Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Capitalism has decreased quality of life. It has given us needs that aren't real. It has befuddled us with crazy schedules and crazy distractions. It has given our overlords great power, whether they're our bosses or our legislators. I think that addiction has always been with humans, but what prevents us from addressing it is our lack of political will, our distraction, and our inability to, as individuals in the society, create change.

Ann Neumann returns to This is Hell! to discuss her Baffler Magazine article, "Pain and Suffering: Demonizing opioids has unintended consequences." "The Moment of Truth" follows the interview.

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Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1238 – (779 years ago) – a hastily mustered Russian army led by Grand Prince Yuri II of Vladimir-Suzdal was attacked by an army of the Mongol Hordes led by the general Burundai at the Sit River, near what is now Sonokovo, Russia — some three hundred miles southeast of modern-day St. Petersburg. The Mongols had already sacked Prince Yuri’s capital, after which he and his brothers pursued a counterattack, only to find that they were surrounded. Yuri and his army tried to flee, but made it only as far as the Sit River, where the entire force was taken out in a bloody battle in which the Mongols also suffered heavy losses. This key event inaugurated two centuries of Mongol domination of modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

In 1519 – (498 years ago) – the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés made his first landing on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, accompanied by some eleven ships, five hundred men, thirteen horses, and plenty of cannon, guns, and other weapons. Here, after claiming the land for the Spanish crown, Cortés began his campaign of conquest, forming key alliances with certain locals in order to vanquish the natives more generally. Cortés’s campaign would lead him up through Veracruz and then west to the great Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Arriving in that city with a large army, he met with the imperial ruler Moctezuma and established friendly relations with him in order to learn his weaknesses — the better to wipe him out two years later, destroy his city, and take possession of the empire, which he personally ruled for three years.

In 1986 – (31 years ago) – after playing a gig in Winter Park, Florida, with his bandmates in The Band, the singer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Manuel returned to his hotel room at a nearby Quality Inn, drank a bottle of Grand Marnier, entered the bathroom, and used a belt to hang himself from the shower curtain rod. An autopsy would later reveal cocaine in his bloodstream. In the Seventies, Manuel had suffered from depression and struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism, which had curbed his songwriting and damaged his singing voice. But in the Eighties, spending time in rehab had seemed to help. He died at the age of forty-two.

Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at / subscribe to the podcast


9:15 - Journalist Rachel Aspden explains how the Arab Spring came to Egypt, and why it failed.

Rachel is author of Generation Revolution: On the Front Line Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East from Other Press.


10:00 - Writer Nicole Aschoff looks from the start of Trump's presidency to the end of neoliberalism.

Nicole wrote the article The Glory Days are Over for Jacobin.


10:35 - n+1 editor Dayna Tortorici makes the case for a Women's Strike now. Well, March 8th.

Dayna wrote the new piece While the Iron Is Hot: The case for the Women's Strike at n+1.


11:05 - Economist Clair Brown lays out the framework for a new compassion within economics.

Clair is author of the book Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science from Bloomsbury Press.


12:05 - Political theorist Jodi Dean explains why the Communist Manifesto is more relevant, and needed, than ever.

Jodi wrote the introduction to a new edition of The Communist Manifesto from Pluto Press.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen goes public on privatization.


Posted by Alexander Jerri

 Both Sides Now

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

I have awoken to a new reality. I unfriended an abusive Hillary zealot. I feel as though a great turd has been lifted from my shoulders.

The sun seems brighter and warmer today, or maybe it's just the global warming. Thanks to human activity, fossil fuel burning and farm animal flatulence, the Earth has decided to hurl herself into the Sun. Nevertheless, until I start to burn up, I'm determined to enjoy the benefits of the Supersun with as much enthusiasm as I can muster.

This is called "finding the silver lining." Of course, you've heard of the silver lining. But do you know where they get these silver linings? They're inside clouds. When I was a kid, I heard that every cloud had a silver lining. Every cloud. Growing up as a secular- humanist Jew on the outskirts of Detroit, I assumed this was something Christians came up with. Christianity, as far as I understood it, was about clouds. After you died you went up into the sky and lounged about on the fluffy clouds. I spent many an afternoon looking up at the fluffy clouds, imagining myself lounging on them. It seemed a pleasant but far- fetched promise.

