Recent Posts

Naomi Klein: To Fight Climate Change, We Have to Radically Rethink What Is Possible; plus Dahlia Lithwick and Manuel Pastor

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Naomi Klein says the Green New Deal needs to follow the example of the New Deal of the 1930s, when nothing would have happened without “massive pressure from social movements” that “changed the calculus of what was possible.” Naomi is a contributing editor at The Nation and author of several number one bestsellers, including “This Changes Everything.”
Plus Dahlia Lithwick talks about the national challenge to Trump’s “national emergency”—the constitutional issues, the political issues, and the dangers of treating as normal his rambling, fact-free, egomaniacal performance in the Rose Garden announcing his “emergency.” Dahlia writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast ‘Amicus.’
And we’ll also look at California’s resistance to Donald Trump: Manuel Pastor will explain the past, the present, and the future of the fights over climate justice and immigration between the biggest state and the worst president. Manuel’s new book is “State of Resistance.” 2/20/19

Start Making Sense

Podcast Spotlight: “Start Making Sense”

“As the host of Start Making Sense, the weekly podcast of The Nation magazine, Jon Wiener ’66 promises “political talk without the boring parts,” and the show delivers, featuring interviews with a mix of Nation contributors and other leading journalists and experts. (Recent guests include author Naomi Klein, New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert, and Princeton historian Sean Wilentz.). . . ”  continued at the Princeton Alumni Weekly, 2-21-19, HERE


The Green New Deal in California: David Dayen; Plus Isabel Wilkerson on ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’

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The Green New Deal in California: bad news is that the governor seems to be pessimistic about high-speed rail; meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the mayor had good news about stopping natural gas plants – David Dayen reports.
Next up, February is Black History Month in America – we revisit an interview with Pulitzer-prize winning author, Isabel Wilkerson, where she talks about her book ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’ and the great migration of Black people out of the South.  2/14/19


Trump Watch

Child Care for All belongs on the Progressive Agenda: Katha Pollitt, plus David Klion on Bernie’s foreign policy and Antony Loewenstein on Afghanistan

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Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage – and how about adding Child care for all to the Progressive agenda?  That’s Katha Pollitt’s proposal—she argues it will help huge numbers of people.
Also: Bernie’s foreign policy: in 2016 he ran on domestic issues almost exclusively. This time around, if he runs—and it looks like he will–he’s going to say more about foreign policy—a lot more. David Klion explains; he’s profiled Bernie’s foreign policy advisor, Matt Duss.
Plus: Peace in Afghanistan?  Trump says it’s close – and Antony Loewenstein says it will bring massive corruption around mining the minerals of that country—and do nothing to help local communities.  2/13/19

Start Making Sense

Bill McKibben panel: “Fire and Ice” at UC Irvine

Panel moderator: “Creating Climate Change Narratives,” with climate movement hero Bill McKibben; New York Times magazine writer Nathaniel Rich; USC Professor Manuel Pastor; and Pulitzer-prize winning New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, author of “The Sixth Extinction.”  At the conference “Fire and Ice: The Shifting Narrative of Climate Change”  February 8, 2019.  More info HERE


Trump and ‘Socialism’: Harold Meyerson, plus Manuel Pastor: Calif. vs. Trump, and Elizabeth Kolbert, Trump vs. Climate change

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Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect on the president’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night — and whether “socialism” is as big a negative for Americans as Trump thinks it is.
Also: as of October, 2018, California had filed 44 lawsuits against Trump, and more are expected for 2019. We talk with Manuel Pastor about climate, immigration and the future of California v. Trump.  His book is “State of Resistance.”
Plus Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer-prize winning author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” on Trump, climate and endangered species. 2/7/19

Trump Watch

The State of the Union is Not Good: John Nichols on Trump, plus Sasha Abramsky on TPS and Elizabeth Kolbert on climate change

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John Nichols says that, although Trump’s State of the Union speech included a call to “embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good,” his actual proposals were “cynical and crude.”
Also: Temporary Protected Status—TPS—has allowed immigrants and refugees from half a dozen countries to stay in the United States for decades—but now Trump is trying to get rid of all of them. Sasha Abramsky reports on the human toll of this cruel policy.
Plus: Elizabeth Kolbert of The New Yorker on Trump, climate change, and species extinction—she says “we need courage, not hope.” Her book The Sixth Extinction won the Pulitzer Prize.  2/6/19

Start Making Sense

2019 Will Be the Worst Year of Trump’s Life: John Nichols on politics, plus Sarah Jaffe on the LA teachers strike, and Sean Wilentz on slavery and the constitution

What will 2019 be like for Trump? Will it be like Nixon in 1974—the Watergate year, which ended with his resignation? Or more like Clinton in 1998—the Monica year, which culminated with an impeachment trial in the Senate in 1999? He won that vote easily and came out more popular than before. John Nichols looks at the investigations coming up in the House, leading us to conclude that 2019 will be the worst year of Donald Trump’s life.
Also: The LA teachers’ strike is, among other things, a battle over the future of the Democratic party: will it embrace austerity and the steady erosion of social services, or will it fund the progressive agenda? Sarah Jaffe reports.
And Americans have always struggled over the place of black people in America, starting at the beginning, with the Constitution. Was the Constitution a pro-slavery document? Or, as Lincoln argued, did it point toward abolition? We ask Sean Wilentz—his new book is No Property in Man.  1/24/19

Start Making Sense

Fred Trump and the KKK: Linda Gordon; the Right’s Stealth Plan for America: Nancy MacLean

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We take a step back from all the Trump headlines to look at how we got here. Later in the show, historian Nancy MacLean talks about the roots of the right’s stealth plan for America, bringing together the Koch Brothers and their libertarian economic policy advocacy with segregationist opposition to civil rights. Nancy is an award-winning historian and the William H. Chafe Professor of history and public policy at Duke University. Her book “Democracy in Chains” was named the “most valuable political book of the year” on The Nation’s progressive honor roll.
But first, Fred Trump and the KKK of the 1920s. The group 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’. 1-24-19

Trump Watch

The LA Teachers Strike Tests the Democrats; Trump’s Shutdown w/John Nichols; Viet Nguyen on Refugees

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Today is day four of the LA teachers’ strike. “This bitter conflict is also a fight about the meaning of progressive politics”–that’s what Nelson Lichtenstein says — he’s professor of history and director of The Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara.
Also: despite the fact that 58% of Americans oppose the wall, we are on day 27 of Trump’s government shutdown over funds to build one. What are the politics of the Republicans in this situation? We turn to John Nichols for comment.
Plus: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen says “call me a refugee, not an immigrant” — his new book is “The Displaced.” 1/17/19

Trump Watch