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.
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.
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.”
Underfunded and understaffed, Jonathan Motl, MT Commissioner of Political Practices doggedly followed slim leads, ultimately filing indictments.
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.
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.
BURNED: ARE TREES THE NEW COAL? tells the little-known story of the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel, and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant green-washing of the burgeoning biomass power industry.
A dedicated group of forest activists, ecologists, carbon scientists, and concerned citizens fight to establish the enormous value of our forests, protect their communities, debunk this false solution to climate change, and alter energy policy both in the US and abroad. The directors/producers of BURNED, Alan Dater & Lisa Merton say, “It’s not too late.”
Alan Dater has decades long experience in many different aspects of film making, working on such films as “Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music”; Emmy Award winning TV medical series, as well as National Geographic Specials. He moved to Vermont in the 1970s, where he started Marlboro Productions.
Lisa Merton joined him in 1989. Together, she & Alan have co-directed/produced such films as HOME TO TIBET, about a Tibetan refugee’s return to his homeland, and TAKING ROOT: THE VISION OF WANGARI MAATHAI, founder of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya, & the first environmentalist, as well as African woman, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It won numerous international awards. Since 1996, Lisa has been a member of New Day Films, a documentary film collective.
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.
Using 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dora María Téllez founded the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) for democratic reforms in 1994. The struggle continues – as do the women.
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.
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 bookTear 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’?
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.
PIETÀ Gaza City, Gaza Strip May 14, 2018
The mother of Leila al-Ghandour, a Palestinian baby of eight months, holds her body at the morgue of al-Shifa hospital. According to the Palestinian health ministry Leila died of teargas inhalation during clashes in East Gaza the previous day
State 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
Police surround an incapacitated man after throwing tear gas into the crowd of protesters, 1968, Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Western Historical Manuscript Collection
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.
Two 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.
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.
#teargasID The Riot ID Project
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.
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.
There are more than 365 lawsuits pending against Monsanto filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup Herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and that Monsanto knew the risks. The lawsuits were filed after glyphosate was declared a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization. In early March 2018, expert testimony was heard in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, Judge Vince Chhabria presiding, preceding trials in pursuit of these lawsuits.
Our guest today is veteran journalist, researcher and author, Carey Gillam, 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.
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 (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/). 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?
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.
Rows of trash bags containing radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster now litter the area. (courtesy beyondnuclear.org)
Some of the articles cited in today’s interview can be found here:
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: http://www.royzimmerman.com/
or see him perform the Sing Along 2nd Amendment song here: