2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

February 22 - The Weaponization of Conspiracy Theories and Information Pollution in the Trump Era; Could Putin Be Reading Trump's PDB?; Trump Wants Teachers to Be Trained to Shoot the Kids They are Supposed to Educate

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We begin with the weaponization of conspiracy theories and cynical propaganda that has flourished and is encouraged by Donald Trump who continually refers to the mainstream press as “fake news” while often citing hideous and sick lies manufactured by Alex Jones and others on the fringes of media and sanity. David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School who researches and analyzes major shifts in the media as it relates to privacy, surveillance, social media and journalism, joins us to discuss how You Tube has had to take down scurrilous videos it has been hosting which claim one of the Florida students who survived the recent massacre is a “crisis actor”. We look into “information pollution” that is deliberately manufactured to further political ends and discredit a genuine reaction to a social crisis and an American tragedy which right wing operatives are defiling by claiming an outspoken student survivor David Hogg is an actor, “bought and paid for by CNN and George Soros”. We will also explore whether the decline in public education and the lack of critical thinking contribute to why Americans appear to be susceptible to such disgusting lies as Alex Jones’s claim that the massacre of kindergarten kids at Sandy Hook was a government “false flag” operation.

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Part 2

Then we speak with a 23-year former member of the CIA’s Clandestine Service who retired as deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, about the extent to which Putin and the Russians have penetrated not just the United States’ political and electoral system, but the White House itself. Glenn Carle, the author of “The Interrogator: An Education” joins us to discuss his concern that not only does Putin appear to own Trump, he might even be reading the top secret PDB, the President’s Daily Brief.   

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Then finally we assess whether Donald Trump’s answer to the latest school massacre to not just to arm teachers, but to pay them a bonus for packing concealed weapons, is something he truly believes or is an NRA talking point. John Donohue III, a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the author of “Shooting Down The More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis”, joins us to discuss the contrast between the passion, clarity and conviction of the young victims who met with the president in the Oval Office and the solution offered by the nation’s leader which is to give a bounty and firearms training to those charged with educating our kids and a license to kill them.

John J. J Donohue III

 

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February 21 - Why Won't the Intelligence Community Give Jared Kushner a Security Clearance?; The Ultimate Coup by the Koch Brothers; The Kochs Already Have 28 Out of the 34 States Needed to Rewrite the US Constitution

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We begin with the looming showdown between White House Chief of Staff Kelly and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who is resisting giving up his access to the nation’s top secrets which, although he does not have a permanent security clearance, Kushner is the biggest consumer of in terms of top secret information, much of which could be highly profitable to private business interests. Jeff Stein, who covers spy agencies and foreign policy for Newsweek and wrote the Spy Talk column for the Congressional Quarterly, joins us to discuss how vulnerable the Trump White House is to foreign spies with 130 staffers with access to top secrets unable to get security clearances. We also speculate why the intelligence community does not want to give Kushner a security clearance and why he is getting his hands on as much vital intelligence as possible, even though he has not qualified for a permanent security clearance.

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Then we investigate what could be the most amazing power play and greatest coup by the Koch Brothers who are poised to rewrite the entire U.S. Constitution according to their policy preferences and ideological whims and wishes. Joining us is Lisa Graves, the co-director of Documented, a new investigative website at documentedinvestigations.org who served in all three branches of the federal government – as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a Deputy Chief for the U.S. Courts. We discuss how the entire U.S. Constitution could be up for grabs if the Koch-funded effort to bring about a Constitution Convention via the ratification of 34 states is successful.

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Part 3

Then finally we explore further the possibility that the laws of the land and the very foundation of American democracy are about to be rewritten by the Koch Brothers who already have 28 of the 34 states needed to convene a Constitutional Convention in their pocket, so it would seem that the billionaire right wing donors are well on their way to pulling off the ultimate coup. Alex Kotch, an investigative journalist focusing on money in politics who was until recently part of the Political Capital investigative unit at the International Business Times, joins us to discuss his article at the Center for Media and Democracy, “Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution”.

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February 20 - How the Right Wing Media and Bots Took Down Senator Al Franken; Mueller Closes in on Manafort as Putin Sacrifices His "Cook"; Nikki Haley's Snarky Rebuke of the Palestinian Leader

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We begin with the explosive revelation in Newsweek from new research which has found that the case against Senator Al Franken was largely manufactured by right wing operatives and then amplified by bot networks and orchestrated and disseminated by the right wing echo chamber in the media. Nina Burleigh, the National Politics Correspondent at Newsweek joins us to discuss her latest article at Newsweek “How an Alt-Right Bot Network Took Down Al Franken”. We will trace the roll of Trump’s dirty trickster Roger Stone and the right wing media network surrounding the alleged victim, the Hooters pin-up model Leeann Tweeden, along with the Japanese bots. We will also look into how the Democrats folded thinking Roy Moore would be elected to the Senate and that they’d need to take the moral high ground by sacrificing Senator Franken while in the rush to judgement, not investigating who the women who came forward accusing Franken were and whether they were for real and their stories based in truth.

