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Program Archives - 2012

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(31 Dec) 121202 121202 Arun Gupta - Beyond Occupy

The Occupy movement caught everyone by surprise. When the first tents went up on Wall Street on Sept 17, 2011, the experts and the media soothsayers and sages were befuddled. Who were these people? What did they want? After many years of class warfare waged by the haves, the have-nots, rose from their slumber and said, Enough. The widening gaps in income and wealth had become too acute to ignore. And there was a general sense that the system only works for the powerful and everyone else is left scrambling to survive. Deep-seated anger was epitomized in such slogans as, "We Got Sold Out. They Got Bailed Out." The encampments, almost all of them razed to the ground by the police, are mostly memories now. But what was the impact of that kind of protest? What can be learned from Occupy?

Arun Gupta, journalist and activist, was founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper in New York. He's a regular contributor to Alternet and Z.

(24 Dec) 121201 Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor - From Black Power to the New Jim Crow

The gains achieved by the Civil Rights movement are fond memories and are celebrated by holidays, memorials and pious speeches. Today, the U.S. has its first black president but while he's attained political power many other African Americans are behind bars. The eternal war on drugs has resulted in the incarceration of many blacks. As law professor Michelle Alexander says, "Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color 'criminals' and then engage in all the Jim Crow practices we supposedly left behind" such as discrimination in employment and housing, denial of food stamps, exclusion from jury service, and denial of the right to vote. The prison industrial complex is a profit-making machine dependent on more and more prisoners passing through its system. We've gone from the auction block to the cell block.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is active in local housing struggles in Chicago and is an organizer with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. Her articles appear in CounterPunch, The Black Commentator, Black Agenda Report and New Politics. She is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review and a columnist for Socialist Worker.org. She is the author of Rats, Riots and Revolution: Black Housing in the 1960s.

(17 Dec) 121105 Brian Jones - Education: Separate and Unequal

Efforts to privatize all things public in the United States rely on a relentless refrain: "Nobody does it better than the private sector." Yet evidence to the contrary appears in the news daily, be it about the privatization of prisons, elections, highways, or wars. The privatization of public education system is seen as a potential bonanza for corporations. Not surprisingly, we hear: if only government, teachers, and their unions would get out of the way, test scores would go up and the U.S. would not be 23rd in science and 17th in literacy. Accompanying the ideological assault are the budget cuts. Public schools are being starved for funds. Teachers are laid off. Those still with jobs are asked to teach more classes with more students. Meanwhile does anyone know the cost of the 505 now abandoned bases the Pentagon built in Iraq?

Brian Jones is a public school teacher in New York. He is also an actor and activist. He co-narrated the film,The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman and contributed to the book, Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation. For more than a decade he has been performing to great acclaim Howard Zinn's one-man play "Marx in Soho."

(10 Dec) 121104 Glenn Greenwald - The Surveillance State

Snooping, prying, eavesdropping, call it what you want the government is doing it on a scale never before seen. Sophisticated new technologies allow for more intrusions into our private lives. Beyond the ever present cameras, there is deep data-mining, nano-second biometric identification and drone aircraft in the skies above. The invasive monitoring of public space and the simultaneous erosion of our rights has been largely a bi-partisan affair. State surveillance power, undermining basic freedoms in the name of protecting them, is growing relentlessly. The swelling domestic databases of the NSA and FBI may contain your personal information. And this burgeoning Orwellian apparatus has become a cash cow for corporations providing what are called security services. Comedian Stephen Colbert sarcastically observes, There are bound to be casualties in the never-ending war on terror and one of them just happens to be the U.S. Constitution.

Glenn Greenwald is a lawyer and the author of How Would a Patriot Act? and Great American Hypocrites. He is the recipient of the Izzy Award from the Park Center for Independent Media for his "pathbreaking journalistic courage and persistence in confronting conventional wisdom, official deception, and controversial issues." He also received an Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary for his coverage of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning. Greenwald is a columnist and blogger at Salon.com and his articles appear in various newspapers and magazines.

(03 Dec) 121103 Medea Benjamin - Drone Warfare

Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, are the hottest new thing in the Pentagon's panoply of weapons. They have been used with lethal effect in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Pakistan, in particular, has borne the brunt of the attacks. Many civilians have been killed resulting in intense loathing of the U.S. And now drones are migrating from battlefields abroad to the streets of the homeland. They are begining to be used by police forces which are becoming more and more militarized. The ACLU warns that the use of drones "would profoundly change the character of public life in the United States." We are moving closer to a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the authorities. Drone manufacturers are offering police the option of arming drones with rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.

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.

(26 Nov) 121102 Max Rameau - Gimme Shelter: The Housing Crisis

Anatole France, Nobel Prize winner wrote, "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." During the on going Great Recession, millions have lost their homes. Many of those who have ended up homeless, are living, if you can call it that, in the streets. You can see them from Santa Monica to Madison Ave to Vancouver in Canada. In Boulder, where I live, every morning, they emerge from behind bushes and from under bridges. It is shameful giving the level of wealth that so many are without shelter. The U.S. spends billions maintaining military bases all over the world and has 11 aircraft carrier battle groups roaming the seven seas but at home people don't have a roof over their heads.

Max Rameau is a community organizer. He is Executive Director of Movement Catalyst. He helped establish Take Back the Land which organizes resistance to foreclosures and assists families to stay in their homes. He works on a broad range of issues impacting the poor such as housing, immigrant rights, economic justice, and Cop Watch.

