Episode 79: Arizona Teachers Are Lit!; Privatization Is A Bust; Lowe’s Poisons People

The uprising is hitting Arizona.

Tomorrow, thousands of teachers will flood the state capitol to demand—like their brethren in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Colorado—fair wages. I talk with the both the head of the union and a rank-and-file union leader.

I also take up the silly idea of privatization, inspired by a recent dumb-as-can-be article in The New York Times, with the dude who actually sort of wrote the book showing why privatization is bunk.

And as Workers Memorial Day looms, our Robber Baron of the week is the CEO of Lowe’s, a company that is selling really bad stuff that poisons, sickens and kills people.

Episode 78: Workers Crush It So Jet Blue Goes Union; Murder in Honduras and Guatemala; The Fed; Tax Truths

You may remember that last month I did a curtain-raiser on the Jet Blue flight attendants’ union organizing campaign vote (Episode 74). Yesterday, the vote came in—and the workers crushed it, winning by a 2-1 margin. You get to hear first-hand from three front-line flight attendant activists how it all came down.

I also talk with a global union organizing expert about the trail of murder and violence in Honduras and Guatemala that befalls union activists.

I go a bit deeper in a chat with an expert researcher on why the Federal Reserve needs to act to repair the damage to regular people that still lingers from the financial crisis.

I also give some key tax truths to remember—truths you won’t hear talked about much.

Episode 77: The Man Who Will Beat Ted Cruz; A Teacher Can’t Pay For Food; GOP Tax Fraud

Beto. He’s the guy who will send Ted Cruz into retirement.  I talk with Beto O’Rourke while he’s out driving on the campaign trail in Texas.

Have you tried to live on a teacher’s salary? In Oklahoma, it means counting on visiting a food pantry to survive, as I learn in my in-depth talk with veteran teacher Jennifer Thorton.

And as Tax Day looms, I bring in tax expert Carl Davis to talk about the widening GOP Tax Fraud and Trump’s own personal business tax dodging.

Our Robber Barons of the week, in recognition of Equal Pay Day, are all the employers who pay women less than men.

Episode 76: Oklahoma Uprising, Secrets of the NY Fed, Colorado Progressive On the March

Now it’s the turn of teachers in Oklahoma to rise up. I chat with Alicia Priest, the president of the Oklahoma Education Association, and Jennifer Thornton, a third-grade teacher in Tulsa, after the state’s teachers walked off the job to push for higher pay so they don’t have to go to a food pantry to feed their families.

I, then, discuss with EPI’s John Bivens how unemployment is tied to a too-secret search for the new head of the Federal Reserve Board of New York, one of the most powerful jobs in the system.

Lastly, I visits with Levi Tilleman, a progressive candidate running for the Democratic nomination in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.

Our Robber Barons of the week are Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and her mindlessly, ideologically-dumb, Republican-ruled Legislature.

Episode 75: Stealing Tips, Not! Big Airport Wage Hike, Yes! Texas Going Blue in 32nd?


The gall of greedy employers never seems to end, right? This time it shows up in the restaurant biz where the other NRA—the National Restaurant Association–was trying to get its hands on waiters’ tips. I talk to Judy Conti, a key leader in the successful battle to slap down that money grab.

I, then, chat with Angie Person, an airport worker, and Rob Hill, a union organizer, to hear how 40,000 workers won a raise more than doubling pay to—are you sitting down?—$19-per-hour.

Lastly, I continue the series of progressive candidate interviews with a conversation with Lillian Salerno who is running in Texas’32nd Congressional District.

Our Robber Baron of the week is the CEO of Toys R Us.

Episode 74: Is Betsy Devos Really This Dumb? Jet Blue Gonna Go Union

Betsy Devos has already shown herself to be entirely unqualified to be running the Department of Education. I add on to what we already know with a look at how she is breaking the law by trying to impose rules on workers in the department without bothering to reach agreement with the union representing the workers. Hey, we get ideology stokes a fire but ignoring the law—a habit with the wing nuts in power—isn’t going to happen unchallenged. I talk with a top union official about the fight against Devos.

Jet Blue flight attendants look set to have a union—I dig into that vote underway right now with the president of the Transport Workers Union.

Our Robber Baron of the week is Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

Episode 73: West Virginia Teachers Walk The Line; Climate Change Gets Real in Washington State; Hawaii Progressive Runs

Nine days striking isn’t the longest walk-out you will see. But, when you do that in defiance of the law, whoa, now that’s showing some spine. I kick off the podcast with a chat with the president of the West Virginia Education Association, Dale Lee, to get a read on what we can learn from the teachers’ victory.

I, then, take up the topic of climate change “just transition” with the president of the Washington State Labor Council, Jeff Johnson, who is among the leaders of a broad coalition to push a ballot initiative to fund serious action on climate change but does so in a way that protects and strengthens workers and their communities.

And, last up, I visit with progressive candidate State Representative Kaniela Saito Ing who is running for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.


Episode 72: Political Road Trip Through Kansas, Illinois & California

I continue my deep-dive series interviewing scores of progressives candidates running all across the country with three new segments with three Congressional candidates: James Thompson in Kansas, David Gill in Illinois and Rico Franco in California…all regular people jumping into the electoral world.

Our Robber Barons of the week are the U.S. Senate fools—including 12 Democrats—who are supporting a rollback in banking regulations put in place to prevent another financial crisis.

Episode 71: Scurrying About–The Cockroaches In The Axis of Bigots-Supreme Court Justices-Greedy Billionaires

The attacks against public sector unions—an attack on all working people—reached their legal pinnacle Monday when the Supreme Court heard the case, Janus v. AFSCME. But, something else is exposed in the case: the links between the conservative right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court, greedy billionaires and piles of money that have funded bigots, racists and a general assault on a progressive society.

I look at the whole terrain in talks with three national leaders and experts who share a collection of knowledge and insight you won’t find anywhere else. Our Robber Barons of the week are, in fact, a whole raft of secretive funders who are pouring money into efforts to undermine economic security for millions of workers.

Episode 70: Forget ISIS. Amazon Is The (Economic) Terrorist To Fear

ISIS poses virtually no threat to you in your home. The same can’t be said for Amazon. Amazon really is an economic terrorist. That’s what I spend most of the podcast this week digging into—after laying out the picture of the sorry spectacle of cities and states begging Amazon to locate its new headquarters in one of their communities, I turn to economic and tax experts who explain the fraudulent claims Amazon repeatedly makes about what a great job creator the company is and, then, how Amazon engages in relentless tax dodging.

I also check in with Tom Guild, a progressive Democrat running for Congress in conservative Oklahoma’s 5th District. Our Robber Baron of the week, appropriately, is Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos.

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