2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

June 3 - Tuesday's California Primary as a Bellwether For Flipping the House; The UN Warns Inequality in the US is Reaching a Dangerous Level; Trump Starts Trade Wars With Allies While Making Easy Deals With Despots

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With the June 5th California primary two days away and the expectation that the results will be a bellwether for the Democrat’s chances of taking the House and possibly the Senate in November, we will begin with Cenk Uyger, the host and founder of the Young Turks, the largest online news show in the world and the CEO of The Young Turks Network. He joins us to discuss the possibilities of flipping the 14 Republican-held House seats in California. And while Trump is deeply unpopular in California with Republicans now in third place in registration after Independents and Democrats, Democrat’s chances may be hampered by overcrowded fields of hopefuls, fratricide between the DCCC and the California Democratic Party and the so-called jungle primary which has the top two vote-winners advancing to the general election regardless of party affiliation.  We assess whether the conventional wisdom of running centrist Democrats against Republican incumbents holds anymore, since running Republican-lite Democrats dampens the enthusiasm of the progressive majority in the state where grassroots fundraising is proving just as effective as corporate donations and, as the Bernie Sanders campaign has shown, there is widespread populist appeal for progressive politics.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Chuck Collins, who directs the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is co-editor of inequality.org and the author of “Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tacking Inequality; Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good”, and his latest book just out, “Is Inequality in America Irreversible?” With the U.N. warning that Trump’s “cruel” policies of rewarding billionaires and punishing the poor are pushing inequality in the United States to a dangerous level, we discuss Chuck Collins’ policy agenda to reverse inequality emphasizing the power of local campaigns.

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Part 3

Then finally, with Syria’s murderous dictator Assad announcing he will be visiting North Korea, we examine Trump’s ominous reversal of U.S. foreign policy away from democratic alliances and human rights towards the embrace and rehabilitation of dictators and kleptocrats. Stephen Noerper, a professor and Korea Society senior director for policy at Columbia University who was a State Department senior analyst and a fellow at the Korea’s Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security, joins us to discuss how Trump is starting trade wars with allies while making easy deals with despots to boost his ratings from the forthcoming Singapore summit where the press will dutifully amplify Trump’s photo-op as groundbreaking statesmanship.

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May 31 - 50 Years After RFK's Assassination, His Son Now Believes The Wrong Person Was Convicted; Robert Reich On "The Common Good"; Trump Punishes Allies As He Starts a Trade War

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With the June 5th California primary fast approaching, we are reminded that 50 years ago Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968 just after winning the California primary which made RFK a shoo-in to become the next President of the United States.  We begin with Tom Jackman the Washington Post reporter who covers criminal justice and discuss his article at The Washington Post “Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan”. Tom’s article is based on extensive conversations he had with RFK Jr. after it was revealed that RFK’s son had visited Sirhan Sirhan in prison before Christmas last year and had spent three hours in private conversation with the 64 year old man convicted of assassinating his father. We discuss the efforts of Paul Schrade the UAW Union organizer who was shot in the forehead by Sirhan Sirhan to re-open the case because of his belief that there was a second gunman standing behind Kennedy who fired the fatal shots. This is a conviction also shared by RFK Jr. who believes the wrong person has been convicted of killing his father then the chief law enforcement officer in the country who RFK Jr. feels would not have wanted to put someone in jail for a crime they did not commit.

Part 2

Then we speak with the former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of the new book “The Common Good”. We discuss how societies and nations undergo virtuous cycles that reinforce and build the common good, and conversely we have vicious cycles which we are now suffering under Donald Trump’s misrule that undermine it. But there are optimistic signs emerging from the young high school students in Florida to the many women running for elective office indicating that the Trump nightmare may soon be over.

Part 3

Then finally with Trump slapping 25 % tariffs on steel and aluminum imports punishing America’s closest allies Canada, the E.U. and Mexico, we look into the implications this has for the looming trade war with China and speak with Scott Kennedy, the director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at CSIS who is just back from three weeks in China. The author of “Beyond the Middle Kingdom”, he joins us to discuss how alienating our allies while issuing hollow threats to China, isolates the U.S. and makes us weaker.

