The Majority Report with Sam Seder

Sam Rosenfeld joins us to talk about his new book, 'The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era.' The New Deal and when American politics lacked polarization. What are the problems of too much bipartisanship? The problem posed by the conservative/white supremacist southern democrats. How patronage and historical legacies were more important than ideological and material concerns. The decline of party machines and emergence of an important national government. The assymetry of polarization with Goldwater-type Republicans in the 1960s. The response of conservative/market-based democras to the GOP's partisan success. The dangers and opportunities that emerge when polarization intensifies.

And for members, Saddam Hussain/Fred Armisen calls into the Majority Report on October 12, 2004

Direct download: Sam_Rosenfeld_Show_Feb_21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Famed whistelblower Daniel Ellsberg joins us to discuss his new book on the 'omnicidal' dangers of nuclear weapons, 'The Doomsday Machine.' Ellsberg's personal history, including his father's connection to the US military-industrial complex and Daniel's time at RAND. How Ellsberg took more classified material than the Pentagon Papers as insurance. The Strangelovian reality of 'Dead Hand' mechanisms and how they could spell global apocalypse. The shocking casualness Ellsberg noticed in his time as a nuclear war planner. What Ellsberg would say to Trump or any president could he brief them. The change needed in our collective consciousness in addressing the proliferation of nukes and decommissioning of doomsday machines.

For members: Journalist James Risen on The Majority Report on Feb 22, 2006.

Direct download: Daniel_Ellsberg_Show_Feb_19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Authors and academics Daniel Ziblatt & Stephen Levitsky join us today to discuss their new book, 'How Democracies Die.' The pre-Cold War coup-centric deaths of democraceis, and how elections ended democracies during the cold war. The importance of institutions to making democracies last long. The gatekeeping capacity of political parties. How the GOP has abdicated responsibility for maintaining democracy and became a white identity party. What happens when it's one side breaking the norms? Does the GOP need to be met with its own tactics? Why the GOP becoming more diverse is the simplest available option.

Direct download: Levitsky_Ziblatt_Friday_16_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On today's show: Sam addresses the horrific school shooting in Florida. Teenage survivors of the massacre speak to local news about the need to take action on gun control. Ted Cruz claims Democrats are trying are trying to "politicize" a tragedy. Chris Murphy speaks on Senate floor: "this happens nowhere else." Marco Rubio claims "we need to know all the facts" before we can formulate a political response to the eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury during the first seven weeks of 2018.

Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) of The Huffington Post joins us to discuss his latest article, What A Battle Over Virginia’s Most Powerful Monopoly Can Teach Democrats Everywhere. Fueled by massive donations, Virginia Democrats have long tolerated the monopolistic business practices of Dominion Energy, "a longtime foe of state consumer advocates, anti-corruption activists and environmentalists." Recently elected Governor Ralph Northam did not make the company an issue in his campaign. But an up-and-coming group of progressive Democrats like Sam Rasoul have pledged not to take any money from the company and fight back against predatory practices, like double-charging customers for the same service, and winning state-level elections. Marans breaks down what this shift in local politics can teach the Democratic Party going forward.

On the fun half: Josh in Chicago shares his experience of living in London where guns are banned, ICE issues a fascistic statement on a preliminary version of an immigration bill a group of Senators are working on, students in Austin protest to free their classmate from ICE, Trump says he's "totally opposed" to domestic violence, Jeff in GA on Meghan McCardle and the capitalist roots of the gun problem, Ben Shapiro triggered by the "identity politics" of Black Panther, Bari Weiss gets in trouble for a tweet, basketball coach Steve Kerr says "nothing has been done" to protect us from gun violence, Ronald Raygun on ICE's terrorism, some callers from Florida lend their perspective on the tragedy, and a Kansas politician is doing an AR-15 giveaway.

Direct download: 2-15-18-Daniel_Marans-PUB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:15pm EDT

On today's show: Mitt Romney will announce his Senate run on social media. Democratic gains in VA and FL state houses. Trump ignores questions about Rob Porter. Trey Gowdy says the House Oversight Committee has opened an investigation into Porter's security clearance, but former FBI director Chris Wray contradicts his timeline. More stories of ICE terrorism. Jimmy Dore walks back his Seth Rich conspiracy theories but insists Hillary "was not the lesser of two evils" and even Jamie gets annoyed.

