The Majority Report with Sam Seder

Sam and Emma host David Roediger, American Studies professor at the University of Kansas, to discuss his latest book, The Sinking Middle Class: A Political History, on the relatively recent phenomena of centering the middle class in political rhetoric and how both parties use it as a cudgel to beat back progressive policy. They walk through the development of the “middle class” designation as a largely European concept that began to shift in the US as the Cold War developed and the American relationship to class was forced into the public eye. Roediger then explores how the neoliberal turn of the post-Cold War era saw the term take off in political discourse, boosted by Stanley Greenberg’s sway on the Clinton administration, as a way to appeal to white voters without actively discussing race. Next, they look into how the middle class is used in contemporary politics, with both parties coalescing around a definition during the early 2010s, and decentering the discussion of poor Americans, before touching on the role of SocDems, like Sanders and Warren, and how they must work to simultaneously address class and racial justice issues, and whether or not this appeal to total universality is actually as dangerous as centrist Dems might want you to think. They round out the free half with a conversation on the judicial confirmation process, looking into how supposedly liberal lawyers such as Neal Katyal bolster Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist strategies in order to garner favor among conservative judges.

And in the Fun Half: Nomiki Konst joins in for the most painful meninist hour as the crew covers Jimmy Dore’s monetization of misogyny and sexual harassment, and Thomas calls into debate about men’s rights – but like just from his perspective not with actual facts and figures. Next, Fox and Friends try to flip the script on teachers being good for our children, Mitch McConnell yanks off Manchin’s fig leaf of bipartisanship, exposing the horrors underneath, Kowalski in NE calls in with an agriculture report, and Marjorie Taylor Green finally recognizes the incomparability of the Holocaust, even if the Dems are still kinda national socialists in her mind. Plus, your calls and IMs!

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Sam and Emma host author Clint Smith, staff writer at the Atlantic, to discuss his new book, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America on how the legacy of slavery has been passed down and obscured through generations of storytelling, and the manner in which this manifests in modern society. They walk through the sites that Smith visits in his book – from Monticello, looking at how the stories of Thomas Jefferson perfectly encapsulate the cognitive dissonance of how Americans view ourselves, to Angola Prison as a symbol of modern enslavement literally build upon a plantation – and how the heirloom of ideology is passed down through every element of our society, through education, through infrastructure, and certainly through community policing measures. Smith explores his experiences at a Sons of Confederate Veterans celebration, and the importance of elevating empirical historical facts in making space for activists and organizers to express contemporary racism as carrying the remnants and residues of these systems through all elements of American society. Susan Collins helps Sam and Emma round it out with a discussion on her killer renewable energy tax, ensuring that those aiding our environment pay their fair share to use the roads.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma check in on the NYC Mayoral Race and how Eric Adams’ suggestion of a 400:1 student to teacher ratio might actually not be a good idea, then Dave Rubin bombs because of Big Tech and the Liberal Agenda and Dana Bash forgets to even acknowledge AOC’s comments before hitting on her CNN bipartisanship talking points in response, plus, your IMs!

