It’s tragic. My heart goes out to the people of Japan who should be dealing with the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters of all time – a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, followed by a powerful tsunami that wiped out entire towns.  But instead of beginning the process of grieving and rebuilding, the Japanese are now bracing for an even bigger disaster – this one entirely avoidable.

The man-made nuclear power plants are just no match for mother nature. Last night, the Japanese Prime Minister delivered a very uncharacteristic speech in which he cautioned that “dangerous levels of radioactivity had been detected”, enough to be “harmful to human life.”   BradBlog’s Brad Friedman watched the NHK-TV English translation and tweeted much of the speech:

“Please listen to my message calmly” … “Every possible method used to cool down all three reactors.” … “There is a fire at Unit 4 and we’ve had explosions at units 1,2 & 3” … “Radiation has spread from these reactors and reading of levels seems very high” … “Still further risk of radioactive material coming out” … “We need now for everybody to move out of 20km from plant.” … “We would like to you to remain indoors at home or offices and avoid going outside from the 20km to 30km radius” … “Everybody move out from 20km radius at Fukushima-2 (Daini) plant” …

[Note: As I understood that, references to Fukushima-2 (Daini) were first ones. Previous problems were at Fukushimi-1 (Daiichi)] … “This is a situation of serious concern. But I request that you react very calmly.” … Takes 1 question: You have not talked about Unit 2 reactor. Kan: “Rather than talk abt each indvdl reactor, I talk about whole picture” …

Go to the BradBlog for continuing great coverage of what’s happening there.

NHK-TV is streaming live… if the embedded player doesn’t work, click here.

Live TV : Ustream

Could anyone have known this was a disaster waiting to happen? Greg Palast says yes.  In an explosive (pun unintended) new piece for Truthout, Greg recounts his time as a lead investigator in several government nuclear power plant fraud and racketeering investigations.  He’ll join us at the very beginning of today’s show to explain how this was to be expected, and tell of the US-Japanese partnership in the Obama administration plans to build new nuclear power plants in Texas.

Yes, that’s what disaster looks like.

Here at home, we’re fighting disaster on another front: the GOP waged war against labor, women, the working class and the poor.  A sidebar story could be the mainstream media’s refusal to cover it!

Wisconsin has been ground zero in the fight to preserve what little bastion of democracy we have left in this country.  Yet, over the past three weeks, I’ve been hard pressed to find much, if any, coverage.  Even this past Saturday, when over 100,000 people turned out in Madison, the only place to watch what was happening was online.

Special thanks to The Uptake for doing what none of the so-called news organizations in this country would do – cover the news!  It’s quite stunning, actually, that we could see a revolution happen in real time in Egypt (although it took Al Jazeera to do so), but we don’t have access to real news coverage of real people turning out to stand up for their rights.

Quick aside: if this had been another astro-turf teabagger rally, the TV cameras would have been out in force.  But you already know that.  So, another disaster in waiting is the GOP and corporate war on Net Neutrality.  If you want to have access to real, unfettered news, we must keep the internet free and open.  But more on that another day.

Due to the lack of news about the protests here in the US, you might think that they were only happening in Wisconsin.  But people are standing up for democracy all over the country, especially in the wake of some truly heinous Republican  governors who think they were elected dictators.

Ohio and Indian are under fire.  And this week, all eyes should be on Michigan where, as Michigander Michael Moore wrote,

Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

In fact, here’s the letter he wrote about the disaster happening in his home state:

Friends and neighbors,

The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.

What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries– and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue– has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.

Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

In just 8 short weeks he has:

* Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.

* Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising everyone’s personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by — I kid you not — senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people — even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!

* Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.

These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they’re experiencing the “Great Recession,” but few argue that Michigan is suffering a “one-state Depression.”

I know many of you are filled with a great sense of despair and a justifiable loss of hope these days in Michigan. But you must not let things get even worse. You must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us by turning our state over to well-paid hacks from Wall Street and corporate America. They see our state as one big fire sale– and they are licking their chops to get their hands on what is still a state rich in natural resources and industrial infrastructure.

Please show up at noon on Wednesday for our first mega-rally against this insanity. Hundreds of groups are already organizing car pools and buses. You can right now just declare yourself an organizer and get your friends and neighbors committed to being in Lansing. If ever there were a day to call in sick, Wednesday is it (because this IS sick). Students, if ever there were a day to cut class and become a participant in your democracy, Wednesday is it. This event needs to be HUGE– and I believe it will be if you will simply be there and take a stand.

Much attention has been paid to Wisconsin in recent weeks. Well, they got nothing on what’s going on here in Michigan. Rick Snyder is Scott Walker on steroids. There’s never been what even the AARP calls “an all-out attack” like this on us. Trust me, you will rue the day you sat home and did nothing while thieves posing as politicians stole your Great Lakes State from you.

Don’t let it happen. Be at the capitol by noon on Wednesday for the largest demonstration the state has ever seen.

Howie Klein (aka Down With Tyranny) has a great post up this morning about what’s happening in Michigan right now.

My friend Lance Enderle is right there at the state capital, where he’s been fighting back.  He’ll join us this morning to tell us about what’s planned for today and, as Michael Moore mentioned, tomorrow too.

Although you likely won’t get any news about what’s happening in Michigan today and tomorrow on your television, you’ll want to check out Michigan Messenger and Lansing Online News for regular updates.

There’s a lot to talk about when GottaLaff joins in for hour two, including her latest Blunt video: Hey Scott Walker!