Left Out Program Notes for October 3, 2006

Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio broadcasting on WRCT 88.3FM and podcasting on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out discusses the news from a perspective left out of the mainstream media. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Matt Hornyak. Listeners are invited to call the program at (412) 268-WRCT (9728), or to send email to bob@leftout.info.


Listen to the broadcast (requires MP3 player). (Streaming, Download, Podcast)


Angela Y. Davis, winner of the 2006 Thomas Merton Award. She'll be honored on November 10, 6pm at Sheraton Station Square. More information at www.thomasmertoncenter.org.

Counter-recruitment demonstration Saturday Oct 7, 11am. Anti-war protest: Stand with Iraq War veterans Against the War, Confront Military Recruitment Outside Oakland Military Recruiting Station, 3712 Forbes Ave (between Atwood and Oakland Ave) More Information

Listen to Democracy Now every weekday morning at 8am on WRCT.

Listen to Rust Belt Radio every Monday at 6pm and repeated again on Tuesday after Democracy Now.

New to WRCT: Law and Disorder is now broadcast at 9am on Mondays after Democracy Now. This is a program about how our rights are being eroded feature four prominent civil rights lawyers. Including Michael Ratner, who will be our guest later in the program.

Guest: Michael Ratner

Michael Ratner is the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights www.ccr-ny.org and author of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know. Michael has worked for decades, as a crusader for human rights both at home and abroad litigating many cases against international human rights violators resulting in millions of dollars in judgments for abuse victims and expanding the possibilities of international law. He acted as a principal counsel in the successful suit to close the camp for HIV-positive Haitian refugees on Guantanamo Base, Cuba.

We'll have Michael on during the 2nd half of our show to discuss the meaning and consequences of the detainee bill passed by congress last week, and the lawsuit just filed by the CCR against it. link

Condi Is A Liar; So Is Ashcroft

Digby summarizes the blatant lies told by Secretary of State, and former National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, denying that they had been told by then-CIA Director George Tenet of impending terrorist attacks in the U.S. in the summer of 2001. Both Condi and Asscrack denied categorically having been told, but, oops, there's a paper trail!

The 9/11 commission has been inconsistent on whether they were informed of the July 10, 2001 briefing by Tenet of the National Security Council, which also included Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neil, and his nibs, The President of the United States, one George W. Bush. In this briefing Tenet stated that this was a 10-on-a-scale-of-10 situation.

Bear in mind that Philip Zelikow, then Rice's assistant, was a member of the 9/11 commission, charged with investigating himself.

Also bear in mind that Ashcroft slashed funding for counterterrorism after having been briefed by Tenet, and that he himself stopped flying on commercial aircraft in the summer of 2001 for security reasons. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Rethinking Ones Mistakes

In March of 2003 there was huge US public support for the US invasion of Iraq. Now, not so much. That means that a lot of people have changed their minds.

(Listeners of Left Out know that we have, from the start, been vehemently against this war. In fact, part of the motivation for starting this program was frustration with the horrible direction this country was going in, and a need to do something about it.)

Here's an excerpt from Bob Floyd's Turing Award lecture from the August 1979 issue of the Communications of the ACM:

I find a certain technique most useful in expanding my own capabilities. After solving a challenging problem, I solve it again from scratch, retracing only the insight of the earlier solution. I repeat this until the solution is as clear and direct as I can hope for. Then I would look for a general rule for attacking similar problems, that would have led me to approach the given problem in the most efficient way the first time. Often, such a rule is of permanent value.

So Bob Floyd made a conscious effort to examine his own thinking. He did it with the express purpose of improving his reasoning abilities and problem-solving skills. This might give us some insight into how Floyd was able to accomplish so much.

I would hope that the people who initially supported the war in Iraq, but subsequently have decided it was a mistake might go through a similar searching process to figure out what went wrong. In December 2005 I sent an email to one such aquaintance of mine. Here's an excerpt from it:

You seem to pride yourself on being an "all around smart guy", who is well-informed, and thinks deeply about things.

I'm wondering what your current thoughts are about the war. Do you acknowledge that you were wrong?

If you agree that you were wrong, why do you think that happened? Were you missinformed? If so, where were you getting the missinformation? And were you misled by pundits who provided convincing but bogus arguments and predictions? Did you believe the administration?

Do you think that if perhaps you had been relying on different information sources you might have had a better understanding of what was happening?

Do you feel that you've learned anything in response to this? Have you changed who you listen to and where you get your news?

I was hoping that the person would recognize that the news sources and opinion sources that he depended on were totally wrong. I was hoping he had become angry at his false news sources, and had decided to drop them in favor of alternative news sources, like The Nation magazine. I was disappointed. This CMU PhD told me that he thought this and that which turned out to be wrong. He could not or would not look into the deeper reasons why he was so wrong. He has not changed his reading habbits.

Bumfight the root cause of attacks on the homeless?

60 Minutes did a piece this weekend on the rash of attacks by kids on homeless people. Many people have died in these attacks over the last few years. 'Bumfight' Videos Inspired Joy-Killing The thrust of the story is that the popular video series "Bumfight" has been a factor in motivating these attacks. This is certainly true -- and the kids in the piece testify to this. But there's something deeper going on that 60 Minutes just ignores.

Our society does not give a damn about homeless people. Their very existance testifies to this fact. How can you argue with that? If those in power cared, they'd do something to help these people. This is obvious to these kids. The infer that society doesn't care about these people -- in fact treats them as animals -- so why shouldn't they too treat them as animals for their amusement?


Truth Out
Common Dreams
Information Clearinghouse
Tom Paine
The Independent
The Guardian
Consortium News

Left Out Home
Danny Sleator
Last modified: Wed Oct 4 20:26:42 2006