Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

You know my motto about ambition? “It’s the people with big dreams you have to watch out for.” Y’know, like Elon Musk. Hitler. Bill Gates. Forget about the Buddha, these are the people you should take action against if you meet them on the road. People who arrogate to themselves enormous resources and the right to mold society as they see fit, no matter how many suffer and die.

In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen peeks at this rosy world through money colored glasses - and sees the accumulated waste piling up in the bank accounts of the tyrannical rich and the guts of sperm whales and the assorted hog farms and sea and earth and sky - it's not a bad view if you all you see are dollar signs.


Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:20 - Live from Seoul, Marc Flury reports on the long, sudden end of the Korean War.

Marc will be reporting on yesterday's Inter-Korean Summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in.


10:00 - Historian Samuel Moyn explains why human rights won't deliver social and economic justice.

Samuel is author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World from Harvard University Press.


11:05 - The Oakland Institute's Anuradha Mittal calls for an end to the World Bank's ranking programs.

The Oakland Institute released the brief A Death Knell for the EBA? on their website.


11:35 - Journalist Julianne Tveten examines dissent's brand in a new age of commodified protest.

Julianne wrote the article Living in a Pepsi Ad World for The New Republic.


12:05 - Anthropologist Michaelanne Dye explores the IRL peer-to-peer network of Cuba's offline internet.

Michaelanne is co-author of the paper El Paquete Semanal: The Week's Internet in Havana, presented at the 2018 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen takes a trip down anxiety lane.

Something tells me Jeff knows the route pretty well.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

The title of this moment is The Eerie Canal. Unlike the Uncanny Valley, the Eerie Canal is all too embedded in actual human flesh. What's eerie about it? Let's catch a gondola and see.

A baby is about to emerge from within its mother, but before it commits to entering the world through a parting of what my friend Mike in high school called, disgustingly, but I can't get his phrase out of my head, so shame on me, "the roast beef curtain," it weighs its future possibilities. This baby is scheduled to momentarily make its grand entrance into what Shakespeare, who learned things before the advent of high school, called "this mortal coil." But the baby hesitates, because the curtain it is to enter from behind is also what liberal philosopher John Rawls, who had no friends in high school, or if he did, did not retain their sophomorically sexist if evocative nomenclature for aspects of the female anatomy, called "The Veil of Ignorance."

The Veil of Ignorance is a thought experiment: how would you design a society if it were possible that, once it was built, you might end up anywhere in it, in any social position, any geographic position, any economic position, any physical situation. You were ignorant of whether you would be rich or poor, strong or sickly, intelligent or mentally challenged, or somewhere in between. You just didn't know. Rawls didn't answer the question of what kind of society was to be designed. He posed it as an approach to thinking about justice and fairness and compassion, limits on power, and society's responsibility for the living conditions of the individuals it comprises.

This baby is as ignorant of its future status as any intentionally ignorant social thinker playing this theoretical game. It does know that it's human, but it doesn't know who its mother is. It doesn't even know its own sex, if you can believe it. Well, it's dark in there. Yes, it could feel around to find out, but to be honest, it would like to keep that information a surprise for itself.

So, this about-to-be-born baby has some things to work out. Unlike in Rawls' thought experiment, this baby knows what current societies are like. It's not that ignorant. It knows what Ugandan society is like, and it knows what Norwegian society is like. And it knows what conditions are like in various locations within those societies. It just doesn't know what kind of person it's... read more

Episode 1000

Warming Signs

Apr 21 2018
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:15 - Writer Corey Pein explores the boring, brutal world of Silicon Valley tech culture.

Corey is author of Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley from Metropolitan Books.


10:00 - Historian Tithi Bhattacharya explains why women are leading strikes across America.

Tithi wrote the Guardian op-ed Women are leading the wave of strikes in America. Here's why.


10:35 - Journalist Jacob Hamburger examines the space between elites and democracy in France.

Jacob wrote the article Can There Be a Left Populism? for Jacobin, and his blog Tocqueville 21 posted the symposium Focus: Elites and Democracy in France.


11:05 - Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright preview the new politics of a planet under rapid climate change.

Geoff and Joel are authors of the book Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future from Verso.


12:05 - Journalist Kate Aronoff finds denialism built deep within market-based climate change solutions.

Kate wrote the article Denial By A Different Name: It’s Time to Admit That Half-Measures Can’t Stop Climate Change for The Intercept.


12:45 In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen explores the birth canal.

Figuratively. Maybe not. Dunno what Jeff's into these days.

Episode 999

Field Notes

Apr 14 2018
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the moment of truth: the thirst that is the drink.

President Dump finally did it: he triggered the nuclear trade wars, a chain reaction of mutually prohibitive tariffs, a global web of protectionist punishments.

