72 minutes | Jan 18, 2022
Series 2 Episode 3
Jim and Chris talk about Chris's time in Moscow in the mid-90s working as a journalist for the Moscow Times and his experiences of the new post-Soviet society. They then look at the similarities and differences between the situation in the USSR in the mid- to late-80s and the situation in the US today.This discussion is prompted partly by the rash of articles discussing Barbara Walter's book How Civil Wars Start, see for example the review in the New York Times here, and this more sceptical piece in the same paper.Second-hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich (available here) is a remarkable window into what it was like to live through the collapse of the Soviet Union. I can't recommend it enough.
56 minutes | Dec 12, 2021
Series 2 Episode 2
In this episode, Jim and Chris discuss the recent hearing in the Supreme Court on the Mississippi abortion case, and what it might mean for the future of abortion provision and more in the United States.The article by David Gans mentioned by Chris is here - https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/10/mississippi-abortion-birth-control-lgbtq-scotus.htmlYou might also find the following interesting - https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/09/what-can-be-done-protect-womens-abortion-rights-if-roe-falls/https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/07/supreme-court-abortion-rights-constitution/
47 minutes | Nov 23, 2021
Series 2 Episode 1
In this first episode of the new series of Boondoggle, Jim Driscoll and Chris Floyd discuss the recent verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, what it says about American politics in this moment, and how we got into this mess.The discussion proceeds from consideration of Patrick Blanchard's article on Gawker, 'Kyle Rittenhouse is an American' (available at https://www.gawker.com/news/kyle-rittenhouse-is-american).In the next episode, we will be discussing the impact on politics of the climate catastrophe, and will be starting by discussing this excellent (and slightly less than despairing) article by Alex Steffen, 'The Transapocalyptic Now' (https://alexsteffen.substack.com/p/the-transapocalyptic-now).
34 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
In this episode, recorded on 17th February 2021, Sasha Abramsky (The Nation), Chris Floyd (Counterpunch), and Jim Driscoll discuss the difficulties of democratic discourse in America given that one party has gone off the authoritarian deep-end, and possible ways in which the Democrats might seek to get politics back on an even keel.
48 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
In this episode, recorded on 30th January, Chris Floyd (Counterpunch) and Jim Driscoll discuss the first ten days of the Biden administration and the future of the Republican Party as it binds itself ever tighter to Trumpist Q-Anon lunacy.
40 minutes | Jan 16, 2021
What does the future hold for Trump, the Republican Party, and the American Republic? With Sasha Abramsky (The Nation), Chris Floyd (CounterPunch) and Jim Driscoll.Read Sasha's most recent article for The Nation is here.The article by Timothy Snyder from which we derive the terminology of 'breakers' and 'gamers' that structures much of our discussion is here.
36 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
In this episode, recorded 24 hours after the events of Wednesday 6th January, Sasha Abramsky (The Nation), Chris Floyd (Counterpunch) and Jim Driscoll discuss what should happen next, the prospects for Trumpism and the Republican Party going forward, and their thoughts on the way forward for the incoming administration.
38 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
In this episode, with Trump's legal challenges grinding on under the tender care of court jester Rudy Gulliani (see this helpful video for a good discussion of their slender prospects), Chris, Sasha, and Jim discuss what the future might hold for Trump, Trumpism, and the GOP, with reference to Sasha's latest article in the Nation (here). They also discuss the prospects for the senate run-offs in Georgia, with the whole team expressing cautious optimism regarding the Democrats' chances.
49 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
In this episode, Chris, Jim, and Sasha discuss the post-election situation, unprecedented in modern times, with Trump and increasing numbers of Republican officials refusing to accept the results of the election and crying fraud. Is this a mark of desperation or a serious escalation of anti-democratic strategising? Or perhaps both? All three of us are more pessimistic than a lot of the media seem to be. (See for example this headline in the Washington Post.) But Trump has been signalling his intentions for months and so far it is all unfolding as he said it would. The only question is whether the Republican party will go along with the charade, and so far the signs are not good. Is the Democrat's current strategy adequate for the moment we find ourselves in? Will they be able to step up to the plate if the Republicans' anti-democratic intransigence continues? If you too feel a resurgence of that familiar anxiety as Trump and his enablers trash America's democratic norms, I'm afraid this episode will not make you feel any better.Nor will these commentators - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jJrmPQf4NQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jco8c6nCUoOn the other hand, there is thishttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAyh2xPrFvo
52 minutes | Oct 28, 2020
In this episode, recorded on Tuesday 27th October, Chris, jim, and Sasha discuss the recent confirmation to the US Supreme Court of Amy Coney Barrett and its implications for the election. In the second half of the episode, Chris and Jim talk about their hopes and fears for a possible Biden administration.Earlier in the day, Sasha discussed many of the same topics on act.tv - you can watch that interview here.There is an interesting article from the Washington Post discussing in some detail Brett Kavanaugh's opinion in the Wisconsin election case, issued ust as Amy Coney Barrett was being confirmed, which you can read here.
38 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
In this episode, Chris, Sasha, and Jim explore the limits of their optimism regarding the election, discussing the significance of the high levels of early voting, the gratifying spectacle of Republicans beginning to distance themselves from Trump, and the prospects for the Senate.
