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Submitted by samba on 19 April 2021

Headlined Guests

Headlined Guests that have appeared on BBS Radio TV

Guest Name
Try using the first name first
Guest Occupation: Consultant
Guest Biography:

Dennis Kucinich was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 8, 1946. He is the eldest of 7 children of Frank and Virginia Kucinich. He and his family lived in twenty-one places, including a couple of cars, by the time Kucinich was 17 years old. "I live each day with a grateful heart and a desire to be of service to humanity," he says.

In his fifth term in the United States House,  Congressman Kucinich was a leader for Universal Health Care, a full employment economy, fully-paid tuition at public colleges and universities, repeal of the Patriot Act, the development of bio-fuels as alternative energy and restoration of America's basic manufacturing and infrastructure. He lead an effort to support the role of NASA in the development of basic research for civil aeronautics.

Kucinich's 2008 presidential platform had a comprehensive plan for universal healthcare, withdrawal from Iraq, free primary, secondary and college education, abolishing the death penalty and repealing the Patriot Act.  In addition, he has plans for clean energy, social security plan for those at 65, banning handguns, women's right to choose abortion and ratifying the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol.

Dennis Kucinich and wife Elizabeth formed Kucinich Consulting which works with institutions, companies, causes and individuals to bring global social, economic, health, food, agricultural and ecological systems into balance.

Guest Category: Earth & Space, News, Politics & Government, Society and Culture
Guest Occupation: Environmentalist
Guest Biography:

Wangari Muta Maathai (born April 1, 1940 in the village, Nyeri District) is a Kenyan environmental and political activist. In 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace" — the first African woman to receive the award.  Dr. Maathai is also an elected member of Parliament and served as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. She is a member of Kikuyu ethnic group.

In 1977, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots environmental non-governmental organization, which has now planted over 30 million trees across the country to prevent soil erosion. She has come to be affectionately called "Tree Woman". Since then, she has been increasingly active on both environmental and women's issues.

Maathai was also the former chairperson of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake (the National Council of Women of Kenya). In the 1980s her husband divorced her, saying she was too strong-minded for a woman, and that he was unable to control her. The judge in the divorce case agreed with the husband.

During the regime of President Daniel Arap Moi, she was imprisoned several times and violently attacked for demanding multi-party elections and an end to political corruption and tribal politics. In 1989 Maathai almost single-handedly saved Nairobi's Uhuru Park by stopping the construction by Moi's business associates of the 60-story Kenya Times Media Trust business complex.

In 2002 Maathai was elected to parliament when the National Rainbow Coalition, which she represented, defeated the ruling party Kenya African National Union. She has been Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife since 2003. She founded the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya in 2003.

On 28 March 2005, she was elected as the first president of the African Union's Economic, Social and Cultural Council.  In 2006 she was one of the eight flag bearers at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony. Also on May 21, 2006 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by and gave the commencement address at Connecticut College.

Her autobiography, Unbowed: One Woman’s Story, was released in 2006 for which she is currently on speaking tour in the United States.

Guest Category: Earth & Space, Politics & Government, Society and Culture
Guest Occupation: Voiceover Artist
Guest Biography:

A native of East Syracuse, New York, Tom Kenny began his career doing stand-up comedy. He hosted the TV series An Evening at the Improv before making his first foray into acting with a role in the feature film How I Got Into College (1989), starring Anthony Edwards and Lara-Flynn Boyle. A stint as the host of Friday Night Videos (1990-1994) followed. He soon established himself as an accomplished voiceover artist in addition to guest roles on series such as Brotherly Love, Malibu Shores, Just Shoot Me and Roswell.

After providing voices on TV for Mr. Show (he also wrote for it), Dumb and Dumber, Dragon Ball Z, Godzilla: The Series and Dilbert, he landed the lead role as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants in 1999. He also continues to play small roles in movies and on television, and in 2004, again provided the voice of SpongeBob in the feature The Spongebob SquarePants Movie. Some of his more recent work include the voice of Zilius Zox in the television show The Green Lantern: The Animated Series and a character in the animated film Back to the Sea (2012).  Other works: The Spongebob SquarePants Movie - Family Favourites (2012), The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015,  LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain (2017) and what will be the 3rd SpongeBob film The SpongeBob Movie (2019).

Kenny has one child with his wife, actress Jill Talley.

Guest Category: Arts, Comedy, Entertainment, TV & Film
Guest Biography:

Ward Churchill is a writer, political activist, and academic. He is a tenured full professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and author of over 20 books and hundreds of essays. In addition to his academic writing, Churchill has written for several general readership magazines of political opinion. His work is primarily about the U.S. and its historical treatment of political dissenters and of American Indian peoples.

Churchill was widely discussed and criticized in the mass media in 2005, for a 2001 essay in which Churchill questioned the innocence of many of the people killed in the World Trade Center attacks, labeling them as "technocrats" and "little Eichmanns."  The University of Colorado stated support for Churchill's right to engage in controversial political speech.

Following an investigation of Churchill's past research, the University's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct recommended Churchill be sanctioned for repeated acts of "serious research misconduct." On June 26, 2006, CU Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano issued a notice of intent to dismiss Churchill from his faculty position at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Some observers concerned with academic freedom argue that the investigation is in retaliation for Churchill's controversial statements about the World Trade Center attacks.  Churchill has filed an appeal against his proposed dismissal.

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Ward Churchill is perhaps one of the most provocative thinkers around. A Creek and enrolled Keetoowah Band Cherokee, Churchill is a longtime Native rights activist. He has been heavily involved in the American Indian Movement and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. He is Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado and has served as a delegate to the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations.

One of Churchill’s areas of expertise is the history of the U.S. government’s genocide of Native Americans—the chronic violation of treaties and systematic extermination of North American indigenous populations. His many books include A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas: 1492 to Present (1998) and The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the U.S. (2nd edition, 2002). His new book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality,  published by AK Press (www.akpress.org).

Guest Category: Education, Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: Archbishop
Guest Biography:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a South African Anglican cleric who became one of the central leaders of the global peace movement. An outspoken defender of human rights and campaigner for the oppressed, Desmond Tutu’s eloquent advocacy and brave leadership lead to the end of South African apartheid in 1993 and the installation of Nelson Mandela as the nation’s first black President. The Archbishop has dedicated his life to reshaping conversations about peace, equality and forgiveness. In 1984, Tutu earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts as a global peace maker and now devotes his time with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation to teaching youth the powerful role and voice they play in creating a more compassionate and peaceful world.

Since the demise of apartheid, Desmond Tutu has been active in the defense of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed. He has campaigned to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty,racism, sexism, the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, homophobia and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prizein 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. He has also authored several books including the Book of Forgiving which he co-wrote with his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, and the forthcoming Book of Joy which he is co-authoring with his friend the Dalai Lama.

Guest Category: Education, Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: Loan Broker
Guest Biography:

LINDA HOLMES

NATIONAL DIRECTOR AT

2ND CHANCE FINANCIAL SERVICES

 

Linda will be sharing her expertise with us and will be discussing options available to entrepreneurs and start up companies to acquire loans.

¨ What kind of loans are available for entrepreneurs?

¨ What should be considered when deciding whether to get a loan or not?

