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Program Archives - 2016

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(02 Jan) 160503 Vandana Shiva - We Are All Seeds

Seeds, those little things we kind of take for granted, are the essence of life. Increasingly, corporations have taken over agriculture and in their insatiable quest for profits have injected GMOs, genetically modified organisms, into the food chain. As the joke goes, GMO stands for "God Move Over." The four largest GMO crops, corn, soy, sugar beets and canola constitute 70 percent of all products on the store shelves. Should the government require mandatory labeling on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients? A lot of people think so. Large agribusiness and biotech companies have spent hundreds of millions fighting labeling. With control of seeds through patents and so-called intellectual property rights in the hands of a few corporations, biodiversity disappears, and is replaced by GMO monocultures. Seeds in traditional cultures were regarded as sacred. It's time we stopped soiling the soil.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She's a physicist, scholar and social activist. She is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi.

(26 Dec) 160704 Naomi Klein - The Radical Leap

Political organizers are aware of "wedge issues" that divide us and "web issues" that bring us together. What could be more unifying than saving the planet? The Earth is heating up. Polar ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. April was the 12th consecutive hottest month on record. The December 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, doesn't rise to the challenge. Clearly, it is going to take mobilization from below to radically change the fossilized attitudes of the fossil fuel industry and the politicians that they bankroll. Broad coalitions of diverse groups seek to do just that. Climate activism engages a new intersectional politics. From Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama, workers and trade unionists, indigenous peoples, and many others are speaking with one voice on the issue like never before.

Naomi Klein of Canada, an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker, is in the forefront of environmental activism. Her articles appear in major newspapers and magazines all over the world. She is the author of the bestseller This Changes Everything.

(19 Dec) 160202 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - The Other Side of Thanksgiving

The historical lens through which national holidays are viewed is often blurred and distorted. Thanksgiving is a case in point. The much-revered Pilgrims fresh off the Mayflower sat down and shared native foods with the friendly Wampanoags.  A heart-warming story. But this idea of the gift-giving Indian, helping to establish and enrich what would become the United States, is a myth. Native Americans would soon be overwhelmed and killed en masse by white settlers. Those that survived the murderous campaigns against them were relegated to inhospitable reservations. Indian land was stolen fair and square. Today we honor the memory of the slaughtered with Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, Jeep Cherokees, the Washington Redskins and calling bin Laden, Geronimo.  Native Americans are offended by the appropriation of their culture. It is the final stage of genocide.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is the author of the 2015 American Book Award-winning An Indigenous People's History of the United States. Her expertise in Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies, the Sioux Nation and other indigenous peoples of the Americas is recognized around the world.

(12 Dec) 160404 Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor - Black Lives Matter

The Black Panther Party was founded fifty years ago. It did much to raise consciousness and pride among African-Americans. It was seen as a threat by the establishment and was thus targeted by Hoover's FBI in a campaign of infiltration, destabilization and assassination. Today a new generation of activists has arisen in the aftermath of a series of outrageous killings of African-Americans by police. The Black Lives Matter movement has reawakened attention to the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and unemployment. Who can forget Eric Garner's plea of "I can't breathe" before he was choked to death on a Staten Island street? It symbolizes the plight of many blacks trying to survive in crushing poverty. The Black Lives Matter movement holds the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation.

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.

(05 Dec) 160402 Camara Phyllis Jones - Racism and Health

For more than a year the public was complaining about the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. The water was so pungent and foamy that one priest had stopped using it for baptisms. The state's Department of Environmental Quality, confidently announced, "Anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax." Flint is a majority African-American city. In nearby Detroit, 85% black, schools are heavily infested with rats, roaches and mold. Might those conditions affect the health of an overwhelmingly black student population? In Baltimore, another largely black city, the levels of lead poisoning among children is three times the national rate. Racism is a big part of the social determinants of health. It's past time we acknowledge that and do something about it.

Camara Phyllis Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impact of racism on health. She served as president of the American Public Health Association. She has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health and has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is Senior Fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

(21 Nov) 160903 Chris Williams - Eco-Socialism

Floods, fires, droughts, and rising temperatures are all on the increase in frequency and intensity. The terms unprecedented and record breaking are now so often used that they are becoming routine. Climate change is generating climate refugees from island nations in the South Pacific to small coastal communities in Alaska and Louisiana. They won't be the last places to go under water. Elizabeth Kolbert, the Pulitzer-prize winning New Yorker writer says large parts of Miami are in danger of being submerged. As many as 200 million people could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change. And watch out for the heat. The Middle East has had recent scorchers of 129 Fahrenheit, that is 54 Centigrade. And India and Pakistan were almost just as hot. Our planet is in distress. Can Eco-Socialism provide a sustainable way out of our collective quandary?

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.

(14 Nov) 160902 David Daley - Gerrymandering: Tilting Elections

Gerrymandering. The word was coined after the redrawing of election districts by Governor Gerry in Massachusetts in 1812. He signed a bill that benefited his party. One of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander. How does this notorious political practice work? Two of the most common gerrymandering techniques are called packing and cracking. In the former, the party in charge of redistricting tries to pack voters from the rival party into as few districts as possible, to minimize the number of seats the opposition is likely to win. In the second, blocs of opposition voters are meted out among several districts, to achieve the same goal. Gerrymandering occurs in countries where elected politicians are responsible for defining constituency boundaries and by doing so tilt elections. To prevent gerrymandering some primitive countries, such as Canada and Australia authorize non-partisan organizations to determine how districts are configured.

David Daley is the editor in chief of "Salon" and the Digital Media Fellow for the Wilson Center for Humanities and the Arts and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. He is the author of "Ratfucked".

