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.
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 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.”
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
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,
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.
This special edition of Forthright Radio for August 26, 2020, celebrates the Centennial of the signing of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution on August 26, 1920, after the very long, very hard struggle by women of different races and backgrounds to win the right to vote.
As our guest, Professor Martha S. Jones reminds us, this struggle is not over.
Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian, whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy.
Professor Jones is the author most recently of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, which will be published by Basic Books on September 8, 2020.
Her other books include Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (2018), winner of numerous prestigious awards, and All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900, and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.
Professor Jones currently serves as a Co-president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and on the Executive Board of the Society of American Historians.
Other articles relating to the struggle for suffrage or pertinent to this interview include:
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.
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.
Paul Pierson is the John Gross Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley. LET THEM EAT TWEETS: HOW THE RIGHT RULES IN AN AGE OF EXTREME INEQUALITY is one of several books he has written with Jacob Hacker, who is director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and a Political Science Professor at Yale University. Their other books include American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class; Off Center: The Republican Revolution and The Erosion of American Democracy. Professor Pierson has also written many other books including the prize winning, Dismantling the Welfare State? Reagan, Thatcher and the Politics of Retrenchment.
Some articles referenced or relevant to the interview:
Patrick Cockburn is the winner of the Martha Gelhorn Prize, the James Cameron Prize, The Orwell Prize, Foreign Commentator of the Year numerous times. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Financial times and the Independent, and is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books.
His many books include Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, written with his brother, Andrew, prior to the war in Iraq, and republished as Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession; The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq; Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq; The Rise of Islamic State: Isis and the New Sunni Revolution;The Age of Jihad: Islamic State; and The Great War for the Middle East.
His latest book is WAR IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: THE FALL OF ISIS, THE BETRAYAL OF THE KURDS, THE CONFLICT WITH IRAN to be released by OR Books on July 7, 2020.
In this interview, we began by discussing the impact on the region of the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani by the Trump Administration on January 3, 2020.
The plight of the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, and their role in fighting the Islamist State, was discussed.
Patrick Cockburn’s intrepid journalism keeps us informed of the ever changing situation on the ground in the Middle East.