War On Woke – Podcast July 17, 2023

The Right Wing’s War On Woke. Though it seems no one can actually define what Woke means, the so-called War on Woke has become the GOP’s latest attempt to divide us based on rewriting history, discriminating against the LGBTQ community, banning books, and telling educators what they can and cannot teach. Led by Florida’s autocratic governor, they have even attacked Disney for being too inclusionary and for speaking out against discrimination. (What else would you expect from a corporation that built its empire around a mouse, a duck, a dog, and a host of other characters?)

Picking up the torch and pitchfork from DeSantis, a group called Moms for Liberty has taken the fight nationwide. This wholesome sounding organization which claims to be nonpartisan has ties to the chair of the Florida GOP, the Heritage Foundation, the Proud Boys, and a number of conspiracy theorists.

One of the organization’s chapters even proudly quoted Hitler in one of its newsletters!

The group’s stated goals are to ban discussion of our nation’s history of slavery and racism for fear of making white kids feel guilty, to ban discussion of our nation’s woeful treatment of the indigenous population, to ban any discussion of homosexuality or transsexuality, to ban SEL (Social and Emotional Learning), to ban intersectionality (how a person’s social and political identities combine to create discrimination and privilege), and to ban Action Civics (how to understand and get involved in the community’s government).

Calling themselves Joyful Warriors (what’s joyful about spewing division and hate?), they have succeeded in taking over school boards to push their hateful ideas. In the process, they have turned school board meetings into shouting matches, and doxed and threatened educators, forcing many of them to resign. They have even set themselves up as kingmakers by inviting GOP presidential candidates to speak at their national summit (swamp may be more accurate).

Though liberty may be in the group’s title, it would seem that it’s not interested in universal liberty – just in forcing their own narrow-minded ideas onto others.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Banking And Finance, Bigotry, Business Cultural Change, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Community, Community Activism, Conservative Paranoia, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Conspiracy Theories, Constitutional Issues, Cultural Change, Cultural Diversity, Democratic Governance, Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, Education, Education Policy, Elections, Ethics, Founding Fathers, Front Organizations, Human Rights, LGBT Issues, LIberals and Conservatives, Local Politics, Morality, National Politics, Native American Issues, Political Clubs, Political Lies, Public Education, Racism, Religion | Tagged , , | Comments Off on War On Woke – Podcast July 17, 2023

Work Interview – Podcast July 10, 2023

Finding Compassion For Others And Yourself. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Robertson Work back to the show. Work is an Adjunct Professor, activist and author of numerous books including A Compassionate Civilization: The Urgency of Sustainable Development and Mindful Activism – Reflections and Recommendations.

Asked how we get to a compassionate civilization, Work replies, “We have to acknowledge we are living in a turbulent and traumatic time. And so, we have to take good care of ourselves so we can care for others. There are a lot of challenges facing us. For me, compassion isn’t something unusual or strange. It’s really what it means to be a human being.”

Work says, “We need a whole system transformation. We’ve forgotten we’re part of the Earth. We’ve forgotten we’re part of the human community. We have got to wake up…we are all one species on one planet.” He suggests the most efficient way to create change is by focusing on local activism to affect how we treat others and the environment.

To that end, he describes his own daily regimen for improving the planet and remaining compassionate, “Every day I ask myself three questions: What can I do today to promote ecological regeneration? What can I do today to support social justice? What can I do to care for myself and my family, friends, and neighbors?”

Posted in Biodiversity, Civil Society, Climate Change, Community, Community Activism, Compassion, Corporations, Dark Money, Democratic Governance, Domestic Extremism, Elections, Environment, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Global Warming, Government, Human Rights, Immigration, Income Inequality, International Relations, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Mass Migration, Morality, National Politics, Philosophy, Political Polarization, Poverty, Social Contract, Sustainable Development, Taxation | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Work Interview – Podcast July 10, 2023

Podcast July 3, 2023

An Ethically Challenged Court. Steve Williamson and Gary LaMaster look at the composition and bias of the Supreme Court of The United States. Now controlled by a rightwing supermajority resulting from two stolen seats, the court has set about legislating from the bench regarding abortion, affirmative action, voting rights, the right to discriminate, and more. In doing so, it has overturned decades of legal precedent and taken stances that are opposed by a significant majority of Americans.

Indeed, many of the so-called conservatives apparently lied under oath during their Senate confirmation hearings when they said they considered Roe v Wade settled law.

Further, two of the rightwing justices also ignored federal law by not reporting expensive vacations and other valuable gifts they received from billionaires. In doing so, they have revealed the court’s lack of an ethics code. Perhaps that’s why the court’s approval rating is the lowest in our nation’s history with 59 percent of Americans saying they disapprove of the court. Given that faith in the justice system is essential to democracy, that does not bode well for the future.

