Category Archives: economics

Suzanne Simard FINDING THE MOTHER TREE: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

University of British Columbia Professor of Forest Ecology, Dr. Suzanne Simard, is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence. Her decades of in-the-field-experimental research have revolutionized our scientific understanding of forests, elucidating how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies–and at the center of it all,  the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Suzanne Simard’s book, FINDING THE MOTHER TREE: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, was published by Knopf on May 4, 2021.
We spoke together on April 27th.

We end the program with a recent piece commissioned by the Intermountain Opera Company composed by Eric Funk, Requiem for a Forest, Op. 168. It is performed by Roots in the Sky. A video adaptation by Thomas Thomas is available on https://bozemanarts-live.com/event/requiem-for-a-forest/

Requiem for a Forest

In summer heat
And warming world
Storms whip up,
Lightening rolls,
Sparks run to earth.
The wind turns
Through the mountains,
Forests burn.

Fire ends,
Yet fire begins.
As mountains die,
Cones open.
Mors stupebit
et natura
Cum resurgent
Creatura.

Now we must learn
How to live here,
Where fire season
Burns all year.
Blackened earth
With green renew,
May the fires
wake us too.

John C. Coffee, Jr. CORPORATE CRIME & PUNISHMENT: The Crisis of Underenforcement

After the global financial crisis of 2008 with all the repercussions to our economy and harm to individual lives, not a single high level corporate executive went to prison. Some claimed it was rank politics protecting them, but was there more to the story?

John C. Coffee, Jr., whose book, CORPORATE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: THE CRISIS OF UNDERENFORCEMENT, was published in 2020 by Barrett-Koehler, is Columbia University Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law. Although he has been a law professor at Columbia University since 1980, this book is written for the lay audience.

Professor Coffee has won many awards for his writing, his work in corporate governance, and exploring the interests of activist investors. He has served on the Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the Legal Advisory Board that oversaw Nasdaq. He is a recognized expert on both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Delaware Court of Chancery, the forum in which the vast majority of American commercial disputes are heard.

Sheldon Wolin DEMOCRACY INCORPORATED: Managed Democracy & the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

We recently rebroadcast this interview with political theorist, Sheldon Wolin, from September, 2009. His final book, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, was published in 2008, He coined the term inverted totalitarianism in 2003 to describe what he saw as the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin analysed the United States as increasingly turning into a managed democracy (similar to an illiberal democracy). He uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” to draw attention to the totalitarian aspects of the American political system while emphasizing its differences from proper totalitarianism, such as Nazi and Stalinist regimes.
He died in 2015 at the age of 93.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, beloved poet, founder of City Lights Books and Publishing, and defender of free speech, died on February 22, 2021 at the age of 101 (just shy of his 102nd birthday) in San Franciso. We end with selections of his poetry in his own voice.

Thom Hartmann The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

Thom Hartmann returned to Forthright Radio on 2/3/21 with the latest edition in his Hidden History series, THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICAN OLIGARCHY: Reclaiming Our Democracy from The Ruling Class, just released on February 2nd by Barrett-Koehler Publishing.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ― Issac Asimov

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” Voltaire.

Thomas Paine said it best: “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

Richard Kreitner BREAK IT UP: Secession, Division and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union

Within an hour of this interview with Richard Kreitner on January 6, 2021, a mob left a rally in front of the White House in which Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump, Jr. had exhorted them to march down Pennsylvania Ave to the Capitol building and fight.

Kreitner had noted that the world was astounded by the peaceful transfer of power from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1800. Now, 220 years later, for the first time in U.S. history we have NOT had a peaceful transfer of power.

His book, BREAK IT UP: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union, documents how we have been divided from the very beginning of our republic, and his analysis affords a clearer perspective of our current situation.

Three weeks to the day after the death of the last Confederate widow (shown above), insurgents paraded their Battle Flag throughout the nation’s Capitol, which Secessionists had been unable to do during their insurrection in the 1860s.

