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

Lamb Interview – Podcast April 8, 2019

Murdered And Missing Native American Women: Unsolved, Unreported and Ignored. The Democratic Perspective hosts welcome Brianna Lamb of the University of Montana. A member of the Nez Perce nation from Missoula, she is a domestic abuse survivor and a major activist on this issue. Indeed, Lamb was invited to attend the State of the Union address by Senator John Tester who has become a strong ally. Lamb addresses the problems with jurisdiction on reservations and the lack of media attention which have led to the disappearance of so many women. According to Lamb, these women “disappear in life, in the media and in the data,” adding that “when you don’t have hard data, it’s hard to get legislation.”

Posted in Domestic Violence, Human Rights, Interviews, Justice System, Law Enforcement, Mass Media, Native American Issues, Policing, Racial Discrimination, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lamb Interview – Podcast April 8, 2019

Nair Interview – Podcast April 1, 2019

Trying To Make Sense Of Violence. Democratic Perspective hosts Steve Williamson, Mike Cosentino and Klaus von Stutterhem welcome professor Sheila Nair from Northern Arizona University. An expert on Southeast Asia, she has studied the effects of the genocide in Cambodia and the French and American wars in Vietnam. Nair says one of her goals was to speak about past violence. She began her research at Tuol Sleng, a former secondary school and prison in Phnom Penh that is now a museum, to determine how people remember the genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge during which more than a million Cambodians died – 25 percent of the population. Nair also discusses the aftermath of Vietnam and how the trauma is narrated differently in that country than in the US.

Posted in Education, Foreign Affairs, Genocide, Human Rights, Interviews, Mass Incarceration, Political History, Public Accountability, Social Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nair Interview – Podcast April 1, 2019

Hake Interview – Podcast March 25, 2019

The Economics Of Addressing Climate Change. After briefly discussing the Barr report, Democratic Perspective hosts, Steve Williamson and Klaus von Stutterheim discuss renewable energy with John Hake, a retired business investor and software executive. With his background, Hake is able to provide some interesting insights into the economics of renewable energy. Though people still believe that fossil fuels are less expensive than renewables, according to Hake, that has changed dramatically. As a result of improvements in the technologies, wind and solar are now able to provide reliable energy. Moreover, these renewable energy systems can be developed economically and rapidly. He adds that around three-quarters of coal energy production is now more expensive than renewable energy sources.

Posted in Banking And Finance, Climate Change, Domestic Policy, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Issues, Federal Lands, Fiscal Policy, Global Warming, Infrastructure Investment, Innovation, Interviews, National Politics, Public Lands, Public Policy, Renewable Energy, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Hake Interview – Podcast March 25, 2019

Podcast – March 18, 2019

Addressing The Rise Of White Nationalism. Following the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino, along with regular contributors Klaus von Stutterheim and Gary LaMaster, discuss the wave of Islamaphobia and white nationalism sweeping the US and the world. What role, if any, does Donald Trump and his supporters play? What is the role of social media? Of churches? What can be done to mitigate the growing division and hatred?

Posted in Civil Rights, Civil Society, Cultural Change, Cultural Diversity, Domestic Extremism, Domestic Terrorism, Government, Gun Control, Immigration, International Terrorism, Mass Shootings, National Politics, Political Polarization, Racial Discrimination, Racism, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Podcast – March 18, 2019

Goodwin Interview – Podcast March 11, 2019

Ethics And Climate Change. Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino, welcome Professor Matt Goodwin, a philosophy professor at Northern Arizona University, to discuss environmental ethics and climate change. Goodwin begins by explaining the traditional view of ethics in which individuals are harmed versus the view of indigenous cultures who had a very robust environmental ethics. He then turns to describing the difference between simple conservation versus a responsibility for the environment. He explains that climate change requires us to rethink how we’ve been doing everything. “Psychologically this is very challenging,” he says. “It is more of a philosophical problem than a scientific problem.”

Posted in Climate Change, Cultural Change, Environment, Environmental Issues, Environmentalism, Ethics, Interviews, Philosophy | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Goodwin Interview – Podcast March 11, 2019

Podcast – March 4, 2019

Trump, Social Democracy, AOC and the Green New Deal. Democratic Perspective regulars Mike Cosentino, Klaus von Stutterheim and Gary LaMaster begin by discussing Michael Cohen’s testimony, the North Korea summit and the political horror show otherwise known as CPAC. The hosts then debunk the GOP claims that Democrats are socialists by drawing a clear distinction between Social Democracy and Socialism. Finally, they address the Green New Deal, a popular and much-needed proposal by the GOP’s new nightmare – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Posted in Congressional Oversight, Constitutional Issues, Corruption, Energy Policy, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Food Insecurity, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Global Warming, Government, Immigration, National Politics, Nuclear Weapons, Political Action Committees, Political Lies, Social Democracy, Socialism, Special Counsel Investigation | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Podcast – March 4, 2019