View Full Version : Politically relevant podcasts...

08-11-2009, 7:53 AM
In that other thread about books, I mentioned that I read "Empire of Illusion" By Chris Hedges. (http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Illusion-Literacy-Triumph-Spectacle/dp/1568584377)

I recently found a podcast of a speech he gave at a Philadelphia library about the book. (http://libwww.freelibrary.org/podcast/?podcastID=426) It's essentially a condensed version of the book, with some new tidbits thrown in about the death of Michael Jackson, which are incredibly relevant to the book but wasn't included because it happened after it was published. There's a good Q&A at the end as well. If you're planning on being stuck in traffic anytime soon, I highly suggest throwing it on a CD and taking a listen. There was a section in the speech that struck me, because it reminded me why I always find gun owners to be so naive in their belief that the 2nd amendment is the only amendment that really matters.

As pressure mounts, as this despair and desperation reach into larger and larger segments of the population, the mechanisms of corporate and government control are being bolstered to prevent civil unrest and instability. The emergence of the corporate state always means the emergence of the security state, and this is why the Bush white house pushed through the patriot act and it's renewal, the suspension of habeus corpus, the practice of extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping on American citizens, and the refusal to ensure free and fair elections with verifiable ballot counting. It is all part of a package, and it comes together. And the motive behind these measures is not to fight terrorism or to bolster national security. It is to seize and maintain internal control, and it is about control of us.

Senator frank church as chairman of the select committee on intelligence in 1975 investigated the governments massive and highly secretive national security agency. He was alarmed at the ability of the state to intrude on private lives. He wrote when he finished his investigation "That capacity at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capacity to monitor everything, telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capactiy that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know."

When Senator Church made this statement, the NSA was not authorized to spy on American citizens. Today it is.

Gun owners, generally as a group, tend to cling to the 2nd amendment as if it's a bulwark against tyranny. How many conversations did I get into during the election here where people would chastise me for saying that I'm not a a single issue voter? That I fully support the 2nd Amendment, but consider other amendments and rights to be just as important, if not more so? It's a very narcissistic view that promotes the view that a single person with their guns will be able to save the world.

As long as we are unable to organize in any significant manner, our guns our useless. The ability for the government to spy on us and intercept our communications makes our guns useless. Plenty of people were happy to let it happen because it was a Republican president who was doing it, and it was under the guise of fighting Terrorism. But now that Obama is president, I hope that those same people will start to think twice.

Another show I listen to regularly is "This American Life" from NPR. Great show all around, but this weeks show was particularly good. It's about something I've been speaking about recently in posts here. The way in which the threats from terrorists arrested here at home has been hyped way beyond their real threat, and how many of the people arrested could hardly be called "terrorists" in any real sense at all. (http://thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1310)

The U.S. government spent two years on a sting operation trapping an Indian man named Hemant Lakhani, whom they suspected of being an illegal arms dealer. It's one of the first cases that went to trial in the War on Terror, and one the Justice Department pointed to as one of their big successes. In the end, they got Lakhani, red-handed, delivering a missile to a terrorist in New Jersey. The only problem was, nothing in the sting was what it appeared to be. Including the missile.


Host Ira Glass describes a recent terrorism case in Newburgh, N.Y., in which four men were arrested after planting bombs in front of a synagogue and Jewish community center. Ira discusses the case with Aziz Huq, assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and co-author of Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror. Huq says the Newburgh case isn’t what it seems, because without the help of a government informant, the four men probably wouldn’t have been able to organize an act of terrorism. The Newburgh case is part of a pattern of sting operations the government has undertaken since September 11th as part of its mandate to catch terrorists before they strike. The first big investigation to test this approach—the case of Hemant Lakhani—is the subject of today’s show. (4 minutes).

Act One.

Hemant Lakhani, an Indian-born British citizen, had been a salesman all his life. Clothing, rice, oil ... it didn't matter to him what, as long as he could spin a deal. Then one day, sitting in a hotel room with a gangster he happened to know, the phone rang. It wasa business friend of the gangster's, calling from America. The man on the phone was rich, Lakhani was told. Maybe he would invest in Lakhani's latest venture. So Lakhani started talking to the man over the phone. Pretty soon they set up a meeting at a hotel in New Jersey, to talk business. But when Lakhani got there, the man seemed to be only interested in buying weapons. Illegal weapons, for Somali terrorists. Lakhani, always eager to make a deal, said he can help him out. What he didn't know, is that the supposed rich business man was an FBI informant, and that he had just walked into an elaborate government sting. Petra Bartosiewicz reports. (30 minutes)