Recent Posts

How George H.W. Bush Paved the Way for Trump Pardons: Harold Meyerson on the dark side of Reagan’s successor.

The second-worst thing Bush did was his last act as president: pardoning many of the Iran/Contra conspirators, in order to block investigation of his own breaking the law. That points the way for Donald Trump to follow his example — by pardoning the people who might testify against him.
(The worst thing?  Nominating Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.)
. . . continued at TheNation.com, HERE  12/5/18

Journalism

The Missing Politics in Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’: Amy Wilentz, plus Kai Wright on the Midterms

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Michelle Obama declares in her new memoir, “I am not a political person, so I’m not going to attempt to offer an analysis” of Trump’s victory. That’s her stance in the rest of the book as well. It seems strange for the person the New York Times called “The most outspoken first lady in modern history.” What’s going on here? Amy Wilentz comments.
Plus: The Democrats won the midterms by the largest popular vote margin for either party in the history of midterm elections — larger than the Watergate midterm after Nixon resigned in 1974, 44 years ago. But there was a deeper and more significant victory hidden behind those numbers, Kai Wright argues: the political mobilization of millions of people of color in the South. 12/6/18

 

Trump Watch

The Dark Side of George H.W. Bush: Harold Meyerson, plus Katha Pollitt on White Women and Trump and Eric Foner on Frederick Douglass

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George H. W. Bush paved the way for today’s Republican party with his racist Willy Horton campaign, nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and pardoned the Iran-Contra conspirator whose trial would have exposed his own abuse of power. Harold Meyerson explains — he’s executive editor of the American Prospect.
Also: Katha Pollitt finds lessons from the midterms about white women who support Trump – she argues that they are unlikely to change their minds, and that we’d do better following the example of Stacey Abrams and mobilizing the nonvoters.
Plus: Frederick Douglass, the black abolitionist, was the most famous black American of the 19th century. Historian Eric Foner says Douglass’s political ideas can help us in our struggles today. 12/5/18

 

Start Making Sense

Michelle Obama’s Carefully Scrubbed Memoir: Amy Wilentz on the missing politics in ‘Becoming’

In LA, Michelle’s event was not at a bookstore, but rather at the Forum in Inglewood, where the Lakers used to play. It has 17,000 seats and was sold out for her event. She has similar venues in other cities. It’s not your typical author appearance. . . We’re interested in what the book has to say about politics, because hers were maybe more complicated than she let on. . . .
continued at TheNation.com, Nov. 30, 2018, HERE

 

Journalism

Katha Pollitt on White Women Who Voted for Trump; Plus, Michael Koncewicz on Nixon; Remembering Ricky Jay

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Fifty-three per cent of white women voters, according to exit polls in 2016, voted for Trump. Why? And, will their minds be changed? We turn to Katha Pollitt for comment.
Plus: Republicans who resisted the president’s abuses of power in the early 1970s — and Republicans today, who don’t.  Micheal Koncewicz, author of “They Said No to Nixon,” revisits Watergate and The enemies list project.
Also: Magician, actor, author, scholar and master showman, Ricky Jay passed away last Sunday — we remember him with an interview from 2001.
11/29/18

 

Trump Watch

Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’: Where Are the Politics? Amy Wilentz, plus Kai Wright on Midterm Victories and Tom Athanasiou on Climate

Listen HERE
Michelle Obama declares in her new memoir, “I am not a political person, so I’m not going to attempt to offer an analysis” of Trump’s victory.  That’s her stance in the rest of the book as well.  It seems strange for the person the New York Times called “The most outspoken first lady in modern history.”  What’s going on here?  Amy Wilentz comments.
Plus: The Democrats won the midterms by the largest popular vote margin for either party in the history of midterm elections — larger than the Watergate midterm after Nixon resigned in 1974, 44 years ago.  But there was a deeper and more significant victory hidden behind those numbers, Kai Wright argues: the political mobilization of millions of people of color in the South.
Also: Last week the White House – that is, the Trump White House – released a major scientific report on climate change, with the darkest warnings to date about the consequences of rising temperatures for the United States.  Tom Athanasiou explains.  11/28/18

 

Start Making Sense

How Democrats Won in the White-Hot Heart of the Republican Right: Gustavo Arellano on Orange County, plus L.A. Kauffman on Protest and Andrew Delbanco on Fugivitive Slaves

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Orange County, California, was the political starting point for Nixon, for the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign, and for Reagan—as Republican as any place in America. But starting in January, not a single Republican will represent Orange County in the House. It’s solid blue. Gustavo Arellano explains how it happened – he’s a weekly columnist for the LA Times, and wrote the legendary column “Ask a Mexican.”
Also: mass demonstrations in America, from the 1963 March on Washington to the 2017 Women’s March: what protests do when they work, and why: L.A. Kauffman explains. Her new book is How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance.
Plus: cities providing sanctuary for people the federal government is trying to arrest and return to the oppression they had escaped– today’s battles over Trump’s attacks on undocumented immigrants have some striking parallels with the battles over fugitive slaves in the decade before the Civil War. Andrew Delbanco comments–his new book is The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul, from the Revolution to the Civil War.  11/21/18

 

Start Making Sense

Frank Rich on Why the Democrats Won, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Matt Whitaker & the Constitution

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Frank Rich finds lessons for Democrats in the midterms: seeking “the political center,” as recommended by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, running on “clean-government themes and promises of incremental improvement to the health care system rather than transformational social change,” is “ridiculous.” Frank writes about politics for New York Magazine and is executive producer of VEEP on HBO.
Also: Trump’s appointment of a new acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker: is it legal? He hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate – or even nominated. Erwin Chemerinsky comments—he’s dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, and his new book is “We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the 21st Century.” 11/21/18

 

Trump Watch

Learning from the Midterms: John Nichols, Sasha Abramsky & Katha Pollitt

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The 2018 Midterm Elections: What can we learn from what happened in the Midwest and the Rust Belt? John Nichols has the report on Pennsylvania, Michigan, and–of course–Wisconsin, all of which voted for Trump in 2016, and all of which elected Democratic governors and Senators last week.
Next,  Sasha Abramsky on the Southwestern states: Arizona, Nevada, Texas–comparing and contrasting progressive and centrist candidates and their successes and failures — and of course California, where Orange County, once the home of right-wing politics–from Goldwater to Reagan and beyond — now will be represented by zero Republicans in the new Congress.
Plus, Katha Pollitt talks about all those women candidates — the Democrats in their multicultural glory (and the Republicans, the party of white men). 11/15/18

Trump Watch

“Chasing an Elusive Centrism is Ridiculous”: Frank Rich on politics, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Matt Whitaker and Laura Carlsen on the Caravan

Listen HERE
Frank Rich finds lessons for Democrats in the midterms: seeking “the political center,” as recommended by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, running on “clean-government themes and promises of incremental improvement to the health care system rather than transformational social change,” is “ridiculous.” Frank writes about politics for New York Magazine and is executive producer of VEEP on HBO.
Also: Trump’s appointment of a new acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker: is it legal? He hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate – or even nominated. Erwin Chemerinsky comments—he’s dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, and his new book is “We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the 21st Century.”
Plus: a report on that caravan from Central America headed across Mexico toward Tijuana, from Laura Carlsen, who has has been with the caravan. Trump has stopped talking about it, now that the midterms are over and his fear-mongering failed to win key House seats.  11/14/18

Start Making Sense