Living in the USA

Rachel Kushner on Palestinian refugees, Adam Shatz on Edward Said, Viet Nguyen on immigrants

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Today we have two segments from the archives about Palestinians; neither is about the current war—and one about Trump and refugees.

Rachel Kushner reports on her visit to a Palestinian refugee camp in 2016;

Adam Shatz talks about Edward Said, the leading voice of Palestinians in the US before he died in 2003.

And later in the show: One of the defining features of Trump’s politics has been the way he’s appealed to hatred and fear of refugees and immigrants. Pulitzer-prize winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen says “call me a refugee, not an immigrant.”  11-16-2023

This week’s Democratic victories: John Nichols, Harold Meyerson; Gaza and history: Fintan O’Toole

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John Nichols has our analysis of Tuesday’s election victories in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky. But those victories came right after a series of very bad polls for Biden – especially a new NYTimes Poll that shows Trump leading in 5 out of 6 swing states. Could Biden’s poll numbers really be that bad?  Harold Meyerson comments.

Later in the show: What is Israel’s endgame in its war with Hamas? Over the past 50 years, it has tried two radically different strategies in Gaza, and neither succeeded. Fintan O’Toole will explain that history. He teaches at Princeton and he’s an advising editor at The New York Review of Books, where he’s been writing about Israel, Hamas, and Gaza.  11-9-2023

UAW Makes History: Harold Meyerson; Hamas and history: D.D. Guttenplan; ‘American Midnight”: Adam Hochschild

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Victory for the United Auto Workers in their strike against the big three automakers, GM, Ford, and Stellantis. Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large of The American Prospect, explains what’s in the new contract, and what it took to get there.

Also: A cease-fire in Gaza is only the beginning of what Israel and the Palestinians need. D.D. Guttenplan, The Nation’s editor, argues that “both peoples will have to find a way to share the land—in peace, yes, but also with justice.”

Plus: Adam Hochschild: Woodrow Wilson’s threats to American Democracy. Adam’s book “American Midnight” is out now in paperback.  11-2-2023

Biden and Israel: Harold Meyerson; Israel and Hamas: Adam Shatz

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The Biden administration says Israel’s planned invasion of Gaza “lacks achievable military objectives.” And yet Biden supports it. Harold Meyerson examines this contradiction.

Also: Adam Shatz says Israel’s disregard for Palestinian life after the Oct. 7 terror attacks has never been more callous or more flagrant. But Israel can’t extinguish Palestinian resistance by violence any more than the Palestinians can win an Algerian-style liberation war. The only thing that can save the people of Israel and Palestine is a political solution that recognizes both as equal citizens. Shatz is the former literary editor of The Nation and now US editor of the London Review of Books, where he wrote about Israel and Gaza.  10-26-2023

UAW victories at GM: Harold Meyerson; Public Power in Maine: Bill McKibben; “The Forgotten Girls”: Katha Pollitt

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The UAW won a historic victory when GM agreed that workers in EV and battery factories would be covered by the union contract.  Harold Meyerson comments on that, and on Israel’s war with Hamas.

Plus: Voters in Maine will decide next month whether to turn the state’s private utilities public. If that happens, it would be a huge step toward dealing with the climate crisis, and a model for other states. Bill McKibben will explain.

Also: Two girls grew up in the 1980s and ’90s in a small town in Arkansas. One made it out and became a successful journalist and writer; her best friend, who had been super smart as a kid, fell into drugs, getting pregnant too young, and petty crime. How did their lives turn out to be so different?  Katha Pollitt talks about the wonderful new memoir by Monica Potts, The Forgotten Girls.  10-12-2023

Our Biggest Ever Healthcare Strike: Harold Meyerson; plus the ‘Fabulous Failure’ of Bill Clinton: Nelson Lichtenstein

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Kaiser Workers’ strike this week is the largest by healthcare workers in US history. Harold Meyerson comments. Also: ethnic politics in California.

Plus: Our politics today is haunted by the failures of Bill Clinton—the “centrist” who “triangulated” with Republicans, lost on healthcare, and proclaimed that “the era of big government is over.” Nelson Lichtenstein will explain Clinton’s turn to the right, and the lessons for today’s Democrats. His new book on Clinton has the wonderful title A Fabulous Failure.

Also: Your Minnesota Moment: a big new solar energy project is in the works.  10-5-2023

Biden on the picket line: Harold Meyerson; plus Dahlia Lithwick on voting rights, and Adam Hochschild on guns

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Joe Biden joined a UAW picket line on Tuesday – the first president ever to do so. Harold Meyerson comments.

Plus: the right-wing supermajority on the Supreme Court has returned to a case about racial gerrymandering in Alabama, where Republicans have defied the Court’s order.  Dahlia Lithwick will comment about that, and about her book Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America—it’s out now in paperback.

Also: Adam Hochschild reports on visiting a gun show,  and explains why the Koch Brothers are major funders of the NRA—even though they are not especially enthusiastic about guns. (Broadcast originally in April, 2018).  9-28-2023

Is the UAW Asking for Too Much? Harold Meyerson; plus Astra Taylor on Insecurity and Amy Wilentz on Melania and Ivanka

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The UAW is being criticized by the corporate-Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party for seeking ‘too much’ in their current strike.  Harold Meyerson responds.

Plus: We face two kinds of insecurity in our lives today, Astra Taylor argues: existential insecurity, the unavoidable issues of life and death, and manufactured insecurity—intended to make workers more submissive to authority. Communal action can do a lot to reduce the second kind. Astra’s new book is “The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together As Things Fall Apart.”

Also: Melania and Ivanka Trump have been mostly absent from the former president’s side as he rages against the 91 felony charges brought against him in four different trials. Amy Wilentz comments on the news, the rumors, and the photos.  9-21-2023

Fast Food Workers Victory: Harold Meyerson; Haiti update: Amy Wilentz; Black Writing: Gary Younge

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Harold Meyerson reports on a major victory in the California state legislature that will raise pay for fast food workers from $15.50 to $20. Also: those Trump polls.

Plus: the news from Haiti, where the UN, with US support, is authorizing a new security force. Made up of mostly Kenyan troops, it’s supposed to restore “law and order” in Port-au-Prince. The Nation’s Amy Wilentz reports.

Also: Gary Younge, the award-winning former columnist for The Guardian, talks about Black writing and Black writers—and his own writing about Mandela, Obama, Trayvon Martin, and Claudette Colvin.

And Your Minnesota Moment: today, child labor violations in Mankato.  9-14-2023