¨ What do entrepreneurs need to watch out for when signing contracts for loans?

¨ What questions should one ask when discussing loans with a lending institution?

¨ When is getting a loan the best choice to make, and when is it not?

 

Guest Category: Investing and Finance, Management
Guest Occupation: Musician
Guest Biography:

Born in Texas in 1933, country singer and songwriter Willie Nelson rose to prominence at the end of the 1960s and contributed to the "outlaw country" subgenre, which challenged the conservatism of Nashville. During his lengthy, award-winning career, he has written some of the most popular and memorable country songs of all time, many of which have been covered by a wide range of artists over the last half century. Now in his 80s, Nelson continues to record and tour, as well as devoting a considerable amount of time to various charitable and political causes.

Country Boy

Willie Nelson was born on April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas. The son of Myrle and Ira D. Nelson, Willie and his older sister, Bobbie, were raised by their paternal grandparents during the Great Depression. With their grandmother, Willie and Bobbie attended their town’s small Methodist church, where they received their earliest exposure to music. “The first music we learned was from the hymn books. Willie had such a beautiful voice," Bobbie told Texas Monthly in 2008. Both grandparents had a musical background, and they encouraged Willie and his sister to play.

Nelson got his first guitar at the early age of six and started writing his own songs soon thereafter. His famous gospel song “Family Bible” draws from his early exposure to religious music. He sold the song to his guitar teacher for $50.

A few years later, he started playing his first professional gigs with a local polka band, and in 1947 Nelson joined the gospel group Bud Fletcher and the Texans, which already featured Bobbie on piano. They played the local club circuit for the next few years—and Bobbie and Bud married.

On the Road

After graduating from Abbott High School in 1950, Nelson enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Lackland in San Antonio. His military career was short lived, however, as persistent back problems led to an honorable discharge less than a year later. Unsure of where to turn next, Nelson enrolled in a farming program at Baylor University. While pursuing his studies, he took odd jobs to make ends meet, including selling encyclopedias door to door.

But Nelson had not lost his passion for music, which he pursued by working as a disc jockey for various radio stations. He soon abandoned his agriculture studies to focus more exclusively on his music. Over the next few years, he moved around a bit, regularly playing gigs at local clubs and honing his songwriting craft. It was during this period that Nelson penned some of his finest early work, including "Night Life," "Crazy" and "Funny How Time Slips Away."

 

A Singular Voice

In 1960, Nelson settled in the country music capital, Nashville, Tennessee, where he found a job as a songwriter for Pamper Music, earning a salary of around $50 a week. The following year, two of Nelson's creations became hits for other artists—Faron Young's version of "Hello Walls" (which reached No. 1 on the country charts and was a Top 20 pop hit) and Patsy Cline's legendary rendition of "Crazy" (a Top 10 hit on both country and pop). Two years later, Ray Price’s recording of his “Night Life” was also a Top 40 country hit.

However, despite these successes, during this period Nelson’s own recordings fell on deaf ears. With his gritty, roadhouse sound, Nelson did not fit the traditional Nashville country music mold, and whenever producers tried to make him fit, they only succeeded in stripping away the qualities that helped make him unique, such as his unusual manner of phrasing. His resistance to such efforts—as well as his reputation as a hard-living, hard-drinking man—only served to highlight his outlaw status. Though the 1962 single “Touch Me” did reach the country Top 10, Nelson’s debut album, And Then I Wrote, failed to chart, as did his follow-up album, Here’s Willie Nelson. Though later albums that decade would be better received, none of his own efforts as a performing artist would equal the success that others had recording his songs.

Goin’ Home

In 1970, when his home in Ridgetop, Tennessee, burned down, Nelson took it as a sign that things needed to change. Returning to his native Texas, he settled in Austin and quickly became an important part of the city’s country music scene, performing regularly at its many venues. Shortly after his arrival, he also began hosting his now-legendary Fourth of July picnics. Inspired by Woodstock, the gatherings became popular musical celebrations and included performances from other country music outlaws, such as Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. In honor of his contributions, in 1975 the Texas State Senate declared July 4 to be Willie Nelson Day. The annual event remains a popular attraction to the present.

Back on his home turf, Nelson also resumed his recording efforts, but in his own style and on his own terms. Soon, that unique approach won the long-haired, bandanna-wearing performer a devoted following. Released in 1973, Shotgun Willie (1973) is considered by many to be one of his best albums, showcasing his abilities as a singer, storyteller and performer, despite the fact that it did not chart well. The same would be true of 1974’s Phases and Stages.

Rise of the Red-Headed Stranger

However, with 1975’s Red-Headed Stranger, Nelson had his real first taste of success. Not only did the album reach No. 1 on the country charts, it also crossed over to the pop Top 40. Among the highlights from the recording is the Fred Rose–penned number “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” which gave Nelson his first No. 1 country hit and earned him his first Grammy Award for best country vocal performance.

Around this time, Nelson’s collaborative endeavors found fertile ground as well. Along with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, he contributed to the compilation Wanted! The Outlaws (1976), which also achieved both critical and commercial success. Nelson would team up with Jennings again a short while later to record the popular single "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," which won the 1978 Grammy Award for best country vocal performance by a duo or group.

Always interested in different music styles, Nelson recorded his own takes on some American standards on Stardust (1978), and his cover of Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell's "Georgia on My Mind" earned him his second Grammy Award for best country vocal performance. Beyond its critical success, the album proved to have commercial staying power as well, lingering on the country charts for an entire decade.

Highwayman

Riding high on his newfound musical successes, Nelson brought his distinctive presence to the big screen as well. He first appeared in The Electric Horseman (1979) starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, and the following year he starred in Honeysuckle Rose (1980), in which he played a veteran country musician performer torn between his wife (played by Dyan Cannon) and the young singer (Amy Irving) who joins him on the road. Although the film was only mildly successful, it featured the song "On the Road Again," which earned Nelson an Academy Award nomination for best original song. Now considered a trademark Nelson tune, it also won that year’s Grammy Award for best country song.

The new decade also brought continued musical success to the country star. In 1982, his ballad "Always on My Mind" won the Grammy Award for best country vocal performance, and the album of the same name topped both the country and pop charts. Though Tougher Than Leather (1983), Without a Song (1984) and City of New Orleans (1984), did not prove to be crossover hits, all three still reached the top of the country charts. Meanwhile, Nelson teamed up with Julio Iglesias for the smash ballad "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," which was a massive international success.

Adding to his resume of successful collaborations, the following year Nelson teamed up with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson to form the country supergroup the Highwaymen. Their first release, Highwayman (1985) went platinum, and the title track reached No. 1 country. The group would return to the studio two more times, for 1990’s Highwayman 2 and 1995’s The Road Goes on Forever.

