Baker Interview – Podcast February 22, 2021

Assessing Biden’s Pandemic Relief Package. Democratic Perspective welcomes Dean Baker, author, macroeconomist, and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. to discuss the $1.9 trillion bill. “It’s a large bill. No two ways about it,” says Baker. But he reminds us that the stimulus following the housing crisis was clearly inadequate and Democrats paid a huge political price as a result. “Biden knows this history. He lived it,” says Baker.

Addressing the more controversial parts of the bill, Baker dismisses the threat that it will lead to inflation. If that were to happen, he explains, “The Fed will raise interest rates and that will slow the economy. We know it’s been done again and again. So, we have the tools.” Baker is sympathetic to those who oppose the $1,400 checks. But he notes that many people have paid a big price for the pandemic with some being unemployed for 26 weeks. On the other hand, some are doing very well. “I would not be bothered if they lowered that cutoff,” he says.

Asked about the minimum wage, Baker replies, “That has been a real flash point. It certainly has a lot of people concerned. But it’s not happening tomorrow. This is going to be phased in over time. It will make a huge difference in lives. There’s a lot of research on this,” he says. “We’re not going to see a lot of people unemployed. On the whole, I think the package is very good, especially the $3,000 tax credit. When you have kids growing up in poverty, and now their parents are going to get another $3,000, that will make a big difference.”

Posted in Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus, Financial Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, Labor Unions, Minimum Wage, Monetary Policy, National Politics, Pharmaceutical Pricing and Procurement, Political History, Small Business, U.S. Budget, Unemployment | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Michaels Interview – Podcast February 15, 2021

Setting The Record Straight. Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Hava Derby, welcome Yavapai County Supervisor Donna Michaels to address recent media attacks. Michaels explains her point of view and dismisses the attacks saying, “I’m honored to be in the company of all those who have suffered the indignity of this journalist. It’s my turn in the barrel. My focus is on how we grow a healthy community.”

She goes on to address many of the real issues facing the county, such as infrastructure, creating a plan for growth and development, delivering vaccine to county residents, and much more.

Posted in Agribusiness, Arizona Politics, Community, Development, Disinformation, Environmental Issues, Government, Growth, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Journalism, Local Politics, Pandemic, Polling, Public Policy, Water Policy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Podcast February 8, 2021

Unequal Under The Law. Steve Williamson, Hava Derby and Gary LaMaster continue the discussion on criminal justice reform. To begin the conversation, they note that the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other nation – 2.1 million as of 2018. Lest you think that’s an aberration based on population, the U.S. also incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other nation – 639 per 100,000. And these numbers don’t even take into account the thousands of refugees and immigrants now languishing in detention centers.

Hava explains that many of those incarcerated have never been convicted of a crime because many of those living in poverty can’t afford legal representation. So, they too often accept plea bargains to ensure that they don’t risk more severe sentences, even if they are innocent.

The conversation then turns to racial disparities in policing, noting that people of color are punished more severely for the same offenses as whites. And that the disparities begin as early as pre-school.

To solve the inequities, we must address systemic racism and reimagine the entire system from top to bottom: Better leadership for law enforcement, higher standards for hiring officers, better training, relieving police from responding to incidents involving mental illness or addiction, reducing easy access to guns, better legal representation for the poor, more court personnel to relieve case backlogs, a new focus on rehabilitating prisoners, an increased focus on finding off ramps for young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system, and more.

The system is broken. And it will take many years of effort to fix it.

Posted in Bigotry, Civil Liberties, Class Conflict, Compassion, Corrections Policy, Criminal Justice Reform, Criminology, Cultural Change, Domestic Violence, Drug Trafficking, Education, Government, Human Rights, Income Inequality, Judicial System, Justice System, Law Enforcement, Mass Incarceration, Mental Health Programs, Morality, Penology, Policing, Race and Class, Racial Discrimination, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Jordahl Interview – Podcast February 1, 2021

The Ecological Disasters Created By The Border Wall. Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, joins Steve Williamson to discuss the devastating ecological impact of the border wall.

Jordahl notes that about 450 miles of new border wall have been built that have ripped necessary wildlife habitat in two.  There are only about a dozen more miles of wall to be built in Arizona. “If that’s completed,” he says, “it will end Jaguar recovery in Arizona. The habitat segmentation is disastrous for all wildlife, leading to inbreeding and cutting off wildlife from food and limited water sources.”  We’re already seeing the consequences, according to Jordahl. He explains that a Mule Deer was recently found dead next to the wall, likely because it could no longer find a path to water. “These animals have not evolved to understand border walls,” he says. “Many others will meet a similar fate.”

He also notes that the wall has a devastating impact on border communities and indigenous people whose lands have been cut in two. “These people, just like the wildlife, are deeply interconnected,” says Jordahl. “We have to understand that these walls don’t prevent anyone from crossing. The wall does nothing to keep us safe. We have to find sections of the wall to come down to restore Jaguar habitat and migratory corridors. We need to consult with tribal leaders and compensate for sacred lands and sacred sites that have been destroyed. It has been a difficult four years for those of us who live down here.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Biodiversity, Civil Liberties, Climate Change, Conservative Paranoia, Constitutional Issues, Environment, Environmental Issues, Federal Lands, Global Warming, Human Rights, Immigration, Interviews, Mass Migration, National Politics, Native American Issues, Paul Gosar, Public Lands, Wilderness Preservation, Wildlife Habitat, Border Wall | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Raiford Interview – January 25, 2021

Reforming And Restructuring The Police. Democratic Perspective welcomes Jacob Raiford of the W.E. Rising Project in Phoenix to discuss the mistreatment of Black and brown communities by police departments and the rules that allow these departments to commit these acts with impunity. 

