2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

May 6 - Revelations about mob ties to Trumps' lawyers; Could we have peace on the Korean peninsula?; Could democratic fratricide hurt their chances in Tuesday's Ohio primaries?

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Part 1

We begin with the bombshell revelations in The New York Times into the background of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen who was the target of a recent FBI raid. An expert on money laundering and offshore banking James Henry, the author of “Blood Bankers” and co-founder with David Cay Johnston of the new investigative reporting news service DCReport.org. He joins us to discuss how Cohen came to Trump’s attention because he was buying condos in Trump Tower for Russian and Ukrainian gangsters and what role Cohen played after Trump was blackballed by U.S. banks after taking them down and the Trump Organization moved from debt to cash. Given Cohen’s mob ties revealed by The New York Times that go back to his favorite uncle Morty who was the doctor for the Lucchese crime family and owner of a catering hall frequented by mobsters, then deeper connection with Cohen’s Ukrainian father-in-law who runs a catering hall frequented by Ukrainian and Russian mobsters. Little wonder that Cohen was on the FBI’s radar and we will speculate how much the extent of evidence seized by the FBI will implicate Trump in ties to organized crime.

 

Lisa Graves

Part 2

Then we will get an assessment of whether the upcoming Trump-Kim Jong-un summit and the recent meetings between the leaders of North and South Korea could bring an end to the Korean War and peace on the Korean peninsula and even a reunification of the two Koreas. Graham Fuller, the former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, joins us to discuss the competing centers of power in the Trump Administration over the direction of U.S. foreign policy with the Koch brothers-backed Mike Pompeo who laid the groundwork for the summit with Kim representing a more libertarian realpolitik approach, competing with the neoconservative wing championed by the new national security advisor John Bolton who is itching to go to war with Iran.

Part 3

Then finally we look into Tuesday’s important primary races in the important swing state Ohio and speak with Robert Alexander, the Chair of the Department of History, Politics and Justice and a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University. Because the Ohio governorship is key to the Democrat’s chance to remake the electoral map in the 2020 census which is now in doubt, he joins us to discuss the weird, wacky and bitter battle for the governorship in Ohio which the Democrats were hoping to pick up with Richard Cordray who is now being challenged by Dennis Kucinich who ironically was gerrymandered out of office.

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May 3 - Are Trump Giuliani Signaling Cohen Not to Flip?; The Defining Battle Between Truth and Power Facing America; Elon Musk Insults Investors Then Tesla's Stock Plunges

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We will begin with yesterday’s extraordinary display of prominent people spouting damaging and damning statements, starting with Rudolph Giuliani on Fox admitting Trump paid a porn star to gag her just before the election. Then in Arizona yesterday Vice President Pence praised someone the GOP does not want as their senate candidate, the convicted criminal Joe Arpaio who Pence called “a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law”.  And finally the wackiest self-inflicted wound came from Elon Musk who in a Tesla earnings call, insulted his investors with the dismissal that “Boring boneheaded questions are not cool”, resulting in Tesla stock plunging 8%. Lisa Graves, the co-founder of Documented, a watchdog group which investigates corporate manipulation of public policy who was formerly Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Deputy Chief for the U.S. Courts, joins us to discuss Trump’s escalating war on the Mueller investigation.  We examine whether Giuliani was sending a signal to Michael Cohen not to flip, and since the FBI already has the evidence of the $130,000 “funneled” to Stormy Daniels from their raid on Cohen and their prior wiretaps of him, are Trump and Giuliani trying to get out in front of an impending bad news nightmare?

 

Lisa Graves

Part 2

Then we look further into the aggressive stance being taken by Trump’s new legal team and speak with Andy Wright, a Professor at Savannah Law School who served in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama. He joins us to discuss whether as America faces a defining battle between truth and power, Trump will drag the country through a protracted constitutional crisis and fight a Mueller subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court, something that previous presidents Jefferson, Nixon and Clinton declined to do.  We will assess whether short of coming clean, which Trump could have done the day after he was elected, Trump’s only strategy now is to try to run out the clock until after the elections.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the most bizarre behavior in terms of biting the hand that feeds you, with the CEO and founder of Tesla going out of his way to insult investors who wanted to know how he burnt through a billion dollars in cash in the last quarter and is still way behind in delivering cars on order and meeting earlier manufacturing goals.Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist at the Los Angeles Times whose column “Golden State” covers business and economic issues in California, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Los Angeles Times “Elon Musk’s performance on Tesla’s earnings call could make people afraid to buy his stock – or his cars”.

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May 2 - The Escalating War Between Trump and Mueller; Pompeo Promises to Get the State Department's Swagger Back; The Symbiosis Between the White House and Its Press Corps

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We begin with the escalating war between the White House and the Special Counsel with Trump tweeting a warning today that “At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the presidency and get involved”, this following news of an apparent threat by Robert Mueller to subpoena President Trump and force him to testify before a grand jury. Since Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd had tried to avoid his client testifying and quit last month, now the White House Special Counsel Ty Cobb who has been urging the president to cooperate with Mueller, is also quitting, indicating a less conciliatory and more aggressive approach is underway. A former prosecutor with the International Criminal Court and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, Alex Whiting, a Professor at Harvard Law School who is Editor of Just Security where he has an article “What Mueller’s Questions to Trump Reveal About the Future of the Russia Investigation”, joins us. We discuss the latest shake-up of Trump’s legal team and whether, now that Mueller’s questions have been made public, it would be worse for Trump to contest having to testify before Mueller all the way to the Supreme Court and in doing so, appear even to his supporters to be hiding something.

