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Info on Podcast #43

One on one with Prof. David Ray Griffin, focusing on the two most recent of his 35 books: The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report About 9/11 is Unscientific and False and Osama bin Laden, Dead of Alive?

Building 7 is the gateway to busting the myths of 9/11 embraced by the discredited 9/11 Commission. Dr. Griffin talks about how Van Jones was vilified just for signing a petition calling for a new investigation, and about the effort to pass a NYC referendum enabling a new inquiry.

He offers many examples of the NIST reports exagerrations and fabrications, and concludes that WTC was brought down in a controlled demolition. In the bin Laden book, he details all of the reports of bin Laden’s death, evaluates the credibility of video and audio releases attributed to bin Laden, and concludes that he is probably dead.

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Info on Podcast #42

PDA Special Report. Here’s a special dispatch from the western conference of Progressive Democrats of America,  Activists from CA, OR, WA and AZ gathered to talk policy and strategy.  The meeting was hosted by the California Nurses Assn, and CNA Political Director Michael Lighty updates us on the health care reform battle, including the Kucinich amendment, mandated coverage, the public option and more.  We also talked to Marcy Winograd,  who is a bright and well-informed challenger to Rep. Jane Harman (D?-CA) in June 2010.  Marcy talks about health care, Afghanistan, wiretapping, and Harman’s embarrassing wiretapped call.

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Info on Podcast #41

Journalist Reese Erlich, just back from Afghanistan, and analyst Conn Hallinan talk about the so-called “good war”.

And filmmaker Joe Berlinger talks about his new documentary, CRUDE: The Real Price of Oil and the 17-year legal battle over Chevron-Texaco’s toxic mess in the Amazon Basin.  Erlich reports on his on-scene observations and comments on reactions of Obama and Clinton to Gen McChrystal’s report and call for more US troops, and Hallinan debunks some of the American myths about the present and future in Afghanistan.

Read Hallinan’s commentaries at, Foreign Policy in Focus, especially his comparison to a Rubik’s Cube.  Berlinger, who also produced a documentary about Metallica, follows the efforts by Ecuadorian lawyer Pablo Fajardo to take on oil giant Chevron, which inherited Texaco’s liability for a mess estimated to cost $27 billion to clean up.

Berlinger is quite articulate; he describes the human toll of the mess, and the recent effort by allies of Chevron to entrap Judge Juan Nunez on video–which Chevron has seized on.  More info at and


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Info on Podcast #40

Sibel Edmonds ungagged!

In this exclusive one on one interview,  Sibel tells the story of her hiring at the FBI, the administrative missteps and criminal behavior she became aware of, Turkey’s use of bribes and personal matters to compromise members of Congress and a top State Dept. official to advance its interests, and her revelations about Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) which have prompted a bitter attack in response from the congresswoman’s spokesman–and an open letter from Edmonds to Schakowsky inviting her to hold hearings on all of Sibel’s information.  We were not able to get all the details in one interview, so Sibel has agreed to do another episode in the near future.

For more information on this explosive account that remains blacked out by US corporate media, go to and

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Info on Podcast #39

Melanie Sloan of CREW reveals the 15 Most Corrupt elected officials in Washington, DC; then Harper’s writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus takes us to Washington, California, where everybody’s growing pot; and Prof. Larry Bogad of UC Davis talks about political theater, including the recent scam edition of the New York Post.

Sloan also gives the details of Rep. Mike Ross’s (D-Arkansas) sweet deal with a drug retailer–he and his wife sold their pharmacy for far more than it was worth (like Duke Cunningham) and Ross is the leading Blue Dog blocking progressive health care reform.

Lewis-Kraus introduces us to Buck and Tyedie Bob in tiny Washington, CA, and talks about the prospects of legal weed.  And Bogad is aligned with the Yes Men, who stage anti-corporate stunts worldwide;  he’ll tell us about the spoof on The Post and other political theater.


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Info on Podcast #38

David Cay Johnston comments on Wall street bailouts and weak prospects for new regulation;  Prof. Joshua Clover details plans by faculty, students and employees to shut down the entire University of California statewide on September 24;  Bob Hertz of shreds the Baucus proposal and advocates for us, the consumers; and PBC rants about the latest wave of anti-Obama propaganda.

Johnston is the former NY Times reporter and author of Free Lunch; he now teaches about the history of financial regulation at Syracuse College of Law.  He breaks down the meltdown in plain terms, and doesn’t think we will see any major re-regulation to prevent a repeat.  The flash political cartoon at the beginning of the segment is at  Tuition and fees at UC have increased 277% since 2000, and Prof. Clover explains their demands.

Bob Hertz offers a vision for American healthcare that is sensible, affordable, and probably unattainable in this political chapter.  And PBC closes with a rant on the latest right wing email barrage, a series of lengthy emails purportedly from “concerned Democrats” who use guilt by association to call Obama a communist and list the same phony charges that show up on teabagger protest signs and GOP fundraising letters.

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South Carolina: Too Big to Be an Asylum?

Richard Rapaport

Throughout its history, South Carolina has been America’s agent provocateur, a political troublemaker out of scale with its ranking as the nation’s 26th most-populous state. In 1861 lawyer James L. Petegru, possibly the last sane freeman in antebellum Charleston, commented about his state’s secession from the Union. “South Carolina,” he sighed, “too small to be a republic, too big to be an asylum.”