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.” Hannah Arendt

Articles Cited in this interview:

Now Is Not the Time for Unity https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/biden-unity-history/

Chaos as Pennsylvania GOP state senators refuse to seat Democrat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoF4iCoTZb4

Last Known Widow Of Civil War Veteran Dies At 101 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/civil-war-veteran-widow-helen-jackson_n_5ff51131c5b6ea7351c66821

Trump won’t attend Biden’s inauguration: Why that’s ominous after his Capitol siege https://www.salon.com/2021/01/11/trump-wont-attend-bidens-inauguration-why-thats-ominous-after-his-capitol-siege/

At least 12 GOP senators to challenge Biden’s win https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/02/ted-cruz-electoral-college-challenge-453430

Rosendale says he’ll oppose certification of some electors https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/montana/rosendale-says-hell-oppose-certification-of-some-electors/article_42f0b298-c022-5d91-b855-b49770a5518e.html

Texas congressman suggests ‘violence in the streets’ after judge rejects bid to force Pence to overturn Biden’s win https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/politics/texas-congressman-suggests-violence-in-the-streets-after-judge-rejects-bid-to-force-pence-to/article_1e6dc8df-da07-5cf4-96b5-a3183c702a31.html#tncms-source=infinity-scroll-summary-siderail-latest

Sasse Slams GOP Effort to Challenge ElectionResults as a ‘Dangerous Ploy’ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/us/politics/ben-sasse-election-results.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Ben Sasse calls fellow Republicans “institutional arsonists” for Electoral College stunt https://www.salon.com/2020/12/31/ben-sasse-calls-fellow-gop-sen-josh-hawley-an-institutional-arsonists-for-electoral-college-stunt/

Joint Statement from Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lankford, Daines, Kennedy, Blackburn, Braun, Senators-Elect Lummis, Marshall, Hagerty, Tuberville https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=5541

Trump’s Republicans have dumped Lincoln – they’re the Confederacy now https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/04/trump-republicans-electoral-college-sedition-secession-lincoln-confederacy

Trump’s phone call to Brad Raffensperger: six key points https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/04/trumps-phone-call-to-brad-raffensperger-five-key-points

Americans’ acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/26/americans-acceptance-of-trumps-behavior-will-be-his-vilest-legacy

Thom Hartmann MONOPOLIES: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream

The latest in Thom Hartmann’s Hidden History series has just been released by Barret-Koehler Publishing, THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF MONOPOLIES: HOW BIG BUSINESS DESTROYED THE AMERICAN DREAM. In addition to his daily 3 hour radio program, he somehow finds the time and energy to write the Hidden History Series, and he has been generous enough to be our guest on Forthright Radio each time one is published.

Here’s what Ralph Nader writes in the forward to THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF MONOPOLIES: HOW BIG BUSINESS DESTROYED THE AMERICAN DREAM:

”This is the most important, dynamic book – small as it is – on the cancers of monopoly by giant corporations written in our generation. he goes on “Because he is by far the most erudite longtime national radio talk show host, he has had an uncanny sense of retrieving critical segments of American history, ignored by historians, regarding the suspicion and caution our forbears had about this artificial entity called the large corporation as it became more immune and more privileged than real human beings……” he goes on from there, but we’ll just let the Thom speak and you can hear for yourself why Nader has such high appreciation of the man.

You can find the past shows on the Forthright.media archives.

The Great American Lie – Soraya Chemaly

Screen Shot 2020-08-15 at 2.51.47 PM.pngEmmy Award-winning filmmaker, and First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s newest documentary is The Great American Lie. The film exposes social and economic immobility, viewed through the lens of our gendered values.

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After the response to her first film, Miss Representation, which came out in 2011, Jennifer Siebel Newsom created The Representation Project.

Our guest today on Radio Goes to the Movies is Soraya Chemaly. She is the Executive Director of The Representation Project, which has produced two more feature length documentaries examining the harmful impacts of the role gender exerts in our culture for both males and females, as shown in the second film, The Mask You Live In.

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The third film, which is being screened at the 2020 BZN International Film Festival, is THE GREAT AMERICAN LIE.
Soraya Chemaly is an award-winning writer, activist, and media critic. She writes and speaks frequently on topics related to social justice, free speech, violence, and technology. The former director and co-founder of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, she has long been committed to expanding women’s civic and political participation and the power of socially transformative storytelling.

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Her work as a writer, activist, and organizer is featured widely in media, books, and academic research. She is the author of the seminal book, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger.
Soraya currently serves on the national boards of the Women’s Media Center, Women in Journalism, and the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project. We spoke with her on August 12, 2020.

Screen Shot 2020-08-15 at 2.52.06 PM.pngNewsome interviewing journalist Charles M. Blow for The Great American Lie

Here is the link to the article cited in the interview:

Treatment of vice presidential contenders highlights struggle to overcome patriarchal status quo By Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Soraya Chemaly   https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Treatment-of-VP-contenders-shows-struggle-to-15465771.php

 

 

Henry Giroux

On the day that Henry Giroux finished his latest book, Race, Politics, and Pandemic Pedagogy: Education in a Time of Crisis, he graciously joined us for an interview. It will be published in 2021.