(07 Nov) 160901 Noam Chomsky - Elections and Voting

What's your favourite flavour? Trump? Hillary? Maybe Jill Stein or Gary Johnson? Or maybe you were one of the 13 million Bernie Sanders voters? A lot of people invest heavily in emotional terms in elections. Hopes are raised to the skies, then there are disappointing defeats or if your candidate wins and assumes office disillusionment sets in. And you say, Oh, man, how could I have been so wrong? Know the feeling? Maybe that emotional investment is misplaced. Often real change comes not from elected officials but from activists and movements that pressure elected officials. Some of the great social and political advancements have come far removed from the ballot box. Think of Mahatma Gandhi. Think of the suffrage movement and the handful of women who began it in Seneca Falls, NY or Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor 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. Chris Hedges says he is "America's greatest intellectual" who "makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable." At 87, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda and the Public Mind, How the World Works, and Power Systems with David Barsamian.

(31 Oct) 130603 Chris Hedges - Corporate Coup d'Etat

Corporations constitute the most powerful force in society. Their influence has seeped into our classrooms, our newsrooms, our entertainment systems, our consciousness and crucially into our politics. Big money buys access to lawmakers. For sheer arrogance perhaps Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment giant, takes the cake. Its CEO Lloyd Blankfein, blithely advises citizens they will have to "lower" their "expectations" when it comes to Social Security which he calls an "entitlement." Goldman Sachs, made $5.6 billion in profits last year yet it secured tax breaks for its fancy new HQs in New York as well as tax-free bonuses for its top executives. Corporations reign supreme while most people are simply caught in the rain and are getting soaked. Because of the fiscal cliff deal the average worker this year will take home about a thousand dollars less.

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 War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, American Fascists, Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, The World As It Is, and with Joe Sacco, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.

(24 Oct) 160804 Ari Rabin-Havt - Liars, Lying and Politics

Olympic athletes to corporate executives at Volkswagen tell lies. Remember Tony Montana, the mobster in Scarface played by Al Pacino, when he said, "I always tell the truth, even when I lie." The trick is to be convincing, have oodles of guile and be a smooth talker. In politics lying is an art form. There's the joke about, How can you tell when a politician's lying? Whenever you see his or her lips moving. When they are caught in a lie the PR damage control gurus rush in and coat the mendacity in, Well, it was taken out of context or the ever popular he or she misspoke. Lying in politics is strictly non-partisan. Eisenhower about the U.S. coup in Iran, Kennedy about Cuba. Johnson about Vietnam, Nixon on just about everything, Clinton. You get the picture. The list goes on and on.

Ari Rabin-Havt is host of The Agenda, a national radio show on SiriusXM. His articles appear in USA Today, The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, and The American Prospect. He co-authored The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine and Lies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics.

(17 Oct) 160803 Ralph Nader - Progressive Matters (Pt. 2)

The discontent in the U.S. is more than palpable. Income and wealth inequality continue to soar. The middle class is getting hammered. Fifty million are poor. Americans are disheartened about the nation's course. According to a new Gallup poll 82% of voters believe the country is on the wrong track. Another poll from the Associated Press says one in four registered voters have hardly any confidence their vote will be counted. Both major presidential candidates have very high negatives. Many people are fed up with the choices the two major parties dish up. In the wake of the Bernie Sanders campaign and the spark it generated, there seems to be an opportunity for progressives to advance their ideas.

Ralph Nader has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. He has run for president four times. Life magazine ranks him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Founder of Public Citizen, he is a long-time advocate for consumer safety and workers' rights. He rose to fame in the 1960s when he took on General Motors and its unsafe Corvair car. His book Unsafe at Any Speed not only created a sensation but was instrumental in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His efforts helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. He has exposed the misdeeds of the corporate sector as well as of the political system. In recent years he has been in the forefront of the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare and single payer health care.

(10 Oct) 160802 Ralph Nader - Progressive Matters (Pt. 1)

The discontent in the U.S. is more than palpable. Income and wealth inequality continue to soar. The middle class is getting hammered. Fifty million are poor. Americans are disheartened about the nation's course. According to a new Gallup poll 82% of voters believe the country is on the wrong track. Another poll from the Associated Press says one in four registered voters have hardly any confidence their vote will be counted. Both major presidential candidates have very high negatives. Many people are fed up with the choices the two major parties dish up. In the wake of the Bernie Sanders campaign and the spark it generated, there seems to be an opportunity for progressives to advance their ideas.

Ralph Nader has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. He has run for president four times. Life magazine ranks him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Founder of Public Citizen, he is a long-time advocate for consumer safety and workers' rights. He rose to fame in the 1960s when he took on General Motors and its unsafe Corvair car. His book Unsafe at Any Speed not only created a sensation but was instrumental in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His efforts helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. He has exposed the misdeeds of the corporate sector as well as of the political system. In recent years he has been in the forefront of the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare and single payer health care.

(03 Oct) 160801 Peter Neill - Water is Life

In Cochabamba, Bolivia people rose up against the privatization of water. They marched and chanted El Agua es Vida, Water is Life. They drove Bechtel, the U.S. corporate behemoth out of Cochabama. How important is clean water? Just ask the residents of Flint, Michigan. Water is a huge issue. We expect it to flow when we open the faucet. Long showers, green lawns and swimming pools are considered almost a birthright. But with hotter global temperatures more and more parts of the world are water stressed. One of the triggers of the uprising in Syria was a prolonged drought. Israel has been using the aquifer in the occupied West Bank leaving Palestinians with very little thus exacerbating tensions and conflict. In Bangladesh, desperate people have dug so deep for water that it is contaminated with arsenic resulting in the largest mass poisoning in history.

Peter Neill is the Director of the World Ocean Observatory. He served as president of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York for twenty years. He edited the literary anthology American Sea Writing. He is the author of The Once and Future Ocean: Notes Toward a New Hydraulic Society.

(26 Sept) 160704 Naomi Klein - The Radical Leap

Political organizers are aware of "wedge issues" that divide us and "web issues" that bring us together. What could be more unifying than saving the planet? The Earth is heating up. Polar ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. April was the 12th consecutive hottest month on record. The December 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, doesn't rise to the challenge. Clearly, it is going to take mobilization from below to radically change the fossilized attitudes of the fossil fuel industry and the politicians that they bankroll. Broad coalitions of diverse groups seek to do just that. Climate activism engages a new intersectional politics. From Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama, workers and trade unionists, indigenous peoples, and many others are speaking with one voice on the issue like never before.

