Q&A: DANIEL ELLSBERG, Author – The most dangerous man in America

Written on March 5th, 2015
  Aired 09/08/09 Daniel Ellsberg is an American hero. September 23rd is the 40th anniversary of the first night of copying the Pentagon Papers, which he took from his safe at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica. America was embroiled in a dirty war based on lies. A president was abusing the power of his office, ignoring the will of the people, Congress and the courts. He promised peace while planning war without end. Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst, leaded the truth about the Vietnam war to the New York Times. He risked life in prison to end a war he helped plan. Henry Kissinger called Daniel Ellsberg, "the most dangerous man in America." He's still at it. This week Ellsberg begins the online publication of The American Doomsday Machine, his memoir of the nuclear era. INFO http://www.ellsberg.net/

Q&A w/ Author, GEORGE PACKER – THE UNWINDING: Inner History of New America

Written on February 5th, 2015

Aired: 06/09/13



NYTimes review: “This book hums – with sorrow, outrage and compassion.”- #8 Best-seller

GEORGE PACKER has written a remarkable book, THE UNWINDING: An Inner History of the New America. In it, he argues that seismic economic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, leaving the social contract in pieces and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. Packer sees America as a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer relevant. We’ve covered a lot of this ground before on Free Forum, but the power of THE UNWINDING is in how Packer tells his truth.
He begins – “No one can say when the unwinding began – when the coil that held Americans together in its secure and sometimes stifling grip first gave way. Like any great change, the unwinding began at countless times, in countless ways – and at some moment the country, always the same coun­try, crossed a line of history and became irretrievably different. If you were born around 1960 or afterward, you have spent your adult life in the vertigo of that unwinding.”He follows the prologue with a series of newsreel headlines in the fateful year of 1978 and goes on to combine the intimate stories of several Americans–Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers in the rural South who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in Youngstown trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider bouncing between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire with a radical vision of the future–with biographical sketches of this era’s leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics, Packer captures the flow of events and undercurrents that have set America in decline.



Publisher’s site for The Unwinding



Q&A: Naomi Wolf-Vagina: New Biography

Written on December 4th, 2014


Aired 9/30/12

When Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth was published in 1991, Gloria Steinem hailed it as “a smart, angry, insightful book, and a clarion call to freedom,” recommending “Every woman should read it.” The New York Times called it one of the most important books of the 20th century. Over the intervening two decades, Wolf continued to write about the role of women in our culture, but she also took on broader political issues in books such as The End of America and Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries.

In her newest book, VAGINA: A NEW BIOGRAPHY, she returns to the feminine and the personal. Drawing on cutting-edge neurobiological research, she makes the bold claim that there is a direct link between a woman’s experience of her vagina and her experience of her very sense of self. Heralded by Publishers Weekly as one of the best science books of the year, the book is also receiving more than its share of critical reviews. I’ll talk with Wolf — No stranger to controversy — about the good, the bad, and the surprising – in her research, her synthesis, and in responses to her new work.


Q&A w/ JEREMY SCAHILL (#5 NYTimes Best-seller) DIRTY WARS: The World is a Battlefield

Written on July 30th, 2014


Aired: 05/05/13

In JEREMY SCAHILL’S new best-seller, DIRTY WARS, what begins as an investigation into a US night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly transforms into a high-stakes global investigation into the rise of Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret and elite fighting force in U.S. history. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the “kill list,” including U.S. citizens.

It’s the unbounded, unending War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government-condoned torture occur, generating unprecedented civilian casualties.

DIRTY WARS reveals covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress, raising questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice, morality and politics. No matter how little you know about these actions, they are being done in your name,

DIRTY WARS is also a documentary which opens in theaters June 7th.


Written on May 16th, 2014



Aired 08/26/12

Humans are not alone in being creatures of habit, but can we do anything about it?
Brain science has learned a lot about habits over the last few years. On the one hand, that gives corporations new power with which to manipulate us, but it also gives us greater power over our own behavior.

What is a habit? Are habits positive – a sign of cultivation and industry, or negative, a sign of weakness and mindlessness? Or are they neutral, their value up to us?

Today’s guest, CHARLES DUHIGG an award-winning reporter for the New York Times, has written the best-selling THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. He tells us that at its most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (I should brush my teeth), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh!). Backing out of the driveway, replying to emails, running before work – many of our most basic daily actions are not, in fact, the products of well considered decision-making, but outgrowths of habits we often don’t even realize exist.
We’ll talk about what a habit is, how they are formed, and how we can put what we’ve learned about habits into practice, so that we are at least somewhat their masters rather than their slaves.

We will also discuss Duhigg’s investigative New York Times series on Apple, including their labor practices and why they don’t manufacture in the U.S.