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The idea of international law as a system of formal equality really gets to both the sense making function and the injustice of its application here. You have a situation in which 1 people are living under a belligerent occupation of another national group that is an advanced military power and supported by the global hegemon. That is the system. If you apply a system of formal equality in terms of rights to political violence on that, you are effectively cementing the status of the oppressed as oppressed.

Dylan Saba and Jake Romm discuss their n+1 article, "Acts Harmful to the Enemy," on international humanitarian law criminalizing revolution. After the interview, we hear new installments of "Rotten History" and "The Moment of Truth" with Jeff Dorchen.

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Episode 878

Die Herd

Dec 12 2015
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On this day in the year 1098 – (917 years ago) – an army of several thousand European crusaders, who for weeks had laid siege to the town of Ma’arrat al-Numan in what is now Syria, managed to breach the town’s walls. Once inside, the crusaders negotiated a peace agreement with the town’s Muslim leaders. But as soon as the Muslims surrendered, the crusaders launched a massacre, killing some twenty thousand people. Taking control of the town, they found that it was not as rich or well supplied as they had assumed it would be, and the army’s two European leaders fell into a power struggle over control of what was there. Most of the other crusaders mounted their horses and left, proceeding onward to Jerusalem. But a smaller group stayed behind and was soon forced to deal with cold weather and lack of food. Driven mad by starvation after winter set in, the Europeans finally resorted to cannibalism—cutting up, boiling, grilling, and eating body parts of the Muslims they had killed.

On this day in 1899 – (116 years ago) – in Honolulu, Hawaii, a twenty-two-year-old bookkeeper named You Chong became the first person to die in what would quickly become a disastrous epidemic of bubonic plague. The disease was thought to have been brought to Hawaii from Hong Kong aboard the Japanese merchant vessel SS Nippon Maru, which had docked in Honolulu a few weeks earlier, carrying two human corpses and numerous rats infected with plague. As the usually fatal disease spread at first among Honolulu’s residents of Asian extraction, local authorities responded by cordoning off the city’s Chinatown and deliberately setting fire to allegedly plague-infected homes. One such fire went raging out of control, creating a conflagration that burned for seventeen days and destroyed some four thousand flimsy wooden houses. More than five thousand Chinatown residents were left destitute, and were marched off to hastily improvised sanitariums where they were kept under involuntary quarantine for months. Meanwhile, the plague continued spreading across the island of Oahu, eventually claiming more than sixty lives before burning itself out.     

On this day in 1933 – (82 years ago) – during an NHL hockey game between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the legendary Boston defenseman Eddie Shore, hit by Toronto’s Red Homer, responded... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri



We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s

Richard Beck
Interview: The texture of fear: Inside the mass hysteria of 1980s child sex abuse scares.

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.

David Graeber
Interview: David Graeber follows the rules, to the boring / fascinating heart of bureaucracy itself.


Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images

Finis Dunaway
Interview: How mass media moved environmentalism from the political to the personal.


Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantanamo Bay

By Joseph Hickman
Interview: An eyewitness report on chaos, death and the torture of life at Guantanamo Bay.



Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

by Johann Hari
Interview: Telling the stories of private tragedies and public failures from the global drug war.


A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

Andrew Hartman
Interview: The American left won the culture wars, but neoliberalism destroyed the battlefield.

Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline

Jennifer Carlson
Interview: Understanding the politics of American gun culture in an age of economic and social instability.


The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease

Marc Lewis
Interview: Development, not recovery: Why addiction is not a disease.


The Audacious Ascetic: What the Bin Laden Tapes Reveal About Al-Qa'ida

Flagg Miller
Interview: Al-Qaeda on Al-Qaeda: Analyzing the Bin Laden tape archive.

The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
Interview: On survival, growth and mushrooms in the ruins of capitalism.


Kissinger's Shadow: The Long Reach of America's Most Controversial Statesman

Greg Grandin
Interview: Wars abroad for battles at home: Henry Kissinger's imperial architecture.



Class War: The Privatization of Childhood

Megan Erickson
Interview: Selling childhood in an age of austerity and division.


In Harm's Way: The Dynamics of Urban Violence

Javier Auyero & María Fernanda Berti
Interview: A new understanding of urban... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:10 - Writer Roy Scranton looks ahead to a future of mass global death, and what is left behind.

Roy is author of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization from City Lights.


10:05 - Dan Litchfield apologizes for his tiny part in the whole Volkswagon / diesel thing.

His part was pretty tiny, don't be too mad at him.