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Sam and Emma host David Sirota, founder of and editor at The Daily Poster, to discuss the tough developments around progressive hopes for the Biden Administration, including bipartisan dead-ends, bad-faith attacks on Ilhan Omar, and the possibilities of filibuster reform in the Senate. Sam, Emma, and David touch on the power of narcissistic spotlight syndrome, and how it presents differently from Manchin to Sinema, before they look into the Manchin human shield theory and how Democrats manage to hit the emotional core of the donor class without working the rules to get things done. They chat about how the party of “hope and change” is seemingly afraid of making actual structural change, how the role of the federal government in spearheading progress has all but disappeared, and what the best tactic is to bring the Left into the discussion of Manchin’s niche view of bipartisanship. They round out the discussion on how democratic leadership’s continued vilification of Ilhan Omar spotlights the party’s hypocrisy, choosing to hide their own stances on tough issues over centering genuine policy change. Then, Andrew Callaghan, creator of Channel 5, joins to discuss his chaotic documentation of the fringes of America, from the connections between the wellness community and Q-anon, to conspiracies around the deaths of celebrities like Prince and Kobe. They end on discussions of exploitation in the media industry, and Andrew enquires about Crowder’s cringe and cold feet.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma talk about getting cops off the street without boosting the surveillance state, why the country reopening has seen a boom in demand reasonably not met by supply, and watch Ryan Grim stick by his leftist roots and provide Emily Jashinsky with free education on WWII. Tucker Carlson then continues his discomforting obsession with AOC, particularly around the topics of fertility and womanhood, and Dave Rubin shows off his arts and crafts skills, constructing a perfect straw man, before Sam ponders a debate with Ben Shapiro on his roles as the King of the Jews and quick-talking fascist and Fox & Friends draws the line from Critical Race Theory to… China. Emma and Sam finish it off with Ron Paul’s BitCon speech on the entertainment of the pandemic, and the unsurprising fact that a Bitcoin convention promoting these beliefs resulted in a COVID outbreak, plus, your IMs!

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Direct download: 6_11_Casual_Friday_-_pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT

Emma hosts Astra Taylor, activist, and member of the Debt Collective, to discuss her new book Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions on how we can and must organize around each other to help lift ourselves out of the confining and isolating world that has only been exacerbated by the brutality of 2020. They look into the metaphor of conspiracy, stemming from its original meaning of “to breath together,” and how the U.S. government, since well before the pandemic, has constricted the organizing ability and space of workers and the left. They begin with the conspiracy doctrine, which prohibited workers from organizing starting in the colonial era, before looking into why conspiracy theories (in the modern sense) have taken such a hold on the Right, with capitalism helping to monetize confusion and conspiracy stemming from the center of power. Astra explores the devastating fact that we cannot fact-check ourselves out of this problem, and how collective action from the left is the only way to combat growing isolation, insecurity, and inequality before rounding out the discussion by reflecting on the lessons of the Occupy movement and the importance of messy organizing. Then, Emma gets into the Democrats’ unsurprisingly maddening choice to turn their back on Ilhan Omar, choosing to invite more violence against her over backing her completely balanced critique of Israeli and U.S. terrorism, and Mitch McConnell juggles Trump’s role in the party with maintaining his political course and continuing to fundraise.

And in the Fun Half: Brandon and Matt join Emma to chat early 2000s tv dramas before Andrew from Illinois calls in to give his takes on Manchin’s games from someone deeply embedded in West Virginian politics, and Dewey from Chicago jumps off that conversation to lead to crew into a discussion of potential Democratic ploys for the 2022 midterms. Next, JD Vance and Tucker Carlson bring out the dog whistles, Ben Shapiro finally finds a reason to crack down on the use of the N-word, and anti-vaxxers find inspiration in perspiration. Connor from NJ looks to the stars in discussing the growing technocratic surveillance state sponsored by SpaceX, the crew looks into the “look what you made me do” logic of policing, and Nancy Pelosi and co. jump on the bandwagon of using ingrained Islamophobia to bolster their own standing at the expense of Ilhan Omar, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Direct download: 6_10_What_It_Takes_to_Remake_the_World_w__Astra_Taylor_-_pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm EDT

Sam and Emma host John B. Judis, Editor-at-Large at Talking Points Memo, to discuss his new book 'The Politics of Our Time: Populism, Nationalism, Socialism,' on the political movements in America so far in the 21st century and what conflicts and influences they might have on one another in the coming decades. They walk through the thin ideology of populism as creating a dichotomy between “the people” and “the elite,” how these definitions can (and do) diverge between the Left and Right with someone like Trump combining pro-domestic industry rhetoric with anti-union and anti-immigrant policy, and get into a debate around the questionable importance and morality of the Left recognizing nationalism, and whether that line gets drawn at the border, at citizenship status, or elsewhere. Next, they look into the rebirth of U.S. socialism under the Scandinavian model before Judis explores how socialism and populism have grown together in U.S. history, and gives us his takes on why the kids aren’t alright with capitalism. Sam and Emma round out the first half with discussions on how the internalized trauma from the U.S. healthcare system has contributed to vaccination hesitancy, and unpack Judis’ conflation of Left populism and pure Right-wing nationalism and whether his takes on the failures of Left-wing anti-nationalism were exaggerated or not.

