2013 Program Archive

November 19 - Republicans Taunt Senate Democrats; The War Within The War Among Syrian Rebels; The Flow of Saudi Money to Salifists in Syria

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We begin with what appears to be a taunt by Senate Republicans to dare the Democrats to go ahead and make their day by changing the senate rules to end the Republican abuse of the filibuster that just blocked Obama’s latest nominee to the third of three vacant seats on the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A veteran Senate Senior Staffer Mike Lofgren, the author of “The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted”, joins us to discuss whether Harry Reid will make good on his threat to invoke the so-called “nuclear option”.

 

mike lofgren

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Then we go to Jordan to speak with Nicholas Heras, a Contributing Editor and Analyst with the international affairs journal Fair Observer. We discuss the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut and the war within the war amongst the Syrian rebels where the more secular Free Syrian Army has clashed with the Salafist Al Nusra Front who in turn have clashed with other al Qaeda affiliated groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, turning northern Syria into a patchwork of warring fiefdoms.

nick heras

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Then finally we speak with Saudi expert Toby Jones, a professor of history at Rutgers University and author of “Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia”. We discuss the role of Saudi and Gulf money pouring into Syria in support of the hardline Salafist groups among the Syrian opposition and the hollow nature of the Saudi regime’s claim that in spite of a powerful secret police and omnipresent religious police that keep such a tight lid on the feudal kingdom, they are unable to stem the flow of private money funding al Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria.   

toby jones

 

November 18 - The Haves Renege on the Have-Nots Over Climate Change; The Real Crisis in Libya; A Future Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party

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We begin with the UN Climate Convention underway in Warsaw, Poland where the pleas from the representative of the Philippines for the rich industrial countries to take responsibility for the damage that climate change is doing to the poorer countries are being ignored, as Australia, Canada and Japan renege on previous  commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Janet Redman, the Director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies joins us to discuss the moral and legal movements backwards by the have’s at the expense of the have-nots.

 

janet redman

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Then we look into the increasing chaos is Libya, that has been the focus of a Republican obsession over the phony “Benghazi” scandal, while the larger issues of a country falling apart and a government running out of money are being ignored. Wayne White, a former State Department Intelligence Analyst on Libya, joins us to discuss the downward spiral of the already weak central government that is running out of oil revenues to pay off the militias to keep them loyal because of the chaos caused by these same  marauding militias, some of whom are taking over the country’s oil and gas facilities.

wayne white

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Then finally, with progressive groups pushing for Elizabeth Warren to enter the 2016 presidential race to challenge the presumptive candidacy of Hillary Clinton, we speak with Princeton historian Julian Zelizer about his article at CNN.com “Elizabeth Warren versus Hillary Clinton is a False Choice”. We discuss the possibility of a left versus center war among Democrats and the role of money in determining who will win the future battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.

julian zelizer

 

November 17 - The Revolving Door From Treasury Secretary to Wall Street; The TPP and TAFTA in Trouble; Political Considerations Overwhelming Technical Needs

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We begin with the latest high-level official’s passage through the revolving door as the former Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner trades in public service for private gain joining the Wall Street private equity giant Warburg Pincus. William K. Black, the former litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One” joins us to discuss the unsurprising move from the public to the private sector by the man who made sure that Wall Street was made whole with taxpayer money after they almost destroyed the economy.

 

william black

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Then we examine the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) that is stalled because of European outrage over NSA spying, much of which has been directed at the European partners in the agreement to find out what their negotiating positions are. The former counselor to the Secretary of Commerce Clyde Prestowitz, joins us to discuss pushback in Congress and from the Europeans as well as his recent article at Foreign Policy “The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Decline of American Hegemony”.

clyde prestowitz

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Then finally we discuss the uncertain fate of the Affordable Care Act following a vote in the House of 261 to 157 to gut Obamacare that passed with the help of 39 Democratic lawmakers. Dr. Susan Wood, a Professor of Health Policy and the Executive Director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, joins us to discuss how political considerations overwhelmed technical needs in the launching of healthcare.gov and what can be done to put Obamacare back on the rails. 

susan wood

 

November 14 - An Apologetic President, Nervous Democrats and Gleeful Republicans; Assessing the Real Numbers of Dead and Displaced in the Philippines; Inside the Ayatollah's "Democracy"

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We begin with an overview of what went wrong with the launch of Obamacare and how and when it can be fixed with James Morone, a Professor of Political Science at Brown University and author of “Wealthy, Healthy and Fair: The Politics of Health Care for a Good Society and his latest, “The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office”. We discuss the president’s mea culpa over the botched launch of healthcare.gov and the piling on from nervous Democrats and gleeful Republicans.

james marone

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Then we go to the Philippines to speak with Steven Rood, the Asia Foundation’s country representative for the Philippines and regional advisor for Local Governance for an update on the national and local government’s efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in the devastated Leyte province where four million people are in dire need of food and medicine.

steven rood

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Then finally, with the Iranian Foreign Minister blaming France and the West for the breakdown of recent talks, and Secretary of State Kerry blaming Iran, we look into the thinking and the nature of a theocratic regime led by a Supreme Leader who has accrued more wealth than Iran gets in annual oil revenues. Iranian/American author Hooman Majd, the author of “The Ayatollah’s Democracy” and a new book “The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran”, joins us.

hooman madj

 

November 13 - The Growing Revolt Against the T.P.P.; Endemic Corruption in the Philippines; Going to Jail for Wearing a Toad Hat?

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We begin with a bi-partisan revolt in the House of Representatives against President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, following the leak of the draft text of a chapter on intellectual property rights published by Wikileaks. Lori Wallach, the Founder and Director of Global Trade Watch, a division of Public Citizen, joins us to discuss Tea Party and progressive opposition to the President’s fast track authority which could torpedo the deal.

 

lori wallach

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Then we examine the endemic political corruption in the Philippines that is hampering relief efforts while the very politicians from the ruling families who have looted the country for decades, are appearing on TV defending aid response. Michael Buehler, a Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, who does political risk evaluations in the Philippines, joins us to discuss what is likely to happen to the aid that is pouring in from international donors, assuming it reaches those in need because of damage to the already neglected infrastructure.

michael buehler

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Then finally we speak with the anti-corporatist activist the Reverend Billy who is facing a battery of charges and jail time for a 15 minute musical protest he and his gospel choir staged as a mock-religious revival at a Chase Bank in New York City, last month. They were wearing toad hats to commemorate the Golden Toad, forced into extinction by climate change, and the $2.17 billion with which Chase has financed coal companies involved in mountaintop removal.

reverend billy