 

Part 2

Then we get an update on the Mueller investigation following today’s announcement of a guilty plea from a former attorney at an international law firm charged with lying to federal agents about work he had done for Paul Manafort on behalf of Putin’s puppet in Ukraine Yanukovych.  Anders Aslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University, who served as an economic advisor to the governments of Russia and Ukraine, joins us to discuss the ties between Manafort, Rick Gates and the lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan, who is the son-in-law of a powerful oligarch and co-owner of Russia’s Alfa Bank.

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Then finally we speak with a former editor of The New York Times, Dulcie Leimbach, the founder of Pass Blue that covers the United Nations, for which she writes and edits. We discuss the address today to the U.N. Security Council by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that was followed by a snarky rebuke from the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Nikki Haley who castigated the Palestinian leader reminding him that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was a done deal, even though Abbas had left the chamber before she made her speech.

Dulcie Leimbach

 

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February 19 - Trump's Presidential Rating on President's Day?; Florida Exposes Trump's Priorities and Human Failings; Trump Distracts Us From the Enactment of the Koch Brothers' Agenda

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We begin on this President’s Day with the latest survey conducted by 170 members of the American Political Science Association’s President’s and Executive Politics section on presidential legacies and the rankings and ratings of our presidents over the nation’s history. The co-author of the report Justin Vaughn, a Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Center for Idaho History and Politics at Boise State University, joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “How Does Trump Stack up Against the Best – and Worst – Presidents?”  We assess the recent presidential legacies that have soared like President Obama’s going up from 18th place in 2014 to eighth place today, and those that have declined like President Clinton and Andrew Jackson whose embrace by Donald Trump, along with changing attitudes over Jackson’s treatment of Native Americans, might have added to his demise, particularly since our current president has replaced James Buchanan as the worst president in America’s history with Donald Trump after just one year in office, placed at the bottom.

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Part 2

Then as Trump tweets out a storm of petulant self-obsession instead of acting presidential as the comforter in chief for the grieving families in Florida, we find our president on President’s Day blaming the FBI’s failure to flag the school shooter on the bureau spending too much time investigating him in the Russia probe. An expert on presidential rhetoric, Jennifer Mercieca, a professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University, joins us to discuss Trump’s human failure and rhetorical priorities, as if the pain the parents as going through is an afterthought compared to Trump’s preoccupation with himself and the legal jeopardy he might be in.

 
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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Nancy Maclean, a Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and the award-winning author of “Democracy in chains, the deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America”. She joins us to discuss how much the press and public are distracted by Trump’s daily headline-grabbing antics while behind the scenes the Republicans are making every bit of the Koch Brothers’ agenda the law of the land as America more and more drifts away from democracy towards plutocracy.

Nancy MacLean

 

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February 18 - Is Donald Trump a Traitor?; Could the Young Student in Florida Revive Gun Control?; How Growing Inequality Threatens the US Constitution

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We begin with the latest indictment in the Mueller investigation announced on Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein which accuses 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities of intervening in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.  James Risen, the Pulitzer Prize-winner former investigative reporter with The New York Times who is now the Senior National Security Correspondent at The Intercept where he has an article “Is Donald Trump a Traitor?”, joins us. We discuss what could be the most consequential covert operation since Germany put Lenin on a train to Petrograd in 1917 and how much Russia’s new Czar, the former KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin, has created a state run by a consortium of spies, gangsters and oligarchs in which Putin regulates the oligarchs, handing out state assets and government contracts in exchange for political favors and off-the-books covert operations and influence campaigns which are augmented by legions of trolls and self-financed Internet criminals.   

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Then we look into the possibility that something might actually be done in response to the latest mass shooting beyond the usual sop of “thoughts and prayers”, this time led by the young survivors at the Florida High School who held an impassioned rally over the weekend calling out President Trump and lawmakers on the NRA payroll with chants of “shame on you” and “vote them out”. An expert on the 2nd Amendment, Saul Cornell, the Chair of History at Fordham University whose latest book is “The Second Amendment Goes to Court”, joins us to discuss the planned march by the students on Washington on March 24 and how the 2nd Amendment has been misinterpreted to give unlimited rights to a small minority of gun fanatics at the expense of the rights of Americans to have, as the founder fathers intended , “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”.

Part 3

Then finally, we speak with Ganesh Sitaraman, a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School and a longtime advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren who is the author of a new book just out, “The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic”. We discuss how the United States was uniquely set up as an egalitarian democracy in opposition to the feudal rule of the British aristocracy and that if rising income inequality is not addressed, it will destroy the American Constitution.

 
 

 

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