February 27 - What is Behind the Sudden Rise in Anti-Semitic Attacks?; How Social Media and Technology is Undermining Democracy; Trump's 10% Increase in Defense Spending

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the rash of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish cemeteries and Community Centers with 500 headstones desecrated at a Jewish graveyard in Philadelphia less than a week after a similar outrage in St. Louis. Brian Levin, a Criminologist, civil right attorney, professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, joins us to discuss the more than 160 bomb threats made to over 60 Jewish Community Centers since January. And with anti-Semitic incidents on the decline prior to this, we will look into what factors might be involved in this upsurge of hate in the country that coincides with the arrival of the Trump presidency. We also discuss Trump’s slow reaction to these hate crimes and his response to Jewish reporters who raised the issue to Trump only to be met with hostility and evasion.


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Part 2

Then we explore how technology is disrupting democracy and if used maliciously, could undermine it further. Johan Bollen, a professor at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing who previously was a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, joins us to discuss the recent article in The Guardian that investigates the role of algorithms in social media and the activities of Robert Mercer, the right-wing billionaire who is close to Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon and Nigel Farage and the war he is waging on the mainstream media by creating a multi-million-dollar propaganda network that funds Breitbart, proliferates “fake news” and spreads global warming denial disinformation.  

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Roxana Tiron, who covers defense business, national security and Congress for Bloomberg News, about the historic increase in defense spending Donald Trump is proposing for 2018 with an extra $54 billion being added at the expense of cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department whose budgets are $8 billion and $50 billion respectively, compared to the $600 billion that goes to the Pentagon. We also examine Senator John McCain’s criticism of the addition 10% in defense spending which he thinks is not enough. 

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