Archive 2: 2009

Shows Available from Pirate Television

Pirate Television is a weekly 58 min Public Access Television program broadcast in Seattle Washington USA.  Pirate TV challenges the Media Blockade by bringing you alternative information and independent programming that is unavailable on the Corporate Sponsor-Ship.  The show features talks, interviews and documentaries.

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DVDs of most of the recent Pirate TV shows are available.

This is a list of the material that was produced by us and does not include all the fantastic documentaries and other materials that we have broadcast.  Tapes of the actual event footage not edited are also available in most cases but not in DVD format.  If you are interested in a complete list of the actual shows for purposes of broadcast on other television stations, please contact us.  This material is also available in audio form for broadcast on the radio. 

Programs are listed in reverse chronological order.

[List 8]  January 5, to Dec 28, 2009:

Iran-Israel-U.S.:Resolving the Nuclear Impasse panel, Monday 12/28/09 8-9pm PST

Iran-Israel-U.S.:Resolving the Nuclear Impasse panel TRT 1:35 Recorded 12/16/09
This community conference sponsored by local Jewish community groups and peace organizations explores ways of resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis through negotiation, rather than force.  Congress is debating a draconian sanctions bill directed against Iran. Neo-cons in the U.S. and Israel suggest that if sanctions do not work eventually military force may be the only way to end or delay Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Many in the progressive community are deeply concerned that the U.S. and/or Israel may soon repeat interventionist mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan. This conference presents a comprehensive approach that could resolve major difference through diplomacy and open a new era in relations between these three current enemies.  Also discussed are the best means of supporting the Iran reform movement in its efforts to encourage a government based on democracy and tolerance.
Three Iran and Israel analysts with extensive experience in the field discuss U.S. and Israeli policy options including sanctions and a possible military attack.

Dr. Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California
Dr. Ian Lustick, political science professor, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Keith Weissman, former director of Aipac's Iran desk

This conference was the brainchild of Richard Silverstein who writes the peace blog: Tikun Olam
Thanks to Landon Hendee for video assistance

Pirate TV web exclusive: James Fetzer: Was 911 an Inside Job?
James Fetzer: Was 911 an Inside Job? TRT 2:12 Recorded 12/13/09
In case you haven’t heard, it’s now official: The ‘official story’ is a cover-up.  James Farmer, Dean of Rutger Universities' School of Law, former Attorney General of New Jersey, and Senior Counsel for the 9/11 Commission who was responsible for drafting the 9/11 Commission Report has just published a book which makes the case citing considerable evidence that the 911 Report was almost entirely false.  The book: The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11 apparently was written with the cooperation and acquiescence of other commission members who were so incensed at the extent of prevarication by government officials that they considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution.

According to The Washington Post in 2006, "Suspicion of wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in summer 2004, debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, according to several commission sources. Staff members and some commissioners thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission."

So what were they covering up?  I’m not quite sure, but the whole thing reeks to high heaven and I have thought so from the very beginning.  That’s why I went to considerable lengths to get permission to be the first in the US to broadcast Canadian media critic Barrie Zwicker’s series of commentaries: The Great Deception - The War on Terrorism: An Alternative View back in April of 2002.  I’ve made an attempt to broadcast those views that I consider reasonable and credible but as many may know, I draw the line when it gets too far out there into ‘conspiracy theory’ land or when people start jumping to conclusions that they can’t back up.  I spent a lot of years trying to expose the connection between US secret foreign policy and the drug trade and have on occasion been unfairly accused by ignorant people of being a conspiracy theorist myself.

Though the history of US covert operators using drug money to fund their secret wars may be considered a ‘conspiracy’ by some, it is not in any way a theory.  It is an easily provable historic fact whether it occurred in South East Asia in the 60s and 70s, Central America in the 80s or Afghanistan today.  This is also not to say that Conspiracy Theorists haven’t gotten a bad rap.  The word arises out of the Kennedy assassinations and was applied to people who refused to believe the single bullet theory [which virtually nobody believes] and eventually was turned into a term of derision by the government and the corporate media.  However, what I was trying to do was expose inconvenient facts, not put forth theories.  To accuse me of that under these circumstances is insulting and an obvious cheap shot.  I’m careful to protect my credibility because it’s all I have.

One more point on this: Many reputable people have done a lot of work on the Kennedy assassinations.  Just off the top of my head, I can think of several that have been featured on this program, Thom Hartmann, Michael Parenti, Peter Dale Scott, Jim Douglass, and Noam Chomsky.  All have come to somewhat different conclusions, some radically different.  Does this make them “conspiracy theorists”?  I would say that
technically the answer is, yes.  Because the truth is that the government is still refusing to release many key documents that may hold the definitive answer so we don’t and may never know the real history of what happened on those fateful days.

So I would put James Fetzer in this same category.  He is a PhD professor emeritus of Philosophy who studied at Princeton and the publisher of over 20 books as well as hundreds of articles.  He did a lot of groundbreaking work exposing new information on the Kennedy assassinations.  If you listen closely to what he is saying here about 911, you will realize that he is generally careful to distinguish between what is fact and what are his conclusions.  What is hypothesis and what is evidence.  Fair enough.  That said, I want to take one of his more outlandish theories and with my limited knowledge explain why I think that it is unlikely that it could have happened that way.

Fetzer shows pictures of the destruction of the trade towers and compares it with the collapse of building seven.  Building seven collapsed into itself in the traditional way of a controlled demolition with all the floors pan-caking and leaving a pile of floors stacked on top of each other.  The trade towers seemed to disintegrate with huge percentages of cement and solid steel seemingly pulverized and turned to dust.  Nothing like this has ever happened before as the result of either a fire or a plane crash.  If this is true, what could cause such a phenomenon?   Fetzer postulates that it could have been caused by some kind of beam weapon.

Before you get all in a huff, I would like to suggest that the possibility that such a weapon could exist would not be as far fetched as you may think.  The military industrial congressional complex have spent a trillion dollars on secret programs such as “Star Wars” over the past decades and it would be unwise to assume that they have nothing to show for this lavish expenditure of our money other than a few congressional good tidings in the form of fat campaign contributions.  Furthermore, we know from research exposed by Bruce Gagnon and his Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space that this is exactly what they are after.   They want weapons where they can move in and zap whomever they want anytime without warning so that they can blackmail everyone especially other world leaders.  However, that even the likes of the Bush administration would use such a weapon on Americans is unlikely in my opinion.  It’s not that I think they wouldn’t if they thought they could get away with it, it’s that latter part.

Let’s say that such a weapon existed.  It’s impossible to keep stuff like that secret forever.  If they used it on 911, that would mean that they couldn’t use it again because if they did people would immediately connect the dots.  Furthermore, it would be impossible to keep it secret at all.  Such a weapon unless nuclear powered would need an unprecedented huge solar array to collect the necessary energy needed to accomplish such a task.  Everything in space including the thousands of tiny pieces of space junk are constantly being tracked by radar.  Anybody could see it.  A nuclear power plant big enough to produce the amount of energy needed to destroy a building of that size would likely be too big to get into orbit.  And a program to develop such a big space reactor and the technology necessary to get it in place would also be hard to keep secret.  The knowledge of such a device would be a destabilizing factor and it’s not reasonable to assume that other countries wouldn’t expose it when they found out about it, and they would.  And then you have to consider that an energy pulse of the magnitude needed to pulverize a building would likely have to be so huge that it would be detected all over the globe.  Currently, the power to zap an orange with a laser beam from space would take the energy equivalent of a large city.  Although, you can’t completely discount the possibility that such technology does exist, it’s my opinion that it’s just as likely that the trade towers were shot down by space aliens.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t merit in everything Fetzer says.  He provides some excellent food for thought.

What lays behind the multitude of unanswered questions about the 911 events?  In short, we don’t know.  There are things that we do know for certain.  The ‘official story’ is a lie and the likelihood that it happened the way the government says is about the same as the space alien theory.  So I don’t think it hurts to hear from people like James Fetzer from time to time because he is careful to keep a fine line between the facts, his conclusions, and his speculations.  And he does bring to light a lot of startling new information.   The reason I am unable to broadcast this video is that it is over 2 hours long.

Thanks to Landon Hendee for video assistance
Marjorie Cohn: The Rules of Disengagement, The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent, Monday 12/21/09 8-9pm
Marjorie Cohn: The Rules of Disingagement. TRT 1:33 Recorded 10/13/09
Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, gave this talk at Coffee Strong in Lakewood on Tuesday, October 13.  Marjorie, is an expert in international law and is demanding that members of the Bush Administration be prosecuted for war crimes.  She explains why the Afghanistan, Iraq, and South East Asia wars were illegal.  Her new book, co-authored with Kathleen Gilberd, Rules of Disengagement, documents many heroic cases of GI resistance to the current wars and relates it to the massive resistance inside the military that helped end the war in Vietnam.

Thanks to Coffee Strong and Landon Hendee for video assistance

UNA Panel on Food Security and Climate Change, Wednesday 12/23/09 Noon-2pm

UNA Panel on Food Security and Climate Change TRT 1:45 Recorded 10/24/09
United Nations Day Public Forum
An expert panel will address how future food security and sustainable development will be jeopardized by unprecedented seasonal heat without investments in adaptation and innovations to improve the heat resistance of crops and agricultural productivity, and the political challenges confronting a new climate change agreement to be negotiated at Copenhagen in December that includes technical and financial aid to developing nations.
Prof. David Battisti, University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences
Dr. Monika B. Zurek, Program Officer, Agricultural Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Dick Nelson, Coordinator, Puget Sound Millennium Goals Project and Former Chair, Washington House of Representatives Energy Committee
Moderator: Sarah van Gelder, Executive Editor of Yes! Magazine

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall

Nomi Prins: It Takes a Pillage, Monday 12/14/09 8-9 PM PST

Nomi Prins: It Takes a Pillage TRT 1:07 Recorded 12/3/09

The famous bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked by FBI agents, “Why do you rob banks, Willie?”  He said: “Because that’s where the money is.”  My guess is that if you were to ask the ‘banksters’ who just made off with 13 trillion or so of our money why they rob the treasury, you would get a similar answer.  Last I heard, the FBI is not looking for them.  If they were, they would be easy enough to find.  They are running the government. 

If you are looking for someone to explain the ongoing banking crisis, deregulation scam, and subsequent bailout in all its gory details, you couldn’t do better than Nomi Prins.  The former managing director with Goldman Sachs turned investigative journalist saw it all from the shop floor.  She’s here to fill us in and bring us up to date on the latest financial skullduggery and legislative mayhem. 

Nomi’s media credits are too numerous to list.  Let’s just say she is a prolific writer and now works as a Senior Fellow at the progressive think-tank: Demos.  She is the author of several bestselling books.  Her latest is: It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.  Other books you may have heard of are, Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America and Jacked: How "Conservatives" are Picking your Pocket (whether you voted for them or not).

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliott Bay Bookstore.

Pirate TV Climate Series: Eric Holt Gimenez: Food Rebellions, Monday 12/7/09
Eric Holt Gimenez: Food Rebellions TRT 1:23 Recorded 11/30/09
I’m putting this show under the banner of the Climate Series because of the Copenhagen Climate Conference next week and the huge impact that the Corporate Food Regime as Eric calls it, has on global warming.  For starters, the system is based on fossil fuels.  I was surprised to learn that this model is actually only more productive than organic farming in the United States.  That is because the type of industrial agriculture practiced here is based on forcing the land to produce far beyond its natural capacity requiring huge amounts of chemicals and water which drains the soil of nutrients and depletes water resources.  For this and many other reasons, a return to sustainable agriculture would go a long way toward reducing climate change.

However, this talk given earlier this week [11/30/09] at the WTO+10 event could just as easily fall under the Fair Trade, Social Justice, Nutrition, Land Reform, Food Justice, Health, Corporate Rule, Economic Justice, Immigration, Imperialism, Neocolonialism, Neo Liberalism, GMO, Democracy v Fascism, Environment, Alternative Energy, or any of a myriad of headings because as you will see, the takeover of the world’s food system by a handful of giant transnational agribusiness monopolies is implicated in just about every problem facing humanity.

Here to fill us in on all this is one of the world’s foremost experts.  Eric Holt Gimenez, Ph.D. runs the 
Food First Institute for Food and  Developement Policy.   Eric is the author of many books, the latest of which he co/authored with Raj Patel: Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice.

Thanks to Reclaim the Media and the Community Alliance for Global Justice

Pirate TV Climate Series: Amanda Little: Power Trip, Wednesday 12/16/09 Noon-1pm PST

Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells—Our Ride to the Sustainable Future TRT :58 Recorded 11/12/09

The award winning investigative journalist from the Seattle based environmental news operation- GRIST [A Beacon in the Smog] delves into the politics and history of our addiction to fossil fuels in the US.  Along the way of writing her book: Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells—Our Ride to the Sustainable Future she does a little cultural anthropology into what we might call “fossil subculture”, ‘hanging’ with the roughnecks on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico and investigating the “Burning Man” of the bible belt set: roaming around the pits of the Talladega Alabama Superspeedway.  No one ever accused the folks at GRIST of lacking a sense of humor.

Thanks to Carl Chatski for videotaping and Elliott Bay Books for letting us

Susan Koppelman: Israel’s Hidden Water War, Monday 11/30/09 8-9pm PST
Susan Koppelman: Israel’s Hidden Water War TRT 1:36 Recorded 11/13/09
A focus on the water and sanitation situation in Palestine reveals how Israeli policy is systematically denying Palestinians’ human right to water and sanitation in violation of international law.  The worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank is directly linked to Israel’s deliberate policies aimed at denying the people of the occupied territory the human right to access their just share of the shared water resources.  This is not only an ongoing strategy of ethnic cleansing but constitutes an illegal seizure of a scarce and essential resource.

Susan Koppelman is an active member of LifeSource, a Palestinian-led collective organizing to build a popular movement for Palestinian water justice.  She is based in Ramallah where she has been living for more than 3 years and she is joining us as part of an annual tour organizing for Palestinian water justice in North America.  December 10th is International Human Rights Day.  LifeSource and the WASH Advocacy Task Force are supporting a global campaign on the right to water and sanitation in Palestine, December 6‐13 2009.  The WASH Advocacy Task Force, is a subcommittee of the EWASH (Emergency, Water and Sanitation Hygiene) Group. The EWASH is a coalition of over 30 organizations working in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in the occupied Palestinian territories and its members include local and international NGOs and UN Agencies.

In addition to the call for action for International Human Rights Day, LifeSource is calling for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestinian water justice.  LifeSource has co-produced a number of films on the water and sanitation situation in Palestine, one of which, Gaza is Floating, will be featured in this program.  In this talk given at the University of Washington last week, Susan lays out in detail the various aspects of how Israeli control over water resources is violating Palestinians human right to water and sanitation and what you can do to support human rights and justice in Palestine.

