Hiatus over, new show now available

November 27th, 2008

So, the hiatus was generally online, as I fell behind in editing and uploading episodes. I’m back now – prompted by the fact that today’s show was recorded using Skype (a first for us) so the editing had to be done anyhow. So, here’s how this show turned out:

We started with a detailed discussion of the state of the agreement between the “Iraq security agreement” between the USA and Iraq. We move on to discussion of calls for diplomacy with Iran. We progress to examine Obama’s appointments, so far, dealing with foreign policy and economics. The original audio contains some digital artifacts at points, due to being recorded on Skype, but is suitable for broadcast.

Update: I was still uploading at Radio.indymedia when I first posted, so neglected to include links to the audio. Well, here you go:

ACE 2008-11-27 on radio.indymedia.org (mp3) and the linking page

Also available on Audioport.

Greenpeace campaigns on global warming…

August 30th, 2008

… and on next week’s show we’ll be featuring an interview with Drew Thomas of Greenpeace in Urbana-Champaign, where we talk about a solar-powered concert they ran in Urbana, as well as their campaign on the ground to push for better policy solutions. If you just can’t wait, you can get to the audio here.

Live from the DNC

August 29th, 2008

This week the focus of our show was the DNC, with Bob reporting live from Denver. However, we managed to fit in reports from Gaza and a world news bulletin, before connecting up with Bob.

With Bob, we started by talking about how the DNC compared to other protest events, then talked about Kucinich’s speech and the importance of international law. I mentioned a new Pew survey (showing that people feel they know more about Obama’s personal story than his policies) as a segue into a discussion of where Obama stands on foreign policy. We then discussed the IVAW rally at the DNC, and closed our DNC focus by talking about a rumoured raid on Indymedia space in Denver. To finish, I asked Bob about significant events in the world this week, and he gave some context on the Gaza convoy, pointed to the continued discussions on a ‘Status of Forces’ agreement (SOFA) in Iraq, as well as to new signs that the Afghan government is interested in having a SOFA to govern US forces in Afghanistan.

During our discussion, Bob mentioned a video he produced of a Code Pink rally, which was included in his blog post on Common Dreams. I promised a link (there’s also a link to Kucinich’s speech in there).

There was also mention of the Blue Dog party hosted by AT&T (to thank them for the gift of retroactive immunity). More from Glenn Greenwald of Salon here. Further DNC coverage from the Colorado IMC.

Next week we’ll be at the RNC.

Audio now up at Radio.Indymedia (mp3), Audioport (mp3), Radio4All

Georgia: behind the headlines

August 18th, 2008

On this week’s show, we spent most of our time talking about Georgia, in light of the recent events there. We wanted to get beyond the headlines and usual frames of coverage, and believe we accomplished this through two approaches. First, we talked with Jodi Blumenfeld. A graduate student at the University of Illinois, she has participated in archaeological excavations in Georgia, and she spoke with us a little about Georgian culture, giving a more three-dimensional portrait of the country than is usually achieved in news coverage.

Second, Bob and I (Andrew) spoke about the news frames being used, and how we might contextualize the conflict. Is it as simple as “Russia is an aggressor?” Is it sufficient to look for a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad guy’? How does this relate to resource issues (Georgia is an important distribution route for gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe)? What about politics in other former Soviet states and Eastern bloc nations?

Then a brief update on events in Bolivia and Ecuador – where offers of mediation by the government in the lawsuit against Chevron may not be the positive development one might think.

Finally, in a tribute to Mahmoud Darwish, Bob recites (in the original Arabic) from the 1964 poem Identity Card.

Write down!
I am an Arab
And my identity card number is fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the ninth will come after a summer
Will you be angry?

We close with salutations in Georgian, from Jodi.

The show is now available on Radio4All (direct mp3 link), on Audioport (mp3), and Indymedia Radio (mp3).

US energy policy: beyond Paris

August 8th, 2008

This week we focus almost exclusively on US energy policy – the show’s now available on Radio4All, Audioport, and Indymedia Radio. Bob recently blogged about the topic on Huffington Post, where he framed his piece as a critique of Paris Hilton’s energy policy – or rather the idea propagated in her (rather funny) video, as well as in much of the media, that off-shore drilling could ‘fill the gap’ until structural changes (‘re-tooling Detroit’) proposed by Obama come on stream. Critically, Bob cites US Energy Information Administration analysis, which CEPR summarizes thusly:

Senator McCain’s proposal would have no impact in the near-term since it will be close to a decade before the first oil can be extracted from the currently protected offshore areas. The EIA projects that production will reach 200,000 barrels a day (0.2 percent of projected world production) at peak production in close to twenty years. It describes this amount as too small to have any significant effect on oil prices.

Note that EIA are part of the administration, charged with producing non-partisan policy-neutral analysis.

So, we start by discussing the frame of current debate, work through the various aspects of US energy policy, and focus on areas that would produce meaningful benefits – having first clarified what we mean (and should mean) by ‘benefits.’ Improved diplomacy with Iran would result in significant increases in world production, in much shorter timescales. Obama’s (much ridiculed) call for small individual measures (better tire pressure in cars, etc.) would indeed produce as much gains as McCain’s proposals – now rather than in 10 years. Increased fuel efficiency standards, had the US continued to increase them at the same rate as the early 1980s, would have yielded 16 times what off-shore drilling would provide – and that would be a permanent gain, rather than a temporary, finite bump.

Before we close (with a 3 minute summary of world news to watch) we look at issues around transit, cycling, and similar alternatives.

All told, a fun show, and one I hope listeners find interesting.

A roundup of South America and the Middle-East: this week’s show now available

August 1st, 2008

The show is now on Radio4All and Audioport. This week we cover more geography than usual:

  • We start, as usual, with the Panos Institute news bulletin.
  • Ecuador is in the process of putting in place a ban on foreign military bases
  • Chevron using the US Trade Representative to put pressure on Ecuador and resist an environmental lawsuit. The money quote? We Can’t Let Little Countries Screw Around With Big Companies
  • Disputes in Bolivia about attempts to reform constitution. Rich, white provinces (illegally) undertake ‘autonomy’ referendums to protect their privilege.
  • Venezuela’s Citgo to offer Venezuelan coffee at their service stations. Post-air update: this is currently a pilot program in Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, and Citgo will expand it if there is interest.
  • AIPAC-backed Congressional resolution calling for blockade of Iran losing steam. Four original sponsors have now revoked their support.
  • Ultimatum on ‘Freeze for Freeze’ proposal coming up this weekend.
  • Possibilities of a US ‘interests section’ in Iran.
  • Prof. Francis Boyle of Illinois says Iran should sue the USA in the International Court of Justice. We discuss the positive normative and diplomatic aspects of such a move. A video interview with Prof. Boyle is available on YouTube.
  • US still negotiating ‘security agreement’ with Iraq – have now missed their original deadline. We discuss the issue of ‘permanent’ and ‘enduring’ bases.
  • Iraqi government supports Obama’s call for a timetable on withdrawal.
  • Increased opposition to calls for more troops being sent to Afghanistan – even Thomas Friedman has criticized Obama’s calls for more troops.