64 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
In this episode, Chris and Jim discuss some more general trends in US politics and culture that are feeding into the election cycle, and wonder how optimistic we should be about the deep cultural changes that societies around the world appear to be going through. They also spend a little bit of time talking about the impact of the Covid's sudden appearance at the White House.For a video that lays out as clearly as possible the various rules, regulations, and constitutional procedures that govern the death or incapacitation of a candidate or president elect at various points in the electoral process, see here.
41 minutes | Oct 2, 2020
Recorded slightly later in the week than normal in order to allow for discussion of the first debate between Trump and Biden, this episode looks at the impact, if any, of that debate, the revelations from the New York Times about Trump's tax affairs (see the original article here) and whether the imminent appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court will have the impact Trump appears to want on any election litigation that ends up there. Discussion of the impact on the election of Trump's Covid diagnosis is just going to have to wait until next week!
64 minutes | Sep 23, 2020
With Sasha unable to make the recording (since he was busy writing this article), Chris and Jim have a wide ranging discussion. The supreme court is on their minds, of course, with comparisons made to previous nomination battles and potential reforms of the court canvassed (many of which mirrored in this interesting leader from the Washington Post), but they also talk about Trump's unhinged rally in Minnesota and the DoJ designation of New York, Seattle, and Portland as 'anarchist jurisdictions'. Chris also speaks movingly of the fate of his hometown in Tennessee, ravaged by the economic storms of the 70s and 80s.For a view of one possible future for America, and a powerful and compelling take on the place the country finds itself in, which interacts with many of the themes discussed in this podcast, check out Chris Hedges on Act TV here. If you subscribe to Act TV, then you may well soon get to see Sasha, who is a regular contributor to the channel.
47 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
In this episode, we begin by discussing the latest depredation or the post office, before moving on to the crazy week that has just transpired, culminating in Trump's illegal rally in Nevada. We finish with a slightly more abstract discussion about why people fall for conspiracy theories.Sasha's piece in the Nation this week can be found here -https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/trump-coronavirus-wildfires-elections/You can watch Pomerantsev discuss his book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible here -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Au332OG-M4And for a terrifying discussion of Q-Anon, you need look no further than this fine article by Adrienne LaFrance published in the Atlantic in June 2020https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/qanon-nothing-can-stop-what-is-coming/610567/
38 minutes | Sep 9, 2020
In this episode, Sasha, Chris, and Jim discuss Sasha's latest article for the Nation, which explains how activists are organising in response to prospective election chaos. They also discuss Trump's call for his followers to vote twice. Chris remembers what happened when they first proposed flouride in the water and Sasha thinks back to the late 80s rave scene. You can read Sasha's article here -https://www.thenation.com/article/society/trump-coup-elections-gop/
60 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
In this episode, with Sasha unable to make the recording, Chris and Jim discuss Watergate, the 1980 election, and other events from US political history with a view to their parallels to today's situation. Much of the discussion is prompted by Jim's reading Rick Perlstein's book The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan (available as an e-book here - https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Rick-Perlstein/The-Invisible-Bridge--The-Fall-of-Nixon-and-the-Rise-of-Reagan/16166184)Perlstein, a historian of the American right, has unsurprisingly intervened in the current debate, for example at the links below -https://www.democracynow.org/2020/8/28/rick_perlstein_rnc_trump_fascismhttps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/15/rick-perlstein-reaganland-donald-trump-nixon-republicanshttps://www.thenation.com/podcast/politics/rick-perlstein-on-the-republican-party-from-reagan-to-trump/
48 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
In this episode, Sasha, Chris, and Jim try their level best to avoid discussing the Republican National Convention, before moving on to discuss how the recent shenanigans at the USPS reveal the insidious role of big money interests in US politics. and the way in which American democracy is on a knife-edge. As Chris says at the end, 'We may already be living in the bardo'. (I had to look it up too - according to Professor Google, 'bardo' is the Tibetan term for the stage between death and rebirth.)The issue of Vanity Fair guest edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates is available here https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2020/08/september-2020-issue-the-great-fireHis collection of writings up to 2016, We Were Eight Years In Power is also a fantastic read.For more information on the Hard Hat Riot mentioned by Sasha, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Hat_RiotAlternatively, you may be interested in this video from the late Michael Brooks discussing whether there was a Hard Hat Rebellion for Trump (the video is from June 2020).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-Ijs2ZAZR4
41 minutes | Aug 18, 2020
In this episode, recorded during and ongoing heatwave in Sacramento, Sasha, Chris, and Jim discuss media reactions in the UK and the US to Trump's attacks on the USPS, and their possible impact on the election. They then go on to discuss Republicans at the Democratic National Convention, and the chances of Biden implementing what is shaping up to be a surprisingly progressive platform.You can follow the Democratic Convention at https://www.demconvention.com/.
45 minutes | Aug 12, 2020
In this episode, Chris, Jim, and Sasha discuss Trump's recent Covid-related executive orders, an analogy from the end of the Soviet Union, and some breaking news (from Tuesday!). There is also some brief discussion of Slavoj Zizek (not a sentence I ever expected to write) regarding his 2016 views on the electoral contest between Trump and Clinton. See this recent article in the Irish Times for his views on the Trump-Biden match-up - https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/slavoj-%C5%BEi%C5%BEek-joe-biden-is-long-term-the-same-catastrophe-as-trump-1.4312913