2016 Programs

2016 Program Archive

November 22 - Errol Morris in Studio Discussing His New FIlm "Wormwood; The Emergence of the Nuclear Industrial Complex

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We begin with an investigation into the dark power of secret government that is the subject of the new film by the legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris who joins us in the studio. He won an Academy Award for his film “The Fog of War: Eleven Lesson from the Life of Robert S. MacNamara and his other films include “The Thin Blue Line”, “The Unknown Known” and his latest out on Netflix on December 15, “Wormwood”. This new four hour film is an exploration of the mysterious death of Frank Olson, a CIA employee who was unwittingly dosed with LSD and was pushed or plunged to his death from a New York City hotel window in 1953. The film follows the odyssey of Olson’s son Eric who tries to piece together the mystery behind his father’s death and uses dramatic scenes acted out by Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker to make the case that the CIA, which later apologized for drugging Frank Olson, also had him murdered and spent decades covering up its crime.

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Part 2

Then we look into the growth of a spinoff of the Military Industrial Complex President Eisenhower warned about, the Nuclear Industrial Complex, and speak with William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the Center for International Policy. The author of “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex, he joins us to discuss his article at Tom Dispatch “Massive Overkill: Brought to You by the Nuclear Industrial Complex”. We analyze the insanity and the skewed priority of the massive investment about to made by the Trump Administration to spend $1.7 billion dollars on a new generation of bombers, submarines and missiles and the warheads that go with them that can only be used in ending the world as we know it, in a race of redundancy to improve on the quality of death at the expense of the quality of life in America.

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November 21 - Insight Into the New Radical Movement, Antifa; How to Reverse the Drift Towards Authoritarianism

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We begin with insight into a new radical movement Antifa that has become the nemesis of the alt-right who along with the Fox echo chamber have exaggerated the power and influence of a small group fighting back against well-funded right wing provocateurs on campus and Nazi attacking and murdering citizens as they did in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mark Bray, an historian of human rights, terrorism, and political radicalism in Modern Europe who was one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, joins us to discuss his latest book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook”. We examine the rise of white supremacy and neo-Nazism around the world following recent demonstrations in Warsaw, Poland and survey the history of anti-fascism from its origins to the present day. While critics say shutting downs adversaries is anti-democratic, Antifa activists argue that the horrors of fascism must never be allowed to triumph again, especially with Donald Trump in the White House who is enacting his authoritarian tendencies at home while displaying affection and solidarity with despots abroad.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Henry Giroux, a world renowned educator, author and public intellectual whose latest book is “The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism”. He joins us to discuss his latest article at Truthout “Disposability in the Age of Disasters: From Dreamers and Puerto Rico to Violence in Las Vegas”. We assess how the Republican Party has been captured by the far right and will be a continuing problem for American democracy and society going forward unless a citizen’s movement can be built to counter a right wing kleptocratic takeover of America, as growing plutocratic power and the drift towards authoritarianism threatens our economic viability and democratic future.

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November 20 - A View From Abroad of Year One of Trump's Foreign Policy; A Syrian Filmmaker on the White Helmets and the Destruction of His Country

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We begin with an analysis of how the Trump Administration’s foreign policy looks like from abroad one year after an “America First” isolationist whose business empire has been built upon shady financial deals with kleptocratic families and despotic regimes around the world, became President of the United States defeating a former Secretary of State who got three million more votes than he did. Thomas Wright, a fellow and director of the Project on International Order and Strategy, as well as a fellow in the Center on the United States at the Brookings Institution, and the author of “All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power”, joins us. We discuss his article at the Irish Times, “In the age of Trump, maybe it gets worse from here” and the apparent retreat underway around the world of democratic institutions and the rule of law because of Trump’s embrace of criminal regimes and powerful despots he appears to admire. We examine the consequences of the unprecedented comingling of the Trump family businesses with US foreign policy and whether, in spite of the crippling of the Department of State under Rex Tillerson, the generals surrounding Trump can prevent the ship of state from sinking America’s standing and reputation around the world.