Farm Aid & Charitable Causes

But despite his ascent to musical stardom, Nelson never lost touch with his roots, and in 1985—along with fellow rockers Neil Young and John Mellencamp—Nelson helped organize the first Farm Aid concert. With performances by scores of music’s biggest names, it earned nearly $10 million to help family farmers keep their land, and to date, the Farm Aid organization has earned tens of millions more for its cause. In 2007, Ben & Jerry's released "Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler Ice Cream," with a portion of Nelson's proceeds donated to Farm Aid. For his efforts, in 2011 Nelson was also inducted into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Closer to home, in 2006 Nelson bought and continues to support the church and grocery store in Abbott, Texas, both of which were in danger of failing. Thinking more globally, Nelson has also done extensive work on behalf of the environment, promoting the alternative, cleaner-burning fuel biodiesel. In 2007, he even started marketing his own brand of green fuel, BioWillie, which is a combination of diesel and biodiesel made from soybeans. "It seems like that's good for the whole world if we can start growing our own fuel instead of starting wars over it," said Nelson in a 2005 interview.

But Nelson’s compassion and activist work extends into the animal kingdom as well, and over the years he has been involved with various animal-welfare groups, including the Society for Protective Animal Legislation, Best Friends Animal Society and the Animal Welfare Institute. With the latter, Nelson has become deeply involved in a campaign to save horses from slaughter. His group Willie and the Nelson Family (which features his sister, Billie) recorded the song “Wild Horses” to benefit the cause, and Nelson himself owns more than 50 of the animals, many of whom were rescues.   

Prolific Later Years

Now well into his 80s, Nelson has shown no signs of slowing down, and since the dawning of the new millennium he has remained both active and relevant. Nelson has continued to tour heavily, sometimes playing as many as 150 to 200 dates a year. He also continued his prolific output, releasing new albums on a regular basis. Among his highlights from the 2000s are The Great Divide (2002) and 2005’s Countryman, which incorporated elements of reggae. In 2008, Nelson released Moment of Forever, which garnered much critical praise. He also scored a Grammy that same year for the single "Lost Highway," a duet performed with Ray Price, whose recording of the song “Night Life” nearly a half century before had been one of Nelson’s earliest successes.

Nelson has also continued to collaborate with a range of recording artists. In 2008 he performed live in Amsterdam with rap icon Snoop Dogg, and the duo has since worked together on several projects, including the video "My Medicine." In 2009 he teamed up with music group Asleep at the Wheel to release the country swing album Willie and the Wheel, and that same year, he released Naked Willie, which included new mixes of his early recordings. In 2010 Nelson released the critically acclaimed Country Music, a collaboration with producer T Bone Burnett.

After signing a new record deal with Legacy Recordings, in 2012 Nelson released the album Heroes, which featured appearances by Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristoferrson and Sheryl Crow, among others. It reached No. 4 country and No. 18 pop, his highest-charting effort since “Always on My Mind.” That same year, the Country Music Association honored Nelson with an all-star tribute at the CMAs in Nashville.

Shortly before his 81st birthday in 2014, Nelson also showed that he was still in top physical form, earning his fifth-degree black belt in the martial art GongKwon Yusul. His next album, Band of Brothers, was released that June and gave Nelson yet another No. 1 country hit as well as reaching the Top 10 on the pop charts. After receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress in 2015, Nelson released Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (2016), a tribute to the iconic songs of the George and Ira Gershwin that features duets with artists such as Sheryl Crow and Cyndi Lauper.

Nelson has maintained a presence on the big screen as well, appearing in films such as The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Blonde Ambition (2007), Beer for My Horses (2008) and Zoolander 2 (2016).

In 2015, Nelson’s longtime love affair with cannabis also led him to launch a new business venture—Willie’s Reserve, a line of marijuana products grown and sold in the few states where it is already legal. As the company’s website states: “For decades, as Willie Nelson and his band traveled from town to town, pot enthusiasts flocked to his shows. They happily shared the bounty from their home gardens and local communities. Willie happily returned the favor.”

Personal Life 

In 1952, Nelson married for the first time, to Martha Matthews with whom he had three children—Lana, Susie, and Billy—before they split up a decade later. In 1963, Nelson married singer Shirley Collie, but divorced her in 1971 after becoming involved with Connie Koepke. They had two daughters together, Paula and Amy. Willie and Connie then divorced in 1988 after Willie became involved with Ann Marie D'Angelo. Nelson married D'Angelo in 1991 and they have been together ever since. They have two sons, Lucas and Jacob Micah, and live in a sustainable solar-powered community in Hawaii, on the island of Maui.

Guest Category: Arts, Music, Politics & Government, Society and Culture
Guest Occupation: Actor/Comedian/Screenwriter
Guest Biography:

Chevy Chase was the first "Saturday Night Live" alumnus to crossover from the show's edgy comedy-skit format to mainstream success. After a year and a half as a writer and actor on SNL (1975-6), Chase left for Hollywood, where he created memorably offbeat characters in Foul Play (1978) and Caddy Shack (1980). Chase's comedic trademarks -- the ice-cold deadpan delivery and smart-alecky wit -- would make his hit movies mandatory viewing for both fans of comedy and aspiring comics.

Before signing on to "SNL," Chase changed his first name to "Chevy", which had been a childhood nickname given him by his grandmother. As host of the "SNL" Weekend Update news show, Chase became famous for his tagline: "Good evening, I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not."

In 1983, National Lampoon's Vacation introduced the world to the road-tripping Griswold family and its bumbling patriarch, Clark W., which would become one of Chase's trademark roles. And then in 1985, Chase starred in Fletch, about the adventures of wise-cracking, fast-talking and impossibly nervy investigative reporter Irwin M. Fletcher. The script was perfectly suited to Chase's delivery and naturally confident, smarter-than-thou persona. Vacation would spawn numerous sequels and Fletch one. Around this period, Chase also co-starred in Spies Like Us (1985) with Dan Akroyd, Three Amigos (1986) with Steve Martin and Martin Short, and the fish-out-of-water comedy Funny Farm (1988).

1992's Memoirs of an Invisible Man saw Chase venture outside of comedy for a turn at this supernatural drama helmed by John Carpenter. For the rest of the 1990s, Chase worked mostly in family-oriented films, famously turning down the lead role in American Beauty (1999). He appeared in the kid-friendly Cops and Robbersons (1994) and Man of the House (1995). He also had supporting roles in Snow Day (2000) and Orange County (2002).

Guest Category: Entertainment, Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: Iraq War Resister
Guest Biography:

JUST WHO IS LT. EHREN WATADA?

By Peter J. Swing

In June 2006, Lt. Ehren Watada publicly refused deployment orders to Iraq, becoming the first commissioned officer of the United States Army to do so since 1965. After battling the military justice system for more than a year, he currently faces six years in federal prison and a dishonorable discharge.
During this time, Watada’s family and friends have mobilized a national movement supporting his refusal and protesting the war, and he has become an icon for the anti-war movement, especially among Asian Americans. Watada’s refusal to be silent is the act of an Asian American who adhered to his convictions despite the risk of severe consequences.

‘These Roots’

Born and raised in the farming community of Fort Lupton, Colorado, Ehren Watada’s father, Bob, remembers growing up amidst racism as one of the few Japanese in Colorado.

“Imagine going into a restaurant and sitting in the corner and not being served,” Bob Watada said. “You could sit there for two hours, and they wouldn’t serve you, even if they served everybody else. After a while, we would just walk out.”

But he would not continue to walk out quietly for long. “I was always an activist,” Bob Watada explained. From protesting the war in Vietnam and joining the Peace Corps in the 1960s, he instilled these values, “these roots” as he calls them, upon his son.