Contact: Susan Koppelman
LifeSource project organizer

Pirate TV Climate Series: Lester R. Brown: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Wednesday12/2/09 Noon-1pm PST
Lester R. Brown: Mobilizing to Save Civilization TRT 1:04 Recorded 11/12/09
Lester R. Brown, Founder and President of Earth Policy Institute gave this talk about the environmental crises threatening to collapse our civilization.  He has written a new book [one of 50]: Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.  He says most civilizations that crashed in the past did so because of a collapse in their ability to produce food brought about most often by their mismanagement of the environment in one way or the other.  Of course, overpopulation, the water crisis, global warming and resource depletion are all tied in with this in our current predicament.

With next week’s Copenhagen Climate Summit on the horizon I found some of what Lester had to say to be quite encouraging because if the summit fails to reach an agreement as predicted, it may not be the “end of the world”.  In other words, if you are holding your breath waiting for the US government or the “Corporatocracy” be it here or in the form of an international treaty to solve the climate crisis you are probably about to run out of breath.  You are looking in the wrong place.  Even if they were able to arrive at some form of agreement it is most certainly going to be of the too little-too late variety or a “solution” as in the current proposed health care legislation, or the banking crisis [or any other current crises] that just makes the problem worse.  That’s because the Corporatocracy is structurally unable to contemplate anything beyond profit and domination even at the expense of saving their own hides.

What’s going to probably sink a Copenhagen agreement is the demand for a “climate debt” obligation from the developing countries already experiencing the worst effects of climate change created by the carbon in the atmosphere put there by the industrialized world.  [see: 'No Logo' Author Naomi Klein to Focus on Climate Controversies in New Book]   They are calling for the industrial countries to pay for damages such as desertification, sea level rise, water scarcity and other problems so that the “underdeveloped” countries can adapt to climate change and finance sustainable development.  But that would be unthinkable to the Corporatocracy: “What?  We worked hard to put these countries into debt bondage, where do you think we get most of our revenue.  Now you want us to finance their development!  Are you crazy?”

Let’s take Cap & Trade as another example.  Almost all the major powers on que from their elite banking sectors are clamoring for a cap and trade system that will be very likely to do nothing except create another derivatives casino and huge profits for the finance and corporate sectors.  This is just another example of the Shock Doctrine in action: “Oh, biosphere falling apart -civilization on the brink?  We can fix it.  Just let us handle it –better hurry!”  What’s needed is a revenue neutral carbon tax to steadily and aggressively make fossil fuels less competitive with sustainable energy while returning the money to energy consumers or the commons.  But no!  Much like single payer health care in the US, it’s not on the table.  Although it’s important that we as citizens do everything we can and more to force government to do the right thing, it helps to remember that real change never originates at the top and the government is functioning as expected.  If the government so happens to do the right thing it will be because we dragged them kicking and screaming, as always.

Getting back to what Lester had to say, there are millions, probably billions of people around the world who have a grip on reality and are already hard at work on solving the crises they see coming down on us.  This number is inevitably increasing all the time.  These include scientists, business people, lawyers, engineers, as well as politicians and especially activists.  They are not waiting around for the US government or the Corporatocracy.   He gave many examples.  This also includes many governments as well as those of emerging countries like China, India and even the State of Texas who are now moving very rapidly toward sustainable energy development.   The hopeful sign is that this may very well render our broken democracy and the Corporatocracy irrelevant.

Amy Goodman: Breaking the Sound Barrier, [Online Pirate TV Website]
Amy Goodman: Breaking the Sound Barrier TRT 1:47 Recorded 11/27/09
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was in town Friday [Nov. 29] and gave the keynote address to kick off the Global Justice Forward: A People's Summit--an activist summit marking the tenth anniversary of the Seattle WTO.  The breaking news was what she had to say about her being stopped, questioned and searched for an hour and a half by Canadian border guards Wednesday about the speech that she was scheduled to give in Vancouver BC.  A clear violation of her rights of free speech and an outrageous assault on press freedom, this immediately made headlines across Canada and was the top story on the CBC National News.

Amy’s extraordinary talk went on for an hour and forty five minutes without Q&A and I was the only one videotaping it.  So rather than wait to find out if I can get a slot next week or try to break up the talk into two shows, I am going to post this immediately on the internet [Here] and hope for the best as far as getting a good slot.

Amy is off to the Climate Summit next week and had a lot to say about the comparison between what we did in Seattle ten years ago and what is likely to happen in Copenhagen.  This gives me an excellent opportunity to riff a little bit more on what I was saying about the irrelevance of the Corporatocracy because back in 1999, while the “main stream” media in the United States were focusing on what was happening inside the Convention Center and the so called “riot” outside, we in the Independent Media Center were covering the real story exposed by the plethora of simultaneous events, workshops, and talks by the world’s leading thinkers on corporate globalization.  This substance was totally ignored by the corporatist media.  As it turned out, those pushing the corporatist global agenda inside the Convention Center were irrelevant because ultimately they were not the deciders, the people outside were.  We may not have stopped Neo-liberalism, but we did stop the WTO as their tool and it has never recovered.

Thanks to Reclaim the Media

Malalai Joya: A Woman Among Warlords, Monday 11/23/09 8-9pm PST
Malalai Joya: A Woman Among Warlords TRT :58 Recorded 11/11/09
Readers of these pages will remember last time Ray McGovern was here, I asked him why in his opinion as someone who has been as close to the top as anyone I’ve ever met, Obama would be so foolish as to send troops “where empires go to die.”  He replied: “You heard of the Military Industrial Complex?  He gave them half a loaf.”  We are featuring Ray McGovern this week also, but this brings up the sorry fact that more than any of the reasons that Malalai Joya listed in this talk for why the US is in her country: the fabled planned pipeline, the need for a military presence in the region to control the oil so as to dominate it’s economic rivals, and the control of the Heroin trade, there is that other most lucrative of profit centers: war.  For in spite of what fools may want to believe, the war machine doesn’t really care who’s winning or loosing as long as it has ample supply of children to burn and young recruits to use up and throw away.  It doesn’t really care who the enemies are as long as it has them- or can manufacture them. 

I was surprised that Malalai referenced this when she mentioned John Stockwell, the highest CIA official at that time to “defect” to the public and his book: “In Search of Enemies”.   For all practical purposes, Al Queda in Afghanistan doesn’t exist.  What does exist are a lot of very angry people who are sick to death of foreign forces occupying their land and blowing them to smithereens from the sky.  How many endless wars against manufactured enemies [and other rip-offs] will it take before the willfully ignorant and chronically apathetic population of the United States rise up and take control of their government?  Perhaps we deserve the government we’ve got, but the ones who happen to be this week’s unfortunate victims or unlucky enough to be the randomly selected guinea pigs for new weapons system testing do not.  Neither do they deserve the phony elections, fascist puppets, and civil wars we impose on them.

That’s why I think Malalai’s tour of the US is the most important thing going at this time.  It occurs right at the time when Obama and his war mongers are deciding how much more of our blood and treasure they are going to piss away on this pointless slaughter.  Perhaps we and our worthless legislators in the halls of congress busily dialing for dollars and selling their votes need to be reminded what courage looks like.  In a place where girls who attend school are regularly killed or dowsed with acid, she was starting schools at the age of 16.  She went on to found health clinics, orphanages and self-help centers.  Elected to the Loya Jirga which wrote Afghanistan's constitution at age 25 and then to national parliament, she denounced the US supported warlords which earned her four assassination attempts.
Malalai Joya has written " A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice ".  She and her co/author, Canadian peace activist Derrick O'Keefe were in Seattle last week.  All proceeds from sales of the book and other fundraising are going to support the 
Afghan Women's Mission.  Give generously, then give Obama and your Senators and Reps. a piece [of your mind] for peace.  If that doesn’t work, then shut down the god damn country.

Thanks to Peace Action of Washington State
Audio courtesy of Kellie-Media.com

Ray McGovern: Why Accountability for Torture Is Crucial for Human Rights, Our Security and Our Souls, Wed. 11/25/09 12-1pm PST
Ray McGovern: Why Accountability for Torture Is Crucial for Human Rights, Our Security and Our Souls. TRT 1:28 Recorded 11/12/09
As alluded to above, Ray McGovern gave this talk to a packed house at Kane Hall last week.  Since you can see the title of the speech, what else is there to say?  But if you are going to have somebody talk about torture and the shameful depth of depravity to which this country has fallen, who better than the former 27 year veteran CIA analyst and briefer of Presidents who was so disgusted by the “fixing” of intelligence to justify the Iraq war and the use of torture that he started an organization of intelligence alumni called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Thanks to the
Washington State Campaign Against Torture
Special thanks also to Todd Boyle for recording assistance

Mark Danner: Stripping Bare the Body, Monday 11/16/09 8-9pm PST

Mark Danner: Stripping Bare the Body TRT 1:13 Recorded 11/11/09
He’s back, this time with another 2 inch thick “tome” as he calls it.  The award winning author of numerous books, 25 year veteran of foreign affairs journalism for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, The Nation and such.   Chronicler and exposer of torture memos, secret foreign policy and the machinations of empire he’s titled his new book: Stripping Bare the Body: Politics, Violence, War.  What’s he talking about?  Stripping bare the body of state that strips bare the ones that it tortures to reveal the structure that lies beneath the phony democracy and the twisted truth from here to Haiti to Abu Ghraib.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliot Bay Books

Thomas H. Greco: The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, Wed. 11/18/09 Noon to 1pm PST
The End of Money and the Future of Civilization TRT 1:30 Recorded 11/04/09
All the three great religions of the “book” have strong prohibitions against usury.  Many people these days seem to have forgotten what that is.  In fact it is considered one of the gravest sins.  Seems like they forgot what capitalism is too.  Gee, isn’t free enterprise great?   They think because a person can start their own business -that means they are a capitalist.  But they are mistaken or misinformed or something.  Very few of us are capitalists or ever will be.  A capitalist is a person who sits around the pool waiting for a check.  They live off interest or investments.  In short, a capitalist makes money off of money.

Americans are brainwashed to think that wealth magically appears out of nowhere and that’s ok.  But wealth is not the same as money.  A bank creates money out of thin air every time they make a loan.  And there is no free lunch.  Somebody has to create the goods and services that the money that was created will buy as well as that bought by the interest money that the loaner will collect.  To support the users or usurers, in other words: the parasite class, those of us working stiffs have to work all the harder for all the less.  And what’s worse, it means that to equalize the expansion of the money supply that interest represents, it means that the economy must perpetually grow exponentially.  It’s a perpetually expanding pyramid scheme.  Unfortunately, perpetual expansion is impossible.  That’s why pyramid schemes always collapse.

If you are looking for the root cause of resource depletion, global warming, overpopulation, perpetual war, endless poverty, the global financial meltdown, and why the phony democracies never seem to be able to solve any of these problems, this could just be it.  To survive, we’re going to have to throw the parasites off our backs and take control of our money system.  To understand how this can and is being done, you need to look no farther than Thomas H. Greco, Jr.  Join us for an eye opening and enlightening discussion.

Thanks to Elliott Bay Books

Special thanks to Todd Boyle for video and production assistance in these two shows.

Irene Khan: The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights, Monday 11/9/09 8-9pm PST
Irene Khan: The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights TRT 1:11 Recorded 10/26/09
Economic insecurity is relative: as we in the Northwest worry about layoffs and financial security, more than 1 billion people worldwide are living on less than a dollar a day. Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International (and the first woman, the first Asian, and the first Muslim to lead the influential human-rights organization), believes such poverty is not just an economic problem, but also a global human-rights violation. Khan’s latest book, The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights, is the centerpiece of Amnesty International’s three-year human-rights campaign to end world poverty, and asserts that the best strategy is to empower the poor to take control of their own lives, enabling them to build a sustainable and dignified future for themselves.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and University Book Store

Jerome Gold: Paranoia & Heartbreak, Wednesday 11/11/09 Noon-1pm PST
Paranoia & Heartbreak: Fifteen Years in a Juvenile FacilityTRT :57 Recorded 7/22/09
All the while Jerry Gold has been known hereabouts and beyond as the founder/publisher of Black Heron Press, he has also been carving out a niche for himself as an excellent author. He is here with a powerful memoir of his years of work as a rehabilitation counselor for young offenders in a Washington state prison. Paranoia & Heartbreak: Fifteen Years in a Juvenile Facility

Thanks to Elliott Bay Books

Pirate TV Climate Series: William Calvin: Putting the CO2 Genie Back in the Bottle, Monday 11/2/09 8-9pm PST

William Calvin: Putting the CO2 Genie Back in the Bottle TRT :58 Recorded 10/16/09

In this Pirate TV exclusive, Ed interviews Dr. William Calvin, author of Global Fever, How to Treat Climate Change.   With the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit looming, we are hearing a lot about the “irreversible damage” that is being done to the biosphere as well as what can be done to stop the increase in the excess CO2 in the atmosphere.  But as Dr. Calvin points out, CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time, thousands of years and where most of that carbon goes when it finally leaves the atmosphere is into the oceans.  This is already causing the oceans to become dangerously acidic.  Nobody is talking about this.  Even kicking our carbon addiction will need to be done much faster than most people are ready to accept, but it is the excess carbon already there that is the source of the irreversible damage.  It must be removed. 

William Calvin is a research scientist who studies brain evolution.  He has written some books about how abrupt climate change played a key role in human brain development.   This research coupled with a heavy physics background has led him to the cutting edge of climate science.   But William Calvin is foremost a doctor, so his approach to solving the climate crisis stems from the perspective of a physician who endeavors to treat a sick patient.   A wise doctor knows that he can at best only facilitate the body’s own healing processes.

It might be said the living organism that is the earth has its own immune system.  Left alone, Gaia will eventually remove the carbon and restore the balance in the atmosphere.  However this will most likely happen long after the nasty human infestation that is the source of the illness is gone.  As part of that infestation, I would like to have a say in this!  In this show, the good doctor outlines some clever but relatively inexpensive methods for us, if we move fast, to utilize the earth’s own healing processes to draw down the excess CO2 and rid us of the ocean acidification problem at the same time.

Dahr Jamail: The Will to Resist, Wed 11/4/09 noon-1pm PST

Dahr Jamail: The Will to Resist TRT 1:52 Recorded 9/27/09 

The broadcast version of this talk is edited down from almost two hours.  The entire talk is posted on the Pirate TV Website.  In the intro which I cut off, Dahr told the story of how after 8 months of reporting from Iraq on the horrors of the US occupation he ended up with a pretty serious case of PTSD.   In his rage against what he had witnessed, the best he could come up with was that all US soldiers no matter what their rank should be behind bars ASAP.  It was in fact, a member of Veterans for Peace who recognized the PTSD and steered him towards counseling.   This is when he began to recognize that the soldiers themselves were also the victims of a US foreign policy establishment bent on world domination through extreme violence.

