Saturday, March 16, 2019

In times of universal deceit

GUEST: Dr. Colin S. Cavell, professor of Political Science at Bluefield State College in West Virginia, and former professor at the University of Bahrain, talks about U.S. hegemony and how talk of democracy often camouflages the empire's efforts at regime change and world domination.

Mainstream media in the U.S. never describes the empire in terms of wars for profit and dominance. More sophisticated publications like The New York Times and the New Yorker, always make U.S. invasions more complicated than they really are. It becomes about demonizing foreign leaders and exaggerating the supposed suffering of Third World peoples under their oppression. The more details the better.

What is desperately needed is an unfettered look at what the world's most powerful military has been doing since the Second World War. For the U.S. military, that war never really ended. Nor did the incalculable profits from war making. We have thrown our high tech killing machine into country after country, murdering millions in the process. America's war against the rest of the world started in Korea in 1948, and except for a brief hiatus after Vietnam, continues to this day. Venezuela is next on our list. 

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” - George Orwell

Continuing the extermination of Native Americans

GUEST: Eli Kassirer, back from the Buffalo Field Campaign protecting the last wild Bison, talks about animal rights, conservation and his adventures protecting the buffalo.
Buffalo Field Campaign

This year, Eli was involved with more than following the migration of buffalo from dawn to dusk. He attended some rallies designed to build momentum for the preservation of the original American bison.

A few miles away one can find herds of hybrid animals raised for meat. But the varieties of these animals do not carry a significant amount of bison DNA to counterbalance the extermination of the bison species.

Ending the hunting of the original bison is the only way that we can insure this species will survive. It is inconceivable that white Americans are still slaughtering the bison, so important to native American culture. Or maybe it is not so surprising. Genocide often is more subtile than the murdering of those who are different. It is often the erasure of their culture and traditions. By erasing the buffalo, we continue the extermination of Native Americans. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Bleeding in the street or incarcerated in our prison systems

February 28

GUEST: Sabrina Terry, author and researcher at the Institute for Policy Studies, Senior Strategist with the Economic Policy Project at UnidosUS, and former Manager at the NAACP Economic Department, talks about a new report she coauthored, Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Racial Wealth Divide.
The Racial Divide

My talk with Sabrina Terry was enlightening. I had not realized how great the wealth gap in the U.S. was when it comes to the color of one's skin.

Approaching zero not worth is more than uncomfortable; it is deadly. Black family members die more often than white family members do, from newborns to senior citizens. Every measure of mortality shows us that not being able to afford healthcare is a death sentence for at least some Black family members.

Access to education is another advantage denied Black families. Decent housing is another, as is access to a fair criminal justice system. In fact, the system punishes African Americans in every conceivable way. And because the very rich (and very white) elites have taken so much from the rest of society, Black people, at the bottom already, have lost so much more than poor whites. So is this slavery in another guise? Are the nation's police forces little more than slave catching militias that roamed the countryside in the antebellum south? The results on Blacks seem to be about the same; they lie bleeding in the street or incarcerated in our prison systems.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Doomed to reenact a genocide

February 21

GUEST: Lama, a 14-year-old student from Gaza City who testified recently at a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill, talks about what she has endured as a child living in Gaza and what her vision of peace would be.

14-Year-Old Lama From Gaza Gives A Speech Before Congress

Lama is a natural when it comes to presenting her point of view. She is a writer who thinks about images, and she is bright enough to be able to do that in a second language as well.

Perhaps her most moving story was her plan to start a dairy farm in Gaza. The sheer impossibility of such a thing doesn't really stop her dream. We as adults know that the Israelis will only crush anything that the Palestinians try to do for themselves. The IDF destroys all sorts of farmland in Gaza and the West Bank. But a dairy farm? Why, they would shoot the cows and blow up the barns.

So it is not the dairy farm that is so moving. It is who it would feed: her friends and relatives who don't get enough to eat, much less milk, cream and butter. Lama would feed Palestinian children because she knows just how desperately they need it. It breaks one's heart; there is no getting around it.

Why does Israel create such misery in children? It seems as if two thousand years of discrimination has been condensed into one murderous state, doomed to reenact a genocide, but playing a different role this time. The role of murderer.

What is our excuse, living here in the "land of the free"?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The troglodyte in the White House

February 14

GUEST: Arjun Singh Sethi, Sikh American civil and political rights writer, human rights lawyer, and Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, talks about his newly published book, American Hate: Survivors Speak Out.