And in the Fun Half: After reflecting further on the interview, Sam and Emma chat with born-again leftist Jason on his libertarian indoctrination, escaping the hate-spiral chokehold of the online alt-right, and how, particularly when it comes to issues such as the Great Gay Cake Debate, libertarian logic begins to crumble with any scrutiny. Then, Louie Gohmert chimes in with his thoughts on the effects of stars and space rocks on our Earthly environment as Emma ironically nails the status of Mercury retrograde, Jean from Springfield discusses the danger of falling into the nationalist trap of disguising culture war as class analysis, and Tom McDonald, fresh off his first trip to Sandals Jamaica (judging by the haircut at least), struggles with both rhyme and reason as he forces more culture war references into three and a half minutes than any angry Canadian could ever imagine. AOC finds the cracks in Manchin’s shield of bipartisanship and the staff gives out their book recommendations, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Sam and Emma host Henry Farrell, SNF Agora Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins, to discuss his new paper "Rechanneling Beliefs: How Information Flows Hinder or Help American Democracy," taking on the state of American democracy in historical context, and looking into how our current crisis has developed and what we can do to reverse it. They cover the basics, such as what democracy actually is, and look into how the self-reinforcing elements of democracy have begun to break down as our shared belief systems and faith in democracy have become more stratified than ever. Farrell walks us through a variety of ways that these issues can be countered on the particular level, reinforcing a less partisan environment and making it more difficult for any party to assert long term control, and how this focuses on the importance of bipartisan consequences rather than allowing emphasis on bipartisan support to consistently undermine any actual change. Lastly, they discuss the role of Fox News in the social media ecosystem, and why the EU could serve as a model for unifying anti-trust laws with broader principles on privacy and information flow to help stymy the malignancy of fake news. Sam and Emma touch on how Obama’s insistence that Republicans will see the light is representative of a refusal to acknowledge this democratic crisis, and celebrate the senate passing a New York State anti-trust bill.

And in the Fun Half: Nomiki Konst joins Sam and Emma in debating how far Biden is really willing to go in getting nothing done, and what Kamala Harris could possibly have benefitted from telling Americans to tell migrants to go home, before Ronald Raygun calls in to give us his thoughts on the latter. They discuss developing protests as Jacob from Alabama covers the success of the Miner’s strike despite brutal arrests and the continuing trend of automobile attacks, and look into the Border Patrol’s use of a helicopter to deter Line 3 pipeline protesters in Minnesota. Lance from the Serfs helps us dig into the horrors of the residential school system in Canada and the importance of the Land Back movement in finding at least a base level of reparations. Then, Sam, Emma, and Nomiki push back on the absurdity of Republicans crusading against Critical Race Theory while being unable to point towards anti-white (lol) consequences from any law, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Direct download: 6_8_Fixing_the_Cratering_US_Democracy_w__Henry_Farrell_-_pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

Sam and Emma host Adam Weinstein, Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute, to explore the status of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and what the region might look like moving forwards. They look into why the Pentagon might want a quick withdrawal now that they are committed to withdrawing at all, and whether or not U.S. contractors will choose to linger beyond the military’s time in the country before Weinstein walks us through the Afghan Security Force’s capacity, and the intelligence community’s concerns about not having as robust of a surveillance state in the region. They round out the discussion by examining the history of the conflict as a 40-year civil war, how the U.S.’s role in anti-soviet jihad is responsible for much of the destabilization that has occurred, and the fantasy of a clean counter-insurgency. Sam and Emma unpack Manchin’s bootlicking of bipartisanship even as republicans continue to restrict voting on the state level, and really really try to think about the Senate glass as half full.

