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 5/19/08: Bush Economy; French May 1968 anniversary

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It is the 40th anniversary of the French May 68, the legendary revolt that shook France and the world in a banner year of revolutionary struggle. Beginning in January 1968 with the Tet Offensive, every month added new struggles in a wave of revolutionary protest, strikes, and multiple forms of action. From Vietnam to France, the US to Mexico and Czechoslovakia (and back), 1968 saw the eruption of creative energy and daring innovation on the part of masses of mainly young people around the world. Stathis Kouvelakis and Patrick Silberstein in Paris join us. Stathis writes about the history of social protest in France, and Patrick is the co-organizer of the “Mai-68 -- It is only the Beginning” Coalition. We’ll talk about the significance of the French May and what it means today.

We begin the hour talking to Mark Engler, author of How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy. Engler considers the ways in which the Bush administration has changed the world economically and what it will mean for the next administration.

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BTS 5/12/08: US-Russia Relations; Dusk on Planet Earth; Lebanon at War

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Well-known environmentalist Bill McKibben is so startled by the terminal nature of the world environment that he has started a new campaign, 350.org -- to get back to that crucial number, 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In Bill's latest piece "Earth at 350," Bill quotes from foremost climatologist Jim Hansen's article in Science saying that we must somehow return the planet's atmosphere to 350 ppm (it's now at 385) -- and fast -- "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted." Bill will discuss the climate change tipping points that lie in our immediate future -- and he says "We might stop just short of some of those tipping points, like the Road Runner screeching to a halt at the very edge of the cliff. More likely, though, we're the Coyote." Don't miss this interview with Bill McKibben.

But we’ll begin tonight on a more familiar terrain, the Cold War – or rather the Cold Peace, pregnant with perhaps a worse Cold War according to Stephen Cohen. In a recent article Steve asks why the presidential candidates aren't talking about Moscow's impact on our national security. In light of Medvedev's inauguration we'll ask Cohen about the Cold "Peace" with Russia, whether or not Putin will still call the shots, and what we should be hearing from our presidential hopefuls on this score.

And at the end of the hour we visit with Hisham Ahmed, recently returned from Lebanon, where war has broken out again. Hisham will take us bts on Lebanon’s political crisis.

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BTS 5/5/08: IN and NC Primaries; Labour Party Upset; Financial Crisis

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Indiana and North Carolina vote tomorrow in the narrowing and contested Democratic Primary. Analyst and Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson talks about the white working class vote that eludes Obama and why.

In Britain, the Finance Aristocracy takes over the Finance Capitol – in a huge upset, the Labour Party suffered its worst council election results for 40 years when the aristocratic and colorful Boris Johnson rubbed salt into Gordon Brown's wounds by winning a sensational victory over Ken Livingstone in the election for London Mayor. We talk to Lambeth Councillor and national Equalities Officer for Unison, Pav Akhtar.

We then turn to the economy as we continue our updates and analysis of the epic recession: the press and the Bank CEO’s are saying the crisis is over and that the recession may not even be here. Jack Rasmus joins us to debunk the financial crisis.

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BTS 4/28/08: Elections; Tanking Economy; ILWU May Day Port Strike

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Robert Scheer of Truthdig.com has not allowed Hillary Clinton’s callous and frightening remark about ‘obliterating Iran’ to go unchallenged, even if the rest of the media has let it slip in the maelstrom of soundbites surrounding Rev. Wright – and now the Pentagon joins in the bellicose bluster. We talk to Scheer about the media’s election coverage and Bush’s Iran war plans.

We then turn to the economy. Michael Hudson says The Fed has not acted in the national interest, American banks are driving the dollar down, interest rates have decoupled from the real economy, debt service has made the US uncompetitive, the Euro is headed for US$2.50 unless Europe changes its policies, the alternative to canceling debts is disruptive bankruptcy, and finally, that economists will not be part of the political solution.

At the end of the hour we talk to ILWU executive board member and prominent anti-war activists Jack Heyman and Clarence Thomas about the work stoppage and protest on Thursday, May 1: The usually bustling ports along the West Coast will be still – Container ships will be idle at all 29 ports on the West Coast, shut down from Seattle to San Diego in protest against the wars in Iraq And Afghanistan.

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BTS 4/21/08: Philadelphia Primary; Food Crisis

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The Keystone State Primary is tomorrow. We’ll check in with John Nichols and Adolph Reed on the politics, the race – the way it’s covered, as well as the politics of race and its class component.

We then talk to Elizabeth Ramey, a former cattle farmer and current Ph.D. candidate who writes about the political economy of food, the US agricultural system, commodities, food, land and oil prices – and their relation to bubbles, housing and otherwise. With food riots in more than 30 countries, We’ll talk to Elizabeth about what is fueling the skyrocketing food prices.

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BTS 4/14/08: I Don't Believe in Atheists; Italian Elections; Ashgrove 50th Anniversary

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Chris Hedges has a new book, I Don’t Believe in Atheists – it grew out of the debate here in LA with Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, and inspired Hedges to continue his fight against the fundamentalist mindset that informed his bestselling American Fascists. In this compelling and beautifully written book, Hedges takes on the new atheists who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects. Chris joins us in studio.

Then, an update on the Italian elections, a wipe out for the Prodi center-left government and a victory for Berlusconi. KPFK Senior Producer Alan Minsky joins us to explain what happened.

