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Author: Jerry Vinokurov

Episode 1.16 – No Nukes Is Good Nukes… Or Is It?

Episode 1.16 – No Nukes Is Good Nukes… Or Is It?

Welcome to Episode 1.16: No Nukes Is Good Nukes, or Is It? Thanks for listening, Finers; please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and make sure to keep a copy of this episode in your local fallout shelter. In this two-parter, we get down into the details of nuclear weapons history with Alex Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute of Technology. We discuss various efforts intended to achieve nuclear disarmament, who has the authority for nuclear weapons use, what are the biggest threats facing us in the future, and what you can do to reduce your risk of perishing in a nuclear attack.

This is part 1 of this episode, with part 2 coming approximately a week from today. In two weeks, we’ll return with a deep dive into post-Soviet Russian history, with a special focus on US-Russia relations.

Resources for the podcast:

Episode 1.15: Contraventional Wisdom

Episode 1.15: Contraventional Wisdom

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.15: Contraventional Wisdom. Thank you very much for listening, Finers.  Please subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and remember that George Bush the Elder pardoned the Iran-Contra criminals to protect himself from criminal liability.

In this week’s podcast, we talk about Iran-Contra, a little over thirty years after Reagan’s apology to the country for the scandal in March 1987.  We focus mainly on Malcolm Byrne’s conclusive 2014 book, “Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power,” which takes advantage of extensive primary source documents unavailable to Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh during his investigation of the scandal in the late 1980s.  We discuss the scandal and its parallels to the Trump administration today.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.16, discussing nuclear non-proliferation.

Resources for the podcast (in order of discussion):

  • Alfonso Chardy, “Despite ban, U.S. helping contras,” Miami Herald [apologies, Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey were freelancers]; the Herald staff won the 1987 Pulitzer for National Journalism

Episode 1.14: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Episode 1.14: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.14: Heads I Win, Tales You Lose. Thank you very much for listening, Finers.  Please subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, but be sure to seek legal advice before listening to this podcast.

In this week’s podcast, Judith Miller, a law professor at the University of Chicago who worked as a federal public defender, joins us to give a public defender’s perspective on our criminal justice system.  We discuss some of the criminal and civil protections for police officers, including ways in which the exclusionary rule has been hollowed out.

We also discuss the ways that the defense is handicapped relative to the prosecution, in pre-trial evidence gathering, sentence reduction offers for testimony, permissible bending of the truth, and even penalties for misconduct.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.15, as we discuss the surprisingly relevant criminal foreign policy scandal that did not take down a sitting President, Iran-Contra.

Resources for the podcast (in order of discussion):

 

Episode 1.13: Mo’ Prisons, Mo’ Problems

Episode 1.13: Mo’ Prisons, Mo’ Problems

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.13: Mo’ Prisons, Mo’ Problems. Thank you very much for listening, Finers.  Please subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and play this podcast during your next traffic stop.

In this week’s podcast, we discuss mass incarceration and some of the injustice in our criminal justice system.  We discuss Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Chris Hayes’ A Colony in a Nation.

We briefly touch on order: police shootings, underpolicing, and the difficulty of prosecuting police misconduct.  We also look at the law: tax farming of citizens, prosecutorial discretion and misconduct, plea bargains, and the consequences of judicial elections.  Finally we look at some possible criminal justice reforms.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.14, with special guest Judith Miller (but not that Judith Miller), and continue discussing our criminal justice system, this time from the perspective of a public defender.

Resources for the podcast (in order of discussion):

Episode 1.12 – Health Care? More Like Health Don’t Care!

Episode 1.12 – Health Care? More Like Health Don’t Care!

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.12. Thank you very much for listening, Finers.  Please subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and remember that this podcast is “in-network” for most insurance plans.

In this week’s podcast, we take on the state of American health care, discussing at length the recently passed Republican zombie bill, the American Health Care Act, as well as Elizabeth Rosenthal’s book, An American Sickness, which discusses health care’s broken cost structure.

We discuss some of the paths forward for health care reform, and then close with a rare foray into current events, as the Trump administration’s recklessness manages to flabbergast even us.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.13, discussing mass incarceration.

