Recent Posts

Is Trumpism Fascism? Katha Pollitt; plus Mike Lux on Political Strategy and Harold Meyerson on Jonathan Gold

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Katha Pollitt is not happy with leftists calling Trump a “fascist” – maybe there’s a better term for his attacks on democracy, which have a lot in common with authoritarian leaders in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Hungary, Poland, and other places.  The foundation for all of them: austerity, pushed by the big banks and right-wing parties, which creates the economic anxiety that fuels racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.
Plus: left politics can win all over the country, not just in New York City and Chicago and LA – that’s what Mike Lux says, he’s a longtime strategist for the progressive movement and Democratic candidates.
Also: Jonathan Gold, who died on July 21, was the first food writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism.  He wrote, not about high-end restaurants, but about mom-and-pop places in immigrant neighborhoods of Los Angeles.  Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect talks about the significance of Gold’s writing about immigrants and their food in the Age of Trump.  8/2/18

Start Making Sense

Donald Trump’s 1968–and Ours: Todd Gitlin; plus John Nichols on the News Media in the Age of Trump

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August 1968, 50 years ago: fighting the police outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, while the whole world was watching: it was the culmination of an overwhelming year for the anti-war movement. But where was young Donald Trump? Todd Gitlin, activist, sociologist and author of “The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage,” comments on politics then — and now.
Plus, John Nichols says the Trump era is NOT a golden age for American journalism — cutbacks and mass layoffs have crippled our news media, just when we need them the most. 8/2/18

Trump Watch

Jonathan Gold Remembered: Harold Meyerson; plus Tom Frank on Obama & Trump, and Bob Zaugh on the LA Draft Resistance movement of the 1960s

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Pulitzer prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold died July 21; Harold Meyerson talks about how he taught readers in LA about the new immigrant city around them–by exploring immigrant neighborhoods and their restaurants. Harold also reviews Trump world after Trump’s worst week.
Also Tom Frank explains how we got from Obama to Trump — his new book is “Rendezvous with Oblivion.”
Plus Bob Zaugh tells amazing and true stories about the LA draft resistance movement in the Vietnam era. He helped organize the exhibit, “We Won’t Go: The L.A. Resistance, Vietnam and the Draft,” on view at the Getty Gallery of the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles until August 19th.  7/26/18

Trump Watch

After Trump’s Worst Week: Joan Walsh; Plus David Cole on Brett Kavanaugh and Michael Kazin on Jimmy Carter

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A week ago, Trump returned from his disastrous press conference with Putin in Helsinki to face a firestorm of criticism. Joan Walsh reviews the political landscape this week, when a significant minority of Republicans disagree with Trump on Putin—but nevertheless “approve” of his presidency. On the Democratic side, the tumultuous week has further energized candidates and voters for the fall elections.
Also: Some questions for Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, from David Cole. The legal director of the ACLU and legal affairs correspondent for The Nation says some questions—about current cases—are inappropriate for Democrats to ask in the upcoming confirmation hearings; but there are other questions—on Kavanaugh’s legal philosophy, and on his past statements and decisions—that he should be required to answer.
Plus: Jimmy Carter is widely regarded as a failed president, despite the fact that he promoted human rights around the world, granted amnesty to Vietnam War–era draft resisters, and was a dedicated opponent of racism who enforced the Voting Rights Act. Only one woman sat on a federal court when Carter entered the White House, but by the time he left, he had appointed 40 more—including Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Historian Michael Kazin analyzes what went wrong with Carter’s presidency.  7/26/18

Start Making Sense

Trump & Putin & Kavanaugh & Trump: Harold Meyerson & Erwin Chemerinsky; plus David Graeber: B.S. Jobs

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Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect analyzes Trump’s tumultuous post-Putin week, perhaps a turning point for Republicans–at least some Republicans.
Also: Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the Law School at UC Berkeley, talks about the worst things about Brett Kavanaugh, and about his greatest vulnerabilities in the upcoming confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Plus: Does your job make a meaningful contribution to society? David Graeber posted that question on the internet – a million people clicked on it, and many posted answers. Now his book about those answers is out – it’s called ‘B.S. Jobs,’ and it casts dramatic light on our economy and politics.  7/19/18

Trump Watch

Panel: ‘We Didn’t Go: L.A. Resisters and Prison”: LA Public Library

Panel on draft resistance in LA during the Vietnam war, featuring Paul Barnes Lake, Geoffrey Fishman and Joe Maizlish of the Los Angeles Resistance, who all served time in federal prison.
July 19, 2018: More info HERE

 

 

 

Events

Trump and Putin: Katrina vanden Heuvel; plus John Nichols on Kavanaugh and Adam Winkler on Corporate ‘Rights’

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Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki on Monday might have brought progress on nuclear arms control and conflict reduction in Syria; but when Trump argued that the US and Russia were “both . . . responsible” for Russian interference in the 2016 election, he squandered the opportunity—outlined in the “Common Ground” open letter published in The Nation, and signed by two dozen prominent figures including Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, John Dean, Governor Bill Richardson, Walter Mosley, Michael Moore, and Valerie Plame.
Plus: John Nichols examines the record of Trump’ Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and assesses the progress of the effort to block his confirmation by the Senate.
Also: UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler explores the long and terrible history of how corporations were given rights by the Supreme Court–all the same rights that people have.  Adam’s book is ‘We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.’  7/19/18

Start Making Sense

The World Cup–and World Politics; What Trump Doesn’t Know about China; Protests in Haiti

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Amy Wilentz, Guest Host:
Laurent Dubois, author of “The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer,” and Alan Minsky, KPFK Program Director, and founding member of the People’s Game Football Collective, explore the world of the World Cup.
Plus: Jeff Wasserstrom, American historian of modern China and Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, talks about Xi Jinping, Trump and China today.
Last,  James North, author of “Freedom Rising,” a first-hand look at apartheid South Africa, talks about the trouble in Haiti–not random violence, but focused on elite targets. 7/13/18

Trump Watch

Is Trump Crazy? Would Pence Be Worse? Amy Wilentz on Trump, Jane Mayer on Pence, and E.J. Dionne on America After Trump

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Amy Wilentz comments on 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.
Also: Would Pence be worse? Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reports—she interviewed more than 60 people in search of answers, including Pence’s mother. Several say he’s wanted to be president at least since high school.
Plus: America After Trump: E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post argues that Trump has mobilized progressive political forces that can transform America—and he reminds us that Trump never had a majority of voters, and is the most unpopular presidents in our history. E.J. is co-author of One Nation After Trump: A Guide to the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported.  (These segments previously aired on the Start Making Sense podcast.)  7-11-18

Start Making Sense

Trump’s Supreme Court & Abortion Rights: Katha Pollitt; plus David Cole on Voting Rights, and Amy Wilentz: Trump in June

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The Supreme Court gave the green light to anti-abortion ‘pregnancy crisis centers’ in California, and the campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade is under way — we talk with Katha Pollitt about the future of abortion rights with Trump’s Supreme Court.
Next up, David Cole, Legal Director of the ACLU, and legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, talks about voting rights and the ACLU in the age of Trump–and says “vote like your rights depended on it.”
Finally: Trump in June: the bad, the ugly, and the merely inexplicable — Amy Wilentz comments on politics in a really bad month.  7/6/18

Trump Watch