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 8/24/09: Prisoner Abuse Report; Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Healthcare and Credit Card Reform

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Is it Prosecution Time? Today, the C.I.A. is set to disclose previously unreleased portions of a 2004 inspector general's report, providing fresh details about the CIA interrogation program and abuses inside its secret prisons. Elizabeth Goitein, director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and national Security Project says, "This is not about a 'few bad apples' that disregarded official policy. Official policy - approved at the highest levels of the U.S. government - itself crossed the line. What we need is a comprehensive, independent inquiry into post-9/11 abuses in our counterterrorism policies." She joins us.

Elections and war in Afghanistan, increased violence in Iraq: Can we stop the wars? Chris Hedges, former war correspondent and author of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning thinks there is a connection between war funding and our sorry state of healthcare. The insurance companies have won and Hedges says this isn’t reform, it’s a robbery. The real debate, according to Hedges, “is how much money our blood-sucking insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit health services are going to be able to siphon off from new health care legislation.”

Credit card industry reform went into August 21: did you notice? Danny Schechter, News Dissector, and producer of “In Debt We Trust” fills us in how credit card companies are ahead of the attempts to reform them, just like the insurance companies are with respect to health care reform. Danny also has tips to stop the squeeze.

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BTS 8/17/09: Health Care Reform; 21st Century Book Publishing; South Korean Strike

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Robert Reich, Berkeley professor and former Labor Secretary under President Clinton, had a seat at the table at the last attempt to overhaul our then-ailing and now broken healthcare delivery system. As the Obama administration signals they are willing to let go of the ‘public option’ it looks like the insurance industry’s twisted tactics Wendell Potter warned about here a few weeks ago – plus the $1.4 million per day the opponents of health care reform are spending -- are winning. We’ll ask Reich what he thinks can be done to get to meaningful reform of health care delivery, why fear mongering demagogues seem to define the agenda, and why the Democrats back down so easily on the only ingredient in reform—the public option— that can actually help repair the system.

Colin Robinson, formerly of Verso Books, The New Press and Scribner knows up close and personally what is going on in the world of publishing. Does Kindle and electronic publishing raise the question, whither books? Colin Robinson remains upbeat and his new start-up in publishing may indicate what is possible in the new world of publishing ideas.

Plus: Loren Goldner, who splits his time between New York and Seoul, South Korea updates us on the factory occupation/strike at Ssangyong Motors at Pyeongtaek that he reported on a few weeks ago.

BTS 8/3/09: Health Care Reform; Strike in South Korea

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On tonight’s program Wendell Potter joins us to talk about what health insurance industry insiders are doing to kill or maim key components of Obama’s health care reform as it makes its way through the congress and Senate – like having a competing public plan and an employer pay-or-play mandate. Wendell Potter should know -- he was the chief corporate spokesman at CIGNA and is now a whistle-blower speaking out on the twisted tactics he knows the industry is using to keep health insurance reform friendly to wall street interests and profits.

We then turn to a significant but under-reported or non-reported story in South Korea – where an heroic factory occupation is in its tenth week, and the government is using draconian methods to defeat the occupying workers at Ssangyong Motors at Pyeongtaek. Riot cops have tear-gassed and beaten workers and those supporting the occupation outside the factory, water and gas supply has been cut to pressure the workers to end their ten week occupation. Loren Goldner, who splits his time between New York and Seoul, South Korea and is writing a political history of the Korean working class, joins us.

Click here for South Korea Strike Updates

BTS 7/13/09: The Summer of Reform? Health Care; Labor Law; KPFK LSB Elections

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A dozen union presidents met with President Obama today to press labor’s national priorities: health care reform, labor law reform, and labor’s role in making certain the economic stimulus doesn’t leave out working people. On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we’ll look at what a revitalized labor movement and real street heat could mean for the economy, healthcare and labor law reform.

As employer groups and the insurance industry meet with Washington legislative committees to craft health care policy to their liking, Harold Meyerson writes that everyone is waiting for Obama to ramp up street heat -- because the organizing efforts so far to press for genuine reform have about as much chance of affecting the final policy as the phases of the moon.  We’ll talk to Harold about health care reform, and we’ll also ask him about the Sotomayor confirmation show just getting underway, the California budget crisis and prospects for labor law reform.

