August 30 - The Impact of Oil, Gas and Chemical Plants on the Gulf Underwater; A Scientific Analysis of the Role of Global Warming Behind Hurricane Harvey; Trump's Populist Tax Plan a Giveaway to the 1%

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We begin with the vast oil, gas and chemical infrastructure along the Gulf coast that is being battered by ocean surges and inundated by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Representing a large part of America’s oil and gas infrastructure, this concentration of refineries could not be in a worse place because of their proximity to bayous and wetlands and with the increasing frequency and severity of superstorms more and more massive releases of oil and gas and toxic chemicals are happening and will get worse. Scott Eustis, a water policy analyst and coastal wetlands specialist at the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans joins us to discuss the open pits of chemical waste now under water and the chemical waste from purging the refineries as they shut them down, which is now mixed with flood water and spreading its pollution into low-income neighborhoods around the refineries and seeping into the protected bayous and wetlands.

 

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Part 2

Then we get a scientific analysis of the role of global warming in making Hurricane Harvey one of the worst unnatural disasters to hit the United States as flooding continues around Houston and the coastal regions of the Gulf. Michael Mann, the Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University and the author of “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving us Crazy”, joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “It’s a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly” and that there will be an increase in the intensity and the amount of precipitation in future hurricanes as global warming causes ocean temperatures to rise.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Harry Stein, the director of Fiscal Policy at the Center for American Progress about President Trump’s presentation today in Missouri of his tax overhaul plan that was light on details but heavy on promises with a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% one of the few specifics. We will discuss how that giveaway comports with Trump’s promise that “it’s time to give the American workers a pay raise that they have been looking for for many, many years”.

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August 29 - Hurricane Harvey Hits New Orleans; Trump's Gangster Partner Offers Up Putin; North Korea's Deliberate Provocation of Japan

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We begin with the storm that has caused unprecedented flooding in Houston now impacting New Orleans. Joining us is Mark Schliefstein a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the New Orleans Times Picayune and author of “Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms”. On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which struck 12 years ago, we discuss whether the city has fully recovered and although more flooding is expected in Houston and considerable less rain is predicted to hit New Orleans, there are questions whether the pumping system, some of which is 100 years-old, will be able to cope with the rainfall. We also look into the politics of recovery since Texas Senator Ted Cruz opposed relief from Hurricane Sandy for New Jersey and New York but now wants it for Texas, and how Louisiana’s U.S. Senators and most of its congressmen who are global warming deniers, can continue to deal with the aftermath of superstorms without recognizing the causes.

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Part 2

Then we get an update on the Russia inquiry following stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post that reveal efforts to contact Putin’s inner circle by Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and a Russian-born gangster and business partner of Trump’s, Felix Sater who is a childhood friend of Cohen’s. James Henry, an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist who is a Global Justice Fellow at Yale, a co-founder with David Cay Johnston of DCReport.org and the author of “Blood Bankers”, joins us to discuss a rider attached to an appropriations bill by Florida Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis blocking the Mueller investigation and whether or not the special counsel will come up with a “smoking gun” that could convince Trump’s base that he should be impeached.

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Part 3

Then finally we assess what response is likely to come from Japan after a North Korean missile crossed over its territory is a deliberate provocation which Prime Minister Abe called “an unprecedented, serious and grave threat”. Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “Japan’s New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance” joins us to discuss how Japan and South Korea are likely to increase their defenses and forge close military ties with the U.S. which might cause China to increase its pressure on Kim Jong-un.

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August 28 - The Unnatural Disaster Underway in Houston; Trump Defends Arpaio Pardon; White House Leans on CIA to Cook Books on Iran Intel

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We begin with the worsening flooding in Houston as Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, continues to dump up to 50 inches of rain over the surrounding area. Jeff Goodell, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and author of the forthcoming book, “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World”, joins us to discuss the factors involved in contributing to this unnatural disaster. Along with the rising sea level due to global warming, we will examine the role of unchecked development in and around Houston as a result of the housing boom and the coastal subsidence where the land has sunk more than half a foot due to oil drilling. Another effect of global warming is the rising sea surface temperature responsible for a 3% increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each half degree centigrade of warming which has resulted in 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere, creating the potential for more intense rainfalls known as “rain bombs” and much greater flooding.

