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Free Forum Q&A: DON BARLETT & JIM STEELE – The BETRAYAL of the AMERICAN DREAM
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February 27, 2015 01:32 AM PST
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Originally Aired 09/09/12

Let’s suppose, for a moment, there was a country where the people in charge charted a course that eliminated millions of good-paying jobs. Suppose they gave away several million more jobs to other nations. Finally, imagine that the people running this country implemented economic policies that enabled those at the very top to grow ever richer while most others grew poorer. You wouldn’t want to live in such a place, would you? Too bad. You already do.

Those are the words of this week’s guests, DON BARLETT and JIM STEELE.

These are some of the consequences of failed U.S. government policies that have been building over the last three decades – the same policies that people in Washington today are intent on keeping or expanding…Most significant of all, the American dream of the last half-century has been revoked for millions of people – a dream rooted in a secure job, a home in the suburbs, the option for families to live on one income rather than two, a better life than your parents had and a still better life for your children.

Barlett and Steele wrote these words in 1992. They are the first words of their Pulitzer Prize winning series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which led to the #1 best-selling book, America: What Went Wrong. They put their finger on things and connected dots that really established a lens through which to view the next 20 years. The point of view of the 99% movement is basically the one Barlett and Steele described and predicted at the birth of the Clinton era.

http://americawhatwentwrong.org

http://barlettandsteele.com

Q&A: BRUCE LIPTON, Ph.D., and STEVE BHAERMAN (comic), Co Author - SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION
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February 17, 2015 01:18 PM PST
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Aired 01/17/10

BRUCE LIPTON, Ph.D., a leading voice in new biology, bridges science and spirit. A cell biologist by training, he taught at the University of Wisconsin's School of Medicine, and later performed pioneering studies at Stanford University. He's the author of The Biology of Belief, and his latest with Steve Bhaerman, SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION

STEVE BHAERMAN is an author, humorist, and political and cultural commentator who's been writing and performing enlightening comedy as Swami Beyondananda for over 20 years. He's the author of several books prior to his current collaboration with Lipton on SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION.

http://www.brucelipton.com/
http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/

Q&A: AMY BACH, Author – ORDINARY INJUSTICE
Clean
February 17, 2015 01:12 PM PST

Aired 12/12/09 Attorney AMY BACH spent eight years investigating the chronic lapses in courts across America. Lawyers sleep through trials. False confessions and mistaken eye-witness identifications convict the innocent. The rich walk, the poor go to prison. ORDINARY INJUSTICE goes beyond one particular injustice, one specific court, or one aspect of the legal system. Bach rejects the easy explanations of bad apples and meager funding to show how in the name of expedience legal professionals routinely choose to collaborate rather than face off as adversaries. Her investigation -- from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi --reveals a culture of complicity among prosecutors, defenders, and judges that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants and victims to keep the court calendar moving. http://www.slate.com/id/2234594/ http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Sullivan_v._Florida

Q&A: AMY BACH, Author – ORDINARY INJUSTICE
Clean
February 17, 2015 01:11 PM PST

Aired 12/12/09 Attorney AMY BACH spent eight years investigating the chronic lapses in courts across America. Lawyers sleep through trials. False confessions and mistaken eye-witness identifications convict the innocent. The rich walk, the poor go to prison. ORDINARY INJUSTICE goes beyond one particular injustice, one specific court, or one aspect of the legal system. Bach rejects the easy explanations of bad apples and meager funding to show how in the name of expedience legal professionals routinely choose to collaborate rather than face off as adversaries. Her investigation -- from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi --reveals a culture of complicity among prosecutors, defenders, and judges that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants and victims to keep the court calendar moving. http://www.slate.com/id/2234594/ http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Sullivan_v._Florida

Q&A: AMY BACH, Author – ORDINARY INJUSTICE
Clean
February 17, 2015 01:11 PM PST
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Aired 12/12/09 Attorney AMY BACH spent eight years investigating the chronic lapses in courts across America. Lawyers sleep through trials. False confessions and mistaken eye-witness identifications convict the innocent. The rich walk, the poor go to prison. ORDINARY INJUSTICE goes beyond one particular injustice, one specific court, or one aspect of the legal system. Bach rejects the easy explanations of bad apples and meager funding to show how in the name of expedience legal professionals routinely choose to collaborate rather than face off as adversaries. Her investigation -- from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi --reveals a culture of complicity among prosecutors, defenders, and judges that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants and victims to keep the court calendar moving. http://www.slate.com/id/2234594/ http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Sullivan_v._Florida

Q&A w/ Author, GEORGE PACKER – THE UNWINDING: Inner History of New America
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February 17, 2015 01:09 PM PST
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NYTimes review: “This book hums – with sorrow, outrage and compassion.”- #8 Best-seller
GEORGE PACKER has written a remarkable book, THE UNWINDING: An Inner History of the New America. In it, he argues that seismic economic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, leaving the social contract in pieces and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. Packer sees America as a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer relevant. We’ve covered a lot of this ground before on Free Forum, but the power of THE UNWINDING is in how Packer tells his truth.
He begins – “No one can say when the unwinding began – when the coil that held Americans together in its secure and sometimes stifling grip first gave way. Like any great change, the unwinding began at countless times, in countless ways – and at some moment the country, always the same coun­try, crossed a line of history and became irretrievably different. If you were born around 1960 or afterward, you have spent your adult life in the vertigo of that unwinding.”He follows the prologue with a series of newsreel headlines in the fateful year of 1978 and goes on to combine the intimate stories of several Americans–Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers in the rural South who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in Youngstown trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider bouncing between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire with a radical vision of the future–with biographical sketches of this era’s leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics, Packer captures the flow of events and undercurrents that have set America in decline.

