2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

April 22: The DNC Sues Russia, The Trump Campaign and Wikileaks; With the Imperial Presidency in Trump's Hands, Could American Democracy Die?; A Lawyer for the Sandy Hook Families on Suing Remington and Alex Jones

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We begin with the Democratic National Committee suing Russia, the Trump campaign and Wikileaks and discuss how this might impact the Mueller investigation and bring the issue of impeachment to the forefront in this year’s mid-term election campaign as the central plank of the Democrat’s platform. Matt Angle who directs the Texas Democratic Trust and the Lone Star Project and served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, joins us to assess whether the fundraising benefits of the DNC’s lawsuit will be outweighed by the negative messaging Democratic candidates in swing districts will be stuck with as large numbers of hopefuls join in the primary races. We explore the depth of the anticipated “Blue Wave”, particularly in Texas where Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke is challenging Ted Cruz in a U.S. Senate race which could prove a tectonic upset for the Trump-dominated GOP, particularly since Cruz has written in Time magazine such fawning praise of his previously bitter rival Trump which has been mocked widely for its unctuous sycophancy.

 

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Then we speak with Lawrence Jacobs, the Chair of Political Studies at the University of Minnesota where he directs the Center of the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert Humphrey School of Political Affairs. He joins us to discuss how Donald Trump is capitalizing on the imperial presidency erected by presidents since World War 11, provoking dire fears that American democracy will die since our national security and foreign policy is in the hands of a unilateralist with an aberrant personality and a reckless governing style. We assess whether a deal coming out of the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit, no matter how cosmetic, could revive Trump’s presidency, or a war with Iran could give him a short-term boost before things turns sour as they did with the Iraq war.

Larry Jacobs

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Then finally, with students across the country demonstrating on Friday on the anniversary of the Columbine school massacre, we will speak Josh Koskoff, a Connecticut-based trial attorney who represents 10 Sandy Hook families in a groundbreaking case against the Remington Arms Company for marketing the Bushmaster AR-15 used in shooting 20 six and seven-year-old schoolchildren and 6 educators in just under 5 minutes. We also discuss the lawsuit by a number of Sandy Hook families against Alex Jones of Infowars for promoting his despicable conspiracy theories that has led to the further victimization of these families who already suffered such unspeakable losses.

 

April 19 - Congress Wimps Out With the New AUMF; The Confirmation of a Global Warming Denier as Trump's Pick to Head NASA; How Right Wing Media Props Up Trump With a Bodyguard of Lies

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We begin with the bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Senators Corker and Kaine to replace the AUMF, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center who was previously counsel to the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Feingold, joins us. We will discuss her article at Defense One “The Corker-Kaine Bill Would Codify, not End, the Forever War” and how the Congress which under the constitution has the sole authority to declare war, would flip this constitutional power on its head allowing the president to declare war against any enemy anywhere while leaving Congress only with the power to un-declare that war. With a president under siege from mounting domestic scandals who might strike out and start a war as a distraction, whose closest advisor is an eager war hawk, a conflict could easily erupt with Iran and be justified under the Corker-Kaine AUMF. Since Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps are already designated a terrorist organization and they are also sheltering Al Qaeda leadership including Bin Laden’s son, under the Corker-Kaine Bill that would be twice the threshold needed to start the next war.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University who is on the board of the American Federation of Scientists. He joins us to discuss the close vote of 50 to 49 in the Senate today to confirm Trump’s pick to head up NASA, a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma Jim Bridenstine. A global warming denier whose previous experience was running the Tulsa Air and Space Museum into the ground, he will take over a $20 billion enterprise with 17,000 employees many of whom work on earth sciences projects that measure the effects of global warming.

Lawrence M. Krauss

Part 3

Then finally we examine the role of Trump’s “shadow chief of staff” the Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity who according to a presidential advisor, “basically has a desk” in the White House.  Hannity was recently outed as the third and only client of Trump’s embattled lawyer Michael Cohen and Adele Stan, a weekly columnist for The American Prospect joins us to assess the distortion of the media landscape by the big right wing outlets like Fox and Sinclair. We discuss the extent to which they are propping up the Trump presidency with a bodyguard of lies, and her latest article at The American Prospect “Our Media Problem is Bigger Than Sean Hannity”.

 

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April 18 - George HW Bush's Former National Security Advisor on the Trump-Kim Summit and Barbara Bush's Passing; Cuba's New Leader and the Prospects for Economic Reform; Navigating Between Cuba's Old Guard and the Expectations of the Young

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We begin with President Trump tweeting out: “Denuclearization will be a great thing for the World, but also for North Korea!” after announcing that his head of the CIA Mike Pompeo, who is awaiting senate confirmation as the next Secretary of State, secretly visited North Korea and met with Kim Jong-un to lay the groundwork for a summit meeting between Trump and Kim.  A former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Donald Gregg, who served as Vice President George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor, joins us to discuss how it is likely the summit will take place but exactly what denuclearization of the Korean peninsula means remains as unclear as it will be difficult to achieve. We look into whether a peace treaty to end the Korean War will be on the table and since Donald Gregg is close to former President George H.W. Bush and knew Barbara Bush well, we get his impressions and memories of the former First Lady who passed away yesterday and today is being remembered as tributes pour in.  