Naomi Klein of Canada, an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker, is in the forefront of environmental activism. Her articles appear in major newspapers and magazines all over the world. She is the author of the bestseller "This Changes Everything".

(19 Sept) 160703 Cornel West - On the Road to Freedom

Juneteenth is the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. June 19th is recognized as African American Emancipation Day or Freedom Day. It marks the day in 1865 when the people of Texas were informed that, in accordance with a presidential proclamation, all slaves were free. It says: "This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor." A century and a half later, African-Americans remain at the bottom of almost every social index from infant mortality and homelessness to unemployment and poverty. The road to freedom is a long one and yes there have been some steps forward but this is no time for victory laps. There is too much work to be done.

Cornel West has taught at Princeton, Harvard, Yale and the University of Paris. He is now teaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He 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. Among his many books are "Race Matters", "The Rich and the Rest of Us" and "Black Prophetic Fire".

(12 Sept) 160702 Stephen Bezruchka - In Sickness and in Wealth

Income and wealth inequalities have huge health impacts. What are the health advantages of being rich as compared to being poor? You'll live longer and your quality of life will be better. With deep pockets you get lots of vacation time, live in capacious apartments or houses, you have nannies to take care of the kids, cooks and house cleaners. And you eat well. Organic arugula, shitake mushrooms, fresh-squeezed carrot juice. You have access to the best medical care money can buy. You get annual checkups. Whereas if you are indigent you wait and wait and hope the lump on your breast will disappear and the pain in your tooth will just go away. Being well off frees you from the mental stress of worrying about where your next meal is coming from and where you will sleep tonight

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.

(05 Sept) 160701 Nader Hashemi - The Broken Politics of the Middle East

From Yemen to Iraq and from Libya to Syria, the Middle East is drenched in chaos and violence. The bright promises of the Arab Spring uprisings have disappeared into a dark winter. Egypt, where a popular revolt overthrew Mubarak, is once again under the thumb of a military dictator with, are you sitting down, support from Washington. In pursuit of what is called moderation and stability the U.S. has backed a string of tyrants in the region. Democratic institutions were never encouraged beyond the rhetoric of press releases. The fundamental basis of the relationship between the U.S. and most Arab countries? Obey orders and keep the oil flowing. Corruption, autocratic rule, unemployment, poverty and extreme inequality are the norm in most of the Middle East. In this landscape, the appeal of messianic groups like ISIS strikes a chord.

Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and teaches Middle East and Islamic politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His articles appear in leading newspapers, journals and magazines. He is the author of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy and co-editor of The Syria Dilemma.

(29 Aug) 040101 Andrew Wilkie - Iraq: Truth and its Casualties

Samuel Johnson, writing in The Idler in 1758, observes that, "Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages." In 1918, US Senator Hiram Johnson paraphrased this by stating, in opposition to the US becoming involved in the War in Europe, "The first casualty when war comes is truth." The year 2003 will be remembered as a turning point in International Relations and the use of falsehoods, lies and deception as the ruling regimes in the United States, England and Australia systematically twisted or ignored the truth in their quest for their illegal, imperial war in Iraq. Within the organisations that governments were relying on for intelligence and support, unease was growing as their political masters played fast and loose with the 'truth'. By the 11th March 2003, Andrew Wilkie, who worked in the Office of National Assessments (the ONA) had had enough. He resigned and went public to announce his disgust at the way his government was ignoring the evidence and advice his agency had given them against going to war.

Andrew Wilkie graduated from Duntroon Military Academy and spent almost 20 years in the Infantry, rising through the ranks to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before taking up a position at the ONA as a civilian. Since resigning from the ONA in March 2003 Andrew Wilkie has been travelling non-stop speaking at parliamentary inquiries here and overseas, addressing public events and appearing on radio and TV. He has attempted to lift the veil on the events leading up to the war on Iraq and he is able to provide a first hand account of the pressure the intelligence community was under to deliver only advice that suited the government's position. He is also able to talk of the personal cost of being an insider who speaks the truth and challenges the orthodox line. Andrew Wilkie Spoke at the Macquarie University's Centre for Middle Eastern Studies in Sydney in November 2003.

(22 Aug) 030404 Stephen Zunes - The Case Against War With Iraq

Addressing troops at Ft. Hood, Texas, President Bush warned, "The Iraqi regime is a grave threat to the United States." The drums of war are beating loudly for an attack on Iraq. The reserves have been called up. Carrier battle groups are in place. The US is anticipating an 18-month occupation that will involve "a heavy American military presence and a quick takeover of Iraqi oil fields." Beyond the rhetoric and gunship diplomacy, Bush has not made the case that a major invasion of Iraq is necessary. Historian and longtime peace activist Howard Zinn says, "A war against Iraq has no logical connection to the tragic events of 9/11. We have a right to wonder if the motive for war is not stopping terrorism but expanding US power and controlling Mideast oil."

Stephen Zunes is a specialist on the Middle East. His articles appear in leading journals and magazines. He teaches at the University of San Francisco and is director of its Peace and Justice Studies Program. He also chairs the Middle East Task Force for the interfaith Fellowship of Reconciliation.

(15 Aug) 030704 Rania Masri - Iraq War and Occupation: Consequences for the Middle East

The US invasion and occupation of Iraq will have a profound impact on all Middle Eastern countries. Bush wants to install democracy in Iraq. It's a new version of the old domino theory, that democracy will somehow replicate itself among the sheiks, amirs, and despots of the region. The introduction of a huge US military presence in Iraq will further destabilise an already volatile landscape.

Rania Masri is a human rights advocate and environmental scientist. She is the coordinator of the Iraq Action Coalition and served as the Arab Women's Solidarity Association's representative to the United Nations. She is currently the director of the Southern Peace Research and Education Center at the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, North Carolina.

