Program Notes for Left Out (March 2, 2004)

Welcome to Left Out on WRCT 88.3FM. Left Out is a public affairs program dedicated to presenting news and views from a perspective left out of the mainstream news. The program is co-hosted by Danny Sleator and Robert Harper. Today's program is produced by Jay Thurber. Listeners are welcome to call us at 412 621-WRCT (9728) or 412 268-WRCT (9728). Alternatively, we'll be reading email during the show, so you can send email to or


Listen to the broadcast (requires MP3 player).


The movie "Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War" (which we've talked about on this show) will be shown in McConomy Auditorium in CMU's University Center on Tuesday March 2, at 8pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the garage on Forbes next to the University Center.

Pittsburgh's Financial Crisis

Today, our guest on Left Out is Christopher Zurawsky. He will lead a discussion about the city's financial crisis. Here's an outline of some of the points he's planning to touch on:

Distorting and Suppressing Science

The chief characteristic of the Bush administration is a subjugation of evidence to prejudice, policy to politics, truth to ideology. If the facts don't support the pre-determined ideological position, so much the worse for facts --- distort them, suppress them, twist them, ignore them.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a report entitled Scientific Integrity in Policymaking that is critical of the administration's misuse and abuse of science in the formation of national policy. The report alleges:

Here's the statement from the Union of Concerned Scientists that was signed by 20 Nobel Laurates, and scores of other famous scientists. The complete report is available on-line from the UCS web site. Here's a NY Times editorial on this topic.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written an article entitled The Junk Science of George W. Bush in The Nation magazine, describing his own experiences in working with the Bush administration. Here are some of the stories he details:

Coverage of the Haiti Coup

The mainstream news coverage of the coup in Haiti has been amazing. The event is not put in context at all. There are these "rebels". But who are they? Why are they doing this? Who is funding and equiping them? Counterspin on Friday had an excellent analysis of the coverage.

A source that is actually covering the Haiti story with some depth is Democracy Now (which you can listen to right here on WRCT at 8am each weekday).

Haiti is a democracy and Aristide was democratically elected. His term ends in 2 years. If he was doing a bad job or was unopular the proper response is to vote him out! Yet the US said Aristide should step down! The hypocrisy of this is astounding, given the US's constant pronouncements about "bringing democracy to the middle east", etc.

The US's public behavior makes it clear that it wanted this coup to be successful. There is no doubt that the US could have stopped the coup with very little effort. And this is what it should have done. It's very ikely that the US was in fact supporting the "rebels".

One reason for the US hatred of Aristide is his friendly relations with Castro. This is documented in this article U.S. 'Playing Games' With Haiti, Say Policy Critics

Slightly related to all this. The "Doctrine of change of course", which was explained by Noam Chomsky in this op-ed piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in December:

The content of the doctrine is, "Yes, in the past we did some wrong things because of innocence or inadvertence. But now that's all over, so let's not waste any more time on this boring, stale stuff."
The US propped up Saddam in the 80s but that's ancient history. Now we're doing the "right" thing and getting rid of him.

But right this minute the US is doing the wrong thing with Haiti. Eventually, the US mainstream media will get around to explain this. But by then 2004 will be the "bad old days, not like now". And the pattern continues.

Mainstream Paper Editorials in the Buildup to Iraq

From the Columbia Journalism Review comes a scathing analysis of the editorials that appeared in the mainstream print press in the leadup to the Iraq war. Here's one small excerpt:
But the biggest flaw, for all of the papers, goes back to the way they responded to Colin Powell's speech. At best, the presentation should have been taken to represent one side in a continuing UN debate about Iraq's weapons capacities -- exactly how international papers like the Guardian reacted to it. After all, that paper noted, UN inspectors Blix and ElBaradei had their own analyses, which often conflicted with Powell's.

Yet without appearing to weigh such contrary evidence, the U.S. papers all essentially pronounced Powell right, though they couldn't possibly know for sure that he was. In short, they trusted him. And in so doing, they failed to bring even an elementary skepticism to the Bush case for war.

Here's the whole article.

The Pentagon and Climate Change

Scientists are now believe that one consequence of "global warming" could be to shut down the gulf stream which keeps Europe and N. America warm. Such events have happened in the past very quickly. The time frame is on the order of years. The effect would be catastrophic, rendering vast heavily populated and agricultural areas unusable.

Pentagon planners Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall have written a report predicting the geopolitical effects of such an event. The consequences are dire. Here are some links to this story:

This story has gotten almost no play in the US mainstream media. I'm only aware of one article in Fortune magazine about it. Nothing in the mainstream news.

Followup from the last Left Out

Last time we talked about longwall mining, and the havoc it's wreaking in southwestern PA. Here's an article about "America's New Coal Rush"


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Robert Harper
Last modified: Mon Jul 19 18:08:41 EDT 2004