KPFA - Letters and Politics
By Letters and Politics
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
Letters & Politics seeks to explore the history behind today’s major global and national news stories. Hosted by Mitch Jeserich.
||CleanThe 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 , 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.  http://history.umd.edu/users/ameckst1||6/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAT&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 , 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 , author of The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and the Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.  https://www.freepress.net/about/staff/craig-aaron  https://www.yang2020.com/||6/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe 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  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  about the criminal justice system and mental illness. She is the author of Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness.  https://www.fcnl.org/people/anthony-wier  http://alisaroth.com/||6/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanNorth 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||6/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe 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.||6/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe 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 , author of the book Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi. Ellen Meacham teaches at the University of Mississippi’s journalism school.  http://ellenmeacham.com||6/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA 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.||6/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA 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. .||6/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe 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.||5/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA 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.||5/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFear 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.||5/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLetters and Politics – May 28, 2018||A look at burning political issues and debates and their historical context within the US and worldwide, hosted by Mitch Jeserich.||5/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Life & Works of Henry David Thoreau||Mitch Jeserich speaks to Laura Dassow Walls, author of Henry David Thoreau: A Life, about Thoreau's work on Civil Disobedience and his seemingly contradicting support of John Brown's violent raid on Harper's Ferry, and witnessing the oncoming Industrial Age. Guest: Laura Dassow Walls, Willliam P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science at Notre Dame University and author of Henry David Thoreau: A Life.||5/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLuddites of the 19th Century with American Marxist historian Peter Linebaugh||Luddites of the 19th Century with Peter Linebaugh, an American Marxist historian who specializes in British history, Irish history, labor history, and the history of the colonial Atlantic. He is the author of the pamphlet Ned Ludd & Queen Mab: Machine-Breaking, Romanticism, and the Several Commons of 1811-12. Invest in listener-sponsored KPFA!  BOOK Ned Ludd & Queen Mab by Peter Linebaugh $75 Letters & Politics Mondo Pack (Includes all L+P Packs) USB $180 COMBO USB + BOOK $225  https://secure.kpfa.org/support/||5/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWhy Income Inequality Threatens Our Republic||Professor Ganesh Sitaraman, author of The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic, joins host Mitch Jeserich in conversation about why income inequality is not only unfair but threatens our very republic. Ganesh Sitaraman is a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School and long-time advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Follow Professor Ganesh on Twitter @GaneshSitaraman  Invest in listener-sponsored KPFA!  Capitalism (3 DVD set) $240 CD Letters and Politics Democracy and Marxism Pack $100 Letters & Politics Mondo Pack (Includes all L+P Packs) USB $180 DVD No Gods, No Masters: A History of Anarchism byTancrède Ramonet (2 DVD Set) $180 BOOK The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution by Ganesh Sitaraman $90  https://twitter.com/GaneshSitaraman  https://secure.kpfa.org/support/||5/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
Goes indepth on current affairs.
I love this program. I can't always listen to it on the radio so I listen to the podcast version. It's really great. It covers current events such as the Occupy movement, foreign affairs, and the Obama administration. It also covers historical stuff like unions, socialism, neoliberalism, and more. It definitely has a leftist perspective, but isn't obnoxious or soap-boxy.
‘Letters and Politics’ deserves credit for the guests and the subjects that it covers, but the host is a little hard to listen to. He often restates exactly what the guest has just said or makes very general, obvious points. His speaking style seems a little contrived as well…it sounds like he is playing journalist at times. All in all, it tends to fell like a class project, in my opinion. Maybe I’m being nitpicky, but after all, you do listen to these things, so voice and style counts.