May 30 - The Disgusting Moral Vacuum in Leadership at the Top in America; Inside Russian Organized Crime and Its Grip on on Russia; Italy's Political Upheaval and the Rise of a Slick Right-Wing Protege of Steve Bannon's

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We begin with the disgusting moral vacuum at the very top of leadership in America today with a president who could not disavow ugly racist comments by Roseanne but rather complained that the head of Disney who fired her, apologized to Valerie Jarret but not to the injured frail ego of Donald Trump who has been hurt by the “horrible statements” on ABC that were said about him.  Dr.  Andrew Hartman, a Professor of History at Illinois State University whose latest book is “A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars” joins us to discuss his article at The Baffler “The Culture Wars Are Dead: Long Live the Culture Wars”. We explore this return to Trump’s Charlottesville moment where he panders to the worst manifestations of our racist past which he, Trump, helped resurrect with the “birther” movement. A movement Trump began which in effect, gave permission to American racists to come out of the shadows and openly express their racist and conspiratorial views, turning back the clock on the nation’s long and painful struggle to discover the “better angels of our nature”.

 

Part 2

Then we  speak with Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague who is an expert on transnational crime and Russian security affairs and whose latest book is “The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia”. He joins us to discuss the history of organized crime from czarist times through the Soviet Union to Russia today which is a kleptocracy in which the ruling oligarchs and the ex-intelligence siloviki work hand-in-hand with the “vory”, the criminal gangs, who in turn work with the security services and the government. We will also explore Trump’s links to organized crime given his open door policy to Russian criminals with money to launder.

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Part 3

Then finally we get an analysis of the political upheaval in Italy which has spooked the markets and speak with Ruth Ben Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University who writes and speaks frequently on fascism, war, racism, authoritarian rulers and propaganda. She joins us to discuss the alarming possibility that the current political crisis has been engineered by the slick right wing leader of The League Matteo Salvini who could win the next election and is threatening to “March on Rome” which has unmistakable echoes of Mussolini’s rise.

 

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May 29 - Where Are The 1500 Missing Kids?; Autocrats Prefer Rigged Elections to Outright Dictatorship; 4645 People Died in Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria, Not 64

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We begin with Trump’s false claim, along with his tweet that the Democrats are protecting MS-13 thugs, charging that the Democrats are behind what he calls a “horrible law” separating children from their parents at the border when it is his “zero tolerance” policy that is doing it. Wendy Young, the Executive Director of KIND, Kids In Need of Defense, the leading organization for the protection of unaccompanied children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone, joins us to analyze what is going on following reports of 1,500 kids missing inside the Health and Human Services’ Department of Refugee Resettlement. We will look into whether the thousands of kids separated from their parents inside the system are being properly tracked, let alone taken care of, and assess whether the so-called “sponsors” taking these kids out of Federal custody are not human traffickers who are exploiting them for cheap or slave labor as indicated by a case of 8 children forced to work on an egg farm
 
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Part 2

Then we  go to the U.K. to speak with Nic Cheeseman, a professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham who has researched elections in more than 8 countries around the world including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria. He is the co-author of a new book “How to Rig an Election” and we  discuss how more and more despots around the world choose to have elections that offer the pretense of democracy rather than to rule as dictators. With recent rigged elections in Russia, Turkey and Venezuela examples of this trend, we examine what can be done to restore meaning into democratic processes and prevent autocrats from claiming victories in elections they have rigged for themselves.

Professor Nic Cheeseman

Part 3

Then finally we look into the report just released by a group of independent researchers at Harvard who have found that 4,645 people died in Puerto Rica during Hurricane Maria and its aftermath in stark contrast to the official total of 64. Luis Martinez-Fernandez, a professor of history at the University of Central Florida who lives and teaches in Orlando, Florida which has one of the world’s highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans, joins us to discuss the absurdity of the official death toll and how the neglect following the devastation by Maria continues.

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May 28, 2018 - A decorated veteran on our "bone spur" president; A veteran for peace organizing Memorial Day events at the D.C. Mall; The Trump Adminstration is moving us close to a third Gulf War

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We begin on this Memorial Day with Phillip Butler, a former Naval light-attack carrier pilot who, in 1965, was shot down over North Vietnam and spent 8 years as a prisoner of war. A highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded 2 Silver Stars, 2 Legions of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars and 2 Purple Hearts and we will discuss how veterans feel about their “bone spur” president trashing Phil Butler’s fellow POW John McCain.

Part 2

Then with the diplomatic back-and-forth between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, we will speak with Ellen Barfield, the National Vice President of Veterans for Peace and a US veteran. She served with the U.S. military in South Korea and we will discuss the impact a war in Korea would have on the inhabitants of the peninsula and her efforts to organize a series of Memorial Day events at the Washington Mall displaying the human costs of war.