Posted in Abortion, Anti-Gay Discrimination, Autocracy, Campaign Finance, Citizens United, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Constitutional Issues, Democratic Governance, Ethics, Government, Judicial System, Jurisprudence, Justice System, Legal Issues, Misogyny, Morality, National Politics, Political Polarization, Public Accountability, Racial Discrimination, Religion, Supreme Court, Theocracy, U.S. Court System, Voter Suppression, Voting, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Podcast July 3, 2023

Del Palacio Interview – Podcast June 26, 2023

The Critical Importance Of School Boards. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome to Devin Del Palacio to discuss his views on education as a long-time volunteer and advocate. He has been a school board member for 8 years, served at the National School Board Association for 3 years, and is now the Executive Director of the Arizona School Board Association, a statewide organization dedicated to education development across Arizona.

Del Palacio explains, “I got involved because I have skin in the game. I got involved when I found out I was going to be a father and I sat back and asked myself, ‘What am I going to do to ensure that my daughter could attend and receive a highly equitable quality education?’ And, at the time, I didn’t have an answer. So, I did what any other person would do and hopped on Google and just looked up how to volunteer. Now I have this opportunity to lead the Arizona School Board Association, and our goal there is to empower school board members, equip them with the best information possible so that way they can make the best decisions on behalf of their students.”

He says, “If we have healthy school boards then we’re going to have healthy communities. And, if we have healthy communities, well, we’re going to have thriving neighborhoods. And, if we have thriving neighborhoods, well, I think we’re going to have a thriving Arizona.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Civil Society, Community Activism, Democratic Governance, Domestic Policy, Education, Education Policy, Elections, Government, Infrastructure, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Local Politics, Political Polarization, Public Education, Public Service, Voting | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Del Palacio Interview – Podcast June 26, 2023

Evans Interview – Podcast June 19, 2023

Celebrating Our Second Independence Day. Karen McClelland welcomes Coral Evans, former Flagstaff Mayor, legislative candidate and current Northern Arizona Director for U.S. Senator Kelly on our newest federal holiday – Juneteenth.

Evans begins by saying, “Juneteenth is a holiday I had the opportunity to grow up celebrating and I think most African-Americans in the country have celebrated Juneteenth since its inception. But it is somewhat of a newer holiday for some of us who did not know about it, and so I do think it’s important that people understand why we have Juneteenth.”

She goes on to explain that, even after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, many slaves were still not free. It was not until two years later on June 19th, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas that the last slaves were freed. That day became known as Juneteenth by the newly freed people in Texas. “It marks a very important holiday,” says Evans. “It marks our country’s second Independence Day. And it shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times. It shows the intention of a country to make sure that everyone has a shot at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Turning to her job for Sen. Kelly, Evans says, “The Senator is very committed to being a senator for all of the people in Arizona. Not just the metropolitan area…I appreciate the opportunity to be out there on his behalf speaking to people, understanding what the issues are, taking those back, and being able to talk to people about the work the Senator is doing.”

Posted in Arizona Politics, Civil Rights, Civil Society, Climate Change, Democratic Governance, Economic Policy, Elections, Environmental Issues, Government, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Investment, Innovation, Interviews, Jobs and Employment, National Politics, Political Candidacy, Public Policy, Technology, Water Policy | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Evans Interview – Podcast June 19, 2023

Jablow Interview – Podcast June 12, 2023

Making City Government Work. Steve Williamson welcomes Scott Jablow, Mayor of Sedona, to discuss the latest issues and developments in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. They begin by talking about problems caused by OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles). The very name of these vehicles reveals the problems faced by the city – under Arizona law, they are permitted to be driven on Sedona’s streets and public roads.

But, as Jablow explains, “…none of the manufacturers that build OHVs ever designed them or ever tested them and had them approved by the federal government to be on paved and public roads. Because of the way they were designed, they don’t respond to crash avoidance or general driving the same as a sedan or a truck. The biggest issue I have is that they don’t have anti-lock brakes, they don’t have air bags, they don’t have crumple zones…and directional signals.”

Asked what the city is going to do about it, he says there are several things. “We believe we have the right to do this – we’re going to be doing an ordinance to restrict them on state roads as well as our city roads. What I’ve been trying to do is work with the rental companies to find something that will work for everybody. All may not be happy, but we’re trying to work together.”

In addition to dealing with the problem of OHVs, Jablow says the city is currently working on an all hazards safety bill designed to educate the public on what to do in an emergency as well as creating a pedestrian crossing under the Tlaquepaque bridge.

As to criticism he receives, Jablow says, “I try to engage as much as I possibly can. Remember we’re a small town. I think it’s great where me as the mayor can be out engaging people. I don’t mind taking the heat.”

Posted in Civic Renewal, Community, Democratic Governance, Environmental Issues, Federal Lands, Government, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Policy, Tourism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Jablow Interview – Podcast June 12, 2023

Post Interview – Podcast June 5, 2023

Arizona Legislature’s Anti-Democratic Gamesmanship. Steve and Karen welcome Dianne Post back to the show. Post is an attorney currently working with the AZ Secular Coalition.

The discussion regards the unusual reconvening of the AZ legislature from vacation following its passage of a budget. “The first rumor I heard is that they wanted to prevent Katie Hobbs from making any executive orders while they were gone. So, if she were to issue an executive order for something they didn’t like, if they are not in session, there’s nothing they can do about it,” says Post. “If they’re still in session they can meet and try to overturn the executive orders. But now I’ve heard a second reason: To prevent her from appointing directors to the state agencies. If they can prevent her from appointing directors, that will stymie her from being able to run the government the way she wants to.”

