October 21 - Will the Truth About Khashoggi's Murder Come Out?; Will Republican Minority Rule Lead to a Second Civil War?; The Psychological Underpinning of America's Deadlocked Politics

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We begin with the widely ridiculed and patently absurd Saudi explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and speak with Nukhet Sandal, a Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Studies in Ohio University’s Center for international Studies. She joins us to discuss her article at The Huffington Post “Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was a Saudi Warning Shot” and whether Turkey’s President Erdogan will release the recordings of Khashoggi’s death on Tuesday as promised when he plans to announce results of the Turkish police and intelligence investigation. Or will some kind of diplomatic deal involving regional stability over the future of Qatar be made and the grisly details buried. With Saudi Arabia’s King Salman announcing a comprehensive Saudi inquiry headed by his son, MBS, the main suspect who intelligence sources believe ordered the assassination, the findings of which will be issued in a month’s time, we assess whether Trump will succeed in making this embarrassment to his and Jared Kushner’s unconditional investment in the brutal and unstable Crown Prince go away, in spite of calls by Britain, France and Germany for a full and independent investigation.

Dr. Nukhet Sandal

Part 2

Then we speak with Jonathan Taplin, the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC and author of “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”. He joins us to discuss his article at Harper’s Magazine “Rebirth of a Nation: Can States Rights Save Us from a Second Civil War?” and whether the imbalance of power from the ruthless minority rule of the Republicans will lead to a second civil war, or is Trump’s reign an interregnum in which the old white power structure is dying as a new oppositional coalition struggles to be born.   

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the psychological underpinning of America’s deadlocked politics with Jonathan Weiler, a professor of Global Studies at the University of North Carolina and co-author of a new book, just out “Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide”. He joins us to discuss the different worldviews of the “fixed” people on the conservative side and the “fluid” people on the liberal side and how personality differences rather than ideology divide us and how they can be decoupled from our toxic political debate.

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October 18 - Will Congress Be Forced to Sanction Saudi Arabia Over Yemen?; America's Middle East Strategy on Steroids; How the Two Dialysis Monopolies Almost Destroyed Obamacare

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We begin with growing international outrage at the barbaric behavior of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS who more evidence increasingly implicates as the author of the butchery of a dissident and Washington Post columnist. Yet MBS has yet to even come up with any explanation for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Shireen Al-Adeimi, an Assistant Professor of Education at Michigan State University who is originally from Yemen, joins us to discuss her article at NBC News “Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance has Accomplished What 50,000 Yemeni Deaths Could Not”. We look into the possibility that as Trump tries to offer cover to MBS whose arrogance and impunity knows no bounds, the evidence the Turks are holding back on will be released and will be so damning that the Congress will be forced to act. Although it is clear from complaints by Bob Corker the Republican Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the White House is preventing U.S. Intelligence agencies from sharing what they know with lawmakers, it seems likely that congress will eventually sanction Saudi Arabia. With bills already in the House and Senate to cut off U.S. military and logistical support for MBS’s cruel and pointless war on Yemen, there may be a respite for the Yemeni people facing what the U.N. calls the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet initiated by the impetuous brutality of Saudi Arabia’s incompetent boy king.  

Shireen Al-Adeimi

Part 2

Then Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University joins us to discuss his article at Foreign Policy “This is America’s Middle East Strategy on Steroids” and his latest book, just out, “The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy”. And while Trump is such a wrecking crew he makes the foreign policy elite look good, we explore how we can have greater security if we stopped trying to bomb enemies real and imagined and took better care of our own people, and stood as a more authentic example of democratic values.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist for The Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik about his latest article at the LA Times “How profiteering by the same dialysis firms trying to kill Proposition 8 almost destroyed Obamacare”. We will examine how the country’s two biggest monopolies in the dialysis clinic business DaVita and Fresenius are spending a record-breaking $100 million plus on deceptive advertising to defeat Proposition 8. After having almost destroyed Obamacare by encouraging Medicare patients to sign up to the Affordable Care Act to have a pre-existing condition covered, these dialysis monopolies then gouged the insurance companies and made such exorbitant profits they forced big insurance companies to opt out of Obamacare.

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October 17 - How the Saudis Buy Washington, DC; Will Erdogan Release the Evidence or Bury It at the Behest of the Saudis and Trump?; Globalization as the Enemy of Social Democracy

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We begin with the enormous financial clout Saudi Arabia wields in Washington through lobbying firms who then pass on the money to politicians, retired senior government officials and think tanks.Dr. Ben Freeman, the Director and Founder of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy who is the author of “The Foreign Policy Auction”, joins us to discuss how presumably now the Saudi lobbyists are working overtime, along with President Trump, to defend the indefensible as the whole world, with the exception of the White House and Fox News, is appalled at the brazen butchery of Jamal Khashoggi apparently ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince. With some Washington lobbying firms dropping their lucrative Saudi client, we examine how, after shelling out millions and having exerted enormous influence in Washington for decades, Saudi spending in 2017 was nearly three times what it was a year earlier. And we will assess whether the vocal outrage at Saudi behavior coming from prominent Republican senators will have an effect on Trump’s efforts at a cover-up since the Congress can exert its authority on arms sales and possibly impose sanctions on the kingdom to pressure the King to ditch his son the Crown Prince who Senator Graham described as “a wrecking ball”.

