Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Episode 892

Blind Spot

Mar 19 2016

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Paul Pillar

Why American exceptionalism survives its own failures.

Foreign policy analyst and CIA veteran Paul Pillar explains how the isolated geography and short history of the United States forged the concept of American exceptionalism, and why the US political class's embrace of that myth both limits debate on policy and favors ideology over reported intelligence, decade after decade, from Vietnam to Iraq to the next disaster.

Paul is author of Why America Misunderstands the World: National Experience and Roots of Misperception from Columbia University Press.



Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

How the EPA's own poisoned politics failed to protect the people of Flint.

EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo explains how the regulatory body allowed internal politics and outright negligence to turn Flint into a sacrifice zone, and ties the current crisis to America's long history (and present) of ignoring environmental threats to communities of color.

Marsha is an EPA whistleblower, and wrote the recent pieces Water crises like Flint's will continue until the EPA is held accountable for the Guardian and McCarthy and Snyder to Testify before House Oversight Committee on the Poisoning of Flint’s Children for Black Agenda Report.



Beverly Bell

They fear us because we're fearless: Berta Cáceres in life and death.

Organizer Beverly Bell profiles the life and legacy Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist who lead resistance efforts against illegal corporate extraction and construction projects on indigenous land in Honduras, and connects Berta's assassination, and the killing and jailing of other activists in the country, to a violent post-coup regime benefiting from the silence (and weapons) of the United States.

Beverly wrote Why Was Berta Cáceres Assassinated? for Other Worlds.

Interview transcript via Antidote Zine



Thomas Frank

No alternative: Behind the continuing failure of the Democratic Party.

Writer Thomas Frank examines the continuing failures of the modern Democratic Party to help its own base - from the blueprint of Wall Street driven inequality, to the architecture of mass incarceration - and explains why the party's contempt for the working class has lead to a high tide of Republicans in state and local governments, and Donald Trump somehow appealing to a working class the Democrats have no use for.

Thomas is author of the new book Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? from Metropolitan Books.



Andrew Cockburn

An outsider's look inside the electoral-industrial complex.

Journalist Andrew Cockburn examines America's manic, multi-billion dollar campaign season and finds disfunction everywhere - from politicians and PACs leaping finance regulations to line the pockets of consultants selling massively ineffectual television ad strategies, to a media too busy counting cash to bother with accountability - and explains why the Sanders and Trump campaigns are finding their own successes outside the election-industrial complex.

Andrew wrote Down the Tube: Television, turnout, and the election-industrial complex for Harper's magazine.



Jeff Dorchen

On Trump, the roots of bigotry and the souls of White folk.

Jeff Dorchen looks at the bigotry in and around the Trump campaign, and sees a lot of it coming from the left - he also sees a lot of barely justified assumptions, accusations of misogyny, actual misogyny, angry picnics, those with us, those against us, everyone else in between and also finds support, forgiveness and the realization that White people can be people too.