Thu, 7 July 2016
"[Trump's] money gave him both the means and the confidence to break the donors’ cartel that until then had eliminated all GOP candidates who didn’t begin by saluting the Bush family for starting the Iraq War, incessantly demanding cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and managing the economy into total collapse via financial deregulation. He could even mock the carried-interest tax loophole and sneer at Wall Street. ...
In a conversation for 'It's The Economy' with KGNU's Claudia Cragg, so says Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute and the author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Politics. Jacobin magazine just published an interview with Ferguson, "Defying the Investors," about the 2016 election.
"My tentative judgment is that unlike 2008 and 2012, when the Obama campaign clearly encouraged donors to break up their contributions into smaller amounts to create the appearance of a mass movement, the Sanders campaign pretty much is what it appears to be: a movement swept along by a vast array of small donors. No wonder Democratic elites were so nervously petulant at Sanders for staying in the race and continuing to propagate his views."
Ferguson argues that what we see now was foreshadowed in 2014. It was after that election that Ferguson co-authored an article, "Americans Are Sick to Death of Both Parties," that noted: "The drop off in voting turnout from the presidential election of 2012 to 2014 is the second largest of all time: -24 percentage points. ... Though Republicans jubilate now, the trend is probably as threatening to them as it is to the Democrats. The reason is stark: Increasing numbers of average Americans can no longer stomach voting for parties that only pretend to represent their interests."
In his recent interview, Ferguson said: "The system hasn’t worked for many Americans for at least a generation, and vast numbers of them now realize this. ...
"[The Democrat's] major problem is the weak economy. ... Money from Wall Street to the Democrats fell off steeply in 2012. Obama had to make it up with funding from what we can epitomize as Silicon Valley, in the face of massive opposition from industries like coal, oil, chemicals, and other heavy polluters. Clinton is plainly aiming to heal that breach. The refusal even to say what she told Goldman Sachs in those famous speeches is part and parcel of her campaign to reaffirm the old ties her husband furthered so much. ...
"Clinton’s strategy for winning votes is now very simple: you go to women and say the magic word: 'Trump.' You go to African Americans with the same mantra: 'Trump.' And you go to Latinos, just pointing and repeating 'Trump,' while the media plays 'Ride of the Valkyries' 24/7.
"With Trump carrying on as he has, it may be all Clinton needs. After the election, though, we will all wake up to discover that little in the campaign will have addressed the problems that the primaries so memorably revealed."
Tue, 5 July 2016
KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here for KGNU's "It's the Economy' with Lawrence Bogad is an author, performer and the founder of the Center For Creative Activism.
He writes, performs and strategizes with mischievous artists such as the Yes Men, Billionaires for Bush and La Pocha Nostra. He is a veteran of the Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Laboratory, and a co-founder of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army. His produced plays have covered topics such as the Haymarket Square Riot, the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities, the Pinochet coup in Chile and global climate chaos.
Professor Bogad’s book, Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements (Routledge, 2005) analyzes the international campaigns of performance artists who run for public office as a radical prank. That book, and his many articles on political performance, are used in college classes internationally. His next book, Tactical Performance: On the Theory and Practice of Serious Play, analyzes and critiques the use of guerrilla theatre/art for human and civil rights, and for social justice, labor and environmental campaigns. The British Academy and British Arts and Humanities Research Council funded his documentary, “Radical Ridicule: Serious Play and the Republican National Convention.” His play, COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act, was published by PM Press in 2011.
Larry Bogad @ucdavis theatre
Fri, 27 May 2016
KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with David Dayen (@ddayen), a contributing writer to Salon and a weekly columnist for the Fiscal Times. Dayen also writes for publications including the New Republic, the American Prospect, The Guardian, Vice, The Intercept, and the Huffington Post.
Under discussion here is Dayen's new book, Chain of Title (The New Press).
"Chain of title" refers to documents showing that a mortgage was transferred properly from owner to owner, so the final bank can prove it actually owns the mortgage. A huge fraction of mortgages — probably a large majority — issued during the bubble simply do not have it.
