April 25 - Assessing the Revolution Underway in Armenia; HUD Punishes the Poor While Rewarding the Rich; Mulvaney's Brazen Admission Makes a Lie of Draining the Swamp

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We begin with a resumption of large-scale demonstrations in Armenia’s capitol Yerevan against Serzh Sargsyan the long-serving president who, like Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan, appointed himself prime minister but provoked so much outrage he was forced to step down because of people power.  Grigor Atanesian, a political commentator and journalist covering Armenia who has an op-ed in the Moscow Times “What Does Turmoil in Armenia Spell for Russia?”, joins us to discuss Putin’s growing alarm at the possibility of a youth-led colored revolution breaking out in Armenia.  With a new round of popular unrest erupting, sparked by the break- off of talks with the opposition by the Deputy Prime Minister Karapetyan who was appointed by the ousted leader and was is a former executive with Russia’s Gazprom, we assess the situation.

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Then we examine the proposal by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson to triple the rents that low-income families will be expected to pay for subsidized housing at the same time we are learning that the Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is so close to the president he has been described at Trump’s shadow Chief of Staff, has received sweetheart loans from HUD that have boosted Hannity’s $100 million real estate portfolio.  Robert Silverman, a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, joins us to discuss efforts underway to privatize HUD so that instead of providing housing for low-income families, the priority will be making real estate developers and speculators rich.

Robert Silverman

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Then finally we look into the most brazen example of what a cynical lie Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” was with Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s head of the OMB and acting head of the CFPB, speaking yesterday before the American Bankers Association who have donated $32,000 to Mulvaney’s political campaigns, making the extraordinarily honest admission of his corruption telling the bankers that, “If you are a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you are a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you”.  Lisa Gilbert, the Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Public Citizen join us to discuss how Trump and his cabinet are filling the swamp while lining their own pockets

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April 24 - Trump Threatens Iran That They Will Have "Big Problems"; The Strange Motives Behind the Toronto Massacre; Trump Hangs Out His VA Nominee to Dry

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We begin with President Trump threatening Iran today warning they will have “big problems” if they resume their nuclear program while Trump seems determined to blow up the P5+1 deal with Iran which is preventing Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.  A veteran CIA operative and Middle East expert Robert Baer, who is currently a national security analyst for CNN, joins us to discuss what exactly Trump may be threatening as he stood beside France’s President Macron, who incidentally is trying to persuade Trump to stick with the Iran deal which Trump characterized today as “insane”. With rumors rampant in the Middle East press about a buildup of U.S. naval and air forces in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, we will assess the extent of the belligerent influence of the new national security advisor John Bolton as well as warlike threats from Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince who are lobbying the White House to blunt Iran’s growing influence in the region, particularly in Syria and in Iraq where elections are about to take place with an Iranian-backed candidate the frontrunner.

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Then we go to Canada and speak with Henry Giroux, the McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest whose most recent books are “America at War With Itself” and “The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism”. He joins us to discuss yesterday’s use of a van as a weapon in Toronto which resulted in 10 killed and 14  wounded, mostly women. We try to understand the motives of the driver Alek Minassian who appears to be influenced by the so-called Incel rebellion and the fact that the suspect who taunted the police to shoot him, is alive because the police in Canada are not as trigger-happy as they are here in the U.S.

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Then finally we look into the increasingly tenuous state of Trump’s nominee to head up the Veterans Administration, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, who was elevated from his position as White House physician by Trump to head up the second biggest government department after the Pentagon.  Suzanne Gordon, an award-winning journalist and author of “The Battle for Veteran’s Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care” whose forthcoming book is “Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans”, joins us. We discuss Trump’s extraordinarily back-handed endorsement of his nominee today in a press conference in which Trump said he was standing by his nominee while at the same time saying he did not want his nominee to go through an ugly process and be attacked by a “vicious group of people”, meaning the press, concluding with the nail in the coffin, “If I were him, I wouldn’t do it”.

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April 23 - Was the Latest Mass Shooting Ideologically Motivated or a Result of Mental Illness?; The Peculiar Concessions Rand Paul Got For Voting to Confirm Pompeo; Ceremony Likely to Trump Substance at Trump's First White House State Visit

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We begin with the capture of the fugitive who on Sunday morning shot four people dead at a Waffle House in Tennessee and but for the heroic intervention of a customer James Shaw Jr. many more lives would have been lost. We assess whether this latest mass shooting is ideologically motivated in as much as the 29 year-old suspect Travis Reinking claims to be a “sovereign citizen”, or whether since he carried out his shooting rampage naked and claimed that Taylor Swift was stalking him, we once again have the results of the tragic intersection of mentally unstable Americans having access to military-style assault rifles. Brian Levin, a criminologist, civil rights attorney and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino, joins us to discuss the suspect’s prior arrest at the White House where he claimed to be a “sovereign citizen” who had the right to inspect the White House grounds, and the referral by the FBI and Secret Service to the local police in Illinois who seized Reinking’s arsenal of weapons but, because of lax laws thanks to the NRA, the Tazewell County Sherriff’s did not have the right to confiscate them so handed the weapons over to Reinking’s father who later gave them back to his troubled son.

