2011 Program Archive

October 27 - It's Official From the CBO - The 1% Have Won; The New Frontier of Crime and Your Computer

audio

Full Program

LISTEN TO FULL PROGRAM  

audio

Part 1

We begin with an analysis of the recent report by the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office that finds the income of America’s top 1% more than tripled in the last few decades while middle class incomes grew by less than 40%. Harvard Economist Richard Parker, author of “The Myth of the Middle Class” joins us to explain how these latest figures confirm what a lot of Americans already knew, while validating the Occupy Wall Street Movement’s stark comparison of the 1% at the top versus the 99% at the bottom. Richard Parker

audio

Part 2

Then we look into the rise and fall of a criminal website “Darkmarket”, the title of a new book by BBC investigative journalist Misha Glenny, “Darkmarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You”.  The author of the bestseller “McMafia” that explored global multinational networks of organized crime, Misha Glenny turns his attention to this new frontier of crime and warfare that is essential reading for anyone who owns a computer. Misha Glenny
  Music: Fionn Regan - Campaign Button, Arcade Fire - Intervention, Yacht - We Have All We Ever Wanted, Aphex Twin - Flim  

 

October 26 - War Without Boots on the Ground; The Return of "It Can't Happen Here"; Inside the Saudi Gerontocracy

audio

Full Program

LISTEN TO FULL PROGRAM  

audio

Part 1

We begin with what appears to be a new Obama military/intelligence doctrine emerging that builds upon the Libyan example of intervention without boots on the ground. The founder and editor of Somaliareport.com, Robert Young Pelton joins us to discuss a new war going on in Somalia that employs U.S. naval and air assets, including drones, but uses Kenyan and Ugandan boots on the ground to fight the Islamist al Shebab militia.

Robert Pelton

audio

Part 2

Then we talk about the national revival of Sinclair Lewis’ novel and play “It Can’t Happen Here”, a prophetic warning from the 1930’s of how fascism could take over in the United States, opening now in performances and readings across the country. The organizer of this political and literary awakening, author, actor and comedian Darryl Henriques joins us along with Professor Joel Schechter who teaches dramatic literature, criticism and theatre history. We discuss similarities between today’s economic hard times and political extremism, and the era in which “It Can’t Happen Here” was written and performed by actors who actually worked for the United States Government under the WPA, the Works Progress Administration.

 

Joel Schechter

Darryl Henriques

audio

Part 3

Then finally we speak with British historian and author Robert Lacey, the author of “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia”.  As the Cold War between the Saudis and the Iranians heats up, we discuss the paradox that as rebellious Arab youth drive the region towards liberalism and reform, the ruling gerentocracy in Saudi Arabia appear to be heading in the opposite direction. Robert Lacey
  Music: Babyshambles - Piracy,  M. Ward - It Won't Happen Twice, Digable Planets - Dog It, The Libertines - The Man Who Would Be King  

 

October 25 - The Arab Spring Bears Fruit in Tunisia; Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

audio

Full Program

LISTEN TO FULL PROGRAM  

audio

Part 1

We begin with the elections in Tunisia that could be a harbinger of democratic change as the Arab Spring bears fruit in the country where the revolutions sweeping the Middle East began. Veteran BBC journalist Roger Hardy joins us. He has been a Middle East and Islamic Affairs analyst with the BBC World Service for 20 years and is the author of “The Muslim Revolt; a Journey Through Political Islam”.  As well as the regional implications, we discuss the victory of the Islamists in Tunisia and whether they will keep their promise to respect the secular traditions of this comparatively liberal North African country. Roger Hardy

audio

Part 2

Then we talk about our neighbor to the south, Mexico, with Ioan Grillo, the author of a new book “El Narco; Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency”.  We discuss the increasingly violent and grisly criminal insurgency that poses the greatest armed threat to Mexico since the 1910 revolution, an insurgency which so far has resulted in 40,000 murders south of the border in a failed war on drugs that is fueled by money and guns from the U.S.

Ioan Grillo

 

October 24 - Succession in Saudi Arabia: The US Ambassador is Pulled Out of Syria; The Ultimate in Corporate Greed

audio

Full Program

LISTEN TO FULL PROGRAM  

audio

Part 1

We begin with the succession this week in Saudi Arabia of a new crown prince likely to be Prince Nayef, who is a hardliner close to the Wahabbi religious establishment. Saudi expert Gregory Gause joins us to discuss what influence the current Interior Minister will have on the political future of an absolute monarchy that finds itself increasingly isolated by the Arab Spring unfolding in the Middle East and increasingly drawn into a conflict with Iran, following recent accusations that Iranian agents planned to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington.
 
Greg Gause

audio

Part 2

Then we discuss the departure of the US Ambassador to Syria, who has been pulled out because of threats from the Assad regime who are unhappy with the Ambassador’s support for the Syrian opposition. Murhaf Joujati, a Syrian-born expert on the Middle East who teaches at the National Defense University joins us to assess the impact of this escalation between the US and Syria and whether the downfall of Qaddafi will lead the Syrian opposition to take up arms.
 
Murhaf Jouejati

audio

Part 3

Then finally we discuss the mother of all corporate scandals, outlined in a new book “Retirement Heist; How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers". The author, former Wall Street Journal Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Ellen Schultz joins us to explain the obvious brazen contempt the top one percent have for the bottom 99% whose pensions are being robbed blind to enrich the already lavish retirements of overpaid CEO’s Ellen Schultz

 

October 23 - The Eurozone Punts as the Crisis Deepens; The Author of the Important New Book "Oligarchy"

audio

Full Program

LISTEN TO FULL PROGRAM  

audio

Part 1

We begin with the looming European financial crisis as the summit of 27 heads of EU states in Brussels failed to come to an agreement, putting off a possible resolution until next Wednesday. With Greece already in collapse and Spain, Portugal and Italy teetering, it is looking more and more likely that the contagion will spread to the U.S. and deepen and prolong the recession we are stuck in, making the Republicans, whose policies are accelerating our economic decline, more likely to be elected. Dimitri Papadimitriou, who just returned from Europe, joins us. He is president of the Levy Economics Institute, and Jerome Levy Professor of Economics at Bard College. He has testified on a number of occasions before Senate and House Committees of the U.S. Congress, and is a distinguished scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Dimitri Papadimitriou

audio

Part 2

Then we with speak with a professor of Political Economy at Northwestern University Jeffrey Winters, the author of a new book “Oligarchy”.  He has studied the oligarchs of ancient Greece and Rome as well as contemporary Indonesia and the Philippines, and by comparison finds America’s oligarch unusually greedy.  We examine the American Right’s fetishizing of the wealthy and powerful and its a contempt for the weak and needy.

For the last couple of years on “Background Briefing” we have questioned how much our democracy has succumbed to the power of concentrated wealth, so much so that listeners have complained that I was using the words oligarchy and plutonomy too much.

But now with the 99% movement spreading across the country and around the world, it is clear to a growing number of people that America’s oligarchs and their political hirelings control our economy and own our politics, effectively disenfranchising the majority of American voters.

oligarchy