Category Archives: history

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.

 

 

Jenny Murray – ¡Las Sandinistas!

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Jenny Murray’s film, ¡LAS SANDINISTAS! chronicles the crucial role of women combatants in Nicaragua’s successful revolution to overthrow the decades long dictatorship of the Somoza family.

62.big_.23-624x387.jpgUsing stunning archival footage from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and contemporary interviews with women who had survived resistance to the brutal repression, poverty, disease, economic inequality and social injustice, the film focuses on the major Sandinista General, Dora María Téllez, as well as four of her revolutionary allies. Fully 30% of the FSLN – The Nicaraguan Sandinista Liberation Front – were women.

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General Dora María Téllez entering Léon after leading the assault of Nicaragua’s second largest city. It was a major turning point.

After the success of the revolution, women filled crucial ministerial roles in health and culture, achieving historic success before the Reagan administration’s blockade and backing of the Contras diverted the all-too-scarce resources needed to continue their programs. Dora María was Minister of Health from 1985 – 1990, succeeding Lea Guido.

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Now, 35 years later, amidst staggering levels of gender violence in Nicaragua, and while their own stories are being erased from the history books, these same women brave the streets once again to lead the popular movements for equality and democracy.

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Poet, Daisy Zamorra, became Minister of Culture after serving as an FSLN combatant and the voice/program director of the clandestine Radio Sandino. In spite of her dramatic success, she was “fired” after refusing the unwanted advances of a member of The (all male, 9 member) Directorate. She is now a professor in San Francisco.

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Monica Baltodano “La Jefa” was a Sandanista general, who led the crucial assault on Masaya. She worked in the movement for several decades, and after experiencing the corruption and authoritarianism, she left in 2005 to form the Movement to Reclaim Sandinismo, known as El Rescate.

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Dora María Téllez founded the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) for democratic reforms in 1994. The struggle continues – as do the women.

 

Anna Feigenbaum – Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today

In this edition of Forthright Radio, we focus on the final clause of the First Amendment, which addresses “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Governments around the world have developed ways to suppress the right that right, using diverse methods, including what are euphemistically called “non-lethal” or “less than lethal” weapons. Indeed, we live in an age of “the commodification of repression,” where global industries profit on the suppression of the right of the people to petition their government.

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Anna Feigenbaum is currently a principal Academic in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University, where she teaches multimedia journalism and convenes their Civic Media Hub. In the Fall of 2017, Verso published her most recent book Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WW1 to the Streets of Today. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities grant, she used archival and data storytelling methods to track the movement of tear gas from the trenches of WW1 to the streets of today, asking

‘How did it become normal to police communication with poison’?

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Her earlier book, which she co-edited, is Protest camps in international context: Spaces, infrastructures and media of resistance. She has held positions at Rutgers University, the London School of Economics & Political Science, and the University of London. Her work has appeared in numerous, diverse journals from The Atlantic to The Guardian, Financial Times and Waging Nonviolence.

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In Tear Gas she chronicles the history and use of chemical weapons against civilians, documenting the lack of scientific or medical proof that they truly are non-lethal.

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Two German soldiers and their mule wearing gas masks in 1916.
http://spartacus-educational.com/FWWgas.htm

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Soldiers in gas masks advance on World War I veterans in the Bonus March protest in Washington in July 1932
http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/04/11/greene.jobless.veterans/index.html

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Demonstrators react to tear gas and smoke bombs set off to deter their voting-rights march in Camden, Alabama, in 1965. (AP photo.)
https://www.myajc.com/news/national/for-trump-nominee-jeff-sessions-race-great-battle-not-fought/9cpM4nR3NUFQTbuSPSDzXL/

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 12.57.36 PM.pngState troopers wear gas masks as tear gas is fired on about 600 marchers trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. They had begun a 50 mile march to the state capital, Montgomery, to protest discriminatory practices preventing black people from voting. State troopers used brutal force to push them back on what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.      Charles Moore via Steven Kasher Gallery

https://www.cnn.com/2015/03/03/us/cnnphotos-selma-civil-rights-moore/index.html

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Police surround an incapacitated man after throwing tear gas into the crowd of protesters, 1968, Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Western Historical Manuscript Collection

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Photographer Nacio Jan Brown captured a moment that shocked many: a National Guard helicopter spraying tear gas on students and antiwar protesters in Sproul Plaza on May 20, 1969 — in some sense extending “the front” from Vietnam onto college campuses.  The juxtaposition of the military-grade helicopter with the Campanile — the unofficial symbol of the UC Berkeley campus — helped make this photograph an iconic image of the suppression of campus protest. The demonstrators had gathered to commemorate the death of James Rector, who had been shot by police while on the rooftop of Granma Books on May 15, during a protest over the disposition of People’s Park.