And this brings us to the subject of this talk and his latest book.   Dahr recognizes as I do that it is most likely a rebellion in the ranks that will finally bring an end to the current endless wars for conquest and profit we see in Iraq and Afghanistan.  -As in Viet Nam, only when the Masters of War and their political henchmen come to the realization that the military can no longer be trusted to carry out their crimes.  This type of rebellion is already well underway but if you are waiting to see it in “main stream” corporate media; you’ve got a long wait.  Best get it here now.  I recommend you watch the entire two hours on line.  It’s extraordinary.

This talk was a fundraiser for Coffee Strong, the G.I. resistance coffeehouse.  Support Coffee Strong!



Pirate TV Climate Series: David Owen: The City as a Green Pioneer, Monday 10/26/09 8-9pm PST

The City as a Green Pioneer TRT 1:09 Recorded 10/8/09
When we contemplate a green lifestyle many of us conjure up visions of living out in the country sort of like Thoreau in his cabin by Walden’s Pond growing our own, cooking on a log fire.  David Owen argues that the quest for the greenest lifestyle leads to densely populated cities like New York.  New Yorkers per capita consume only 90 gallons of gas a year –vastly less than most Americans.  They also consume less water and electricity as well as generate a lower rate of greenhouse gases.  This is not because they consciously strive for this or particularly think of themselves as the greenest community in the country but because of density itself and a highly efficient public transportation system.  It also doesn’t hurt that in NY congestion makes driving pointless throughout most of the day.  Join us for a though provoking hour with the author of Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and University Book Store

Mike German: Surveillance without Suspicion, Wednesday 10/28/09 12-1pm PST

Mike German: Surveillance without Suspicion TRT 1:07 Recorded 10/8/09
An FBI whistleblower who specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations talks about wiretapping, the PATRIOT Act, data mining, the NSA, and “Fusion Centers”.   Mike German is a 16yr veteran of federal law enforcement who now serves as Policy Counsel for National Security and Privacy with the ACLU’s Legislative Office in Washington, DC.

Thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State and Landon Hendee for recording assistance

Pirate TV Climate Series: Peter Maass: The Violent Twilight of Oil, Monday 10/19/09 8-9 pm

Peter Maass: The Violent Twilight of Oil TRT 1:20 Recorded 10/14/09 

Earlier this week Nation writer Mark Hertsgaard published an article called Climate Roulette.  He talks about his latest “Oh Shit” moment (the moment most people have when the grim reality of the climate crisis sinks in).  This time it was a study released in July by a German government advisory panel that says that if we are to stand a two thirds chance at avoiding “catastrophic climate change” (read extinction) the United States must reach net-0 or be carbon neutral in ten years.  Even then, at two thirds, Russian Roulette would give you twice again better odds.

Would anybody like to consider the odds that our present government of, by, and for corporate profit actually has the capacity to accomplish anything of significant positive benefit including even saving its own ass?   But if we don’t find the will to change, our dependence on fossil energy is sure to make us all fossils.  So we need to be thinking about it over the next few weeks (those few that still have that capacity here in this “empire of illusion”) as the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen swiftly approaches.  So I’ve decided to bring a little food for thought to the table starting this week as we consider the true costs of oil.  These would include the toll not only to the the environment but also in human suffering and war as well as how oil dependence warps economies and corrupts governments. 

To help us in this endeavor is NY Times Magazine writer Peter Maass, here this week with his new book: Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall, Pacific Science Center, and University Book Store

Sister Helen Prejean: Time to Reflect, Protest and Protect, Monday 10/12/09 8-9pm PST

Sister Helen Prejean: Time to Reflect, Protest and Protect TRT :50 Recorded 9/26/09 Sister Helen Prejean: Conference :57 Recorded 9/26/09
Keynote                    Conference
Sister Prejean became world famous when she published her best selling book Dead Man Walking and it became a movie directed by Tim Robbins and starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.  The film received 4 Oscars including best song by Bruce Springsteen.  Since then she’s been featured in major television and print media all over the world.  For a humble Roman Catholic nun who has dedicated her life to the poor you might think this is pretty fast company.  However, once you meet her you realize that she is an activist par excellence.  Like a steam roller, nothing fazes her -nothing could deter her from her purpose.  Any fame, wealth or notoriety is immediately recycled back into the fuel tank for next day’s work and although I didn’t know her before, I got the distinct feeling that I was talking to the very same person I would have been if no one had ever heard of her.

What fires Sister Helen’s steam are the prison industrial complex and the Capital punishment juggernaut in the USA.  The system is inherently unjust.  For some strange reason rich people are never executed.  Although many states like Washington have a death penalty, almost all executions take place in the Deep South.  Most of these are poor men of color.  About 90% could not afford a lawyer when they went to trial.  The Public Defender system in many of these states is nothing but a shame.  Recent revelations have shown that many are innocent.  Since 1973, 124 death row prisoners have been released after long years on death row but the Supreme Court recently ruled that “actual innocence, standing alone, is not a constitutional basis for release so long as the State gave the defendant an ‘error-free’ trial”.  Apparently, it’s more efficient to execute innocent people than consider new evidence.  –“You had a ‘fair trial’, tough luck sucker.”

Sister Helen Prejean had a thing or two to say about all this.  The show consists of two parts: her keynote address that was given at the Social Justice Fund
’s annual dinner, and an excerpt from a panel held earlier in the evening with local religious leaders and human rights activists.   This entire discussion is posted on the Pirate TV website.  Sister Prejean has recently published a new book: The Death of Innocents.

Viva! Social Justice Fund

Maya Wind and Netta Mishly- Why They Refused, Monday 10/6/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST
Maya Wind and Netta Mishly- Why They Refused TRT :57 Recorded 9/15/09
In Israel, young men and women are automatically conscripted into the military the instant they graduate from High School.  If they don’t show up for induction, they can be charged with desertion before they sign anything.  It is heartening to know that there is a growing resistance to compulsory service in the Israeli Defense Force.  These youth refuse to contribute to a deadly cycle of violence with their neighbors.  They refuse to confiscate land, to demolish homes, to detain Palestinians without charge.  They refuse to guard checkpoints, to enforce a siege, to usher in a humanitarian disaster. 

In Israel these are called Schministim (which means Twelfth) or 12th graders.  Two representatives of this movement were recently in Seattle talking about the reasons why they signed a letter of refusal and served time in military prison for standing up for their principles while still in High School.  These courageous young people are Maya Wind and Netta Mishly.  I can relate to them because when I was their age I also faced being drafted for an unpopular war which I strongly disagreed with.  Like them, I recognized that my body was not the property of the government or the war machine.  I only wish that I could have been as articulate as these two.  This week we take a close look at the Israeli war machine from a different perspective: the harm that it causes Israeli society.

Thanks to Todd Boyle for recording this event.

Max Blumenthal, Crisis Among the Radical Right, Monday 9/28/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST 
Max Blumenthal: Crisis Among the Radical Right TRT 1:15 Recorded 9/24/09
I tried entering the Publisher’s Clearinghouse contest once and gave up.  What’s the point?  You have to tear out all these little stamps and paste them in the little boxes and go through so many hoops that it seemed like it would take forever.  I wondered who would take that much time for a 20 million in one chance at winning a million.  Later I found out that that actually was the point.  It was a ruse to find the absolute most gullible people so as to sell the lists to advertisers: “Our list is the absolute certifiable cream of the gullible.  These people are scientifically tested to be so stupid and compliant that you could sell them anything!”

This is not unlike the direct mail marketing campaigns conducted in the late 70s to fleece money out of flock.  These mailings would ask fundamentalists to check boxes to determine what their particular hot button issues were: Communism, pornography, abortion, homosexuality, school prayer, etc so that they could be more efficiently targeted for future fleecing.  This was the beginning of the latest incarnation of the Religious Right.  It’s important to realize that this all had very little to do with religion.  Like the TV hucksters, they were just ploys to suck huge amounts of money out of suckers.  This eventually merged with the right wing political agenda as political operatives like Bill Billings founded of the Moral Majority, and Paul Weyrich, Richard Viguerie, and Howard Phillips got into the act.  They convinced Jerry Falwell to be their front man.

A marketing list of highly indoctrinated morons is a valuable commodity indeed.  These dupes will not only give you their money but also make excellent political shock troops.  This was one of the main strategies used to defeat Jimmy Carter and usher in the era of another bogus religion, an economic one: Free Market Neoliberalism.   The issue of abortion is used because it revs up the mob and splits off Catholics from the Democratic base.  The cynical political puppet masters couldn't care less about abortion or any of the other hot button social issues.  Sorry, it’s a political ploy and nothing more.  People with means can always find ways to access abortions.  Picture Karl Rove sitting in the White House laughing after meeting with many of the true believers that got him into office.  Unfortunately for the Republican Party, the shock troops organized to win office for the Corporatists and right wing extremists have now taken over and this in conjunction with the unfolding disaster wrought by their bankrupt Free Market economic theories have made them unelectable in most jurisdictions.  However, as this summer’s turnout of gun toting ding-a-lings testifies, they are a threat to everyone’s best interest including their own.

Max Blumenthal spent the last 6 years infiltrating and investigating the pathology of the far right.  He has identified it as a sadomasochistic culture of personal crisis that unites the army of ignorant lost losers with their leaders.  Sarah Palin is an excellent example.  The more idiotic the things she says, the more dysfunctional her family, the more hypocritical she turns out to be, the more they identify with her.  The fact that this culture of ignorance worship could go so far in the USA where somebody like ‘W’ or Sara Palin are even considered legitimate political figures is largely what has made us the laughing stock of the civilized world.  In Europe where Theocracy and Fascism have run their course, the latest trend is “American jokes”.   We’ve taken over from Pollocks as the symbol of stupid. 

I’ll say it again, stupid people are dangerous.  Generally, you can’t make them smart by simply talking to them.  You can never make them rational by trying to reason with them.  -They would need to be deprogrammed first.  And being nice to fascists doesn’t make them go away.  The best thing you can do is call them out to expose them for what they are so that everyone else can recognize them and shame them back into their little closet where they had resided since the Scopes Trial until charlatans and political operatives let them out.  Max Blumenthal has made a major contribution to this effort.  He diligently traces back the origins of their movement and de-constructs the pathology behind it.  The title of his new book is: Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and University Book Store.

Cecile Andrews & John DeGraaf, Less is More, Monday 9/21/09 12-1 and 8-9pm PST

Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness TRT :57 Recorded 9/12/09 

People in the United States are brainwashed to think that if they were rich they would be happy.  It’s not true, in fact after a certain basic level of sustainability is attained, more money or more stuff doesn’t seem to help.  The sort of happiness that comes from outside objects, even a new boyfriend or girlfriend wears off quite rapidly and the time limit seems to be fairly standard.  Study after study has reviled that most people say that happiness comes from more esoteric values such as relationships- family and otherwise, respect- of their peers and community, as well as the kind of rewards that come from life fulfilling work, fun, etc.   This is the basis of the philosophy practiced by those of us who have rejected materialism and over-consumption as the central principles of our lives.


This movement is known as the Simplicity and Sustainability movement.  Two of the leading movers and shakers in this have been Cecile Andrews & John DeGraaf.   Both are prolific writers.  John is national coordinator of Take Back Your Time and is best known for his PBS documentary: Affluenza, and book of the same name.  Cecile Andrews is founder of the Phinney Ecovillage and authored Slow Is Beautiful; The Circle of Simplicity; and contributed to John's book Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America.  These two subversives were at Elliott Bay Bookstore last week talking up Cecile’s new collection of essays: Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness.  Join us for a most rewarding and fulfilling conversation.


Thanks to Elliot Bay Books

Thomas Frank: The Wrecking Crew (slight return) 9/14/09 12-1 and 8-9pm PST

Thomas Frank: The Wrecking Crew- How Conservatives Rule TRT 1:20 Recorded 9/10/09 

-A moment to think about what we’ve got (which we don’t know till it’s gone):

I was unable to tape Thomas Frank last year when he was here with the hard cover edition of The Wrecking Crew.  I had been hearing him over and over on other alternative media.  I desperately wanted to get his talk on Pirate TV but I wasn’t getting any response back from his publisher.  This is an indirect process.  Different publishers handle these things differently.  The authors themselves often never find out that I’m trying to get permissions.  Lately when this happens I’ve been calling on the Town Hall for help.  They were able to get through to the right people and take care of it so that I could tape Chris Hedges and Thomas Frank and put them on TV.  Apparently there are some people at Town Hall who have become great fans of Pirate TV and appreciate what it is I’m doing.  I appreciate them too.  So should you.

You may wonder why so much of the content on Pirate Television comes from events put on by the Town Hall and/or Elliott Bay Books.  It’s because they deliberately go out of their way to present the greatest political thinkers of our times.  While many bookstores, especially the giant chains are deliberately cutting back on political authors, Elliott Bay and Town Hall have been purposefully bucking this trend.  They probably feature more progressive intellectuals than everybody else combined.  They are irreplaceable independent media institutions essential and dedicated to the promotion and maintenance of free thought in the Pacific Northwest.  Many people told me how much they appreciated seeing Chris Hedges’ spellbinding talk.  You’re going to really like this one also.   It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the intervention of the Town Hall staff.

I’ve been thanked enough.  I think some thanking needs to go to them.  When you see one of these talks that you really like from the safety and security of your own arm chair -brought to you for free, please note where it came from.  Even if you never set foot in the Town Hall, it’s coming from them.  It couldn’t happen if they weren’t there.  Seattle Town Hall is a non profit.  It doesn’t cost that much for a membership.  Please tell them Pirate TV sent you.

I know that we can’t afford to buy all the books from the great speakers we see on this show but if there is a “must read” please buy it from the bookstore that sponsored the event.  –And don’t forget: Tell them that Pirate TV sent you.  I want to make it clear that nobody asked me to say this and I’m not getting anything from it, but if a lot of you call and tell any of these venues how much you appreciate the hospitality and graciousness they have shown by putting up with me, it goes a long way toward insuring that you will continue to see great stuff like this in the future.

-Now back to Thomas Frank…

Frank has written some landmark books, most notably his latest two, What’s the Matter with Kansas? and The Wrecking Crew.  He returned this week with the paperback version of the latter.  For some of you “progressives” out there who are having problems figuring out what “neoliberalism” is, this could be a good place to start.  Note the subtitle of Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.  Why do they do that?  What are they after?  Can you recognize it when you see it?

While Frank doesn’t specifically use the term “neoliberalism” he is essentially describing the international corporatist political/economic agenda or “Corporate Globalization” as it is being applied in the United States.  It’s important to connect these dots.  In Europe the “liberal” parties are actually the conservative parties.  There, the root “liberal” is akin to the word “Libertarian” here.  I’m guessing this might have something to do with the way it translates.  In the US, historically we have thought of Liberal in terms of the Enlightenment as used by our founding fathers.  So Neoliberalism could be described as the “new libertarian economics”.  I’m not sure exactly when it became “new”.  Maybe it means “the new feudalism”, har har…Wait, that’s not funny!