Part 3

Then finally we will speak with Michael Klare, a Five College professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, about his article in TomDispatch “Donald Trump Is Driving Us on a Road to Hell in the Middle East.” We will discuss the news from The New York Times that the US Army Special Forces secretly aided the Saudi Arabian military against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and the growing signs that the war hawks Netanyahu, Mohammed Bin Salman and John Bolton are moving the Trump Administration closer to a Third Gulf War.

 

May 27 - Trump Has Turned Organized Lying Into His First Principle of Governance; 1,500 Children Snatched from Their Parents at the Border are Missing; Dutch Report Blames Russia for Malaysian Airliner Shoot-Down

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We begin with Trump’s assault on the Department of Justice and his phony “Spygate” campaign that has millions of American living inside the Fox News bubble believing the most ridiculous nonsense as Donald Trump turns organized lying into the first principle of his governance. Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College joins us to discuss his latest article at The Guardian “Trump’s assault on the department of justice is an attack on the rule of law” and recent reports on the extent of evidence from FBI wiretaps which the special counsel Robert Mueller has on a Russian oligarch and organized crime boss who met with Donald Trump Jr. and Michael Cohen’s meeting in Trump Tower with another Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg days before the inauguration. With a 53% majority of Americans now believing the Mueller investigation is politically motivated and 47% of Republicans believing Trump’s lie that millions of illegals voted in the last election, we will look into the extent to which Trump is succeeding in limiting the damage from the forthcoming Mueller report by convincing his base it will be the politically biased result of a witch hunt no matter how damning the evidence might be.

Part 2

Then we will speak with Lee Gelernt, the Deputy Director of the ACLU’s National Immigrant Rights Project and the lead attorney on the ACLU’s family separation case about the appalling revelation that 1,500 children are missing within the government after having being snatched from the arms of their parents at the border. We will assess whether Trump can get away with blaming the Democrats for the cruel actions his administration are taking in the name of the American people and explore what is happening to these missing children who the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly cavalierly said are “put into foster care or whatever”.

Part 3

Then finally the former Swedish diplomat Anders Aslund joins us from Berlin after attending the NATO parliamentary summit in Warsaw to discuss the European reaction to the Dutch report on the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner in 2014 over Ukraine which blames Russia for firing the BUK anti-aircraft missile under the control of the GRU, Russian military intelligence. We will also assess what happened in St. Petersburg at the recent economic summit hosted by Putin where instead of Iran being the outlier who the world powers in the P5+1 brought to the table, the U.S. is now the outlier having isolated itself after breaking a series of international agreements.

 

May 24, 2018 - Did Bolton and Pence Scuttle Trump's Summit With Kim?; Nunes, Gowdy and Trump Try to Manufacture the "Spygate" Scandal; Historian Jon Meacham on His New Book "The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels"

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We begin with the sudden about-face by Donald Trump who cancelled the forthcoming summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un in a letter to the North Korea dictator in which Trump makes childish boasts about the Kim’s puny nukes compared to his, writing “but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” Sue Mi Terry, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Affairs who was previously the deputy national intelligence officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council and the Director of Japan, Korea and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council, joins us. We will discuss how it appears Trump’s new NSC Advisor John Bolton first derailed the summit by referring to the “Libyan model” of nuclear disarmament which alarmed Kim with the prospect of him ending up like Qaddafi.  Then Vice President Pence went further by remarking that the “Libyan model” of the dictator ending up being torn apart by a mob could apply to Kim if he did not make a deal with Trump. This prompted the North Koreans to reply angrily calling Pence is a “political dunce”, and that caused Trump to write in his letter to Kim that “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your recent statement…the summit will not take place”.

Part 2

Then we will examine the meeting today arranged by the White House Chief of Staff in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and the DNI Dan Coats briefed Republican Congressmen Devon Nunes and Trey Gowdy in response to the phony claims by President Trump who is trying to manufacture a scandal he calls “Spygate”, alleging the FBI “infiltrated” his campaign and spied on him. Mark Lowenthal the President of the Intelligence and Security Academy who was Republican Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joins us to discuss how wrong it was for Trump’s new lawyer Emmet Flood to attend and that allowing the Democrat Adam Schiff in at the last minute made it less of a partisan farce.

Part 3

Then finally we will speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meachum about his latest book “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels”. We will discuss this urgent moment we are living in with America at the crossroads under a president who is at war with the truth and the law. But while it may seem we are facing unprecedented threats to American democracy itself, Meachum argues we have presidents before who were not commensurate with the task and that we should not panic but we also should not relax.