Category Archives: history

John Judis – The Politics of Our Time: Populism, Nationalism, Socialism

Currently an editor at large at Talking Points Memo, John Judis has a long history as a senior writer at the National Journal and former senior editor at The New Republic. As you will hear in this interview from May 28, 2021, his ideas have evolved from his activist days in the 1960s as a founding editor of Socialist Revolution, renamed Socialist Review and then Radical Society. In the 1970s he was a founding editor of the East Bay Voice. In 1976, he became foreign editor of In These Times, the democratic socialist newsweekly. He quit in 2014, along with other editors in protest of the owner’s firing of an editor and plan to turn the magazine into a profit making enterprise.

His books include William F. Buckley: Patron Saint of the Conservatives from 1988, The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and the Betrayal of the Public Trust; and The Folly of Empire : What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

His tenth book, The Politics of Our Time: Populism, Nationalism, Socialism, was just published by Columbia Global Reports. It is a compendium of revised editions of three of his previous books: The Populist Explosion, The Nationalist Revival, and The Socialist Awakening.

Corporate Subsidy Quietly Dies in Texas — Topping Off Bad Week for Big Oil https://theintercept.com/2021/06/01/texas-subsidies-oil-companies/

Exxon Board to Get a Third Activist Pushing Cleaner Energy https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/business/exxon-board-clean-energy.html

Supreme Court Rules on Tribal Police & Immigrants’ Testimony https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/01/us/supreme-court-tribal-police-immigration.html?action=click&module=In%20Other%20News&pgtype=Homepage

White male minority rule pervades politics across the US, research shows https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/26/white-male-minority-rule-us-politics-research

The Banality of Democratic Collapse https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/24/opinion/republicans-donald-trump-loyalty.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Progressives Won Chile’s Election. And They Won Big https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/chile-election-constitution.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

An ‘Army of 15-Year-Olds’ Takes on the Democrats https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/us/teens-massachusetts-elections.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Numbers are grim. Republicans are winning at normalizing voter suppression https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/19/republicans-are-winning-at-normalizing-voter-suppression

Mark R. Rank POORLY UNDERSTOOD: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty

Mark Rank is the Herbert S. Handley Professor in the Brown School of Social Work and The Department of Sociology at Washington University. Professor Rank is an expert on poverty studies and the author of notable books, such as One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All and Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes.

His most recent book, published in March of 2021 by Oxford University Press, is POORLY UNDERSTOOD: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty, which he co-wrote with Professors Lawrence M. Eppard and Heather E. Bullock. In it they identify and analyze common myths about poverty, compare poverty levels in the United States with other developed nations and propose ideas of how to reduce it.

We spoke with Professor Mark Rank on May 14, 2021.

You can find out more about his work and check out his poverty risk calculator by going to https://confrontingpoverty.org/

Articles pertinent to this interview:

Rich people actually do have trouble understanding what it’s like to be poor https://www.salon.com/2021/05/18/rich-people-actually-do-have-trouble-understanding-what-its-like-to-be-poor/

Poorest Families Could Miss Out On New Monthly Checks For Parents https://www.huffpost.com/entry/child-tax-credit-checks-poverty_n_60a41fb0e4b0909248099f82

Welfare fraud is actually rare, no matter what the myths and stereotypes say https://www.salon.com/2021/04/04/welfare-fraud-is-actually-rare-no-matter-what-the-myths-and-stereotypes-say/

More GOP-Run States Announce Cuts To Federal Unemployment Benefits https://www.huffpost.com/entry/missouri-unemployment-benefits-worker-shortage_n_609adc22e4b0909247fc2221

Mark Sullivan THE LAST GREEN VALLEY

Perhaps you have heard of The Martel Construction Company headquartered in Bozeman, MT. Beginning with a spec house in 1960, this family owned and operated business has become one of Montana’s premier general contracting firms. They also specialize in green building, including the LEED Platinum MSU Norm Asbjornson Hall, the LEED certified Element Hotel, The LEED Silver Bozeman Public Library and other green built structures, such as Morningstar and Emily Dickinson Elementary Schools, Chief Joseph Middle School and The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Before their arrival in Bozeman during a wild late Spring storm in 1956, however, they had lived through harrowing experiences as refugees fleeing the Red Army from their farmstead in the Ukraine, across Eastern Europe, through separation and reunion in the final year and aftermath of World War II.

Their incredible story of that time is brought vividly to life by award winning local Gallatin Valley writer, Mark Sullivan, in his latest book, THE LAST GREEN VALLEY.

Map of the long, perilous journey the Martels took from their farmstead in southern Ukraine to their eventual reunion in West Germany after the end of World War II. (Courtesy of Lake Union Publishing)

Mark is the best selling author of 18 previous novels, most recently BENEATH A SCARLET SKY, which has sold about 3 million copies and has been translated into dozens of foreign languages, and which was also an astounding true story from World War II.

We spoke with Mark Sullivan on April 26, 2021.

Rob Dunn DELICIOUS: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human

Returning to Forthright Radio is Rob Dunn, who is a biology Professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University. He conducts a Public Science Lab, which engages citizen scientists around the world via the website, robdunnlab.com.

His latest book, DELICIOUS: THE EVOLUTION OF FLAVOR AND HOW IT MADE US HUMAN, has just been published by Princeton University Press, and even though that sounds super academic, Rob writes for the general audience in a humorous and easily understood way. He is the science teacher I wish I had had in high school. To be concise, Rob Dunn is fun. We spoke with him on April 5, 2021.

