2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

August 6 - Trump's Regime Change Plan for Iran Will Backfire; Trump Tweets Himself Into More Legal Jeopardy; How the Republicans Shut Down the Most Successful Minority Voter Registration Organization

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We begin with the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran beginning on Tuesday which the Trump administration argues unconvincingly is not about regime chance, but aimed at modifying the Iranian regime’s behavior. Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver joins us to discuss growing unrest in Iran over increasing economic hardship expected to worsen with the new sanctions. But if there is to be widespread protests as there was in 2009 with the Green Movement, Trump, Bolton and Pompeo’s real intention to have regime change is likely to backfire. Because the Iranian people who most want to get rid of the mullah’s will be arrested or killed by the people with the guns, the IRGC, the Revolutionary Guards, who are the least effected by the sanctions. They will take over the country and impose an even harder line regime than the one now that has at least the fig leaf of democracy. So Trump might succeed in bringing about regime change by destroying Iran’s economy but what emerges will be so much worse than the regime we have now, particularly for the Iranian people. Meanwhile China will buy more Iranian oil and India, Iran’s biggest customer, will continue to do so too.

Josef Korbel School of International Studies Professor Nader Hashemi

Part 2

Then we examine the possible legal consequences of Trump’s impulsive tweets in response to a Washington Post article which suggested the president was worried about the legal jeopardy his son Donald Jr. faces from the meeting in Trump Tower with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. Paul S. Ryan, the Vice President of Policy and Litigation at Common Cause who recently authored Common Cause’s complaint on the Trump Tower meeting to the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice, joins us to discuss the ignorance Trump and his lawyers have displayed in claiming it is totally legal to get opposition research from a hostile foreign power.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Peter Dreier, Distinguished Professor of Politics and Chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. He joins us to discuss his article at Dissent Magazine, “The Right-Wing Firestorm That Rages On” about how Republican activists targeted the nation’s most successful minority voter registration organization ACORN and put it out of business in 2010. Had ACORN still been around in 2016 there is no way Trump would have won in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and if ACORN were around today, the Democratic Blue Wave in November would be big enough to overcome the Republican campaign of suppressing the votes of minorities.

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August 5 - An Assassination Attempt on Venezuela's Beleaguered President; A Matter of Time Before a Journalist is Attacked or Killed By a Trump Supporter; Jared Kushner's Bad Vanity Purchase Bailed Out By Qatari Investors

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We begin with the assassination attempt on Venezuela’s President Maduro who was addressing a military audience at the 81st anniversary of the national army when two drones carrying explosives detonated nearby injuring seven soldiers.  An expert on Venezuela David Smilde, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America who has studied Venezuela for almost thirty years and has lived there for over a decade and curates the blog “Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights”, joins us. We discuss Maduro’s vow of “Justice! Maximum punishment! And there will be no forgiveness”, after blaming the President of Columbia Juan Manuel Santos for the assassination attempt along with the usual suspect, the United States.  With a little-know group “Soldiers in T-shirts” taking credit on social media for the drone attack, we will look into Maduro’s charges for which he offered no evidence and the claim by Soldiers in T-shirts that they were behind the attack which was not backed up by any evidence.

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Part 2

Then we get an assessment of if and when journalists will either be assaulted, injured or even killed by Trump supporters riled up by the president’s incendiary rhetoric since he regularly calls the press fake, disgusting and the enemy of the people. And given that many of the “people” at Trump rallies belong to far-right fringe groups like QAnon whose impressionable members believe in the most bizarre conspiracy theories and are heavily armed, we speak with  Peter Sterne, a senior reporter at the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He runs the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a website that tracks arrests of journalists, equipment seizures and subpoenas of news organizations in the United States, and we discuss the repeated refusal of the White House Press spokesperson to strop characterizing the press as the enemy of the people in contrast to Ivanka Trump who said they were not, and what journalists can do to protect themselves from vigilantes fired up by Trump’s hateful rhetoric against the press.

Peter Sterne

Part 3

Then finally we examine the bailout of 666 5th Avenue, a building that threatened to bankrupt the Kushner family real estate business which the Qatari-owned company Brookfield Asset Management just paid $1.1 billion in upfront rent for, rescuing Jared Kushner from his vanity purchase on which a $1.4 mortgage payment is due in February of next year. Best-selling author, William Cohan, who is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair and writes a biweekly column in The New York Times, joins us to discuss the extent to which Jared Kushner’s White House role has enabled him to get out from under bad business investments.

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August 2 - Trump Rules for More Pollution and Higher Fuel Costs; The Far Right's Bizarre New Pro-Trump Group, QAnon; Facing the Challenge of Fascism in Trump's America

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We begin with the plans announced Thursday by the Trump administration to freeze fuel-efficiency requirement on the nation’s cars and trucks in an move to not just to rollback efforts to deal with global warming but to also to undermine the ability of California and other states to impose standards to improve public health, combat climate change, spur new technology and save consumers money.  Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox Professor at Harvard Law School and the founding director of the Law School’s Environmental Law and Policy Program who served as Counselor for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama White House, joins us.  We examine Trump’s vengeful use of the power of the presidency that seems to be motivated more out of spite in undoing yet another Obama achievement than even acting in support of reactionary ideology or pandering to big corporations, since it is not clear that Detroit’s Big 3 auto manufacturers are lobbying for the rollback. Certainly the reasons given by the White House make no sense on the surface and it is clear consumers want cleaner air and better mileage and lower fuel costs. And the absurdity of Trump’s claim that the California standards are hurting car sales is borne out by the fact that in the last few years we have seen all-time record sales or cars and trucks.

