Podcast – February 11, 2019

The Hidden Damage of the Trump Administration. Democratic Perspective hosts Steve Williamson, Mike Cosentino and Klaus von Stutterheim discuss some of the Trump administration’s actions that have gone relatively unnoticed – actions that been hidden by the smokescreen of scandalous behavior. Trump and his cabinet members have undermined institutions, enabled racists, caged children, engaged in trade wars, raised taxes on the middle class, damaged the environment, reduced national parks, and harmed long-standing international relationships. Many of these actions will be long-lasting. Some will be permanent.

The administration has given lifetime positions on the courts to highly-partisan ideologues. The Affordable Care Act has been severely weakened. Deficits have skyrocketed. Press conferences have all but been replaced by 140 character tweets based on lies. The corruption of self-serving administrators has cost taxpayers millions. And it will take decades to replace the highly-capable public servants who have been forced to resign.

All of this begs the question: Can we afford another two years of Trump?

Posted in Corruption, Department of the Interior, Domestic Extremism, Domestic Terrorism, Environment, Ethics, Federal Lands, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Government, Health Care Policy, Homeland Security, Human Rights, Immigration, Intelligence Agencies, International Relations, Judicial System, Monetary Policy, National Politics, Political Lies, Public Education, Public Health Policy, Public Lands, Public Policy, Public Service, U.S. Court System, U.S. Forest Service, Voter Suppression | Tagged | Leave a comment

Max Richtman Interview – Podcast February 4, 2019

Guaranteeing Social Security For The 21st Century. Max Richtman, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, returns to Democratic Perspective. We begin by asking about the many stories that Social Security is going bankrupt. Richtman replies, “I hear it all the time, especially among young people – that they’re more likely to see a UFO or Bigfoot than get a Social Security paycheck. It’s incorrect. It’s insurance – the Federal Insurance Contribution Act.” He goes on to discuss how a new bill in the House of Representatives would make positive changes and improve the program for the long term. “First, if there are no changes, there is the ability to pay full benefits until 2034,” he explains, “And the new bill would bring Social Security into solvency for the rest of the century.” The bill, called the Social Security 2100 Act, would make adjustments to the cap and reduce the tax on benefits. “It’s a package I think most Americans will find very appealing,” says Richtman.

Posted in Entitlements, Government, Health Insurance, Interviews, Medicare, Social Insurance, Social Security | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Erik Olin Wright Interview Revisited – Podcast January 28, 2019

One Of The Great Thinkers Of Our Time, RIP. Steve Williamson and Klaus von Stutterheim introduce a show with Erik Olin Wright that was broadcast more than five-and-a-half years ago. Wright, who recently died of cancer, was a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He spoke about the distribution of power trying to answer the question: How do we get to a society that is more equal? In his book, Envisioning Real Utopias, Wright encouraged Americans to look beyond the status quo to envision an economic and government system that is better. How do we get to a more open, more fair, more kind society? “If we are to achieve real progress as a nation, he said, “we must first have a vision of something better. Only then can we try to make it happen.”

The original show was hosted by Steve Williamson, Mike Cosentino and Bill Timberman.

Posted in Capitalism, Economic Policy, Economic Theory, Government, Income Inequality, Innovation, Interviews, Political Theory, Religion, Social Democracy, Socialism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Black and Strauch Interviews – Podcast January 21, 2019

Activists Fight To Prevent Development Of Ecologically Important Lands. After reflecting on the meaning of MLK Day, our co-hosts welcome John Black and Ernie Srauch to discuss the proposed El Rojo Grande Ranch project near Sedona. Though a very local issue, the decisions made here to either approve or deny permission for the development may well reverberate across the nation. Our guests describe the obstacles that local government councils often present to those opposed to poorly designed and unsustainable developments, and how they and the city’s residents overcame those obstacles with honesty and ingenuity.