In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein describes neoliberal “Free Market” economic ideology as manifest in so called Chicago School Economics championed by Milton Freedman and how it was foisted onto the world (not to mention how people can become immunized as long as they can recognize it).  What Thomas Frank is describing in this book is how all this is being foisted on us.  The agenda is the very same: institute corporate rule over the state, deregulate and privatize everything, disempower labor unions, eliminate: social spending, safety net programs, and progressive taxation so as to leave the citizens with essentially no control over the economy allowing the Banksters and Gangsters to run wild.  Free Market Economics is a bogus ideology developed to give intellectual cover for theft and economic tyranny- a return to feudalism “corporate style”.  This has largely been accomplished through debt peonage –both individual and national.  This could also be accurately described as Fascism -according to Mussolini: “the merger of state and corporate power.”  I wish those conservatives would read this so that they could get their “isms” straight.

While Frank was making his rounds laying out how all this happened, connecting it to its ideological roots, as well as carefully tracing it back through the entire cast of characters thus making him a big hit last year, it’s old news now.  He used the opportunity of this visit to bring it all up to date through current events.  This might be a pretty sobering subject, but as usual you can’t escape his wit.  How he manages to describe this and simultaneously get you rolling on the floor is something to see.  As my friend Jeff Pearson is fond of saying: “Sometimes we like to ‘chuckle in the graveyard’.”

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliott Bay Bookstore

Video by Landon Hendee

Rep. Jay Inslee Health Care Forum, Monday 9/7/09 8-9pm PST

 Rep. Jay Inslee Health Care Forum TRT 1:23 Recorded 8/30/09

The medical health insurance industry and Big Pharma are parasite industries that serve no useful purpose to society.  They suck the blood out of their customers for the profit of shareholders and outrageously overpaid CEOs.  The health insurance corporations do not provide any healthcare but make huge profits by grossly overcharging on the input side and denying care on the output side killing (depending on whose figures you want) at least 18-22 thousand Americans every year either because they’ve been priced out of the healthcare market, couldn’t get insurance because of a preexisting condition or because their insurance companies cut them off at the very time they most needed it.  Many more have to suffer with conditions that their health insurance won’t pay for.  In addition, 60% of bankruptcies in the US are due to medical costs.  These are just a few of the statistics that were covered by Congressman Inslee in this “town hall” meeting.  This is not news to you or me.  Anybody who reads my stuff has probably seen Sicko at least once.  Neither would any of us likely be fooled by the right wing tome that this is the “free market”.  These For Profit corporations grew out of previous health care “reform” Republican style and exist largely by feeding at the public trough.  Let’s face it, they are neoliberal kleptocratic entities –same as the Banksters who just clipped us for does anybody know how many trillions?  If this were a real democracy governed by the rule of law rather than money they pilfered from us, we wouldn’t have to fight them because they’d already be in jail.  Murder for profit is a crime for corporate “persons” too.


I went down to Inslee’s forum to vote with my feet and I took my camera because I wanted to see the circus for myself and get some wackos on tape.  I got there 10 or 15 minutes before the event was to start and there was only one wacko out front.  I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to reason with him on camera.  You can watch this for yourself but I just want to illuminate a couple points here.  This guy’s main spiel was that, “Healthcare is not a right, it’s just like car insurance, you have the option to buy it or not.”   I don’t think I have to comment on how ludicrous this is.  So I used this line of reasoning: “What about the fire department?  What about the police?”  All of which he said were rights because he pays for them with his taxes.  So I said: “Is Medicare a right?”  To this he responded again, it was his right because he pays for it with his taxes.  So I asked, “Why shouldn’t we all be able to get it and pay for it with our taxes?”  At this point he immediately switched the subject to another right wing bugaboo: illegal aliens.  “It will go to illegal aliens”, he says.   I shouldn’t have taken the bait.  I started to argue with him about whether or not this was true.  I should have said: “So OK, but let’s say that aliens couldn’t get it”, and take it from there.


This illustrates how the “single payer is best but not politically feasible” Democrats and the bona fide single payer advocates totally blew it.  If instead of compromising right off the bat and shooting for a bogus “public option”, if they had just proposed lowering the age of Medicare to zero and called it “Medicare for all”, there would have been nothing the brown shirt wackos and their corporate masters could say.   Everybody seems to like Medicare and everybody understands what it is.  No amount of demagoguery or propaganda could have won the day.

I hear tell that Obama is going to formally drop the public option this week.  According to Kip Sullivan of Physicians for a National Health Program in his article: Bait and Switch: How the "Public Option" Was Sold, the only thing robust about the public option being touted by the Democrats is that it is robustly nothing.  The public option has been so watered down and dismantled from the original concept first proposed in 2001 by Jacob Hacker (now a professor of political science at Berkeley) that it amounts to no option at all.  I just happened to catch Kip Sullivan on the radio last night.  He says that at most the public option may insure 10 million (House "tri-committee" bill), but more likely it will insure no one (Senate HELP committee).   This is according to the Congressional Budget Office.  It’s not going to offer any competition to the health insurance cartel because the pool would be too small and you are going to be buying it from them anyway.  It has no possibility of controlling costs and it is not possible that it will ever lead to a single payer system.  What spawned because of public outrage as a long overdue attempt at reforming a corrupt collapsing system that has the potential of bringing down the whole economy suddenly transmogrifies into another honorarium for parasites while the public gets screwed.  Sound familiar?  Is this the Shock Doctrine again?

The public option debate is a ruse within a ruse.  Sullivan said that the Progressive Caucus knows that the public option is a hollow shell but they are locked into their commitments to Labor and other progressive organizations.  It would be better to drop the bogus public option rather than let it kill the whole bill.  It causes more harm than it does good because we would then be stuck forever with a non solution “solution”.  Dropping it would free the public option and single payer advocates to immediately unite behind Medicare for all.  Sullivan says that very few countries that got single payer health care achieved it at one fell swoop.  But that would mean that some couch potato progressives would have to get off their asses, organize and start voting with their feet.  The wackos or at least their masters are obviously extremely well organized but as this video illustrates, being essentially cowards, wackos are more likely to mind their manners when they are greatly outnumbered.  I thought the way Jay Inslee handled them was masterful.  There’s a place [online version towards the end] where somebody suggested that the healthcare bill would run up the deficit.  Inslee said that the deficit had always been a major concern of his too and he began to mention some of George Bush’s contributions in that arena.  The wackos went totally bonkers for it seems like forever.  The hypocrisy of these people never ceases to amaze me.  We’re going to take a deep look at the pathology and origins of the current crop of American brown shirts when Max Blumenthal gets here later this month.   I don’t want to give it all away but if you want to create some authoritarian personality types just follow James Dobson’s advice and beat your kids.


How organized are they?  Back in 1999 when this show was still called “Crack the CIA” as the subject matter kept expanding, I had this idea that the show had to contain at least one reference to the CIA.  Otherwise people might wonder what the WTO had to do with the CIA.  (Of course we know everything has to do with everything.  But I wasn’t sure everyone would get that.)  So I used to ask the guests to mention the CIA.  I said this to author John Sauber of the Center for Media & Democracy (formerly PR Watch) who was about to give a talk on the scary tactics of the invisible trillion dollar PR industry and he told me that they are the “same thing”.  Was he talking about the revolving door between high level officials of the CIA and some of the giant PR firms, the fact that they use essentially the same tactics, or the fact that they more or less serve the same masters and goals?  His talk revealed that it was all of these.  The 1.5 million that the health insurance industry and Big Pharma are spending every day lobbying Congress to thwart the will of WE THE PEOPLE is just the tip of the iceberg.


The wacko that I interviewed kept on talking about the “Dean Amendment”.  It turns out he was talking about an amendment proposed by Dean Heller (R-NV) that would have mandated that people prove citizenship before they could receive taxpayer funded health care benefits.  Just as an aside: As John Gibler pointed out on this show, most illegal aliens in the US are Mexicans forced Northward by the dumping of cheap US government subsidized corn on Mexican markets as a result of NAFTA.  People usually don’t leave their land and families to become economic refugees if they have any choice in the matter. Unless they are working completely under the table, taxes are withheld which they never see.  Why shouldn’t they receive the same benefits as right wing dim-wits?  But I digress…  I knew that the House bill specifically excluded illegal aliens in there somewhere.  I did a search and was surprised that I couldn’t find it.  What I did find were page after page of propaganda web sites about the Dean Amendment.  All making it appear that the Bill allowed aliens to recieve health care at taxpayer expense and that the Democrats had voted down the only chance of stopping it.  They all appeared to be right wing phony news operations or Astroturf organizations.  Finally after countless Google pages I found one tiny article that actually quoted the section of the bill that I was looking for.  This is a massive Covert Operation!  The Big PR has moved into the internet.  These are the same kind of tactics the CIA used to overthrow the government of Iran for the benefit of Big Oil in 1953: rumor campaigns and destabilization bymercenary mobs.  In this case substitute the word “brainwashed” for mercenary and you’ve got it.


The brown shirts are on the move.  I don’t particularly want to sit around and wait to get “Mossaddeqed” by a bunch of ignorant lost suckers and their corporate puppet masters.  We tried voting.  Voting didn’t work.  A close reading of history reveals that real social progress never originated in the ballot box anyway.  It comes when millions of people put their bodies in the gears of the machine.  So we turned out a million people once.  Did we really think we were going to stop the war machine with a demonstration or two?  Did we really think it was going to get coverage?  Silly people: the revolution will not be televised and the news has been cancelled.  The Hondurans are a lot smarter than us.  But they have the benefit of an excellent education [for which they paid dearly] courtesy of the School of the Americas.  They are shutting their country down and they are not going to stop until the generals are out of power and in jail.  They realize that their very lives depend on it.  When enough of us realize that, we’ll get out in the streets and stay there.  In the mean time it doesn’t hurt to call your elected officials and show up to keep the wackos in check.

Thom Hartmann- Threshold, Monday 8/31/09 12-1 and 8-9pm PST
Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture TRT 1:14 Recorded 7/30/09
It’s very likely that Thom may be the smartest person I've ever met.  He has been recognized as the best among all progressive radio hosts by Talkers Magazine.  By default this automatically makes him the best in the country because in reality the paid liars and corporate shills on the right can not be considered fair arbiters but de facto advertisers for corporatist rule.  What many people may not realize is that Thom is a living historic figure because the creation of a nationwide progressive talk radio network was largely his brainchild.  The onset of this phenomenon and the breaking of the right wing information monopoly in main stream media is as important a factor as any in checking the 30 year descent into fascism in the USA.

The former psychotherapist and entrepreneur, is also the author of 20 books.  Of all the progressive talk radio shows, Thom’s is by far my favorite.  I consider myself to be fairly well informed but Thom has the unique ability to blow my mind on a regular basis.  It seems he possesses the kind of mind that when presented with any given issue immediately jumps out of the box and takes a beeline to the fundamental crux of the matter- the crux that was always there staring us in the face but has been for some reason overlooked by everyone else.

This time Thom turns his brilliant mind to the big picture- the biggest picture of all, which is the impending collapse of our civilization and the extinction of our species.  Thom breaks this down to three ongoing crisisses: the environmental meltdowns, the collapse of the “bankster” economy, and overpopulation and traces these back to fundamental erroneous assumptions that reside at the foundation of western culture.  As usual Thom connects dots that you never knew were there.  The full title of Thom’s new book is:
Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.

Special thanks to Louise Hartmann, Elliott Bay Books and Seattle Town Hall

Myth America: 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution! TRT 1:32 Recorded 7/25/09 
Cindy Sheehan: Myth America, Monday 8/24/09 12-1 & 8-9 PM

Cindy Sheehan: Myth America, Monday 8/24/09 12-1 & 8-9 PM
Myth America: 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution! TRT 1:32 Recorded 7/25/09
Last week it was “Empire of Illusion”, this week it is “Myth America”.  Hmm…How does somebody get some bread in this circus?  What with the invasion of ignorant emotionally charged suckers driven by right wing propaganda radio and FOX “News” which has never broken a single news story in it’s entire existence, disrupting town hall meetings screaming “keep the government hands off of my Medicare” and the manufacture of other Astroturf operations like the so called “birther” movement, it’s hard to imagine how the triumph of illusion –more accurately delusion could be more complete.  Is this The Matrix?

None of this could be possible if the bedrock reality of average Americans was not built on a nest of lies in the first place.  We’re going to continue on down the “Everything you know is wrong” track.  Cindy Sheehan has written an internet book: Myth America: 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution!  In this talk she outlines 10 of the bedrock myths and shares what she learned from running for Congress.

Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion, Monday 8/17/09 8-9pm PST

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle TRT 1:20 Recorded 7/22/09
I’m telling you, Chris Hedges lays it all out in this one- a population zonked out on the soma of  “celebrity culture” escaping from reality at every turn.  Only problem: reality can’t be escaped.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Losing Moses on the Freeway, I Don't Believe in Atheists, and American Fascists, talks about his latest: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.  If you missed him at the Town Hall, you don’t want to miss him here!

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliott Bay Books, as well as Landon Hendee for recording this talk

Peter Dale Scott- America's Afghanistan, Monday 8/10/09 12-1 and 8-9pm PST

TRT :45 Recorded 4/27/09 

Hearing this talk on TUC Radio reminded me of that old Firesign Theater riff- “Everything you know is wrong”.  It’s what compelled me to ask Maria Gilardin if I could show it on Pirate TV.  She not only sent me the complete video but also sent Peter Dale Scott’s talk “State of Emergency” which I broadcast last week.  From the feedback I got, apparently you were as blown away by it as I was.  So this week let’s just continue on with the in depth historical analysis, this time exploring the hidden realities behind US intervention in Central Asia.  The full title of this talk is: "America's Afghanistan- US National Security and a Heroin Ravaged State".

Once again thanks to Maria Gilardin and TUC Radio.

TRT :49 Recorded 7/24/09 
Howard Dean: Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform 8/3/09 8-9pm PST

The good doctor, former Governor of Vermont, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee was in town last week talking about his new book: Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform: How We Can Achieve Affordable Medical Care for Every American and Make Our Jobs Safer.  In this talk he dissects the 12 myths being perpetrated by the right wing media about a single payer health care system and explains what he thinks the strategy is that President Obama is employing to get real healthcare reform through Congress.

Thanks  to Seatle Town Hall 

Peter Dale Scott: State of Emergency- Unresolved Legacy of the Bush Administration

TRT :35 Recorded 3/28/09 
Maria Gilardin of 
TUC Radio was kind enough to share this eye-opening talk that she videotaped with one of my greatest heroes: UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Peter Dale Scott.  The poet, veteran of the Canadian Diplomatic Service, researcher, and prolific author of many books on political-history as well as poetry traces the ongoing process of democracy roll back in the USA to an elite group of extreme right wing government/business operators connected to the military industrial complex during the Nixon Administration and the formation of the "Committee on the Present Danger". 

