Cohen Interview – Podcast November 29, 2021

Drawing A Line Between Private And Public Interests. Steve Williamson welcomes Donald Cohen, co-author of The Privatization of Everything. How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back.

Over a period of decades, special interests have succeeded in demonizing government and increasing the privatization of public resources – roads and bridges, schools, prisons, communications, the Internet, and more. While Cohen recognizes the positive role that corporations can play in our society. He says they need regulation. That’s because corporations do not necessarily operate in the public interest. Their first responsibility is to their bottom lines. They simply see massive spending on such things as infrastructure and education as an opportunity.

Though it’s tempting to think that privatization will save money, Cohen explains that there is only one place to get money to do things – from us. Whether it’s through taxes, tolls, or fees, the public pays for the things we need and use. Moreover, he says the government doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the things it does well, such as ensuring clean water, clean air, safe food and drugs, and developing technology like the Internet and smartphones.

Cohen notes that free market forces have attacked government for forty years. They played the long game. He asks: “For those of us who have a different set of beliefs, what is our long game?”

Posted in Capitalism, Civil Society, De-regulation, Domestic Policy, Education, Government, Infrastructure, Interviews, National Politics, Pandemic, Private Prisons, Privatization, Public Accountability, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Contract | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LaMaster Interview – Podcast November 22, 2021

A Warning For Democrats From Flyover Country. The Midwest and rural America are often thought of as unimportant. Yet, thanks to the Electoral College, rural voters have an undue influence on national politics. And, increasingly they vote Republican.

Partly, that’s due to messaging failures by the Democratic party. Partly, it’s due to our generally uniformed and misinformed electorate. It’s also the inevitable result of rightwing media disinformation campaigns. How else could the Republican party – a party responsible for a multitude of lies, a party that allowed a pandemic to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, a party that has embraced discrimination and cruelty, a party that is intent on banning and burning books, a party that supported and excuses a violent insurrection designed to overthrow the results of a fair and free election – be favored to win the 2022 midterm elections?

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Budget Negotiations, Civil Society, Class Conflict, Conservative Paranoia, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Democratic Governance, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Domestic Policy, Domestic Violence, Economic Stimulus, Education, Environmentalism, Government, Immigration, Income Inequality, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Journalism, Labor Movement, LIberals and Conservatives, Mass Media, Minimum Wage, Monetary Policy, National Politics, Political Lies, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Special Interest Legislation, Taxes and the Deficit | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Laser Interview – Podcast November 15, 2021

Fighting For Freedom of Religion And A More Inclusive America. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Laser begins by noting that Americans United has been around for almost 75 years, explaining, “We bring together people of all religions, and none, to protect the right of everyone to believe as they want. And to stop anyone from using their beliefs to harm others.”

In truth, it’s amazing that such an organization is needed given that the freedom of, and freedom from, religion are the first of the freedoms mentioned in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Yet a minority of would-be autocrats continue to claim that the US should be a Christian nation as evidenced by former National Security Advisor and Trump confidant Michael Flynn’s recent rallying cry at a meeting of conservative Christians, “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” he said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together.”

Contrary to Flynn’s statement, Laser says that the Framers of the Constitution, folks like Thomas Jefferson, knew how important it was to protect freedom of religion for all. Regarding the First Amendment’s separation clause, she explains, “…it protects religion from the government co-opting it or interfering with it. In America, where we have freedom of religion, we have one of the most religious populations in the world. So, it’s actually as much to protect religion as it is to protect the non-religious.”

Posted in Bigotry, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Constitutional Issues, Cultural Diversity, Domestic Extremism, Education, Founding Fathers, Government, Human Rights, Interviews, Justice System, Legal Issues, LGBT Issues, National Politics, Political History, Public Education, Religion, Supreme Court, U.S. Court System | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baker Interview – Podcast November 8, 2021

A Golden Age For Our Economy. Steve Williamson welcomes back macroeconomist Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Build Back Better bill, and their potential impact on inflation.

Baker largely dismisses the threat of inflation while noting: “This is a golden labor market age for a very large segment of the workforce – for probably the bottom 30 to 40 percent of the workforce…they have their choice of jobs. This has not been the case in half a century. As far as inflation, this is what everybody has heard about – the containers piling up at the ports. We know about that. That will pass, though. What’s going to happen…I’m guessing sometime in 2022, we’ll have worked through the backlog and prices in those areas are going to come down. So, I say this is very much a temporary story.”

In fact, Baker is very optimistic about the future, explaining that unemployment is back down to 4.6 percent. “We didn’t get to that following the Great Recession until 2017.” He says, “I think 2022 will be very good. A lot of inflation is going to go in reverse.”

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Budget Negotiations, Civic Renewal, Climate Change, Disinformation, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus, Energy Policy, Fiscal Policy, Government, Growth, Immigration, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Labor Shortages, Mass Media, Medicaid, Monetary Policy, National Politics, Renewable Energy, Tax and Investment Policy, U.S. Budget, Unemployment | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Segner Interview – Podcast November 1, 2021

The Danger Of Online Gossip. Steve Williamson welcomes back Democratic Perspective sponsor and contributor, Steve Segner, to discuss the impact of social media in Sedona. One of the most controversial is Nextdoor which ironically bills itself as “an app to encourage neighborliness.” Valued at $4.5 billion, it has become a controversial player in Sedona politics.

