February 16 - Peace Talks as Aleppo is Encircled; Will the Republicans Cave on a Replacement for Scalia?; The Pope Takes on the Mexican Drug Cartels

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the deepening crisis in Syria following the bombings of hospitals by the Russians and the arrival of Saudi troops and warplanes in Turkey that could turn a regional proxy war into Cold War confrontation given the recent remarks by Russia’s Prime Minister that “we are rolling into a new Cold War”. David Lesch, the Distinguished Professor of Middle East History at Trinity University and author of “Syria: The Fall of Assad”, joins us to discuss how serious peace talks are as the Russians, Iran and Hezbollah encircle Aleppo and whether an agreement to get food into besieged pockets of starving Syrians will be implemented.

Part 2

Then we speak with Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean and professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law and author of “The Case Against the Supreme Court”. He joins us to comment on the unseemly partisan battle that has erupted before Justice Scalia is to be laid to rest on Saturday, and the Republican obstruction that is expected to dominate this year’s presidential race. We discuss whether or not the Republican senate will cave under growing pressure to have a hearing and a vote on Scalia’s replacement or whether the toxic, crude and vitriolic nature of much of the discourse amongst Republican presidential candidates will continue to drown out moderate voices and become the new normal.

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Part 3

Then finally we go to Mexico City for an update on the pope’s visit where today he spoke at a stadium in Morales in the heart of the Knights Templar drug gang’s territory where they control most of the methamphetamine trade that feeds the U.S. market. Ioan Grillo, who has reported on Latin America since 2001 for international media and is the author of “Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America” joins us to discuss the brave stance the Pope is taking and his criticism of Mexico’s clergy who have grown too cozy with the rich and powerful.