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 3/5/10: Chile, Haiti Earthquakes; Academy Awards

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On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we look at Earthquakes natural, economic and social from Chile to Haiti.

We begin with Chile, where a massive 8.8 giant earthquake struck in the early hours last Sunday, followed by an erroneously reported Tsunami on the Chilean central coast that caused many of the approximately 800 deaths. Fault lines run deep in Chile and the social crisis is mounting with the return to the streets of the Military attempting to bring order out of natural chaos. Arturo Cifuentes recently returned to Chile after spending years in the US working first in earthquake engineering and then in finance. He says he went from one disaster – the subprime – to another, the giant 8.8 earthquake which hit Chile last Sunday.

We are then joined by Michael Deibert, author of Notes from the Last Testament: A Struggle for Haiti, who just returned from Haiti, where he reports horrific devastation and friends who died, but says the country’s heart is still beating. We’ll talk to him about what he saw and reported as well as Haiti's long-term structural, political and economic development, taking a broad historic view of this recent tragedy.

And finally on tonight’s program, Andy Klein joins us for Oscar talk in advance of Sunday’s Academy Awards.

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BTS 2/26/10: Health Care Summit; California Budget Actions

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***KPFK is in the final days of our Winter Fund Drive, and we need your help.***
Click here to visit KPFK.ORG and show your support.

We are joined tonight by Ezra Klein, columnist for the Washington Post, for a post-mortem on President Obama’s health insurance reform summit yesterday. Health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, more and more people are left without access to health care, and Obama’s efforts at bi-partisan consensus have failed. The seven hour televised gab-fest featured a lot of posturing and little agreement. Will the Democrats go to reconciliation to get the bill through and is the public option truly dead? Will exchanges feature pools for those with pre-existing conditions (and does that include aging, those who have had accidents or suffered domestic abuse?)

We then talk to Joshua Pechthalt, Vice President of UTLA/AFT, about the March 4 Statewide Day of Action to protest the savage and suicidal cuts to education and vital community services. The broad coalition behind the day of action (and planned march to Sacramento beginning March 5) includes K-12, Community Colleges, and the UC system plus a wide array of unions and community organizations. They aim to show the face of Californians under attack and shame legislators to fund education and social services.

Plus: KPFK needs your help. Tonight we'll be offering Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, Richard Wolff's documentary Capitalism Hits The Fan, and more. Click here to visit KPFK.ORG and show your support.

BTS 2/5/10: Dysfunctional Democracy; Harpers Magazine

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Harold Meyerson joins us to talk about the early seating of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and the stalled nomination to the NLRB Craig Becker. Unlike the prolonged battle to seat Senator Al Franken, the Democrats complied to the request to seat Brown a week early. Was the rush to seat Brown to prevent NLRB nominee Craig Becker from being seated? Were the Democrats out maneuvered or did they deliberately let down one of their own causes and Constituencies – labor?

John R. MacArthur, Publisher of Harpers Magazine (we’re offering subscriptions today as a thank-you gift in our fund drive) joins us to talk about the legacy and future of that literary, brainy and politically hard-hitting, oldest continuously published monthly magazine in America. The March issue breaks another important story – with Scott Horton’s cover article busting the official account of the Guantanamo suicides. We’ll also talk to Rick about the outrageous barriers to democracy, the subject of his latest book You Can’t be President.

Plus: We are in our winter fund drive and we ask for your support. Please visit KPFK's Winter Fund Drive Pledge Page, where you can browse a list of our thank-you gifts and pledge your support.

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BTS 1/29/10: Obama and Economy; Teen Trapped in Haiti; Growing up Jewish under Stalin

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Tonight we begin with the economic State of the Union –the state of the budget with Max Fraad Wolff, economist in New York. What does Obama’s appeal to the independents with deficit reduction and a three year select spending freeze mean for economic recovery? The Keynesian solution to the current economic solution would require much more deficit spending, an economic stimulus that creates jobs by investing in vital infrastructure to ensure decades of economic growth, but the concentrated fire of the right and the nature of the Democratic party – owned by finance, insurance and Pharma while appealing to ordinary people with policies they cannot or will not enact – makes doing the right thing nearly impossible.

Jonathan Regis in Boston and Jenny Ulysse in Haiti join us to talk about her case: Jenny is Haitian American, a community organizer in Boston who was home in Haiti for the holidays, was trapped and injured in the earthquake and can’t get home. Her story is emblematic of the chaos and difficulties facing Haitian Americans trying to get back and tells us something about the rescue effort. Sign the petition to let Jenny return home.

Then Emil Draitser joins us to preview the conversation we will have on Wednesday February 3rd at the LA Public Library’s Aloud Series. He talks about his memoir Shush: Growing up Jewish Under Stalin.

Plus: Remembering Howard Zinn.

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BTS 1/15/10: Haiti; Angelides Commission; Health Care Reform

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We begin tonight with the devastating earthquake and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Frantz Voltaire, film-maker and historian has been appointed by Haiti’s President Rene Preval to coordinate international co-operation linkages between Canadian and Haitian organizations and the Caribbean in Montreal. He was part of Aristide’s first government and is now the head of CIDIHCA (Center of Documentation on Haiti and the Caribbean). He joins us for an update on the devastating disaster in Haiti, its political economic implications and more.

