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 11/20/06: Iraqing Iran; Repositioning the Box; Naked Imperialism

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We begin tonight’s Beneath The Surface with Iran, as the neo-conservatives who brought us Iraq ratchet up the talk about using force in Iran. Ali Javadi joins us.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meet tomorrow to consider a Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke’s motion to substantially modify the current practice of up-front disclosure of prior criminal violations – a practice that practically assures recidivism, and no second chance for offenders who’ve paid their dues. We have covered the CORI campaign in Massachusetts with Horace Small extensively on this program. Supervisor Burke joins us, with attorney Margaret Richardson, to discuss the Los Angeles version – “repositioning the box.”

And finally, on tonight’s Beneath The Surface, we have an extended conversation with Monthly Review’s John Bellamy Foster about his recent book Naked Imperialism, that looks at the political and economic roots of the transformation of US global policy and ideology – and how the politics of fear plays a role.

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BTS 11/13/06: Election Analysis; LA Times in Crisis; Economy and Global Turbulence

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The Democrats have taken back the House and the Senate in last Tuesday’s election, widely seen as a referendum on the War in Iraq and the incompetence of the Bush administration. It was also a referendum on Bush’s disastrous stewardship of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of the Gulf coast and New Orleans, the culture of corruption in Washington, the dangers of one-party government, sanctioning torture, the attacks on civil liberties and more. The international reaction was one of relief. Since Tuesday, analysts and politicians alike have proclaimed the results as a victory for the political center. Michael Tomasky thinks it was just as much a move to the left in the Democratic Party as to the center: he joins us to explain.

We then turn to the crisis at the LA Times owned by the Chicago Tribune group who demand more and more cuts at the paper, trying to make it less a world class newspaper and more a local and provincial one. Kevin Roderick of LA Observed has been following the story and fills us in on the latest bids to wrest control and ownership from Chicago.

And finally we turn to an extended conversation with Robert Brenner of UCLA whose new book, The Economics of Global Turbulence, puts all of this in perspective by situating our politics in the workings of the global economy. In particular, Brenner traces the turbulent post-war history of the economy through its boom and now its downturn and poses far-reaching questions for the future.

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BTS 11/6/06: Election Day Coverage

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On the evening before what will be an historic mid-term election in an embattled and troubled democracy, we look at races in the nation and the state with John Nichols and Jamie Court; and later in the hour we look at challenges to our democracy that are not about voting machines or voter suppression – but about the level of domestic surveillance and control already in effect that pose de facto challenges to conventional notions about what constitutes a free society. Our guest, Stanford Professor Laura Donohue, has written on privacy and surveillance in both Britain and the US and her work uncovering just how far data mining and domestic spying have gone is chilling.

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BTS 10/30/06: US Election Coverage; Latin America

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Tonight we look at the upcoming election: Wendy Weiser in today’s NYTimes alerts us to threats to Franchise and highlights what to watch for next Tuesday.

We then talk to Horace Small about the race-card being played in Massachusetts gubernatorial race; Chris Slevin in Ohio looking at contested races and monitoring candidates on their attitude to trade issues; Paul Stephens in Montana on the Tester/Burns Senatorial race as well as how global warming, fires and coal count in this race.

At the end of the hour we talk to Miguel Tinker Salas about Oaxaca, elections changing the face of Latin America and to Ericka Verba about the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies Conference in Dominguez Hills this weekend which will survey the changes to our south.

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BTS 10/9/06: North Korea; King/Drew Crisis; Pension Shock

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On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we look at the political fall-out and limited options after North Korea conducted its first nuclear test early today. Bruce Cumings, a Korea specialist, says there is no military solution to the North Korean problem nor will sanctions work, since North Korea has been under virtual sanctions since 1950. He joins us to discuss the ramifications of North Korea becoming a nuclear weapons state.

We then look at the continuing crisis at King-Drew Hospital in Los Angeles, which faces a crippling loss of federal funding after the Los Angeles County-owned hospital failed a crucial inspection last month. The county Board of Supervisors has agreed in principle to dramatically reduce beds and services at King/Drew and put it under the management of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Residents have actively opposed this proposal – and we’ll have Earl Ofari Hutchison and Erin Aubry Kaplan join us to discuss the situation.

And finally, on tonight’s BTS we talk to Robin Blackburn, whose analysis of financial engineering and grey capitalism describes modern corporate strategy and techniques in this era – his latest book, Age Shock explores solutions to the crisis of pension financing.

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BTS 10/2/06: Guest Host Terrence McNally

Suzi was out this week observing Yom Kippur. Guest host Terrence McNally, from KPFK's Free Forum, sat in for Suzi on this week's Beneath the Surface.

Terrence's show Free Forum airs Tuesdays at noon on KPFK.

BTS 9/25/05: Iran-US Relations; Local Congressional Race; Jacked: How Conservatives are Picking Your Pocket

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On tonight’s BTS we begin with Dariush Zahedi and take a deeper look at Iran, President Ahmadinajad and the state of tensions between Iran and the US.

We then talk to Louis Vandenberg about his race in the 44th Congressional District – our ‘inland empire.’

