2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

July 5 - A Woman Will Likely Overturn Roe V. Wade; The Stealth Infiltration of Christian Fundamentalists Into the Judiciary; How the Federalists Are Stacking Our Courts

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Part 1

We begin with the Republican crusade to appoint a Supreme Court Justice committed to the anti-abortion movement. Jessica Mason Pieklo, the vice president of law and the courts at Rewire.News and the 2018 recipient of the Excellence in Online Journalism Award joins us to discuss the list of potential Supreme Court appointees and the likely choice of a woman to overturn Roe v. Wade, former Notre Dame University law professor Amy Barrett, a right-wing Catholic ideologue who believes in fetal personhood. We assess Amy Barrett’s lack of experience in the courtroom and conservative excuses for her underwhelming credentials and Jessica’s view that the true battle in the fight for abortion rights will be played out in the states. And while Roe v. Wade may withstand direct attack, many states will outlaw women’s reproductive rights, creating a Handmaid’s Tale scenario in Red States in the future as “Christian” vigilantes check the papers of young women at Greyhound bus stations fleeing to Blue States for abortions.

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Part 2

Then we turn to the religious groundings of judges in the federal courts and speak with Sofia Resnick, an investigative reporter for Rewire.News who has exposed religious influence on academic research and public policy in the areas of reproductive health. She joins us to discuss the Blackstone Legal Fellowships, a nine-week program of indoctrination of young, Christian, mostly white law professionals in the fundamentalist ideals of the Christian right. This is a movement which believes that religious ideals supercede social structures as they drive for the restoration of the religious practices of the 3rd, 4th and 5th century.

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Part 3

Then finally we  look into the origins of the ongoing movement to stack our courts with conservative judges who strictly adhere to what they claim is the original intent of the U.S. Constitution. Carl Tobias, chair and professor of law at the University of Richmond who specializes in federal judicial selection, joins us to discuss the history of the Federalist Society, a network of “debating societies” which has established strong circles of conservative influence at law schools. The Federalists have already supplied the Supreme Court with Justices Roberts, Alito and Gorsuch, and the Trump White House has outsourced the selection of Kennedy's replacement to them while they stack the rest of the federal bench with their members.

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July 4 - The Unravelling of the American Left and the Revival of Social Democracy; The Phony "Civility" Crisis While American Democracy Itself Hangs in the Balance

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Part 1

On this July 4th, we begin with how we are heading for  autocratic rule in America with a Republican Party who place power over principle and a president infatuated with dictators and disdainful of democratic values. We discuss the unraveling of the left from the 1980s to the Trump nightmare of today with Thomas Frank, the founding editor of the Baffler, contributor to the Guardian, and author of Rendevous with Oblivion. He joins us to trace the history of Democratic Socialism in the United States from 1944 to 1977 and we explore the schism between the blue-collar workers on the left and the right from a nearly eye-to-eye viewpoint to a perspective a world apart. And, on a more hopeful note, we assess the groundswell of support garnered by Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primary and the promising new generation of voters: millennials, many of whom are Social Democrats.

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Part 2

Then finally we discuss the latest in the ongoing ”civility war” in the United States with Christine Fair, a professor in the Security Studies program within Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a former political officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul. She joins us to discuss her confrontation with the white supremacist and leader of the American Nazi Party Richard Spencer at her hometown gym and the booting of Sarah Sanders from the Red Hen restaurant. We examine the death of democracy and Fair’s contention that there isn’t and never has been full democracy in the United States due to the Senate being rigged by the Electoral College and the gerrymandering of  the House of Representatives by the GOP. She asserts that it may not be too far fetched to see a civil war in the future, with individual American cities revolting against rural Red State domination. The only solution to realize American democracy, as she sees it, is mass civil disobedience, lead by the cosmopolitan liberal base.

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July 3 - Is Trump Putin's Manchurian Candidate?; What to Expect From the Putin / Trump Summit in Helsinki

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We begin with the upcoming summit in Helsinki, Finland on July 16 between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in which an ignorant, insecure and possibly compromised American president will be sitting down with an extremely clever and utterly ruthless former KGB thug, who, if he does not already control Trump, will surely have him wrapped around his finger in Helsinki.  A veteran CIA officer Robert Baer who is now the national security affairs analyst at CNN, joins us to discuss why our president who has trashed, ignored and belittled America’s intelligence agencies, appears to defer to Russia’s leader who has built an undemocratic kleptocracy regulated by former intelligence officials and cronies. We will explore the possibility that Trump is some kind of “Manchurian Candidate” who either was recruited by the Kremlin or who bought into their worldview and is now doing the bidding of Moscow while sitting in the Oval Office.  And how as the Mueller inquiry investigates Trump’s financial ties, it appears the wannabe billionaire Trump, was rescued by cash from real billionaires in Russia close to Putin. Having incessantly praised Putin while insulting America’s allies at every opportunity, we look into what it will take in terms of “smoking guns” to convince Republicans in Congress to stop enabling the destruction of America and for Trump’s base locked inside the Fox News bubble to realize their hero is a traitor.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Ambassador Derek Shearer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Finland who is currently a Professor of Diplomacy and World affairs at Occidental College where he serves as Director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs. He joins us to discuss the summit he arranged in Helsinki in 1997 between President Clinton and President Yeltsin and what is likely to emerge from a meeting with an adversarial leader who helped elect the American president he is conducting secret talks with. Our leader who will be coming to Helsinki from a NATO summit of America’s allies who are likely to have been as rattled by Trump’s hostility and rudeness towards them as the participants at the recent G-7 summit in Canada were.

