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Program Archives - 2010

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(27 Dec) 100905 Alan Maass - The Case for Socialism

Socialism is a political philosophy with a singular approach to structuring the economy. In the U.S, little is actually known about it, because it has been reduced to something negative and undesirable. Some have called Obama a socialist. Should one laugh or weep at this characterization? The powers that be in the U.S. disseminate propaganda that distort socialism thus preventing citizens from knowing about a possible alternative to Robin Hood in reverse capitalism. One of socialism's most famous advocates was Albert Einstein who said, "I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate the grave evils (of capitalism), namely through the establishment of a socialist economy."

Alan Maass is the editor of Socialistworker.org, a daily website of news and opinion, and the Socialist Worker newspaper. He is the author of The Case for Socialism.

(20 Dec) 100904 Andrew Bacevich - The Washington Rules

When it comes to formulating foreign policy, particularly since the end of World War II, from Truman to Reagan to Obama, it hasn't mattered much who is in the White House. There is a virtual catechism of Washington Rules which produce permanent war. Institutionalized militarism is built into the structures of power. And the warfare state has seriously eroded constitutional freedoms and the economic vitality of society. An archipelago of bases stretches across the planet. Massive spending on weapons is called defense. Eisenhower gave the first warning in 1961 of the dangers posed by the "military-industrial complex." If the former president and five-star general were alive today he would be appalled at how deeply entrenched militarism has become.

Andrew Bacevich is a graduate of West Point and a Vietnam War veteran. He is Professor of History and International Relations at Boston University. He is the author of The New American Militarism, The Limits of Power, and Washington Rules.

(13 Dec) 100903 Tariq Ali - Obama: The Continuity of U.S. Policy

From Cairo to Oslo to his Aug. 31, 2010 Oval Office address, Obama has delivered one uplifting homily after another. Each speech is replete with euphemisms generated by White House staff writers to describe America's glowing mission in the world: "Our country has borne a special burden in global affairs," "Our cause is just, our resolve unwavering." The model for this variant of imperial presidency is Woodrow Wilson. His gospel was peace, democracy and self-determination, while his armies invaded Mexico, occupied Haiti and attacked Russia. But feel good rhetoric still goes a long way to satisfy those who yearn for it.

Tariq Ali, an internationally renowned writer and activist, was born in Lahore, Pakistan. For many years he has been based in London where he is an editor of New Left Review. A charismatic speaker, he is in great demand all over the world. In his spare time he is a filmmaker, playwright and novelist. He is the author of many books including The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Pirates of the Caribbean, Speaking of Empire & Resistance with David Barsamian, The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power and The Obama Syndrome.

(06 Dec) 100902 Zachary Lockman - A Brief History of Zionism

Zion is the name of a hill in ancient Jerusalem where King David had his palace. The term Zionism was coined in the early 1890s and applied to the Jewish national political movement. Zionism got the big power backing it was looking for when Britain issued the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917. Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary stated: 'His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." This declaration became a major legal cornerstone for Zionist claims to Palestine. There were a couple of issues that complicated things. At the time, 90% of the population was Arab Muslim and Christian and 10% Jewish. And the British were signing away land that was not theirs.

Zachary Lockman is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies and History at New York University. He is the author of Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948 and Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism.

(29 Nov) 100901** David Barsamian - Obama's Foreign Policy: Old Wine in New Bottles

Empire needs a language to sustain it. "Collateral Damage", "Soft Targets", Pre-emptive Strikes", "Drone Attacks" all sound like creative descriptions for something that might happen during a night on the town. What they really hide, in the context of US imperial expansionism, is the violence, destruction and motives of war. Yet the terms roll off the typewriters and tongues of journalists without a second thought. The language of the Empire has come to rule and in doing so changes the ways resistance has to be mustered.

David Barsamian has been described as "one of the most forceful and insightful speakers we have around these days". He is winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Award and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. The author of numerous books Barsamian's titles include Targeting Iran, The Pen and the Sword with the late Edward Said, What We Say Goes with Noam Chomsky and Original Zinn a collection of interviews he did with the late Howard Zinn.

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(22 Nov) 100804 John Ross - Revolutionary Mexico

With a population of more than 110 million, Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. For many, particularly in the U.S. and Canada, it is a vacation getaway with beaches at Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta and "una cerveza mas, por favor." Throw in a pyramid or two and that's about it. The complex realities of the country escape most visitors. Mexico has a rich history of revolution and resistance to tyranny. But much of the news today is about gun battles and drug cartels. What are the prospects for revolutionary change?

John Ross has lived and worked in Mexico for decades. His reporting has appeared in various journals and magazines. He is the winner of the Upton Sinclair Award and the American Book Award. His books include The Annexation of Mexico, and El Monstruo : Death & Redemption in Mexico City.

(15 Nov) 100803 Daniel Schorr - The Reagan Legacy

The Reagan era casts its shadow into today. Much of the reputation of the 40th president has been carefully crafted and edited. Daniel Schorr was there covering the Reagan presidency. He has some trenchant observations about Reagan, his policies, and their impact and influence.

Daniel Schorr was the last of Edward R. Murrow's legendary CBS News team. He covered Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1972 he was CBS' chief Watergate correspondent. His reporting on the scandal earned him three Emmy Awards. He joined National Public Radio in the mid-1980s. He was Senior News Analyst for NPR until his death at the age of 93 on July 23, 2010.

(08 Nov) 100802 Howard Zinn - 1492-1992: The Legacy of Columbus

For as long as many of us can remember Christopher Columbus represented the best in Western civilization. We were regaled with stories of his bravery and genius. Textbooks praised his seamanship. He was the discoverer par excellence. There were parades and holidays. Now, with the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Western Hemisphere, a much more critical and realistic view of the Italian-born Spanish explorer is emerging. Howard Zinn chips at and strips away some of the myths of the Columbus legend.

