Breaking News:  Charges dropped against Bartow, Fl teen Kiera Wilmot arrested for science experiment explosion.  Tune in tonight as we talk about it!

1.  When the IRS behaves badly
The taxman is in the news this week for allegedly targeting nonprofit groups affiliated with the Tea Party for extra scrutiny.  But this isn’t the first or the last time that the IRS has been used to target organizations because of their political opinion.  Tune in as we talk to Salon writer Alex Seitz-Wald and Brooklyn-based community activist Lumumba Bandele. 
2.  A Guatemalan ex-dictator goes to prison for war crimes
Efrain Rios Montt, the former US-government backed dictator was convicted of crimes against humanity last Friday, the first time a former head of state has been found guilty of genocide in his country’s own courts.  Tune in as we talk to the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities’ Edgar Ayala about what this will mean for Guatemala, the United States and human rights more broadly.
3.  When Immigrants and their friends stop eating for justice
Tune in tonight to find out why immigrant families in Homestead, Florida and around the country have stopped eating for a week.  Guests include Cynthia Morena and Guadalupe De La Cruz of We Count!
4.  Wait, terrorists aren’t radicals?!?!?!?!
Not really, says terrorism expert John Horgan.  Find out what he is talking about tonight.

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Family, because we are sure you haven’t had enough news, information or opinion on the events in Boston, we wanted to dedicate a whole show to what America will or should look like after tragedy. 

1.  A Bostonian that knew both a perpetrator of the Boston bombing and a victim.
Call him Gee (that’s what he told us to call him).  Gee doesn’t feel good about the world this week.  In the past week, he found out that his close friend, 29 year-old Krystle Campbell, was killed when the Boston marathon was bombed.  That same week, he found out that one of the guys that trained at his gym, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was the person that probably killed her.  Please don’t miss this moving segment.
but first…
2. They can’t take away our FREEEEDOM!!!! Wait…can they?
It took only a few days after catching a suspect in the Boston bombing for one high profile politician to tell us that “our interpretation of the Constitution” has to change so that our cities can have “more cameras and that kind of stuff.”  But is he right? Do we really have to just deal with our cities being flooded with more cameras and surveillance?  We talk to Miami-based photojournalist (Photography is Not a Crime) and ask if the freedom to film us will ever go both ways.
3.  Were the Feds too busy creating fake terror plots to stop a real one?
A bunch of politicians and talking heads have raised a fuss about Tamerlan Tsarnaev being on a government watch-list for years without ever being busted for anything that could have prevented the Boston bombings from taking place.  What those folks forget to mention is that federal law enforcement agencies did spend years hiring informants and cooking up fake terror plots to try to catch aspiring terrorists.  Florida Center for Investigative Reporting’s Trevor Aaronson (author of the Terror Factory) tells us more tonight.
4.  Stopping Terrorism vs. Targeting Islam
Politicians and pundits can’t seem to understand the difference between promoting policies that stop people from being killed and promoting policies that target Muslims (and those that “look” like them) for being themselves.  Tonight we talk this through with UC-Irvine Professor of Middle East studies, Mark Levine and community activist Zahra Billoo.
Tonight! 7pm EST
or tune in 305-side to 880 am “the Biz” (part of the Wall Street Business Network)

By Subhash Kateel

The biggest mistake people make when talking about intelligence in this country (military intelligence, police intelligence, etc.) is assuming that it has anything to do with being intelligent.  Intelligence is only as good as the questions you ask.  Intelligence in a democracy is only as good as the questions that the public demands answers to.   To take it one step further, the only way that the public will really ask the right questions is if the media, and others that are supposed to inform the public, stop taking turns asking so many stupid questions and start asking the right ones.

