On The Monitor this week:
- Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it? An interview with Robyn O’Brien
- Turkey’s invasion of Syria. An interview with Michael Beer
More about this week’s guests:
Robyn O’Brien is a former financial and food industry analyst. She has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by Bloomberg and the New York Times. She is the author of The Unhealthy Truth published in May 2009 by Random House, which reveals the alarming relationship between the manipulation of our food and both the increase in dangerous allergies in our children as well as the increase in cancers in our families—and offers a road map to healthy living.
From a conservative Texas family, Robyn earned an MBA on a full scholarship, graduating as the top woman in her class before going to work as a financial analyst that covered the food industry. For ten years, she has led a food awakening among consumers, corporations and political leaders. Armed with data and analytics, food companies now responding to Robyn’s work include Bloomberg, Compass Food Group, Kraft, Coca Cola, Burger King, Chipotle, Nestle, Target and others. She sheds light on how the changing landscape of food and health are impacting the food industry and our economy. You can follow her on Twitter here: @
Michael Beer has been the Executive Director of Nonviolence International since 1998. Michael is a global activist for human rights, minority rights and against war and casino capitalism. He has trained activists in many countries, including Burma, Kosovo, Tibet, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, USA and Zimbabwe. He is a frequent public speaker on nonviolence and has been broadcast on CSPAN, CNN, and other major media. Michael is the co-parent of two children along with his life partner, Latanja.s the director of Nonviolence International.
Quote: “Turkey has invaded Syria without the support of the Assad government nor the United Nations nor the Arab League. This is another damaging blow to international laws meant to prevent war. Given hundreds of years of Turkish/Ottoman dominion over Arabs, this Turkish invasion is unlikely to gain much support in Syria or the Arab world. The timing is remarkable just as the vice president of the U.S. arrived in Turkey. The U.S. cooperated, in part, because the U.S. already has troops in Syria in violation of international law and the U.S. constitution and has no credible platform to protest. International protest has been slow to emerge: No attempt to bring this to the UN; the media refusing to label this an invasion/violation of international law. European governments support it, and the Iranians refuse to release a public statement. We are seeing more and more countries follow the U.S. and Russia’s example of using military force outside of international law. This is a dangerous direction for the future security of planet earth.”
On The Monitor this week:
- The misconstrued relationship between automation and wage inequality, with John Schmitt
- The gap between rhetoric and reality in Hillary Clinton’s assessments of Bernie Sanders’ healthcare plan, with Gerald Friedman
More about this week’s guests:
John Schmitt is research director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and co-author of the piece, “Don’t Blame the Robots: Assessing the Job Polarization Explanation of Growing Wage Inequality.” (co-authored with Heidi Shierholz — who is now the chief economist at the Labor Department — and Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute). You can follow John on Twitter here.
Background: President Obama said in his State of the Union address: “Now, what is true — and the reason that a lot of Americans feel anxious — is that the economy has been changing in profound ways, changes that started long before the Great Recession hit; changes that have not let up. Today, technology doesn’t just replace jobs on the assembly line, but any job where work can be automated. Companies in a global economy can locate anywhere, and they face tougher competition. As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise. Companies have less loyalty to their communities. And more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top.”
Schmitt Quote: “Technological change is not the force behind rising inequality. Technological change has been a constant feature of the economy throughout the entire 20th century, with no obvious associated increase in wage or income inequality for much of that period. As many researchers have also noted, the timing of the microcomputer revolution doesn’t match well with the jump in inequality. The largest increase in wage inequality took place in the few years between 1979 and 1982, well before personal computers, let alone the Internet, had transformed workplaces. And, the pace of growth in wage inequality slowed somewhat even as computerization spread steadily in the late 1980s and 1990s. Technology is also not well suited to explain important dimensions of wage inequality by gender, race, and age.
- American Jobs going overseas – Civil Defense Attorney James Otto Files Lawsuit So Americans Can have Equal Access to American Jobs
- The attack on the British Embassy in Iran – an interview with Trita Parsi
James Otto served as an Officer in the United States Marine Corp. from 1976 to 1980. In 1981, Mr. Otto earned a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) with an emphasis in finance, from National University in San Diego, California. He practiced financial analysis throughout Asia before returning to the United States in 1984.
While preparing to enter law school, Jim Otto worked for Dillingham Construction Company in Pleasanton, California as a database manger. He created database software to be placed on job sites (such as the Golden Gate Bridge restructuring and the BART project) to assist in the management of the projects.
Trita Parsi is the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign policy, and the geopoliitcs of the Middle East. He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press 2007), for which he conducted more than 130 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American decision-makers. Treacherous Alliance is the silver medal winner of the 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations.
Parsi’s upcoming book A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press), is set to be released early 2012.
This Labor Day week we look at Labor, Pensions and Debt. Our guests are Steve Early and David Graeber.
Steve Early is a labor journalist and lawyer who has written for numerous publications. He is the author of Embedded With Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home and The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor. Early was a Boston-based international representative or organizer for the Communications Workers of America for 27 years, and is a member of the editorial advisory committees of three independent labor publications: Labor Notes, New Labor Forum and Working USA. http://www.civilwarsinlabor.org
He just wrote the piece “Pension Changes Create Labor Strife.” http://www.progressive.org/pension_changes_labor_strife.html
David Graeber is an American anthropologist and anarchist who currently holds the position of Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He was an associate professor of anthropology at Yale University, although Yale controversially declined to rehire him, and his term there ended in June 2007. Graeber has a history of social and political activism, including his role in protests against the World Economic Forum in New York City (2002) and membership in the labor union Industrial Workers of the World. His father, Kenneth Graeber, participated in the Spanish Revolution in Barcelona and fought in the Spanish Civil War and his mother, then Ruth Rubinstein, was part of the original cast of the 1930s labor stage review Pins & Needles, performed entirely by garment workers. Graeber’s father ultimately found work as a plate stripper and Graeber has sometimes suggested his working class upbringing might have played at least as large a role in the problems he later encountered in academic life as his political activities.
The Monitor – Uprising Edition
Protests continue across the Middle East and The Monitor expands its coverage and in-depth analysis. We revisit Libya this week with our 1st guest, Ali Ahmida. Our 2nd guest, Bill Fletcher, will discuss events in Wisconsin and the topic of labor unions.
Ali Ahmida was born in Waddan, Libya and educated at Cairo University in Egypt and The University of Washington, Seattle. He is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of New England, Biddeford, Maine. He is also the author of The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance and Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya.
Bill Fletcher is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and the co-author of Solidarity Divided:The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice. Fletcher is also co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. He just wrote the piece “Modern-day Pirates: the Republicans vs. the Public Sector.”
Fletcher has been a critic of unions as well, see this interview: