Start Making Sense

Our Failing President and Our Right-Wing Court: John Nichols and David Cole

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Biden’s efforts to renew his candidacy are “risk-averse, uninspired, and dangerously misguided” – that’s what John Nichols says, as we review the efforts to persuade him to drop out of the race.

Also: During the Supreme Court term that just ended, the conservative majority granted new constitutional rights to hedge fund managers, big business—and Donald Trump. David Cole explains the shocking decisions that have transformed our government.

Finally, Jane McAlevey died Sunday–she was The Nation’s strikes correspondent, and one of our best.

Transcript HERE  7-12-2024

What Is to Be Done About Joe Biden?

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Marc Cooper argues that the narrative for Joe Biden’s presidency has now been set – he’s “too old.” And the Supreme Court decision on immunity for Trump makes it essential that he be defeated. Kamala Harris would be the choice of the Party establishment, if he agreed to step aside; at the convention, she might be nominated by acclamation, without a vote among alternative choices.

Also: Harold Meyerson analyzes what it would take to get Biden to decline the nomination: polls about the opinion of the Democratic rank-and-file; the views of Democratic senators and House members– those in danger of losing their seats and political careers; and Biden’s own circle–the crucial factor for them will be their assessment of Biden’s legacy.  Transcript HERE  7-4-2024

White Voters and Joe Biden; plus Harriet Tubman and History

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What should the Democrats do about white voters? Most of them have voted for Trump, twice. How much of that can be changed? Steve Phillips reports on new research that should reshape Democratic strategy.

Also: Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery and returned again and again to lead others north to freedom. Now her story is being told in a wonderful new book, with the wonderful title “Night Flyer.” the author is Harvard historian Tiya Miles; she joins us on the podcast.

Transcript HERE 6-27-2024

How the Sixties Ended, plus the Endless War in Gaza

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“1974,” the new memoir by Francine Prose, recalls the year when “the sixties” came to a definitive end, when it became clear that the changes we’d wanted, the changes we’d fought for, were not going to happen. She spent that year in San Francisco, where she got to know Tony Russo of the Pentagon Papers case.

Also: On May 31, Joe Biden declared, “It is time for this war to end.” But the leaders of both Israel and Hamas seem content for the war in Gaza to grind on into the indefinite future. Hussein Ibish explains why.  Transcript HERE  6-20-2024

AIPAC vs The Squad, Plus State Constitutions Protecting Rights

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The Israel lobby AIPAC is spending millions to defeat Representative Jamaal Bowman in the New York state Democratic primary. That’s because he called for a permanent ceasefire back in October, and describes what’s happening in Gaza now as “an ongoing genocide.” Alan Minsky has our analysis fo the campaign–he’s Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America.

Also: at a time when Republicans have a lock on the Supreme Court, state constitutions can provide a basis not only for protecting abortion rights, but for criminal justice reform, voting rights protection, the right to public education and even, in some states, the right to breathe clean air. Eyal Press reports.  Transcript HERE  6-13-2024

The Trump Verdict and the Pundits, plus Trump and Women Now

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The punditocracy has been arguing that the guilty verdicts in the Trump trial won’t matter much in the election – Marc Cooper disagrees, and explains what’s wrong about the conventional wisdom.

Also: The Trump verdict and women voters: Exit polls have consistently shown women voting Democratic, and men voting Republican – especially with Trump. How much wider will the Gender Gap get, now that Trump has been found guilty-of lying about having had sex with a porn star? Katha Pollitt will comment.  Transcript HERE  6-6-2024

Gaza Protest and Free Speech, plus Biden’s Haiti Gala

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As campus protests continue against American support for Israel’s war in Gaza, universities and colleges have legal obligations to combat discrimination and a responsibility to maintain order. But they must not sacrifice the principles of free speech that are core to their educational mission. Ben Wizner of the ACLU will explain.

Also: Kenya finally is sending 1000 police officers to Haiti on what is called a “UN security mission,” and Joe Biden held a gala state dinner honoring the president of Kenya for doing it. Amy Wilentz will comment on what she calls “the Devils’ Ball.”

Transcript HERE 5-30-2024

The Abortion Pill Underground, plus Can Dems Hold the Senate?

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Since Roe was overturned, pregnant people seeking abortions in Red states have found help from providers operating at the edge of the law. Amy Littlefield reports.

Also: Democrats in the Senate are going to lose the seat vacated by Joe Manchin in West Virginia — can they hold all the others in November? John Nichols has our analysis, starting with Maryland, where Democrat Angela Alsobrooks will face Republican ‘moderate’ Larry Hogan, the popular anti-Trump former governor.

Transcript HERE 5-23-2024

American Origins of the Israel – Palestine Conflict, plus Climate Hope

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The most important event in the history of Israel and Palestine was not the 1948 founding of Israel and the Nakba, or Israel’s 1967 occupation of Palestinian territories. It was the outlawing of immigration of Jews (and others) to the US from Russia, Poland, and Eastern and Southern Europe. That was the purpose of the immigration restriction act passed by Congress in May, 1924, 100 years ago this month. Without that, the Jews of Europe would never have moved to Palestine, Harold Meyerson argues.

Also: The New Yorker’s award-winning climate writer Elizabeth Kolbert talks about her fascinating new book, “H is for Hope: Climate Change from A to Z.’”

Transcript HERE 5-16-2024

The Mob Attack on UCLA’s Gaza Encampment, plus Israel, Hamas, and Rape

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Lots of pro-Palestine encampments on college campuses have been attacked by local police, but UCLA was different: a pro-Israel mob attacked the encampment on April 30. The attack continued for three hours before police stepped in, and they didn’t arrest any of the attackers. The next night, the police themselves attacked and shut down the encampment. David Myers has our report.

Also: There’s no doubt that Israeli women and girls were raped during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7; but there is little evidence to support Israel’s charge that rape was a “premediated, systematic” strategy by Hamas—offererd as a justification for their destruction of Gaza and killing 35,000 civilians. At the same time, evidence is growing of sexual abuse of Palestinian women held in detention by Israel. Azadeh Moaveni reports on the findings of her reporting for the LRB.

Transcript HERE 5-7-2024