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The Working Life Podcast with Jonathan Tasini

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Jonathan Tasini's ruminations on work, the economy, and politics.

Jonathan Tasini's ruminations on work, the economy, and politics.
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Jonathan Tasini's ruminations on work, the economy, and politics.






Episode 51: No, We Are Not The Most Taxed Nation In The World

Episode 51: That guy in the Oval Office can't stop making up fibs. Yesterday, he repeated a lie: "We're the highest taxed nation in the world". Not even close. Which inspired Jonathan to look at lies about the economy. Thea Lee, the incoming president of the Economic Policy Institute, stops by to talk the truth about trade, taxes and health care. Jonathan, then, chats with Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, about the truth about which country...

Duration: 00:50:06

Episode 50: A Canadian Doctor Walks Into A Bar…And Schools Us on Single-Payer

Episode 50: If Danielle Martin tells you that single-payer is more popular in Canada than ice hockey and the Royal Mounted Police, trust us, it's worth believing this doctor from the North—Bernie Sanders does, inviting her to stand with him when he recently unveiled his single-payer, "Medicare for All" plan. Martin is a clear, smart advocate for single-payer health care and she joins Jonathan for an in-depth conversation that answers everything you ever will be asked, and wanted to know,...

Duration: 01:01:12

Episode 49: Chains of Work—The Scourge of Global Child Labor and Slavery

Episode 49: Today, 152 million children—children—are in forced labor around the world, along with 40 million people who are simply slaves. Don’t turn your head away! Because we need to know about this—and understand the movement afoot to end this moral stain on the planet. After participating in a United Nations summit, Jonathan speaks to two leading global advocates who are combating modern slavery. What you will hear is stunning, sad and, also, spirit-moving. We can make a difference.

Duration: 00:58:37

Episode 48: Shaking Up The Labor World In North Carolina and Beyond

Episode 48: It's just a smidgen but every time you get a chance to hear about the shake-ups needed in our beloved labor movement, it's worth saying "yeah, baby". And, sisters and brothers, we have a double-barreled shot for you today. Jonathan chats first with MaryBe McMillan, the new president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, about organizing in the south. And, then, a special guest who gives almost no interviews to media, friendly or not, comes by: Richard Bensinger, the founder of the...

Duration: 01:16:28

Episode 47: Real Health Care Takes A Big Step Forward

Episode 47: It's not going to happen tomorrow or even next year. But, the day when insurance companies are no longer bankrupting people every single day because of outrageous premiums is drawing closer. Today, Bernie Sanders will unveil a "Medicare For All" bill that rockets the conversation about universal health care to a new level. And he won't be standing alone: more than a dozen Democratic Senators have endorsed the bill, with the pressure building on others to do the same. Jonathan...

Duration: 00:58:04

Episode 46: The Secret War Against Unions—And It's About To Get Worse

Episode 46: No surprise. The traditional media will never tell people about the multi-billion dollar anti-union industry which corporations use to intimidate any workers who try to organize a union. So, Jonathan explores the anti-union industry in several segments of this week's podcast. We look at the steps Donald Trump is about to take to let these assassins of worker rights go deeper into the shadows. The Robber Baron of the week, appropriately is Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta....

Duration: 00:48:47

Episode 45: The Bad Seeds Taking Root In Iowa and California

Remember the election for the Democratic California state party chair? It has stayed sleazy. Jonathan circles back with progressive chair candidate Kimberly Ellis to hear the latest—sexism, racism and just plain bully tactics are still the order of the day. Then, just two weeks after Jonathan talked about a big-time corporate fleecing of taxpayers in Wisconsin, it's happening again—in Iowa. The culprit: Apple. Yup, Jonathan shows the seamy side of lovable Apple, which, despite its billions...

Duration: 00:49:57

Episode 44: Mansions of fear, Mansions of Pain

Episode 44: Having chicken tonight? Go right ahead, but pause for a few minutes to listen to Jonathan's look at the brutal working conditions faced by poultry plant workers—and the entirely insane idea being pushed by industry lobbyists to make those birds whizz by even faster on the factory assembly line. Jonathan, then, takes us half way around the world to chat with youth union organizer Jane Njoki about the monumental challenge of finding decent work for the hundreds of millions of...

Duration: 00:58:16

Episode 43: The FoxConn Scam—This Is How Taxpayers Get Ripped Off Every Day

Episode 43: Here's how the elites reach deep into your pocket to rob you. By now, we know how fraud is a business model for Wall Street and other elites. But, it's legalized fraud that hurts us most—rip-offs that are perfectly legal in today's system. Jonathan devotes the entire podcast this week to the big-time scam that is at the heart of the multi-billion FoxConn deal unveiled recently. And, for the first time in the podcast's history (woohoo!), our Robber Baron of the week is a repeat...

Duration: 00:34:21

Episode 42: Democratic Litmus Test Misfire: How About Tax Cuts For Rich, Not Womens' Rights?

Episode 42: Sometimes, you have to wonder: are Democratic Party leaders dumb or just ideologically bankrupt? Jonathan talks to a leading abortion rights advocate, Vicki Saporta, about the foolish suggestion floated by some Democratic leaders that the party would not have a litmus test--and, thus, support with money and resources--candidates who are not pro-choice. How stupid is that since womens' reproductive rights are central to the party's platform, not to mention a human right that...