Angered by Nixon and Kissinger’s pursuit of détente and the loss of profits that it represented they were able to reengineer US foreign policy through duplicity and postpone détente for a decade setting the stage for the so called “Reagan Revolution”.  Key point men in this endeavor were the “team” of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.  Professor Scott outlines who the relatively small group of people behind this fascist movement were/are and how Rumsfeld and Cheney used Continuity of Government [COG] planning to begin the process of deconstructing constitutional rule leading directly to the crimes of the Bush Administration and the predicament in which we find ourselves today. 

Viva Maria!

Support Alternative Media!

Eva Golinger: Venezuela and US Intervention pt. 2, Monday 7/27/09 8-9pm PST

 Eva Golinger: Venezuela and US Intervention. Recorded 5/29/09
TRT: 2hrs and 10min

Eva Golinger gave this talk at Evergreen State Collage May 29th 2009.  This is an extraordinary talk and will be broadcast over the next two weeks.  If you do not want to wait to see both shows, the entire 2 hr. talk is  posted here.


From: Axis of Logic


Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney and author of the best- selling books, "The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela" (2006 Olive Branch Press) and "Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela" (2006). Since 2003, Eva has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about the US Government’s efforts over the past few years to destabilize Hugo Chávez’s presidency. Through the FOIA, she has uncovered more than US$50 million in financing to anti-Chávez groups from the U.S. government since 2001 and in October 2004, she obtained top-secret documents from the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, demonstrating prior knowledge and complicity in the coup. Since then, she has continued to receive more declassified documents under the FOIA and she has published two books in five languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Italian) on the subject of US Intervention in Venezuela, with particular emphasis on use of the National Endowment for Democracy and the USAID to fund opposition activities, penetrate civil society and undermine Venezuela’s democratic revolution.

Thanks to Landon Hendee for recording this talk

Achieving Health Care for All Forum, Monday 7/13/09 Noon-1 & 8-9pm PST
Achieving Health Care for All Forum. Recorded 6/30/09

Ed’s latest rant:
The word “democracy” derives from the ancient Greek words: demos = the people and kratia = rule- “the people rule” or “rule by the people”.  We’re all taught in the United States that ours is a democratic form of government.  A lot of people still believe that we are the foremost democracy in the world.  Ask anybody what makes it so and they will say- “because we vote” or “because we have separation of powers” or “a free press” or “Constitutional rule” or “rule of law”, “the bill of rights” or some such.  But if you think about it, most every dictatorship has or at least claims to have all that.  By the same token, ask a room full of people how many of them seriously believe that the people rule in the United States and I would wager that not that many of them would raise their hand.  I don’t think it matters much what political persuasions they come from or how politically sophisticated they are.

Put this way, people innately recognize the difference between form and substance and that the government almost never acts in their interest.  If this weren’t true, nobody would have fallen for it when Ronald Reagan famously said: “The ten scariest words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.”  George W Bush once said:  “If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier.”  No doubt it would, but the result would be the same.  In fact, it’s not hard to understand at all.  The degree of democracy in any given country directly correlates to how often the government does what the populace wants and needs.  The government of the United States has been in direct contradiction to the will of the vast majority of the population on healthcare, war, trade policy, education, environment, wealth distribution, and all the most vital issues for well over half a century and in fact most of its existence.

Judged by these standards, the United States isn’t much of a democracy if at all.  Even the dictator Saddam Hussein was savvy enough to not allow his country’s natural resources to be controlled by multinational corporations.  Everyone in Iraq had access to a free education as high as their abilities could take them.  And although Saddam may have killed a lot of people, no one in Iraq died because they couldn’t afford to see a doctor.  At that time, like the rest of the civilized world, Iraq had a first rate national healthcare system.  Even dictators are acutely aware that they don’t have absolute power.  Saddam ruled a divided country.  He could play the Sunnis off against the Shias and massacre the Kurds now and then, but if he let the standard of living fall too far, he knew that nobody would support him and he would end up six feet under like so many of his enemies.

I once heard William Domhoff, author of Who Rules America say something that I never forgot.  He said that there are always all kinds of champions of social progress in Congress- outstanding progressives and liberals like Henry Gonzales or Maxine Waters.  This helps give the system the veneer of democracy… the problem is, he said, they almost never win.  He said that historically real reform only happened in the United States “when the system was on the verge of collapse.”  He wasn’t talking about the stock market.  He was talking about the political system, the established order.  He was talking about when the people got fed up and almost elected the socialist labor leader Eugene Debs governor of California.  This was when the population was rising up in militant mass action disrupting business as usual with thousands of wildcat strikes going on simultaneously as well as major general strikes.  This was a time when a strike of any kind was illegal.   Any social progress since the American Revolution other than possibly ending slavery was won like this, militant but nonviolent mass action.  I say “possibly” because the civil war was fought to save the union not the slaves.

To further expand on this, take a look at California now.  It’s been looted and pillaged to the point where the economy is in total collapse and the looter’s puppet sits in the Governor’s mansion.  No sign of Eugene Debs anywhere.  This is why unlike Mike Malloy; I don’t feel betrayed by Obama.  I never expected much in the first place.  I’ve seen this dog and pony show too many times before.  At the time, I was still naïve enough to feel betrayed by Bill Clinton.  For instance, only a Democrat could have passed NAFTA.

Like a good puppet, Obama is just following orders.  It’s clear that he realized early on that he couldn’t do much as a Senator.  If he ever thought he could make a difference as President it’s obvious that he has had to do some reassessing.  The last two presidents who attempted even moderate reforms of the permanent state were taken out, one with an October Surprise, the other got his surprise in November.  It’s going to be interesting to see what the Democrats come up with for an excuse now that they have the ‘magic 60’ in the Senate.  The idea that the Republican filibuster was holding them back is a ruse and we all know it. 
The fascists are always there and always have been.  If you are feeling betrayed, the only place to look is toward the American public itself, those stupid worthless brainwashed zombies who sit on their ass and watch while the fascists loot the country and plunder their future; the ones who sat passively while Republicans stole two presidential elections and who knows how many others, as well as making a mockery of the rule of law and committing unspeakable war crimes with total impunity.  This is downright shameful when you contrast it with what happened when the US power structure tried to reinstate fascist rule in Venezuela.  –More about this next week.

If this were a democracy, it would be a heck of a lot easier.  The point is, irregardless of how much of a democracy you think this is, the people rule when they get organized.  It’s the same no matter what kind of state you live under because there are always more of us than there are of them.  I’m wondering at what point the US public is going to turn off their TV and start paying attention.  As 20,000 people die every year in the United States because they are unable to see a doctor and another 40 million can’t get health insurance, for a corrupt vote selling whore like Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee to hold hearings on health care reform and systematically exclude any mention of a single payer option is a murderous, traitorous act and should be seen as such.  If the US public were worthy of democracy, it wouldn’t matter how much money scumbags like that could raise or how many television commercials they purchased.  The Venezuelan public has an extreme corporatist fascist media system too.  The problem is, they are immune to it.  The propaganda and the shock doctrine no longer work.  -Ed

Health Care Panel:
Aaron Katz - brief background overview of HC systems in other countries (financing, delivery), what's "broken" about the U.S. HC system, what are essential elements to any ideal fix;  and then what Congress is working on now - the proposals (public plan option, goals announced by Obama, etc.)
Molly Belozer - Who are the community clinics, their role (take all comers, etc.);  And what we're seeing (perhaps a "composite" patient story or two);  what's broken (perhaps paralleling Aaron);  what the community clinics would like to see in any HC reform legislation;
David Freiboth - Some brief history of employer-based HC benefits, the role of unions, trust funds, Taft-Hartley, etc.  -Recent trends (employer take-backs, shift premium costs onto workers, cut benefits, etc.), resulting in tough bargaining, strikes, etc.  Employers see HC bens as tradeoff for higher pay.  And, lost HC benefits due to layoffs, retirees facing increased costs, etc.  How is organized labor looking at HC reform legislation?  What would we prefer to see?  Etc.
Martha Koester - What is single payer, anyway?  What are the essential features or elements?  What are the economic arguments in favor; Why do SP groups feel it is the only real solution.  Why is it so contentious?  How should advocates best talk about the whole HC reform issue?
Karen Keiser - What is the legislature thinking, doing?  What are the goals.  How has the the budget shortfall impacted our hopes, our plans.  What can the state do - or hope to do - now and in the near future, and what are the state's limitations, so therefore a proper and needed role by the federal government.  Any special comment on insurance regulation (probably mention ERISA, etc.), and other regulatory items, as well as budget and program initiatives.
Craig Salins - Why is Washington Public Campaigns involved?  How/why is public financing of campaigns related to HC reform.  Info on Wall Street (insurance, big pharma, etc.), influence in Congressional debate - and importance of citizen grassroots action, to push along any real reform legislation.

Thanks to Landon Hendee for recording this event.

Jared Diamond: Collapse, Monday 2/21 8:30 -9:30 PM

Jared Diamond: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Recorded 1/21/05
Geographer Jared Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize for his study of the organic roots of human civilizations in flora, fauna, climate and geology- Guns, Germs, and Steel.  He was at Town Hall in Jan of 05 talking about his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which continues on in that line of study to compare societies that have, sometimes fatally, undermined their own ecological foundations.  It is particularly apt at this time.  Just as one wonders what the person who chopped down the last tree on Easter Island was thinking, we might be wondering what the oil industry and their henchmen who run our government are thinking by rejecting the Kyoto climate treaty.  Civilizations don’t always last forever. 

Bedrock reality is that our economy and the very survival of our species are based on nature.
This important and timely presentation demonstrates the historical consequences that befell societies that ignored that reality as well as examples of societies that have survived because they were able to adapt and live in a sustainable way.  A professor of geography at UCLA, Prof. Diamond has received the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, among his various honors.

Is the FBI infiltrating your group? - Support Eric McDavid Tour

Is the FBI infiltrating your group? - Support Eric McDavid Tour. Recorded 6/09
Audio Posted
Jun 20, 2009
This is the story about how the FBI infiltrated activists groups and put several people in prison for more than 20 years for basically what amounts to thought crimes!
Eric was arrested (along with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner) on January 13, 2006, as part of the government's ongoing Green Scare campaign. All three were charged with "Conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and an explosive." His arrest was the direct result of a government informant - known only as "Anna" - who spent a year and a half drawing him in and working with the FBI to fabricate a crime and implicate Eric in it. Anna was paid over $65,000 for her work with the FBI. Eric was imprisoned for what amounts to thought-crime - no actions were ever carried out, and Eric was charged with a single count of "conspiracy" - a powerful legal tool often used by the state to crush dissent.

Friends of Eric will be presenting information about his case, which serves as a lens through which to study the basic concepts of entrapment, the use of informants, and government repression in general.  Unfortunately, the use of these tools by the state is becoming more and more prevalent, and it's imperative that people understand how they work.

This effects ANYONE who protests the Government. This could happen to anyone of us, including YOU!

Alex Kajumulo & the Original Sound in Concert, Monday 6/29/09 Noon-1 and 8-9pm PST
Alex Kajumulo and the Original Sound. Recorded 5/30/09

High resolution [1500 kbps wmv file]

Low Resolution [256 kbps]

Alex Kajumulo got his start making records in 1999 producing an album for "Cool James" Dandu, also known as Mtoto wa Dandu.  The Album was called "CJ Massive: African Most Wanted" and was a big hit in East Africa and in African communities around the world.  Unfortunately Cool James was later killed in a car accident but the experience inspired Alex to continue to create his own music.  The Tanzania born singer/songwriter has written over 500 songs and his first album- Never Before was a best seller all over the world.  His songs have been in the top ten on airplay lists internationally ever since, rising to number one in different places.
Already an international superstar from his days as a soccer champion, Alex financed, produced, and promoted his own record, skirting the corporate music industry monopoly control system by using the internet and getting airplay mostly on non-corporate collage and community radio stations.  He pioneered new venues selling his records on CD Baby and i-tunes, helping to make the founder of CD Baby a rich man.

This was probably all for the best because from what we know of censorship by giant media monopolies like Clear Channel it is questionable whether Alex could have gotten much airplay on commercial radio here in the US at that time.  That’s because Alex is not afraid to touch on subject matter that may not provide the kind of “hospitable advertising environment” that commercial media crave.  His song, Super Size People is a direct slam on junk food corporations like McDonalds and Burger King for “poisoning our children” and “making them fat”.  He doesn’t write a whole lot of love songs and instead chooses to focus on social issues like global warming, the American injustice system, discrimination, human rights, imperialism, and propaganda.  He says the world is too screwed up to be singing about “baby, baby” all the time but  insists however, that his music is not “political”.

I think this is an interesting point.  For instance, why is talking about global warming considered political?  I think it is because if you allow yourself to be victimized by a corporate media system whose purpose is to distract you and make you forget, then almost anything that is not strictly “entertainment” will therefore be perceived as “political”.  And that is an essential albeit subtle element of thought control in the United States.

Known as “the Bushman”, Alex is a unique character.  Literally born into a Stone Age tribe in “the bush” of Africa, he spent the first 13 years of his life running around naked.  He is fond of comparing this to the Garden of Eden.  He ate the apple of soccer and started playing professionally at 15 eventually becoming an international sensation.  He later coached his own teams and started a sports clothing line designing, manufacturing, and selling soccer uniforms and gear to teams and individuals around the world.  He teaches and coaches soccer and has written a book: Soccer Monster.  All this has given him the financial independence to underwrite his own music projects and tours. Since the release of Never Before, Alex has put out 5 more albums.

Alex’s music is an interesting blend that is not easily categorized.  It combines elements of funk, rap, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, as well as many other styles but is built on a “rock solid” foundation of the afro beat groove.  Alex likes to call it “people’s music” because it is world fusion.  He calls his band the “Original Sound”.

This concert was filmed on May 30th at the 4th Avenue Pub, Olympia’s premier music venue.  He set up the concert specifically to film the touring band for promotional purposes.  Alex is working on booking tours of Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.  He is a superstar in Africa and will be taking his band to Africa in late December for a Global Warming/Justice for Mankind tour filling stadiums and returning to South Africa for a FIFA World Cup Tour in May of 2010.  He wants to bring some attention to the effects that climate change is having on the environment in that part of the world.  One of the stadiums in Tanzania was already sold out as of last month [May].  If you want to catch them live the band will be playing in Seattle at the Black Community Festival at Judkins Park on the 4th of July, 4-5pm.

Stacy Malkan: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, Monday, 6/22/09 12-1 and 8-9pm PST
Stacy Malkan: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. Recorded 4/12/08
So you think that the amount of poison that food processors and giant agro-monopolies like Monsanto get away with putting in our food is horrific?  Guess what, cosmetics aren’t regulated at all!  Neither does the FDA require cosmetic companies to test their own products for safety.  It is often difficult to find out what is safe because there aren’t any rules on what can be labeled as “Natural” or “Organic”.  For example, the top-selling shampoo in the United States is Clairol Herbal Essences, which until recently claimed to offer users an "organic experience."  However, there isn't much about this product that is either herbal or organic; it contains more than a dozen synthetic petrochemicals.

