Category Archives: economics

Kimberly Reed: Dark Money

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We continue our annual Radio Goes to the Movies series featuring films screening at the 18th annual Mendocino Film Festival. In this segment we speak with Kimberly Reed,  who is the director, and co-producer, writer of DARK MONEY. It’s a political thriller, which examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana—a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide—and follows an intrepid local journalist, working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Kimberly Reed’s work has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, NPR. One of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” she directed/produced the film, PRODIGAL SONS, and was recognized as one of OUT Magazine’s “Out 100.” Her other films include PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE and THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which listeners can actually view now on Netflix.

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Billings Republican candidate, Debra Bonogofsky, became suspicious when her election was thwarted by last minute inaccurate, malicious ads and mailings, the source(s) of which could not be traced. She filed suit with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

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Powerful Republican Representative Art Wittich’s name, along with eight other 2010 Republican candidates, first appeared on documents found in three boxes discovered in Colorado. Based on this and other information, Wittich was included in the investigation on the complaint filed with the commissioner of political practices by Debra Bonogofsky against Dan Kennedy and unnamed “others.”

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Underfunded and understaffed, Jonathan Motl, MT Commissioner of Political Practices doggedly followed slim leads, ultimately filing indictments.

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Gene Jarussi (foreground) was appointed Special Attorney General. He served pro-bono and spent thousands of hours preparing the case. From left to right: Art Wittich, his attorney from Missouri, Lucinda Luetkemeyer, with Jonathan Motl behind Jarussi.

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Tenacious investigative journalist, John Adams, persevered after his job with Lee family paper, Great Falls Tribune, was eliminated. He then founded the MT Free Press, and was crucial in finding the truth about Dark Money in MT.

 

Rodents of Unusual Size

Quinn Costello, editor & co-producer of the documentary, RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE, share his thoughts & experiences in creating this joyful exploration of the “Giant Swamp Rats Are Literally Eating Louisiana”.

rous1_thomas_gonzales_defending_delacroix_island_louisiana_from_the_invasion_of_nutria-h_2017.jpgHard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn’t know what will hit him next.  After decades of hurricanes and oil spills he faces a new threat – hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats.  Known as “nutria”, these invasive South American rodents breed faster than the roving squads of hunters can control them.  And with their orange teeth and voracious appetite they are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes.  But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who will give up without a fight.  Thomas and a pack of lively bounty hunters are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet.  It is man vs. rodent.  May the best mammal win.

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Award winning non-fiction filmmakers Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer have traveled to many corners of the world in search of unique stories highlighting the important environmental, scientific and cultural issues of contemporary society. With the success of documentary projects as varied as PLAGUES & PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA, THE NEW ENVIRONMENTALISTS and EVERYDAY SUNSHINE: THE STORY OF FISHBONE they have gone on to screen their work at SXSW and Tribeca along with national TV broadcasts on PBS and the Sundance Channel. Along the way they have continued to pursue other sub-cultural documentary subjects, including: rogue economists, lucha libre wrestlers, ganja-preneurs and evangelical Christian surfers.
The filmmakers of RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE grew up in different parts of the country, but a passion for the swamp sealed their pact.  Cajun Reeboks were donned and the journey began in search of the notorious “nutria rat”.  Four years after first setting sail for Louisiana they emerged from the bayou covered in mosquito bites and an unwavering love for a place at the “End of the World” that is bursting with joy.

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One person’s pest is another person’s pet.

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Native to South America, nuria were introduced to the Bayou to be farmed for fur production during the Great Depression. Some escaped, and with no natural predators, they out-populated the native muskrats. Their numbers were kept somewhat in check until the anti-fur movement of the 1980s wiped out the fur market.

The population soon sky-rocketed to more than 25 million, literally eating the wetlands & causing tremendous environmental destruction. The state of Louisiana instituted the Nutria Control Program, which pays $5/tail.

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Righteous Furs, a collective of fashion designers, prides themselves in utilizing nutria pelts. Their motto is “Save Our Wetlands. Wear more nutria.”

Efforts to create a nutria cuisine have been less successful.

 

 

Burned: Are Trees the New Coal?

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BURNED: ARE TREES THE NEW COAL? tells the little-known story of the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel, and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant green-washing of the burgeoning biomass power industry.

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A dedicated group of forest activists, ecologists, carbon scientists, and concerned citizens fight to establish the enormous value of our forests, protect their communities, debunk this false solution to climate change, and alter energy policy both in the US and abroad. The directors/producers of BURNED, Alan Dater & Lisa Merton say, “It’s not too late.”

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Alan Dater has decades long experience in many different aspects of film making, working on such films as “Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music”; Emmy Award winning TV medical series, as well as National Geographic Specials. He moved to Vermont in the 1970s, where he started Marlboro Productions.

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Lisa Merton joined him in 1989. Together, she & Alan have co-directed/produced such films as HOME TO TIBET, about a Tibetan refugee’s return to his homeland, and TAKING ROOT: THE VISION OF WANGARI MAATHAI, founder of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya, & the first environmentalist, as well as African woman, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It won numerous international awards. Since 1996, Lisa has been a member of New Day Films, a documentary film collective.