In the waiting room of my pediatrician's office, Dr. Blum, a Jew, there was a perplexing amount of Christian literature. Highlights magazine always seemed Christian to me, with Goofus and Gallant and Aloysius the wolf. And then there were the more obviously Christian books of Bible stories, with illustrations of holy characters with their arms out to their sides, palms out, with crepuscular sunbeams streaming through the clouds behind them. I believe Dr. Blum's receptionist picked out this literature for the children in his waiting room to while away their anxious time before they had to get a shot.

Every cloud had a silver lining, I was told. And on some level I took it literally, and scoffed at it. "No they don't," I thought, with a skeptical sneer. Why would they? Why would they have any lining at all? What's with the lining? Lining in a cloud? Why?

I was 18 years old before I ever flew on an airplane. This is because, when I was growing up, we were poorly. On my first flight I made sure to pay attention as we passed through clouds, checking for silver linings. No silver linings. I didn't really expect them, but it was satisfying to have my childhood biases confirmed. Yep, Christianity, debunked again. Christians and... read more

Episode 941


Feb 25 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1336  – (681 years ago) – four thousand village defenders of a fortess in Pilėnai, Lithuania, operating under the command of a prince named Margiris, were attacked by a force of the crusading Teutonic Knights, who sought to take their fortress and convert them to Christianity. Realizing they could not mount an effective defense, but unwilling to convert or otherwise allow the invaders a victory, the Lithuanian villagers burned down their own fortress and embarked on a mass suicide of the community, killing each other and themselves. Prince Margiris cut down his wife with a sword, killed his own guards and close advisors, and threw all their bodies into the flames before taking the fatal blade to himself. Villagers, following his lead, began burning their possessions and killing the people around them. According to one account, an old woman killed a hundred other people with an ax before using it on herself. A very few villagers did manage to escape the insanity on horseback, but the rest were found dead by the Teutonic invaders when they finally entered the blood-soaked fortress. For centuries, the mass suicide at Pilėnai has been celebrated by Lithuanians as an example of mass heroism, and it has inspired works of poetry, fiction, and music. But historians and archeologists still pursue contradictory theories as to where exactly the event took place.

In 1970 – (47 years ago) – one of the great American artists of the twentieth century, Mark Rothko, who used huge, vibrant fields of color in transcendent canvases full of tension and sensuality, was found dead in the kitchen of his studio, having sliced his arms open with a razor. An autopsy revealed that he had also overdosed on antidepressants. Rothko had suffered from depression, but had also developed an aortic aneurysm that was making it physically hard for him to paint. At the time of his suicide, he had just finished fourteen large canvases for the Rothko Chapel, under construction in Houston. Due to his illness, he needed two assistants to help him apply the paint, and he never lived to see the finished chapel. His suicide triggered an ugly legal battle between his heirs and his executors. And in recent years, some of his paintings have fetched eight-figure sums on the international art market.

Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at / subscribe to the podcast


9:15 - Art historian Harriet Senie explores America's maintenance of national myths through war memorials.

Harriet is author of Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 from Oxford University Press.


10:00 - Historian David Broder explains what the Anti-Trump left must learn from the anti-Berlusconi left.

David wrote the recent article Being Anti-Trump Isn’t Enough for Jacobin.


10:35 - Economist Dean Baker accounts for the economics of global trade in the Trump era.

Dean wrote the recent op-eds More Republican Handouts to the Rich and The Trouble With Trade: People Understand It for Truthout.


11:05 - Historian Osamah Khalil examines the illusions America sees when it looks to the Middle East.

Osamah is author of America’s Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise of the National Security State from Harvard University Press.


12:05 - Journalist Kevin Davis discusses the impact of neuroscience in the criminal justice system.

Kevin is author of The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America’s Courtrooms from Penguin.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen awakens to reality, or something like it.

Wonder of wonders, all beings are invited to Jeff's latest segment.

Episode 940

Locus on the Family

Feb 18 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

500 Years of Lying to Ourselves: An Apologetic History.

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

Ladies and Gentlemen and all points in between and beyond, I have distilled my discontent down to two rules:

1. The goal is equality of opportunity and equality under the law, inclusive society big and small (freedom from persecution on any basis), basic guaranteed standard of living (including infrastructure upkeep), universal health care, imprisonment as an admission of social failure to be limited to only exceptional cases, the choice to live a meaningful life rather than one dominated by drudgery, and equal access to quality education at every level. In short: respect for human rights and needs from any organization with which an individual comes into contact. These are within our abilities and resources as a species to provide. Without providing these, any system is extorting submission and misappropriating and misusing fees, rather than deserving of civil behavior and agreeable payment from the public. I'm not going to discuss or argue this anymore. If your goals are different, justify them to someone who cares.