Stacy Malkan who calls herself a recovered cosmetics addict, says that with all the elaborate skin regimes, make-up, hair products, nail polish, etc. that she put on every day as a teenager, she was exposing herself to over 200 chemicals before she even left for school.   The $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful that they've manage to keep themselves unregulated for decades.  So you end up with stuff like lead in lipstick, dioxane in baby soap, and coal tar in shampoo.

Consider this:
•    The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just 10.
•    Only 11% of chemicals used in cosmetics in the US have been assessed for health and safety – leaving a staggering 89% with unknown or undisclosed effects.
•    More than 70% of all personal care products may contain phthalates, which are linked to birth defects and infertility.
•    Many baby soaps are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4 dioxane.
It's not just women who are affected by this chemists' brew. Shampoo, deodorant, face lotion and other products used daily by men, women and children contain hazardous chemicals that the industry claims are "within acceptable limits." But there's nothing acceptable about daily multiple exposures to carcinogenic chemicals — from products that are supposed to make us feel healthy and beautiful.

Clearly, everybody needs to watch this show and follow up by reading Stacy’s book: Not Just a Pretty Face- The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.  In the mean time here are a few links to get you started:

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Cosmetic Database
Environmental Working Group

Stacy Malkan is communications director for Health Care Without Harm.

Recorded at the Seattle Green Festival 2008.

Bob Alvarez: Energy & Weapons in 2009: How Do We Assure a Sustainable, Nuclear-Free Future? Monday, 6/16/09 8-9pm PST
Bob Alvarez: Energy & Weapons in 2009: How Do We Assure a Sustainable, Nuclear-Free Future? Recorded 6/10/09
The environmental and human cost of the nuclear arms race has been staggering, with large areas of this country uninhabitable due to radiation leaks and contamination. To achieve the peace and climate stability required to reverse global warming the U.S. government must abandon its fascination with nuclear chain reactions. But does President Obama understand that nuclear energy thwarts our chances to heal the planet?  Bob Alvarez considers our current energy and weapons policies, and where we are headed under the new administration.

Bob Alvarez is the Director of the Nuclear Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. He is an award-winning author and has published articles in prominent publications such as Science Magazine, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Technology Review and the Washington Post. He has been featured in television programs such as NOVA and 60 Minutes.

Thanks to Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility Co-sponsors: Hanford Challenge, Heart of America Northwest
Endorsers: Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Peace Action Washington

Ward Churchill: Colonization, Genocide, and Education, Monday 5/25/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST

Ward Churchill: Colonization, Genocide, and Education. Recorded 5/7/09 

Toward an “Honest” Memorial Day 

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, as the Bush Crime Family were gearing up to channel the shock of their “New Pearl Harbor” into the political momentum needed to decimate two defenseless populations in countries that never attacked us, there was one person who was not only questioning why it was forbidden to ask why someone would have reason to attack the United States but even worse, asserted that this was “Karma”.  That person was me.   In this case Karma is just another word for “blowback”.  There are so many reasons for this blowback that one wonders why it took so long.  For instance, let’s say I were a Guatemalan Indian, a Chilean, a Vietnamese… wait let’s just skip that.  This will take too long, let’s just concentrate on US aggression in the Middle East… -Wait that will take too long too.  Let’s get right to the point: The US covertly overthrew a moderately progressive military government in Afghanistan that was backed by the Soviet Union and installed a bunch of reactionary religious whackos from the 14 century hoping to goad the Soviets into invading, this worked and they proceeded with the help of other whacko state(s) in the region [rhymes with Audi Serabia] to continue to support and train the whackos (the most reactionary they could find so as to make sure there were no negotiated end to the civil war they had so meticulously planned) and thereby succeeded in accomplishing their goal of bankrupting the Soviet Union whereupon they picked up and left Afghanistan already decimated by their “Grand Chessboard game” to another decade of civil war [between the various whacko warlords].  Soon thereafter [surprise, surprise] some of the whackos that we had trained and armed turned against us.  –Karma -pure and simple.

Small wonder that to even hint that the 9/11 attackers [if we are to believe the official story] may have had their reasons could earn you a visit by the secret police.  If the US public were not such easy suckers they may have turned their ire against the real instigators of the attack: The Masters of War and the cowards who plan the US imperialist violence that [contrary to Dick Chaney] shames, endangers and impoverishes us all.  So this being Memorial Day, what do you say we make it honest and use it to remember the US and other soldiers who died as victims of US imperialist wars and more importantly the millions upon millions of innocents slaughtered. 

If we are to observe an Honest Memorial Day, I can think of no one better to help us than Ward Churchill.  Not long after the 9/11 attacks I had the good fortune to broadcast a talk he gave at the Independent Media Center in Seattle.   I was shocked that he had used the same terminology as I, saying that the attacks were the result of “Karma”.  He then presented an elaborate historical dissertation chronicling all the “ghosts that were riding on the wings of those planes” beginning with the Native Americans whose heads had been used as soccer balls on the very spot where the World Trade Towers had been built.  Fortunately, I’m not a tenured professor and don’t have to worry about loosing my job for telling the truth because that’s exactly what happened to Ward Churchill.  -Thought Control –pure and simple.

Luckily, loosing his job hasn’t shut him up.  The ex-professor of Ethnic Studies and coordinator of American Indian Studies for the University of Colorado is still an ardent chronicler of the dirty little secrets of US history and one of the most outspoken critics of US imperialism (cultural and otherwise).  He is perhaps the foremost expert on the FBI and the secret COINTELPRO operation in which the US government spied on, infiltrated, framed, assassinated and otherwise decimated the peace and justice movements of the 60’s.  A longtime Native rights activist, acclaimed public speaker and award-winning writer, he is a member of the Governing Council of the American Indian Movement of the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement.  He is a past national spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and has served as a delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (as a Justice/Rapporteur for the 1993 International People's Tribunal on the Rights of Indigenous Hawaiians), and is an advocate/prosecutor of the First Nations International Tribunal for the Chiefs of Ontario.

Churchill's many books include: Fantasies of the Master Race, Struggle for the Land, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, From A Native Son, Critical Issues in Native North America, The COINTELPRO Papers, Indians R Us?, Agents of Repression, Since Predator Came, and A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas.

Special thanks to David Hyde Sociology Professor at South Puget Sound Community College and the Brick club at SPSCC for sponsoring this event as well as video assistance.

Afghanistan: Giving Peace a Chance, Monday 5/18/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST

 Afghanistan: Giving Peace a Chance. Recorded 5/13/09

As the US plunges deeper into a military abyss in Central Asia “where empires go to die” it’s time to take a closer look at what is really going on and the complex history of that area which now comprises Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the US involvement in instigating the chaos which now threatens to engulf the entire area.  To help us in this task are three experts:

University of California professor Tamim Ansary grew up in Afghanistan and is the author of several books on Afghanistan and Islam, the latest of which is: Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes .   A commentator for numerous publications, Ansary gives a brief but detailed account of the 2000 year history of Afghanistan.

University of Washington professor Cabeiri deBergh Robinson a socio-cultural anthropology researcher and expert on Pakistan, refugees and terrorism ties this history in with the rise of the Taliban as a cultural response to US imperialist intervention.

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies brings us constructive alternatives to the expanded war.  A prolific writer and frequent guest on Pirate TV, he is the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.

These three talks make up the regularly scheduled program which will be broadcast this week.  However, after the speakers gave their presentations, they joined together to compose an extraordinary panel.  Taking questions from the audience they delved even deeper into the details of a complex situation, exposing why if the US goal is really stability in the region as they say, further massive military violence is complete folly.  What is needed are schools not bombs.  For those who wish to view the expanded hour and 40 minute version including the panel discussion and messages delivered by two aids from the offices of Congressmen Inslee and McDermott, it is posted on the Pirate TV website.

This event was recorded at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, May 13th and presented by the Abe Keller Peace Education Fund, Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War, WPSR and other peace and justice organizations.

Mumia Abu Jamal: Jailhouse Lawyers, A Community Book Reading, Monday 5/11/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST
Mumia Abu Jamal: Jailhouse Lawyers, A Community Book Reading. Recorded 4/24/09
There was a nationwide book reading in honor of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal’s birthday on April 24th and the release of his new book: Jailhouse Lawyers- Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.  In Seattle, this event took shape as a community book reading held at the Hidmo Resturaunt on Capital Hill.  Fmr. revolutionary Black Panther and member of the George Jackson Brigade, Mark Cook was on hand to talk about his experience as a political prisoner in the US and as a jailhouse lawyer himself.  Mark Cook is now a member of the National Lawyers Guild.  Several other community leaders, activists, and up and coming spoken word artists took part in this event including: Nichelle Alderson a.k.a. iNfinity, Laura “Piece” Kelly-John, John Page- V.P. King Co. NAACP, Alex Beach, Geneva Arunga, and a little boy named Samual.  

Thanks to Hidmo Restaurant and Left Bank Books

Mark Rudd: Underground, Monday 5/4/09 12-1 & 8-9 PM PST

Mark Rudd: Underground- My Life with SDS and the Weathermen. Recorded 4/24/09 

Mark Rudd was the leader of the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] during the 1968 Columbia University student rebellion.  He was a key instigator in the formation of the radical guerilla organization Weather Underground and later lived as a federal fugitive for several years.  After the political assassinations of the sixties many in the anti war movement came to conclusion that it was time to take up arms against the violence of the state.  Mark says that he has come to learn that political organizing is much more effective than guerrilla warfare, especially in the belly of the beast as we say.  Come to think of it there haven’t been a lot of successful violent revolutions lately.   Join us for a review of some important lost history as well as an interesting perspective on what it all means.  Mark Rudd’s book is: Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliott Bay Books

Wangari Maathai: The Challenge for Africa, Monday 4/27/09 8-9pm PST
Wangari Maathai: The Challenge for Africa. Recorded 4/19/09
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. has been beaten, harassed and imprisoned for her environmental activism.  Here in the U.S. from her home in Nairobi, the Kenyan activist who first became known for her work in starting the Green Belt Movement, was at the Town Hall talking about her latest book The Challenge for Africa. The Challenge for Africa seeks to dispel many of the stereotypes and assumptions laid out by the western media and, at the same time, casts a strong challenge to African people themselves to redirect their individual and collective destinies.

Thanks to Elliott Bay Books and Seattle Town Hall

Doug Fine: Farewell, My Subaru, Monday 4/20/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST

Doug Fine: Farewell, My Subaru. Recorded 4/9/09 

Doug Fine, NPR environmental correspondent and contributor to Public Radio International tells the hilarious story of how he went green on his ranch in New Mexico, kicking his fossil fuel habit and attaining sustainability within one year.  He still has plenty of hot water, all the high-tech amenities, all the fresh food he can eat, is still plugged in to the internet, and gets around just fine although his truck (not a rice burner) admittedly smells like Kung Pao Chicken.   His latest book is: Farewell, My Subaru: An Adventure in Local Living.  Doug Fine is also the author of Not Really an Alaska Mountain Man.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall and Elliott Bay Books

David Suzuki- The Big Picture, Monday, 4/13/09 12-1 and 8–9pm PST
David Suzuki- The Big Picture. Recorded 4/8/09 
Presented by 
People for Puget Sound, Dr. David Suzuki, the highly regarded author of over forty books, scientist, and host of CBC Television's The Nature of Things, was back in Seattle addressing the subject matter of his latest book co-authored with Dave Robert Taylor, "The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet."  Suzuki details what real change entails and what must be done to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st Century.

Thanks to People for Puget Sound
Elliott Bay Books and Seattle Town Hall

Xinran: China Witness, Monday 4/6/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST

China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation. Recorded 2/28/09 

I asked Xinran Xue the London based Chinese journalist and broadcaster, in light of the fact that the Chinese are putting on line two coal fired plants a week, what ordinary people there think about global warming.  The answer is illustrative of the almost blanket dearth of understanding that exists in the West about China.  In fact the average Chinese probably knows very little about climate change since about 80% are dirt poor illiterate peasants.  If they should by chance have heard about it, very few are likely to have an understanding of what it has to do with them.   In many rural areas there are children who have never even seen an electric light.  As Xinran points out, this is a hard thing for people like us who take for granted the standard of living we were raised with to comprehend.  Even harder is the unbelievable hardship, suffering and monumental struggles that hers and the previous generation have had to endure just to survive.

Anyone who has the stomach to have endured a viewing of the movie Nanking will have gotten a small taste of what was inflicted by the Japanese, but then came civil war, revolution, famine, the onset of Communism, cultural revolution, predatory capitalism and “Free Trade” slavery.  Not surprisingly the recent history of killing, government repression, and harsh conditions in a country where the idea of collective guilt is endemic and where freedom of speech can be dangerous, has produced a generation that is more than a little tight lipped.  As this generation ages and begins to die off, China is in danger of losing a century of history as most historical evidence was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.  This is compounded by the rapid pace of change that is moving so fast that entire dialects are disappearing, seemingly overnight. 

Xinran Xue, the author of 5 books began working for Chinese Radio in the late 80s and became one of China's most successful journalists.  She migrated to London in the late 90s.  She has spent 20 years traveling around China doing interviews, carefully and patiently coaxing the stories of the 20th century out of a reticent generation.  Her latest book, China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation is a major work of oral history.  As I told Xinran, I believe China holds the key to the survival of mankind.  If we are to survive, we have to work with China not against it.  That means we have to understand China as it actually is, not the cartoon China painted by the propaganda system that is the US corporate media.  And we have to understand the rapid change that is going on in that country as well as the forces that are driving it.  We can’t solve our problems without helping them solve theirs.

Thanks to Elliott Bay Books

Keith McHenry: Food Not Bombs! An American Saga, Monday 3/30/09 12-1 & 8-9pm PST

Keith McHenry: Food Not Bombs! An American Saga. Recorded 3/21/09 

The Food Not Bombs movement began in 1980 by a group of anti-nuclear activists from the Clamshell Alliance in Cambridge MA who were organizing against the Shoreham Nuclear Power project.  The organizers stumbled upon the revolutionary tactic of distributing free speech with free food.  Of course no good turn goes unanswered and although last time I checked, free speech and free food were not illegal; this transgression against the established order has not escaped the ire of the authorities.   The loose affiliation of social justice anarchist collectives dedicated to nonviolence has been repeatedly attacked by police in the United States and has been under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Pentagon and other intelligence agencies.  It has been designated one of the 10 top “terrorist threats” by the FBI.  A number of Food Not Bombs volunteers have been arrested on terrorism charges.  Of coarse none of this has ever stood up in court because as I said, handing out free speech and free food is not illegal.  Government repression has only resulted in the rapid spread of Food Not Bombs collectives throughout the world.  As we will see, the powers that be have good reason to feel “terrorized” because not only is this movement spreading out of control but it has spawned many offshoots such as Pirate Radio and the Indymedia movement, Rainforest Action, the Direct Action Network and other anti-corporate globalization operations, as well as recent by-products such as Food Not Lawns, Bikes Not Bombs, and the Homes Not Jails project.

