December 18 - Trump's Pro-Settler Anti-Two-State Ambassador to Israel; Why is the Left So Blind to Who Putin Is?; As Left Wing Populism Ruins Venezuela, Will Right Wing Populism Under Trump Ruin America?

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with Donald Trump’s nomination of David Friedman, his bankruptcy attorney who has no diplomatic experience, to be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and speak with Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Haaretz and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. He is the author of “The Punishment of Gaza” and we discuss the choice of a hardline, pro-settler opponent of the two-state solution who wants to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem where he maintains a residence. We also examine whether this radical right-wing Zionist who calls liberal American Jews “kapos”, a reference to those Jews who helped the Nazi’s during the holocaust, will be a divisive figure in the American Jewish community and undermine the bi-partisan consensus on Capitol Hill for support of Israel.

Gideon Levy

Part 2

Then we speak with Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security. He served as counsel to Andrei Sakharov and other activists in the former Soviet Union and we discuss President Obama’s criticism of Republicans who support Putin that would “make Ronald Reagan roll over in his grave” and why the American left is so blind to who Putin is, when if he were placed in an American political context, would be a right wing capitalist kleptocrat and thug who persecutes gays, encourages vigilantism and supports reactionary “Christian” fundamentalism.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into comparisons between how left wing populism has wrecked oil-rich Venezuela and how right wing populism fanned by the Donald Trump Administration could wreck American, starting with the American government, since Trump had deliberately installed members of his cabinet who are hostile to the mission of the government departments they will be overseeing. An expert on Venezuela, David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America and professor of sociology at Tulane University who moderates the blog Venezuelan politics and human rights, joins us.

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