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, was perhaps this country's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents, poor immigrants, were constantly moving to stay, as he once told me," one step ahead of the landlord." After high school, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He taught at Spelman, the all black women's college in Atlanta. He was an active figure in the civil rights movement and served on the board of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was fired by Spelman for his activism. He was among the first to oppose U.S. aggression in Indochina. His book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was an instant classic. A principled opponent of imperialism and militarism, he was an advocate of non-violent civil disobedience. He spoke and marched against the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States, continues to sell in huge numbers. Among his many books are A Power Governments Cannot Suppress and Original Zinn. Just before his death he completed his last great project, the documentary The People Speak. Always ready to lend a hand, he believed in and practiced solidarity. Witty, erudite, generous and loved by many the world over, Howard Zinn, friend and teacher, passed away on January 27, 2010. He would say, Don't mourn. Get active. The struggle for peace and justice continues.

(01 Nov) 100801 Howard Zinn - Second Thoughts on the First Amendment

A fascinating and compelling account of past and present efforts to secure and expand political and social rights in the U.S. Citing events in labor history, the women's movement and the struggle for racial equality, Professor Zinn weaves a captivating tale.

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, was perhaps this country's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents, poor immigrants, were constantly moving to stay, as he once told me," one step ahead of the landlord." After high school, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He taught at Spelman, the all black women's college in Atlanta. He was an active figure in the civil rights movement and served on the board of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was fired by Spelman for his activism. He was among the first to oppose U.S. aggression in Indochina. His book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was an instant classic. A principled opponent of imperialism and militarism, he was an advocate of non-violent civil disobedience. He spoke and marched against the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States, continues to sell in huge numbers. Among his many books are A Power Governments Cannot Suppress and Original Zinn. Just before his death he completed his last great project, the documentary The People Speak. Always ready to lend a hand, he believed in and practiced solidarity. Witty, erudite, generous and loved by many the world over, Howard Zinn, friend and teacher, passed away on January 27, 2010. He would say, Don't mourn. Get active. The struggle for peace and justice continues.

(25 Oct) 100503 Bill McKibben - Earth to Humans: Enough Already

You've heard the bad joke right? If the earth were a bank it would be bailed out. We have been diddling while the planet gradually sizzles. Conferences from Kyoto to Copenhagen come and go. Not much happens. The US Congress? Well, the interests of big oil and coal come first, earth second. We have waited too long. Massive change is under way. For millennia the planet has been habitable and now it is melting, drying, and flooding in unprecedented ways. Leading environmentalist Lester Brown calls for "a wartime mobilization, an all-out response designed to avoid the destabilizing economic and political stresses that will come with unmanageable climate change. An emissions cut of 80 percent from today's levels by 2020, not 2050, would keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from exceeding 400 parts per million, setting the stage for getting back to 350."

Bill McKibben was one of the first to sound the alarm on climate change with his bestselling book The End of Nature. A scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, he is a leading activist, journalist and author on the environment. His other books include The Age of Missing Information and Hope, Human and Wild, Deep Economy, and Eaarth. He is co-founder of 350.org.

(18 Oct) 100504 Arun Gupta - The Mainstreaming of Extremism

The rise of right-wing politics is sometimes traced to Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican convention. But perhaps a better place to start is the 1971 memo written by Lewis Powell, who would later be appointed by Nixon to the Supreme Court. Powell sent his memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He asserted, "no thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack." He warned: "Business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble, and the hour is late." Powell's central message was that corporations needed to organize to roll back the popular movements which challenged business hegemony. And did corporations ever respond to the call. The money flowed. Media, foundations and think tanks were created to reestablish the top-down old order and root out all those egalitarian ideas from the dreaded 1960s .

Arun Gupta, journalist and activist, was founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper in New York. He's a regular contributor to Alternet and Z. He also appears on Democracy Now, GRIT TV, and Al Jazeera.

(11 Oct) 100601 Tom Hayden - The Long War and Resistance

President Eisenhower's 1953 Cross of Iron speech is often not recalled. The former general said: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all." Two decades earlier, Smedley Butler, another general, not as well known, put it succinctly: "War is a racket. It always has been. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." Today Washington, the global policeman, is in a long war with no end in sight.

Tom Hayden has been involved in many of America's social movements for decades. He was the main author of the 1962 Port Huron Statement, the manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, the campus-based, activist movement. He went from street protests and being indicted by the Nixon Administration to holding office in Sacramento. He served eighteen years in the California State Assembly and State Senate. Among his many books are Voices of the Chicago Eight, Writings for a Democratic Society, and The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama.

(4 Oct) 100602 Noam Chomsky - The New American Imperialism

Imperial systems are sustained not only through violence or its threat but through a network of client states and dependent regimes. Take Mubarak of Egypt. After rigging the most recent election he is now Egypt's longest running ruler since the Pharaoh Ramses the Second. Not content with that distinction he once again extended emergency rule which he introduced in 1981. Hardly a peep from Washington because Mubarak serves its interests in the Middle East. And the free press? Well, from Lippmann and Reston of days gone by to Friedman and Brooks today there is a steady chorus of support for U.S. policy. Actual U.S. imperial history, past and present, is often a concoction of fantasies, gaping omissions, selected facts, and unsubstantiated opinion. Orwell described the process, "Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."

Noam Chomsky is the internationally renowned Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT. He practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. He is in huge demand as a speaker all over world. The New Statesman calls him, "The conscience of the American people." Howard Zinn described him as "the nation's most distinguished intellectual rebel." He's the author of scores of books including Failed States, What We Say Goes, and Hopes and Prospects.

(27 Sep) 100603 Norman Finkelstein - Gaza Massacre

Gaza is often described as the largest open-air prison in the world. It may be the most densely populated area on earth. Its 1.5 million Palestinians live in a narrow strip with a total area of 139 sq miles or 360 square kilometers. In 2005 Israel dismantled its colonies and withdrew its military forces but retained control over Gaza's land, sea and airspace. Two years later Hamas took political control of Gaza. Citing rocket attacks, Israel imposed a blockade. The International Committee of the Red Cross describes the blockade as "collective punishment" and a violation of international law. There are crippling shortages. Gaza is plagued by frequent power cuts, a ruined economy, and a collapsed health care system. 80 per cent of Gazans lack access to clean water. Israel insists it provides enough "humanitarian aid" to cover Gaza's basic needs.

