On The Monitor this week:
- Interfering in Venezuela while accusing Russia of interfering here – Dan Kovalik
- Understanding Brexit, Trump, and Austerity – Mark Blyth
More about this week’s guests:
Dan Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is Senior Associate General Counsel of the United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO (USW). He has worked for the USW since graduating from Columbia Law School in 1993. While with the USW, he has served as lead counsel on cutting-edge labor law litigation, including the landmark NLRB cases of Lamons Gasket and Specialty Health Care. He has also worked on Alien Tort Claims Act cases against The Coca-Cola Company, Drummond and Occidental Petroleum – cases arising out of egregious human rights abuses in Colombia. The Christian Science Monitor, referring to his work defending Colombian unionists under threat of assassination, recently described Mr. Kovalik as “one of the most prominent defenders of Colombian workers in the United States.” Mr. Kovalik received the David W. Mills Mentoring Fellowship from Stanford University School of Law and was the recipient of the Project Censored Award for his article exposing the unprecedented killing of trade unionists in Colombia. He has written extensively on the issue of international human rights and U.S. foreign policy for the Huffington Post and Counterpunch and has lectured throughout the world on these subjects. He is also the author of The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia. He was recently in Venezuela and contrasts focusing on any possible allegation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, while the U.S. government is openly getting away with interfering in Venezuela and elsewhere.
Mark Blyth is a political economist whose research focuses upon how uncertainty and randomness impact complex systems, particularly economic systems, and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary. He is the author of “Capitalism in Crisis: What Went Wrong and What Comes Next” Foreign Affairs, Summer 2016, “Ideas and Historical Institutionalism.” Contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Historical Institutionalism (New York: Oxford University Press 2016) With Oddny Helgadottir and William Kring, “The New Ideas Scholarship in the Mirror of Historical Institutionalism: A Case of Old Whines in New Bottles?” European Journal of Public Policy, December 2015, “Just Who Put You in Charge? We Did: Credit Rating Agencies and the Politics of Ratings,” chapter for Alexander Cooley (ed.), Rankings and Ratings Organizations and Global Governance (Cambridge University Press 2015) (with Rawi Abdelal), The Future of the Euro ((co-editor with Matthias Matthijs) New York: Oxford University Press 2015).
- On the Fraud of Charter Schools with Diane Ravitch
- On the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff with James Green
Diane Ravitch is an historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University. She was born in Houston, Texas, attended the Houston public schools from kindergarten through high school, and graduated from Wellesley College in 1960. She received her Ph.D. in the history of American education in 1975. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Ravitch is author of many books, including Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education from 1991-1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration. She now blogs at dianeravitch.netwhere you can read her recent piece “Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud,” which states: “A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he “hurt” children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was “hurting children and their teachers” by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.) Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers. No one is demanding accountability. Politicians get paid off by charter friends, then cripple any effort to oversee them. Ohio and Michigan spend $1 billion a year to subsidize charter schools, which are lower-performing than public schools.The corporate reformers and privatizers are bombarding John Oliver with tweets and messages attacking his show.
- On the Cynicism of the Clinton Foundation with Ken Silverstein
- On America’s Racial Wealth Divide with Josh Hoxie
Josh Hoxie is the director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies. Josh joined the Institute for Policy Studies in August 2014 heading up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation. Josh’s main focus is on addressing wealth inequality through the estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Josh grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attained a BA in Political Science and Economics from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.
Josh worked previously as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest serving independent in Congressional history, both in his office in Washington, DC and on his successful 2012 re-election campaign.
According to a new report, it would take the average black family 228 years to accrue the same amount of wealth that white families have today. The report is called The Ever-Growing Gap: Failing to Address the Status Quo Will Drive the Racial Wealth Divide for Centuries to Come . Josh is one of the main authors. You can read analysis of the report here by Chuck Collins (senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org) and Dedrick Asante-Muhammed (director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the Corporation for Enterprise Development).
The report release coincided with the 2nd anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, MO. police officer, which spawned the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for racial justice across all segments of society. Here’s a summary of key findings within the report:
- “If current federal wealth-building policies remain in place, it will take the average African-American family 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth that white families have today and it will take Latino families 84 years to reach that goal
- “By 2043, when households of color will constitute a majority of the U.S. population, the racial wealth divide between white households and African- American and Latino households will have doubled from about $500,000 in 2013 to $1 million.
- “The Forbes 400 will see their average wealth skyrocket to $48 billion by 2043—more than eight times the amount they hold today. During that same period, the average wealth for white families will increase by 84% to $1.2 million compared to $165,000 for Latino families (69% growth) and $108,000 for African-American households (27% growth).”
The Corporation for Enterprise Development and IPS call for a range of reforms to address the problem, including fixing an “upside down” tax system that currently doles out more than half a trillion dollars annually to help primarily wealthy households get wealthier, while providing almost nothing to lower-income households.
On The Monitor this week:
- The cyclical cries for Police “reforms”and the ongoing Militarization of the Police, with Pete Kraska
The Freak out over Brexit in the context of Interventions and Austerity, with Robin Hahnel
More about this week’s guest
Dr. Pete Kraska is Professor and chair of Graduate Studies and Research in the School of Justice Studies Eastern Kentucky University. He has distinguished himself as a leading scholar in the areas of police and criminal justice militarization, criminal justice theory, and mixed methods research. He has published seven books including Criminal Justice and Criminology Research Methods, Theorizing Criminal Justice: Eight Essential Orientations, and Militarizing The American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and Police. Dr. Kraska’s research has also been published in a number of leading journals, including the British Journal of Criminology, Social Problems, Justice Quarterly, and Policing and Society. Dr. Kraska’s work has received national and international recognition. He is frequently asked to present his research and findings to academic and policy audiences, including most recently testifying for the U.S. Senate on police militarization. His work has also been featured in media outlets such as 60 Minutes, The Economist, Washington Post, BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, National Public Radio, and PBS News Hour. Follow him on Twitter here @Peterkraska and read an interview on this topic from 2014 here: “White House Commission May End Up Training More Cops to Use Military Weapons.”
Robin Hahnel is professor emeritus at the American University. He is best known as a radical economist and co-creator of a post-capitalist economic model known as “participatory economics.” His ten books include The Political Economy of Participatory Economics (Princeton University Press). He just wrote the piece “Brexit: Establishment Freak Out,” which states: “It is comical to watch the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic panic over short-run economic damage due to market ‘over reaction,’ because any danger of this is due to their own negligence. Only because the establishment has hitched our economic destinies to the whims of financial markets is there any need to worry that Brexit might trigger yet another global meltdown. Only because the establishment failed to implement prudent, financial regulation in the seven years since the last financial crisis crashed the global economy is there any danger today. Only because the Cameron government and the European Commission responded to the Great Recession with counterproductive fiscal austerity is a return to deeper recession in Europe quite probable. But we can be sure of one thing: All negative economic trends will now be blamed on Brexit and the populist ‘mob’ who brought it on, rather than on the establishment’s neoliberal policies which are actually responsible.” You can follow him on Twitter here: @RobinHahnel and you can read more examples of his work here:
This is the last show of 2015 and this week’s Monitor takes a look back at two of important stories from the year. The first is with William R Polk and is focused on the history of economic and political crisis in Greece. The second is with Dahr Jamail and examines climate change. Both of these interviews were conducted in July this year.
- Behind the Greek Crisis – an interview with William R Polk
- An interview with Dahr Jamail on the “Sixth Great Mass Extinction Event” that is already underway.