10:35 - CEPR's Mark Weisbrot explains what's behind rightward gains in the Venezuelan and Argentine elections.

Mark wrote the Hill post What next for Venezuela? and the new book Failed What the "Experts" Got Wrong about the Global Economy.


11:05 - Law professor Mehrsa Baradaran explores the rise of predatory finance and the unbanked class.

Mehrsa is author of How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy from Harvard University Press.


12:05 - Journalist Doug Henwood explains how American politics are 'Ready for Hillary' - and why that's the problem.

Doug is author of My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency from OR Books.


12:45 - In a live, undead Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen is awakened by the ghosts of the living.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization - Roy Scranton [City Lights]

Volkswagen diesel civil suits to be heard in California - Reuters

What next for Venezuela? - Mark Weisbrot [The Hill]

How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy - Mehrsa Baradaran [Harvard University Press]

My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency - Doug Henwood [OR Books]

Episode 877


Dec 5 2015
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On this day in 1876(139 years ago) – during the final act of a play called The Two Little Orphans at the Brooklyn Theater in New York, a canvas drop curtain behind the stage was set aflame by a gas-powered stage lamp. The play continued while the audience of about a thousand heard stagehands yelling and swearing as they tried to put the fire out. Only when the flames became visible to the audience did the actors fall out of character and urge the crowd to stay calm. One actor actually told the audience that the fire was “part of the play”—only to break and run a moment later, when a flaming chunk fell to the stage at her feet. After that, all hell broke loose—and while the main floor audience got out of the building safely, the gallery and balcony areas became death traps. Almost three hundred people were killed.

On this day in 1933(82 years ago) – organized crime and the bootlegging industry took a major hit as Utah became the thirty-sixth US state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and thus ended Prohibition. After fourteen “dry” years—during which violent crime had soared and thousands had died from drinking industrial alcohol, bathtub gin, and other poison concoctions—law-abiding Americans could once again purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. Millions of others, meanwhile, simply moved their stocks of wine and liquor up from the secret cellar and back to the kitchen. But some 38 percent of Americans continued to live under various forms of state or local prohibition for many years to come. The last completely “dry” state, Mississippi, did not repeal its law until 1966—and some two hundred counties across the United States remain “dry” to this day.    

On this day in 1952(63 years ago) – the city of London came to a near standstill as cold weather and heavy fog combined with coal smoke and other air pollution to produce the most severe smog event in the history of the UK. For three days, the so-called Great Smog of 1952 was so thick that visibility was limited to a few yards. Not only was driving impossible, but even walking down the street became difficult, as people could not see their own feet or the streets and sidewalks they were walking on. The smog even penetrated indoors, to the point that... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:10 - Journalist Antony Loewenstein explores the merger between disaster capitalism and endless global war.

Antony is author of Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe from Verso Books.


10:05 - Live from Sao Paulo, Brian Mier reports on a massive student protest movement against school closings in Brazil.

Brian covered the protest movement in the Brasil Wire article We Rule the School.


10:35 - Writer Barbara Ehernreich links a rise in low-income white deaths to the GOP's deathwish politics.

Barbara wrote the article Dead, White, and Blue The Great Die-Off of America's Blue Collar Whites for TomDispatch.


11:05 - Authors Anna Bernasek and D.T. Mongan explain how personal data is being turned against consumers.

Anna and Dan are authors of All You Can Pay: How Companies Use Our Data to Empty Our Wallets from PublicAffairs.


12:05 - Brandon Smith and Jamie Kalven talk about fighting the City of Chicago to break the Laquan McDonald story.

Brandon and Jamie's story is covered in the Columbia Journalism Review story How a little-known, Uber-driving freelancer brought the lawsuit that forced Chicago to release a police shooting video. Follw Brandon's writing at and Jamie's work at Invisible Institute.


12:45 - Jeff Dorchen exercises his Baffler-approved right to be an anti-Hillary misogynist.

No clue how The Baffler got involved in this one, send the hate mail Jeff's way, we still want to book guests from the magazine!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe - Anthony Lowenstein [Verso Books]

We Rule the School - Brian Miier [Brasil Wire]

Dead, White, and Blue The Great Die-Off of America's Blue Collar Whites  - Barbara Ehrenreich [TomDispatch]

All You Can Pay: How Companies Use Our Data to Empty Our Wallets -  Anna Bernasek And D.T. Mongan [PublicAffairs Books]

How Chicago tried to cover up a police execution - Curtis Black [Chicago Reporter]

Episode 876


Nov 28 2015