Recent Posts

How the CIA took over the National Student Assn: KPFK 3/18

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How the CIA turned the National Student Association into a covert operational weapon in the Cold War—and how Ramparts magazine exposed the deception in 1967: KAREN PAGET tells that story. Her new book is Patriotic Betrayal.
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Plus: Bibi Netanyahu won the Israeli elections — after coming out against Palestinian statehood.  It’s hard to think of an uglier victory in recent history.  HAROLD MEYERSON will comment: he wrote about the election for the Washington Post: HERE.

Also: GEORGE PELECANOS worked as a line cook, bartender, and woman’s shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992. He was also a producer and writer for The Wire on HBO, and a producer and writer for the HBO series Treme—two of the greatest things ever on TV. Now he’s published his first collection of short stories – it’s called The Martini Shot.

 

Break-in at the FBI: KPFK 3/11

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Burglary at the FBI: Media, PA, 1971
: we’ll speak with one of the burglars, Bonnie Raines, who stole documents that revealed massive FBI abuse of power, including COINTELPRO. The book is The Burglary—we’ll also be speaking with the author Betty Medsger. The film 1971 about the break-in opens Friday at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. WATCH the trailer HERE.
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Also: 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese are still coping with unexploded bombs and Agent Orange. George Black will report—he has the cover story this week in The Nation.
SUPPORT Project Renew in Vietnam: HERE.
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Plus: a new kind of civil disobedience: a student debt strike. Students are refusing to make any more payments on their federal student loans. Astra Taylor will explain – she’s a filmmaker and activist, and she wrote about the debt strike for the New York Times op-ed page, HERE.

 

Our Age of Acquiescence: LA Times 2/22

Republicans condemn Obama for “class warfare,” but the charge is laughable if you know anything about the American past–or about our present “Age of Acquiescence.”
my review of Steve Fraser’s book in the LA Times Book Review, HERE

Why Publish an op-ed by Obama? LA Times 2/20

Obama has the biggest megaphone on the planet, he is on Page 1 every day of the year, and the op-ed page is for other perspectives.  Nevertheless the LA Times published an op-ed piece of his–one that presents thoroughly familiar liberal common sense.  . . .
My exchange with Nick Goldberg: HERE

Gitmo Diary Q&A: The Nation 2/5

Guantánamo Diary is the only written account by a Guantánamo detainee who is still imprisoned there: Mohamedou Ould Slahi. John le Carré calls the book “a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka: perpetual torture prescribed by the mad doctors in Washington.” We spoke with Slahi’s attorney, Nancy Hollander, and his editor, Larry Siems.
JW: Who is Mohamedou Slahi, and how did he end up in Gitmo?
Larry Siems:
Mohamedou is a 44-year-old man from Mauritania. He went to Afghanistan as a young man to join the fight against the communists there. To do that, he trained at an Al Qaeda camp and pledged loyalty to Al Qaeda. He has said repeatedly that he broke all ties with them after the communist government there collapsed in 1992.
. . . .continued at TheNation.com HERE

Tavis Smiley on Martin Luther King: KPFK 2/4

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The last year of Martin Luther King’s life was “hell”
—that’s what TAVIS SMILEY says. We’ll speak with him about how King’s 1967 speech criticising the Vietnam war was denounced not only by the mainstream media—the NYTimes called it “disastrous and self-defeating”—but also by most of black America as well. Tavis of course hosts a show on PBS; his terrific new book is DEATH OF A KING:The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year.

Also: Why I Won’t Serve in the Israeli Army—Israeli refusenik Moriel Rothman explains why we went to jail rather than “be part of a system whose main task is the violent occupation of millions of people.”

Today is a fund drive day at KPFK—we’ll be featuring Tavis Smiley’s book Death of a King as our thank-you gift, along with rare Martin Luther King from the Pacifica Archives. Please call and pledge during the show: 818-985-5735

Super Bowl Sunday: A Big Day for Brain Damage. TheNation.com 1/29

Sunday is America’s annual concussion carnival, the Super Bowl. Steve Almond knows a lot about it—he wrote the book Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto.
Let’s review the evidence: are you sure that football players get head injuries that lead to brain damage—or is that just liberal whining?
STEVE ALMOND: I’m sure it’s liberal whining, but one of the stories that got obscured earlier this season was an actuarial report the NFL commissioned in response to the lawsuit filed by former players. The NFL’s own actuaries estimated that 30 per cent of former players are going to wind up with long term cognitive ailments.
. . . continued at TheNation.com HERE

Gitmo Diary: ‘A Vision of Hell’ — KPFK 1/28

LISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
Guantanamo Diary is an incredible document, the true first-person account of a “high-value detainee,” Mohamedou Ould Slahi—John Le Carre calls it “a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka: perpetual torture prescribed by the mad doctors in Washington.” We’ll speak with Slahi’s editor LARRY SIEMS and his attorney NANCY HOLLANDER.
WATCH the video HERE.  READ the original manuscript HERE.
SIGN the ACLU petition HERE.

Also: Historian ERIC FONER on the hidden history of the underground railroad—his new book Gateway to Freedom shows how a small number of people can accomplish great things–and change history.
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Plus: KPFK Sports! Sunday is the Superbowl, a big day for brain damage. We’ll have comment from STEVE ALMONDhe wrote the book AGAINST FOOTBALL

 

Becoming Richard Pryor: KPFK 1/21

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Richard Pryor
revolutionized the world of comedy—he was a fearless performer and a truth-teller about race in America. Now there’s a terrific new biography out: Becoming Richard Pryor by SCOTT SAUL—he teaches English at Berkeley, he’s written for Harper’s, the New York Times, and The Nation. The Digital Companion HERE.  He’ll be  at Book Soup Sunday, Feb. 8 at 4 pm.

Plus: JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation magazine will comment on last night’s state of the union speech, where Obama proposed to address income inequality by redistributing some of the wealth that has been locked up by the billionaire class and their banks.

Also: “The brain’s job is to hide the truth of trauma from you” – that’s what DAVID J MORRIS says. His Humvee was blown up in the Iraq war; when he came home he suffered from post-traumatic stress, and now he’s written an amazing book about it, The Evil Hours: A Biography of PTSD. He’s published in the New Yorker, Slate, the New York Times last Sunday.  He’ll be speaking at Vroman’s in Pasadena Thurs, February 19 at 7pm.