Category Archives: Social Justice

Jan-Werner Müller – DEMOCRACY RULES: Liberty, Equality, Uncertainty

Jan-Werner Müller is a German political philosopher and historian of political ideas at Princeton University, where he has taught political theory and the history of political ideas since 2005.

His books, which have been translated into numerous languages, include What Is Populism? (2016), Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe (2011), Constitutional Patriotism (2007) and others.

His latest book is Democracy Rules: Liberty, Equality, Uncertainly, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2021.

In addition, he writes opinion pieces for The Guardian, New York Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Le Monde, The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, as well as others.

This edition of Forthright Radio concludes with a poem by Dan Roberts, “Holy Card for Greta Number 3.” You can find out more about Dan’s work including The Shortwave Report, Rhythm Running River, and the award winning Youth Speaks Out, as well as his photography and paintings here: http://outfarpress.com/

Articles pertinent to this interview include:

Populism and the People https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v41/n10/jan-werner-mueller/populism-and-the-people

‘It’s chilling what is happening’: a rightwing backlash to Biden takes root in Republican states https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/19/joe-biden-republicans-polarization-us-politics-texas

They Rejected Democracy. They Lied. And They Spent July Fourth Calling Themselves Patriots. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/republicans-overturn-presidential-election-capitol-riot-july-4_n_60e4793ee4b0e01b6b233fc3

Enchaining democracy: The now-transnational project of the US corporate libertarian right https://mcusercontent.com/cca23739793ff131bae0a457f/files/7855428a-b505-762c-0032-c336e7bb5222/MacLean_The_Now_Transnational_Project.pdf

Guest column: Eroding public schools’ role as the great equalizer https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/guest_columnists/guest-column-eroding-public-schools-role-as-the-great-equalizer/article_aeff6b67-daef-5cd9-a797-fa93b0aff737.html

Athens: The Truth About Democracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPnUK176AR0

Tamim Ansary GAMES WITHOUT RULES: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan

This edition of Forthright Radio from February 6, 2013, features an interview with Afghan-American author, Tamim Ansary, discussing his book, GAMES WITHOUT RULES: THE OFTEN INTERRUPTED HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN, published by Public Affairs. As the United States and allies withdraw troops after 20 years of occupation and warfare in Afghanistan, it is well worth hearing again, because it speaks to the evolving situation there.

Tamim Ansary was born in Afghanistan in 1948, as a very young boy, he fell in love with history, and when Arnold Toynbee came through his hometown of Lashkargah, someone told him of a history loving 9 year old little bookworm, and he invited Tamim to tea. The rest, as they say, is history.

Tamim Ansary moved to the United States in 1964. He worked on textbooks for the Texas school system, out of which experience came his book, DESTINY DISRUPTED: A HISTORY OF THE WORLD THROUGH ISLAMIC EYES. Among his other books are WEST OF KABUL, EAST OF NEW YORK, as well as numerous books for children of different ages and reading levels. He has written a monthly column in Encarta. com, and has published essays in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Alternet, TomPain.com, Edutopia, Parade, and the LA Times.

The Guardian published a piece by him on July 12, 2021 headlined:

History shows us that outsiders can never bring peace to Afghanistan https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/12/afghanistan-us-british-withdrawal-biden

In numbers: Life in Afghanistan after America leaves https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57767067

Armed Afghan women take to streets in show of defiance against Taliban https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/07/armed-afghan-women-take-to-streets-in-show-of-defiance-against-taliban

Mike Rothschild THE STORM UPON US: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult & Conspiracy Theory of Everything

Mike Rothschild is a journalist, researcher, and debunker of conspiracy theories.

His first print book, The World’s Worst Conspiracies, was published in January 2020 by Arcturus Publishing, London.

His work is cited in The New York Times, Snopes, Politifact, Salon, Vice, NPR, among many others. His latest book, THE STORM IS UPON US: HOW QANON BECAME A MOVEMENT, CULT, AND CONSPIRACY THEORY OF EVERYTHING, published by Melville House.
We spoke with Mike Rothschild on July 2, 2021.

Articles pertinent to the interview:

Why do conspiracy theories flourish? Because the truth is too hard to handle https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/01/edward-snowdon-conspiracy-theories-belief-powerlessness

INSIDE THE CAPITOL RIOT https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/30/us/jan-6-capitol-attack-takeaways.html

What drives ‘J-Anon’, QAnon’s Japanese counterpart? https://globalvoices.org/2021/01/13/what-drives-j-anon-qanons-japanese-counterpart/

Confronting the Threat of QAnon https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/29/books/review/mia-bloom-sophie-moskalenko-pastels-and-pedophiles.html

John Judis – The Politics of Our Time: Populism, Nationalism, Socialism

Currently an editor at large at Talking Points Memo, John Judis has a long history as a senior writer at the National Journal and former senior editor at The New Republic. As you will hear in this interview from May 28, 2021, his ideas have evolved from his activist days in the 1960s as a founding editor of Socialist Revolution, renamed Socialist Review and then Radical Society. In the 1970s he was a founding editor of the East Bay Voice. In 1976, he became foreign editor of In These Times, the democratic socialist newsweekly. He quit in 2014, along with other editors in protest of the owner’s firing of an editor and plan to turn the magazine into a profit making enterprise.