Norman Finkelstein received his Ph.D. in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is currently an independent scholar. He is the author of many books including Beyond Chutzpah, The Holocaust Industry, and This Time We Went Too Far: Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion. He is the subject of the documentary American Radical.

(20 Sep) 100703** Tim Levinson, Kenny Sabir, Shannon Kennedy & Julianne Schultz - Uncensored Conversations Pt. 3: Freedom of Speech and Censorship: How Free Are We?

Tim Levinson, Kenny Sabir and Shannon Kennedy from The Herd, have used music as an outlet to express their opinions on a variety of issues. Their song 77% which features the line "77% of Aussies are racist" refers to survey results that revealed the majority of Australians agreed with the former Australian Federal Government's response to the Tampa affair. With a history of expressing active opinions through their music, The Herd members will discuss how democracy influences the inspiration of their craft. Tracks of The Herd are included in the Museum of Australian Democracy's Living Democracy exhibition.

Julianne Schultz is a professor at the Centre for Public Culture and Ideas at Griffith University in Queensland. At the 2020 Summit she co-chaired the Creative Australia session, which explored the future of Australian arts, film and design. She has also written extensively about the media and democracy.

The Uncensored Conversations lecture series was organised and hosted by the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra. Media personality, Angela Catterns was the moderator.

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(13 Sep) 100702** Tim Costello & Stephen Kenny - Uncensored Conversations Pt. 2: Involvement or Intrusion: Where is the Line for our Government?

As Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello has been instrumental in ensuring the issues surrounding global poverty are highlighted on the national agenda. Tim is recognised as one of Australia's leading voices on social justice issues, having spearheaded public debates on gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse.

Stephen Kenny has practiced as a barrister and solicitor in Australia for over 25 years. During this time he has maintained a strong interest in civil libertarian matters. Taking on David Hicks' case is representative of Stephen's strong interest in civil libertarianism. Stephen has worked on high profile native title land claim cases as well as undertaking pro-bono work for migrant families and community groups. He shared his first-hand experiences of both international and national politics.

The Uncensored Conversations lecture series was organised and hosted by the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra. Media personality, Angela Catterns was the moderator.

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(06 Sep) 100701** Les Murray & Abdulla Ahmed - Uncensored Conversations Pt.1: Immigration, Asylum Seekers and Refugees: What is the Real Impact?

Les Murray is well-known as a leading soccer commentator, however few Australians are aware that he began life as a refugee, fleeing his homeland of Hungary when he was eleven. Les will tell the personal story of a refugee who benefited from moving to this country as much as our country has benefited from his arrival.

Abdalla Ahmed is the Chairperson of the Australian Somali Association and has helped over 300 Somalian families settle into Australia. He also returned to his homeland in 2005 and against all odds helped build a hospital for the community. Abdalla will share his thoughts on what democracy has done for him and so many others, often being the difference between life and death.

The Uncensored Conversations lecture series was organised and hosted by the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra. Media personality, Angela Catterns was the moderator.

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(30 Aug) 100502 Raj Patel - The Art of Democracy

Democracy. Rule of the people. Origins in ancient Greece. In Greece today, democracy is in the streets with people protesting and resisting bank bailouts, wage and pension cuts and structural adjustment. The U.S. loves democracy so much it goes to war to impose it. Remarkable. Elections are an integral part of democracy. But what happens when the results don't go Washington's way? They don't like it and have invaded, staged coups, or imposed sanctions and blockades. But if you are a U.S. favorite you get a free pass such as Karzai's rigged election in Afghanistan or similar shenanigans in Central Asia or the great Mubarak in Egypt. In the U.S. democracy is taken for granted. But do the two parties offer substantive choices? What about economic justice? Maybe it's time to examine the canvas and refine the art of democracy.

Raj Patel is a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley and a fellow at Food First. He has worked for the World Bank and the WTO, and has also protested them on four continents. He is an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing.

(23 Aug) 100501 Chip Berlet - The Tea Party Movement

Taking its name from the famous pre-Revolutionary action of colonists in Boston, the Tea Party movement has made a political impact. For example, Bob Bennett, three-term conservative senator from Utah was stripped of the Republican nomination by the Tea Party. What sparks their activism? There is the rage of those tossed overboard as they watch helplessly as their savings, pensions, investments and homes are just so much collateral damage in an economic system that takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. At the same time they watch the fat cats get bailed out and get fatter. Opportunistic politicians and electronic demagogues stoke the fires of resentment making for a volatile cocktail of demonisation and scapegoating. History is full of negative examples where people's inchoate anger, deep fears, racism and frustrations, are mobilised. False solutions are offered to solve false problems.

Chip Berlet is senior analyst with Political Research Associates, an organization which monitors and reports on right-wing movements. His articles appear in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Progressive magazine. He is the editor of Eyes Right: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash and co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America.

(16 Aug) 100202 Lester Brown - Planetary Tipping Points

Author and critic Susan Sontag once wrote, "A permanent modern scenario: apocalypse looms, and it doesn't occur . Apocalypse has become an event that is happening, and not happening. It may be that some of the most feared events, like those involving the irreparable ruin of the environment, have already happened. But we don't know it yet, because the standards have changed. Or because we do not have the right indexes for measuring the catastrophe. Or simply because this is a catastrophe in slow motion." Sontag added, "That even an apocalypse can be made to seem part of the ordinary horizon of expectation constitutes an unparalleled violence that is being done to our sense of reality, to our humanity." It seems now we are watching the catastrophe in slow motion. We've got front row seats to our planet in gradual decline.

