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The Best of ‘Scheer Intelligence’ 2016: Robert Scheer’s Guests Offer a Wealth of Insight

Posted on Dec 31, 2016

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Editor’s note: From Dec. 23 through New Year’s Eve, Truthdig is running a roundup of the top 10 stories of 2016 in the following categories: Live Blog, A/V Booth, Report, Book Review, Ear to the Ground, Cartoon, Film Review, Live at Truthdig and Truthdigger of the Week.

Every week, on his KCRW radio show, “Scheer Intelligence,” Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer meets with an “American original,” a person who, through a lifetime of engagement with American culture or politics, has developed an informed and highly personal perspective on one or more of today’s most pressing issues.

Each year, the show features a diverse cast of guests, and 2016 was no different. Among them were historian Thomas Frank, who presaged the election of Donald Trump by describing the Democratic Party’s abandonment of working Americans; D. Watkins, a drug dealer turned college professor, who discussed his life in the struggling city of Baltimore; and socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, who detailed the victories she and her allies are winning for her city’s workers through an unswerving ethic of advocacy.

Dozens of “Scheer Intelligence” interviews may be found on the show’s page at KCRW’s website.

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1. Robert Scheer and Thomas Frank on Democrats’ Shift Away From Addressing Inequality

Thomas Frank discussed his new book, “Listen, Liberal,” which describes how Democrats abandoned the American working class.

2. Robert Scheer and Larry Gross Discuss the Rise of the U.S. Gay Community

Author Larry Gross, who is also a professor of communication at the University of Southern California, talked about how formerly “invisible,” closeted gay men and women—over the course of the middle and late 20th century—came to create a community that wields political power.

3. California Democrat Zev Yaroslavsky Tells Robert Scheer Why the State Is a Model for Progressives

Zev Yaroslavsky, one of the leaders of California’s Democratic Party, talked about the state’s paradox—how progressives swept the nation’s largest state in the 2016 election while Hillary Clinton got Trumped elsewhere in the country.

4. Robert Scheer Meets Blase Bonpane, a Priest Who Defied the Catholic Church

Blase Bonpane, priest and author of the new book, “The Nicene Heresy: Christendom and War, Reverence and Critique,” spoke about his career working for peace in Central America and his conflicted relationship with the Catholic Church.

5. Robert Scheer and Lizbeth Mateo Explore the Contradictions of U.S. Immigration Policy

Lizbeth Mateo, a lawyer and immigrant-rights activist, explained how she self-deported to illuminate the plight of immigrants like herself.

6. Robert Scheer Talks With Professor and Former Drug Dealer D. Watkins About Life in Baltimore

Author, professor and activist D. Watkins discussed his book that relates his life in Baltimore and the reasons he has chosen to stay in the struggling city.

7. Robert Scheer and Socialist Kshama Sawant Talk About Progress for Seattle Workers

The socialist Kshama Sawant, who is serving her second term on Seattle’s City Council, described the achievements and challenges of her time in office.

8. Robert Scheer Interviews Gary Tyler, Wrongly Imprisoned for Decades

Gary Tyler told of how he survived his years in a penitentiary after he was wrongly convicted of murdering a 13-year-old boy.

9. Robert Scheer and Journalist Johann Hari Discuss Addiction and the War on Drugs

British journalist Johann Hari discussed his new book, “Chasing the Scream,” about the history of the drug wars in the U.S. and the approaches of other nations toward drugs and addiction.

10. Robert Scheer Interviews Tom Dine, a Longtime Advocate for Israel and Mideast Peace

Tom Dine, senior policy adviser at the Israel Policy Forum and former head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, spoke about his career in public service, the thwarting of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and his role in negotiations between Syria and Israel in recent years.


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