Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ruth's Public Radio Report

Ruth: First off, this is my third attempt at this post. My granddaughter Tracey and I were attempting to do this one ourselves. We have lost portions and whole posts. So let me steal from Kat and say, "It is what it is." On this attempt, I am not going to attempt to recreate everything yet again. Thanks to everyone working on The Third Estate Sunday Review edition for hearing the frustration in my voice and rushing in to help hunt down tags and links.

On CounterSpin, they started with a look at recent press:

Peter Hart: And finally, the evidence just keeps piling up that the White House manipulated the WMD evidence before and even during the Iraq war. So how do journalists deal with this?
Well for some it's best to claim you didn't buy the weapons argument in the first place. That's what Newsweek's Evan Thomas said on the April 12th edition of MSNBC's Hardball, telling Chris Matthews QUOTE: "I have never thought that WMD was the reason we went to war. They went to war for other reasons. It was an excuse to go to war, it was a convient excuse. They sort of believed it but it really wasn't the reason they did it."
Well if Evan Thomas thought that the White House was't being straight from the get-go
surely he was saying so in the pages of Newsweek, right?
To test that one could flip to the Newsweek archives. There you'd find a huge piece that Thomas wrote with several of his colleagues on the brink of war. And they wrote this QUOTE: "Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of 'the green mushroom' over Baghdad--the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects
as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up the to US armed forces to stop him before he can achieve noteriety for all time." CLOSED QUOTE. Those are not exactly the words of a wise skeptic.

More on this can be found in FAIR's "Newsweek, the Quran and the 'Green Mushroom'." Peter Hart also had an interview with Patrick O'Connor about how recent events in Tel Aviv have made the area news again but, as usual, the news is portrayed in a selective manner. We get lectures and admonishments over the violence while the every day, continual violence in the occupied territories is of little concern in the mainstream media. Mr. O'Connor is with Palestine Media Watch and this is an interview I highly recommend.

Rebecca's covering KPFA's Flashpoints each week (on Thursdays) and this is an issue Dennis Bernstein and others with the program address regularly. If the topic interests you, Flashpoints airs Monday through Friday and is an hourly show. Other Pacifica stations air it as well so check the official Flashpoints website to see if airs over the airwaves in your area and at what time. As with all Pacifica programs, you can also listen to it online if you are able to listen online. You can also read Rebecca's "answer to who will save us and recap of flashpoints."

Rebecca's also had some issues with CounterSpin. She wrote about it in "counter take." One issue is from last week when Joe Conason was the guest addressing the Page Six scandal (New York Post) and the topic was not addressed. I had attempted to address that here before speaking to Rebecca and then after Rebecca had shared her feelings with me. I ended up pulling that and it ran instead in the gina & krista round-robin. The most I will offer here is that there are very real perceptions of how "good gossip" is doled out to those who reflect the opinions of the ownership of the Post and the way "bad gossip" is used to penalize those who disagree with the politics of the ownership of the New York Post. For anyone who does not get the round-robin, I will add that I made the decision to address it there because I wanted to be specific and share some stories that had been passed on during the week we all spent in California.

Rebecca's second issue was over an interview with a Mother Jones article about a New York Times article that put forward the myth that Saddam Hussein was allowing 'terrorists' to be trained in hijacking airplanes. The "New York Times article" appeared shortly after September 11, 2001 and, those putting the 'facts' to the reporter were attempting to influence the planned war on Iraq. The expert quoted was not the man he claimed he to be (he had assumed the identity of a man serving in the Iraqi army). The story ran in the New York Times and aired on PBS. The story was as false as the 'expert.' Rebecca's issue here was that the "New York Times article" had a writer and that was not addressed in the interview. The writer was Chris Hedges. She also pointed out that C.I. had noted the New York Times article refers to two sources. Chris Hedges spoke with the Mother Jones journalists about the story because the 'expert' who was not one gave him a phoney story. Who was Chris Hedges' second source? That has still not been addressed.

Monday, Elaine's "Today, we're all cheerleaders" covered KPFA's Women's Magazine which featured a conversation with May Ying Welch (freelancer), Marie Colvin (Sunday Times of London) and Hannah Allam (Knight Ridder). The women addressed the topics of reporting from combat zones and the pressure from others for them to cease reporting (one woman's engagement was called off as a result).

On Wednesday's KPFA's The Morning Show, David Bacon joined host Philip Maldari for an expanded labor report. (Mr. Bacon does a labor report each week on The Morning Show.) His guests were Ana Avendano (Director of the Immigrant Workers Project for the AFL-CIO), Ernesto Medrano (an organizer with the Teamsters Union Local 952) and Sergio Sosa (an organizer with Omaha Together One Community).

