782: Securities Exchange Omission Shows


January 11th – Who watches the watchmen? Chuck Mertz does, but only if they’re really close up and he squints a lot. Haiti relief funds book a round trip ticket from DC, American soldiers return home to new defeats and the people watching it all happen just watch it all happen. Just don’t obstruct their line of sight. You’ll see.



Irregular Correspondents:


Mark Weisbrot: “1.3% of USAID contracts in Haiti went to Haitian companies, and 67% went to companies based within the beltway in the United States. Which is kind of a geographical oddity. You can imagine how that happened.”

After an earthquake destroyed much of Haiti in 2010, billions of dollars in international aid made its way into the country. Four years later it turns out that most of that aid was on a round-trip ticket back to America. Mark has been keeping track of the situation at CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog. He calls in to discuss how American economic interests affect post-coup domestic policy in the country, how America pretends that isn’t the case, and how corporations pocketed so much of the relief money given in earnest to actually help real people.

Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and President of Just Foreign Policy.



Ann Jones: “Far more soldiers have killed themselves than have been killed by the enemy in these wars. And their deaths at their own hands have to be taken as a commentary on the wars in which they fought.”

Ann Jones returned home from Afghanistan in far better shape than the soldiers she followed, but perhaps no less cynical about the effects of war on everyone involved. She talks with Chuck about what happens when America isn’t shown consequences of wars overseas and how the psychic injuries of warfare occur on our soldiers long before the physical ones.

Writer/photographer Ann Jones spent much of the last decade in Afghanistan, and just published the book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars—The Untold Story. You can find her work at AnnJonesOnline.



William Binney: “Not only do the agencies lie to Congress, Congress lies to itself, the administration lies to Congress, the agencies lie to the administration. It’s all a pack of lies down in DC.”

William Binney is the answer to the question “Why didn’t Edward Snowden just go to Congress?” He’s also the answer to the questions “What is the cost of standing up for your principles” and “How should a citizen behave in a democracy.” This week William, along with fellow intelligence experts including whiste-blower Thomas Drake, revealed “What Went Wrong” with the NSA in a memo to President Obama. He talks about that memo, the incestuous private/government cycle of contracts, how the NSA could do their job without violating the constitution, and why they won’t.

William Binney is a former NSA intelligence officer who resigned in 2001 and blew the whistle on the agency’s waste and constitutional rights abuses.



Bruce Schneier: “If the NSA says, even if it’s a lie, ‘let me spy and I’ll make you feel safer,’ you let them spy and you feel safer. You might not be safer, but you feel it. So suddenly it’s valuable.”

That thing Benjamin Franklin said about sacrificing liberty for security would maybe be more applicable to our current situation if we had actually sacrificed liberty instead of having it secretly hacked from government data centers. According to Bruce Schneier, we didn’t get much in return for that liberty. Bruce wrote the story How the NSA Threatens National Security for The Atlantic. He discusses surveillance as a corporate business model, as an ineffective tool against terrorism, and as a policy that will survive long after whatever pointless speech Obama makes this week.

Bruce Schneier is a journalist who covers security and surveilleance for The Atlantic and the chief technology officer of the computer security firm Co3 Systems. His blog Schneier on Security features his work, including his latest book Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive.



Marc Flury: “Even among progressives, you hear the repeated cliche of South Korea as the ‘good Korea,’ in contrast to the ‘bad’ North Korea, but from everything I’ve described it’s clear that South Korean democracy is being threatened and we should care about that.”

Crazy dramatic stuff is happening a little to the south of Dennis Rodman. Marc Flury reports live from Seoul as South Korea deals with a Twitter-fueled election scandal, a growing student movement with very polite slogans, allegations of North Korean infiltrators, self immolation, and a very real threat to democracy in Asia from this side of the DMZ.

With limited Korean language ability, Marc Flury consistently out-scoops the US media by translating and re-reporting Korean headline news. He’s interested in inter-Korean relations, North Korean economic development, and the US military presence in the Pacific. Marc is also a video game creator, currently working on THUMPER, the world’s most psychedelic survival rhythm game.



Jeff Dorchen: “Let’s say I was tapped to start the Los Angeles chapter of the American Communist Party. I wasn’t, but for the purposes of the current essay, I was.”

Jeff Dorchen wakes up a philosopher, takes up competitive knitting, tries his hand at party leadership, logs ADR notes, disappoints his dear Supreme Leader, plays Rodney Dangerfield and pretends to be a person. Also Chuck picks up the wrong phone to announce his shoe broke. That part was not scripted.

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. His many unfinished novels are still unfinished.


Producers Theron Humiston and Alexander Jerri deal with Chuck’s coffee and shoe problems.




  • blah

    I wish Chicago was a hell of a lot more like NYC. If it were I might still be living there. That segregated, hodunk midwestern town is not the coolest place to be..I’m a native Chicagoan, btw. Maybe all those midwest small town & small city Chicago transplants, and Chicagoans who’ve never experienced life anywhere else think Chicago is the place to be, but that’s a matter of their perspective. Not saying Chicago is the worst place on earth, but socially conservative, extremely segregated & horrific climate. Yuck.

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