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Welcome

Craig Unger, Journalist /Author, latest is "Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove's Secret Kingdom of Power" joins Thom Hartmann. Karl Rove plans to spend as much as half billion dollars this election to defeat President Obama and Democrats. What's motivating him - and what happens to America if he succeeds?


Craig Unger, Journalist /Author, latest is "Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove's Secret Kingdom of Power" joins Thom Hartmann. Karl Rove plans to spend as much as half billion dollars this election to defeat President Obama and Democrats. What's motivating him - and what happens to America if he succeeds?


Neil Barofsky, former special inspector-general of the TARP & author "Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street," joins Thom Hartmann. In 2008, we were all told TARP was needed to prevent a Great Depression. Instead - TARP funds have made the big banks richer - and given them an even greater feeling of invincibility. So how was this allowed to happen?


Neil Barofsky, former special inspector-general of the TARP & author "Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street," joins Thom Hartmann. In 2008, we were all told TARP was needed to prevent a Great Depression. Instead - TARP funds have made the big banks richer - and given them an even greater feeling of invincibility. So how was this allowed to happen?


For tonight's Conversations with Great Minds - I'm joined by NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe. Both men were involved in exposing the NSA's massive, illegal, domestic spying program known as the Trailblazer project initiated in 2000. Despite not leaking any classified information - and exhaustively going through all the protocols required for members of the intelligence community to blow the whistle on wrongdoing - both men faced serious retributions for going public with what they knew about the NSA's surveillance program. In 2007 - after a reporter for the Baltimore Sun obtained information regarding waste, fraud, and abuse at the NSA - FBI agents raided the home Kirk Wiebe - confiscating computer hard drives and business records - and revoking security clearance that Wiebe - an NSA veteran - had held since 1964. Wiebe was not charged with any crime. However - Thomas Drake - whose home was also raided - was charged with multiple crimes including violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. Eventually those charges were dropped in 2011. Since then - Drake has gone on to win multiple awards for his courage in blowing the whistle on the NSA - including the Ridenour Prize for Truth Telling and the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. And both he and Kirk Wiebe have done tremendous work to inform all of us on the growing American surveillance state. The National Security Agency is building a massive spy center in Utah. What for? And will Americans be the targets of the NSA's prying eyes?


For tonight's Conversations with Great Minds - I'm joined by NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe. Both men were involved in exposing the NSA's massive, illegal, domestic spying program known as the Trailblazer project initiated in 2000. Despite not leaking any classified information - and exhaustively going through all the protocols required for members of the intelligence community to blow the whistle on wrongdoing - both men faced serious retributions for going public with what they knew about the NSA's surveillance program. In 2007 - after a reporter for the Baltimore Sun obtained information regarding waste, fraud, and abuse at the NSA - FBI agents raided the home Kirk Wiebe - confiscating computer hard drives and business records - and revoking security clearance that Wiebe - an NSA veteran - had held since 1964. Wiebe was not charged with any crime. However - Thomas Drake - whose home was also raided - was charged with multiple crimes including violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. Eventually those charges were dropped in 2011. Since then - Drake has gone on to win multiple awards for his courage in blowing the whistle on the NSA - including the Ridenour Prize for Truth Telling and the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. And both he and Kirk Wiebe have done tremendous work to inform all of us on the growing American surveillance state. The National Security Agency is building a massive spy center in Utah. What for? And will Americans be the targets of the NSA's prying eyes?


Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director-Institute for Responsible Technology, leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), author of the books "Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating" and "Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods." Genetically modified crops are all the rage these days - and have taken over the agriculture industries of many countries. But just how dangerous are genetically modified crops - and do we really need to be relying so heavily on them?


Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director-Institute for Responsible Technology, leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), author of the books "Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating" and "Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods." Genetically modified crops are all the rage these days - and have taken over the agriculture industries of many countries. But just how dangerous are genetically modified crops - and do we really need to be relying so heavily on them?


Lori Wallach has been director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division for nearly 20 years. She is an expert on the operations and outcomes of trade policies like NAFTA and the WTO - and currently is leading her organization's efforts to reveal the truth behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Lori has appeared on a variety of television networks - including CNN, the BBC and PBS - and she also the author of numerous articles and books - including her most recent book Whose Trade Organization? What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership - a so-called free-trade deal that the US is close to signing? What are the specifics of the deal - and just how much harm is it going to do to you and me?


Lori Wallach has been director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division for nearly 20 years. She is an expert on the operations and outcomes of trade policies like NAFTA and the WTO - and currently is leading her organization's efforts to reveal the truth behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Lori has appeared on a variety of television networks - including CNN, the BBC and PBS - and she also the author of numerous articles and books - including her most recent book Whose Trade Organization? What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership - a so-called free-trade deal that the US is close to signing? What are the specifics of the deal - and just how much harm is it going to do to you and me?


