Beneath The Surface with Suzi Weissman airs every Friday on KPFK Pacifica Radio from 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Tune in at 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara, and worldwide on KPFK.ORG. You can listen to archived shows online on the KPFK website.

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BTS 12/15/08: State of the Unions; Financial Crisis; Greece

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We now know what was evident on Friday as Southern Republican Senators squashed the auto bailout, choosing to destroy the auto industry, sending millions more into unemployment and misery. They are waging 21st Century class warfare, and this is just prelude to the mounting attack on organized labor in the wake of victories at Chicago’s Republic Window and Door and North Carolina’s Smithfield slaughterhouse, plus the prospect of the passage of EFCA and an invigorated labor movement. Nelson Lichtenstein joins us to talk about the ‘state of the union’ the significance of the victories, the auto industry woes and more.

Arturo Cifuentes comes from the belly of the financial beast, an analyst of CDOs, research, and managing director of such institutions as Moody’s, Wachovia Securities and Pressprich & Co. He is testifying to Congress about the unwinding speculative debt driving this deflationary crisis and he’ll explain it all to us. He says “the present crisis has been nothing but the mother of all risk management failures.”

And Savas Michael Matsas joins us from Greece fresh from Day Ten of the anti-state and anti-capitalist protest rocking the country.

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BTS 12/8/08: Sounds Like Socialism - Auto Industry; Economic Crisis & Recovery; Venezuelan Elections

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The economic crisis has prompted a lot of discussion about capitalism and socialism, bailouts, nationalization, and government takeovers. We hope to shed some light on these theoretical issues over the next period. Today we begin with the crisis in auto. Are the debates in Congress on the future of the auto industry really about rescuing auto or attacking labor for their hard-won gains of half a century? Auto workers are in DC today demanding a voice in the restructuring to include green production of rail and auto, healthcare for all and more - while workers in Chicago at Republic Windows and Doors are on day four of occupying their factory – shut down without notice. The workers are occupying to force the company and its main creditor to meet their obligations to the workers Archway and Mother’s cookies are also shuttered because of the credit crunch, and the surge in unemployment means a surge in the uninsured as well. We talk to Dianne Feeley, UAW member and retired auto worker about the bailout and response and to Jack Rasmus about the continuing crisis, the surge in unemployment and a feasible recovery program.

Plus: Martin Sanchez, Venezuelan Consul talks to us about Pres. Chavez’ attempt to throw out term limits in the recent elections and perspectives for Grassroots organization, what they call Popular Power and Participatory Democracy. And we’ll ask all our guests to differentiate between social democratic reforms and socialism, now part of our mainstream discourse.

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BTS 11/17/08: Minsky and the Economic Crisis; Education Cuts and Discrimination

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As we watch the continuing financial fallout fingers are pointing to find the culprits. Paulson flounders, money disappears and G20 meets to – wait for it --agree to meet again when Obama is President. Leading economists in the media, financial sector and government admit they’re all Keynesians now, even as they repeat their ‘free markets and deregulation’ mantra as a guiding theme. As easy as it is to blame Paulson, Bush and the Fed, policy and individuals can’t explain the crisis and they were the enablers not the cause. To get to the underlying fundamental cause of the crisis (and that is where Minsky comes in) – and discuss what to do next, including with the auto industry we talk to Robert Pollin and Jack Rasmus.

Plus: Education cuts and discrimination. While Gov. Schwarzenegger considers cuts to education funding, we talk to Jose Lara about discrimination in the school system, today against undocumented students, and then to Vice-President of UTLA Josh Pechthalt about what happened during the McCarthy witch hunt, when thousands of teachers lost their jobs, leaving a legacy of fear and intimidation while denying women and men the right to pursue their careers.

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BTS 11/10/08: For Obama - Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Civil Liberties and Economic Policy

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On tonight’s program we look at the hope and promise of an Obama administration – examining his options and proposals for foreign policy, Human Rights, Civil Liberties and Economic Policy.

