Category Archives: podcast

EP 632 Mental Health Care in the Spotlight as Need Grows

It was only a few years ago when mention of mental health concerns was done in whispered tones. Today, perhaps owing to the pandemic and its after effects, people openly share their anxiety, sleeplessness and other manifestations of mental anguish in these uncertain times. All this has been exacerbated by economic and political worries. Chuck Ingoglia, CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing ( ) joins us to discuss a range of issues explaining the growing awareness and interest in mental health as well as the concerns about access to treatment, its expense and the role the federal government is playing in attempting to realize the goal of giving our mental health needs parity with our physical health concerns.

EP 631 Do We Really Consider Frontline Workers as “Essential”?

We put up signs and cheered and serenaded from rooftops and labelled “heroes,” healthcare workers, teachers, grocery clerks. delivery drivers, food processors, and we gave them a new label “essential”, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across America. Before this event, we had spent the better part of forty years ignoring the worsening plight of working class people, often doing thankless jobs, here in America.  “Essential” before this, they were not, by any measure.  We did not pay them enough, protect their health enough or even thank them enough.  The question is as the pandemic ebbs, has their status in our society really changed?  You would think that in the face of a worker shortage (though our guest says it can be more aptly described as a “surplus of bad jobs”)we would bestow more value and benefits as a society and as companies.  In his book, “Essential” How the Pandemic Transformed the Long Fight for Worker Justice,” Jamie McCallum makes the argument that some progress is being made, but it’s not nearly enough.  We will give you a framework for discussing this important topic in your community and workplace on this podcast.

EP 630 Can You Trust China to Tell You How Well Its Economy is Really Doing?

When we read about China’s miracle economy, in large part, it is a myth.  Politics, Communist style, trumps economics and the growth numbers you see heralding its economic output are likely unrealiable, partial or distorted for political purposes.  Private business ownership as we know it does not exist there.  The banks and major industries are subsets of the state apparatus that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party.  People, or shall we say, party members can accumulate much wealth in China, but like Jack Ma, of Alibaba, if you get too big the Party may bring you down, just as it once raised you up.  In China it is said that the state is rich, but the people are poor.  Regardless what we may envision, the standard of living for the average Chinese citizen has not  risen in what are perceived as heady times for China.  In his newest book,”China After Mao: The Rise of a Superpower” internationally renowned historian, Frank Dikotter, one of the leading China scholars in the world, debunks many myths we have about how things are going in China.  Our complex relationship with China should not cloud our understanding that the CCP’s goal was never to join the democratic world, but to resist it-and ultimately defeat it.

EP 629 Free Speech First Amendment Right Is Not Absolute

The First Amendment and freedom of speech allow us to say what we want, but: we can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater; we can’t incite a riot; and since the nation’s founding, there have always been some types of political and obscene speech that could send you to jail.  Professor Dennis Baron’s timely new book, “You Can’t Always Say What You Want: The Paradox of Free Speech” points out these exceptions, the “free speech, but”-what happens when the right of speech runs up against the government’s efforts to control it, and what types of threats to speech we will face in the propulsion of commentary on the internet.  Free speech is a much more nuanced topic when you realize that the First Amendment pertains only to the government not making laws to limit it.  Your boss or family members can ascribe whatever limits they choose.  Even the government has limited speech when it might be injurious to a war effort or an enemy like, Soviet Communism in much of the 20th century.  And today we see self-described free speech absolutist, Elon Musk, throwing people whose opinions he does not like off of Twitter.  We will try to untangle a complex issue on this podcast.

EP 628 If You Lock Your Front Door, Your Home Is Better Protected Than Your Digital Life

When the internet was a shiny new object, it was understandable that we did not take security that seriously.  But today it is home to most of the important information in our lives, including our financial records.  The same holds true for corporations and nations, including delicate information that can affect our national security as well as our critical infrastructure.  At the same time, the ability to hack the internet is not only possible by malevolent nation-states, but also bad actors and hacker gangs who do it for a range of reasons, including large ransoms.  Unlike in the analog world there is no cyber–Coast Guard that is going to come and bail us out if we lose our data.  Yet, to date evidently, the penalty for going unguarded seems to be seen by most entities as less than the cost of putting up strict cyber walls against incursion.  In his book “The Unhackable Internet”, Attorney Thomas Vartanian, with long experience in the financial and banking sector, suggests we are playing with fire and a cyber- Pearl Harbor is inevitable unless we take a number of steps that he lays out in the book.