“My father has always been very community-minded, sometimes putting community things before family things,” says the younger Watada.

Ehren Watada’s mother, Carolyn Ho, a Chinese American born in Honolulu, is a descendant of a Chinese migrant who came to Hawai’i in the late 19th century to work on sugar plantations. Ehren was born in Honolulu in 1978, and Ho describes her son as always determined and a bit precocious. “Every time kids would fool around during soccer practice, I would see Ehren with a serious look on his face, calm and composed,” Ho laughingly recalled.

Growing up, Watada was a Boy Scout, which he views as a precursor to the military. “The rank, the discipline, the patriotism, the ribbons, the merit badges – it’s very similar.” Watada attained Eagle rank by the ninth grade — an extraordinary feat for a 13-year-old since the average Eagle Scout attains his rank at age 16.

Being a Boy Scout was a primary motivation for joining the military. “The sense of adventurism you get from scouting is the same that you perceive in the military,” he says, “Also, there’s that really deep sense of service and giving something back.”

Final Score, 42-0

Watada played football on Honolulu’s Kalani High football team in 1996, an experience which tremendously shaped and informed his character today. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, however way you see it, I played on a team with one of the worst records in football on the entire islands,” Watada said. He recalls one particularly humiliating defeat early in the season: “We lost 42-0; we were just getting creamed. I was getting picked on because three or four of those touchdowns must’ve [been] scored on me. I was getting beat up.” At the time he was 5′7″ and about 150 pounds.

The entire game was both physically and mentally exhausting, Watada recalls. The other team members saw the defeat in Watada’s face and decided to exploit that weakness: “They were kicking the kickoff to me, when we hadn’t even practiced for that … [One time] I got hit so hard I went out of bounds on one play.” For the first time, Watada experienced a strong sense of despair and dejection. “I came out of that game really feeling humiliated and defeated,” Watada explains. “I was just broken inside and outside. During the period of that game and after it, I just lost hope in myself and what I thought I could do.”

He internalized all of the negative feelings that were attached to this game and later looked back to realize that it had a positive impact on the development of his character: “They could humiliate you; they could try to crush your will; they can beat up on you physically, but when you really lose is when you give up on yourself.” He has brought that outlook to his current situation facing the court-martial trial: “I think consciously or subconsciously that situation has carried over to how I carry myself now.

That’s how I can stay as strong as I have been throughout this very difficult ordeal. The Army can try to ostracize me, try to discredit me in the media. They can send me to prison and punish me. But whatever they do, I always remember the lesson that I learned: you aren’t defeated until you tell yourself you’re defeated.”

Watada still thinks about playing on that losing football team. “I always wonder if I had been on a team that had won every game. Maybe that experience of being defeated, being the underdog and trying to struggle, wouldn’t have built my character to do what I have done.”

Dawson’s Lieutenants

After graduating from high school and obtaining his degree in Business Administration at Hawai’i Pacific University, Watada enlisted in the Army.
His first duty station was Camp Stanley in South Korea, considered one of the most demanding stations in the Army. “They say that a year in Korea is equal to three years back in the States,” Watada said. “You train as if you were going to war any day.”

In Korea, he was driven by the strict battalion commander Lt. Colonel Matthew Dawson. “He would cuss and swear at us; he would get in our face,” Watada said. “Normally, battalion commanders don’t get too involved with their lieutenants; they focus on their captains. But it was his mission to make sure that he had the best lieutenants.”

Under Dawson, Watada learned the value of comprehensive knowledge. “He would force us to read every technical and field manual. He told us many times that if you didn’t know everything about your profession and your mission, then you would just be a failure,” Watada said. Dawson instilled in Watada the desire “to know everything there is to know” about his duty.

Watada’s lawyer attempted to contact Lt. Dawson to be a character witness in the trial; Dawson said he respected Watada’s decision but would not “go to war” with him. “He doesn’t agree with what I did,” Watada said. “And that’s fine. You have to look at the broader issue. We’re not just soldiers trained to go to war; we’re trained to defend our country and the Constitution.”

A note in Watada’s fitness report remarked that he possessed an “insatiable appetite for knowledge,” according to a New York Times story in July 2006, and Watada credits this to Dawson: “Some of what he instilled in me, I carried over with me when I redeployed back to the States. It was vital for me to find out everything there is to know. That’s what led to this questioning and trying to attain knowledge of what the hell we’re doing in Iraq.”

Transformation

In January 2005, Watada received orders to Fort Lewis, Washington, in anticipation of deployment to Iraq. Watada felt neither frightened nor anxious, but extremely unprepared. “I was detailed to be a fire support officer with an infantry company,” Watada explained.

Watada applied his “insatiable appetite for knowledge” to his future duties in Iraq. He felt it was his obligation and duty as an officer to know what to anticipate. “I did this to better prepare myself and my soldiers. That’s what I was taught in Korea.”

He haunted the Fort Lewis library, which contains an extraordinary number of military documents, archives and databases, and scoured volumes on military history, particularly in Iraq. “I read the history of units that have gone during the initial invasion to gain a broader knowledge of what I could expect,” he said.

At the time, it was more than the war that was making headlines; the Valerie Plame case, Supreme Court nominations and the country’s heightened surveillance, all questioned the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. “I was looking at who was trying to protect us,” Watada said. “Who is standing up and speaking out for the soldiers” I told myself that nobody is.

“I just felt so saddened by what was going on and so frustrated, so disheartened,” he continued. “And yet I told myself there was nothing I could do.”

Watada recalls one radio show that especially touched him. “This guy calls, and he was pretty hysterical. His brother was being sent to Iraq again, and he was really scared for him. He asked ‘Why isn’t anybody doing anything? Where are all the protests and the rallies like there was in the Vietnam War?’”
Watada reevaluated his stance on the war in Iraq. “I just snapped. I said, ‘I can do something about it.’ Though I may suffer for it, though it may just be a blip on the radar, at least I know that I can do something about it.”
After being denied two resignation requests, Watada publicly announced his refusal of deployment orders in Tacoma, Washington, on June 7, 2006. Two weeks later, Watada was officially charged with three violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice on six counts.

Peter Swing served as a nuclear, biological and chemical warfare defense specialist for the U.S. Marine Corps from 1998 to 2002 in the Middle East and Central America. He is currently the administrative coordinator for the AsianWeek Foundation.

Peter Swing served as a nuclear, biological and chemical warfare defense specialist for the U.S. Marine Corps from 1998 to 2002 in the Middle East and Central America. He is currently the administrative coordinator for the AsianWeek Foundation.

 

Ehren Watada: Free at Last

By Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith

On June 7, 2006, a 28-year-old Army lieutenant named Ehren Watada released a video press statement announcing that he was refusing to deploy to Iraq because the Iraq War was illegal and his “participation would make me party to war crimes.” After three years of trying to convict him by court martial, the Army has finally given up and allowed Lt. Watada to resign. Despite his direct refusal of an order to deploy, Watada did not spend a single day in jail.

Watada’s Story

A former Eagle Scout with a degree in finance, Watada volunteered for military service after 9/11. His motives could hardly have been more patriotic. For himself and his fellow soldiers, he said, “the reason why we all joined the military” and “the commitment we made to this country” is “to sacrifice everything–sacrifice our lives, our freedom–to ensure that all Americans live in a country where we have true democracy.”

