Episode 26: Celebrating 80 Years of Social Security
August of 2015 marked the 80th anniversary of Social Security. To spite its enormous success and popularity the right wing continues to attack with the kind of empty headed statements shown above. This episode of “The Campaign with Ernie Powell” will be solely about Social Security. The show starts with the actual recording of FDR where he talks about the importance of the legislation that created the program back in 1935. You will hear additional clips from Senator Elizebeth Warren and Social Security Works! co-founder Nancy Altman as they talk about the fact that Social Security is not going broke and should, in fact, be expanded. All but two Republican Presidential candidates propose either cuts or privatization to this marvelous program. Ernie will be talking to Carl and in that discussion you will hear Ernie tackle these crazy ideas such that we are all prepared for the election season where it is anticipated that Social Security will be front and center as a domestic policy and retirement security issue. Nancy Altman is the co-author of the book “Social Security Works! Why Social Security isn’t going broke and how expanding it will help us all.” In addition to what is noted above, Ernie will be talking about the plans and proposals for expansion as set forth in this timely book.
Episode 25: Maya Rockeymore, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions
Maya Rockeymore, Washington D.C. President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions Maya Rockeymore is an American policy scholar, speaker, author and media commentator and a national leader in the progressive movement fighting on issues related to seniors, civil rights, education and civic engagement. She has appeared on CNN, Fox, NPR, C-SPAN and a dozen other media outlets. Before she founded Global Policy Solutions Ms. Rockeymore was Chief of Staff to Representative Charles Rangel as well as working with the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Urban League’s policy think tank. In this exciting conversation Ms. Rockeymore discusses the on going struggle needed to fight what she calls “a radicalized class system” in our country that brings inner city rates of unemployment at better than 30%, wanton killings of young black citizens by the police and other systemic realties that keep our society divided and the black community underserved, oppressed, poor and unfree. The discussion goes on to talk about the terrifying events in South Carolina with the tragic murder of nine African American citizens by a racist killer. Ms. Rockeymore gives the stark back drop to these terrible events – the roots and reality of hate still present in our culture, politics and society. She covers where the struggle must go now and what strategies are needed to build a just, equal and sane society – the America we hope for and the America we promise for present and future generations. And as the former Chairperson and President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare she reminds us of the dangers inherent in the right wing attempt to devastate the senior safety net with proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare. Maya Rockeymore is an amazing leader, political strategist and progressive. This interview will inspire every listener to action and a sense that winning this long struggle is as possible as we had hoped.
Episode 24: Leza Colman, Exec Director of the California Long Term Care Ombudsman Association
The challenging fact of our lives right now in California is that more and more people are aging. And, the services needed to help folks as they grown old – beyond the successes of Social Security and Medicare – are behind the curve in developing a systematic approach. Where our state is behind has to do with long term care. We still hear too many reports that nursing homes are places of neglect, under staffing and sometimes outright abuse. There is one group in our state dedicated, by law and state and federal mandate, to help solve this problem and fight for the resident in a long term care facility. That group is called Ombudsman and their mission is to work on behalf of the resident to make sure things are done correctly. Yet, for the last few years the California Ombudsman who typically get their support from federal and state dollars has been dramatically underfunded. So, on this episode of “The Campaign” Ernie talks to the Executive Director of the California Long Term Care Ombudsman Association – Leza Colman. In this engaging interview Leza talks about the effort done, this year, to restore a portion of that lost funding. And, she talks about how Ombudsman do the work they do in making sure that residents live in a safe and dignified environment when they need to be placed in a long term care facility. A nursing home may be the last place your mom or dad calls home. With the Ombudsman present and doing their work we can feel better about how those places treat our older loved ones. And, she talks about how all of us can be engaged in the important work of making sure that the most frail and vulnerable among us live in dignity.
Episode 23: Five-Time Emmy-nominated Satirist Will Durst
Politics in today’s America is pretty crazy. Fewer and fewer people like politics and literally no one likes those involved in politics. That is why America needs Will Durst. He brings all of us a breath of fresh air as he talks politics because as he talks about it he makes us smile and laugh and relax. Known by some as the “modern Will Rogers” Will has been at this for better than thirty years. He knew in his childhood that he wanted to be a funny guy making people laugh. He has been on every major talk show on television and radio and each time he makes us think, makes us listen to his message and, as we are saying over and over again – he makes us laugh. He follows that heritage and fits right in with a long list of satirists from Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory and others as the people who show us a different side in the serious business of how we shape, manage this delegate experiment of democracy. From his laugh out loud reflections on the world of the baby boomer to his jibes at every politician from Clinton to Bush to Obama to Bush to the gang of we lost count on the Republican Presidential candidates Will goes for the jugular. In this episode of “The Campaign with Ernie Powell on Ratio Titans” Will and Ernie talk about humor and its roll of keeping us not only enlightened but also sane in this time of conflict and hard fought nasty partisanship
Episode 22: Talking Baseball with Ross Vachon
Ernie Powell decided to take his show down a different path in this fascinating and fun interview about the American Pastime = Baseball. Ernie, the consummate political junkie, decided to honor the calls of summer by looking close at what baseball means to all of us. Facts, records, myths, rumors and funny stuff is all discussed in this one hour talk with an all around expert on the game – Ross Vachon. Ross and Ernie have been friends for better than 25 years and every summer their dialog begins and continues on this timeless game. Ross is a local screen writer who is one of the best baseball experts and his commentaries, sense of history, knowledge and insights are here for your knowledge and enjoyment. And, in the middle of all of it they listen to the one and only George Carlin talk about the key existential question – the difference between baseball and football. So, pull up a chair, open up your bag of peanuts and listen to the best part living in the American summer through a fun talk on the game we all love.
Episode 21: NOW President Terry O'Neill
This one hour interview covers an amazing array of very relevant topics and ideas from one of the most progressive leaders in America – Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Terry offers a sharp and exciting organizing model of local activism mixed with big national issues for NOW, which she has lead since 2009. She addresses the need to protect and expand Social Security, which is particularly crucial for women, who make less than men during their working lives and thus receive less in their retirement. For similar reasons, Medicare is equally crucial to the retirement security of women. She then goes on to describe the strategy on the part of the Republican Congress and key Republican leaders in a number of state houses to sabotage the rights of women – whether on the issue of reproductive rights, pay equity, fairness in the workplace, and other issues of equality fought for and gained by women all across the country and in our nation’s capital. Every activist, organizer, leader,and fighter for progressive ideas will be inspired by her words, her spirit, and her amazing strategic sense of how to win and keep winning on behalf of the freedoms and rights we have, as well as the economic and health security we have earned. Terry is a friend to every progressive effort across this land. The structure of NOW — with its brand of member engagement and leadership – is a model that we should copy and learn from. The interview concludes with some wonderful words about another national icon that both Ernie and Terry have worked with – the great Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers. “The Campaign with Ernie Powell on Radio Titans” is pleased to present an exciting and very relevant dialog and discussion with a great American icon: Terry O’Neill, National President of NOW.
Episode 20: Santa Monica Forward with Gleam Davis and Jason Islas
A place that used to be called “Oshkosh by the Sea” – this wonderful pearl, Santa Monica, which features stunning sunsets, the venerable and internationally loved Santa Monica Pier, and a political history that is a model of progressive change and inventive ideas is, once again, in an all hands on deck battle about its future. You will hear all about it in this fascinating episode of “The Campaign with Ernie Powell.” He welcomes two amazing guests who have recently worked with a very diverse group of neighbors, civic, housing and education activists to form a new organization called Santa Monica Forward. The hopeful and optimistic moto of this group is “Progressive Change begins with all of us.” Our two guests provide the detail. You will hear from Councilmember Gleam Davis. Councilmember Davis brings a long history of activism and progressive leadership having served on the Santa Monica Planning Commission and as co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights. She has fought for better schools, affordable housing and good environmental policy at the local, state and federal level. And, she is joined by Jason Islas, a native Angeleno and local journalist. Jason is the editor of Santa Monica Next and the director of the Vote Local Campaign. Before joining Next in May 2014, Jason had covered land use, transit, politics and breaking news for The Lookout, the city’s oldest news website, since February 2011. We talk about the current battle to preserve and build more housing for middle and low income residents, better transit options, affordable child care and continued good services for all of its citizens as the City Council is scheduled to vote on a series of proposals that will impact those efforts. And, you will hear about the odd emergence of a new political dynamic. The main opponent to these great ideas is a noisy yet small, Tea Party type NIMBY group, lodged mostly on Facebook, which is saying No, No, No to the future through a set of zoning and planning concepts they favor that will turn Santa Monica over to the wealthy 1%. Give a listen !
