Gordon Interview – Podcast January 17, 2022

The Importance Of Enacting Voting Rights Legislation. On Martin Luther King Day, Democratic Perspective welcomes Mark Robert Gordon to discuss the ongoing struggle for equal access to voting. Gordon is an attorney who specializes in election law and represents Arizona as an elected member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Gordon begins by noting that the issue of equal access to voting rights didn’t end in the Sixties. “We’re still fighting for these things we thought were the goals we accomplished of making us a more perfect union…and now here we are again. Fighting the same battles.” Asked why anyone would fight against voting rights, he responds, “They’re seeking power.”  He says it’s more important to them than our ideals.

As to why Senator Sinema would not vote to change the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation, Gordon says, “Our senior senator’s viewpoint is she believes the filibuster is important as a tool because one day we will be in the minority in the Senate. And there are things that we will need to be able to have our stance against.” But Gordon believes there’s a growing dissatisfaction with the ways of old, saying “…the idea of supporting something that stalls democracy and stalls progress is anathema. It’s a blockage to what we believe should be happening. And that’s why we’re getting pushback within our own Party.”

He notes that there have been carveouts of the filibuster that have been made for different purposes by the Republicans. “There should be one thing that both parties unite about,” he says. “And that’s making sure that the system is sound. And to make sure the electoral system and the confidence of the American people in that system is sound. We’ve got to enact some of this voting rights legislation.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Budget Negotiations, Civil Rights, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Disinformation, Domestic Policy, Elections, Fiscal Policy, Government, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Mass Media, National Politics, Pandemic, Political Candidacy, Political Contributions, Political Lies, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Poverty, Presidential Elections, Public Policy, Racial Discrimination, Voter Suppression, Voting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hodge Interview – Podcast January 10, 2022

An Enthusiastic Voice For Change.

Karen McClelland and Steve Williamson welcome Jevin Hodge, former vice-chair of the AZ Democratic Party and candidate for the congressional seat currently held by the ethically challenged Rep. David Schweikert. He says, “When elected, I will be Arizona’s first African American congressman and the second youngest at 28.”

Asked about his opponent, Hodge notes that Schweikert has 11 ethical violations that he admitted to. “He has taken money from us and put it in his own pocket,” says Hodge. “He is someone who doesn’t look out for anyone but himself.”

Nevertheless, rather than dwell on the negatives of his opponent, Hodge would much prefer to focus on the positive, saying, “We’re not running against David Schweigert. We’re running for the people of Arizona,” adding that negatives don’t get you votes. To that point, he wants to talk about things like the Child Tax Credit, which was passed by the Democratic majority, that will lift families out of poverty and put our communities on the right track. He stresses that putting money into families and people is an investment. Not and expense.

As for why he’s running for office, he says, “I love people. That’s really what it comes down to. Service is a big part of it.” He continues, “I did a lot of study of Ronald Reagan. If there’s anything I borrowed from him it’s that for you to get involved. That’s the least we can do. We owe it to the next generation because the previous generation did it for us.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Community Activism, Corruption, Disinformation, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Theory, Education, Elections, Energy Policy, Ethics, Government, Health Care, Infrastructure Investment, Innovation, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Political Polarization, Poverty, Public Accountability, Public Education, Small Business, Tax Law, Voting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kinsella, Moriarity and Ploog Interview – Podcast January 3, 2022

Sedona 2021: A Year Of Accomplishment. Steve Williamson welcomes Mayor Sandy Moriarty and City Council Members, Kathy Kinsella and Holli Ploog, to discuss the changes that took place last year, and what Sedona residents might look forward to in the future.

Moriarty begins by noting, “Anytime government does anything, we need data to back up what we’re doing. That’s one of the things we’ve done this year. We’ve done studies.” In particular, she refers to traffic and workforce housing studies intended to address two of the city’s major problems.

Moriarty explains that tourist traffic has always been an issue here because there are only three ways in and three ways out. As a result, the city is about to implement a major transportation plan. “We can’t build our way out of it by building roads,” she says. “We need to get people out of their cars. So, transit is a major component of it.”

Ploog says that the lack of workforce housing exacerbates the traffic problem. “The more we have people commuting in for work, the more traffic we have.” Kinsella adds that it’s also an environmental issue, since vehicles stuck in traffic create pollution.

The guests offer their insights on the challenges facing Sedona. Not surprisingly, one of those challenges is the misinformation on social media. To address that, they note that the city has created a very informative website with a search engine for those looking for the facts on a variety of topics.

Posted in Community, Democratic Governance, Development, Disinformation, Environment, Environmental Issues, Federal Lands, Government, Housing, Infrastructure, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Lands, Public Policy, Public Service, Renewable Energy, Social Media, Sustainable Development, Tax and Investment Policy, Tourism, U.S. Forest Service | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Year In Review – Podcast December 27, 2021

Putting 2021 In The Rearview Mirror. As always, at the end of the year, our hosts and contributors review the major events and news stories of the past year. In 2021, there were many to choose from: The continuing pandemic, the trials of officers Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter, our escalating political divisions, and the attempts to pass the Build Back Better Act.

Gary LaMaster begins the show with Trump’s Big Lie – the former president’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen – which led to the violent January 6 insurrection and a continuing threat to our democracy.

