Category Archives: Politics

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 ( 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

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

Injustice At Sea: the Irradiated Sailors of the USS Reagan

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

Trump Administration Rushing Bailout for Nuclear and Coal Market Rules Could Reshape U.S. Energy Policy, Block Renewables

Pentagon to Allow Nuclear Responses to Non-Nuclear Attacks

The Race to Win Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Reactor Bid Raises Fears of Proliferation

Perry and Saudi.jpg

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

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


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.


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.


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.

We 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:

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.


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:

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.


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.



Linda Gordon THE SECOND COMING OF THE KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s & the American Tradition

1508792652261-Second-Coming-of-the-KKK_978-1-63149-369-0-1.jpegLinda Gordon is Florence Kelley professor of history and Professor of the Humanities at New York University. Her early books focused on the historical roots of social policy issues, particularly as they concern gender and family issues. Her first book, Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: The History of Birth Control in America, published in 1976 and reissued in 1990, remains the definitive history of birth-control politics in the US. It was completely revised and re-published as The Moral Property of Women in 2002. More recently, she has explored other ways of presenting history to a broad audience, publishing the microhistory The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction and the biography Dorothea Lange: A Life beyond Limits, both of which won the Bancroft Prize. She is one of only three historians to have ever won this award twice.43442F8100000578-0-image-a-81_1502796121395.jpgAfter being disbanded in 1870 following the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan was officially re-formed in 1915 by founder William J. Simmons, and saw a huge rise in popularity in its early years. Pictured, an eerie sight as hundreds of members gather adorned with hoods43442F8600000578-0-image-a-78_1502796121093.jpgFocused on an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, prohibitionist and anti-Semitic agenda, the new Klan took much of its early influence from popular 1915 film, the Birth of a Nation, which glorified the first version of the Klan. In this image, the streets of Washington are filled with 25,000 KKK members during a march in August 1925.43442FA800000578-0-image-m-91_1502796233891.jpgDespite attempting to portray themselves as a respectable establishment who ‘upheld law and order,’ the Klan’s activities were often coupled with widespread violence.

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) shared a common interest in promoting and defending alcohol prohibition, women’s suffrage, Protestantism, and the protection of domesticity. They also both shared hostility toward immigrants. For this reason, the two groups cooperated with each other and shared many members and leaders.women_KKK.jpg

43442F4400000578-0-image-a-79_1502796121151.jpg A whole family can be seen taking part in a racist parade including three young children wearing KKK robes .

03-OC-back-story-women-KKK.jpgThe drum corps of the Dallas Women’s KKK poses in front of Union Station around 1930. The Dallas Klan No. 66 at one time was the largest KKK chapter in the nation. (Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress and
the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University)


Amidst the backdrop of a post-war recession across America, the Klan proved hugely popular during the period, not just in its membership but in its support from every day Americans, too.


They also wielded significant political power, moving their offices to Washington D.C. in the mid-1920s and reportedly playing a big role in the election of several Congressman and Senators across the country. However toward the end of the decade the Klan’s influence began to wane substantially. One of the group’s leading members, the Grand Wizard, was convicted of murder in a trial which revealed many at the top of the organization as womanizers and alcoholics, shattering their image as the upholders of law and order.

ba021814.jpg“…The civic leaders posing with Powell and Gifford in the photograph, from left to right, are: H.P. Coffin of the National Safety Council; Captain of Police John T. Moore; Chief of Police L.V. Jenkins; District Attorney W.H. Evans; U.S. District Attorney Lester W. Humphreys; T.M. Hurlburt, a sheriff; special agent of the U.S. Department of Justice Russell Bryon; Mayor George L. Baker; and P.S. Malcolm, the sovereign inspector general in Oregon for the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge.

This photograph makes clear how comfortable KKK leaders were in the public spotlight in the early 1920s—despite their supposed anonymity—and how indulged they were by many civic governments, at least for a short time. That night Powell announced, “There are some cases, of course, in which we will have to take everything in our hands. Some crimes are not punishable under existing laws, but the criminals should be punished.” He did not elaborate, but the implication was clear: the KKK felt entitled to act outside the law. In a room full of enforcers of the law, Powell and Gifford spoke freely without fear of prosecution.