And in the Fun Half: Angus King finally falls on the right side of the filibuster-or-democracy debate, Tucker Carlson hits us with the age-old “if homeless people really wanted houses they would buy them” argument, and Milo Yiannopoulos discusses giving queer folk something to be proud of this June (him going straight). Next, Mike from Omaha explores the antisemitic conspiracy theory at the roots of the conservative war against Critical Race Theory, before Sam chats about his own experiences with conservatives rallying against the Jews, and how the far-Right maintains this antisemitism while publicly claiming parallels to Jews in Nazi Germany. Sam and Emma look into the fact that Donald Trump might not put his pants on like the rest of us, and Ben from NY calls in to chat about the 2022 NY governor race while Sam boosts the importance of pressing Cuomo and State Senators on the upcoming NY Medicare for All Bill, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Future Hindsight Podcast: This episode of Majority Report is brought to you by the civic engagement podcast Future Hindsight. Join host Mila Atmos this week as she talks to Mark Rank, a poverty expert and the author of Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty. Check it out at FutureHindsight.com

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Sam and Emma host Heather "Digby" Parton, proprietor of the wönderblog Hullabaloo and Salon.com contributor, to discuss the week's top stories, including Biden's bipartisan fetish President Manchin and the filibuster, and more. They explore the Democrats’ plan to make June the month of failure, using the filibuster as part of their ass-covering project, and Biden’s lack of leverage over Manchin, before moving on to how the Republicans have been mastering the obstructionist blueprint for decades. Next, they touch on the futures of the voting, infrastructure, and (now singular) reconciliation bill, and how Manchin remains the bar for Biden to put a bill up for a vote. Sam and Emma then watch Lara Trump bust the theory of Trump’s August Inauguration, and Sam hypothesizes how Q stans will work around her comments (it’s easy, just delay it a month!).

And in the Fun Half: Dagen McDowell declares government-run healthcare dead (ironically enough), because, obviously, we ALL have healthcare, and Glenn Greenwald doesn’t quite understand just wanting healthcare. Sam, Emma, Brendan, and Matt discuss how Donald Trump is working to sustain his base to ensure the role of presumptive nominee in 2024, and look into how PC culture has begun to interfere in the papal labor market before Rudolph Giuliani blows them away with HisPillows, and slippers, and more! Then, Kiester from FL rebuts Mike from Miami’s Gillum takes, Jeff from LA calls in to discuss the horrors of insurance copay policy, and the crew watches George P. Bush’s baptize himself in all Trump’s glory as he prepares his run for Texas AG, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Future Hindsight Podcast: This episode of Majority Report is brought to you by the civic engagement podcast Future Hindsight. Join host Mila Atmos this week as she talks to Mark Rank, a poverty expert and the author of Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty. Check it out at FutureHindsight.com

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Direct download: 6_4_Casual_Friday_w__Digby__Andrew_Callaghan_-_pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Sam hosts Emory Professor of Law Dorothy A. Brown to discuss her new book, The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans – and How We Can Fix It, on the myriad ways in which race is coded into our tax systems, reserving benefits and breaks for white families across the board. Dorothy and Sam discuss the difficulty of tracking racially disparate tax policy when the IRS refuses to track data on race, and how she came to look into race and taxation. They explore how family tax policies since the early 1900s have explicitly served white folks – from reserving benefits for single wage households, to how the free transfer of wealth has let wealthy white families separate death from taxes – and how 529s and student loans act to ensure Black Americans pay more, and earn less, in going to college. Next, they look into how tax subsidies reinforce the racist housing market, privileging homeowners in white neighborhoods over tenants and homeowners in Black communities, and how this has created more demand on the income of Black folks to support the housing of their families. Sam then gets some free accounting help as they dissect how the Democrats’ discussion on raising the SALT deduction cap provides meaningless benefits for the wealthy. Lastly, Sam and Emma round out the show by discussing the transition back into the Brooklyn office, before they admire Kyrsten Sinema's dedication to avoiding hard decisions on the Senate floor.