Alex Whiting

Part 2

Then we assess Mike Pompeo’s first trip abroad as Secretary of State and Trump’s visit to the State Department today to show his support for Pompeo who told the department’s dispirited employees that he wants the State Department to get its “swagger’ back. Stephen Walt, a Professor of International Relations at Harvard University and author of “Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy” and “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, joins us to discuss the extent to which Trump and Israel’s Netanyahu appear to be laying the groundwork for the U.S. to pull out of the P5+1 deal with Iran on May 12.   

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Ryan Cooper, a national correspondent for The Week where he has an article “The worthless Washington media”. He joins us to discuss how the indignant reactions to Michelle Wolf’s biting comedy at the White House Correspondent’s dinner by the elite of the Washington Press corps represents the reversal of the muckraking tradition of “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable”. With the latest revelation of Mueller’s questions to Trump emerging as a deliberate leak by the White House, we will examine the symbiosis between those in power and those covering them.

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May 1 - Mueller's Questions For Trump Point to Collusion; Teacher Pay Gaps and Why They Are Fighting Back; Tacking a Cue From Teachers and Demanding Better Wages and Fairer America

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We begin with the revelation in The New York Times of 49 questions Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump which has Trump tweeting indignantly that the leak is “so disgraceful” even though there is a very real possibility the leak of these questions came from the White House since they did not come from the Special Counsel’s office.  Steven Harper, a lawyer and professor at Northwestern University who has compiled a comprehensive timeline of the Trump-Russia story at billmoyers.com and at investigaterussia.org, joins us to discuss whether the leak is part of a determined strategy on the part of the White House and the Republicans to shut down the Mueller probe. With Rudolf Giuliani now supposedly negotiating with Robert Mueller to bring the inquiry to a swift end, the suspicion arises that this may be a setup to close it down by claiming Mueller is uncooperative and is dragging out what Trump calls a “witch hunt”.  If indeed the White House leaked these questions, while it may feed the “deep state” hysteria in the Fox News bubble, it may also backfire with the broader public who can easily see from the questions which Trump is being asked to answer, that Mueller know a lot more and he is looking at real collusion between Trump’s family and his top officials and the Russians.

 

Part 2

Then on this May Day we discuss the growing number of teacher’s strikes in Red States in which teachers are not just demanding living wages since from 1996 to 2015 teacher’s pay actually fell by $30 per week on a national average, but they are striking on behalf of their students for more investments in schools, pupils and school supplies. Sylvia Allegretto, the co-chair of the Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley who has co-authored several editions of The State of Working America, joins us to discuss the teacher pay gaps and why teachers are fighting back.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine further the erosion of America’s middle class with 63% of Americans one paycheck away from the street and unable to deal with a $500 emergency, while over one third are running out of food, not being able to afford a place to live or have money to pay for medical treatment. Sarah Jaffe, a Nation Institute fellow and an independent journalist covering labor and economic justice and author of “Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt”, joins us to discuss how working and middle class Americans should take a cue from the teachers and mobilize to demand better pay and a fairer country.

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April 30 - Netanyahu Reveals Iran's Secret Nuclear Weapons Program; Trump Threatens to "Close Down the Country" Unless He Gets His Border Wall; Trump Force-Feeds the "Deep State" While Claiming It Is Out To Get Him

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We begin with the announcement today by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu that he was exposing Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program contained in 55,000 documents secretly obtained by Israeli intelligence. With President Trump quickly claiming Netanyahu’s revelations prove him 100% right, and with the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling Iran “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world”, we will analyze what appears to be an orchestrated campaign ahead of an expected U.S. pullout of the P5+1 Iran agreement by Trump on May 12.  Mansour Farhang, a professor of international relations at Bennington College who resigned as revolutionary Iran’s first ambassador to the United Nations and is the author of “The U.S. Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and the Journalism of Deference”, joins us. We will discuss what appears to be an impending collision between Iran and Israel over Syria where a number of bases were struck by missiles and Iranian personnel were killed on Sunday night. We will assess the extent to which both the right wing government of Israel and the theocratic regime in Iran feed off each other’s propaganda and the possibility that they could stumble into a war that neither wants which could engulf the region.

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Part 2

Then, with Vice President Pence visiting the southern border today and President Trump calling our immigration laws a “total disaster”, we will examine the plight of immigrants from a caravan of 1,500 mostly El Salvadoran refugees who have crossed through Mexico and have now dwindled to about 300 and are now arriving in Tijuana showing up at the San Ysidro port of entry claiming political asylum. Mae Ngai, a Professor of History at Columbia University and author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America”, joins us to discuss how Trump has threatened to “close down the country” if he did not get his border wall and that shutting the door on those claiming political asylum is a form of cruel theater meant to rile up Trump’s nativist base and distract Americans from his ruinous presidency.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with a 28-year veteran of Congress, Mike Lofgren, who was a senior analyst on the House and Senate Budget Committees and is the author of “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government”. He joins us to discuss his article at The Washington Monthly “The Deep State Strikes Back – Against Torture: Why generals oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA director” and how Trump is force-feeding the “deep state” while conning his followers into believing the “deep state” is out to get him.

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