On the fun half: Kristen Gillibrand bends the knee, takes corporate PAC money out of her fundraising. Queer and trans POC activists arrested at Columbus Pride for protesting police violence. Mindy tells tales from the racist suburb she's moving out of. Alex Jones thinks Kehinde Wiley painted Obama with sperm on his face for Satanic reasons. Fox attacks a high school for opposing the national anthem's pro-slavery verse. A caller educates the MR crew on how to protect online privacy. Sam gives a caller tips on running for state office. A caller has obscure left-criticism of the push for Medicare-for-all. Confronting ICE agents in public about what they are doing to people. How to push the concept of debt resistance in the mainstream media.

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Direct download: 2-14-18-Sam_Seder-PUB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT

Eric Levitz from New York joins the Majority Report to talk about his latest report on why canceling the country's $1.4T student debt would increase the purchasing power of a broad, and growing, part of the American labor force.

First, Maria Bartiromo and Paul Ryan choreograph concern about the national debt in order to gut social benefits. 

Then, Eric Levitz on the depressive economic impact of student debt. Navigating the resentments that a student debt jubilee could engender. What sort of students would debt relief help most? How student debt exacerbates the racial wealth gap. The interaction between the declining middle class and need for a college degree to avoid economic precariousness. How does a student debt jubilee become politically feasible.

On the fun half - Megan McArdle has a new job, Gregg Popovich is America's wisest basketball coach, NRATV impresses with a tv smashing commercial, Trump is mentally ill-equipped to care, Jeff Sessions gives a shout out to America's white sheriffs, the perils of calling state constitutions for money in politics.

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Direct download: 2-13-18-Eric_Levitz-PUB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

Aziz Rana, constitutional law professor at Cornell, joins us to discuss his latest piece in n+1 Magazine, Goodbye, Cold War.

On today's show: The Boston PD does a most Boston thing and honors a white guy for Black History Month. Aziz Rana joins us to talk about the end of the Cold War era in politics, which he places in 2016. Prior to the Cold War, U.S. politics were marked by class conflict, union power within the Democratic Party, and open white nationalism among Republicans. Both the rise of the USSR and World War II ushered in a new era where both major parties held up an increasing commitment to racial equality, just institutions, national identity, and middle class prosperity as reasons American capitalism was better than Soviet communism. During this time, unions went from true organs of class power to special interest groups defending the narrow interests of their members, and social goods began to to get privatized and tied to employment. Taft Hartley didn't help. The fall of the USSR further ensconced the triumph of neoliberalism. As the Obama era showed, legal equality was a step forward but did little to solve deeper economic problems. From growing class consciousness to grassroots movements, Rana draws parallels from the 1930s to the present and warns us against the mistakes of the past.

Good news: The Teamsters become a sanctuary union, and a California court rules against ICE for detaining people without probable cause.

On the fun half: Meghan McCain is sick of hearing Republicans are racist. John from San Antonio wants Democratic candidates to adopt a progressive program. WV state house candidate Lissa Lucas gets dragged off the house floor for reading a list of oil and gas donors. (Go here to donate to her campaign.) Kellyanne Conway claims Donald Trump helps women "privately." Judge Jeanine blames Obama for the Rob Porter scandal and Sebastian Gorka blames the CIA. Is Jimmy Dorr the Jeanine Pirro of the left? A call from Ronald Raygun. Andy Ternay wears "fuck Trump" shirt to Home Depot. Former Reagan advisor Lee Atwater explains the evolution of the southern strategy on his deathbed. The role of imperialism in U.S.-Taiwan relations. The left-criticism of student debt forgiveness is garbage. How Obama should have handled the Supreme Court. Is Pelosi the right messenger for the Democrats' "crumbs" message? Josh from [redacted] calls Jamie "Hymie."

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Direct download: 2-12-18-Aziz_Rana-PUB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EDT

On today's show: Mike Pence won't comment on Rob Porter, says "it's a great honor to serve." Cliff Schecter (@cliffschecter) joins us to discuss the latest news from the Trump administration. Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis and John "not a general" Kelly might seem like the adults in the room, but they're guilty of atrocities and shouldn't be glorified. Nobody is surprised the Trump administration harbored a known abuser. Did Trump and Pence know about Porter? Some good news from Ohio. John Kasich 2020?

