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 4/3/06: The Need for "Out Now"; Criminal Justice Reform; National Student Labor Week Of Action

Listen: Gilbert Achcar - Brandyn Keating - Carl Lipscombe / Colin Robinson

Three years into the Iraq War President Bush has told the public he intends to stay the course, regardless of public support. The anti-war discussion is divided between those calling for immediate withdrawal, and those in favor of phased withdrawal or strategic redeployment. Joining us from Berlin is Gilbert Achcar, who has recently published several articles calling for “out now.”

The NY Times recently highlighted the work going on in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago challenging criminal records that follow law abiding ex-offenders, increasing recidivism and preventing a second chance at a decent life. We have covered this work on BTS and tonight we’ll talk to Brandyn Keating from the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition in Brockton, Massachusetts about the radical reform efforts going on that are making a difference.

And finally – this is the National Student Labor Week of Action, and the actions of mostly Latino high school students walking out in protest of the immigration bill passed by the House is just one part of actions all over the country. We’ll talk to Carl Lipscombe, national coordinator for the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), and Colin Robinson, a student at the University of Vermont, about this Week of Action.

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BTS 3/27/06: Israeil Elections; Youth Revolt in France; Belarus Election

Listen: Yoav Peled - Patrick Silberstein - Mike Urban

First, a big congrats and kudos to all who demonstrated on Saturday against the Sensenbrenner anti-immigration bill. More than half a million filled LA’s streets to protest.

In our program tonight, we focus on elections and protests. We begin with the Israeli elections to be held tomorrow and look at the long shadow of Ariel Sharon. Yoav Peled joins us from Tel Aviv.

We then turn to the ongoing revolts in Paris, where over a million students and workers have demonstrated continuously for the last two plus weeks to say no to a new measure that would allow French employers to hire young workers on a conditional two-year basis during which they could be fired without cause. We’ll talk to Patrick Silberstein in Paris for an update and some analysis.

Finally we look at the continuing election saga in post-Soviet Belarus where Lukashenko won by way too many votes, has arrested his opposition, got rid of opposition press, but held on to a Soviet style economy. The US is fashioning a critical response. Mike Urban fills us in.

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BTS 3/20/06: Immigration; 3rd Anniversary of Iraq Invasion; Socialism & Basketball

Listen: Gustavo Arellano - John Bellamy Foster - Bertell Ollman

Immigration is becoming the hot-button issue for Republicans in the elections for 2006, and probably 2008. Rep Jim Sensenbrenner of Milwaukee has sponsored a backlash bill that is punitive and will further drive undocumented workers underground and to the margins of society. That may play well in Wisconsin, but Californians depend on the work and skills of these essential workers. Cardinal Mahony has come out in favor of compassion of the issue, standing against the immigration policy being proposed. Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly wrote an op-ed in the LA Times comparing Mahony's stance to the principled and consistent one of Father Luis Olivares, who offered sanctuary and refuge to undocumented workers without question. Arellano joins us to discuss the issue and what he calls Mahony's 'opportunism.'

We then turn to a talk by John Bellamy Foster on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. John Bellamy Foster calls for building a permanent peace movement.

Finally, it's March Madness, and Bertell Ollman thinks there's a real reason people love basketball - because of team cooperation, which Ollman says reflects socialist values, not capitalist ones.

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BTS 3/13/06: Hamas Update; South Dakota Abortion Law; Academic Freedom

Listen: Hisham Ahmed - Eleanor Smeal - Bob Samuels

On tonight’s program we look at the difficulties facing the newly elected Hamas in government, as well as the pitfalls and dangers they represent for a post-Sharon Israel as they move toward elections later this month. Hisham Ahmed joins us from the West Bank.

We then turn to the attack on women represented by the law passed last week in South Dakota that bans abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority joins us.

In our final segment Bob Samuels talks about the assault on academic freedom and higher education.

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BTS 2/13/06: Cartoon Crisis; Going Postal; Challenges to the Press

Listen: Robert Fisk - Mark Ames - Michael Massing

The Danish cartoon scandal has exploded into an international crisis, thanks to an unholy convergence of actions by a Danish newspaper and radical Muslims - helped along by the European press that treats the matter as simply a contest over free speech. There seems to be almost universal agreement that these cartoons are offensive. There should also be universal agreement that the paper has a right to publish them without fear of violent reprisal. The protests over cartoons deemed offensive to Islam have straightforward, purely religious origins - people are infuriated by the insult. But the unrest in the Middle East is also fueled by other grievances. Our guest today - Robert Fisk - speaks to us from Lebanon, where sectarian intensity has exploded into violence, and helps us to understand what's behind this crisis.

Speaking of violence, we then turn to Mark Ames, who has a new book, Going Postal - analyzing rage, murder, and rebellion from Reagan to Clinton and beyond. It is all about the political economy of decline in an age of uprising and atomization.

Finally, while the traditional press faces many challenges, from loss of readers and the challenge of the Internet, its botched and timid reporting on Weapons of Mass Destruction and the buildup to the war, Michael Massing documents the structural and internal problems that keep it from being the watchdog over the powerful and witness to injustice. He joins us for an extended conversation on an issue critical to the survival of democracy.

