“The Global Rise of the Informal Economy,” Slate’s The Afterword (Dec. 31, 2011): an interview with Robert Neuwirth, author of Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, who argues that “one-half the world’s workers—close to 1.8 billion people—are involved in the informal economy in jobs that are ‘neither registered nor regulated, getting paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes.’ In researching his book, Neuwirth traveled the world, visiting markets and street vendors in Nigeria, China, Paraguay, Brazil, and around the United States.”
“Assassinations, Spying and The Constitution: ACLU President Susan Herman Talks Big Government Taking Liberties,” Reason.tv (see video below) (“All of our elected representatives have to hear from a broad cross section of liberals, libertarians, conservatives–people who just say, ‘This is too much big government. We want our government back,” says American Civil Liberties Union President Susan Herman, author of the new book Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy. … How much has the police state expanded since 9/11, and is there any way to stop it? Herman sat down with Reason.tv Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie to discuss the this and other questions surrounding the state of liberty in America. Herman notes that while there have been a few minor changes in policy, for the most part there’s been a remarkable continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations in terms of their disregard for civil liberties. She also discusses the recent assassination of American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki and the ACLU’s role in representing Al-Awlaki’s father in court.Interview by Nick Gillespie”).
In their discussion, Herman mentions the expanded use of National Security Letters (NSLs) since the war on terror began. A NSL may be used to seek customer and consumer transaction information in national security investigations from communications providers, “financial institutions” and credit agencies. Previously NSLs could be used only against people who were reasonably suspected of espionage, but the Patriot Act now allows the Attorney General to issue NSLs even against people who are not suspected of criminal activity or of acting on behalf of a foreign power. And the letter can require the recipient to keep it secret. So we don’t even know how many of these are out there are when they are issued. Thus NSLs have become a far more invasive procedure the police state can use against citizens.
And in 2004, Congress expanded the definition of “financial institution” eligible to receive NSLs to include not only banks and credit unions, but also car dealers, jewelers, travel agencies, and real estate agents, among others.1 This is a good illustration of the state’s practice of “classificationism.”
The Last Day of the Soviet Union, KERA Think, Dec. 7, 2011 (“What events actually led to the 1991 dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and how did the bitter relationship between Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin contribute to the superpower’s demise? We’ll talk this hour with journalist Conor O’Clery, author of the book Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union“). This podcast has become one of my favorites. I think Kris Boyd is the best interviewer I’ve ever heard. She is amazing. One riveting interview after another. Great voice, great tone, great questions, great topics, and very intelligent.
238. Lew Rockwell Attacked By a Parasite, LewRockwell.com Podcasts, Dec. 2, 2011 (“Ron Smith talks to Lew Rockwell until a federal employee intervenes”. In the podcast, Lew quotes a great line from a recent Gary North column: “Europe’s game of kick the can will continue. The best summary of the outcome was made by a Spanish government worker on Sunday, November 20, the day of national elections. The socialists were thrown out of office. He said this: ‘We can choose the sauce they will cook us in, but we’re still going to be cooked.’”).
Van Gogh: The Life, KERA Think, November 14, 2011 (“He’s famous for both his incredible art and his notorious instability, but what was life really like for one of the greatest artists in history? We’ll spend this hour with Pulitzer prize-winning author Steven Naifeh. His new book, co-written with Gregory White Smith is Van Gogh: The Life“);