Start Making Sense

The Desperation of Donald Trump: David Cole; plus George Zornick on healthcare in the Senate and Joshua Holland on happiness in Denmark

David Cole, legal director of the ACLU and The Nation’s legal-affairs correspondent, argues that Trump would only be talking about pardoning himself if he was desperate—because he knows what the special counsel is likely to find—and is thus willing to pay a tremendous political price to avoid impeachment.
Plus: The Senate GOP healthcare bill is confusing—that’s the way they want it, says George Zornick: It’s their only chance of repealing Obamacare. (recorded Tuesday afternoon, before their bill failed).
And Joshua Holland explains why Danes are so much happier than Americans: It’s not just because Donald Trump is not their president.  Josh wrote and narrated the animated video at
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Trump’s Troubled Top Attorney; plus The Children’s Hour–Don Jr., Jared, Ivanka, and Eric

Bob Dreyfuss reports on the lawyers on both sides of the Russia investigations, starting with Mark Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, who is also working for Russian bankers connected to the meeting with Don Jr. at Trump Tower. Also: the deep challenges facing Trump’s legal team.
Plus: Amy Wilentz with The Children’s Hour: news about Don Jr., Jared, Ivanka, and Eric—boy, are those kids in trouble this week!  One big question: Why were Jared and Ivanka partying with Chuck Schumer in the Hamptons last week?
And Suzanne Gordon argues, in the wake of the Republicans’ failure to repeal or replace Obamacare, that the VA provides a strong example of healthcare for America—better in many ways than Medicare for all.
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 Al Franken Versus the De-Humorizer

Al Franken talks about the dangers of humor in politics, about the voters who supported Trump, the “deep hole” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dug for himself, and the need for a public option in health care in America.  His new book is Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.
Also: Joan Walsh comments on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian government representative promising dirt on Hillary: It may make him a criminal, and it certainly made him a liar.
And Ari Berman explains what the Russians did to hack voting, and what it would take to make our systems less vulnerable—and why Trump’s commission on “electoral integrity” should be disbanded.
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Naomi Klein: We’re all in Trump’s reality show now

Trump’s presidential reality show is nonstop, Naomi Klein says in Part 2 of our interview, HERE—and, as a result, people really die.  Naomi’s new book, No Is Not Enough, debuted at number two on the New York Times bestseller list.
Also: The Jared Report: Amy Wilentz talks about the most trusted man in the Trump White House—his real-estate holdings, his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, and his first speech as a public official—sad!
And we revisit our 2003 interview with Al Franken about his number one bestseller, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Now he has a new number-one bestseller: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.
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 Naomi Klein: Kill the Trump Within

It’s not enough to say “no” to Trump, Naomi Klein argues on our new podcast, HERE; we need to transform ourselves and our movement to bring about the change we need.
Also: Senate Republicans postponed voting on their “health-care” bill, after the CBO revealed its terrible consequences; Zoë Carpenter comments.
And, David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, explains the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in October about Trump’s travel ban.=
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Trumpcare is the Most Unpopular Legislation in History

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Only 17 percent of Americans approve of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare; George Zornick says maybe that explains the secrecy of Senate Republicans in drafting their bill.
Also: Why are young people voting for old socialists?  Sarah Leonard comments on the support for Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, and similar candidates across Europe.
And Jedediah Purdy responds to critics of Henry David Thoreau and Walden, outlining the radicalism of his politics and his writing.

 High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case for Impeaching Trump

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John Nichols
argues that Trump should be charged by the House with obstruction of justice and abuse of power and put on trial in the Senate.
Plus: Amy Wilentz talks about the trouble with Trump’s tweets, which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cited Monday in their ruling rejecting his travel ban.
And: Paul Mason of The Guardian analyzes last week’s elections in Britain, and finds lessons for the American left in the historic campaign led by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.

 Norman Lear: Donald Trump Is the Middle Finger of the American Right Hand

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orman Lear
, who created All in the Family, reflects on why it succeeded in the Age of Nixon—and on what is different about political satire in the Age of Trump.
Plus: The Nation’s Zoë Carpenter reports on Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, who has taken the lead in fighting for an alternative to the GOP’s repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
And: Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post discusses what happened when Paul Ryan’s hometown lost its GM plant. Her new book is Janesville.

Trump is like a Cornered Animal: Sasha Abramsky–plus David Cole and Paul Mason

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The “new normal” of daily disasters for the White House make Trump more dangerous and irrational, Sasha Abramsky says, and more likely to adopt fascistic tactics.
Plus: conservatives argue that the courts have gone too far in rejecting Trump’s travel ban as an unconstitutional attack on Muslims—David Cole of the ACLU responds.
And Guardian columnist Paul Mason analyzes the British elections in the wake of Trump’s trip to Europe, which he calls “disastrous.”

Trump’s Cruel and Unusual Budget

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All budgets are political statements—Trump’s, submitted to the House on Tuesday, represents a cruel attack on the weakest and most vulnerable, in order to slash taxes for the wealthiest. And the assumptions behind the claim that it is “balanced” could generously be called “unusual.” George Zornick comments.
Plus: The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that two of North Carolina’s congressional districts had been gerrymandered to weaken the black vote in the state. Ari Berman explains.
Also: Trump’s weekend visit to Saudi Arabia was an embarrassment in many ways, and sinister in others. Joshua Holland has the details.