Are we living in a post-truth world, where “alternative facts” replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence? Is the the attack on truth and the media a step towards authoritarian rule? Lee McIntyre, author of Post-Truth, says this phenomenon has roots in the denial of scientific facts about smoking, evolution, vaccines and climate change, as well as fake news, among other things. He discusses the politicization of reality and how to combat post-truth. (March 28, 2018 broadcast)
A rare meeting of two icons: Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of 350.org, and Ken Squier, owner of WDEV Radio Vermont and a legendary sports broadcaster who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2018, held a public conversation moderated by Vermont Conversation host David Goodman on December 6, 2017 at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, Vermont. McKibben’s latest book, Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance, is a story about a septuagenarian radio man and his people-powered independent radio station that lead a resistance movement against growing government tyranny. McKibben acknowledges that Squier and WDEV provide the inspiration for this fable. Squier has been an outspoken advocate of independent media and McKibben is a longtime fan of WDEV (and an occasional guest) when not traveling the world leading the movement to halt climate change. The two discuss the world under Trump, the vital role of an independent media, and the way forward. (December 27, 2017 broadcast)
Bill McKibben, author, founder of 350.org
Ken Squier, owner, WDEV Radio Vermont, legendary sports broadcaster, NASCAR Hall of Fame 2018
Stuart Stevens has been a top Republican strategist in the presidential election campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. But Stevens has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and now describes himself as “homeless” in his own party. He talks about why he wrongly predicted Trump could not win, how Trump has used racism as a core strategy, why fellow Republicans have backed him, and how the GOP has “lost its soul.” Trump has tweeted that Stevens is a “dumb guy” and a “clown.” An author of seven books, Stevens, a part-time Vermont resident, also discusses growing up in Mississippi and his book about spending a season watching football with his 95 year old father. (December 20, 2017 broadcast)
Stuart Stevens, author, Republican strategist
Pres. Trump insists the media is “terribly unfair” to him. Is it? Jesse Holcomb, formerly of the Pew Research Center and currently a professor of journalism at Calvin College, dissects media coverage of Trump, and delves into the quality of news articles on the right and left. He also explores the influence of far-right Breitbart News and its affiliates. Holcomb’s research finds that fewer than half of news stories about Trump for right-leaning audiences cite more than a single source, while 70 percent of stories for left-leaning audiences cite multiple sources. Holcomb says that the media “needs to take a look in the mirror” at how it has contributed to the rise of Trump. (October 18, 2017 broadcast)
Jesse Holcomb, Calvin College, Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Pew Research Center
As the world refugee crisis swells, Pres. Donald Trump has capped the number of refugees that the U.S. will accept at 45,000 — the lowest level since the refugee resettlement program was established 37 years ago. In 2016, Pres. Obama set the cap at 110,000. Trump calls it the “America First Refugee Program,” evoking the name of the openly anti-Semitic WWII-era America First Committee. Mark Hetfield is president and CEO of HIAS, which was founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 1881. HIAS is the world’s oldest organization dedicated to refugees. Hetfield has led the transformation to a global agency that assists and resettles refugees of all faiths and ethnicities and is a major implementing partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State. In February 2017, under his leadership, HIAS became the first and only national refugee resettlement agency to file a court challenge against the Trump Administration and its executive order implementing a Muslim and refugee ban, a challenge which led to an injunction against the order. He discusses the impact of Trump’s refugee bans and his reaction to the protest movement that rose up to challenge Muslim bans. (September 27, 2017 broadcast)
Mark Hetfield, president & CEO, HIAS
Bestselling author, activist and filmmaker Naomi Klein is known for her critical writings on corporate globalization and capitalism. Her books include No Logo (1999), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate (2014). Her newest book is No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Haymarket, 2017), has been nominated for a National Book Award. In our interview, Klein discusses climate catastrophes, the rise of Trump, what Democrats and have done wrong, and resistance. (September 20, 2017 broadcast)
Naomi Klein, author, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need
Peter Gould has been involved in Vermont arts as a performer, director, teacher, and author for more than 45 years. He is the founder of “Get Thee to the Funnery,” a youth Shakespeare program in Craftsbury, Vt. which celebrated its 20th season in 2017. As half of Gould & Stearns — a 2 man touring theater company — Peter traveled throughout the country and internationally, performing more than 3,000 performances, including their original play, “A Peasant of El Salvador.” Peter received a B.A. and Ph.D from Brandeis University, where he is currently an adjunct professor at Brandeis, teaching mindfulness and problem solving. Peter has published five books, including his latest, Horse Drawn Yogurt: Stories from Total Loss Farm. His first book was Burnt Toast, a legendary Back to the Land novel. His book Write Naked, which received the 2009 Green Earth Book Award, given to the writer of young adult fiction that most inspires environmental consciousness and stewardship in its readers. Gould is the recipient of the 2016 Arts Education Award from the Vermont Arts Council. In this Vermont Conversation, Gould performs and tells the story behind “Mother of Exiles,” a song he wrote based on the poem by Emma Lazarus, which is on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. He proposes it as an anthem for the modern immigrant rights movement. (September 6, 2017 broadcast)
Peter Gould, author, performer, 2016 Vermont Arts Council award winner
Part 1 (includes performance of Mother of Exiles):
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Nearly 2,000 people were killed in the storm, and millions were left homeless.
