October 7 - Trump Stokes Men's Aggrieved Entitlement; Will a Fascist Get Elected in Brazil?; A Month Ahead of a Critical Election - The State of Voting in America

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We begin with the Kavanaugh effect reflected in Trump’s recent rhetoric that expands on male victimhood which he used successfully in the 2016 campaign to convince the white working class they are being marginalized by minorities who are taking away their jobs and feminists who are taking away their manhood. Now with Senator McConnell dismissing female protesters as “a mob”, Republicans are embracing the victimhood of a privileged white male to expand their base of beleaguered and oppressed men to make the case that not only has Kavanaugh been wronged, but his unfair treatment by the Democrats and the media shows that any man can be victimized in the era of the #MeToo movement. Robert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin whose work has focused on the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men’s violence as well as questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism, joins us. We discuss President Trump’s remark following his victory celebration after seating Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, which suggests the contentious confirmation has now become a trial over masculinity and embattled manhood. In response to a reporter’s question about what would he say to young men in America, Trump replied “Well, I’d say that it’s a scary time for young men in America when you could be guilty of something you may not be guilty of”.

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Part 2

Then we examine the elections underway in Brazil in which the leading Trump-like presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is even more open and extreme in expressing his authoritarian tendencies saying an opposition female candidate is not worth raping and that he would prefer a dead son to a gay son. Joining us for an update on whether Bolsonaro will get the 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff is Maria Luisa Mendonca, the Director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights who is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio de Janeiro. We assess the fate of Brazil’s fragile democracy and whether the country will return to a right wing dictatorship.

Part 3

Then finally, with a month to go before the critical midterm elections, we analyze the state of voting in the country following the record low turnout in the last 2014 midterms in which only 140 million Americans voted, the lowest turnout since 1942, followed by just over 25% of American adults voting Donald Trump into the presidency in 2016. Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University who has studied both the American right and the presidency, joins us to discuss his new book, just out, “The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present”.

 

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October 4 - The Fix Was in on the FBI Investigation; The Moral Bankruptcy of the Religious Right; Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on Her New Book "Leadership: In Turbulent Times"

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We begin with a former FBI Special Agent and discuss the limits the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee placed on the supplemental FBI investigation into the accusations made by Dr. Ford against Judge Kavanaugh who now appears to be all-but assured the Republicans will have enough votes to seat him on the Supreme Court for life. Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean at Yale Law School who teaches national security law and previously served as a Special Agent with the FBI specializing in counterintelligence, joins us to discuss her article at Just Security “Here Are the 30 People the FBI Needs to Interview in its Kavanaugh Investigation” and what we know about the still-secret White House directive that circumscribed the latest FBI investigation. We look into the relationship between Brett Kavanaugh and FBI Director Chris Wray who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale and worked with him in the George W. Bush Administration as did Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, all of whom are members of Leonard Leo’s Federalist Society, the conservative group behind getting Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh seated on the Supreme Court.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Frank Schaeffer whose parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer were the founders of the Religious Right in this country which meant Frank worked with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. We discuss what appears to be a great victory for the Religious Right who are poised to get an anti-abortion fifth right wing judge on the Supreme Court and the moral bankruptcy of so-called “Christians” reflected in a recent study that found over 40% of evangelicals would still support Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court even if he was found guilty of the sexual assault of a 15 year-old girl.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with world-renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about her latest book “Leadership: In Turbulent Times”. Having written major works on Teddy Roosevelt, LBJ, FDR, and Lincoln in the runaway bestseller “Team of Rivals”, the basis for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln”, we discuss her latest book on all of the afore-mentioned presidents and assess how good leaders become great leaders. This in contrast to our current leader who Senator Ben Sasse, a member of Trump’s own Republican Party just said “is unable to lead the country”.

Doris Kearns Goodwin | “America’s Historian-In-Chief” – New York Magazine

 

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October 3 - A President Out of Control But With the Nuclear Button; Do the American People Still Expect Decorum and Dignity From Their President?; Trump's Constitutional Authority and the Limits Placed On It

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We begin with the uncontrolled outburst that spewed from President Trump at a rally in Mississippi last night as he belittled Dr. Blasey Ford who testified against Judge Kavanaugh. Despite having been repeatedly cautioned by his handlers not to inflame a delicate political situation as Kavanaugh’s fate hangs by a thread, Trump clearly could not restrain himself and his vitriolic mockery of Dr. Ford offended the very senators who are the swing votes Trump needs to seat Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. Joseph Cirincione, the President of the Ploughshares Fund and author of “Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons”, joins us to discuss the danger of having a president who cannot control himself but has access to the nuclear button. Although we have been lucky the country has not faced a crisis so far, the fact remains that Trump has the power at his fingertips to destroy the world. We assess the difference between a Trump Administration full of unqualified amateurs like Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who just threated to “take out” Russian nuclear missiles on their territory, and how President Kennedy handled the Cuban missile crisis by overruling his hawks who recommended a nuclear strike which would have led to a nuclear war. In contrast if a real crisis struck, an erratic and uncontrollable Trump would be goaded on by his hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with an historian of American political discourse and presidential rhetoric, Jennifer Mercieca, a Professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University about the response to Trump’s mockery of Dr. Blasey Ford from the three key senators whose votes he needs to confirm Kavanaugh; Senators Flake, Collins and Murkowski.  We will discuss whether there is still an expectation among the American people that their head of state exhibit decorum and dignity or are we back to the days of Andrew Jackson with the difference being that Trump does not settle scores with dueling pistols but rather uses Twitter to insult and demean his enemies real and imagined.

