827: Let’s Break a Deal Shows


Full Show:






Janine Wedel: “The intertwining of government and corporate power – that is the real problem. And that problem is embodied in today’s top power brokers. They break not only the rules of the free market, they also break the rules of modern democracy.”

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but at least it’s absolutely apparent. It’s the relative corruption we need to be worried about, where we can’t tell crimes from process, or influencers from influenced. Janine Wedel profiles America’s new corruption in her book Unaccountable: How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt our Finances, Freedom and Security.

Janine talks with Chuck about how a new generation of powerful influencers hijacked both American government and business, what happens when institutions designed to protect the public good become corrupted themselves, and why life in 21st century democracy is starting to remind her of Eastern Europe under late communism.

Janine Wedel is an anthropologist and professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University



Krys Bigosinski: “The Montpelier police department cited an overdose death of an IV heroin user in a request for four M14 assault rifles.”

He isn’t leaving Vermont because of its new/terrifying military surplus police arsenal, but Krys Bigosinki isn’t staying around to watch it being used either. As he prepares for a move to Maine (and the possibility for a Muller-Bigosinski-lead This is Hell! East franchise!) Krys reacts to an article on Vermont’s newest police equipment, in which MRAPs, Humvees and M14s are acquired to combat the threat of low-level weed smokers, seizure disorder sufferers and summer vacationers.

Dr. Krys Bigosinski is an expatriate of Chicago, living (for now) in Burlington, Vermont. In his spare time, he practices medicine.



Laura Gottesdiener: “There’s an attempt by Wall Street to turn Detroit into this blank slate, new neoliberal project. That’s why you get national media showing vacant houses and burned out blocks, to put in our minds that people don’t live in Detroit, so anything can be done there. That’s so far from the reality.”

There’s a Detroit where private security firms patrol wealthy neighborhoods, and there’s a Detroit where children have to shower at school because the water has been shut off in their neighborhood. They aren’t the same Detroit anymore, and Laura Gottesdiener profiles the gap between in her TomDispatch article Two Detroits, Separate and Unequal: A Journey Across a City Divided.

Laura explains how the auto industry bailout, mortgage crisis (and years of similar economic policies) propped up corporations and governments at the expense of workers and citizens, what technocrats willingly ignore when they treat an entire city like an experiment in neoliberal economics, and why the work of citizen-based groups like the People’s Water Board and Michigan Welfare Rights Organization give her hope that a city can be saved by its own people.

Laura Gottesdiener is a journalist and an associate editor for Waging Nonviolence.



Lori Wallach: “It basically has become a delivery mechanism for every corporate agenda item that couldn’t pass muster if it were debated in public.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership spans continents, corporations and national laws. Opposition to the TPP spans countries, demographics and party boundaries. Lori Wallach has been covering the secret trade deal and its very public opposition in her recent writing, including the Public Citizen post What the 2014 Election Results Mean for Trade Policy, and Defending Foreign Corporations’ Privileges Is Hard, Especially When Looking At The Facts for Forbes.

Lori calls in to explain how passage of the TPP would subvert democratic processes for the gain of international corporations, how President Obama is attempting to use a Nixon-era maneuver to bypass Congressional (and public) discussion of the trade agreement, and why defeating the TPP is actually the rare accomplishable goal in our democracy – it will just take lots and lots of phone calls.

Lori Wallach is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.



Dan Litchfield: “Polling has shown that people support renewable energy, they care about climate change, they want to tackle it – but they put that very low on their priority list. So unfortunately it hasn’t made a big difference.”

Dan Litchfield showed up to the studio with a growler of beer in hand. It’s for Chuck, but Dan could use a drink after dealing with Ohio’s recent attack on renewable energy. Dan gets us up to date on the state’s reverse on green energy standards, explains why politicians hid, then tried to subvert a report on strong green jobs figures, and figures out why renewable energy is a popular, but not winning political issue. Sorry about Ohio, Dan. They owe you a beer at the very least.

Dan Litchfield is a senior project developer for a major international renewable energy company, and the views represented on the show are Dan’s alone obviously.



Thomas Geoghegan: “We can’t carry the bad habits we learn in the workplace – learned helplessness, being disengaged, following orders – into a democratic society and expect that democratic society to work.”

The future of labor in America might not be traditionally organized unions, hell the present of labor in America isn’t traditionally organized unions, but there’s an opening for a new approach to power in the workplace. Tom Geoghegan points the way in his new book Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement.

Tom stops by the studio to talk about how America’s relatively weird labor history has compromised its present viability, why education isn’t the answer to a low paying jobs crisis (and why better paying jobs obviously is,) and the need for engagement between the left and the new labor movement, before we’re all private contractors on public assistance.

Tom Geoghegan is an author and attorney at Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan



Jeff Dorchen: “It’s very likely this could get me severly injured or killed, so I need you to be prepared. Because even given all the danger this puts me in the way of – I am making a conscious, free choice – by signing up to become a black man.”

Jeff Dorchen isn’t police-ist, he has plenty of cop friends. That doesn’t stop him from complaining about them, weighing the dangers of becoming a black man, doing the math on police-deaths and deaths-by-police, remembering the innocent OJ years, looking for white progress, finding white fear, and dodging tear gas canisters on his way to the root of justice.

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.