Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
1029leahstokes

The more you get money from big businesses, the worse you do at guessing what the public wants. And the more you get money from membership-based groups, the better you do at guessing what the public wants. But the reality is that there's a lot less money coming from membership-based organizations than from corporate groups. So it's not surprising that overall those staffers are doing a bad job - they're hearing from businesses more, they're getting money from corporations more, and that seems to be influencing what they think the public wants across a range of issues.

Political scientist Leah Stokes examines the wide ideological gap between Congress and US citizens - as elected representatives and their staffers substitute corporate lobbying and their own beliefs for the values of their constituencies across a wide range of issues, policies are pushed rightward and away from popular solutions to pressing issues.

Leah is co-author of the paper Legislative Staff and Representation in Congress in the American Political Science Review.

 

Jeff Dorchen
Nov 10
1029jeffdorchen

On Some Bats of the Red Forest.


Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

Like everything else – education, housing, food, medical care – luxury needs to move from being privately owned to being entirely available for public use. Just like Yellowstone and Arches national parks, luxury homes, luxury cars, luxury jewelry, clothes, art materials, foods, wines, all of it. Every bit of luxury available all the time for the public to share.

Oh, no! shouts the person with no imagination. But then no new luxury homes will be built. Who will make exceptional wines if they can't hold them hostage for the highest price the market will bear? The only reason we have luxury at all, you know, is because fabulously wealthy people can own it. Their snotty patronage, their willingness to pay top dollar for excellence, is why excellence exists at all.

Maybe so. After all, ever since the social system under which the great Egyptian pyramids were funded and built, we haven't had a similar project, a gigantic pyramid- shaped tomb wasting land and resources so a self-important egomaniac could be buried with all his servants and animals. I guess we'll just have to enjoy the ones that remain from that beautiful time of enslavement and mass stupidity.

True, without kings, no new palaces need be built. Without private luxury, no new mansions need be built. We'll just have to enjoy the ones remaining from that beautiful time when people were stupid enough to believe that a handful of wealth-hoarders deserved the wealth they hoarded, and were so much better than the rest of us that they merited six or seven or a dozen over-sized private habitats. Maybe, if some of them are so determined to hold onto the old ways, we can display them in their former homes like animals in a zoo.

But surely there are people deserving of luxury, the ossified mind persists. You can't mean to suggest that any old self-appointed sculptor eating raw roadkill by the highway deserves to carve their pedestrian design into a singularly glorious piece of marble! Yes, I do. A great artist will make something great out of anything to hand. We needn't worry about running out of art. We might run out of Art Star art. We might run out of the ego- stroked narcissists who get paid hundreds of thousands for their work. Bless 'em, I don't begrudge their success under the current market-obsessed zeitgeist. But once we throw off the tyranny of the market, if an artist was only... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
989lineup

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

 

9:15 - Historian Paul Ortiz explores a Black and Brown history of organization and resistance against imperialism.

Paul is author of An African American and Latinx History of the United States from Beacon Press.

 

10:00 - Investigative journalist Lara Whyte examines the presence and participation of women in the far-right.

Lara co-wrote the article Why are women joining far-right movements, and why are we so surprised? with Claire Provost for openDemocracy.

 

10:35 - Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon makes a left case against intersectionality.

Bruce wrote the articles Intersectionality is a Hole. Afro-Pessimism is a Shovel. We Need to Stop Digging. and Looking Down That Deep Hole: Parasitic Intersectionality and Toxic Afro-Pessimism. for Black Agenda Report.

 

11:05 - Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz views America's history of guns, from the other side of the barrel.

Roxanne is author of Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment from City Lights Books.

 

12:05 - Journalist David Cay Johnston explains how the Trump administration is remaking the American government.

David is author of It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America from Simon & Schuster.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen commandeers John Lennon's fancy piano.

 

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

What is justice? Isn't wishing for justice these days like buying a tomato in January? Why do it? What makes you think such a thing is possible? A January tomato? Maybe if you're living in Chile. But you're not, are you? Or maybe you are. But for my purposes today, let's say you're in the Northern Hemisphere, where we might ask the question, is it just for us to receive produce from lands thousands of miles away so we can have unpleasant winter tomatoes? 

Answer? Not sure. There are many schools of thought on justice. Is it fairness? Is it just a word, like pennywhistle? Is it a flavor of living, like a little cheerfulness in your day, or a little cucumber in your water? Is it a parabolic, infinitely unreachable limit? 

Is justice an ideal, unrealizable? Is it a dream? I'll tell you what, a fine fresh tomato in January is a dream, a dream that will never come true. So if justice is a January tomato, there's your answer. Justice is a little bit grayer than you want it to be, a little bit harder, a lot less delicious. 

To everything there is a season. Justice, tomatoes. Stone fruits. Basketball. And when is it justice season here in the United States? 

Some might say Justice Season arrived with the #metoo movement. Let's see what that justice is made of. A man in a position of power, formal or informal power, uses that power to force women or even girls against their wills to participate in or observe his sexual gratification. Years later, after having been ignored or gaslit or victim-blamed by the institutions empowering the male abuser, finally these women are listened to and their abusers brought face-to-face with consequences. That's justice. 

 Or is it too little too late? Or is it both: too little justice too late, but justice nevertheless? I think of the Innocence Project. I think of a man, usually black, who has been sitting on Death Row for most of his life – say, thirty-five years – for a crime he didn't commit. Let's just say for the sake of argument that he never committed a single crime. He was simply framed by the police and the prosecutor. But now, due to the discovery of formerly suppressed exculpatory evidence, he's finally free! Justice has triumphed! 

But what if he'd never been railroaded? What if he'd been arrested and, at trial, had been found innocent and set free, never having... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

 

An African American and Latinx History of the United States - Paul Ortiz | Beacon Press

Why are women joining far-right movements, and why are we so surprised? - Lara Whyte and Claire Provost

Intersectionality is a Hole. Afro-Pessimism is a Shovel. We Need to Stop Digging. / Looking Down That Deep Hole: Parasitic Intersectionality and Toxic Afro-Pessimism - Bruce Dixon | Black Agenda Report

Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment - Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz | City Lights Books

It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America - David Cay Johnston | Simon & Schuster

 

And here's what we read this week just for fun:

 

Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews - Nat Parry | Consortium News

The High-Tech Poorhouse: An Interview with Virginia Eubanks - Sam Adler-Bell | Jacobin

Climate Crisis and the State of Disarray - William C. Anderson | ROAR Magazine

11 Theses on Possible Communism - C17 | Viewpoint Magazine

‘One thinge that ouerthroweth all that were graunted before’: On Being Presidential - China Mieville | Salvage

Bombs in Our Backyard - | ProPublica

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Could Destroy Our Nation’s Water Systems - Michelle Chen | The Nation

Lipstick on a Gig: Why We Should Be Very Skeptical of Uber’s New “Portable Benefits” Scheme - Julianne Tveten | In These Times

 

Episode 988

Connectivity Error

Jan 27
Posted by Alexander Jerri
988lineup

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

 

9:15 - Journalist Doug Henwood works out a solution to the pension crisis, far from Wall Street's grasp.

Doug and Liza Featherstone wrote the report Wall Street Isn’t the Answer to the Pension Crisis. Expanding Social Security Is. for In These Times.

 

10:00 - Journalist Sarah Sunshine Manning discusses the politics of indigenous feminism and the promise of rematriation.

Sarah wrote the article No Indigenous Women, No Women's Movement for Truthdig.

 

10:35 - Writer Luke Savage examines great moments in bipartisanship, from the Vietnam war to mass incarceration.

Luke wrote the article The Curse of Bipartisanship for Current Affairs.

 

11:05 - Writer Johann Hari explains why disconnection is at the center of depression and anxiety today.

Johann is author of the book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions from Bloomsbury.

 

12:05 - Writer Ijeoma Oluo talks about what we need to talk about when we talk about race in America.

Ijeoma is author of the book So You Want to Talk about Race from Seal Press.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen wonders why we even bother thinking about justice.

He'll probably come up with an an

Episode 987

Robbermade

Jan 20
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

People are wondering, okay, what's next? After the current order destroys itself, what fresh horror will emerge? Now that the contradictions of democracy perverted by capitalism have revealed themselves, after the snake eats its tail, and chews all the way up into its own heart, what misshapen, radiation-mutated phoenix will rise from its ashes?

Recent think pieces have bemoaned the failure of the left. Rightly so. Quite rightly. The diagnosis is a lack of Leninism in the blood. Leninism is nostalgically pined for both for its leadership and its roots in the laboring class.

The reason for the left's suspicion of a Leninist vanguard party is clear enough, with China and the former Soviet Empire providing spectacular examples of the pitfalls of allowing anti-democratic, authoritarian regimes to dominate the fight, even the rhetorical fight, for economic justice. Even before Stalin, on whose shoulders most of the historical burden of Soviet totalitarianism is heaped, Lenin's treatment of soviets daring to assert autonomy, and the prematurely Orwellian impulses evinced by the Bolshevik party, were enough to give Emma Goldman pause. No romanticism of the professional revolutionaries of the early 20th Century is going to wash away the gray flavor of oppressive social engineering and attempts to stamp out bourgeois, culturally and sexually exploratory, and religious values from above. In the USA, the fear the left has maintained of despotic rule is the Jeffersonian one giving the Constitution its suspicion of concentrating power in any one of the three branches of government. Unfortunately, the framers were notoriously lacking in sufficient suspicion of capital, but that's our burden now, isn't it?

Then there's the other question of what the left misses of Lenin's charms: why has the left become so isolated from labor? Everyone on the left I know who has tried to return to their ideological roots in the working class has maintained some distance from wage slavery. I've known progressives that turned to organic farming. Many, of course, become teachers. I know middle-class people, or those who assume they're middle-class, who have eschewed the class-enemy status of what we call "the professions" for something more like trades: furniture makers, chefs, bicycle mechanics, nurses, journalists, barbers, electricians. Contractors of various types. People who work... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
987lineup

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

 

9:15 - Author Liz Fekete sees the far right not fighting against the European state, but working within it.

Liz is author of Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right from Verso.

 

10:05 - Jacobin writer Meagan Day dismantles means testing, incrementalism and other fixtures of neoliberalism.

Meagan wrote the recent articles The Bureaucratic Nightmare of Incrementalism and Targeted Social Programs Make Easy Targets for Jacobin.

 

10:35 - The Radical Pessimist, Kevan Harris examines the labor roots of Iran's revolt of the periphery.

Kevan co-authored the report Voter Behaviour and Political Mobilization in Iran for EIRG and co-wrote the article How years of increasing labor unrest signaled Iran’s latest protest wave for Washington Post.

 

11:05 - Political economist Gordon Lafer explains how corporate politics bought America, state by state.

Gordon is author of The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time from Cornell University Press.

 

12:05 - Historian Terence Keel explores the pre-modern Christian origins of modern racial thought.

Terence is author of Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science from Stanford University Press.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen envisions the future for humanity that will suit him.

Jeff's movie comes out next month. He wrote it!

Episode 986

State / Farm

Jan 13