2013 Program Archive

November 26 - A Strategic Shift Away From Saudi Arabia; How The P5+1 Deal is Going Down in Iran; The New Pope’s Call for Reforms

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We begin with an analysis of a possible strategic shift in the Middle East away from Saudi Arabia as the prospects of normalizing relations with Iran improve. Andrew Scott Cooper, the author of “Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East”, joins us to discuss the unusual alliance of Saudi Arabia and Israel both expressing alarm at America’s role in the recent P5+1 deal with Iran.

 

andrew scott cooper

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Then we get an assessment of how the new agreement is being received in Iran and speak with Mehdi Semati who is a professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University and the author of “Media, Culture, and Society in Iran: Living with Globalization and the Islamic State”. We discuss how the hardliners are dealing with the rapprochement and how the younger generation, who do not remember the Shah or the hostage crisis, see their country’s role in the world.

mehdi semati

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Then finally we look into a new vision for the Catholic Church offered by Pope Francis in a just-released document that criticizes unbridled global capitalism which he calls the “globalization of indifference”. Internationally acclaimed author and theologian Matthew Fox, who was expelled from the Church by the previous Pope Benedict, joins us to discuss the Pope’s call for reforms in the church to make it more compassionate towards the poor as he castigates the “new idolatry of money”.

matthew fox

 

November 25 - After 34 Years, A Possible End to Name-Calling and Hostility; Symbolism Outweighs Substance in Iran Agreement; Bitter Divisions Arise Again in Thailand

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We begin with the possibility of a reversal in the vexed relationship between the U.S. and Iran after 34 years of hostility and name-calling and speak with Gary Sick who served on the National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan and was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. He is the author of “All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran” and “October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan”.

 

gary sick

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Then we look further into the agreement where no one won and no one lost and where the symbolism outweighs the substance, and speak with anthropologist and Middle East expert William O. Beeman, the author of The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs”: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. We discuss how the hawks on both sides have dominated the narrative up until now, and whether the doves on both sides will be able to establish an enduring dialogue.

william beeman

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Then finally, we look into the second day of protests in Thailand and the special security powers invoked by the government to quell the angry response to a controversial political amnesty bill that would allow the brother of the current Prime Minister who was ousted, to return from exile without serving jail for corruption. Gerald Fry, a distinguished professor of international and intercultural education at the University of Minnesota, who has written extensively about Thailand, joins us to discuss the revival of the bitter divisions that led to a military coup in 2006.

gerald fry

 

November 24 - The Technical Aspects of the P5+1 Deal with Iran; Putin Strong-Arms Ukraine; The 90 Corporate and State-Owned Entities Responsible for Two-Thirds of Global Warming Gasses

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We begin with the historic agreement reached in Geneva between the P5+1 and Iran to suspend its nuclear development for six months. Nader Bagherzadeh, a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine joins us to analyze the technical aspects of the agreement and assess its durability and likely consequences.

 

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Then we speak with the former U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine where over a hundred thousand protesters have taken to the streets to object to their government’s about-face on a deal to join the EU because of pressure from Russia. Steven Pifer, the director of the Brookings Institution’s Arms Control Initiative who served as a special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council joins us to examine Putin’s charge that the EU is blackmailing Ukraine into a deal, while Ukrainian protesters are charging that they are being strong-armed by Russia.

steven pifer

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Then finally we speak with the author of a groundbreaking study published in the journal Climatic Change that identifies 90 commercial and state-owned entities responsible for producing two thirds of the man-made greenhouse gasses causing global warming, half of which has been produced since 1986. Richard Heede, the Principal of Climate Mitigation Services joins us to discuss this new way of looking at who is causing the climate crisis, not in terms of rich nations versus poor, but producers versus consumers and the resource rich versus the resource poor. rick heede

 

November 21 - Democrats Pull the Trigger on the "Nuclear Option"; A Senator who Investigated CIA, Mafia and Cuban Ties to JFK's Assassination; The First Person to Deliver an Eyewitness Account of the Assassination of President Kennedy

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We begin with all but three Democratic senators pulling the trigger on the so-called “nuclear option” in a 52 to 48 vote to pass executive branch and judicial nominees by a simple majority vote after the persistent use of the filibuster by the Republicans that has all but paralyzed the senate. Michelle Schwartz, the Director of Justice Programs at the Alliance for Justice joins us to discuss this dramatic change in senate rules and its likely consequences.

 

michelle shwartz

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Then, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy, we speak with Senator Gary Hart who served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Agencies, known as the Church Committee that investigated CIA, Cuban and Mafia ties to the assassination. We examine important leads that Senator Hart feels the press should have picked up on and followed, that to this day remain largely unexamined since one of the two main Mafia witnesses the Committee investigated was killed shortly after testifying and the second was murdered shortly before testifying.

gary hart

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Then finally we speak with the first person to deliver the first eyewitness account of President Kennedy’s assassination, Julian Read, who at the time was Texas Governor John Connally’s representative to the national media for President Kennedy’s visit to Texas in November of 1963. He joins us to discuss what he saw and experienced on that tragic day as the first person to arrive at Parkland Hospital to find Jackie Kennedy and Nellie Connally standing alone outside trauma rooms 1 and 2, waiting to hear the fate of their husbands inside who had both been shot.

julian read

 

November 20 - Is Lebanon Being Sucked into Syria's Civil War?; Rescuing Venezuela's Economy by Emergency Decree; The Phony Crisis of Obamacare

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We begin and go to Beirut, Lebanon for an update on the repercussions from the bombings at the Iranian embassy and speak with Thanassis Cambanis who writes “The Internationalist” column for the Boston Globe and is the author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel”. We discuss Lebanon’s shaky stability and how much it is being sucked into the vortex of the brutal civil war next door in Syria.

 

Thanasis

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Then we go to Caracas, Venezuela and speak with Virginia Lopez who covers Latin America and Venezuela for the UK Guardian where she has an article “Nicholas Maduro promises to use new powers to rescue Venezuela’s economy”. We discuss the twelve month emergency decree granted to President Maduro ahead of the December 8 municipal elections, to rescue the economy from what he calls “bourgeois parasites” and the “economic warfare” being waged by the ever-present Yankee imperialists.

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Then finally we discuss the frenzied exaggerations in the media of the impending doom of Obamacare that has The New York Times comparing a faulty website to President Bush’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina in which 1,900 people died. Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post “No One Died at Healthcare.gov: The Phony Crisis of Obamacare”.

dean baker