Podcast for July 30, 2011 Shows


Yesterday, Saturday, July 30, This is Hell! aired a live four hour broadcast beginning at 9AM (US central time) over the air on WNUR 89.3FM, Chicago’s Sound Experiment, streaming and podcast here.

This weekend, your bitter blind broke gap-toothed radio show host Chuck Mertz interviewed:

  • Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is a Glasgow-based sociologist, born in Chitral in Pakistan’s North-west Frontier, and raised in Abbottabad and Peshawar. Muhammad is the co-editor of PULSE, a collaborative political weblog. He is also a free lance writer for Al Jazeera where his recent writing includes, “Gunboats and gurkhas in the American Imperium,” “The Virtue-less war of the ‘Nintendo bomber’,” and “The magical realism of body counts.”
  • Devin Burghart is vice president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights. This week, Devin wrote the piece “Norway Terror Suspect Described as Far-Right Nationalist Islamophobe.” Burghart has toured Norway on speaking and fact-finding missions about the far-right.
  • historian William Blum is the author of, most recently, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2.” Bill’s msot recent writing includes, “Arguing Libya.”

Our irregular correspondents this week were:

  • live from Haiti, Danny Muller issued a Wasted Energy Report
  • live from Dublin, Will Lynch talked Ireland’s new secularism
  • live from Los Angeles, Jeff Dorchen delivered a Moment of Truth



  • Guest

    If you want This Is Hell bring on: OFWGKTA

  • Ray Olson

    Holy kazoozis!!  Jeff’s in the zone!   Best damn MoT in a poon’s age!  

    And while Bill Blum lives up to your deconstruction of him after he’d rung off, I enjoyed the heck out of him–just my soft spot for unregenerate old lefties, I guess, and not that I have a sneaking suspicion that events might just bear out his opinion of what will happen to Libya after Ghaddafi.  

    Yours in reaction,


  • Chuck

    How do we get ‘em on? Hell, we’ll spend an hour with ‘em.

  • Anonymous

    William Blum really made sense to me, it’s only an extremist point of view in the USA, but in Europe, (where I live), that kind of thinking it’s pretty common, and in my opinion he was right in most of the things he asserted. 
    Your media masses have turned the center of discussion very far to the right, so any common sense opinions seem extremist to the mayority of americans. 

    For example, is it true that by bombarding countries USA is creating more terrorism and increasing the danger of being attacked?

    To me the answer is obvious.

  • Graeme Miller

    i only just got the chance to listen to this podcast, and william blum was interesting. ray olson had it right: hearing from an unrepentant 60s radical who didn’t ever get around to selling out and cashing in, it’s got its charms. and listening to chuck introduce blum to the concept of irony, the devil’s advocate thing, that was kinda funny. chuck’s deconstruction of blum was fairly spot-on, but kevan’s dismissal of blum, along the lines of “he doesn’t know anything about libya”, was, i think, a bit unfair. blum might not have a great deal of depth in his analysis, he’s no chomsky, but he does bring a curmudgeonly insistence upon recalling certain facts which are conveniently left outside the broad discourse of history, be it because it doesn’t fit well ideologically, or be it because it entails a degree of complexity deemed superfluous to a ‘comprehensive’ understanding of history or current affairs.  in this sense, one could suggest that he’s closer to the episodic, implicative ‘people’s history’ mode of radical critique championed by zinn than chomsky’s authoritative watertight analysis mode of critique. one could very credibly object that blum doesn’t have an in-depth knowledge of the alternate social/historical discourses he speaks of, but it would also have to be noted that very few people would have an in-depth intellectual knowledge of these alternate discourses, at least, not in english. he certainly points one in some interesting, neglected directions, his ‘anti-empire’ reports are the best thing i’ve found in the last week.

    a couple of other points. a veteran australian radio broadcaster, phillip adams, makes  the point frequently that american guests on his program always come on with an agenda, they’re trying to sell their ideas, they tend to have an assertive focus upon what it is they want to be taking part in a radio interview to say. blum stood apart from that: he was speaking very much off the cuff, with no specific agenda. his initial abrasiveness was itself quite intrigueing, like an antipathy towards participating within a mass media that he knows, 99% of the time, is just screwing everyone, himself included. and chuck’s handling of that scenario was brilliant, that was some top-notch interviewing right there, the reason why many of us listen to this is hell, i daresay. i’ve also heard adams make another point: the best part of a radio interview is the silence, because then you can be sure that you’ve got an interviewee who’s engaged in the conversation, taking the time to think. blum was very, very considered in his approach, once he got into the flow, once he developed a rapport with chuck.

    far from saying that it was awkward radio and you should never have him on agan, i’d suggest instead you sign up blum as an irregular correspondent! call it the cranky uncle bill show, it’d be golden…

    oh yeah, and jeff? his moment of hell was beyond golden, it was platinum, he was on fire… if he ever gets into an existential quandary again, like three or four years back, where he was wondering what his place on this is hell should be, just play him back that show… i was in awe, listening to jeff transcend himself.