Start Making Sense

Is Trump Crazy? Would Pence Be Worse? Jane Mayer on Pence, Amy Wilentz on Trump, plus Raj Patel on the problem with cheap food.

Would Pence be worse? Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reports—she interviewed more than 60 people in search of answers, including Pence’s mother. Several say he’s wanted to be president at least since high school.

Also: Is Trump crazy? Amy Wilentz talks about The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, edited by Bandy X. Lee, in which 27 psychiatrists and mental-health experts give their assessments of the president. The book is number four on the New York Times bestseller list this week.

Plus: The problem with cheap food: Raj Patel explains how we can get to a more just and equitable food future—he wrote about that for The Nation’s special issue on “The Future of Food.” His new book is A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things.
Listen HERE

How Much Time Could Women Reclaim If They Didn’t Have to Deal With Men’s Bullshit? Joan Walsh on Harvey Weinstein, plus John Nichols on Trump’s generals, and Zoë Carpenter on the future of food: The Nation podcast

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations of sexual harassment and assault, Joan Walsh talks about the torrent of #metoo stories, which reveal just how much time women spend dealing with male abuse.
Also: Will the generals save us from Trump’s impulsiveness, irrationality, ignorance, and aggression? Chief of Staff John Kelley, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are said to offer a “calming force” on the administration—but John Nichols is skeptical.
Plus: The Nation’s special Food Issue, out now, asks the question “How do we get to a more equitable and sustainable food system?” Zoë Carpenter comments—she was one of the editors of the issue.
Listen HERE

Ai Weiwei on Refugees: They Are Part of Us; plus David Dayen on JPMorgan and Amy Wilentz on Ivanka, Jared, and Don Jr.: The Nation Podcast

Human Flow is Ai Weiwei’s amazing documentary on the global refugee crisis. He’s our greatest political artist—here he talks about his first feature film, shot in 23 countries and dozens of refugee camps. It opens in New York and Washington on October 13 and Los Angeles October 20.
Plus: a special investigation conducted by The Nation: How America’s biggest bank paid its fine for the 2008 mortgage crisis—with phony mortgages. David Dayen reports on JPMorgan Chase.
Also: another chapter of The Children’s Hour: stories about Ivanka, Jared, and Don Junior. Today, the story of how Ivanka and Don Junior were almost indicted for fraud in 2012 over the failing Trump Soho project; while Jared had some unfortunate ideas about how to run his weekly newspaper, The New York Observer. Amy Wilentz has those stories.
Listen HERE

Say It Again: Donald Trump Did Not Win the Popular Vote E.J. Dionne on America after Trump, Ari Berman on gerrymandering, and Joan Walsh with Hillary: The Nation podcast

E.J. Dionne argues that Trump has mobilized progressive political forces that can transform America—and he reminds us that Trump never had a majority of voters, and is the most unpopular presidents in our history. E.J. is co-author of One Nation After Trump: A Guide to the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported.
Also: Ari Berman went to the Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear the arguments about political gerrymandering—he reports on the shocking facts behind the Wisconsin case, and the possibility that Justice Kennedy will join liberals on the bench in setting limits on this undemocratic practice. Ari is now a senior reporter for Mother Jones.
Plus: Last week Joan Walsh sat down with Hillary for a conversation about what happened in the election, and Hillary’s book What Happened. We have clips from their conversation, and comment from Joan about what it was like.
Listen HERE

Trump Is Inviting America Into the Torture Chamber: Sasha Abramsky, plus Katha Pollitt and D.D. Guttenplan on Hillary’s memoir.

 Sasha Abramsky talks about the way Trump cultivates fear to justify racist, violent, and criminal tactics. His new book is Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream
Also, two very different views of Hillary Clinton’s new campaign memoir, What Happened. According to Katha Pollitt, Hillary acknowledges that she never quite grasped what she was up against until it was too late, while D.D. Guttenplan says Hillary points to the wrong future for the Democratic Party—a future tied to big donors and the party elite.

Trump’s Campaign Chief Paul Manafort Faces Indictment: Bob Dreyfuss, plus Sarah Leonard on Hillary’s book and Todd Gitlin on Ken Burns’s Vietnam.

