Living in the USA

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

Listen HERE
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

Listen HERE
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

Listen HERE
“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

Listen HERE
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’

Listen HERE
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

Listen HERE
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

Listen HERE
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

Unions at Yale and UPS: Harold Meyerson; Coups in the US: Fintan O’Toole; “She Said”: Katha Pollitt

Listen HERE
After a 30-year campaign, Yale finally recognized UNITE-HERE as the union representing TAs. Harold Meyerson reports – and also on the Teamsters as they prepare to strike against UPS in August.

Plus: f you were planning a future coup, what could you learn from the failure of Trump’s efforts on January 6? Fintan O’Toole says it would need a better story—not attacking Congress, but “defending democracy.” He teaches at Princeton, and is the author most recently of We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland.

Also: who’d want to see a movie about Harvey Weinstein? Well, the film She Said, about the two New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, is not about Harvey; it’s about the system that protected him. And it’s really good. Katha Pollitt comments.  1-12-2023

The House Republican Mess: Harold Meyerson; plus Nelson Lichtenstein on the UC Strike Victory and Andrew Bacevich on “The Long War”

Listen HERE
Harold Meyerson analyzes the Republican failure to elect a Speaker of the House – and what it tells us about the future of the new Congress.

Teaching Assistants and other grad student employees at the University of California won a historic victory in their strike last month. What does that mean for other universities and other union organizing campaigns? Nelson Lichtenstein joins the show to comment.

Also this week, Andrew Bacevich talks about our “very long war” going back to the sixties, and the relative insignificance of Donald Trump. Bacevich’s new book is On Shedding an Obsolete Past: Bidding Farewell to the American Century.  1-5-2023

Best of 2022: Elie Mystal on the Constitution, Kelly Lytle Hernandez on ‘Bad Mexicans,’ Beverly Gage on the FBI

Listen HERE
For our end-of year show we are featuring some of our favorite book segments from 2022, starting with Elie Mystal, The Nation’s Justice Correspondent, who says our constitution is not good.  His new book is “Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution.”

Plus: “Bad Mexicans” – that’s what the revolutionaries of 1910 were called as they fought on both sides of the US-Mexico border against the robber barons and their political allies. UCLA historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez tells that story, and talks about her book on race, empire, and revolution in the borderlands.

Also: We know a lot about the bad things J. Edgar Hoover did, but it turns out there’s a lot we didn’t know. Historian Beverly Gage explains; Her book is “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover & the Making of the American Century.”  12-29-2022