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776: Loss Causes Shows
November 30th – Stories from wars we’re losing and wars we’ve lost. Radio winner Chuck Mertz interviews a line-up of journalists, thinkers, former intelligence officers, and current rabble rousers that you won’t find anywhere but your sweet, left-wing media dreams.
- Journalist Matthieu Aikins finds evidence of American war crimes in an Afghan gravesite.
- Legal Associate Danielle McLaughlin explains how a group of conservative law students took over America’s courts.
- Former intelligence officer Elizabeth Murray ties Edward Snowden’s fate to the future of America’s values.
- Professor Mark Mizruchi thinks American CEOs should be doing more to influence American politics.
- Our Man in San Juan, Dave Buchen, turns back to the Assyrian calendar.
- Danny Muller dedicates his Wasted Energy Report to a bitter, sweet goodbye to his father.
- At last call, Jeff Dorchen’s Moment of Truth spills sub-par beer all over the radio.
Matthieu Aikins: “For me, there is a question of what did the military know earlier, and why did they keep denying the incidents even as the bodies came out of the ground?”
Before you listen to this interview, read Matthieu Aikins’s article The A-Team Killings at Rolling Stone. There are scenes of torture and pictures of death that will turn your stomach to witness. And there would be almost no one to witness them, if not for Matthieu’s work, because these killings, likely the worst war crimes in a decade, have been covered up by the American military. That cover-up is where the article ends, but the story continues in this interview. Matthieu talks with Chuck about the murders, the threat of American wars turning secret, and why America will be at war with Afghanistan long after Americans change the channel.
Matthieu Aikins is a journalist who has been reporting from Afghanistan since 2008. In 2011, Matthieu was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in the Reporting category for a story he wrote for the Atlantic in which he exposed a previous massacre in Afghanistan. He’s appeared on TiH! in January of this year, and in 2010. Read more stories from Matthieu at his website or follow him on Twitter.
Danielle McLaughlin: “Much of the work this group has done is finding plaintiffs and bringing cases all the way up the chain to the Supreme Court, in order to affect law change through the judicial branch instead of via the legislature.”
If recent setbacks to voting rights and civil liberties have Thurgood Marshall rolling in his grave, its probably because the zombified corpse of James Madison crawled over him on its way to the top of the American judiciary. The necromancers to blame for the last 20ish years of conservative courts are a group of disaffected law students in the early 1980s. Danielle McLaughlin chronicles the rise of judicial conservatism in The Federalist Society: How Conservatives took the Law Back from Liberals, a book she co-wrote with Michael Avery. She calls in to explain how Alex P. Keaton turned into Clarence Thomas, where the group finds its money, and how their members influence America without anyone really hearing about it.
Danielle McLaughlin is an associate in the Boston office of Nixon Peabody LLP, where she specializes in commercial litigation and government investigations.
Elizabeth Murray: “All along there has been a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act that Americans have not been privy to. That is the problem. That is when US citizens cease to be living in a fully democratic state.”
Edward Snowden might be safe (for now,) and the secret surveillance apparatus he exposed slightly less secret (for now,) but the fate of both are still undecided. And what happens next, writes Elizabeth Murray, “will be a test of whether America’s democratic Republic retains the necessary respect for civic courage, which can be defined as putting one’s own welfare aside for the benefit of the larger society, a prerequisite for this form of government which is by, of and for the people.” Elizabeth’s piece for Consortium News, Why Snowden’s Fate Matters, is from July of this year, but she’s been writing great pieces at the site for the past few years.
Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Mark Mizruchi: “They’re very powerful when it comes to getting specific favors for their individual firms, they can lobby officials, they can get all kinds of breaks, but when there’s an issue such as health care that requires collective action, they seem to be completely incapable of acting.”
Professor Mark Mizruchi has his work cut out for him. In a post-Citizens United world, he released a book arguing that American business leaders exert too little influence on the course of American governance. It’s hard to remember back to the post WWII economic boom, when a rising economic tide lifted corporate profits and personal wealth alike. Sometime starting in the 1970s, Mark argues in his book The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite, business leaders ditched the enlightened part of enlightened self interest, and became the careless, short-sighted anti-leaders of American life that we’re all familiar with today. Mark explains the pact that lead to that conversion
Mark S. Mizruchi is Barger Family Professor of Organizational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Business Administration at the University of Michigan.
Dave Buchen: “The fabric buyer also told me that John Malkovich is killing it in his performance as Black Beard in the new pirate TV series being filmed here on the abandoned US naval base.”
Our Man in San Juan Dave Buchen experiences a Puerto Rican Black Friday (Viernes Negro?,) reveals the subject of his new calendar, learns something new by watching TV through the window of a bar and gets chumped by his two kids live on the air.
Dave Buchen has been living in Puerto Rico since the previous century. There he home-schools his two kids and makes theater with Theater Oobleck, El Circo Nacional and (with aforementioned kids) El Teatro Barbaro. He recently wrote, illustrated and published Why is a Tiger a Tiger?, a bestiary etymology.
Danny Muller: “My mother said she knew she would marry him on their second date, when he stopped the car to give his coat to a homeless man. That move was better than any pick-up line, but it worked. And it was no act. That was him.”
Listen to this somewhere you feel OK crying, because you will. But listen, because Danny spends his Wasted Energy Report saying goodbye to his father, a tough, fair man that you’ll mourn not knowing if you never did. I can’t think of what a loss his death is to those who loved him. Just listening to these memories of his actions, and their impact on Danny’s own crazy life let us know that his own energy was never wasted. I’ll try to get the full text here soon, it’s beautiful.
Danny Muller works on anti-sanctions and public health campaigns in Iraq, Mali, Palestine and Haiti. Danny continues to be amazed at his timing of being born just in time to witness 75 million years of evolutionary biodiversity die around him, and is interested in finding the persons responsible and bringing the sixth extinction directly to their door.
Jeff Dorchen: “The funny thing about rubbing alcohol – the more you add it to beer, the more the beer tastes like rubbing alcohol. But in the case of Mamba, they didn’t add enough.”
In a troubling Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen joins sides with the Islamic government of Kano, Nigeria. Just about beer, he claims, but we’ve always been suspicious of that beard. He persecutes beer brands around the world, wonders if the news knows who we even are, and blames Jon Lovitz.
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 Seth Kelley and Alexander Jerri save the show, microphone-wise at least, and deal with a rude French phone connection.