December 21, 2012

Loving beyond ourselves

Guest: We go live to the Candlelight Vigil for Peace and Social Justice in downtown Poughkeepsie. 

We weren't sure how this live connection would work, but it did. We got some great interview on what people on the vigil thought about social justice in our society.

Among others I would like to thank are Rabbi Paul Golomb of Vassar Temple, long-time community activist Mae Parker-Harris of Smith Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, Larry Freedman, and Joel Tyner (who set the interviews up.

I love the Capitalist Pyramid on the left. It shows the piggishness at the top and the suffering of the people at the bottom. The role of religion doesn't fare to well either, being classified at the "We Fool You."

But the interviews on this show portray a different ethos, one of justice and fairness as part of our common religious experience. Of course, it is always easy to preach this stuff, and I am sure it's done in every church, mosque and temple during this season. But there is also this compelling narrative just waiting for selfless people to stand up for what is right in our society. And people have done so, generation after generation, sometimes at great costs. Maybe the God in us is our ability to love beyond ourselves. 

December 15, 2012

Will they want to forget the whole thing?

Guest: Tarak Kauff, member of Veterans for Peace Board of Directors, talks about his arrest in NYC for reading the names of war dead at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
It was great to have Tarak back in the studio, talking about vets resisting the war machine. The action was compelling, veterans reading the names of he dead at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in NYC. Their arrest proves once again that veterans are used in empire's dirty wars abroad, only to be cast aside and disrespected once they come back home. 
Who else can tell the story about the true costs of US wars abroad? As Chris Hedges said that evening, vets carry the wounds of war around for the rest of their lives.
The monument is made of of translucent blocks, inscribed with GI letters sent back home. Someone received and read each one of these letters. Some of the writers returned home and some did not. The letters spoke to me about the relationships that are strained and sometimes broken by war, all part of the real cost of American's wars for empire.

"One thing that worries me... Will people believe me? 
Will they want to hear about it, or will they want
to forget the whole thing ever happened?" 

Lt. J.G. Richard W. Strandberg 
River Patrol Section 522 
U.S. Navy Mekong Delta

December 9, 2012

Inferior and dangerous?

Guest: Dr. Alice Green, former Executive Director of The Center for Law and Justice and past candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the Green Party line, talks about why our country's mass incarceration is racism. (prerecorded)
Dr. Green's talk is from the End the New Jim Crow workshop that was given in Poughkeepsie. While incarceration rates in America are astounding compared to other countries, there is even more going on.

Mass incarceration is a moneymaker for private corporations, and we have seen how effective the weapons makers have been in pushing for endless wars. America is a corporate ruled state, so that policies about energy, foreign relations, healthcare, and media communications are all written by corporate lobbyists. Why would our prison system be any different? A chart of US wars in the last decade would look very much like the one above. So would the cost of healthcare and the percentage of our population denied health coverage.

There was a point in Dr. Green's presentation, however, that went beyond the terrible costs of America's corporatism. She told the audience that African Americans are considered two things by the white majority: mentally inferior and dangerous. So will the mass incarceration of black men end when the corporate state is democratized? Or is there an underlying racism in our society that must be addressed before all races and ethnic groups are given their equal rights?