KPFA: Letters and Politics [Program Feed]


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  • Kavanaugh’s sexual accusations; then, death on the Dakota Access Pipeline. And, the latest on the Kurdish situation
    Allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have emerged putting the confirmation vote in question.  Democrats, along with several GOP senators are calling for a hold on the vote while the Senate investigates the case.  For analysis on this issue we are joined by journalists and analysts Ruth Conniff and Antonia Juhasz. Then, Antonia Juhasz talks about the latest findings of her research on the consequences of building oil and gas pipelines. And, a conversation with journalist and activist Havin Guneser on the current situation of the Kurdish people in the Middle East. Guests: Ruth Conniff, Editor-at-Large of The Progressive Magazine [1] Antonia Juhasz [2] is a leading energy analyst, author, and investigative journalist specializing in oil. She is the author of several books including: Black Tide, The Tyranny of Oil, and The Bush Agenda.  Her latest piece Death on the Dakota Access Pipeline: An investigation into the deadly business of building oil and gas pipelines [3] appears in the Pacific Standard Magazine. Antonia is the co-host of KPFA’s Up Front show. Havin Guneser is a lifelong activist with the International Kurdish Freedom Movement and the spokesperson for the Freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. [1] https://progressive.org/ [2] http://antoniajuhasz.net/ [3] https://psmag.com/magazine/death-on-the-dakota-access
  • Who Creates Value in an Economy?
    It has been a decade since the global recession began,  with a banking system on the edge of collapse to people loosing their savings, retirements, and homes, and unemployment rates as low as the ones during the great depression of the 1930’s, and the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the very top. Economist Mariana Mazzucato, argues that the reason is that economic policy continues to be informed by neoliberal ideology and its academic cousin, “public choice” theory, rather than by historical experience. Guest: Mariana Mazzucato [1] is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she directs the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.  She is the author of several books including her latest, The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy [2]. About The Value of Everything The book rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been accounted and reveals how economic theory has failed to clearly delineate the difference between value creation and value extraction. Mariana Mazzucato argues that the increasingly blurry distinction between the two categories has allowed certain actors in the economy to portray themselves as value creators, while in reality they are just moving around existing value or, even worse, destroying it. The book uses case studies-from Silicon Valley to the financial sector to big pharma-to show how the foggy notions of value create confusion between rents and profits, reward extractors and creators, and distort the measurements of growth and GDP. In the process, innovation suffers and inequality rises. [1] https://marianamazzucato.com/ [2] https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/280466/the-value-of-everything/
  • The Algerian War for Independence and Its Influence in Liberation Struggles
    A conversation with Elaine Mokhtefi about the Algerian war for independence, the defeat of France in 1962, and its influence in liberation movements in the Third World. Guest: Elaine Mokhtefi is a journalist, translator, and author who was a witness to many historical political events. She crossed paths with some of the most important revolutionary leaders an thinkers of the time: Frantz Fanon, Stokely Carmichael, Timothy Leary, Ahmed Ben Bella, Jomo Kenyatta, and Eldridge Cleaver. She was instrumental in the establishment of the International Section of the Black Panther Party in Algiers. Mokhtefi is author of the book Algiers, Third World Capital: Freedom Fighters, Revolutionaries, Black Panthers.   
  • America: The Farewell Tour
    Mitch Jeserich is in conversations with Chris Hedges about our current political crisis . Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist author of several books, including his latest America: The Farewell Tour.   About America: The Farewell Tour America: The Farewell Tour is a profound and provocative examination of America in crisis, where unemployment, deindustrialization, and a bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in an epidemic of diseases of despair—drug abuse, gambling, suicide, magical thinking, xenophobia, and a culture of sadism and hate. Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country.  America: The Farewell Tour seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time.    
  • The Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing
    We talk to John Nichols for more analysis of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Also the latest political issues in the White House and the meaning of the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times for the upcoming primaries. Guest: John Nichols is the Washington Correspondent for the Nation Magazine [1]. His latest pieces in the Nation are: Cory Booker Rips Open the Web of Secrecy Republicans Have Woven Around Brett Kavanaugh: The Democrat says he willingly violated Senate rules in order to expose e-mails that reveal the nominee’s views on racial discrimination.” (September 6, 2018) [2] And, “Actually, Invoking the 25th Amendment Makes a Lot of Sense:Trump’s anonymous lieutenant was wrong to reject a constitutional remedy for an erratic and amoral presidency.” (September 7, 2018)  [3]   [1] https://www.thenation.com/ [2] https://www.thenation.com/article/cory-booker-rips-open-the-web-of-secrecy-that-republicans-have-woven-around-brett-kavanaugh/ [3] https://www.thenation.com/article/actually-invoking-the-25th-amendment-makes-a-lot-of-sense/
  • Letters and Politics – September 3, 2018
    A look at burning political issues and debates and their historical context within the US and worldwide, hosted by Mitch Jeserich.
