Living in the USA

Democracy Summer: Harold Meyerson; Ukrainian Refugees: David Nasaw; Margo Jefferson’s new memoir

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The Democrats’ chances in the midterms depend on turnout, on door-to-door, face-to-face organizing—and “Democracy Summer” is their plan to join with allies in organizing that kind of effort in the swing states. Harold Meyerson explains.
Also: the disgraceful policy of America toward refugees from Ukraine – historian David Nasaw comments.
And the wonderful writer Margo Jefferson talks about her new memoir about growing up in a middle-class Black family in Chicago – it’s called “Constructing a Nervous System.”  5-5-2022

Progressives in Primaries: Alan Minsky; Amazon Workers: Jane McAlevey; Happiness: Joshua Holland

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Progressive Democrats will be challenging incumbent moderate Democrats across America this spring and summer—starting in Ohio as Nina Turner has a rematch with Shontel Brown for Ohio’s 11th District on May 3rd, 2022—Alan Minsky comments.
Next: The Amazon workers on Staten Island have won a historic victory—but now they must prepare to strike, and to win support for their strike from the community power structure. The Nation’s Strikes Correspondent, Jane McAlevey explains why, and how.
Plus: Why are Danes so much happier than Americans? Joshua Holland says there’s more to it than that; we revisit an interview about his short film about Denmark from 2017.  4-28-2022

Democrats: Michael Kazin: Ketanji Brown Jackson: Michele Goodwin; Cops & courts: Erwin Chemerinsky

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What the Democrats have done wrong, and what they’ve done right: Michael Kazin on the party’s history, and its future. His new book is “What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party.”
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson won’t be seated on the Supreme Court until late June, but we’re still thinking about the significance of her confirmation as America’s first Black female supreme court justice and of that horrible confirmation hearing she endured. We have UC Irvine Law professor and Nation contributor, Michele Goodwin, on the show to reflect.
Also: Many proposals to reform the police were made after the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, the largest protest movement in American history. But the problem, Erwin Chemerinsky argues, is not just the police; the Supreme Court has empowered the police and subverted civil rights. Erwin is Dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, and author of many books— most recently “Presumed Guilty.”  4-21-2022

Inflation Blame: Harold Meyerson; The Sheriff: Gustavo Arellano; Ukraine: Anatol Lieven

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Inflation is a world-wide phenomenon right now- what can Biden do about prices in America? Harold Meyerson comments. Also: the French elections.
Plus: The sheriff of LA County: he’s got 10,000 deputies, in America’s biggest county, with 10 million people – and he’s become LA’s biggest political problem as he faces reelection. LA Times columnist Gustavo Arellano comments.
Also: How could the war in Ukraine end? Anatol Lieven says Russia could gain control of the entire Donbass region and then declare a cease-fire—but if we want Russia to withdraw, we’ve got to give it incentives to do so.  4-14-2022

Amazon workers: Harold Meyerson; EJ Dionne & Miles Rapaport: Voting; Peter Dreier: Baseball

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It’s been a week since workers at the Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island voted to form a union – what’s the next step for the first union ever at the second biggest employer in America, and for the rest of the labor movement? Harold Meyerson has our analysis.
Also: What if everybody voted? What if voting was a duty, not just a right; an obligation, something like jury duty? E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapoport will explain; their new book is “100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting.”
Also: KPFK Sports! It’s opening day for Major League Baseball, and Peter Dreier will talk about baseball oligarchs and baseball rebels–and about Bernie Sanders’ blistering attack on the owners. Peter has two new books out: “Baseball Rebels” and “Major League Rebels.”  4-7-2022

Biden’s Budget w/out Build Back Better: Harold Meyerson; Student Debt: Astra Taylor

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Build Back Better never made it through congress. So, what’s in Biden’s new budget proposal? Harold Meyerson of The Prospect comments.
Plus: Monday April 4 is the Day Of Action to Abolish Student Debt, when thousands of young people will gather in Washington D.C. to say “Pick Up the Pen, Joe” — and abolish student debt via executive action. Astra Taylor will explain; she’s co-founder of the Debt Collective.
Also, the dangers (and the benefits) of antidepressants: P.E. Moskowitz talks about the science, and about personal experiences. Their report, “Breaking Off My Chemical Romance,” is featured in the magazine’s special issue on drugs.  3-31-2022

Biden’s Tasks Now: Harold Meyerson; Confirmation Hearings: Fishkin & Forbath; Jan. 6: Jamie Raskin

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Since the demise of Biden’s Build Back Better bill, the Democrats need other achievements to run on in the midterm campaigns. That means Biden should start using executive action. Harold Meyerson talks about the most politically important possibilities: student debt cancellation and action on prescription drug prices.
Also: the Senate confirmation hearings for Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson follow a familiar script. Progressives instead should be arguing–inside and outside the hearings–that the Constitution requires protecting our “republican form of government” from becoming a “moneyed aristocracy” or “oligarchy.” Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath explain; their new book is The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy.
Plus: Congressman Jamie Raskin, member of the House Select Committee
investigating the January 6 insurrection, talked about the committee’s evidence against Trump–-and the committee’s future if Republicans prevail in the midterms. He was manager of Trump’s second impeachment trial.  3-24-2022

Elie Mystal: Blacks and the Constitution; plus Eric Foner on slaveholders in Congress, & Eyal Press

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“Our constitution is not good. It urgently needs to be reimagined if we want justice and equality for all,” That’s what Elie Mystal says–he’s The Nation’s justice correspondent, and his new book is “Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution.”
Also: slavery and its political legacy in Congress: More than 1,700 congressmen owned Black slaves, according to The Washington Post. Even after the abolition of slavery in 1865, hundreds of men who had owned slaves were senators and members of the House of Representatives. The last senator who had owned slaves served in 1922. Eric Foner comments on the political power of slavery in America’s past.
Plus: Dirty work—and the people who do it: the low-income workers who do our most ethically troubled jobs. What does that have to do with the rest of us? Eyal Press explains—his new book is Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America.  3-10-2022

After Biden’s State of the Union: Harold Meyerson; Katrina vanden Heuvel: Ukraine; plus Jeet Heer

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Biden chose bipartisanship in his State of the Union speech–but the Republicans show no signs of cooperating, Harold Meyerson says. Also: progressive gains in the Texas midterm primary elections.
plus: Katrina vanden Heuvel on what she calls “Putin’s War” in Ukraine, and how Russians are responding.
Also: The Canadian truckers’ protest is over–what are the lessons for American Progressives? Jeet Heer comments.  3-3-2022