Monthly Archives: November 2021

The Progressive Agenda 2.0 (Guest: Rep. Rashida Tlaib)

Mark and Jeff discuss the latest entrant into the Republican gubernatorial sweepstakes, millionaire auto dealer Kevin Rinke. Plus: the potential for a bedsheet ballot with a dozen citizen petition drives underway or being discussed, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission gets a scolding from the Attorney General, and Mark shares details of a lawsuit he has filed on behalf of the Michigan League of Women Voters challenging gerrymandering at the county level.

They are then joined by Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI 13th), the outspoken member of “The Squad” and, from Day One, an advocate of impeaching former President Trump.

Rashida Tlaib is a well-known progressive warrior and, in her own words, “a mother working for justice for all.” Her two young sons are at the root of her unwavering passion to help change lives for the better. She is the oldest of 14 children, born and raised in Detroit, the proud daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents.

Tlaib made history in 2008 by becoming the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature.

In 2018, she won the Democratic nomination for the United States House of Representatives seat from Michigan’s 13th congressional district. She ran unopposed in the general election and became the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature, and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Tlaib is a member of The Squad, an informal group of six (four until the 2020 elections) U.S. Representatives on the left wing of the Democratic Party.

The Squad: Tlaib, Ayanna Presley, Ilhan Omar, Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez

Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). She and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are the first female DSA members to serve in Congress. Tlaib has argued in favor of abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the police. On foreign affairs, she has sharply criticized the Israeli government, called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, supports a one-state solution, and expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

Tlaib is the oldest of 14 children born to working-class Palestinian immigrants in Detroit. Her mother was born near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Her father was born in East Jerusalem. He moved first to Nicaragua, then to Detroit. He worked on an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company plant. As the eldest, Tlaib played a role in raising her siblings while her parents worked.

Tlaib graduated from Southwestern High School in Detroit, gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Wayne State University and her Juris Doctor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

She is currently the Congresswoman for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, which includes the city of Detroit and many surrounding communities.

Laboratories of Autocracy (Guest: David Pepper)

Enactment of the Biden infrastructure plan is a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s economy, but will it translate into political benefits for Democrats? Mark and Jeff discuss the fallout from the bipartisan vote and the bitter recriminations for Republicans who supported the law (including death threats against Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan).

They are then joined by David Pepper, former chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and author of the new book “Laboratories of Autocracy.”

Pepper is a lawyer, writer, political activist, former elected official, and adjunct professor, and served as the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party between 2015 and 2021. In that role, he was engaged in numerous fights and extensive litigation over voter suppression and election laws in the Buckeye State. Stemming from that work, David appeared in “All In”—the documentary highlighting Stacey Abrams’ nation-wide fight for voting rights.

His public service includes Cincinnati City Council, and the Hamilton County Commission. He was  the Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor in 2010 and Ohio Attorney General in 2014. He was elected chair of the Ohio Democratic Party in December 2014.

Pepper has written four novels that bridge real-world politics and fiction—including A Simple Choice (Putnam, forthcoming June 2022). His first novel, The People’s House, earned praise for having “predicted the Russia scandal.” The Wall Street Journal named Pepper “one of the best political-thriller writers on the scene.”  

Born and raised in Cincinnati, David is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian. David earned his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, and later earned his J.D. from Yale Law School. In 1999, David clerked for the Honorable Nathaniel Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. After 2000, David also worked in the Cincinnati offices of major law firms Squire Sanders and Blank Rome, focusing his practice on commercial and business litigation, and appellate litigation. David also teaches election and voting rights law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.


Here, Right Matters (Guests: Col. Alexander and Rachel Vindman)

Mark and Jeff offer their analysis of Tuesday’s elections…not just the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, but also some of the key local elections in Michigan.

Then, they are joined by one of the few heroes of the Trump White House: former national security staffer Col. Alexander Vindman, and USA Today columnist Rachel Vindman.

The unassuming foreign affairs expert found himself suddenly thrust into the national spotlight after his frank and courageous testimony as a part of the first Trump impeachment, where his declaration that in America “right matters” riveted the nation, and put the Vindman in the crosshairs of the Trump revenge machine.

Vindman, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, was most recently the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia on the White House’s National Security Council. Previously, he served as the Political-Military Affairs Officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as an attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. While on the Joint Staff, he co-authored the National Military Strategy Russia Annex and was the principal author for the Global Campaign for Russia. He is currently a doctoral student and fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute, board member for the Renew Democracy Initiative, and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Here, Right Matters. Follow him on Twitter @AVindman and follow Rachel Vindman @natsechobbyist.