2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

December 26 - A Russian Journalist's Advice on Covering Trump; "Game of Thrones" for morons; "Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House";

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Today we look back at a few interviews throughout 2017 examining the secret ties under investigation between Putin and team Trump and his family. On January 18 we called Moscow to speak with a Russian journalist who sees a familiar authoritarian leader in Donald Trump and his handling of the American press after covering Vladimir Putin for 12 years spoke with Alexy Kovalev, a Russian journalist who writes about propaganda, fake news and Russian state media on noodleremover.news and has an article at medium.com “A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media”, joins us. We will discuss the similarities between these two authoritarian leaders with massive egos and a deep disdain for the press that Putin dominates and controls in his country with ease while Trump, who was elected with the help of $5 billion’s worth of free media as he spewed contempt for the very media that could not get enough of him, has already reigned in the White House press corps as his media spokesperson Kelly Ann Conway spins the American press daily with breathless doublespeak.

Part 2

Then we will go to a broadcast from May 10, 2017 just after the firing of FBI Director Comey in a desperate effort by Donald Trump to shut down the Russia investigation in which the craven Republicans are complicit as they slow walk the investigations and continue to distract and delay in the hope that they can get their agenda enacted before Trump is impeached. The author of “The Great Questions of Tomorrow”, David Rothkopf, the publisher of Foreign Policy Magazine and foreignpolicy.com where he has an article “Is America a Failing State?”, joins us to discuss a White House out of control consumed by infighting, amateurism and intrigue which is now being described as “Game of Thrones for morons”. We will look into the efforts by Stephen Bannon to undermine the only adult left advising Trump, General McMaster and Trump’s latest display of affection for autocracy where he banned the U.S. free press from today’s White House meeting with Russia’s foreign minister but allowed in
the Putin-controlled press.

 

 

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Part 3

Then finally we go to a broadcast from November 19, 2017 and speak with The Guardian’s former Moscow bureau chief who was expelled from the country by the Kremlin about his new book just out, “Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House”. Luke Harding who knows Julian Assange and Edward Snowden well and has interviewed the author of the Steele dossier Christopher Steele, joins us to discuss why Steele believes that his dossier on Trump’s collusion with the Russians is between 70 and 90% accurate, and why Steel feels he will be vindicated as the special counsel’s investigation digs deeper into Trump, his family and associates’ contacts and collusion with Russians close to Putin.

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December 25 - A Witness to the Nazi atrocities in Charlottesville; A Rabbinical Student Who Faced the Nazis in Charlottesville; A Former Neo-Nazi with "Life After Hate"

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Today we look back at the story in the news that defined the struggle between the better angels of our nature and the emerging dark side of America that exploded into the open this year in Charlottesville, Virginia. We begin with a broadcast of Background Briefing from August 13, 2017 on the violence that was brought to Charlottesville, Virginia by the Ku Klux Clan, neo-Nazis and white nationalist groups under the banner of “Unite the Right” who organized a Nazi-like torchlight protest Friday night against the removal of a statue of the Confederate leader Robert E. Lee then on Saturday converged on the statue wearing military gear waving Confederate flags and Nazi swastikas chanting “you will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us” as they clashed with counter-demonstrators. Nicole Hemmer, a professor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and author of “Messenger of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics”, joined us to discuss her article at U.S. News and World Report “Sounds and Silence in Charlottesville: As the violence of white nationalism spilled onto the streets of Virginia” and what she witnessed after a car driven by a white supremacist ploughed into a crowd of demonstrators celebrating the dispersal of the “Unite the Right” demonstrators.

 

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Part 2

Then we go to our broadcast from August the 14th, 2017 following the grudging acceptance by Donald Trump of the need to condemn Saturday’s violence by neo-Nazi white supremacists in a television address in which he insisted on first emphasizing what a great economy he has created before addressing the burning issue of Charlottesville as if it were an afterthought. A witness who was part of an interfaith protest by clergy who faced Saturday’s phalanx of heavily armed white supremacist Stormtroopers spewing racist hatred, Bryan Mann joined us. He is in his sixth year of studies at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston and will be an ordained rabbi in June of 2018. With his prayer shawl and kippa, linking arms with other clergy led by Cornell West, Bryan faced the Nazi taunts of “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us”, and he describes how the police did nothing to protect the counter-protesters who were defended by the Antifa, the anti-fascists who came to their rescue meeting violence with violence which has led many, including Trump, to assign blame to “many sides”.

Bryan Mann

Part 3

Then finally we go to the August 15th broadcast of Background Briefing for the extraordinary reopening of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump who reversed his reluctant acknowledgement that neo-Nazis and white supremacists were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville to blame what he called the alt-left, reviving his inexplicable compulsion to pander to the far right fringe of his base for reasons that remain unclear unless our president is in fact a racist. Anthony McAleer, Board Chair and Co-Founder of Life After Hate, a non-profit working to de-radicalize Neo-Nazi and white supremacist youth whose funding grant from the Department of Homeland Security was rescinded by Katherine Gorka, the wife of White House deputy Sebastian Gorka who vowed to shut down the DHS’s Countering Violent Extremism program and shift funds away from white supremacist domestic terrorism to target American Muslims, along with getting his wife a job. From a former member of WAR, the White Aryan Resistance, we  learn about the mainstreaming of white racism today away from tattooed skinheads to clean-cut people in suits such as Richard Spencer who look like our neighbors.