More about the two guests:
William R. Polk is a graduate of Harvard University (B,A. and Ph.D.) and Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.). He also studied at the Universidad Nacional de Mexico, the Universidad Nacional de Chile, the University of Baghdad and the American University of Beirut. Dr. Polk taught history and Arabic language and literature and helped to found the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University from 1955 to 1961 when President Kennedy appointed him the Member of the Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East, Central Asia and much of Africa. On the Council, he also dealt with a number of special issues including development, refugees and cultural exchange. And there he was the head of various interdepartmental tasks forces on foreign affairs including efforts to end the Algerian war, the revision of American relations with Turkey and the Palestine problem. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he served as one of three members of the Crisis Management Committee. During this period he was asked to become Deputy Commissioner General of UNRWA. In 1965, Dr. Polk resigned from government service to become Professor of History at the University of Chicago. There he established the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and was a founding director of the American Middle Eastern Studies Association. In 1967 he became the founding director (later President) of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs which, among other ventures, hosted the 20th Pugwash Conference on nuclear weapons and did much of the planning for the United Nations Environment Program. He was called back to the White House briefly during the 1967 Middle Eastern war to write a draft peace treaty and to act as assistant to the former Director of the National Security Council and then the President’s special assistant, McGeorge Bundy. In 1970, at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir he successfully negotiated with President Nasser of Egypt a ceasefire on the Suez Canal. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he grew up there and on a nearby ranch. He attended public school in Fort World and, during the Second World War was trained for the cavalry at the New Mexico Military Institute. After the war ended, he worked on a newspaper in Rome before entering college. He was awarded four Rockefeller Foundation, one Ford and one Guggenheim fellowship and, during his time in government, he received a commendation from the Department of Defense and the Medal of Honor from the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Dr. Polk has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe and speaks several of he languages of those areas. He has written a number of books and has served on the boards of various foundations and businesses. In addition, he has acted as an advisor to the chief executives of a dozen major corporations. Dr. Polk has lectured in over a hundred universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Northwestern, SMU, Texas, UCLA, Berkeley, the University of Colorado, and research institutions including The Council on Foreign Relations, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), Brookings, and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In addition he has appeared frequently on radio and television programs including CBS, ABC, PBS, BBC, Channel 24 (Paris) and a large number of local stations. He has also spoken to many public affairs groups, clubs and civic organizations.
Dahr Jamail (@DahrJamail) is a Truthout staff reporter and the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards. His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.
In part, the article states:
…the most important development this month is clearly a recently published study in Science that states, unequivocally, that the planet has officially entered its sixth mass extinction event. The study showed that species are already being killed off at rates much faster than they were during the other five extinction events, and warned ominously that humans could very likely be among the first wave of species going extinct.
The lead author of the study, Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Autónoma de México, told reporters that if current rates of ACD, deforestation and pollution are allowed to continue, “Life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on.”
Another alarming feature of the study is that it is admittedly conservative. On page three it states: “We emphasize that our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis.”
This is the final week of KPFT’s pledge drive. The Monitor has a goal of $1,250. Please call the station during the show and pledge your support for The Monitor. The number is 713.526.5738 (713.JAM.KPFT). You can also pledge online at www.kpft.org
We have one guest this week – Costas Panayotakis and we will be talking with him about the recent election results in Greece.
Costas Panayotakis is professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York and author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He has written extensively on Greece and has appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows around the world
“The result of the Greek election is a resounding rejection of the austerity policies that have had devastating economic and social consequences. Having received over 35 percent of the vote, Syriza, Greece’s leading party of the anti-austerity left, is poised to form a government in coalition with a smaller party of the anti-austerity right and to challenge the austerity policies imposed throughout the eurozone. In so doing, the Greek election could prove an important turning point, further fueling the rise of anti-austerity forces of the left in Spain, Ireland and beyond.”
During this pledge drive, You can still pick up a copy of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America for a pledge of $120 ($10 per month).
About the book:
Rory Fanning – a TomDispatch regular, walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008-2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. Fanning became a conscientious objector after his second tour.
Pat Tillman’s death by friendly fire was covered up just days before his comrade Rory Fanning—who served in the same unit as Tillman—left the Army Rangers as a conscientious objector. Disquieted by his tours in Afghanistan, Fanning sets out to honor Tillman’s legacy by crossing the United States on foot.
Told with page-turning style, humor, and warmth, Worth Fighting For explores the emotional and social consequences of rejecting the mission of one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. It is only through the generous, and colorful people Fanning meets and the history he discovers that he learns to live again.