Join us for our weekly podcast, featuring in-depth interviews with newsmakers and commentary from a progressive point of view. Regular panelists include Truthdig editor Robert Scheer and contributors James Harris and Josh Scheer. You can listen right on the page, or by subscribing with iTunes or another podcast-friendly program. Podcasts may be either audio or video format.
In this episode, we talk with Maplight.org’s executive director, Dan Newman. Maplight, which lobbies for greater transparency in government, is a nonprofit group dedicated to illuminating the connection between money and politics. Its data reveals which politicians are on the take and the source of questionable political contributions.
Paul Starobin, author of the new book “After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age,” says a dramatic rethinking of geographic boundaries and economic responsibility would greatly improve the U.S. and states like California.
Starobin suggests that America’s broke, ill-governed and way-too-big nationlike state, California, might be saved, truly saved, not by an emergency federal bailout, but by a merciful carve-up into three republics that would rely on their own ingenuity in making their connections to the wider world.
This week on the podcast: Sheerly Avni and Omar Turcios from The Beat Within, a magazine written by and for the troubled kids in juvenile prisons. Such facilities could be “recruiting grounds for crime fighting,” argues Avni, and that’s in our self-interest. “If you want to stop crime—very simple. You look at a bunch of 5-year-old kids in the ghetto. Ask yourself: ‘Do I want them to be criminals or not in 10 years? What’s that going to do to the value of my home?’ ”
Sasha Abramsky discusses his new solution-oriented book about the millions of Americans who work 40 hours a week and still go hungry, “these forgotten communities and these forgotten families who are doing everything they’ve been told they need to do to survive and ... they’re still being pushed backward by economic forces that they really don’t control.”
In its zeal to crack down on illegal immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is detaining and deporting American citizens. The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Andrew Becker talks about his investigation into this disturbing trend.
Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”
Mark Danner made headlines last week with his essay in The New York Review of Books on the CIA’s use of torture and a secret report from the International Committee of the Red Cross detailing such practices. Find out why he says, “Torture is for people with weak nerves.”
President Obama has called on Americans to volunteer in their communities, but the economic meltdown makes civilian service a tough sell. In this interview, Russ Finkelstein, associate director of idealist.org, argues that “we all have something to give,” even those of us without much time and money.
You may have heard about the scandalously overpriced presidential helicopters the U.S. had ordered from Italy, but did you know they may have been a payoff for forged intelligence used to sell the war in Iraq? It’s all a part of “a web of conspiracy and deceit,” says journalist Paolo Pontoniere.