Lester Brown is the president of the Earth Policy Institute. The Washington Post calls him "one of the world's most influential thinkers." In 1974 he founded the Worldwatch Institute, the first research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues. He is the recipient of many awards including the UN Environment Prize. He is the author of numerous books including Eco-Economy and Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

(09 Aug) 090802 David Suzuki - Betraying Nature

Our planet and its people are in peril. Diminishing fresh water supplies, destruction of forests, polluted air, species extinction at an unparalleled rate, and a toxic petrochemical environment are all clear signals that things are going seriously haywire. And climate change, the impacts of which are already evidenced at an accelerating pace, threatens environmental devastation on an almost incomprehensible scale. Rising sea levels will overwhelm island states, low lying countries such as Bangladesh, and many of the coastal areas where the world's population is concentrated. Climate change will bring more disease outbreaks, including new diseases and variants of existing ones for which there is no treatment. Changing weather patterns will leave many populated regions with too little rain to sustain agriculture. Existing environmental problems will worsen severely unless focused and rapid steps are taken to reverse the practices that are causing them.

David Suzuki is a leading scientist, broadcaster, writer, and environmental activist. He is best known as host of the long-running CBC TV series, "The Nature of Things" seen in syndication in over forty countries. Author of many books, his latest is The Big Picture. He was awarded Canada's highest civilian honor for his work.

(02 Aug) 090801 Bill McKibben - Climate Change: Tipping Point

Glaciers are retreating at a rapid rate. Within just a few years there will be no more snows on Kilimanjaro. Glaciers in the Andes, the Rockies, and the Himalayas are all shrinking. The polar ice shelves are fracturing. Sea level is rising. The permafrost is melting. Millions of people worldwide are at risk. A major refugee crisis looms. Climate change, if unchecked, will literally swamp all other issues facing humanity. A report from the Geneva based Global Humanitarian Forum, headed by Kofi Annan, states, "Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time." A full blown disaster is on the horizon. Will we act to save our precious home, planet earth? Time is short. World leaders will meet in Copenhagen to negotiate a new international climate treaty. Decisive action, not cosmetic changes, is required. We are at a tipping point.

Bill McKibben was among the first who sounded the alarm on climate change with his bestselling book The End of Nature. A scholar in residence at Middlebury College, he is a leading activist, journalist and author on the environment. His latest book is Deep Economy. He is co-founder of 350.org

(26 Jul) 100404 Noam Chomsky - The Center Cannot Hold

About seven million households are facing possible foreclosure while Citigroup raked in almost $4.5 billion for the first quarter. Unemployment both short and long term are at levels not seen since the Great Depression. The U.S. has deep structural economic problems which cannot be masked over with upbeat reports on a so-called recovery. The line the center cannot hold is from William Butler Yeats' famous poem "The Second Coming." Yeats, who died in 1939, was Ireland's Nobel Prize-winner. He saw a world spinning out of control. "Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity".

Noam Chomsky is an internationally renowned MIT professor. He practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. He is in huge demand as a speaker all over world. The New Statesman calls him, "The conscience of the American people." The New York Times says he's "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are What We Say Goes and Hopes and Prospects.

(19 Jul) 100403 Arundhati Roy - India: Field Notes on Democracy

The ads on TV whisper "Incredible India." And then you see images of temples, colorful textiles, yogis, tigers, and the Taj. It's almost a cliché: India, with 1.2 billion people is the world's largest democracy. However democracy is more than just elections. When you examine the actual policies of the Indian state you find a country with acute inequalities. Alongside its IT billionaires, Bollywood and cricket stars and industrial magnates there are more hungry people in India than in all of sub-Saharan Africa. A juggernaut of injustices has sparked a wave of rebellions. In addition to long-standing resistance in Kashmir and the northeast region there are armed insurgencies in a large swath of the country. Predatory corporations are pushing people, largely indigenous, off their land to gain access to resources. It's all done in the name of progress and democracy.

Arundhati Roy is the celebrated author of The God of Small Things and winner of the prestigious Booker Prize. The New York Times calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." She is the recipient of the Lannan Award for Cultural Freedom. She's the author of many books including The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile, a collection of interviews with David Barsamian, and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers.

(12 Jul) 100402 Joseph Stiglitz - Freefall: The Economic Crash

It's been the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. And it isn't over. Chronic long-term unemployment remains high. The state of many states, cities and towns is dire. Crippling budget cuts result in drastic reductions in services and hikes in such things as tuition fees. And on the housing front? The bubble that burst. More than ten million homeowners are underwater, that is, they owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. Politicians glibly talk of those well paying jobs with benefits coming back. Who are they kidding? That's not going to happen. The manufacturing sector is eviscerated. What's left? Consumption. Consumer spending now accounts for 70% of the GDP. Meanwhile, while many citizens suffer, the war machine goes its merry way. The Pentagon budget is at record levels. The war on Iraq alone will cost $3 trillion.

Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia, is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. He was chair of the Council on Economic Advisors under Clinton. He also served as senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. His efforts to move the bank in a more progressive direction got him fired. He is the author of Globalization and Its Discontents and The Roaring Nineties.

(05 Jul) 100401 Michael Klare - The Coming Conflict with China

With the decline in U.S. economic power, a similar decline in its political influence inevitably follows. In the military arena the U.S. reigns supreme. No country comes even close in matching its lethal firepower and massive Pentagon budgets. As its economic position weakens, Washington may be tempted to turn even more to its trump card-guns-in addressing international issues. China looms as the coming force to be reckoned with in the world. It is the number one exporter and is poised to pass Japan as the second largest economy. And within a few decades it will surpass the U.S. China, the ancient Middle Kingdom, had a bad couple of centuries with invasions, occupations, and civil wars but now it's back, big time. And Beijing watches patiently as Washington fritters away its wealth in endless wars and a global network of military bases.

Michael Klare is professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Hampshire College. He is defense correspondent for the Nation magazine. He is the author of many books including Resource Wars, Blood and Oil and Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet.