When we find out that the largest local police force in the country is massively spying on people within and outside its jurisdiction that have never been suspected or accused of wrong doing, you would think that the media would ask the right questions.  But once you replace the word “people” with “Muslims,” it makes it ok for some media outlets not to do their job.  The recent revelation by the Associated Press that New York City Police Department is spying on Muslims in several states at their places of worship, businesses, and even at student group functions on camping trips brought a lot of condemnation from some circles (like the Republican Governor of New Jersey) and a surprising (sort of) amount of support from media outlets like the New York Post and the Daily News.  There was even a protest in support of the NYPD  organized by a Muslim physician from Arizona who jumped on a plane to New York to organize a rally in a city he doesn’t live in that brought out as many people as a Halal Chicken and Rice cart would during a slow lunch day.  Both editorials from the New York Post and the Daily News implicitly make the same point as an 18 year old that attended the rally, “I have trust in the N.Y.P.D. for following people with reasonable belief.”
Let me leave alone the fact that the NYPD doesn’t seem to reasonably believe that the people they are spying on have done or will do anything wrong, a point each person supporting the spy program casually ignores.  Even on my radio show, during a debate between the Council on American Islamic Relations’ Cyrus McGoldrick and Americans Against Hate’s (and candidate for Congress in South Florida) Joe Kaufman,  Mr. Kaufman professes a “hope” that the program isn’t just about targeting Muslims.  To the credit of Mr. Kaufman and that 18-year old from the rally, neither are journalists (although I do wish they would read the AP articles more thoroughly).  But even the media outlets that condemn the program don’t ask basic questions that would make it easier for regular folks to decide if the NYPD program is an insane breach of democratic principles or not. 
It’s really a simple set of questions:  Is there any reason to mistrust the NYPD spying on somebody?  Have they ever violated the public trust by spying on people for completely jacked up reasons?  Have they ever been accused of unlawfully spying on non-Muslims that were simply exercising their rights, let’s say for example…other police officers?
There is a really simple answer to each one of those questions: Yes.
For decades the NYPD was legally prevented, under the Handschu agreement, from spying on people that were simply exercising their constitutional rights after being sued for using surveillance to suppress and put down completely lawful protest.   Fine, you say, that was the 60’s and 70’s.
But shortly after 9/11, the NYPD was taken to court again for unlawfully spying on people, this time its “own  people.” You see, before Rudy Giuliani became “America’s Mayor” for doing nothing more than showing basic human emotion on 9/11, around the same time he was using taxpayer dollars to provide NYPD detail for his mistress  while blasting the morality of mothers on welfare, and shortly before he made millions from taking credit for things he didn’t do , his popularity in New York plummeted  after a rash of shootings of unarmed Black and Brown men by the NYPD under his watch.
What made the anti-police brutality rallies in New York during the late 90’s and early 2000’s different was that one of the groups at the forefront of the protests was an organization of Black cops calling themselves 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care .  The fact that Black police officers in the NYPD were calling for the same changes within the department that everyday New Yorkers were making on the street added a new layer of credibility to the persistent complaints of police misconduct.  You would think that Mayor Giuliani and his Police Commissioner Howard Safir would appreciate the courage of Lt. Eric Adams, the head of the organization, and other officers in the organization.  Instead, Adams and other cops in the organizations were subject to threats, intimidation, and surveillance.
At the time,  Lt. Adams stated, almost prophetically, “New Yorkers must know that if the police department can do this to a law enforcement body, it can do it to any citizen.” Despite being subject to intense surveillance by their own “brothers in blue,” there was never any evidence that any members of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement had done anything other than speak out against police misconduct.
The fact that the NYPD admits to spying on its own officers that did nothing wrong,  coupled with the fact that  ex-NYPD officers admit that planting evidence on suspects was rampant,  layered with the fact that five members of the NYPD were arrested in October for gun running, seems to be lost on the media and others that “hope” we should just “trust” the NYPD with running its own CIA. 
It seems that outlets like the Daily News temporarily lost the ability to google their own articles when praising the NYPD program.  They definitely lost the ability to ask simple questions like, “why would anyone blindly trust an agency that spied on its own officers for simply speaking out against police misconduct?”  If  the Post and the Daily News wanted to get even more creative they could ask if the NYPD is as vigilant about helping other jurisdictions solve their violent crimes as they are about spying in their backyards.  After all, there is a serial killer loose in Long Island, that some speculate might just be an ex-cop
This is not to say that all cops are bad, or that the NYPD is all bad.  But as it takes on bigger law enforcement tactics that are bolder and badder (I know it’s not a word) ideas, it makes it easier for even a few bad apples to do a lot more damage in the Big Apple and beyond.
If the NYPD wants to become a huge spy agency in order to stop terrorism, it should remember that the specific terrorism New York dealt with on 9/11 had at least a little to do with the bad decisions our spy agencies made in the 70’s and 80’s, giving guns to crazy people to kill Soviets  without asking where those guns would point afterward.