Not many noticed while the bubble was going up, but after it collapsed and the recession took hold, millions of people fell into default on their mortgages. Dayen's book follows three private citizens, Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Syzmoniak, all of whom were sucked into the foreclosure machine after the economic crash of 2008. In desperation they began poking around their foreclosure documents, and found howling, inconceivable errors — being foreclosed on by a bank that did not own the mortgage, obviously impossible dates, missing signatures, and so on.
They investigated further, and found that their cases were by no means unique, they were just one of the tiny minority of people who bothered to contest their foreclosure. Practically every case they looked at had gargantuan holes in them. Others had it even worse — banks who had foreclosed on people whose mortgages were paid-up, or ones who had no mortgage at all. It turned out the banks had battalions of people committing systematic fraud. "Robo-signers" would attest to "personal knowledge" of homes, or forge others' signatures, or falsely notarize documents, hundreds of times per day. The sheer speed meant that the documents were almost universally garbage, but on the rare instances a foreclosure was challenged, the banks would usually just come back later with a new set that was magically in order.
Epstein, Redman, and Syzmoniak became obsessed with the foreclosure disaster, and they joined with others to agitate for the government to step in and provide relief for homeowners. After awhile, they began to get some traction. All this obvious fraud gave the government enormous leverage. If a bank does not have proper chain of title, it is illegal to foreclose. Since it means the bank does not own the mortgage, it is theft. Under New York law, securities which did not properly follow the original contract (and they usually didn't) would be void. And under federal tax law, income from securities without proper documentation could potentially be taxed at 100 percent. With those tools, the federal government could have easily used the threat of prosecution and taxes to force the banks to the negotiating table.
Thu, 26 May 2016
KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with Scott Atkinson - Twitter, @scottythescribe - a freelance writer based in Flint, Michigan, and a regular contributor to Belt Magazine. He has written about Flint for the New York Times and other publications and spent several years as a reporter at the Flint Journal/\.
Happy Anyway delves into the lives and stories within the city — what it was like to be a child on the east side; how it feels to be a parent today, without clean water; who is able to truly lay claim to being “from Flint;” and what it means to finally leave — or to stay, even when bikes or jewelry or love keep disappearing.
Including work from Gordon Young, Jan Worth-Nelson, Connor Coyne, Layla Meillier, Andrew Morton, and many others.
Scott Atkinson is a freelance writer based in Flint, Michigan, and a regular contributor to Belt Magazine. He has written about Flint for the New York Times and other publications and spent several years as a reporter at the Flint Journal. He teaches writing at The University of Michigan-Flint.
Wed, 25 May 2016
@KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with (Dr.) Monique Morris - @MoniqueWMorris - co-Founder of National Black Women's Justice Institute (NBWJI). Author of
In this interview, Dr. Morris relates the experiences of black girls across the United States who, she argues, have misunderstood and intricate lives.
She believes many are often highly judged - by teachers, administrators, and the justice system - and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish.
She shows how, despite obstacles, stigma, stereotypes, and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities and beyond.
Thu, 19 May 2016
With this Dickensian tale from America’s heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry - Twitter @DanBarryNYT - tells KGNU's Claudia Cragg the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability. It is also the tale of the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.
In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.
Drawing on exhaustive interviews, Dan Barry dives deeply into the lives of the men, recording their memories of suffering, loneliness and fleeting joy, as well as the undying hope they maintained despite their traumatic circumstances. Barry explores how a small Iowa town remained oblivious to the plight of these men, analyzes the many causes for such profound and chronic negligence, and lays out the impact of the men’s dramatic court case, which has spurred advocates—including President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people living with disabilities.
A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is more than just inspired storytelling. It is a clarion call for a vigilance that ensures inclusion and dignity for all.
Wed, 11 May 2016
@KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here for #NursesWeek with Theresa Brown, RN.
Her book, The Shift, is as eye-opening as it is riveting. Brown is a practicing nurse and New York Times columnist and she invites readers to experience not just a day in the life of a nurse but all the life that happens in just one day on a hospital’s cancer ward.
Theresa Brown is also a PhD in English Literature and, before she took up nursing, was a former professor at Tuft's University.
In the span of just 12 hours, lives can be lost, life-altering medical treatment decisions made, and dreams fulfilled or irrevocably stolen. In Brown’s skilled hands--as both a dedicated nurse and an insightful chronicler of events--she offers an unprecedented view into the individual struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in the US today, and by shift’s end, readers have witnessed something profound about hope and healing and humanity.
Thu, 5 May 2016
KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with Joseph Blasi, the J. Robert Beyster Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University and the author of THE CITIZEN’S SHARE: Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century with Richard Freeman and Douglas Kruse.
Chobani yogurt founder Hamdi Ulukaya has announced that he is to give his workers a taste of capitalism by granting them a share in the value of the company. Ulukaya, who is also the CEO of the company, promised 2000 employees ten percent of the value of the entire corporation if the company goes public or is sold in the future. The potential value of this stake is quite significant since the media reported Chobani’s potential estimated value as high as $ 2-3 billion.
The Chobani story comes at a time when the economic plight of the middle class is fueling strong interest by voters according to primary exit polls. High passions and vigorous debates by both politicians and citizens characterize the rhetoric swirling through both the Republican and Democratic primaries. This issue has clearly scrambled the entire electorate in a way that is nothing short of historic and in every way volatile.
Thu, 28 April 2016
KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with Catie Marron about her second book, 'City Squares: "City Squares: Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance of Squares Around the World".
In this important collection, eighteen renowned writers, including David Remnick, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Skloot, Rory Stewart, and Adam Gopnik evoke the spirit and history of some of the world’s most recognized and significant city squares, accompanied by illustrations from equally distinguished photographers.
Over half of the world’s citizens now live in cities, and this number is rapidly growing. At the heart of these municipalities is the square—the defining urban public space since the dawn of democracy in Ancient Greece. Each square stands for a larger theme in history: cultural, geopolitical, anthropological, or architectural, and each of the eighteen luminary writers has contributed his or her own innate talent, prodigious research, and local knowledge.
Divided into three parts: Culture, Geopolitics, History, headlined by Michael Kimmelman, David Remnick, and George Packer, this significant anthology shows the city square in new light. Jehane Noujaim, award-winning filmmaker, takes the reader through her return to Tahrir Square during the 2011 protest; Rory Stewart, diplomat and author, chronicles a square in Kabul which has come and gone several times over five centuries; Ari Shavit describes the dramatic changes of central Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square; Rick Stengel, editor, author, and journalist, recounts the power of Mandela’s choice of the Grand Parade, Cape Town, a huge market square to speak to the world right after his release from twenty-seven years in prison; while award-winning journalist Gillian Tett explores the concept of the virtual square in the age of social media.
This collection is an important lesson in history, a portrait of the world we live in today, as well as an exercise in thinking about the future. Evocative and compelling, City Squares will change the way you walk through a city.
Wed, 27 April 2016
Women in the workforce have heard it all: Lean in, lean out, be bossy, be passive, separate work and home life…the conflicting guidance can be dizzying. So, Packard has simplified the rules. In NEW RULES OF THE GAME: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace (Prentice Hall Press/Penguin, February 2014).
In this, she uses her thirty years of experience - from 'secretary' to Executive VP - to give women an encouraging and achievable strategy for accomplishing workplace goals: gamesmanship.
Packard says that she has realized what’s really important in corporate America: to her, it is learning a man's rules for grit and gamesmanship and then outplaying them. It's not about platitudes or appearances, but rather utilizing the strategic thinking regularly found in sports and video games that men typically excel in to develop creativity, focus, optimism, teamwork and ultimately success.
However, her advice applies NOT ONLY to women. Men, millennials and even children, have a lot to learn from what she has to say.