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TruthToTell, Monday, Sept 23–9AM: WIDENING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY: An Old Story Lives in New Numbers - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/Streaming at KFAI.org & Livestream.com/TruthToTellMN

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us@TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid),

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New studies warn us about the pending disasters that could well occur if continued economic inequality sticks with us and we don’t get our heads out of the sand about where each of us in middle-class circumstances actually sits along the income and to see the real harm increasing poverty is doing to disrupt society and threaten massive divisions as the rich get richer and the poor can no longer focus their attention on anything but survival. At any cost. It’s in the nature of all animals that survival comes first.

Will policymakers stop pandering to the self-deception and start putting the singular effort needed to turn these trends around before the complete collapse of the economy and descent into chaos? The numbers are there, sometimes in the driest of terms, but serious numbers, nonetheless. Moreover, one study confirms the paralysis of those in poverty to focus their decision-making in favor of improving themselves and making better choices for their behavior. How can anything go well for people whose cognitive functions are seriously, perhaps fatally impaired by their poverty?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query three long-term observers of the economic malaise and growing inequality, including one author of one of the more prominent studies – that of Growth & Justice’s showing the serious dimensions of this issue - Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking. 

GUESTS:

Thomas Legg, PhD (Applied Economics) – Professor of Finance, Carlson School of Management, UofM; Researcher, Co-Author, Growth&Justice Report: “Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking,”

 



Brianna Halverson – Director, Minnesota Branch, Working America.

 

 

 

Tom O'Connell, PhD – Professor Emeritus of Political Studies at Metropolitan State University

 

 

 

 


TruthToTell, Sept 23: WIDENING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY: An Old Story Lives in New Numbers

On-air date: 
Mon, 09/23/2013
Listen to or download this episode here: 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!


 

 

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid),

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New studies warn us about the pending disasters that could well occur if continued economic inequality sticks with us and we don’t get our heads out of the sand about where each of us in middle-class circumstances actually sits along the income and to see the real harm increasing poverty is doing to disrupt society and threaten massive divisions as the rich get richer and the poor can no longer focus their attention on anything but survival. At any cost. It’s in the nature of all animals that survival comes first.

Will policymakers stop pandering to the self-deception and start putting the singular effort needed to turn these trends around before the complete collapse of the economy and descent into chaos? The numbers are there, sometimes in the driest of terms, but serious numbers, nonetheless. Moreover, one study confirms the paralysis of those in poverty to focus their decision-making in favor of improving themselves and making better choices for their behavior. How can anything go well for people whose cognitive functions are seriously, perhaps fatally impaired by their poverty?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query three long-term observers of the economic malaise and growing inequality, including one author of one of the more prominent studies – that of Growth & Justice’s showing the serious dimensions of this issue - Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking. 

GUESTS:

Thomas Legg, PhD (Applied Economics) – Professor of Finance, Carlson School of Management, UofM; Researcher, Co-Author, Growth&Justice Report: “Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking,”

 



Brianna Halverson – Director, Minnesota Branch, Working America.

 

 

 

Tom O'Connell, PhD – Professor Emeritus of Political Studies at Metropolitan State University

TruthToTell, Monday July 30-9AM: REGULATING MINNESOTA POLLUTERS: Impossible?; TruthToTell, July 23: LABOR IN CRISIS: Fair Trade vs. Foreign Policy?

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Things have not improved since a year ago April when TTT presented a two-week series on the ravages of sulfide mining to come if PolyMet and other mining companies have their way with us – us being Minnesotans of all sorts.

While some delays have been invoked over the applications for DNR-issued mining permits, the political powers that be continue to pressure the relevant state and federal agencies regulating Minnesota industries of all sorts to look past the potential harms bubbling up into our environment – our water, air and food – by industries given too much deference and pitting economic benefits against human health and other natural resources and animals.

Here are some questions we posed last year for our guests – and you, the public – last year in the face of local area legislators and St. Paul regulatory authorities pushing through permits to further pollute those resources we rely on to give life to all living things:

What more are we willing to sacrifice in terms of what we’re able to eat, drink and breathe in order to provide some – perhaps a lot – of short-term construction work – along with far fewer full time, permanent jobs?

These are but a few questions that require some deep and introspective thinking and evaluating by millions of people who surely want clean air and water and unadulterated food, but who have, through no fault of their own, found themselves unemployed, limited in their training and education to the work they did before and eager to earn a living for themselves and their families.

That’s what makes projects like the PolyMet Copper-Nickel Mine project well north of the Twin Cities such a seductive venture. The mine would be dug smack in the middle of the Superior National Forest, in what is called the Duluth Complex – a relatively untapped lode of these metals – the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation.

All local and statewide politicians, several labor groups and the Chambers of Commerce are one in arguing this issue: create the jobs – and forget the environmental damage their work may cause in both the long and short term. They claim this all-new, non-ferrous mining operation will produce the important copper and nickel used in a variety of products we use every day – with an interesting emphasis on renewable, rechargeable and critical-use tools – like batteries, hybrid vehicles, and pollution-reducing catalytic converters. Clever marketing.

Some local state representatives, senators, mostly Democrats last year, and joining them this year – Republican majorities - and even Amy Klobuchar and Jim Oberstar, endorse the project and angrily dismiss worried environmental groups and the Fond du Lac tribe’s arguments and even the Environmental Protection Agency’s lowest environmental rating as just so much (as if job-killing were an active agenda for clean water and food). The company isn’t much talking, so we can only consult their website for what is little more than a marketing pitch.

It would be easy to keep our focus on mining and the sulfuric acid aftermath of mining copper and nickel in Minnesota’s copper-rich Duluth Complex.

But this time we want to spread our wings a bit and remind our listeners that regulation in Minnesota may be silo-ed – isolated, that is – by agencies like the DNR (whose job includes the promotion and enabling of mining in the state, not just the protection of fish and wildlife); like the MN Pollution Control Agency, whose job has evolved to actually permitting pollution in greater quantities, then turn around and issue warnings when that pollution becomes dangerous to human health – but never shut down a polluter, whether a dangerous coal-fired utility, an animal or dairy feedlot with dangerous wastes overflowing into ditches and waterways feeding the rivers, or a waste-burning plant in the middle of the city threatening the breathing of residents; and like the Minnesota Health Department, which talks a good game, but is powerless to step in and actually require revisions in business practices that would save lives and ensure safer operations for the public health. Years of agency staffing with corporate sympathizers has left us bereft of real regulation.

In other words, we want to talk about regulation and its effectiveness – or lack of it – in protecting the public welfare over the economic benefits of deferring to corporate interests with the excuse that jobs are somehow in jeopardy if regulation imposes restrictions on those corporations…or, perhaps, denies them the authority to open shop at all without proving first that an enterprise will be safe for human and animal exposure.

After all, wasn’t regulation instituted to PREVENT harm to living beings? Why can’t we require an industry claiming to be safe for the environment to PROVE IT FIRST??

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with those who are feeling slightly less powerful than the companies, politicians and state agencies turning the notion of regulation on its head and forcing victims to do the proving.

GUESTS:

 PAULA MACCABEE – Attorney, Water Legacy and Sierra Club North Star Chapter


 ROBERT DESJARLAIT (Ojibwe-Anishinabe) – Co-Founder, Protect Our Manoomin (Wide Rice); Of the Red Lake Anishinaabe Nation; Visual artist, historian, educator and traditional dancer.


BRUCE JOHNSON – Retired MPCA Regulation Staff and Northern Minnesota resident.

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, July 23, 2012

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During the election season of 1972 – when George McGovern was challenging the policies and programs – not to mention the leadership – of Richard Nixon in the latter’s first term and the continuing war in Vietnam (remember the Kent State student killings in 1970, Nixon’s 1969 bombing of Cambodia – less than year in office – and the 1972 “Christmas Bombing” of North Vietnam), millions of rural and blue collar voters – much as they have more recently as Tea Party members – piled into the polls to vote for Nixon in direct contravention of their unions’ leadership. At least that’s how it appeared.

The Committee to Re-Elect, the Nixon machine found guilty of the Watergate break-in and laundering of campaign funds plus a massive cover-up a couple of years later, leading to Nixon’s unprecedented resignation in disgrace – portrayed George McGovern as little more than a professorial flake of a progressive. The campaign against the man who would have ended the Vietnam bloodbath at least three or four years and thousands of American and Asian lives before it finally stopped may well have succeeded based in major part on the abandonment of rank-and-file union members that year. This carried on right through the election of Ronald Reagan where more damage, perhaps fatal blows, were inflicted on collective bargaining and worker protections, including health and pension benefits. And, still suburban working class men and women vote Republican in significant numbers.

We have written and discussed how the rank-and-file’s shift to the right has flown in the face of all that labor’s founding forefathers sought in the bloody battles for recognition and certification representing overworked and underpaid workers in almost every one of America’s industries – most of them gone now, thanks to so-called free trade policies of Republican administrations and buttressed by gutless Democrats – all of whom have lost sight of labor’s struggle and heritage in the fattening of the middle class through the post-WWII decades, including two more conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

How does war and fair trade mix? How does the loss of many rank-and-file union members – especially the trades – to Republicans who have shipped their jobs overseas and given tax and regulatory breaks to those who have exploited labor while destroying the environment many unions believe impedes job creation sit with a public whose support organized labor has needed down through the ages?