(08 Aug) 040403 Scott Ritter - Why are we in Iraq?

The US attack on Iraq is a defining event of this era. Why was it done? What was the haste? We now know from Bush Administration officials Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke that Iraq was a target before September 11. Neocon ideologues like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz drove the policy to launch a war on a country that was not threatening the US. The orchestrated attempts to link Iraq with September 11 and Al Qaeda have proven to be 100% false. The weapons it supposedly had which were an imminent threat to the US are non-existent. This is now described as an "intelligence failure". There was no intelligence failure. Bush and the people around him have had Iraq in their gun sights for years.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer and a veteran of the first Gulf War. He served as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq for seven years. As an expert on arms control, he has addressed governments around the world as well as being a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows. He is the author of Frontier Justice: WMDs and the Bushwhacking of America.

(01 Aug) 050702 Gar Alperovitz - Hiroshima: New Facts & Old Myths

More than 70 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the event still arouses controversy and passionate perspectives. Ever since the Enola Gay dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945, questions surrounding the first use of what is now called weapons of mass destruction persist. Advocates say it quickly ended the war and saved a million U.S. casualties. Critics argue that Japan was essentially defeated and looking for a settlement. They also say the bomb was really about setting the stage for post-war power relations with the Soviet Union. New research and declassified government documents have shed much light on why the bomb was dropped.

Gar Alperovitz is one of the most highly regarded experts on Hiroshima and U.S. policy. He is professor of political economy at the University of Maryland. His articles appear in the "Washington Post", "Tikkun", "The Nation" and "Dollars and Sense". His books include "Atomic Diplomacy" and "America Beyond Capitalism". His award-winning book, "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb", is a classic.

Hiroshima was chosen, not as a city that posed a major military threat, but because of its 'interesting' urban and geographical environment with a mix of traditional and modern structures spread across a delta basin. In an act of conscientious aggression against a civilian population, the US, with full agreement from the UK, dropped the "Little Boy" atomic bomb on the city killing 70 to 80, 000 immediately and injuring the same number. No-one knows how many babies are yet to be born with the genetic legacy of the first of the two most inhuman medical and engineering experiments every carried out.

(25 Jul) 160604 John Kiriakou - The War on Whistleblowers

As Voltaire once said, "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." States don't like to be called out on their crimes. Silence is strongly preferred. Fall in line and keep your mouth shut. This is particularly true of the United States because it globally projects a cultivated image of being a beacon of democracy and human rights and crucially, adherence to the rule of law. Instead of encouraging, celebrating and honoring whistleblowers the Obama administration punishes them, setting a record for prosecutions and imprisonments. Individuals like John Kiriakou tried to do the right thing and ended up going to jail. Edward Snowden has his passport cancelled and is forced to live in exile. The government is confusing dissent for disloyalty. What a chilling message this sends to other potential whistleblowers.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA agent who was indicted on three counts of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. He served almost two years in prison. He is featured in the documentarySilenced. He is an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, and a blogger for Huffington Post". He is a founding member of VIPS, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

(18 Jul) 160603 Rami Khouri - Arab Jails and American Jets

The book "The Management of Savagery" is a teaching manual of the so-called Islamic State, aka ISIS. It defines the techniques of deploying terror. The book outlines how a group of militants could seize land and establish their own self-governing Islamic state. It lays out how to create small pockets of territorial control and from there to establish a caliphate. ISIS has become notorious with its sectarian violence and atrocities. Its meteoric rise took Washington and all the experts by surprise. Initially, Obama dismissed them as the equivalent of a JV, junior varsity, an amateur basketball team. The media fail to pose the crucial questions: What fuels ISIS? What makes it tick? How does U.S. policy in the Middle East and that of its regional allies contribute to the instability that ISIS thrives on? What's the relationship between Arab jails and American jets?

Rami Khouri is a well-known journalist based in Beirut. His articles are syndicated in major newspapers around the world. He was the former director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. He is recipient of the Pax Christi International Peace Award for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

(11 Jul) 160602 Bill McKibben - Breaking Away from Fossil Fuels

For decades we have been hooked on fossil fuels. Time is long past for humankind to kick this habit. The Paris climate accord, signed with much hoopla by 175 countries, is, given the magnitude of the crisis, totally inadequate. A coalition of environmental groups calls it "a dangerous distraction that threatens all of us. The Agreement relies on voluntary versus mandatory emission cuts that do not meet targets scientists say are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe." On an individual level you might say, Hey, I'm doing my part. I drive a hybrid and bike whenever I can. It ain't enough. We are being lulled into complacency. Radical action is required to reverse global warming. Can we break away from our destructive addiction that is endangering life as we know it?

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 environmental activist. His other books include The Age of Missing Information, Hope, Human and Wild, Deep Economy, and Eaarth. He is co-founder of 350.org.

(04 Jul) 160601 Thomas Frank - Hey Liberal, Listen Up

The ironies, agonies and hypocrisies in the U.S. political system are in high-relief during a presidential election year. The role of big money undermines the integrity of one person, one vote. The state of the electoral infrastructure is a national embarrassment, long lines, broken machines and purges of voters without their knowledge. In addition the primaries have made abundantly clear: a two-party monopoly snuffs out populist uprisings and credible third party challenges. Working class people are propagandized into voting against their own interests. Indeed, what has happened to the Democrats, the so-called party of the people? Why is the Democratic Party where movements for progressive social change go to die?

Thomas Frank is a prominent political commentator and the founding editor of The Baffler magazine. He is the author of many books including One Market Under God, What's the Matter with Kansas? The Wrecking Crew, Pity the Billionaire and Listen, Liberal.

