pic nader hashemi 150x150The U.S. and Iran are on a collision course. The name-calling and saber rattling are ominous. The New York Times headline reads: “Iran Calls U.S. ‘Desperate and Confused.’ Trump vows ‘Obliteration.’” Is Iran going to commit suicide by attacking the world’s most lethal military? Washington is exerting what it calls “maximum pressure” on Iran and on anyone who wants to do business with that country. For most Iranians the punitive sanctions the U.S. has imposed are a form of warfare, albeit the economic kind. The Iran nuclear deal was working just fine according to the UN when Washington unilaterally abandoned it thus triggering the current crisis and the slide to war. The attitude emanating from Washington is more like that of a bully: You do what I tell you or else. Respectful dialogue is what is needed, not hectoring and badgering.

Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and teaches Middle East and Islamic politics at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is the author of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy and co-editor of The People Reloaded, The Syria Dilemma and Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East.

Alternative Radio can be heard Sunday mornings at 10 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ norcalpublicmedia.org / Listen on the go - download the FREE KRCB App from iTunes & Google Play!

(Photo via Alternative Radio)

pic paul street 150x150The title of this program may come as a surprise to some. The Constitution is considered by many in the United States as a sacred document. Its framers are venerated as demi-gods. The Founders, white men, slave owners and holding property shaped a document that would codify and entrench their class power and privilege. It was crafted to benefit the few at the expense of the many. The delegates in Philadelphia in 1787 made sure that the interests of the wealthy were secured and that democracy, rule of the people, was constrained and limited. “The property less multitude,” which James Madison recognized as “the majority faction” was a “danger” to be contained.  The “unequal distribution of property” was a political powder keg for the framers hence the need to maintain “the spirit and form of popular government” with only a minimum of substance.

Paul Street is an independent social critic, commentator and award-winning journalist. He is the author of many books including The Empire’s New Clothes and They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy. His articles appear in Truthdig, Z and CounterPunch.

Alternative Radio can be heard Sunday mornings at 10 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ norcalpublicmedia.org / Listen on the go - download the FREE KRCB App from iTunes & Google Play!

(Photo: Paul Street – Courtesy of Alternative Radio)

pic ruth wilson gilmoreThe U.S. is Number One. America is first in the world in having 2.3 million people behind bars. They are held in state prisons, federal prisons, county jails, juvenile correctional facilities and other lockups. The prison industrial complex costs state and federal governments billions of dollars annually. Every year, over 600,000 people go to prison. Yet mass incarceration has not been a deterrent to crime, nor reduced societal problems of poverty and racism that drive tens of thousands of people to jails and prisons annually. It has even been argued that our penal system actually exacerbates societal problems. The movement for abolition, with its proud history of challenging slavery, should be applied today to the abolition of prisons. Ruth Wilson Gilmore says abolition is not just about closing prisons. She urges us to address the problems that make us "the incarceration nation."

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and a professor of geography at the City University of New York. She is the author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. The American Sociological Society honored her with its Angela Davis Award.

Alternative Radio can be heard Sunday mornings at 10 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ norcalpublicmedia.org / Listen on the go - download the FREE KRCB App from iTunes & Google Play!

(Photo: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, via Alternative Radio)

chuck collins 150x150A conversation between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly went like this: Fitzgerald says, “The rich are different from you and me.” To which Hemingway responded, “Yes, they have more money.” You bet they do. And now more than ever. The old Gilded Age pales in comparison to the current one. The wealthy of the late 19th century: Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Mellon look impoverished in relation to the current crop of Bezos, Gates and Buffet. Inequality is at record levels. How has it happened? The attack on unions has hurt workers. CEO pay has gone through the roof. There have been massive tax cuts for the haves while the have-nots see their social safety net eroded. The enormous excesses of the first Gilded Age led to a populist backlash and the Progressive Era. Could we see a repeat of that today?

Chuck Collins is director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies.  He is author of Born on Third Base, 99 to 1 and Is Inequality in America Irreversible?  

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