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Part 2

Then we assess Trump’s remarks in a press conference today in which he again called for the building of a border wall that he insists Mexico will pay for while defending his controversial pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio who Trump claimed “was treated unbelievably unfairly”. Joining us to refute this absurdity is Antonia Noori Farzan, a staff writer at the Phoenix New Times where she has covered the former sheriff for years and where she has an article, “Latino Reaction to Arpaio Pardon ‘Just Throwing the Finger” at Federal Judges”.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into a repeat of the White House leaning on the CIA to cook the books on intelligence to justify a war against Iraq, with this time the target being Iran. Middle East expert Rasool Nafisi, the author of The Rise of the Pasdaran” and “The Cultures of the Middle East”, joins us to discuss White House pressure on the CIA to create evidence against Iran to support Trump’s determination to tear up the nuclear agreement with Iran which will end up as a gift to Iran’s hardline rulers and undermine President Rouhani and the pro-democracy reformers.

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August 27 - Trump Can Now Promise a Pardon to Those Who Undertake Illegal Activity On His Behalf; Arpaio is Not a Hero, He's An American Gestapo Commandant Who Ran a Concentration Camp; The Author of "In the Shadows of the American Century"

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We begin with the president of the United States siding with a lawless renegade over the federal judiciary and the U.S. constitution in pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio who for two decades flagrantly abused his powers costing Maricopa County as much as $100 million to settle lawsuits before Arpaio was voted out of office last November by a wide margin. Martin Redish, a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “A Pardon for Arpaio Would Put Trump in Uncharted Territory” and Trump’s flagrant abuse of his pardon powers by turning a victimizer into a victim in pandering to the far right, exonerating a racist thug convicted of violating constitution rights in defiance of a court order to stop racial profiling. We will assess the grounds for challenging the president in court to establish limits to presidential pardon powers since Trump has placed himself above the law by establishing a precedent that the president could secretly promise a pardon to his government agents if they undertake illegal activity that he orders, for instance to thwart the Russia investigation.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Donna Hamm, a retired judge in Maricopa County who is the Executive Director of Middle Ground Prison Reform that works to reform Arizona’s criminal justice system. She joins us to discuss who the real Sheriff Arpaio is, not the victim of Obama’s Justice Department as the Alex Jones has mythologized, which Trump echoes, in portraying his fellow “birther” conspirator as a victim of a witch hunt instead of an American version of a Gestapo Commandant who ran a concentration camp and dispatched his officers to round up “untermenschen” not belonging to the white race demanding that they “Show me your papers!”

 
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Part 3

Then finally we speak with the distinguished historian at the University of Wisconsin, Alfred McCoy, the author of “Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State”. He joins us to discuss his new book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power” and how much Donald Trump’s ignorance and incompetence is accelerating America’s decline and China’s rise, and whether a less powerful, more generous and collaborative America could co-exist in a world without a single hegemon.

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August 24 - Comparing a Stupid Government Shutdown to the Insanity of a Default; The Author of "The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism"; Could Trump Undo Protection of 27 National Monuments?

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We begin with Trump’s threat to shut down the government in order to get his border wall and compare that act of stupidity to the monumental catastrophe which failing to raise the debt ceiling would be with the United States defaulting on its debt and ruining its full faith and credit as the world’s best bet as THE place to invest your money. Jared Bernstein, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the former Chief Economist and Economic Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and a member of President Obama’s economic team, joins us to explain the vastly different degrees of a self-inflicted wound a default would be compared to a government shutdown. We assess the hope that there are some adults in the room who could constrain a reckless and ignorant president in league with the nativist ideologues of the Tea Party House Freedom Caucus whose economic illiteracy is only surpassed by their xenophobic zeal to wall off America from the Latino and Muslim hordes. 

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Then we speak with Henry Giroux, a world renowned educator, author and public intellectual who currently holds the McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest about his latest book, “The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism”. We discuss Trump’s alarming response to the recent disgrace of neo-Nazi’s descending on Thomas Jefferson’s home town and Jefferson’s warning that “an ignorant people cannot remain a free people” in the context of a failing education system and growing civic ignorance compounded by social media that has given rise to our Kardashian culture.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the Secretary of the Interior’s plans to review 27 national monuments ordered by President Trump that threatens to open up federal land protected under the Antiquities Act to mining, logging, drilling and grazing. Robert Keiter, the founding Director of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment at the University of Utah and author of “To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea”, joins us to discuss the likelihood that a blizzard of lawsuits will ensue if Trump is to be the first ever president to abolish a national monument designated by a predecessor.

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