We follow that with an extended conversation with Steve Early, participatory labor journalist whose new book Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home provides just the kind of historical memory needed as the labor movement struggles to revive in this economic crisis. We’ll talk to Steve about today’s meeting between Obama and labor leaders, the prospects for labor unity, how the struggle for the reforms that matter today compare with reform efforts when there was a muscular labor movement -- labor’s role in economic recovery and more.

And finally, Nalini Lasiewicz returns for more on the upcoming KPFK local advisory board elections: and how the evolution of Pacifica’s governance structure affects your favorite listening. All this, when our program returns, in just a moment.

BTS 7/6/09: Obama in Russia; Goldman Sachs; KPFK LSB Elections

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President Obama is in Russia for his first Russian-American summit aiming to rebuild relations between the two nuclear powers. While mainstream media has stressed that Obama’s toughest act may be in balancing the power equation between Dimitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, Stephen Cohen, whose just released book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War goes much deeper - and here on Beneath The Surface we’ll explore the real dangers facing the historic relationship between the US and Russia. More than a ‘re-set,’ which is certainly a starter, Cohen has argued that the US has deceived and betrayed the Russians since the end of the Cold War, squandering opportunities to recreate our relationship and instead treated Russia as a vanquished power to be looted, plundered and humiliated. Can Obama’s foreign policy team, made from some of the same cast from the Clinton administration who facilitated the misdeeds, understand the depth and nature of Russian anger and the danger of further stoking it? Can Russia get some respect? How Obama handles this, Cohen believes, is a crucial test of his bold leadership.

Matt Taibbi was writing from Russia’s “Wild East” when all this transpired, doing some of the best investigative reporting of that rocky, mostly failed political and economic transition. Goldman Sachs was there too with Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin (and their protégés) making off like bandits. Taibbi’s investigative skills, honed in Russia and sharpened ever more since his return are in full splendor with his reporting on the back story to the economic meltdown, the Wall Street system, the bubbles and busts – and this time he focuses on Goldman Sachs, and they are pretty upset with his exposé. You may have read it about it in Frank Rich’s column in Sunday’s NY Times. Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article “The Great American Bubble Machine” follows his earlier investigation into the meltdown, shows how Goldman Sachs was behind every major market manipulation since the great depression -- culminating in the internet bubble, subprime mortgages, record high gas prices, and last year's financial meltdown. And just wait until you hear what Matt Taibbi says is the next bubble slash sinkhole for US tax payer money: Matt joins us to tell the story.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface we’ll talk to Nalini Lasiewicz about some Pacifica history in preparation for the upcoming LSB (Local Station Board) elections.

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BTS 6/29/09: Honduras Coup; Iran Protests

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On tonight’s BTS we look at expressions of popular anger against attacks on democracy in Honduras and Iran. Honduras’ democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup yesterday – Zelaya was kidnapped and flown to Costa Rica, ousted by the military, economic and political elites in Honduras on the eve of a referendum asking voters whether his term should be extended. The coup was condemned around the world, by the Obama administration and most Latin American heads of state. Popular anger in Tegucigalpa – burning vehicles, huge demonstrations and calls for justice – resembles what we have been watching in Tehran for the last few weeks. In both countries the will of the people has been violated. We begin our coverage with Joy Olson and Nelson Valdes on the Honduran coup.

The similarities between the political situation in Honduras and Iran are obvious – the democratic will of the people has been subverted. Setting the stage for even more protests and clashes, Iran’s powerful Guardian Council certified the results of the disputed Presidential election today after a partial recount was undertaken and apparently completed, resulting in even more votes for President Ahmadinejad in one district. Protestors again have taken to the streets, independent coverage has been banned and hundreds of journalists jailed amidst a continuing crackdown on dissent. We talk to UCSB Professor Janet Afary, who has just published Sexual Politics in Modern Iran, and Ali Javadi, who broadcasts an international daily TV program on Iran called “For A Better World.”

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BTS 6/22/09: Iran at the Brink; KPFK Fund Drive

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Support KPFK and Beneath the Surface today by clicking here! We are still accepting online pledges up to 7/4/09.

The Islamic regime in Iran has cracked down and the death toll is rising as demonstrators continue to protest the fraudulent re-election of President Ahmadinejad. The Guardian Council’s analysis of sample of election returns in 50 cities confirms that the numbers don’t add up – it appears there were more voters than people and they all voted for Ahmadinejad. Juan Cole joins us for an update and analysis of the continuing crisis in Iran.

Today is the last day of KPFK’s fund drive – and we’ll have a special “Suzi’s dollar a day best of the fund drive pack” as a thank-you gift for those who pledge.  This pack includes a brand new DVD of Eduardo Galeano in California last week talking about his new book Mirrors; Avi Lewis’ documentary on the California budget disaster -- “California: Failed State;”  Richard Wolff’s DVD “Capitalism Hits the Fan;” Robert Baer’s book The Devil We Know: The New Iranian Superpower – and more.

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BTS 6/15/09: Iranian Election Turmoil; California Budget Disaster; KPFK Fund Drive

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Support KPFK and Beneath the Surface today by clicking here!

Iran has been plunged into turmoil since Friday when the government declared that Ahmadinejad had won 63%of the vote to his opponent Mousavi’s 34%. This was immediately disputed and many believe the election was stolen.  Shots were fired at an Opposition protest rally in Tehran killing at least one, while the more than 100,00 protestors were met with violence, beatings and tear gas.  Iran's leaders spent the weekend urging people to accept the result but today Khamenei ordered an investigation into allegations of vote-rigging and fraud. Stephen Zunes joins us to discuss the elections and the US response. He says the best response to a stolen election – if that proves to be the case – is to stay out of the way.  Otherwise it could be a dream come true for those pushing for confrontation with Iran.

Plus: Today we are featuring Avi Lewis’ brand new documentary on the California budget disaster -- “California: Failed State.”  California’s economy is the largest in the US and eighth largest in the world, as big as Brazil and three times the size of Saudi Arabia. If California fails, the shock waves of this economic crisis will be felt around the globe. This terrific film is an activist organizing tool and a local story with global implications from the filmmaker who directed “The Take” (co-produced with his wife Naomi Klein) about Argentina’s movement of worker-run businesses, an emotional story of hope and resistance in the global economy. “California: Failed State” will be our thank you gift for a $50 pledge to KPFK.

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BTS 6/8/09: Fund Drive Special - Capitalism Hits The Fan / Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed

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Support KPFK and Beneath the Surface today by clicking here!

Today we are featuring Richard Wolff’s new film, Capitalism Hits the Fan,  which offers critical analyses of the causes of the economic crisis, the Keynesian stimulus-cum-regulation “solutions” being pursued and sketches an alternative solution.  We’ll talk to Rick about the underlying premises of President Obama’s economic proposals/solutions, the significance of the unemployment numbers just announced, the meaning of the GM bankruptcy and what it portends for our economic future.

We are also featuring  excerpts from our interview with Paul Mason – economics editor of the BBC’s Newsnight, and offering his new book Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed as a thank you gift for your sponsorship pledge. Paul Mason had a ringside seat at the meltdown and tells the blow by blow story of the crash which brought the global economy to its knees, undermining three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy. It’s all in his book – from the shadow banking system to the subprime to the commodities speculation that forced a billion people to go without meals by mid 2008. Paul says the neo-liberal era is over – and has a few suggestions about what kind of capitalism could emerge from its ruins.

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BTS 6/1/09: GM Bankruptcy; CA Budget Crisis; Healthcare Reform

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General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. The federal government will have a majority ownership stake and Treasury will kick in 30 billion with another 9.5 billion to come from Canada. GM's bankruptcy filing is the fourth-largest in U.S. history and the largest for an industrial company. Nelson Lichtenstein joins us to talk about the crisis in auto, the government solution, what Walter Reuther (and bold union leaders) would have done and SHOULD do. He says “Autoworkers should meet this crisis as they have in the past: boldly and visibly.” Indeed, with the government and the union owning nearly 90 percent of GM common stock, it is time to think boldly and progressively about how to restructure some of America's greatest manufacturing companies. They are far too important to be left in the hands of a generation of discredited managers and Wall Street speculators.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and  LA Times columnist Michael A. Hiltzik  joins us to discuss the budget crisis in California and the solutions neither Governor Schwarzenegger nor the legislature are proposing. Hiltzik says the governor has lied about the nature of the crisis and ignores the real solutions. He says that California is not ungovernable -- it's just been ungoverned. As for the next gubernatorial election – Hiltzik calls for some ‘profiles in courage.’ We’ll ask him what he has in mind.

And finally on tonight’s Beneath The Surface we talk to Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America’s Future. They unveiled an ambitious campaign today bringing together an impressive array of progressive groups slated to spend more than $82 million to ensure quality health care reform passes this year.  He joins us to explain.

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