Arjun Singh Sethi discusses his book 

Arjun Sethi has selected some fascinating stores of racial, ethnic, and gender hatred in America. Why is it that some people feel impelled to make others suffer? It is such mindless cruelty, whether the victims are Jewish, Sikh, African American, Southeast Asian, or gay. 

We talked about Trump being only the most recent politician who has come to power by spreading hate. We know how fascists have always achieved control, by victimizing the less powerful and different. Trump gives other haters in society the permission they need, and the result is an upsurgance in violent acts committed.

Perhaps the "melting pot" approached has not worked very well for us. In a society that is so diverse, there will always be immoral people willing to profit from hate. Arjun Sethi shows us one way to resist, and all the stories he offers have this redeeming feature. The victims all fight back in some way, and are able to achieve some satisfaction from doing so.

What if all the oppressed groups in the U.S. joined forces and really fought back? It must be a troubling thought to our white, male troglodyte in the White House. No wonder he obsesses about building a wall. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Begging forgiveness

February 7

GUEST: Manar Wahhab, cofounder and educational director of House of Hope, and seasoned art and music therapist for children experiencing toxic stress and trauma, talks about her work in helping women and children cope with the violence of Israeli occupation.
Supporting House of Hope

Manar has the spirit to succeed. She is traveling in America trying to raise money for her school in the West Bank. Help her out if you can; the link is right above.

I wanted the interview to give listeners a sense of how hard life is in occupied Palestine. Manar's message was somewhat different in that she stressed the hope and resilience of the Palestinian People.  Are they the same thing?

Maybe the audience is different. Listeners in the U.S. don't know about Palestine, and can't image the privation, oppression and suffering that the Israeli soldiers and settlers bring to this occupied people. Manar's audience is the children of the West Bank. She doesn't want them to give up their identity, or to grow up consumed by hatred of the oppressor. She wants them to have normal lives in the chaos that is apartheid Israel.

What Black family in our country doesn't want a life for their children free from the racism of Jim Crow? That is part of the resistance, to hold onto a sense of dignity and purpose despite the slow ethnic cleansing that is crushing their lives.

Manar's story of hurting her leg while waiting for hours at a checkpoint was the closest she came to questioning the cruelty of the walls and barbed wire surrounding her life. All she wanted to do was go to her Waldorf education class in Jerusalem. She just wanted to learn how to be a better teacher to the kids she obviously cares so much about.

Why does America support this fifty year occupation? Have we no shame for what is being done with our weaponry and our money? Or are we in the end going to beg forgiveness by saying that we didn't know? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

What if a people's democracy ever spread

There is nothing that the Western democracies hate more in the Third World than democratically elected presidents who aren't neoliberal capitalists. That's because most of our Western leaders are voted in by money rather than by people. How dare Venezuela's president Maduro champion his people's interests rather than the corporate bottom line? 

In fact, corporate controlled democracies have a longtime love affair with the worst dictators that the CIA and MI6 can come up with. Whether it be the Shah in Iran, Pinochet in Chili, Montt in Guatemala, or more recently Salman in Saudi Arabia, or Morsi in Egypt, the standard for Third World Countries is always the same. If they screw their own people and make Western billionaires even richer in the process, why they are just fine. But once a Third World leader claims profits for the people, be it from oil, gas, coal, or copper, it is time for a coup. Or a full scale invasion if that doesn't work. 

The Spanish Empire peddled Christianity and the British Empire claimed to be spreading "civilization" to justify colonial conquests. More recently The American Empire has been saving humanity from "weapons of mass destruction," "drug kingpins," and even Muslim misogynists. The game of saving humanity to exploit it is as old as Columbus' "discovery" of the New World. 

The rich elites have always demand the overthrow of progressive leaders in developing countries, no matter how fairly elected. What if a people's democracy ever spread to the First World?


Monday, February 4, 2019

We served our country; come clean with us

January 31

GUEST: Jack Beattie, survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty by Israeli war planes and ships that killed 34 sailors and wounded 174, talks about that day in June, 1967 which saw the largest Navy death toll since World War II.
"USS Liberty: Dead In The Water"

This picture is not of Jack, but of another veteran, Bryce Lockwood, who is also a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Few pictures of the survivors or their vessel can be found since there has been a news blackout about the incident for fifty years.

Jack is a great storyteller. He was below deck when the attack happened. When the ship was hit by a torpedo and about to go down, he rushed to the deck only to find the ship had also been napalmed too and the ship was ablaze. Listen to the interview above; he certainly puts you back in the moment when his ship was sinking and there was no way to escape.

