2015 Program Archive

2015 Program Archive

December 3 - Possible Foreign Links to the San Bernardino Shooters; Once Again American Imams are on the Defensive; A Coal Baron Gets a Slap on the Wrist

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We begin with the current efforts to define yesterday’s tragedy in San Bernardino, California as either yet another mass shooting by well-armed deranged individuals, an act of domestic terrorism or an act of terrorism inspired from abroad. Paul Pillar, the Director of Graduate Studies at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University who retired after 28 years in the CIA as the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, joins us to discuss what foreign influences might be involved in motivating Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik to kill 14 people, wound 21 and leave behind their six month old baby after dying in a furious shootout with the police.

Part 2

Then we speak with Ali Al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs about the need for less Saudi Wahhabi influence and more diversity in Islam as American Imams and Islamic Scholars once again find themselves on the defensive, repeating clichés that “Islam is a religion of peace” to an increasingly skeptical  American public that is more and more susceptible to the kind of Islamophobic ignorance being spread by Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the maximum one year jail sentence that the West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship faces from a misdemeanor conviction of conspiracy handed down today after the Justice Department failed in a prosecution that could have led to a 30-year prison term for causing the deaths of 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010. Bob Kincaid, the co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign and President of the Coal River Mountain Watch joins us to explain this slap on the wrist.    

 

December 2 - Republicans Load Poison Pills Into the Spending Bill; Only 20 Americans Have Wealth Equal to Half of the Population; The UK Parliament Votes to Bomb Syria

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We begin with the deadline of December 11 when the federal government runs out of money and look into the ideological riders that are being loaded onto the spending bill that make it likely President Obama will have to veto it unless some or all of these poison bills are removed. Lisa Gilbert, the Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, joins us. She warned us back in October that these riders were going to undo legislation through the backdoor slipping in provisions that will impose enormous economic harm on the American public to benefit corporate donors while the Tea Party “Freedom Caucus” uses the threat of a government shutdown as a weapon to extract special favors for ideological extremists.

Part 2

Then we hear from Chuck Collins the co-founder of the Patriotic Millionaires, who just released a report along with the Institute for Policy Studies, “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us”. We discuss the shameful increase in wealth disparity the report reveals, finding that only 20 of America’s wealthiest people now own more wealth than half of America’s population, which means 20 Americans who could fit comfortably into one private jet, own more wealth than 152 million of their fellow Americans living in 57 million households.

Part 3

Then finally we go to London to discuss the debate in the British parliament today to authorize airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State and speak with Nafeez Ahmed, the editor in chief of insurgeintelligence at medium.com who is a weekly columnist for the Middle East Eye. We discuss the difference between the vote today and the one that took place back in 2013 when the British parliament voted against intervention following the crossing of Obama’s red line when the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

 

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December 1 - A Former Chicago Police Officer on the Firing of the Police Chief; Can Mayor Emanuel Keep a Lid on Chicago?; No Remorse or Responsibility From Those Demonizing Planned Parenthood

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We begin with the firing of Chicago’s Chief of Police by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel only days after they held a joint press conference to announce the release of a videotape of a Chicago police officer shooting 17 year old Laquan McDonald 16 times. Lisa Campbell a 20 year veteran in law enforcement who grew up on the Southside of Chicago in a family of police officers amid a culture of gangs and gang violence, joins us to discuss Mayor Emanuel’s political failure to hold the police accountable while sitting on the incriminating video for 400 days, and the unsung heroes like Father Phleger who works to keep the peace along with Lorenzo Davis who was fired from Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority for not going along with the cover-up of six police shootings.

 


 

Part 2

Then we speak with Tony Fitzpatrick, a columnist with Chicago’s alternative press the New City Newspaper about whether Mayor Emmanuel can keep a lid on the situation having offered up a sacrificial lamb in the form of Superintendent Garry McCarthy who Emmanuel hand-picked to run the Chicago Police Department in 2011.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the overwrought rhetoric coming from Ted Cruz, who when reminded that the shooter of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado proclaimed “no more baby parts”, suggested that Robert Dear was a transsexual leftist. This coming from a presidential candidate whose campaign only days ago received an endorsement from Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group who praise what they call the killing of baby-killers. Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro Choice America joins us to discuss the lack of remorse or responsibility coming from those who have been busy lately demonizing Planned Parenthood.  

 

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November 30 - Obama's Warning at the UN Conference on Climate Change; The Psychology and Sociology of Global Warming Denial; Regenerative Agriculture Versus Industrial Agriculture

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We begin with the United Nations conference on climate change at which President Obama warned the world leaders gathered in Paris that time is running out to deal with global warming before it is too late to reverse its catastrophic impact on the planet. Jody Freeman who served as Counselor for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama White House, joins us to discuss the critical role of executive action in the face of a Congress that is trying to roll back modest gains in clean energy for power plants which is the least challenging and most attainable goal compared to what a global regime to combat global warming will require.

 

Part 2

Then we look into the psychology and sociology of global warming denial that hit a six-year high in the U.S. in 2014 with 23% of Americans not believing in global warming and 53% not believing it is caused by human activity. Dr. Riley Dunlap, a professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University and one of the founders of environmental sociology, joins us to discuss why 53% of Republicans in Congress are global warming deniers, along with many of the Republican presidential candidates, and how much the public get their cues from political and media elites.  

Part 3

Then finally we examine the under-reported fact that 30% of the world’s carbon emissions come from land misuse and industrial agriculture and speak with Jeff Biggers, the founder of the Climate Narrative Project at the University of Iowa. We discuss his recent article at The New York Times “Iowa’s Climate Change Wisdom” and how the adaptation of wind and solar energy and carbon sequestration in soil makes Iowa an important example for the U.S. at the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris that opened today. 

 

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November 29 - Blowback From the Republican Demonization of Planned Parenthood; How Much is Erdogan Responsible for Turkey's Problems; Historical Analogies With Today's Rejection of Refugees

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We begin with the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and look into the extent to which politicians like Carly Fiorina are responsible for inciting impressionable people with easy access to military-style firearms by broadcasting emotionally-charged falsehoods about harvesting "baby parts" in order to inflame the evangelical constituency to vote for her in the Republican primaries. Francis Kissling, the president of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy and the former president of Catholics for Choice, joins us to discuss who has blood on their hands following the demonization of Planned Parenthood by Republican politicians who are prepared to shut down the government to punish Planned Parenthood for what they were purported to be doing in a deceptive and manipulated “sting” video produced by anti-abortion zealots.

Part 2

Then we examine a number of political crises in Turkey that are either created by or exacerbated by President Erdogan who has picked a fight with Vladimir Putin, reignited a war with the Kurds that has led to the public assassination of a prominent pro-Kurdish human rights lawyer, and is using the refugee crisis as leverage to get concessions on joining the E.U. and aid from Europe for keeping refugees in Turkey. David Phillips, the Director of the Peace-building and Rights Program at Columbia University and the author of “The Kurdish Spring: A New Map for the Middle East” joins us to discuss how much Turkey’s problems are compounded by its polarizing leader.   

Part 3

Then finally, with Republican presidential candidates pandering to nativism and spewing Islamophobia as the Republican House and most of the country’s governors close the door on refugees from Syria, we speak with Martin Goldsmith, the author of “Alex’s Wake: The Tragic Voyage of the St. Louis to Flee Nazi Germany – and a Grandson’s Journey of Love and Remembrance”, about tragic similarities his story has to today’s callous treatment of refugees fleeing murderous regimes.

 

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