Episode 19: Blacklisted actress Marsha Hunt
Imagine having to answer that question because someone you worked with, someone you were employed by, someone you may have dined with or known as a good friend gave your name to a government official. Imagine having to answer that question when you have spent your life not really involved much – you voted every time, you thought about issues, you stood when the flag was raised and you did your part but politics was not the center of your life. Or, imagine having to answer that question when a few years before you fought for your country or you lost a loved one who fought for your country. “Are you now or have you ever been…..” is a question that thousands of good Americans who sang and danced for us, acted in movies and plays for us, produced, directed or wrote those plays, movies and shows for us had to face. It was a terrible period in the mid 1940′s to the early 1960′s when things like the “House Un American Activities Committee” or “the Black List” existed. It was a haunting time, a time that featured mean hearted political leaders out less for their nation and more for their own advancement who were warped by a paranoia un-matched at any other time in our history. But, it also featured heroes and Ernie and Carl spoke to one of them for this show. They were men and women who loved this country. They were men and women who understood freedom and the right to speak and the right to say “no” to a government gone crazy. Those heroes did not in most cases want to be a “political player.” But, at the same time, they did not want to snitch on colleagues, And, they refused to answer questions rooted not in the search for truth but, rather, rooted in the most ugly motivations to suppress. The hero that joined us for this show was the wonderfully talented and internationally respected stage and screen actress – Marsha Hunt. She spoke with Ernie and Carl for a walk through the past and the present as she shared what it was like to be “black listed” and kept from employment as an actress and how she stood up and fought them as she kept going, never lost hope and continued with her life as a caring citizen, an artist and a friend to many. Ms. Hunt lives in Los Angeles and, now, in her late 90′s she continues to bring joy, insight and energy to a nation that owes her a thousand thank you’s for who she is and for how she is an example and model of bravery, generosity and dignity. Give a listen !
Episode 18: 11-time Pulitzer nominee Robert Scheer
Robert Scheer joins Ernie Powell for an incredibly interesting, relevant and vibrant interview on everything from the Constitution and the current risks we face through the loss of our privacy, to living in the Great Depression in the vibrant and hopeful New York City neighborhood of the Bronx in the 1930′s and 40′s, to how a good solid progressive feels about baseball. Ernie walked away from this nearly 90-minute talk with Scheer knowing that there is one thing that keeps us whole and solid as we fight for justice, equality and peace in this very complex world. That one thing is the remarkable document called the United States Constitution which protects our privacy and enables us to speak, organize, fight and agitate. Powell later said to his producer Carl Kozlowski, “I did not interview Robert Scheer today, I sat and watched the living embodiment of the 2nd and 4th amendments. This man, gets it in ways that we all need to get it. Robert Scheer is an American legend and to listen to him is to learn every value and ethic an organizer and citizen of this country needs.” If there was ever a learning opportunity, this interview offers it. Scheer is a gift to a country that yearns for authenticity and clarity. So, listen closely and learn. Listen closely and act. Listen closely and thank what ever or who ever you pray to for a constitution that gives us the means to fight for what is right and gives us the opportunity to have a Robert Scheer to tell us why it is all worth it and why it is all possible.
Episode 17: Legendary Congressman Barney Frank
In introducing former Congressperson Barney Frank on the Campaign with Ernie Powell, Ernie read a the opening paragraph of good friend Peter Drier’s review of Frank’s new book. Peter comments that “Barney Frank was the smartest, funniest and one of the most effective members of Congress. In his new book, “Frank, a life in Politics from the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage,” Frank reveals how he decided to come out of the closet as a gay man, the impact that had on his political career and his subsequent efforts to advance LGBT rights along with other progressive causes…” Powell introduced the former Congressperson by telling the audience that “for years, I have followed Mr. Frank’s career and for all of those years I have found him to be a leader, a fighter for the best ideas and causes as well a true and committed progressive. Powell later commented that “I am a huge Barney Frank fan and I miss having him in Congress but am very happy that this next chapter of his life will allow all of us to learn his insights, his strategic sense and his passion for justice and equality. I highly recommend his new book as a guide for both our politics and our strategies.” In this insightful interview we gain Mr. Frank’s incredible insights about the issues he fought for in his more than twenty years as a Massachusetts’ member of the House of Representatives. From his leadership on LGTB issues to his efforts to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare as well as his incredible leadership on the issue of financial reform, this interview is nothing less than a study in great practical and visionary politics along with the practice of same by a former Congressperson that has lead the way for years on these and other issues. We all hope you buy his outstanding book, “Frank, a life in Politics from the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage.”
