Trump Watch

The Problems with Biden on Labor & Climate: Harold Meyerson; Amy Wilentz on Melania; Educating girls in Afghanistan

Listen HERE
Democratic candidates debated climate change last night on CNN and we’re especially interested in what the front-runner in the polls, Joe Biden, had to say; also, a new labor bill that could determine the future of the gig economy — for comment, we turn to Harold Meyerson.
Next up: Is Melania Trump a secret hero of the people– or an accomplice of evil?  Amy Wilentz explains.
Also: Sola means “peace” in Pashto; and SOLA (The School of Leadership, Afghanistan)is the first and only boarding school for girls in Kabul; we talk with the school’s founder, Shabana Basij-Rasikh about the future of girls’ education in Afghanistan after an American pullout.  9-5-19

The Green New Deal & Labor: Harold Meyerson; Trump’s Polls: Jeet Heer; J. Hoberman on Movies and Reagan

Listen HERE
In Los Angeles, a local of the electrical workers, the IBEW, has blocked the city from signing a deal for the cheapest solar power in history – and has been running ads on TV opposing the mayor’s Green New Deal proposal to move to renewable energy. A similar dynamic is underway in northern Minnesota, where the Building Trades unions are supporting a pipeline that would bring crude from the terrible Alberta Tar Sands to the port of Superior/Duluth–“Enbridge Line 3,” which is opposed by Elizabeth Warren–in her biggest campaign appearance to date, at Macalester College in St. Paul. Harold Meyerson comments — and points to the unions that support the Green New Deal.
Also: Trump is trailing badly in the polls–so how does he think he can win? Jeet Heer explains.
Plus: Star Wars, Ghost Busters, Rocky and Dirty Harry — we talk with J. Hoberman author of “Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan”. 8/29/19

DSA says ‘Bernie or Bust’: Meyerson; Katha on Jeffrey Epstein; Nichols on White Nationalism

Listen HERE
If Bernie does NOT get the nomination, the Democratic Socialists of America will not endorse the Democrat who does. “Bernie or Bust” was what they decided at their recent convention – but is that a good idea? Harold Meyerson comments–he’s editor-at-large of The American Prospect and a regular contributor to the LA Times op-ed page.
Also: Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile and accused sex trafficker – who surrounded himself with an elite network of political leaders, wannabe billionaire types, and even scientists – and who committed suicide. Katha Pollitt considers the people who have been named in court documents as having accepted invitations from Jeffrey Epstein and also had sex with the underage girls he provided.
Plus: After the El Paso killings by a white nationalist–Tucker Carlson said on Fox news that white supremacy was “not a real problem in America.” He called it “a hoax, just like the Russia hoax.” John Nichols examines the history of white nationalism in recent American politics, going back to the election of Barack Obama.  8/22/19

Taking it to the Streets: Katha Pollitt; plus D.D. Guttenplan: the Green New Deal: Our Moonshot; and Pico Iyer on Peter Matthiessen

Listen HERE
Trump gets worse every week. Two years ago we had massive nationwide protest demonstrations — so why don’t more people take it to the streets these days? Nation columnist Katha Pollitt has been thinking about that.
Plus: last month was the 50th anniversary of Americans walking on the moon-what would it take to get a similar mobilization today of money & effort—and vision–-to combat climate change? D.D. Guttenplan comments – he’s editor of The Nation.
Also: Fifteen Minutes without Trump – we want to take a brief break from Trump Talk, and instead,we want to talk about a trek in the Himalayas –
would you call that taking a break from Trump? We spoke with Pico Iyer about Peter Mattheson’s exploration of suffering, impermanence, and beauty in his classic book The Snow Leopard — it’s out now in paperback.  8/15/19

The El Paso Attack: Joan Walsh; Sy Hersh’s memoir; D.D. Pennebaker remembered

Listen HERE
After Trump’s tweets about the El Paso killings, Beto’s response was the one of the best: “He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.” Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, examines the mainstream media’s failures in covering Trump.
Also: Seymour Hersh, one of our heroes; he says “don’t underestimate Trump.” He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for his expose of the My Lai massacre—he was a 33-year-old freelancer at the time. Since then, he’s won pretty much every other journalism award. He’s worked as a staff writer for The New York Times and The New Yorker. He’s also written a dozen books, most recently ‘Reporter: A Memoir.’
And we remember D.A. Pennebaker–the legendary documentary filmmaker whose “Don’t Look Back,” about Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, made film history. 8/8/19