When he learned that he would be shipped to Iraq, Lt. Watada began to read everything he could find about the war, on all sides, so that he could better motivate the troops under his command. One of the books he read was James Bamford’s A Pretext for War. In a film made about his story, In the Name of Democracy, Watada described shock at what he learned: “Our country, and we as a military, had been deceived. There’s no other way of putting it. Whether they misrepresented the truth, or they told half-truths or misled–it’s a lie.” The Iraq War was “a war not out of self-defense but by choice.”

Watada is not a pacifist, and he based his stand not just on the falsehood of the justifications for the war but on the usurpation of legitimate constitutional authority by the officials in the George W. Bush administration.

“There came a time when I saw people with power, and they held that power absolute and they did not listen to the will of the people,” he says in In the Name of Democracy. “That was the leadership of our country. Those were the people who were in charge of our lives, and yet they did what they wanted to do with impunity, and nobody was willing to stand up and challenge them.”

Watada offered to resign or to be deployed to Afghanistan; the Army refused. He felt bound by his military oath to do what his conscience abhorred. Then he had an epiphany: his military oath actually required him to refuse orders he believed were illegal, and his loyalty was owed to the Constitution, not to the officials who were perverting it.

“I believe the only real God-given right we have is the freedom to choose,” Watada says. “And when we take that away from ourselves, then we put ourselves in an invisible prison that nobody else imposes on us except for ourselves. When you tell yourself again that you do have a choice–I could go to prison for it, I could be tortured, I could die for it, but I have that choice and I can make it–then that invisible prison kind of lifts off, and you feel free. I felt so free when I told myself that I have a choice.”

On June 7, 2006, Watada issued a statement announcing his refusal to deploy: “It is my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law. Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order.”

Crucial to his argument was the unconstitutionality of the decision to go to war. “We had people within our country with tremendous amounts of power who were doing whatever they felt they wanted to,” Watada explained. “There were no checks and balances like our Constitution espouses.”

His disobedience was also his duty under international law: The UN Charter and the Nuremberg principles “bar wars of aggression.” As treaties, they are US law as well.

Watada was aware that imprisonment was the likeliest consequence of his action. But he planned to put the war on trial in the process: “I will try to argue the legal merits of the war: that it is illegal, that it is immoral and that officers and soldiers of conscience should not be forced to do something that is illegal and immoral.”

The Army charged Lt. Watada with failure to deploy to Iraq with his unit and began court martial proceedings. There began the torturous process that ended with Watada’s recent victory–a process that echoes the old saying, “Military justice is to justice as military music is to music.”

Watada and his supporters prepared to put the war on trial. But Military Judge Lt. Col. John Head refused to allow Watada’s motivation for refusing the order–the war’s illegality–even to be considered. Judge Head maintained that when Watada stipulated that he had disobeyed an order, he was actually confessing guilt, making any defense irrelevant.

The court tied itself in knots trying to maintain the paradox that a soldier has a duty to disobey illegal orders while Watada could not argue that the order he disobeyed was not a lawful order.

When the judge called for the prosecution and defense lawyers to request a mistrial on the grounds that Watada must have misunderstood his own statement, both sides told Judge Head that they disagreed with him. At that point the judge virtually instructed the lawyer for the prosecution to ask for a mistrial, which he immediately granted.

Judge Head proposed to retry Watada on the same charges. But, as Watada’s lawyer Eric Seitz said in a press conference after the court martial, since both prosecution and defense had presented their full cases, that would be an obvious breach of the Constitution’s safeguard against double jeopardy–trying anyone twice on the same charges. The Army, Seitz said, should realize that “this case is a hopeless mess.”

Three military courts rejected Watada’s double jeopardy claim; but as soon as the case was appealed to a civilian court, US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle issued a stay blocking the retrial and charging that “the military judge likely abused his discretion.” The Army announced it would appeal but then did nothing for eighteen months, leaving Watada in limbo. Finally, after a campaign by Watada’s supporters, the Obama administration’s Department of Justice nixed the Army’s appeal. The Army threatened to court martial Watada on other charges but finally decided to accept defeat.

Deeper Questions Remain

Ehren Watada is now free to go on with civilian life. But as the Obama administration goes into arrears on its pledges to withdraw from Iraq, plunges further into quagmires in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and threatens to escalate conflict with Iran, the questions Watada’s action posed continue to haunt us. Here are a few:

Is there a right and obligation to resist?

Watada raised the fundamental question of whether authority–in the military or in society more generally–is something to be blindly accepted, or something to be subject to rational moral and legal examination. He asserted that “the American soldier must rise above the socialization that tells them authority should always be obeyed without question. Rank should be respected but never blindly followed.”

Gen. Peter Pace, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked in 2006, “Should people in the US military disobey orders they believe are illegal?” He answered, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.” If so, what are the implications for soldiers, for the military and for the rest of us?

Should the military hear claims that orders are illegal?

Watada stated, “I understand that under military law, those in the military are allowed to refuse and in fact have the right to refuse unlawful orders–a duty to refuse. In a court of law they should be given the opportunity to bring evidence and witnesses to their defense on how that order was unlawful. In this case I will not be, and that is a travesty of justice.”

Should the law recognize selective objectors?

The Selective Service Act provides conscientious objector status to those who oppose all wars on grounds of moral conscience. But it takes the position that objectors can’t pick and choose their wars. Yet today there are strong moral grounds to oppose many, if not most, of the wars that occur, even for those who might admit in principle that some wars might be justified. Amnesty International takes the position that there is a right to such “selective objection” and that those who are punished for refusing to participate in a war they consider immoral are “prisoners of conscience.”

Watada recognized that “in opposition to my position, the argument will be made that soldiers don’t have a right to pick and choose their wars.” But, he maintained, “I would respond that it is not only our right but our constitutional and moral duty.” Is it time to recognize conscientious objectors to particular wars?

How can illegal wars of aggression be prevented?

There is currently a broad debate on torture in policy circles, the public and to some degree in the courts. But torture is only one war crime, and it’s not the most severe. Yet there is virtually no effort to question or establish accountability for the most important war crime by the United States in Iraq: illegal pre-emptive war.

As Watada said, “I think the greatest crime that the leaders of a country could commit–the leadership of a country–would be to take their people, their country, into war, based upon false pretenses.”

In a statement that won him an additional charge from the Army, Watada told a Veterans for Peace convention, “To stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.” Is such action disloyalty, or a much-needed addition to our system of checks and balances?

The Army vented its own frustration at its failure to convict Watada by insisting that his resignation was “under other than honorable conditions.”

Lt. Ehren Watada honorably sacrificed much and risked more “to make sure that all Americans live in a country where we have true democracy.” The Army should honor him as a military hero.

Guest Category: Military, Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: US Congressmember
Guest Biography:

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District which encompasses the Detroit metropolitan area.  In 2014, Congressman Conyers was elected to his 26th consecutive term, making him the the first African-American to hold the distinction as Dean (most senior member) of Congress. 