Petegru’s judgment is as relevant today as it was at Civil War’s start. It accounts for the hubris, arrogance and sheer stupidity that are such key motifs for such modern-day South Carolina politicians as the romance-besotted Governor Mark Sanford, the extremist Senator Jim DeMint, and most recently, the boorish Representative Joe Wilson.

Never let it be said that South Carolina’s politicians are under-reachers. Despite the state’s rank of 47th in both ACT and SAT scores, its leaders hang stubbornly to the belief that they have something important to teach the rest of us. Perhaps they do, but in quite a different way than intended. South Carolina’s mistaken sense of manifest destiny began in colonial times. It resided in such proud achievements as being the British/American penal colony with the highest percentage of slaves, over 40% of the population. Throughout the 1700’s, Charleston was America’s wealthiest city, buoyed by the plantation economy and slave trade. So important was slavery that in 1740 the colonial legislature passed the “Negro Act,” actually forbidding owners from freeing their slaves without official concurrence.

At the start of the Revolution, South Carolina informed the Continental Congress that it would refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence unless slavery was recognized. South Carolina even demanded the right to disregard an embargo on trade with Great Britain agreed to by the other colonies. It was an exemption that allowed South Carolina to maintain its lucrative rice trade and remain among the richest colonies throughout the Revolution.

Particularly chilling about Congressman Wilson’s recent outburst on the House floor was its recollection of a May 1856 incident that foreshadowed the death of civility on the road to Civil War. Several days after Massachusetts’ abolitionist Charles Sumner gave a speech denouncing slavery, he was beaten unconscious on the Senate floor by Congressman Preston Brooks of – where else? – South Carolina.

South Carolina proudly refers to itself as “the birthplace of secession,” the first state to depart the Union following the 1860 Presidential election. Throughout those dark days as one after another Southern State left the Union, a bell christened “Secessia” tolled the news in South Carolina’s capital, Columbia. It was in Charleston that Civil War hostilities actually began when hotheaded South Carolina secessionists shelled Fort Sumter in April 1861.

In many respects, the Civil War has never ended for South Carolina; the State at the same time celebrating its role as the heart of rebellion, and insisting it is the innocent victim of William Tecumseh Sherman’s Army of the West. To this day many South Carolinians blame “Uncle Billy” Sherman for the thoroughness of his army’s arson. Sherman’s response was as tart as it was righteous: “Though I never ordered it, I have never shed many tears over the event because I believe it hastened what we all fought for, the end of the War.”

Reconstruction followed War’s end, and then came the darkest times during which South Carolina enacted the “Jim Crow” laws making life hell for former slaves and their descendants. The sheer inventiveness of segregation in South Carolina was fiendish; in 1915, for example, the legislature passed a law barring white and black textile workers from occupying the same factory spaces. The Klan operated in South Carolina, which practiced American apartheid under the tutelage of arch-racists like Senator Strom Thurman. As late as 2000, the Confederate flag flew over the state capitol in Columbia, its status protected by whom? Then State Senator, Joe Wilson.

With such a malign history, it is downright weird that South Carolinians like Representative Wilson seems convinced that they have some special messianic truth to publicly share with America’s first African-American President. If they do, the message must be a variant on James Petegru’s epithet, something like; “South Carolina, too small to be a Republic, just about the right size for an asylum!”

Richard Rapaport is a Bay Area writer. He can be reached at

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Info on Podcast #37

Jeff Halper on Israel/Palestinian conflict, Dr. Margaret Flowers on health care reform, and Gary Chew reviews The Informant.  Halper is an Israeli Jew and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.  He comments on the UN report on Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza in 12/08 and the “false symmetry” of news accounts that accuse both sides of war crimes.  He talks about the expansion of settlements by Netanyahu, “spitting in the face” of Obama, and the prospects for peace.  Dr. Flowers got arrested in a Senate committee when she spoke out in favor of single payer, and she has joined the Mad as Hell Doctors on their road trip to D.C.  Chew tells us Matt Damon is great as a whistle-blowing executive of Archer Daniels Midland in The Informant.  Gary’s reviews are online at


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Info on Podcast #36

Just back from Afghanistan, Norman Solomon reports on the tense scene in Kabul, fraud in the recent election, and the range of groups that comprise “the Taliban” in US media terms.  We also talk with activist and author Dave Berman about advocacy journalism and his new videoblog.

Norman is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of “War Made Easy”; he was an Obama delegate to the convention last year, and is critical of Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan.  We also talked about the campaign of Progressive Democrats of America, “Healthcare Not Warfare” and Norman’s deep disappointment with the Democrats’ handling of the health care reform effort.   In the second segment with Dave Berman, PBC discloses plans to co-host a cable access channel show with his neighbor in the office building, Larry the Lawyer. And we encourage you to be the media and get the book Be The Media.


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Info on Podcast #35

Investigative reporter Peter Lance, former ABC correspondent and author of “Triple Cross”, tells why prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald tried to block publication of the book, which exposes Fitzgerald’s failures, including the case of Ali Mohamed–the al Qaeda spy who pentrated the CIA, FBI and Special Forces and trained the 1993 World Trade Center bombers.  This is the 6th in the Boiling Frogs interview series, co-hosted with Sibel Edmonds.  Get more information at and