Recent Posts

NSA “Reform,” from Nixon to Obama: Rick Perlstein KPFK 1/22

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President Obama has proposed “reforms” of the NSA
, suggesting we need a plan to come up with a plan about bulk metadata gathering on civilians.  RICK PERLSTEIN compares Obama’s proposals with the Church Committee’s final report from 1976 on spying on Americans.  Short version: the Nixon administration was better.

Also: the My Lai massacre was not an isolated incident; millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians were killed and wounded by American forces—“a My Lai a month” is what award-winning reporter NICK TURSE calls it.  His decade of research in secret Pentagon archives and interviews with vets and Vietnamese are the basis of his important book, KILL ANYTHING THAT MOVES: The Real American War in  Vietnam–it’s out now in paperback.

Plus: Slavery, freedom, and Islamophobia: GREG GRANDIN uncovered the true story of a rebellion on a slave ship in 1805–by African Muslims– that inspired Herman Melville to rethink slavery and freedom 50 years later.  It’s a story with  echoes in our own time as Tea Party activists charge that Obama is a secret Muslim from Africa.   Greg teaches history at NYU; his magnificent new book is The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World.  It is featured on the cover of The Nation this week.

Gary Shteyngart: Little Failure. KPFK 1/15

LISTEN online HERE— iTunes podcast HERE
left Russia for the US in 1979, when he was 7 years old—part of the deal where Jimmy Carter gave the Russians American grain and Brezhnev gave the Americans Soviet Jews—win-win!  Shteyngart’s story, told in his new memoir LITTLE FAILURE, is self-mocking, sarcastic, tender, and hilarious.  Watch the trailer HERE.  Gary will be reading Little Failure at the Skirball on Thurs Jan 16 at 8pm. Tickets $10 HERE.

Plus: The Los Angeles labor movement and its allies are campaigning for the highest minimum wage in the country: $15/hour.  Even more amazing, we are likely to win.  NANCY COHEN will explain; she wrote about it for The New Republic.  #RaiseLA

Also: Breaking in to the FBI office in Media, PA: In 1971, unknown activists stole files from an FBI office outside of Philadelphia, and proceeded to expose Bureau abuse of power and illegal surveillance.  Now the burglars have surfaced and told their story in the book The Burglary by Betty MedsgerSETH ROSENFELD will explain—he’s author of the award-winning SUBVERSIVES and spent two decades suing the FBI for their files on the Free Speech Movement. (Left: two of the burglars today, John and Bonnie Raines.)  WATCH the video HERE.

Katha Pollitt: A rough year for women–KPFK 1/8

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Women’s rights,  last year, and this year:
KATHA POLLITT on where we stand now.  It’s been rough—but isn’t it always?  Katha—poet, essayist and columnist–wrote recently for The Nation about “The Year in Feminism.”   Support the National Network of Abortion Funds HERE.

Plus: Beatles versus Stones: which side were you on?  JOHN McMILLIAN constrasts media myths with musical styles and political and cultural realities.  John teaches history at Georgia Tech; his new book is Beatles v. Stones.  PLAYLIST: Beatles’, Stones’ versions of “I Wanna Be Your Man”; “Revolution” vs. “Street Fighting Man.”

Also: the most effective political operation the American left has seen in decades: the  Working Families Party of New York. HAROLD MEYERSON explains – he wrote about it for The American Prospect and also writes a column for the Washington Post op-ed page.

Dick Cheney in Nixonland: TheNation 12/19

Dick Cheney came to the Nixon Library this week to talk about his new book, Heart.  When our most hated vice president visits the library of our most disgraced president, you look forward to a good night. So my friend Howard and I went to Yorba Linda, expecting a festive evening of Obama-bashing and a twisted trip back through the glories of the Bush years. . . . .  continued at, HERE.

Jeremy Scahill’s “Dirty Wars” DVD: KPFK 12/11

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A secret army, a war without end–and a journalist determined to uncover the truth: 
That’s the story of the film Dirty Wars and it’s out now on DVD– it’s about JEREMY SCAHILL, he’s National Security correspondent for The Nation magazine. Now the film is shortlisted for an Oscar nomination for best documentary.  We’ll feature interviews with director RICHARD ROWLEY, and with Jeremy Scahill-- he wrote the bestseller Blackwater, and has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.  “Dirty Wars” is our featured thank-you gift in the KPFK fund drive–please pledge during the show: 818-985-5735.

Plus: There’s a new Jimi Hendrix book that’s just been published, one nobody thought was possible – Starting at Zero: His own story,  “a posthumous memoir,” assembled from Jimi’s writings and diaries by ALAN DOUGLAS and colleagues.  We’ll speak with Alan –he’s best known for producing many of the posthumous Jimi Hendrix releases – and he was also a close friend of Jimi’s.

