Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.
News Brief: It's Not a "Fall From Grace", This Has Always Been Who Giuliani Was
In this News Brief, we talk with journalist Ashoka Jegroo about Giuliani's long history of racism, white liberal New Yorkers providing cover for his carceral sociopathy because they liked the results, and the pathetic, inevitable final chapter of the former New York mayor.
Episode 123: How Liberal Meta-Demands for "Investigations" and "Studies" Are Used to Silence Activists
"Joe Biden Calls For ‘Immediate, Full And Transparent Investigation’ Into Jacob Blake Shooting," Forbes reports. "Obama Fraud Task Force Takes on the Big Banks," Bloomberg News proclaims. "Democratic lawmakers call for vote on bill to study reparations," announces CNN.
It seems that every time there’s a movement toward righting a historical or current wrong, whether police violence, corporate abuses, or climate. change, policymakers muster the same tepid “solution”: initiate a committee, investigation, commission, study, or, if they want to sound super militaristic and Serious a “task force” to probe the issue. This type of rhetorical filler offers elites the best of both worlds: Creating the appearance of attentiveness and progressiveness without requiring any meaningful, overt ideological commitments.
Tethered to explicit political objectives, calls for investigations or studies can be a useful lobbying tool, but absent this, they are more often than not a political trick, psychological tools to compel activists and those outraged on social media to take a break, because now the professionals are handling it. The effect: the political equivalent of a five-day cooling off period, wait the outrage out and channel activist energy into Get Out the Vote fodder and superficial reform-ese that never truly upsets the existing order.
On this episode, we study the phenomenon of the liberal appeals for bare-minimum interventions in times of political crisis, looking at how vague and open-ended calls for studies, committees, task forces, and commissions are designed to elevate the reputations of spineless politicians while nullifying the social movements that actually seek racial, economic, and climate justice.
Our guest is Briahna Joy Gray, former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.
News Brief - Review: Netflix's Charles Murray-Themed Hallmark Film 'Hillbilly Elegy'
In this Sight Unseen film review, we recap the ideological currents and industry backers of J.D. Vance's white trash whisperer shtick and how it blames everyone for Appalachian poverty but corporations and Republicans.
News Brief - Post Election Spin: Trump Blames CIA for Loss, Corporate House Dems Blame BLM
In this post-election News Brief we discuss the various modes of cope and responsibility skirting.
Episode 122: Climate Chaos (Part II) - The Militarization of Liberals' Climate Change Response
Pete Buttigieg wants to create “a Senior Climate Security role in the Secretary of Defense’s office responsible for managing climate security risks.” Elizabeth Warren insists “our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change.” And the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis tells us our primary goal should be to “Confront Climate Risks to America’s National Security and Restore America’s Leadership on the International Stage.” Everywhere we turn in liberal discourse, high-profile Democrats and center-left media are framing climate change as a “national security” risk requiring national security solutions.
Politically, it’s a clever enough frame. Like mocking Trump for being too nice to North Korea or latching on to anti-Trump Gold Star families, it’s a cheap and easy way Democrats can drape themselves in the flag while pushing an ostensibly liberal position: We know it’s a real threat because our military takes it seriously and they can be part of the solution - unlike those backwards Republicans we actually care what the generals are saying.
The primary problem with this is that the military speaks of climate change the way Davos discusses "inequality"––in square quotes, as a threat to be managed and mitigated, not solved, and certainly not seen as a moral imperative to be addressed with issues of social justice and racism in mind. The Pentagon, by its own admission, views climate chaos as a risk factor among many, and its primary goal is to protect American capital and the U.S.-led global expansionist and extractivist economic order: two institutions fundamentally in need of overhaul if climate change is going to be reversed. Indeed turning to the US military to help solve climate crisis is like asking the police to solve institutional racism––at best they can suppress protestors and secure property in the event of mass unrest, but the thing that needs overthrowing is the thing they’re charged most with protecting.
One this second episode of our two-part series on climate chaos, we’ll explain why the DoD––and the military-industrial-complex more broadly––cannot be a partner in the battle against climate change because their prime objective is protecting its main drivers of mindless growth and war, why demilitarization and global cooperation are key to curbing emissions in time, and why creeping militarism, nationalist economic policy in green “tech” and other forms of liberal jingoism are subtly shifting mainstream liberal climate policy to the Right.
Our guest is Lorah Steichen of the National Priorities Project.
Episode 121 - Climate Chaos (Part I): How the Gap Between Liberal Rhetoric & Policy Promotes Denialism
“Climate change is real.” “Three words — science, science, and science.” “From coastal towns to rural farms to urban centers, climate change poses an existential threat.” “Now it is time to put our coalition to work and pass bold climate solutions.”
These are just some of the many statements — all of them true — that the U.S. public routinely hears from its Democratic Party leaders, expressing their unbridled commitment to acting on the ever-urgent issue of climate change.
But there is a tremendous gulf between Democratic leaders’ claims to believe climate change is an existential threat and their actual actions, which are the actions of people who do not believe climate change must be urgently and robustly tackled. Since climate change has ascended from thoroughly ignored to occasionally acknowledged issue in US political discourse and elections, Democratic leaders have for the most part only been willing to push for small-scale policy solutions — a carbon-capture tax credit here, a fossil-fuel subsidy cut there.
These solutions are almost always incremental and market-based, and these same Democrats refuse to embrace what’s actually needed: keep fossil fuels in the ground, and mobilize public resources so that we can make the broad social changes we need to address the climate crisis. The most powerful Democrats, people like Nancy Pelosi, have not only steered clear of more far-reaching policies, but have actively undermined them, as seen most clearly with her opposition to the Green New Deal — often under the guise of debt scolding.
When Democratic Party claims about the dire consequences of climate change are not matched by robust and necessary policy proposals, one can only assume one of three realities is true: (1) they do not care about the disastrous inevitably of environmental collapse, (2) they don’t truly believe the science on climate change in general, or (3) they’re simply hopeless and spineless. In any case, the resultant inertia amounts to an insidious form of climate denialism in its own right.
On this episode, part one of two tackling climate change, we discuss the net effect of this chasm - what we’re calling “the Climate Rhetoric-Policy Gap” - and how, from a messaging standpoint, it reads false and leads many to believe that climate change may be real in some abstract sense, but mostly not a matter of urgent moral importance.
Our guest is Basav Sen, Climate Justice Project Director at the Institute for Policy Studies.
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one of the best
There is many great left podcasts out there, but if you’re looking for the show that most poignantly explains the material reality of 21st century US empire, this is it. Very entertaining as well as informative, I learn a ton every time I listen.
*Creed voice* With Eyes Wide Open!
Every episode opens my eyes to all the BS peddled by corporate media. Really a must listen for anyone concerned with justice and material improvements in people’s lives. Definitely helped radicalize me further towards the left 👍
I suggest this podcast to every person I meet.