Babbott Interview – Podcast June 17, 2019

Can An Independent Win In Arizona? Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino, welcome Art Babbott who is running to represent LD 6 in the Arizona State Legislature. As an independent, he’s aware of the difficult task he’s facing . “I need 3-1/2 times the signatures of Democrats and Republicans to get on the ballot,” he says. “In the history of the state, there has never been an independent elected as state representative. That is not by accident. It’s by intention. There are structural barriers to having a competitive electoral system. We have competition elsewhere, except when it comes to our electoral system.”

Asked what motivates him, he replies, “At its core, why I’m running is how we’re having our conversations. One party does not have the patent and trademark on good ideas.”
One of Babbott’s key issues is fiscal policy. Speaking of the budget, he says, “It’s not just numbers. It’s a reflection of priorities. I want to make sure I’m representing people. Not special interests. People across spectrums want us to recalibrate government. I don’t want to just reach across the aisle. I want to be in the aisle. What we’re doing now is not problem-solving. It’s ideological and grenade-lobbing.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Education, Education Funding, Elections, Fiscal Policy, Government, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Local Politics, Mental Health Programs, Political Candidacy, Political Contributions, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Public Accountability, Tax and Investment Policy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Richtman Interview – Podcast June 10, 2019

Debunking The Myths About Social Security. Democratic Perspective welcomes back Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to talk about fixing Social Security. He begins by talking about the myth that Social Security is broke. He then addresses the current bill designed to improve the program and ensure its viability for the rest of the future – HR860, the Social Security 2100 Act. Sponsored by Representative John Larson of Connecticut, the bill now has at least 206 co-sponsors in the House. It would adjust the income cap on Social Security premiums so that, after the current wage cap is met, the premiums would begin again on income of more than $400,000. It would also adjust the formula for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to more accurately reflect the costs to seniors.

Richtman reminds us how important Social Security is for the economy – that most of the money is spent on necessities so it has a multiplier effect on the economy leading to more jobs and business. Moreover, one third of the beneficiaries of Social Security are non-retired workers, including survivors, spouses, children, and the disabled.

For more information visit the organization’s website and especially check out its new Delay and Gain page.

Posted in Economic Stimulus, Entitlements, Government, Interviews, Medicare, Minimum Wage, National Politics, Pharmaceutical Pricing and Procurement, Social Security | Tagged | Leave a comment

Putzova Interview – Podcast June 3, 2019

People First. Democratic Perspective welcomes Eva Putzova, a progressive Democrat running for Congress. Originally from Slovakia, and having become a US citizen, she talks about the big issues of the day – everything from health care, climate change, education, immigration, reproductive rights and gun safety to the federal budget and the changes needed to make America more competitive.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Class Conflict, Climate Change, Democratic Governance, Department of Homeland Security, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Education, Elections, Environment, Firearms Legislation, Global Warming, Government, Gun Control, Health Care, Health Care Policy, Health Insurance, Immigration, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Medicare, Military Policy, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Political Contributions, Race and Class, Racial Discrimination, U.S. Budget | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

McClelland, Deardon Interview – Podcast May 27, 2019

Providing Quality Education In A Challenging Environment. Democratic Perspective welcomes Karen McClelland, the longest-serving member of the Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School Board, and Dennis Deardon, the school district’s new superintendent. Along with co-hosts Mike Cosentino and Steve Williamson, they discuss the challenges of providing a world-class education in a rural area faced with declining enrollment, reduced funding and retiring teachers. Despite these difficult issues, the educators remain optimistic that, by doubling up on administration duties and innovating, they can help students succeed.

Posted in Community, Education, Education Funding, Education Policy, Innovation, Interviews, Public Accountability, Public Education, Social Contract | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lenze Interview – Podcast May 20, 2019

The Syrian Civil War And Its Impact On Europe. Democratic Perspective again welcomes Dr. Paul Lenze, Jr., political science professor at NAU and Middle East expert to discuss his new book: Syrian Forced Migration and Public Health in the European Union.
He points to 2015 as the key date in the Syrian civil war when Russia got involved. That’s when millions of Syrians and others from the region began migrating to Europe. The so-called Old (western) Europe welcomed the refugees. The New (eastern) Europe didn’t. Nevertheless, he says the assimilation process has gone relatively well. But it depends on situations on the ground. Western European countries have helped them assimilate while Eastern European countries have kept them in camps.

Asked how to get to something positive going forward, Lenze says there needs to be a negotiated settlement. Assad has won. We need to bring all parties to the table for talks. We need to stop support of the Saudis in the Yemen civil war. We need to stop the bellicose reactions to Iran. And we need to bring in UN.

Posted in European Union, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, International Relations, Interviews, Iran, Islamic Republic, Mass Migration, Middle East, Middle East Policy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Lenze Interview – Podcast May 20, 2019

The Mueller Report – Podcast May 13, 2019

Does The Mueller Report Really Exonerate Trump? If you read the report – even just the executive summaries – the answer is emphatically “NO!” The Democratic Perspective crew digs into the report to explain why, even though the president was not charged with crimes, he was not exonerated. In fact, the section on conspiracy describes the difficulty in making further charges faced with numerous lies, the use of encrypted messages, the destruction of messages and records, and the fact that numerous witnesses and subjects live abroad. That’s why the summary states, “The Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.”

