Alternative Radio

Sunday 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

A weekly one-hour public affairs program, Alternative Radio provides information, analysis and views that are frequently ignored or distorted in other media.

Alternative Radio is a weekly one-hour public affairs program offered free to all public radio stations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and on short-wave on Radio for Peace International.

Established in 1986, AR is dedicated to the founding principles of public broadcasting, which urge that programming serve as "a forum for controversy and debate," be diverse and "provide a voice for groups that may otherwise be unheard." The project is entirely independent, sustained solely by individuals who buy transcripts and tapes of programs.

Its "headquarters" is situated to correspond with its position in the mainstream mass media: down an alley, behind a house, on top of a garage in Boulder, Colorado. From this rarefied location, AR's programs manage to reach over 125 radio stations and millions of listeners. AR is part of the non-profit Institute for Social and Cultural Change.

06/28/2015 - The corporate media have trouble with nuance and complexity. They like things black and white, good and bad. In their simplistic reporting, history and context are, if at all, fleetingly referred to. Take the Shia-Sunni divide in Islam. It is routinely described as an ancient feud between two factions competing for supremacy among Muslims. What is ignored in such formulations is the role of British, French and Italian imperialism in the Middle East and more recently the United States.

David Korten - A New Story

Jun 16, 2015

06/21/2015 - Since the beginning of time people have been telling stories from Gilgamesh in Iraq to The Odyssey in Greece. These tales convey lessons and societal values and warnings about arrogance. The U.S. spins its own yarns. Take say, the one about brave pioneers who fought off savage Indians to settle the country and establish dominion from coast to coast. That Indians were defending their land against invasion is, well, an inconvenient fact. Fast forward to today and there are stories about the economy. If you work hard enough you’ll be justly rewarded. Money is everything.

06/14/2015 - Climate change, you've heard of that. But climate justice? The Global Justice Ecology Project describes it: "Climate justice is the understanding that we will not be able to stop climate change if we don't change the neo-liberal, corporate-based economy which stops us from achieving sustainable societies. The historical responsibility for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions lies with the industrialized countries of the Global North.

06/07/2015 - Eugene de Kock was the white police colonel who commanded death squads that killed political opponents of the ruling National Party in South Africa over a ten-year period beginning in the early 1980s. Nicknamed Prime Evil, de Kock was sentenced to 212 years in prison for his crimes. In 2015 he was paroled. Marcia Khoza had lost her mother and father to the murderous de Kock. She visited the prison where he was held and met with him, as had other victims of his gross human rights abuses. These can be very delicate moments.

05/31/15 - Imagine a gigantic vacuum cleaner scooping up all electronic communications. That’s what the National Security Agency does. Think you are safe from NSA snooping? That you can hide behind clever passwords? Think again. The Agency has the capability to generate one billion password guesses per second. On top of that it can remotely activate your cell phone and computer and use them as eavesdropping and tracking devices. The NSA is at the center of a system of monitoring and control beyond the wildest dreams of the greatest tyrants in history.

05/24/2015 - In a May 1976 column in The Boston Globe Howard Zinn wrote "Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren." Sadly his column in the Globe was discontinued soon after. And even more sadly his words are evergreen. Veterans are still returning from foreign wars with lost limbs, bodies and souls.

05/17/2015 - In democratic societies some things have long been considered sacrosanct. Such as the right to privacy. Not any more. It is violated on a routine and systematic basis. States scream: national security or terrorism to justify their expansion of surveillance. In terms of the sheer scope of spying the USA puts the old USSR to shame. Without privacy there is neither freedom nor democracy. There has to be a space where you can express your innermost thoughts, emotions and vulnerabilities. The cameras, microphones, and drones eliminate that possibility.

05/10/2015 - An effective propaganda system encourages people to be discouraged. Hey! Worry about the Kardashian’s latest news. Leave the complicated matters of domestic and foreign affairs to the smart guys. This is a recipe for disaster because the ruling class will attend acutely to its interests at the expense of everyone and everything else including the planet. This indifference to the 99% and the environment was dramatically revealed in a 2015 poll of CEOs at Davos. Every year the so-called “masters of the universe” meet in the Swiss Alps.