(19 Nov) 121101 David Cobb - A Declaration to Amend

Concerned about the influence of money in politics? You should be. Politics looks more and more like an auction with seats going to the candidate who raises the most money. The so-called level playing field is now heavily tilted toward the wealthy. Democracy is fast becoming a cashocracy ruled by plutocrats who control the purse strings. The January 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision–money equals free speech– has opened the proverbial floodgates. The ruling gave a green light to them that's got to give as many greenbacks as they want to buy elections. Corporations and rich fat cats can now give unlimited amounts of money funneled through super PACs to the politician of their choice and much of it is secret. A concerted grassroots effort, Move to Amend, is being made to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.

David Cobb, a lawyer and activist, was the Green Party presidential candidate in 2004. He is a leading voice in the Move to Amend the Constitution to repeal corporate rights.

(12 Nov) 121005 Cornel West - Occupy Democracy

When language has been mutilated and drained of meaning how are we to understand democracy? Its mere invocation by politicians and their media echoers generates a chorus of hosannas. The reality is different. Democracy has been reduced to elections, awash in money, where there are marginal choices. Sometimes the candidates are so bad one can say: Pick your poison: cyanide or arsenic. The Great Recession has shaken things up. From the cradle of democracy: Greece, to the self-proclaimed beacon of it today: the U.S., people are asking fundamental questions. Democracy has been off-stage and in the wings for decades as corporations, enabled by political elites, have amassed unprecedented power. During elections democracy is trotted out to center stage and then disappears behind the curtains again. That could be changing. The Occupy movement is rocking the comfort zone of the 1 percent.

Cornel West, University Professor of Religion at Princeton, has been called "the preeminent African American intellectual of his generation." With his preacher-like cadences and passionate delivery, he is much in demand as a speaker. A prolific author, his book Race Matters was a bestseller. His latest book is Democracy Matters.

(05 Nov) 121004 Chris Williams - Ecology and Socialism

Fifty years ago Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring." It gave birth to the environmental movement. Within a few years there was Earth Day, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Those were heady days but that was then. Today, around the world the threat to our environment is acute and growing. The majority of solutions on offer, from driving a hybrid, to recycling plastic, to using efficient light bulbs, focus on individual lifestyle choices of mostly privileged people. Yet the scale of the crisis requires a far deeper and fundamental transformation. As global warming accelerates, carbon-fueled industrial capitalism is systemically incapable of making the necessary radical changes to protect the planet. Its insatiable appetite for profits precludes it from doing so. It is time to think about a different economic system.

Chris Williams is a longtime environmental activist, professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University, and chair of the science department at Packer Collegiate Institute. He is the author of Ecology and Socialism.

(29 Oct) 121003 Richard Heinburg - The End of Growth

There is almost a mystical belief in growth. Nature's bounty was there to be exploited by man. There is endless palaver about growth as an economic panacea that will cure all ills. Economists have long postulated that growth is normal and natural and could go on forever. But can it? Conventional views of growth are incompatible with the capacity and well being of the planet. The Earth Policy Institute says, we are "on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic decline and collapse. Environmental scientists have been saying for sometime that the global economy is being slowly undermined by the trends of environmental destruction and disruption, including shrinking forests, expanding deserts, falling water tables, eroding soils, collapsing fisheries, rising temperatures, melting ice, rising seas and increasingly destructive storms."

Richard Heinberg, author, journalist and educator, is a leading expert on energy issues. He is Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. He is the author of The Party's Over: Oil, War & the Fate of Industrial Societies, Powerdown: Options & Actions for a Post-Carbon World and Peak Everything.

(22 Oct) 121002 Peter Balakian - Genocide and Modernity

Stalin, once cynically remarked, If you kill one person it is a tragedy, but if you kill a million, it is a statistic. It is difficult to comprehend large-scale horror. The crime of genocide in some ways has defined modern times. With technology, states have become more efficient at mass murder. But the term genocide is sometimes promiscuously used. Take for example the case of Libya. Supposedly its now murdered leader Qaddafi was going to launch a genocidal campaign against his opponents. The media compliantly whipped up fears of wholesale slaughter. The charge had little substance but it was used to justify U.S. and NATO military intervention in that oil-rich country. In other instances, there are deniers of actual genocide, such as Turkey, which continues to deny what it did to its Armenian population.

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

(15 Oct) 121001 Andrew Nikiforuk - Tar Sands: Canada's Mordor

Mordor is the realm of the evil Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien describes it as " barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume". If you look at Canada's Alberta tar sands you might imagine it's something like Mordor. The gigantic effort to extract oil has turned the province into a hydrocarbon kingdom. And it may be one of the most environmentally destructive projects on earth. Tar sands burn more carbon than conventional oil; destroy forests; kill wildlife; poison the water supply and communities downstream; drain the Athabasca, the river that feeds Canada's largest watershed, and contribute to climate change. The Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. has been put on hold because of protests but it is likely to resurface.

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning Canadian journalist. His articles appear in major newspapers and magazines. He is the author of Saboteurs and Empire of the Beetle. His book Tar Sands was honored with the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.

(08 Oct) 120904 Michael Moore - Get up, Stand Up

Bob Marley sang this song:
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight
You can fool some people sometimes
But you couldn't fool all the people all the time
And now you see the light, stand up for your right.
The Occupy movement is the most dynamic and extraordinary political development in decades. It may be the catalyst to effect fundamental change. Inspired by a call in the Canadian magazine "Adbusters," citizens fed up with the abuses of the system went to Wall Street and pitched their tents and unrolled their sleeping bags. That small act proved to be the spark that launched a leaderless movement with people of various political tendencies brought together by anger at the inequities of capitalism and the politicians who sustain it.

