On The Monitor this week:
- A round up of US national security news with Jonathan Landay
- William Black on the Trump administration’s dismantling of the Obama administration’s already insufficient post-2008 financial regulations
More about this week’s guests:
On The Monitor this week:
- Wendell Potter discusses his book Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts our Democracy and What We can do about it
- Money and Musicals – Gerald Horne on Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and Harriet Tubman
More about this week’s guests:
Following a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Wendell left his position as VP of Communications for Cigna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to advocate for meaningful health care reform and to help organizations working for the greater good achieve their goals. In widely covered Congressional hearings, Wendell disclosed how insurance companies, to boost profits, engage in practices that have forced millions of Americans into the ranks of the uninsured, and use deceptive PR tactics to undermine health care reform.
His book, “Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks out on how Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans,” is a stark warning that corporate spin is distorting our democracy. Wendell is also the author of “Obamacare: What’s in it for me? What everyone needs to know about the Affordable Care Act.” Wendell is a regular contributor for The Huffington Post and HealthInsurance.org.
Wendell’s latest book, coauthored by Nick Penniman is “Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do about It,” which exposes legalized corruption and links it to kitchen-table issues citizens face every day.
Gerald Horne holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. His research has addressed issues of racism in a variety of contexts involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. He has also written extensively about the film industry. Dr. Horne received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and his B.A. from Princeton University. Dr. Horne’s undergraduate courses include the Civil Rights Movement and U.S. History through Film. He also teaches graduate courses in Diplomatic History, Labor History and 20th Century African American History. Dr. Horne uses a variety of teaching techniques that enrich his classes and motivate students to participate.
Quote: “The U.S., as an artificially constructed former settler state, has a problem of unity — not least of all with its African American population. Many nations have to construct a mythology to achieve unity. The U.S. myth of the Founding Fathers has revolved around Washington and Jefferson, but both have been scrutinized. Alexander Hamilton is now in effect being put forward, but he was the captain of the one percent — he represented the interests of big finance at the beginning of the United States. He personified the grievances that continue, and that the Sanders campaign and — to a degree the Trump campaign — have objected to. So, if you have a multiracial, hip hop cast in this musical, you pretend we’re achieving national unity. The actual historical record is so very different. Britain was moving toward abolition, so in 1776, the slave owners rebelled. That’s in large part the origin of the United States. In terms of Alexander Hamilton the man, he migrated to the mainland from the Caribbean as the enslaved Africans became more rebellious. The elite whites could no longer control the situation though the region had been considered the crown jewel of the British empire in this hemisphere. His coming to what became the U.S. was actually an example of what we’d call white flight. Much of our political climate is continuously obscured because we still haven’t come to terms with the racist and economic realities of the United States from its origin. That allows for many poor whites to align politically with white elites rather than with black folks.”
Among his most recent publications
- Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow, 2014.
- The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, 2014.
- Black Revolutionary: William Patterson and the Globalization of the African-American Freedom Struggle, 2014.
This week’s show: Welfare for Corporations, Capitalism for the rest of us.
- Walmart Pushes Workers onto Medicaid as Obamacare Architect Goes to Big Pharma — and the Blogger who Predicted Both – an interview with Marcy Wheeler
- Billions in Local Corporate Subsidies – an interview with Thomas Cafcas
More about this week’s guests:
The Huffington Post recently reported in “Walmart’s New Health Care Policy Shifts Burden To Medicaid, Obamacare” that “Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post. … ‘Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,’ said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.”
Marcy Wheeler — who blogs at EmptyWheel.net — just wrote the piece “Walmart Takes Advantage of Health ‘Reform’ It Championed,” which states: “What HuffPo doesn’t mention in its piece on this, though, is that this is all presumably by design. Walmart, after all, was one of the partners behind the push for Obamacare. In fact, as things started to drag in summer 2009, Walmart partnered with Center for American Progress and SEIU to try to nudge the process along.”
Wheeler wrote in 2009: “The one way — just about the only way — a large employer can dodge responsibility for paying something for its employees is if its employees happen to qualify for Medicaid.
The New York Times is running a series on “incentives” companies get from governments. Critics often refer to these as subsidies — or giveaways. Two recent Times pieces are “As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price” and “Lines Blur as Texas Gives Industries a Bonanza.” The piece “When Hollywood Comes to Town” is slated for publication Tuesday. Also, see video from the Times on the “Border War” between Kansas and Missouri, as each state attempts to lure companies from the other: http://www.nytimes.com/video/2012/12/01/business/100000001832941/border-war.html
Thomas Cafcas is Research Analyst at Good Jobs First. Thomas joined Good Jobs First after working as an economic development consultant analyzing demographic and economic trends for community plans primarily in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He has also worked in land use planning and zoning in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas. He holds a Bachelors and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
About Good Jobs First:
Good Jobs First is a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. We provide timely, accurate information on best practices in state and local job subsidies, and on the many ties between smart growth and good jobs. Good Jobs First works with a very broad spectrum of organizations, providing research, training, communications and consulting assistance.
This week’s show is your last chance this drive to support The Monitor. Our guests are Sam Pizzigati and Gareth Porter. Please call 713.526.5738 or go online to www.kpft.org to make a secure online pledge. We have a goal of $900 for the hour and we can only do it with your help.
About our guests this week:
A veteran labor journalist, Sam Pizzigati has written widely on economic inequality, in articles, books, and online, for both popular and scholarly readers. Pizzigati edits “Too Much,” the weekly Institute for Policy Studies newsletter on excess and inequality. He recently wrote the piece “The 10
Greediest Americans of 2011,’ which will be the topic of this interview.
Currently as associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C., Pizzigati has been editing Too Much, a newsletter on inequality and excess, since the publication’s 1995 debut. His op-eds and articles on income and wealth maldistribution have appeared in a host of major American dailies, from the New York Times and the Washington Post to the Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a broad variety of magazines and journals.
Pizzigati, 62, has edited publications for four different national American unions and directed, for twenty years, the publishing operations of America’s largest union, the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. The 1992 anthology he co-edited, The New Labor Press (Cornell University ILR Press), remains the primary reference for trade union journalists.
Pizzigati’s most recent book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives (Apex Press), builds on work he began with his 1992 Apex title, The Maximum Wage. Greed and Good, published in 2004, earned an “outstanding title” of the year rating from the American Library Association (Choice, January 2006).
Pizzigati’s next book, The Rich Don’t Always Win: The forgotten triumph over plutocracy that created the American middle class, will be forthcoming in spring 2013 from Seven Stories Press.
Gareth Porter is an historian with a PhD in South-east Asian studies from Cornell University in New York state. He was Saigon Bureau Chief for Dispatch News Service in 1970 and 1971. Porter has taught international studies at City College of New York and American University and has written several books on Vietnam, the most recent being “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War”, published by the University of California Press in 2005. He has also written on war and diplomacy in Cambodia, Korea and the Philippines. Porter has been a news analyst for IPS focusing on U.S. policy and developments in Iraq and Iran since September 2005.
We will be talking to Gareth about his most recent article: U.S. Leak on Israeli Attack Weakened a Warning to Netanyahu –
When Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius this week that he believes Israel was likely to attack Iran between April and June, it was ostensibly yet another expression of alarm at the Israeli government’s threats of military action.
You can read his other articles here: