2013 Program Archive

December 17 - A Conservative Federal Judge Slaps Down the NSA; Tech Giants Complain to the President About NSA Blowback Hurting their Businesses; Growing Momentum Against NSA Domestic Spying

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We will begin with the Federal Judge Richard Leon’s ruling against the NSA’s collection of phone company metadata on Americans and speak with Laura Moy who is a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a Washington D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizen’s rights in the emerging digital culture. We discuss the likely impact of the ruling that does not stop the NSA’s collection but is expected to further expose their activities in open court.

 

laura moy

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Then we assess the likely outcome of the meeting in the White House with 15 CEO’s who head the country’s leading Tech giants. They recently published a full-page open letter to the president urging that the NSA be reined in, and followed up Tuesday by lobbying the president in person to reform the NSA because its activities are hurting their businesses. Christopher Sprigman, a Professor of Law at New York University and Co-director of the Engleberg Center on Innovation Law ad Policy joins us to discuss his recent article in The Atlantic with Jennifer Granick, “U.S. Government Surveillance: Bad for Silicon Valley, Bad for Democracy Around the World”, as well as the international blowback against NSA spying that is hurting these Tech giant’s bottom line.

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Then finally we speak with Michelle Richardson, the legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office who focuses on national security issues. We discuss growing public outrage against government intrusion on our privacy that is beginning to force the Congress to act, and the gathering momentum on the legal front buoyed by Judge Leon’s ruling, as well as the role of the Press who so far appear to have largely sided with national security concerns over civil liberties.

michelle richardson

 

December 16 - Making A Deal With Snowden; Is It Too Late to Save the Central African Republic?; North Korea's Boy King Acts Up

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We begin with the offer of amnesty for Edward Snowden made by an NSA official on the CBS program 60 Minutes that has attracted a lot of scorn from many journalists and media critics for its softball handling of the NSA domestic spying issue. A genuine whistleblower who was hounded out of the NSA, William Binney, a 37-year veteran who rose to the rank of the Technical Director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group at the National Security Agency, joins us. We will discuss the feasibility of the NSA official’s offer to Snowden, which was dismissed by his boss General Alexander, to stop Snowden’s leaks, only 1% of which have been made public.

 

william binney

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Then we speak with Dr. Guy Martin, a Professor of Political Science at Winston-Salem State University about the continuing carnage in the Central African Republic. A specialist on Africa who has taught at Universities in Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya and South Africa, he joins us to discuss the military intervention by the French and other African forces that appears to be too little too late in quelling sectarian massacres and counter-massacres in a predominately Christian country whose Muslim minority government came to power in a recent coup.

guy martin

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Then finally we look into the murderous intrigue inside the ruling God-like Kim dynasty in North Korea, following the execution of the new young leader’s uncle who was close to the leadership of that failing country’s only outside lifeline, China.  Sue Mi Terry, who was the Director of Japan, Korea and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council, joins us to discuss the possibility that the boy-king Kim Jong Un is a modern day Caligula conducting a reign of terror to consolidate his power, and that this may lead the immature, untested leader to provoke another international incident.

sue terry

 

December 15 - Possible Blowback from an Amateurish CIA Operation: An Update from an Insurance Insider on Obamacare; No Fix on Loopholes that Allow Billionaires to Buy our Elections

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We begin with an AP investigation into the disappearance of an American in Iran who we now learn was working for an amateurish off-the-books CIA operation. A veteran CIA operations officer who served in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, Robert Baer joins us to shed light on the fate of Robert Levinson a former DEA and FBI agent who went missing on a “business trip” in 2007 on Kish Island, an Iranian resort on the Persian Gulf, where it turns out he was working undercover on a rogue CIA mission.

 

robert baer

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Then we get an update on the Affordable Care Act in the final weeks before the January 1st deadline when the most important consumer protections in Obamacare go into effect. Wendell Potter, a former insurance company insider who was the chief corporate spokesman for CIGNA and Humana and now is a senior analyst on healthcare at the Center for Public Integrity, joins us to discuss his new book “Obamacare: What’s in It for Me?  What Everyone Needs to Know About the Affordable Care Act”.

wendell potter

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Then finally we speak with Jessica Levinson, a Professor at Loyola Law School who focuses on election law, campaign finance and ethics. She joins us to discuss her article at Reuters “Thanks to Congressional Inaction, Seeking Clarity from the IRS Is No Joke” and the failure of the Congress and the IRS to close loopholes that allow tax exempt vehicles such as 501C-4’s that are supposed to be used for social welfare, to be a conduit for billionaires to flood our politics with unlimited money, without attribution, to buy our elections in the name of charity.   

jess levinson

 

December 12 - A Swedish Diplomat on Ukraine's Kleptocratic President; Cronyism in the Fire Sale of the Post Office; An Economic Analysis of Cutting Unemployment Benefits

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We begin with what appear to be a victory for people power with an apparent turnaround in Ukraine following an earlier about-face rejection of an agreement for closer ties with the E.U. Anders Aslund, the co-chairman of the board of trustees of the Kyiv School of Economics joins us to discuss Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych’s latest U-turn and his family’s ties to the oligarchy of tycoons who dominate an economy mired in corruption and cronyism.

 

anders aslund

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Then we look into our own cronyism involved in the fire-sale of valuable downtown properties belonging to the United States Postal Service that is being deliberately bankrupted by dictates from the U.S. Congress whose free-marketeers want to replace the USPS with postal kiosks in Wal-Marts.  Dr. Gray Brechin, an historical geographer at U.C. Berkeley joins us to discuss the exclusive contract that the husband of Senator Diane Feinstein has with a postmaster general determined to privatize the post office, that bestows his company the right to sell off valuable and historic public properties across the country.

gray brechin

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Then finally we get an economic analysis of the consequences of ending unemployment benefits for the jobless on December the 28th, cutting loose 1.3 million Americans into poverty, with another 1.9 million to come, as a result of the budget deal that Washington is celebrating as a bi-partisan success. UCLA professor of economics Till Von Wachter, who researches labor economics, the economy of aging and the short and long-term effects of unemployment, joins us to discuss the lack of economic logic to Rand Paul and other conservative’s claim that they are helping people by cutting their benefits.

till

 

December 11 - While Washington Celebrates the Budget Deal, 1.3 Million Americans are Cut Loose into Poverty; Zombie Politics and America's Education Deficit; The U.S. and U.K. Cut off Aid to Syrian Rebels

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We begin with Heather Boushey, the Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth about the social impacts of the failure to extend unemployment benefits in the budget deal that on December 28 will cut loose 1.3 million Americans into poverty. We also look into the political future of the budget deal that is being attacked by lawmakers on both the left and the right as Congress prepares to shut down for the holidays.

heather boushey

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Then we are joined by Henry Giroux, a writer and the current Global Television Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University and the author of “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism” and “America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth: Reform Beyond Electoral Politics”. We discuss his recent appearance on Bill Moyers where he discussed zombie politics and the challenges of mobilizing the indentured generation of students into political activism so that they can take back their future.

henry giroux

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Then finally, with the suspension of aid to the Syrian rebels by the U.S. and the U.K. following the seizure of Free Syrian Army bases and warehouses full of weapons by Islamists, we speak with Middle East expert Asher Kaufman. He is a professor of History and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and was a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and we discuss the latest rebel infighting and recent predictions that this war could go on for a decade.

asher kaufman