On the afternoon of March 11th, 2011 - a massive 9.0 earthquake struck just off the main island of Japan - rattling the nation to its core. Nestled on the east coast of Japan - not too far from the epicenter of that quake - was the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant - a plant with six nuclear reactors - three of which weren't designed to handle an earthquake of that magnitude. Right after the ground started shaking - reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the plant went into automatic shutdown. Reactors 4, 5, and 6 were already shutdown for inspection. The main power source to keep the reactors cool - the electric grid - was knocked out by the earthquake - so 13 emergency diesel generators immediately kicked in to keep the reactors cool. But within ten minutes, the emergency cooling systems at reactor 1 failed - and radioactive fuel rods within the reactors began to melting down.

But things were about to get a lot worse. Approximately 50 minutes after the earthquake - a giant 45-foot tsunami slammed into the east coast of Japan - and right into the Fukushima Daiichi plant. It swept across the plant's seawalls - and flooded the turbine buildings - shutting down the emergency diesel generators - and cutting off critical cooling to the reactors. At this point - the operators of the Fukushima plant knew they had a crisis on their hands. At approximately 3:41 in the afternoon - less than an hour after the earthquake - TEPCO, which operated the plant, notified the authorities that they had a "First level Emergency" on their hands - reactors were melting down. To buy themselves time - operators begin relieving pressure from the reactors - by releasing radioactive steam out of the reactor buildings and into the air.

And in a frantic attempt to keep the reactors cool - nearby seawater is pumped into the plant. But that wasn't enough - and there's not much else that plant operators can do, since the radiation around the plant was spiking. Soon - reactor buildings begin exploding. One day after the earthquake - on March 12th - reactor 1 suffered a hydrogen explosion - collapsing its roof. Over the next few days - reactors 2, 3, and 4 would give way to similar hydrogen explosions - mangling the reactor buildings - and exposing highly radioactive spent fuel - which was stored in pools built into the ceilings of the reactors - to the atmosphere. Helicopters flew in to drop seawater into the crippled reactor buildings, trying to prevent the spent fuel pools from igniting.


Meanwhile - on the ground - teams of TEPCO workers began working in shifts to bring the melting down plant under control. These shifts were essentially suicide missions - as radiation levels were well above lifetime dosages. During that March - an estimated 900,000 terabecquerels of radiation were released into the air. That's roughly one-sixth of the radiation released during the Chernobyl nuclear crisis - but again - that was just during the month of March. Between then and December of 2011, when TEPCO finally said the plant was stable, more than 300 workers were exposed to lethally high levels of radiation - and millions of gallons of highly radioactive sea water were dumped into the ground and into the ocean.The effects of this radioactive dump are still not known.

In February of this year - TEPCO began pouring cement around the plant as part of the decommissioning process - a process that operators believe could take as long as 30 years. But despite assurances from TEPCO that the plant is stable - evidence shows the nuclear crisis is still far from resolved. The Unit 4 reactor building, with tons of radioactive fuel and waste still stored in its roof, is leaning - and in danger of toppling over and triggering a chain-reaction radioactive fire that could blow exponentially more radiation in the atmosphere than Chernobyl And radiation levels at reactor one recently reached all-time highs. Yet - Japan is moving forward with nuclear power. Just this month - a reactor at the Oi nuclear plant was turned on - marking the first time a Japanese nuclear reactor was operational since the March earthquake.

But the question is - have the lessons of Fukushima been learned? And not just in Japan - where the crisis continues and could yet worsen - but also in the United States? That's the topic for tonight's Bigger Picture discussion.... Joining Thom for Conversations with Great Minds are...Paul Gunter - the Director of Reactor Oversight Project at Beyond Nuclear - and 2008 recepient of the Jane Bagley Lehman Award for environmental activism - who's been on the front lines fighting back against nuclear power for more than thirty years now. And - Kevin Kamps - Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear - who's testified before the officials at the highest levels U.S. Federal Agencies dealing with radioactive Waste Management - including the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the EPA.


Jared Genser, Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, LLC. He is also founder of Freedom Now, an independent non-profit organization that works to free prisoners of conscience worldwide / Co-Editor (w/Irwin Cotler) "The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Times" and author of the forthcoming, "The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Commentary and Guide to Practice." As the world's largest superpower - does the US always have a moral obligation to take military action to stop human rights atrocities?


Jared Genser, Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, LLC. He is also founder of Freedom Now, an independent non-profit organization that works to free prisoners of conscience worldwide / Co-Editor (w/Irwin Cotler) "The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Times" and author of the forthcoming, "The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Commentary and Guide to Practice." As the world's largest superpower - does the US always have a moral obligation to take military action to stop human rights atrocities?


Michael T. Klare, Author of fourteen books, including his latest "The Race for What's Left" and previously, Resource Wars and Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet. A contributor to Current History, Foreign Affairs, and the Los Angeles Times, he is the defense correspondent for The Nation and the director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The U.S has begun to hand out permits to companies to do exploratory digging in the Arctic for oil and natural gas. But - with other nations laying their claim to the vast resources in one of the world's last unexplored frontiers - what happens when the Arctic is tapped out? We'll pose that question and more to Michael Klare in a special edition of Conversations with Great Minds...


