Made to Fail

By Goat Rodeo & The Hub Project

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From healthcare, to unemployment insurance, to exercising the right to vote, the COVID-19 crisis has affected every part of American life. The rampant employment. The social unrest in American cities. It's pulled back the curtain on the policies that time and time again, have failed the people they were supposed to protect. But what's happening in our country is something much bigger than a pandemic. Something that's been in the works for a long, long time.

Made to Fail tells the stories of Americans in states across the country, and the ways in which our country has left our institutions gutted, corrupted, and unaccountable. As we confront an unprecedented era of economic uncertainty, amidst a health crisis and a national reckoning on race the question do we find a way out?

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Episode Date
Chapter Five: Polluted in Arizona

In May of 2020, the Navajo Nation made national headlines with the highest per capita Covid-19 infection rate in the United States, outpacing New York City. Frontline Navajo workers, many of them relatives and neighbors of those infected, rushed to save the most vulnerable. Already, residents of the Navajo Nation face higher rates of preexisting conditions. The grim situation highlights the historical failings of the US government.

Over 150 years after the treaty signing between the Navajo Nation and the federal government, the latter has attempted practically every method to siphon resources away from the former. This is especially true when it comes to water, a basic human right, that’s been contaminated on Navajo land for decades. After struggling with the repercussions of this contamination (the Navajo Nation has one of the highest cancer rates in the country) today, it’s estimated that between 30 and 50% of Navajo families live without access to clean running water. The infamous scorched-earth campaigns of the 1860’s never really ended. It’s just taken a global pandemic to expose that truth to the rest of us.

This is only one of the environmental injustices on the reservation, and unfortunately, these injustices are not unique to the Navajo Nation. In fact, most vulnerable communities in the United States face them everyday. And the connections between the environment, race, and the Covid-19 crisis are fatal.

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Sep 14, 2020
Chapter Four: Targeted in Minnesota

On May 26, people took to the Minneapolis streets in masks to protest the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old local black man. The incident, caught on a bystander’s cell phone camera, shows Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.In Minneapolis, police use force against black people at 7 times the rate of whites. And 1 in every 1000 black men can be expected to be killed by police...that’s 2 ½ times more likely than white Americans.These statistics are no coincidence. 

The killing of unarmed Black men and women in the streets, in their cars, in their own homes is not just the product of occasional racist bad apples. Instead, a well-built and well-funded system not only offers protection to racist police behavior, but in many cases, encourages it. 

This system spans centuries, and has a network that runs through all areas of city state and federal governments. It’s a system that still works just as it was originally keep Black Americans from ever feeling or being safe.

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Sep 07, 2020
Chapter Three: Corrupted in Georgia

On January 24th, 2020 the Senate Health Committee got a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials on coronavirus. Among the attendees was Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler from Georgia. The very same day as the briefing, an asset manager for Senator Loeffler began making stock trades. Selling thousands of shares in stocks across multiple sectors. 

Elected officials are cloaked in a tremendous amount of privilege. Privileges that afford them information and opportunities not available to you or me. But what happens when our leaders warp who that judgment is for? What happens when those we elect, don’t think we’re paying attention? 

For years our norms around elections, ethics, and self dealing have faded into the background. Now in the chaos of 2020, we are seeing story after story of how our leaders protected their political and personal interests first and constituencies second. These stories all have one thing in common—a U.S. Supreme Court unwilling to prosecute unethical behavior and weak federal laws that allow for ethics to fall by the wayside and corruption to fill in the gap.

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Aug 31, 2020
Chapter Two: Disconnected in Florida
In Florida, the online unemployment system is not working. Interface glitches, missing support services, hold music heard ad nauseum … this is all to be expected from Florida’s CONNECT system. Today, some Floridians still haven’t seen a single penny in benefits. Now, the governor has called for an investigation into the system’s initial contract and has admitted publicly that the system may have been designed to discourage users from, well, using it. After a deep dive into the history of the state’s attitude towards federal unemployment as a whole, it’s clear that there’s more going on in Florida than just a faulty computer system.

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Aug 24, 2020
Chapter One: Badgered in Wisconsin
On April 7th, 2020, the voters of Wisconsin lined up to cast their ballots in the Democratic primary election. They lined up in masks and in gloves. They lined up out the door of the polling places, and down the block, and tried throughout the day to keep their distance from one another. Because Republican state lawmakers refused to push back the election, the voters of Wisconsin were forced to turn out in the middle of the pandemic. They were forced to make a choice between their right to vote and their right to live.But those lawmakers weren’t working alone. Indeed, this effort was ultimately enabled by twenty years of voter suppression handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. In case after case, the Supreme Court has hollowed out voting rights in America, making in-person voting during a pandemic election not only possible, but inevitable.

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Aug 17, 2020
On March 11, 2019 a crowd of reporters gathered at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to cover the announcement of the site of the Democratic National Convention. Over year later, the United States has become paralyzed by the novel coronavirus as our institutions are being pushed to their breaking point. As our nation grapples with an out of control pandemic, the greatest recession in living memory, and a national reckoning on race, the question remains, “What’s the way out?” This is Made to Fail.

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Aug 17, 2020
Trailer: Made to Fail (Coming Aug 17)
This crisis wasn't an accident. Listen to Made to Fail on August 17th.

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Jul 22, 2020