(28 Jun) 100304 Nomi Prins - Bailouts, Banks and Pyramids

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist comments on the fiscal crisis: "The incentive structures in the financial sector encouraged excessive risk taking. So many of our banks became too big to fail. When you're too big to fail, life is a one-way bet. When you gamble and win, you walk off with the profits. When you gamble and lose, the taxpayer picks up the tab. That's what you've been experiencing. They lost, and we picked up the tab," Stiglitz says. Indeed. The banks were covered and the people were left exposed. And now there is talk about regulatory reform. Excuse the cynicism but it's likely to be a dog and pony show. Why? The foxes are designing the hen house. Wall Street wizards will quickly game the system. Maybe when elks learn to play piano real reform will be possible.

Nomi Prins is a former investment banker turned journalist. She worked at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. Her articles appear in major newspapers and magazines. She is the author of It Takes a Pillage.

(21 Jun) 100303 Peter Balakian - Armenian Golgotha

On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government launched the genocide of the Armenians. The state-sponsored mass murder campaign destroyed the millennia-old Armenian people in their historic homeland. Their churches and schools were razed to the ground. Their homes and lands were seized. Their culture and memories erased. Talaat Pasha, one of the architects of the genocide, said of the Armenians, "Their existence must be terminated and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience." Robert Fisk asks, "Was this not exactly what Himmler told his SS murderers in 1941?" The parallels with the Holocaust are many. For example, the Turks formed a special organization called Teshkilat-e-Makhsusiye to carry out the extermination. This was a forerunner of Hitler's notorious Einsatzgruppen. Today, Armenians and human rights advocates everywhere demand justice and acknowledgement but Turkey continues to deny the genocide.

Peter Balakian, historian, poet, and professor at Colgate University, is the author of the award-winning Black Dog of Fate and The Burning Tigris, and translator of Armenian Golgotha.

(14 Jun) 100302 Richard Becker - Myths, Empire and the Middle East

The great historian Howard Zinn always reminded us of the importance of knowing history, not the imagined and fabricated past but what actually happened. Without that knowledge we are putty in the hands of manipulators and prevaricators. Powerful states have incentives to invent history and they have varied instruments at their disposal to achieve their ends. Few areas in the world are as deeply contested as the Middle East with its strategic location astride Europe and Asia and its unparalleled oil and natural gas reserves. Britain primarily, and France to a lesser extent were heavily involved in the geographical shaping of the Middle East. Their imperial decisions reverberate to the present. Today the U.S. is the hegemon in the Middle East, can anyone say imperial power?, blanketing the region with its armed camps and naval and air bases.

Richard Becker is a writer and commentator on Middle East affairs and has visited the region on numerous occasions. He is the author of Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire.

(07 Jun) 100301 Nandini Sundar - Chhattisgarh: The Future of India?

There are multiple insurgencies all over India. Noted writer and dissident intellectual Arundhati Roy says there is "a juggernaut of injustices" sparking revolt. Many of the struggles are taking place around the corporate exploitation of natural resources and the displacement of largely indigenous people who live in areas rich in minerals and timber. But there's a lot of push back. People are organizing to defend their land and culture against predatory corporations who are working hand in hand with the government. This corporate-state alliance is on full display in Chhattisgarh state. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh let the cat out of the bag when he said, "If left-wing extremism continues to flourish where there are natural resources, the climate for investment would certainly be affected." Indeed it would. So New Delhi is expanding its military operations to crush the resistance.

Nandini Sundar is prominent Indian academic who has spent much time doing research in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. She is a professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.

(31 May) 100204 Vandana Shiva - Shakti: Feminine Power for Change

When you hear the word Shakti you may think of the great fusion band of a few years back. But it has another meaning and dimension. In Sanskrit it means "female creative power." In Hindu cosmology Shakti is the divine force, manifesting to destroy demonic forces and restore balance. Humanity is facing unprecedented threats, a veritable perfect storm of dangers from climate change to water and food shortages. One-sixth of the world's population is hungry. A quarter of all grains now grown in the U.S. end up as biofuel for cars thus adversely affecting global food supplies. While the military-industrial complex attracts some attention, the industrial agri-foods complex gets virtually none. Corporate decisions, motivated by profits, drive not just the production of food but its distribution. In this equation, the poor are left out. Maybe we all need some Shakti.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. A physicist, scholar, political activist and feminist, she is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi . She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. Author of many books, her latest are Earth Democracy and Soil Not Oil.

(24 May) 100203 Richard Grossman - Revoking Corporate Charters

Corporations, Corporations. From ExxonMobil to Wal-Mart they dominate society and politics. Over the last 100 years corporations have accrued enormous economic power and legal standing. A corporation is licensed to do business. These licenses are called charters. In theory, when a corporation violates its charter, it can be revoked. That used to happen but not any more. And now corporate power has gotten a big boost. On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court, in Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission, ruled that there are no limitations on campaign contributions by both domestic and foreign corporations. Noam Chomsky calls the decision "a dark day in the history of U.S. democracy, and its decline." The ruling, The New York Times, says "strikes at the heart of democracy" by having "paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections."

Richard Grossman, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy, is an independent researcher and writer focusing on governance, law, corporations, and organizing strategies.

(17 May) 100202 Lester Brown - Planetary Tipping Points

Author and critic Susan Sontag once wrote, "A permanent modern scenario: apocalypse looms, and it doesn't occur . Apocalypse has become an event that is happening, and not happening. It may be that some of the most feared events, like those involving the irreparable ruin of the environment, have already happened. But we don't know it yet, because the standards have changed. Or because we do not have the right indexes for measuring the catastrophe. Or simply because this is a catastrophe in slow motion." Sontag added, "That even an apocalypse can be made to seem part of the ordinary horizon of expectation constitutes an unparalleled violence that is being done to our sense of reality, to our humanity." It seems now we are watching the catastrophe in slow motion. We've got front row seats to our planet in gradual decline.

