The Green Blues Show – Edition 10


The Green Blues Show

In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: carbon taxes, cap-and-trade emission reduction systems … What are they all about? Democracy in chains: I speak with an American academic about her Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.

And, on the hundredth anniversary of the First World War, a Belgian town commemorates the days of its ravaging.


Medical researchers have developed a drug that can block the development of Huntington’s Disease, an incurable inherited disorder leading to neuromuscular degeneration, dementia and death.

The magic molecule, a tiny strand of the nucleic acid RNA, blocks the expression of the complementary messenger RNA molecule that translates the faulty Huntington’s gene into an active protein. The sliver of synthetic RNA sticks to the rogue messenger, and chops it up. The new drug will soon go to larger clinical trials.

Imagine if memes acted with as much precision as genetic molecules! You know – those immensely engaging ideas that travel far and wide, weaving themselves into the global zeitgeist. Pharmacologically active memes would be engineered to block socially or politically noxious notions like racism, homophobia, misogyny, political supremacism and lust for violence. They’d race to their targets through social media, glomming on and refusing to let go until the nasty idea dissolved.

Inevitably, scientists in the pay of the radical right would come up with thought-drugs against altruism, social solidarity or civic-mindedness, no doubt administered by iPhone or tablet.

Foolishly fanciful idea? Perhaps not. If neural software circuits can drive sex robots and autonomous killing machines, why can’t trusty smart phone companions reprogram the molecular structures of the mind?


Hamilton Harbour (Clive Baugh)

If there’s any hope of cranking down emissions of Earth-warming greenhouse gases – quickly enough to stave off the worst repercussions of climate change – we have to start charging people to release them into the atmosphere. So say advocates of carbon taxes, and alternative cap-and-trade proposals. To make sense of this complex topic, I spoke with Green Blues Show contributor Sara Arenson.


Courtesy Viking (jacket design Nayon Cho)

Ever get the feeling that Big Corporations have taken over the government? In the early years of the third millennium of our modern era, it’s almost a truism. Who else would one expect to be running the government in this day and age, if not businessmen and lawyers?

The scary news, according to American author Nancy MacLean, is that the radical right actually has a stealth plan to place democracy in chains. Maclean’s new book, Democracy in Chains – The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (Viking) recounts the story of the radical right’s most shadowy figure: Virginia economist James McGill Buchanan. Buchanan was the guy who inspired billionaire and mega-political donor Charles Koch.

Nancy MacLean is William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, in Durham North Carolina.


2018 is here, and with it, endless commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the end of that war that was supposed to end all wars. In the opening days of the ‘Great War’, the Belgian town of Leuven was brutally sacked by the Germans. Its famed university library, a treasure trove of medieval texts, was torched. A hundred years later, scars remain.

Mark Deretz, Leuven University archivist, beside carbonized remains of old library.


In this edition of the Green Blues Show, music from Mose Allison, Muddy Waters and Cream

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