2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

May 20 - Trump Tries to Manufacture a "Spying" Scandal; An Election in Venezuela as the Country Falls Apart; Maybe We Are Not as Polarized and Politically Dysfunctional as We Think

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We begin with the outing of an FBI confidential informant who President Trump is claiming was a spy “infiltrated” into his campaign which he is demanding the congress investigate, tweeting out that “this is bigger than Watergate”. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security joins us to discuss how Trump is trying to gin up a campaign of phony outrage to get Devon Nunes and the junkyard dogs of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” to yap loudly along with Sean Hannity and the Fox New propagandists in the hope Trump can use this as an excuse to slow or shut down the Mueller investigation. We assess whether the revelation that a 73 year-old American professor at Cambridge University who has been a long-time CIA and FBI informant for the Administrations of Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush junior and was meeting with Trump campaign officials who the FBI suspected had ties to the Russians, will be seen by the broader public as the “smoking gun” Trump is trying to make it appear to be. We also examine the latest expose from The New York Times on meetings in Trump Tower and the Seychelles brokered by the convicted child molester George Nader who set Donald Trump Jr. up with Erik Prince who was offering his services to the Trump campaign to use his mercenary army in the Emirates to start a war with Iran.  

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Part 2

Then we will go to Venezuela to get an update on today’s elections which are widely seen as a choice between participating in a rigged election or boycotting the vote, thus handing the incompetent ideologue Maduro another term as the country spirals into economic ruin and social disintegration. Caracas-based journalist Virginia Lopez, who covered Latin America and Venezuela for The Guardian and Al Jazeera English joins us to discuss her article at the Toronto Globe and Mail, “In Venezuela, an election where no one wins” and how the oil infrastructure in the once oil-rich country is so neglected and mismanaged that oil exports will soon grind to a halt.

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Part 3

Then finally James and Deborah Fallows join us in the studio to discuss their new book, just out, “Our Towns: A 100,000 mile journey into the heart of America”. James has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic for more than 35 years and Deborah is a linguist and writer and they have traveled into America’s heartland in their small private plane to discover a surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place outside of the view of the national media which at a time of polarization and political dysfunction, is both welcome and encouraging.

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May 17 - Kim Jong-Un Has Mastered the Art of the Deal at Trump's Expense; Trump Disregards the Emoluments Clause and American National Security to Rescue Jobs in China

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 We begin with the North Koreans casting doubts on whether the upcoming summit is Singapore between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump will happen on June 12 as they cut off talks with South Korea and lambaste Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton in an official statement saying that it would be a “ridiculous comedy” if Trump payed too much attention to Bolton’s positions and that “we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him”. This prompted Trump to distance himself from the hawkish Bolton and try to clarify what Bolton meant by applying the “Libyan model” to disarming North Korea in a garbled and incoherent statement which ended in a threat to decimate North Korea if they did not make a deal with him. Jacob Heilbrunn, a Senior Editor at the National Interest and the author of “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons”, joins us to discuss his article at The Spectator “Could John Bolton cost Trump his Nobel Peace Prize?” and the extent to which Kim Jong-un has mastered the art of the deal and has Trump begging to meet in Singapore, making it clear that it was not Trump’s toughness and threats of “fire and fury” which brought Kim to the negotiating table, but rather Trump’s weakness and his narcissistic need to make a deal”.

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Part 2

Then we look into the highly coincidental reversal by Trump of his campaign mantra that the Chinese were stealing American jobs to has call on Sunday to rescue the Chinese company ZTE from U.S. sanctions because it is costing “too many jobs in China”. This at the same time a State-owned Chinese bank loaned a half a billion dollars to an Indonesian developer in partnership with Trump to build a Disney-like theme park, hotel and golf course in a protected rainforest.  Joining us is Sarah Chayes, a senior associate at the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who was a special advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and whose latest book is “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security”.  We will discuss the brazen contempt President Trump has for the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as his daughter Ivanka who is being paid $1.5 million annually from three companies one of which manages the Indonesian project. Her 2017 financial disclosure was dueTuesday but has not yet been released by the Office of Government Ethics.  But more outrageous is Donald Trump’s almost treasonous disregard of the national security concerns raised by the heads of the CIA, NSA, DIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Director of National intelligence, all of whom consider ZTE, the Chinese company Trump is rescuing, a national security threat and a front for Chinese Intelligence.

 

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May 16 - The Senate Releases Transcripts of the Infamous Trump Tower Meeting; As Technology Overruns Privacy, What Can Be Done to Restore the 4th Amendment?; The US Senate Votes to Reverse the FCC's Overturning of Net Neutrality

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We begin with today’s statement from the Republican Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Russians did indeed help elect Trump, contradicting the widely-panned opposite conclusion of the House Intelligence Committee which Trump has celebrated, as well as the release today by the Senate Judiciary Committee of the transcripts of interviews with the participants in the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s inner circle and Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. A former senior State Department official, Max Bergmann, the Director of the Moscow Project and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, joins us to assess whether there are any more “smoking guns” in the over 2,000 pages of testimony released today, the most incriminating of which appears to be phone logs that indicate Donald Trump Jr. was communicating with a blocked phone likely his father’s, as though reporting in on the meeting before engaging in follow-up conversations with some of the participants. We will discuss the issue Trump constantly rails against, collusion, which has no legal relevance since the crime is conspiracy against the United States, and if meddling in our elections is at appears to be, a Russian intelligence operation, Putin would not have wanted or needed to collude with Trump to have achieved the results he got.

