November 7 - Trump Moves to Muzzle Mueller; Trump's Propagandist-in-Chief; American Democracy is Becoming Less Competitive and More Unrepresentative

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We begin with the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his replacement with a Trump loyalist and assess the growing possibility that the Mueller probe will be shut down or have its scope and independence curtailed if not neutered. Joshua Geltzer, the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection who served as Senior Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council staff and as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Justice Department, joins us. We will discuss the significance of the next in line Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein being skipped over with Trump installing Session’s chief of staff Matthew Whitaker who has been critical of the Mueller investigation. Adding to concerns that we may be on the cusp of a constitutional crisis, at today’s combative press conference Trump remarked that he has the power to fire Mueller if he wanted to. And following an election in which Republicans won key races by a razor-thin margin, we also discuss Joshua Geltzer’s article at Just Security, “Don’t Be Fooled: There Was Election Interference in 2018”.

Part 2

Then following an election in which Fox News made no pretense at being a journalistic outlet with Sean Hannity appearing on stage at a rally with Trump and Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt telling the press to report the news the way Trump wants it, we speak with Yochai Benkler, Professor of Law and co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He joins us to discuss his new book “Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics” and Trump’s enabler in propaganda Rupert Murdoch and the phony war with the press on display today in the White House with Trump casting the press as the enemy of the people to distract from the obvious fact that the truth is the enemy of Donald Trump.

Part 3

Then finally with the Democrats getting a much-needed win to take over the House while the Republicans extended their control over the Senate, we will examine how we are moving into a new normal in which the Democrats routinely will get a majority of the vote but still end up unable to gain meaningful political power. Sanford Levinson, who holds the Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and is the co-author of “Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today” joins us to discuss this daunting prospect facing the Democrats in the long-term as American democracy become less competitive and more unrepresentative.

Sanford V. Levinson

 

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November 6 - The Role of Women in Over 100 House Races; The Democrats Look Like They Have Won the House But Not the Senate

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We begin on this critical midterm election day as polls are closing in the East, and discuss the role of women both in terms of the record number of women running for congress and in state and local races, and what is expected to be a pivotal role educated suburban women who previously voted Republican are likely to play in flipping the House and possibly the Senate. Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, joins us to discuss how for the first time in history Americans could elect more than 100 women to the House and 23 women running for seats in the Senate. Depending on whether there are results to report along with projections from exit polls, we also look at key House races in New Jersey where a Navy veteran helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill is poised to turn a red seat blue, and in Virginia where there are four closely watched races with Democratic challengers Abigail Spanberger, Leslie Coburn, Elaine Luria and Jennifer Wexton running in red-leaning districts that could turn blue. But even if all 100 women were to win today, come January 2019, women would still only hold 24% of the seats in the House.

Part 2

Then we check in on another critical battleground for control of the House and Senate, Minnesota, where the Democrats could flip some seats but where also the GOP has the best shot at picking up seats currently held by Democrats. Lawrence Jacobs, the Chair for Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert Humphrey School of Political Affairs at the University of Minnesota, joins us. With both U.S. Senate seats being contested along with the governorship, we assess what impact the Kavanaugh hearing had on setting back the Democrat's chances of taking the Senate.

Larry Jacobs

Part 3

Then finally we head further West and examine the House and Senate races in Texas and the key House races in California which offer the Democrats the best chance of going a long way to pick up the 23 seats nationwide they need to flip the House. Lydia Camarillo, the Vice President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project based in San Antonio, Texas, joins us to discuss the extent of Latino turnout in South Texas which is critical for Beto O’Rourke’s chance of taking the senate seat away from Ted Cruz and some of the tight congressional races in California in districts with a large Latino population.

Lydia Camarillo

 

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November 5 - Heavily Armed and Untrained Militias Head for the Border; The GOP No Longer Believes in Democracy; Today's Re-Imposition of Sanctions Against Iran

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We begin with armed militia groups heading for the Southern border which is already militarized with active-duty and National Guard troops along with Border Patrol and speak with Michelle Garcia, a journalist and former Texas correspondent for The Columbia Journalism Review and a former columnist for The Texas Observer. She joins us to discuss her new 3-part essay series on the border at The Baffler and concerns that heavily-armed untrained militia groups like the Texas Minutemen are responding to President Trump’s fear-mongering against destitute migrants he calls “invaders” with their website warning of a “large number of criminals” crossing the border and that “several U.S. law enforcement officers and civilians have been murdered by international bandits in these areas.” It also warns militia members that the mainstream media “are not your friends. They work for their globalist, open-border $$-sponsors-$$”. And already, according to planning documents from U.S. Army commanders leading the 5,200 troops Trump has dispatched to the border, 200 unregulated armed militia members are operating along the southwest border.

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Part 2

Then on this day before an election, we begin with Andrew Gumbel, an award-winning investigative journalist and author of “Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America”. He joins us to discuss a recent poll which found 46% of the American electorate do not believe their votes will be counted fairly with a third thinking it’s likely a foreign county will tamper with the vote. Nevertheless with partisan enthusiasm and energy surging and an increased turnout expected on both sides, we will focus on the close and controversial race for governor in Georgia and since more and more races are decided by narrow margins, the need to have transparent and auditable voting systems is increasingly clear, along with undeniable evidence that the Republican Party no longer believes in democracy and the free and fair exercise of the vote.  