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May 30 - The Disgusting Moral Vacuum in Leadership at the Top in America; Inside Russian Organized Crime and Its Grip on on Russia; Italy's Political Upheaval and the Rise of a Slick Right-Wing Protege of Steve Bannon's

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We begin with the disgusting moral vacuum at the very top of leadership in America today with a president who could not disavow ugly racist comments by Roseanne but rather complained that the head of Disney who fired her, apologized to Valerie Jarret but not to the injured frail ego of Donald Trump who has been hurt by the “horrible statements” on ABC that were said about him.  Dr.  Andrew Hartman, a Professor of History at Illinois State University whose latest book is “A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars” joins us to discuss his article at The Baffler “The Culture Wars Are Dead: Long Live the Culture Wars”. We explore this return to Trump’s Charlottesville moment where he panders to the worst manifestations of our racist past which he, Trump, helped resurrect with the “birther” movement. A movement Trump began which in effect, gave permission to American racists to come out of the shadows and openly express their racist and conspiratorial views, turning back the clock on the nation’s long and painful struggle to discover the “better angels of our nature”.

 

Part 2

Then we  speak with Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague who is an expert on transnational crime and Russian security affairs and whose latest book is “The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia”. He joins us to discuss the history of organized crime from czarist times through the Soviet Union to Russia today which is a kleptocracy in which the ruling oligarchs and the ex-intelligence siloviki work hand-in-hand with the “vory”, the criminal gangs, who in turn work with the security services and the government. We will also explore Trump’s links to organized crime given his open door policy to Russian criminals with money to launder.

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Part 3

Then finally we get an analysis of the political upheaval in Italy which has spooked the markets and speak with Ruth Ben Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University who writes and speaks frequently on fascism, war, racism, authoritarian rulers and propaganda. She joins us to discuss the alarming possibility that the current political crisis has been engineered by the slick right wing leader of The League Matteo Salvini who could win the next election and is threatening to “March on Rome” which has unmistakable echoes of Mussolini’s rise.

 

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May 29 - Where Are The 1500 Missing Kids?; Autocrats Prefer Rigged Elections to Outright Dictatorship; 4645 People Died in Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria, Not 64

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We begin with Trump’s false claim, along with his tweet that the Democrats are protecting MS-13 thugs, charging that the Democrats are behind what he calls a “horrible law” separating children from their parents at the border when it is his “zero tolerance” policy that is doing it. Wendy Young, the Executive Director of KIND, Kids In Need of Defense, the leading organization for the protection of unaccompanied children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone, joins us to analyze what is going on following reports of 1,500 kids missing inside the Health and Human Services’ Department of Refugee Resettlement. We will look into whether the thousands of kids separated from their parents inside the system are being properly tracked, let alone taken care of, and assess whether the so-called “sponsors” taking these kids out of Federal custody are not human traffickers who are exploiting them for cheap or slave labor as indicated by a case of 8 children forced to work on an egg farm
 
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Part 2

Then we  go to the U.K. to speak with Nic Cheeseman, a professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham who has researched elections in more than 8 countries around the world including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria. He is the co-author of a new book “How to Rig an Election” and we  discuss how more and more despots around the world choose to have elections that offer the pretense of democracy rather than to rule as dictators. With recent rigged elections in Russia, Turkey and Venezuela examples of this trend, we examine what can be done to restore meaning into democratic processes and prevent autocrats from claiming victories in elections they have rigged for themselves.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into the report just released by a group of independent researchers at Harvard who have found that 4,645 people died in Puerto Rica during Hurricane Maria and its aftermath in stark contrast to the official total of 64. Luis Martinez-Fernandez, a professor of history at the University of Central Florida who lives and teaches in Orlando, Florida which has one of the world’s highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans, joins us to discuss the absurdity of the official death toll and how the neglect following the devastation by Maria continues.

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May 28, 2018 - A decorated veteran on our "bone spur" president; A veteran for peace organizing Memorial Day events at the D.C. Mall; The Trump Adminstration is moving us close to a third Gulf War

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We begin on this Memorial Day with Phillip Butler, a former Naval light-attack carrier pilot who, in 1965, was shot down over North Vietnam and spent 8 years as a prisoner of war. A highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded 2 Silver Stars, 2 Legions of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars and 2 Purple Hearts and we will discuss how veterans feel about their “bone spur” president trashing Phil Butler’s fellow POW John McCain.

Part 2

Then with the diplomatic back-and-forth between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, we will speak with Ellen Barfield, the National Vice President of Veterans for Peace and a US veteran. She served with the U.S. military in South Korea and we will discuss the impact a war in Korea would have on the inhabitants of the peninsula and her efforts to organize a series of Memorial Day events at the Washington Mall displaying the human costs of war.

Part 3

Then finally we will speak with Michael Klare, a Five College professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, about his article in TomDispatch “Donald Trump Is Driving Us on a Road to Hell in the Middle East.” We will discuss the news from The New York Times that the US Army Special Forces secretly aided the Saudi Arabian military against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and the growing signs that the war hawks Netanyahu, Mohammed Bin Salman and John Bolton are moving the Trump Administration closer to a Third Gulf War.