Ralph welcomes economist, attorney, and investigative journalist, James Henry for his expert take on what is going on in the banking system and what we can do to keep it from blowing up. And Professor and former Nader’s Raider, Alison Dundes Renteln, takes on the commercialization of our universities in her book “The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education.”
James Henry is a leading economist, attorney, consultant, and investigative journalist, who has written and spoken widely on the problems of tax justice and development finance. He is a lecturer and Global Justice Fellow at Yale University.
The first thing we learn from the history of banking crises in the United States is that banks are really the Achilles heel of capitalism. This keeps happening. And we got used to a period when banking crises— we thought— had been taken care of, that we could just assume that someone in the Fed, or in the US Treasury, or regulators at the global level would understand all this stuff and they would reform the system.
Alison Dundes Renteln is a Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at the University of Southern California where she teaches Law and Public Policy with an emphasis on international law and human rights. She is co-editor, with Wanda Teays, of The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education.
We really should be thinking about how to make universities a place for learning, and the production of knowledge, and making the world a better place. And the book is really an attempt to argue for reimagining universities so we return to the mission of universities, which is not to promote future corporate leaders… but to produce people who will contribute in many different ways in society.
Alison Dundes Renteln
It’s really quite remarkable that in an institution that’s supposed to be devoted to democratic deliberation, intellectual life, justice, opportunity broadly defined, that the decisions are made by the administrators and the board of trustees— largely in secret.
In Case You Haven’t Heard
1. For the first time ever, a new Gallup poll shows that Democrats sympathize more with Palestinians than Israelis, by a margin of 48% to 39%. This represents an 11 point shift in attitudes since just last year. Republicans still sympathize far more with Israelis, by a margin of 78 to 11 per cent.
2. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, sent a letter to the Pentagon last week urging them to cease testing pulse radiation on animals in connection with the “Havana Syndrome” hoax. In 2020, PETA criticized the Army for reversing a previous ban on weapons testing on dogs, cats, marine animals and nonhuman primates and last year accused the Army of hiding such weapons tests after the service rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to the experiments, POLITICO reports.
3. The Texas Education Agency has announced a takeover of the Houston school district. The elected school board will be replaced by state-appointed managers, who will wield tremendous power. Houston Public Media reports that “they can control the budget, school closures, collaborations with charter networks, policies around curriculum and library books, as well as hiring or firing the superintendent.”
4. At a recent town hall, Rep. Pramila Jayapal was asked by an activist from Seattle for Assange whether she thought it was time to free Mr. Assange. She responded with a simple “yes” and invited the activist to continue the conversation. Rep. Jayapal chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
5. A wild story in Creative Loafing Tampa covers “How a Florida city targets unwanted residents using police and code enforcement.” The story follows a Jewish woman who moved to Florida from New York. “Last March, the cops broke into her home when she wasn’t there to inspect alleged code violations, using an illegal search warrant. Body camera video...revealed them making jokes about Anne Frank...Her home security camera system showed the police going through her personal belongings and code enforcement personnel looking through her garbage...[she] faced criminal charges for the alleged violations—an uncommon practice in the state.”
6. Common Dreams reports that last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met with Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, who lobbied her and other US officials to oppose construction of a new US base in Okinawa. He also urged the US to ease tensions with China. Okinawa hosts over 70% of US military presence in Japan. Tamaki stressed that toxic PFAs contamination of soil and water from the bases are “worsening and require immediate studies by the US government.” She told the Okinawa Times that her office will review the contents of the meeting and consider what action is necessary. Governor Tamaki also met with Senator Todd Young of Indiana and Rep. Jill Tokuda of Hawaii, as well as aides of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senator Ed Markey, and the Senate Armed Services Committee.
7. Following the abysmal performance of New York Democrats in the 2022 midterms – and their obstinate refusal to implement any reforms – Slate reports that national Democrats are quietly forming a “shadow party” apparatus in the state. The House Majority PAC has already committed $45 million to New York races in 2024. Further, the PAC is building out “an entire electoral operation, hiring its own staffers...to handle opposition research, rapid response, messaging, and more.” Typically, these functions are handled by the state party.
8. From the LA Times: The Los Angeles School District is in the midst of a massive, three-day long strike by bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants, and cafeteria workers – in short, the lowest paid school employees. These workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 99 and are demanding a 30% salary increase, plus $2 more per hour for the lowest paid employees. This would raise the average salary for these workers to an already meager $36,000 per year. Max Arias, executive director of Local 99 called this strike the “workers’ last resort.”
9. From the Guardian: Rather than submit to a subpoena from Bernie Sanders, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz abruptly quit. This ends his third tenure as CEO of the company.