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How spending billions on subsidizing an efficient coal-burning power station to burn wood is actually WORSE for the planet than before.     (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4255010/Idiocy-replacing-coal-power-stations-burning-wood.html)

 

 

 

CAREY GILLAM – White Wash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, & the Corruption of Science

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There are more than 365 lawsuits pending against Monsanto filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup Herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and that Monsanto knew the risks. The lawsuits were filed after glyphosate was declared a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization. In early March 2018, expert testimony was heard in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, Judge Vince Chhabria presiding, preceding trials in pursuit of these lawsuits.

images.pngOur guest today is veteran journalist, researcher and author, Carey Gillam, who has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the news industry covering corporate America. Since 1998, Carey Gillam’s work has focused on digging into the big business of food and agriculture. As a former senior correspondent for Reuters’ international news service, and a current contract researcher and freelance writer, she specializes in finding the story behind the spin — uncovering both the risks and rewards of the evolving new age of agriculture. Her areas of expertise include biotech crop technology, agrichemicals and pesticide product development, and the environmental impacts of American food production. She is currently Research Director for the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know. Her book, WHITE WASH: THE STORY OF A WEED KILLER, CANCER, AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE, is published by Island Press.

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cited with permission from https://peperperspective.com/2016/12/01/our-food-is-not-the-same-as-50-years-ago/

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cited with permission from https://peperperspective.com/2016/12/01/our-food-is-not-the-same-as-50-years-ago/

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Some of the articles cited in this interview are:

Farmers vs. Monsanto: Glyphosate Showdown Comes to U.S. Court in San Francisco https://www.organicconsumers.org/blog/farmers-vs-monsanto-glyphosate-showdown-comes-us-court-san-francisco

Roundup Causes Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Scientist Says in Federal Court   https://www.organicconsumers.org/blog/roundup-causes-non-hodgkin-lymphoma-scientist-says-federal-court

Monsanto’s Cancer Fight Judge Pictures Weed Killer Showers      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-14/monsanto-judge-pictures-weed-killer-showers-amid-cancer-debate

Federal judge halts Monsanto warning label requirement in California      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/27/federal-judge-halts-monsanto-warning-label-requirement-in-california-687912

Glyphosate gets EU renewal      https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-agriculture/2017/11/28/glyphosate-stays-in-the-eu-picture-032826

Here’s the Worst, Anti-Science Idea of the Week from the Republican Congress https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/02/lamar-smith-united-nations-glyphosate-monsanto-roundup-congress/

Dicamba drift puts natural areas at risk, environmental groups warn     http://www.stltoday.com/news/science/dicamba-drift-puts-natural-areas-at-risk-environmental-groups-warn/article_8e4b0c3e-11dd-5bc0-9871-e16c5a28fb59.html

‘Catastrophe’ as France’s bird population collapses due to pesticides      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/catastrophe-as-frances-bird-population-collapses-due-to-pesticides

Senators Rebuke EPA Plan To Let Kids Handle Pesticides Again      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senators-rebuke-epa-plan-to-let-kids-handle-pesticides-again_us_5aa943f5e4b0f7a689ce9b11

Scientists Sue EPA Over ‘Attempt To Delegitimize Science’       https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scientists-sue-epa-scott-pruitt_us_5a68a218e4b0dc592a0e87f0

Scott Pruitt’s First Year Set The EPA Back Anywhere From A Few Years To 3 Decades     https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pruitt-one-year_us_5a610a5ce4b074ce7a06beb4

 

Kevin Kamps: Beyond Nuclear

Seven years to the day, after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daichi plant in Japan, on March 11, 2011, French President, Emmanuel Macron, visited India to seal a deal to sell what at least 2 international groups are calling, “untested, expensive and technically troubled French EPR reactors”.

We speak with Kevin Kamps, a staff member of one of those groups, Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/). We update the national and international situation regarding all things nuclear.

What about the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan, who were exposed to radiation while engaged in Operation Tomodachi, the humanitarian relief effort responding to the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster? Some of the 4500 sailors have already died. Many more are suffering from radiation specific illnesses. What happened to them, and the lawsuits survivors have brought in the United States against reactor owner/operator, TEPCO? How about Trump administration revisions to the Nuclear Posture Review, expanding first use of nukes, or efforts to prioritize reviving and expanding nuclear power generation in the United States, not to mention efforts by Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, to sell Westinghouse nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia? What about the unsolved – and many believe unsolvable – problem of safe disposal of ensuing radioactive waste products?

