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 9/8/08: Economic Crisis; US-Russia Tensions; Injured Vets; Heavy Metal Islam

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Dispensing with dogma as the US economic situation deteriorates -- with worldwide repercussions -- the Fed is trying to contain the insolvency crisis by bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: a capitalist nationalization funded by US taxpayers. Michael Hudson sheds light on the nature of our ongoing economic crisis.

We follow with the escalating tension between the US and Russia: the Bush-Cheney administration’s last act appears to be a dangerous confrontation with Russia over Georgia. Russia came out ahead in the conflict that Georgia provoked, and the US was humiliated in the process. Revealing Washington’s weakness is unforgiveable and has given rise to a consensus that Russia is the aggressor and must be punished. But Boris Kagarlitsky insists that the fundamental reason behind the new heightened US-Russia confrontation is not over Georgia’s territorial integrity, but is actually about the crisis in the global economic system. We’ll ask him to explain.

Then Joshua Kors joins us. His continuing investigation into the treatment of injured veterans is the cover story of the current issue of the Nation. It tells the story of a group of soldiers who were wounded in Iraq, denied medical care and disability pay – and then decided to sue the government. The suit forced some top Washington officials to take the stand in federal court and defend the VA’s denial of care to American ill and injured soldiers.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface: Mark Levine has a new book called Heavy Metal Islam, Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam. On Wednesday September 10 he will appear with Reza Aslan for an evening of music and culture sponsored by the Levantine Cultural Center: “After September 11, A Culture Jam for Peace.” They will have an old-fashioned rap session on everything from Islam in America to globalization and heavy metal in the Middle East, as well as insightful arguments on why the proverbial “clash of civilizations” discourse is bogus. Mark LeVine joins us tonight for a preview of that discussion.

BTS 8/18/08: Russia-Georgia Conflict; Political Economy of the Media; Plunder

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We begin tonight with an update and a trenchant analysis on the Russia-Georgia conflict (or the way it has been brought to you by our media) by Gary Brecher a.k.a. the War Nerd. His writing on the conflict is like no other – Brecher titled his piece “Georgia Tries out the Bush War Doctrine, Loses Badly.” We’ll ask him to elaborate.

Then we talk to the Media King of analysis, Robert McChesney. He has a new mega book out from Monthly Review Press, called (appropriately) The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas. We talk to McChesney about the deeper reasons the media trivializes, ignores or distorts the issues we all face. What’s wrong with the coverage of the elections, the candidates, the economy, the world and more. Danny Schechter, who also joins us, says about McChesney’s book: “As Chomsky is to linguistics, Ben & Jerry’s to ice cream and Elvis to shaking one’s hips, McChesney is to media analysis. He is the King: there is no one more definitive.”

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface, Danny Schechter, News Dissector has a new book project – it’s called Plunder. He says, “A plummeting economy, failing banks, rising unemployment, rocketing inflation just does not seem to engage the way the partisan wars do. We live in a sports crazed country, and a celebrity obsessed culture. We want to debate personalities, not problems. We like red carpets and balance sheets in the red. Anything else is a bummer, man. Tips on how to make millions sell; arguments on how we are all losing don't.” Well we don’t shy away from the economic analysis on BTS so we’ve asked Danny back to give us the news.

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BTS 8/11/08: Russia-Georgia War; China's Economy; The Wrecking Crew

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While the world watches the Olympics in China, Russia and Georgia are at war -- over Georgia’s two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia’s ‘Western” orientation and future entry into NATO, gas and oil pipelines, and Putin’s resolve to prevent any continued disintegration of Russian territory. Ron Suny has written extensively on the national question in the South Caucasus and joins us live.

Beneath the spectacle in China, Martin Hart-Landsberg, author of China and Socialism: Market Reforms and Class Struggle, says: "China is ostensibly communist, but it has more billionaires than any country except the United States. There's been a demonization of China as the primary cause of world economic problems. In fact, Chinese workers, like workers everywhere, are facing hard times. The economy has become export oriented and dominated by foreign multinational corporations. Chinese manufacturing employment has actually declined in absolute numbers. Decent jobs are scarce, social services are disappearing, and competitive pressures demand ever greater sacrifices. At the same time, a small but significant percentage of the population is growing fabulously wealthy. China isn't the problem, our global economic system is."

