In our premiere episode host Paul Traynor introduces the Long Con, revisits a con that played out around a civil rights seminar at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, and identifies the team of grifters currently working to subvert representative democracy in America. What do free market economics, school vouchers, systemic racism and the nascent "education industrial complex have to do with each other?" SPOILER ALERT: Plenty! Call your friends, call your favorite teacher & definitely call your lawyer(s)... it's time to expose THE LONG CON!
How exactly does a Long Con work? Paul is joined by co-host Jeff Rogers, Second City alum and owner of the Players Workshop improv school, to discuss the science behind the art of con artistry. They introduce one of the two "guide rails" for the podcast: the Ten Stages of the Long Con. Hilarity (and brief despondency) ensues.
Jeff Rogers is back with Paul for a discussion of the second "guide rail" of the Long Con Podcast: the Ten Facets of the War on Democracy. Do you get the feeling there's someone controlling things from behind the scenes? Does it feel like a coordinated effort is underway to gut America, and to privatize all government functions? Are you suspicious that the current, toxic state of our national political discourse is no accident? If you answered "yes" to all of these questions... you are absolutely right. Sorry. But sunlight is the best disinfectant!
Lots of moderate Americans-- on both sides of the political aisle-- describe themselves as being 'fiscally conservative, but socially liberal'. But what exactly does that mean? Nancy MacLean's best-selling book, "Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America" challenges many of our core assumptions about both, revealing the depth and extent of a stealth plan by America's billionaire oligarchs to use free-market rhetoric & policy to re-shape American politics & undermine the US Constitution. Paul with Nancy about her book, which was a National Book Award finalist, about US Hisory and social movements, and about the very future of American democracy. Part 1 of 2.
Picking up where Episode 4 left off, we continue our amazing conversation with leading U.S. Historian and New York Times Best-Selling Author Nancy MacLean. In this second hour Nancy and Paul discuss the impact the Mont Pelerin and John Birch Societies had on the modern GOP, and why Ayn Rand is such a strong and dangerous presence in libertarian philosophy. But don't worry-- this chat is a lot more fun than it sounds! Part 2 of 2.
"It's like a book club for policy issues!" How do you talk smart, well-educated women into voting against their own interests? Start a "non-partisan" charitable organization, hide its deep ties to the far-right libertarian movement... and invite your new gal-pals to hang out at Wrigley Field! Paul shares the origins of The Policy Circle, from its founding in a wealthy suburb on Chicago's North Shore to its rapid expansion into more than 40 states across the country. Watch out-- this Ricketts family-funded stealth con is coming to a neighborhood-- and a corporate meeting room-- near you! Part 1 of 2.
What's the biggest threat to public school funding and local community services? Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos is certainly one of them -- but there's another, more insidious & stealthy danger lurking: charity. In this episode Paul reveals how the Policy Circle, a women's 501c3 charitable organization, partnered with other dark money charities to run a slate of candidates in local school board, park district and municipal races in New Trier Township. Plus we'll explore how billionaire Policy Circle founder Sylvie (and her husband RNC Finance Chair Todd) Ricketts managed to fight against local spending while underpaying their own property taxes for nearly a decade! It's a wacky story jam-packed with interviews and cameos... and should be essential listening for all public school educators and lovers of local government. Legal threats, racism, harassment, stalking... this one's got it all!