In a democracy, you won’t get an answer to questions you don’t ask.  For those of us that lived through 9/11, care about democracy, and care about really keeping people safe, it is time to ask questions…a lot of questions of people that just “hope” that we “trust” them.

Don’t forget to tune into our show every Wednesday at 7pm. 

 FAMILY! Ok, the first part of the show was crazy and the second part of the show was somber and the blog will be up soon.  In the meantime, check it by downloading here or pressing play below.  Plus subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes here and never miss out show ever!

1.  Why is the NYPD spying on Muslims?  Hear the discussion between Cyrus McGoldrick (Hip Hop Artist and Council on American Islamic Relations) and Joe Kaufman (Candidate for Congress and Director of Americans Against Hate) here or press play below.

2.  Why did our children die in Chardon?  If you want to hear Dr. Amanda Nickerson (Director, Dr. Jean M. Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying Abuse and School Violence) talk about the tragedy in Chardon, Ohio, download it here or press play below.

3.  If you want to hear Gerald Lenoir (Black Alliance for Just Immigration) talk about Black Immigrants in America, you can click here or press play below.

Dear Pam

It’s been a little over a week since the terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway and a few days since our show covering the attacks (you can listen to it here). On the show we talked to Faiz Shakir from Think Progress and Waseem Mirza, an activist from Oslo. But Pam, we really wanted to hear from you. However, after confirming thrice, you backed out saying you were double booked. I guess our listeners have to take your word for it.

And our listeners missed you too. One guy was so excited to talk to you on our show that he started reciting verses from the Quran on the air! I mean, I really don’t know why anyone would recite religious verses on a radio show, but it must mean he was really excited. Another ended up un-friending a Facebook friend after fighting with him about the show.

On the show, we asked a couple of questions. First, we wanted to know if this completely discredited idea that “All Muslims aren’t terrorist but all terrorists are Muslims” which you have spent a good amount of time perpetuating created blind spots preventing us from spotting real-live terrorists that aren’t Muslim. We also wanted to know if pundits and bloggers like yourself were helping crazy people of all walks of life try to re-create the crusades. Lastly, we wanted to give you a chance to defend yourself against charges that you were a source of inspiration for Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist that killed almost a hundred people, many of them teenagers. But since you didn’t come on the show, we had to talk about this stuff without you. And you may be surprised by some of my personal conclusions.

First, the good news for you.

1. After interviewing a real live activist from Norway (Waseem), it became pretty clear that the Oslo terrorist attacks had little to do with you or any of the right-wing bloggers in your “anti-Jihad” crew. When speaking to Waseem, he seemed to genuinely not know who the hell you were. And when I asked him about the role of the American right-wing in inspiring the attack, he sort of told me in his nice Norwegian way, “America, it is not always about you.” He went on to explain that the growth of far right terror groups and political parties throughout Europe, especially in countries like Germany, is a far more likely source of support and inspiration for Anders than your blog or Robert Spencer’s blogs.

2. It turns out that the same “liberal lamestream media” and blogosphere that is having fun attacking you is just as responsible for spreading islamophobia, and the “all terrorists are Muslims” worldview as you are. As Waseem confirmed on our show, one of the first outlets to falsely spread the word that the attack in Oslo was perpetrated by a Muslim group was none other than the New York Times (the same often good newspaper, that when it’s not, helps lead us into bullsh*t wars). Similarly, a popular columnist went off in the Washington Post claiming a direct link between the Oslo attack and Al Qaeda, only to stuff both of her feet in her own mouth. Even half of the Huffington Post articles (a blog I actually really like) about Anders Breivik after he was arrested didn’t call him a “terrorist” or refer to the attacks as “terrorist attacks.” Seriously Pam, who needs you to spread Islamophobia when the mainstream media spreads false information on one hand, and then fails to report when Americans (even police officers) are killed by right wing terrorists on the other? Maybe you should get a job with the Washington Post, I mean you couldn’t be worse than Jennifer Rubin.

