2013 Program Archive

December 3 - Why Karzai Won't Sign the Deal; Protecting the Super-Rich in Budget Negotiations; The C.F.P.B. Steps in to Stop the Hammering of Student Debtors

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We begin with the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels where discussions are focused on how to get around Afghan president Karzai’s foot-dragging and obstruction which is delaying a withdrawal agreement and post-withdrawal plans to support Afghanistan’s military. Ambassador Peter Galbraith, who was the deputy head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan until he was fired for blowing the whistle on Karzai’s rigged re-election, joins us to discuss why Karzai won’t sign the deal his own hand-picked Loya Jirga has approved.

peter galbraith

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Then, as the deadline for a budget agreement to relieve the sequester cuts approaches, we speak with Jo Comerford, the Executive Director of the National Priorities Project who is critical of the secretive negotiations and is calling for an open, transparent budget process. We discuss House budget chairman Paul Ryan’s resistance to ending tax loopholes for the very rich to replace the worst sequester cuts as he protects high-end tax shelters and instead wants to make cuts that effect middle class and working Americans.

jo comerford

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Then finally we speak with Deanne Loonin, the Director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now having authority over companies that collect payments for student loans, after years of lax oversight by the Department of Education. We discuss outstanding student debt that has doubled in recent years to $1.2 trillion with defaults at record levels, which economists warn is sapping economic growth and holding back the U.S. economy.

deanne loonin

 

December 2 - The U.N. Has "Massive Evidence" Implicating Assad in War Crimes; The Second Orange Revolution Could Oust Yanukovych for a Second Time; A Critical Analysis of China's Territorial Assertions

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We begin with the head of the U.N. Human Rights Commission Navi Pillay saying there is “massive evidence” of crimes against humanity, as she implicates the Syrian dictator Bashar al -Assad in authorizing war crimes. With the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights release of its latest estimate of 125,835 killed in Syria’s civil war, Middle East expert Henri Barkey, who served on the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, joins us to discuss this less-than-surprising finding from the UN’s commission of inquiry into Syria and how it might effect next month’s Geneva 11 peace conference.

 

henri barkey

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Then we get an analysis of the second Orange Revolution underway in Ukraine following the rejection by the embattled Yanukovych regime of an Association Agreement with the European Union. Alexander Motyl, a professor of political science at Rutgers University and author of “Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism” joins us to discuss whether the corrupt and unpopular Yanukovych will be the world’s only leader to have been twice driven out by people power.

alexander motyl

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Then finally, as Vice President Biden visits Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul to both assure allies and reduce tensions with China, we get a critical appraisal of China’s recent assertion of territorial claims that has riled the Japanese and South Koreans. An expert on the Chinese military, June Dreyer, a professor of Political Science at the University of Miami joins us to discuss the regional and global tests of power going on in the East China Sea and the risks of escalation and miscalculation.

june dreyer

 

December 1 - Black Friday Demonstrations and the Wealth of the Wal-Mart Heirs; Healthcare.gov One Month later; Is the New Pope a Radical Reformer?

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We begin with the post-Thanksgiving frenzied shopping sales on Black Friday which were down over 11% and get an appraisal of this weekend’s demonstrations against Wal-Mart from Josh Bivens, Research and Policy Director at the Economic Policy Institute and author of “Everybody Wins Except for Most of Us: What Economics Teaches us About Globalization”. We discuss Josh’s research that finds from 2007 to 2010, median American family wealth declined 38.8% while the wealth of the Walmart heirs rose 22.1%, making the Walton Family’s fortune equal to the wealth of the bottom 49 million American families.

 

 

josh bevin
 

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Then, at the one-month mark by which the White House had pledged to fix the Healthcare.gov website, we get an analysis of how the troubled launch of The Affordable Care is proceeding and whether public confidence in healthcare reform can be restored in the remaining time left to get the insurance exchanges running. Ron Pollack, the Founded Executive director of Families USA who helped prepare the Patient’s Bill of Rights that has been enacted in many states, joins us to discuss the status of the website and the prospects ahead for Obamacare.

ron pollack

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Then finally, with many right-wing bishops alarmed and many left-wing priests encouraged by Pope Francis’ latest pronouncements, we will look into what kind of a reformer the new Pope might be with Jennifer O’Malley, a Roman Catholic woman priest, and Kenneth Briggs, who writes for the National Catholic Reporter. They join us to examine the tectonic shifts underway in the scandal-ridden church whose new leader has made provocative statements of late that are at odds with the rigid and reactionary dogma of his predecessors. 

josh bivens

ken brigs

 

November 28 - Thanksgiving for the Working Poor; Feeding the Growing Numbers of Hungry Americans; How Corn, the Thanksgiving Gift to the Pilgrims, Distorts U.S. Agriculture

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As Americans sit down for their traditional Thanksgiving meal, we begin with the working poor who comprise most of the people on food stamps and they have just had their meager allotment cut by the Republican Congress. So we will look into the issues of hunger, food policy and the growing ranks of the working poor who do not make a living wage and have to depend on food stamps and food banks. Rebecca Smith, the Deputy Director of the National Employment Law Project joins us to discuss the two biggest employers of the working poor McDonalds and Walmart, who are attracting protest on this Thanksgiving and the following day of frenzied consumption, known as Black Friday.

 

rebecca smith

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Then we speak with Lucio Guerrero, the Vice President of Communications for Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger relief organization and fourth largest charity. We discuss the growing demand at food banks since the recent cut, with more to come, in food stamps, and the work that Feeding America does in feeding 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors.

lucio guerro

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Then finally we speak with Josh Sewell, the Senior Policy Analyst at Tax Payers for Common Sense about the nation’s agriculture policy that has Congress increasing subsidies for agribusiness while cutting food stamps for the poor and hungry. Since corn was a gift from the native Americans to the pilgrims on that first Thanksgiving, we look into how much our agriculture has been distorted since then with 60% of crop insurance going to growing corn, making this now largely inedible crop the largest recipient of farm subsidies, at a cost to taxpayers of $85 billion in less than 20 years.

 

November 27 - An Israeli Dove on the Peace Accords with Iran; A Response from a Former Advisor to Israeli PM Shamir; Methane Emisions are 50 Percent Higher than the EPA’s Estimates

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We begin with Israeli reactions to the P5+1 deal with Iran and speak first with a liberal analyst and then a conservative former Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir. Jerusalem-based historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg joins us to provide a critique of the Prime Minister’s condemnation of the agreement which Netanyahu calls an historic mistake. And we will also discuss Gershom’s article at the American Prospect “Bibi’s Agreement Anxiety Disorder".  

 

gershom

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Then we speak with Dr. Josef Olmert the former Director of the Government Press Office and Advisor to former Prime Minister Shamir. He has an article at The Huffington Post “The Iranian Agreement: A Possible Realignment of Middle East Politics” and we discuss Israeli’s concerns that the more moderate face of the new leader Rouhani, disguises the hardline reality of the Supreme Leader’s anti-Israeli views that echo the extreme positions of the former Iranian president Ahmadinejad.

 
josef olmert

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Then finally we examine a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that finds U.S. emissions of the potent global-warming gas methane are 50% higher than EPA government estimates. The co-author of the study Anna Michalak, a Professor at Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences, joins us to discuss the increased amount of methane, that is 21 times worse than CO2, coming from agriculture and oil and gas production, that does not include recent data from fracking and other new drilling. anna michalak