Now, no one can afford to live. I'm going to pretend this is not an exaggeration. Let's see how that goes.

No one can afford a place to live. Apartments and houses stand vacant because the rents and mortgages are too damn high. Landlords receive nothing for their properties, so they themselves must vacate their homes. What's propping up the price if not demand? Some artificial thing, a principle or an attitude no one understands. Even the banks receive no income from properties. The streets are lined with shanties made of reclaimed garbage.

No one can afford to buy food. Food rots in the supermarket because no one has the money to buy it. The cashiers and stock boys and baggers and managers haven’t worked in months, because the grocery stores aren't taking in any revenue.

The food gets thrown out, but some loyal employee takes it upon himself, without pay, to pour bleach all over it to make sure it can't be eaten by the scavenging homeless, which is all of us. That loyal employee is a jerk, but we understand his desire to please his now non-existent boss: he has Stock Boy Syndrome.

The farmers are out of business because no one can afford what they grow, and pretty soon the farmers themselves can't afford to grow it.

Artists are still making art, because artists are used to working for nothing. Teachers are teaching, because they're used to working without resources. They're teaching the homeless kids, which is all the kids. Firemen are still putting out fires with whatever tools they can get their hands on, out of a sense of duty, just to keep abandoned burning buildings from injuring anyone.

The prisoners are freed. The state can't afford to keep them in prison. The guards, even the crazy super-loyal ones, walk off the job, because everyone has something better to do, even if it's nothing. When the computers turn off the prison electricity, the generator power kicks in, and some kind or foolish soul opens everything before that auxiliary juice runs out.

Cops are preventing theft and committing it themselves, as usual. But nothing they steal is worth anything anymore. Gangs are protecting people for free. For loyalty. For whatever humans have that makes it worthwhile for a strong... 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 - Literary scholar Emily Apter surveys the allness and everywhereness of micropolitics.

Emily is author of Unexceptional Politics: On Obstruction, Impasse, and the Impolitic from Verso.


10:00 - Our Man in Budapest, Todd Williams reports on the non-surprise of last week's Hungarian elections.

The results are definitely not suprising to anyone who caught Todd's last report in 2017 on Orban's political dominance.


10:35 - Live from São Paulo, Brian Mier reports on Lula's imprisonment and left resistance across Brazil.

Brian co-wrote the article Lula's Arrest and the True State of the Brazilian Left for NACLA.


11:05 - Historian Gerald Horne explores colonialism's apocalyptic history of slavery and dispossession.

Gerald is author of The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean from Monthly Review Press.


12:00 - Writer Nick Murray examines the intersection of farming, corporate technology and country music.

Nick wrote the essay Agriculture Wars for Viewpoint Magazine.


12:35 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen figures out why no one can afford to live anymore.


Apr 13 2018
Episode 997

Zone Defense

Mar 31 2018
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

Why do I think about the American war in Indochina so often? For one thing, I have a strong sense of the illustrative nature of that war. The wrong choices a colonial power makes when it chooses to kill on a mass scale in order to control the destiny of other peoples are exemplified in the policy reasoning leading to our involvement there. Also, the character of those we chose as enemies highlights the wrongness of our military and diplomatic decisions.

We could not have chosen worse when it came to the decision to first ignore, then oppose, and then demonize Ho Chi Minh and those who came to follow him. He came, hat in hand, with a letter to the President of the United States immediately after WWII, asking for freedom for his country from the colonial oppression of the French. The letter was ignored. It either got to President Truman, who was either advised or decided on his own recognizance to ignore it, or someone decided on their own to stop the buck before it got to the buckstopper in chief.

The letter reportedly appealed to the self-proclaimed ideals of the USA: freedom, independence from tyranny, and the sovereignty of a people within their own borders. In imploring the US to take a position based on those ideals, perhaps Ho was being too literal in interpreting the rhetoric of our founding documents, probably because they'd been parroted by so many subsequent US leaders, albeit generally for self-serving reasons. It was an easy mistake to make, especially after the US military emerged from WWII looking like the savior of the oppressed, at least in Europe and most of Asia.

So here's a guy, leader of his country's nationalist movement, coming to ask the US to help him secure independence from a colonial power. And we, I'm going to call the US government "we," for a variety of reasons which you're free to extrapolate yourselves, we make exactly the wrong decision. The British Empire is already losing body parts like a cartoon leper, and is making noises about cutting India loose. The idea of Pakistan is already in the works. Other nations have won their independence from their colonial overlords. The writing's on the wall for colonial powers: "Let my people go!"

Hey, it's Passover, incidentally. Speaking of let my people go. Who would've thought the topic of the US invasion of Indochina would dovetail so neatly with the current high holy day?

... read more