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Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars while dispersing rioters with CS gas in Derry, Ireland on their “Bloody Sunday” Photo: PA/PA Archive/PA Images https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/7828754/Saville-Inquiry-Bloody-Sunday-timeline.html

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Then-UC Davis police Lt. John Pike hits protesters with pepper spray on Nov. 18, 2011. (Wayne Tilcock / Associated Press)  The former UC Davis police lieutenant who pepper-sprayed student protesters at a November 2011 Occupy demonstration would later receive about $38,000 in workers’ compensation.
http://www.dailycal.org/2013/10/23/former-uc-davis-police-lieutenant-receives-38000-workers-compensation-settlement/

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84-Year-Old Dorli Rainey, Pepper-Sprayed at Occupy Seattle, Denounces “Worsening” Police Crackdowns | Democracy Now!

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Tear Gas or Lethal Gas? Bahrain’s Death Toll Mounts to 34

http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/blog/tear-gas-or-lethal-gas.html

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“The woman in red” shows Ceyda Sungur, an academic at Istanbul’s university, who stood defiantly in Taksim Square, centre of the uprising that has swept across the capital and beyond.

06/06/2013 https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/05/turkey-uprising-ceyda-sungur_n_3388712.html

d8759cf95f665cbb0a8c659e9ce1ffa7.jpgTwo street stencils on walls in Istanbul    Inspired by the protests in Taksim Gezi Park, Istanbul, the summer of 2013, when CNN Turkey aired a penguin documentary, while CNN International ran live coverage of the protests.

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Ramadan Thawabteh, eight-months-old, died from asphyxiation after inhaling tear gas, fired by the Israeli army, that entered the house of his family. It was not immediately clear if a tear gas grenade had entered the house in the city of Bethlehem or if the gas had seeped in from outside.   https://www.yahoo.com/news/palestinian-baby-dies-tear-gas-fired-israeli-army-165944094.html

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Police fire tear gas at demonstrators protesting the shooting of Michael Brown on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Scott Olson / Getty

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Kosovo opposition politicians release tear gas in parliament to obstruct a session in Pristina, Kosovo March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Laura HasaniReuters

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-03-21/kosovo-opposition-releases-tear-gas-in-parliament-over-border-deal-with-montenegro

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Sites of protest and political contention are often shaped by ‘other media’. Anna Feigenbaum looks beyond taken-for-granted media devices and practices and returns to the foundational roots of Communication Theory’s ‘the medium and the message’.
In addition to smartphones, Facebook pages, political posters and live-streaming laptops, communication involves all kinds of other technologies. Such “other media” objects include the fences, walls, and barricades, that become sites of and for communication. This ‘other media’ also includes ‘container technologies’ like shoeboxes or sound grenades, which function as storage devices, as well as re-crafted objects that become transformed through practices of disobedient design.

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#teargasID  The Riot ID Project

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Who are the World’s Heaviest Tear Gas Users? Our 2015 Mapping the Media project on Tear Gas is now live! Check out the maps on our BU Civic Media Hub website.

http://www.civicmedia.io/projects/tear-gas-maps-2015/

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Anna Feigenbaum, author of Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today, in conversation with L.A. Kauffman, Mark Bray, Ali Issa, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary. At Verso Books in Brooklyn, November 8, 2017.

Watch it here –     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gPqfSPikWA

*** Some of the articles referenced in this interview can be found here:

How the ‘use of force’ industry drives police militarization and makes us all less safe   https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/use-of-force-police-militarization-less-safe/

The profitable theatrics of riot control  Militarized policing was designed to destroy the dignity of those who contest power

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/5/the-profitable-theatrics-of-riot-control.html

The profitable marriage of military and police tech  War technologies aren’t just adopted by domestic law enforcement; they’re created with policing in mind

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/9/police-militarizationswattechnology.html

The National Guard protects Ferguson’s police, not its people  Backing a militarized police force with civilian soldiers makes a mockery of the right to protest

This weekend, a one-stop-shop to militarize your town

https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/weekend-one-stop-shop-militarize-town/

Former UC Davis police lieutenant receives $38,000 workers’ compensation settlement   http://www.dailycal.org/2013/10/23/former-uc-davis-police-lieutenant-receives-38000-workers-compensation-settlement/

Israeli Drones Tear-Gas Gaza Protesters in Latest Unmanned Weapons ‘Experiment’

https://www.mintpressnews.com/israeli-drones-tear-gas-gaza-protesters-latest-unmanned-weapons-experiment/238915/

Tear gas was banned for warfare in 1993 but police still use it, viral meme says http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/aug/26/facebook-posts/tear-gas-was-banned-warfare-1993-police-1997/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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David Cay Johnston – The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use “Plain English” to Rob You Blind

After our most recent interview with Pulitzer Prize winning, New York Times & Wall Street Journal best selling investigative journalist, David Cay Johnston, about his latest books, IT’S WORSE THAN YOU THINK: WHAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS DOING TO AMERICA, & THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP, in which we aired a segment from this interview originally broadcast on Oct. 31, 2012, we decided to make the full interview available.

In that segment, he explicitly stated 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.

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