802: Cash and Burn Shows


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Martin Chulov: “At the end – tired, battered, starved fighters and opposition communities did submit, and they were allowed to walk away with the, I guess, dignity of being allowed to carry one weapon with them, get on a bus and go to another part of the city. “

On June 3rd, the Syrians that aren’t dead, displaced internationally, displaced within Syria, locked up or in fear of being locked up for voting will be voting for president. Bashar al-Assad will definitely win the election, and it is looking more and more certain that he will win the civil war that has fractured Syria for the past three years. It’s hard to find many more certainties beyond those two facts.

Live from Beirut, Martin Chulov calls in to talk about his most recent writing from Syria, including Battle for Aleppo Could Prove Final Reckoning in Syria’s War, and to explain the state of Syria’s pro-Assad and opposition forces (and everyone else in between), what a vote for Bashar al-Assad actually means in this election, and why this war has caused many in the Middle East to reconsider notions of national identity, allegiance and political borders.

Martin Chulov is The Guardian’s Middle East correspondent.

Martin at The Guardian / Martin on Twitter



Philip Mirowski: “That’s one of the great weaknesses of the left – trying to use neoclassical economics to undo the neoliberal trend – it actually just ends up with the left shooting itself in the foot.”

The problem with being on the left is that we are much more certain about what went wrong in the past than what to do in the present, but the rise and endurance of neoliberalist policies might signal we are less right than we think about the present, and that’s stopping us from fighting austerity, inequality and greed in future.

In his book Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, historian Philip Mirowski explains why the financial elite have enjoyed success after success, despite failure after failure, and why the left offers so little resistance. Naturally, Chuck has a ton of questions about this and Philip has a ton of thoughts. Listen to this if it feels to you like being on the left is like being left out of American politics.

Philip Mirowski is a historian and philosopher of economic thought at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Philip is author of 2002′s Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science and 1999′s More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics.



Mick Dumke: “Even though this ticketing process – this soft decriminalization – ordinance was passed here, it hasn’t fundamentally changed who is getting picked up, booked, taken to the station, and thrown in lockup for anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.”

Because it is inevitable, legalized medical marijuana in Chicago will lead to legalized recreational marijuana in Chicago. And because it is Chicago, those with power and clout will get to the money first.

Mick Dumke has been covering Chicago’s slow push towards marijuana legalization in the Reader, including the recent and perfectly headlined Mayor Emanuel and Aldermen Vow to Implement Pot Law they Already Vowed to Implement. Mick talks with Chuck about what legalized pot means for War on Drugs Chicago, from stopped-and-frisked black teenagers to the alderman just learning about them. Don’t worry if you are slightly less interested in talking about weed than Chuck is – after a wide-ranging discussion about drugs, crime and communities, we also take some time for Mick to fill us in on the growing anyone-but-Rahm sentiment in Chicago and an update on the parking meter deal he’ll be writing about for the next 70 years.

Mick Dumke is a political reporter for the Chicago Reader.

Mick at the Reader / Mick on Twitter



Mikael Mikaelsson: “We don’t get as many climate change skeptics around here, and in these countries, public institutions place a strong emphasis on transparency, which in result leads to a high level of trust among the public.”

Americans pride ourselves on being an innovative nation, but lately it feels like that innovation is more directed at fast food menu item permutations and iPhone apps that turn everyone into low wage workers, and less aimed at tackling problems of climate change and societal inequality. In Waffletaco-less Scandinavia, more money is spent on public education and more researchers are publishing more papers and securing more scientific patents than ever.

Irregular Correspondent Mikael Mikaelsson has been thinking a lot about the Nordic values and policies behind their innovation boom, and he calls in to talk with Chuck about his new job studying innovation across borders, why public investment in scientific research enjoys results (and public support) across Scandinavia, and why a change in American education and news media would yield better results than a change in elected politicians.

Mikael Mikaelsson is currently working for the UK Government, covering bilateral policy engagement in science and innovation between the UK and the Nordic countries. He lives in Stockholm.



Jeff Dorchen: “The question I currently find most fascinating is whether we can call Elliot Rodger a misogynist, or if his insanity separates him from interpolation of any current in social consciousness.”

Everything Elliot Rodger did and said last month has already been wrung through the Internet think-piece machine as fast as possible, but for all the hashtagging and forum-scanning, a lot of big, simple, complicated questions have been left unasked. Are normalized (albeit shitty) social values to blame in the actions of an abnormal human? What makes misogyny a unique hatred? Why isn’t everyone oppressed killing everyone who oppresses them? Jeff Dorchen has some answers, but mostly more questions.

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.