Then, we turn to the continuing drama unfolding around the financial crisis. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) is holding its first public hearings, chaired by California’s former State Treasurer Phil Angelides. The Commission is hearing testimony from the CEOS of the largest financial institutions, and many economists have publicly offered and printed the kinds of questions they hope the titans of finance will answer. Is Angelides asking tough enough questions? Or is he just shadow-boxing with CEOS who are playing dumb or trying to pass the buck? We talk to Tom Ferguson, who has written a two part series with Rob Johnson on the financial crisis for the International Journal of Political Economy. Ferguson will discuss his insights.

Finally, we speak with Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, who has been tracking and explaining the politics of the financial crisis. Kevin’s piece “Capital City” in the Jan-Feb issue of Mother Jones is an exposé of the politics of the financial crisis and the role of the finance lobby — the people who own Washington! Kevin has also been watching the negotiations between the house and Senate on the Health Insurance Reform bill, and we’ll ask him what he thinks.

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BTS 1/8/10: Airport Scanner Scam; Why We Are in Afghanistan; The Year in Economy

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On tonight’s program we begin with James Ridgeway on the airport scanner scam, the new plans for false security at our airports following the December 25th failed terrorist attempt. Ridgeway’s article from Mother Jones online asks who is getting rich from the full body scanner boom, and whether the TSA is once again enriching private corporations with failed technologies.

We then talk to Michael Zweig, Professor of Economics at SUNY Stonybrook on why we are in Afghanistan, the title of his new documentary film. We’ll ask him about US workers against the war, and the domestic pressures and geo-strategic interests that keep the U.S. in the region. We’ll also ask him about the prospects for popular resistance to the war(s).

And last but certainly not least, Nomi Prins is back to talk to us about the ten biggest lies about the economy in 2009 and what to expect in 2010. Nomi should know – she is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, and writes widely on corruption in Washington and on Wall Street.

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BTS 1/1/10: New Year's Day Special

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Happy New Year to all of our listeners!

Today we'll be featuring some of Suzi's great interviews from 2009. It's been a tumultuous year of deeping economic crisis and political dysfunction. We start with Suzi's interview with Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who also chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel of the government's rescue of the financial system. She discussions the Wall Street rescue, what could be in store for the near future in terms of the economy, and what this will mean for the crisis of the disappearing middle class.

Then, we feature an installment of Suzi's "Sounds Like Socialism" series, which aired earlier this year. She speaks with Bill Fletcher Jr. about his thoughts on socialism, bailouts, and the prospects for labor and the Left in the current economic climate.

Finally, we look at the cultural crisis at the root of our political impasse. Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, joins Suzi to talk about his new book, Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. He sees our culture as detached from intellectualism, instead on relying on spectacle to distract us from the economic, political, and moral collapse around us.

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BTS 12/18/09: Political Dysfunction in Health Care Reform and Climate Change

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On tonight's program we look at the urgent debates around health care and climate change and how, despite the clear scientific and economic implications of both, everything leads back to political dysfunction.

Harold Meyerson has said that Republicans have become an immovable object, but the Democrats have yet to find a way to become an irresistible force. With each passing day, the Senate becomes more of a mockery of the principle of majority rule -- democracy's most fundamental precept. Harold joins us to talk about the political wrangling in the Senate over Health Insurance Reform -- Andy Borowitz is calling it “Compromise Care” – and the outcome is anything but certain. We’ll ask Harold to sort through the details, address the concerns of the left and whether he thinks a bill will pass.

We'll spend the rest of the hour on the politics and science of climate change. Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer at the New Yorker and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, has published “The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Sobering Update on the Science”. She joins us to discuss the science update – which concludes that scientists have underestimated the pace and extent of global warming. Their updated report is explicitly aimed at “policy-makers, stakeholders, the media and the broader public.” We talk to her about the science and the politics as the Copenhagen conference comes to an end.

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BTS 12/11/09: Wall Street Rescue; Health Care Reform; Chilean Elections

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On tonight’s program we begin with Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor charged with overseeing the government rescue of the financial system and vigilant crusader for “Main Street” talks to us about the Wall Street Rescue and what it would take to reform and curb the practices that lead to the financial meltdown. We’ll ask her about President Obama’s push for job growth without sufficient dollars to make it happen, and why maintaining profits for the finance and insurance sector trumps helping out ordinary Americans suffering from their practices.

We then talk to Washington Post Columnist and blogger Ezra Klein who will fill us in on the Senate Health Insurance Reform compromise deal and dissect the Medicare buy in for 55-64 year old age group, the fading public option, exchanges and what health care delivery reform we can and cannot expect.

And finally on tonight’s program we go to Santiago, Chile and talk to Ben Witte about the astonishing news that Dictator Augusto Pinochet ordered the poisoning of former President Eduardo Frei. Six people have been charged with the murder. This ugly news comes just as Chile goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new President. Frei’s son – also named Eduardo Frei – is the candidate of the Concertación, which for the first time is being seriously challenged on the left and the right.

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BTS 12/4/09: Economic Policy; Afghanistan and Veterans

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On tonight’s program we begin with the economy. Unemployment figures are down a fraction, but still dangerously high especially when factoring in underemployment, furloughs and structural undercounting of those without jobs. Rob Johnson, Director of Financial Reform at the Roosevelt Institute and UN expert on Finance and International Monetary Reform joins us for a critical look at economic policy in this third year of epic recession, and continuing economic fragility a year after the banking panic. We’ll talk about what President Obama has done and what Rob Johnson thinks should be done to promote jobs and growth.

Then former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter joins us in studio to talk about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drones in Pakistan, and the plight of veterans. We’ll ask Scott Ritter what he thinks of President Obama’s decision to escalate in Afghanistan, pushing us deeper into the mire – and whether he thinks it can work, and what it will do to our already over-deployed military.

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