Start Making Sense

How the Parkland Kids Are Beating the Gun Industry: George Zornick, plus Jane McAlevey on Unions & Amy Wilentz on the Trump Kids

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The mass shooting at that high school in Parkland, Florida is still in the news, because of the brilliant political work by those students. George Zornick analyzes the big picture.
Plus: This week the supreme court heard a case that could cripple public-sector unions. Jane McAlevey talks about Janus v. AFSCME and what the unions need to do to recover the ground they have lost.
And we have another episode of The Children’s Hour: stories from Amy Wilentz—this week, about Ivanka in Korea, Don Junior in India, and Jared in trouble—over his security clearance. 3/1/2018

It’s Time to Break Up Amazon—Stacy Mitchell; plus Bryce Covert on low wage workers and Bob Dreyfuss on the Russiagate Indictments

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Amazon is a radically new kind of monopoly that seeks to control all of online commerce. Stacy Mitchell says it’s time for anti-trust action to separate the Amazon Marketplace from Amazon’s own retail operations.
Also: Why have wages stagnated since the seventies? Bryce Covert says one reason is the mandatory noncompete and no-poaching agreements that prevent low-wage workers from taking better-paying jobs. California has made them unenforceable; the rest of the states should do the same.
Plus: Bob Dreyfuss explains the indictments of 13 Russians for crimes that involved supporting Trump for president—and talks about the next steps Special Counsel Robert Mueller might take—following the trail left by the Russian hacker group “Cozy Bear.” 2/21/2018

Elizabeth Warren: Monopolies Are Destroying Our Economy & Democracy–George Zornick reports; plus David Dayen on Warren Buffett & Katha Pollitt on Trump & women

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Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to make the fight against monopoly power in America a key part of the Democrats’ agenda; George Zornick reports.
Also, Warren Buffett’s secret: “The sage of Omaha” is America’s favorite tycoon. He supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for president. But David Dayen says Warren Buffett’s wealth has actually been built on monopoly power.
Plus: Trump and that white working-class woman who voted for him.  Is she “stupid,” “gullible,” and “turned on by Trump’s bigotry”? Katha Pollitt comments on Renee Elliott, the laid-off worker at that Carrier plant in Indiana— the face of the white working-class Trump voter.  2/14/18

Is it ‘Treason’ Not to Clap for the President? Joan Walsh, plus Nomi Prins on financial deregulation and Ann Jones on Norwegians

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In a speech in Ohio on Monday, Trump said it was “treason” for the Democrats not to applaud him during his State of the Union speech. Tuesday, his spokesperson said he was just kidding. Joan Walsh says it’s not treason—and he wasn’t kidding. Maybe he was just diverting attention from another issue: What happens if Trump refuses to meet with special prosecutor Robert Mueller?
Also, here comes the next financial crisis: maybe not this week, but eventually—and Republican deregulation, undermining the institutions designed to protect us, will make it much worse. Nomi Prins explains.
Plus: Remember when Trump said we should get fewer immigrants from “shithole countries,” and more from places like Norway? Ann Jones lived in Norway for four years; she explains what Norwegians might bring to the United States if they did come: a commitment to equality in health care, education, and a dozen other necessities. 2/7/18

Was There Anything Actually True in Trump’s State of the Union? Harold Meyerson on Trump, and Meehan Crist and Tim Requarth on phony forensics.

Trump’s Teleprompter reading of his State of the Union speech was reprehensible in so many ways—why bother listening at all? Don’t we already know enough about him? Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect comments on the lies, and the inadvertent truths, in the president’s speech.
Plus, injustice in America: It’s not just the police, it’s also the prosecutors—and their reliance on “forensics”—who create much of the injustice in the American justice system. Despite the portrayal on TV of forensic analysts on the show CSI as crime-solving seekers of truth, prominent scientists, and criminal-justice experts have questioned whether suspects can really be identified by forensic techniques like matching bite marks, hairs, shoe prints, tire tracks, or even fingerprints. According to the Innocence Project, faulty forensic science is a factor in nearly 50 percent of wrongful convictions. Meehan Crist and Tim Requarth explain in their Nation cover story, “The Crisis of American Forensics.”
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Women Show How to Run, & Win, Against Trump’s GOP: John Nichols, plus Alfred McCoy on Fortress America & the Rev. William Barber on white nationalism