 

 

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July 2 - Hope and Joy in Mexico; Democrats' Massive Mistake of Calling to Abolish ICE; We Will Be Paying More for Mortgages, Car Loans and Credit Cards

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Part 1

We begin with the blowout victory of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, affectionately known as AMLO, in the Mexican elections where he won the presidency with twice as many votes as his nearest rival while his party Morena captured 260 of the 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 65 of the 128 seats in Mexico’s Senate. Margarita Favela, a professor of Political Science at the National Autonomous University in Mexico where she researches social movements and political institutions, joins us to discuss the revival of hope and a sense of joy in Mexico. We analyze whether this clean sweep will cleanse the political landscape now that a revolutionary Leftist populist leader who ran against endemic corruption and rampant violence will hold the powerful presidency for six years. And we assess whether AMLO will be able to change the system with the help of his new Morena Party in the congress who, like him will not be taking bribes.  Although AMLO ran against the very corrupt establishment he now has to negotiate with, Margarita Favela predicts the new president’s first two years will not be confrontational, but in the last four, the changes the Mexican people are demanding and expect, will be realized.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton Universityabout his concerns that the Democrats are making a big mistake in calling for the abolition of the federal agency ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is the co-host of the “Politics & Polls” podcast and joins us to discuss his article at CNN “Abolish ICE is a massive political mistake” and argue that at a time when the focus should be on Trump’s cruel and immoral border policies, Democrats are undercutting their own message as Senators Warren and Gillibrand play into Trump’s hands by allowing him to brand Democrats as advocates of open borders.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the latest warning from the Federal Reserve’s forecasters that the federal funds rate currently at 1.9% is headed to 3.4% by the end of 2020, meaning that we be paying more for mortgages, car loans and credit cards. Dean Baker, Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research who writes the popular economics blog “Beat the Press”, joins us to discuss how the economy appears to be improving while the net worth of the richest Americans is up an average of 27% but for what is left of the middle class, wealth has declined by 20 to 30% as Trump’s tax cuts for the rich cut into their share of the pie.

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July 1 - How to Stop Trump From Appointing a Supreme Court Justice Who Could Exonerate Him; Mattis Holds the Line Against Going to War With Iran and Weakening NATO; A Report From Mexico on Today's Watershed Elections

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We begin with the battle shaping up over Trump’s selection for the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Kennedy to be announced on July 9. Paul Schiff Berman, a professor at George Washington University Law School joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “A Better Reason to Delay Kennedy’s Replacement” and how expecting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be shamed into adhering to the precedent he established with Merrick Garland by not allowing a Supreme Court replacement in an election year, is a futile argument. Whereas not permitting President Trump to appoint a new Supreme Court justice until after the special counsel investigation into him and his campaign is over is an essential stand to take if the Supreme Court in the Trump era is to be an effective bulwark against autocratic lawless rule. With Senator Susan Collins calling for Trump to put forth a nominee who will not overturn precedent as in Roe v. Wade, the chances of the Roberts court which broke precedent with Citizens United do not look good, so we assess what can be done to make sure a president under investigation will not be able to choose judges who will decide whether he can be indicted, can be compelled to testify before a grand jury, or can pardon himself.

 

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Mark Perry, an author and historian who specializes in military, foreign affairs and intelligence analysis. He joins us to discuss his article at Foreign Policy “Mattis’s Last Stand in Iran” and examine the growing distance between Trump and the only senior advisor left in the White House who is able to speak truth to power as Trump surrounds himself with sycophants and yes-men. Along with General Mattis’s behind-the-scenes efforts to prevent Trump from blundering into a war with Iran, we also look into what Trump is likely to do at the upcoming NATO summit where there are concerns that he will be even more boorish and disruptive than he was at the G-7 and could unilaterally decide to limit the U.S.’s key role in NATO, undermining the alliance before his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

Part 3

Then finally we go to Mexico to speak with Laura Carlson, the Director of the Mexico-based Americas Program at the Center for International Policy. She is currently with a group of international election monitors visiting polling places in today’s watershed elections in Mexico from which a leftist candidate, Manuel Lopez Obrador, is likely to emerge as Mexico’s next president. We discuss what is happening on the ground today given the outrageous number of candidates killed in a spree of violence that has marred this election so far, and whether the frontrunner who is propelled by the Mexican electorate’s disgust with unchecked violence and rampant corruption can deliver on his promises to clean up the country.

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