The AFL-CIO wants all workers to have equal rights and Ms. Avendano did a wonderful job in tying this into the continual chipping away at New Deal guarantees. Ms. Avendano noted, "Each year the population of workers in the United States without the New Deal is increasing rapidly."
This was much longer in the any of the other versions, but I am rushing to get to bed after hours of lost portions and lost posts.

Thursday on KPFA's Living Room, Kris Welch interviewed Antonia Juhasz, the author of the new book The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time. Ms Juhasz spoke of how globalization, empire and war come together to create the current situation in Iraq and how these three pillars are endaring the lives of all of us, regardless of where we live.

Last Sunday, KPFA's Radio Chronicles presented a radio documentary entitled "Camp KPFA" about the 1999 lock-out at KPFA which prompted listeners to start a national movement to reclaim KPFA. Following that, a briefer documentary was offered examining the lives of Pacifica founder Lewis Hill as well as Elsa Knight Thompson who wore the hat of programmer in addition to many other hats. You can hear an archived interview the late Elsa Knight Thompson did with Black Panther Bobby Seale by clicking here.

Friday, Willie Brown was executed by lethal injection in the state of North Carolina. Mr. Brown's case and the death penalty were discussed on WBAI's Law and Disorder Monday with Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn who is the Director of the Program to Abolish the Death Penalty for Amnesty International USA.

Mr. Brown's history of mental illness was not addressed in the trial nor were witnesses brought into court that could have countered the prosecution's case. "His attornies did not present any of this" mental illness history "as a mitigating factor," Ms. Gunawardena-Vaughn explained. Brown's jurors were given improper instructions as well. In terms of their decision, they were told that they must all agree on mitigating factors which brought up the issue of mitigating and aggrevated factors that co-host Heidi Boghosian suggested they define. Thank you, to Ms. Boghosian for that because I was treading water as a listener at the point and sure I was about to go under. As I understood it, listen to the episode, a mitigating factor is a detail that should allow for a lesser sentence. Mental illness and child abuse were given as examples and Ms. Boghosian put them under the easy to understand umbrella of "human factors." These are factors that add to the total picture of the crime. Aggrevating factors, again as I understood it, were issues such as torture, rape, etc. Another factor is "future dangerousness" which would suggest that the person charged, if found guilty, commmitted the crime in such a manner or with a pattern, that, in convicting, these factors needed to be noted such as whether remorse is shown, the number of victims, etc. My mind immeditately went to the Tate-Bianaca murders. Certainly, a seriel offender, murderer, rapists, etc, would have the issue of future danger raised in their case.

The issue of medical ethics was raised due to the fact that the lethal injection is not as "tidy" as people are led to believe. As more doctors have become aware that it is not necessarily a painless procedure, some, such as in California, have stated that they will not participate. Judges are now ordering that a doctor participate.

After the discussion, the hosts explored aggrevating and mitigating factors in further death.
Jurors are told "your decision is not final, there can be appeal after appeal," Ms. Boghosian noted, which can confuse the issue and leave a jury with the impression that they are not, in fact, making a final decision. In addition, they are not briefed on all the findings they may make such as life without parole. Michael Ratner brought up jury disqualification and how, in jury selection, you start out with a huge pool that gets "funneled" into a smaller pool which favors execution since you are excluded from the jury if you are someone who says that you are opposed to the death penalty "until by the end you're getting people who favor the death penalty, and then you're getting a series of factors that actually hit them over the head and say 'Give this guy the death penalty.'" Michael Smith offered that it was not all that long ago when they used firing squads in Utah. Other forms such as electrocution and gas chambers were moved away from as well because they were seen as brutal. The idea is that lethal injection is more "humane." Which is why the courts are ordering doctors to participate and some doctors are resisting because lethal injection is not the smooth procedure that people are led to believe it is.

For more on this discussion, you can read Mike's "Law and Disorder, Nepal, Guantanamo and more" which includes a rare example of Hillary Clinton being pressed on the death penalty issue by a journalist. Cedric's "Law and Disorder addressed PBS and Armenia" does a wonderful job of covering the segment on the show where the genocide in Armenia was discussed.

Charlie Hay-Mestre, member of the board for the Center fof Contitutional Rights and a civil rights attorney in San Juan, Puerto Rico spoke of an issue C.I. and Ava have been writing about in the round-robin: Puerto Rico after the assassination of Filiberto Ojeda Rios. Eddie e-mailed that this was his favorite segment of Monday's show. "Domestic terrorism" is the cover for what is going on in Puerto Rico and this has come about in the post-9/11 period. "I'm getting a sinking feeling, Charlie, that what's happening to people down there could be happening to people in the United States next," Michael Smith stated.