America’s War Wounded: KPFK 12/3

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The untold story of America’s war wounded:
ANN JONES reports on the horrors of war in Iraq and Afghanstan– she’s author of eight books, including the unforgettable Kabul in Winter.  Her new book is They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars.   READ Ann Jones at TomDispatch HERE.

Plus: Obama’s deportation regime: a record number of deportations, and people spending years in immigration detention—but the ACLU is fighting to win rights for those detainees.  AHILAN ARULANANTHAM, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU of Southern California, will explain.

Also: In the Coen Brothers’ new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, a not-very-good folksinger tries to make it in Greenwich Village in 1961, just before Bob Dylan arrives.  We’ll have comment from historian SEAN WILENTZauthor of Bob Dylan in America.  The film opens in LA and NYC on Friday.   PLAYLIST: “Hang me, oh hang me,” Oscar Isaac; “Please Mr. Kennedy,” Justin Timberlake; “Green Green Rocky Road,” Dave Van Ronk; “Farewell,” Bob Dylan.  WATCH the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis HERE.

Near-Misses with Nukes: Eric Schlosser on KPFK 11/26

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A riveting story about nuclear risk
, examining problems with the command and control systems set up during the Cold War, and with the men who ran them.  ERIC SCHLOSSER talks about some terrifying accidents and incredibly lucky near-misses.  Eric wrote the best-seller Fast Food Nation; his new book is Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety .
JOIN a WalMart protest on Friday: South LA, Panorama City, and Torrance: info HERE.

 Plus: HAROLD MEYERSON on the class divide among Democrats—and on the new Calif. Initiative to raise the minimum wage to $12, sponsored by Republican millionaire Ron Unz.  Harold writes a column for the Washington Post op-ed page and is editor-at-large of The American Prospect .  Great interactive graphic “The 40 Year Slump” HERE
JOIN a Wal-Mart protest
this Friday: South LA, Panorama City and Torrance: info HERE.

Also: The unforgettable sound of Memphis soul music in the sixties, coming from Stax records: ROBERT GORDON tells that story.  His new book is Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion.
Playlist: “Walkin the Dog” (Rufus Thomas, 1963); “Knock on Wood” (Eddie Floyd. 1966); “I Thank You” (Sam and Dave, 1968); “Respect” (Otis Redding, 1965).
LISTEN to newly discovered tracks “The Ghost of Stax PastHERE

My Favorite JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theory: LA Review of Books 11/20

WHO KILLED JFK? Joe Kennedy did it — because the kid had gone liberal on him. It’s my favorite Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory, and it’s presented in a wonderful novel, Winter Kills, by Richard Condon. Condon is best known as the author of The Manchurian Candidate . . .
. . . continued at the LA Review of Books, HERE.

John Nichols on Politics: KPFK 11/20

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We need a progressive candidate in 2016–and Elizabeth Warren says she is not running.  JOHN NICHOLS says “Bernie Sanders might just have to run.”  Sanders says there must be a progressive alternative to the conservative Republican politics of cruelty and cuts and the centrist Democratic politics of compromise with the conservatives.  John is Washington correspondent for The Nation and blogs at

Elliot Mintz John LennonAlso: ELLIOT MINTZ was a legendary late-night host on KPFK in the 1960s and 1970s–today he returns to our airwaves to talk about the heroic days of alternative radio.  Elliot was also a best friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, especially during Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” in L.A. in 1973, and after 1980 he hosted the weekly syndicated radio series, The Lost Lennon Tapes for almost four years.
This hour will be part of the national broadcast of the Pacifica Archives annual holiday fundraiser.  The Pacifica Archives are our history!  Please call and pledge during the hour: 800-935-0230.

Chile’s Elections, 40 years after the Coup: KPFK 11/13

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40 years after the military coup that overthrew Salvador Allende
, the two leading candidates for president of Chile are daughters of air force generals were were on opposite sides in 1973.  Conservative candidate Evelyn Matthei’s father was promoted by Pinochet to run the air force.  Socialist challenger Michelle Bachelet’s father opposed the coup, was tortured and died in prison.  The election will be Sunday Nov 17.  UCI historian  HEIDI TINSMAN will explain; her new book, Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States, will be published in February.

 Also: Girls in prison need health care – and LESLIE ACOCA has been working on ending the incarceration of girls  through access to health care. Thanks to the Girls Health Screen, LA is now the first county in the United States to provide health care in locked settings just for girls.

The end of WWII is usually remembered in terms of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, genocide and nucear holocaust; but it was also a beginning—for Algerians and Vietnamese and Indonesians seeking independence from colonialism.  IAN BURUMA tells that story in his amazing new book 1945: YEAR ZERO.  He has written more than a dozen books and is a frequent contributor to the New York Review.