We begin with Stephen Cohen. He criticized the candidates during the campaign for failing to address the importance of Russia and the terrible state of US-Russian Relations – and now that the mainstream media admits it got the story wrong on Georgia, we’ll ask Stephen what policy direction he’d like to see Obama take.

We then talk to Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights about Obama’s plans to close the torture-prison camp at Guantanamo. We’ll ask him what else we can expect from Obama on the issues of torture, habeas corpus, the surveillance state -- all from the Bush-Cheney attack arsenal on civil liberties and human rights.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface we turn to the economy. James K. Galbraith – a self-described unreconstructed Cambridge Keynesian – joins us to talk about what an Obama New Deal could look like, and he insists that the policy proposals are more important than the personalities who will implement them. Stay tuned for some radical policy proposals – our guests believe they are all realizable and possible.

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BTS 11/3/08: Election Special

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This is the last day in the historic 2008 election – the best in memory with so many firsts. Expect very high voter turnout- more than 130 million are predicted in a race that has been hard fought, long, and features firsts in race, gender, money and time spent. We take a final look at the race with Harold Meyerson, Bruce Shapiro and Marc Haefele.

Harold Meyerson says that should Obama win tomorrow the Democratic Party will return to Chicago’s Grant Park, the place where, 40 years ago, its last governing coalition ingloriously died. The primary goal of Obama's new-model Democrats is to implement a 21st-century version of Franklin Roosevelt's reforms. Should he win next Tuesday, Obama will proclaim the birth of this new era on the very ground that Roosevelt's coalition split apart.

Bruce Shapiro joins us to look at what kind of judicial appointments we could expect from either Obama or McCain, and he’ll also pay tribute to Studs Terkel who died on Friday.

Finally, Marc Haefele joins us to go over the state and local races, especially the Propositions on your ballot tomorrow.

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BTS 10/27/08: Goldman Sachs, Obama, and Economic Disaster

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It’s all about Goldman Sachs.

John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harpers and the author of the new book You Can't Be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America, reminds us that Obama’s number one bundler is Goldman Sachs. So what can we expect from an Obama Presidency? With the Bush administration forsaking ideology for pragmatic fixes to a rapidly sinking economy, the word socialism has entered into ‘respectable’ discourse, even if its meaning is wildly distorted. Rick MacArthur is counting what is missing in this discussion, including serious consideration of Marx’s contradictions of capitalism, as well as a general decline of democracy as well as the economy. He joins us from New York.

Continuing on the theme, UCLA economic historian Robert Brenner, author of the acclaimed Economics of Global Turbulence and The Boom and the Bubble joins us to go beneath the surface on the origins of the current crisis, and he says “What is Good for Goldman Sachs is Good for America.” Wait, wasn’t that General Motors? Tune in for a comprehensive and in depth look at the current crisis, its origins, and what we can expect as a way out from this acclaimed economic historian.

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BTS 10/20/08: Crisis and Bailout; Capitalism and Consumer Manipulation

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Consumer confidence is at an all time low as housing prices continue to fall, stock portfolios disappear and job losses mount. The pundits think socialism has arrived and the candidates talk about tax cuts. A rescue operation isn’t socialism and it doesn’t address the underlying causes, but it seems likely to concentrate the control of credit in a few giant banks newly subsidized by generations of public debt. We go beneath the surface with Nomi Prins and talk about what is ahead -- assuming the bailout plan will work.

Then, Richard Lichtman joins us for critical comment on the fascinating documentary The Century of the Self (our thank-you gift today for subscribing to KPFK). The documentary is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to engineer consent, promote consumption and manipulate consumer choices. Richard Lichtman promises to elucidate the relationship between the nature of our economic system and the structure of consumer manipulation.