He also tells the story of how the admiral of the fleet spoke to him after the attack, warning him never to discuss the event with anyone or face time in Leavenworth Prison. Jack was an E3 at the time, the lowest rank on the ship.

Which brings me to the importance of the attack on the USS Liberty. Why did Israel try so hard to sink the ship with all hands on board? Why did President Johnson order the US Fleet to call back the attack planes sent to defend the Liberty? Some plan was made between Israel and the White House that was to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of U.S. sailors. Was the sinking of the USS Liberty to be a way for America to ender the 1967 War against Egypt?

In a functioning democracy we would have had these answers many years ago. And since very little of what our government tells us now ends up being the truth, we are left with conspiracy theories instead of facts. Tell us the truth about the Liberty. We, as the nation's overseas veterans, demand that the country we served come clean with us and with the American people.

Using their lethal skills right here at home

January 24

GUEST: Pat Elder, long time antiwar activist and author of Military Recruiting in the United States, talks about the deceptive practices of the U.S. military as it recruits our nation's youth for the endless wars of empire.

Madison Avenue Joins the Army

Pat is one of those crusaders who tries tactics until one works. He is against the militarization of our nation's youth, something that I saw in my years as a high school guidance counselor. I always considered recruiters as pests, hanging around schools and pitching manhood and glory to the most vulnerable of my students. No, I didn't want them to run study halls, or to chaperone dances. At least they weren't landing helicopters on our playing fields like they did in the inner city schools.

We talked about the use of video war games to get students used to high tech killing. I didn't know that the Army has mobile vans that can "serve" up to 15 students blasting away at the "bad guys." How to create pathological killers in our society.

We also talked about the advertising profile of potential enlistees. Recruiters are told by advertising firms to seek out those who are prejudiced, misogynistic, violent, and suicidal with low self esteem. The goal of the military is to teach such people how to kill with a variety of weaponry, and to exalt their murderous behavior when they return from overseas. It is quite an effective strategy for creating mass murderers, who often use their lethal skills right here at home. One of the hidden coss of empire.

Overcoming the exploitive system we all live under

January 17

GUEST: Margaret Kimberley, member of Black Alliance for Peace and senior reporter with the Black Agenda Report, talks about the U.S. militarism in Africa and the need to actively resist racism and colonialism wherever it appears.

Petition: Demand the U.S. End its Occupation of Africa

"Black power matters. All else is nonsense."

Margaret Kimberley has strong words for movements that don't demand justice, and according to her, justice only comes through power. We talked about Black Lives Matter. What had happened to the organization, and why had it achieved so little change? Young Black men are still being shot down in our streets. Black people's lives are still shaped by racism and lack of economic oportunity.

Margaret would like to see more effort spent on a global movement for equal rights, the type of power that Malcolm X and MLK envisioned before their assassinations by the state. Exposing and resisting the U.S. militarization of Africa is one way to forge anti-imperialist links with the rest of the world.

There has to be a movement to "reclaim the people's resources," and Margaret includes the United States as a battleground. The rich own everything, and the poor nothing. Demands must be made. We talked about MLK's Riverside Church speech, given one year before he was killed in Memphis. He was issuing a demand for racial and social justice, and for the first time it included all races, religions, and ethnicities in the call. That is were the real power lies. Overcoming racism will lead to overcoming the exploitive system we all live under. 

Slaughter that is morally justified

January 10

GUEST: David Vine, assistant professor of anthropology at American University and author of the newly published Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World talks about a new, bipartisan effort to inform the American people of their empire abroad and to bring military expenditures under control.

U.S. Military Bases Abroad

I was pleased to have David Vine on Activist Radio again. I had seen him give a talk on his book, Base Nations at Vassar College a few years ago. David is an academic first, whose goal it is to prove to you that the American Empire exists and that is covers most of the globe. The facts and figures, at times dull in themselves, come together in the book to change one's perception of a country that always claims to be upholding human rights and international law. Whatever the death toll, there is this basic assumption of benevolence that makes all our lives within the empire possible.

We talked about the driving forces behind empire, the weapons makers and the corporations that thrive on Third World exploitation. Would the U.S. be gearing up for an invasion of Venezuela if it wasn't for oil? Yet all The New York Times can talk about is the suffering of the Venezuelan people. Really? Is it possible that our "newspaper of record" cares about such things, when it has supported every Pentagon military adventure in my lifetime?