05/03/2015 - Rights exercised by large corporations have never been stronger in the United States. They respond to distant policy initiatives, lawsuits, and latent threats to their bottom lines with lightning speed and a full court press. Their lobbyists vet new regulations and bills with legislators. They kill bills. They write bills.

04/26/2015 - In 1915, the Turkish government launched a premeditated organized campaign to eliminate the millennia-old Armenian people from their traditional homeland in what is now southeastern Turkey. The Turkish officials responsible for the genocide were never brought to account. This was not lost on Adolf Hitler. Just days before launching World War Two he told his generals, "Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?" What makes this genocide unique is that Turkey refuses to acknowledge it ever happened.

04/05/2015 - 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, which established the founding principle of modern law: presumption of innocence.  Today that principle is largely a casualty of the so-called war on terrorism. Trials, evidence, juries. Who needs them when we have an Oval Office assassination program carried out by drones? These pilotless aircraft have become the weapon of choice for Washington. They are efficient machines killing not only their intended targets but also whoever happens to be nearby. Collateral damage in Pentagon-speak.

03/29/2015 - Lousy job prospects got you down? Deep in debt? Welcome to 21st century capitalism. The dominant ruling class has one mantra: More for Me, Less for You. That has certainly proven true. Workers' incomes have gone flat while the rich have gotten richer. Maybe Desperate Housewives should be replaced with a series called Desperate Workers. The global economic crisis continues to take an enormous human toll. In many ways, Greece has become the symbol of an economic system in disarray.

03/22/2015 - Xenophobic tendencies in U.S. immigration policy are nothing new. The creation of a “permanent impermanent status” for millions of undocumented immigrants today can be seen in a historical context when we learn about The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Asiatic Barred Zone in 1917, and the mass deportations of Mexicans in the 1930s and 1950s. Currently there are nationalist sentiments demanding the deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants no matter how impractical, no matter the cost.

03/15/2015 - The rigid and dogmatic decades-old policy of Washington toward Havana left the U.S. in virtual total isolation internationally. The lopsided UN General Assembly votes condemning the policy made Washington a global laughing stock. Thus, Obama’s December 2014 announcement on re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries came as a relief. The diplomatic move, he said marked “a new chapter” between the U.S. and Cuba. The old chapters were pretty sordid. There was Henry Kissinger who wanted to “smash” and “clobber” Cuba and its “pipsqueak” leader.

03/08/2015 - ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is the latest chapter of the so-called war on terror. One should point out that you can’t have a war on a tactic. ISIS has displaced al-Qaeda. It is violently addressing unresolved issues relating to European imperialism and the creation of artificial borders and states. After WWII, the U.S. supplanted Britain, France and Italy in the region and became its self-appointed guardian. Washington’s footprint in the Middle East is enormous. It has created a network of allies consisting of emirs, sheikhs and generals.

03/01/2015 - Solidarity was long a term invoked by unions and working men and women. Now, alas, unions, under sustained political attack, are in acute decline. Who can forget Ronald Reagan championing the rights of workers in Poland while smashing the air traffic controllers union in the U.S.? Today from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Ferguson, Missouri to Gezi Park in Istanbul people are in the streets raising again the cry of solidarity. Solidarity, linking up with kindred spirits is a crucial element in overcoming isolation and atomization.

02/22/2015 - Malcolm X's life represents an extraordinary evolution and transformation from street hustler and ex-con to an intellectual visionary with a race and class analysis. He went from being a narrow nationalist to incorporating a broad global perspective. He articulated a strong challenge to the system of power and privilege. Consequently, the FBI wiretapped Malcolm, read his mail, and kept him under surveillance.

02/15/2015 - The gains achieved by the Civil Rights movement are fond memories and are celebrated by holidays, memorials and pious speeches. Today, the U.S. has its first black president but while he’s attained political power many other African Americans are behind bars. The eternal war on drugs has resulted in the incarceration of many blacks.

02/08/2015 - From Tamir Rice to Akai Gurley the names of African American men and boys killed by police keep piling up. The lack of a grand jury indictment in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson sparked a protest movement with signs and shouts of “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot” and “Black Lives Matter.” The death of Eric Garner in New York was videoed around the world. His plea of “I Can’t Breathe” became a rallying cry. Many people are asking where is justice? Illusions have been shattered that we live in a "post-racial" society. Fundamental questions are being raised.

