Friday, September 28, 2012
I recommend "Democracy Now!"
Democracy Now! is a left wing American daily news program. I download the audio and listen to it as often as I can which isn't often enough sadly. It's also available as video. I highly recommend it.
Taking a recent episode more or less at random, here's the one sent out on 13th September. (From this you can tell how behind I am with my listening!).
Anti-U.S. protests prompted by the Youtube clip defaming Islam were spreading across the Middle East. Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University was on the show. (For many years he was barred from entering the United States by President George W. Bush, but that’s really a testament to Bush’s stupidity, as Tariq Ramadan isn't quite that dangerous!)
Populism is everywhere, he said. There is religious populism in the Muslim-majority countries as much as populism in the USA. Political parties in the Middle East had to condemn the film, or risk being outflanked but the Salafists, the literalists. In Egypt the Nour Party is the largest Salafi party.
The United Nations resolution on a no-fly zone for Libya was taken as permission for NATO to go there and intervene. But the motive wasn’t saving Libyans, rather it was economic and “It’s quite clear now that all the economic interest and the access to resources is secured between four countries” namely the US, France, Britain and Qatar. The reaction of Russia and China to Syria should be understood in the light of what happened in Libya, he says, because Russia and China lost out in their access to the oil resources there.
Another in-depth interview in the same episode was with anti poverty campaigners scholar Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley (pictured). They are launching a “Poverty Tour 2.0”.
Data from the Census Bureau, a US government agency, shows economic inequality continued to widen in the United States last year. The wealthiest Americans increased their share of total wealth by 4.9 percent, while the median income reached its lowest level since 1995. Some 46.2 million Americans were classified as living in poverty.
Smiley and West think that Obama would like to sweep poverty under the rug in the presidential election campaign - they claim this is what he did in 2008 - and they hope by their campaign to ensure this can't happen again.
Democracy Now! Is presented by Juan González & Amy Goodman (pictured). It's funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations, and every episode ends with an appeal for donations.
On their website they say they maintain their independence by refusing to accept advertisers, corporate underwriting, or government funding.
Give it a try.
Today’s edition has an interview Alice Walker on the 30th Anniversary of The Color Purple. Racism and violence against women are global issues. She is also a longtime advocate for the rights of Palestinians, whose conditions are "more brutal" than in the US South of 50 years ago, she says.