Rand Paul's shutdown speech elicits tough talk from Charlie Dent (R-PA) re: the time he got beaten up by his neighbor, which in turn elicits movie ideas from the MR crew. Omarosa says she regrets everything on Celebrity Big Brother and the White House is forced to respond. Corey Pein (@coreypein), host of News From Nowhere and author of the forthcoming Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley, joins us to talk tech and movies. Silicon Valley is no longer being valorized in our culture. Why superhero franchises are tiresome. Corey recommends Werner Herzog's 1972 film "Aguirre, the Wrath of God," a fictional story about a doomed Spanish conquistador expedition starring Klaus Kinski. More fun with Jordan Peterson.

On the fun half: Gabe in Chicago talks ADHD, Justice Democrats, and the IL governor's race. Trump sticks up for Rob Porter. Porter's ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby details the abuse she suffered. A ribald joke about Meghan McCain. More on why Jimmy Dorr is the worst. Brenda has the best idea yet for a Rand Paul beatdown flick. Fox News gets upset that writer Jesse Farrar wants to waterboard conservative students, never mind giving them bad grades. The other problem with campus culture. How do we fix the opiate epidemic? Trump blames Hope Hicks for the Rob Porter scandal.

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Direct download: 2-9-18-Cliff_Schecter-Corey_Pein-pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT

David Golumbia (@dgolumbia), English professor and faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University joins us to discuss his book Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right Wing Extremism.

On today's show: Scott Dworkin's scammy #resistance PAC, and a literal Nazi is running for Congress in Illinois. David Golumbia (@dgolumbia) joins us to discuss crypto-currencies: What a crypto-currency is, how Bitcoin is "mined," and the economic principles at play. Golumbia breaks down some of the criticisms of Bitcoin, from the contradictions embedded within it to its association with far-right politics. Could anything created by libertarians really be that good? He explains why we might want to have some centralized regulations on our currency and makes a case for a democratic economy, rather than one created by a shady hacker class.

Nancy Pelosi says she won't whip the House to vote against the DACA-free budget deal. Look up your representative here and do it for her.

On the fun half: Kyle Shank provides further info on crypto-currencies and Sam makes a plan to start one of his own. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis tries to explain why we need low yield nuclear missiles to keep us safe. Jordan Peterson defends "daddy daughter" dances from cultural Marxists and claims men and women can't work together. Pastor Paul Begley claims Melania ordered the White House exorcised before she'd move in. Man quits Department of Labor in protest of its collaboration with ICE (donate to him here). A caller's personal take on NATO, Putin, and Latvia. Mike Pence rebuffed by gay Olympic figure skater. Jeff Sessions promotes aspirin as opiate alternative. Never Trumper Patrick Ruffini misses the cultural cachet (and war crimes) of the Bush II administration. Josh in Chicago breaks down the IL governor's race, encourages support of Daniel Bliss. The crew re-watches the Trump scalp reduction video. Sam offers encouragement to an aspiring academic.

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Direct download: 2-8-18-David_Golumbia-pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17pm EDT

On today's show: Trump "would love to see a shutdown" if border security isn't strengthened, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly thinks people who didn't sign up for DACA are lazy, a Kansas professor was seized by ICE for minor infractions, Disney will save $1.2 billion/year in taxes and spend just $125 million on one-time bonuses for workers, and partisan gerrymandering could be declared unconstitutional in WI.

On the fun half: Josh in Chicago thinks Jeff Merkley would make a good Senate leader, Addison in Ohio fills us in on why Laci Green is bad, former Evergreen State College professor Bret Weinstein says he was "ejected from the left" by student protests, a caller shares his experience with Medicaid work requirements, the smoking gun on Trump's scalp reduction, Jeff Sessions' nonsensical insistence that marijuana leads to opiate addiction, Gorka still totally in touch with Trump, racist asshole harasses Korean-American woman on camera, a caller on how Ursula K. Le Guin's work helps people envision a world without capitalism, progressive MI gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed is getting smeared by his primary opponents, should Cenk Uygur be purged from the left, Jeff in GA tells a parable about how everyone deserves cornbread, Philly city council votes to end cash bail, and a caller asks how to deal with sexual assault on campus.

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Direct download: 2-7-18-Sam_Seder-pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EDT