The Majority Report with Sam Seder

On today's show, Joshua Specht (@joshspecht), author of Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America. The story of beef production in America begins at the cattle ranch, which was a tool of conquest in the West. In some places, cattle ranching resembled a paramilitary operation with settlers and natives fighting for land rights. Settlers looked to graze with their cattle while natives hunted what remained of buffalo populations. The federal government's decision to inter natives to reservations gave ranchers free rein and allowed them to build larger ranches with more heads of cattle. After ranching established itself, the meatpackers from Chicago and capitalists invested in the western farms, flooding the marketplace with meat and creating an oligopoly, or as the owners of the time called it, "holding both ends of the string." Sam and Joshua explore the meatpacking assembly lines in Chicago which inspired Henry Ford's auto manufacturing lines and was the focus of Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle.' While Sinclair wanted to spark a socialist revolution amongst American workers, American consumers and politicians instead regulated the industry based on sanitation, with Roosevelt's Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Given the broad implications of beef's economic history, what does it mean to us now? Specht questions the short term impacts of meat and climate change; and how consumer prices are often used to deflect criticism of the industry, like labor rights and environmental concerns.

And in the Fun Half: Larry Kudlow is enjoying the August recess, Jimmy Dore has something against Justice Democrats, Killer Mike explains why a free college option is essential for America, Jesse Watters thinks he was a slave when he did chores, Pete Buttigieg fearmongers about the national debt, Fox News contributor says the prison system is maybe the least racist American institution, Ainsley Earhardt wishes the homeless would just disappear, plus your calls and IMs!


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Direct download: 8-19-19-Joshua_Specht-pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm EST