Free Forum Q&A - THOMAS GEOGHEGAN WERE YOU BORN ON THE WRONG CONTINENT? How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life
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January 28, 2015 11:21 PM PST

(Originally aired 10-03-2010)
We hear about the trouble Europe is in. The debt crisis in Greece and other countries, the mistaken austerity moves that have slowed recovery from recession. But while the bad news of the Euro crisis makes headlines in the US, what does not made headlines is the good news of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Europe.

The European Union, 27 member nations with a half billion people, has become the largest, wealthiest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the world's economy - nearly as large as the U.S. and China combined. Europe has more Fortune 500 companies than either the US, China or Japan.
European nations are rated by the World Health Organization as having the best health care systems in the world. Yet they spend far less than the United States for universal coverage, even as U.S. health care is ranked 37th. Europe leads in confronting global climate change with renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power, conservation and "green design," creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. Europe is twice as energy efficient as the US and their ecological "footprint" (the amount of the earth's capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living.

In his new book, WERE YOU BORN ON THE WRONG CONTINENT?, this week's guest, THOMAS GEOGHEGAN, makes a strong case that European social democracies - particularly Germany - have some lessons and models that might make life a lot more livable. Not only that, they could help us keep our jobs.

In comparison to the U.S., the Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, nursing care, and childcare. But you've heard the arguments for years about how those wussy Europeans can't compete in a global economy. You've heard that so many times, you might believe it. But like so many things, the media repeats endlessly, it's just not true.

According to Geoghagen, "Since 2003, it's not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors-China foremost among them-Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They're beating us with one hand tied behind their back."

Free Forum Q&A: RALPH NADER THE SEVENTEEN SOLUTIONS Bold Ideas for Our American Future
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January 22, 2015 10:04 PM PST
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(Originally aired 11-25-2012)
To rescue our country from corruption, complacency, and corporate domination, we need fresh ideas and bold solutions. RALPH NADER offers THE SEVENTEEN SOLUTIONS: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Confronting economic, social, political, and environmental challenges, his ambitious, common-sense proposals address our most pressing concerns, from corporate crime to tax reform, and health care to housing.
I sometimes build an interview around three big questions about a particular issue: How is it broken? (What is the evidence?) How did it get broken? (What is the history?) How do we fix it? (What are the solutions?) NADER takes that approach with nearly twenty crucial issues. His solutions are not pie in the sky, but practical and pragmatic, and he talks about how we can actually make them happen.

I was most struck by his optimism. It is 50 years since his first book, Unsafe at Any Speed, changed what Americans expected of their automobiles. Yet, at 78, after ups and downs, after being highly praised and passionately criticized by millions, NADER is full of energy for the plans and battles ahead. Referring to the recent attention paid to the abuses of the very wealthy 1%, NADER points out another 1% we ignore at our peril. He says to achieve real change in this country, it takes 1% of the population committing themselves to making change happen.

Free Forum Q&A: JAMES FALLOWS, Mr. China Comes to America and CHARLES FISHMAN, The Insourcing Boom Their two articles in ATLANTIC magazine herald the rebirth of manufacturing in the US
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January 22, 2015 09:51 PM PST
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Originally Aired: 4-6-13
I do my best to question conventional wisdom, but I had heard and repeated the fact that the US manufacturing was never coming back so often that I assumed it must be true. But two articles in the December 2012 issue of the Atlantic magazine jumped
out at me - both declaring that manufacturing is re-emerging. James Fallows writes of US startups exploiting new technologies to speed up the process of design-to-product, and Charles Fishman writes of US corporations like GE moving production back home.
James Fallows' article, Mr. China Comes to America, opens with these words: "For decades, every trend in manufacturing favored the developing world and worked against the Unites States. But new tools that greatly speed up development from idea to finished product encourage start-up companies to locate here, not in Asia."

Charles Fishman's article The Insourcing Boom goes even a step further. It's opening words: "After years of offshore production, General Electric is moving much of its far-flung appliance-manufacturing operations back home. It is not alone."

I make no bones about the fact that I like to report good news, but I don't want to make nice or play Pollyanna. This information from these reporters strikes me as the real thing and I'm only too glad to admit I may have prematurely buried "made in America".

Free Forum Q&A: ATUL GAWANDE – Surgeon / Teacher / Author – The Checklist Manifesto
Clean
January 22, 2015 09:43 PM PST
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Aired 03/14/10 Though Atul Gawande is a best-selling author, a Harvard professor, and an innovator in best practices for the W.H.O., he still performs 250-plus surgeries a year. A framed copy of Sylvia Plath's poem "The Surgeon at 2 a.m." stands on the desk in his office." Her surgeon's words: "I worm and hack in a purple wilderness." Gawande likes the Plath poem because it casts the surgeon in an ambiguous light. "Most writing about people in medicine casts them as either heroes or villains," he says, "That poem captures the surgeon as a merely human, slightly bewildered and benighted person in a world that is ultimately beyond his control."
Medicine is just one area of our world that is becoming so complex that even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. In his new book, The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande offers a disarmingly simple remedy: the checklist. Now being adopted in hospitals, the 90 second practice cuts fatalities In surgery by more than a third. NOTE: This interview was recorded when Gawande was recently in LA, prior to Obama's healthcare summit and the latest legislative negotiations. http://gawande.com/

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