(27 Jun) 160504 Noam Chomsky - Toward a Better Society

David Barsamian is often asked about Noam Chomsky. How did he connect with the legendary MIT professor? Very simply, he wrote him a letter around 1980 and to his surprise he responded. A correspondence ensued. They did their first interview in 1984. Two years after that David decided to launch Alternative Radio as he was determined to get Chomsky's voice on the air. Since then David and Noam have done many programs and a bunch of books. Barsamian says Chomsky is easy to work with. He describes himk as patient and that he practices the egalitarianism he preaches. But behind Chomsky's soft-spoken voice is an extraordinary intellectual acumen. In this interview Chomsky covers a lot of ground, in typical his fashion, from Latin America to India to elections to where he sees signs of hope to creating a better society.

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor 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. Chris Hedges says he is "America's greatest intellectual" who "makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable." He is the author of scores of books, including Masters of Mankind, Power Systems and What Kind of Creatures Are We?

(20 Jun) 160503 Vandana Shiva - We Are All Seeds

Seeds, those little things we kind of take for granted, are the essence of life. Increasingly, corporations have taken over agriculture and in their insatiable quest for profits have injected GMOs, genetically modified organisms, into the food chain. As the joke goes, GMO stands for "God Move Over." The four largest GMO crops, corn, soy, sugar beets and canola constitute 70 percent of all products on the store shelves. Should the government require mandatory labeling on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients? A lot of people think so. Large agribusiness and biotech companies have spent hundreds of millions fighting labeling. With control of seeds through patents and so-called intellectual property rights in the hands of a few corporations, biodiversity disappears, and is replaced by GMO monocultures. Seeds in traditional cultures were regarded as sacred. It's time we stopped soiling the soil.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She's a physicist, scholar and social activist. She is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi.

(13 Jun) 160502 Richard Falk - U.S. Special Relationships in the Middle East

U.S. policy in the Middle East has for decades pivoted on two countries: Saudi Arabia and Israel. Washington is the guarantor of both states. They are heavily armed by the Pentagon. Saudi Arabia, aggressively promoting its own brand of fundamental Islam, Wahabism, has supported extremist groups starting in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s. Today, rich Saudis stoke sectarianism in Syria and Iraq. Saudi armies invade Bahrain. Its air force bombs Yemen. As for Israel, it occupies a privileged position in Washington's worldview. No matter the administration, Democrat or Republican, no other country has received as much diplomatic, military and financial support. The Palestinians? Sorry, you're not special. Palestinians have always been marginal to the geopolitical concerns of U.S. policymakers. They are invited to so-called peace processes, which may lead to Bantustans with a few casinos and malls.

This event was presented by the Lannan Foundation.

Richard Falk is professor emeritus of international law at Princeton. He is the recipient of the UNESCO Peace Education Prize. He served as special rapporteur for the United Nations from 2008-2014 on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. He is the author of numerous books including The Great Terror War, Unlocking the Middle East, Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope and Chaos and Counterrevolution: After The Arab Spring.

(06 Jun) 160501 Tom Mayer - Is the U.S. an Imperialist Nation?

Imperialism derives from the Latin, imperium, which means to rule over large territories. Historically it has taken many shapes and forms. From the Assyrians to the Greeks to the British one constant is that the imperial state denies it is imperial. It finds a set of euphemisms to obscure its intentions. Often the conquest of another country is cloaked in humanitarian rhetoric. Women are being abused, we must save them. Children are being exploited, we must rescue them. The other technique is to defeat an unmitigated evil. A propaganda system insures that the population of the aggressor state is bombarded with messages that make them feel good about what their armies are doing. The propaganda exaggerates and lies about the dangers posed by the country being attacked. Ancient history? Hardly. Think of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

Tom Mayer is a scholar activist. He taught sociology for forty years at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author Analytical Marxism. He has written numerous articles in academic and political journals and in newspapers. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.

(30 May) 160405 Noam Chomky - 2016 Harvard Trade Union Program

The lead news stories are clear: there is working-class anger, anxiety and rage. Working people have been taking it on the chin for decades. Wages have been flat for years. The Bernie Sanders campaign has highlighted the scandalous levels of income and wealth inequality. Increasingly, more and more workers understand how rigged the system is against them. The economy and politics are tilted towards powerful corporations and mega donors who use their deep pockets to promote their interests. The sustained attack on unions has left many workers without representation. If you speak out you risk getting fired and replaced by a temp. Young people, saddled with debt, will not replicate the standard of living reached by their parents. These outcomes are the result of policies and policies can be changed.

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor 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. Chris Hedges says he is "America's greatest intellectual" who "makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable." He is the author of scores of books, including Hopes and Prospects, Masters of Mankind, How the World Works, and Power Systems with David Barsamian.

(23 May) 160404 Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor - Black Lives Matter

The Black Panther Party was founded fifty years ago. It did much to raise consciousness and pride among African-Americans. It was seen as a threat by the establishment and was thus targeted by Hoover's FBI in a campaign of infiltration, destabilization and assassination. Today a new generation of activists has arisen in the aftermath of a series of outrageous killings of African-Americans by police. The Black Lives Matter movement has reawakened attention to the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and unemployment. Who can forget Eric Garner's plea of "I can't breathe" before he was choked to death on a Staten Island street? It symbolizes the plight of many blacks trying to survive in crushing poverty. The Black Lives Matter movement holds the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation.

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.

(16 May) 160403 Thomas Linzey - Local Community Self-Government

Alexis De Tocqueville, in his classic account of his visit to the relatively new country of the United States, was struck by how different it was compared to the monarchies of Europe. What was salient to him was the extent of local community self-government. De Tocqueville saw that as key to democracy. Political representatives, be they city council members or other officials, are held accountable for their actions and are subject to recall. Important decisions would be informed by the sentiments of the larger community. There would be town meetings and debates and discussions. Of course, the U.S. was a much smaller country then, but the fundamental right of citizens to participate in the political process remains central to the functioning of a living democracy. That right has been sidelined in the wake of a massive increase in corporate power and influence.