Posted in Biodiversity, Community, Community Activism, Development, Environment, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Government, Housing, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Policy, Race and Class, Sustainable Development | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kinsella, Ploog, Nichols Interviews – Podcast January 14, 2019

Marching for Change. Mike Cosentino welcomes Kathy Kinsella and Holli Ploog to discuss the 3rd Annual Women’s March and the changes they hope to create. Since last year’s Women’s March, much has changed. For example, women have been elected to Congress in record numbers. But the percent of women in Congress is still less than 25 percent. Nevertheless, the two women express hope that this could be the year that the Equal Rights Amendment is finally ratified. Later in the show, Jan Nichols addresses the growing problems with charter schools and the need for more oversight and accountability.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Civil Liberties, Community Activism, Constitutional Issues, Cultural Change, Cultural Diversity, Education, Education Funding, Education Policy, Elections, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Accountability, Public Education, Women's Issues, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kinsella, Ploog, Nichols Interviews – Podcast January 14, 2019

Podcast January, 2019

Who Should Be The Democratic Candidate In 2020? Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino, discuss what Democrats need to do to get ready for the 2020 presidential election. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has already announced an exploratory committee. Who will be next? Should Democrats nominate a progressive candidate? A charismatic candidate? Do we need to pay particular attention to candidates that will activate young people? Whoever wins the nomination, one thing won’t change – the need for a large Democratic turnout.

Posted in Elections, Government, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Political Parties, Presidential Elections | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Podcast January, 2019

Podcast December 31, 2018

2018 In Review. The Democratic Perspective crew looks back at 2018, addressing some of the biggest stories of the year. Mike Cosentino explains Trump’s threat to democracy. Klaus von Stutterheim covers the consequences of our military withdrawal from Syria. Gary LaMaster presents statistics of our continuing crisis of gun violence as documented by Gun Violence Archive. Both Gary and Dick Searle address climate change and the Green New Deal. Finally, Steve Williamson looks ahead at the 2020 election, asking the group which candidates have the best chance to defeat Trump and his allies.

Posted in Climate Change, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Elections, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Government, Gun Control, Immigration, International Terrorism, Mass Shootings, Middle East, Middle East Policy, Military, Military Policy, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Presidential Elections, U.S. Armed Forces | Tagged , | Comments Off on Podcast December 31, 2018

Fontes Interview – Podcast December 24, 2018

Counting All The Votes. Mike Cosentino and Klaus von Stutterheim welcome Adrian Fontes to Democratic Perspective to discuss voter suppression. Fontes is a former Marine, a former criminal defense attorney, and a former prosecutor. After seeing unbelievably long voting lines in 2016, he decided to run for the office of Maricopa County Recorder – a county about the size of New Jersey with a population the size of Kentucky. He begins by saying that voter fraud is “more rare than being struck by lightning – it doesn’t exist on a widespread level. But voter suppression does exist.” Noting that each county has different voting standards and procedures, he says, “There are more than 3,000 counties in US, so you have more than 3,000 ways to suppress votes.” Though the GOP sued him during the past election after watching their Senate candidate’s lead slip away as he made the effort to count every vote, he is unapologetic. He explains, “Administering an election is a sacred duty.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Civil Rights, Elections, Ethics, Government, Interviews, Voter Suppression | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Fontes Interview – Podcast December 24, 2018

Garrison Interview – Podcast December 17, 2018

Reconciling Development With Preservation. Democratic Perspective welcomes Randy Garrison, District 3 representative of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors. After a rough start due to technical issues, we dive into the controversy surrounding the proposed El Rojo Grande Ranch development project of 600 manufactured homes planned for an environmentally sensitive area near Sedona, Arizona. Planned by ELS, one of the largest developers of these types of projects, El Rojo Grande has generated opposition from the Sedona City Council and numerous local groups.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community Activism, Development, Environment, Environmental Issues, Government, Growth, Housing, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Lands | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Garrison Interview – Podcast December 17, 2018

Richtman Interview – Podcast December 10, 2018

Preserving Social Security and Medicare More Important Than Ever. Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome Max Richtman back to the show. Richtman is 16-year veteran of capitol hill who is currently President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. He begins by reminding listeners that Social Security is not an entitlement. “It is an earned benefit,” Richtman says. “People are buying insurance with every deduction from their paychecks. It is something we have earned.” He also points out that the program has 80-85 percent support from people of all political persuasions and that it’s more important than ever. “FDR used to say Social Security is part of a three-legged stool. The other two were savings and pensions. But those have largely disappeared in the last few decades. So the leg of Social Security needs to be strengthened as much as possible.”

Richtman goes on to explain how Social Security and Medicare can be strengthened for the future.

Posted in Economic Policy, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Health Care, Health Insurance, Interviews, Medicaid, Medicare, National Politics, Privatization, Social Contract, Social Security, Taxes and the Deficit | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richtman Interview – Podcast December 10, 2018