Post says there are other reasons for the GOP-led legislature to remain in session: It can delay any bills signed by the Democratic governor from going into effect. In addition, legislators cannot start working on next year’s bills while the legislature is still in session. Finally, legislators cannot fundraise or campaign until the session ends. All of this is more likely to negatively impact Democrats than Republicans. And next year is likely to be a repeat of the Republican’s reckless behavior of this year with the governor being forced to veto many more crazy bills.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Bigotry, Budget Negotiations, Dark Money, Interviews, Private Prisons, Water Policy, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Post Interview – Podcast June 5, 2023

Podcast May 29, 2023

Assessing GOP Presidential Candidates For 2024. Steve Williamson, Karen McClelland and Gary LaMaster analyze the GOP candidates who have announced their run for president against the Democratic incumbent Joe Biden. In many ways, it’s a rogue’s list headed by twice impeached, indicted felon and sexual assaulter, former president Donald J. Trump.

In many ways, the dilemma facing Republican primary voters is choosing which of the candidates is most cruel.

Posted in Abortion, Bigotry, Civil Liberties, Climate Change, Conservative Paranoia, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Constitutional Issues, Cultural Change, Democratic Governance, Domestic Extremism, Elections, Government, Human Rights, Immigration, Justice System, LGBT Issues, Mass Shootings, Morality, National Politics, National Security, Political Candidacy, Political Lies, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Presidential Elections, Public Accountability, Racism, Religion, Social Security, Special Counsel Investigation, Supreme Court, Taxation, Theocracy, Voting, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Podcast May 29, 2023

Epstein Interview – Podcast May 22, 2023

Good News And Bad News From The Arizona State Capitol. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Senator Mitzy Epstein, minority leader of AZ State Senate, to report on this year’s legislative session.

Epstein begins by detailing the nearly $18 billion budget that Democratic Governor Hobbs recently signed into law, saying, “The good news is that there are a lot of good projects that will be funded. And the bad news is that they’re all just one time. So, on the one hand there will be a lot of bridges and roads that will be built in various parts across the state. And we will make sure…I personally made sure…that our K12 schools have some inflation funding.  The bad news is we don’t have anything next year.”

Despite the giveaways and pet projects the Republican majority included in the budget, Epstein says, “There are some wonderful points of pride in this budget. In addition to the K12 funding for ongoing covering inflation we have another $200 million for school buildings. There’s also unprecedented, historically large amounts of funding invested for affordable housing and homelessness.”

Responding to a question about Governor Hobb’s record-setting number of vetoes, Epstein says, “There was a reporter who said that Governor Hobbs was the veto queen. But I maintain only because our [Republican] Speaker and [Senate] President are the bad bill kings.” She adds, ““As you may know, the House passed 95 bills in one day before we broke for recess. The real tragedy of that is, not only were obviously many of those bills very controversial and…full of hate. In addition to that, 95 bills in just a few hours means that none of them got a full debate. Going through 95 bills all in one day was irresponsible.”

Posted in Arizona Budget, Arizona Politics, Bigotry, Conservatives and Reactionaries, Democratic Governance, Domestic Extremism, Education, Education Funding, Ethics, Government, Hunger, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Investment, Interviews, LIberals and Conservatives, Political Parties, Political Polarization, Public Accountability, Public Education | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Epstein Interview – Podcast May 22, 2023

Riemer Interview – Podcast May 15, 2023

How Climate Change Impacts Populations In Different Ways. Karen McClelland welcomes Northern Arizona University professor, Frankie Riemer, to discuss the climate crisis and how it relates to many of the other issues we face.

Riemer says, “I think that what’s at root in all of these issues is this notion of intersectionality. When we talk about all of these issues, whether we’re talking about abortion or climate change or inflation, we tend to think that it affects all of us the same way. But the reality is that it affects us differently. And things affect us depending on whether we’re old or young, whether we’re men or women, whether we’re able or ably challenged, whether we’re black, whether we’re white, whether we’re poor, whether we’re wealthy…and so, when we talk about climate change, we have to think about who does climate change affect.”

Using the typhoon threatening Myanmar as an example, she explains, “You think about what happens when you have to get out of the house. First of all, you have to have transportation, but in many places poor people do not have transportation. They’re lucky if they have bicycles…for women, they have to take their children. They have to make sure that their elderly parents also get out. Women are generally the caregivers, and so that means they’re not only looking out for themselves, but they’re looking out for everybody. Right? In addition, the poorer you are, the more difficult it is to get out.”

Posted in Abortion, Arizona Politics, Biodiversity, Business Cultural Change, Child Protection, Class Conflict, Climate Change, Compassion, Cultural Change, Cultural Diversity, Environmental Issues, Food Insecurity, Foreign Affairs, Global Warming, Government, Human Rights, Hunger, Immigration, Income Inequality, International Relations, Interviews, Mass Migration, National Politics, Poverty, Race and Class, Racial Discrimination, Refugees, Water Policy, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Riemer Interview – Podcast May 15, 2023