 

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Then we speak with John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies who has been an international affairs representative in Eastern Europe and East Asia for the American Friends Service Committee and is the author of “Aftershock: A Journey Through Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams”. He joins us to discuss the narrow vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to approve Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be the next Secretary of State and the peculiar reason that Senator Rand Paul gave for switching his vote based on Pompeo’s assurances that he admits the Iraq war was a mistake and that we should get out of Afghanistan, which in the light of history, are hardly controversial concessions.

John Feffer

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Then finally we get an analysis of what might emerge from the pomp and pageantry associated with the Trump White House’s first state visit hosting France’s President Macron and speak with Irene Finel-Honigman, a Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who served on the board of the French American Chamber of Commerce, the French American Foundation, and Maison Francaise. Since Macron is trying to convince Trump to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and not pull out of the Iran agreement, expectations for this summit are low, with ceremony likely to trump substance.

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April 22: The DNC Sues Russia, The Trump Campaign and Wikileaks; With the Imperial Presidency in Trump's Hands, Could American Democracy Die?; A Lawyer for the Sandy Hook Families on Suing Remington and Alex Jones

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We begin with the Democratic National Committee suing Russia, the Trump campaign and Wikileaks and discuss how this might impact the Mueller investigation and bring the issue of impeachment to the forefront in this year’s mid-term election campaign as the central plank of the Democrat’s platform. Matt Angle who directs the Texas Democratic Trust and the Lone Star Project and served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, joins us to assess whether the fundraising benefits of the DNC’s lawsuit will be outweighed by the negative messaging Democratic candidates in swing districts will be stuck with as large numbers of hopefuls join in the primary races. We explore the depth of the anticipated “Blue Wave”, particularly in Texas where Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke is challenging Ted Cruz in a U.S. Senate race which could prove a tectonic upset for the Trump-dominated GOP, particularly since Cruz has written in Time magazine such fawning praise of his previously bitter rival Trump which has been mocked widely for its unctuous sycophancy.

 

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Then we speak with Lawrence Jacobs, the Chair of Political Studies at the University of Minnesota where he directs the Center of the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert Humphrey School of Political Affairs. He joins us to discuss how Donald Trump is capitalizing on the imperial presidency erected by presidents since World War 11, provoking dire fears that American democracy will die since our national security and foreign policy is in the hands of a unilateralist with an aberrant personality and a reckless governing style. We assess whether a deal coming out of the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit, no matter how cosmetic, could revive Trump’s presidency, or a war with Iran could give him a short-term boost before things turns sour as they did with the Iraq war.

Larry Jacobs

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Then finally, with students across the country demonstrating on Friday on the anniversary of the Columbine school massacre, we will speak Josh Koskoff, a Connecticut-based trial attorney who represents 10 Sandy Hook families in a groundbreaking case against the Remington Arms Company for marketing the Bushmaster AR-15 used in shooting 20 six and seven-year-old schoolchildren and 6 educators in just under 5 minutes. We also discuss the lawsuit by a number of Sandy Hook families against Alex Jones of Infowars for promoting his despicable conspiracy theories that has led to the further victimization of these families who already suffered such unspeakable losses.

 

April 19 - Congress Wimps Out With the New AUMF; The Confirmation of a Global Warming Denier as Trump's Pick to Head NASA; How Right Wing Media Props Up Trump With a Bodyguard of Lies

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We begin with the bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Senators Corker and Kaine to replace the AUMF, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center who was previously counsel to the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Feingold, joins us. We will discuss her article at Defense One “The Corker-Kaine Bill Would Codify, not End, the Forever War” and how the Congress which under the constitution has the sole authority to declare war, would flip this constitutional power on its head allowing the president to declare war against any enemy anywhere while leaving Congress only with the power to un-declare that war. With a president under siege from mounting domestic scandals who might strike out and start a war as a distraction, whose closest advisor is an eager war hawk, a conflict could easily erupt with Iran and be justified under the Corker-Kaine AUMF. Since Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps are already designated a terrorist organization and they are also sheltering Al Qaeda leadership including Bin Laden’s son, under the Corker-Kaine Bill that would be twice the threshold needed to start the next war.

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Then we speak with Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University who is on the board of the American Federation of Scientists. He joins us to discuss the close vote of 50 to 49 in the Senate today to confirm Trump’s pick to head up NASA, a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma Jim Bridenstine. A global warming denier whose previous experience was running the Tulsa Air and Space Museum into the ground, he will take over a $20 billion enterprise with 17,000 employees many of whom work on earth sciences projects that measure the effects of global warming.

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Then finally we examine the role of Trump’s “shadow chief of staff” the Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity who according to a presidential advisor, “basically has a desk” in the White House.  Hannity was recently outed as the third and only client of Trump’s embattled lawyer Michael Cohen and Adele Stan, a weekly columnist for The American Prospect joins us to assess the distortion of the media landscape by the big right wing outlets like Fox and Sinclair. We discuss the extent to which they are propping up the Trump presidency with a bodyguard of lies, and her latest article at The American Prospect “Our Media Problem is Bigger Than Sean Hannity”.

 

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