Lester Brown is the president of the Earth Policy Institute. The Washington Post calls him "one of the world's most influential thinkers." In 1974 he founded the Worldwatch Institute, the first research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues. He is the recipient of many awards including the UN Environment Prize. He is the author of numerous books including Eco-Economy and Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

(10 May) 100201 Eric Holt Gimenez - Food Sovereignty

"Food is the weak link that brought down earlier civilizations," says author Lester Brown. And it could bring our own civilization down if we continue with business as usual. We are entering a new food era, one marked by higher prices, growing numbers of hungry people, and an intensifying competition for land and water. A record number of Americans are now living on food stamps. Among the factors responsible for the crisis are the policies of a handful of transnational agri-food monopolies and the use of grain to produce fuel for cars. The sharp climb in grain prices in the last few years underlines the gravity of the situation. The global cost of wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans has roughly tripled, reaching historic highs. What are the alternatives? Local communities and international social movements are promoting sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty.

Eric Holt-Gimenez is the executive director of FoodFirst/Institute for Food and Development Policy. He is the author of Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America's Farmer to Farmer Movement and co-author with Raj Patel of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice.

(03 May) 100105 Amy Goodman - Bridging the Media Gaps

The political establishment determines the boundaries of conventional discourse. So typically mainstream media debates revolve around: How many troops are required for Afghanistan? Or should drone attacks on Pakistan be expanded? The embedded premises are never articulated and thus are never open to scrutiny, understanding, and challenge. The media mostly function as a kind of Hallelujah chorus praising the system of power and privilege but ever quick to highlight the sexual peccadilloes of individual politicians, celebrity sightings and divorces, steroids and sports, extreme weather and sensational crime usually missing children. The trees are closely examined and the forest is totally missed. An enormous abyss exists between media-drawn depictions and actual fact. An independent media free from corporate control can break through the spin and be the span that provides genuine information that links citizens to reality rather than fantasy.

Amy Goodman is the award-winning host of "Democracy Now" the daily syndicated radio and TV program. Howard Zinn says, "Amy Goodman has carried the great muckraking tradition of Upton Sinclair, George Seldes, and I.F. Stone into the electronic age, creating a powerful counter to the mainstream media." She's the author of The Exception to the Rulers and Breaking the Sound Barrier.

(26 Apr) 100104 Mark Danner - Torture: Stripping Bare the Body

A former president of Haiti, once observed that political violence "strips bare the social body" allowing us "to place the stethoscope and track the real life beneath the skin." This stripping bare produces a "moment of nudity" that presents an opportunity to place the stethoscope against the naked skin and listen to the reality beneath. The U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have involved torture and human rights violations replete with black sites, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, that is, kidnapping and in some instances custodial deaths all accompanied by the now infamous waterboarding, stress positions, extreme temperatures, dogs, beatings, threats and loud and incessant music. "The CIA used an alternative set of procedures," proclaimed Bush. What? Enhanced interrogation techniques. What? Can anyone say torture? Geneva Conventions? Obama does not want to hold those responsible for crimes accountable. Why not?

Mark Danner, an award-winning journalist, has reported on politics and war. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and Professor of Foreign Affairs at Bard College. He's the author of The Massacre at El Mozote, Torture and Truth, and Stripping Bare the Body.

(19 Apr) 100103 Irene Khan - Poverty and Human Rights

The problem of the world's poor is at its core a human rights issue. The worldwide economic downturn is working its way through every level of the global economy. Many people in the industrialized West are experiencing its negative effects with loss of jobs, savings, and homes. But the recession's impact on people in the poorer parts of the world, who were already living with the acute insecurity of employment, food and shelter, is even greater. Amnesty International's latest annual report on the state of the world's human rights documents the devastating consequences of the crisis on the indigent and finds that the economic problems they face are human rights problems too. Political leaders reduce the economic crisis to financial questions that require bailouts and technocratic solutions and in the process ignore the human rights dimension.

Irene Khan of Bangladesh is Secretary General of Amnesty International. She worked for the United Nations for many years and is the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of The Unheard Truth.

(12 Apr) 100102 Robert Jensen - Religion and Progressive Politics

The presence of religion in U.S. politics is extensive. There is no shortage of preachers promising salvation. Some tend to be strongly conservative and promote a right-wing agenda. But there is a counter-tradition from the progressive side. It goes back to Dorothy Day, the Berrigan brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr., to the present with Sister Helen Prejean struggling to end the death penalty and Father Roy Bourgeois fighting to close the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, a major training center for Latin American tyrants. They see justice and peace as fulfilling social gospel injunctions. Their activism stirs controversy and debate. There's an interesting quote which captures some of this. A Brazilian archbishop once said, "When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, when I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

Robert Jensen is professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Citizens of the Empire, The Heart of Whiteness, and All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.

(05 Apr) 100101 Helena Norberg-Hodge - Thinking Outside the Box

The current economic system, with its almost total disregard for nature, is steamrolling both people and the planet. Profits uber alles inevitably will lead to social and ecological breakdowns. Bold innovative ideas are needed to repair and nurture the earth. The traditional path of growth for growth's sake and conventional notions of development require urgent reexamination. Years ago consumption was another name for tuberculosis. Today it is a lifestyle. It is something desirable and is heavily promoted by corporate advertising. To paraphrase Descartes, We consume, therefore we are. But look at the real costs. Environmental degradation is accelerating. The scale of the crises demands replacing the dominant fragmented techno-economic worldview with a more holistic perspective embracing the interdependence of the natural world. More and more communities around the globe are discovering the value of self-reliance and exploring alternative models.

Helena Norberg-Hodge, a native of Sweden, is an internationally renowned environmentalist. She is a leading critic of conventional notions of growth and development. She is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the alternative Nobel Prize. She is founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture and author of Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh.

(29 Mar) 090401 Howard Zinn - Against Discouragement

It wasn't that long ago when the United States labeled the African National Congress as a terrorist organization. Its leader, Nelson Mandela languished for years in prison. Then because of massive grassroots movement and international support through boycott and divestment, Mandela is released and South Africa frees itself from its apartheid regime. Throughout history people have overcome tremendous odds to advance the cause of justice. Take the civil rights movement. What were African Americans up against? The entire apparatus of power from the courthouse to the statehouse was controlled by segregationists. And the federal government? Asleep at the wheel. Nevertheless, blacks organized and fought back against tremendous odds. The key to the struggle was collective action. There's an African proverb that captures that spirit, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University and was, perhaps, America's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents, poor immigrants, were constantly moving to stay "one step ahead of the landlord." After high school, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. He was a regular contributor to The Progressive magazine. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States, continues to sell in huge numbers. His latest books are A Power Governments Cannot Suppress and Original Zinn. Howard Zinn passed away on January 27th 2010.

