Category Archives: Social Justice

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

Matthew Rozsa: How the MAGA Crowd Is Motivated by Aesthetics, Not Ideas

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,

Head Soccer Coach, Hunter Terry

Articles cited in this interview include:

Trump the fascist artist: How the MAGA crowd is motivated by aesthetics, not ideas https://www.salon.com/2020/12/05/trump-the-fascist-artist-how-the-maga-crowd-is-motivated-by-aesthetics-not-ideas/

Why the 2020 election looks a lot like 1876 — with one crucial difference https://www.salon.com/2020/11/07/why-the-2020-election-looks-a-lot-like-1876-with-one-crucial-difference/

It’s not the first time that an outgoing president refused to work with an incoming one https://www.salon.com/2020/11/29/its-not-the-first-time-that-an-outgoing-president-refused-to-work-with-an-incoming-one/

There are economic reasons that Trump’s coup attempt won’t work, experts say https://www.salon.com/2020/11/15/there-are-economic-reasons-that-trumps-coup-attempt-wont-work-experts-say/

The internet has become captured by the right. The Gravel Institute is trying to take it back https://www.salon.com/2020/11/29/the-internet-has-become-captured-by-the-right-the-gravel-institute-is-trying-to-take-it-back/

Conservative women often don’t perceive sexism as a social problem. Here’s why https://www.salon.com/2020/11/28/conservative-women-often-dont-perceive-sexism-as-a-social-problem-heres-why

Biden’s economic adviser picks are underwhelming the left, to say the least https://www.salon.com/2020/12/07/biden-neoliberal-picks-for-economic-advisers-neera-tanden-brian-deese/

Rebekah Jones, Florida’s COVID-19 whistleblower, says Gov. DeSantis has health officials “terrified” https://www.salon.com/2020/12/11/rebekah-jones-floridas-covid-19-whistleblower-says-gov-desantis-has-health-officials-terrified/

Trump Has Never Believed in Democracy https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/opinion/donald-trump-election.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Our ‘American values’ include knowing how to lose https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/letters_to_editor/our-american-values-include-knowing-how-to-lose/article_af157cc7-3d47-5716-bccd-29acb6e9edb6.html

Donald Trump and the Aesthetics of Fascism https://inthesetimes.com/article/donald-trump-and-the-aesthetics-of-fascism

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/

Thom Hartmann MONOPOLIES: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream

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.

Beth Ann Kennedy Bozeman Film Celebration/BZN International Film Festival

On August 14, 2020, we spoke with Beth Ann Kennedy, artistic/managing director of the Bozeman Film Celebration, about how she came to create the BZN International Film Festival, whose first season was in June of 2018. Her training in speech, music, dance and the dramatic arts, from the early 1970s, as well as her decades of experience acting, directing and producing in theater and film, contributed to her success in bringing to Bozeman what has become an annual Film Festival. Her excellent interpersonal skills and work with business and international government leaders, educators, entertainment celebrities, musicians, choreographers and thousands of American youths, prepared her for the gargantuan effort of coordinating the many people and jobs required in bringing a film festival into reality. After only its second year, the BZN International Film Festival was listed by Film Freeway among the top 100 festivals in the world. We asked her about her experiences, challenges, and goals over the past three years, and about re-creating the festival during a pandemic. Our conversation in a garden includes commentary from the neighborhood birds and dogs.

Members of the 2019 BZN International Film Festival Staff

Some of the 2020 BZN International Film Festival Staff, dutifully socially distancing. Beth Ann Kennedy in white top at center.

Martha S. Jones VANGUARD: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

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.

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As our guest, Professor Martha S. Jones reminds us, this struggle is not over.

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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.

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Other articles relating to the struggle for suffrage or pertinent to this interview include:

Black women in politics are no longer a ‘first.’ They are a force.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/13/black-women-politics-are-no-longer-first-they-are-force/?hpid=hp_save-opinions-float-right-4-0_opinion-card-a-right%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans

How Native American Women Inspired the Women’s Rights Movement   https://www.womensvote100.org/the-suff-buffs-blog/2020/4/17/how-native-american-women-inspired-the-womens-rights-movement

In Women’s Suffrage, a Spotlight for Unsung Pioneers  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/insider/suffrage-anniversary.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Reader%20Center

20 Suffragists To Know for 2020   https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/20-for-2020.htm

It’s Time The ‘Truth Be Told’ About Black Women’s Leadership In The Fight For The Vote  https://www.forbes.com/sites/marianneschnall/2020/08/05/its-time-the-truth-be-told-about-black-womens-leadership-in-the-fight-for-the-vote/#7342dc855915

Sojourner Truth  https://www.nps.gov/people/sojourner-truth.htm

Ida B. Wells  https://www.nps.gov/people/idabwells.htm

Nannie Helen Burroughs  https://www.nps.gov/people/nannie-helen-burroughs.htm

Mary McLeod Bethune  https://www.nps.gov/people/mary-mcleod-bethune.htm

Septima Poinsette Clark      https://www.nps.gov/people/septimapoinsetteclark.htm

Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee  https://www.nps.gov/people/mabel-lee.htm

Tye Leung Schulze  https://www.nps.gov/people/tye-leung-schulze.htm

Zitkala-Ša (Red Bird / Gertrude Simmons Bonnin)    https://www.nps.gov/people/zitkala-sa.htm

Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin    https://www.nps.gov/people/marie-louise-bottineau-baldwin.htm

Wilhelmina Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett     https://www.nps.gov/people/wilhelmina-kekelaokalaninui-widemann-dowsett.htm

Rose Schneiderman  https://www.nps.gov/people/rose-schneiderman.htm

The 19th Amendment: An Important Milestone in an Unfinished Journey  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/15/opinion/19th-amendment-centennial-suffrage.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

The 19th amendment is a reminder that the right to vote is unfinished business     https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/18/the-19th-amendment-is-a-reminder-that-the-right-to-vote-is-unfinished-business

The Women Who Fought Against the Vote   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/us/anti-suffrage-movement-vote.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage

In 1920, Native Women Sought the Vote. Here’s What’s Next.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/31/style/19th-amendment-native-womens-suffrage.html?searchResultPosition=1

Before Kamala Harris, There Was Charlotta Bass       https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/04/obituaries/charlotta-bass-vice-president-overlooked.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage

What ‘The New York Times’ Won’t Tell You About Woman Suffrage   https://www.thenation.com/article/society/new-york-times-suffrage/