The Supreme Court has decided NOT to challenge rent control – a huge victory for the progressive renters’ rights movements across the country. Also, the Supreme Court will leave in place the diversity-oriented admissions plan for Thomas Jefferson High School – Harold Meyerson comments.
Next: A political battle is underway in Los Angeles, where landlords, multi-millionaires, and the police are trying to defeat the leading progressive on the city council. Their key issues are protection for renters and new taxes on mansions. Peter Dreier has that story.
Plus: The latest US moves in Haiti are framed in democratic rhetoric but are deeply anti-democratic in their effect. Amy Wilentz is on the podcast to explain. She’s written two books about Haiti, most recently the award-winning Farewell Fred Voodoo. 2-22-2024
The special election this week on Long Island, to replace the disgraced fraud George Santos, resulted in a win for Democrat Tom Suozzi – in “one of the most Republican areas in the United States” – Harold Meyerson reports. Also, discussed: two centennials this week: one of immigration law and, one of “a landmark in the rise of the culture of urban diversity,” George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” – the first recording.
Plus: Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon is one of our leading progressives, and one of five senators to call for a cease-fire in Gaza; he explains why, and discusses his new book, Filibustered! How to Fix the Broken Senate and Save America. 2-15-2024
Trump’s immunity defense has been denied by the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals; the Republican-controlled House has failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas; and other GOP failures – Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: The case for disqualifying Trump as a candidate, based on the 14th Amendment banning those who have engaged in insurrection from holding public office. That case went before the Supreme Court this week. Princeton historian Sean Wilentz has our analysis.
Plus: The Nation’s annual Progressive Honor Roll features movement leaders who provide hope for 2024. John Nichols tells their stories. 2-8-2024
Trump’s legal and financial crises are deepening, and Nikki Haley isn’t quitting – his mental deterioration is becoming more evident, and she is making it a campaign issue. Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: California moved one step closer to universal healthcare on January 1, when it expanded coverage to all low-income residents, regardless of immigration status. Sasha Abramsky will report.
Plus: Adam Shatz will talk about Franz Fanon, whose books Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks made him a huge figure on the left, not just in the ’60s when they were published, but in the era of Black Lives Matter when “his shadow looms larger than ever.” Now he’s the subject of Adam’s new book, The Rebel’s Clinic: The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon. Adam is the US editor of the London Review of Books. 2-1-2024
In the New Hampshire Republican primary, the first in the nation, Trump got 54%, Nikki Haley got 43% – and, 42% of NH Republicans say that if Trump is convicted of a crime, they would not vote for him – Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: John Nichols talks about Biden’s big win in NH, and Trump’s furious victory speech.
Plus: Mazie Hirono, Senator from Hawaii: Last week, out of a 100-member chamber, only 11 Senators supported Bernie Sanders’ measure that would require Israel to provide a human rights report; Hirono was one of them. In this episode from the archives, she talks about the need for filibuster reform and Supreme Court reform, and about the storming of the capitol on January 6. Her autobiography is “Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story.” (First recorded May, 2021.) 1-25-2024
From Iowa to New Hampshire: John Nichols; “American Fiction”: John Powers; Irish politics: Fintan O’Toole
John Nichols reports on Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa, and explains why Iowa is the state with the biggest shift from blue to red between Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2020.
Also: The new film “American Fiction,” starring Jeffrey Wright, takes up the question, do Black writers have to “write Black”? The film is based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett, which is considerably wilder and more uncompromising than the film. John Powers comments—he’s critic at Large on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
Plus: Fintan O’Toole’s personal history of Ireland since the fifties: how a country dominated by a corrupt Catholic church came to legalize gay marriage and abortion — by referendum. His much-honored ‘personal history’ of Ireland, titled “We Don’t Know Ourselves,” is out now in paperback. (Originally recorded in February, 2023.) 1-18-2024
“Trump’s Lawyers Invite Biden to Assassinate Him.” That’s the headline at Prospect.org — Harold Meyerson explains.
Plus: Only Joe Biden can stop the war in Gaza: Israel’s war in Gaza has been going on now for three months, and the IDF said over the weekend they plan to keep the war going for another year. Amy Wilentz talks about Netanhayu’s use of the war to hold on to power.
Also: the lies that protect profit, power and wealth in America: they are documented, and dealt with, in a wonderful new book co-authored by Joan Walsh. It’s called Corporate Bullsh*t. 1-11-2024
For many, the upcoming presidential election is a source of dread and pessimism. Harold Meyerson talks about sources of hope in 2024 – including Trump’s upcoming trial for attempted insurrection and the promise of ongoing progressive political action by America’s youth.
Also: Hope is different from optimism – it’s an embrace of uncertainty, and a basis for action. The polls look bad for Joe Biden, but Democrats’ chances are much brighter in the House, and perhaps the Senate. John Nichols talks about reasons for hope in 2024, starting in the tipping point state of 2020, Wisconsin.
Plus: Bill Gates is now the 6th richest man in the world, with 104 billion dollars. He’s spent the last 20 years giving away some of his money – the Gates Foundation gave away $7 billion in 2022. But with the money comes a host of problems. Tim Schwab will explain; his new book has a great title: “The Bill Gates Problem: Reckoning with the Myth of the Good Billionaire.” 01-04-2024
End-of-year Giving: Katha Pollitt; the Xmas Truce of 1914: Adam Hochschild; Bob Dylan’s Xmas: Sean Wilentz
Our holiday giving list: Katha Pollitt presents her list of groups that need—and deserve—our support: Gaza aid, abortion assistance, and organizing against Trump.
Also: On Christmas Day, 1914, after five months of unparalleled industrial-scale slaughter, British and German soldiers stopped fighting and exchanged gifts, sang Christmas carols, and played soccer. It’s a unique event in the history of modern warfare. Adam Hochschild comments – originally recorded on the 100th anniversary in 2014.
Plus: Bob Dylan fans have been puzzled and troubled by his Christmas album ever since he released it in 2009. To help figure out what Dylan was doing, we turned to Sean Wilentz. He’s the official historian at BobDylan.com, and he also teaches history at Princeton. 12-28-2-23
Class struggle in 2023: Harold Meyerson; Hamas and rape: Katha Pollitt; schools and politics: Randi Weingarten; plus Arthur Danto on Las Vegas
Harold Meyerson comments on the Colorado supreme court’s ruling that the constitution prohibits Trump from serving as president because he participated in an insurrection. Also – class struggle in 2023 – the year in review.
Plus: Why have some feminists been reluctant even to acknowledge that Hamas members raped Israeli women and girls on Oct. 7? Katha Pollitt comments.
Also: “parents rights” failed as a Republican political tactic in the 2023 elections – but what about 2024? Randi Weingarten has our analysis – she’s president of the AFT.
And from the archives: Arthur Danto on art in Las Vegas. This segment was recorded in 2000. 12-21-2023