Keith McHenry, one of the original 8 instigators of Food Not Bombs tells the story of the 30 year struggle on Pirate TV this week.  The entire 60 minute talk plus an additional half hour of Q&A is posted on the Pirate TV website.

Ray McGovern: Keynote Address to VFP, Monday 3/23/09 8-9pm PST

Ray McGovern, Keynote Address to VFP NW Regional Conference. Recorded 3/8/09 

Ray McGovern worked for the CIA as an analyst for 27 years starting with Kennedy and ending with George Bush Sr.   He gave daily security briefings to President Reagan, and his staff.  Later, McGovern was one of several senior CIA analysts who prepared the President's Daily Brief (PDB) during the first Bush administration.  After retirement McGovern grew so despondent over the Bush Sr. Administration’s fixing of intelligence in the lead up to the first Gulf War that he and several other retired intelligence officers formed Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.   Later during the George ‘W’ Administration he returned the Intelligence Commendation Medal he had received from W's father when he found out that the CIA was systematically using torture.   He became famous for his confrontation on live TV with then Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in May of 2006 when he nailed Rumsfeld for lying about Iraq pre-war Intelligence.

I had the opportunity to ask McGovern off camera from his vantage point as someone who had a “view from the top” if he had any ideas why Obama would pursue such an obviously foolish policy as to send more troops into a loosing quagmire like the war in Afghanistan.   He said: “You heard of the Military Industrial Complex?  He gave them half a loaf.”  In other words, we find ourselves in a situation where we are ruled by vampires who must purée children daily to survive and not even the likes of Presidents dare take their food away.  –Something to think about.

Ray McGovern gave this speech on March, 8th at the NW Regional Conference of Veterans for Peace.

David Korten, Agenda for a New Economy, Monday 3/16/9 8-9pm PST

David Korten, Agenda for a New Economy. Recorded 3/7/09 

Visionary and dean of the anti-corporate globalization movement, David Korten has long been a leading force in plotting the course to a new kind of economy where institutions serve the real needs of people and life rather than the currently collapsing money-serving institutions based on the creation of what he calls “Phantom Wealth”.   This quest has led him to create YES! Magazine, A Journal of Positive Futures and write many books including: When Corporations Rule the World, The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and most recently, Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth.  He gave this keynote address to the Northwest Regional Conference of Veterans for Peace.  The title of the conference was: "Peace at the Crossroads, Where Do We Go from Here?"  Small wonder that they chose Korten to give the keynote speech!

Aaron Glantz: Washington's Battle Against Veterans, Monday 3/9/09 8-9pm PST

Aaron Glantz: Washington's Battle Against Veterans. Recorded 2/26/09

A lot of people were ashamed- even shocked to find out about how the government has been treating –more accurately systematically not treating the Iraq war veterans who supposedly went into harm's way for our sake.  But this is just part of a bigger continuum.  These soldiers were not sent to multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect us but to advance the profits of oil companies and the Masters of War.  Deploying them to illegal invasions and occupations was not only a crime against the people of the countries that they invaded but a crime against them and us, so why should anybody be surprised that they would be further abused when they get back -if they get back?  Aaron Glantz documents the stories of veterans denied treatment from the VA and especially treatment for PTSD.  Now it seems that the number of soldier suicides each month is beginning to rival the number of those killed in combat.  Twenty four committed suicide in January alone. 

Aaron Glantz is an independent journalist who has been following the plight of veterans since he got back from covering the first three years of the occupation that he wrote about in his first book which became a best seller: How America Lost Iraq, (Penguin, 2005).   He is a Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism at the Carter Center.  He was here last week to talk about his latest book, The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans.  Pirate TV was on hand to cover him.

Thanks to Seattle Town Hall, and Elliott Bay Books

John Gibler: Mexico Unconquered, Monday 3/2/09 8-9pm PST

 John Gibler: Mexico Unconquered. Recorded 2/19/09

When I heard that John Gibler was coming to give a talk in Seattle, I knew that it was going to be magnificent.  I wasn't disappointed.  Mexico’s President told the Associated Press Thursday (2/26) that more than 1,000 people were killed due to narco-violence in that country so far this year (8 weeks) but insisted that Mexico is not a “failed state” because he hasn't ''lost any single part -- of Mexican territory'' [sic].  It can be argued as to whether or not Mexico is a failed state, but it is most certainly the foremost narco-state in the world rivaled only by Afghanistan (currently under US occupation) and Colombia the third largest recipient of US “aid”.  This is all driven of course by the “war on drugs”.  You would be surprised how many US client states can be classified as narco-states.  [Goggle Narco-state and see what happens.]  Isn't that strange given that the US is the world's leading purveyor of prohibition?   -Maybe not.  If the US were to take the profit out of illegal drugs by decriminalizing and moving toward a harm reduction policy as opposed to the current mass incarceration policy, the economies of many of its best client states would immediately collapse.  This would likely take what's left of the US banking system with it and cause great damage to weapons manufacturers, the people warehousing industry, and just about every other big industry.  This would also rob the Empire of it's best tool for internal repression as well as covert external repression since drugs have always been the best source for large amounts of untraceable cash.  Clearly the endless drug war is as essential an element of empire as is endless war itself.

In fact just using the term “War on Drugs” may be a self defeating and unacceptable surrender of linguistic territory in the cognitive frame war.  The invasion of Iraq was sold as a “War against Saddam”.  Saddam is long gone but the illegal invasion and occupation that has killed over a million people still drags on and on.  The Empire is unlikely to give up its hard fought new territory no matter what Obama says.  Whatever the case may be, Saddam had very little to do with the actual reasons for the US intervention.  The war was against the population of Iraq who stood in the way of the prerogatives of the US power structure.  Calling drug prohibition policies a “War on Drugs” is a similar sort of ruse.  If the aim was actually to stop drugs, US policymakers would have given up and tried something else decades ago.  Drugs don’t go to prison, people [mostly poor and dark skinned ones] do.  It is also their communities that are destabilized by gang and police violence that are a direct result of prohibition.  These policies have the same effect in Mexico as they do here but the violence we are seeing in Mexico is the result of US drug prohibition policy writ large.

Mexico is also a brutal police state in the swash buckling tradition of US sponsored Latin American neo-colonial fascist regimes.  It’s a neo-con Friedmanesque paradise with all the classic elements: massive disparity in wealth topped by a corrupt oligarchic elite maintained by a corrupt military trained and equipped by the US.  This military/police apparatus exists not for protection from any external threat but for repression of the “have-nots”.  It is rife with torture and massacres done by death squads who kill at night and patrol the streets in police uniform during the day.

Thanks to NAFTA –another neo-liberal wet dream come true, Mexico has the world's most exploited work force.  It exports more of its labor than any other country.  This is another clever neo-con ruse:  First, they deliberately flood Mexico with cheap subsidized US corn emptying much of the rural area of its male population who are driven north to seek work.  Next the US regime acting like they are trying to stop the migration pilfers the public trough building useless border walls and passing laws to criminalize the very same refugees that they themselves created.  -Thereby robbing the migrants of any labor rights at all essentially making them slaves.  This in turn drives down the price of labor in the US while their constituents (the haves and have mores) profit handsomely.  There could be no clearer example of why John Gibler says that poverty creation is deliberate. 

To accept notions like these is truly radical because they go far beyond basic myths and assumptions that even many who call themselves liberal are afraid to part with.  But the subject of this talk is not about despair.  It's about hope.  It's about the valiant rebellions by poor campesinos, indigenous people, students, and teachers against the massive economic and paramilitary violence as they struggle to take back their commons and build democracy.  And mostly, it's about the media:  First, the corporate media in the US that systematically ignores and distorts the realities exposed in John’s book.  Second, the Mexican corporate and state media that is its mirror image which systematically lies to the Mexican population about the rebellions.  Third and more importantly, the independent media composed of courageous alternative media producers from Mexico, the US and all over the world who daily risked their lives to tell the real story.

John Gibler, a Global Exchange Media Fellow is one of these who has been living and writing from Mexico since 2006.  This talk focuses largely on the Teacher Rebellion in Oaxaca of that same year.  Seattle based documentary film producer Jill Freidberg, producer of This is What Democracy Looks Like was also on hand to share a clip from her international award winning documentary Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad (A Little Bit of So Much Truth) -Corrugated Films.  Together they tell the story of the teacher’s strike which became a full blown rebellion and resulted in the take over of 14 radio stations and a TV station.  I only wish that 10% of the US population had the courage and savvy of the poor campesinos of Oaxaca.

The full title of John Gibler’s book is: Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt.  He has reported for Left Turn, In These Times, Znet, Z Magazine, New Politics, Common Dreams, Yes! Magazine, Colorlines and Democracy Now!.

Thanks to the
Community Alliance for Global Justice

Resisting Empire at Home and Abroad: Class Struggle and Resistance in the US, Monday Feb. 9th and 16th 8-9pm PST

Panel Participants Part One. Recorded 11/8/08 Panel Participants Part Two. Recorded 11/8/08

Part 1                          Part 2

This panel was given as the Closing Plenary of the Northwest Socialist Conference, Saturday, November 8, 2008
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

As the economy goes into the worst crisis since the Great Depression, banks and billionaires are being bailed out while workers continue to lose their homes and jobs.

U.S. aggression abroad has inflicted a humanitarian catastrophe- with millions of people killed or turned into refugees.  And while a majority of Americans oppose the wars, both candidates in the last election wanted to send more troops to Afghanistan and expand the war.  American troops continue to suffer and die, while schools,  hospitals, and infrastructure fall apart for lack of much needed funds.

A new resistance needs to be built from the ground up. To build it, we need to hear the stories the mainstream media refuse to tell: the stories of war resisters, rank and file union activists, and community organizers who are resisting the attacks at home and abroad ever day.

Resisting Empire starts with us.

Panel Participants Part One:


Don Grinde is a 31-year crane operator at Boeing and a veteran union activist in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. This strike at Boeing is his fifth time on strike. He helped to lead a “vote no” campaign on the last Boeing contract proposal. He spoke about the lessons of the Boeing strike and why solidarity is key to rebuilding the labor movement.

Tim Harris is the Executive Director of Real Change News, Seattle's weekly activist publication with an ear to the street. Real Change exists to create opportunity and a voice for low-income people while taking action to end homelessness and poverty.  Tim spoke about the new jail and what it means to the black community who know that it will be their children and relatives who will be disproportionately targeted to feed Washington’s growing prison industrial complex.


One of the Freightliner Five-members of the bargaining committee of United Auto Workers Local 3520* in Cleveland, N.C. who were terminated after leading a legal walkout at a Freightliner truck plant after their labor contract had expired. The Five have been fighting to get their jobs back for 19 months, recently five separate arbitrators ruled on their cases individually and two members were reinstated while three, including Allen Bradley lost their arbitration and remain fired. Allen talked about their struggle and the lessons for the U.S. labor movement.

Panel Participants Part Two:


James Bible is an attorney and president of the Seattle Chapter of the NAACP now celebrating it’s 95th year of serving the civil and human rights interests of all people.  Bible, no stranger to Pirate TV, talked about some recent shocking examples of the seemingly never ending acts of police brutality and racism perpitrated by “Seattle’s Finest”.


Co/founder of the UW branch of CAN –Campus Anti-War Network, Fawthrop gave an excellent run-down of the history of anti-war organizing from the 60s until present times.

Jesse Hagopian is a teacher in the Seattle Public Schools has been an activist and a voice for many progressive struggles. Jesse served as campaign manager for Aaron Dixon’s 2006 Green Party senatorial candidacy, with the theme, “Out of war and into our communities.” Jesse was a leader in the Troops Home now Coalition that organized a huge turnout to shutdown the military recruiting center in the Central District of Seattle. As a member of the Ehren Watada organizing committee, Jesse helped to build support across the NW for the courageous lieutenant who was the first officer to refuse to redeploy to Iraq. His writing in defense of public education has appeared in the Seattle Times and the Seattle PI and Commondreams.org. His essays against war and racism have appeared in Counter Punch and Socialist Worker.

Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía was the first veteran to publicly refuse to redeploy to Iraq. Mejía participated in the invasion of Iraq, and he refused to return to his unit after a two-week furlough because he believed the war was unjust, arguing that “no soldier should go to Iraq and give his life for oil. ”Mejía was sentenced to a bad conduct discharge and one year of hard labor. He is the Board Chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and is the author of, Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia.

Thanks to the International Socialist Organization, Haymarket Books, and wild socialist women everywhere

Robert K. Musil: Hope for a Heated Planet, Monday, 2/2/09 8-9pm PST

Robert K. Musil: Hope for a Heated Planet. Recorded 1/22/09

Bob Musil has written a critically acclaimed book: Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future.  In this talk he discusses how many Americans go from climate change denial directly to a state of paralyzing despair.  Neither state is at all productive.  In reality there probably is still time left to stop runaway climate destabilization although not much thanks to 20 years of denial and mainstream media invisibility.  This is of course due to a massive PR disinformation campaign which is still being waged by the fossil fuel industry at this time.  However, it’s important to remember that those of us who wish to save the planet are not alone.  The growing world-wide movement to stop climate change is probably the biggest popular movement in the history of humanity.  However, you wouldn’t know it if you got your information from corporate media sources.  The bright side is that if our species somehow manages to survive, the changes produced by the struggle will likely leave us much better off.  The key here is how to organize.  This is the main focus of this book.  Although it provides a comprehensive analysis of the causes and cures for global warming as well as an excellent guide to the forces at work on both sides, the book is meant to be a handbook for political organizing from a man who is not only an esteemed academic scholar and physician but a Washington insider of many years who knows his way around the inside of the beltway.   

I wanted to send Dr. Musil a copy of a letter I had sent to my state legislators last week to see what he thought about it.  I decided to send it out to a number of the people who had attended this talk also, most of whom were members of Washington Physicians for Responsibility.  I couldn’t help but add more comments and send it to some other climate scientists as well.  Our friend the British scientist David Wasdell immediately wrote back and attached the latest update to his work on feedback dynamics.  He says that he is “now certain we have passed the threshold of runaway behaviour in the climate system with only a narrow window left to restabilise it.  And “that attempting to maintain a concentration level of 440 ppm of CO2 equivalent does not lead to an eventual equilibrium of 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperature, or at any other level!  The threshold of runaway behaviour is already activated at this concentration.”  If this is true, this means that things are much worse than previously thought even by him and that previous assessments of what it will take to stabilize the climate are way off the mark.  Never the less, Wasdell backs it up with the numbers.

I think it imperative to get this information out to everyone even remotely aware of the climate crisis so I am creating a “Documents” page on the Pirate TV website and will post this paper there.  Please feel free to use this and spread it far and wide.  Although it is a scientific paper, if you take the time to read it through you can get the gist.  I am also posting most of the correspondence from this discussion including Bob Musil’s response to my letter on the “Comments” page.  Feel free to contact me if you have anything to add. 

