Recent Posts

Bill McKibben: Hurricane Florence Will Be Made Worse by ‘Stupid Political Decisions’

Q&A with Bill McKibben: “These days there’s always some new illustration of our folly. Florence is going to be a bloody and brutal affair, I’m afraid. It does remind us of just how much of a role stupid political decisions play. You may remember that it was the North Carolina state legislature six years ago that voted to ban the use of the latest science as it related to sea-level rise in coastal planning. That’s one of the reasons, I guess, that so many more structures there are in harm’s way now, as Florence approaches. ”
… continued at TheNation.com, HERE  9/13/18

Journalism

Politics Everywhere: Harold Meyerson; Keith Ellison: David Dayen; Guns in Schools: Randi Weingarten

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Republican Senate candidate and current Florida Gov. Rick Scott challenged Trump today on Puerto Rico casualty figures; SCOTUS nominee Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct, and measuring the Blue Wave now that Obama has joined the campaign — Harold Meyerson has our political update.
Next, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, has quit the House to run for state Attorney General in Minnesota. What was he thinking? David Dayen reports.
Plus: Unions are fighting for their lives and Betsy DeVos wants to put more guns in schools — Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation for Teachers, comments on the politics of education.  9/13/18

Trump Watch

Fighting Climate Change—and Donald Trump: Bill McKibben; plus Steve Phillips on moderate Republicans and Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on the inequality industry

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As world leaders (except for Trump) gather in San Francisco this week for the Global Climate Action Summit, Bill McKibben comments on California’s new law mandating 100 per cent clean electricity by 2045—and on the next task: keep oil and gas in the ground.
Also: Should Democratic strategy focus on winning the votes of moderate Republicans? Steve Phillips points to one key factor: there aren’t that many of them.  Steve is the author of the New York Times best seller, ‘Brown Is the New White: How a Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.’
Plus: the inequality industry: Atossa Abrahamian examines the new focus on inequality at the IMF, the Ford Foundation, and other elite institutions, and argues that there’s a big political difference between seeking to reduce inequality, and fighting for a world of equality.  9/12/18

Start Making Sense

Brett Kavanaugh Must Answer These Questions: David Cole

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The ACLU’s David Cole on the three most important questions the Supreme Court nominee should be asked: “My number one is whether he is someone who believes in an evolving Constitution, or whether he is committed to the Constitution as it was understood by the dead white men who wrote it 200 years ago.” 9/5/18

Journalism

We’re at a “Which Side Are You On” Moment: Randi Weingarten,
plus Mark Hertsgaard on climate politics and David Cole on Kavanaugh

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In Oklahoma and West Virgina and Missouri, teachers have led amazingly successful battles against Republican budget-cutting and tax breaks for the wealthy. Although the Supreme Court’s Janus decision sought to cripple the ability of public sector unions to engage in politics, recent polls show that unions are more popular than ever. Randi Weingarten comments on the big picture of unions and politics – she’s president of the American Federation of Teachers, with 1.7 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.
Also, At the California Global Climate Action Summit, in San Francisco next week, all the world’s major nations will be represented–except for our own government. Mark Hertsgaard reports on how California, under Governor Jerry Brown, has taken the lead in fighting climate change — and how climate activists have organized at the upcoming summit to demand that the governor end new oil and gas drilling. Mark wrote the cover story for The Nation’s special issue on climate politics.
Plus: 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 current 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.  9/5/18

Start Making Sense

Melania Trump: Hero of the People? Amy Wilentz, plus Katha Pollitt on the Politics of Motherhood and Lee Saunders on Unions after Janus

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Amy Wilentz takes up the vital question, is Melania Trump a hero of the resistance—or an accomplice of evil? Is she edging “ever closer to open contempt for him,” as New York Times columnist Frank Bruni argues, and finding “increasingly clever ways to show it”? Or is she sticking with her role as wife to a racist tyrant with a clear history of infidelity, and lots of cash?
Also: how mothers and pregnant women are discriminated against and punished – here at home, and around the world. Katha Pollitt talks about how that has happened—and why.
And as Labor Day approaches, we talk labor unions and politics with Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME. His union was the target of that decision by the Supreme Court in June, when it ruled, 5-4, that government workers who choose NOT to join unions may NOT be required to help pay for collective bargaining. Saunders explains what unions are doing to fight back – in the November election, and in the long run. 8/29/18

Start Making Sense

Surveillance Capitalism: Judith Coburn; John Nichols on the Florida Primary & Gary Younge on How Dems Can Win

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After 40 years as a war correspondent in Indochina and then an investigative journalist, Judith Coburn became a private investigator, working mostly with death penalty defense cases. We talk with her about Surveillance Capitalism in the Age of Trump.
Next, Florida’s general election for governor will feature two candidates who could not be more different: Andrew Gillum, a black progressive, and Ron DeSantis, “a fully ‘Trumpacized'” conservative — John Nichols reports.
Plus: We might have reached peak-Trump, but Gary Younge says, “if Dems want to win, they’ve got to motivate their base.”  Gary of course is a columnist for The Nation and a fellow at The Nation Institute as well as an award-winning writer for The Guardian. 8/29/18

Trump Watch

The Democratic Establishment Has No Message of Its Own:
Q&A with Gary Younge

Jon Wiener: Return with us now to March 2016. Ten people are running for the Republican nomination, and Donald Trump is in the lead. The evangelical candidate on the far right is Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Trump takes an unprecedented step in modern American politics and goes after Cruz’s wife Heidi with an insulting tweet. You wrote recently that this incident still has significance for our politics today, more than two years later—but not because of the tweet itself.
Gary Younge: That’s right. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, sees this horror show unfolding, and says, “I want Donald Trump to talk every single day for the rest of this election.” Hillary Clinton has her own version, taken from The West Wing: “let Donald be Donald.”  Because he’s his own worst enemy.  So let the man talk. Well, he did, and he won.
… continued at TheNation.com, HERE  8/27/18

Journalism

Trump in Trouble: Harold Meyerson; plus Katha Pollitt on Motherhood, and Farah Griffin on Aretha

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Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen pled guilty on Tuesday to many crimes of bank fraud and tax fraud, but there were two really significant ones: payments of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels (real name, Stephanie Clifford) and Playboy model Karen McDougal–on orders of the president. Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect comments.
Also: Around the world, mothers and pregnant women are undervalued, discriminated against, and punished.  We talk with Katha Pollitt about how most of it has nothing to do with Donald Trump — indeed Bill Clinton and the Pope bear more responsibility.
Plus: Farah Griffin of Columbia University comments on Aretha and Angela, and Aretha and Obama. 8/23/18

Trump Watch

Centrism Is Not the Answer! Gary Younge; plus Todd Gitlin on 1968 and Farah Griffin on Aretha

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Centrism lost for the Democrats in 2016, and it will lose again in 2018, Gary Younge argues: the party needs not just to oppose Trump, but also to put forward an alternative vision that can earn the support of working-class Americans. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has shown how to do it, running on a program of tuition-free higher education, Medicare for all, and a federal jobs guarantee.
Plus: Trump’s 1968 – and ours. In August 1968, 50 years ago this week, young antiwar demonstrators fought 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 explains–he’s an activist, a sociologist, and author of “The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage.”
Also: Aretha Franklin, who died last week, was a musical genius who seems unique; but she came out of a specific place and time: Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s. Farah Griffin, Professor of Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, comments—and explains the central role Aretha played in Angela Davis’s fight for freedom after facing capital charges in California in 1970. Also: Aretha and Obama—at the beginning of his presidency, at his inauguration, and at the Kennedy Center concert at the end.

Start Making Sense