Thomas Frank joins us to talk about his new book The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, and he 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. He concludes: "As we make our rounds of conservative Washington, we glimpse something much greater than single acts of incompetence or obstruction. We see a vast machinery built for our protection reengineered into a device for our exploitation. We behold the majestic workings of the free market itself, boring ever deeper into the tissues of the state. Ultimately, we gaze upon one of the true marvels of history: democracy buried beneath an avalanche of money."

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BTS 8/4/08: Privatization of Intelligence; Wal-Mart Attacks Workers; Russia

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As the election season starts getting down and dirty the consequences of the Bush disaster are ever more apparent. Chalmers Johnson joins us to talk about what privatization has done to our ability to get reliable intelligence. The CIA has become the President’s private army and Congress has stood by as more functions have been turned over to the private sector, increasing the CIA’s incompetence and unscrupulousness, heightening the risk of war by accident, presidential whim and surprise attack. Johnson says it is the worst of all possible worlds as information is no longer accurate but open to manipulation, pressure and penetration of every kind.

Greg Denier from Change to Win tells us about Wal-Mart’s latest assault on its workers, using mandatory meetings to intimidate and discourage them from voting for Obama. We’ll ask him whether this time Wal-Mart’s anti-unionism has crossed the line into illegality,

And finally we look at Russia – awash in cash from soaring oil and gas prices, yet its banks are in trouble because of the US mortgage debacle. Simon Pirani talks to us about Russian politics and the economy today as well as his new book The Russian Revolution in Retreat 1920-1924, a fascinating account of the relations between Soviet workers and the new communist elite. The story he tells helps us understand how the Russian Revolution, a mass uprising for justice and democracy ended in a single Party dictatorship.

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BTS 7/28/08: End of the Planet; Torture and the APA; More Unequal

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On tonight’s BTS we begin with Mike Davis. In a striking report from the front lines of science, Mike "welcomes" the new geologic era we're officially entering, a period in which humanity may simply, and catastrophically, outrun history itself. Mike proclaims the end of the Holocene, maybe even the planet and he places a lot of blame on the "CEOs of fossil energy companies [who] know what they are doing and are aware of [the] long-term consequences of continued business as usual." He thinks they should "be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.

We then turn to the deepening torture scandals with the news that our torturers borrowed a page from the methods used by Stalinist China and Korea in a 1957 handbook -- methods used to elicit false confessions, while our commander in chief and the torture promoters insist we need to torture to get vital intelligence – Not only that: the American Psychological Association is complicit, overwhelmingly defeating a measure that would have denied the right of its members to participate in interrogations of prisoners in US detention centers. The APA, says Richard Lichtman, has failed to denounce torture and to condemn the war, and have fallen short of the ethical principles of their own organization.

And finally, we talk to Michael Yates about his new book, More Unequal: Aspects of Class in the United States.

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BTS 7/21/08: Financial Crisis; SEIU Takes on Private Equity and Healthcare Firms; Puerto Rican Teachers Strike

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We live in interesting times: the distance and disconnect between Washington and the public couldn’t be wider, with widespread anger and fear about the failing financial sector and the ‘bailout’ of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are too big to fail while ordinary people are too small to bail says a Wall Street Exec. He’s right, but there is more to it. The Fed has rushed to the rescue of Fannie and Freddy, and Congress continues to debate helping homeowners in trouble. Nomi Prins says the rescue operations aren't getting to the root of the problem. We’ll ask her to elaborate.

Meanwhile workers are fighting the attacks on their living standards and working conditions -- and protesting worldwide to fight the war on greed. The SEIU organized a global day of protest with 23 unions in 25 countries to take back the economy from buyout firms who exploit tax loopholes to amass great wealth at others' expense, while here in Southern California United Health Workers have organized a "Workers Justice” week at St. Joseph's Health System, and striking Puerto Rican teachers come to LA to talk about what it will take to win quality education for all students as well as build a truly progressive labor movement. We'll talk to SEIU, UHW healthcare organizers, UTLA and the Puerto Rican teachers.

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BTS 7/14/08: FISA Lawsuit; South Africa/Zimbabwe; Self Help Graphics; Education for Incarcerated Youth

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We begin today’s program with Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel. The Nation has joined with the ACLU and other plaintiffs in a warrantless wiretapping lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.The new FISA Act will needlessly expand the government's ability to spy on Americans; gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies who turned over records to the Bush administration; and ensures that the country never learns the full extent of Bush's unlawful wiretapping.