Links to articles/events relevant to this interview:

Politics & Prose event with Kim Wejendorp and Rob Dunn https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-ima-st_mig&ei=UTF-8&hsimp=yhs-st_mig&hspart=ima&p=%22Rob+Dunn%22&type=ff_q3000_A0IR7_set_bfrq#id=1&vid=1870fdb4e435f45ca537bd2bec62373c&action=click

Hunting for truffles in the Iraqi desert – in pictures https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2021/mar/26/hunting-for-truffles-in-the-iraqi-desert-in-pictures

The rice of the sea: how a tiny grain could change the way humanity eats https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/09/sea-rice-eelgrass-marine-grain-chef-angel-leon-marsh-climate-crisis

Carl Zimmer LIFE’S EDGE: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

In addition to writing for The New York Times, Discover, National Geographic, the Atlantic, Wired and others, Carl Zimmer is the author of 14 books on science, from his first in 1998: AT THE WATER’S EDGE: FISH WITH FINGERS, WHALES WITH LEGS, AND HOW LIFE CAME ASHORE AND THEN WENT BACK TO SEA to his latest book, which we discuss today, LIFE’S EDGE: THE SEARCH FOR WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ALIVE, just published by Dutton.

He claims to be the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named, Acanthobothrium zimmeri. We spoke with him on March 15, 2021.

We end with poems read by San Francisco poet, publisher and founder of City Lights Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He died just two months shy of his 102nd birthday on February 22, 2021.

A Tapeworm To Call My Own https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/a-tapeworm-to-call-my-own

What Is Life? Its Vast Diversity Defies Easy Definition. https://www.quantamagazine.org/what-is-life-its-vast-diversity-defies-easy-definition-20210309/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-surprising-origins-of-lifes-complexity-20130716

Meet the Sea Slugs That Chop Off Their Heads and Grow New Bodies https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/08/science/decapitated-sea-slugs.html?surface=home-discovery-vi-prg&fellback=false&req_id=1216872&algo=identity&variant=no-exp&imp_id=659601079&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage

The Earth’s first breathable atmosphere https://earthsky.org/earth/the-earths-first-breathable-atmosphere

Tardigrades: nature’s great survivors https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/20/tardigrades-natures-great-survivors

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

Matthew Rozsa: How the MAGA Crowd Is Motivated by Aesthetics, Not Ideas

Matthew Rozsa is a political blogger and staff-writer for Salon.com. Since 2012, In addition to covering politics, he has written about American history, social justice causes, popular culture, and the concerns of the high-functioning autistic community. Toward that end, he appeared on Sesame Street, where he interviewed Elmo and Julia, a character who also has autism.

At a time when American democracy is weathering grave challenges to the peaceful transfer of government, where the constitutionally required meetings of the Electoral College in numerous states had to be conducted in secret, due to credible threats of violence by those seeking to overturn the certified votes, Matthew Rozsa has a lot to say of what is happening and how it has come to this.

At the end, high school Head Soccer Coach, Hunter Terry, reads his Letter to the Editor, “Our ‘American values’ include knowing how to lose,” published in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle on December 16, 2020,

Head Soccer Coach, Hunter Terry

Articles cited in this interview include:

Trump the fascist artist: How the MAGA crowd is motivated by aesthetics, not ideas https://www.salon.com/2020/12/05/trump-the-fascist-artist-how-the-maga-crowd-is-motivated-by-aesthetics-not-ideas/

Why the 2020 election looks a lot like 1876 — with one crucial difference https://www.salon.com/2020/11/07/why-the-2020-election-looks-a-lot-like-1876-with-one-crucial-difference/

It’s not the first time that an outgoing president refused to work with an incoming one https://www.salon.com/2020/11/29/its-not-the-first-time-that-an-outgoing-president-refused-to-work-with-an-incoming-one/

There are economic reasons that Trump’s coup attempt won’t work, experts say https://www.salon.com/2020/11/15/there-are-economic-reasons-that-trumps-coup-attempt-wont-work-experts-say/

The internet has become captured by the right. The Gravel Institute is trying to take it back https://www.salon.com/2020/11/29/the-internet-has-become-captured-by-the-right-the-gravel-institute-is-trying-to-take-it-back/

Conservative women often don’t perceive sexism as a social problem. Here’s why https://www.salon.com/2020/11/28/conservative-women-often-dont-perceive-sexism-as-a-social-problem-heres-why

Biden’s economic adviser picks are underwhelming the left, to say the least https://www.salon.com/2020/12/07/biden-neoliberal-picks-for-economic-advisers-neera-tanden-brian-deese/

Rebekah Jones, Florida’s COVID-19 whistleblower, says Gov. DeSantis has health officials “terrified” https://www.salon.com/2020/12/11/rebekah-jones-floridas-covid-19-whistleblower-says-gov-desantis-has-health-officials-terrified/

Trump Has Never Believed in Democracy https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/opinion/donald-trump-election.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Our ‘American values’ include knowing how to lose https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/letters_to_editor/our-american-values-include-knowing-how-to-lose/article_af157cc7-3d47-5716-bccd-29acb6e9edb6.html

Donald Trump and the Aesthetics of Fascism https://inthesetimes.com/article/donald-trump-and-the-aesthetics-of-fascism

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/

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.