(22 Mar) 050505 Howard Zinn - Voices of a People's History (Pt. 2)

Traditional history we are taught is dominated by generals, presidents, and other so-called important people. When we read in standard texts about the sinking of the Spanish Armada, we learn King Philip wept. Oral historian Studs Terkel asks, "Were there no other tears?" Historians have difficulty matching the eloquence of those who experienced events firsthand such as soldiers at war, the survivors of massacre and genocide, and those who fought oppression. When they tell their own story, history is not only different, but authentic. An all-star cast including John Sayles, Wally Shawn, and Paul Robeson Jr. join Zinn in this engaging two-part program.

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University and was, perhaps, America's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922 to poor immigrant parents. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States continues to sell in large numbers. His latest book is, Voices of a People's History of the United States. Howard Zinn passed away on January 27th 2010.

(15 Mar) 050504 Howard Zinn - Voices of a People's History (Pt. 1)

Traditional history we are taught is dominated by generals, presidents, and other so-called important people. When we read in standard texts about the sinking of the Spanish Armada, we learn King Philip wept. Oral historian Studs Terkel asks, "Were there no other tears?" Historians have difficulty matching the eloquence of those who experienced events firsthand such as soldiers at war, the survivors of massacre and genocide, and those who fought oppression. When they tell their own story, history is not only different, but authentic. An all-star cast including John Sayles, Wally Shawn, and Paul Robeson Jr. join Zinn in this engaging two-part program.

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University and was, perhaps, America's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922 to poor immigrant parents. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States continues to sell in large numbers. His latest book is, Voices of a People's History of the United States. Howard Zinn passed away on January 27th 2010.

(08 Mar) 020904 Howard Zinn - A People's History of the United States (Pt. 2)

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University, and was one of America's most renowned and influential historians. He helped spark a movement to reexamine what we call history. His classic book, A People's History of the US reverses traditional perspectives and presents history from the point of view of those who have been largely omitted from traditional texts. Zinn brilliantly reshuffles heroes and villains. The New York Times said the book should be "required reading". And this two-part program should be required listening.

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University, and was, perhaps, America's premier radical historian. He grew up in the slums of Brooklyn. As a teenager, he worked in a shipyard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. His masterpiece, A People's History of the US continues to sell in huge numbers. He has written several plays including the widely acclaimed Marx in Soho. Howard Zinn passed away on January 27th 2010.

(01 Mar) 020903 Howard Zinn - A People's History of the United States (Pt. 1)

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University, and was one of America's most renowned and influential historians. He helped spark a movement to reexamine what we call history. His classic book, A People's History of the US reverses traditional perspectives and presents history from the point of view of those who have been largely omitted from traditional texts. Zinn brilliantly reshuffles heroes and villains. The New York Times said the book should be "required reading". And this two-part program should be required listening.

Howard Zinn, was professor emeritus at Boston University, and was, perhaps, America's premier radical historian. He grew up in the slums of Brooklyn. As a teenager, he worked in a shipyard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. His masterpiece, A People's History of the US continues to sell in huge numbers. He has written several plays including the widely acclaimed Marx in Soho. Howard Zinn passed away on January 27th 2010.

(22 Feb) 091104 John Belamy Foster - Economy, Ecology and Empire

George Orwell once observed, "To see what is in front of your nose needs a constant struggle." Certainly when it comes to the interrelated crises in the economy, the environment and imperialism that seems to hold true. The obvious eludes most citizens. The media divert people's attention or simply fail to provide crucial information. And the political system? Senator Dick Durbin said, "Banks are the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place." Our representatives are wined, dined and funded by the powerful hence legislation is crafted to serve their interests. Foreclosures, bankruptcies, and joblessness are at levels not seen since the Great Depression while money flows into endless wars and occupations. We are playing roulette with the future of our planet. Resources are being depleted at an unsustainable rate. Global warming. All things are connected.

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review. He is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He's the author of many books including Naked Imperialism, Ecology Against Capitalism, The Vulnerable Planet, and The Great Financial Crisis.

(15 Feb) 091103 Howard Zinn - Three Holy Wars

The conventional view of U.S. wars follows a formulaic line: We are innocent victims of unprovoked attacks. The sleeping giant wakes and reluctantly goes to fight. All military action is imbued with benevolent intentions: human rights, democracy, and liberty. There are parades and flag-waving. Solemn ceremonies and gun salutes at funerals honor the fallen. But who asks for what and for whom were they killed? Who benefits? Weapons manufacturers and mercenary contractors make out like bandits. That's a taboo subject. Resources? Empire expansion? Don't go there. Stick to patriotism. You can mouth the typical prattle of they died for freedom. The Afghan war is Operation Enduring Freedom. And war crimes? That's what they do, not us. Tribunals? Same deal: for them. Wars are packaged and sold just like any other commodity. Propaganda is skillfully used to win over the population.

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, is perhaps this country's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents, poor immigrants, were constantly moving to stay "one step ahead of the landlord." After high school, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He was an active figure in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Today, he is in great demand as a public speaker. He's a regular contributor to The Progressive magazine. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States, continues to sell in huge numbers. His latest books are A Power Governments Cannot Suppress and Original Zinn.

