2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

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.

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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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July 30 - Sessions' Bogus Holy War Against an Unnamed "Dangerous Movement" Persecuting American Christians; Could Putin Turn On Trump?; An Assessment of Today's Elections in Zimbabwe

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We begin with the Religious Liberty Summit held today at the Department of Justice presided over by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who announced the formation of a “Religious Liberty Task Force” to fight a holy war against an unnamed “dangerous movement” underway in this country which is eroding the rights of American Christians to worship. Rachel Laser, the President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State joins us to discuss Sessions’ dog whistle appeal to bigotry in the name of religious liberty as the Attorney General of the United States cited Christians as victims with the fictional example of nuns being ordered to buy contraceptives. Sessions also offered another example of trespass against Christian freedom in America with Senator Diane Feinstein’s alleged attack on religious liberty referring to her suggestion that “dogma lives loudly within you” as she questioned a nominee for the 7th Circuit, Amy Coney Barrett who was recently on the short list to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. The Attorney General then praised Jack Phillips, a member of the new Task Force’s panel of Christian fundamentalist activists on display at the DOJ today whose claim to fame is that he refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, an example of religious persecution Sessions claimed “we’ve all seen the ordeal he (Phillips) faced bravely”.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Jeff Stein, the National Security Correspondent for Newsweek who writes the SpyTalk column. He joins us to discuss his article at Newsweek “How Vladimir Putin Will Take Down Donald Trump When He’s No Longer Useful” and the recent coverage of Trump in the Russian press where he has been widely referred to as “our president” but now following Trump’s pathetic deference to Putin at Helsinki, is now described in the state-controlled Russian press with a mixture of concern, pity and ridicule.

Part 3

Then finally we assess the elections today in Zimbabwe, the first without the longtime dictator who wrecked and plundered the country, Robert Mugabe, on the ballot. Ambassador John Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria who was political counselor at the U.S. Embassy during South Africa’s first non-racial election and is the author of “Morning in South Africa”, joins us. We discuss the generational challenge the 40 year-old Nelson Chamisa represent as he tries to unseat the General in charge of security who removed Mugabe in a coup, 75 year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “the crocodile” for his decades-long service of feeding Mugabe’s opponents to the crocodiles.

 

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July 29 - The Person Who Brought Down Nixon on the Cohen Tapes; 100 Days Out: Winning for the Democrats Is Not Enough; An Expert Analysis of Why Wildfires Are Raging in California and Around the World

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We begin with the irony that not just one president Richard Nixon was brought down by secret tape recordings, but that another Donald Trump, could also be vulnerable to the many recording his former fixer Michael Cohen has of conversations between them. The first of which has been made public involving a discussion over the payment of hush money just before the 2016 election to a Playmate with whom Trump is alleged to have had a year-long extra-marital affair. The person who revealed the existence of the secret White House recording system that finally provided the evidence during the Watergate hearing to back up the word of John Dean against all the president’s men, Alexander Butterfield, joins us. He served as the Deputy Assistant to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973 and later served as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and is the subject of the latest book by Bob Woodward, “The Last of the President’s Men”. We  discuss the stark difference between two flawed presidents, one Nixon who was unusually prepared for the office and was exceedingly competent, while the other in office now, Donald Trump, was totally unprepared and is dangerously incompetent.

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Part 2

Then we examine the challenges facing the Democrats as we head into the midterm elections 100 days away and speak with Paul Glastris, the editor-in-chief of The Washington Monthly who was a special assistant and senior speechwriter to President Clinton about his article in The Washington Monthly “Winning Is Not Enough”. We discuss the alarming statistic that only one third of Democrats voted in the last midterm elections prompting President Obama to remark that Democrats have an almost genetic problem of not voting in midterms. Which calls into question whether the so-called Blue Wave will sweep them into control of the House and Senate in November. Paul Glastris argues that merely winning is not enough, to save our Democracy, Democrats need to win big.

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Part 3

Then finally we get an analysis of the wildfires raging across California and as far away as Greece and Sweden from an expert on the history, ecology and management of fires, Stephen Pyne, the Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and author of “Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America”. He joins us to discuss the difference between good and bad forest fires and what can be done to prevent devastating urban fires such as what just happened in Redding California, and recently in Santa Rosa, California and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

 

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