Episode

9/21 A Railway Strike Still Looms; Opioid Crisis At Fort Bragg w/ Jonah Furman & Seth Harp

September 21, 2022

Sam and Emma host Jonah Furman of Labor Notes and author of the Who Gets The Bird? newsletter on SubStack to discuss the recent negotiations between rail workers, railroad companies, and the Biden administration. Then they are joined by investigative reporter Seth Harp to discuss his recent reporting surrounding the recent deaths and opioid abuse at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Emma and Sam first run through updates on the Fed’s plan to discipline labor by tanking the economy into a recession, migrants file a class-action suit against DeSantis for his stunt, and DeSantis discusses his “Ultimate Solution.” Jonah Furman then joins as they get right into the three-year leadup to last Thursday’s sudden climax of a potential rail strike in the US, walking through separate processes for labor organizing in the rail industry, the need for a 30-day cool-off period, and why Biden got involved, before parsing through the federal deal recommended and why it got so much pushback from the various railway unions. Next, he, Sam, and Emma explore how the rail industry came to be under different processes, with 19th Century unrest leading to the 1926 Railway Labor Act that works to keep the country’s infrastructure moving, and leading up to the conditions we see today, where workers are expected to constantly be on call with no right to call out for an emergency and the workforce getting cut more and more while production increases. After a brief conversation on the role of monopoly and the leverage that the federal government could hold in this situation, they wrap up by tackling the state of their strike fund, and where this action is likely to head next. Emma is then joined by Seth Harp to get into the developing controversy coming out of the Fort Bragg military base, with a series of murders and executions piling up from 2020 through 2021 alongside increased overdoses and various drug possession and dealing charges all coming out of an institution that was supposedly the pinnacle of US Special Operations, with JSOC, Green Berets, and more all stationed there. They tackle the history of the US Military and Special Operations in mass drug trafficking, the incredible autonomy and power held by these unelected officials, and how this controversy encapsulates the myriad failures of the US Wars on Terror and Drugs.

And in the Fun Half: Sam hosts Brad Polumbo, journalist and policy correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education, on the immorality of student debt forgiveness, whether debt cancellation is debt transfer, the benefits of college, why daddy paying for college is okay but big brother doing so is bad, and how to grapple with being anti-regressive policy and anti-taxation. Sam and Emma also touch on Ronna McDaniel responding to accusations of Republican fear-mongering by pointing out how scary the world is, Matt DePerno on Michigan’s potential abortion ban, and Stephen Crowder talks with a gay guy about how much women SUCK, plus, your IMs!

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