11/10/2014 - ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, aka Islamic State, is now the latest threat to our security. Or so our leaders tell us and the media repeat. It has seized territory in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. has been meddling in the Middle East non-stop for decades. What has it produced? Wars, militias, sectarianism and strife. And lots of oil and weapons sales. U.S. policy in the region is shrouded in propaganda about democracy and human rights while in practice Washington backs feudal regimes like Saudi Arabia. The U.S. is bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

11/03/2014 - “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” sums up most peoples’ understanding of the First Amendment. Many were dumbfounded when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a conservative organization named Citizens United, in the case of Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The 2010 ruling has further undermined democracy. Political campaigns are now flooded with dark money, untraceable funds that often determine the outcomes of ballot initiatives and elections.

10/27/2014 - Myths die hard. Just as there are no unicorns, there is no free market. The myth is propagandized by its beneficiaries, i.e., the rich and powerful, the 1%. The oft-repeated line is the market is some neutral entity which fosters competition and people benefit as prices come down. Reality is slightly different. We don’t have a really free market because there is massive government intervention to prop it up through bailouts and subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes. The system generates more and more monopoly and concentration.

10/20/2014 - Many people see the crisis posed by climate change clearly but governments, largely influenced by money coming from coal, oil and natural gas corporations, do not act. Huge demonstrations from New York to more than 150 cities all over the world indicate that people want action on climate change now. Germany is leading the way with solar technology. Prices are coming way down. China is investing more in renewable energy than the U.S. And in an extraordinary development, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is divesting from fossil fuel companies.

10/13/2014 - Dominant paradigms, dominant stories, the big picture through which our lives move. How much of it is constructed for us? Most of it. What are the prevailing paradigms and cultural narratives really made of? Words. Language. To coin a phrase, define the terms, frame the issue, to write the story that sticks in the public mind and is constantly repeated, is the business of branding. Powerful institutions work day and night suppressing and spinning stories to legitimize their existence.

10/06/2014 - Edward Snowden’s remarkable revelations leave no doubt. Big Brother is here. The National Security Agency’s PRISM program is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance and data mining system. In plain English: it enables state spying on citizens. The American Civil Liberties Union says, “The things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. With every click, we entrust our conversations, emails, photos, and much more to Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo.

09/29/2014 - States have their iconic heroes. Founding Fathers. Jinnah in Pakistan, Ataturk in Turkey, George Washington in the U.S., Gandhi in India. To criticize them is risky business as they have been elevated to god-like status. Gandhi is no exception. He is revered and honored. His portrait hangs in many buildings and homes. His statue graces many public squares. And he is on the rupee note. The adulation extends outside of India. The British government recently announced that his statue would be placed in Parliament Square. But all people have cracks in their armor.

09/22/2014 - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a long history of spying on African Americans including Nobel Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The great writer Richard Wright, who was also snooped on, wrote the poem "The FB Eye Blues:" Woke up this morning/FB Eye under my bed/Said I woke up this morning /FB eye under my bed/Told me all I dreamed last night, every word I said. Racism and surveillance are closely intertwined. Today, state security agencies and police departments profile and target Muslims. Their organizations and mosques are infiltrated.

09/08/2014 - Large parts of the Middle East today are engulfed in violence. Why? What historical factors shape the current conflicts? Take Iraq for example, a country in chaos. The U.S. has been intervening in Iraq non-stop for decades. What has it produced? Sectarianism and strife. Death and destruction. Actual U.S. policy in the Middle East is buried in a blizzard of propaganda about democracy and human rights while in practice Washington backs feudal and repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the Emirates as well as dictatorships like Egypt. Justification for U.S.

07/28/2014 - When it comes to climate change the operative word is “hot” with “record” and "unprecedented" closely following. UN conferences on climate do little beyond the powerful issuing grandiose proclamations about how green they are and then it’s back to their destructive policies. The Guardian, captures the hypocrisy,  “governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority.” Rome is burning.

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