Klan membership in Oregon grew starting in 1921, with chapters springing up throughout the state. Its brief popularity stemmed, in part, from a general racism against minorities (particularly Chinese and Japanese), anti-Catholicism, and a belief in the enforcement of social morality. Gifford successfully lobbied for anti-Catholic legislation in Oregon during his term as Grand Dragon. The political effectiveness of KKK chapters was due in large part to the relationships its leaders formed with the state’s policy makers, law enforcers, and fraternal organizations…”

from KKK meets with Portland leaders, 1921













Stephen Kinzer – The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, & the Birth of American Empire

kinzer_edit“In a ravenous 55 day spasm during the summer of 1898, the United States asserted control over 5 far-flung lands with a total of 11 million inhabitants: Guam, Hawaii, Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Never in history has a nation leaped so suddenly overseas empire.” Doing so was by no means a matter of political consensus. In fact at several steps on the way, a single individual or vote determined events, leading to the deaths of thousands. The questions that arose then, continue to arise to this day.
“How should the United States act in the world? Americans cannot decide. For more than a century we have debated with ourselves. We can’t even agree on the question. Put one way: Should we defend our freedom, or turn inward and ignore growing threats? Put differently: Should we charge violently into faraway lands, or allow others to work out their own destinies?” And how did a country which had been founded through rebellion against a distant sovereign, which had once been a colony itself, and had pledged itself, above all, to the ideal of self-government, turn to taking colonies of its own – and most certainly NOT with the consent of the governed? These are some of the questions, our guest today, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Stephen Kinzer, addresses in his latest book, THE TRUE FLAG: THEODORE ROOSEVELT, MARK TWAIN, AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN EMPIRE. This is not merely an exercise in ivory tower history, because the United States – and, in fact, the world – is still paying today for the arguments, decisions and methods made by those debating these questions in the era of Theodore Roosevelt. Central America, the Middle East, The far east, terrorism, immigration, indigenous efforts for democracy – all these conflicts – and more – can find origins in a very short period of time at the turn of the 19th & the 20th centuries.

Stephen Kinzer has covered more than 50 countries on 5 continents. From 1983 to 1989 He was the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, where he covered war and upheaval in Central America. He wrote 2 books about that region, BITTER FRUIT: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE AMERICAN COUP IN GUATEMALA (co-written with Stephen Schlesinger), and BLOOD OF BROTHERS: LIFE AND WAR IN NICARAGUA. He was the New York Times bureau chief in Bonn, & then Berlin, Germany from 1990 -96, where he covered the emergence of post-Communist Europe, including the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Then, he opened their bureau in Istanbul, Turkey, where he covered that country and the new nations of Central Asia & the Caucasus. HIS BOOK, CRESCENT AND STAR: TURKEY BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, was born of that experience. After several trips to Iran, he wrote ALL THE SHAH’S MEN: AN AMERICAN COUP AND THE ROOTS OF MIDDLE EAST TERROR and RESET: IRAN, TURKEY AND AMERICA’S FUTURE. His latest book is THE TRUE FLAG: THEODORE ROOSEVELT, MARK TWAIN, AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN EMPIRE, published last year by Henry Holt. The paperback edition is coming out in two weeks from St. Martin’s/Griffin. It adds to his earlier book, OVERTHROW: AMERICA’S CENTURY OF REGIME CHANGE FROM HAWAII TO IRAQ, which documents 14 times the United States has overthrown foreign governments, and examines just what is it in the American psyche, that allows – and compels – the world’s first nation to throw off colonial rule and proclaim self government as a self-evident divine right to suppress similar aspirations in lands over seas.


Col. Theodore Roosevelt


theodore-roosevelt-smiling-as-he-holds-everett.jpgGrandson of Theodore Roosevelt, Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. orchestrated the CIA’s “Operation Ajax”, which aimed to overthrow democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, who had been Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1951:




A CIA hired mob – who beat all Mossadeq supporters to a pulp….

“This coup did more than simply bring down Mossadegh. It ended democratic rule in Iran and set the country off toward distatoship. Mohammad Reza Shah gave the U. S. a quarter century of dominance in Iran, but his repression ultimately set off an uprising that produced a fanatically anti-American regime.” from Kinzer’s  RESET: IRAN, TURKEY & AMERICA’S FUTURE.



Mohammad Reza Shah and family before the Peacock Throne



Jon D. Michaels CONSTITUTIONAL COUP: Privatization’s Threat to the American Republic

Professor Jon D. Michaels’ scholarly and teaching interests include constitutional law, administrative law, national security law, the separation of powers, presidential power, regulation, bureaucracy, and privatization.

After a very distinguished education including Oxford and Yale Universities, he clerked, first for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Immediately prior to his appointment at UCLA, he worked as an associate in Arnold & Porter’s National Security Law and Public Policy Group in Washington, DC.

We discuss his book, CONSTITUTIONAL COUP: PRIVATIZATION’S THREAT TO THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC, which is both a history and an analysis of privatization, and the rise of what he calls ” Pax Administrativa.” It is published by Harvard University Press.

We begin with an article by Matthew Cole & Jeremy Scahill in The Intercept:
“Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter ‘Deep State'”

We also referred to Professor Michaels’ essay, “First Tragedy, Now Farce”: