2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

July 25 - Senate Republicans Narrowly Proceed to Dismantle Obamacare; The Looming Constitutional Crisis As Trump Pressures Sessions to Quit; Will Trump Get Away With Firing Sessions To Kill the Russia Investigation?

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Part 1

We begin with the cliffhanger vote in the senate with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote to proceed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and speak with Dr. Adam Gaffney, an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Secretary of Physicians for a National Health Program. He joins us to analyze the three bills that the Republicans will be voting on along with the House bill passed in May and we will discuss the various levels of pain the bills will cause with between 22 million and 32 million Americans suddenly deprived of healthcare which many only recently were able to afford in what is an abomination of the Hippocratic Oath physicians take that begins with the declaration to “first do no harm”.

 

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Part 2

Then we examine the apparent determination on the part of President Trump to humiliate and force the resignation of the first and only senator to join his presidential campaign, his most loyal and faithful servant the Attorney General of the United States, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the Third. The author of the new book “Rivals for Power: Presidential - Congressional Relations”, James Thurber, the University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder and Former Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University joins us. We discuss the likely constitutional crisis that will erupt if and when Trump proceeds to force Sessions out in order to put in a compliant replacement to fire the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Part 3

Then finally, following Trump’s latest insult against who he called “the beleaguered A.G.” and now calls “VERY weak”, we  assess how long Jeff Sessions can survive on the job and how Trump can get away with appointing someone to stop the Russia investigation by firing Robert Mueller. Bill Yeomans, a former at Assistant Attorney General who is now the Ronald Goldfarb Fellow for Justice at the Alliance for Justice joins us to discuss how this standoff between Trump and Sessions puts all of us in the unfortunate position of asking whether it is better to have a relic from the Jim Crow South turn back the clock, or have Trump escape justice.

Photograph of Professor William Yeomans

 

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July 24 - The Author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency"; Why Americans Have Turned Against Expertise and Knowledge; The Democrat's "Better Deal"

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Part 1

We begin with the increasingly important White House role of Stephen Bannon who successfully challenged the Secretary of State’s argument that Iran is sticking to the deal made with Obama, which makes it likely that in 90 days Trump will pull out of the G-5 +1 agreement with Iran. Joshua Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek and author of the new book “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency”, joins us to discuss the deep right wing Catholic fervor driving Bannon’s apocalyptic worldview that appears to go back to the 11th century crusades of the crescent versus the cross. We will look into the key role of Rebekah Mercer who brought Bannon and Kellyanne Conway in to rescue Trump’s flagging campaign and what the Mercer’s expect to get in exchange for being the biggest donors to both Bannon and Trump.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Thomas Nichols, a professor of national security affairs in the National Security Affairs Department of the Naval War College and author of the new book, “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters”. He joins us to discuss his belief that “the abysmal literacy, both political and general, of the American public is the foundation for all these problems. It is the soil in which all of the other dysfunctions have taken root and prospered, with the 2016 election only its most recent expression”.

Thomas M. Nichols, Ph.D.

Part 3

Then finally we get an assessment of the new Democratic agenda, the “Better Deal” announced by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that aims to rebuild the coalition that FDR put together and bring the white working class back into the Democrat’s big tent. Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, joins us to discuss Schumer’s implicit criticism of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the promising anti-trust measures in the plan that hopes to reclaim the Democrat’s populist mantle that Trump was able to expropriate in the last election.

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July 23 - Trump is Laying the Groundwork For a Political and Cultural Civil War; Questioning Trump's Claim That He Has "The Complete Power to Pardon"; Poland's Right-Wing Government's Power Grab

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We begin with the Congressional vote to sanction Russia that constrains President Trump in a clear rebuke which indicates a distrust of the president’s peculiar determination to please Putin. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University joins us to discuss her article at CNN “Trump’s Authoritarian Playbook: What’s Next?” and the authoritarian playbook that she witnessed in Italy under Berlusconi that Trump appears to be following which could result in a constitutional crises if he does what he is threatening to do by firing the special prosecutor Robert Mueller and pardoning himself and his family. We examine the portent of a political and cultural civil war that Trump has laid the groundwork for and the open appeal to American fascism in a recent NRA video that threatens armed insurrection against liberals with “the clenched fist of truth”.

