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Info on Podcast #109

Voices for Justice for the Palestinians, Part 2. This is the final episode of interviews from the Sabeel Conference March 5-6 in Marin County, California. Powerful voices who decry Israel's brutal domination of the West Bank and lockdown of Gaza.
--Dr. Mads Gilbert, a medical doctor from Norway who has provided health care in Gaza for many years, describes the death, injuries and destruction caused by Israel's massive assault on Gaza at the end of 2008 and the disproportionate impact on women and children;
--Mark Braverman, an American Jew and former Zionist, talks about his views of the occupation and the way Israel uses its power and influence to continue massive human rights violations. His new book is Fatal Embrace. Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land;
--Dr. Jeff Halper, an American who moved to Israel and founded the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions talks about the dominant framing and language of the conflict, which heavily favors Israel;
--Paul Larudee, founder of the Free Palestine Movement and leader of the successful sea-based challenges to Israel's blockade of Gaza, talks about new ways to challenge the blockade this year;
--Ms Neha Masri, an American Muslim who was born in Jerusalem, describes in her own vivid way the humiliating experience of being treated as a Palestinian at Israeli checkpoints.
Please share this podcast with friends, especially those who are staunchly pro-Israel.
My sincere thanks to the conference organizers, and Tom McAfee, Hassan Fouda and Dr. Walt Davis.

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Info on Podcast #108

Voices for justice for the Palestinians. Part 1 of a 2 part series of interviews from activists who participated in the Sabeel Conference held March 5 and 6 in Marin County, California. Sabeel means "The Way" in Arabic, and this conference brought a range of participants from around the world. PBC opens the program with an update on concessions from Palestinian leaders, agreeing to hold indirect talks with Israel; just 24 hours later, VP Joe Biden arrived in Israel to a defiant announcement: Israel says it will build 1600 more housing units in E. Jerusalem, ignoring demands from the Obama administration to stop the illegal construction. This podcast features:
--Prof. Hisham Ahmed of St. Mary's College, who was born in a refugee camp and became a Fulbright scholar;
--Rev. Don Wagner of North Park U in Chicago, an expert on Christian Zionists;
--Sama Adnan, founder of, which has started a political action committee to support Congress members who have a balanced position on Israel-Palestine issues;
--Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel;
--Anna Baltzer, an American Jew and articulate advocate for the rights of the Palestinians.
Part 2 will be released in the next day or two.

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Info on Podcast 107

Air America and liberal talk radio. Former Air America host Jon Elliott joins PBC to discuss the Obama administration's recent discovery that conservative talk radio is a major obstacle to its agenda. We talk about the promising launch of Air America in 2004, and how the ever-changing lineup of managers and investors bungled the effort in many different ways. We also talk about the failure of Democrats and left institutions to support the separate efforts of Elliott and Collins to build and sustain a progressive media infrastructure, including talk radio. Hear how all the progressives who covered the Denver DNC convention were hidden under the escalators, while Fox was given the choice location. We reveal some inside stories that have never been made public before, and talk about how Air America's failures have damaged the prospects for progressive talk, present and future. Be sure to listen to the end, you could win a prize and help Mr. Elliott decide what to do next.

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my apologies for download glitches!

Lately, many of you loyal listeners have had to put up with way too many problems downloading my podcasts, especially iTunes users. Your humble host extends sincere apologies. In response to one profanity-laced email from a tech-savvy guy, I changed the file name protocol to include the podcast number, starting with #106. But then I failed to update all of the code referring to the file name (in 3 different places), and got a well-deserved flurry of emails.

As of Friday 3/5 at 11:40 am pbc time, the problem is fixed.

The iTunes service is extremely finicky about minor code errors--a single errant keystroke in the show information text can block your access to the audio file. To quote Springsteen's Point Blank: "one false move and, baby, the lights go out".

I've just started testing each release with cool software called "Feed Validator", but even that did not detect my mistake on the file name on #106. I work pretty hard to keep up my technical chops, but you pay the price as I learn from my mistakes. My web guru, Ian Sherr, has patiently been teaching this old dog new tricks, and I hope things go smoothly from here forward.

So keep downloading, keep listening, and please tell a friend!



