Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
1072keirmilburn

If we don't have a really radical transformation in our economic system - that the Green New Deal would only be the start of - we're looking at genocides that will make the 20th century genocides look minute. It makes my jaw drop when I see the resistance from the center, the refusal to face up to the facts that we don't live in 2006 anymore. We live in a totally different world, and the politics that were around before the crisis of 2008 - they're just not of any use anymore.

Activist Keir Milburn explains how left politics opened up for young people - as left/right politics increasingly align over generational lines in the decade of austerity and political crisis post-2008 financial collapse, a massive restructuring of society must happen to save humanity from the disasters of capital and climate, and today's leaders have no plans for tomorrow.

Keir is author of the book Generation Left from Polity.

 


Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

It’s a dangerous world. How do you make it safe? You can’t make everyone safe. You have to start by making yourself safe. How? By deflecting, so I hear. Deflection. It’s the coward’s way and you’ve got to give it to cowards, they’re all safety first.

I’d like to deflect a few things. Because I’ve heard that’s what clever people do, they deflect. Or maybe not clever people, successful people. I’m not sure what characterizes these people, to be honest, but deflection seems to be thought of as a successful strategy. I’m not sure for what. But successful on its own terms or on some terms.

I heard from an anonymous source that, at UCLA, a stupid uninoculated millennial may have exposed 500 people or so to the measles, those people were quarantined, and the school has been hushing it up, but you didn’t hear it from me.

My writing partner is saddened that chimps in the Detroit Zoo are no longer allowed to smoke. I agree, it’s an unfortunate decision. Everything gets ruined by these priggish bluestocking martinets. One of my fondest childhood memories is of going into the Great Ape House and seeing Jo Mendi II relaxing with a cigarette and the morning paper. What are the chimps supposed to do now when they’re having coffee or a beer?

Trump writes up an executive order that health workers can refuse to give medical care for religious reasons. So if a Satanic pharmacist doesn’t want to sell you reading glasses because you’ll use them to read the Bible, you’re out of luck, Junior.

Look, I’ve wasted my life. I did it just to see what that would be like. And it’s fine. It’s miserable, yeah, but lots of people are miserable who haven’t wasted their lives at all. They’ve created quite beautiful things, like restaurants or symphonies or babies. Yet they can be miserable, physically miserable, living in misery. I’m just miserable because I’m haunted by self-disgust. Because I’ve wasted my life, and I did it on purpose, just to see what it would be like. And it’s great, really.

But it was a stupid thing to do, in other ways. But then, wasn’t it stupid of us to allow things to get to this point? Where everything is melting and burning, and only incredibly stupid, vile people are allowed to hold public office?... read more

Episode 1054

New World Border

May 4
Posted by Alexander Jerri
1054lineup

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

 

9:20 - Political scientist Thea Riofrancos examines the space between Latin America's left and extractive capital's future.

Thea wrote the article What Comes After Extractivism? for Dissent.

 

10:05 - Anthropologist Ruben Andersson traces the new borders being drawn by Western state violence.

Ruben is author of No Go World: How Fear Is Redrawing Our Maps and Infecting Our Politics from University of California Press.

 

11:05 - Investigative journalist Yasha Levine explores a century of technology and racism in the US census.

Yasha wrote the article The Racist - and High Tech - Origins of America’s Modern Census for Medium.

 

12:10 - Journalist Andrew Cockburn reviews 43 years of Joe Biden-inflicted disaster on the world.

Andrew wrote the Letter from Washington No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy for Harper's.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen catalogues evidence of our decreasing intelligence. Or at least his.

 

Episode 1053

Pill Case

Apr 27
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

I’ve been trying to channel someone with admirable traits lately, because I have none left. Not sure I ever did. Was I kind and forgiving at one time? Emotionally generous? Did I suffer fools gladly? Did I suckle baby iguanas at my teat of human kindness?

I am despicable. Self-despicable. I am very self-reliant in that one regard. I can definitely despise myself. All by myself.

I do have one consolation. At least I’m not a social climber. I lack the prehensile tail, much less the embouchure it takes to cling to someone else’s upwardly moving prehensile tail by my lips.

But the rest of you, oh my god, how did you all get like this? You’re worse than me! And I’m not the only one who thinks so. I say that without a shred of proof, just evidence gathered like one might gather crumbs on a table cloth and call them a cookie. Like Alex Jones does with fragments of lies.

Just think: Alex Jones exists. That alone ought to be enough to convince any objective observer that our species has outlived its redemptive potential.

I can’t figure out who I hate more: the left, the right, or the middle? Or the up? Or the down? There is an interlocking ecology of annoyances these days. I can’t stand the interrogation of the self that brings forth nothing but oversimplifications. The academics who can’t utter one comprehensible word, and the academics who CAN utter comprehensible words but they’re always reactionary words. I don’t know who’s more intolerable, the people I can’t stand or the people who can’t stand me or the ones who overlap into both categories.

The white people and the Chinese and the Persians and Greeks and Mongols and Tatars started it. Conquering. But even that idea is too complicated for a lot of you. I can’t even itemize what aggrieves me anymore. This is how bad it’s gotten. This is how bad YOU’VE all gotten.

It’s the white men, it’s the black men, it’s the straight men, it’s the gay men, it’s the women of color, it’s the white women, it’s the Jews it’s the gentiles it’s the god damn Buddhists. I’m just, I’m fed up. Not a single one of you has a decent idea about how to proceed. We’re just gonna run in place here. Just jog in place shouting one incomprehensible chant over and over... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
1053lineup

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

 

9:20 - Live from São Paulo, Brian Mier connects fascism in Brazil to imperialism in the US.