Episode 16: Outspoken Soap Acting Legend Eric Braeden
A five-time Emmy nominee as well as an Emmy winner, all for his iconic role as Victor on “The Young and the Restless,” it would be easy to dismiss Eric Braeden as “just” a daytime TV actor – that is, until you hear his passion about the acting industry, his concerns and passion for America as an immigrant who succeeded wildly, and who is a passionate advocate of countless progressive causes and a free, strong Israel. He phoned in to “The Campaign with Ernie Powell” to speak with Powell and his cohost Carl Kozlowski about a myriad of issues facing the nation. It’s a surprisingly lively and spirited hour of discussion, and utterly compelling and entertaining
Episode 15: Emmy-winning acting legend/activist Ed Asner
Ed Asner has won more Emmys (7) and been nominated for more Emmys (20) than any other actor in TV history. He’s also used his long career and huge fame in the name of countless progressive causes, from working for unions to fighting for single-payer health care in America. At the height of his success, during the run of the CBS drama series “Lou Grant,” he was canceled even as the show was still a Top Ten hit – because he wouldn’t stop speaking out against Reagan’s Central American policies. Asner joined Ernie Powell and “The Campaign” for a look at his life, career, and bold political stands in a very special episode.
Episode 14: Nancy Altman of Social Security Works
In our latest “The Campaign with Ernie Powell” Ernie interviews Nancy Altman. Nancy and her co-author Eric Kingson, were here Los Angeles in order to present this dynamic and very relevant book about Social Security entitled “Social Security Works! Why Social Security isn’t going broke and how expanding it will help us all.” Both Nancy and Eric are co-founders of the national organization “Social Security Works” based in Washington D.C. The interview is about the core theme of the book – that Social Security is not in crisis and can pay full benefits for many years to come. And, as opposed to cutting the program it ought, in fact, be expanded. Nancy describes how important the program is to all generations while, at the same time, she debunks a whole set of myths being pushed by Social Security’s opponents and phony reformers who call for either cuts and or privatization. As the Campaign with Ernie Powell is themed to talking about organizing as well as the issues, the case is made in this exciting interview that this book is a helpful tool as activists organize in defense of Social Security. This interview, as well as the book, gives helpful and worthwhile information about the strategies and tactics needed to keep the right wing and their billionaire supporters from cutting and ultimately privatizing America’s most successful social insurance program which benefits millions of America. Listen to the interview, share it with your friends and buy this book!
Episode 13: Acclaimed Author/Activist Peter Dreier
Peter is a Los Angeles based author and activist, professor and the director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Peter began teaching at Occi in 1993 after nine years as the director of housing at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and as a senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. Peter’s recent book, the 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame details the lives of the greatest progressive American activists in the Labor, Civil Rights, Peace and Social Justice movements of the past century. The interview covers a range of domestic policy topics. It will leave the listener hopeful and committed to the future of progressive ideas as we look at the challenges of the current political moment. Topics cover everything from the current right wing threat to Dodd-Frank to the accomplishments of the civil rights movement, the Labor movement, the LGBT movement and the effort to protect retirement and health security for all Americans as we face a hopeful but difficult next few years.
Episode 12: Comic/Radio Host/Author/Young Turk Jimmy Dore
Jimmy Dore (author of “Your Country Is Just Not That Into You”, member of The Young Turks, host of The Jimmy Dore show on KPFK, and star of several Comedy Central specials) joins The Campaign and talks the role of satire in media and politics, The Interview controversy, and normalization of relations with Cuba with hosts Ernie Powell and Carl Kozlowski
Episode 11: Author and impact journalist Jason Islas
Jason Islas, author and impact journalist from “Santa Monica Next” joins Ernie for a very informative interview about new styles of city planning, the need for more local and affordable housing and a note or two on the emergence of an urban Tea Party. Give a listen to the “Campaign with Ernie Powell.” Who would believe that riding a bike down a big or small city street could actually be interpreted as an act of both social and progressive change? Jason Islas from Santa Monica Next joins Ernie for a provocative and exciting discussion about new ways to approach urban living and design. You think that city streets are crowded because of too much housing? Jason tells us that it is, in fact, the opposite. Cities are jammed with traffic because there is not enough housing near employment centers. That old habit of commuting to a job is what is really causing so much traffic. With more housing in the urban core there would be less traffic such that people could walk or bike to work. And, guess what, that Tea Party equipped with offensive crazy views is starting to get interested in places other than the burbs. More and more right wing groups are popping up to “keep them out” or as others might say it “I got mine, f u.” That sad NIMBYistic fact appears to be happening in Oskash by the Sea.