Max Bergmann

Part 2

Then we speak with Cyrus Farivar, the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica and author of the new book, just out “Habeas Data: Privacy vs. the Rise of Surveillance Tech” and discuss how as citizens we are under attack on two fronts from government and big tech companies who have us under more and more surveillance as technology has overrun privacy and the slow pace of legal reform is being eclipsed by the rapid transformation of technology. We assess what citizens can do to restore protections under the 4th Amendment in the digital age in which the law desperately needs to catch up with Big Brother.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into today’s surprising and encouraging vote in the U.S. Senate of 52 to 47 reversing the recent deeply unpopular ruling by the FCC to overturn net neutrality and speak with Craig Aaron the Managing Director at Free Press. We discuss how his organization and others are leading the grassroots effort to overcome the lobbying power of the big cable and telecomm companies who have the House of Representatives and President Trump in their pockets even though citizens and consumers hate these monopolies providing their cable and internet access as they continue to charge more for less service.

 

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May 15 - Racists, Bigots and Anti-Semites Offer Blessings at the Opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem; An Adviser to the Palestinian Leadership on Conditions in Gaza; How in 50 Years Politics Went From "Camelot" to “Game of Thrones" and “House of Cards"

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We begin with today’s observance by the Palestinians of the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba”, the catastrophe, following violent protest yesterday which left many dead and wounded from Israeli gunfire that Nikki Haley the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. applauded as “restraint” by the IDF as she vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for a probe into the violence. We speak with Heather Hurlburt the director of the New Models of Policy Change project at the New America Foundation’s Political Reform Program. She previously served as a speechwriter for President Clinton and Secretaries of State Albright and Christopher and was a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff and we will discuss the prayers offered at yesterday’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem by a racist rabbi and two bigoted anti-Semitic American “Christian” preachers and her article at New York Magazine, “Status Quo Minus’ in Israel and Palestine.”

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Part 2

Then Khaled Elgindy, a Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution who served as an advisor to the Palestinian leadership on permanent status negotiations with Israel and is the author of “Blindspot: America and the Palestinians from Balfour to Obama”, joins us. We will discuss the sharp drop in protest activity today along the Gaza border perhaps due to a deal Egypt made with Hamas to open its Rafah border crossing to let much needed food and medical supplies into the besieged and blockaded Gaza strip. We  assess whether Egypt in acting in concert with the Israelis to temporarily ease the suffering in the crowded outdoor prison of 1.8 million Palestinians controlled by the militant group Hamas who the U.S. and Israel blame for the deaths yesterday.  

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Part 3

Then finally a leading U.S. political analyst Bill Schneider joins us in the studio. He is a visiting professor at UCLA and was CNN’s senior political analyst from 1990 to 2009 and his latest book, just out, is “Standoff: How America Became Ungovernable”. We discuss how in a little more than 50 years, American politics has gone from “Camelot” to “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards” and how American voters have increasingly placed values over interests and now have elected a leader who most voters – 61 percent – did not think was qualified to serve as president.

Bill Schneider

 

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May 14 - Ivanka Smiles While Palestinians Are Shot Down; Why Does the "Christian" Betsy DeVos Have No Problem With Destroying the Lives of Young Americans?; The Kilauea Summit Crater is About to Explode as it Did in 1924

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We begin with a day of stark contrasts between Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin gleefully announcing the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem while 40 miles away Palestinian protesters were being shot down by Israeli snipers with more than 60 killed and 2,700 wounded. Dr. Guy Ziv, a professor at American University’s School of International Service and Director of the Israeli National Security Project and author of “Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel”, joins us to discuss Prime Minister Netanyahu’s soaring popularity in Israel where he is seen as having got Trump to tear up Obama’s Iran deal and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. We will look into whether today’s carnage could be topped by massive demonstrations planned for Tuesday, the day which Palestinians observe as the “Nakba”, the catastrophe, when in the 1948 war Palestinians fled or were driven out of their homes. And we will assess whether the U.S. has extracted any concessions from Israel in exchange for handing Netanyahu such massive political gifts and if there is any hope of reviving the two-state solution and the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinian.  

Part 2

Then we examine the staggering hypocrisy of the overtly “Christian” Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has just shut down the Department of Education’s investigative unit looking into the rampant abuses by for-profit colleges who are subsidized by the taxpayer to rip students off with meaningless education and worthless diplomas, indenturing them for life with crippling student debt they will never be able to pay off because they will never get the jobs they were promised. David Halperin, a senior fellow at Republic Report who was a special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton and a counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, joins us to assess why Betsy DeVos has no problem with ruining the lives of young Americans who, instead of being seen as investments in the country’s future, are seen a profit centers to be milked by Wall Street vultures and bottom-feeding scammers.  

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Einat Lev, a volcanologist and research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University whose research focusses on lava flow dynamics at different volcanos around the world including Hawaii. We  discuss her article at CNN “Why Hawaii’s volcano is in danger of going ballistic” and whether, while the focus is on fissures spewing lava on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone, the Kilauea summit crater where the lava lake is dropping precipitously, is about to explode as it did back in 1924 sending giant 8 ton rocks into the air the size of 4 pickup trucks.

 

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