And now for the bad news.

1. Even if you weren’t his inspiration, it seems like Anders and you are sort of kindred spirits. So much that he mentions you, Robert Spencer, and other folks in your crew over a dozen times in his manifesto. What’s worse isn’t that you are influencing terrorists like him. It’s that you are importing his type of crazy and bringing it to this country. Sidenote: Am I the only one that sees a huge disconnect between your fans hating Europe’s socialist health care system, labor protections, and retirement system, but loving its Islamophobia? I mean isn’t Europe’s labor protections what allow its right-wingers to have enough vacation time to come to your rallies in New York? Isn’t Europe’s health care system what allows its neo-Nazis and white supremacists to live long enough to go from hating Jewish folks to hating Muslims?

2. This idea that “all terrorists are Muslim” clearly created enough of a blind spot in Norway for intelligence to wrongly conclude that right-wing terrorists didn’t “constitute a major threat” to the county as compared to “Islamic extremists” (even though, 99% of terror attacks in Europe are committed by non-Muslims). That blind spot exists in America too. The Department of Homeland Security responded to criticism of its intel reports on right wing extremists by gutting its unit dedicated to analyzing right wing terrorism. American media has its blinders are on so badly, that if often under reports right wing terror plots, even when they happen in the same city as a plot tied to radical Muslims.

3. According to Waseem, Norway responded to its recent attacks by calling for “more openness, more democracy.” Since 9/11, even under Obama’s administration of “change”, this country has opted for less openness and less democracy while consistently whittling away our civil rights and liberties. Unfortunately, the lessons learned from Norway are quickly passing from public consciousness as the news moves on to cover the death of Amy Whinehouse and the debt ceiling debate. Don’t get me wrong, Amy will be missed and I would rather import her memory and music than the English Defence League.

In the end, Pam, the Islamophobia that made you famous is part of the problem. But you aren’t the only cause for it. Its not just about you Pam, its about all of us. And the more you make all of us into just some of us, we are all screwed.


Subhash Kateel and the Let’s Talk About It! Team

aapone-20110723000333575447-norway-attacks-suspect-original-131156410036Hey folks, it case you missed our show last Wednesday (July 27), you can download it HERE or press play below

“Not All Muslims Are Terrorists, But All Terrorists Are Muslims.”

If you see the picture of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik to the left, you kinda figured out that its not true.  But we wanted to talk about what that statement above and Anders and his terror plot have to do with our safety here.  To do that we spoke with Faiz Shakir (American Progress and Think Progress) and Norwegian activist Waseem Mirza.  That’s right folks, we think its silly to talk about Norway without having a Norwegian on the phone.  Unfortunately our invited guests Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) was a no-show after thrice confirming.  See our open letter to her here.

For the second part of the show we talked the envoriment in studio with Captain Dan Kipnis.  And to be honest, he scared the sh*t out of us more than the terrorism conversation.   He was one of our most entertaining and educational guests yet and his broke down the state of our environment and our role in saving it or destroying it.  How do we save our environment is S. Florida?  According to him, by evacuating.  Check him out, check us out and tune in every wednesday.