For this interview, we went further into what an empire has been in history. Ancient Athens was an empire, as committed as any to crushing resistance wherever it appeared. The Siege of Melos saw the Athenian Army massacre all rebellious defenders of the island, claiming that it is the natural order of things for the strong to dominate the weak. At least Athens didn't have a propaganda machine at home to convince its population that slaughter was morally justified. 

Feeling the emotion come over you

January 3

GUEST: Ben Grosscup, singer and songwriter who is as comfortable on a picket line as he us in front of a mic, talks about his recent trip to the Hudson Valley as a guest performer at a Veterans For Peace event on Palestinian rights.
Middle East Crisis - Facebook

I played a couple of songs opening for Ben the following night in Woodstock. We had a lot to fit in, a movie about Israel's invasion of Lebanon and then Ben. Singers like Ben and David Rovics are movement people first, trying to make a basic living by livening up the revolution.

"Love Me, I'm a Liberal" does just that. Originally by Phil Oaks, Ben does an updated version with the familiar theme. According to Oaks, most liberals are "ten degrees left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally."

Of course, the same goes for human rights. Some liberals preach respect for all oppressed people, except for Palestinians. Progressive Except for Palestinians (PEP) allows Americans to think they are doing the right thing while drawing the line on their support for an all Jewish state.

Here is Ben signing in Saratoga for a Palestinian rights demonstration. I am reading a book on Woody Guthrie called "Ramblin' Man (thanks, Josh). Woody evolved politically during his life and you can follow his transition in his songs. He was an experimenter, not afraid to try new verses or to change old ones to fit new political realities. Songs change people because they satisfy on an emotional level as well as an intellectual one.

We shall, we shall not be moved. Sing that with a group of Black and white Americans and you will feel the emotion come over you. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Her warrior cunning

December 27

GUEST: Krystal Two Bulls, US military veteran, member of About Face Veterans Against the War, and Co-Director of the Drop the MIC Campaign (Military Industrial Complex), talks about her Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne indigenous identity and how that relates to her efforts to end America's reckless wars abroad.

About Face, Veterans Against The War

We can learn so much from indigenous peoples. From the very first meetings with European colonizers, Native Americans have expressed amazement and horror at a society that treated the earth like an expendable asset. How long it has taken us to accept this basic truth about ourselves. We have lost the connection our species must have always had to the earth around us. Unless we can realize the true nature of our dependency, there will be no planet for anyone to be part of.

Krystal Two Bulls is a warrior for her people. She has served her country as a veteran, but wants to end US imperialism abroad. She yearns to live in peace, but will not sit by while her forests and plains are despoiled by massive pipelines. Is not just the constant leakage of oil into the Lakota's sources of water. It is also the burning of more fossil fuels that will push global warming beyond the tipping point.

Insanity, fed by greed and militarism. If this is how it all ends, there will have been people like Krystal Two Bulls who applied her bravery and warrior cunning to try and save us from ourselves.   

Secret racists have more insidious goals

December 20

GUEST: Donna Nevel, psychologist, educator, and founding member of Facing the Nakba Project, Jews Say No!, Network Against Islamophobia, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice,  talks about her resent research that reveals how the Jewish United Fund (JUF) pays for racist and Islamophobic campaigns in the US.

Defund Islamophobia Now | HuffPost

Donna Nevel is an unstoppable force, using her intellect and sense of justice to make it hot for the secret racists of our time. Not the obvious racists who walk around looking for someone different to beat up. Secret racists have more insidious goals, and in the process hurt more people in the end. Take a look at the Jewish United Fund paying for hate campaigns directed at Muslim in America.

With close ties to Israeli, the Jewish United Fund spreads Islamophobia to take the pressure off the apartheid state. Five million Palestinians have been subjected to beatings, shootings and calculated deprivations in one of the longest running occupations in modern history. But don't think about that; just consider how Muslims are trying to undermine our culture and our democratic institutions. The JUF knows how to spread fear and hate to achieve its political ends.

Of course, many working for Palestinian human rights are themselves Jewish. They are as vulnerable to racism as any religious or ethnic minority in the United States. That is why fanning the flames of racism is so dangerous. Zionists have allied with Trump and his far right nationalists, and their agenda is deeply antisemitic.

Perhaps that is why so many Jewish activists condemn what the Jewish United Fund has done. In its drive to protect Israel, it has undermined the very racial tolerance that all of us depend on to live together in peace.