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,
Thomas Frank is an historian, political analyst and journalist. Although he was a college Republican, he became highly critical of conservatism, and as you will hear in this interview, of the Democratic Party as well. A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s, Thomas Frank is the founding editor of the on-line magazine, The Baffler, and he writes regularly for The Guardian. Among his eleven books are WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? THE WRECKING CREW: HOW CONSERVATIVES RULE; PITY THE BILLIONAIRE: THE HARD-TIMES SWINDLE and THE UNLIKELY COMEBACK OF THE RIGHT; and LISTEN, LIBERAL: OR, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE PARTY OF THE PEOPLE? His latest book is THE PEOPLE, NO: A BRIEF HISTORY OF ANTI-POPULISM, published by Metropolitan Books.
Sarah Chayes is an award winning journalist, author, former senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and special advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sarah Chayes. Her latest book is ON CORRUPTION IN AMERICA AND WHAT IS AT STAKE, published by Knopf.
Her fluency in French, Arabic and Pashto, not only allowed her to be an NPR reporter in Paris, North Africa, and the Balkans from 1996 to 2002, but after 9/11 she reported from Afghanistan. In 2002, she left reporting to contribute to rebuilding that country. She arrived in Kandahar two days after the Fall of the Taliban and lived there til 2009, where she helped establish the Argand Cooperative in 2005, and became intimately acquainted with kleptocracy.
In 2010, Sarah Chayes became a special adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. In this capacity, she contributed to strategic US policy on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Arab Spring. Her previous books include The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban and Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.
Robert Jay Lifton is a nonegenarian psychiatrist, author, and psychohistorian. In his long life, he has studied and written about the psychological causes and effects of wars and political violence. In addition to his theory of thought reform, he was an early proponent of psychohistorical techniques, and he was instrumental in the inclusion of Post traumatic Stress Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder. He coined the term, psychic numbing. In 1953, he began interviewing US servicemen who had been prisoners of war during the Korean War, as well as others who had been in Chinese prisons after 1951. He published THOUGHT REFORM AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TOTALISM: A STUDY OF BRAINWASHING IN CHINA. Among his other books are DEATH IN LIFE: SURVIVORS OF HIROSHIMA; HOME FROM THE WAR: VIETNAM VETERANS – NEITHER VICTIMS NOR EXECUTIONERS; and THE NAZI DOCTORS: MEDICAL KILLING AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GENOCIDE.
His latest book is LOSING REALITY: ON CULTS, CULTISM AND THE MINDSET OF POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS ZEALOTRY. We spoke with Dr. Lifton on October 19, 2020.
Jake Laperrruque INJUSTICE: Tracking BIll Barr’s Misconduct as Attorney General
In addition to being the only working farmer in the US Senate, and an organic farmer at that, he has now written a memoir, GROUNDED: A SENATOR’S LESSONS ON WINNING BACK RURAL AMERICA, just published by Ecco Press.
Jon Tester entered the US Senate in 2006 and was re-elected for a third term in 2018, in spite of having been the recipient of Donald Trump’s ire for having announced the unsuitability of his nominee for Director of Veterans Affairs, his personal physician, Dr. Ronald Jackson, because more than two dozen Whistle blowers had reported serious, credible problems with Dr. Jackson’s nomination. After Jackson withdrew his name, Trump flew to Montana four times to campaign against Senator Tester, Donald Trump, Jr. came four other times, and Vice President Pence also came, each determined to defeat Jon Tester. However, notwithstanding the fact that Trump had won the state of Montana in 2016 by 20 points, not only did Senator Tester get re-elected in 2018, but by a larger percentage of the vote than in any of his previous elections.
In these polarized times, when power trumps propriety, when those who serve are seen as suckers and losers, when science and good sense are subsumed in phantasmagorical conspiracies, there are those few who remain true to their roots, who not only believe in democracy, but struggle to maintain it against ever increasing odds. Such a one is Senator Tester. We recorded this interview on September 23, 2020.
Jake LaPerruque is Senior Counsel of The Constitution Project at the Project on Government Oversight, POGO. POGO is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public, or silences those who report wrongdoing.
They published Jake LaPerruque’s article, Injustice: Tracking Bill Barr’s Misconduct as Attorney General, on September 25, 2020. It examines William Barr’s tenure since being confirmed as Attorney General of the United States on Feb. 14, 2019, identifying what they call a long string of actions that constitute serious misconduct, and may inflict lasting damage to the Justice Department. These actions generally fall into four key categories of misconduct that are antithetical to the department’s responsibilities to the public and to the Constitution. Namely, Barr has on numerous occasions interfered with impartial prosecutions, prioritized politics over justice, undermined the independent special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and hindered congressional oversight.
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.