Many authors have written well about the millions of Americans so willing to vote against their own best interests, but where was labor leadership when it came to standing up against the forces of evil here and overseas – against war when the crunch came? What’s the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank first raised this issue. But that included seniors and previously declared liberals in one bellwether state’s voting public.

Linking labor’s overseas strategy and tactics in times of war and third world development issues. The AFL-CIO has adamantly avoiding opposing America’s involvement in war dating back years and several conflicts, cooperating and colluding with the CIA and other agencies. In a review of the book authored by one of this Monday’s guests, Dr. Kim Scipes’s AFL-CIO’s Secret War Against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage? (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010), social critic and writer Paul Street writes: 

Unbeknownst to most American union members and many U.S. labor officials, and without their support, the top foreign policy operatives of the AFL and the AFL-CIO have consistently collaborated with American government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in carrying out an imperialist foreign policy that has attacked working and living standards in “developing countries” (known as “Third World” nations during the Cold War).

Anytime you’re inclined to label labor as “imperialist” – stand back. But, as Scipes – a prolific professor of sociology at Purdue University and a long time labor union member and supporter – writes in his preface: “This is a book that has been very difficult for me to write. I am a strong believer in collective action, and especially collective action by working people, so as to improve their wages, working conditions, and the general conditions of their lives. Also, I am a strong believer in unions…” He goes on to list his union affiliations. But he also goes onto state flatly that the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy program and leadership “…support and have worked to extend the U.S. empire. Besides attacking workers and unions around the world who challenge U.S. corporate investment…the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy program can exist in the United states only by attacking labor democracy within the U.S. labor movement itself.”

He also says this program started about 100 years ago.

What have been the ramifications of all of this “empire” support as we have engaged in wars and exploitation all around the planet? And what about its effect on the Fair Trade Movement. How can the AFL-CIO possibly justify its behavior elsewhere as it opposes NAFTA and colludes with U.S. government adventurism overseas?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query the author and his reviewers – plus state and local labor leaders – in search of answers to the many questions these issues raise.

GUESTS:

  KIM SCIPES, PhD – Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University (North Central); Author, AFL-CIO’s Secret War Against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage? (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010)


  PETER RACHLEFF, PhD – Professor of History, Macalester College, St. Paul; Labor Historian


  JOSH WISE – Director, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition

 

  TOM O’CONNELL – Professor of Social Science, Metropolitan State University; Chair, CivicMedia/Minnesota; Labor Historian

TruthToTell, Monday July 23-9AM: LABOR IN CRISIS: Fair Trade vs. Foreign Policy?; TruthToTell, July 16: NICK COLEMAN THE SENATOR: Right Up There with Fritz and Company

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During the election season of 1972 – when George McGovern was challenging the policies and programs – not to mention the leadership – of Richard Nixon in the latter’s first term and the continuing war in Vietnam (remember the Kent State student killings in 1970, Nixon’s 1969 bombing of Cambodia – less than year in office – and the 1972 “Christmas Bombing” of North Vietnam), millions of rural and blue collar voters – much as they have more recently as Tea Party members – piled into the polls to vote for Nixon in direct contravention of their unions’ leadership. At least that’s how it appeared.

The Committee to Re-Elect, the Nixon machine found guilty of the Watergate break-in and laundering of campaign funds plus a massive cover-up a couple of years later, leading to Nixon’s unprecedented resignation in disgrace – portrayed George McGovern as little more than a professorial flake of a progressive. The campaign against the man who would have ended the Vietnam bloodbath at least three or four years and thousands of American and Asian lives before it finally stopped may well have succeeded based in major part on the abandonment of rank-and-file union members that year. This carried on right through the election of Ronald Reagan where more damage, perhaps fatal blows, were inflicted on collective bargaining and worker protections, including health and pension benefits. And, still suburban working class men and women vote Republican in significant numbers.

We have written and discussed how the rank-and-file’s shift to the right has flown in the face of all that labor’s founding forefathers sought in the bloody battles for recognition and certification representing overworked and underpaid workers in almost every one of America’s industries – most of them gone now, thanks to so-called free trade policies of Republican administrations and buttressed by gutless Democrats – all of whom have lost sight of labor’s struggle and heritage in the fattening of the middle class through the post-WWII decades, including two more conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

How does war and fair trade mix? How does the loss of many rank-and-file union members – especially the trades – to Republicans who have shipped their jobs overseas and given tax and regulatory breaks to those who have exploited labor while destroying the environment many unions believe impedes job creation sit with a public whose support organized labor has needed down through the ages?

Many authors have written well about the millions of Americans so willing to vote against their own best interests, but where was labor leadership when it came to standing up against the forces of evil here and overseas – against war when the crunch came? What’s the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank first raised this issue. But that included seniors and previously declared liberals in one bellwether state’s voting public.

