Here And There with Dave Marash

According to recent surveys, just over 10% of America’s working adults – people with jobs – are going hungry.  Here in NM, the rate is the highest in America.  15.3% of the working men and women in New Mexico regularly fail to feed themselves or their families.  And yet, President Trump wants to make it harder to get food stamps, and America exports well over $100 billion worth of food products every year.  Joel Berg, once a top manager in the Department of Agriculture, now leads Hunger-Free America…a brand name and a far off aspiration.

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The bottom is dropping out of America.  A Nobel Prize economist says deep poverty in the USA is as bad as the worst in Bangladesh or Burkina Faso.  And it’s spreading:  One sure sign: hunger.  As usual, California shows the way to the future.  Charlotte Simmonds of the Guardian’s Outside in America team on how a new generation of hungry and homeless people have swamped Silicon Valley.

Prominent among the new needy, families, young singles, and people with full-time jobs.

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If President Trump’s aim at Davos was to put America First, he did it, in his own mind and in his own speech.  But most observers rated the American third, at best, in impact, well behind France’s Macron and China’s money.  What got people’s attention were Macron’s brainpower and China’s huge expansion of tis global loans for infrastructure and influence program.  We talk with financial strategist Nomi Prins, author of the just-published book Collusion about the show at Davos and the real world economy beyond it. 

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It may be the most successful American revolution since 1776, the bottom-to-top renovation of tomato business.  The point: to get tomato pickers closer to a living wage and more humane working conditions.  The farm fields, in Florida and up the east coast as far as Virginia that produce close to half of all the tomatoes eaten in the United States meet that standard.  Look for the Fair Food label.  Susan Marquis, Dean of the Graduate School at the RAND Corporation and the author of I AM NOT A TRACTOR, on the tomato revolution and how it was accomplished.

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Here’s a measure of how the Government of Puerto Rico values the lives of its citizens.  When Gov. Ricardo Rosello first told the visiting President Trump the Hurricane Maria death toll of was just 16, literally everyone knew that was wrong.  Today the official number is still under 70.  But Julio Ricardo Varela of Futuro Media and Latino USA showed the real number is closer to 1000.  When it comes to government estimates of the value of property damage done by the storm, they seem almost as high as their death count is low. 

Direct download: HT013018VarelaPOD.mp3
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Good news for the oil, gas and coal industries, but the Trump tariffs announced on solar energy materials seem pretty bad for everyone else…unless the foreign-owned companies getting protection expand operations in the US, and more important, innovate here, so that the US isn’t just a backwater in the energy streams of the 21st century.  Keith Johnson of Foreign Policy on this and other big doings in global energy markets.  Are today’s higher oil prices a peak, just a dot on an upward slope, or the new normal?  

Direct download: HT012918JohnsonPOD.mp3
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THERE:  There it was on the internet.  Amazon was even offering it for sale.  A tee-shirt inscribed “Rope. Tree. Journalist.  Some assembly required.”  What a cute idea…let’s lynch reporters, columnists or editors we disagree with!  Dan Shelley, the Executive Director of the Radio Television Digital News Association wasn’t amused.  So he went right to the sources, including Amazon and asked, is this an idea you endorse?  The shirts were pulled from the digital shelves, but Dan warns, right-wing agitation against a free press isn’t over.

Direct download: HT011818ShelleyPOD.mp3
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The Donald Trump-GOP Congress tax bill is now law…and it is clear it’s a bonanza for America’s largest corporations and richest people.  But what about the rest of us?  Jordan Goodman, America’s Money Answers Man, has the answers on new taxes…who will benefit from the new law?  How soon will the benefits begin and how long will they last?  And who are the – Donald Trump’s favorite word – “losers” in the new tax configuration, and what are the consequences for them and for the nation as a whole? 

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