We then talk to Brian Ashley in South Africa. Brian has published an interview with Morgan Tsvangirai, who was cheated out of the presidency of Zimbabwe., The crisis has spilled over into South Africa as xenophobic attacks and violence have shaken the country. We’ll ask Brian if this is the outcome of South Africa’s policies with the Mugabe regime.

And then we go local: LA artist Victoria Delgadillo joins us in studio. She says “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Dollar—The Catholic Archdiocese [has sold] the Self Help Graphics & Art Building to Developers.” Self Help Graphics and Arts is a nationally recognized Chicano Arts Center in East LA, started by Sister Karen Boccalero more than 35 years ago to advance and nurture Chicano and Latino art and artists. It has become a model of community-based art making and art-based community making. The non profit was told that the building was not on the list of sites to be sold as part of the Archdiocese's attempt to raise funds to pay the settlement for the Church’s sexual abuse cases. Victoria will fill us in.

And finally, visionary educator Paul Cummins joins us to talk about a model education program in juvenile probation, one that maximize opportunities and results for incarcerated youth.

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BTS 7/7/08: Obama Campaign; Abu Ghraib Lawsuits; Torture and the APA

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We begin tonight’s show with John Nichols, who writes that Barack Obama may well be the most eloquent presidential candidate the Democrats have run since William Jennings Bryan. But what is fascinating is the extent to which Obama's candidacy is inspiring his supporters in the labor movement to hit their rhetorical strides with an anti-racist message that fits the historical moment. So while progressives are alarmed at Obama's lurch to the center in the campaign, will his base of supporters elect him and hold his feet to the fire?

The Supreme Court has decided in favor of habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo prisoners, a huge defeat for the Bush administration. The Center for Constitutional Rights has been in the forefront exposing the administration’s attacks on the constitution, habeas corpus, use of torture, and just filed four new Abu Ghraib Torture Lawsuits targeting military contractors who have committed multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes, and civil conspiracy. According to the lawsuits, the individual contractor defendants allegedly “tortured, and conspired with others to torture.” CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher joins us to discuss these cases.

And just as the torture scandals deepen with the news that our torturers borrowed a page from the methods used by Stalinist China and Korea in a 1957 handbook -- methods used to elicit false confessions, while our commander in chief and the torture promoters insist we need to torture to get vital intelligence – Richard Lichtman tells us the American Psychological Association is complicit, overwhelmingly defeating a measure that would have denied the right of its members to participate in interrogations of prisoners in US detention centers. The APA, says Lichtman, has failed to denounce torture and to condemn the war, and have fallen short of the ethical principles of their own organization.

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BTS 6/30/08: End of the Planet?; Economic Tsunami

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On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we begin with Mike Davis who proclaims the end of the planet, and he places a lot of blame on the "CEOs of fossil energy companies [who] know what they are doing and are aware of [the] long-term consequences of continued business as usual." He added that they should, in his opinion, "be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.

We then look at a tsunami of an economic sort with Thomas Mackell – whose new book is When the Good Pensions Go Away: Why America Needs a New Deal for Pension and Health Care Reform. Mackell predicts a tsunami in global markets once the German banks reveal how much money they’ve invested in mortgage backed securities, and that is the tip of the iceberg. It’s not all doom and gloom, there are solutions too.

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BTS 6/2/08: Bad Money; Montana Primary; Local Elections

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As oil and food prices shoot skyward consumers know times are tough, whether we call it a recession or something deeper. Yet pundits, Treasury Secretary Paulson and government officials proclaim the economic crisis has stabilized and the recession has been averted, or that we are through the worst of it. Kevin Phillips unravels the number spinners, crunches the real numbers and says the economic crisis is worse than we know, that we’re being treated with Pollyanna versions of Washington’s ‘no inflation’ hoax. His latest book, Bad Money, tackles the numbers, the deceptions and the big picture.

Paul Edwards, President of the Progressive Democrats of Montana joins us from Helena on the eve of the Montana primary – to talk about whether the purple state will go blue, and much more.

State Senator Mark Ridley Thomas is running for County Supervisor against Bernard Parks to succeed Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke in the 2nd District, which stretches from Mar Vista through South Los Angeles and into Compton and Carson. Tomorrow is the election, Ridley Thomas talks to us tonight.

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