Linking labor’s overseas strategy and tactics in times of war and third world development issues. The AFL-CIOhas adamantly avoiding opposing America’s involvement in war dating back years and several conflicts, cooperating and colluding with the CIA and other agencies. In a review of the book authored by one of this Monday’s guests, Dr. Kim Scipes’s AFL-CIO’s Secret War Against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage? (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010), social critic and writer Paul Street writes: 

Unbeknownst to most American union members and many U.S. labor officials, and without their support, the top foreign policy operatives of the AFL and the AFL-CIO have consistently collaborated with American government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in carrying out an imperialist foreign policy that has attacked working and living standards in “developing countries” (known as “Third World” nations during the Cold War).

Anytime you’re inclined to label labor as “imperialist” – stand back. But, as Scipes – a prolific professor of sociology at Purdue University and a long time labor union member and supporter – writes in his preface: “This is a book that has been very difficult for me to write. I am a strong believer in collective action, and especially collective action by working people, so as to improve their wages, working conditions, and the general conditions of their lives. Also, I am a strong believer in unions…” He goes on to list his union affiliations. But he also goes onto state flatly that the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy program and leadership “…support and have worked to extend the U.S. empire. Besides attacking workers and unions around the world who challenge U.S. corporate investment…the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy program can exist in the United states only by attacking labor democracy within the U.S. labor movement itself.”

He also says this program started about 100 years ago.

What have been the ramifications of all of this “empire” support as we have engaged in wars and exploitation all around the planet? And what about its effect on the Fair Trade Movement. How can the AFL-CIO possibly justify its behavior elsewhere as it opposes NAFTA and colludes with U.S. government adventurism overseas?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query the author and his reviewers – plus state and local labor leaders – in search of answers to the many questions these issues raise.

GUESTS:

  KIM SCIPES, PhD – Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University (North Central); Author, AFL-CIO’s Secret War Against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage? (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010)

  PETER RACHLEFF, PhD – Professor of History, Macalester College, St. Paul; Labor Historian

  JOSH WISE – Director, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition

 

 

 

 LINDA HAMILTON – President, Minnesota Nurses Association

  TOM O’CONNELL – Professor of Social Science, Metropolitan State University; Chair, CivicMedia/Minnesota; Labor Historian

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, July 16, 2012

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nick Coleman.

Who? That writer from the Strib? The columnist who used to write for the Pioneer Press?

No. That Nick Coleman is the son of the Nicholas David Coleman who left a significant mark on Minnesota’s political landscape for well over 30 years and would likely have kept it up for another 20 or 30 had he survived the leukemia that killed him in January of 1981.

Like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Don Fraser, Rudy Perpich, Wendy Anderson, Al Quie and Elmer Andersen and probably about two dozen other truly prominent political movers and shakers from the 1960s onward, Nick Coleman was, for his time in Minnesota’s recent history (that being the last 50-75 years) a rock-solid political animal and a flawed personality who charmed the hell out of friends and enemies alike.

Nick served as the Minnesota Senate’s Majority Leader for a major part of his political life – almost 20 years. He presided over Senate passage of the original Minnesota Miraclewhich  marked the shift in education financing from the very regressive property tax to the very progressive (and most say fairer) income tax.

It says something about the state of the state’s slide toward a much more conservative tenor and rancorous political climate that the Minnesota Miracle eroded before our very eyes to where we once again fork over more in property taxes to fund education than we do in fairer income taxes. People bitch a lot more over property taxes than the small slices they pay in income taxes, so conservatives (of both parties) have successfully shifted the burden to a tax that knows no downward income limits: it penalizes the poorest of us and forces school districts to run a-begging to residents who have watched their property taxes rise either by rate increases or based on rising property values.

Nick didn’t hang around long enough to see this erosion and the decided disappearance in political civility that has accompanied the emergence of a wholly radical right wing in Minnesota.

Still, Nick’s was a life of color, of ups and downs, of marriage, divorce, remarrying and the raising of yet another generation of five men and a woman, most of whom have made their marks in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on the Twin Cities’ and Minnesota’s political and cultural scene. Nick Coleman, the Younger, made his mark as a wry observer of the  passing scene in sports, culture and politics. Brother Patrick is a steward of the state’s historical collections, the younger Chris Coleman has risen to be a two-term mayor of St. Paul, the one to truly follow in his father’s footsteps.

It took another former state Senator, John Watson Milton, a former colleague of Nick’s, six years to research the nooks and crannies of Nick’s life and history. For the Good of the Order: Nick Coleman and the High Tide of Liberal Politics in Minnesota, 1971-1981 (Ramsey County Historical Press, 2012) is Milton’s lengthy tome in which junkies like yours truly can really become immersed, but it’s also a completely thorough historical treatise on Coleman’s Irish roots in an Irish town like St. Paul became while tracing Nick’s fascinating life as a human and political animal.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI will talk with the author and a couple of those closest to Coleman throughout his life. (We'll also chat for a time with Brian Kaller, who's back in the Cities to talk about his new homeland - Ireland – and its survival in the face of austerity. Brian's writing for several blogs - his own and other publications about his observations of Irish culture and economies.)

GUESTS:

JOHN WATSON MILTON – former State Senator and Ramsey County Commissioner; Author, For the Good of the Order: Nick Coleman and the High Tide of Liberal Politics in Minnesota, 1971-1981 and several other books and novels.

PATRICK COLEMAN – Second Eldest of Nick Coleman’s sons and Manager of Collections for the Minnesota Historical Society.

JOHN KAUL – Former Chief of Staff to the Majority Leader under Nick Coleman, legislative affairs specialist for several organizations and a photographer and videographer/documentarian.

 

 

 

TruthToTell, July 23: LABOR IN CRISIS: Fair Trade vs. Foreign Policy?-AUDIO Podcast Up HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 07/23/2012

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During the election season of 1972 – when George McGovern was challenging the policies and programs – not to mention the leadership – of Richard Nixon in the latter’s first term and the continuing war in Vietnam (remember the Kent State student killings in 1970, Nixon’s 1969 bombing of Cambodia – less than year in office – and the 1972 “Christmas Bombing” of North Vietnam), millions of rural and blue collar voters – much as they have more recently as Tea Party members – piled into the polls to vote for Nixon in direct contravention of their unions’ leadership. At least that’s how it appeared.

The Committee to Re-Elect, the Nixon machine found guilty of the Watergate break-in and laundering of campaign funds plus a massive cover-up a couple of years later, leading to Nixon’s unprecedented resignation in disgrace – portrayed George McGovern as little more than a professorial flake of a progressive. The campaign against the man who would have ended the Vietnam bloodbath at least three or four years and thousands of American and Asian lives before it finally stopped may well have succeeded based in major part on the abandonment of rank-and-file union members that year. This carried on right through the election of Ronald Reagan where more damage, perhaps fatal blows, were inflicted on collective bargaining and worker protections, including health and pension benefits. And, still suburban working class men and women vote Republican in significant numbers.

We have written and discussed how the rank-and-file’s shift to the right has flown in the face of all that labor’s founding forefathers sought in the bloody battles for recognition and certification representing overworked and underpaid workers in almost every one of America’s industries – most of them gone now, thanks to so-called free trade policies of Republican administrations and buttressed by gutless Democrats – all of whom have lost sight of labor’s struggle and heritage in the fattening of the middle class through the post-WWII decades, including two more conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

How does war and fair trade mix? How does the loss of many rank-and-file union members – especially the trades – to Republicans who have shipped their jobs overseas and given tax and regulatory breaks to those who have exploited labor while destroying the environment many unions believe impedes job creation sit with a public whose support organized labor has needed down through the ages?

Many authors have written well about the millions of Americans so willing to vote against their own best interests, but where was labor leadership when it came to standing up against the forces of evil here and overseas – against war when the crunch came? What’s the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank first raised this issue. But that included seniors and previously declared liberals in one bellwether state’s voting public.

Linking labor’s overseas strategy and tactics in times of war and third world development issues. The AFL-CIO has adamantly avoiding opposing America’s involvement in war dating back years and several conflicts, cooperating and colluding with the CIA and other agencies. In a review of the book authored by one of this Monday’s guests, Dr. Kim Scipes’s AFL-CIO’s Secret War Against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage? (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010), social critic and writer Paul Street writes: 

Unbeknownst to most American union members and many U.S. labor officials, and without their support, the top foreign policy operatives of the AFL and the AFL-CIO have consistently collaborated with American government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in carrying out an imperialist foreign policy that has attacked working and living standards in “developing countries” (known as “Third World” nations during the Cold War).

Anytime you’re inclined to label labor as “imperialist” – stand back. But, as Scipes – a prolific professor of sociology at Purdue University and a long time labor union member and supporter – writes in his preface: “This is a book that has been very difficult for me to write. I am a strong believer in collective action, and especially collective action by working people, so as to improve their wages, working conditions, and the general conditions of their lives. Also, I am a strong believer in unions…” He goes on to list his union affiliations. But he also goes onto state flatly that the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy program and leadership “…support and have worked to extend the U.S. empire. Besides attacking workers and unions around the world who challenge U.S. corporate investment…the AFL-CIO’s foreign policy program can exist in the United states only by attacking labor democracy within the U.S. labor movement itself.”

He also says this program started about 100 years ago.

What have been the ramifications of all of this “empire” support as we have engaged in wars and exploitation all around the planet? And what about its effect on the Fair Trade Movement. How can the AFL-CIO possibly justify its behavior elsewhere as it opposes NAFTA and colludes with U.S. government adventurism overseas?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query the author and his reviewers – plus state and local labor leaders – in search of answers to the many questions these issues raise.

GUESTS:

  KIM SCIPES, PhD – Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University (North Central); Author, AFL-CIO’s Secret War Against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage? (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010)


  PETER RACHLEFF, PhD – Professor of History, Macalester College, St. Paul; Labor Historian


  JOSH WISE – Director, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition

 

  TOM O’CONNELL – Professor of Social Science, Metropolitan State University; Chair, CivicMedia/Minnesota; Labor Historian


53:28 minutes (48.96 MB)

TruthToTell, Mon., Feb 20@9AM: SELECTING OUR JUDGES: Retention? Or Election? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org ; TruthToTell Feb 13: CRIMINAL JUSTICE DISPARITIES: Blacks/Latinos/Natives Targeted for Prison

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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TruthToTell, Mon., Feb 20@9AM: SELECTING OUR JUDGES: Retention? Or Election? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Minnesota’s system of electing judges once relied on an important caveat in the little known law known as the Canon of Judicial Ethics or Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct. That caveat, known as Canon #5, prevented judicial candidates from taking political stands on issues that might well come before them as judges or justices. It was an important rule for most of the lawyers and judges – of any political persuasion –  practicing before the bar (the term for the legal community) to keep the process relatively clear of politics. Politics, they insist(ed), have no place in seeking judgeships because of the neutrality that serves as the ideal for presiding over trials and considering appeals.

Of course, it’s something of a myth that politics – or at least one’s personal and political bent – doesn’t find its way into many of the court’s judgments, but, at least campaigns for judge could speak more to qualifications for the bench and less about the way a judge would likely rule in most cases.

However, a relative minority of the legal community, more often than not from the ideological right, but certainly not limited to that stripe, argued and still argue that the public has an inherent right in elections to hear about where a judicial candidate stands on key issues facing society, or, perhaps, even how they would rule in some cases.

One Minnesota lawyer, Gregory Wersal, himself a repeated candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, challenged what he considered the inappropriately restrictive Canon 5 and took that case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he won a landmark 5-4 decision (Republican Party of MN v. White) that has since opened the door to highly politicized judicial races across the country (since most states’ Canons contained similar prohibitions).

Actually, most judges, once in office, are almost never challenged unless they committed mayhem of some sort. Those who do go after a sitting judge are considered a bit dumb because the lack of voter engagement almost always reelects the judge and the former opponent is now likely to come before this judge in a courtroom. While theoretically committed to impartiality in such cases, judges may, indeed, hold a grudge for having been dragged through an expensive and, perhaps, embarrassing campaign for reelection. Result: most sitting judges run unopposed.

This is why Wersal was considered outside the mainstream and thus dismissed as a fly in the ointment – until his argument received the blessing of the Supremes.

For many respected present and former justices and judges, this was and abandonment of the fundamental principles of English Common Law, let alone a longstanding ethic that kept the courts and campaigns for them clear of open ideological battles. While Minnesota has not quite yet descended into the degrading contests the legal community feared in opposing Wersal, nasty campaigns in Wisconsin and several other states have shown them that Minnesota, at least, should establish a satisfactory (and more dignified, to be sure) alternative to wide open elections.

Wisconsin’s degeneration into one Supreme Court justice choking his female colleague represents to many the state of the judiciary in our neighboring state.

Since then, such legal luminaries as former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (who voted "aye" in the 5-4 decision and would later regret it); former Vice President Walter Mondale; former Governor Al Quie; current State Supreme Court Justice Alan Page; retired Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz (and former Republican House member); current Hennepin County Judge Kevin Burke; former Chief Judge and now president of the American Judges Association; and recently retired Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, now a regular legal representative of Republicans and Republican causes, are among many who have come forward with an entire new system of judicial selection for Minnesota – Merit Selection and Retention Elections.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL will talk with staff and officers of the Coalition for Impartial Justice about the proposed system and why it’s better than what some might call democracy.

GUESTS:

GOVERNOR AL QUIE

BRIAN RUSCHE – Executive Director, Joint Religious Legislative Coalition

SARAH WALKER – President, Coalition for Impartial Justice; Co-Chair, Second Chance Coalition

RYAN KELLY – Executive Director, Coalition for Impartial Justice

TruthToTell Mon Feb 13@9AM: CRIMINAL JUSTICE DISPARITIES: Blacks/Latinos/Natives Targeted for Prison - KFAI 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do we have the slightest notion how deeply divided this country remains regarding race and, of course, class?

One wonders, when it costs so much to be racist and divisive and mean.

Do we at all understand what the criminal justice system has done to accommodate the bias, to feed the troll of the supremacy whites feel toward people of color – especially Blacks, Latinos and American Indians?