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Henry Giroux is Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy and Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest at McMaster University.

He has written more than 56 books since his first book, Ideology, Culture and the Process of Schooling was published in 1981, and he has been generous with his time over the years as he published books such as Zombie Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism; Disposable Youth: Racialized Memories, and the Culture of Cruelty; The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine; Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle; America at War with Itself; American Nightmare: The Challenge of US Authoritarianism; and The Terror of the Unforeseen.

We spoke with him on August 2, 2020 about the multiple crises with which we are faced.

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Articles referenced in the interview:

President Trump, White Supremacy and the Confederate Flag  https://billmoyers.com/story/president-trump-white-supremacy-and-the-confederate-flag/

The Ugly Terror of a Fascist Abyss Lurks in the Background of This Pandemic         https://truthout.org/articles/the-ugly-terror-of-a-fascist-abyss-lurks-in-the-background-of-this-pandemic/

Racist violence part of a plague of inequity    https://www.thespec.com/opinion/contributors/2020/07/01/racist-violence-part-of-a-plague-of-inequity.html

Bill Barr and the Ghost of Fascism      https://billmoyers.com/story/bill-barr-and-the-ghost-of-fascism/

The plague of inequality in the age of pandemic: This uprising is about more than George Floyd    https://www.salon.com/2020/06/20/the-plague-of-inequality-in-the-age-of-pandemic-this-uprising-is-about-more-than-george-floyd/?fbclid=IwAR05LrIayPmc8xYXQJaifT_nmSh4r3AzdLW2J3yL3Jm-Y_ODuM9Aic0g_UU

Racist Violence Can’t Be Separated From the Violence of Neoliberal Capitalism    https://truthout.org/articles/racist-violence-cant-be-separated-from-the-violence-of-neoliberal-capitalism/

Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence   https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/06/01/racial-domestic-terrorism-and-the-legacy-of-state-violence/

Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump  https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/26/criminogenic-politics-as-a-form-of-psychosis/

Why it is dangerous to use the language of war about COVID-19  https://www.thespec.com/opinion/contributors/2020/05/20/why-it-is-dangerous-to-use-the-language-of-war-about-covid-19.html

Militarization in a Time of Pandemic Crisis      https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/24/militarization-in-a-time-of-pandemic-crisis/?fbclid=IwAR0_lngGcbrFRs5L7lKN62Qpt8BJ95mPmJ3EpazssGhQmrMbxz5lOdzG05c

There’s more than one pandemic ravaging our embattled society   https://www.thespec.com/opinion/contributors/2020/04/21/theres-more-than-one-pandemic-ravaging-our-embattled-society.html

The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing the Plague of Neoliberalism     https://truthout.org/articles/the-covid-19-pandemic-is-exposing-the-plague-of-neoliberalism/

Trump Is Now Openly Defying the Supreme Court    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/07/daca-donald-trump-supreme-court.html?via=taps_bottom

Removing monuments is the easy part. We must make America a real democracy https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/01/us-real-democracy-voting-rights-healthcare-schools

Tom Cotton calls slavery ‘necessary evil’ in attack on New York Times’ 1619 Project     https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/26/tom-cotton-slavery-necessary-evil-1619-project-new-york-times

Playing War While Dressed to Kill in Portland    https://www.thenation.com/article/society/federal-agents-portland-military/

Donald Trump Is Writing A Terrifying New Chapter In The History Of Political Repression        https://www.huffpost.com/entry/donald-trump-portland-american-repression_n_5f231c9cc5b68fbfc8809a1d

Trump badly miscalculated in Portland – and even he knows it  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/31/trump-portland-antifa-voters-miscalculated

‘These are his people’: inside the elite border patrol unit Trump sent to Portland           https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/27/trump-border-patrol-troops-portland-bortac

Anti-fascists linked to zero murders in the US in 25 years  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/27/us-rightwing-extremists-attacks-deaths-database-leftwing-antifa

Texas hospital forced to set up ‘death panel’ as Covid-19 cases surge    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/26/covid-19-death-panels-starr-county-hospital-texas

‘Disturbing—and Dangerous’: Journalists Denounce Judge’s Order for Outlets to Turn Over Protest Footage to Seattle Police    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/24/disturbing-and-dangerous-journalists-denounce-judges-order-outlets-turn-over-protest?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

God Brought Us Trump To Show Us Our Weaknesses    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQmlytREqXk

Moms   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwaklEmDn_0

Gaia Vince TRANSCENDENCE: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty & Time

Gaia Vince is an environmental journalist, author and broadcaster. Her work focuses largely on the interplay between humans and the planetary environment. Her latest book, TRANSCENDENCE: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty & Time, was published in the United States in January, 2020 by Basic Books.