Trump and Immigrants: Laila Lalami; plus Michael Walzer on Organizing, and Michael Ames on Bowe Bergdahl

Listen HERE
Trump’s target in the 2020 election will be immigrants, ‘The Other Americans’—that’s the title of the new novel by Laila Lalami. Her last novel, “The Moor’s Account,” won the American book award and was a Pulitzer finalist. She’s written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper’s, and The Guardian, and she’s a columnist for The Nation.
Plus: we talk about organizing to defeat Trump–about movement strategies and tactics, & political issues and campaigns. Our guest is Michael Walzer — His new book is “Political Action: A practical guide to Movement politics.”
Also: during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump often talked about an American soldier in Afghanistan who became the longest-held American POW since Vietnam. Trump said was quote “a dirty rotten traitor” who should be shot or thrown from a plane. He was talking about Bowe Bergdahl, that story is told in a new book, “American Cypher”–we’ll speak with the co-author, Michael Ames. 8/1/19

Democracy in Trouble: Astra Taylor; plus Viet Nguyen on Refugees

Listen HERE
Democracy is not doing well these days – we have Trump, and Brexit, and a host of other examples. Astra Taylor has been thinking about that: she talks about the paradoxes of rule by the people, the many ways it’s being frustrated, and why it remains at the center of our hopes for the future. Her new book is “Democracy may not exist, but we’ll miss it when it’s gone.”
Also: Trump will make hatred and fear of refugees and immigrants a central theme of his reelection campaign next year – and so we turn to Viet Nguyen – he’s a Pulitzer-prize winner and recipient of a MacArthur ‘Genius” grant – and he says “call me a refugee, not an immigrant.” His book “The Displaced,” featuring writing by refugees,is out now in paperback. 7/22/19

How Trump Happened: Joy Reid; plus Jared’s Mideast Peace “Plan”: Amy Wilentz

Listen HERE
Racial anxiety was more important than economic anxiety in motivating Trump’s voters, Joy Reid of MSNBC argues. A key factor in Trump’s victory was nostalgia for a white, Christian America where men were still in charge. And of course Hillary fell short not only with male voters but with voters of color overall. Joy’s new book is The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story.
Also: Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Plan, announced in Bahrain to an audience of billionaires and Gulf potentates, promised $50 billion in economic development funds to Palestinians—if they would abandon their aspirations for an independent state. Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis participated in the conference. Amy Wilentz, a longtime contributing editor at The Nation, comments – she was Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker.  7/19/19

Trump’s Census Defeat: John Nichols; Anti-Immigrant History: Linda Gordon; MAD Magazine RIP: Jeet Heer

Listen HERE
Today, Trump admitted defeat on is effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 United States Census — as he addressed cameras live from the White House Rose Garden, we turned to John Nichols for comment.
Next: Walls have been used against immigrants to the US before Trump– historian Linda Gordon talks about the 1920s, when anti-immigrant hostility conquered Congress.
Also: MAD Magazine (1952 – 2020): Jeet Heer on the death and influence of “one of the major showcases for media criticism in America.” 7/12/19

Elizabeth Warren Challenges Joe Biden: Joan Walsh and Jeet Heer

Listen HERE
Campaigning in Iowa, Elizabeth Warren has made her story an American story, Joan Walsh says, and thereby found a good way to connect her policy proposals to her own life, and thereby to other people’s lives–and also to refute critics who say she’s an out-of-touch policy wonk.
Also: Joe Biden and his friends: he says some of them were segregationist senators – and he thinks that was a good thing, something that made it possible for him to pass important legislation. Jeet Heer says that’s a fantasy—Republicans are not going to work with Biden if he gets the nomination and defeats Trump. Jeet is a new National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation.  7/4/19