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Sam and Emma host professor of African American studies Carol Anderson to discuss her latest book The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America on how the right to bear arms has been a means to suppress black Americans. Anderson details how black Americans throughout history have organized to defend themselves against state violence and racist uprisings. Anderson notes that black Americans' efforts to arm themselves were constant and well-founded given the violence perpetrated against them, however, they could never out-arm the white citizens who wished ill on them. Sam and Anderson then discuss the Black Panthers' open carry efforts to "police the police" and how "gun control" in California began as a means to disarm Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Anderson wraps the conversation by discussing contemporary laws surrounding gun control, police brutality, and the discrepancy between gun carriers like Phalando Castile and Kyle Rittenhouse.

And in the Fun Half: Biden is hopeful because of soap ads with interracial couples, what's productivity and will remote work change anything, tokenism in the modern GOP, Tucker Carlson says unvaccinated Americans are subject to "Medical Jim Crow," the politics of inclusion, Ben Domenech's complete misunderstanding of the Cold War, John Kennedy's vacuous reelection campaign video, plus your calls and IMs!

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sunsetlakecbd is a majority employee owned farm in Vermont, producing 100% pesticide free CBD products. Great company, great product and fans of the show! Use code Leftisbest and get 20% off at http://www.sunsetlakecbd.com. And support the Mass Nurses Association and the nurses striking at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester.

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Sam and Emma are back from their Memorial Day break to discuss the top stories kicking off this week, from the anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre to the Texas Democrats' exit, and what we hope Democrats have learned from the failures of the January 6th commission. They begin by exploring the rising tensions, bolstered by the KKK and SCOTUS decisions, that led up to the 1921 Tulsa Massacre on Black Wall Street, then they look into the culmination of Republicans' decades-long crusade against the vote – from the staunch refusal to support an investigation into the January 6th coup attempt to the current wave of voting-restriction bills. Sam and Emma discuss the Texas Democrats' decision to walk out of the House, sacrificing the discussion of their initiatives for the sake of the enfranchisement of their constituents, how it can be a lesson for national Democrats who actually have a majority, and why taking on the unconstitutional nature of the filibuster must be the next step in the Senate. The duo rounds out the first half with a discussion of the leaked Biden memo on unilateral immigration reform.

And in the Fun Half: Nomiki Konst joins as the crew looks into the reemergence of the NY Health Act's Single-Payer system, first introduced in 1992, how a weakened Cuomo in an election year provides the perfect storm for NY to forge a path for a progressive agenda, and Nomiki explores multiple layers of the Dianne Morales clusterf*ck in the lead up to the NYC Mayoral primary. Next, they respond to the H3 Podcast's call for a Seder-Crowder debate, hopefully without Stephen's parental supervision this time, and delve a little deeper into the "discourse" that occurred at the Patriot Roundup "Coup"-Anon Conference. Emma emphasizes the importance of recognizing the commonality of Lab Leaks worldwide in a responsible discussion of the emerging possibility of the Wuhan Lab Leak, plus your IMs!

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Harry’s owns a German factory that’s been honing razor blades for 100 years – they source their steel from Sweden and own the entire manufacturing process, allowing them to keep prices low. New U.S. customers can redeem a Harry’s trial set at Harrys.com/MAJORITYREPORT. You’ll get: A 5-blaze razor -featuring their new, sharper blades, a weighted handle, foaming shave gel with aloe, and a travel cover to protect your blade when you’re on the go.

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Subscribe to Discourse Blog, a newsletter and website for progressive essays and related fun partly run by AM Quickie writer Jack Crosbie. https://discourseblog.com/

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Direct download: 6_1_News_w__MR_Crew_-_pub.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

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