Raiford provides an in-depth look at the problem, particularly within the Phoenix Police Department, and addresses what the call to defund the police really means. It’s a lively and enlightening discussion that will help everyone understand the need to reform our criminal justice system.

Posted in Arizona Law Enforcement, Bigotry, Civil Liberties, Community Activism, Criminal Justice Reform, Cultural Change, Interviews, Justice System, Law Enforcement, Mental Health Programs, National Politics, Policing, Public Accountability, Racial Discrimination, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Raiford Interview – January 25, 2021

Singal Interview – Podcast January 18, 2021

Looking Forward To The Biden Administration. On MLK Day, Professor Daniel Singal remembers meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He then offers his expectations for the Biden administration. Singal begins by noting that Biden has assembled an incredibly impressive cabinet that will be able to hit the deck running. “If you want to accomplish a lot in your first term, these are the kind of people you want to have as your assistants,” he says. “He’s really thinking ahead. He’s constructing a government with remarkable skill that we haven’t seen in years.”

Asked to list the new administration’s priorities that are most likely to succeed, Singal lists pandemic and economic relief in addition to infrastructure and climate change. He also believes Biden can have some success with police reform, as well as increasing support for community colleges and the care-giving workforce.

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Civic Renewal, Climate Change, Cultural Change, Democratic Governance, Domestic Policy, Economic Stimulus, Education, Energy Policy, Financial Crisis, Global Warming, Government, Health Care, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, National Politics, Pandemic, Presidential Elections, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Singal Interview – Podcast January 18, 2021

Podcast January 11, 2021

Trump’s Failed Coup. Democratic Perspective contributors, Steve Williamson, Hava Derby, Klaus von Stutterheim and Gary LaMaster, discuss the violent attack on the Capitol and how it was the inevitable result of an avalanche of lies perpetuated by Trump, the GOP and QAnon.

We discuss the origins of QAnon and it’s role in the coup, as well as what we can expect going forward. Has the violence ended? Or will it continue past Biden’s inauguration?

Posted in Anti-Federalism, Arizona Politics, Conservative Paranoia, Conspiracy Theories, Democratic Governance, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Domestic Terrorism, Domestic Violence, Elections, Government, National Politics, Paul Gosar, Political Lies, Propaganda, Racism | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Podcast January 11, 2021

Podcast January 4, 2021

A Look Back At One Of The Most Eventful Years In US History. The Democratic Perspective crew recaps some of the biggest stories of 2020. Klaus von Stutterheim covers the COVID-19 pandemic, Steve Williamson wraps up the presidential elections, Gary LaMaster delves into the George Floyd killing and systemic racism, and Hava Derby addresses our flawed criminal justice system.

Posted in Bigotry, Civil Rights, Community Activism, Conservative Paranoia, Conspiracy Theories, Constitutional Issues, Criminal Justice Reform, Democratic Governance, Domestic Extremism, Elections, Government, Health Care, Income Inequality, Jobs and Employment, Mass Incarceration, National Politics, Pandemic, Policing, Public Health Policy, Race and Class, Racial Discrimination, Racism, Social Contract, Voter Suppression | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Podcast January 4, 2021

Podcast December 28, 2020

QAnon: Mystery? Treasure Hunt? Game? Political Group? Or Religious Cult? Hava Derby, Steve Williamson, and Gary LaMaster delve into the history, psychology and consequences of the phenomenon known as QAnon.

Beginning with a message board post in October of 2017 by an individual using the name “Q Clearance Patriot,” QAnon has grown to include millions of followers and hundreds of conspiracy theories. Its primary belief is that powerful Democrats, A-list celebrities, corporations and international organizations operate a satanic pedophile ring, or cabal, and Donald J. Trump was sent by God to save us from it.

Posted in Anti-Federalism, Arizona Politics, Conservative Paranoia, Conspiracy Theories, Domestic Extremism, National Politics, Political Lies, Propaganda, Scandal Mongering, Social Psychology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Podcast December 28, 2020

Austin Interview – Podcast December 21, 2020

The Key To Successful Government. Michael Austin, one of Democratic Perspective’s favorite guests, returns to the show to discuss his new book We Must Not Be Enemies – Restoring America’s Civic Tradition. He begins by referring to Aristotle’s concept of civic friendship, the feeling you have for people you share a country with. You wish them well rather than wish them ill.

Austin explains, “As Aristotle frames it, for a democracy to work, people have to be willing to enact policies and laws that don’t simply grab every bit of power that’s available for their side. You have to realize that other people have different perspectives than you do. And you have to structure the country in a way that their happiness matters, too. Otherwise, you end up in a civil war.” He continues by pointing out that 2016 was the first election on record where most people said they were voting against the other candidate than for their candidate. “That’s actually a pretty big tipping point,” says Austin.

He says, “The core idea of civic friendship is that we govern in a way that has room for people who don’t agree with us. The main idea of the book is that we have to argue with each other more. And we have to do it in certain ways that are more arguments than shouting matches.” Austin notes that politeness is a good thing. But the key to politeness is that we don’t discuss certain things. “It’s much easier to be polite when you’re not discussing the things that matter most. I don’t think that we should encourage the kind of civility that says let’s just not talk about these things. Because we have to talk about these things.”

“Whatever we think of the other side, it’s not going anywhere. We’ve got to figure out how to govern a country that is made up of people who disagree with each other. And, if we can’t do that, either we’re going not to be able to govern. Or we’re not going to be able to have a democracy.”

Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Community, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Ethics, Founding Fathers, Government, Interviews, Judicial System, LIberals and Conservatives, Morality, National Politics, Philosophy, Political History, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Political Theory, Social Contract, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Austin Interview – Podcast December 21, 2020