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December 24 - War and Peace in the Middle East; The Prospects for Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men

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We begin on this Christmas Eve with a specialist on the Middle East about the likelihood of war and the prospects for peace two thousand and seventeen years after the birth in the holy land of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. We begin with Robert Baer a former CIA veteran of the Middle East and author of “Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude” who is currently the national security analyst for CNN. He joins us to discuss the activities of the founder of the mercenary army Blackwater, Erik Prince, who along with Oliver North, have revived the idea of an independent “off the books” alternative to the CIA which has found traction in the Oval Office. We  examine the possibility of this mercenary military force that operates out on the Emirates in the Gulf, being used as proxies to start a war with Iran in order to distract the American public from Trump’s domestic difficulties, particularly if he fires the special counsel Robert Mueller which is likely to provoke a massive blowback of public protest.

 

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Part 2

Then on this Christmas Eve we explore further the prospects for peace on earth and good will towards men which appears to be increasingly unlikely in the Trump era given their disdain for diplomacy and the evisceration of the State Department which had contributed to the isolation of the U.S. at the U.N. and unease among allies. David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and author of “Civil Society, Peace and Power” and editor of “Peace Policies”, joins us to discuss the urgent need to remove Donald Trump’s hand from the nuclear button.

 

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December 21 - The Sickening Sycophantic Praise Heaped on Our "Dear Leader"; Obama's Top Economic Adviser on the Tax Bill; The Fate of the Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP

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We begin with the Republican celebration over the passage of their so-called tax reform bill and get an assessment of the sycophantic praise showered on Donald Trump in a wave of self-congratulation from GOP lawmakers and Trump’s obsequious cabinet who ritually paid homage to their president as though he was North Korea’s “dear leader”. Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of “Rigged; How globalization and the rules of the road of the modern economy are structured to make the rich richer”, joins us to discuss the obscenity of celebrating a massive gift to corporate American and the richest Americans while taking away healthcare coverage for millions of Americans and letting the Children’s Health Insurance Program CHIP, lapse, endangering the health of millions of American children.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Jason Furman, a Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School who served as the top economic adviser to President Obama and was the 28thChairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, acting as both President Obama’s chief economist and a member of his cabinet. He joins us to discuss the difference between the economy that Obama inherited and the one that Obama handed over to Trump that Trump is taking credit for. We examine whether this unpopular tax bill will end up punishing the Republicans in 2018 or will the rosy projections of trickle-down benefits, on top of a robust economy, ensure that all branches of the government will remain in GOP hands.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into the fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP, which is languishing in Congress from neglect, with its benefits to millions of American children about to expire, and speak with Joan Alker, the Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families. A Research Professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, she joins us to discuss the dysfunction and indifference in the Congress to keeping alive a bi-partisan program started by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.

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December 20 - Haley and Trump Make Thuggish Threats to the UN; The Billionaire Bonanza; Turkey's Erdogan Wants to Jail the Knicks' Enes Kanter for Insulting the President

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We begin with childish bluster and thuggish threats coming from the United States’ representative to the U.N. Nikki Haley who is threatening to take the names of those who voted against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which left the U.S. alone on the U.N. Security Council 14 to 1 with Haley defiantly vetoing the recent U.N. draft resolution. And now with the U.N. General Assembly taking up a similar vote tomorrow which is likely to isolate the U.S. further from the rest of the world, Donald Trump is now threatening to cut off foreign aid to countries that don’t tow the line and vote his way at the U.N. Joining us is the U.N. correspondent for The Nation, Barbara Crossette, a contributing writer to Pass Blue and the former New York Times Bureau Chief at the U.N.  We discuss the increasing stridency of our parochial and ill-informed diplomat who represents the United States as she appears to be trying to out-Trump Trump with her boorish and ignorant behavior, possibly in the hope he will choose her to be our next Secretary of State.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Thomas Frank, a monthly columnist for Harpers and the author of “Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right” who has an article at The Guardian “The fury around Donna Brazile is symptomatic of our times”. He joins us to discuss the amazingly brazen giveaway to the billionaires in the tax bill that is now on its way to the White House. We assess how much longer the Republicans can continue the populist charade that they are the champions of the little guy, when their clear priority is to serve the wishes of their plutocratic masters.  

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Part 3

Then finally, with Turkey wanting to imprison the Knicks basketball star Enes Kanter to over four years in prison for insulting the president, we examine whether Turkey’s President Erdogan is going mad or whether he has always been a demented megalomaniac. David Phillips, the Director of the Peace-building and Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and author of “An Uncertain Ally: Turkey Under Erdogan’s Dictatorship” joins us to discuss how Erdogan is dispatching hit men to Germany and other countries to silence his critics.

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