Mr. Hey-Mestre: It's very frightening because essentially what's going on is A shift in the use of this apparatus of the federal government to quell dissent and to use the boogey man of terrorism to persecute political minorities. That tactic will be transferrable to many organizations and we've seen what's happened with warrantless searches, electronic searches in the states which is really on the front burner of the ongoing debate about whether that's legal -- this is another aspect of the same tactic.

Which lead to the last guest, Shane Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Sara Miles co-wrote an article with Mr. Ratner that goes into the background. Mr. Kadidal noted the Center for Constitutional Rights case attempting to determine whether or not the government has been listening in to attorney-client phone calls. FISA and other laws regulate privaliged calls. To "prepare an aggressive defense," innocence until proven guilty are among the reasons for the privilege. As Ms. Boghasion and Mr. Kadidal pointed out, the result is that lawyers must think twice before addressing sensitive issues in e-mails or phone calls. Mr. Kadidal noted that in reply to written questions from the Senate, the Justice Department refused to rule out whether or not they were listening in on lawyer-client phone calls.

Kimba e-mailed to note that this episode of Law and Disorder is not up at WBAI. You can listen to it at the website, which Joe e-mailed to say he visited today and subscribed to the feed. This week on WBAI's Wakeup Call, Deepa Fernandez explained that there had been problems with the archiving but it was being worked on. Wakeup Call is a wonderful show and my granddaughter Tracey's favorite. When it airs, I do listen, but there is no time for note taking due to the fact that my grandson Elijah has just been dropped off and, after a nightime of sleep, he is fully charged. I had a number of comments from e-mails that I attempted to address but I know that besides being tired, I am delaying the posting at The Third Estate Sunday Review. So let me note Kat covered Guns and Butter in "Ben Harper, Carole King, Carly Simon and Guns and Butter." The guest, Ted Gunderson, was an interesting man with a just-the-facts, Joe Friday take. As someone who has many Carole King vinyl albums in my collection, let me back Kat up and agree with her that it is very disappointing that Ms. King has nothing to say about the war on her latest album. Tracey has been listening to Ben Harper's Both Sides Of The Gun for the six hours we have spent trying to get this report completed. Skip Ms. King's live album of songs you already have (plus a few originals that have little to say) and grab Both Sides Of The Gun instead.

Sandra Lupien (who does the news breaks on KPFA's The Morning Show and other programs during the day) did a wonderful job hosting Sunday Salon last Sunday. I had an entire section about callers and noted one who wanted fluff and called in to Ms. Lupien and another who wanted to smear an organization and how Philip Maldari handled that on The Morning Show. Those are gone, but both did a wonderful job and Ms. Lupien's hosting duties on Sunday Salon deserve praise.

Two programs worth noting on KPFA Sunday (today, and time given are Pacific):

Sunday Salon With Larry Bensky
9:00 am
In our first hour...
The French youth labor law controversy... Millions protested and made a difference. How big a difference?
In our second hour...

What's the media been up to since September 11, 2001. We'll speak with author Kristina Borjesson, who interviewed some of the nation's top journalists for her book "Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11" (Prometheus Books), and others...

7:30 pm
Act One Radio Drama
Act One Presents a witty and compassionate look at the effects of the Hollywood Blacklist on personal relationships, "The Value of Names" by Jeffrey Sweet, starring Hector Elizondo, Garry Marshall and Sally Murphy. Thirty years ago, Benny Silverman's acting career was nearly destroyed when his friend and colleague, Leo Greshen, "named" him in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The two men haven't spoken since. Now Benny's a successful comedian with a posh home in Malibu. Leo, now a sought-after director, hasn't done badly either. In fact, Leo is in town to direct a hot new play -- and Benny's beloved daughter is in town to star in it. Sit back and relax, you've got the best seat in the house.

Three programs on WBAI Sunday (times are Eastern):

11:00 am-noon: The Next Hour
A presentation of rarities from legendary radio satirists Firesign Theatre.

6:30-7:00 pm: Equal Time for Freethought
Michael Neumann on his book, The Case against Israel

9:00-11:00 pm: Everything Old is New Again
In recognition of the 45th anniversary, we present the entire Capitol Recording of Judy at Carnegie Hall.

And Monday on KPFA:

Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson
One of the most recognizable women of our time, America knows Jane Fonda as actress, activist, feminist, wife, and workout guru. In her extraordinary memoir, Fonda divides her life into three acts: her childhood, early films, and first marriage make up act one; her growing career in film, marriage to Ted Turner, and involvement in the Vietnam War belong to act two; and the third act belongs to the future, in which she hopes to "begin living consciously," and inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

As Jess noted:

6:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Central, 4:00 pm Mountain and 3:00 Pacific
[. . .]
That's KPFA and you can listen online, for free, or you can listen over the airwaves in the Berkeley area on KPFA (94.1 FM) and probably on KPFB (89.3 FM) in Berkeley as well asKFCF (88.1 FM) in Fresno.