And finally – we talk about your wallet. If you feel like your pocket is being picked, then tune in to hear Nomi Prins on her new book Jacked: How Conservatives are Picking Your Pocket Whether You Voted for Them or Not.

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BTS 9/18/06: Habeas Corpus Over?; Medical Complicity in Torture; Ford Motors and American Decline

Listen: Michael Ratner - Steven Miles - Jerry Tucker

First, a tragic note: on August 28, less than a month ago, Mark Krasnoff, the brilliant young activist and actor from Ville Platte and New Orleans was my guest on BTS, marking the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Mark Krasnoff died on Saturday September 16. Despite his compassion, talent and beauty, his struggle with depression got the best of him and he committed suicide. Our condolences to his companion Monique Verdin, his family, and the community of activists grieving his loss.

On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we take a look at the shredding of the US Constitution and perhaps parts of the Geneva Convention in the wake of the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and President Bush’s press conference on Friday, ostensibly asking for clarification of article 3 of the Geneva convention, leaving room for the CIA program of torture to go forward legally. President Bush was responding to the division within the Republican party on this issue, in particular, the Warner-Graham-McCain bill. We begin by talking to the Center of Constitutional Rights’ President Michael Ratner, who thinks the McCain et al bill guts habeas corpus. Then, we talk to Dr. Steven Miles about medical complicity in torture and the war on terror.

And finally we continue our investigation of American decline: last week Ford Motor Company announced massive layoffs in the wake of news that Toyota is now number one, with America’s big three trailing behind. While citing the cost of healthcare and the failure to raise profits, the big 3 refuse -- presumably for ideological reasons -- to call for the state to provide universal healthcare so they can be competitive. We talk to Jerry Tucker, a founder of New Directions in Auto and former International UAW Executive Board Member.

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BTS 9/11/06: Secrecy and Lies from Nixon to Bush; The US vs. John Lennon; Exploiting 9/11

Listen: John Dean - Jon Wiener - David Simpson

On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we look at secrecy and lies from Nixon to Bush – and commemorate 9/11 by looking at how a tragic and horrific event became a pretext for everything that followed. We begin with John Dean, former White House Counsel to Nixon, who exposed the secrecy and shenanigans of the Nixon White House, but writes now that conservatives have lost their conscious – that compassion is missing in their politics and has been replaced with an authoritarian streak. Dean also argues that Bush’s lies and secrecy are worse than Nixon’s and are grounds for impeachment.

Then our own Jon Wiener joins us in studio to continue the discussion about secrecy and lies, this time the FBI’s obsession with John Lennon – which you can see in the new film “The US vs. John Lennon.” Since the Bush administration is even more secretive than Nixon’s was, more unclassified documents have been re-classified and access to information is even more restricted. Jon will fill us in.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface, we talk to David Simpson, whose book 9/11 explores the exploitation of everything about 9/11 – grieving the dead, summarizing their lives in obituaries, and erecting monuments in their memory – and argues they have been co-opted for political advantage, using 9/11 as a defense of torture and war.

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BTS 9/4/06: Labor Day

Listen: Introduction - Andy Stern - Kate Bronfenbrenner / Dan Clawson - Rick Eiden - Paulina Gonzalez

Today is Labor Day -- which in the US has a curious history. In 1882 the Knights of Labor organized a parade to honor the working class in NYC. It was repeated in 1884 and the Knights pressed to make it an annual event. Then in May 1886 the titanic struggle between labor and capital came to a head in Haymarket Square, Chicago at a workers rally for the eight hour day. A bomb was thrown just as a police contingent approached the square, eventually killing eight policemen. Eight activists were tried and four of them went to the gallows singing the workingmen’s anthem. The trial gained worldwide attention for the labor movement, and initiated the tradition of “May Day” labor rallies in many cities around the world. In the US, President Grover Cleveland feared that a May 1 Labor Day would strengthen the socialist movement, so the first Monday in September was selected to reject any identification with Haymarket, syndicalism and socialism. Except for Canada and the US, the rest of the world celebrates May 1 as Labor Day, commemorating workers strength and remembering the Haymarket martyrs.

Unfortunately, this Labor Day workers have little to celebrate. Wages and salaries now make up the smallest share of the GDP since the government began tracking it in 1947. Meanwhile, corporate profits have risen to their highest share since the 1960s. While wages have declined by 2 percent since 2003, productivity has been rising, so workers are doing more work and making less money. A record 46.6 million people in the U.S. have no health insurance, a majority of them working people. A recent poll found that “The public thinks that workers were better off a generation ago than they are now on every key dimension of workers’ life.”

On tonight’s program we welcome Andy Stern, President of the SEIU – the most dynamic of today’s unions – to discuss the state of American labor and the unfulfilled promises of the American Dream. Then Kate Bronfenbrenner and Dan Clawson join us to discuss the key issues facing labor today.

And finally we talk about two local labor struggles: the first about the Stop Albertsons Campaign. Albertsons is attempting to get rid of its unionized workforce by closing down, opening up under a new name with a new non-union workforce; and we’ll hear about the Hotel Workers Campaign at LAX. We speak to Rick Eiden, Executive Vice- President, UFCW Local 324 about Albertsons and then Paulina Gonzalez, organizer with UNITE-HERE about the Hotel workers.

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