One wonders, when we watch those charged with serving and protecting all of us, the police in fact zero in on people of color for ticketing and arrests (think racial profiling, and “driving while Black” and the hundreds of captured Rodney King-style videos and documented stories of police abuses dating to the pre-Civil War days up to the present day), and those responsible for charging and prosecuting crime disproportionately seek greater punishment and fewer plea bargains for Black men, and judges responsible for the fair dispensation of punishment, send more men and women of color to prison than many whites who have committed similar crimes.

In this light, why would anyone wonder why so many young men of color, many without hope and the stability complete families and jobs and an equal education system should not eventually see how incarceration might well become a rite of passage, something to boast about, as so many do, and thus so willing to serve time when they belong in school or a job or certainly at home.

Then, when these inmates (mostly men) are finally freed, they’re stymied by stigma and a felony record from renting an apartment or home, from working a decent job that would keep them from returning.

Why would we question why they eventually go back in? Probably for a drug violation like the huge percentage of their brothers and sisters, usually using, and re-addicted.

As Michelle Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, and the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness writes:

“Convictions for non-violent crimes and relatively minor drug offenses — mostly possession, not sale — have accounted for the bulk of the increase in the prison population since the mid-1980s.

African-Americans are far more likely to get prison sentences for drug offenses than white offenders, even though studies have consistently shown that they are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites.”

Let us hasten to add here that laws were clearly written to inordinately penalize Blacks for their likely use of crack cocaine while penalties for the powdered version of cocaine more often favored by whites were one-tenth of those for crack in the certain knowledge that there is no discernible difference between the forms and that Blacks engaged in more crack use.

Those disparities are but one of many in the criminal justice system.

Since 1980, this nation’s total state and federal prison population has risen from roughly a half-million prisoners to well over 2.3 million as of 2008. That is 1 of every 100 Americans now behind bars, more than any other first-tier country. By age 23, aboutone third of young people will have been arrested for a crime greater than a traffic violation.

At least 40 percent of these inmates were black, 35 percent were white, and 20 percent were Hispanic (Harrison & Beck 2006). Sixty percent are Black or Latino. Blacks, in other words, comprise about 12 percent of the U.S. population buttwo-fifths of the prison population.

The disparities are even more dramatic for males, and particularly for males in their twenties and thirties. In 2005, 8.1 percent of all black males age 25 to 29 were in prisoncompared to 2.6 percent of Hispanic males and 1.1 percent of white males. Although the absolute numbers are much smaller, the pattern for females is similar. (emphasis mine)*

Moreover, while in prison, inmates are expected to work for all but slave wages for corporations that contract with the prison system to manufacture various goods, among them furniture. This is another program entirely.

The numbers are there for all to see and it’s a shameful commentary on everything we’ve ever claimed to hold dear about our country’s stated commitment to both the common welfare and equality and justice under the law.

Hell, even Newt Gingrich and other conservatives are now decrying the rate of imprisonment and they, of course, see this as both a blot on the nation’s so-called commitment to a stable society, but also, of course, the inordinate costs that have grown out of a long-developed era of Republican “tough on crime” initiatives at the state and federal level. Their recommendations for change mirror those of progressive liberals.

Minnesota is no exception to this system, although some advancements have been made, thanks to the Second Chance Coalition, like removing check-offs from employment applications that force job seekers to admit that they’ve been convicted of a felony. This is often the insuperable barrier to that job.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with one-time law enforcement, incarceration and post-incarceration advocates and a psychologist about their take on these horrendous conditions, the toll they’re taking not just on the young men and the Black and other communities of color, but on society as a whole, and what we can possibly do about these disparities that often reflect the culture itself.

GUESTS:

STATE SEN. JOHN HARRINGTON (DFL-St. Paul) -Judiciary and Public Safety Committee; former St. Paul Police Chief

SARAH CATHERINE WALKER - COO, 180 Degrees; Cofounder/Chair, Second Chance Coalition

JESSE MASON, PhD - Psychologist; Psychology Professor and Director of the African American Male Education Empowerment (AME) Program and Coordinator of the Student African American Brotherhood Initiative at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC)

JONATHAN MAURER-JONES – Program Manager, Democracy & Justice 4 All, TakeAction/Minnesota

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Brett E. Garland, Cassia Spohn, and Eric J. Wodahl: “Racial Disproportionality in the American Prison Population: Using the Blumstein Method to Address the Critical Race and Justice Issue of the 21st Century”, (Justice Policy Journal, Volume 5 – No. 2 – Fall 2008)

OTHER LINKS:

TruthToTell Feb 13: CRIMINAL JUSTICE DISPARITIES: Blacks/Latinos/Natives Targeted for Prison - AUDIO is HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 02/13/2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do we have the slightest notion how deeply divided this country remains regarding race and, of course, class?

