Living in the USA

Why Trump Won’t be the Candidate: David Cay Johnston; plus Amy Wilentz & Tom Lutz

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Trump is going to be indicted for racketeering and fraud, because of his financial crimes, and that will prevent him from being the Republican candidate: that’s what David Cay Johnston says—he’s an award-winning investigative reporter, and his new book is ‘The Big Cheat: How Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family.’
Also: Revelations about the January 6 insurrection include striking new information about the Trump kids that day: Who did what, and also who didn’t do anything. Amy Wilentz reports.
Plus: : A report from Kwajalein, one of the Marshall islands in the Pacific that’s a major US military base. Tom Lutz says it’s completely paved over, and the only greenery is the golf course. The runway is one foot above sea level. The island will be under water by about 2035. Tom also describes life in some other places—his new book is ‘The Kindness of Strangers.’  12-23-2021

Bad news for Biden: Harold Meyerson; Alfred McCoy on Climate Change, Kristina Wong on Mask Making

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Biden’s signature social programs are not going to pass before the New Year, and maybe not at all, because of Joe Manchin’s obstructionism: Harold Meyerson reports. Also: some good news on unions, especially at the University of California.
Later in the show, how climate change will transform the coming face-off between the US and China – historian Alfred McCoy says China will be the world’s number one military & economic power by 2030 but Chinese domination will last for only 20 years, because rising temperatures and rising sea levels will bring crisis and disaster to China’s economy—and to ours as well. His new book is ‘To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change.’
Also: Mutual aid and racial justice during the year of Covid: Kristina Wong explains how, in the darkest days of the pandemic, she started the Auntie Sewing Squad to make masks for the most vulnerable communities—and how she became, in her words, a sweatshop overlord. Her new co-edited book is ‘The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice.’  12-16-2021

Stacey Abrams: Harold Meyerson; Gary Younge on Josephine Baker, and Father Greg Boyle

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Some really good news from Georgia: Stacey Abrams is running for governor!
Alongside Raphael Warnock for reelection as senator. Harold Meyerson comments – also, news from Texas and California.
Also: being Black in America, and being Black in France: Gary Younge will talk about Josephine Baker, the Black American dancer who went to Paris in the twenties and later renounced her American citizenship. She was interred at the Pantheon, alongside Voltaire and Rousseau, last week.
Plus: Father Greg Boyle — the founder of Homebody Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program on the planet– has a new book out now, it’s about “the power of extravagant tenderness” and it’s called “The Whole Language.”  12-9-2021

Unions vs. Amazon: Harold Meyerson; Omicron & Inequality: Gregg Gonsalves; Beatles ‘Get Back’: Gustavo Arellano

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Unions are taking up the fight against Amazon – notably the Teamsters, notably in Southern California. Harold Meyerson explains. Also: gerrymandering – and the wild card at the Supreme Court.
Plus: The new Omicron variant of Covid-19: Gregg Gonsalves argues that it serves as a reminder of how little we’re doing on pandemic prevention. Meanwhile, Republicans are describing Omicron as a Democratic plot to bring back mail-in voting.
Also: Gustavo Arellano talks about “The Beatles: Get Back,” the amazing and indispensable new 8-hour documentary.  12-2-2021

Kyle Rittenhouse, Republicans, and Vigilantes: John Nichols, plus Eric Foner on the Racial Politics of Housing

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Racial justice and injustice in America today. We are relieved by the guilty verdicts and life sentences for all three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick Georgia. But we’re still thinking about the Not Guilty verdict for Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with shooting three people, killing two, during the street protests over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. John Nichols comments on that trial, and its broader significance.
Also: Racism in America for decades led to strict housing segregation. But historians are now showing that that wasn’t simply the result of white people refusing to live near Blacks–segregated housing was the result of a carefully organized, long-term effort to establish a legal basis for systematic racial discrimination. And the groups that succeeded were not the KKK or White Power groups. It was realtors’ organizations. Eric Foner reviews that history.  11-24-2021

Politics from Glasgow to Texas: Harold Meyerson, plus Rebecca Solnit on George Orwell

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Our politics commentary with Harold Meyerson starts with the House preparing to pass Biden’s Build Back Better bill, then to Glasgow for the climate summit, then Texas where Beto is running for governor.
Plus: We’ll talk about politics and pleasure with Rebecca Solnit –she’s probably best known as the author of “Men explain things to me.” Now she has a new book out – it’s called “Orwell’s Roses.”
Also: Your Minnesota moment, news from my home town of St Paul, where the city attorney has announced he’s not going to prosecute any cases involving broken taillights – he says he hasn’t been able to forget about Philando Castile.  11-18-2021

Build Back Better gets closer: Harold Meyerson; plus Francine Prose on Ethel Rosenberg and Ella Taylor on ‘Passing’

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The House will pass a Build Back Better bill next week, maybe–Harold Meyerson explains.
Plus: A comic novel about Ethel Rosenberg? Francine Prose has written one–“The Vixen”–and it’s terrific.
Also: EllaTaylor on “Passing,” the film about a Black woman passing for white in New York City in the 1920s – playing now on Netflix.  11-11-2021

Democrats in Defeat: Harold Meyerson; plus Eric Foner on the Underground Railroad

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Tuesday was a dark day for Democrats: Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia was not particularly surprising. But how did he manage to present himself both as a Trump supporter and as a more moderate, less crazy kind of country club Republican? Harold Meyerson has our analysis.
Plus: how a small group of people challenged an unjust law and changed history: Eric Foner talks about the Underground Railroad and its challenge to the Fugitive Slave Act in the years leading up to the Civil War. His book is “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.” (first broadcast in January, 2015).  11-4-2021

The threat from Manchin & Sinema: Meyerson; Amy Wilentz on Haiti, Adam Shatz on John Coltrane

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Obama spent months negotating with reluctant Dems over his health care bill. The result: massive losses in the midterms. Is Biden making the same mistake with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema? Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: who really runs Haiti: the government, or the gangs? the kidnappings suggest it’s the gangs – and the leader of the gang that kidnapped 16 Americans has openly expressed political ambitions. Amy Wilentz will explain.
Plus: John Coltrane: of course he was the tenor player who started out with Miles Davis in the fifties and then, in the mid-sixties, set out to pursue music as a quest for spiritual enlightenment. His classic work was “A Love Supreme” — a single piece, 33 minutes long, it became the most popular record of his career. Now, a live performance from 1965 has been discovered and released – and Coltrane people are calling it “nothing short of a revelation.” Adam Shatz will comment.  10-28-2021

Dems scale back big plans: Harold Meyerson; plus Dave Zirin on ‘The Kaepernick Effect’

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The latest on the Democrats’ reconciliation bill: Harold Meyerson reports on the big cuts demanded by Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Also: gubernatorial elections threaten Democratic power in Virginia, and Republican power in Texas.
Plus: The Nation’s sports editor Dave Zirin talks about what he calls
“The Kaepernick Effect” – how an NFL quarterback who had never been an activist made “Taking a knee” THE symbol of protest against racial injustice, & how hundreds, if not thousands, of young athletes followed his example. Many of them—often high school students, women as well as men—faced ostracism, condemnation, death threats, and more. Dave Zirin’s new book is “The Kaepernick Effect.”  10-21-2021