According to Steve, like most social media, it’s short on facts. “I get banned every couple of months,” he says. The reason for the bans, he explains, is that he responds to false or misleading posts with facts. He claims that if you disagree with a post, they kind of gang up on you. “There’s no filter…no facts.” Instead, he says, it’s little more than gossip. “It’s almost always an innuendo. There’s no facts at all.”

Posted in Civil Society, Community, Conspiracy Theories, Cultural Change, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Government, Housing, Interviews, Local Politics, Political Lies, Public Policy, Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kuby Interview – Podcast October 25, 2021

Prioritizing People Over Corporations. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Lauren Kuby to Democratic Perspective. Kuby is a Tempe City Councilmember who is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission along with current incumbent Sandra Kennedy. If elected, the two will join incumbent Anna Tovar to create the first Democratic majority on the powerful five-member board that controls the state’s utilities and corporations.

In addition to her duties as a Tempe Councilmember, Kuby is a sustainability scientist at ASU and a nationally recognized champion for affordable, clean energy from renewable sources. If elected to the commission, she will seek to help oversee the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. And, given the extreme weather events and water shortages caused by climate change, the stakes for the 2022 election could not be higher.

In next year’s general elections. Kuby’s and Kennedy’s opponents will likely be Republicans whose campaigns are financed by the very utilities they hope to regulate. So, it’s important for all voters, especially Democrats, to look down the entire ballot and vote for a more sustainable future.

Posted in Arizona Economy, Arizona Politics, Campaign Finance, Corporate Welfare, Dark Money, Elections, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Government, Infrastructure, Interviews, Political Candidacy, Public Accountability, Regulatory Agencies, Regulatory Capture, Renewable Energy, Voting | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kuby Interview – Podcast October 25, 2021

Keene Interview – Podcast October 18, 2021

The Complexities And Frustrations Of City Management. Steve and Guest host Karen McClelland welcome Sedona’s Deputy City Manager, Joanne Keene, to discuss what the city can and can’t do to address common complaints and the city’s most pressing issues. They begin by addressing what can be done about the hundreds of homes that have been converted to short-term rentals creating problems for residents and the workforce. “The reality is that the city cannot do much,” says Keene. “We’re pre-empted by the state. It’s a very frustrating issue.”

She says that the city has been discussing the issue with the state legislature and the League of Cities and Towns. The city is even considering hiring a lobbyist hoping to influence change. However, as Williamson explains that, even if the state law is changed, it would only affect future short-term rentals. He notes that the lack of city of control is entirely a Republican effort led by Governor Ducey. So, if you want change, you have to change the legislature and the governor.

The guest and hosts go on to discuss other difficult and controversial issues such as ATVs, music venues, affordable housing, and traffic. The concern is that, without significant change, there is a risk of Sedona losing its sense of community.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Education, Environment, Federal Lands, Government, Housing, Infrastructure, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Local Politics, Public Policy, Tourism | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Keene Interview – Podcast October 18, 2021

Moore, Wozniak Interview – Podcast October 4, 2021

Filling The Need With Food And Shelter. Hava and Steve welcome Laurie Moore and Kathy Wozniak to the show to discuss their approach to helping those who are unsheltered and food insecure. Moore is president of the Sedona Area Homeless Alliance. And Wozniak is president of the board of Project Fill The Need.

Posted in Community, Community Activism, Compassion, Food Insecurity, Housing, Human Rights, Hunger, Income Inequality, Interviews, Public Service, Social Services, Social Work | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Moore, Wozniak Interview – Podcast October 4, 2021

Richtman Interview – Podcast September 27, 2021

Prioritizing Lives And Democracy Over The Filibuster. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome back Max Richtman, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, to discuss the pending Human Infrastructure bill which is at the heart of President Biden’s agenda. As you likely already know, Democrats will try to pass the bill through a reconciliation process in order to avoid a filibuster. Yet Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have announced they do not support the bill. As a result, the bill could die in the Senate. And, by opposing any changes to the filibuster, the two Democrats also threaten the proposed voting rights bill.

Nevertheless, Richtman is hopeful. He recently wrote a letter to Sinema in support of the two bills and co-authored an editorial in the Tucson Sentinel in hopes of influencing her. He explains that Sinema has reservations about the cost of the reconciliation bill. Yet the bill will be paid for, in large part, by raising taxes on the very wealthy and large corporation.  Moreover, according to Richtman, by enabling the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid, the bill would save about $500 billion over 10 years.

Richtman notes that the bill could also improve the lives of seniors by providing enough funding to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision. It would also increase the number of people who provide home care for seniors by increasing their salaries and benefits. Richtman believes that would save money in the long run, because it’s much cheaper to keep people in their homes.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Campaign Finance, Climate Change, Domestic Terrorism, Economic Policy, Government, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Medicare, National Politics, Pharmaceutical Pricing and Procurement, Pharmaceuticals, Political Contributions, Political Lies, Public Health Policy, Social Security, Social Services, Taxation, Taxes and the Deficit | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Richtman Interview – Podcast September 27, 2021