5 days ago
792: Eurofission Shows
March 22nd – Must be fun, fighting for democracy. We have so much of it here, we’re just giving it away. In fact… hold on… it was here a minute ago… It’ll show up at some point probably. Chuck Mertz just hopes it brings beer on its way back.
- Law scholar Michael J. Glennon reveals the second government behind American surveillance.
- Author Arun Kundnani reports from the receiving end of Islamophobic spying policies.
- Journalist Derek Monroe returns from the square at the center of Ukraine’s revolution.
- Balkans scholar Edin Hajdarpasic profiles the new democracy fueling Bosnia’s protest movement.
- Jim Naureckas recovers from uncovering media coverage of Venezuela’s protests.
- The Radical Pessimist Kevan Harris just got back from bring-Immanuel-Wallerstein-to-work day.
- Jeff Dorchen contemplates the profound and subversive sadness of outsider artist Fred Phelps.
Michael J. Glennon: “We have developed a set of public institutions, but they’re largely for show and they have been increasingly so since the Truman administration.”
Fwd this interview to Thomas Pynchon. The reason government security policies never change is because the actual government that makes those policies never changes. In his Harvard National Security Journal article National Security and Double Government, Michael J. Glennon explains how a small network of senior officials dictate national security policies, and it turns out you can get a lot done when you don’t have to worry about reelection or the constitution. Michael talks with Chuck about how this secret-in-plain-sight system works, who it works for and who can’t do anything about it by voting.
Michael J. Glennon is Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.
Arun Kundnani: “Muslim Americans are actually being subjected to similar levels of state surveillance that East German citizens were receiving under the Stasi.”
So it looks like we aren’t all being spied on equally. In his new book The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror, Arun Kundnani dispatches the idea that concentrating surveillance on American Muslims makes for a safer state or a freer nation. He calls in to explain the fear pervading Mosques in 21st century America, why concentrating on religion will never explain why people become terrorists, and how post-9/11 Islamophobia was primed by post-Cold War neocons but normalized by present day liberals.
Arun Kundnani is an Adjunct Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and teaches terrorism studies at John Jay College.
Derek Monroe: “Most people, after the lost decade of the Orange Revolution, are extremely angry with the government AND and the opposition. It’s very clear that the opposition is funded by oligarchs and they really represent the economic and political interests of the oligarchs.”
From Tahrir square to Zucotti Park, the public square has appeared as battleground in class and political struggles across the world. And like Tahrir and Zucotti, Kiev’s Maidan hosts not just protestors and police, but reporters and Twitterers and politicians and staffers and fixers waging their own war for public opinion. Derek Monroe interviewed those characters and more for his great Truthout piece Euro Maidan 2014: The Ruptured Rebellion of Incoherent Revolution. He stops by the studio for a wide-ranging interview that puts aside Western myths and political agendas, and focuses on the realities for those in the Maidan and Ukraine beyond.
Derek Monroe is an independent journalist, writer and translator. He has lived and worked in Poland, Germany, the United States, Mexico, and Japan. Last year he reported from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Edin Hajdarpasic: “Yes it is about the economy, but it’s also a deep-seated frustration, and rage, against the political institutions and against the politicians. Which is why the first demand of all the plenum citizen assemblies meetings has been ‘We want you to resign’.”
Parliamentary elections aren’t for months, but all these voting Bosnians are making their politicians nervous. Everyday Bosnians are assembling into plenums – citizen-led direct democracy assemblies – which have “a deeply subversive daily quality,” writes Edin Hajdarpasic, “something that has revolutionary potential, but does not fit with the conventional image of a violent revolution.” His Op-Ed Bosnia’s Conditional Democracy appeared at Al Jazeera. He talks with Chuck about how Bosnia’s direct democracy is already shaping an uncertain future, with or without establishment power or permission.
Edin Hajdarpasic teaches history at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of a forthcoming book titled Whose is Bosnia? Political Imagination and Nation-Formation in the Modern Balkans.
Jim Naureckas: “With a right wing protest movement, you’ll often see them described as being a protest in favor of ‘democracy’ – which as used by the US media, has very little context.”
Jim Naureckas‘s eyeballs seem remarkably un-scratched out for someone who has to read the New York Times and Washington Post opinion pages every day. He gives us a roundup of his most recent media coverage, including the pieces News From Venezuela–but Where Is It Coming From? and Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution, then explains why coverage of foreign protest movements are almost always shaped by US government narratives.
Jim has been the editor of Extra!, the monthly magazine of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, since 1990. He is the co-author of Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s.
Kevan Harris: “It was like the Beatles were coming to Iran. A thousand students showed up to see him, everybody wanted a piece of the action. It was far more receptive than I had imagined and I knew he was well known in Iran.”
At Princeton he’s a Middle East studies rising star, but This is Hell! still remembers the Radical Pessimist Kevan Harris from his Frank Zappa playing college radio days. He’s still broadcasting obscure hits on college campuses, but he’s traded Northwestern for the Ivy League and Tehran University, and Frank Zappa for sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein. Kevan organized a short speaking tour of Iran for Wallerstein, and he explains the sociologist’s career and regard abroad, why American reporters keep on being shocked that Iran is (and has been) an actual modern country, and how Lionel Ritchie is to Iraq what Chris De Burgh is to Iran.
Kevan Harris is a sociologist, a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University and radical pessimist. He likes to talk about big ideas and small people, including capitalism, the Middle East, and the puny American left. Contrary to rumor, he was not bitten by a spider as a teenager.
Jeff Dorchen: “The most complicated part of the performance was where it became clear Jesus, although an omnipotent monster, was helpless enough to need Fred Phelps to stage these performances on his behalf. It was basically community theatre.”
Fred Phelps just died and one of the few people to be sad about that fact is only pretending. In his latest Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen dons a neon funeral sign, claps for Westboro’s avante-garde Jesus-monster theatrics and helps Phelps open a can of food with his eyelashes. Listen, it will end up making more sense and be about as entertaining as a Westboro protest sign.
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.