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Part 2

Then, with Cuba’s Communist Party poised to announce a successor to Raul Castro tomorrow, we assess the new leader 57 year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez who is the first outside of the Castro dynasty which has ruled the country since the revolution over 50 years ago. Marc Frank, a freelance journalist based in Cuba who writes for Reuters and the Financial Times and is the author of “Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana”, joins us to discuss how the Internet-savvy Diaz-Canel can go about modernizing Cuba’s moribund economy and getting the country more connected to the world as the U.S. under Trump turns back the clock to impose more isolation on the island nation.

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Then finally we speak with Ann Louise Bardach, the author of “Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana” and “Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington”. She joins us to discuss how the expectations of young Cubans can be met in terms of both wanting the social services the government provides but also wanting to be free of a government that won’t give them access to the outside world or let them travel and has them under constant surveillance.

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April 17 - How the Internet is Killing Democracy and How We Save It; The Blindness of India's Prime Minister to the Rape of Young Women and Girls; Chaos in the White House and No Strategy on Syria

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We begin with the suspended head of Cambridge Analytica refusing to appear at a U.K. parliamentary inquiry into the misuse of data on 87 million Facebook users in the 2016 election which helped elect Donald Trump and speak with Jamie Bartlett, director of the Center for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos who presented the two-part BBC documentary series “The Secrets of Silicon Valley” and is the author of the new book “The People Versus Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and how we save it)”. He joins us to discuss the struggle between dataism and humanism and the fight against algorithmic authoritarianism as the titans of Silicon Valley see their future markets in authoritarian states like China and are willing to export their business model of surveillance capitalism to work alongside police-state censorship and surveillance of Chinese citizens who use their platforms. We explore what can be done to save democracy from big data and revive humanism to wean users from their zombie-like addiction to their devices.

 

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Then we examine the explosion of outrage in India over the latest rapes and murders of an eight-year old girl and of a teenage girl raped over several days by a legislator and his brother who belong to Prime Minister Modi’s ruling BJP party. Dr. Sumit Ganguly, who holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University and is the author of “Ascending India and its State Capacity” joins us to discuss how Modi’s Hindu fundamentalism and patriarchal outlook appears to render him tone deaf to the plight of poor young women and girls from minority communities who are frequent targets of BJP nationalists.

Sumit

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Then finally we get an update on the fallout following the recent American, French and British bombing of Syria which is widely seen as a futile and militarily insignificant gesture which will not impeded the Assad regime from committing its daily acts of brutal depravity against the Syrian people. Henri Barkey, professor of international relations at Lehigh University who served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, joins us to discuss his article at The National “Limited strikes, limited goals and no strategy on Syria” and the state of chaos in Washington where one day the U.S. Representative to the U.N. announces sanctions against Russia then the next day Trump reverses her and gives Putin a free pass yet again.

 

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April 16 - Can Comey Fight Trump Without Being Contaminated By Him?; Michael Cohen Forced to Reveal Who His Third Client Is; "Can Democracy Survive Capitalism?"

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We begin with the former FBI Director James Comey’s book launch and television interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos and speak with a former Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who specialized in counterintelligence investigations in New York City. Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean at Yale Law School who teaches national security law and is a political analyst at CNN, joins us to assess whether Comey can thread the needle between not wanting to appear he is paying Trump back for firing him, at the same time wanting to inform the American public about what kind of man sits in the Oval Office, a person who Comey describes as being “morally unfit to be president”. We also look into how the FBI can fight back against the war Trump is waging on the FBI and DOJ with the help of Fox News who are pushing the narrative that there is a conspiracy by the so-called “Deep State” underway to undermine Trump’s presidency.  And although the FBI is a non-partisan law enforcement agency with a majority of its agents registered Republicans, Trump and Fox are portraying the Bureau and its leadership as Democratic shills for Hillary Clinton, who apparently viewers of Fox News are unaware lost the election and is not in power and running the United States.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who writes about national security and civil liberties at emptywheel.net and is a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. She joins us to discuss her article at The New York Times “Trump Pardoned Libby to Protect Himself From Mueller” and today’s hearing before a Federal judge in which Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen was forced to reveal that his third and only client after Trump and Elliot Broidy is Fox’s Sean Hannity the propagandist who is leading the charge in ginning up the phony “Deep State” conspiracy while covering up mounting evidence of Trump’s criminality.

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Then finally we examine the new book just out, “Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?” by Robert Kuttner who joins us to discuss how democracies govern nations while global capitalism runs the world. The co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and former chief investigator for the Senate Banking Committee, he illuminates the urgent need to defend our democracy which is in retreat as plutocracy takes over America and Americans more and more become passive consumers instead of active citizens.

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