794: Live Free or Dry Shows


April 5th – What other radio show calls mid-election Afghanistan, post-credit Denmark and pre-revolutionary Taiwan in the space of four hours? Let your bitter, blind, broke, gap-toothed radio host Chuck Mertz enjoy the show, he won’t get the phone bill for a few weeks.






Maude Barlow: “This notion of unlimited growth is killing the planet. It’s destroying our water heritage.”

Welcome to the struggle for clean water, it’s been going on for millions of years, but nowadays it’s mostly a fight against other humans. Maude Barlow has been on the front lines for decades. She details her latest victory at the UN in Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever, the third in her trilogy on the future of Earth’s water. She calls in to discuss the global state of water, the local stakes of fracking and extreme energy extraction and the long fight ahead against new threats from hedge funds and neoliberal takeover artists.

Maude Barlow is the chair of the board of Food & Water Watch, founder of the Blue Planet Project, a councilor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council, and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. Maude Barlow is very, very busy.



Ole Bjerg: “If you start looking at the relationship between debtors and creditors, then you have a whole new political view where it’s not one half against the other. It’s the 99% against a small fraction.”

What is money? Like actually is money? Yes, obviously it’s complicated. That such a simple question is so hard to answer reveals not only the complicated status of money in the 21st century, but also that most of what we’ve been taught about wealth, credit and debt is totally wrong. In this wide-ranging, philosophical interview, Ole Bjerg, author of Making Money: The Philosophy of Crisis Capitalism, explores how money enters the modern world, why emerging alternative currencies like Bitcoin are inevitable reactions against modern banking, and whether the debtor’s chains can unite the 99%. This is the kind of interview you will hear on NPR’s Marketplace after the revolution.

Olje Bjerg is an Associate Professor at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School. His previous works include 2011′s Poker – The Parody of Capitalism.



J. Michael Cole: “The only ‘training camp’ that they’ve had was the streets of Taipei over the past two years, when they were protesting a number of issues. “

The newest occupants of Taiwan’s legislature are actually occupying Taiwan’s legislature. A group of students protestors known as the Sunflower Movement took over the building last month, and are establishing an agenda promoting democratic transparency and resisting a looming trade deal with China. And because it’s a group of student protestors, you can watch the occupation streaming live. J. Michael Cole just wrote the article Debunking the Myths About Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement, he calls in from Taipei to explain the growing frustration that fuels this new movement, who the protestors are, what they want and who they want it from, and why the Sunflower movement echoes but doesn’t imitate the past generation’s Wild Lily movement.

J. Michael Cole is a Taipei-based journalist and Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute.



Matthieu Aikins: “There are millions of Afghans who did vote today, they have honorable hopes for a brighter future that they deserve to have honored by a democratic system.”

Afghans are voting right now and even though at This is Hell! we’re normally jerks about voting, it’s a really big deal in a place where political change usually comes from the barrel of a gun. As Matthieu Aikins reports, there are still a lot of barrels of a lot of guns in Kabul. Live from Afghanistan, Matthieu gives a roundup of the issues and candidates in the country’s first non-Karzai election in 12 years, reports on the recent attacks against Western journalists, and talks with Chuck about the challenges facing Afghanistan’s next president.

Matthieu Aikins is a journalist who has been reporting from Afghanistan since 2008. He recently won the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting for his 2013 Rolling Stone article The A-Team Killings. Matthieu just joined This is Hell! as an Irregular Correspondent.



Jeff Dorchen: “The ability to indulge in self-pity and self-aggrandizement in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal is a luxury of the uber-wealthy. That Twitter affords those of us less wealthy the same luxury doesn’t make a stupid remark less stupid.”

So last week Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts tweeted out a genuinely racist or satirically racist tweet that shook the very foundations of America’s democracy but no one talked about that because at the very same time a fictional talk show host dismantled another safeguard in the already rickety system of protections shielding or at least attempting to look like its shielding Americans from the long teeth of the uber-wealthy’s vampiric thirst for capital. I think that’s what happened. I wasn’t paying attention. Jeff Dorchen was. He’ll take it from here.

According to his contacts on LinkedIn, Jeff can do just about anything. He’s a visual artist, songwriter/musician, actor, essayist, poet, playwright and screenwriter.



Producers Theron Humiston and Alexander Jerri introduce new producers Daniel Cox and Evelyn Wang to all the stuff that doesn’t work in the studio.




  • blah lalalalala

    got one thing to say about the first interview and the associated destruction of life on earth: thanks barack hussain fracking shmobama, you corrupt demon from hell, (figuratively speaking, though it’s virtually literal…. and all you shmucks who keep voting in politicians who offer you a teeny, teeny, tiny bit less evil than the other corrupt political party. just keep passing up opportunities to vote in 3rd parties who will actually represent you, keep voting for political parties who have repeatedly made it clear that they will betray you, and you’ll get what you asked for. congratulations. evolution apparently hasn’t worked fast enough, because we seem to belong to a species of stupid apes whose nature is to allow themselves to be dominated, abused, and destroyed by the most ruthless, psychopathic apes among us. too bad for us little apes, and the rest of life on earth. congrats, shmobams, & bye bye life on earth… and thanks, you masses of idiots who keep voting these demons into government.