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Kevin Kamps is a longtime leading opponent of government and industry efforts to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. He is an expert about the risks of radioactive waste generation and storage at reactor sites, as well as transportation through communities across our country. In addition, he focuses on eliminating federal subsidies for new reactors and reprocessing facilities. Kevin Kamps has traveled to Chernobyl in the Ukraine. He founded a Michigan chapter of the international Chernobyl Children’s Project, which brings child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to the United States for medical help. He has addressed communities in the US & overseas, as well as governmental forums & federal, state and local government agencies.

fukushima-four-years-after-tsunami.jpgRows of trash bags containing radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster now litter the area. (courtesy beyondnuclear.org)

Some of the articles cited in today’s interview can be found here:

7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court  https://www.thenation.com/article/seven-years-on-sailors-exposed-to-fukushima-radiation-seek-their-day-in-court/

Injustice At Sea: the Irradiated Sailors of the USS Reagan    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/07/injustice-at-sea-the-irradiated-sailors-of-the-uss-reagan/

Japan Plans to Expose Its People and 2020 Tokyo Olympians to Fukushima Radiation  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41280-japan-plans-to-expose-its-people-and-2020-tokyo-olympians-to-fukushima-radiation

A Tale of Two Vogtles: Georgia Reactors are Nuclear’s Last Stand, and the End of the Road https://www.nirs.org/a-tale-of-two-vogtles/

Trump Administration Rushing Bailout for Nuclear and Coal Market Rules Could Reshape U.S. Energy Policy, Block Renewables      https://www.nirs.org/trumps-dirtyenergy-bailout-really/

Pentagon to Allow Nuclear Responses to Non-Nuclear Attacks    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43460-pentagon-to-allow-nuclear-responses-to-non-nuclear-attacks

The Race to Win Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Reactor Bid Raises Fears of Proliferation  https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/24314/the-race-to-win-saudi-arabia-s-nuclear-reactor-bid-raises-fears-of-proliferation

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US Energy Secretary Rick Perry with Saudi Energy & Industry Minister, Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih (courtesy beyondnuclear.org)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz LOADED: A Disarming History of the 2nd Amendment

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LOADED: A DISARMING HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT  (City Lights Publishing) – is a provocative, timely, and deeply researched history of gun culture, and how it reflects race and power in the United States. Although LOADED is highly topical as we broadcast because of the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, production of this show actually began last November, 2017. And in case you feel overloaded with coverage of the aftermath of this latest massacre, Professor Dunbar-Ortiz’s history of gun culture and the second amendment is very different from the approach taken by the mainstream media or academia. For one thing, it is rooted in her 50+ years of activism. In the 1960s and 1970s, she was active in the anti-Vietnam War Movement and radical left movements, and worked closely with the SDS, the Weather Underground, and the African National Congress. She was also very active in the women’s rights movement, and from 1968–1970 was a leading figure in the radical feminist group, Cell 16. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades, and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. In 1974, she began teaching in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University – Hayward, and she helped found their Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, where she is now Professor Emerita.

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She has published many books and articles, including Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960–1975 . Blood on the Border is about what she saw during the Nicaraguan Contra war against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. Her 2014 book, AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, radically reframes Eurocentric history.

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Her 1977 book, The Great Sioux Nation, was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva.

DY_BWaAWsAABGvk.jpgWe are also thankful to the ever magnificent Roy Zimmerman for permission to include his “SING ALONG SECOND AMENDMENT SONG” after our interview with Professor Dunbar-Ortiz. You can hear more of his pointed, pithy civic lessons here:  http://www.royzimmerman.com/

or see him perform the Sing Along 2nd Amendment song here:

David Cay Johnston – It’s Even Worse Than You Think

We welcome back Pulitzer Prize Winning investigative journalist and best-selling author, David Cay Johnston. In this interview recorded on January 26, 2018, we discuss his latest books, IT’S WORSE THAN YOU THINK: WHAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS DOING TO AMERICA, just out from Simon & Schuster, and THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP, published in 2016 by Melville House.

David Cay Johnston digs deep, gets the facts others evade, ignore or fail to look for – much less find – and exposes exactly how the American system is rigged in favor of the 1% of the 1%.

DavidCayJohnston.pngWhen he was 18 years old the San Jose Mercury recruited him. His investigations over the next four decades appeared in that paper, The New York Times & other national journals. He exposed LAPD political spying and brutality, and he once hunted down a killer, whom the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had failed to catch, resulting in an innocent man winning acquittal at his fifth trial; revealed news blackouts and manipulations that forced a six-station broadcast chain off the air;  deconstructed the way foreign agents from South Africa and Taiwan secretly influenced American government policy; misuse of charitable funds at United Way; and explained the economics of former GE chairman Jack Welch’s retirement perks, prompting Welch to relinquish them.
He teaches business regulation, property and tax law at Syracuse University’s law and graduate business schools.

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We last had him on Forthright Radio in 2012, when the 3rd book in his trilogy on the American Economy – The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use “Plain English” to Rob You Blind, which focused on monopolies, had just been published.

We also revisit a segment from this 2012 interview with David Cay Johnston, in which he explicitly states that PG&E’s failure to properly maintain & replace power poles would lead to deadly wildfires, a prediction that came all too tragically true in October 2017.

The full interview from 10-31-12 is posted below this interview:

https://forthright.media/2018/02/05/david-cay-johnston-the-fine-print-how-big-companies-use-plain-english-to-rob-you-blind/

514chSHEAPL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe other two books were –  Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich — and Cheat Everybody Else (2004 Investigative Book of the Year award winner), and Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill), both of which were New York Times and Wall Street Journal best sellers.

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