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Part 3

Then finally, as a re-imposition of sanctions against Iran goes into effect today aimed at crippling their economy by driving away customers for Iran’s oil, the country’s main source of revenue, we speak with Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and author of “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East”. He joins us to discuss Iran’s already shaky economy with their currency in freefall and the young and women taking to the streets to protest soaring prices and massive subsidies to support Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Assad dictatorship in Syria. We will assess whether Iran’s main customers, China, India and Turkey will bend under U.S. pressure and expose the hypocrisy of the tough guy Trump cynically giving Japan, South Korea and others a grace period to cut back on their imports of Iranian oil because a sudden cut-off would bring about a spike in oil prices, raising prices at the pump just ahead of a critical election.

Josef Korbel School of International Studies Professor Nader Hashemi

 

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November 4 - A Frantic Trump Campaigns to Hold the Senate But Not the House; Trump Doubles Down on Racial Resentment; The American Right's Drive for Permanent Minority Rule

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We begin in the closing days before a watershed election with Kevin O’Leary, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and a former reporter for Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times whose forthcoming book is “Reactionary Revolution: The GOP’s Attack on the Founders and the American Idea”. He joins us to discuss the frantic last-minute racist demagoguery and fear-mongering spewing from Trump at rallies in states where Republicans hope to hold onto their slim majority in the senate, and whether Trump’s lack of focus on the House means that flipping more than enough Republican House seats in California and across the country is increasingly likely.

headshot photo of Dr. Kevin O'Leary

Part 2

Then we will examine how economic factors rather than racial resentment played a larger role in Trump’s 2016 election based on a new study at INET, the Institute for New Economic Thinking “The Economic and Social Roots of Populist Rebellion: Support for Donald Trump in 2016”.  A co-author of the report, Thomas Ferguson joins us. He is professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts and we will discuss how after taking credit for the economic recovery that Obama brought about, Trump is now doubling down on racial resentment both in terms of immigrant-bashing and casting China, the Democrats, globalists and the press as the enemy.

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Part 3

Then finally in the closing days before a watershed election we will get an analysis of whether the majority in this country will show up at the polls in sufficient numbers to overcome the vote rigging by the minority. Ian Samuel, a Professor of Law at Indiana University joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “Rigging the vote: How the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule” and what strategies can be employed to reverse the formidable project of the Republican Right to install permanent minority rule to guarantee control of the government even though fewer and fewer Americans support their policies and programs. This growing tyranny of the minority should be clear since the last two Republican presidents entered office with fewer votes than their opponents got, and the last two justices to join the Supreme Court were confirmed with lifetime appointments to the court by senators who received 22 million fewer votes than the senators who voted against him in the case of Gorsuch. And in the case of Kavanaugh he was confirmed by senators who received 38 million fewer votes than the senators who voted no. So the challenge is not just to win on Tuesday but to wrestle back control from the entrenched minority with an overwhelming victory, then begin the work of leveling the playing field.

Ian  Samuel

 

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November 1 - US Troops and Being Used as Props for Trump's Propaganda; Does Trump Now Have Blood on His Hands?; How to Get Free from the Expropriation of "Freedom"

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We begin with President Trump’s plan to deploy as many as 15,000 troops on the Southern border before the midterm elections even though what he calls an “invasion” of a dwindling number of destitute migrants, mostly women and children from Central America travelling as a group for protection, is about a month away from reaching the border. Joining us is Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan Administration in charge of manpower and personnel where he administered about 70% of the defense budget. We discuss Trump’s unabashed racist campaign commercial blaming Democrats for an alien invasion and the extent to which the U.S. military are being used as props to support dog-whistle propaganda aimed at demonizing unarmed impoverished migrants as a national security threat. And since 2,000 troops were already deployed on the border back in April and Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have spent hundreds of millions hiring more personnel, we will assess the opportunity costs of more troops than we have in Iraq and Afghanistan dragooned away from their families to fight a non-existent threat.

 

Lawrence J. Korb

Part 2

Then we speak with Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America about her article at CNN “We see President Trump for what he is” and make the obvious connection between Trump’s cynical fear-mongering against the “caravan” of Central American migrants he claims is full of terrorists from the Middle East and what triggered the massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue since the anti-Semitic shooter’s last message was a racist attack blaming a Jewish refugee agency for bringing in “invaders that kill our people”. We analyze whether a shift is underway in America as the curtain is pulled back on a small hateful man who only cares about himself but, having legitimized and emboldened hate groups, now has blood on his hands.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into how the concept of freedom has been expropriated by the Koch brothers and other powerful plutocrats who have been successful in defining freedom as freedom from government. Using unlimited supplies of dark money, they are shaping our politics through think tanks they fund while buying our politicians. Nell Abernathy, the Vice President for Policy and Strategy at the Roosevelt Institute, the co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of “Rewriting the Rules on the American Economy”, joins us to discuss her article at Talking Points Memo “Democrats Must Become the Party of Freedom” and how Americans can free themselves from monopolies, oligopolies and a plutocratic takeover of our democracy.

 

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