Trump’s not on the ballot this year, but that’s not stopping Democratic women from running against him in races across the country. John Nichols reports on recent Democratic victories where female candidates in special elections in state races flipped formerly Republican seats.
Also: Fortress America is crumbling—the rise of China started long before Trump, but he’s alienated allies and abandoned alliances in a way that may now make the process irreversible. Alfred McCoy explains.
And the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber talks about white nationalism, patriotism, and Donald Trump—he’s the architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, president of the North Carolina NAACP and pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
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How Trump Brought Feminism Back With a Vengeance: Katha Pollitt, plus Bob Dreyfuss on Russiagate and David Bromwich on Trump’s ruling passions

Since Trump took office a year ago, Katha Pollitt says, women have been unleashing decades of pent-up anger: starting with the Women’s March, then in some amazing political victories, and in the #MeToo movement. But Trump has also shown how terrible the loss of the White House has been.
Also: David Bromwich says there are no surprises with Trump: he’s been the same for decades, a “wounded monster” with a history of racism and a contempt for people he considers “losers.”But defeating him requires more than an issue—it has to be a cause.
And Bob Dreyfuss explains the secrets behind the creation of the Trump-Russia dossier assembled by Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS—as revealed in congressional testimony released last week by Diane Feinstein, against the wishes of the Republicans.
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Should Celebrities Really Run For President? John Nichols on Oprah, Harold Meyerson on California’s resistance to Trump, and Father Greg Boyle on ex-gang members

John Nichols points out the problems with a celebrity like Oprah running for president—and serving as president; he also analyzes the real significance of Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury, and of Trump’s attempt to stop its publication.
Also: Trump has targeted California, the biggest blue state, with his tax and immigration policies, but the state has been resisting—and some vulnerable Republican House members have been withdrawing from their reelection races. Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect comments.
Plus: Father Greg Boyle of Los Angeles talks about his amazing work with former gang members—he’s the founder and head of Homeboy Industries, the biggest and best job training and reentry program in America for previously incarcerated men and women. His new book is Barking to the Choir.
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Fred Trump and the KKK of the 1920s: Linda Gordon, plus Nancy MacLean on the Roots of the Radical Right

The KKK of the 1920s had millions of members outside the South. It targeted Catholics and Jews as well as blacks, and had impressive success at electing governors and congressmen. It passed anti-immigrant restrictions that remained in effect until 1965. And Fred Trump, the president’s father, was arrested as a young man at a Klan march in New York City. Historian Linda Gordon explains—her new book is ‘The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan and the American Political Tradition’.
Plus: Nancy MacLean uncovered the deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America: the historic connection between the Koch Brothers’ anti-government politics, the white South’s massive resistance to desegregation, and a Nobel Prize-winning Virginia economist. Nancy is an award-winning historian and the William H. Chafe Professor of history and public policy at Duke University. Her ‘Democracy in Chains’ was named “most valuable book” of 2017 by John Nichols on The Nation’s Progressive Honor Roll.
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From Bill O’Reilly to Al Franken: Katha Pollitt on #MeToo in 2017; plus John Nichols on The Resistance in 2017 and Howell Raines on Alabama’s Amazing Year

Our year-in-review show opens with Katha Pollitt on #MeToo in 2017. The year began with the resignation of Bill O’Reilly and ended with the resignation of Al Franken. Along the way we had Harvey Weinstein and Roy Moore. But what about sexual harassment by men who aren’t in high profile media or politics positions?
Plus: 2017 was the year of The Resistance – beginning with the women’s march the day after Trump’s inauguration. John Nichols has our Progressive Honor Roll, honoring those who have led in fighting Trump and Trumpism.
And the most remarkable political year was Alabama’s: starting with the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and ending with Doug Jones winning the election for Sessions’s seat, the first Democrat to win an Alabama senate seat in 27 years. Legendary Alabama journalist Howell Raines reviews the many surprises along the way and assesses their significance.