Following that, Karen McClelland examines the political controversies concerning election integrity and public education, especially as they pertain to the history of slavery and race relations in the U.S.

Finally, Steve Williamson gives an in-depth analysis of what he calls “conservative ethos” and its impact on the success of every Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson.

Posted in Bigotry, Budget Negotiations, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Community Activism, Conservative Paranoia, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Conspiracy Theories, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Domestic Terrorism, Domestic Violence, Economic Policy, Education, Education Policy, Elections, Firearms and Explosives, Government, Journalism, Law Enforcement, LIberals and Conservatives, Mass Media, National Politics, Political Lies, Political Polarization, Presidential Elections, Propaganda, Racial Discrimination, Voter Suppression, Voting | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kamola, Wilson Interview – Podcast December 20, 2021

Should The Free Speech Rights Of Corporations Outweigh Those Of Citizens? In our upside-down culture, money now equals free speech and corporations are people. And, according to our guests, those beliefs are becoming increasingly apparent in our universities and colleges.

In their new book, Free Speech And Koch Money – Manufacturing A Campus Culture War, authors Isaac Kamola and Ralph Wilson examine the Charles Koch libertarian apparatus and its growing influence on campuses throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Kamola says, “Essentially their apparatus is trying to conflate individual liberty with corporate liberties. And to build a large popular movement for individual liberty that they can then convert into political change that affects corporate liberty…in order to do that there has to be a little covert activity. It can’t be direct.”

The Koch-led rightwing campus movement stems from Koch’s belief that his political donations and direct political activity weren’t as effective as he wanted them to be. So, he and his likeminded friends put together a plan to integrate those activities with their philanthropy. Kamola says Koch’s goal is to create a very large, coherent, and efficient political machine.

To a large extent, Koch and his friends have created a culture war to advance their goals by referencing the so-called “cancel culture” and decrying the lack of free speech when college students have protested rightwing speakers.

It begs the question: What constitutes free speech? What are the limits? What if the free speech consists of false and misleading information sponsored by corporate interests?

Wilson believes, “Campuses should not be judged just by the principles of free speech.” He says, “Campuses are places that produce knowledge. And so, to say that campuses are supposed to be open to all ideas, for example, is an overly simplified model…”

Posted in Conservative Paranoia, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Conspiracy Theories, Dark Money, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Education, Education Funding, Front Organizations, Interviews, National Politics, Political Action Committees, Political Contributions, Political Lies, Political Polarization, Propaganda | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parraz Interview – Podcast December 13, 2021

Defeating Hate. Democratic Perspective welcomes Randy Parraz back to the show to discuss his new book, Dignity by Fire: Dismantling Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Machine. Parraz is the activist who organized the successful effort to recall Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, author of Arizona’s infamous SB-1070 anti-immigrant bill – the so-called “show us your papers” law.

His book is available at www.dignitybyfire.com. It’s not only a great read. It can serve as a roadmap for defeating the most extreme politicians at any level of government.

Posted in Arizona Law Enforcement, Arizona Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Community Activism, Corruption, Domestic Extremism, Elections, Government, Human Rights, Immigration, Interviews, National Politics, Political Polarization, Public Accountability, Racial Discrimination, Racism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Parraz Interview – Podcast December 13, 2021

Singal Interview – Podcast December 6, 2021

Assessing The Biden Administration. Steve and Karen welcome historian, author, and friend of the show, Dan Singal, for his thoughts on President Biden’s actions so far. He responds by saying, “Well, surprised more than anything because I think he really has fulfilled his promises in terms of domestic achievements. I mean you look at that $1.9 trillion stimulus covid relief bill. That was very impressive pushing that through under reconciliation. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill – I mean how many presidents could have negotiated that? He did a terrific job as did his various cabinet members. And now it looks like we’re going to have a big reconciliation on social welfare and climate. And that’s going to be close to another $2 trillion, and it covers so many things that need to be addressed. And then there are many, many other things that he has done domestically…so I think the record there has been incredibly good.”

“The problem is that so many things that he doesn’t control have been clobbering his standing with the American voters,” says Singal.  “Given the fact that he has all of this expertise in foreign policy, I’m a little bit shocked at how he’s performed in that area. Then I worry about his optics. I think he’s coming across as a very weak old man. That’s how voters perceive him. That’s not really who he is. I mean to do the things that he’s done domestically, to have carried out the duties of the office as well as he has in general, I think shows a lot of strength. And yet that’s not how voters see him.”

As for the future, Singal says, “The positive take is the pandemic is the key controlling factor and there’s a possibility that it may actually get better. I think inflation and the supply chain will straighten themselves out, and I would not be surprised if that happens by the end of Spring or the beginning of Summer.”

Posted in Afghanistan, China, Democratic Governance, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Government, Growth, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Investment, International Relations, Interviews, Iran, National Politics, Offshoring, Pandemic, Political History, Presidential Elections, Social Contract, Trade Policy | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Singal Interview – Podcast December 6, 2021

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 , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cohen Interview – Podcast November 29, 2021

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 , | Comments Off on LaMaster Interview – Podcast November 22, 2021

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 , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Laser Interview – Podcast November 15, 2021