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BTS 2/6/06: Health Care Crisis; Iran Developments; New SDS

Listen: Steffie Woolhandler - Ali Javadi - Tom Hayden / Paul Buhle

The crisis in America’s healthcare delivery system grows more acute by the day. Nearly 46 million have no health insurance and many more are under- insured, with high deductibles. Millions are one healthcare problem away from bankruptcy. Successive Presidents have talked about the problem and Bush used his State of the Union to push Health Savings Accounts. We’ll ask Harvard Prof of Medicine Steffie Woolhandler to assess the problem.

Turning to another type of crisis, Iran has angered USA and European countries by re-starting parts of its nuclear program and refusing to abandon efforts to master uranium enrichment. Iran has declared that threats to send its nuclear case to the U.N. Security Council will not make it drop its quest for nuclear technology. We seem to be on what could be a disastrous war course with Iran. And now, there is Anti-European rioting in Muslim world over a Danish cartoon – which may push European public opinion and govts closer to the American position. We’ll talk to Ali Javadi.

And finally, We live in uncertain times, where stability and security are interrupted by uncomfortable reminders of grotesque inequalities and dashed aspirations, by spontaneous riots and mass rebellions, or vile acts of individual terror that wreak havoc and invite repression in the form of restricted civil liberties. Are the conditions today similar to conditions 40 years ago when the Civil Rights, anti-war and women’s movements began to challenge the status quo? Tom Hayden and Paul Buhle are here to talk about the present, the past and the future, and the tasks at hand.

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BTS 1/23/06: Chile's New President; SF Victory on Hiring Discrimination; Iran Crisis

Listen: Raul Sohr / Peter Kornbluh - Linda Evans / Susan Burton - Dariush Zahedi

Chile has a new President, Michele Bachelet. She is a socialist, a feminist, a pediatrician, a divorcee with three children by two husbands, a former political prisoner who was tortured during the Pinochet dictatorship, a former exile, and the Minister of Defense during the Lagos government. Her election coincides with the Pinochet case coming closer to trial. What can we expect from her as President? Raul Sohr and Peter Kornbluh join us to discuss what is possible and probable from President Bachelet.

We then turn to a victory just won in San Francisco, where the Board of Supervisors voted to end hiring discrimination against people with past convictions, something we’ve been following on this program in a similar campaign in Mass. We’ll talk to Linda Evans and Susan Burton of the All of Us or None organization that led the campaign.

And finally we turn to the developing crisis with Iran: US plans to invade Iran were quite advanced until the war in Iraq turned into a quagmire and public opinion turned on Bush’s war. Iran’s new President Ahmadinajad has turned up the temperature with statements against Israel, denying the holocaust, and continuing to develop nuclear power. Bush is restrained for the moment, realizing he has no troops to commit to what could be a much larger and more dangerous conflict, but moderate presidential contenders like John McCain and Hillary Clinton are making very hawkish noise. Dariush Zahedi joins us to sort out complicated developing crisis.

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BTS 1/9/2006: Judging Alito; Ariel Sharon; Harry Magdoff Remembered

Listen: Emily Bazelon - Ilan Pappe - John Simon / Robert Pollin

Day one of Judging Alito – will he hide his extreme views? Will Democrats set the tone with the right tough questions, and will they use the filibuster? Emily Bazelon joins us for comment and analysis.

We then turn to an extended conversation with Ilan Pappe of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s political legacy and the future of Israel post- Sharon, who lies in an induced coma after suffering a massive stroke last week.

And finally we appreciate Harry Magdoff’s life and work with John Simon and Robert Pollin.

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BTS 12/26/05: State of the Press; Whither the Death Penalty Post-Tookie?; Israeli Politics

Listen: Michael Massing - Mike Farrell - Roane Carey

While the traditional press faces many challenges from loss of readers and the challenge of the internet, it’s botched and timid reporting on Weapons of Mass Destruction and the buildup to the war, Michael Massing documents its structural and internal problems that keep it from being the watchdog over the powerful and witness to injustice. He joins us for an extended conversation on an issue crucial to the survival of democracy.

Then we turn to Mike Farrell, President of Death Penalty Focus and member of the advisory board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death penalty to talk about where we are as a state and a nation after the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams on December 13.

Our last segment looks at Israeli politics following the volcanic departure of Sharon from Likud to join with Shimon Perez of the Labor Party to form Kadima – a party meant to fill the polit5ical center and appeal to what our guest, Roane Carey, calls "the securocrats."

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BTS 12/5/2005: The Plight of the LA Times; Abu Ghraib and the American Media

Listen: Steve Wasserman - Lila Rajiva - Brian Deshaser

The Los Angeles Times announced it is slashing 85 people from its news staff, despite millions in corporate profits. Many of its readers are still reeling from the shake-up of its editorial pages including the firing of columnist Robert Scheer a few weeks ago. Steve Wasserman, former editor of the LA Times Book Review joins us to discuss the plight of the Times.

Later in the hour Lila Rajiva joins us to talk about her new book, just out from Monthly Review Press, The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media, and finally Pacifica Archives Director Brian DeShazor talks to us about a very special day of cultural programming.

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