His books include William F. Buckley: Patron Saint of the Conservatives from 1988, The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and the Betrayal of the Public Trust; and The Folly of Empire : What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

His tenth book, The Politics of Our Time: Populism, Nationalism, Socialism, was just published by Columbia Global Reports. It is a compendium of revised editions of three of his previous books: The Populist Explosion, The Nationalist Revival, and The Socialist Awakening.

Corporate Subsidy Quietly Dies in Texas — Topping Off Bad Week for Big Oil https://theintercept.com/2021/06/01/texas-subsidies-oil-companies/

Exxon Board to Get a Third Activist Pushing Cleaner Energy https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/business/exxon-board-clean-energy.html

Supreme Court Rules on Tribal Police & Immigrants’ Testimony https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/01/us/supreme-court-tribal-police-immigration.html?action=click&module=In%20Other%20News&pgtype=Homepage

White male minority rule pervades politics across the US, research shows https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/26/white-male-minority-rule-us-politics-research

The Banality of Democratic Collapse https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/24/opinion/republicans-donald-trump-loyalty.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Progressives Won Chile’s Election. And They Won Big https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/chile-election-constitution.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

An ‘Army of 15-Year-Olds’ Takes on the Democrats https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/us/teens-massachusetts-elections.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Numbers are grim. Republicans are winning at normalizing voter suppression https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/19/republicans-are-winning-at-normalizing-voter-suppression

Mark R. Rank POORLY UNDERSTOOD: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty

Mark Rank is the Herbert S. Handley Professor in the Brown School of Social Work and The Department of Sociology at Washington University. Professor Rank is an expert on poverty studies and the author of notable books, such as One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All and Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes.

His most recent book, published in March of 2021 by Oxford University Press, is POORLY UNDERSTOOD: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty, which he co-wrote with Professors Lawrence M. Eppard and Heather E. Bullock. In it they identify and analyze common myths about poverty, compare poverty levels in the United States with other developed nations and propose ideas of how to reduce it.

We spoke with Professor Mark Rank on May 14, 2021.

You can find out more about his work and check out his poverty risk calculator by going to https://confrontingpoverty.org/

Articles pertinent to this interview:

Rich people actually do have trouble understanding what it’s like to be poor https://www.salon.com/2021/05/18/rich-people-actually-do-have-trouble-understanding-what-its-like-to-be-poor/

Poorest Families Could Miss Out On New Monthly Checks For Parents https://www.huffpost.com/entry/child-tax-credit-checks-poverty_n_60a41fb0e4b0909248099f82

Welfare fraud is actually rare, no matter what the myths and stereotypes say https://www.salon.com/2021/04/04/welfare-fraud-is-actually-rare-no-matter-what-the-myths-and-stereotypes-say/

More GOP-Run States Announce Cuts To Federal Unemployment Benefits https://www.huffpost.com/entry/missouri-unemployment-benefits-worker-shortage_n_609adc22e4b0909247fc2221

Ian Millhiser THE AGENDA: How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America

Vox.com legal journalist, Ian Millhiser’s, latest book is THE AGENDA: HOW A REPUBLICAN SUPREME COURT IS RESHAPING AMERICA, just out from Columbia Global Reports.

Before his current work at Vox, he was Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress and was a Legal Research Analyst with ThinkProgress. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The American Prospect, Politico, as well as The National Law Journal, The Yale Law & Policy Review, and The Duke Law Journal. He has been the guest on Democracy Now as well as NPR among many others. We spoke with Ian Millhiser on April 19, 2021.

Articles referenced in this interview:

The Supreme Court hears a case next week that could make Citizens United even worse https://www.vox.com/2021/4/17/22384256/supreme-court-citizens-united-disclosure-americans-for-prosperity-rodriquez-thomas-more

A new bill would add 4 seats to the Supreme Court https://www.vox.com/22384461/supreme-court-court-expansion-packing-judiciary-act-13-seats-jones-nadler-markey-johnson

Let’s Think About Court-Packing https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/51/lets-think-about-court-packing-2/

Biden’s Supreme Court reform commission won’t fix anything https://www.vox.com/2021/4/10/22375792/supreme-court-biden-commission-reform-court-packing-federalist-society

What Biden’s first list of judicial nominees tells us about his approach to the courts https://www.vox.com/2021/3/30/22358434/biden-first-judicial-nominees-ketanji-brown-jackson-public-defenders-diversity-criminal-justice

The Supreme Court’s new, deeply fractured decision on churches and the pandemic, explained https://www.vox.com/2021/2/6/22269879/supreme-court-amy-coney-barrett-south-bay-pentecostal-newsom-religion-covid-california

The Christian right is racking up huge victories in the Supreme Court, thanks to Amy Coney Barrett https://www.vox.com/2021/4/12/22379689/supreme-court-amy-coney-barrett-religion-california-tandon-newsom-first-amendment

The Supreme Court’s coming war with Joe Biden, explained https://www.vox.com/22276279/supreme-court-war-joe-biden-agency-regulation-administrative-neil-gorsuch-epa-nondelegation

The Voting Rights Act had a surprisingly good day at the Supreme Court https://www.vox.com/2021/3/2/22309326/supreme-court-voting-rights-act-brnovich-democratic-national-committee-carvin-brett-kavanuagh

The Supreme Court’s enigmatic “shadow docket,” explained https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/the-supreme-court-s-enigmatic-shadow-docket-explained/ar-BB17PxzL

FBI facing allegation that its 2018 background check of Brett Kavanaugh was ‘fake’ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/16/fbi-brett-kavanaugh-background-check-fake

Supreme court rules juvenile life sentences are unconstitutional https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jun/25/supreme-court-juvenile-life-sentences

US supreme court declines to limit life without parole sentences for minors https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/apr/22/us-supreme-court-life-without-parole-sentences-minors

What the Supreme Court got wrong about homicides committed by cops https://www.vox.com/22373833/supreme-court-police-killings-homicide-derek-chauvin-graham-connor-shooting-fourth-amendment

The Supreme Court Is Also to Blame for Daunte Wright’s Death https://truthout.org/articles/the-supreme-court-is-also-to-blame-for-daunte-wrights-death/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=0286a261-97de-4732-a3fe-ec797fa49ea6

John Topping , 77, Dies; Early Advocate for Climate Action https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/climate/john-topping-dead.htm

LaDonna Allard Dies at 64; Led Dakota Pipeline Protests https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/us/ladonna-allard-dead.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Obituaries

Ramsey Clark, Attorney General and Rebel With a Cause, Dies at 93 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/us/politics/ramsey-clark-dead.html

John C. Coffee, Jr. CORPORATE CRIME & PUNISHMENT: The Crisis of Underenforcement

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.

Sheldon Wolin DEMOCRACY INCORPORATED: Managed Democracy & the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

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 The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

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.”

Richard Kreitner BREAK IT UP: Secession, Division and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union

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

Articles Cited in this interview:

Now Is Not the Time for Unity https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/biden-unity-history/

Chaos as Pennsylvania GOP state senators refuse to seat Democrat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoF4iCoTZb4

Last Known Widow Of Civil War Veteran Dies At 101 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/civil-war-veteran-widow-helen-jackson_n_5ff51131c5b6ea7351c66821

Trump won’t attend Biden’s inauguration: Why that’s ominous after his Capitol siege https://www.salon.com/2021/01/11/trump-wont-attend-bidens-inauguration-why-thats-ominous-after-his-capitol-siege/

At least 12 GOP senators to challenge Biden’s win https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/02/ted-cruz-electoral-college-challenge-453430

Rosendale says he’ll oppose certification of some electors https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/montana/rosendale-says-hell-oppose-certification-of-some-electors/article_42f0b298-c022-5d91-b855-b49770a5518e.html

Texas congressman suggests ‘violence in the streets’ after judge rejects bid to force Pence to overturn Biden’s win https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/politics/texas-congressman-suggests-violence-in-the-streets-after-judge-rejects-bid-to-force-pence-to/article_1e6dc8df-da07-5cf4-96b5-a3183c702a31.html#tncms-source=infinity-scroll-summary-siderail-latest

Sasse Slams GOP Effort to Challenge ElectionResults as a ‘Dangerous Ploy’ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/us/politics/ben-sasse-election-results.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Ben Sasse calls fellow Republicans “institutional arsonists” for Electoral College stunt https://www.salon.com/2020/12/31/ben-sasse-calls-fellow-gop-sen-josh-hawley-an-institutional-arsonists-for-electoral-college-stunt/

Joint Statement from Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lankford, Daines, Kennedy, Blackburn, Braun, Senators-Elect Lummis, Marshall, Hagerty, Tuberville https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=5541

Trump’s Republicans have dumped Lincoln – they’re the Confederacy now https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/04/trump-republicans-electoral-college-sedition-secession-lincoln-confederacy

Trump’s phone call to Brad Raffensperger: six key points https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/04/trumps-phone-call-to-brad-raffensperger-five-key-points

Americans’ acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/26/americans-acceptance-of-trumps-behavior-will-be-his-vilest-legacy