For New Orleans resident and author Alexander McConduit, the human impact of Katrina still stays with him. He has channeled his energies into writing for children: In 2010, Alex McConduit founded Big Boot Books and published his first book, The Little Who Dat, Who Didn’t. In 2012, he founded W.R.I.T.E., a youth publishing program that transforms students in New Orleans into published authors. Since 2010, Alex has visited more than 100 schools throughout the Gulf Coast and in other countries to share his books and to encourage kids to read, write and follow their dreams.
McConduit wants to tackle a different kind of subject in his next book. He has titled this work-in-progress, “Katrina, We Need to Talk.” It’s about the lasting impact on the NOLA community of the storm. In this interview, McConduit also reflects on racism, the rise of the alt right, President Trump, and what gives him hope. (August 23, 2017 broadcast)
Alexander McConduit, New Orleans author
Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the Trump administration’s so-called election integrity commission, according to CNN. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos declared, “I will not compromise the privacy of Vermont citizens to support the Trump Administration’s witch hunt for widespread voter fraud, which has been disproven many times over by nonpartisan experts.” Condos talks about resisting what he has called a “sham commission.” (July 5, 2017 broadcast)
Jim Condos, Vermont Secretary of State
As the Trump Administration intensifies its crackdown on immigrants in the U.S., the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia has received national attention for its creative and determined efforts to protect undocumented people. It has pioneered a Sanctuary in the Streets campaign to shield immigrants from police raids. The movement declares, “Through grassroots organizing led by affected immigrants, we fight and win immigrant justice campaigns with our members across nationality, faith, class, and immigration status.” We discuss its goals, tactics, and national implications. (April 5, 2017 broadcast)
Blanca Pacheco, assistant director, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean discusses President Trump’s failure to repeal Obamacare, the Clinton-Sanders schism in the Democratic Party, what it will take for Democrats to win again, Gov. Phil Scott’s first 100 days, and why he believes that today’s Republicans can’t govern. (March 29, 2017 broadcast)
Gov. Howard Dean
David Moats has been editorial page editor of the Rutland Herald for 35 years. He won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing for his coverage of Vermont’s debate over civil unions. Moats discusses editorial writing, the parallels between Presidents Nixon and Trump (“It’s not hard to foresee the collapse of the Trump administration”), Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (first budget is “far-fetched” and reflects “naiveté or cynicism”) and his reflections on covering civil unions. (February 22, 2017 broadcast)
David Moats, editorial page editor, Rutland Herald
In President Trump’s first week in office, the American Civil Liberties Union handed him his first defeat: successfully challenging his refugee and Muslim ban in court and winning a stay in multiple federal courts. Now the Vermont chapter of the ACLU prepares to defend immigrant rights, privacy, LGBTQ rights, press freedom and other civil liberties in Vermont. We discuss the road ahead.
James Lyall, executive director, Vermont ACLU
Arlie Russell Hochschild is professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of nine books, including The Managed Heart: the Commercialization of Human Feeling, and The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. In all her work, she focuses on the impact of large social trends on the individual’s emotional experience.
Her latest book, Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (The New Press, 2016), is based on intensive interviews of Tea Party supporters in Louisiana, conducted over the last five years in the author’s effort to learn why they see, think and feel as they do. The book also delves into the politics of Donald Trump’s supporters. She discusses her most recent book, and also her lifetime body of work. (September 7, 2016 broadcast)
In his book Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority, author Steve Phillips argues that “many progressives and Democrats continue to waste millions dollars chasing white swing voters. In fact, explosive population growth of people of color in American over the past 50 years has laid the foundation for a New American Majority consisting of progressive people of color (23 percent of all eligible voters) and progressive whites (28 percent of all eligible voters) — comprising 51 percent of all eligible voters in America right now.”
Steve Phillips was the youngest person ever elected to public office in San Francisco and went on to serve as president of the Board of Education. He is a co-founder of PowerPAC.org, a social justice organization that conducted the largest independent voter mobilization efforts backing Barack Obama. He discusses the new American majority, and the forces behind Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and prospects for the 2016 election. (March 23, 2016 broadcast)
Steve Phillips, author, Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority (The New Press, 2016)
The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America (Chelsea Green) is a new book by veteran journalist Jonathan Tasini that features speeches by and analysis of presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Tasini is the former president of the National Writers Union and a political analyst. He is the publisher of Working Life, a popular progressive blog on work and the economy. In 2006, he ran against Sen. Hillary Clinton in New York. He talks about his new book, Sanders, Clinton, Donald Trump, the decline of the labor movement, and his own insights on what it takes to run a major campaign.
Jonathan Tasini, author, The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America (Chelsea Green)