774: Trouble Starts With Tea Shows


November 16th, 2013 – The Tea Party invades This is Hell!. Our radio hero Chuck Mertz spends four hours dodging silly hats and government shutdowns to uncover the right wing thoughts and policies still shaping our world. Is ruined a shape? Featuring a special in-studio appearance by The Radical Pessimist, Kevan Harris!




Irregular Correspondents:



Theda Skocpol: “They form a powerful pincers movement on the Republican party that uses a combination of votes and money to scare Republican candidates and office-holders into hewing the non-compromise line.”

Somehow, a group of middle class Americans became terrified of the faulty idea that the poorest Americans are stealing money from the richest Americans. That’s not a particularly nuanced view of the Tea Party movement, but I’m not from Harvard and don’t really respect the movement enough to give it an honest consideration. Theda Skocpol is and did. She talks with Chuck about the mix of constitutional evangelicalism, resentment and fear of the brown and young that make up America’s dumbest political force. My words, not Theda’s!

Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. Theda and Vanessa Williamson chronicled the rise of the Tea Party in their book The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.


Ellen Brown: “The more you regulate the conventional banks, the more you drive everybody into the shadow banking system, which is unregulated. So you make the system even more risky.”

America’s economic policies begin and end with profits for massive private banks. Everything in the middle is just fighting on television over specifics. Ellen Brown has an idea – cutting out that whole “private” idea, ensuring that public policy, and money, remains public. She gives examples of differing European approaches and outcomes, warns why we aren’t equipped to avoid future “unforeseeable” catastrophes, and offers the most obvious, but least considered, solution to our economic problems.

Ellen is President of the Public Banking Institute, and she has been writing amazing coverage of the financial industry over at AlterNet. She is the author of Web of Debt, The Public Bank Solution and many more books and articles, all of which you can find at her website.


John Alford: “We encounter different worlds. And fighting about our response, when we’re perceiving the world differently, is a major source of friction between the left and the right.”

If you listen to just one interview before Thanksgiving with your insanely right-wing in-laws, make it this one. If you’ve thought that your political differences just started with the TV news you watch, or the websites you read, John Alford would argue that you have to start at a much more basic level – you experience the world in a fundamentally different way from them. John explains the science behind his findings, and what it means for arguments across the gravy boat.

John Alford is an associate professor of political science at Rice University. Along with co-authors John Hibbing and Kevin Smith, John wrote Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences.


Max Blumenthal: “Israel’s version of the Christian right, the religious nationalist movement, is dominant and incipient, which is sort of a logical progression in the kind of system that the state of Israel seeks to uphold.”

Tens of thousands of Jews have escaped oppression in Israel to found sovereignty and freedom in Berlin. That unexpected scene is in the last chapter of Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. All the chapters before explain how that happened. The rise of an unreasonable right-wing, indoctrination and discrimination, fear and paranoia. Max traveled through the country, interviewing a cross section of Israeli’s for a book that you’ll probably hear someone yelling about on TV. Max joins TiH! to talk about Israel’s Tea Party counterparts, how the left-wing is punished into silence, and why American journalists are too busy advocating Israeli policies to report on Israeli crimes.

Max Blumenthal is a journalist. His previous book is Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party.


Krys Bigosinski: “Vermont: one of the smallest states in the Union, about half the amount of inmates as the entire country of Sweden.”

Krys checks in from the Green Mountain state with tales of public protest pointlessness, very mild locker room hazing and a costly prisoner export scheme. Dr. Krys Bigosinski is an ex-patriot of Chicago, living in Burlington, Vermont. In his spare time, he practices medicine.


John K. Wilson: “Nobody chooses to have expensive cancer treatment. Nobody chooses to have cancer. And that’s precisely why you can’t just let this be a free-market, unregulated situation.”

John stops by the studio to promote next Sunday’s Chicago Book Expo, a pop-up bookstore and literary fair. He doesn’t leave without making the case for actually talking to people on the right, and defending Obamacare’s construction. John K. Wilson is the co-editor of Academe blog and the author of 7 books, including The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh’s Assault on Reason.


Jeff Dorchen: “Did I mention Ross Kaminsky is a national treasure? Rarely does one find a person so willing to publicly disgrace himself without the aid of Long Island iced tea or having been raised by Sex Pistols roadies.”

A modestish proposal on his local NPR station sends Jeff into a spiral of scrooges, stooges, the benevolent rich, the shiftless poor, garbage, people and garbage people. According to his contacts on LinkedIn, Jeff Dorchen can do just about anything. He’s a visual artist, songwriter/musician, actor, essayist, poet, playwright and screenwriter.

Producers Alexander Jerri and Seth Kelley wonder why Chuck just can’t print his show notes the night before like Amy Goodman probably does!




  • IndyRadio

    I like the way you’ve presented this.

  • Noah

    Was listening using TuneIn Radio app. Was happy to find that it buffers the show, so even after a couple hours working, i slipped back in the car and picked where i left off. Then i screwed up hit the “back 30 seconds” button and a football game started blaring. Ugh. Berry interesting show. I’ll listen to the whole thing over when you get it posted.

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