788: The Big Shill Shows


February 22nd – We only extract money from the public once a year during WNUR’s Phoneathon, so excuse us for not being as good at it as Scott Walker’s entire inner circle, Bank of America’s mortgage department or TIF-quenched Chicago middlemen. Your bitter, blind, broke, gap-toothed radio host Chuck Mertz wipes the blurry dollar signs from his eyes.







John Nichols: “If you get excited about Rand Paul because he says good things about the military industrial complex, because he says good things about the war on drugs, then you are ceding the vast majority of our economic debate to somebody who is not in any way sympathetic to workers, especially workers who might organize in their own interest.”

The 2016 GOP presidential frontrunners are already in the news, and we’re already talking about them, just not because they’re the 2016 GOP presidential frontrunners. Chris Christie and Scott Walker have so many problems, that Rand Paul is starting to look promising. Look again, warns John Nichols, who just wrote the piece E-mails, Charges, Probes! Chris Christie? No, Scott Walker for the Nation. He calls in to handicap a race that’s already handicapping itself, warn against the inevitability of Hillary Clinton, and break down a bizarre union standoff between UAW and Tennessee politicians.

John Nichols is co-author of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America. John is the Nation magazine’s DC correspondent, contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times, and the associate editor of the Madison’s Capital Times.


Barbara Garson: “The banks used Obama’s public-private partnership on mortgage relief, called HAMP, not only to stall people and make sure they didn’t get mortgage relief, but to discredit the government to boot!”

Private sector solutions to society’s problems works until private sector solutions become society’s problem. Which happened… quite a few presidents ago. For some reason, this one still isn’t listening. From health insurance companies rigging plans to discredit Obamacare to banks cashing mortgage relief checks and bouncing homeowners, we can’t figure out why the president keeps feeding the hand that bites. Barbara Garson has some ideas in her newest writing at Tom Dispatch, The Public-Private Profiteers. She explains why it’s so good to be a middle man in Washington these days, and why it’s so bad to be on either end.

Barbara Garson is the author of a series of books describing American working lives at historical turning points, including 2001′s Money Makes the World Go Around and her latest, Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% Live. Her most famous theatrical work, “MacBird,” a 1966 counterculture drama and political parody of Macbeth, has been called “one of the most controversial plays produced in the 1960s.”

Interview Transcript via AntiDote.


Tony Magee: “I want Lagunitas around and intact and speaking for itself long after I’m gone, so that my name gets said by somebody 50 years from now, when I’m in the ground. So there’s no selling for Lagunitas.”

The reason you feel so self conscious about having to ask the bartender for yet another “lil’ sumptin sumptin” is named Tony Magee, and he doesn’t have much to apologize for, as one of the most popular brewers in the country. The founder of Lagunitas Brewing is returning to Chicago, in better shape than he left it decades ago, and with a little more room – a 300,000 square foot brewery in Pilsen. Tony talks with Chuck about how brewing a beer is like writing a hit song, why he turned down TIF money to build his new brewery, his approach to business with heart, and what beer he’ll never ever drink.

Lagunitas Brewing founder Tony Magee is co-author of So You Want to Start a Brewery? Though he’s originally from the Chicagoland area, Tony moved to San Francisco in 1987 to study music and ended up starting Lagunitas in 1993. This spring he’s opening the country’s largest craft brew facility – the new Lagunitas brewery in Chicago.



Greg Palast: “He said ‘we have a file on Greg Palast’ and the BBC told him ‘yeah well apparently Greg Palast has a file on you.’”

Greg Palast digs through so much dirt he makes backhoes jealous. We’re lucky to have him as an Irregular Correspondent and not an enemy. He’s got enough enemies already, or at least they have him. This time he spills the dirt on Chris Christie’s Koch bender, how the AP spiked a story of Romney’s vulturing of the auto bailout, his arrest in Azerbaijan, why PBS and NPR don’t need pledge drives to raise oil money and why English speaking rich people in Venezuela might not be the most representative people for media interviews there.

Greg Palast is a serial investigative reporter who gets arrested, gets drunk, gets laid, gets all fucked-up in ways too numerous and embarrassing to enumerate, but ultimately GETS THE FACTS. Greg’s movie, “Vultures and Vote Rustlers,” goes from the dirty depths of Deepwater Horizon to the bogus ballot boxes of Ohio to uncover the truth.



Jeff Dorchen: “I have faith in the eventual passing of efficiency fetishism, because it takes the fun out of everything.”

Jeff has taken to meaninglessness like a fish to a cold, uncaring abyss. In this latest installment of the Moment of Truth, Jeff turns back to the New Testament’s prequel, riffs on our recent David Graeber interview, considers his own meaninglessness and how much people love him for it, loses himself in a metaphoric sonic fog, and unyokes the yoke of wage slavery.

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. He’s also an amateur scholar of Judaic, Hindu and Japanese spiritual lore. His many unfinished novels are still unfinished.

Producers Theron Humiston and Richard Norwood discover the studio phone no longer makes international calls while Chuck reads a listener letter about how much money WNUR must have as part of Northwestern University.