2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

October 9 - Speculation About Nikki Haley's Sudden Departure; An Even More Dire Warning on Global Warming From the UN; "How to Save a Constitutional Democracy"

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Part 1

We begin with the surprise resignation of the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley whose sudden departure has led to feverish speculation. Barbara Crossette, the former UN Bureau Chief for The New York Times who is now the UN correspondent for The Nation, joins us to discuss the extent to which Haley was forced out of her job by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor Bolton. We assess whether since Trump said to Haley today in the Oval Office that “hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point in a different capacity. You can have your pick”, that Trump might dump Pence and put Haley on the 2020 ticket as his VP. Conversely, because she is seen by the White House as being too close to Mike Pence, he might find a way to dump Trump and take Haley on as his VP in 2020. There is also the speculation that the Attorney General Jeff Session will soon be fired and replaced by Senator Lindsay Graham and that the Governor of South Carolina would then appoint Nikki Haley to fill out Graham’s term in the senate until 2020. We will also get an appraisel of her tenure at the UN and how diplomats from around the world found her as the representative of Trump’s hostile, xenophobic administration that wants to undo the very purpose of the UN which is global cooperation and multilateralism, and roll back the clock to a world torn apart by the passions and perils of patriotism and nationalism which Trump recently advocated at the UN.

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Part 2

Then we get an analysis of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that issued and even more alarming warning of the rapid pace of global warming which has eclipsed earlier projections of catastrophic and irreversible damage if temperatures were to rise to 3.6 degrees by 2040, to now show that the dire effects will come sooner at the 2.7 degree mark. Robert Stavinsa Professor and the Director of the Environmental Economics Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the lead author of three reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, joins us.

Robert Stavins

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Aziz Huq, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is the co-author of a new book, just out, “How to Save a Constitutional Democracy”. We discuss how the new Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh is likely to use his position on the court to be a zealous partisan making sure the Republicans control the House and Senate so as to prevent his own impeachment, and what citizens can do to reform our democracy to make it harder for authoritarian populist like Trump to entrench their power.

Aziz Huq

 

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October 8 - Trump Declares There is a War on Men; The Mysterious Disappearance of a Saudi Dissident; The Global Struggle Between the Forces of Decivilization and Recivilization

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We begin with Lynn Stuart Parramore, a Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a cultural historian who studies and writes on the intersection of culture, gender and economics. She joins us to discuss her article at NBC News, “After the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle, should American men be afraid?” and the latest war declared by Donald Trump, the war on men. We will look into the insecurity amongst white men that Trump is exploiting as an historical shift is underway globally which means that in the future, simply being born white will no longer confer privilege. She argues that just as the Lord watched over the peasant and the master feared the slave, those with the most power and privilege who have the most to be afraid of, are the ones determined to keep all the goodies and privileges for themselves. Meanwhile Congress has not passed any laws whatsoever related to sexual harassment in the workplace since the #MeToo movement emerged in spite of the fact that men have a lot to gain from a fairer, more egalitarian world opening up opportunities for mutual trust and respect between men and women leading to better working lives, better politics and even better sex.

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Part 2

Then, with Turkey’s President Erdogan challenging the Saudis today to produce videotape of the missing dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi exiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul which he entered days ago and has not been seen since, we speak with Ali Al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs. A scholar and expert on Saudi political affairs and Saudi-American relations, he joins us to discuss the lame excuse offered to Khashoggi’s employer The Washington Post by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the U.S., that the video cameras at the consulate were not recording that day and how Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince and President Trump’s best friend is conducting a reign of terror in the kingdom.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace about her now book, just out, “A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security”. With the Saudis appearing to have brazenly killed and possibly dismembered a prominent dissident and journalist on foreign soil and the Chinese arresting the head of Interpol, we will analyze the global struggle between the forces of decivilization and recivilization.

 

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October 7 - Trump Stokes Men's Aggrieved Entitlement; Will a Fascist Get Elected in Brazil?; A Month Ahead of a Critical Election - The State of Voting in America

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We begin with the Kavanaugh effect reflected in Trump’s recent rhetoric that expands on male victimhood which he used successfully in the 2016 campaign to convince the white working class they are being marginalized by minorities who are taking away their jobs and feminists who are taking away their manhood. Now with Senator McConnell dismissing female protesters as “a mob”, Republicans are embracing the victimhood of a privileged white male to expand their base of beleaguered and oppressed men to make the case that not only has Kavanaugh been wronged, but his unfair treatment by the Democrats and the media shows that any man can be victimized in the era of the #MeToo movement. Robert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin whose work has focused on the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men’s violence as well as questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism, joins us. We discuss President Trump’s remark following his victory celebration after seating Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, which suggests the contentious confirmation has now become a trial over masculinity and embattled manhood. In response to a reporter’s question about what would he say to young men in America, Trump replied “Well, I’d say that it’s a scary time for young men in America when you could be guilty of something you may not be guilty of”.