Bob Dreyfuss reports the big news in the Russiagate scandal: the first indictments. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has told Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort that he’s about to be indicted. And not only that: Manafort has been the subject of a court-ordered wiretap for years.
Also: Hillary’s new campaign memoir ‘What Happened’ has its engaging moments, says Sarah Leonard of The Nation, but the former candidate still doesn’t really understand the populist political forces responsible for her loss.
Plus: Todd Gitlin responds to critics of Ken Burns’s 18-hour documentary for PBS on the Vietnam war. It makes the anti-war case powerfully, he says; it presents Vietnamese understandings of the war brilliantly, and it’s fair to the anti-war movement.
Listen HERE

Hurricane Politics and Climate Change in the Age of Trump: Mark Hertsgaard and John Nichols, plus Alfred McCoy on Cyberwar with China

Scott Pruitt, who Trump appointed to head the EPA, says we should be helping victims of the hurricanes in Florida and Texas, and not debating climate change. Mark Hertsgaard disagrees: He says we still need to debate the politics of climate change, because the deniers still have a hold on the media. The debate, however, should not be about whether climate change is real—that’s scientific fact—but about what we should do to slow it down.
Also, John Nichols talks about hurricanes, toxics, and Trump’s EPA under Pruitt—he’s a disaster for the environment, because he’s spent his career defending the oil and gas industry.  John’s new book is “Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse.”
And Alfred McCoy reports on the Pentagon’s plans for war with China, which they are planning to fight in space and cyberspace. The Chinese, he reports, have more powerful supercomputers with better satellite communications and a stronger capability to hack our systems—that’s why we might lose.  His new book is “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.”
Listen HERE

Behind Trump’s Heartless Attack on the Dreamers: John Nichols, plus Elizabeth Holtzman on Impeachment and Joan Walsh on Mike Pence

John Nichols says Trump sent Jeff Sessions out to announce that the administration was targeting the Dreamers for deportation because Sessions has always been bitterly anti-immigrant, and helped bring that constituency into Trump’s base.
Also: Trump could fire Mueller or pardon all of his targets—but that won’t protect him from investigation by the state of New York, and Mueller has formed a partnership with New York’s state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Elizabeth Holtzman explains—she’s a former member of Congress from New York who won national attention for her work on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.
Plus: You’ve probably had this debate with your friends: Do we want Donald Trump to resign or be impeached, which would leave us with Mike Pence in charge? Would Pence would be better, or worse, than Trump? Joan Walsh has been thinking about this too—and she’s got some hard evidence and an original analysis.
Listen HERE

Houston Developers’ Losing Battle With Climate Change: Roane Carey, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio and Bob Dreyfuss on Seth Rich.

Roane Carey, The Nation’s managing editor, reports from Houston on the political battles there: Developers have defeated local anti-growth groups, but they can’t stop the climate changes that have brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding.

Plus: Erwin Chemerinsky, the new dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, says Trump’s Pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is “outrageous”—because it violates the separation of powers, and encourages the police to ignore Latinos’ constitutional right to liberty.

And if you wanted to discredit the idea that Russians hacked the DNC and sent what they found there to Wikileaks to help Donald Trump, you’d need a counter-theory—right? Bob Dreyfuss looks at the leading Republican counter-theory, and how it crashed and burned.

Steve Bannon’s Exit: All Power to Jared Kushner? Amy Wilentz , plus John Nichols on Trump after Bannon, and Joshua Holland on Russia and democracy.

Steve Bannon says his departure as chief strategist at the Trump White House leaves the Wall Street Democrats led by Jared Kushner in charge there. Is he right? Amy Wilentz, our Chief Jared Correspondent, outlines the differences between Jared and Bannon on key issues.
Also: John Nichols says the Bannon forces, funded by right-wing hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, will continue to fight with an “inside-outside” strategy—since their allies Sebastian Gorka and Kellyanne Conway remain part of Trump’s inner circle, now pressured from outside by Bannon and Breitbart News.
And Joshua Holland takes a new tack in the debate over whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians: he examines Russian interference in democratic elections across Europe, which have nothing to do with making excuses for Hillary’s defeat.
Listen HERE