Robert K. Musil is a scholar-in-residence at American University where he teaches in the Program on Global Environmental Politics and the Nuclear Studies Institute. He is the past executive director and CEO of the Nobel Peace Prize–winning Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

Thanks to Park Place Books

Dr. Max Power: America's Nuclear Wastelands, Monday 1/26/09 8-9pm PST

Dr. Max Power: America's Nuclear Wastelands: Politics, Accountability, and Cleanup. Recorded 11/18/08 

Max Power, author of America's Nuclear Wastelands: Politics, Accountability, and Cleanup talks about the complex issues of public policy, cleanup, and accountability that are involved in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation remediation. Located along the Columbia River near Richland, Washington, Hanford Nuclear Reservation was the military production facility for plutonium and is now the largest environmental remediation project in human history.  Dr. Max S. Power is an independent government consultant with a long career in Pacific Northwest nuclear waste issues. He is a former Rhodes Scholar, Yale University Fellow, and Danforth Fellow.  Power currently serves on the Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board and on the Hanford Concerns Council.

Thanks to Third Place Books

A Call to End All Torture! Monday 1/12/09 and Monday 1/19/09 8-9pm PST
the program will be broadcast in two parts

A Call to End All Torture. Recorded 11/12/08
Panel Speakers:

Brig. General Stephen Xenakis, US Army (Ret). M.D. Psychiatrist, former Commanding General of the Southeast Regional Army Medical command; board member of NRCAT and works with Physicians for Human Rights on the issue of torture.

Jorge Quiroga - Board member of Church Council of Greater Seattle, and an organizer for SEIU Local 6, was tortured for three years in Argentina in the late 1970s.

David Marshall, J.D. - Seattle attorney who represents three prisoners at Guantanamo in cooperation with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

J. David Kinzie, M.D. - Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Torture Treatment Center of Oregon.

The Rev. Michael Denton - Conference Minister, Pacific North West Conference for the United Church of Christ.

Ardis Dumett - Congressional Staffer for Senator Patty Murray reads a statement from the Senator

James N. Allen - Congressional staffer, Rep. Jim McDermott reads a statement from the Congressman

Rob Crawford, facilitator for WSRCAT, presents signatures calling for an Executive Order to Ban Torture Without Exception.

What is “Change”?

On November 12, a coalition of religious groups from all over the country called for a National Day of Witness to Torture.  This coalition, The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a growing membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and is made up of over 200 religious groups including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikh communities.  The Washington State affiliate of this campaign (WSRCAT) in conjunction with The Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) staged press conferences and events throughout the state.  On November 12th panel discussions made up of various experts including victims of torture were held in Seattle and Tacoma with the purpose of calling on President-Elect Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning all torture without exception.   Obama has said, "The secret authorization of brutal interrogations is an outrageous betrayal of our core values . . . . When I am president America will once again be the country that stands up to these deplorable tactics."

We all wish Obama the best in this noble endeavor to restore us to the glory days when just about anybody could believe the myth of American exceptionalism (if they only tried).  But as many long time peace activists and other astute observers of US history may know, these “core values” were betrayed long ago as referenced in this program by the testimony of Jorge Quiroga who was kidnapped and tortured for 3 years in the 70s by the Argentine military junta, one of the brutal Latin American fascist regimes created under the helpful tutelage of Nixon and Kissinger and backed by subsequent administrations.  Furthermore, as we have seen, the “state of the art” torture techniques or “psychological” methods designed for attacking the personality itself including: sensory depravation, sensory overload, prolonged isolation, self inflicted pain, stress positions, disorientation, sleep cycle manipulation, environmental manipulation (harsh heat or cold), phobia exploitation, and cultural and sexual humiliation were developed by the CIA in the 50’s through experimentation on hapless human guinea pigs and exported to US supported torture regimes throughout South and Central America in the 60’s and on to US client states all over the world up to the present day.

Those interested in a fact based assessment of reality must dispense with the canard that the purpose of this torture was to get information.  Torture was used as a weapon of terror and political control then just as now.  The truth is, the US has routinely used torture as an instrument of foreign policy for at least half a century.  The only difference is that they weren’t so foolish as to openly admit it and were careful in most cases to leave the dirty work to cutouts.  Therefore we can conclude that this is the real “outrageous betrayal” that Obama must be talking about and the obvious reason why the current crop of thugs don’t appear to be the slightest bit worried about the prospect of doing real time (short of the unthinkable advent of genuine regime change).  Just as Nancy Pelosi declared impeachment “off the table” it is almost certain that the Democratic leadership will fight to the death to prevent any substantial attempt at bringing any of the Bush war criminals to justice.  This is in spite of the latest polls which show 70% in favor of investigation and prosecution of the Bush Crime Family.  [Democrats who live in glass houses are wise to not throw stones.]

I wouldn’t want to rain on anybody’s parade of course.  The very fact that the Bush goons have made such a mess of things gives us an excellent opportunity for reform.  The NCRAT folks in their wisdom are putting it politely; they say they are waging a campaign to “help Obama end torture”.  Do I detect a whiff of satire?  As we will see through this testimony, many of these people are intimately familiar with the US contradictory policy towards torture since they have either been victims or have treated victims of US sponsored torture for decades.  Me, I don’t have to be so subdued.  I know who my audience is.  Those who think it’s safe to sit around and wait for any US President [or political party] to save us from anything at this point, a collapsing economy (with tax cuts and bailouts for thieves no less), runaway climate destabilization, or the “sorrows of empire”, are dangerously foolish –maybe even fatally foolish.   And if there so happens to be anybody reading this still emotionally attached to their delusions, they have my encouragement to jump into a bed of roses.  I don’t care if Obama were Jesus in the flesh, he won’t (and most likely can’t) do anything that even moderately threatens the status quo unless we force it.  No doubt there are the equivalent of “economic hit men” here too who are expert in exerting a myriad of pressures, subtle and not so subtle.  Bottom line: let us not forget what happed to some other presidents who took the idea of fulfilling their campaign promises, serving the interests of the many, or their constitutional oaths a little too seriously.  It takes a lot more than an election to accomplish meaningful change in the United States.

So get yourself set for a sustained campaign of militant mass action.   Does this mean dust off your guns and start making Molotov Cocktails?  I’m sorry but a few firebombs and pea shooters aren’t likely to intimidate the Masters of War.  In fact that’s what they want.  If there are no domestic “terrorists” in the peace and justice movement it will be necessary to invent them.  Witness the case of Brandon Darby a co/founder of the Common Ground Collective who as it turns out was an FBI spy.  He will be testifying for the government in the trial of two Texas activists who were arrested at the RNC on charges of making and possessing Molotov cocktails.  There is strong evedence that Darby was not only a spy but an agent provocateur who had a habit of causing disruption and dissention within the many organizations he involved himself with, advocating violence at every opportunity and that the young activists he fingered were in fact entrapped -encouraged and provoked by him.  Typical, the pigs have only one playbook.

The thing that has always terrified the elite “few” is the fear that the “many” may get to the point whereby they see through the divide and rule game and the phony democracy [BTW this works for dictatorships too] and refuse to submit to their “authority” –in mass.  In this respect, the people of Thailand have recently demonstrated that they are miles ahead of us.  You don’t need guns, you don’t need bombs, you don’t need rockets or any other means of violent coercion.  These are all counterproductive.  The most effective weapon is an ass, a brain with the will and patience to sit on that ass for as long as it takes, and a lot of friends with the same idea.  The machine grinds to a halt.  -But what then?  Be wary that overthrowing corporate rule is not likely to be easy.  The faint hearted can take solace in the realization that there is probably no other choice.  It is helpful to know what we are up against.

Let’s get back to what happened in Argentina.  The same military dictatorship that tortured Jorge Quiroga, taking the opportunity that the rollback of democracy in that country afforded, instigated the neoliberal economic paradigm with rigorous precision following the World Bank/IMF recipe to a tee. They privatized, deregulated, globalized, and looted until they ran a country that once possessed a standard of living rivaling that of many European counties into a state of complete bankruptcy and social collapse finally driving the population into the streets banging pots and pans in a massive general strike driving out 3 successive presidents in two weeks.  So what was the response from the elites?  They organized a bogus Tweedledum Tweedledee election.  This was the setting for Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ documentary “The Take”.   Although the film focuses on the growing “factory recovery” struggle whereby displaced workers seize and transform closed factories into worker cooperatives, it illustrates why political control without economic control is still tyranny; which brings us back to the present in the United States.

I began to list all the changes that the Democrats would have to make in order to set back the clock on the damage done to our democracy over the last 8 years and changed my mind because: 1. the list was too long, 2. we all know what they are, 3. it will never happen, and 4. it doesn’t matter because it only gets us back to the Clinton era.  We’d still need to roll back Clinton era neoliberal “reforms” represented by the globalization of corporate rule through “trade” agreements such as NAFTA and the WTO, accelerated media consolidation, banking deregulation, and the end of welfare “as we know it”, etc.  This would only be a start since all this began in the Reagan era.  If we successfully rolled back the Reagan “revolution” we would need to remember that before that we were still ruled by the tyranny of a military industrial [congressional media] complex.  Many people are clamoring for a restoration of the New Deal but the New Deal was undone by big business before it had a chance to be completed.  For example, thanks to business associations like the AMA we never got universal health care.  A fundamental restoration of democracy would need to target the damage caused since the 1880’s by revoking corporate personhood and so on.

If we were truly serious about accomplishing meaningful change, these are some of the things we would be thinking about.  Almost none of this is likely to originate from the Democratic Party or anywhere in the political system as it now exists.  Change always comes from the bottom and rises upwards.  The world needs a massive rebellion in the United States, the likes of which has never been seen if it is to have a chance to survive.   Actually, I’m uncharacteristically optimistic that it will happen.  In fact, I think it is inevitable.  Not because of organizing by us.  Those of us with a social conscience have always been too few in number to bring about structural change by ourselves.  Real change almost always happens because events on the ground force an awakening of political consciousness in the general population.  The reason I say rebellion is inevitable is because things are only going to get worse until it happens.  We organize because we need to have our own ducks in order so that we are ready with the right narrative (story) to put the events in a realistic context and to have the necessary solutions ready so that this energy is channeled toward positive social evolution rather than fascism.   Judging from the massive turnouts in the last precinct caucuses, I would say that this awakening is well under way.  The rebellion of the 60’s was unsuccessful in bringing about the necessary changes which resulted in cooptation and fascist backlash.  The question is, will the next rebellion be strong enough and soon enough to save the planet?

Historically, a great deal, probably a majority of political organizing in the United States has happened in churches.  It’s heartening to see people of all faiths banding together in the advancement of human rights.  Over the past six months, WSRCAT has organized local congregations to display anti-torture banners on their buildings. At present, 21 congregations in Washington State are participating in the "Banners Across America" campaign. Nationally, over 350 congregations have displayed banners.  In addition to seeking an executive order, the coalition is calling for a Congressional Investigation of interrogation practices under the Bush administration.  NCRAT will hold a national telephone press conference on January 14th and a broad coalition of prominent religious leaders are urging Obama to sign an executive order ending torture on the day he takes office.  In Washington, D.C. a local affiliate of NRCAT is organizing a solemn procession and public witness in front of the White House.  NRCAT affiliates, which usually include local religious leaders, are also visiting Congressional offices across the country to press Senators and Representatives to convey the message to Obama to dismantle the torture infrastructure created by the current administration, quickly after he assumes office in January.

You can also help by contacting NRCAT or WSRCAT and signing the online petitions as well as contacting Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jim McDermott thanking them for their support and urge Sen. Maria Cantwell and the other representatives to join the effort.   

NRCAT Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order on Prisoner Treatment, Torture and Cruelty

Though we come from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life, we agree that the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against prisoners is immoral, unwise, and un-American.  In our effort to secure ourselves, we have resorted to tactics which do not work, which endanger US personnel abroad, which discourage political, military, and intelligence cooperation from our allies, and which ultimately do not enhance our security.  Our President must lead us by our core principles. We must be better than our enemies, and our treatment of prisoners captured in the battle against terrorism must reflect our character and values as Americans.  Therefore, we believe the President of the United States should issue an Executive Order that provides as follows:

The "Golden Rule." We will not authorize or use any methods of interrogation that we would not find acceptable if used against Americans, be they civilians or soldiers.

One national standard. We will have one national standard for all US personnel and agencies for the interrogation and treatment of prisoners. Currently, the best expression of that standard is the US Army Field Manual, which will be used until any other interrogation technique has been approved based on the Golden Rule principle.

The rule of law. We will acknowledge all prisoners to our courts or the International Red Cross. We will in no circumstance hold persons in secret prisons or engage in disappearances. In all cases, prisoners will have the opportunity to prove their innocence in ways that fully conform to American principles of fairness.

Duty to protect. We acknowledge our historical commitment to end the use of torture and cruelty in the world. The US will not transfer any person to countries that use torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Checks and balances. Congress and the courts play an invaluable role in protecting the values and institutions of our nation and must have and will have access to the information they need to be fully informed about our detention and interrogation policies.

Clarity and accountability. All US personnel—whether soldiers or intelligence staff—deserve the certainty that they are implementing policy that complies fully with the law. Henceforth all US officials who authorize, implement, or fail in their duty to prevent the use of torture and ill treatment of prisoners will be held accountable, regardless of rank or position.

Malik Rahim, After Katrina, Monday 1/5/09 8-9pm PST

Malik Rahim, After Katrina. Recorded 12/11/08

Malik Rahim, former Black Panther political prisoner who ran for Mayor of New Orleans and just recently Congress was back in Seattle this month and gave this talk at the New Hope Baptist Church.  The co-founder of the Common Ground Collective, an organization providing direct humanitarian aid to over 80.000 victims of Katrina gave an update on the ongoing struggle of the people of that devastated community to rebuild despite the efforts of the racist power structure to keep them out.

Mailk recently appeared on Democracy Now! this month (12/19) with A.C. Thompson an investigative reporter who has written an article “Katrina’s Hidden Race War” in The Nation magazine.  In this show Malik goes into more detail about his experience with white vigilantes who it is now confirmed shot at least 11 African Americans in the aftermath of the storm.  As to be expected, this story has not garnered a lot of coverage in the “main stream” press as well as the whole sordid story of the continuing victimization of New Orleans’ “unworthy” refugees.  This was left to a film crew from Denmark who captured several of the white vigilantes bragging about shooting their black neighbors.  Their film: Welcome to New Orleans is on U-Tube

The Common Ground Collective has helped rebuild thousands of homes devastated by Katrina, founded several health clinics, and provides ongoing services to that beleaguered community.  For this they have received only harassment from the government.  If you would like to help, go to the Common Ground web site: www.commongroundrelief.org.  Joe Szwaja is organizing a group of Nova High School students who are going to spend their spring vacation volunteering in New Orleans.  They are calling this the New Orleans Social Justice Trip.  Many of these students cannot afford the 500 dollars that the trip will cost and are having to fund raise.   If you would like to help send one of these students to New Orleans, contact:

Joe Szwaja- 206 523 3278


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