Michael Moore is a world famous documentary filmmaker. His Bowling for Columbine won an Academy Award and Farenheit 9/11 won the top prize at Cannes. His films Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story were critically acclaimed hits.

(01 Oct) 120903 William Black - Banks, Fraud and Looting

Bankers brought the world's economy to the brink of collapse and then as the Occupy slogan says, "We got sold out, they got bailed out." In many ways Goldman Sachs, one of the largest and most important investment banks, epitomizes all that is wrong with the economic system. Its CEO modestly announced that they were doing "God's work." There was a big brouhaha when Greg Smith, an executive director at Goldman Sachs, quit the firm with a blistering "New York Times" op-ed. Smith, said it had become "morally bankrupt" and he decried the "toxic and destructive" environment at the bank that put profits ahead of ethics. "It makes me ill," he said, how callously people [at the bank] talk about ripping their clients off. I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as muppets."

William Black is Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and senior deputy chief counsel of the Office of Thrift Supervision. He is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

(24 Sept) 120902 Michael Shuman - Local Dollars, Local Sense

What do you do if you are fortunate enough to have some extra money? Stuff it under your mattress? Invest in Wall Street? Put it in a bank? For various reasons those may not be your best options. The economic crash and the Occupy movement have widened the space for alternatives and new thinking. A once fledging choice, investing locally has greatly expanded and taken root in a variety of places. It makes sense. By making the dollar switch to Main Street there is at least the possibility of creating more vibrant, self-reliant communities. Local investing can be done using a variety of approaches from cooperatives and community ownership to local exchanges. Exploring these options is critical. The big banks and investment firms, where most people have their money, are not overly concerned with building community.

Michael Shuman is the co-director of the Institute for Policy Studies and author of numerous books and articles on the connection between local economies and international affairs.

(17 Sept) 120901 Gar Alparovitz - A New Economic Paradign

When something doesn't work you either get it fixed or replace it. Makes sense right? Take capitalism. It careens from crisis to crisis. It has systemic structural problems. The traditional remedies, such as legislative reform, don't work or if they do they are soon outflanked by power brokers who know how to game the rules. The Great Recession continues. Discontent and anger are growing. The Occupy movement has illuminated how deeply the deck is stacked against the ordinary citizen. It is past time to look at alternatives in how the economy is organized. Fundamental changes are required. It may take a long time but seeds are now being sown. There are bottom-up grassroots efforts quietly going on that suggest a different model. There is an emerging "new economy" which empower communities and workers, not corporations.

Gar Alperovitz is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative. He is the author of numerous books, including Making a Place For Community, and America Beyond Capitalism.

(10 Sept) 080803 Gore Vidal - The Fall of the United States

At the end of WWII, the U.S. emerged as a global power with unprecedented wealth and advantages. Most of that has been squandered. We've gone from number one creditor nation to number one debtor. As its vast military machine straddles the globe, at home, things fall apart. The mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, need a massive taxpayer bailout. Even Thomas Friedman, a champion of U.S. dominance, in the Sept 7, 2008 New York Times mentions the word "decline" and U.S. in the same sentence and points to problems "in infrastructure, basic research and education." Curious that he doesn't mention the huge Pentagon budget, hundreds of bases, and the permanent war economy as factors contributing to the decline. The signs of decay are everywhere but Washington politicians from both parties largely avoid talking about it. Imperial fantasies continue.

Gore Vidal is one of the singular literary figures of this era. A scion of a political family, he grew up in a milieu of power and politics. Winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, he's the author of scores of historical novels, plays, and screenplays. He also has written a number of bestselling non-fiction books including Dreaming War, Imperial America and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. The Washington Post calls him "the master essayist of our age." Gore Vidal died on the 31st July 2012.

(03 Sept) 060803 Gore Vidal - Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

Politicians in Washington of all stripes, whatever the occasion, love to quote the Founding Fathers. But there's one quote you'll never hear. It's from James Madison. He said, "Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Gore Vidal is one of the singular literary figures of this era. A scion of a political family, he grew up in a milieu of power and politics. Winner of the National Book Award, he's the author of scores of historical novels, plays, and screenplays. He also has written a number of bestselling non-fiction books including Dreaming War, Imperial America and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. The Washington Post calls him "the master essayist of our age." Gore Vidal died on the 31st July 2012.

(27 Aug) 120804 Thomas Frank - Ideology Over Reality

Ideology is a set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political and economic system. It can evolve in strange ways to the point where evidence and facts are not only irrelevant but are treated with scorn and derision. In its distorted form, its followers adopt rigid fundamentalist positions. Anyone who challenges the groupthink is a heretic, a non-believer. In the United States for example, the dominant narrative is that its foreign policy is altruistic and based on good intentions. When things go wrong, it's the people we are trying to help, like those ungrateful Afghans, who mess things up. Domestically the so-called free market takes on near theological trappings. Reality is replaced by fantasies. In parts of U.S. political culture one can see these tendencies on display. It's weird and dangerous.

Thomas Frank, founding editor of The Baffler magazine, is a columnist for Harper's. He's the author of One Market Under God, What's the Matter with Kansas?, The Wrecking Crew, and Pity the Billionaire.

(20 Aug) 120803 Maude Barlow - Not a Drop to Drink

Many know Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and its famous "Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink." Perhaps less known is Mark Twain's, "Whiskey's for drinking, water's for fighting." Today, the UN warns, "Too often, where we need water, we find guns. As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie over the horizon." Once empires were fueled by spices, the fur trade, silver, gold, and ivory, and in recent decades it's been all about oil. Now, water is seen by corporations as the next big thing. This precious resource is being rapidly commodified. Instead of being humankind's common heritage and right it's becoming the private property of giant multinational conglomerates. There are no two ways about it. As Auden wrote, "Thousands have lived without love-not one without water."

