2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

June 13 - Normalizing Trump's Embarrassing Amateurism; Meanness and Madness in Trump's America; The AT&T-Time Warner Mega-Merger

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Part 1

We will begin with the embarrassing amateurism on display with Trump’s train-wreck leadership now being normalized as being an unorthodox way of doing business. Meanwhile it is increasingly clear that Trump hates meetings like the G-7 because he is unable to keep up with his peers without looking foolish and exposing his ignorance. And having purged those few top White House advisors who tried to speak truth to power, we now have a team of sycophants, lightweights, cranks and crackpots surrounding a woefully unqualified president who has to resort to reality TV spectacle to disguise his incompetence and inability to govern in an executive branch unable to implement policies and enact promises. Kent Harrington, a former CIA analyst who served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, joins us to discuss the staged-for-TV Singapore summit which late night TV hosts have likened to the TV reality show “The Bachelorette”. And now that the only adult left in the Trump cabinet who is not a sycophant or a toady, Defense Secretary Mattis, has been blindsided by promises to stop exercises and pull troops out of South Korea, we will examine whether there is the capacity in this Administration to follow through on the opening Trump has claimed his wildly successful summit has provided.

 

Kent Harrington

Part 2

Then, with a white supremacist sympathizer running as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, and a wife-beating Democrat running for the House in South Carolina, and a pimp running as a Republican for the State Legislature in Nevada, we will assess the meanness and madness in Trump’s America that will escalate as the November elections approach. With Republican Senator Corker describing his Republican Party as having become “a cult-like situation under Trump”, we will speak with Mike Lofgren, the author of the best-seller “The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted”.

 
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Part 3

Then finally we discuss the $85.4 billion mega-merger between AT&T and Time Warner, which was approved on Tuesday in full by the Federal Judge Richard Leon in defiance of the Department of Justice. With 50,000 mergers having taken place in 2016 and 50,000 in 2017, and $2 trillion spent on mergers so far in 2018, we will speak with Jesse Eisinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning senior reporter at ProPublica who covers Wall Street and Finance about this new laissez- faire business environment in which AntiTrust tools are not being used.

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June 12 - Singapore Summit Light on Disarmament; Maybe the Ego-Driven Amateur is the Right Person to Pull Off the Korean Deal; How a Trade War With Canada Could Backfire

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We begin with the choreographed Kim-Trump photo-op that was very light on substance and even lighter on the takeaway, a one-page signed agreement which promised much less than the 1994 and 2006 joint communiques, which has left almost all specialists on Korea and U.S. officials who have dealt with the peninsula considerably underwhelmed. Grace Liu, a Research Associate at the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey, joins us to discuss what was left undone and glossed over and that is some kind of nuclear arms reduction agreement with North Korea in exchange for vague security guarantees offered by Secretary of State Pompeo who declined to describe what they might be. With no substantial action forthcoming on denuclearization the Singapore summit was hardly a victory for disarmament but now that the door is open for more meetings ahead, we will assess whether at the end of the day the best deal that could be arrived at between the U.S. and North Korea might end up looking a lot like the Iran deal which Trump tore up.

Part 2

Then we speak with Kyung Moon Hwang, a Professor of History and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California who writes a bi-weekly column for the Korea Times of Seoul whose most recent study is “Rationalizing Korea”.  He joins us to discuss how the ego-driven amateur who talked of pristine North Korean beaches as real estate opportunities to build condos, might just be the best person to pull of this deal since clearly over the decades the professionals have failed. We will also look into the frightening signal that a desperately poor country devoting all of its resources to make nuclear weapons sends to the world; if you want respect and to be taken seriously, then get a nuke.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University, Leo Panitch about President Trump’s new best friend the North Korean dictator he describes effusively as “a talented man who loves his country very much” compared to his newest global enemy Canada’s Prime Minister who Trump refers to dismissively as Justin. We discuss how China reaches out to the world by building roads while Trump builds walls.

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June 11 - Could North Korea Play the US Off Against China?; Could Starting a Trade War Backfire on Trump?; The Supreme Court OK's Purging Voters If They Miss One Election

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We begin with the meeting between President Trump and the North Korean dictator due to take place in one hour from now and explore the possibility that Kim Jong-un could put himself in the position of playing China off against the U.S. in the way that Nixon’s meeting with Mao during the Cold War enabled the U.S. to play China off against the Soviet Union. A former deputy secretary of defense and a member of the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council, Rudy deLeon, a senior fellow with the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress, joins us to discuss how a nuclear deal with North Korea could be negotiated if the U.S. and its allies know so little about what North Korea has in terms of weapons, nuclear facilities and delivery vehicles. We also assess the role of China and South Korea behind the scenes and going forward if a deal is to be struck. And since Trump has done little to no preparation compared to Nixon, we will analyze what Kim Jong-un has won so far and what he might want out of a deal which Trump appears eager to make up front without paying much attention to the details that will have to follow.