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Info on Podcast #106

Dr. Justin Frank puts Obama on the couch; Dr. Bill Perry on nuclear disarmament; Gary Chew on the Oscars. Dr. Frank wrote Bush On The Couch a few years ago, and is in the process of writing Obama On The Couch. He offers some interesting thoughts about Obama's excessive need for bipartisan approval, how intentional his manipulation of voters was during the campaign, and the contradictions of his decision making regarding escalation in Afghanistan. Dr. Bill Perry was Defense Secretary from 1994-98, and PBC talked with him at an event in San Francisco hosted by the Ploughshares Fund where they previewed a new documentary about the "tipping point" in nuclear disarmament. Perry, along with Reagan's Secretary of State George Schultz, former Sen. Sam Nunn and Nixon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (!) are working together on disarmament efforts. Gary Chew, who is not a doctor, joins me to talk about this year's Oscar nominees.

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Info on Podcast # 105

Roots of CIA torture and mind control tactics; Gary Chew reviews The Ghost Writer. Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, a psychologist, and author H. P. Albarelli, Jr. talk about the upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed--who we know was tortured--and the history of CIA torture and mind control programs, including the infamous Project MK-Ultra and the use of LSD. We talk about an article they wrote for, available here. Kaye is a longtime critic of Bush-era policies of rendition and torture, and Albarelli's powerful new book exposes the history back to the early 1950's A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments. Albarelli's book is chilling and fascinating, and shows that the US has been operating on "the dark side", as Cheney called it, for decades. He describes the importance of the Olson case, and the large numbers of people--including children--who were slipped LSD by the CIA. Gary Chew reviews Roman Polanski's new film, about a British ex-Prime Minister accused of torture, The Ghost Writer

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Dems cave on patriot act renewal

Last week, while the media distracted us with Obama's health care summit, the Senate Democrats caved to conservadems and Republicans and renewed the Patriot Act without critical changes that would have restored a few of our privacy rights. While the Dems now seem ready to pass the watered-down health insurance reform without GOP votes, they weren't willing to fight for our constitutional rights. Our Fourth Amendment rights have been severely eroded....and you don't have to just take my word for it. Judge Alex Kozinski, a conservative extremist appointed by Reagan to the 9th Circuit Appeals Court here in San Francisco, wrote a blistering dissent in a case where cops entered a home without a warrant:
The opinion misapplies Supreme Court precedent, conflicts with our own case law and is contrary to the great weight of authority in the other circuits. It is also the only case I know of, in any jurisdiction covered by the Fourth Amendment, where invasion of the home has been approved based on no showing whatsoever. Nada. Gar nichts. Rien du tout. Bupkes. Whatever may have been left of the Fourth Amendment after [United States v. Black] is now gone. The evisceration of this crucial constitutional protector of the sanctity and privacy of what Americans consider their castles is pretty much complete. Welcome to the fish bowl.
Jay Bybee, who signed John Yoo's torture memos and was rewarded with a lifetime appointment to this court, voted in favor of the "evisceration". Read Kozinski's dissent here, and weep. And be sure you listen to podcast #104 about Hoover's Cointelpro and the state murder of Fred Hampton--history is repeating itself.

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Info on Podcast #104

Govt. murder of Fred Hampton. Author Jeffrey Haas talks about his new book, The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther. Haas was an attorney for the charismatic Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, at the time of the police raid in 1969. Stonewalled for years by the FBI and Chicago leaders, Haas ultimately proved that the hit on Hampton and Mark Clark was part of the FBI's Cointelpro program, with instructions from J. Edgar Hoover to disrupt black nationalist groups and "prevent the rise of a new black messiah" following Dr. King's assassination in 1968. Haas and his underpaid colleagues at the People's Law Office took on the FBI, the Daley Machine, and an incredibly biased judge--it took more than 10 years to win a $1.85 million settlement for the survivors and Hampton's family. In doing so, they exposed the darkest aspects of the American system of "justice". PBC was hosting a talk show in Chicago as the legal battle unfolded, and has personal insights about the times and some of the players. The book is fascinating, and highly recommended. Get more info here. The story is important history, and informs the resurgence of a police state in the US, where the Patriot Act was just renewed, the FBI admits wide abuse of "national security letters" and massive surveillance of our phones and emails continues under Obama.