Thomas Linzey is co-founder and executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund and serves as its chief legal counsel. He is the author of Be the Change: How to Get What You Want in Your Community. His work has been featured in The New York TimesMother Jones, and The Nation

(09 May) 160402 Camara Phyllis Jones - Racism and Health

For more than a year the public was complaining about the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. The water was so pungent and foamy that one priest had stopped using it for baptisms. The state's Department of Environmental Quality, confidently announced, "Anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax." Flint is a majority African-American city. In nearby Detroit, 85% black, schools are heavily infested with rats, roaches and mold. Might those conditions affect the health of an overwhelmingly black student population? In Baltimore, another largely black city, the levels of lead poisoning among children is three times the national rate. Racism is a big part of the social determinants of health. It's past time we acknowledge that and do something about it.

Camara Phyllis Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impact of racism on health. She served as president of the American Public Health Association. She has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health and has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is Senior Fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

(02 May) 160401 Arun Gupta - Terrorism, Climate Change and Capitalism

So far in the 21st century very little has been done in addressing three inter-related problems: terrorism, climate change and capitalism. Terrorism in mainstream discourse has a very limited meaning. It's shootings and bombings in San Bernadino and Baghdad. We need a broader definition that encompasses climate change and the capitalist economic system. Rising temperatures mean rising sea levels. If you live in low-lying areas you will be vulnerable to floods. That's terrifying. The Paris climate accord does not have teeth to even implement its inadequate proposals. Capitalism produces its own form of terrorism when people don't know where their next meal is coming from. On the other hand, the richest 62 people are as wealthy as half of the world's population. Inequality is soaring. Concerted and systemic action is needed on these issues, else the coming decades will be bleak.

Arun Gupta, journalist and activist, was a founding editor of The Indypendent and the Occupied Wall Street Journal. His articles appear in AlternetTruthoutThe Guardian and Z. He also appears on Democracy Now! and Al Jazeera.

(25 Apr) 160304 Dean Baker - The TPP: A Corporate Deal

The TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a pact among 12 countries: The United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Strongly pushed by Washington, it is hailed as a "free trade" agreement. But the deal has little to do with free trade. Rather, the TPP is about limiting regulation. It takes away the power of governments to protect the environment. It's an investor rights agreement and includes special protections for corporations that offshore jobs to low-wage countries. The TPP is part of the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages. There is still time to prevent its passage. As Bernie Sanders says, "Now it's on us to stop it from becoming law."

Dean Baker, a former professor of economics at Bucknell University, is co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington, D.C. His articles appear in the Guardian Unlimited and TruthOut. He is the author of Getting Back to Full Employment and False Profits.

(18 Apr) 160303 Dave Zirin - Racism, Resistance and Black Athletes

In the wake of a rising number of racist incidents at the University of Missouri, nicknamed Mizzou, black athletes threatened to boycott football games. Wow. Did that get people's attention. So much of the economy of state universities is tied to football, the multibillion-dollar TV contracts, the multimillion-dollar coaching salaries, and the small fortunes that pour into small towns on game day don't happen without a group of young men willing to take the field. The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement threatens the lucrative operation of this machinery. The Southeastern Conference, where Mizzou plays, field teams that, in the words of sociologist Harry Edwards, 'look like Ghana on the field and Sweden in the stands.' Athletes have tremendous influence on and off campus. Speaking out and acting collectively, they can bring the powerful to their knees.

Dave Zirin is sports editor for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Podcast. He is the author of many books including The John Carlos Story, What's My Name, Fool?, A People's History of Sports in the United States, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down and Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and the Future of Democracy. His writing earned him Press Action's Sportswriter of the Year Award.

(11 Par) 160302 Robert McChesney - Capitalism in the Age of Digital Technology

Twenty fifteen was "a record year for deals", the merger market exceeded $4 trillion, trumpets the business pages of "The New York Times". Monopoly isn't just a board game it is the animating dynamic of the economic system. Really existing capitalism, which relies heavily on taxpayer support, embodies an almost genetic drive to consolidate, to dominate and ultimately to eliminate competition. This leaves people with fewer choices and higher prices, exactly the outcome desired by the monopolists. Democracy, particularly in the U.S., has largely morphed into an oligarchy run by and for plutocrats. As the ranks of the have-nots grow and inequality widens, and as the eco-crisis continues apace, one can expect a future of social unrest.

Robert McChesney teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of many books including Digital Disconnect. He is co-author with John Nichols of Dollarocracy. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization. The UTNE Reader listed him among its "50 visionaries who are changing the world."

(04 Apr) 160301 Steven Salaita - The Limits of Academic Freedom

The groves of academe in Athens where Plato and other Greek scholars gave lectures, has long been idealized as an intellectual oasis, and a model for universities around the world, a place where free thinking without fear or favor would be forever encouraged. But today on college campuses from U.C. Santa Cruz to Yale outspoken professors are learning about trigger warnings, dangerous no-go zones; topics that are off limits. Apart from the stultifying effects of self-censorship among the best and the brightest, that open space beneath a shady grove of trees is becoming a marketplace, a profit center in an increasingly corporatized higher education system. To reverse the trend, a renewed commitment to, free speech, pluralism and a rigorous systemic critique is needed.

Steven Salaita is the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a regular columnist for Electronic Intifada and a member of the Organizing Committee of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. He is the author of Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures and Politics, Anti-Arab Racism in the USA and Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom.

(28 Mar) 160204 Tim Flannery - Solutions to the Climate Crisis

The Paris Climate Change summit has come and gone. The results? Kind of like what Naomi Klein, author and activist, says: Your doctor tells you that you have dangerously high levels of cholesterol and are at acute risk of a fatal heart attack. You are told to stop eating meat and radically reduce your intake of alcohol. So what do you do? Instead of eating 5 hamburgers a day you eat 4. Instead of ten drinks a day you have eight. The world leaders who gathered in Paris were falling over themselves congratulating one another on what they saw as an historic achievement. But what was agreed upon was the equivalent of applying band aids where surgery is required. The future of the planet is at stake. We need solutions not placebos.

