A Conversation With Chomsky

Isabelle Kumar of Euronews interviews Noam Chomsky on a range of topics. On the subject of Greece’s debt (and that of Portugal and Spain and others) this is what he said.

Who incurred this debt? And who is the debt owed to? In part, the debt was incurred by dictators. So in Greece it was the fascist dictatorship, which the US supported, that incurred a large part of the debt. The debt I think was more brutal than the dictatorship, and that’s what’s called in international law, “odious debt” which need not be paid, and that’s a principal introduced into international law by the United States, when it was in their interest to do so. Much of the rest of the debt, what is called payments to Greece are in fact payments to banks, German and French banks, which had decided to make extremely risky loans with not very high interest and are now being faced with the fact that they can’t be paid back.

Read the Transcript: Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation

Here’s the video.

Case Closed on Climate Change

Richard Muller, a Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, has been one of the leading skeptics concerning the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2004, he publicly supported the findings of McIntyre and McKitrick challenging Michael Mann’s so called “hockey stick” graph (of temperatures over the last millennium) which showed accelerating global warming.

Muller is the founder and chairperson of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which provides independent analysis of the Earth’s surface temperature records. His most recent study was funded in part by charitable foundations maintained by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers. As you may know, the Kochs have donated significant funding to groups lobbying against the acceptance of man-made global warming, and to other right-wing political causes (including the Tea Party).

As it turns out, the findings of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project were a surprise to Dr. Muller, and no doubt to the Koch brothers as well.

As the BBC reported a few weeks ago, Professor Muller noted “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the U.S. and the U.K.”

Dr. Muller was also interviewed for a recent report on NBC Nightly News. Here’s what he said.

“The existence of global warming, I think, is pretty much beyond dispute now. I think we have closed the last remaining questions on that.”

There is still much to discover about the effects that we’ll see from global warming in coming decades, and still much debate to come concerning how best to mitigate those effects (and how to deal with the unmitigated ones). We do, however, seem to be beyond the point where honest, reasoning people can continue to deny the problem.