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BTS 9/29/08: Economics, Politics, and Drama

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Wall Street plunged 777 points today as the bailout package was rejected by Congress in a stunning defeat for Bush and the Congressional leaders of both parties. We’ll spend the hour talking about the economics, politics and drama of the day. Thomas Ferguson and Robert Johnson called the package the Bridge Loan to Nowhere, and they say the plan is not only the most expensive way to solve the problem, it is also the most likely to fail. With all the gloom, Ferguson and Johnson point to one silver lining: if a single payer economic policy is the prescribed solution, what’s to stop demanding it for health care too? They join us today to explain.

We then turn to the question of leadership: Do the candidates for President fill the bill? Harold Meyerson joins us from Washington and has a lot to say about the state of the campaign, the debates the kind of leadership we need and what is on offer.

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BTS 9/22/08: Books and Politics

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Tonight we talk to three great authors about their books, politics and the current charged political-economic crises. Robert Fisk joins us in studio to talk about his new book The Age of the Warrior which brings together his trenchant, eloquent and wide-reaching articles on international politics in a single volume, ranging from the London bombings to the streets of Lebanon, from war-torn Iraq to the horrors of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For 32 years Fisk has reported on and been an eyewitness to the blood spilled in our battle-scarred world. We’ll set him talking and see where it takes us.

Thomas Frank is back to talk some more about his new book The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, especially in light of the stunning economic collapse of the last week that has seen a gigantic ideological flip flop from some of the wreckers in the wrecking crew: or has it? Tom Frank says that it is no coincidence that the same politicians who ridicule the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which incompetence is the rule. Frank catches the essence of Washington's last eight years – and we’ll ask him whether the obstruction, incompetence and destruction for profit will grab hold of whoever occupies the White House come January.

And last, but certainly not least, Larry Beinhart gives us a crash course in economic crashes and talks about his new book Salvation Boulevard, a page-turning thriller that takes on the most critical issues of contemporary politics: faith, freedom and power. In our bizarre, surreal and dangerous time Larry Beinhart uses fiction to get to the truth, as he did in his previous books Wag The Dog and The Librarian, this time alerting us to the excesses our government has foisted on us and graphically showing to what depths our government has sunk.

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BTS 9/15/08: McCain/Palin Foreign Policy; Financial Collapse; Peter Camejo Remembered

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The news has been all Sarah Palin, and it’s mostly about her family, her experience or her hawkish ignorance. Patriotism and military prowess define national security in our headline news, rather than economic stability. Charlie Gibson didn’t ask Sarah and the View didn’t ask McCain how strong a country can be if its citizens’ financial security is under attack, immigrant workers are being jailed and repressed, and all around the financial system is crumbling.

We begin tonight’s Beneath The Surface with Tom Hayden. He says that the McCain/Palin foreign policy is a mortal threat to America, from the same neoconservatives who brought us Iraq wrapped in lies. And Tom has just reviewed Woodward’s new book revealing secret extra-judicial killings in Iraq. McCain and Palin promise more of the same – they profess patriotism and military prowess but their policies would risk more dangerous wars, further isolate the US and weaken the already crumbling economy with a higher deficit, lower dollar, fewer jobs and reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Education. We’ll ask Tom what he thinks the Obama-Biden campaign should do and what alternative they offer.

Wall Street tumbled more than 500 points today, as did European and Asian markets. We continue our coverage of the US economic financial collapse and it has been a stunning weekend. Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy, Bank of America buys/takes over ailing Merrill Lynch, WAMU looks for Government assurance, GM and Ford get Federal cash and as Max Wolff, one of our guests tonight says, “I can’t satirize this decision pattern,” while our other guest Jack Rasmus shows how statistics are trying to hide the declining economy and jobless "epic" recession. Both our guests believe there is more bad news to come as the underlying structural problems and insolvency of the US economy spread to the rest of the world. You won’t want to miss this.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface, Matt Gonzalez remembers Peter Camejo, who died this weekend.

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