Australian scientist Tim Flannery is a major voice in chronicling the effects of climate change and proposing solutions. He has taught at the University of Adelaide and Harvard and was Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum. He is a Professional Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis.

(21 Mar) 160203 Henry Giroux - The Human Costs of Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is one of the most pernicious and destructive aspects of late Capitalism. Its take no prisoners approach has caused enormous human suffering. Promoted in the 1980s by Reagan and Thatcher it includes: tax breaks for the rich and powerful, privatization of public services, cutting social welfare programs, attacks on unions, violations of labor laws, passage of so-called free trade agreements allowing for unfettered capital investment flows, minimal government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, and the endless marketization of society. Neoliberalism views people simply as consumers. This system is driving the planet and humankind into an untenable situation. It was created by the few, for the few. It is not a law of nature. It can be dismantled by the many.

Henry Giroux, a leading social and political critic, teaches at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has written many books including Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education and The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Zombie Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism. He is a member of Truthout's Board of Directors and a regular contributor to the nonprofit, independent online news organization.

(14 Mar) 160202 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - The Other Side of Thanksgiving

The historical lens through which national holidays are viewed is often blurred and distorted. Thanksgiving is a case in point. The much-revered Pilgrims fresh off the Mayflower sat down and shared native foods with the friendly Wampanoags.  A heart-warming story. But this idea of the gift-giving Indian, helping to establish and enrich what would become the United States, is a myth. Native Americans would soon be overwhelmed and killed en masse by white settlers. Those that survived the murderous campaigns against them were relegated to inhospitable reservations. Indian land was stolen fair and square. Today we honor the memory of the slaughtered with Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, Jeep Cherokees, the Washington Redskins and calling bin Laden, Geronimo.  Native Americans are offended by the appropriation of their culture. It is the final stage of genocide.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is the author of the 2015 American Book Award-winning An Indigenous People's History of the United States. Her expertise in Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies, the Sioux Nation and other indigenous peoples of the Americas is recognized around the world.

(07 Mar) 160201 Christian Parenti - Climate Crisis

Traditionally, the main reasons for the migration of people have been war, persecution, and poverty. But in coming decades, they will be eclipsed by a wave of climate-change refugees. There will be drought. Farmers will be forced out of rural areas because of crop failure and wildfires. Food prices will skyrocket. Conflicts, already erupting, will increase. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels will rise as high as two feet, 60 centimeters, by 2100, putting vast areas under water. Consider the following projections: Climate change will displace up to 200 million people by 2050. Almost 10 percent of the world's population is at risk of displacement by 2100. Planetary well being is subordinated to capitalism, hell bent on profits. The pressure for action has to come from heat in the streets, people power.

Christian Parenti teaches at the New College in San Francisco. His articles appear in The NationThe Progressive and The Christian Science Monitor. He is the author of Lockdown America.

(29 Feb) 160105 Greg Grandin - Kissingerism

At age 92, Henry Kissinger is a legend. Over decades, he has assiduously cultivated and constructed the image of the sagacious elder statesman. Corporate journalists hang on his every word. Politicians seek his advice. But is the respect and reverence he receives deserved? He is one of most notorious characters of this or any other period in history. Just ask the Kurds, the East Timorese, the Bangladeshis, the Chileans. Ask them what they think of Dr. Kissinger? But since they are "unpeople," their opinions don't count. When he was Nixon's national security advisor, Kissinger displayed his kowtowing to power when he kept silent as his boss made anti-Jewish comments. When Nixon demanded that Cambodia be bombed, he conveyed the order like a good errand boy. It was Kissinger who once boasted, "The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer."

Greg Grandin, professor of history at New York University, is the author of The Empire of Necessity, The Blood of Guatemala and Kissinger's Shadow. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Public Library, he has served on the UN Truth Commission investigating the Guatemalan Civil War. His articles appear in the Los Angeles TimesThe Nation, and The New York Times.

(22 Feb) 160104 Chris Hedges - Extraction Industries and Sexploitation

The scourge of male violence against women will not end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It is a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, cannot take part in a liberation movement until they are liberated. They cannot offer to us their wisdom, their leadership and their passion until they are freed from physical coercion and violent domination. This is why the fight to end male violence across the globe is not only fundamental to our movement but will define its success or failure. We cannot stand up for some of the oppressed and ignore others who are oppressed. None of us is free until all of us are free.

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 many books including Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal ClassThe World As It Is, and Wages of Rebellion.

(15 Feb) 160103 Osagyefo Sekou - Faith, Ferguson and Nonviolent Resistance

Fifty years after the Watts uprising in LA what has changed in terms of institutional racism? The supposed post-racial U.S. ushered in by the election of Barak Obama as president seems more symbolic than substantive. Killings and abuse of African Americans by state security forces continue at an alarming rate as do high levels of incarceration. Jim Crow has taken on new shapes and forms. Schools, particularly in the South, are resegregated. The spate of well publicized police shootings and chokings has sparked a Black Lives Matter movement demanding systemic change not cosmetic reforms. Serious questions are being raised about tactics and strategies, pacifism and civil disobedience and the role of electoral politics. How can equality and racial justice be achieved?

Osagyefo Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor and theologian. He is the author of Gods, Gays, and Guns: Essays on Race, Religion, and the Future of Democracy. He has been active in Ferguson on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the country's oldest interfaith peace organization. He has led trainings in nonviolent civil disobedience. Cornel West calls him "one of the most courageous and prophetic voices of our time."

(08 Feb) 160102 Katha Pollitt - The Fate of Legal Abortion

There are few issues more divisive than abortion. Vitriolic rhetoric denouncing Planned Parenthood is part of a larger agenda: eliminating legal access to abortion. The historic 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision declared: "We recognize the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwanted government intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." Since then there has been a sustained campaign, including threats and attacks on doctors and nurses, the defunding and closing of clinics, to reverse Roe v. Wade. In some states, restrictive legislation has effectively criminalized abortion. What will happen if legal abortions are banned? Women will turn to quacks and the days of back alley abortions, botched procedures and clothes hangars will be back.