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Part 2

Then with the recent veto by the Russians that shut down a UN inquiry into the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against his own people, as Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers head for a Pyrrhic victory in Syria, a country that has been torn apart and largely destroyed, we speak with Firas Fayyad, an award-winning Syrian filmmaker about his latest film “The Last Men in Aleppo” which won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He joins us to discuss the work of the White Helmets who are the subject of his film. They are ordinary Syrians who dig men, women and children out from under collapsed buildings, often with their bare hands, risking their lives as Russian bombs rain down on civilians as their city Aleppo is gradually turned to rubble.

 

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November 19 - Could MBS Turn a Proxy War Into a Real One?; An Alabaman Reflects on Roy Moore's Supporters; Donald Trump: The Despot's Apprentice

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We begin with the possibility of a new war in the Middle East breaking out with the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran heating up as an impetuous young Saudi Crown Prince MBS tries to provoke a clash between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon while the endgame of the civil war in Syria appears to be leaving Russia and Iran in stronger positions in the region. A veteran CIA operative in the Middle East Robert Baer, who is now the national security affairs analyst for CNN, joins us to discuss the volatility in the region exacerbated by the unprecedented amateurism of an American Administration led by the Trump family whose priorities appear to be self-enrichment through their ties to MBS. In addition to this the State Department is led by a businessman who is both out of his depth in the world of diplomacy and undercut by his own president. Tillerson is also crippling this own department in the misguided name of corporate efficiency while the so-called “adults in the room”, the generals surrounding Donald Trump, also lack diplomatic skills and come from a hierarchical world of following orders and responding to every problem with military force.

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Then we speak with Diane McWhorter the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution”. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and is a regular contributor to The New York Times where she has an article ”Want to Know What Divides This Country: Come to Alabama” and as the nation’s attention turns to Alabama’s December 12 US Senate race, we will discuss the state that has transformed from backwoods to bellwether and the complex psyche of Alabama where Roy Moore’s supporters would rather be poor than not be proud.  

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Then finally we be joined by Brian Klaas, a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and the author of a new book “The Despot’s Apprentice: Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy”. We discuss the growing number of countries controlled by despots and kleptocrats as democracy retreats around the world in part because the main champion of democracy, the United States is led by a powerful cheerleader for some of the world’s worst regimes as Donald Trump continues to display a bizarre adoration and idolization of despotic strongmen like Putin, Erdogan and Duterte.

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November 16 - Who Allowed the ISIS Fighters to Escape Raqqa?; Trump's Reversal of a Ban on Trophy Hunting Elephants; The Author of "Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House"

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We begin with troubling questions raised in investigative reports by the BBC that in spite of Trump’s talk of bombing the **** out of ISIS and General Mattis’ promise to annihilate ISIS, it seems that some kind of deal was made to allow ISIS fighters to escape from Raqqa, and according to truck drivers who ferried the terrorists to safety, there were huge numbers of foreign fighters among the evacuated ISIS survivors who will likely go on to cause mayhem in the west. Mike Lofgren, who spent 28 years working in Congress, the last 16 as a senior analyst on the House and Senate Budget Committees whose latest book is “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of the Shadow Government”, joins us. We will discuss his article at The Washington Monthly “The Trump Scandal That Democrats Aren’t Talking About: Did ISIS escape Raqqa with Trump’s connivance?” and try to understand how the world’s most dangerous jihadists were allowed to live to fight another day, and whether there will be any inquiry into what happened given how much time, money and attention was devoted to the phony Benghazi story that pales in comparison. 

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Then we examine the Trump Administration’s reversal of an Obama-era ban on the importation of elephant trophies from big game hunting which was the result of a suit by Safari Club International and the NRA to block Obama’s 2014 ban. George Wittemyer, a professor in Colorado State University’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology who is the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Save the Elephants in Africa, joins us to discuss the rapidly diminishing populations of African elephants who have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1978.

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Then finally we 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 Steele feels he will be vindicated as the special counsel’s investigation digs deeper into Trump and his family and associates’ contacts and collusion with Russians close to Putin.

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