Start Making Sense
Start making sense 300

Political talk without the boring parts—featuring the writers, activists and artists who shape the week in news. Hosted by Jon Wiener and presented by The Nation Magazine.

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    Chris Hayes: What Trump Means When He Says He’s “Strong on Crime” plus Gary Younge on Kids and Guns and Michael Walzer on Foreign Policy for the Left

    “For Donald Trump, crime is not a problem to be solved; it is a weapon to be wielded”—against people of color and immigrants: Chris Hayes talks about how Trump has transformed this long-standing weapon of the right. His book A Colony in a Nation is out now in paperback, with a new afterword. Chris is an editor-at-large of The Nation. Plus: Gary Younge explains how the Parkland kids are changing the fight for gun control. He knows a lot about kids and guns—he wrote the award-winning book Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives.  Gary is a columnist for The Nation. And Michael Walzer argues that a foreign policy for the left has to begin with internationalism, and with the choice of comrades abroad.  His new book is A Foreign Policy for the Left.  Michael edited Dissent for three decades and is the author of many books, including Just and Unjust Wars.  He wrote about “A Solidarity of Leftists” for The Nation.

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    How the Parkland Kids Are Beating the Gun Industry: George Zornick, plus Jane McAlevey on Unions and Amy Wilentz on Ivanka, Jared, and Don Jr .

    The mass shooting at that high school in Parkland, Florida, two weeks ago, where 17 kids were killed, is still in the news, because of the brilliant political work being done by the students who survived. George Zornick analyzes the big picture: the decline of the gun industry, the growth in popular support for an assault weapons ban, and campaigns to shame companies that support the NRA and haven't divested from gun manufacturers. Plus: This week the supreme court heard a case that could cripple public-sector unions, some of the last strong unions in America. 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.

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

    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, Oklahoma and North Dakota have made them unenforceable; the rest of the states should do the same.

    Plus: Our Russiagate reporter 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.”

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    Elizabeth Warren on Monopoly Power: George Zornick reports; plus David Dayen on Warren Buffett and Katha Pollitt on Trump and women

    Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to make the fight against monopoly power in America a key part of the Democrats’ agenda; George Zornick reports on his interview with her for the magazine’s special issue on the topic.

    Also, Warren Buffett’s secret: “The sage of Omaha” is America’s favorite tycoon. He supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for president; even Bernie Sanders has praised his unselfishness.  But David Dayen says Warren Buffett’s wealth has actually been built on monopoly power—and the unfair advantages it provides.

    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—her recent speech at a labor-group press conference made her the face of the white working class Trump voter.

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

    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 US if they did come: a commitment to equality in health care, education, and a dozen other necessities.

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    The Trouble with Teleprompter Trump's State of the Union: Harold Meyerson; plus 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, shoeprints, 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 article, “The Crisis of American Forensics.”

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    Women Show How to Run—And Win—Against Trump’s GOP: John Nichols, plus Alfred McCoy on Fortress America and 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—they show how to do it in the mid-term elections in November.

    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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    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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