Letters and Politics

Pacifica's Mitch Jeserich hosts “Letters & Politics,” a look at burning political issues and debates, and their historical context, within the US and worldwide.



Live on KPFA at 10:00 AM Pacific Time: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
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recurrent historical pattern: intellectualizing racism for $

Thank you for this timely and well produced show. To those who attempt to re-frame and/or deny the evidence: life will teach you. The time of energy shifts has arrived, and the truth will set us all free.

Robert Pollin "Back to Full Employment"

To hear Pollin tell it, those who worry about the deficit want to slow growth so employees will not be able to negotiate for higher wages and businesses will profit. In what slow-growth world do businesses do well? According to Pollin, there is no reason to worry about the deficit as the interest rate is so low. This is very myopic. Debt has to be refinanced and higher rates will be a tremendous burden for the U.S. taxpayer. According to Pollin, the one percent cares only for themselves and politicians support them because they plan to be in the one percent themselves. How they get votes from almost 1/2 the voters in the U.S. seems inexplicable taking Pollin's view. Most listeners don't know enough about the economy to see the errors in Pollin's view. It is irresponsible to have him on without at least offering a critique. The best we got was when the interviewer asked how it is possible that there are no costs associated with the Fed's creation of money. Pollin said there is no inflation now, so it's not a concern. Again, he needs to be challenged when he makes such a short-sighted defense. Using his model, we could look back to the pre-2007 days when banks were being encouraged to make loans to non-credit-worthy households and say there is no reason for concern, as nothing yet had happened. According to Pollin green energy creates more jobs than other industries. Using his logic, we could spend the money on digging ditches and then refilling them. That would create a lot of jobs for very little money. The problem with green energy is that it is expensive and will slow growth, as can be expected in Los Angeles and California where laws require a shift to higher-cost green energy. Whether that is good or bad is for a separate discussion, even if you agree green energy is good, you can't give it credit for economic growth and job creation. This is very irresponsible journalism as intelligent listeners who have no training in economics have no way to think about what could be wrong in what Pollin said.

geen energy and the economy

So you prefer to waste the world in a cloud of CO2 making it uninhabitable with the trapped heat - remember you live on this earth too.

Great show.... love the clash

This show has really pulled together for me why as a young adult I so loved the Clash and how essential it still is to meaning for our times!

Love your show

I listen almost every day on my way to work. I have learned so much from your educated guests.

I wish you had a transcript!


Listening to your Friday guest talk about beer. He talks about whiskey as the popular drink before the Germans introduced beer -- but totally leaves hard cider out of his discussion.

Facebook page

Mitch sometimes talks about the show having a facebook page, but I've never been able to find it. Can someone send the link? Thanks.

100 M for mapping the Brain? Give it to Black People!

Generally spending on science is a good use of funds. But your guest revealed most of the results of the brain mapping would go to DARPA, and military funding. Black people could use 100 Million dollars, and the money would not go to making combat robots or better prosthetics, it would go to people who desperately need the money and the money through spending would go back into the economy.

Eugene Debs and "falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater"

I was surprised that the irony of the great "liberal" Justice Holmes" articulation of the limits of free speech was not mentioned. Most people think that premise would have given Debs an acquittal, when in fact Debs's appeal failed because of Holmes's oft-cited declaration that purports to defend free speech. It's a Humpty Dumpty world, don't you know? "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

Green Corn Rebellion

Please do more shows on forgotten radical movements!

soliciting rumors seems unprofessional

I was listening to KPFA on the way to work and the subject was the Boston Marathon bombings. The President's speech was very good, and the subsequent information on the latest news was fine. But then the show's host (Mitch Jeserich, presumably) was interviewing someone in Boston and for three questions in a row kept badgering him for speculation and rumor. To the credit of the interviewee, he declined to speculate on the political fallout, and managed to handle the "Have you heard any rumors" question with an acknowledgement that there were rumors, without specifying any. But the host kept badgering him, "What about the rumor of the police raiding an apartment?" I thought the interviewer's relentless thirst for speculation and rumor was very unprofessional. I turned off the radio at that point as I had arrived at my destination, but I hope the Boston correspondent continued to stick to facts and avoid unhelpful rumor-mongering. In case the host was wondering whether one day after the bombing is too soon to start talking about the political repercussions, the answer is yes. The fact that other organizations are doing it is no excuse.

Thurs April 18, 2013

Enjoyed hearing from your guests John Nichols and Robert Pollin today. They both spoke about Pollin's research that found large calculation errors in the 2010 paper, "Growth in a Time of Debt" .

Thank you for your questions as you try to make complicated subjects understandable for the general public. Listening to Letters and Politics is like taking an enjoyable civics course. I look forward to your show everyday.

guatanamo and reason never to free the torture victims BEFORE ..

All are lying about the reasons for never to free the torture victims from Guantánamo BEFORE their death: The real reasons are exactly the same which were prescribed long before our time within the torture manuals used by the spanish inquisition.
It's long overdue to remind and discuss them again!
All other so-called "political" reasons are a HOAX. Please prevent us on your radio show from listening to such bull shit!!!

Thank you Mitch for your

Thank you Mitch for your consistently high quality topics, guests, reporting and analysis.

Hi Mitch! I'm a HUGE fan of

Hi Mitch!

I'm a HUGE fan of your show!

I wonder what you think of the Pentagon's unilateral move to grant itself military authority over "civil disturbances". This is the kind of thing you see in a police state.

The US media isn't really covering this story. Perhaps this would make a great topic for one of your shows?