Congressman Conyers is the current Ranking Member and a former chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary .  Previously, he served as Chair of the Committee on Government Operations (now the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform).  Congressman Conyers is a Founding Member and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In Congressman Conyers’ 50 years of public service, he has been a major proponent of more than 100 pieces of critical legislation including the original Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the Motor Voter Bill of 1993, the Alcohol Warning Label Act of 1988, and the Jazz Preservation Act of 1987. Congressman Conyers was also the driving force behind the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

On April 8, 1968, four days after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. passed away, Congressman Conyers introduced the original Martin Luther King Holiday Act of 1983. After 15 years, the bill would eventually pass into law, making the third Monday of January as an official Federal holiday. 

Congressman Conyers, born in Detroit, MI, attended Northwestern High School. Upon graduation, he matriculted to Wayne State University for his undergraduate and legal studies. Congressman Conyers served in the National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War. Congressman Conyers is married to Monica, and they have two sons John III and Carl Edward.

Guest Category: Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: Musician
Guest Biography:

Born in a military hospital in South America, Immortal Technique was brought to the United States in the early 80’s while a civil war was breaking out in his native Peru. The US supported puppet democracy and Guerilla factions were locked in a bitter struggle which ended like most do in Latin America, with the military and economic aid of the State Dept. through channels like the CIA. Although he had escaped the belligerent poverty and social turmoil of life in the 3rd world, he was now residing in Harlem which had its own share of drama. Growing up on the streets of New York, the young man became enamored with Hip Hop culture, writing graffiti and starting to rhyme at an early age. Although he frequently cut school and ended up being arrested time and time again for his wild behavior, the kid still managed to finish high school and got accepted to a state university. Unfortunately the survivalist and aggressive attitude that was the norm in New York City caused him to be involved in more violent altercations at school, whether it was with other brothers, false flaggers or the relentlessly racist population of an uncultured Middle America.

Compiling multiple assault charges in New York State and in other states eventually caught up to the uncompromisingly hardheaded actions of one Immortal Technique. He faced several charges for Aggravated Assault in the tri-state area. Realizing his inevitable incarceration, Technique began to prolifically write down his ideas about what he had lived and seen in the struggle back at home in relation to his visits back to his native land. He came to embrace his African roots that stemmed from his grandfather and understood the nature of racism and ignorance in its role in Latino culture, separating oppressed peoples and keeping them divided. He also began to study in depth about the Revolutionary ideas that had caused a history of uprising in the indigenous community of his Native South America. Although pressured to turn states evidence before and during his bid, he refused the DA and lawyers. He was facing a 5-10 stretch, but the hiring of a pittbull attorney helped him compile the cases without turning snitch like his co-defendants. The result was a 1-2 year sentence in the mountains, 6 hours away from the city. There Technique studied, worked out vigorously, began to document his lyrics, and create songs. Besides the creation there was destruction, and the fights were nothing compared to the verbal battles that he engaged in occasionally. This proved to be a foreshadowing of what was to come…

Paroled in 1999, Immortal Technique returned to NYC and began a campaign to claim victory to what he had discovered he had a talent for; battling. One of the rites of passage in establishing oneself in the Hip Hop community is following in the steps of those who made their name in lyrical warfare before you. Immortal Technique quickly became known throughout the underground. His brutally disrespectful style was trademark, and it was not long until he had won countless battles not just on stage and in clubs, but on the streets whenever a random cipher would pop up. From Rocksteady Anniversary, to Braggin Rites, SLAM DVD’s and hookt.com’s infamous battles, he established himself as someone who could captivate a crowd and who people looked forward to seeing. But it was then that Technique realized what every battle champion had come to terms with before him, battles was just that, battling, and not synonymous with success at making music. Turning his eye to production and touching up some of the songs he had written in prison he now focused on trying to get an album together, but major labels wanted a more pop friendly image and were uncomfortable with his hardcore street style that was complemented by his political views. In response to their lack of vision, Immortal Technique left the battle circuit and released his critically acclaimed Revolutionary Vol.1, which at first moved 3000 copies, but to date has moved more than 12,000. This earned him Unsigned Hype in the Source (11/02) and numerous articles in Elemental & Mass Appeal.

Established in the underground circuit Tech began another round of dealing with record labels unwilling to see the direction of his brutally honest and cultured rhymes. He decided to continue with what had been so successful, his hand to hand out the trunk hustle. In the post 9.11 climate, as the music industry crumbled, Immortal Technique built on the truth with a hardcore brand of street politics. Being featured in XXL, The Washington Post, and having been titled with the Hip Hop quotable in The Source (10/03) for his sophomore independent release Revolutionary Vol.2 was just the beginning.. On Viper Records, where he is the Executive VP, he sold 29,000 copies of Revolutionary Vol.2 to date and has appeared on soundtracks for new movies including the new Mario Van Peebles film “BAADASSSSS”. Immortal Technique has also worked with Mumia Abu Jamal and AWOL magazine. His single “Industrial Revolution” released in conjunction with Uncle Howie Records hit #1 on CMJ and #50 on the Billboard charts. Recently back from a successful West Coast tour, Immortal Technique is now booking a European tour in the Fall of 2004 and recording his highly anticipated third album…

Immortal Technique visits prisons to speak to youth and working with immigrant rights activists, and raising money for children’s hospitals overseas. He created a writing grant program for high school students as well.

In June 2008, Immortal Technique partnered with Omeid International, a non–profit human rights organization, and dubbed the work as "The Green Light Project". With the profits of the album The 3rd World, he traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, to help Omeid build an orphanage without any corporate or external funding. The orphanage, having been successfully established, currently houses over 20 orphaned children from Kabul.

Guest Category: Arts, Entertainment, Music, News, Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: 9-11 Activist
Guest Biography:

William Rodriguez, is a native of Puerto Rico, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the State of New Jersey. On September 11, 2001, and for approximately nineteen years prior thereto, Rodriguez was employed as a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York, New York.  

On 9/11, Rodriguez  single-handedly rescued fifteen (15) persons from the WTC, and as Rodriguez was the only person at the site with the master key to the North Tower stairwells,  he bravely led firefighters up the stairwell, unlocking doors as they ascended, thereby aiding in the successful evacuation of unknown hundreds of those who survived. Rodriguez, at great risk to his own life, re-entered the Towers three times after the first, North Tower impact at about 8:46 A.M., and is believed to be the last person to exit the North Tower alive, surviving the building's collapse by diving beneath a fire truck. After receiving medical attention at the WTC site for his injuries, Rodriguez spent the rest of 9/11 aiding as a volunteer in the rescue efforts, and at dawn the following morning, was back at Ground Zero continuing his heroic efforts.

Rodriguez lost his employment of 19 years and his means of earning a living as a direct result of the attacks on the WTC on 9/11. Deeply affected, as one might imagine, by his experiences of 9/11, Rodriguez has, in a variety of capacities and through several different organizations, worked ever since that terrible day to help others who were affected by the atrocities committed. He has continued in these labors, notwithstanding the fact that, due to the loss of his employment, he has been unable to earn a living, and was even homeless for a time.