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy organization, and the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, working internationally for the right to water. She is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize and the Citation for Lifetime Achievement, Canada's highest environmental award. She served as the first Senior Advisor on water issues for the United Nations. She's the author of Blue Gold and Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis.

(13 Aug) 120802 Michael Parenti - The Pathology of Wealth

As the planet moves closer to environmental catastrophe, the captains of industry, the robber barons of the age, could hardly be bothered. They have more important matters to consider. Making money. And they better be on the ball and deliver those dividends because if they don't they will soon be replaced. Profits uber alles is the guiding mantra. Environment. Schvironment. It gets in the way. Sure they'll recycle paper and glass but forget about doing anything substantial. Pursuing new corporate earning opportunities and wealth accumulation are in capitalism's DNA. The owners of the economy, the 1%, are operating from the tar sands in Alberta to fracking in Pennsylvania. They have got their eyes on the only prize that matters to them. The lust for lucre continues unabated.

Michael Parenti is one of this country's foremost independent political analysts. He has taught at major colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few, The Face of Imperialism, and the highly acclaimed The Assassination of Julius Caesar.

(06 Aug) 120801 Richard Wolff - The Tax Code: Class Warfare

People dread taxes. The tax code is a labyrinth few citizens dare to enter save for the rich and powerful who hire lawyers and accountants to figure out ways to game the system. One corporation paid $26,000 a year to maintain a post office box in Bermuda as its legal HQs. That little trick saved them $40 million in corporate taxes. Not bad. Taxes on the wealthy used to be high. During the Eisenhower years in the 1950s, a fairly conservative period which saw tremendous economic growth, the tax rate for the haves was 91%. Today it's a third of that and few actual pay that much. In true Orwellian fashion if you raise these issues you are accused of class warfare. There is class warfare all right. It's been successfully waged by the affluent 1% against everybody else.

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. He is the author of numerous books on economics including Capitalism Hits the Fan.

(30 Jul) 120705 Angana Chatterji - Kashmir: Buried Evidence

Among the many issues plaguing South Asia none is as violent and deeply contested as Kashmir. The major unresolved issue of the disastrous British partition of India in 1947, Kashmir has been the site of wars and the threat of wars, and probably the world's longest and most extensive military occupation. India brooks no international meditation to address the problem. What's the problem? A lot of Kashmiris don't want to be part of India. They didn't in 1947 and they don't, probably in even larger numbers, today. The U.S., champion of human rights elsewhere, is keen to access a major growing market, thus says nothing of what India is doing in Kashmir. Its silence is becoming harder to maintain as now the earth is revealing dark deep secrets of Indian rule in Kashmir. The thousands of dead and missing are making noise.

Angana Chatterji is a convener of the International People's Tribunal on Kashmir. She has taught social and cultural anthropology for many years and has been working with social movements, local communities, and citizens groups in India and internationally. She is the author of Violent Gods and contributor to Kashmir The Case for Freedom.

(23 Jul) 120704 Noam Chomsky - Uncoventional Wisdom (Pt. 2)

Conventional wisdom is a term one often hears. It is the generally accepted belief, opinion, or judgment, about a particular matter. In the U.S., the ruling political class and the media are major propagators of conventional wisdom. For example, when it comes to international law the U.S. exempts itself while holding its enemies to account. Or bombing and invading another country. Washington reserves that right for itself and its allies. It's just a given. There is one set of rules for the master and his close friends and another for everybody else. All of these notions are presupposed and embedded. They are so deeply rooted that they don't even come up for discussion. Whoever breaks from the norm risks ostracism and ridicule. But often it is thinkers outside the box who rock the casbah and make a positive difference.

Noam Chomsky, legendary MIT professor, has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for more than 40 years. Edward Said called him, "one of the most significant challengers of unjust power and delusions; he goes against every assumption about American altruism and humanitarianism." He is the author of scores of books, including Hopes & Prospects and How The World Works.

(16 Jul) 120703 Noam Chomsky - Uncoventional Wisdom (Pt. 1)

Conventional wisdom is a term one often hears. It is the generally accepted belief, opinion, or judgment, about a particular matter. In the U.S., the ruling political class and the media are major propagators of conventional wisdom. For example, when it comes to international law the U.S. exempts itself while holding its enemies to account. Or bombing and invading another country. Washington reserves that right for itself and its allies. It's just a given. There is one set of rules for the master and his close friends and another for everybody else. All of these notions are presupposed and embedded. They are so deeply rooted that they don't even come up for discussion. Whoever breaks from the norm risks ostracism and ridicule. But often it is thinkers outside the box who rock the casbah and make a positive difference.

Noam Chomsky, legendary MIT professor, has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for more than 40 years. Edward Said called him, "one of the most significant challengers of unjust power and delusions; he goes against every assumption about American altruism and humanitarianism." He is the author of scores of books, including Hopes & Prospects and How The World Works.

(09 Jul) 120702 Beena Sarwar - Pakistan: A Journalist's View

For the casual observer of international news Pakistan must be enigmatic, bewildering and scary. It's a "hornet's nest," declares "The Economist." Almost from its inception in 1947 Pakistan has been dominated by the three As: Allah, Army and America. The country of some 200 million people has been ruled either by military dictators or corrupt civilians. Pick your poison. There are coups and rumors of coups. The prime minster may be ousted. The president may face criminal charges. The intelligence agencies wield supernatural powers. And in the shadows are jihadis. Relations between Islamabad and Washington are "badly strained," the "NY Times" reports. No surprises there given the many U.S. drone attacks and invasions culminating in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers. When you are master of the universe and you pay stipends to servants you expect what? Silence and loyalty.

