January 13 - The Reporter Who Broke The Contamination of Flint River Story; The Storm in a Teacup Between the US Navy and the IRGC's Navy; Donald Trump and the Drift Towards American Fascism

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with Michigan’s Governor Snyder deploying the National Guard in Flint to help distribute filters to the city’s residents who for over a year have been forced to drink lead-tainted water from the polluted Flint River following cost-cutting measures imposed by the governor. Curt Guyette, an investigative journalist with the ACLU of Michigan, who was the first reporter to break the story of the Flint River being used as a water supply for the city, joins us to discuss the governor’s slow response in acknowledging concerns raised by residents whose complaints were dismissed by his office that also disputed studies that showed a link between elevated levels of lead in children following a switch of the city’s water source to the Flint River that these same officials insisted was safe.

Curt Guyette

Part 2

Then we examine the storm in a teacup that the seizure of two U.S. patrol boats by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp on the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union address turned out to be. Now with today’s prompt release of the ten sailors and their boats, we contrast yesterday’s over-heated press coverage and rhetoric from Republican candidates and lawmakers with the quiet personal diplomacy between John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart that settled the matter. Flynt Leverett, a Professor of International Relations at Penn State University who was Senior Director for Middle East Affairs on the National Security Council joins us to discuss the value of diplomacy and the need for a deconfliction agreement in the Gulf between the U.S. Navy and the IRGC’s navy.

Flynt L. Leverett

Part 3

Then finally, following President Obama’s warning in his State of the Union address that our politics are drifting to the dark side, heading for what could be an American version of fascism, we speak with Robert Paxton, the Mellon Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences at Columbia University and author of “The Anatomy of Fascism”. We  discuss contrasts between Donald Trump’s manifestation of American celebrity-driven right wing populism and earlier 20th Century versions of fascism in Europe.

Robert O. Paxton