Part 2

Then we investigate the latest secretive group to emerge on the far right who were on display at Tuesday’s Trump rally in Florida where Trump supporters were wearing QAnon t-shirts, hats and brandishing posters as they cursed and threatened members of the press, especially reporters from CNN, a network Trump regularly disparages. Will Sommer, a tech reporter for the Daily Beast where his latest article is “QAnon, the Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theorists, Now Believe JFK Jr. Faked His Death to Become Their Leader”, joins us. We discuss QAnon’s bizarre beliefs and how Trump got them started by cryptically referring to the coming “storm”.

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Part 3

Then finally, we speak with Henry Giroux, a world renowned educator, author and public intellectual who currently holds the McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest and is the author of the new book, just out, “American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism”. He joins us to discuss his article at Truthdig “Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History” and President Trump’s recent displays of autocratic tendencies bordering on totalitarian instincts, along with his brazen contempt for the rule of law as the president escalates his attacks on the FBI and DOJ.

 

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August 1 - Trump's Tweet to the AG to Shut Down Mueller "Right Away"; Manafort is Likely at the Heart of Trump's Collusion with Russia; A Book on the Frightening Parallels Between Hitler's Rise and Trump's America Today

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We begin with the latest angry tweet from Trump indicating he is freaking out as the Mueller probe closes in on him. Andy Wright, a Professor at Savannah Law School who served in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Obama and worked in Congress conducting oversight of U.S. national security matters, joins us to discuss Trump’s demand that Attorney General Sessions shuts down the Mueller probe “right away”. We will look into why Trump is lashing out, making a somewhat ambiguous comparison between Paul Manafort and Al Capone on the second day of the trial of Trump’s former campaign manager who is facing many charges among which is not paying taxes on $60 million, a similar charge which eventually brought down Al Capone. And while the White House spokesperson and Trump’s TV lawyer Giuliani frantically try to walk back Trump’s tweet by suggesting the president is expressing an opinion, not issuing an order to his Attorney General, we will assess whether Trump’s panicked rhetoric will lead to an action that could result in a constitutional crisis if Sessions bows to his bosses demands and fires his Deputy Attorney General who oversees the Mueller investigation.

 

Andy Wright

Part 2

Then we speak with someone who knows Paul Manafort well from the decade Manafort spent in Ukraine working for the Russian-backed Ukrainian leader Yanukovych on a salary of $9 million per year, meaning Manafort made $90 million not the $60 million he avoided taxes on. Anders Aslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University who worked as a Swedish diplomat in Poland and Moscow and was an economic advisor to the governments of Russia and Ukraine, joins us. We discuss the extent to which Manafort was likely working with Russian intelligence all along together with his deputy, a Russian Military Intelligence officer, and his partner Roger Stone.  All three might well be at the heart of Trump’s collusion with Russia which perhaps explains why Trump is so anxious.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with the author of a very important book which in many ways is all about the current political situation today in the United States even though the book does not mention Donald Trump’s name and is all about the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Benjamin Carter Hett, a Professor of History at Hunter College and author of “The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic” joins us to discuss how Hitler rose to power on a campaign of lies and an anti-globalist and anti-immigrant platform with a promise to build a wall on Germany’s border.

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July 31 - Trump Appears Unaware His Own Government Made 3D Plastic Guns Available to Anyone and Everyone; North Korea Builds New ICBM's Making a Joke of Trump's Promises; Trump Disses the Koch Brothers

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With a federal judge having just blocked the distribution of downloadable 3D-printed guns, we will begin with Joshua Horowitz, the Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and author of “Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea”. He joins us to discuss the alarming release of blueprints to manufacture 3D plastic guns over the Internet by Cody Wilson, a self-described anarchist and gun rights fanatic who had sued the State Department for restraining him from making these home-made undetectable guns available to anyone and everyone. We will look into how someone in the Justice Department not only dropped the case but awarded Wilson $40,000 in court costs and whether Jeff Sessions or Mike Pompeo knew anything about this because President Trump surely did not since today in a confusing tweet, Trump questioned whether these blueprints should have been made available to the public.

Travis Vaughn Photography // TravisVaughn.com

Part 2

Then we speak with Michael Fuchs, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He joins us to discuss leaked intelligence from spy satellites indicating the North Koreans are building new intercontinental ballistic missiles in spite of Trump’s claim that after the recent summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat”. With Secretary of State Pompeo admitting in recent testimony that the North Koreans were  upgrading their nuclear enrichment site and stepping up production of fissile material, we will assess what the promise of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula amounts to.

Michael Fuchs

Part 3

Then finally we examine Trump’s tweet today dismissing the billionaire conservative donors the Koch brothers as “a total joke” following the Koch network’s conclave over the weekend at which Charles Koch blasted Trump’s trade agenda and the network’s co-chair issues a statement critical of Trump saying “The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage”. Alex Kotch, an investigative journalist focusing on money in politics, joins us to discuss speculation that the Koch brothers are reconsidering their almost exclusive support for Republican candidates during this midterm campaign after having alarmed Republicans earlier this year when they funded a digital ad campaign congratulating North Dakota’s Senator Heidi Heitkamp for rolling back bank regulations. Now that Trump has dissed the brothers calling their network highly overrated claiming he is a puppet to no one and that the Koch’s are “Two nice guys with bad ideas”, we will get an assessment of how much this is a signal for other Republicans to break ranks with Trump and whether fear of angering Trump’s base could be abating.

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