One wonders, when it costs so much to be racist and divisive and mean.

Do we at all understand what the criminal justice system has done to accommodate the bias, to feed the troll of the supremacy whites feel toward people of color – especially Blacks, Latinos and American Indians?

One wonders, when we watch those charged with serving and protecting all of us, the police in fact zero in on people of color for ticketing and arrests (think racial profiling, and “driving while Black” and the hundreds of captured Rodney King-style videos and documented stories of police abuses dating to the pre-Civil War days up to the present day), and those responsible for charging and prosecuting crime disproportionately seek greater punishment and fewer plea bargains for Black men, and judges responsible for the fair dispensation of punishment, send more men and women of color to prison than many whites who have committed similar crimes.

In this light, why would anyone wonder why so many young men of color, many without hope and the stability complete families and jobs and an equal education system should not eventually see how incarceration might well become a rite of passage, something to boast about, as so many do, and thus so willing to serve time when they belong in school or a job or certainly at home.

Then, when these inmates (mostly men) are finally freed, they’re stymied by stigma and a felony record from renting an apartment or home, from working a decent job that would keep them from returning.

Why would we question why they eventually go back in? Probably for a drug violation like the huge percentage of their brothers and sisters, usually using, and re-addicted.

As Michelle Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, and the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness writes:

“Convictions for non-violent crimes and relatively minor drug offenses — mostly possession, not sale — have accounted for the bulk of the increase in the prison population since the mid-1980s.

African-Americans are far more likely to get prison sentences for drug offenses than white offenders, even though studies have consistently shown that they are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites.”

Let us hasten to add here that laws were clearly written to inordinately penalize Blacks for their likely use of crack cocaine while penalties for the powdered version of cocaine more often favored by whites were one-tenth of those for crack in the certain knowledge that there is no discernible difference between the forms and that Blacks engaged in more crack use.

Those disparities are but one of many in the criminal justice system.

Since 1980, this nation’s total state and federal prison population has risen from roughly a half-million prisoners to well over 2.3 million as of 2008. That is 1 of every 100 Americans now behind bars, more than any other first-tier country. By age 23, about one third of young people will have been arrested for a crime greater than a traffic violation.

At least 40 percent of these inmates were black, 35 percent were white, and 20 percent were Hispanic (Harrison & Beck 2006). Sixty percent are Black or Latino. Blacks, in other words, comprise about 12 percent of the U.S. population but two-fifths of the prison population.

The disparities are even more dramatic for males, and particularly for males in their twenties and thirties. In 2005, 8.1 percent of all black males age 25 to 29 were in prison, compared to 2.6 percent of Hispanic males and 1.1 percent of white males. Although the absolute numbers are much smaller, the pattern for females is similar. (emphasis mine)*

Moreover, while in prison, inmates are expected to work for all but slave wages for corporations that contract with the prison system to manufacture various goods, among them furniture. This is another program entirely.

The numbers are there for all to see and it’s a shameful commentary on everything we’ve ever claimed to hold dear about our country’s stated commitment to both the common welfare and equality and justice under the law.

Hell, even Newt Gingrich and other conservatives are now decrying the rate of imprisonment and they, of course, see this as both a blot on the nation’s so-called commitment to a stable society, but also, of course, the inordinate costs that have grown out of a long-developed era of Republican “tough on crime” initiatives at the state and federal level. Their recommendations for change mirror those of progressive liberals.

Minnesota is no exception to this system, although some advancements have been made, thanks to the Second Chance Coalition, like removing check-offs from employment applications that force job seekers to admit that they’ve been convicted of a felony. This is often the insuperable barrier to that job.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with one-time law enforcement, incarceration and post-incarceration advocates and a psychologist about their take on these horrendous conditions, the toll they’re taking not just on the young men and the Black and other communities of color, but on society as a whole, and what we can possibly do about these disparities that often reflect the culture itself.

GUESTS:

STATE SEN. JOHN HARRINGTON (DFL-St. Paul) -Judiciary and Public Safety Committee; former St. Paul Police Chief

SARAH CATHERINE WALKER - COO, 180 Degrees; Cofounder/Chair, Second Chance Coalition

JESSE MASON, PhD - Psychologist; Psychology Professor and Director of the African American Male Education Empowerment (AME) Program and Coordinator of the Student African American Brotherhood Initiative at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC)

JONATHAN MAURER-JONES – Program Manager, Democracy & Justice 4 All, TakeAction/Minnesota

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Brett E. Garland, Cassia Spohn, and Eric J. Wodahl: “Racial Disproportionality in the American Prison Population: Using the Blumstein Method to Address the Critical Race and Justice Issue of the 21st Century”, (Justice Policy Journal, Volume 5 – No. 2 – Fall 2008)

OTHER LINKS:


57:52 minutes (52.99 MB)