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Part 2

Then we examine the elections underway in Brazil in which the leading Trump-like presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is even more open and extreme in expressing his authoritarian tendencies saying an opposition female candidate is not worth raping and that he would prefer a dead son to a gay son. Joining us for an update on whether Bolsonaro will get the 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff is Maria Luisa Mendonca, the Director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights who is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio de Janeiro. We assess the fate of Brazil’s fragile democracy and whether the country will return to a right wing dictatorship.

Part 3

Then finally, with a month to go before the critical midterm elections, we analyze the state of voting in the country following the record low turnout in the last 2014 midterms in which only 140 million Americans voted, the lowest turnout since 1942, followed by just over 25% of American adults voting Donald Trump into the presidency in 2016. Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University who has studied both the American right and the presidency, joins us to discuss his new book, just out, “The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present”.

 

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October 4 - The Fix Was in on the FBI Investigation; The Moral Bankruptcy of the Religious Right; Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on Her New Book "Leadership: In Turbulent Times"

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Part 1

We begin with a former FBI Special Agent and discuss the limits the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee placed on the supplemental FBI investigation into the accusations made by Dr. Ford against Judge Kavanaugh who now appears to be all-but assured the Republicans will have enough votes to seat him on the Supreme Court for life. Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean at Yale Law School who teaches national security law and previously served as a Special Agent with the FBI specializing in counterintelligence, joins us to discuss her article at Just Security “Here Are the 30 People the FBI Needs to Interview in its Kavanaugh Investigation” and what we know about the still-secret White House directive that circumscribed the latest FBI investigation. We look into the relationship between Brett Kavanaugh and FBI Director Chris Wray who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale and worked with him in the George W. Bush Administration as did Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, all of whom are members of Leonard Leo’s Federalist Society, the conservative group behind getting Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh seated on the Supreme Court.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Frank Schaeffer whose parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer were the founders of the Religious Right in this country which meant Frank worked with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. We discuss what appears to be a great victory for the Religious Right who are poised to get an anti-abortion fifth right wing judge on the Supreme Court and the moral bankruptcy of so-called “Christians” reflected in a recent study that found over 40% of evangelicals would still support Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court even if he was found guilty of the sexual assault of a 15 year-old girl.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with world-renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about her latest book “Leadership: In Turbulent Times”. Having written major works on Teddy Roosevelt, LBJ, FDR, and Lincoln in the runaway bestseller “Team of Rivals”, the basis for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln”, we discuss her latest book on all of the afore-mentioned presidents and assess how good leaders become great leaders. This in contrast to our current leader who Senator Ben Sasse, a member of Trump’s own Republican Party just said “is unable to lead the country”.

Doris Kearns Goodwin | “America’s Historian-In-Chief” – New York Magazine

 

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October 3 - A President Out of Control But With the Nuclear Button; Do the American People Still Expect Decorum and Dignity From Their President?; Trump's Constitutional Authority and the Limits Placed On It

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Part 1

We begin with the uncontrolled outburst that spewed from President Trump at a rally in Mississippi last night as he belittled Dr. Blasey Ford who testified against Judge Kavanaugh. Despite having been repeatedly cautioned by his handlers not to inflame a delicate political situation as Kavanaugh’s fate hangs by a thread, Trump clearly could not restrain himself and his vitriolic mockery of Dr. Ford offended the very senators who are the swing votes Trump needs to seat Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. Joseph Cirincione, the President of the Ploughshares Fund and author of “Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons”, joins us to discuss the danger of having a president who cannot control himself but has access to the nuclear button. Although we have been lucky the country has not faced a crisis so far, the fact remains that Trump has the power at his fingertips to destroy the world. We assess the difference between a Trump Administration full of unqualified amateurs like Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who just threated to “take out” Russian nuclear missiles on their territory, and how President Kennedy handled the Cuban missile crisis by overruling his hawks who recommended a nuclear strike which would have led to a nuclear war. In contrast if a real crisis struck, an erratic and uncontrollable Trump would be goaded on by his hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with an historian of American political discourse and presidential rhetoric, Jennifer Mercieca, a Professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University about the response to Trump’s mockery of Dr. Blasey Ford from the three key senators whose votes he needs to confirm Kavanaugh; Senators Flake, Collins and Murkowski.  We will discuss whether there is still an expectation among the American people that their head of state exhibit decorum and dignity or are we back to the days of Andrew Jackson with the difference being that Trump does not settle scores with dueling pistols but rather uses Twitter to insult and demean his enemies real and imagined.

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Part 3

Then finally we explore both the constitutional authority of the President of the United States and the constitutional restraints imposed on this authority and speak with Corey Brettschneider, a Professor of Political Science at Brown University and author of the new book “The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents”. He joins us to discuss whether, while California develops its own foreign and immigration policy and signs international climate treaties, a president under investigation can pardon himself, fire anyone in the executive branch or wage war without congressional approval,

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