(08 Feb) 091102 Dahr Jamail - GI Resistance

At Nuremberg the plea of, "I was just following orders" was not accepted by the tribunal. That raises the question: What are soldiers to do when faced with orders they know to be against international law and basic morality? Today, reports of U.S. troops refusing orders, of active duty soldiers refusing deployment and speaking out against the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have trickled into the mainstream media. What makes GIs deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan decide to resist, file for conscientious objector status, or even serve prison sentences to avoid taking part in these wars and occupations? There are devastating societal consequences beyond the many deaths and severe physical and psychological wounds. Suicide rates and domestic violence among returning vets are high. As the wars drag on more and more GIs are asking questions and are resisting.

Dahr Jamail is an award-winning independent journalist who went to Iraq to report on the war and occupation. His articles appear in The Guardian, The Nation and other journals and magazines. He is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq and The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(01 Feb) 091101 Michael Pollan - In Defence of Food

The Time magazine cover story, The Real Cost of Cheap Food, says, "Horror stories about the food industry have long been with us ever since 1906 when Upton Sinclair's landmark novel The Jungle exposed how America produces its meat. In the century that followed, things got much better, and in some ways much worse. Big agricultural can now produce unlimited quantities of meats and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our farmland, cages for chickens so packed that the birds can't even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming. Our energy intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector in the economy. Since Americans are heeding such warnings and working to transform the way the country eats."

Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. He is the best selling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defence of Food.

(25 Jan) 090904 John Pilger - Imperialism in the Age of Obama

The election of Barack Obama was greeted in many circles with a combination of relief and euphoria. It was of course historic. But does Obama represent genuine change from the previous regime? Eloquence and charisma, while attractive qualities, are not policy. Obama is imbued with the same imperial mentality that prevails in Washington in that he believes America can reengineer other countries like Afghanistan. This hubris will lead to further death and destruction. Obama has declared that Afghanistan is "a war worth fighting" and has doubled the number of troops there. A little history would be instructive. The mighty British Empire, among others, on multiple occasions, tried to conquer Afghanistan. They never succeeded. One high 19th century British official astutely observed that the Afghans "do not want us, they dread our appearance in their country and will not tolerate foreign rule."

John Pilger is an internationally renowned journalist and documentary filmmaker. Born in Australia he's been based in London for many years. He's twice won British journalism's highest award, that of Journalist of the Year. His award-winning documentaries such as "Palestine is Still the Issue" and "The War on Democracy" are seen all over the world but rarely in the U.S. He is the author of numerous books including The New Rulers of the World and Freedom Next Time.

(18 Jan) 090501 Arundhati Roy - Terrorism: No Easy Answers

There are myriad types of terrorism. But the focus is highly selective. 200,000 Indian farmers killing themselves because of debt or 4,000 children dying everyday around the world because of no access to clean water are not considered. Nor are massacres of Muslims in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra or of Sikhs in New Delhi. Nor are the tens of thousands of Kashmiris killed by the Indian military. The attention and emphasis is overwhelmingly on car bombings, 9/11 and Mumbai type of attacks. Massive state terrorism is not up for discussion unless the state is a designated enemy of Washington's such as Iran and Syria. America and its allies such as Israel and India get a free pass. Can you imagine Charlie Rose or Wolf Blitzer asking Kissinger or Rice or other apparatchiks of the empire about state terrorism? Maybe when pigs fly.

Arundhati Roy is the celebrated author of The God of Small Things and winner of the prestigious Booker Prize. The New York Times calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." Howard Zinn praises her "powerful commitment to social justice." She is the recipient of the Lannan Award for Cultural Freedom. Her latest books are The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile, a collection of interviews with David Barsamian, and An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire.

(11 Jan) 090301 Najma Sadeque - Pakistan: Environment in Crisis

Pakistan is much in the news. Almost all the attention is on its perilous security situation. But it is also beset with acute environmental problems. Typical of many post colonial countries, Pakistan went headlong into a western model of industrial development. Big dams were seen as an elixir. Now, most of those dams are silting up causing problems. In the province of Punjab, the breadbasket of the country, farmers are hurting for lack of water for irrigation. All things are connected. Global warming is having an adverse impact. In the great mountains in northern Pakistan the glaciers are shrinking. Thus, snowmelt is reduced and there is less water reaching the arid plains resulting in not enough drinking water. Crop yields are declining and food prices are going up. And to exacerbate everything, governmental corruption is all pervasive and deeply entrenched.

Najma Sadeque is a leading Pakistani journalist who writes frequently on environmental issues. She's also a strong advocate on women's issues. She's a founder of Shirkat Gah (Women's Resource Centre).

(04 Jan) 090101 George Lakoff - The Political Mind

It is abundantly clear that if you control language, terms such as, war on terror, partial birth abortion, and death tax, you can shape ideas and dominate the discourse. You can put your opponents on the defensive. And once you do that, they are always reacting to your initiatives. People on the right have understood this dynamic very well. And they've done something about it. First, they built up a network of well-funded think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Then they created their own media such as Fox and Rush Limbaugh. Then they developed a golden rolodex of experts, attached to their think tanks, who constantly appear in the media to advance their ideological agenda. On the other side of the conventional political spectrum, it is not clear whether liberals sufficiently grasp the urgency of the issue.

George Lakoff is Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute where he applies cognitive linguistics to the study of politics, especially the framing of public political debate. He is the author of the bestseller Don't Think of An Elephant. His latest book is The Political Mind.

(28 Dec) 091004 Medea Benjamin - What Do Afghans Want?

Afghanistan is "a war of necessity," Obama tells us. One of the justifications for the invasion was to liberate Afghan women from Taliban oppression. As Arundhati Roy of India commented, "We are being asked to believe the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission." Beyond puppets in Kabul, we hear little from Afghans themselves. Instead, there is a media parade of U.S. military, government officials, and think tank experts who talk about tactics. The right of the United States to invade and occupy other countries is never brought up much less challenged. So the discussions focus on: How many troops do we need? What should we do in Helmand Province? Are air strikes counter productive? Does Gen. McChrystal have the right plans? In all of this Afghans barely count. What do they want and in particular what do Afghan women want?

Medea Benjamin is co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK. She frequently travels to and documents human rights violations in the Third World. She has lectured and written extensively on international issues and has been to Afghanistan a number of times.

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