Beena Sarwar is an independent Pakistani journalist and documentary filmmaker. She is the Pakistan editor of Aman ki Asha, a joint initiative of The News in Pakistan and The Times of India. She was a producer for GEO TV, the largest 24/7 news channel in Pakistan.

(02 Jul) 120701 John Bonifaz - Fighting Corporate Personhood

Democracy, rule of the people, is in the ICU. The pulse, of the system of governance, begun in Athens, is fading. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision declaring corporations are people and money is free speech may be the deathblow. But galvanized citizens are saying, Wait a second. The game is not over yet. Activists trying to reverse Citizens United were greatly encouraged by the December 30, 2011 Montana Supreme Court decision to uphold that state's century-old ban on corporate money in elections. The Montana ruling said, "With the infusion of unlimited corporate money in support of or opposition to a targeted candidate, the average citizen candidate would be unable to compete against the corporate-sponsored candidate, and Montana citizens, who for over 100 years have made their modest election contributions meaningfully count would be effectively shut out of the process."

John Bonifaz, recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, is a lawyer and activist. He is co-founder and director of Free Speech For People Free Speech For People, a national nonpartisan campaign working to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and the corporate rights doctrine.

(25 Jun) 120604 Morris Berman - Dark Ages in the U.S.

From the boarded up storefronts to foreclosed homes to the homeless and unemployed, the signs of decay in the U.S. are all too apparent. The political class pretending to care about the 99% have little to offer beyond boilerplate rhetoric. We hear about the virtues of hard work. If only there was work to be had. From the White House to the state house citizens are treated to a smorgasbord of slogans all capped with God Bless America. Abroad, the imperial war machine grinds on. State of the art warships rule the seven seas. An air force, second to none, commands the skies. Meanwhile back in the homeland there are signs the servants are getting increasingly restless. Occupy Wall Street might rock the structures of power sufficiently to generate the radical change so urgently needed.

Morris Berman is a cultural historian and critic. He has taught at universities in North America and Europe. He is an award-winning author. Among his many books are Twlight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, and Why America Failed.

(18 Jun) 120603 Susan Herman - The War on Liberties

Voltaire said, "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." In the decade of fear since 9/11 the government has constructed a vast apparatus of control and surveillance. Your most obvious experience is at the airport but it extends way beyond that. Big Brother is watching. Basic liberties are under attack all in the name of protecting those liberties. National security is ritually invoked to cover a range of violations of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The beacon of freedom descends into a twilight zone of criminality. The state has 16 intelligence agencies with untold billions at their disposal in black budgets, operating in secret, carrying out black operations and following what are called presidential findings. Defending liberties is not what they are about. And they sometimes confuse dissent with disloyalty.

Susan Herman is President of the American Civil Liberties Union. She holds a chair as Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches courses and seminars in Constitutional Law, Terrorism, and Civil Liberties. She is the author of The Sixth Amendment and Taking Liberties.

(11 Jun May) 120602 Richard Wolff - Occupy Wall Street & the Economic Crisis

By any standard, 2011 was a historic year of protest and revolution. In Tunisia and Egypt seemingly invulnerable regimes were toppled. In Wisconsin, citizens outraged over attacks on public workers, stayed at the state capitol building and camped and marched in the freezing cold. In August, more than 1,000 demonstrators were arrested protesting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, in the largest act of civil disobedience in decades. As a result of popular pressure, the project has been put on hold. Then, on September 17, in the heart of economic power, the Occupy Wall Street movement was born. Since then, it has spread and taken different shapes and forms. OWS has changed our vocabulary. 1% and 99% have entered the conversation and the focus is on the deep political, economic and social inequality in the U.S. and around the world.

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. He is the author of numerous books on economics including Capitalism Hits the Fan.

(04 Jun) 120601 SMohamad Junaid - Inside Kashmir

Kashmir, renowned for its incredible beauty, is the site of a decades long military occupation mostly hidden from worldview. Adjectives like "intractable" and "protracted" often precede Kashmir. What do the Kashmiri people want? The answer usually is "Azaadi. Freedom. Angana Chatterji, the noted scholar, in her essay "Kashmir: A Time for Freedom," writes, "Freedom" represents many things across India-ruled Kashmir. These divergent meanings are united in that freedom always signifies an end to India's authoritarian governance. In the administration of brutality, India, the postcolony, has proven itself coequal to its former colonial masters. Kashmir is not about "Kashmir." Governing Kashmir is about India's coming of age as a power, its ability to disburse violence, to manipulate and dominate. Kashmir is about nostalgia, about resources, and buffer zones. The possession of Kashmir by India renders an imaginary past real."

Mohamad Junaid grew up in Kashmir in the 1990s and witnessed the rise of resistance against Indian rule. He has written on Kashmir in various newspapers and magazines and is a contributor to the book Until My Freedom Has Come. He is a graduate student in anthropology at the City University of New York and he teaches at Lehman College.

(28 May) 120504 Stephen Bezruchka - Toward a Healthy Society

It's no secret. The poor get the short end of the stick in multiple ways. They live shorter lives and suffer from almost every social problem from lack of decent housing to lousy food to no healthcare to being isolated and reviled. Poverty results in toxic levels of stress. Among the countries in the world, the U.S. ranks in the "top" five in measurable stress, according to an ongoing Gallup survey. Consumerism and the so-called good life are elevated to an almost idyllic plain. But selfish me tooism lead a lot of people to an emotional dead end. It's time to move beyond vacuous slogans such as Looking Out for Number One. Cooperation and collaboration are salubrious. Why does it make good medical as well as moral sense to have a healthy society?

Stephen Bezruchka is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. His particular areas of research are population health and societal hierarchy. He has spent over 10 years in Nepal working in various health programs, and teaching in remote regions. He is author of numerous articles and essays. He is a contributor to Sickness and Wealth, a book on the effects of global corporatization on health.

(21 May) 120503 Joel Salatin - Local Food

The ominous subtitle of Eric Schlosser's bestselling "Fast Food Nation" is "The Dark Side of the American Meal." There is one food poisoning and contamination scare after another from beef to spinach to peanut butter to ground turkey. The latest is cantaloupes. You know the line, "It must have been something I ate." Indeed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that food safety problems now account for roughly 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths annually. The growth of local food, community gardens, closer to home food networks, community supported agriculture subscriptions, and farmers' markets are increasingly popular alternatives to industrialized agriculture. At the same time the economic crisis limits choices for manyfamilies. The healthiest foods can be costly. How can we create a sustainable and affordable food system?

Joel Salatin is a pioneer of chemical-free farming and an advocate of local food. He runs the Polyface Farm in Virginia. He is featured in the bestseller Omnivore's Dilemma and the Oscar-nominated documentary, Food Inc., as well as Fresh: The Movie.

(14 May) 120502 Paul Cienfuegos - We the People

Corporate rights are at the core of almost every environmental and social justice problem that we face. Corporate power grew immensely toward the end of the 19th century with the dismantling of legal restraints and the redefinition of corporations as persons with free speech rights. Today, the level of corporate power over the political system and the economy is unprecedented. And it shows no signs of lessening. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling made a bad situation worse. It allows for unlimited penetration of corporate money into politics. What does it mean for the workings of a self-styled democracy to have corporations calling the shots in Washington and the state houses? We the people are on the short end of the stick. How can citizens change this unfair and unequal situation?

Paul Cienfuegos is a community organizer and activist. He co-founded Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County in Northern California, an organization which works to dismantle corporate rule. He lectures and leads workshops on this topic.

(07 May) Harry Edwards - The Fire This Time

"People are practical." Howard Zinn said. "They want change but feel powerless, alone. They do not want to be the blade of grass that sticks up above the others and is cut down. They wait for a sign from someone else who will make that first move. And at certain times in history there are certain intrepid people who take the risk that if they make that first move others will follow quickly enough to prevent their being cut down. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Harry Edwards is a leading authority on the sociology of sports and the intersection of race and class. He helped orchestrate one of the most iconic moments of the Civil Right Movement at the 1968 Olympics when gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute. For three decades he taught at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served as a consultant to the  San Francisco 49ers football team and to the Golden State Warriors basketball team. He is the author of Sociology of Sports, Black Students, and The Revolt of the Black Athlete

(30 Apr) 120405 Himanshu Kumar - Gandhian Activism

The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi continues in various ways in India. Gandhi had his flaws but as George Orwell wrote: "compared with the other leading political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind." There are multiple struggles for justice and dignity going on all over India. A particularly important one is in Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh, which means 36 forts in Hindi, is a relatively new state. It was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000. It is rich in resources. Corporations have, with government collusion, been coming in, taking land, and displacing the mostly Adivasi, indigenous people. An armed resistance, alternately called Maoist and Naxalite, to rapacious state and corporate power has arisen. Is there a role for Gandhian activism?

Himanshu Kumar is a staunch proponent and practitioner of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy and techniques of non-violence and civil disobedience. He worked for almost two decades serving the poor in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh until he was driven out in 2009. He continues to publicize the situation in Chhattisgarh. 

(23 Apr) 120404 Robert McChesney - The Future of Journalism & Democracy

Remember that old song "Love and Marriage?" "Goes together like a horse and carriage. You can't have one without the other." It's kind of that way with journalism and democracy. It's long been axiomatic that a feisty and vibrant press is essential to the healthy functioning of democracy. Journalists are the public's eyes and ears as they monitor the activities of the powerful. Their inquiries, investigations and reporting are vital to what the Founders of the country called an informed citizenry. Jefferson and Madison never thought freedom of the press would be the private preserve of a handful of rich media barons such as Rupert Murdoch. The weakening of watchdog journalism is having negative effects on democracy. What can be done to revitalize the Fourth Estate?

Robert McChesney is co-founder of the Free Press, a non-profit organization working to increase public participation in media policy debates. He is professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Author of numerous books including Rich Media, Poor Democracy and The Problem of the Media, his latest is The Political Economy of the Media.

(16 Apr) 120402 - Tariq Ali - World in Crisis (Pt. )

On December 17, 2010 Muhammad Bouazizi, a street vendor in a small town in Tunisia, burned himself to death. He was protesting harassment and mistreatment by state authorities. His death fueled a revolt in Tunisia which toppled the Ben Ali dictatorship. The spark spread to Egypt and within weeks the decades old Mubarak regime was overthrown. The so-called Arab Spring rocked the entrenched old order. Those revolutionary currents have stirred the waters elsewhere. The economic collapse is shaking things up in the U.S. Witness the Occupy Wall Street movement. Americans, fed up and struggling to make ends meet, watch their military bomb and occupy countries from Pakistan to Yemen, are taking to the streets. Citizens are challenging and questioning the status quo. Are we on the edge of genuine change in the structure of power and privilege?

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.

