2015 Program Archive

2015 Program Archive

December 24 - A Former Evangelical on the Phony War on Christmas; A "Christian" Nation Falling From Grace

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Today on Christmas Eve we look into the religious significance of the Christian holiday Christmas as well as assess how “Christian” is this most Christian of nations, the United States in terms of the current political discourse that desecrates Christ’s invocation to “love thy neighbor”.  A best-selling author who previously worked with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, Frank Schaeffer, whose parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer were world-famous evangelical speakers and authors, joins us to discuss his departure from the evangelical movement and explain why evangelicals support figures like Donald Trump whose religious credentials are dubious and whose rhetoric is decidedly un-Christian. We examine the historical role of religion in social movements that ended slavery and brought about civil rights that contrast with the current evangelical movement allied with the Republican Party that promote reactionary politics and racist, exclusionary policies that punish the “least among us”; the poor, people of color, refugees and women.

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Then we examine further the influence of the evangelical movement in this upcoming political year as Republican presidential candidates campaigning for the first primary in Iowa pander to the Religious Right. Matthew Sutton, the Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University and author of “American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism” joins us to discuss how much the nation is falling from grace with the current ugly campaign rhetoric that is odds with the preaching and teachings of the prophet Jesus whose birthday Christian around the world are celebrating. We also discuss the paradox of the world’s most powerful nation, which outspends the world’s top 20 other nations combined in terms of investments in defense, yet lives in terror of a few thousand terrorists in the Middle East, with many fundamentalist Christians, just like their Muslim counterparts, invested in the “end of times” as they await the apocalypse.   

 

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December 23 - Rumors of Peace in Syria; An Examination of Seymour Hersh's Charges; Spain's Indecisive Election Results

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We begin with the rumors of peace emerging from the otherwise hideous and protracted slaughter going on in Syria as the country is destroyed, its people killed and one third of the population displaced, with desperate refugees risking their lives taking to the rough Mediterranean waters because they surely die on the land. An expert on Syria, Nicholas Heras, a Middle East researcher at the Center for a New American Security, joins us to discuss Russia’s increasingly central role in peace talks while its Air Force indiscriminately bombs civilian targets adding to the already widespread devastation of this country ravaged by years of civil war.

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Then we speak with Graham Fuller, the former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA and author of “Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East”. He joins us to assess the charges made by veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in The London Review of Books that top Pentagon leaders deliberately subverted Obama’s policy towards Syria by conducting a secret alliance with Assad and Putin. We  also examine earlier widely criticized charges by Seymour Hersh that the Syrian rebels were behind the Sarin attacks blamed on Assad. Charges that now are being supported by leaked intelligence from Turkey’s MIT that Turkish parliamentarians are now making public.

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Then finally we look into the results of the elections in Spain that indicate no clear winner and a difficult road ahead to form a coalition government.  The author of “A Singular Nation: Fantasies of Democratic Normalcy in Spain”, Dr. Luisa-Elena Delgado, a Professor of Spanish, Criticism and Interpretive Theory and Gender with the European Union Center at the University of Illinois joins us. We discuss the emergence of Podemos (“We Can”) and its pony-tailed charismatic leader as Spain’s largely unemployed youth reject the conservatives and the socialists with equal disdain.

 

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December 22 - More Than One Million Refugees Accepted By Europe This Year; Why is The Democratic Party Establishment Missing a Golden Opportunity?; How the Business Press Enabled Shkreli

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We begin with the milestone of one million refugees entering Europe this year fleeing war, poverty and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa, and go to Geneva, Switzerland to talk with Joel Millman, the press officer for the International Organization for Refugees. We discuss the glaring contrast between the welcoming acceptance of refugees in Germany and in Canada compared to the hostile rejection of Syrian refugees by the United States Congress and a majority of the country’s governors along with racist Islamophobic rhetoric from the leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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Then we speak with Jim Manley a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Senate, who served as senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and before that as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He joins us to discuss why the Democratic Party establishment is missing a golden opportunity to expose their message and candidates to the American people at a time when almost all of the media’s attention is going to the hateful and divisive remarks by the leading Republican candidates that largely go unchallenged.

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Then finally we examine the culture of greed and excess on Wall Street with William Cohan, a former investment banker and best-selling author of “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World”. We discuss his article at The New York Times “How Martin Shkreli, the Teen Wolf of Wall Street, Thrived”, and the extent to which the business press enables con men and Ponzi schemers with flattering stories instead of hitting them with investigative journalism that would have long ago stopped Shkreli in his tracks.

 

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December 21 - The DNC's Successful Effort to Bury the Democratic Debates; Why Drugs Cost So Much More in the US; The Reporter Who Brought Down FIFA's Sepp Blatter

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We begin with an assessment of why the Democratic National Committee headed by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz apparently buried the Democratic presidential debates to make them non-events instead of an opportunity to offer up an alternative to the hateful and divisive vision the Republican candidates are offering the country in their debates that are generating many times more audiences with record ratings. A Democratic strategist who served as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison in the White House, Mike Lux, a partner at Democracy Partners and the co-founder and CEO of Progressive Strategies joins us. We discuss his article at The Huffington Post “What are Democrats to Do?” and the brain-dead petty politics of the DNC tipping the scale for Hillary to hurt Bernie Sanders, that ends up hurting the Democratic Party and American democracy.   

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Then, with the recent arrest of the poster boy for greed who jacked up the price of a 62 year old life-saving drug by 5,500%, we look into why drug prices in the U.S. are higher than anywhere else in the world and speak with Arthur Caplan. A Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU’s Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health, he joins us to discuss whether jailing one nasty little twerp is a distraction from the fact that the cost of the top brand-name drugs in the U.S. jumped 127% between 2008 and 2014 while they stayed the same in the UK where they pay three times less than we do, along with Brazil where drugs cost six times less and India where they cost 16 times less than we pay.

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Then finally we go to the U.K. to speak with Andrew Jennings, an investigative journalist who was the only reporter in the world banned from FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s press conferences. We discuss Sepp Blatter’s 8 year ban from soccer and whether FIFA itself should be banned as well as Andrew Jennings’ latest book “The Dirty Game: The Reporter Who Brought Down Sepp Blatter”. 

 

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December 20 - Israel's Assassination of A Notorious Hezbollah Militant; An Analysis of the Democratic Debate and the DNC's Efforts to Suppress Viewership; Why Is ISIL Dominating Our Political Discourse?

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We begin and go to Beirut, Lebanon 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 Israel’s assassination of a notorious Hezbollah militant by four missiles  that struck a residential building just outside of Damascus in Syria and examine the possible fallout as well as its effect on the outlines of a Syrian peace deal announced by the U.N. Security Council that has the support of both the U.S. and Russia.

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Then we speak with John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington Center who worked in the House of Representatives for 38 years and served as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff. We discuss last night’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate and try to understand why the DNC is trying to make sure as few Americans as possible watch the Democratic debates while the Republican debates are getting record ratings. And given the nature of what the Republicans are espousing, it would seem like an important moment for the Democrats to offer a counter narrative.

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Then finally since much of the debate was about the self-declared Islamic State or ISIL and how best to combat it, we speak with Michael Brenner, a Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburg and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. We discuss his latest article at The Huffington Post “Getting Real: An ISIL Strategy” and assess why a few thousand Mad Max-like desert marauders in pickup trucks waving black flags are able to terrify the American people and dominate our political discourse.

 

 

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