  • The History of SCOTUS Hearings & Robert E. Lee’s Lost Indictment
    A conversation with Carolyn Shapiro about the history of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominees. Guest: Carolyn Shapiro, associate professor of law and co-director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States at Chicago-Kent College of Law.  Click here to read her article Putting Supreme Court confirmation hearings in context [1]. Then, a conversation on the failed prosecution of Confederate Army General and icon Robert E. Lee Guest: John Reeves, author and historian.  Author of the book The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee [1] http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/08/putting-supreme-court-confirmation-hearings-in-context/
  • Hubert Humphrey: Civil Rights Champion and Cold War Warrior
    Marking the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic Convention we are in conversation about the political career of Hubert Humphrey, who won the Democratic nomination without running in a single primary.  We’ll talk about Humphrey as a civil rights champion and a serious cold war warrior. Guest: Arnold A. Offner, Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History at Lafayette College and author of the book Hubert Humphrey: The Conscience of the Country.       But first a quick look at last night’s primary election in Florida with journalist Mitch Perry. Guest: Mitch Perry, reporter at Florida Phoenix.  Read his writings at Floridaphoenix.com
  • How the Framers Limited Democracy in the Constitution
    A conversation with Harvard law professor Michael Klarman who argues that the creation of the United States Constitution was an act to stop the popular will of the people who were demanding debt and tax relief during an economic depression just after the revolutionary war. Guest: Michael J. Klarman, professor at Harvard Law School and author of The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the U.S. Constitution [1]. [1] https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-framers-coup-9780199942039?cc=us&lang=en&
  • The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
    A conversation on the 1968 DNC in Chicago, from the riots and police violence outside the convention to the nomination of Hubert Humphrey for President. Guest: Michael Schumacher, is the author and editor of many books, including biographies. His latest is The Contest: The 1968 Election and the War for America’s Soul. About The Contest: [1] [2]1968—rife with riots, assassinations, anti–Vietnam War protests, and realpolitik—was one of the most tumultuous years in the twentieth century, culminating in one of the most consequential presidential elections in American history. The Contest tells the story of that contentious election and that remarkable year. Bringing a fresh perspective to events that still resonate half a century later, this book is especially timely, giving us the long view of a turning point in American culture and politics. [1] https://kpfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/schumacher_contest-1.tif [2] https://kpfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/schumacher_contest.tif
  • The Backstory of Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump’s connection to Russian Money
    We are in conversation with Craig Unger to talk about the links between Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the the Russian Mafia.  According to Unger’s investigations, the story begins in the 1970s, when Trump made his first splash in the booming of New York real estate and ends with Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States. Guest: Craig Unger is a journalist and writer, he was a former deputy editor of The New York Observer and previously the editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine. He is the author of House of Bush, House of Saud, his latest book is House of Trump, House of Putin.  
  • Understanding the Cases of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort & the Ecological History of Mexico City
    Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s admission of guilt of violating federal election laws in arranging hush money to pay a porn actress and a Playboy model on behalf of his client could potentially open doors to persecute State criminal charges for Donald Trump. To talk about the implications of the Cohen and Paul Manafort cases we are in conversation with David Cay Johnston. Guest: David Cay Johnston  [1]is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author of several books including The Making of Donald Trump and It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America. David Cay Johnston latest piece New York Prosecutors Can Go After Trump Now, Even If Mueller Won’t [2]can be found o [3]n DCReport. [4] Then, we talk to Matthew Vitz about the social and ecological changes of Mexico City during its crucial stage of development in the early twentieth century. Guest: Matthew Vitz is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego. His latest book is A City on a Lake: Urban Political Ecology and the Growth of Mexico City.     [1] https://davidcayjohnston.com/ [2] https://www.dcreport.org/2018/08/22/new-york-prosecutors-can-go-after-trump-now-even-if-mueller-wont/ [3] https://www.dcreport.org/2018/08/22/new-york-prosecutors-can-go-after-trump-now-even-if-mueller-wont/ [4] https://www.dcreport.org
  • The DNC to Consider Proposed Super-Delegate Changes and Remembering the 1968 Democratic Convention
    The issue over the super-delegates and the democratic presidential primary of 2016 became a controversial one. This week the Democratic National Committee will meet in Chicago to consider changes to the super delegate and other roles. This meeting comes in the 50th anniversary of the Democratic National Convention also in Chicago where riots broke out and the DNC nominated Hubert Humphrey for its presidential nominee. Humphrey was a supporter of the Vietnam War and didn’t even run in a single primary election. To talk about this and to remember the 1968 Democratic National Convention that ended in bloody clashes in the street of Chicago we are in conversation with Norman Solomon. Guest: Norman Solomon [1], national coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and co-author of the report “AUTOPSY: The Democratic Party in Crisis.” [1] http://www.normansolomon.com/
  • The American Circle of Citizenship: Who is Inside and Who is Outside?
    Fearing forced deportations during the 19th century, black Americans began the intellectual work that would decades later lead to the formation of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution giving birthright citizenship to anyone born in the country and equal protection under the law.  On this program we talk about this history and its implications for today’s immigration debate with Martha Jones, author of the book Birthright Citizens: Race ad Citizenship in Antebellum America. Guest: Martha S. Jones [1] is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, and Co-President of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. She is the author of Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (2018). About Birthright Citizens Birthright Citizens examines how black Americans transformed the terms of belonging for all Americans before the Civil War. They battled against black laws and threats of exile, arguing that citizenship was rooted in birth, not race. The Fourteenth Amendment affirmed this principle, one that still today determines who is a citizen. Professor Martha Jones website: marthasjones.com  [2]on Twitter:  [3]@marthasjones [4]   [1] http://marthasjones.com/ [2] http://marthasjones.com/ [3] http://marthasjones.com/ [4] https://twitter.com/marthasjones_
  • The Nature of Security Clearance & A Case to Impeach the President
    As President Trump revokes the security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan we speak to former CIA officer Mel Goodman about what these type of clearances mean. Guest: Melvin Goodman directs the National Security Project [1] at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for International Policy. From 1966 through 1986 he served as a senior analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research.  He is the author of the book Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider’s Account of the Politics of Intelligence. Then, A Case for Impeaching the President Guest: Ben Clements, co-author of The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.   [1] http://www.ciponline.org/programs/national-security-project

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