Resources for the podcast (in order of discussion):

Episode 1.11 – The New, New Marshall Plan

Episode 1.11 – The New, New Marshall Plan

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.11: The New, New Marshall Plan. Thank you very much for listening, Finers.  Please subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and use a printout of this link as your token the next time you play Monopoly!

In this week’s podcast, guest Marshall Steinbaum, a senior economist and fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, joins us to discuss how there is no free market to be found in the state of nature and how the United States has always had an active industrial policy, often favoring the wealthy.  

We discuss why the movement to defund and privatize public goods like education coincided with the civil rights’ movement attempt to extend those goods to non-whites.  Finally, we touch on the ways in which corporate and shareholder power, and the decline of progressive taxation have made the economy more favorable to capital and more hostile for labor.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.12.

Resources for the podcast (in order of discussion):

Episode 1.10 – Fox Populi

Episode 1.10 – Fox Populi

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.10: Fox Populi. Thank you very much for listening, Finers.  Please subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and share this link with your Comcast representative the next time you’re on hold.

In this week’s podcast, guest Sam Thielman helps us understand the business model that has sustained Fox News.  We also talk about the ways in which state and local politicians have conspired with large corporations in places like Chattanooga, Tennessee to keep rural services like broadband expensive and only available through corporate oligopolies.  Is fighting against monopoly power a way forward for the Left?  

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.11, when Jerry rejoins us with some special guests to discuss industrial policy in the United States.

Referenced on the podcast (in order of discussion):

Episode 1.9: Sons of Autarky

Episode 1.9: Sons of Autarky

Welcome to This Is Fine episode 1.9: Sons of Autarky. Thank you very much for listening, Finers. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and share this link with your favorite dad or uncle.

In this week’s podcast, we talk about how the crisis of declining male labor force participation, the opioid epidemic, the Trump vote, and racism are all connected by one powerful narrative, autarkic patriarchal white labor (APWL). That’s the belief that a man’s purpose is to provide for his family and that purpose can be only honored by certain types of work. Examining APWL, we look at some of the damage this story many men tell themselves has caused, and we look for a way out.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine 1.10(!), when we’ll discuss industrial policy in the United States.

Works referenced on the podcast (in order of discussion):

Background Reading (including some of the academic work that informs much of the above):

Episode 1.8 – Any Organized Party

Episode 1.8 – Any Organized Party

Welcome to This is Fine, Episode 1.8: Any Organized Party. Thank you for listening, Finers. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and disseminate it at the next party congress.

In this week’s podcast, we talk with writer, academic, activist, and erstwhile Twitter-opinion-haver Freddie DeBoer about the challenges of left organizing in the runup to the 2018 elections. We contemplate whether the left can usefully cooperate with the Democratic Party, ask what a more small-d-democratic platform would look like, and bemoan the broken media ecosystem.

We’ll be back in two weeks to talk about a theory of how white patriarchy interacts with the labor market. In the meantime, please spread the word and send us any questions or guest suggestions. Also, don’t forget to call your Senators and tell them to filibuster Neil Gorsuch.

Works referenced:
* Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm
* Salar Mohandesi, “Identity Crisis”

Episode 1.7 – How Deep is Your State?

Episode 1.7 – How Deep is Your State?

Welcome to This Is Fine, episode 1.7: How Deep Is Your State? Thank you very much for listening, Finers. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your favorite app, and share this link with your favorite subject of a FISA warrant.

In this week’s podcast, we talk Turkey, or specifically the differences between the Deep State in a country like Turkey and the law enforcement and intelligence services in the U.S., particularly their leaks about the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.

We’ll return in two weeks with This is Fine, episode 1.8, when we’ll discuss the left-liberal split and organizing in advance of 2018.

Please send us listener questions or complaints (and guest requests) for This is Fine. For those of you calling your Senators and Representatives: stop ACA repeal.

Mentioned (in order of discussion):
* Kelly Couturier, “Turkish Leader Escapes Assassination,” Washington Post
* Dexter Filkins, “The Deep State,” New Yorker
* Zeynep Tufekci, “6:40 AM 2/17/17,” Twitter
* Tim Weiner, Enemies: A History of the FBI
* U.S. Senate, Church Committee
* FBI, COINTELPRO
* Department of Justice, FISA
* Matthew Rosenberg et al., “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russia Election Hacking
* Mike Lofgren, The Deep State: the Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
* Jonathan Rauch, Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government