Michael T. Klare, Author of fourteen books, including his latest "The Race for What's Left" and previously, Resource Wars and Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet. A contributor to Current History, Foreign Affairs, and the Los Angeles Times, he is the defense correspondent for The Nation and the director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The U.S has begun to hand out permits to companies to do exploratory digging in the Arctic for oil and natural gas. But - with other nations laying their claim to the vast resources in one of the world's last unexplored frontiers - what happens when the Arctic is tapped out? We'll pose that question and more to Michael Klare in a special edition of Conversations with Great Minds...


Susan Jacoby, Journalist/Author, "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism," and most recently, "Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age" is tonight's Greatest Mind. Forty years ago - very few politicians flaunted their religious beliefs for personal gain. So what's changed - and what's given rise to the Christian Right in American politics? Her latest piece is - How The Founders Ensured America Would Not Be a Christian Nation.


Susan Jacoby, Journalist/Author, "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism," and most recently, "Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age" is tonight's Greatest Mind. Forty years ago - very few politicians flaunted their religious beliefs for personal gain. So what's changed - and what's given rise to the Christian Right in American politics? Her latest piece is - How The Founders Ensured America Would Not Be a Christian Nation.


For tonight's Conversations with Great Minds - Thom Hartmann is joined by Chris Hayes. Chris is a political commentator - and host of Up With Chris Hayes - which airs Saturday and Sunday mornings on MSNBC. He is also the Editor-at-Large of The Nation magazine and writes on issues central to the liberal community - including what is hurting the Democratic Party - and how the labor movement is changing From Wall Street to Main Street - the wealthy elite have run roughshod over the lives of everyday Americans for the past several decades. How did we get to this point in American history - and what can be done to fix our broken meritocracy?


For tonight's Conversations with Great Minds - Thom Hartmann is joined by Chris Hayes. Chris is a political commentator - and host of Up With Chris Hayes - which airs Saturday and Sunday mornings on MSNBC. He is also the Editor-at-Large of The Nation magazine and writes on issues central to the liberal community - including what is hurting the Democratic Party - and how the labor movement is changing From Wall Street to Main Street - the wealthy elite have run roughshod over the lives of everyday Americans for the past several decades. How did we get to this point in American history - and what can be done to fix our broken meritocracy?


Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, Founder & President-Gaynor Integrative Oncology joins Thom Hartmann. A new report out says that Global Cancer Rates will increase 75 Percent By 2030. How does your diet affect your risk of developing cancer - and what are some of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the disease? Dr. Gaynor is Founder and President of Gaynor Integrative Oncology - and Clinical Assistant, Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College - affiliated with Cornell University and New York Hospital, former Medical Director and Director of Medical Oncology at the Weill-Cornell Medical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, has been listed consecutively in The Best Doctors in New York since 1997, has served on the Board of Advisors for Healthy Living Magazine, and board certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine and is the author of four best selling books, including "Nurture Nature Nurture Health: Your Health and The Environment."


Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, Founder & President-Gaynor Integrative Oncology joins Thom Hartmann. A new report out says that Global Cancer Rates will increase 75 Percent By 2030. How does your diet affect your risk of developing cancer - and what are some of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the disease? Dr. Gaynor is Founder and President of Gaynor Integrative Oncology - and Clinical Assistant, Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College - affiliated with Cornell University and New York Hospital, former Medical Director and Director of Medical Oncology at the Weill-Cornell Medical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, has been listed consecutively in The Best Doctors in New York since 1997, has served on the Board of Advisors for Healthy Living Magazine, and board certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine and is the author of four best selling books, including "Nurture Nature Nurture Health: Your Health and The Environment."


For tonight's special edition of Conversations with Great Minds - Thom is joined by Lamar Waldron. Lamar is an author and historian - and was once called "the ultimate JFK historian and examiner," by Variety Magazine's Liz Smith. His extensive and groundbreaking research has been featured in hundreds of newspapers - and was the subject of two Discovery Channel specials produced by NBC News. Lamar has appeared on CNN, The History Channel and other major television networks. He is the author of several books - including his newest, full of bombshells, Watergate: The Hidden History. June 17th marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate burglary - and just in time for the anniversary is the arrival of an explosive new book that sheds new light on the scandal and on President Nixon.


For tonight's special edition of Conversations with Great Minds - Thom is joined by Lamar Waldron. Lamar is an author and historian - and was once called "the ultimate JFK historian and examiner," by Variety Magazine's Liz Smith. His extensive and groundbreaking research has been featured in hundreds of newspapers - and was the subject of two Discovery Channel specials produced by NBC News. Lamar has appeared on CNN, The History Channel and other major television networks. He is the author of several books - including his newest, full of bombshells, Watergate: The Hidden History. June 17th marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate burglary - and just in time for the anniversary is the arrival of an explosive new book that sheds new light on the scandal and on President Nixon.