(09 Apr) 120402 - Tariq Ali - World in Crisis (Pt. 1)

On December 17, 2010 Muhammad Bouazizi, a street vendor in a small town in Tunisia, burned himself to death. He was protesting harassment and mistreatment by state authorities. His death fueled a revolt in Tunisia which toppled the Ben Ali dictatorship. The spark spread to Egypt and within weeks the decades old Mubarak regime was overthrown. The so-called Arab Spring rocked the entrenched old order. Those revolutionary currents have stirred the waters elsewhere. The economic collapse is shaking things up in the U.S. Witness the Occupy Wall Street movement. Americans, fed up and struggling to make ends meet, watch their military bomb and occupy countries from Pakistan to Yemen, are taking to the streets. Citizens are challenging and questioning the status quo. Are we on the edge of genuine change in the structure of power and privilege?

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.

(02 Apr) 120401 Chris Hedges - Inverted Totalitarianism

The wedding of state and corporate power is at unprecedented levels. The implications for democracy are ominous. Elections are formalities, often more like auctions to be sold to the highest bidder. There is no proportional representation. In a winner take all system the Dems and Repubs got the game all sewed up. And their sponsors the banks are not only too big to fail they are too big to jail. Meanwhile, the ranks of the out of work and out of house and home continue to swell. Basic freedoms of free speech, right of assembly and the right to privacy are being eroded in the name of protecting them. People are saying enough to inverted totalitarianism. The Occupy movement is a popular citizen response to grievances and inequities not being addressed and a universal feeling the system is rigged to favor the rich.

Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.org and is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of American Fascists, Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World As It Is.

(26 Mar) 120304 Richard Wolff - Capitalism Hits the Fan

Like that well known substance, Capitalism has hit the fan. The statistics are numbing and do not convey the suffering and trauma citizens are enduring. Gone up in smoke are their savings, pensions, homes and jobs. Poverty is at record levels. For too many, dreams and hopes are shattered. And like the Howard Beale character in the movie "Network," people are yelling, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore." Occupy Wall Street has gone global. People are in the streets pushing back and saying, Enough. "We are the 99%." There is widespread recognition that the economic crash is not just the result of greed and arrogance and lax regulation. There are deeper structural problems with a system that always prioritizes profits over people. The question is what should replace it?

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. He is the author of numerous books on economics including Capitalism Hits the Fan.

(19 Mar) 120303 David Korten - Wall Street or the Common Good

The Occupy Wall Street movement is growing. Mumia Abu-Jamal from his jail cell writes: "In Lower Manhattan's Zucotti Park, renamed 'Liberty Square' by the demonstrators, the cast of thousands swell in rebellion against the betrayals by the banks, Wall Street's relentless greed, the plague of joblessness and the craven servility of the political class, both Republicans and Democrats, to their moneyed masters. In short, the central focus of their protest is capitalism, greed writ large. Begun mostly by unemployed urban youth, it has drawn the presence and support of public workers, students, teachers and a considerable number of gray hairs. That's because social discontent is so widespread that it is spreading like wildfire. From Wall Street to Denver, Los Angeles, and beyond. Demonstrations are springing up like mushrooms after a storm, in protest to crony capitalism."

David Korten was an insider in the development establishment for several decades. He worked for the Ford Foundation and USAID and taught at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business. Having severed his ties to the past, today he is a leading voice for economic and social justice. He is co-founder and board chair of YES! magazine. He is the author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning. His latest book is Agenda for a New Economy.

(12 Mar) 120302 Arundhati Roy - With the Mayoists in India

While China uses Chairman Mao as a figurehead it has embraced a kind of capitalism. But Maoists in India? Yes. Not only there but also in neighboring Nepal where they overthrew the age-old monarchy. But the Maoists main stage is in India. A cascade of grievances has produced various revolts across the country. One of the largest is in central India straddling several states but centered in Chhattisgarh. It is Maoist. That term is used as well as Naxalite. What do they want? They declare their aim is "to build a truly democratic society built on justice, equality, free from the chains of imperialism and semi-feudal bondage." And to achieve that through "guerilla war." Will capitalism in India or anywhere else for that matter, tolerate societies living outside its control?

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, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, and Walking with the Comrades.

(05 Mar) 120301 Jodie Evans - Disturbing Power the CODEPINK Way

Rocking the boat is never an easy task but you can accomplish meaningful things and have some fun along the way. Playing ball with the rich and powerful of course has its rewards. You're in the golden rolodex. You get invited to all the right parties. People nod at you when you enter a room. Your name gives you entrée to inner circles. In politics the president or the secretary of state may even smile at you and call you by your given name. But all of that adds up to what exactly? Not much. That kind of fame is fleeting. Better to shake things up and fight for human rights and justice. Even if you don't succeed every time you can look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

Jodie Evans is a veteran activist with 30 years experience in organizing for social change. She co-founded Code Pink with the well-known human rights activist Medea Benjamin. They've also edited the recent book Stop The Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism.

(26 Feb) 120204 Richard Wolff - Systemic Crisis of Capitalism

Today's economic crisis is the most severe since the Great Depression. What are its root causes? The conventional explanations put the blame on greedy bankers who pawned off credit default swaps, sub-prime mortgages, and a smorgasbord of derivatives, on a hapless and helpless public. To make matters worse there was little or no regulation. So if we tinker with some reform measures, pass some legislation, a tax cut here, a little stimulus package there and everything will be hunky-dory. Will it? The seismic failures and problems plaguing Capitalism are systemic and deep. Many people are in dire straits. But not the upper crust. They are riding the gravy train to more riches. Fundamental change is necessary to avoid future collapses. It's long past time to examine Capitalism itself. 

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. He is the author of numerous books on economics including Capitalism Hits the Fan.  

(19 Feb) 120203 Noam Chomsky - unpeople: Where do they Come From?