Guest Category: News, Politics & Government, Theory & Conspiracy
Guest Occupation: Rabbi
Guest Biography:

Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of the forthcoming The Left Hand of God: Taking Our Country Back from the Relligious Right (HarperSanFrancisco, 2006)  is not only rabbi of Beyt Tikkun but is also the editor of TIKKUN magazine: A Bimonthly Jewish Critique of Politics, Culture and Society. TIKKUN is one of the most respected intellectual/cultural magazines in the Jewish world, but also one of the most controversial because of its stand in favor of the rights of Palestinians, on the one hand, which locates him in the minds of many as the leader and most prominent spokesperson in the U.S. of Jewish supporters of the Israeli peace movement, and on the other hand, because of his stand critiquing the anti-religious and anti-spiritual biases of the secular Left, insisting that they need to address the spiritual hunger of Americans as equally important to their material needs (he calls this a hunger for "meaning" and says that for many Americans the desire to transcend the individualism and selfishness of the competitive marketplace and connect their lives to higher meaning is as important as any interest in money or things, and that one reason why people who might on purely economic grounds be supporting the liberal and progressive social change movements actually end up supporting the Right is that the Left doesn't have a "politics of meaning").  He is the co-author with Cornel West of a book entitled Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin, and several other books.

About Tikkun Community
We are an international community of people of many faiths calling for social justice and political freedom in the context of new structures of work, caring communities, and democratic social and economic arrangements. We seek to influence public discourse in order to inspire compassion, generosity, non-violence and recognition of the spiritual dimensions of life.

Guest Occupation: Musician
Guest Biography:

For nearly 70 years as a performer, Pete Seeger has embodied the ideals of folk music – communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness. The songs he has written, and those he has discovered and shared, have helped preserve our cultural heritage, imprinting adults and children with the sounds, traditions and values of our global past and present. A fearless warrior for social justice and the environment, Pete’s political activism – from the Civil Rights movement and anti-McCarthyism to resistance to fascism and the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East – has become the template for subsequent generations of musicians and ordinary citizens with something to say about the world.

While his frequently unpopular stances have perhaps cost him a greater and more superficial popularity through media and performance blacklisting for during the ’50s and ’60s, 88-year-old Pete’s fearless contributions have nonetheless earned him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Harvard Arts Medal, the Kennedy Center Award, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, and even membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There’s currently a grassroots movement collecting signatures to nominate Pete for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Guest Category: Arts, Entertainment, Politics & Government
Guest Occupation: US Congressmember
Guest Biography:

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor.

Elected in November 2016 to her fourteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 76 percent of the vote in the 43rd Congressional District of California, Congresswoman Waters represents a large part of South Central Los Angeles including the communities of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, and Watts and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County comprised of Lennox, West Athens, West Carson, Harbor Gateway and El Camino Village. The 43rd District also includes the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita and Torrance.

Congresswoman Waters serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Legislative Leadership

Throughout her 37 years of public service, Maxine Waters has been on the cutting edge, tackling difficult and often controversial issues. She has combined her strong legislative and public policy acumen and high visibility in Democratic Party activities with an unusual ability to do grassroots organizing.

Prior to her election to the House of Representatives in 1990, Congresswoman Waters had already attracted national attention for her no-nonsense, no-holds-barred style of politics. During 14 years in the California State Assembly, she rose to the powerful position of Democratic Caucus Chair. She was responsible for some of the boldest legislation California has ever seen: the largest divestment of state pension funds from South Africa; landmark affirmative action legislation; the nation’s first statewide Child Abuse Prevention Training Program; the prohibition of police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors; and the introduction of the nation’s first plant closure law.

As a national Democratic Party leader, Congresswoman Waters has long been highly visible in Democratic Party politics and has served on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) since 1980. She was a key leader in five presidential campaigns: Sen. Edward Kennedy (1980), Rev. Jesse Jackson (1984 & 1988), and President Bill Clinton (1992 & 1996). In 2001, she was instrumental in the DNC’s creation of the National Development and Voting Rights Institute and the appointment of Mayor Maynard Jackson as its chair.

Following the Los Angeles civil unrest in 1992, Congresswoman Waters faced the nation’s media and public to interpret the hopelessness and despair in cities across America. Over the years, she has brought many government officials and policy makers to her South Central L.A. district to appeal for more resources. They included President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretaries of Housing & Urban Development Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo, and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve System. Following the unrest, she founded Community Build, the city’s grassroots rebuilding project.

She has used her skill to shape public policy and deliver the goods: $10 billion in Section 108 loan guarantees to cities for economic and infrastructure development, housing and small business expansion; $50 million appropriation for “Youth Fair Chance” program which established an intensive job and life skills training program for unskilled, unemployed youth; expanded U.S. debt relief for Africa and other developing nations; creating a “Center for Women Veterans,” among others.

Rep. Waters continues to be an active leader in a broad coalition of residential communities, environmental activists and elected officials that aggressively advocate for the mitigation of harmful impacts of the expansion plan for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Furthermore, she continues initiatives to preserve the unique environmental qualities of the Ballona wetlands and bluffs, treasures of her district.

She is a co-founder of Black Women’s Forum, a nonprofit organization of over 1,200 African American women in the Los Angeles area. In the mid-80s, she also founded Project Build, working with young people in Los Angeles housing developments on job training and placement.

As she confronts the issues such as poverty, economic development, equal justice under the law and other issues of concern to people of color, women, children, and poor people, Rep. Waters enjoys a broad cross section of support from diverse communities across the nation.

Throughout her career, Congresswoman Waters has been an advocate for international peace, justice, and human rights. Before her election to Congress, she was a leader in the movement to end Apartheid and establish democracy in South Africa. She opposed the 2004 Haitian coup d’etat, which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, and defends the rights of political prisoners in Haiti’s prisons. She leads congressional efforts to cancel the debts that poor countries in Africa and Latin America owe to wealthy institutions like the World Bank and free poor countries from the burden of international debts.

Congresswoman Waters is the founding member and former Chair of the ‘Out of Iraq’ Congressional Caucus. Formed in June 2005, the ‘Out of Iraq’ Congressional Caucus was established to bring to the Congress an on-going debate about the war in Iraq and the Administration’s justifications for the decision to go to war, to urge the return of US service members to their families as soon as possible.

Expanding access to health care services is another of Congresswoman Waters’ priorities. She spearheaded the development of the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998 to address the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities. Under her continuing leadership, funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative has increased from the initial appropriation of $156 million in fiscal year 1999 to approximately $400 million per year today. She is also the author of legislation to expand health services for patients with diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Congresswoman Waters has led congressional efforts to mitigate foreclosures and keep American families in their homes during the housing and economic crises, notably through her role as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity in the previous two Congresses. She authored the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provides grants to states, local governments and nonprofits to fight foreclosures, home abandonment and blight and to restore neighborhoods.  Through two infusions of funds, the Congresswoman was able to secure $6 billion for the program.

She is lauded by African American entrepreneurs for her work to expand contracting and procurement opportunities and to strengthen businesses. Long active in the women’s movement, Rep. Waters has given encouragement and financial support to women seeking public office. Many young people, including those in the hip-hop music community, praise her for her support and understanding of young people and their efforts at self-expression. One testament to her work is the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, a multimillion dollar campus providing education and employment opportunities to residents of the Watts area.

Personal Background

Maxine Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of 13 children reared by a single mother. She began working at age 13 in factories and segregated restaurants. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked in garment factories and at the telephone company. She attended California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She began her career in public service as a teacher and a volunteer coordinator in the Head Start program.