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Her first book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, won the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, making her the first woman to win the prize outright. That book discussed the Anthropocene, the geological epoch that began when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth’s ecosystems.

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She has held senior editorial posts at Nature and New Scientist, and her writing has featured in newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, The Times and Scientific American. She also writes and presents science programs for radio and television. Her research takes her across the world: she has visited more than 60 countries. She currently lives in London, where we spoke with her via Skype.

In addition to fire and language, Gaia Vince asserts that beauty was a powerful force in human evolution. She cites artifacts such as the “Lion Man”, the oldest known zoomorphic sculpture and uncontested example of figurative art, between 35,000 and 40,000 years old. It was carved of mammoth ivory using a flint knife and stands 31.1cm tall, 5.6cm wide and 5.9cm thick.

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Recent articles pertinent to this interview:

Cave find shows Neanderthals collected seafood, scientists say   https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/mar/26/cave-find-shows-neanderthals-collected-seafood-scientists-say

The Fight to Preserve a 44,000-year-old Painting    https://www.1843magazine.com/features/the-fight-to-preserve-a-44000yearold-painting?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Fossil hunters find evidence of 555m-year-old human relative  https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/mar/23/fossil-ikaria-wariootia-bilateral-organism-human-relative

El Silbo Gomero     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtEovudxXVE

Whistled Turkish helps speak across valleys                                       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjcVLLdPCoU

500,000-year-old shell engraved by Homo erectus challenges previous beliefs about human ancestors    https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/500000-year-old-shell-engraved-homo-erectus-challenges-beliefs-020122

Whistled language of the island of La Gomera, the Silbo Gomero  (UNESCO) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgEmSb0cKBg

Big Gods Came After the Rise of Civilizations, Not Before, Finds Study Using Huge Historical Database         https://theconversation.com/big-gods-came-after-the-rise-of-civilisations-not-before-finds-study-using-huge-historical-database-113801

Rift Valley Drifters written/sung by Roy Zimmerman                           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqy44OsmwLo

Why it’s so hard to be rational about Covid-19      https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200331-covid-19-how-will-the-coronavirus-change-the-world

 

Betsy Gaines Quammen American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West

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In her book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West, just out from Torrey House Press, Dr. Betsy Gaines Quammen, PhD, documents the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and how their beliefs led to Cliven Bundy’s scoff-law actions, including decades of grazing his cattle on public lands without legal permits and refusing to pay over $1million in fines and fees, leading to armed followers in tense stand-offs with federal employees in Nevada and Oregon.

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 1.42.07 PM.pngAfter environmental laws such as The Endangered Species Act, The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) required the federal government to assess public lands and protect endangered species such as the Desert Tortoise, individuals such as The Bundys and groups such as The Sagebrush Rebellion and the so-called Wise Use Movement arose to defy federal protections encroaching on what they considered their traditional way of life.

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[Cliven Bundy and an endangered Desert Tortoise (Reuters/Jim Urquhart/AP)]

This led to armed confrontations at the “Battle of Bunkerville” and “The Siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”

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Mormon prophecy contributes to the sense of religious righteousness and destiny, which motivate some to claim uniquely superior interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, considered to be a divinely inspired sacred text.

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[From left to right: Cliven Bundy, Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy.]

We end the program with a brief discussion of the unfolding Covid-19 Pandemic, the anti-science response of the Bundy network, and the work of Betsy’s husband, David Quammen, who in his book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (2012) predicted it was only a matter of time til a pandemic like this would occur.

Finally,  Dan Roberts reads his poem from 2006, “Helter Shelter.”

Past Forthright Radio programs referenced in this show include:

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https://forthright.media/2013/05/01/david-quammen-spillover-animal-infections-the-next-human-pandemic/

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https://forthright.media/2020/03/04/katherine-stewart-the-power-worshippers-inside-the-dangerous-rise-of-religious-nationalism/

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https://forthright.media/2019/10/16/christopher-ketcham-this-land-how-cowboys-apitalism-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-american-west/