2. Anything bad for Trump is good for the world.

I do not argue these points anymore. I don't explain them. I don't teach idiots, and only an idiot would disagree with these two convictions of mine. I would advise you all to do the same. Unless you're an idiot and disagree with me. Then I would advise you to eat a lump of poison. Or do like the KKK families do, murder your husband the Imperial Wizard and dump his body in the Missouri River.

The ability of stupid humanity to accept social conditions which any child can see are appallingly foolish is mind-numbing to me. It's really the dumbness of other people that's holding back the entire species.

Or is it? How do I get through my day, if I'm so enlightened that I can see through the veneer of respectability and discern the misbegotten nature of our society? I'll own it: I fool myself into thinking this garbage is okay. It's the only way to live a remotely pleasant life. Imagine living under the yoke of the Spanish Inquisition in 1493. Imagine how wildly you'd have to fool yourself into thinking it was fine to get up in the morning and go about your daily routine, while people were having their flesh punctured and ripped and their bones smashed until they admitted to abrogating some ludicrous superstitious rule. It's no... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1873  – (144 years ago) – a thirty-five-year-old former monk named Vasil Levsky, who had led a movement to liberate Bulgaria from rule by the Ottoman Empire, was executed by hanging. Inspired by the French Revolution and by European efforts toward liberal democracy and human rights, Levsky had worked for several years to create a network of secret committees across Bulgaria to prepare for a coordinated armed uprising. But when a few of his rebel colleagues pulled a robbery without his approval and were arrested, they betrayed him to the Ottoman police. Learning of this, Levsky tried to escape to Romania, but he never made it to the border. Today he’s regarded as one of Bulgaria’s national heroes.   

In 1930 – (87 years ago) – at the International Air Exposition in Saint Louis, Nellie Jay, a two-year-old Guernsey cow from Bismarck, Missouri, became the first cow to fly in an airplane. As part of the stunt, she was milked during the flight, producing twenty-four quarts of milk that were sealed into cardboard cartons and parachuted to spectators on the ground below. To maintain their milk production, dairy cows are kept continuously pregnant and their calves are taken away from them soon after birth, often to be slaughtered for veal. When Nellie Jay reached middle age and her milk days were over, she, too, was sent to the slaughterhouse.        

In 1943 – (74 years ago) – two students at the University of Munich, the siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, were arrested by the Gestapo for advocating resistance to Germany’s Nazi regime. They were founding members of the White Rose, a mostly student group that passed pamphlets and other materials hand-to-hand throughout southern Germany. Other White Rose activists were also arrested that day, and more were caught in the days thereafter. Hans and Sophie were among those found guilty of treason and executed by guillotine. Others went to prison until the end of World War II. Hans and Sophie Scholl had hoped that the Nazis’ recent defeat at Stalingrad would turn German public sentiment against the war. But on the very day of their arrest, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made a live radio speech in which he cited the Stalingrad debacle to argue for an escalation into what he called “total war.” He made... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at / subscribe to the podcast


9:15 - Sociologist Melinda Cooper explains how neoliberalism transformed the politics of the family.

Melinda is author of Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the new Social Conservatism from Zone Books.


10:00 - Live from Stockholm, Mikael Mikaelsson outlines the government-industry path to green energy.

Mikael is a government adviser on science and innovation policy and international collaboration across Europe.


10:35 - Live from Bucharest, Florin Poenaru examines Romania's massive, contradictory protest movement.

Florin wrote the recent article What is at Stake in the Romanian Protests? for LeftEast.


11:10 - Artist Raoul Martinez looks beyond the limits of freedom to a future of equality and liberation.

Raoul is author of Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth, the Illusion of Consent, and the Fight for Our Future from Pantheon.


12:05 - Writer Joseph Daher explores the contemporary political-economy of Hezbollah.

Joseph is author of Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God from Pluto Press.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, The current international trade situation pushes Jeff Dorchen over the borderline.

Did not have "international trade" in the pool for what would do that but OK.