As for obstruction, the Special Counsel’s Office notes that it accepts the OLC ruling that a sitting president cannot be indicted. But it’s telling that the summary states, “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

And the investigation is far from over. 11 cases have been transferred to US attorneys and 14 additional cases have been referred to US attorneys, the FBI, the DOJ or the National Security Division. 14 of these cases appear to involve unknown individuals or companies.

Posted in Congressional Oversight, Constitutional Issues, Corruption, Democratic Governance, Elections, Government, Justice System, National Politics, National Security, Political Lies, Political Polarization, Presidential Elections, Public Accountability, Special Counsel Investigation | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on The Mueller Report – Podcast May 13, 2019

Bordewich Interview – Podcast May 6, 2019

What Were The Founders Thinking? Democratic Perspective welcomes constitutional scholar and author Fergus Bordewich. To understand how we got to where we are, he says it’s important to understand the historical context of the constitutional convention and the First Congress. Bordewich says, at the time, the Articles of Confederation had completely broken down. The Constitution was designed by Federalists like James Madison who wanted a strong central government. But he says, “The Constitution is just a piece of paper. That’s all it is. It isn’t a government. It’s a set of ideas for a government. All of the machinery for government was created by Congress.”

Bordewich notes that context is particularly important to understand what the Founders intended with the 2nd Amendment. “They were debating 10 different kinds of issues all at the same time. And they were debating a militia bill,” he says. “They didn’t want a standing army. So the United States were going to be defended by militia, minutemen so to speak, who could be trained and called up – essentially forerunners of the National Guard. That meant that you needed a system. Who was going to be eligible? How were they going to be trained? How were they going to be called up? There was far more time given to discussing that than to the 2nd Amendment. There was no discussion whatsoever of this as a fundamental human right at all.”

Posted in Anti-Federalism, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Firearms and Explosives, Founding Fathers, Government, Gun Control, Human Rights, Interviews, Military, National Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Juan Cole Interview – Podcast April 29, 2019

Better Understanding Islam And The Qur’an. Democratic Perspective welcomes Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan and founder of Informed Comment, to discuss his new book Muhammad, Prophet of Peace Amid The Clash Of Empires. Contrary to the belief that the scriptures of Islam promote violence, Cole explains that the Qur’an has been very badly translated. “I looked at it with the eyes of an historian,” he says. “I’m reading it in the original Arabic and I’m reading it in context with the Greek and Persian and other works of that time. Context is everything.”

According to Cole, “The clans of the Prophet who were based in Mecca were the custodians of the shrine of God. They kept the peace. The Prophet was a peacemaker. The Qur’an actually says that the God of the Christians and the Jews is the same God that they worship. And it says that righteous Jews and Christians are going to heaven.” Cole says that, though the Qur’an has verses that state “when you are attacked, defend yourselves and fight the unbelievers wherever you encounter them,” it’s not talking about Jews and Christians. It’s talking about a specific group – the militant pagans [polytheists] of Mecca who were attacking Muslims at the time.

Cole further explains, “There is nothing distinctive in the Qur’an about war. The great French student of Islam, Maxime Rodinson told my teacher…’Any religion can be interpreted any way.'” Cole says that’s true of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and other religions.

Posted in Interviews, Religion | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Chevalier Interview – Podcast April 22, 2019

The Future Of Yavapai College In The Verde Valley. Democratic Perspective, once again, takes up the disparity in post-secondary education opportunities between the east and west sides of Yavapai County by welcoming Paul Chevalier, Verde Valley representative of the Yavapai College Governing Board. Chevalier begins the interview by noting that he previously chaired the Verde Valley Advisory Committee to the college. “The seven-member committee met for two years and made 24 recommendations,” he says. “Only one of those recommendations was acted upon. The other 23 were not even discussed.” He explains that the Governing Board is dominated by the west side of the county. As a result, he says, “Only $7 million of the $17 million in Verde Valley property taxes raised for the college are spent in the Verde Valley. Fifteen years ago, about 30% of the college’s students and teachers were in the Verde Valley. Now it’s only 10-12%.” Asked how to solve the problem, Chevalier responds, “We need two separate colleges – a separate administrative college over here.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Education, Education Funding, Education Policy, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Education, Tax and Investment Policy, Taxation | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Chevalier Interview – Podcast April 22, 2019

Podcast April 15, 2019

Countering Trump’s Hate. The Need For Democrats To Bring Voters Together. The Democratic Perspective crew looks ahead at the 2020 presidential campaign and the need for Democrats to pull together. They note that Trump has been so divisive, it’s more important than ever before for Democratic candidates to keep their messages positive while debating the issues. If 2020 turns into a circular firing squad of Democratic candidates, Trump will win.

Posted in Civil Society, Elections, Immigration, National Politics, Political Polarization, Presidential Elections, Special Counsel Investigation | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Podcast April 15, 2019