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Part 3

Then finally we explore both the constitutional authority of the President of the United States and the constitutional restraints imposed on this authority and speak with Corey Brettschneider, a Professor of Political Science at Brown University and author of the new book “The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents”. He joins us to discuss whether, while California develops its own foreign and immigration policy and signs international climate treaties, a president under investigation can pardon himself, fire anyone in the executive branch or wage war without congressional approval,

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October 2 - Exposing the Fraud of Trump as the Self-Made Billionaire; "What Happened to Lindsey Graham?"; Is USMCA an Improvement over NAFTA?

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We begin with the massive New York Times investigation into the extent to which Trump is the self-made man he claims to be and speak with the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, the co-founder of DCReport.org and the author of “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America”. He joins us to discuss how Trump, thanks to his father, became a millionaire at the age of 8 and through his 40’s and 50’s received more than $5 million a year from Fred Trump, but more importantly Trump received the equivalent today of $413 million from his father to get started in real estate even though Trump repeatedly claims that he built what he built himself without any help from his dad. We also look into how much Fred Trump bailed out his son from big bets that went bust like Trump Shuttle, the Plaza Hotel and the Atlantic City Casinos to the tune of $140 million in today’s dollars, much of which was never repaid.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Julian Zelizer, a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University about his article at The Atlantic, “What Happened to Lindsey Graham?”. We discuss how since the death of Senator Graham’s close friend and moral conscience, John McCain, the senator has gone overboard embracing Trump to the point where he has become the most outspoken champion of Trump’s embattled nominee to the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh. It is no small irony that when Congressman Lindsey Graham was one of the most zealous member of the House Judiciary Committee in pursuing the impeachment of President Clinton, he worked closely with Brett Kavanaugh. Back then Graham made the case that the main issue was Clinton’s perjury, not the extra-marital sex he lied about, and now that perjury is the main issue at hand with Kavanaugh, not sexual assault or a weakness for “brewskis”, Graham is Kavanaugh’s most ardent defender.

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Part 3

Then finally we assess what kind of an improvement over NAFTA the new USMCA agreement is now that President Trump is singing its praises and claiming that his slapping tariffs on Mexico and Canada and getting tough with them are the reasons why he got the agreement. Matt Gold, a Professor of Law at Fordham University who held an appointment in the Executive Office of the President as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for North America, joins us to discuss how the modest gains in the new agreement are not worth the rancor and resentment Trump has stirred up with our neighbors.

FLS Gold Matthew

 

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October 1 - Republican Sabotage of the Latest FBI Investigation; Today's Blow to Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorists; California Now at War with the Federal Government Over Net Neutrality

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We begin with the apparent attempt by the Republican Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to circumscribe and limit the FBI inquiry into Judge Kavanaugh to only four witnesses while President Trump was claiming it was an open and broad investigation. A former 16 year veteran of the FBI, Michael German, now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, joins us to discuss how in an investigation limited to one week, already three days out of the seven have been lost and only now that Trump has bowed to pressure from the press to allow FBI agents to follow leads, is the investigation on the right track. We  assess what former Director of the FBI James Comey meant when in an op-ed in The New York Times he referred to limits on the investigation as “idiotic” and explore what evidence could be gathered to support the accusations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in terms of finding the location of the alleged sexual assault and the bedroom and bathroom she described. And since, as the Republicans keep reminding us that Kavanaugh has already had six FBI investigations, we look into whether there is corroborating evidence in past inquiries that was either overlooked or not followed up on.

Part 2

Then we discuss today’s blow to right wing conspiracy theorists with the right wing Washington Times apologizing for a story they have retracted that falsely claimed a staffer with the DNC, Seth Rich, who was murdered in a botched robbery in a Washington suburb in July of 2016, was a part of a conspiracy involving his brother Aaron who supposedly received money from Wikileaks for the hacked DNC emails. Mark Fenster, a Professor at the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida and author of “Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture”, joins us discuss how Sean Hannity, Fox News. Sean Spicer and President Trump all pushed this absurd and cruel conspiracy theory to distract from the meddling by Russia in the 2016 election.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Jamie Court, the President of Consumer Watchdog, a consumer group that has been fighting corrupt corporations and crooked politicians since 1985. He joins us to discuss the bill California’s governor signed on Sunday night to strengthen protections against abuses by Internet providers which immediately provoked an injunction from the Justice Department putting California officially at war with the Federal Government over net neutrality. We discuss how AT&T slowed down Internet service to Fire Departments who were in the midst of fighting California wildfires because the new FCC rules allow them to speed up or slow down service depending on how much customers can afford to pay.  

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