Episode 10: Karen Jones of The Nursing Home Ombudsman Program
Nursing homes and assisted living centers have a less than stellar record of protecting their elderly residents from abuse and less than adequate care. At a time when our senior population is growing meaning more and more frail older California need care, the state has cut many of the resources needed to help provide necessary services. Learn how the California Long Term Care Ombudsman program has provided the needed help in countering and correcting this trend. They have done so even as they too faces cuts in their budgets. On this episode Ernie Powell interviews Karen Jones, Executive Director and Program Manager of Long Term Care Ombudsman Services in the Central Coast Region. You will learn of the good work of this program and what you can do to help encourage your state legislators and Governor Jerry Brown to provide necessary funding so that people living in nursing homes and assistant living centers age with dignity.
Episode 9: Carmen Balber, Director of Consumer Watchdog of California
Today’s guest on “The Campaign” is Carmen Balber, Director of Consumer Watchdog of California. Carmen talked about two important ballot measures slated for the upcoming election in November. Why will Propositions 45 and 46 help consumers and why is it important to vote YES on both of these important propositions.
Episode 8: Health Access California plus Social Security Works
This episode features two guests, Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, and Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works. Anthony speaks to us from Sacramento about the work Health Access does to implement the Affordable Care Act in the Golden State. From Washington, D.C., Alex shares his deep experience with battles around Social Security policy and the tactics used by its Wall Street opponents to deceive the electorate about what’s really at stake.
Episode 7: Political activist Marv Schachter and Lance Kilpatrick
The Campaign is about the art, science, technique and skill of building progressive campaigns in the marketplace of ideas. Each week, Ernie welcomes to the studio organizers and leaders in the field. This week, he welcomes to the studio a mentor in the skill of speaking & organizing, Marv Schacter, in his segment “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” about the living history of progressive campaigns, starting with his memories of battling black-shirts in 1930′s Brooklyn. Lance Kilpatrick, National Campaign Director for Caring Across Generations, joins us for the second interview of the show to talk about long-term medical and elder care issues and how they’re affected by the Affordable Care Act.
Episode 6: Rev. Janet McKeithen, Pastor of the Church in Ocean Park and Gary Passmore, VP of Congress of CA Seniors
Today’s guests are the Reverend Janet McKeithen, Pastor of The Church in Ocean Park, and Gary Passmore, Vice President of the Congress of California Seniors.
Episode 5: Santa Monica City Councilmember Gleam Davis and Antonio Gonzalez of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project
Santa Monica City Councilmember Gleam Davis joins Ernie Powell in the studio to talk about beachside politics then and now. Then we talk with Antonio Gonzalez of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, SVREP about the evolving demographics of Latino electorate.
Episode 4: Cesar Chavez Foundation Communications Director Marc Grossman and Tim Allison of Tri-Counties Central Labor Council
Today on The Campaign’s special Labor Day episode, Cesar Chavez Foundation Communications Director Marc Grossman calls in to share recollections with Ernie Powell about Cesar’s famous speech on the anniversary of the Lattimer Massacre in Pennsylvania. Then Tim Allison, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council joins us by phone to remember FDR’s declaration of a second bill of rights and discuss the labor movement today.
Episode 3: Lacy Crawford of Social Security Works and Rigo Saborio of St. Barnabas Senior Services
The Campaign welcomes to the studio Lacy Crawford, Director of Communications for Social Security Works in Washington DC, and Rigo Saborio, President CEO of St. Barnabas Senior Services in Los Angeles, for a conversation with Ernie Powell about retirement insurance and senior issues around the anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s passage of the Social Security Act.
Episode 2: Heather Booth of Democracy Partners and Aaron Smith of Young Invincibles
Host Ernie Powell explores the art of rallying supporters to a worthy cause as we speak to organizers Heather Booth of Democracy Partners and Aaron Smith of Young Invincibles about messaging and meaning in health care campaigns.
Episode 1: Premiere
Ernie Powell talks to Carl Kozlowski about his personal history with “grass-roots” movement and the American tradition of lobbying.