Since the creation of the Israeli state the original occupants of that land have become known as "un-people". Palestinians are only given limited recognition within the state of Israel and that is for the lucky ones. For the rest, particularly those in the apartheid enclaves of Gaza and the West Bank, the term "un-people" is most apt. Receiving no worthwhile support from the international community while its controllers in Israel enjoy billions of dollars in foreign aid, Gaza and West Bank residents remain the poorest and most pitiful in the Middle East. Palestinian status as "un-people" is reinforced in the Western media. Try and find out about the fate of the Muamar brothers and you will find no trace. They have indeed become "un-people".

According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is "arguably the most important intellectual alive." He has authored over 150 books and is the eighth most cited source of all time, and is considered the "most cited living author". His most recent books include American Power and the New Mandarins, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians and How the World Works with Alternative Radio's David Barsamian. He delivered the 7th Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide in November 2011 at an event hosted by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association.

(12 Feb) 120202 Noam Chomksy - Changing Contours of Global Order

Order implies some form of organisation. Some type of arrangement. The US has often been described as the enforcer of the global order. However, the role of the US in global affairs is declining. Old hands still want to steer the course for the good ship 'Manifest Destiny'. Unfortunately for them, the fog of a new world order has confused and confounded them. No longer the powerhouse it once was, US businesses and governments have outsourced, downsized and sold off just about everything. The unintended consequence of this decades old trend has been to see the balance of power and capital move to the East. India and China have extended and are extending their reach into regions the US once controlled. A new politic is rising in the Middle East. The new global order has moved beyond imperial ambitions and sees new ways of doing business and politics. Can the US adapt? If not, it will shrink to the sidelines, isolated and alone as it was not much more than 100 years ago.

According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is "arguably the most important intellectual alive." He has authored over 150 books and is the eighth most cited source of all time, and is considered the "most cited living author". His most recent books include American Power and the New Mandarins, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians and How the World Works with Alternative Radio's David Barsamian.

(05 Feb) 120201 Noam Chomsky - Revolutionary Pacifism: Choices and Prospects

Pacifist, activist and civil rights campaigner A.J. Muste, argued that "one must be a revolutionary before one can be a pacifist". He pointed out that we must cease to "acquiesce [so] easily in evil conditions," and must deal "honestly and adequately with this ninety percent of our problem … the violence on which the present system is based, and all the evil – material and spiritual – this entails for the masses of men throughout the world." Unless we do so, he argued, "there is something ludicrous, and perhaps hypocritical, about our concern over the ten per cent of the violence employed by the rebels against oppression".

According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is "arguably the most important intellectual alive." He has authored over 150 books and is the eighth most cited source of all time, and is considered the "most cited living author". His most recent books include American Power and the New Mandarins, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians and How the World Works with Alternative Radio's David Barsamian. In 2011 Professor Chomsky was awarded the City of Sydney Peace Prize. On November 4th 2011 he delivered the City of Sydney Peace Prize lecture at the Sydney Opera House.

(30 Jan) 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.

(23 Jan) 110703 Helen Caldicott - Hiroshima to Fukushima

The disaster at Fukushima has thrust the dangers of nuclear power back in people's consciousness. The idea of an industry renaaissance had been carefully orchestrated by corporations that stand to make tons of money. Politicians, ever mindful of who funds their campaigns, have gone along. It was hailed as a clean and safe solution to addressing climate change and energy issues. An irony of the still unfolding tragedy is that it occurred in Japan, the only country to be attacked by nuclear weapons. The fallout from the fallout has spread around the world. Germany is planning to phase out nuclear power. What would happen if a tornado or some other extreme weather phenomenon hits a reactor? The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has found serious problems with some emergency equipment that would have made it unusable in an accident.

Helen Caldicott, an Australian-born pediatrician, is a world-renowned environmental activist. She was the founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the author of Missile Envy, If You Love This Planet, and Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.

(16 Jan) 110603 Vandana Shiva - War on the Earth

The predatory practices of corporations are increasingly turning our fragile garden into a junkyard. Citizens are told by their political masters and the corporados who pay them that there is no alternative. That's true if one's only concern is profits. That approach is fast turning our planet into a toxic waste dump. The landscape of environmental devastation extends from radiation leaks in Japan to drilling in the Alberta tar sands to hydofracking in Pennsylvania and New York to leveling mountains in West Virginia to more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. However in India, the site of some of the worst corporate abuses, there is tremendous popular resistance. Some of the poorest people anywhere are saying, Stop the plunder. No to the war on earth.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She's a physicist, scholar, social 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 and the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of many books, including Water Wars, Earth Democracy, and Soil Not Oil.

(09 Jan) 110602 Kathy Christison - Settlements: Obstacles to Peace

There are some 500,000 Israelis living in settlements on what is almost universally regarded as Palestinian land . The first houses went up in the late 1960s and have continued under both Labor and Likud governments. They are the "facts on the ground" Israeli leaders said they wanted to create. There are freezes, partial freezes, and temporary halts in construction. But the trend in more and more building continues. The stalled peace process goes off track. Road maps are redrawn. The Obama administration vetoes UN resolutions condemning Israeli policy. Benjamin Netanyahu once proclaimed, "Semantics don't matter." You can call a Palestinian state "fried chicken." Land for a Palestinian state has been cut into unconnected bits and pieces without much water. Many people say the settlements pose a serious obstacle to peace and a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kathy Christison worked for the CIA as a political analyst, dealing first with Vietnam and then with the Middle East. Since leaving the CIA, she writes and lectures. She is a regular contributor to CounterPunch. She is the author of The Wound of Dispossession, Perceptions of Palestine, and co-author of Palestine in Pieces.

(26 Dec) 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

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