Duration: 00:47:42

Episode 41: Class Warfare and Racism--Workers Take On The Economic Machine

Episode 41: Start by being inspired by Billy Bragg's "There Is Power In The Union". Then, listen to Jonathan talk to a Nissan worker who is at the center of a critical campaign to win a union at Nissan's plant in Canton, Mississippi—a two-day vote that will start tomorrow (and we will update the result for our listeners in next week's podcast!). Jonathan, then, marks this week's Black Women’s Equal Pay Day by talking with economist Janelle Jones about the blatant racism black women face in...

Duration: 00:55:23

Episode 40: Firing The Status Quo, California Dreaming

Episode 40: Political revolution ain't beanbag. It's hard work and requires taking on tough assignments. Jonathan talks about two of the efforts with his guests: Pat Harris joins us for a chat about his California primary bid to unseat incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein. And Lane Windham stops by to chat about maybe even a bigger, important task: building up the ranks and political power of women leaders within unions, and generally in the workers' advocates movement. Our Robber Baron of...

Duration: 00:52:11

Episode 39: Killing Big, Killing Small

Episode 39: The economic and political system kills people, in big numbers and, sometimes, one at a time. This week, Jonathan looks at the killing, big and small, with his guests. In Colombia, a union leader is murdered, and we discuss with Gimena Sanchez how his death is a microcosm of bad trade deals. We also look at the massive Pentagon budget increase Trump is proposing but, optimistically, a small city mayor, Ithaca's Svante Myrick, has rallied mayors nationally to oppose feeding the...

Duration: 00:53:47

Episode 38: Ivanka Reaps A Fortune From Slave Labor. Welcome To The New KleptoGriftocracy

Episode 38: KleptoGriftocracy: it's Jonathan's new word to describe the unusual Trump "brand", which, when you boil it down, really is just a family of grifters trying to build a kleptocracy in government. In this podcast, Jonathan digs deep into the dark side of the Trump KleptoGriftocracy, focusing on Ivanka Trump's use of slave labor in China to make a fortune. And she doesn't seem to care. We're shocked, shocked, right? And our Robber Baron of the week, then, is obvious: Ivanka.

Duration: 00:33:31

Episode 37: This Is Your Brain On Politics—Or Why Progressives Lose

Episode 37: Our brains are hard-wired when it comes to political ideology. Until people understand how the brain processes political ideas—based on circuitry we aren't even aware of—progressives, not to mention the Democratic Party, will continue to lose elections. That's the view of political linguistics guru George Lakoff, who comes back to the podcast for another in-depth conversation with Jonathan. In the midst of the health care battle and more losses for Democrats in special...

Duration: 00:52:05

Episode 36: The Grim Reaper Fails—For Now

Episode 36: Massive people activism dealt the Grim Reaper of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, a giant middle finger…from his own caucus. But, it ain't over. Jonathan uses this moment to talk to health care expert Dean Baker about a couple of critical work-related Obamacare benefits that not many people talk about. Jonathan also takes a harrowing look at the 65 million refugees displaced around the world. We wrap up with our Robber Baron of the week: California Assembly Speaker Anthony...

Duration: 00:43:50

Episode 35: From The Bench and On-Line, Amazon and The Supreme Court Gear Up To Screw The People

Episode 35: In this week's podcast, Jonathan's guests help us understand how Amazon and the Supreme Court have a common mission: to undercut the standard of living of millions of people. Amazon's move to buy Whole Foods means a further big-time cutting of wages for thousands of workers, and a new blow to workers in retailing beyond the two companies. Over at the Supreme Court, the conservative wing—with its majority restored after the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch--is drooling over the...

Duration: 01:00:25

Episode 34: Your iPhone Was Made By A Child Slave…And Wal-Mart Breaks The Law Again

Episode 34: We can't look away: 168 million children are laboring all around the world, usually in brutal conditions, partly to churn out the piles of consumer goods we lap up. Jonathan speaks with a leading global organizer trying to stop child labor. And, surprise, surprise, Wal-Mart is in the thick of that scandal…as well as breaking the law here, as we hear in our other amazing segment. We wrap up by crowning, not for the first time, Wal-Mart as our Robber Baron of the week.

Duration: 00:56:44

Episode 33: Did Democratic Party Insiders in California Steal An Election…Again?

"Politically speaking, you will be murdered and we will personally take part in murdering you"…that was the message Kimberly Ellis heard from her "sisters" in the California Democratic Party when she began running for the chairmanship of the party. And the "murder" took place—possibly through voter fraud. In her first extensive interview since the election on May 20th, Ellis tells Jonathan the whole story—why she decided to run, how the campaign built a massive, sophisticated operation,...

Duration: 01:13:08

Episode 32: Upbeat Stuff…Wage Theft, Election Theft, CEO Theft, War Crimes

It's an action-packed podcast. Jonathan looks at the daily stealing of workers' wages, to the tune of billions of dollars—right in time for an annual deep-dive to look at a big hike in CEO pay in 2016. There is also breaking news on what could be another chapter in Democratic Party insider shenanigans—was there fraud in the recent California Democratic state party elections? Jonathan also pauses to comment on Memorial Day—a day when the nation forgets that leaders like Henry Kissinger...

Duration: 00:44:38

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