Katha Pollitt, an award-winning essayist, poet and critic, is best known for her column 'Subject to Debate' in The Nation  magazine. She is the author of Virginity or Death! and Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights. She is the recipient of a National Book Critics Circle Award for her volume of poetry, Antarctic Traveller.

(01 Feb) 160101 Ali Abunimah - Justice in Palestine

The level of ignorance and lack of knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian issue is quite extensive. Israel is a strategic ally of the U.S. and a military and economic power in its own right. All true. The Palestinians? Well, they are an irritant. Why don't they just go away, move someplace else? They had their chances for statehood but they botched them. The actual realities on the ground? Uh, can we change the subject? The many so-called peace processes and road maps have led to dead ends for the Palestinians. They watch as more and more of their land and water is seized by Israel. Sixty percent of the West Bank, which is supposed to be part of a Palestine state, is under Israeli control. Most of the settlements are there. Given the situation, what will the future hold?

Ali Abunimah is an internationally recognized Palestinian-American journalist.  He is co-founder and director of the "Electronic Intifada", an independent online news service on Palestine.  His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian.  He is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

(25 Jan) 151003 Deepa Kumar - Imperialist Feminism

When you hear imperialists making claims about their concerns for women's rights then you know something is really rotten in Denmark. The plight of women has historically been mobilized to suit the goals of empire. That continues to the present. One of the pretexts of the U.S.–led invasion of Afghanistan was "rescuing Afghan women." Writing about that, noted author and activist Arundhati Roy of India observed, "We're being asked to believe that the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission. If so, will their next stop be America's military ally Saudi Arabia? Should they be bombed? Should Delhi, Islamabad, and Dhaka be destroyed? Is it possible to bomb bigotry out of India? Can we bomb our way to a feminist paradise?"

Deepa Kumar is Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of "Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike" and "Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire". She appears on numerous media outlets around the world.

(18 Jan) 150602 Marjorie Cohn - Death from Above: Drones

2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, which established the founding principle of modern law: presumption of innocence. Today that principle is largely a casualty of the so-called war on terrorism. Trials, evidence, juries. Who needs them when we have an assassination program carried out by drones? These pilotless aircraft have become the weapon of choice. They are efficient machines killing not only their intended targets but also whoever happens to be nearby. Collateral damage in politician-speak. Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani teenager who was honoured with the Nobel Prize, told Obama when she met him that the drone strikes in her country were "fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people." The official White House statement released after the meeting did not include her comment.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd) and the edited volume, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Cohn is a recipient of the Peace Scholar of the Year Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association. She testified before Congress about the Bush torture policy.

(11 Jan) 150504 Vandana Shiva and Joel Salatin - Planet on a Plate

When it comes to food production and consumption, there are some things we are expected to take for granted. Like, eggs don't come from chickens. The come from cardboard boxes. Or, bacon doesn't come from pigs. It's grown in shrink wrapped plastic bags and sold by the kilo in the deli section. Similarly, good food is that which is pre-packaged and ready to 'heat and eat', no human hand need interfere other than to pop it in the microwave and then peel the lid off. If only it were that simple. Food is a corporate commodity produced and manufactured so the profit margin is soaked up not by the producer but by the corporate shareholders. Food is no longer food. It's a way to maximise profit and that by reducing returns to those who grow it and by gouging we, the consumer, for all they can. The whole system, from paddock to plate, is broken. But there are pockets of resistance. There are farmers who are bucking the orthodoxies and there are those who are advocating for a food system that is fair, just and above all, healthy and nutritious.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She's the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize and of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. She is the author of many books, including Earth Democracy, Soil Not Oil and Making Peace with the Earth.

Joel Salatin is an American farmer, author, public speaker and advocate for sustainable farming. He calls himself a "Christian-libertarian-envirnomentalist-capitlaist-lunatic-farmer". His books include Salad Bar Beef, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front and Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.

(04 Jan) 150502 Loretta Napoleoni - The ISIS Crisis

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is the latest chapter of the so-called war on terror. One should point out that you can't have a war on a tactic. ISIS has displaced al-Qaeda. It is violently addressing unresolved issues relating to European imperialism and the creation of artificial borders and states. After WWII, the U.S. supplanted Britain, France and Italy in the region and became its self-appointed guardian. Washington's footprint in the Middle East is enormous. It has created a network of allies consisting of emirs, sheikhs and generals. These leaders are despised by most of the people they rule. They are seen as puppets of Washington. Israel is isolated. Meanwhile, ISIS is growing. What is its appeal? How is it, as the Pentagon says, "tremendously well-funded"? How has it inspired attacks as far away as Ottawa, Sydney and Copenhagen?

Loretta Napoleoni is a leading expert on money laundering and terror financing. She has worked as London correspondent and columnist for La Stampa, La Repubblica, El País, and Le Monde. A former Fulbright scholar, she holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics. She is the author of Rogue Economics, Terror Inc. and The Islamist Phoenix.

(28 Dec) 150501 Angela Davis - Transnational Solidarity

Solidarity was long a term invoked by unions and working men and women. Now, alas, unions, under sustained political attack, are in acute decline. Who can forget Ronald Reagan championing the rights of workers in Poland while smashing the air traffic controllers union in the U.S.? Today from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Ferguson, Missouri to Gezi Park in Istanbul people are in the streets raising again the cry of solidarity. Solidarity, linking up with kindred spirits is a crucial element in overcoming isolation and atomization. Mutual support and feelings, yes, of love, empower people over the rulers of the Earth. The masters want to keep us apart and to have us focus on shopping. There are glimpses of cross border alliances. They need to grow. Given the global scale of the climate change crisis transnational solidarities are needed now.

Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. Acquitted on conspiracy charges in 1970, after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history, she went on to become an internationally renowned writer, scholar and lecturer. She's the author of many books, including Women, Race and Class, Abolition Democracy, and The Meaning of Freedom.

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