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(02 Oct) 150103 Richard Wolff - The Market: A Paragon of Virtue

Myths die hard. Just as there are no unicorns, there is no free market. The myth is propagandized by its beneficiaries - the rich and powerful, the one percent. The oft-repeated line is the market is some neutral entity which fosters competition and people benefit as prices come down. Reality is slightly different. We don't have a really free market because there is massive government intervention to prop it up through bailouts and subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes. The system generates more and more monopoly and concentration. Attempts at regulation are non-existent or are so watered down as to be virtually meaningless. The market as a paragon of virtue? Heard of secret deals and insider trading? The crucial question: how do we create an economy which is responsive to people's needs, meets social goals of equality and protects the environment?

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. The New York Times called him "America's most prominent Marxist economist." He is the author of numerous books including Capitalism Hits the Fan, Democracy at Work and Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism with David Barsamian.

(09 Oct) 150203 Naomi Klein - Capitalism vs The Climate

"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about." Those words of warning were written in 1992 by some 1,700 scientists including more than 100 Nobel laureates. Here we are, more than two decades later still talking, still drilling and doing very little to protect our precious planet from an economic system that prioritizes profits over the well being of Earth.

Naomi Klein of Canada is an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker. Her articles appear in major newspapers and magazines all over the world. She is the author of the bestsellers No Logo, The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything.

(16 Oct) 150302 Michael Schwartz - Oil & Gas Wars

Gas prices are falling. The price of oil per barrel is at its lowest level in several years. Why? We're told the global economy is slowing down again. Europe is sluggish. Japan is in recession. China's growth rate is weakening. But there may be other factors. The U.S. is producing a huge amount of oil, particularly from shale. Prices are dropping because the market is flooded and production is outstripping demand. Reportedly, the U.S. got the Saudis, still the biggest producer, to quietly agree to increase their output. Who is hurt the most? Washington's designated enemies: Russia and Iran. Both heavily depend on oil and gas revenues. There is a glut in natural gas too. But the quest for oil and gas never ends as energy corporations are looking to big paydays ahead and states seek to enhance their power.

Michael Schwartz is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His articles appear in TomDispatch, Mother Jones, Against the Current, and Z. He is the author of many books including War Without End: The Iraq War in Context.

(23 Oct) 150703 Glenn Greenwald - Why Privacy Matters

In democratic societies some things have long been considered sacrosanct. Such as the right to privacy. Not any more. It is violated on a routine and systematic basis. States scream: national security or terrorism to justify their expansion of surveillance. In terms of the sheer scope of spying the USA puts the old USSR to shame. Without privacy there is neither freedom nor democracy. There has to be a space where you can express your innermost thoughts, emotions and vulnerabilities. The cameras, microphones, and drones eliminate that possibility. Thanks to Edward Snowden and a handful of courageous journalists and filmmaker Laura Poitras we have learned much of how our fundamental rights are being undermined. In this Orwellian world, Big Brother is omnipotent and omniscient. Is this a tolerable situation? Are people going to rise up and reclaim their rights?

Glenn Greenwald broke the story in The Guardian of Washington's widespread electronic dragnet. His exclusive interview with NSA contractor turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden was an international media sensation. He is the author of With Liberty and Justice for Some and No Place to Hide. He is the recipient of the Izzy Award from the Park Center for Independent Media for his "path breaking journalistic courage and persistence in confronting conventional wisdom, official deception, and controversial issues". He also received an Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary for his coverage of Bradley Manning. He is co-founder of the watchdog media outlet The Intercept.

(30 Oct) 151003 Deepa Kumar - Imperialist Feminism

When you hear imperialists making claims about their concerns for women's rights then you know something is really rotten in Denmark. The plight of women has historically been mobilized to suit the goals of empire. That continues to the present. One of the pretexts of the U.S.–led invasion of Afghanistan was "rescuing Afghan women." Writing about that, noted author and activist Arundhati Roy of India observed, "We're being asked to believe that the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission. If so, will their next stop be America's military ally Saudi Arabia? Should they be bombed? Should Delhi, Islamabad, and Dhaka be destroyed? Is it possible to bomb bigotry out of India? Can we bomb our way to a feminist paradise?"

Deepa Kumar is Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of "Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike" and "Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire". She appears on numerous media outlets around the world.

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