791: Rewind – Spring Broke Shows


March 15th – Chuck is sick. This whole society is sick! But seriously Chuck is actually sick. Curl up in the fetal position, clutch your stomach and listen to the best interviews from the past three months.



  • Andrew Cockburn looks for statesmanship but finds a John Kerry-shaped vacuum instead
  • Thomas Frank explains why the GOP’s loss of sanity doesn’t ever transfer to Democratic gains.
  • NSA whistle-blower William Binney reveals what went wrong inside America’s surveillance apparatus.
  • Mariana Mazzucato explains why the true source of innovation in societies are (or can or could be) governments.


  • American immigration policies border on inhumane. Michelle Chen explains the change ahead.
  • Brian Mier’s dispatch from Brazil considers human rights ahead of the World Cup. FIFA isn’t.
  • Jeff Dorchen Ted Talks his way through the Allen-Farrow-Twitter-Thinkpiece-Zeitgeist murk.


Andrew Cockburn: “There’s a big industry dependent on this fantasy that there’s such a thing as foreign policy. There’s all these academics putting out unreadable books on international relations, and they orbit into think tanks, and then to government, then back to academia maybe. Their whole function is to disguise the grubby reality of what really goes on.”

John Kerry is an easy target for someone like Andrew Cockburn, who in this interview calls the Secretary of State as “so puffed up with vanity and I must say, if you look at photographs, botox as well.” Andrew throws off insults as nonchalantly as he sips tea, but his real target is the idea that America has any semblance of a rational, unified foreign policy. He wrote his Letter from Washington titled  Secretary of Nothing: John Kerry and the Myth of Foreign Policy [subscription required] for Harper’s. He calls in to explain why domestic and economic concerns guide diplomacy, how a French politician’s sex life (or lack of) got Greece into the Eurozone and and what John Kerry gets out of playing dress-up statesmen.

[Originally Broadcast 12.07.2013]

Andrew Cockburn is the Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine and author of, most recently, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy.



Thomas Frank: “Once upon a time, working class people knew how the system worked, they knew where they stood in the system, their leaders would demand things that would fix the system and those leaders were listened to. None of that applies today.”

The Tea Party couldn’t be doing more to put Democrats back in power, and the Democrats couldn’t be doing less. So who’s to blame? Both obviously, there’s always enough to go around, but Thomas Frank found enough fault with the post-Obama reelection democrats to fill an article at Harper’s. The writer of Donkey Business, calls in to blame demographic smugness, praise biblical loan terms and dismiss the notion that politics just settles back to an easy middle all by itself.

[Originally Broadcast 12.21.2013]

Thomas Frank is a writer working to fill up your bookshelf and mailbox. He is the founding editor of The Baffler and a Harper’s regular. He’s written seven books about money, politics and American life, including What’s the Matter with Kansas? and most recently, Pity the Billionaire. Him and Chuck go way back.



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.

[Originally Broadcast 01.11.2014]

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.



Mariana Mazzucato: “We are currently in danger of destroying that apparatus, so these guys will be surfing on nothing, because until now they’ve been surfing on a wave created by the state.”

The iPhone runs on government funded technology – touch screen, voice activation, cellular communication, the internet – Steve Jobs was just really good at putting it all together. Or having low-wage Chinese workers putting it all together. In her new book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, Mariana Mazzucato argues that governments are the agents investing in the long-term research and innovation that lead to corporate profits, and defunding those programs essential defunds a future of innovative Americans. She calls in to talk about the early days of US tech firms, where they got their money and how President Obama got her book.

[Originally Broadcast 02.01.2014]

Mariana Mazzucato is the Reginald M. Phillips Professor in the Economics of Innovation in the Science and Technology Policy Research centre  at the University of Sussex. Here’s her 2013 TED Talk on governments and innovation.



Michelle Chen: “The debate in Washington is not where progress is being made. It’s on the ground and in the streets that immigrants are finding a political voice.”

Michelle ended 2013 as a guest talking about the US-Mexico border as an environmental wasteland. She kicks off 2014 as an Irregular Correspondent dedicating her first installment of Edgewise to the border as political battleground for militias on the prowl, workers looking to organize, and governments looking to continue what NAFTA started.

[Originally Broadcast 01.04.2014]

Michelle Chen is a contributing editor at In These Times and an associate editor at CultureStrike. She’s also studying in the historical doctoral program at City University of New York Graduate Center. Michelle’s Twitter.



Brian Mier: “Every project has overrun its cost by at least double and the difference is picked up by the taxpayer. Brazil now has four stadiums equal or larger than Wrigley Field, in cities that have the equivalent of AA minor league teams.”

The future world’s most watched television event is being constructed on a bed of rights abuses and crooked business practices, but you won’t see that covered during the 2014 World Cup. Irregular Correspondent Brian Mier lives in Brazil, which is not just a place on television, and reports on how FIFA’s corruption is poisoning its future in democratic nations. See you in Qatar!

[Originally Broadcast 12.21.2013]

Brian Mier grew up on the North Side of Chicago and has lived in Brazil since 1999.  He is currently a policy analyst at the Centro de Direitos Economicos e Sociais. He has worked with the Landless Peasants Movement (MST) and was a two time speaker at the World Social Forum. Brian has written extensively on Brazilian news and culture for the underground press over the years. His writing has appeared in Lumpen and Vice, and he has a novel coming out in 2014.



Jeff Dorchen: “Actually picking sides in this controversy is like picking sides between animatronic monkeys having a toxic excrement-throwing fight on the stage of an amphitheater in a cyborg zoo few people can afford admission to.”

If you are lucky, this is the first thinkpiece on the Woody Allen molestation allegations you will experience. If you are smart, it will be your last, because Jeff Dorchen pulls the roof down over the whole Ted Talk / Singularity Institute-style myopic commentary industry.

[Originally Broadcast 02.15.2014]

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.