 

Rudy deLeon

Part 2

Then with Trump attacking Canada’s Prime Minister again on Monday in tweets from the summit in Singapore, we speak with Matt Gold, a Professor of Law who teaches international trade law at Fordham University who held an appointment within the Executive Office of the President as Deputy Assistant Trade Representative for North America. He joins us to examine whether insulting close neighbors and long-standing allies could degenerate into a trade war.  And while Trump is obviously playing to the “Rust Belt” for the mid-terms and 2020 and using the “national security” rubric against Canada to avoid input from Congress, if reciprocal tariffs start escalating in a tit-for-tat trade war, the stock market could tank and backfire on Trump.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into the 5 to 4 decision on the Supreme Court by the conservative majority to break a bi-partisan tradition and side with the Trump Administration to uphold a controversial Ohio voter purge to remove voters from the rolls if they fail to vote in one election. A nationally-recognized expert on election law, Richard Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine joins us to discuss his article at Slate “Sonia Sotomayor’s Dissent in the Big Voter Purge Case Points to How the Law Might Still be Struck Down”.

Richard L. Hasen

 

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June 10 - Trump Forges a Global Realignment Rewarding Despots While Punishing Allies; The Now-Obvious Hold Putin Has Over Trump; "Nicaragua on the Brink of Calamity"

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We begin with the politics of petulance as the man-child and leader of the free world blows up alliances and tramples on relations with traditional allies while reaching out to rehabilitate Russia and reward China as our president forges a radical global realignment with despots and kleptocrats with Trump, like a Godfather meeting with fellow mob bosses to carve up territory, announcing that “we’ve got a world to run”. Thomas Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College whose latest book is “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters” joins us to discuss the extraordinary inversion of national security priorities as Trump embraces enemies and trashes allies with an insulting attack on America’s closest neighbor and ally Canada at the same time elevating one of the world’s worst dictators with praise and prestige. We look into Trump’s childish reversal over an imaginary sleight by Canada’s Prime Minister who Trump gratuitously demeaned, rejecting a consensus reached at the G-7.  And the unreal nature of the reality TV summit about to take place in Singapore where the theatrics of an easy deal with a do-over dictator is about to be sold as great global statesmanship.

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Part 2

Then we explore the now obvious hold that Vladimir Putin has over Donald Trump with Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence at a meeting in France warning that Putin is trying to divide the NATO alliance while at the same time Trump calls for Putin’s re-admission to the G-7 at the testy meeting in Quebec at which the British Prime Minister was hoping to get a unanimous condemnation of Russia for their nerve gas attack on British soil.  Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, until resigning with Anthony Lake over the bombing of Cambodia, whose latest book is the comparative history of the U.S. and the USSR, “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and Their Failed Ideals”, joins us to discuss the disturbing possibility that our president is Putin’s puppet.  

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Stephen Kinzer who served as The New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua and is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs about his article at The Boston Globe “Nicaragua on the Brink of Calamity”. He joins us to discuss how for the second time in many generations, Nicaraguans are rebelling against a decadent family regime and efforts by the Catholic bishops to get the authoritarian leader Daniel Ortega to stop shooting down peaceful protesters and agree on a new election.

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June 7 - Trump Stiffs Allies While Embracing Despots; Trump Revives Nativism and Protectionism Like the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act; Senate Confirms a Proponent of Equating Criticism of Israel with Antisemitism as Head of Civil Rights at the Dept. of Education

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We begin with tomorrow’s G-7 Summit in Quebec City, Canada which President Trump is reluctantly attending because it is likely he will get an earful from the leaders of France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and Canada who as America’s allies, are furious that he is imposing tariffs on them and starting a trade war. Donald Abelson, a professor and chair of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario in Canada who specializes in American politics and U.S. foreign policy, joins us to discuss the alarming ignorance of history displayed by Donald Trump in his testy phone call with Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau and Trump’s State Department spokesperson who cited the D Day invasion as an example of America’s “very strong relationship” with Germany.  We review the list of world leaders and close allies such as Abe, May, Macron and Trudeau who went out of their way to court Trump and establish friendships with him only to be stiffed and assess what the impact might be of a threat from France’s President Macron to join with other world leaders at the G-7 to issue a rare rebuke by excluding the U.S. from the joint statement issued at the end of the summit.

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Part 2

Then we examine further Trump tariffs on allies and neighbors and the extent to which, because of anger at Trump from indignant populations in France, the U.K., Germany, Japan, Mexico and Canada, leaders of these countries will be forced to reciprocate and perhaps trigger a trade war. Rodrique Tremblay, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal who was president of the Canadian Economics Society and a member of the Committee of Dispute Settlement of the North American Free Trade Agreement, joins us to discuss Trump’s revival of the nativist and isolationist stupidity which led to the Smoot/Hawley Act signed by President Hoover in 1930 which triggered a global depression. And since Trump is pandering to nativist protectionism in hopes of winning reelection in the Rust Belt in 2020, we assess whether corporate America and the Congress will step up to prevent a looming trade war.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Rabbi Joseph Berman, Government Affairs Manager at Jewish Voice for Peace about the 50 to 46 vote in the Senate today to confirm Kenneth Marcus as assistant secretary for civil rights under Education Secretary DeVos. In what appears to be yet another example of Trump appointing someone who is implacably opposed to the mission they are charged with, we look into how the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act before Congress which Kenneth Marcus champions, would prevent schools and colleges from supporting Palestinian rights or criticizing Israel because of the risk of losing federal funding and being branded as anti-Semites.   

 
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