Living in the USA

Billionaires and banks: Harold Meyerson; Women in 2023: Katha Pollitt; Vietnam Era Protest: Christian Appy

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Harold Meyerson comments on the fed, the banks, and the billionaires; also, the coming indictment of Donald Trump.

Plus: American women in 2023: the news is bad, but it’s not all bad. Katha Pollitt explains.

Also: the largest anti-war demonstrations in American history were protests in the fall of 1969–with more than two million people in the streets demanding “End the War in Vietnam.” But did those demonstrations help end the war?  Historian Chris Appy comments on the new documentary, “The Movement and the ‘Madman,’” on PBS American Experience March 28.  3-23-2023

Banks and Democrats: Harold Meyerson; Masks and Covid: Gregg Gonsalves; Wisconsin votes: John Nichols

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Harold Meyerson reports on the Democrats who supported reducing regulation of mid-sized banks like Silicon Valley Bank – and on the Democrats who are taking a stand against Netanyahu’s moves against democracy for Israeli Jews.

Also: John Nichols reports on the promising situation in the most important election before the 2024 presidential race: the Wisconsin Supreme Court election coming up on April 4, which could switch the court from conservative to liberal control, legalizing abortion and ending gerrymandering. Plus: the Democrats who tried to block the 2019 bill that reduced regulation on banks like Silicon Valley Bank.

And: Do masks work — to help stop the spread of covid?  A New York Times columnist recently said that they don’t, and cited an authoritative review of research as his source. But it turns he was wrong about that study.  Gregg Gonsalves of the Yale School of Public Health, will explain.  3-16-2023

The Kamala Conundrum: Harold Meyerson; Covid: Gregg Gonsalves; The Oscars: John Powers

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Kamala Harris is not a popular figure in American politics, and the vice presidential candidate for Biden’s reelection campaign in 2024 is unusually important because of his age. What to do? Harold Meyerson comments.

Plus: COVID remains the number 3 cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer, with almost 3,000 deaths every week. But Biden and the Democrats are ending the federal COVID emergency. Is that really a good idea? Greg Gonsalves doesn’t think so — he’s the Nation’s public health correspondent and a professor of epidemiology at Yale..

Also: Sunday is Oscar night in America! and, as usual, we have a lot of complaints about the nominations. So does John Powers, critic at large on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. We’ll talk about this year’s films we didn’t like—and some we thought were wonderful.

Finally: Your Minnesota Moment: the story of the Japanese temple bell that ended up in Duluth.  3-9-2023

Palestinians and Liberal Zionism: Saree Makdisi; Black Studies: Kimberlé Crenshaw; Walmart: Rick Wartzman

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Israel’s new far-right government, headed, again, by Benjamin Netanyahu, is working to undermine democracy for Israelis and advance Israel’s annexation of Palestinian land. Provocations by Israel in the West Bank have been followed by settler pogroms against Palestinian villages. Saree Makdisi provides comment and analysis of how Israel is “destroying the fantasies of liberal Zionism.”

Also: the worst thing that happened to Black History during Black History Month was not Ron DeSantis banning critical concepts and approaches – it was the College Board revising its new African American Studies curriculum to meet all of his demands. But now scholars in Black History, Black Studies and related fields are fighting back. Kimberlé Crenshaw will explain.

Plus: Walmart is the biggest employer in America, and the Walton family, the children of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is the richest family in the world. The company has raised wages and become more socially conscious-but it provides a case study of the limits of socially conscious capitalism. Rick Wartzman will explain – his new book on Walmart and its workers is titled “Still Broke.”  3-2-2023

Israel & American Jews: Harold Meyerson; Wisconsin & Politics: John Nichols; Blacks & the Constitution: Elie Mystal

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Harold Meyerson says American Jewish organizations haven’t said much about the recent attacks by the Netanyahu government on Palestinians, and on Israeli democracy. The big exception is J Street, which is leading a delegation of members of Congress to Israel this week.

Also: John Nichols reports on the good news from Wisconsin, where the liberal candidate came out way ahead in the primary for a new state Supreme Court Justice.

Plus: Our Black History month feature this week: Elie Mystal explains why “our constitution is not good.” He’s The Nation’s justice correspondent, and his book is “Allow Me to Retort.”  2-24-2023

The 1619 Project on Hulu: Robin Kelley; ‘The Crown’ on Netflix: Gary Younge; The Supremes: Erwin Chemerinsky

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“The 1619 Project” miniseries on Hulu sets a new standard for documentaries about Black life and history in America: Robin Kelley explains. Also Black history, banned in Florida—and excluded from the College Board’s recommended AP Black Studies course. Robin is one of the historians whose work has been targeted.