In the last part of the hour, Gordon Alexandre and Jerry Kay come in to celebrate 50 years of the Ashgrove, which for 15 years, from 1958-1973 presented music as a major voice for the experiences, beliefs and feelings of communities and peoples.

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BTS 4/7/08: Iraq; CA Progressive Dems; Fed & Wall Street

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The administration, the media, the foreign policy establishment and the candidates distort or do not understand the current situation in Iraq. Juan Cole joins us to shed light on what they all get wrong (with the exception of Frank Rich of the NY Times): In the intra-Shiite fighting in Basra last week it was al-Maliki's parliamentary coalition that sought the cease fire by asking their Iranian patrons to broker it. Cole says the main motivation for the attack on Sadrist neighborhoods in Basra was to ensure that the Islamic Supreme Council wins the elections in that key oil province in October. The so-called successful surge couldn't change the outcome in Basra and the upcoming million man march called by the Sadr movement against the occupation will further embarrass our men in Baghdad … and Washington – where tonight General Petraeus is slated to push the proxy war line, fueling Bush’s bellicosity towards Iran.

We then turn to Marcy Winograd with news from the California Democratic Party Convention held last week. The Progressive caucus’ influence was evident on key issues such as defunding the occupation of Iraq, card check certification, opposition to free trade agreements, sentencing commission to overhaul California's arcane sentencing laws, freezing foreclosures, and prosecuting sub prime lenders.

And finally, Nomi Prins joins us in studio to talk about why Fed Reform Won't Work – the financial regulation system needs overhaul, but the proposed plan is a Band-Aid for Wall Street's mortal wounds. Plus – Nomi has just published a corporate thriller under the pseudonym Natalia Prentice, about a journalist who becomes mired in a deadly embezzlement scheme that snakes through Washington D.C. to Wall Street and beyond.

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BTS 3/31/08: Economic Crisis; The Kravchenko Case

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The economy continues its meltdown, the Fed is intervening to prevent a 1929 outcome, yet the new regulatory reform proposed doesn't deal with the derivatives, and no one knows if the crisis can be contained. We look at the depth of the crisis, the fix, and who pays.

We begin with Thomas Ferguson and Robert Johnson, who asked on a recent Huffington Post article: what do Wall Street and Britney Spears have in common? Apart from both being overpaid, they say, both have been stumbling from crisis to crisis. The issue isn't that the Fed is bailing out the banks -- but who is paying. In other words, where is the public interest. We’ll also talk to them about the Paulson’s reform and what it misses.

Delving even deeper, Hillel Ticktin argues this is a turning point in world history because the basis for equilibrium of the world system has been dealt a major blow: neither the Fed nor other Central Banks can come up with the $416 trillion or so needed to control the crisis. We’ll ask Hillel to explain why this crisis is different and can’t easily be resolved.

And finally, on tonight’s Beneath The Surface we turn to Gary Kern who has produced a monumental and definitive study The Kravchenko Case: One Man’s War on Stalin. It is a Cold War study with implications for today. Kravchenko believed profoundly in the struggle for freedom and justice, warning against resorting to the methods and forms used in Stalin's USSR. In today's war on terror, Kern notes, the US does what Kravchenko warns against: it resorts to the methods of its old enemy, "creates its own gulags, kidnaps people off the streets in foreign countries and tortures suspects as if their guilt were already proven."

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BTS 3/24/08: Jim Hightower; Financial Meltdown

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The media has finally admitted what economists have been saying behind closed doors for weeks now: the economy is in a formal recession, actually something deeper, something the usual tampering instruments can't seem to fix. So how deep, how long, and when does it globalize? And when will the politicians say what everyone else already admits? Tonight we talk to Jim Hightower, who says the checks for $600 won't fix our economy, we need a real stimulus package. He's in town for a Poverty Matters fundraiser sponsored by KPFK and we talk to him about the economy, the fix, and his new book Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow.

Then Max Fraad Wolff joins us to untangle the complex financial instruments in the shadow banking world of hedgefunds, derivatives, Credit Default Swaps and Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and more, the new forms that are somewhat impervious to monetary policy manipulations. Max says last week the structure of American finance shifted, and beneath the smoke few are asking what caused the fire. We also talk to Rick Wolff (Max's father) about what is behind the financial meltdown, buyouts and class based policies that have brought us to this major disequilibrium that threatens the world economy.

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BTS 3/10/08: Tanking Economy; Black/Latino Divide; The Great Debaters

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On tonight’s BTS we look at the tanking economy with Nomi Prins, who says that even Friday's House hearing to review the outrageous CEO compensation garnered in the lead-up to the subprime/credit crisis is just the tip of a big, protected iceberg with much more to be discovered.

Then we talk to Earl Ofari Hutchinson about the electoral divide between Latinos and African Americans AND the exploding gang violence in Los Angeles.

Finally, in studio, writer Robert Eisele and actor Nate Parker, from the film The Great Debaters join us to talk about the impact and importance of this film, which tells the inspirational story of an award-winning team of debaters from the small, historically black Wiley College in West Texas. In the 1930s the debate team, coached by poet and activist Melvin Tolson, surpassed nearly every other team in the country in contests against universities as far-flung as the University of Southern California and Oxford. The Wiley team was never officially accorded championship status because the national debate society did not formally recognize black participation. One of the winning debaters was the young James Farmer Jr., who founded the Congress of Racial Equality.

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