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Far from giving up a lot of the basic principles of Black nationalism - the idea that Black people have a destiny that cannot be accommodated by White America as it currently stands, that Black people should separate from White America, a firm belief in Black men as the salvation of the Black race - all of these things accompany Thomas on his migration to the right. It's not as if he gives up those principles. He certainly gives up left principles, but those are quite different and can't just be subsumed under the heading 'Black nationalism.'

Political scientist Corey Robin examines the politics of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas - from his early formative experiences with White supremacy, leftist defeatism and Black nationalism, to his formation of a deeply pessimistic, conservative realism that rejects the notion of politics as a path toward liberation.

Corey is author of the book The Enigma of Clarence Thomas from Metropolitan Books.


Episode 943

Poorer By Degrees

Mar 13 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

 Constant Dystopia

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

When Alfonso Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men came out back in 2006, I hailed the return of the dystopian sci-fi movie. I loved those things back in the late 60s and 70s. Soylent Green, Rollerball, Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Omega Man, A Clockwork Orange, A Boy and His Dog, from Kubrick to schlock, they were a seductive outlet for adolescent fears of pollution, governmental and corporate control, and nuclear war. So in Christmas of 2006, in the midst of the Bush/Cheney fiasco, I thought to myself, "Man, this is just what we need!"

Little did I know how hot the apocalyptic fantasy rush was going to be. I love lists, but even Rabelais would be daunted by the myriad. The Young Adult dystopian novels, movies and TV series alone multiply each season. Action, horror, comedies, psychological thrillers – every commercial genre has been colonized by camps of bleak futurologies.

I saw Logan, the final installment of the Hugh Jackman as Wolverine series, the other night. Didn't see any of the first however-many. The story is set in 2029. And this is not an anti-utopia per se. This is a Marvel Comics movie. Not that Marvel would be or has been incapable of weaving anti-utopian tales, and the X-men do exist in a world of allegorical ethnic cleansing, but even given that, there were a few almost unnoticeable but nonetheless remarkable passing notes on the way to telling the story. One, I don't even remember what it was – something about pollution, and the audience collectively, unconsciously, went, of course, it's the future, pollution got so bad it did that awful thing, whatever it was.

Okay, but this is twelve years in the future. The story takes place twelve years from now. My point is simply that it's all by-the-way now. You could set a story in next year, have most of the population dead of flesh-eating virus, and an audience would go, Yeah, that's plausible. Nuclear war has wiped out all humans except a handful of cannibal children by June? Could happen. John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor had to save a handful of humans from the Mayan-prophesied end of days? Five years ago? Well, we all had to go sometime.

This trend is not recent enough to blame on the ascension to office of the Creamsicle Raccoon, although a rewatch of any dystopia is most certainly enhanced by it. Reality itself... 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 - Journalist Kate Aronoff explains why the climate movement needs a new politics, beyond the Democratic establishment.

Kate is author of the cover story The Climate Movement Goes to War with Trump at In These Times.


10:00 - Political scientist Susan Kang pokes holes in the flawed gospel of political polling.

Susan wrote the article What Nate Missed in the latest issue of Jacobin.


10:35 - Journalist Marcy Wheeler unpacks the scope of the Vault 7 Wikileaks / CIA hacking dump.

Marcy wrote the articles Wikileaks Dumps CIA's Hacking Tools and No More Secrets: Vault 7 at her site emptywheel.


11:05 - Sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom traces the for-profit college boom to our busted economy.

Tressie is author of the book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy from The New Press.


12:05 - Journalist Victoria Law examines the legal labyrinth facing parents post-incarceration.

Victoria wrote the recent article Double Punishment: After Prison, Moms Face Legal Battles to Reunite With Kids for Truthout.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen monitors our current dystopia.

Would have never thought it would be in such crisp, high-definition.

Episode 942

Manifesto Destiny

Mar 4 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

 Don't Flaunt Your Privatization In Public

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

We might all profit, in an intellectual, or non-profit, fashion, from boiling down the machinations of the Dump administration to one core aim: privatizing the public wealth of the United States, and as much of that of the rest of the world as possible, for the enrichment of himself and his allies, each of whom represents some segment or other of the currently entrenched global corporate system. That seems to be his only policy goal, if he has one (that and salving his constantly bruised ego at every opportunity, only of importance for its entertainment value). The fascist ideology he serves as mascot for was just his way of getting votes and continues as a way to placate his most enthusiastic supporters, although we might find it has more direct advantages to him in his goal of stealing public wealth.

No one should have any difficulty accepting this umbrella explanation of the projectile fertilizer squirting out of the White House. Betsy DeVos, the undereducated Education Secretary, is peddling school vouchers, which will allow public money to subsidize private schooling for rich kids. The vouchers, of course, will be useless to poor people, because they won't be enough to help them pay for private school entirely, but will be just enough to give the already rich a little discount at the expense of public education.

Putting public lands up for sale is on the Dump wish list. Public funds are paying for members of the Dump clan to live in New York City, and for him to host ostensibly diplomatic business meetings at his resort. Dismantling the EPA is at the top of the EPA's suicidal agenda right now, with the goal of undoing pollution and safety regulations on corporations so they can make just that much more money – public health, public water, land and air, and nature itself be damned. The military buildup Dump keeps barking about can only benefit defense contractors, and a few foreign conflicts are always good for private military companies in the Blackwater and Halliburton mold, as well as your traditional arms manufacturers. The war on sustainable energy is only good for the fossil fuel industry, an industry in need of euthanizing if there ever was one. Even the money for that crown jewel of idiocy, the border wall, will mostly fill the pockets of executives of contracting firms with a bare... read more

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