Part 2

Then we look into Trump’s assertion that he has “the complete power to pardon” and speak with Brian Kalt, Professor of Law at Michigan State University and author of “Constitutional Cliffhangers: A Legal Guide for Presidents and Their Enemies”, a book that identified unresolved constitutional questions that could easily lead to chaos and crisis. We discuss what would happen if Trump fires Mueller as he has threatened to do, and tries to pardon himself and his family.

Brian C. Kalt

Part 3

Then finally we go to Warsaw, Poland to speak with Jan Kubik, Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and Provost for Europe at the University College, London. He joins us to discuss the power grab by Poland’s right wing government in taking over the constitutional court and the encouragement that the anti-democratic right wing governments in Poland and Hungary are getting from Sebastian Gorka, the Hungarian fascist in the White House who is a close advisor to Donald Trump.

Jan Kubik

 

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July 20 - Trump's Public Humiliation of His Attorney General; Why is Maduro Turning Venezuela Into a Cuban-Style Pseudo-Democracy?; Will Arizona have 2 Senate Races in 2018?

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We begin with the public humiliation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by his boss Donald Trump who told The New York Times he would not have hired Sessions had he known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. David Graham, a staff writer for The Atlantic where he has an article “The Inadvisable President”, joins us to discuss the one-way street of loyalty in the Trump White House where Trump expects absolute loyalty while everyone around him, except for perhaps his family, are disposable. And in an Oval Office with the opposite message of Harry Truman’s that “the buck stops here”, if underlings are not blamed for everything that goes wrong they are at the mercy of a man who made himself famous as the gleeful executioner of jobs and careers with his power-play pronouncement - “you’re fired!”

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Part 2

Then we look into the deteriorating situation in Venezuela where today’s national strike has paralyzed a country on the brink of economic collapse and social chaos. David Smilde, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America who has studied Venezuela for 25 years and curates a blog “Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights”, joins us to discuss how much the embattled and unpopular President Maduro is in control of a country he is systematically turning into a Cuban-style pseudo-democracy. We assess what other centers of power exist with deep-rooted Cuban influence over the Intelligence and Military services as well as the power of cartels in the lucrative drug trade and the corrupt former Chavez loyalists who have become the new oligarchs.

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Part 3

Then finally, following the diagnosis that Senator John McCain has a virulent form of brain cancer, we assess the possibility that Arizona will have two senate races in 2018 with both the junior Senator Jeff Flake who is up for re-election and successors to John McCain on the ballot. Evan Wyloge, and investigative reporter with the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting joins us to discuss how the White House is already gunning for Jeff Flake who Trump hates and what a prolonged absence of Senator McCain will mean for the narrow Republican lead in the senate.

 

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July 19 - Trump's Second Meeting With Putin Without Notes and an Interpreter; Why the Republicans Are Having a Hard Time Killing Obamacare; The Conflicted Politics of Repeal and Replace

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Part 1

We begin with the revelation that Donald Trump held an hour-long second meeting with Vladimir Putin at the recent G-20 meeting that the White House did not mention at which there was only a Russian interpreter and no notes were taken leaving the U.S. Government to rely on whatever record the Russian Government produces. James Goldgeier, the Dean of the School of International Service at American University who was Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council and is the author of “Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy towards Russia after the Cold War”, joins us. We will discuss his article at The Washington Post “There are no notes on Trump’s meeting with Putin. That’s a big deal” and the importance of Memorandums of Conversations known as MemCons which are not only important for the leaders themselves, but are invaluable for scholars and the historical record.

Part 2

Then, with the CBO estimating that 32 million more Americans will be uninsured under the new Republican senate bill, we will examine why the Republicans are having such a hard time repealing and replacing Obamacare, a seven-year-long mission if not obsession that is in disarray. James Morone, a professor of Political Science at Brown University and editor of “Healthcare Policy in the USA and Germany” whose latest book is “The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office”, joins us to discuss how not just Obamacare is proving to have a powerful political constituency, but also Medicaid is proving durable since it covers the costs of retirement homes for most of the nation’s elderly citizens.

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Part 3

Then finally, with the president hosting Republican senators for lunch at the White House where he issued a not-so-veiled threat to wayward senators urging them to “hammer” out a health plan adding, “We shouldn’t leave town until this is complete”, we look into the conflicted politics of repeal and replace. Jonathan Cohn, a senior correspondent at The Huffington Post and author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Healthcare Crisis – and Who Pays the Price”, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Huffington Post “Republicans Have a Way Out of Their Health Care Mess: Working with Democrats”.

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