Ben Freeman

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Then we speak with Max Hoffman, the Associate Director for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress whose research focusses on Turkey and the Kurdish regions. He joins us to discuss if and when the Turks will release the audio and video evidence they have been leaking which they claim are recordings of the actual torture, murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We assess what leverage President Erdogan might be using over the Saudis and what would prompt him to either release the evidence or bury it in a secret deal with Trump and the Saudis.

Max Hoffman

Part 3

Then finally we speak with John Judis, Editor at Large of Taking Points Memo whose latest book just out, is “The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization”. He joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “What the Left Misses About Nationalism” and argue that as long as corporations are free to roam the globe in search of lower wages and taxes, and as long as the United States opens its borders to millions of unskilled immigrants, liberals will not be able to create an equitable society free from the anxieties of obtaining healthcare, education and housing.

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October 16 - Trump's Long and Deep Financial Ties to the Saudis; Is Erdogan Angling for a Pay-Off or Is He Bluffing?; What Kind of a Deal Is Pompeo Making Between the Saudis and the Turks

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We begin with President Trump’s denial in a tweet today claiming he has no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia for that matter) which flies in the face of the many statements he made on the campaign trail boasting about how much money he was making out of the Saudis and that he liked them very much. Carolyn Kenney, a senior policy analyst for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress joins us to discuss her new report, “Trump’s Conflicts of Interest in Saudi Arabia” and the large number of Saudi-related LLC’s Trump listed in his May 2016 financial disclosure. We go back to Trump’s earlier dealing with Saudi Prince Alaweed bin Talal who gave Trump an infusion of desperately needed cash when he bought Trump’s yacht in 1991 after he was forced to surrender it to creditors and then again in 1995 when lenders made him sell the Plaza Hotel. Talal bought the Plaza for less than Trump paid for it years earlier. It seems to be hardly a coincidence that Prince Alaweed bin Talal who Trump took frequent jabs at on Twitter, was one of the names on a classified U.S. Intelligence list of critics of the Saudi Crown Prince that Jared Kushner is reported to have given MBS. One of the richest Saudis, Alaweed bin Talal was arrested by MBS, tortured and forced to give over a considerable chunk of his fortune to Jared and Trump’s friend MBS who now stands accused of murdering and butchering a Saudi-American journalist with The Washington Post.

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Part 2

Then finally we examine the possibility that Turkey’s President Erdogan is angling for a big pay-off from the Saudis to make this embarrassing matter go away or that he is bluffing and does not have the evidence of the murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi that has been leaked to the press in tantalizing snippets for the last week. Henri Barkey, who served as a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and is the author fo “Reluctant Neighbor: Turkey’s Role in the Middle East”, joins us to discuss his hunch that Erdogan does not have the evidence the Turks have promised.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Aaron Stein, a resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. An expert on Turkey, he joins us to discuss the extent to which President Trump is orchestrating the Saudi denial and cover-up following Trump’s announcement today that MBS told him in a phone call that he “totally denied any knowledge” of what happened to Khashoggi and that the Crown Prince wants “a full and complete investigation into this matter”. We  assess what kind of a deal Secretary of State Pompeo is making as he heads to Turkey tomorrow after talks with the Saudi leadership.

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October 15 - Trump and MBS Concoct a Cover Story; Senator Warren Fires Her Opening Shot Against Trump in the 2020 Presidential Race

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We begin with the cover story the White House and the Saudi Crown Prince MBS came up with to get them both off the hook following the murder and dismemberment of the Saudi-American journalist Jamil Khashoggi in Turkey. Trump’s entire Middle East policy, not to mention his business interests, rest on his and Jared Kushner’s investment in MBS, and this violent ignorant spoiled prince who ordered the barbaric butchery of a Washington Post journalist needed a way out from under the international outrage his latest impetuous and rash act has provoked. Robert Baer, a veteran CIA Middle East operative and author of “Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude” who is now the national security affairs analyst for CNN, joins us. We discuss how an insular and inexperienced Saudi Crown Prince with absolute power would interpret Trump’s labeling of the free press as “the enemy of the people” as well as his constant attacks on The Washington Post, as a green light to get rid of a Washington Post reporter who was exposing the truth about this faux reformer who Khashoggi likened to Putin. Indeed the comparison between MBS and Putin is very apt since MBS is looting Saudi Arabia as he buys a yacht for half a billion dollars along with a fake Da Vinci for the same amount while confiscating the wealth of oligarchs who run afoul of him just as Putin does. And both Putin and MBS order highly provocative and grim murders of dissidents on foreign soil as a way to send a message to their citizens living under a reign of terror not to step out of line. But more to the point, both MBS and Putin are two of Trump’s favorite world leaders if not silent partners. So it is reasonable to assume that if Trump could get rid of the constitutional restraints on him and the rule of law which he seeks to undermine, then Trump would be able to emulate his despotic friends and lock up Hillary and start renditioning his many critics to black sites.

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Part 2

Then with the release today of a video by Senator Elizabeth Warren answering Trump’s challenge of donating $1 million to charity if she could prove her Native American ancestry, which she did with DNA evidence, we assess whether this is her opening shot in a presidential contest for 2020 against her race-baiting cheapskate tormentor who needless to say, wimped out on making good on his bet. Robert Hockett, a Professor of Law at Cornell Law School who recently worked with Senator Warren to develop the Accountable Capitalism Act, joins us to discuss the reasons why Trump trashes Senator Warren. Apart from her being in every way the opposite of him, Trump knows she will be his toughest opponent and that is why he is going after her.

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