Recent Posts

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





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.

Trump Watch

How We Can Block Trump’s Supreme Court Pick: John Nichols, plus Tom Frank on Trump’s supporters, and David Graeber on Bullshit Jobs

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The most important political task of the year is blocking Trump’s supreme court pick.  It can be done, John Nichols argues—with the right political strategy: organizing in the states with the swing votes: Maine and Alaska.  It’s not New York and LA, but rather Portland and Anchorage where the fight will be won.
Also: Just eight years ago Democrats held not only the presidency but both houses of Congress.  How did they lose so much in such a short time?  Thomas Frank explains the disaster, and how, for millions of people, the recession of 2008 has never ended.  His new book is ‘Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society.’
Plus: “Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world?”  David Graeber posted that question on the internet – and a million people clicked on it.  A lot of them posted answers. Now his book about those answers is out – it’s called ‘Bullshit Jobs,‘ and it casts dramatic light on our economy and politics.

Start Making Sense

The Supreme Court: What We Should Do Now: Harold Meyerson; plus Dana Goodyear on Flipping a District, and Sonia Nazario on Migrant Children

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It’s been a really bad week at the Supreme Court Unions: for unions, for stopping gerrymandering, and for replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy: Harold Meyerson of the American Prospect reports on what we should do now.
Also: The only Republican in the House from LA County, Steve Knight, is facing a strong challenge from first-time Democrat Katie Hill. He’s against Obamacare; she’s for Medicare for All — and her chances look good. Dana Goodyear of the New Yorker reports.
Plus: Despite Trump’s reversal on family separation at the border, the crisis continues. Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of “Enrique’s Journey,” a book that detailed experiences of Latin American children immigrating to the US, joins us today to talk about Trump’s fake news, the experiences of migrants, and how we might improve family detention while people are waiting for their asylum hearings.

Trump Watch

Cruelty and Confusion in Trump’s Treatment of Migrant Children: Zoë Carpenter; plus Eyal Press on Drone Warriors and Amy Wilentz on Haiti

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More than 2,000 migrant children are still separated from their parents by the Border Patrol.  Zoë Carpenter reports on the confusion and uncertainty around Trump’s ever-changing and ever-cruel “policy”—and on her recent visit inside a Border Patrol “processing facility” in McAllen, Texas, where migrants are taken after being apprehended, and where children were being held separately from their parents.
Also: Drones have become the centerpiece of America’s war on terror.  We are told that drones have turned warfare into a costless and bloodless exercise for Americans, something resembling a video game for the people at the computer screens.  Eyal Press reports that the costs of our drone war include not only the casualties on the ground, including civilians, but also the drone warriors themselves—who suffer, not from PTSD, but from something else—“moral injury.””
Plus: Haiti: for Trump, it’s a “shithole country”; for us, it’s the country with the first and only successful slave revolution of the modern era—1791-1804—for which the French exacted a heavy price from the Haitians.  Amy Wilentz has just returned from Haiti with a report—on earthquake reconstruction (not much), street demonstrations for a higher minimum wage (now $4.50/day)—and World Cup fever (high).

Start Making Sense

Trump’s political disaster: Harold Meyerson; Inside a Border Patrol detention center for children-Zoe Carpenter; plus Ahilan A. on ACLU Action

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Over 11,000 immigrant children are being held in detention centers across the US: Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect comments on the political disaster for Trump–and the Republicans–of his family separation policy.
Plus Zoe Carpenter of The Nation reports on the inside of a Border Patrol children’s detention center in Texas–and the uncertainties those children now face.
And Ahilan Arulanatham, Legal Director of the ACLU of Southern California, has the latest on family detention litigation–and what people can do to help.

Trump Watch

Catastrophic Climate Change is Not an “Environmental” Issue: Bill McKibben; plus Andrew Bacevich on Endless War and Robert Edelman on the World Cup

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It’s the most crucial security question that humans have ever faced: catastrophic climate change. Bill McKibben says it’s too late to halt global warming, but we still have a chance to curb it, “short of civilizational destruction.”
Also: Donald Trump, the Trump supporters, and wars without end: Andrew Bacevich notes that Trump alone among presidents since 9-11 has said our 17 years of war have resulted in “nothing except death and destruction” – a statement that’s “more true than false.”
Plus: the World Cup is a political event not only in Russia but many other countries as well, where issues of nationalism, immigration, and race have surfaced in many different ways. Sports historian Robert Edelman explains.

Start Making Sense