Recent Posts

The LA Teachers Strike Tests the Democrats; Trump’s Shutdown w/John Nichols; Viet Nguyen on Refugees

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Today is day four of the LA teachers’ strike. “This bitter conflict is also a fight about the meaning of progressive politics”–that’s what Nelson Lichtenstein says — he’s professor of history and director of The Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara.
Also: despite the fact that 58% of Americans oppose the wall, we are on day 27 of Trump’s government shutdown over funds to build one. What are the politics of the Republicans in this situation? We turn to John Nichols for comment.
Plus: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen says “call me a refugee, not an immigrant” — his new book is “The Displaced.” 1/17/19

Trump Watch

The anti-immigrant temptation on the left: David Adler on politics, Pedro Noguera on the LA teachers strike, and Kate Aronoff on the battle of ideas

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A political movement combining a left-wing economic program with anti-immigrant initiatives: it’s developing right now in Germany and France – could it happen here? David Adler explains: he’s the Policy Coordinator for the European Spring — Europe’s first transnational party, led by Yanis Varoufakis. He writing has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, and Jacobin—and now he has the cover story in the new issue of The Nation.
Also: 31,000 teachers are on strike right now in Los Angeles–it’s the biggest strike in a long time in the second biggest school district in the country, with 600,000 students. And it’s not just about salaries and benefits; the teachers say they want smaller classes, which means more teachers. Pedro Noguera reports.
Plus: Like everybody else on the left, we’re excited about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her proposal for a Green New Deal –but “the Left needs more than good ideas”–that’s what Kate Aronoff says. We need to change the economic and political consensus shaped by the right and build a political and intellectual infrastructure that can match theirs.  1/16/19

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The Issues Republicans Are Afraid to Touch: Harold Meyerson on Politics, plus Aaron Maté on Russiagate and Alex Press on Amazon workers

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Now that the Democrats are in charge in the House of Representatives, Harold Meyerson says, we can learn a lot about progressive political opportunities by studying “the Republican dogs that didn’t bark in the night” – the political issues Republicans didn’t attack in the recent elections–because they have widespread public support. Harold is executive editor of The American Prospect and a regular contributor to the LA Times op-ed page.
Also: Aaron Maté says new studies show that Russian social-media involvement in US politics in the recent election was small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated to the candidates—and that pundits have exaggerated the effects of Russian trolls posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Plus: now that the holidays are over, it’s time to talk about the hundreds of thousands of workers who were Christmas temporaries at Amazon warehouses – Amazon calls them “seasonal associates” and describes the places they work as “fullfillment centers.” Alex Press explains—she’s an assistant editor at Jacobin. 1/10/19

Start Making Sense

Russiagate in Review; plus Jane Mayer: Would Pence Be Worse?

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Russiagate is basically a political corruption scandal, says David Klion of The Nation. The basic facts have been obvious for a long time—and they should bring down Trump’s presidency.
Also: we ask Jane Mayer of the New Yorker what may be the most important question of the year: Would Pence be worse?
Plus: Why are Danes so much happier than Americans? Is it just because Donald Trump is NOT their president? Joshua Holland says there’s more to it than that.
And we also have a history segment today: Sean Wilentz talks about the place of slavery in the origins of the United States–his new book is No Property in Man.  1/10/19

Trump Watch

2019 will be the worst year of Donald Trump’s life: LA Times op-ed

Some presidents have really bad years.
For Nixon, it was 1974 — the Watergate year, which ended with his resignation. For Clinton, it was 1998 — the Monica year, which culminated with an impeachment trial in the Senate in 1999. He won that vote easily and came out more popular than before.
It’s a good guess that Donald Trump’s really bad year will be 2019.  . . . continued at LATimes, HERE  1/3/2019

Journalism

Now it’s the Democrats’ Turn: Harold Meyerson; Plus, Amy Wilentz on Amos Oz & Alex Press on Amazon Workers

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The 116th Congress convened today — the Democrats, including two socialists, took over the House; there were many firsts and a few surprises: Harold Meyerson has our report.
Also:, Amos Oz, Israeli author and peace advocate passed away last week; former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker, and contributing editor at The Nation, Amy Wilentz remembers Oz and his work.
Plus: What’s it like to work at Amazon?  In the holiday season, as a “seasonal associate” — i.e. Christmas Temporary — at a “fulfillment center”? Alex Press reports.  1/3/2019

Trump Watch

The Best of 2018: Seymour Hersh on Trump, Barbara Ehrenreich on ‘Wellness,’ and Amos Oz Remembered

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Our most popular interviews of the year, starting with Seymour Hersh, one of our heroes; he says “don’t underestimate Trump.” He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for his expose of the My Lai massacre—he was a 33-year-old freelancer at the time. Since then, he’s won pretty much every other journalism award. He’s worked as a staff writer for The New York Times and The New Yorker. He’s also written a dozen books, most recently ‘Reporter: A Memoir.’
Also: Barbara Ehrenreich is another hero of ours– the author of more than a dozen books, including the unforgettable “Nickel and Dimed.” Now she has a new book out, a bestseller, and it’s terrific: it’s called “Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainly of Dying, and killing ourselves to live longer.”
Finally, Amos Oz died on Dec 28 –He was an Israeli novelist and unyielding critic of the occupation of the West Bank and a campaigner for a two state solution. His novels were translated into dozens of languages, and he also wrote for The Nation. Here we revisit an interview we did with him in 2004, about mideast politics.  1/2/13

Start Making Sense

The Facts of Russiagate have been Obvious for a Long Time: David Klion on Putin and Trump, plus Amy Wilentz on Trump’s Mental Status and Bill McKibben on Climate Change

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For our year-in-review show, we open with a Russiagate update with David Klion – he says it’s basically a corruption scandal whose basic facts have been obvious for a long time—and one that should bring down Trump’s presidency.
In a lot of ways, Trump himself was the biggest story in 2018–we ask Amy Wilentz the key question: “is Trump crazy?” She discusses the mental and emotional status of the president, as analyzed by 27 psychiatrists in ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,’ a book edited by Bandy X. Lee. The book was number four on the New York Times bestseller list.
And the biggest story of the year, for all of humanity, has been catastrophic climate change —Bill McKibben says “it’s not just an environmental issue.” 12/27/18

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Progressive Heroes of 2018: John Nichols; Gustavo Arellano: the OC, & David Cay Johnston on Trump

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2018 was a big year for progressives — John Nichols with the Progressive Honor Roll names some names — on our year in review show.
Next, we talk with Gustavo Arellano about the biggest change in California politics in decades: how the OC.the white-hot heart of right-wing politics in the nation, turned blue.  Gustavo is now a staff writer for the LA Times.
Finally, David Cay Johnston reports on Trump family financial fraud, saying, “Nixon’s crimes are pebbles compared to the mountain of tax cheating by the Trumps.”
12/26/18

Trump Watch

2018: The Year of the Progressive–John Nichols, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Obamacare, and Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on left internationalism.

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John Nichols presents the highlights of The Nation’s annual Progressive Honor Roll—our heroes in Congress, in state politics, and in leading protests at the border.
Also: is Obamacare unconstitutional? A federal judge ruled last week that all of Obamacare violates the constitution if he’s upheld by the Supreme Court, 20 million people will lose their insurance coverage. The case has the potent name “Texas versus the United States.” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, explains why that ruling is likely to be rejected at the Supreme Court—by vote of 9-0.
Plus: right-wing authoritarians have been coordinating political campaigns and disrupting elections across national boundaries – a project masterminded by Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. It’s time now for the left, especially the American left, to go on the offensive and reclaim its tradition of internationalism. Atossa Araxia Abrahamian reports on the project of Yanis Varoufakis—and Bernie Sanders—to organize a Progressive International.  12/19/2018

 

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