Brian is co-editor of the new book of interviews Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil from Brasilwire.

 

10:05 - Latina/o Studies scholar Marisol LeBrón explores the harsh edges of punitive governance in Puerto Rico.

Marisol is author of the new book Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico from University of California Press.

 

11:05 - Historian Donna Murch traces the racial divide between the opioid crisis and the drug war.

Donna wrote the article How Race Made the Opioid Crisis for Boston Review.

 

12:05 - Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt explain how private equity builds fortunes destroying grocery stores.

Eileen and Rosemary wrote the report Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk for The American Prospect, reposted at CEPR.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen complains intersectionally.

Episode 1052

Too Late

Apr 22
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

When I first saw David Frum, I said to myself, Damn, that guy’s ugly. Then I heard the bs that came out of his slobbering maw and said, aloud, “Uch, shut up.” Frum is one of those conservatives who fancies himself fair-minded, so he sporadically takes some positions which those defining conservatism at any given time call “liberal.” It’s like being a light-drinking alcoholic.

Last week, as current editor of the Atlantic, Frum took his ersatz common sense and applied it to what I’m going to call “the immigration question.” On the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, I do indeed intend the phrase to echo “the Jewish question” which was posed by a certain common-sense party in Europe in the 30s and 40s. I don’t mean to call Frum a Nazi, but to aver that there is an unflattering comparison to be made between the way Jews were considered a problem back then and the way immigrants are being considered a problem right now, and Frum’s discussion highlights just about all of its unflattering aspects.

To Frum, immigrants lower the national IQ, strain our social budget, and pollute what it means to be American. That is an oversimplification of his argument, but not a gross one. I want to state plainly that, in this case, I am a bigot. Even if the above statements were true, I wouldn’t consider them problems.

If we had to rescue millions of severely mentally handicapped children from extermination in, say, Europe, or, say, Uganda, or, say, Syria, the fact that they would bring down the national testing average would not be one of my concerns. The real issue Frum elides, however, is that, as a nation, we don’t commit resources to our public schools. In our cities, “common-sense” Republicans and Democrats alike are bailing on providing education to the public. With or without immigrants, this would be true. Neo-liberalism, or trickle-down economics, or the Washington Consensus, or whatever those with “common sense” want to call it, is doing its best to starve the public of resources, or outright steal the public’s resources, and all the “immigration question” does is offer these “common-sense” advocates of privatization and “market solutions” with another crisis they can use to bludgeon the public sphere into... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
1052banner

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

 

9:20 - Journalist George Joseph explores the surveillance machine IBM built for Rodrigo Duterte.

George wrote the article Inside the Surveillance Program IBM Built for Rodrigo Duterte for The Intercept.

 

10:05 - Writer Noah Kulwin examines the space between Israel's right and the Democratic establishment.

Noah wrote the articles How CAP Fuels the Right for Jacobin and No Reason for Optimism for Jewish Currents.

 

10:35 - Conflict researcher Andrew Tchie follows the revolution that toppled Sudan's government.

Andrew is author of the commentary How Sudan’s protesters upped the ante, and forced al-Bashir from power for The Conversation.

 

11:05 - Sustainability scholar Jem Bendell looks to deep adaptation in the face of inevitable climate-induced social collapse.

Jem is author of the paper Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy.

 

12:05 - Writer Anna Merlan explores the slow creep of conspiracy thinking into American life and politics.

Anna is author of the book Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power from Metropolitan Books.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen tiptoes around Passover.

 

Posted by Alexander Jerri

 

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

Spread the word to all the venture capitalists you know: I have the secret to eternal youth, immortality, invulnerability, invisibility, time travel, instantaneous transport, and control of all matter and energy. Right now it’s in the secret idea development stage, but just a few billion dollars will turn me and few lucky dupes into the saviors of humanity and make us wealthy beyond the limits of earthly human reason.

An investment of a million dollars will buy you “nice try” status, and you will receive a promissory coupon for an unlimited number of rides in the Mach 99 fat-tire stroller to oblivion. Two million dollars gets you twice as many rides. And so on until math runs out.

An investment of 400 million dollars will get you on the board of directors, 150% of voting shares, and an invisible royal garment.

I can take just a drop of your blood and turn it into enough loaves and fishes to feed a great multitude.

Now is our time! The time of infinite promise and zero fulfillment! We shall be gods, promising good fortune and, ultimately, heaven, but delivering only that which a mythical savior who lacks actual existence can deliver.

We promise you high-speed rail but we can’t even deliver potable water to people in Michigan, a state surrounded by the Great Lakes. We promise you 100% surveillance but we can’t even give you justice when cops are caught on video killing your children.

We are the best and brightest: when it comes to promising, we can do it all. When it comes to luxuries and miraculous sights, sounds, flavors and sensations, we procure them for ourselves.

And when it comes to solving the actual problems afflicting humanity, we, just like God, do absolutely nothing, almost as if we didn’t exist.

But we do. We are the living church, glories of architecture, marble and gold, the paragon of all the arts and sciences, and you can visit us long enough to worship and drop a few coins in our collection plate. After all, the people create the gods, and feed them with their blood and money.

You know who contributed the altarpiece? Henry Kissinger. Just think, you could pray to a sculpture that Henry Kissinger paid for! The man who won the Nobel Peace Prize for killing the greatest number of Indochinese in a single war.

We have all the money. Do you want some? You’ll have to make it worth our while.... read more