Rebecca Traister is writer at large for New York magazine, whose latest book is GOOD AND MAD: THE REVOLUTIONARY POWER OF WOMEN’S ANGER, published by Simon & Schuster. . Her earlier books include ALL THE SINGLE LADIES, and the award winning BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY. Her work has been published in The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the New York Observer among other publications.
This was the very first edition of what would become Forthright Radio. It was originally broadcast in November, 2004. We spoke with John M. Barry, author of the book, THE GREAT INFLUENZA: THE EPIC STORY OF THE DEADLIEST PLAGUE IN HISTORY. 100 years ago, in 1918, as a war weary world sought to bring those years of horror we call World War I to an end, another horror arose – a new, virulent and highly contagious strain of influenza, which within, a year spread rapidly around the world. We’ll never know the exact number of those killed, but it is estimated that a minimum of 50 million, and as many as 100 million died. At today’s population level, that would be between 150 million and 300 million dead worldwide. As we begin the annual flu season, our guest, John M. Barry, tells us what we know about this pandemic and warns of the possibility of such a global pandemic occurring again in our own time. But this is not just a history of a medical disease, his depiction of the politics of the war-time situation has disturbing foreshadowing of some of the same polarized dynamics with which we find ourselves grappling today, where truth is dismissed as an arbitrary term and “the force of an idea lies in it’s inspirational value. It matters very little whether it is true or false.” As Mark Twain put it so well, History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Although this interview was conducted in 2004, when George W. Bush was president, and we were 9 months into our invasion of Iraq, and the parallels to the Wilson administration are noted, some of those parallels seem even more pertinent today under the current administration.
Dean Baker co-founded The Center for Economic and Policy Research in 1999. His areas of expertise include housing and macroeconomics, intellectual property, Social Security, Medicare and European labor markets. Before that, he worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, and was an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, and the OECD’s Trade Union Advisory Council. He is frequently cited in economics reporting in major media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian Unlimited (UK), the Huffington Post, TruthOut, and his blog, Beat the Press, features commentary on economic reporting.
He is the author of several books, including Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer; Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People; The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive; and The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. He was last our guest on Nov. 15, 2017.
Publications mentioned in this edition of Forthright Radio include:
Frontline: The Warning https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/warning/
U.S. consumers to be hurt by tariffs by Doug Palmer https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/18/consumers-tariffs-trump-china-795159
Lehman anniversary: The five most surprising consequences by Kim Gittleson https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45478670
Ten years on from the financial crash, we need to get ready for another one by Robert Skidelsky https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/12/crash-2008-financial-crisis-austerity-inequality
Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself by Zach Carter https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/financial-crisis-10-years-later-ben-bernanke-hank-paulson-timothy-geithner_us_5b9d7dc8e4b04d32ebf92396
Four Reasons Why Los Angeles’s Upcoming Public Banking Ballot Initiative is a Huge Deal by Pheonix Goodman https://truthout.org/articles/why-los-angeles-upcoming-public-banking-ballot-initiative-is-a-huge-deal/
To Stop the Next Financial Crisis, We Need Public Ownership of Banks—Now by Thomas Hanna https://truthout.org/articles/to-stop-the-next-financial-crisis-we-need-public-ownership-of-banks-now/
Donald Trump’s currency confusion continues by Jeffrey Frankel https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/sep/21/donald-trump-currency-confusion-continues
Our guest on this edition of Forthright Radio is award winning investigative journalist, Mary Beth Pfeiffer. Her latest book is LYME: THE FIRST EPIDEMIC OF CLIMATE CHANGE (Island Press, 2018). Over the years, we have interviewed numerous guests on different aspects of Lyme Disease. None of them has gone into such depth, nor been so global in scope, nor addressed so critically and effectively the issues of, not only Lyme Disease, but other tick-borne diseases, of which there are an ever expanding number recognized – but as importantly, investigating the politics and economics of the science and medical guidelines, which have defied logic, common sense, medical ethics or compassion. As you will hear, there are elements of a darker age – some say, An Inquisition, in the current state of governmental, university and medical research, funding and protocols.
Mary Beth Pfeiffer has been an award-winning investigative journalist for three decades, who has specialized in social justice, environmental and health issues. In addition to her latest book, LYME: THE FIRST EPIDEMIC OF CLIMATE CHANGE, she is also author of Crazy in America: The Hidden Tragedy of Our Criminalized Mentally Ill, which is a critically acclaimed look at treatment of the mentally ill in prisons and jails in the United States.
Borrelia burgdorferii’s corkscrew shape allows it to penetrate into heart muscle and to cross the blood-brain barrier, as well as other organs. Lyme carditis can be deadly, as are deaths by suicide of some Lyme sufferers. And like that other “Great Imitator” spirochete, Syphilis, it can cross the placenta to infect the fetus, causing miscarriage and congenital health problems.
Ixodes scapularis, the host of the Lyme spirochete, thrives in modern human altered environments and the warming, more humid weather patterns of climate change.
Tick-borne diseases are on the rise in many parts of the world.
Long lived for an arachnid, ticks need only feed once during each of their life cycles, which may span 3 years. The Lyme spirochete actually increases the fertility, viability and longevity of the ticks. At least one tick species can reproduce without fertilization from males.
Although the “bulls eye” rash, erythema migrans, is the only definitive symptom considered diagnostic for Lyme Disease, according to a CDC study of 150,000 cases, it appeared in only 69.2% of patients. What about the other 30%?
