Old Mole Variety Hour
The Old Mole burrows down to the roots of the great issues of our time – the struggles of ordinary people for democratic and sustainable ways of life. The Mole goes where corporate media fear to tread, supporting grassroots challenges to top-down authority and giving voice to movements that shake the foundations of an unjust society. The Moles' perspective is democratic, broadly socialist, and feminist. (We count Karl Marx as a friend).
Our graphic lettering is by Charlie Ertola.
You can leave comments for the Moles at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on the comment section for any of our audio pieces.
Terracide: the knowing destruction of the planet earth in the pursuit of profit. Tom Becker reads from Tom Engelhardt's essay on the fossil fuel industry as the biggest criminal enterprise in history.
Bill Resnick talks with Max Richtman, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare , who clarifies that Social Security is an earned benefit, and the program is not broke or breaking. The current program can continue paying full benefits for twenty years; and with a slight adjustment of the payroll cap, it can continue long after that. (Currently, only the first $113,000 of income is taxed, no matter whether someone's total income is $113,000 or $113,000,000). Half of all Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for 90 % of their income, though the average benefit is only about $13,000 per year. Bill and Max discuss how chained CPI would reduce benefits. Richtman argues that Social Security needs to be expanded and the benefits increased.
Clayton Morgareidge reads from and comments on David Graeber's The Democracy Project, which argues that our whole political system functions by bribery, and that the corruption of government entails the corruption of language through euphemism. For instance, rape, torture, and murder are now "human rights violations"; bribery of public officials is "lobbying"; soliciting bribes is "fundraising."
George Katsiaficas has written widely about people's liberation movements around the world, many of them unreported in our media. Here he talks with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick about the "Eros Effect" -- the desire for freedom that constantly asserts itself in uprisings everywhere, from the Paris Commune to the Occupy Movement. Katsiaficas is the author of many books, including Asia's Unknown Uprisings; and the article "Popular Movements Around the World: A New Stage of Insurgency."
Movie Moles Frann Michel and Iven Hale take a critical, yet appreciative, look at "Orange is the New Black," the Netflix series that has just finished its first season. They point out its failures to fully represent prison life, while finding much to admire in the show. For a summary of Frann's and Iven's review, and links to other critical reviews, check out Frann Michel's blog.
Claire Connor has described her political journey in Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right. In Portland on a speaking tour, Old Mole contributor Paul Roland talked with her about the right wing's domination of the corporate media and the rise of community radio like KBOO to counteract it.
This piece concludes with words from Elvis Costello about the control of commercial radio by "fools" and a request to you to vote in the upcoming KBOO board election. Details are on this page.
Jane Smiley's 2010 novel Private Life: Marriage Can Sometimes Be the Lonliest Place takes the life of Margaret from 1883 to 1942, revealing in one "private life" the larger world in which it is lived. Larry Bowlden reviews this work of a major American writer. More of Larry's reviews are here.
Clayton Morgareidge hosts this show featuring an unusually optimistic Bill Resnick interview about the growth of people's movements around the world, and our Movie Moles in an engaging critique of "Orange is the New Black," the TV series about a women's prison. We also hear Paul Roland talk with Claire Connor about the rise of the right and the need for community radio; and a review of Jane Smiley's recent novel Private Life.
To hear the whole show, use the play button below. To hear individual segments, use these links:
- Bill Resnick talks with George Katsiafakis about the global surge of the desire for freedom.
- Movie Moles Frann Michel and Iven Hale find the limits and the merits in the TV series "Orange is the New Black".
- Paul Roland and Claire Connor discuss the rise of the Right and the need for community radio.
- Larry Bowlden reviews Jane Smiley's novel Private Life.
Utopias and dystupias are frequent themes in science fiction. Gerry Canavan is a scholar of the utopian imagination, and he talks here with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick about how the interplay between politics and utopia in history and in daily life. Canavan teaches cultural studies at Marquette University, and is co-editor with Kim Stanley Robinson of a forthcoming book Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction.
Establishment liberals have been mostly silent as President Obama has expanded the national security state for which liberals castigated his predecessor George W. Bush. In this article, published on Al Jazeera and read here by Joe Clement, Deepa Kumar demonstrates the crimes of the Obama administration and the acquiescence of liberal opinion makers.