EP 627 Why Aren’t There More Employee- Owned Businesses in America?

In America we play hail to the founder and the brilliant chief executive who started a company from scratch, though we realize that whether it’s Elon Musk or Jeff Zuckerberg, they have their feet of clay.  The spoils go to them and outside shareholders who invest in the company, which has led to a yawning wealth gap in America.  Wages, less and less, can cover the bills and social trust is eroding, There are ongoing debates about what to do, but one key solution is rarely discussed.  Why not spread business ownership around and let workers benefit from the capitalist dreams they have helped to create?  In the book, “Ownership: Reinventing Companies, Capitalism, and Who Owns What”, our guest, Corey Rosen, founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership and his co-author, John Case. explain why so many companies end up being owned by Wall Street shareholders or private equity firms–and why that kind of ownership encourages a focus on short-term profits rather than long-term sustainability.  The heart of the book takes us inside the concept of employee ownership as a concept and how to expand it in America.  Given the bipartisan support for the concept, it seems like an idea whose time has come.

EP 626 Meat Industry is a Raw Deal for Consumers and the Environment

When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the United States in 2020, it affected nearly every aspect of our daily lives, hitting even the biggest businesses and corporations. The meat industry was no exception. While the illness and new regulations for distancing and masked slashed the workforce and led to supply shortages, it also sharpened our focus on the awful conditions of slaughterhouses and meat packing factories. Add to this the fact that meat production is one of the greatest culprits in our battle to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and near monopolistic practices brought about by years of consolidation and you have an industry worth reporting seriously on and being concerned about. That’s exactly what Chloe Sorvino does in her expose titled “Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed, and the Fight for the Future of Meat”. She joins us to unpack the story.

EP 625 Fentanyl and Meth Pick Up Where the Opioid Crisis Left Off

Just as a modicum of justice is being meted out to those who ripped a hole through middle America in the opioid epidemic, the same man who awakened the nation to that crisis reveals in his new book that the epidemic is far from over; in fact, it is entering a dangerous new phase: synthetic drugs and a new generation of kingpins whose product is made in Magic Bullet blenders. Sam Quinones, author of the much heralded book ‘Dreamland’ continues his chronicling of pain in America in his follow on book called “The Least of Us: True Tales of America in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth”. He tells us that in fentanyl traffickers found a painkiller a hundred times more powerful than morphine. It is now laced in cocaine, meth, and counterfeit pills to cause tens of thousands of death. His searing accounts of the impact on real lives is remarkable. He joins us today to share his vast knowledge of this most disturbing topic.

EP 624 How Well Do You Understand the Israeli-Palestinian Situation?

While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been simmering, and at times boiling over, for the last 70 years, our understanding of the issues at stake are spotty.  It’s complicated and you must go back to Biblical times to really understand it.  Our guest echoes the sentiment that both sides are ‘righteous victims’.  In this podcast, we touch on the history and then break down the current situation between the parties.  While we attempt to touch on the high points, there is no substitute for reading Daniel Sokatch’s accessible, but indispensable, guide to the subject called “Can We Talk About Israel: A Guide for the Curious, Confused and Conflicted.” He walks us through some of the moments of possibility, such as the mid to late 1990’s, when President Bill Clinton and the parties were so close to the elusive two-state solution.  Yet, it fell apart and there has not been a serious attempt to reconcile long held contentious positions since.  Stay with this one throughout because at the end of the podcast the CEO of the New Israel Fund and author explains the seeming devotion of Evangelical Christians in America and the State of Israel.  It’s eye opening.

EP 623 Is Putin on the Ropes?

Hubris seems to have gotten the best of Vladimir Putin. After the near disintegration of the once vaunted Red Army, Putin was determined to rebuild his military into a feared fighting machine. He made a number of much overdue reforms in his fighting force and got engaged in conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea and Syria. He understood that national pride had as its cornerstone the ability to project force as a global power. Then came his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 which may prove to be his Waterloo. Dr. Mark Galeotti is one of the foremost Russian-watchers today. He is author of the new book ” Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine” and he shares his keen observations of the unfolding, perhaps unraveling, story of the Putin era.