Here And There with Dave Marash

 Lebanon was already in political and economic crises before a massive explosion blew up the port of Beirut and killed an estimated 200 people, injured 6000, and damaged the homes of 300,000.  Jeffrey Feltman of the Brookings Institution was American Ambassador to Lebanon from 2004 to 2008.  He ponders how best to re-weave a national basket case, with a dysfunctional government and a dis-connected population.  

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When Alfred Sloan and Charles Kettering, the geniuses of General Motors joined DuPont in the leaded gasoline business, they had loads of evidence leaded gas could kill.  The tobacco industry executives who worked to make cigarettes more addictive knew about the connections to lung cancer.  So, how could they do it? Barbara Freese tackles the question in her book Industrial-Strength Denial. How could anyone defend slavery or toxic mortgage packages?

Direct download: HereAndThere_082620_Freese.mp3
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One of the worst things that can happen to you is to have your country caught up in a proxy war – a war created, stoked and sustained by outside governments, strictly in their own interests.  More and more they are being fought by private military contractors from outside the country. Researcher and writer David Isenberg on who’s killing whom in Libya and in whose national interests. Old story – fight to control oil in Libya; new story fight over natural gas rights somewhere else.

Direct download: HereAndThere_082520_Isenberg.mp3
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A toxic culture of sexual harassment and impropriety at McDonald’s, from the CEO to the aisle between the counter and the griddles and deep-fryers, offensive sexual aggression is reported and tolerated up the management fast-food chain. When the CEO admitted to an affair with a subordinate he got a golden handshake worth $37 million.  Now there’s evidence he had 3 more in-house affairs and Mcdonald’s wants its money back. Bryce Covert reported the story for The Nation. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_082420_Covert.mp3
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 The word for Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy was “Demagogue: which happens to be the title of Larry Tye’s excellent new biography.  The context in which Tye sees the anti-Communist crusader and bully is clear in the book’s sub-title: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy.  That 75 year old shadow, Tye says, is on today’s White House. 

The key moment of McCarthy’s demise wasn’t when he was challenged by lawyer Joseph Welch, but when the audience at the Army-McCarthy hearings cheered Welch on.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_081920_Tye.mp3
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Even accurate numbers can only tell the outlines of a story, but when it comes to facts and figures about healthcare workers in America sickened or killed by Covid-19, the numbers are inconsistent and often incomplete.  Investigative reporter Nina Martin of Pro Publica dug deeper to see the truth behind the statistical confusion and found other amateur detectives on the same quest. The casualty count is more reliable for nursing home residents and staff, but only because Congress passed a law demanding an accurate record. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_081820_Martin.mp3
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By its government’s official count, Mexico is one of the world’s worst-hit hot spots of Covid-19, 6th in the number of positive tests for the novel coronavirus, 3rd – behind just the much larger Brazil and the United States – in Covid-19 deaths.  But journalist Joseph Sorrentino living in the Mexican pueblo of San Gregorio Atlapulco, says the reality is much worse. According to Mexico’s best collated statistics on deaths among healthcare workers, Mexico is, by quantum leaps, the worst in the world. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_081720_Sorrentino.mp3
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 In the context of a coming Presidential election, the selection of a Vice presidential nominee is only rarely crucial… but The Nation’s national politics correspondent John Nichols says 2020 could be an exception.  Whoever runs with Joe Biden could signal the direction of the Democratic Party for Decades…just as FDR did when he picked Harry Truman in 1944.  How that happened, and how it changed American history is the subject of Nichols’ new book The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.

Direct download: HereAndThere_081220_Nichols.mp3
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The coronavirus pandemic has infected America’s electoral processes.  The need to socially distance is leading a lot of people to plan to mail in their ballots rather than go to the polls to vote.  The first run-through of primary votes showed some hits and a lot of misses/ Matt Vasilogambros of Stateline.org on how states are planning to do better in November, even as President Trump tries to undermine mail-in voting, if not the credibility whole election itself.  A sore loser gets a head start on being sore? but will his discontents prove contagious? 

Direct download: HereAndThere_081120_Vasilogambros.mp3
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 The real estate called Gallup, NM is located along the border of the Navajo reservation.  The huge outbreak of Covid-19 on “the rez” showed residents of Gallup how closely tied they are to the Native Americans, and how precarious their own public health situation is. Weston Phippen of Searchlight NM has the story.

Direct download: HereAndThere_081020_Phippen.mp3
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Hop-scotching the world in search of a Nobel Peace prize-winning diplomatic triumph, President Donald Trump has tried muscle and sanctions in Iran and sweet talk and promises with North Korea.  No luck.  So about peace between Serbia and Kosovo.  Former UN diplomat and scholar Ed Joseph says the grand plan for a White House summit blew up when the Kosovar President was indicted as a war criminal.  Most Kosovars were glad to see the summit disappear, though many dispute President Hashim Thaci’s indictment.

Direct download: HereAndThere_080520_Joseph.mp3
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A North Dakota construction magnate, backed by a far-right Steve Bannon-linked foundation, built 3 miles of border wall along the Rio Grande in Texas at no expense to the government.  Then he cashed in his $50 million investment in a $1.7 billion wall building contract.  But his “free gift” wall – even before it was flooded by Hurricane Hanna -- seems to be slipping into the river. Jeremy Schwartz of the Texas Tribune and ProPublica broke the story.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_080420_Schwartz.mp3
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They’re called P-foss, spelled in capital letters PFAS.  They’re a family of chemicals used to seal off surfaces. Teflon and Scotchgard are 2 brand name products – among many -- made with PFAS.  It’s found in the blood of 99% of Americans.  It’s not good for us, and the official Defense Department list of New Mexico places with PFAS to worry about has quietly grown from 2 to 6.  Laura Paskus of NM Public TV and the Santa Fe Reporter, broke the story.  

Direct download: HereAndThere_080320_Paskus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MST

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