Recent Posts

Kirsten Gillibrand’s Journey to the Left: Joan Walsh, plus Eric Foner on Reconstruction & Amy Wilentz on Jared Kushner

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Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren are the women in the Senate who have announced campaigns for the Democratic nomination—and Gillibrand is running on Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. She started out in Congress as more of a centrist Democrat—how authentic has her transformation been? Joan Walsh reports.
Also: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War—that’s the new four-hour PBS documentary premiering this week. Produced and hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., the show explores the years after the Civil War, when the defeated South faced revolutionary social change—the world’s first interracial democracy. Eric Foner comments—he was chief historical adviser on the documentary.
Plus: We’re still waiting for the text of the report of special counsel Robert Muller, but in the meantime we’ve been told he did not recommend bringing charges against Jared Kushner  in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election. But that does not mean Jared is innocent of everything. Amy Wilentz explains. 4/11/19

Start Making Sense

Netanhayu’s Election & American Jews: Harold Meyerson; plus Eric Foner on Reconstruction and Laurie Winer on Stephen Miller

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Israel’s 2019 election results are in, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to serve a record fifth term — with help from Trump.  For American Jews, it means more alienation from Israel.  Harold Meyerson comments–he’s executive editor of The American Prospect.
Next, “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” premieres on PBS this week; we talk with historian Eric Foner about the first interracial democracy in the world–and how it was destroyed.  Eric is the award-winning historian and author of the definitive history “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution.”
Plus: Stephen Miller went from being a shy middle school kid in Santa Monica to Trump’s top advisor, the evil genius behind Trump’s vicious immigration and asylum policies — Laurie Winer reports on what happened to him.  Laurie wrote about Stephen Miller for LA Magazine.  4/11/19

Trump Watch

Stacey Abrams: ‘Open That Door’ The continuing fight for the right to vote

Q. Everybody I know says that if there’d been a fair count in the Georgia election, and no voter suppression, you would be the governor of Georgia right now. But you did accomplish some amazing things in that race.
Stacey Abrams: We received more votes than any Democrat in Georgia history, including President Obama, or Secretary Clinton, or any Democrat who’s ever run. We tripled Latino turnout, we tripled Asian Pacific Islander turnout, we increased youth participation rates by 139 per cent, we increased black turnout by 40 per cent.. . .
. . . continued at TheNation.com, HERE

Journalism

Republicans and ‘Socialism’: John Nichols; plus Zoe Carpenter on Toxic Plastics, and Ben Ehrenreich on Climate and Commerce

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Republicans and ‘Socialism’ — Republicans are running in 2020 against ‘socialism’; John Nichols talks about Milwaukee, America’s socialist city for 50 years.
Also: Plastics and Petrochemicals: An estimated 8 tons of plastic end up in the oceans per year. But the real problem is the manufacturing of plastics.  Zoë Carpenter explains.
Plus, Climate Change in the City: Ben Ehrenreich reports from Commerce, CA. on a community movement fighting for environmental justice. 4/4/19

Trump Watch

Stacey Abrams: How We Fight for the Right to Vote; Plus Harold Meyerson on the trouble with Beto

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When Stacey Abrams ran for governor of Georgia last November as the first African-American and the first woman candidate, she got more votes than any Democrat in Georgia history, including Obama and Hillary Clinton. She tripled Latino turnout; she increased the youth turnout by 139 per cent and black turnout by 40 percent. But because of Republican vote suppression she was not elected. In 2020 she could run for the Senate, or even for president. Her new book is Leading From Outside. In our interview, she talks about her campaign strategy and the centrality of the fight for the right to vote.
Also: The Trouble with Beto—he’s got a huge following, but what exactly does he stand for? And what does his narrow defeat in the Texas senate race last year tell us about what kind of campaign he would run if he won the Democratic nomination for president? Harold Meyerson comments—he’s executive editor of The American Prospect.  4/3/19

Start Making Sense

The Mueller Report: Harold Meyerson; plus the 50th Anniversary of John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace and Jane Mayer on Mike Pence

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The Mueller Report: a three page summary of the 300-plus page report has been released — that’s less than one percent of Mueller’s findings — Harold Meyerson comments.
also: Today marks the 50th Anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton, “our protest against all the suffering and violence in the world.. . . there are many ways to protest.” Celebrated in song: “The newspapers said – Say what you’re doing in bed; I said we’re only trying to get us some peace.”  We talk with Dick and Mickey Flacks about their lives on the left — their new memoir is “Making History Making Blintzes: How Two Red Diaper Babies Found Each Other and Discovered America”.
Plus: Jane Mayer on Mike Pence – and his mother.  The big question: would Pence be worse? Jane Mayer says “probably yes.”  She wrote about Mike Pence for The New Yorker, where she’s a longtime staff writer. 3/28/19

Trump Watch

Don’t Trust Barr on the Mueller Report: John Nichols; Plus Greg Grandin on Trump’s Wall and Adam Hochschild on Woodrow Wilson

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Nobody should be satisfied with Attorney General William Barr’s account of the Mueller report, says John Nichols. We had assumed that the independent counsel’s investigation into obstruction of justice would conclude one way or the other. Instead we have Barr making exactly the kind of political decision by a Trump appointee that the independent counsel’s office was created to prevent. There’s no substitute for seeing the full Mueller report, Nichols concludes.
Also: In the wake of the Barr letter, Trump is calling his opponents “treasonous.” He’s vowing to pursue and punish those responsible for the Russia investigation. What would it be like if he got his way, if there were no way to restrain him? Historian Adam Hochschild says it would be like the three-year period of censorship, mass imprisonment, and deportations during World War I, under Woodrow Wilson. His new book is “Lessons from a Dark Time.”
Plus: Trump’s Wall has become a powerful symbol of a radically new idea about what America stands for—replacing the myth of the frontier as a place of possibility, rebirth, and freedom. Historian Greg Grandin talks about the wall, the border, and the frontier–his new book is “The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America.”  3/27/19

Start Making Sense

College Admissions Scams, from Jared Kushner to the Present: Amy Wilentz, plus Medicaid in Arkansas and Abortion in Mississippi

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50 people in six states were accused by the Justice Department last week of taking part in a major college admission scandal. They include Hollywood stars and business leaders, who paid bribes to elite college coaches. But that’s not the way Jared Kushner got in to Harvard—his father paid the university directly. Amy Wilentz comments on the legal, and the illegal, ways wealthy people get their unqualified children into elite schools.
Also: In 2017, the Trump administration announced that, for the first time in history, states could impose a work requirement on the low-income people who rely on Medicaid for health nsurance. Arkansas was the first state to implement one, staring last June. A number of other states, including Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, are chomping at the bit to follow suit. Bryce Covert reports on the impact of the work requirement in Arkansas.
Plus: Mississippi has only one place you can get an abortion–it’s in Jackson, and the state also has a wonderful organization based there called the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. Rebecca Grant reports on the remarkable woman who founded and leads that organization.  3/20/19

Trump Watch

How to Beat Trump in 2020: John Nichols on Strategy, Michael Kazin on Southern Democrats, and Katha Pollitt on Women

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The Democrats’ picking Milwaukee for their convention in 2020 indicates how that Wisconsin is a key battleground the party must win in order to recapture the White House.  John Nichols talks about what it going to take for the Democrats to carry Wisconsin—and Michigan and Pennsylvania—and about the far-reaching tasks that face the party after four years of Trump.
Also: southern Democrats were an all-white party before the voting rights act of 1965; and then, as LBJ predicted, its members all became Republicans.  And yet throughout the 20th century Southern Democrats in Congress supported Progressive legislation—as long as it didn’t help black people.  Historian Michael Kazin comments—and talks about the party in the South now, where Stacey Abrams and Betto O’Rourke are building something new.
Plus: Halfway through Trump’s term, and the week after International Women’s Day, it’s a good time to look at the big picture of where women stand in the US and in the world—where the US ranks in terms of women’s political representation, legal equality, and recent reports of discrimination and violence.  Katha Pollitt surveys the good news, and the bad news. 3/14/19

Start Making Sense

Bill McKibben: Climate Victories–and Setbacks; plus Harm Reduction and the Opiate Epidemic

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What lessons can we draw from the recent victories—and setbacks–for the climate movement in California?  To replace coal and oil, do we need nuclear power? Is switching from coal powered electric plants to natural gas a step in the right direction? Bill McKibben comments–and talks how to get to a Green New Deal. Bill’s new book, “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” will be published on April 16.
Also: what can we do to reduce the death toll in the current epidemic of opioid overdoses? Maia Szalavitz suggests our focus should be on harm reduction, and especially on the creation of safe injection sites—Philadelphia may be the first US city to follow the example of Vancouver and many West European cities.  3/14/19

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