bank and WTO and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them. Writer, activist, and academic, he is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Center for African Studies, a researcher at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First. He is the author of STUFFED AND STARVED and his latest THE VALUE OF NOTHING: HOW TO RESHAPE MARKET SOCIETY AND REDEFINE DEMOCRACY. http://rajpatel.org/

Q&A w/ JEREMY SCAHILL (#5 NYTimes Best-seller) DIRTY WARS: The World is a Battlefield

Written on July 30th, 2014
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Aired: 05/05/13

In JEREMY SCAHILL’S new best-seller, DIRTY WARS, what begins as an investigation into a US night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly transforms into a high-stakes global investigation into the rise of Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret and elite fighting force in U.S. history. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the “kill list,” including U.S. citizens.

It’s the unbounded, unending War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government-condoned torture occur, generating unprecedented civilian casualties.

DIRTY WARS reveals covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress, raising questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice, morality and politics. No matter how little you know about these actions, they are being done in your name,

DIRTY WARS is also a documentary which opens in theaters June 7th.

Free Forum Q&A – TIM DECHRISTOPHER: Civil disobedience (bidding) at public lands auction landed him 21 months in prison

Written on May 25th, 2014
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 Aired: 6/30/13

On December 19, 2008 TIM DeCHRISTOPHER disrupted a highly disputed BLM auction, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of land. Not content to merely protest outside, Tim entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million Two months later, incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. Yet DeChristopher was indicted and tried on two federal felonies and spent 21 months in prison.

Released in April 2013, DeChristopher is the subject of documentary film, Bidder 70, which opened this weekend at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills and other theaters around the country. He joins me this week to tell his story. What led him to that auction? What went through his mind as he began bidding and winning? Why didn’t he take a plea deal? What was his experience in prison? What message does he have for others?

We’ll also talk about the state of the movements to deal with energy, environment, and climate change, in light of Obama’s recent speech and the eventual decision whether or not to build the KeystoneXL pipeline.

“At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow…
— From Tim DeChristopher’s statement to the court at his sentencing hearing

www.peacefuluprising.org

www.bidder70film.com