Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

People in the government know perfectly well this is going on. They have to know what lines their pockets, and they're lobbied heavily by the folks involved in making this happen. But they depend on the rest of us not knowing about it.

Sociologist Brooke Harrington explains how she learned about the world of tax avoidence experts by becoming one herself, her journey into the international network of offshore havens and professional middle-men dedicated to keeping profits from taxation, and why tax dodging has been such a lucrative gamble, from the Crusades to the private jet era.

Brooke is author of the Atlantic article Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts.


Episode 875


Nov 21
Posted by Alexander Jerri

This day in rancid, ugly, horrible, putrid, rotten history . . .


On this day in 1386 – (629 years ago) – the Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur of Samarkand, known to Europeans as Tamerlane, captured and sacked the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, took King Bagrat V of Georgia captive, and—according to the ancient chronicles—forced the Christian monarch to convert to Islam. Tbilisi was just one of Timur’s many conquests. His domain stretched from the western edge of China into what is now Turkey, but it was short-lived. On his deathbed, Timur designated a favorite grandson as his successor—but his other descendants ignored his wishes and went to war with each other, and the empire disintegrated in a few years.


On this day in 1918 – (97 years ago) – amid the armed conflict that persisted between Poland and Ukraine after the end of World War I, Polish soldiers and lawless civilians in the eastern European city of Lviv subjected its Jewish population to a pogrom that would last three days. Between 50 and 150 Jewish people were massacred, while about two thousand lost their homes, and some five hundred businesses were destroyed.


On this day in 1920 – (95 years ago) – in Dublin, Ireland, thirty-one people were killed in a day of deadly violence during the Irish War of Independence. It was the second and bloodiest of four different historical incidents in Ireland that have since become known as “Bloody Sunday.” It started in the morning with a series of carefully planned killings of British spies at various locations around the city by members of an assassination unit operating under the Irish military leader Michael Collins. Late that afternoon, a unit of militarized British police responded to the assassinations by showing up at a well-attended football match and firing upon the crowd of Irish spectators. By day’s end, the death toll on both sides included fourteen Irish civilians, fourteen British spies, and three IRA prisoners.


On this day in 1927 – (88 years ago) –about five hundred striking miners and I.W.W. activists outside the Columbine Coal Mine near Boulder, Colorado, were attacked by a detachment of state police armed with tear gas and machine guns. The month-old strike, prompted by wage theft and dangerous work conditions, had been uneventful for more than a month until the arrival of cold weather and the rising demand for coal put pressure on mine owners and local authorities to break the strike. In the chaos of the police attacks, six strikers were killed and about sixty injured. The police later claimed that some miners had fired guns at them, but those accounts were contradicted by witnesses, and no police had actually been shot.

On this day in 1953 – (62 years ago) – The British Natural History Museum announced that the famous skull of the prehistoric “Piltdown Man,” discovered four decades earlier in England and believed to be one of the most important hominid fossils ever found, was actually a hoax, constructed by combining a modern human skull with the jawbone of an orangutan. For more than forty years, paleontologists had been led down a scientific blind alley, publishing more than 250 scientific papers that were now revealed to be worthless. Since then, the identity of the hoax’s perpetrator has never been firmly established. But the “Piltdown Man” hoax is nowadays often cited by creationists, who claim that it shows the dishonesty of scientists who support Darwin’s theory of human evolution. This, despite the fact that it was precisely such scientists who actually exposed the hoax.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM or stream at


9:10 - Writer Curtis White sees new (and old) problems when he looks ahead to our futuristic robot economy.

Curtis is author of We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data from Melville House.


10:05 - Anuradha Mittal profiles the dangerous lives of land rights activists in Ethiopia and Cameroon.

The Oakland Institute just posted the release International Civil Society Alarmed by Conviction of Cameroonian Environmental Human Rights Defender.


10:35 - Laura Carlsen explains how marijuana legalization trends are shifting US-Mexico drug war policies.

Laura was just on CCTV talking about legalization trends in Mexico and the United States..


11:05 - Sociologist Brooke Harrington opens the door to the hidden world of elite wealth management.

Brooke is author of the Atlantic article Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts.


11:35 - Kyle Lydell Canty talks about why racism and police violence have him seeking political asylum in Canada.

Kyle wrote the Guardian opinion piece It's so dangerous to be a black American, I've sought asylum in Canada. To help with Kyle's legal fees, contribute to his GoFundMe here.


12:05 - Live from Beirut, Rania Masri calls out Western complicity, and silence, in the wake of Middle East violence.

Rania was quoted in the Intitute for Public Accuracy's news release From Beirut After Bombing: 'We are Not Numbers'.


12:45 - Jeff Dorchen apologizes to fiscal conservatives for not telling them what he thinks of them sooner.

Not sure if this program is the most effective forum for that, but we're with you Jeffy.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Here is what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data - Curtis White [Melville House]

International Civil Society Alarmed by Conviction of Cameroonian Environmental Human Rights Defender- Anuradha Mittal [Oakland Institute]

Laura Carlsen on Marijuana Legalization - CCTV [Video segment]

Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts - Brooke Harrington [The Atlantic]

It's so dangerous to be a black American, I've sought asylum in Canada-

From Beirut After Bombing: 'We are Not Numbers' - Rania Masri [Institute for Public Accuracy]

Episode 874

Democracy No!

Nov 14
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 10AM Central on WNUR 89.3FM or stream at

9:05 - Author Roslyn Fuller explains why democracy lost its way, and how to restore its promise.

Roslyn is author of Beasts and Gods: How democracy changed its meaning and lost its purpose from Zed Books.


Episode 873


Nov 7
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

'The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.'