Thanks again for your informative, intelligent, enlightening program--I look forward to it every day.

reading list

Hey Mitch,

Love your show! I often listen while driving to a field site for work and can't alway write down the authors or title of the books mentioned. It would be great if KPFA could post a reading list of books mentioned on air! I poked around the website and couldn't find it if it's there...

right wing slant on Obamacare show

I'm really shocked to listen to your show today in which both guests you have on are essentially supportive of Obamacare. Your first guest launched a whole lot of garbledeegook over how this convoluted Heritage Foundation created "health" care plan would operate (thereby work for those on it and those who won't be covered at all over 20 million people)...and your second guest wrongly stated that Hillary Clinton tried to roll out an essentially "single payer" plan which is not true...it was going to be a system that favored the big insurance companies & offer levels of plans..."The proposal, Clinton's first major effort to achieve universal health coverage since an ill-fated 1994 plan, carries a price tag of about $110 billion per year. The centerpiece of her "American Health Choices Plan" is an "individual mandate" requiring everyone to have health insurance -- just as most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance." Clinton Health Plan Outlined....By Beth Fouhy, Associated Press
Monday, September 17, 2007. I really expect you to be an unbiased journalist and today's show was a disgrace in my opinion. How about having 2 differing opinions at the same time..a debate next time...invite someone from the Physicians for National Health Program next time.

Congress got themselves out of Affordable Care Act

A great disappointment this morning that you and your guest, Mr. Blackman, omitted mentioning that Congress is now exempt from the Affordable Care Act. Not long ago some of them actually read the act and panicked when they learned that they too would be covered under the Act. They're now exempt. Why did you omit mentioning this on your program this morning????

Re: "race"

according to off-worlders, most of whom have far greater vision, knowledge and understanding in most subjects/topics than most humans on this planet... there is only ONE RACE on planet earth -- the human race. don't you think it's a great idea we all start living this reality/truth? so, in the coming months/years when you are approached by one (off-worlder), the correct ID to use for oneself is: your first name, Sol, Terra 3; and do not offer to shake their hand if it is not offered (just a sign of respect of one's space).

Biology 101

Yes, all of life has evolved with microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses. All animal cells (including humans) have mitochondria, which were bacteria that invaded ancestor cells, evolved with us, posses their own DNA and are critical for our own metabolism. Chloroplasts in plants are another example.

Many plants (though maybe not all, research in progress) have microorganisms in their seeds, many of them are beneficial.

Evolution works by random mutation and natural selection, it's only 'guided' if you believe in intelligent design.

Surveillance State

I'm sorry to inform your guest, Larry Clayman, who was on your show today, but if Obama is trying to something to the American society it is to turn it into a corporate fascist nation. The only thing socialist going on is the socializing of taxes to bail out the rich and make the 1 percent even richer. Mr. Clayman also knows nothing about Nelson Mandela or he would have known that the reason Mandela was thrown in prison is because he was advocating revolution...not undertaking some non-violent direct action event. Everyone would benefit from a re-education process using Howard Zinn books.

Dec 23 show.

Guests frighteningly naive on "Big Data".

In RE: "Surveillance State"

Your critique of the current socio-economical environment of our country is rather accurate. You'd be taken more seriously if you cooled down for one second and typed your thoughts more coherently.

We are all angry. For one reason or another. But it doesn't give you a platform to berate and insult Mitch's guests as wrong as they may be.

It also puts me in the awkward position of putting myself in a position of undeserved 'moral authority' to even tell you to "cool it."

Before I conclude, Mandela wasn't advocating for a 'revolution:' he symbolized and physically represented the Black Liberation Movement in apartheid South Africa. What you fail to realize about Mandela is how he abandoned the radical and reformative elements of stated in the ANC's chapter that were dropped or given-up the moment he stepped out of jail.

His legacy was only further muddled when he went on a world tour shaking hands with the biggest despots and demagogues he could find.

In the end, Nelson Mandela (who is, truly, aggrandized in the Western world because of his movements' parrelels with those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) is the epitome for demonstrating to those that they think they can change the system from the inside will always fail and only change (not even reform) a few elements of their society.

How do I know? South Africa's wealth is still dominated by corporations and other industries where the majority shareholders happen to be Caucasian.

Kinney on Letters and Politics Monday, March 3, 2014

This Mr. Kinney(?) you just had on is a true spokesmouth for U.S. imperialist policies. I don't trust a word he said about Urkraine, even if some of the statistical facts MAY turn out to be correct, and why? Because everything he said about the former Yugoslavia was lies.

Kinney propagates the standard script out of Washington. It is not true that America supports democracy and self-determination of nations. America supports moral equivalency and it's this way for this nation and that way for another, depending on what suits the U.S. and or the EU. Kosovo is torn away from Serbia, but the Republic of Srpska is not allowed to secede from Bosnia & Hercegovina, just as one example. Ukraine is allowed to turn its back on Russia but Crimea can't turn its back on Ukraine, and so on and so forth. It's the new farsical "inclusive democracy" that Obama talks about. "Inclusive" seems to mean we approve of it because it suits us and we will therefore call it democratic, whether it is led by fascists or not. It means that which develops after we pour $20 billion into our subterfuge in Ukraine has to be all right, whether it's moral or not.

I hope you can find better "experts" in the future. I might suggest someone more objective like Stephen Cohen, Russia expert at NY University. We have had quite enough propaganda-speak in this country without supposedly alternative radio participating in it as well.

One-Sided Climate Debate

Your continuing push towards having pro-Global Warming "experts" is doing a serious disservice to your audience! Let's get real clear - this is an agenda, NOT science. It is the height of irresponsibility to blame current weather, and especially, the changes in the Jet Stream on Global Warming! Until you begin to interview experts in the area of Geo-Engineering and Weather Modification, this will only continue to be a grand farce!

An excellent guest would be Dane Wiggington of Geo-Engineering Watch. I would suggest viewing the following for a reality check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x8BVyodH0Y

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