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 , , | Leave a comment

Taylor and Kenney Interviews – Podcast December 3, 2018

A Thought Leadership Group For Sedona’s Next Generation. Co-host Mike Cosentino and Democratic Perspective regular, Klaus von Stutterheim, welcome Marci Taylor and Omar Kenney to the show. Taylor and Kenney are co-founders of Sedona XYZ, a non-partisan think tank for generations X, Y and Z. According to Taylor and Kenney, the group is dedicated to making Sedona, Arizona a better place to live through economic and cultural diversity, sustainability, innovation and community.

Posted in Business, Community, Cultural Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Innovation, Interviews, Local Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alice Rothchild Interview – Podcast November 26, 2018

Zionism, the Two-State Solution and Boycotts. Co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome Alice Rothchild, physician, activist, filmmaker and author of Condition Critical: Life and death in Israel/Palestine.

They begin by discussing the current state of Gaza, which is home to two million Palestinians, 70 percent of them refugees. According to Rothchild, “Gaza is kind of an invisible humanitarian catastrophe that has been getting worse and worse and worse. It’s continually under siege and it’s virtually impossible to get in and out. The infrastructure was bombed, particularly the water infrastructure, so there are some major issues that affect health as well as human rights,” she continues. “The UN is estimating that 98 percent of the water is no longer drinkable. There are also issues around sanitation, around inadequacies of food. So people are living on the edge of their ability to cope all the time.”

Regarding the two-state solution, Rothchild says, “It has been undermined repeatedly by the actions of the Israeli government. In reality, what we have right now is a one-state solution. It’s an apartheid state. One of the best things we can do is to support the Boycott, Divestment movement… It has been labeled anti-Semitic, which is totally erroneous. Attacking policies of a state is not, by definition, anti-Semitic. I think we have to work for a just solution for everyone who’s living there and a concern for Palestinian rights as well as rights for Israel.”

Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Foreign Affairs, Government, Human Rights, International Relations, Interviews, Middle East, Middle East Policy, Palestinian/Israeli Conflict | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Midterms and Political Division – Podcast November 19, 2018

The Blue Wave, Voter Suppression and the Rural-Urban Divide. Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome regular contributors Klaus Von Stutterheim and Gary LaMaster back to the show. They begin by discussing the Blue Wave that turned Arizona purple. Later they discuss the growing political divide and the voter suppression that allowed the GOP to hang on to the Senate and a number of high-profile offices.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Elections, LIberals and Conservatives, National Politics, Political Polarization, Voter Suppression | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ledbetter and Rutherford Interviews – Podcast November 12, 2018

Blue Wave Turns Arizona Purple. On Veterans Day, Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome James Ledbetter and Cathy Rutherford to discuss the results of the midterm elections. Ledbetter begins by saying, “Nationally, it was a blue wave, not a tsunami. But definitely a blue wave. Time to drain the swamp created by this administration.” However, he did say that there will be one downside to this election, “This will elevate Trump’s chances in 2020 because he now has a foil. It has enhanced his opportunities to be re-elected President of the United States.”

As one of the most effective organizers in northern Arizona, Rutherford credited the many volunteers who canvassed door-to-door throughout the area. Noting that the campaign for 2020 will be difficult, she said, “We have to take a breath then get back to work. Trump doesn’t have a moral compass and his people follow him.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community Activism, Elections, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, National Politics, Public Accountability | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Rotellini and Ploog Interviews – Podcast November 5, 2018

Will Negativity, Lying and Name-Calling Win? On election eve, Democratic Perspective co-hosts Mike Cosentino and Steve Williamson pose the question to Felicia Rotellini, Chair of the AZ Democratic Party, and Sedona activist Holly Ploog. Rotellini replies, “I think what you’re talking about is American values. We’re going to elect leaders that will get things done. Public education is one example of that. I believe that the name-calling and the lying is detrimental to our electorate. Democratic candidates are trying to hold them accountable.”

Ploog adds, “The lack of civil discourse is alarming.” No matter the outcome of the midterms she encourages citizens in Northern Arizona to join her at the Sedona Public Library November 17 2-4 pm for a public conversation called “Kindness: Hiding In Plain Sight.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Elections, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, National Politics, Political Lies, Political Polarization, Public Policy, Taxation | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Abboud and Kinsella Interviews – Podcast October 29, 2018

Good Choices Are All Over The Ballot In Arizona. Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome Deedra Abboud and Kathy Kinsella to discuss the candidates and ballot initiatives for the upcoming midterm election. Deedra, you may remember, was an inspiring primary candidate for the US Senate. And Kathy is president of the League of Women Voters of Greater Verde Valley. They offer valuable insights and advice for Arizona voters.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Domestic Policy, Education, Education Funding, Education Policy, Elections, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, Mine Safety, Public Education, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kazian Interview – Podcast October 22, 2018

Maintaining Fire And Rescue Preparedness In Sedona. Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Mike Cosentino and Steve Williamson, welcome Chief Kris Kazian to discuss the challenges faced by the Sedona Fire District. Not only is the department responsible for fire protection for an area covering 168 sq. miles. It provides Emergency Medical Services for an area of 274 sq. miles (for comparison the City of Philadelphia is only 143 sq. miles). The department responds to nearly 4,500 calls per year ranging from wildfires to structure and vehicle fires to heart attacks to mountain rescues. All of that requires a high level of training and sophistication. Yet a small minority of citizens driven by political ideology believes that the needs can be met by cutting taxes and returning to a volunteer fire department.

As Kazian explains the facts, it becomes clear that significant budget cuts are a dangerous idea.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Service, Regulatory Agencies, Social Services, Taxation | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Kazian Interview – Podcast October 22, 2018

O’Halleran Interview – Podcast October 15, 2018

Problem-Solving In Congress. Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino, welcome Congressman Tom O’Halleran to address the issues he faces as representative for Arizona’s CD-1. A member of the House’s Problem Solvers’ Caucus comprised of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans, he discusses the difficulties of getting things done in this hyper-partisan political climate. He also explains the challenges of representing one of the nation’s largest and most diverse congressional districts. The wide-ranging conversation covers health care, tax cuts, tariffs, infrastructure needs, and much, much more.

Posted in Agricultural Policy, Arizona Politics, Budget Negotiations, Deficit Reduction, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Education, Elections, Environment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Health Care, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Medicaid, Medicare, Military Policy, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Political Polarization, Tax and Investment Policy, Taxation, Taxes and the Deficit, U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Budget, Veterans' Issues | Comments Off on O’Halleran Interview – Podcast October 15, 2018

Ploog, Ferreira, Kinsella Interview – Podcast October 8, 2018

Women And The Expected Blue Wave. Democratic Perspective co-host Mike Cosentino welcomes Holli Ploog, Ellen Ferreira and Kathy Kinsella to the show to talk about the changes in political climate and the women who are running for office.

Ploog begins by stating that 3,260 women running for office right now. “I do think it matters,” she says. “The influx of women in elective office will make a difference in the policies and the approach.” Ferreira explains the surge this way: “That Trump got elected after the Hollywood Access tape is very telling. It energized women throughout the country. The tape didn’t matter. The Kavanaugh assault didn’t matter. The only chance we have is to show up and vote.” Kinsella adds, “There’s a phrase I have hated since childhood: ‘Boys will be boys.’ It’s an expectation of bad behavior. Women through life endure bad behavior. In politics, in particular, there is pushback against women. Women are empowered and we are galvanized.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community Activism, Elections, Interviews, Misogyny, National Politics, Women's Issues, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Ploog, Ferreira, Kinsella Interview – Podcast October 8, 2018