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that in 1936. I won't deal here with the context in which he wrote it. I'd rather take it on its merits as a thing unto itself. Fitzgerald meant contradictory ideas such as "doom" and "hope." Let's be a bit less grandiose in choosing our ideas. Let's choose, for now, bigotry against black people, and the idea that bigoted notions about black people, or any people for that matter, are wrong because they are not informed by the deep and wide fullness of reality.

Clearly, a person can hold these two opposed ideas in the mind simultaneously. We white citizens of the USA are famous for doing so, and very few us can be accused of being plagued with first rate intelligence. How can we be intellectually both racist and anti-racist? This is because the mind is not a flat surface on which ideas are inscribed and from which they are read. The mind is a layered, weird thing, puzzling the creature attempting to use it to define its identity. It's not even clear how to define the mind within boundaries. The mind is so complex and elusive that even now it's telling me all kinds of lies about itself.

Fitzgerald was evidentally after something else in his statement than we've come to imagine when we consider it. As such, it's irrelevant to our topic, which today is "distraction." Well, then, why begin an essay on distraction with an entirely irrelevant bromide?

How better to demonstrate distraction? Right? I mean, that's pretty clever, actually.

Instead of testing for first rate minds, which are irrelevant in almost every circumstance involving anything of any importance, we should be trying to weed out the last rate minds. And to me, a last rate mind is one that divides the world into opposing ideas.

Here's an example: a friend of mine posted an article from Mother Jones about law enforcement attempts to identify individuals who might be planning to commit the kind of mass shooting we've been seeing more frequently over the last few years, and to connect with that (typically) young white man's family, friends and community contacts at school and elsewhere to get (typically) him to seek help in sorting out and dealing with his anti-social feelings in a non-destructive way. This strategy was part of an effort the author of the piece called "threat assessment." I found it a fascinating article.

But someone, who obviously disagreed, commented thus:

'This article should be titled "A Distraction from the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooting". If we are going to stop the next mass gun shooting common sense gun law measures need to be passed and our acceptance of gun violence, as a culture, needs to be addressed. America's acceptance that gun violence will happen, but always to someone else, is one of the root problems behind why we don't voice common sense solutions. It's as intellectually sharp as saying "some kids will always drink bleach" and then choosing not to child proof your home.'

Now this last rate mind had clearly not read the article. What she was doing was creating an opposition of ideas where none existed, in this case the imaginary dichotomy between mass shootings as a gun availability issue, and the same as a mental health issue. I can only assume that any advocacy for addressing the mental health aspect of the problem was a signal to this sub-par intellect of an attempt to call attention away from the gun aspect of the problem. And when such a signal was detected, bells and sirens and whistles and cuckoo clocks would go off in this person's head, and she wouldn't be able to restrain herself from what she saw as her duty to get the conversation back on the only productive track that would save our innocent children from being gunned down.
And one of the main problems with a person like this is that they are somehow never nearby professing their lackwit opinions when you would be in a position to slap them in the face with a mackerel and bring them partially to their senses.

In fact, the article she was dismissing did take into account the availability of guns, comparing our current response to mass shootings to that of Australia's over the past decade, and contained this sentence:

'The presence of more than 300 million guns in the United States—and the lack of political will to regulate their sale or use more effectively—is a stark reality with which threat assessment experts must contend...'

And this:

'In a sense, threat assessment is an improvisational solution of last resort: If we can't muster the courage or consensus to change our underlying policies on firearms …  at least we can assemble teams of skilled people in our communities and try to stop this awful menace, case by case.'

All right, dimwit didn't read the article, and she was definitely wrong about it being a distraction. So what does all this talk about a non-distraction have to do with actual distraction? I'll tell you: the belief that there is a simple yes/no position to any issue is part of the dumbing down of social discourse in our sick nation.
The idea that if you sympathize with how dangerous and underpaid and under-appreciated police work is you must be in favor of the harassment and indiscriminant gunning down of young black men by police is one such retardation of discourse. The notion that if you express an understanding of the frustration Palestinians feel at being occupied and a sense of offense when protesters are labeled terrorists you must therefore not care about the Jews being stabbed or run over by Israeli Arabs is another example of moronization.

Sadly, once an issue has been divided by moronization into two opposing sets, solutions bridging the moronic divide grow further out of reach. And once violence is involved, stupidity has won the day.

There are people who encourage our impotence to address issues with complexity. Those are the ones profiting from the status quo. If real change were to occur, these people would have to make their living in something like an honest, productive fashion.

The bi-polar, mutually exclusive version of discourse is itself the distraction. Now, we are, as rational beings, prone to understand the world through contrast. An object can most easily be distinguished by contrasting it with what it is not. This is where our rationality hurts us. But we are also irrational beings, aborting our inquiry at the very point where it shows us the difference between what we're looking for and what we're rejecting, and reacting in response to that contrast as if we suddenly have all the information we need to go into action.

In my opinion, we have to seek the uncertainty. Once something strikes you as certain, you need to go beyond that point until you find the flaw in the rational edifice. It's there. It's always there. Then you have to embody the uncertainty, adopt it, live with it, and if you can still act then, you might be acting with a degree of wisdom.

Assimilating uncertainty into one's decision-making process may not be one of the seven habits of highly effective people. But I think we've been run by highly effective people long enough. Most of them have proven themselves to be sociopaths. At the very least, they're due for a good slap in the face with a cold mackerel.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 10AM Central on WNUR 89.3FM or stream at

9:05 - Law professor Erin Murphy examines the blind spots in DNA forensic evidence.

Erin is the author of the Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA from Nation Books.

Episode 872


Oct 31