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By Subhash Kateel
On Monday, Chicago-based Hip Hop artist Lupe Fiasco went toe-to-toe with Bill O’Reilly in a debate about President Obama (you can see the whole clip here or below). This time, Bill O’Reilly played the unusual role of the President’s defender against a no-liquor-drinking, skateboarding, devout Muslim, son of a Green Beret who many have called the second coming of Tribe Called Quest (sorry I got carried away thinking about Midnight Marauders).  O’Reilly tried to take Lupe to task for his characterization of Obama as a terrorist in the song “Words I Never Said.”
For starters, Lupe’s song was about a lot of things, not just Obama.  For example, Lupe chastised those that claim to be Muslims but misuse the word Jihad (a term that means “struggle” in Arabic).  He also went after people that complain about this country’s problems but don’t do anything about them.  But predictably, the statements he made about Obama have caused the most controversy.  
One obvious question is: Why should anyone give a damn what any celebrity says? And I only sometimes give a damn about what Lupe says. But even the things he says that I don’t give a damn about are worth hearing out.
Considering that many of O’Reilly’s right-wing talking-head colleagues have called Obama everything from a Marxist (despite his economic team representing the Dream Team of corporate capitalism), a radical Muslim (despite criticizing him for attending Reverend Wright’s church), to just not being American, O’Reilly’s defense of Obama is ironic. 
But if you actually listen to the debate, Lupe asks a question the media repeatedly fails to ask and our government fails to answer: “Is the war on terror addressing the root causes of terrorism?” 

It’s a point that O’Reilly dismisses as stupid. And media outlets from left to right ignore it too much to consider dismissing it. I mean what is so freaking important about getting to the bottom of what will keep a bunch of people alive and safe without having to fight three freaking wars, right?  RIGHT?
The problem is that question is bigger than O’Reilly and Lupe, and it needs an answer. And while Lupe calling Obama a terrorist invokes that question in a way that makes it easy to evade,  it also invokes a truism in contemporary U.S. foreign policy that folks keep wanting to ignore as well:  the U.S. Government has been the biggest single supporter of individuals and institutions that it would eventually call terrorists. 
This history is so obvious and in our faces that we pretend that it is no big deal.  People generally now know that the U.S. government supported folks that would eventually form the Taliban and Al Qaeda back when we thought giving those crazy mf’s guns was cool as long as they were aimed at Soviets. People sort of know that the U.S. government supported Saddam Hussein as long as he was killing Iranians. People may or may not know that the CIA had Manuel Noriega on its payroll for years before U.S. forces invaded Panama or that the CIA was complicit in a plot to topple a democratically elected Iranian government decades before Iran joined Bush’s “axis of evil.” 
Every time this truism gets brought to light, people do what O’Reilly did in the debate with Lupe, start waving the flag and saying we have to support the troops and love our country.  Leave the troops out of it.  They didn’t make the foreign policy decisions that would create Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  In fact, leave everyday Americans out of this, they didn’t ask Bush’s Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to lie about the reasons to attack Iraq two decades after he shook Saddam’s hand. Even Obama himself was only 22 years old when Reagan called Afghan freedom fighters “patriots.” 
But alas there is this verse in the Bible (John 9:41) that says, “If you were blind you would have no sin, but since you claim “we see” your sin remains.” Personally, I voted for the dude and I find a lot to admire about him and a lot to…eh.  But as I said before, considering all of the potential he came into office with, he is blowing that potential faster than Earl “the Goat” Manigault blew his basketball career on…blow.
During the Presidential debates, Obama decried support for Pakistan’s old president Musharraf saying the US government shouldn’t support a dictator just because he is “our dictator.”  To me this means that the President understands the truism that feeds bad foreign policy. But the wisdom and desire to change that truism seems to have long faded…and we continue to pour billions of dollars into buying guns in regions where sooner or later they will be pointed at innocents and Americans. It is an open question whether or not Lupe calling Obama a terrorist was productive in getting to the “root cause of terrorism.”  But the truth is, we won’t know for sure if Obama’s administration is supporting people that our sons and daughters will be forced to fight against until they grow old. Whether you like Lupe Fiasco or not, he asks a couple questions we should all be demanding answers to.  
Don’t forget to check Let’s Talk About It! radio when we start our our second season on July 6th.  If you are in Miami, check out our fundraiser on July 3rd. Remember, if you like this article you will really like the second season of our radio show. If you don’t like this article, you’ll still like our show! In the meantime, check out the Lupe vs. O’ Reilly debate and Lupe’s video that started it all.

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