She is married to Sidney Williams, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. She is the mother of two adult children, Edward and Karen, and has two grandchildren.

Guest Category: News, Politics & Government
Guest Biography:

Alison Armstrong, author, educator, and creator of the widely acclaimed "Understanding Men" and “Understanding Women” transformational online series, asks the question: "What if no one is misbehaving -- including you?"  She explores the good reasons behind the behavior of men and women such as fundamental differences in the ways we think, act and communicate. She offers simple, partnership-based, solutions to improve our communication and intimacy by honoring ourselves and others. She’s known for her insight, sense of humor and ability to articulate the human experience and predicament of gender.

Guest Category: Entertainment, Health & Lifestyle, Kids & Family, Physics & Metaphysics, Psychology, Self Help, Sex, Society and Culture, Spiritual
Guest Occupation: Mystic Wealth Creator
Guest Biography:

Luci McMonagle transformed her poverty-stricken life that she grew up in into one of abundance, wealth, and happiness by working less and making more money. She is the Mystic Wealth Creator and focuses on mentoring Conscious, Mystical Entrepreneurs to create more freedom in their business & life through conscious wealth creation so they can make a BIG impact in the world while leaving a legacy.  Luci is an expert on energy clearings and empowers others with her unique approach blending practical tools with spirituality that enables hidden blocks to be transmuted. This opens the doors for more powerful creativity and more wealth to flow.

Guest Category: Business, Education, Health & Lifestyle, Kids & Family, Self Help, Variety
Guest Occupation: The JumpStart-Your-Biz Coach
Guest Biography:

Katrina Sawa is known as The JumpStart-Your-Biz Coach because she literally kicks her clients and their businesses into high gear. Katrina is the author of Love Yourself Successful and the creator of the JumpStart Your Marketing® System, of which she holds live events on every year. Katrina helps you move faster and more affordably towards your ultimate revenue and professional goals using online and offline relationship marketing strategies and leveraged business models, plus she kicks you in the butt to implement it all, too! Katrina is an energetic speaker and award-winning coach who has been featured on the Oprah and Friends XMRadioNetwork, ABC, and The CW. She’s also a contributor for numerous women’s business organizations and websites such as the Women Speakers Association and the Public Speakers Association. She was awarded the National Collaborator of the Year Award by the Public Speakers Association in 2016.

Guest Category: Business, Marketing, Management, Education, Courses & Training, Philosophy, Self Help, Motivational
Guest Occupation: Founder NutriMedical, Surgeon, Health Professional, Public Speaker, Radio Host
Guest Biography:

Founded in 1998 by Dr. William R. Deagle MD*, NutriMedical offers only those select products personally recommended by Dr. Bill and guaranteed to be of the highest quality. Our NutriMeds have been selected for particular use in nutritional support and treatment of numerous medical conditions as well as the maintenance of wellness.  Popular NutriMeds such as NutruSilver, NutrioDine, and NutriDefense were professionally formulated by Dr.Bill.

What makes our nutritional supplements different from the thousands of other online vitamin companies ?

  1. The consumer would have to find and purchase our supplements at a licensed doctor’s office. We offer to you our online office/shop.
  2. A process known as Albion Chelation makes our supplements  BioActivated and BioAvailable.  This means they are not only of the highest quality but efficiently effectively absorbed over many hours into every living tissue and cell in your body.
  3. Bill offers you customized protocols and personalized advise via email and phone for those who seek assistance with issues such as Diabetes, CardioVascular, Bones, Joints,, Hearing Loss, Muscle Building, Depression, ADHD, Infection, Digestive, Anti-Aging, Weight Loss, Men’s and Women’s Health, to name a few.*
  4. The Wellness Protocols section of our website is currently used by Practitioners and patients alike. They provide valuable references for the student of Holistic and Integrative Functional Medicine. Patients with any of these conditions and desiring to maintain wellness and avoid the ravages of genetic, environmental, or contracted illnesses, will most assuredly find this information extremely valuable.Enjoy life, stay well, and age slowly or not at all, through a healthy lifestyle and daily NutriMeds!

Dr Bill holds Board Certifications in the USA and Canada in Family, Internal, and Trauma Medicine as well as Surgical Specialties in Emergency, with exposure to Orthopedics, Plastics, General Surgery and Ophthalmology.

Dr Bill is scheduled to present two lectures in 2017 to A4M, American Academy of AntiAging Medicine: DNA Biophoton Song of Life and Theory of biophotons applied to DNA epigenetic controls in disease and aging.

Dr Bill has a daily (M-F) three hour radio show from 10 AM – 1 PM. As founder of the Deagle-Network.com he offers LiveStream Simulcast on multiple video platforms covering a wide range of topics from Medicine to World Politics. Medical doctors, health professionals and listeners around the world consult to learn Dr. Bill’s Functional Medicine Approach. Through integration of superior quality nutritional supplements and the latest in advanced imaging, labs, genetics and diagnostics, Dr. Bill offers you the “NutriMedical Family Member” a coherent strategy to optimize your health and recovery from illness. In Health and Happiness,

Listen to the NutriMedical Report Show, Mondays to Fridays 12 Noon to 3 pm CST, Enjoy the Friday “Firing Line” as Dr. Bill answers your questions with co-host Michelle!

Bless You, Your Family, and Loved Ones.

Guest Category: Earth & Space, Education, Health & Lifestyle, News, Philosophy, Physics & Metaphysics, Politics & Government, Technology, Theory & Conspiracy
Guest Occupation: Canadian Social Preneur, Talk Show Host, Artist and Champion for Change
Guest Biography:

FRANKIE PICASSO is a Canadian Social Preneur, Talk Show Host, Artist and Champion for Change who has been transforming lives and influencing culture for the past 30 years. She is the founder of The Good Radio Network, a socially conscious radio platform as a vehicle for social impact and change.

Professionally, she is a Certified Life, Business and Master Coach Trainer, Hypnotherapist, Author, Artist, and Human Rights  Activist, whose Unstoppable Brand allows her to specialize in the Impossible!

As a professional Social Impact Artist, Frankie’s paintings have been featured in the International Book of Contemporary Artists Volume 6 , and can be purchased on  FineArtAmerica.com. For the discerning pet owner, an ‘Original Pawcasso’ custom painting of their pet makes a wonderful gift, and each painting sold helps pay for cleft palate surgery for children, animal shelters, animal sanctuaries and more.

Frankie was recognized as one of the “50 Great Writers you should be Reading in 2015!” for her book Midlife Mojo. She is also the author of NO BULL Allowed and her 3rd book, an anthology she co-authored titled I Bared My Chest: 21 Unstoppable Women Get Naked, which is tied to the IBMC Global Charity, will be released on October 25, 2017, and is something she is insanely proud of.

Frankie was chosen as an inspiring woman by The Women Rock Project women’ and is a member of the Women’s Economic Forum (WEF) as well as the Evolutionary Business Council (EBC).  

She is a Huff Post contributor and a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists. 

A long time animal activist, Frankie is passionate about SAVING Animals worldwide and raising AWARENESS for the World Climate Project.

Guest Category: Arts, Visual Arts, Pets and Animals, Philosophy, Personal Development, Self Help, Inspirational, Motivational, Society and Culture