KPFA: Letters and Politics [Program Feed]

  • Class in America and Animus in the Law
    A conversation on the history of class consciousness in the United States with historian Steve Fraser. Guest: Steve Fraser, author of Class Matters: The Strange Career of an American Delusion. Then, in preparation of the Supreme Court decision on President Trump’s controversial travel ban, we re-air an interview with William D. Araiza about the role of animus in the law. Guest: William D. Araiza, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and author of the book Animus: A Short Introduction to Bias in the Law.
  • The Politics of Asylum
    A roundtable discussion on asylum, the separation of families and the border and the politics of immigration on Capitol Hill. Guest: Catherine Tactaquin is Executive Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), a nationwide alliance that advocates the human rights for all migrants, regardless of immigration status. Holly S. Cooper is Associate Director of the Immigration Law Clinic at UC Davis. She has extensive litigation experience defending the rights of immigrants and is a nationally recognized expert on immigration detention issues and on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Cooper initiated the Detained Immigrant Children’s Rights Project in Arizona.
  • The U.S. Trade Wars & The History of Juneteenth
    We dive into the dynamics of the U.S. trade wars with China, Canada, Mexico, and several European countries with Dean Baker. Guest: Dean Baker [1] is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC. He is the author of several books, his latest is Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer. [2] Then, Letters & Politics contributor, Jeannine Etter talks to African-American studies professor Kevin Thompson about the history behind the celebrations of Juneteenth. [1] [2]
  • The Nature of Time and Paying for Time
    Anthropologist David Graeber joins us for a conversation about time and how over the years the concept of time has evolved to be used for control through hourly paid work leading to the proliferation of unnecessary jobs. David Graeber, well known for his role in jump-starting the Occupy Wall St movement in 2011, is a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics and the author of Bull Shit Jobs Jobs: A Theory.
  • The FBI & the Weather Underground
    Arthur Eckstein spent years reading declassified documents from the FBI about its investigation into the radical 1970’s revolutionary group the Weather Underground.  He joins us for the hour to talk about what he found and to retell this story that includes bombings of the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and the State Department. Guest: Arthur M. Eckstein [1], professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park and author of the book Bad Moon Rising: How the Weather Underground Beat the FBI and Lost the Revolution. [1]
  • AT&T Time Warner Merger & Universal Basic Income
    In the first half of today’s program, we talk to Craig Aaron about the AT&T Time Warner merger and the changing nature of anti-trust laws. Guest: Craig Aaron [1], CEO, and President of Free Press In the second half of the show, we’re joined by Andrew Yang who is running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President on a platform to create a guaranteed universal income. Guest: Andrew Yang [2], author of The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and the Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. [1] [2]
  • The Singapore summit: what does it mean denuclearization? Then, mental illness and the criminal justice system
    Mitch Jeserich talks to Anthony Wier about the summit between president Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as it has ended with the signing of a declaration to denuclearize North Korea. But what does it mean to denuclearize in this context anyway? Guest: Anthony Wier [1] directs the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s work on nuclear weapons policy.  He previously worked on disarmament issues in the White House, Congress, the State Department and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then, Mitch Jeserich talks to journalist Alisa Roth [2] about the criminal justice system and mental illness. She is the author of Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness.   [1] [2]
  • North Korea’a Inner Workings & the Salem Witch Trials
    Soyoung Kwon joins us to talk about North Korea’s interests in meeting with President Donald Trump in Singapore and how internal North Korean politics operate. Guest: Dr. Soyoung Kwon, professor of Global Affairs at George Mason University and a fellow at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies at Yonsei University. Then in the second half of the program, we dive into the history of witch hunts with Stacy Schiff. Guest: Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches: Salem, 1692
  • The Two Sides of Atticus Finch
    The literary character Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mocking Bird, has influenced scores of young people to pursue legal careers.  Atticus Finch, who defends a wrongly accused black man of raping a white woman in the deep south, became an iconic symbol for the person with a strong moral compass.  So it came with much surprise and debate when an old Harper Lee manuscript was published into another book in 2015 that features Atticus Finch as an older man who had joined a White Citizens Council and was critical of civil rights.  These are not two Atticus Finches but the same one–both modeled after Harper Lee’s father.  Today we’re joined by Joseph Crespino to talk about this history and its significance. Guest: Joseph Crespino, the Jimmy Carter professor of history at Emory University and author of Atticus Finch The Biography: Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon.
  • The State of the Republic. Then, Remembering RFK
    Mitch Jeserich speaks to John Nichols of the Nation Magazine about last night’s primaries, this year’s midterms and the state of the Republic. Then, marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Mitch Jeserich speaks to journalist and historian Ellen Meacham [1], author of the book Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi. Ellen Meacham teaches at the University of Mississippi’s journalism school. [1]
  • A History of Democracy
    Mitch Jeserich is in conversation with renowned Greek scholar, Paul Cartledge, about the history of democracy in ancient Greece. Its rise, its fall and why still matters today. Professor Cartledge is the author of several books on this topic, his latest is Democracy: A Life. About Democracy: A Life Ancient Greece first coined the concept of “democracy”, yet almost every major ancient Greek thinker-from Plato and Aristotle onwards- was ambivalent towards or even hostile to democracy in any form. The explanation for this is quite simple: the elite perceived majority power as tantamount to a dictatorship of the proletariat. Democracy surveys the emergence and development of Greek politics, the invention of political theory, and the decline of genuinely democratic Greek institutions, first at the hands of the Macedonians and then to the Romans. Throughout the book, Cartledge sheds light on the variety of democratic practices in the classical world as well as on their similarities to and dissimilarities from modern democratic forms, from the American and French revolutions to contemporary political thought.  
  • A History of Milk with historian Mark Kurlansky
    Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid’s diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics. Also, host Mitch Jeserich shares his thoughts on whether a President can shoot someone and not be indicted. Mark Kurlansky is a writer, journalist, historian, and author of Milk! A 10,000 Year Fracas. .
  • The Shining Star of Capitalism and its Underbelly with Guest Richard Walker
    Mitch Jeserich speaks with renown geographer Richard Walker about the immense wealth, politics and contradictions of the San Francisco Bay Area. Richard A. Walker is professor emeritus of geography at U.C. Berkeley and author of the book Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area.  
  • A History of Slavery and Fascism and current fascist trends with historian Gerald Horne
    Virtually no part of the modern United States—the economy, education, constitutional law, religious institutions, sports, literature, economics, even protest movements—can be understood without first understanding the slavery and dispossession that laid its foundation. Historian Gerald Horne digs deeply into Europe’s colonization of Africa and the New World, when, from Columbus’s arrival until the Civil War, some 13 million Africans and some 5 million Native Americans were forced to build and cultivate a society extolling “liberty and justice for all.” Gerald Horne is the Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean.  
  • Fear of a Populist Thomas Jefferson and the Creation of the Federal Judiciary System
    Fearful of an incoming President Thomas Jefferson, outgoing President John Adams in his last month in office helped create the U.S. federal judicial system, in part, as a check against Jefferson’s power. Arguably the battle between the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans in the early days of the nation makes today’s political battle appear tame. We dive into this story as well as the story of Jefferson’s nemesis and second cousin, John Marshall, who would go on to shape the Supreme Court. Our guest is Joel Richard Paul, professor of law at the University of California Hastings Law School in San Francisco and author of the book Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times. Guest: Joel Richard Paul, professor of constitutional and international law at the University of California Hastings Law School in San Francisco and author of the book Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times.  

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