10 points about suing the architects of Lyme policy—as a task force meets to review it https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-points-about-suing-the-architects-of-lyme-policy_us_5a2764bbe4b0650db4d40bb5
Lyme bug stronger than antibiotics in animals and test tubes. Now study people. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lyme-bug-beats-antibiotics-in-animals-and-test-tubes_us_59fa4fdbe4b09afdf01c4023
I am delighted to welcome back to Forthright Radio, award winning author, journalist, David Quammen. He was our guest 5 years ago after his book, SPILLOVER: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic was published. His latest book, THE TANGLED TREE: A RADICAL NEW HISTORY OF LIFE, published by Simon & Schuster came out a couple of weeks ago. And lest you think this book, being about science – the research and theorizing – isn’t something you’d be interested in – let me tell you, this recent research reveals just how bacteria become resistant to our most potent antibiotics so quickly and fatally to so many, or how Horizontal Gene Transfer not only allowed for evolution, but may explain how certain cancers develop – as well as questioning our most basic concepts of ourselves as a species and individuals. And this puts a new meaning on “Tree Huggers” and “Tree Cutters”.
David Quammen has won many awards for his books and magazine articles, including from the National Association of Science Writers, and the Society of Biology (UK) Book Award in General Biology. His work with National Geographic is particularly noteworthy, and has taken him on myriad, lengthy difficult treks, which distinguish him from most authors, such as chronicling J. Michael Fay’s 2,000 mile survey hike through the forests of Central Africa, The Megatransect.
Charles Darwin speculated on the evolution of life as a tree, with “I think” written on top.
A popular 20th century version based on Darwin’s idea of a tree of evolution. At least this one, doesn’t place humans explicitly above other species.
In the 20th century there has been a tumultuous debate as to how best to characterize the concept of evolution. Is it a tree? Is it a web? Is it a net? A mosaic?
In David Quammen’s book, Carl Woese’s work was crucial to the debate, pioneering molecular phylogenetics, using (at the time) dangerous, innovative techniques to study RNA as a basis to determine species and evolution.
After demonstrating that there was a third “kingdom”, the Archaea, different from Bacteria, Carl Woese proposed a new Tree of Life pictured above.LynnMargulis, married Carl Sagan when she was 19. After bearing 2 sons with him, she moved on. She took her second husband’s name, Margulis while making her revolutionary mark on biology. After juggling the three jobs of scientist, mother and wife, she decided to forego that last job, wife.
Her work synthesized earlier ideas, which she coined, endosymbiosis, that organelles, crucial to more complex life forms – including humans – were based on “infective heredity” by bacteria, that established essential organelles such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and centrioles.
In the first sement, we speak with researcher and author, Larry Hancock, about his very timely book, CREATING CHAOS: COVERT POLITICAL WARFARE FROM TRUMAN TO PUTIN. In our second segment, we welcomed back researcher and award winning author of the also very timely book, WHITE WASH: THE STORY OF A WEED KILLER, CANCER, AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE, Carey Gillam, to get her impressions of the historic jury verdict on August 10, 2018 ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million dollars to former Benicia School District groundskeeper, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, for it’s negligence and acting with malice or oppression regarding their herbicides, Roundup Pro and Ranger Pro.
Following service in the U.S. Air Force, Larry Hancock’s career in computer/communications and technology marketing allowed him to become a consultant on strategic analysis and planning studies. With seven books in print, Larry Hancock’s most recent works include an exploration of long term patterns in covert action and deniable warfare (Shadow Warfare), the effectiveness of national command authority and command and control practices (Surprise Attack) and (together with Stuart Wexler) the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (The Awful Grace of God: Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy, and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.). His latest book, CREATING CHAOS: COVERT POLITICAL WARFARE FROM TRUMAN TO PUTIN, published by OR Books. Our interview ends at 32:23.
Our interview with Carey Gillam begins at 32:24.
Carey Gillam is a veteran journalist, researcher and author, 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.
She has been awarded this year’s Rachel Carson Book Award by the Society of Environmental Journalists, as well as the 2018 Independent Book Publishers Award.
Dewayne “Lee” Johnson and his sons
The interview we did on March 21, 2018 can be heard here: https://forthright.media/2018/08/11/carey-gillam-white-wash-the-story-of-a-weed-killer-cancer-the-corruption-of-science/
Dewayne Johnson reacts to the verdict at the superior court of California in San Francisco. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Articles cited in this interview can be found here:
One man’s suffering exposed Monsanto’s secrets to the world https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/11/one-mans-suffering-exposed-monsantos-secrets-to-the-world
Bayer Takes the Hit After Monsanto Loses Roundup Cancer Trial https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/bayer-takes-hit-after-monsanto-loses-roundup-cancer-trial
In his latest book, OUT OF THE WRECKAGE: A NEW POLITICS FOR AN AGE OF CRISIS, and drawing from many decades of a very interesting life in many different parts of the world, George Monbiot explores the question, how can we rebuild our society, outlining how both democracy and economic life can be radically reorganized from the bottom up.
OUT OF THE WRECKAGE: A NEW POLITICS FOR AN AGE OF CRISIS is published by Verso.
These are some of his articles cited in this interview:
How a violent land seizure story led to my ‘death’ in Brazil https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/31/land-seizure-death-brazil-george-monbiot
America’s new revolutionaries show how the left can win https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/11/america-left-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-new-york-primary
Donald Trump was right. The rest of the G7 were wrong https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/trump-nafta-g7-sunset-clause-trade-agreement
I have prostate cancer. But I am happy https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/13/prostate-cancer-happy-diagnosis-operation
Through my cancer, I have found the key to a good life https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/08/my-prostate-cancer-surgery-key-to-good-life