Also: the Royal Family and “The Crown”– you know, Queen Elizabeth and Charles and Diana, and the Netflix series about them. Gary Younge explains why he loathes the monarchy in Britain, but loved “The Crown” on Netflix.

Plus: Should the Supreme Court base its decisions on what it can discern about the original intent of the framers? That’s what the “originalists” say – and they dominate today’s court. Erwin Chemerinsky disagrees. He’s dean of the law school at UC Berkeley and author of many books, most recently “Worse Than Nothing: The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism.”  2-16-2023

Biden and the crazies in the GOP-Harold Meyerson, Chris Lehmann; “The Warmth of Other Suns”-Isabel Wilkerson

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Joe Biden’s State of the Union – where shouts and jeers from the wild and crazy Republicans seemed to end up helping him – Harold Meyerson comments.

Next: “The government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation”—that’s QAnon’s crazy idea, and 30 million Americans say they mostly agree. Chris Lehmann comments.

Also: Fintan O’Toole’s personal history of Ireland since the fifties: how a country dominated by a corrupt Catholic church came to legalize gay marriage and abortion — by referendum. His much-honored ‘personal history’ of Ireland, titled “We Don’t Know Ourselves,” is out now in paperback.

Plus: For Black History Month we revisit an interview with Isabel Wilkerson on her book about the great migration of Black people out of the South: “The Warmth of Other Suns”.  2-9-2023

The Debt Limit and the Constitution: Eric Foner; plus the 1619 Project, Victor Navasky Remembered, and Oliver Sacks ‘Tripping in Topanga’

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House Republicans are refusing to raise the debt limit, threatening that the US will default on its bond payments.  But the Constitution has the solution for President Biden – that’s what historian Eric Foner says.  He joins the podcast to shed light on a little-known section of the 14th Amendment.

Next: Republicans continue to work to limit teaching about Black Americans’ place in our history. Meanwhile, the 1619 Project, the book offering what the authors call “a new origin story” about the United States, was released as a docuseries on Hulu.  Martha Jones, a historian at Johns Hopkins University, and one of the contributors, talks about the battle, the book, and the larger project.

Also: we’re still thinking about Victor Navasky, who died on Jan. 23. He was editor or publisher of The Nation for 27 years, starting in 1978, and author of several books, including one about his life in magazines, titled “A Matter of Opinion.” We’ll listen to our conversation about that book, recorded in 2006.

Plus: Oliver Sacks was a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, and wrote widely about the brain; the NY Times called him “the poet of laureate of medicine.”  We revisit an interview with him about tripping in Topanga – and his book “Hallucinations” – recorded in 2012, he died three years later.  2-2-2023

Red States and Green Energy: Harold Meyerson; Kyrsten Sinema and Ruben Gallego: Steve Phillips; UBI and LA: Sasha Abramsky

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Every Republican voted against the clean energy tax credits that made up the bulk of the Inflation Reduction Act.  Yet, the clean energy projects, for solar, wind and battery technology – are going to Republican states.  Why?  Harold Meyerson comments.

Plus: Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona senator who quit the Democratic Party in December, is up for reelection next year, and will be challenged by progressive Democrat Ruben Gallego. Steve Phillips points to evidence that her chances of reelection are poor. His new book, “How We Win the Civil War,” has a chapter on Arizona politics.

Also: What if government provided a basic income to all residents? Something like $1000 a month? How much could that change inequality and poverty? Sasha Abramsky reports on the experiment in Los Angeles with Universal Basic Income.  1-26-2023

Bernie’s Priorities: Harold Meyerson; UC Strike, Cont.: Nelson Lichtenstein; Abortion Voters: John Nichols; Happy in Denmarkr: Joshua Holland

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Senator Bernie Sanders gave a major speech on Tuesday about the lives of working Americans – Harold Meyerson comments. Also: the coming primary for Diane Feinstein’s senate seat.

Plus: the UC TA strike: just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in – with “attestation” forms to dock back pay. Nelson Lichtenstein explains.

Also: Abortion remains a potent force mobilizing liberal and progressive voters in the upcoming 2023 state legislative races – John Nichols has our analysis.

And Joshua Holland explains why people in Denmark are so much happier than people in the USA.  1-19-2023