October 26 - Trump is Already Shortening His Trip to Asia; Is General Kelly in Way Over His Head?; What is the US Doing in Niger?

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We begin with next week’s trip to Asia that a reluctant traveler President Trump is undertaking with a tour of the Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii then on to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam for the APEC summit of world leaders and lastly the Philippines where he already cutting short his visit and skipping the East Asia summit being held there. The Director of East and Southeast Asia Policy at the Center for American Progress, Brian Harding, joins us from Japan.  He served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as country director for Asian and Pacific security affairs and we will discuss Trump’s reality TV show tease when asked whether he will visit the DMZ separating the two Korea’s, and the possibility that the North Koreans will upstage Trump with a nuclear or missile test. We will also look into whether or not Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam and assess what might be achieved by the 12 day trip which Trump has already shortened as he did earlier with his first foreign trip abroad about which he expressed dread and cut from nine days to five.  

 

Brian Harding

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Then we speak with Mark Perry, an author and historian specializing in military, foreign affairs, and intelligence analysis about his article at Politico “Are Trump’s Generals in Over Their Heads?” and his article at The American Conservative “How Saddam Hussein Predicted America’s Failure in Iraq” which is a chapter in his new book “The Pentagon Wars”. We assess whether there has been too much expectation placed on the generals around Trump, the so-called “adults in the room”, and examine how much the deeply conservative and politically inexperienced Chief of Staff John Kelly is way out of his depth.

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Then finally we look into the country that most Americans just learned the U.S. military is involved in, Niger.  A former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger, David Litt joins us. He was a State Department political advisor to the U.S. Special Operations Command from 1998 to 2002 and we discuss his article at Foreign Policy “Why Is the United States in Niger, Anyway?” and how in a region where it is easier to get an AK-47 assault rifle than a job, weak governance and poverty make the region a fertile ground for insurgents.
 

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October 25 - Trump's Republican Opponents Voted to Gut the CFPB; The Opioid Crisis is Ravaging Communities Who Voted For Trump; A Majority of Active-Duty Military Officers Oppose Trump

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We begin with the vote late on Tuesday in the Senate overturning a CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that now means consumers who have been defrauded by banks and financial institutions will now be forced into arbitration where the record shows consumers only win 9% of the time and are often counter-sued and end up owing the banks that defrauded them an average of $7,725. Amanda Werner, the arbitration campaign manager at Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, whose appearance dressed as Monopoly Man at a recent Senate hearing on fraud and negligence by Wells Fargo and Equifax went viral on the Internet, joins us to discuss how Republican critics of Trump, Senators Flake, Corker and McCain voted with Trump against the American consumer in a tie-breaking vote decided by Vice President Pence. Now that the parasitic payday lenders are lining up to challenge rules that prevent them from fleecing consumers more than they already do, we assess what this means for the future of the CFPB which has returned $12 billion to defrauded consumers while being under unrelenting attack by Republicans from day one.

The Monopoly Man

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Then we speak with Sam Quinones, a former LA Times reporter who now writes for The New York Times and Los Angeles Magazine and is the author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic”. He joins us to discuss the low expectations for Trump’s announcement Thursday to address the opioid crisis without anyone heading Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and how much the opioid epidemic is ravaging communities who voted for Trump in part because of the despair associated with their sense of a society falling apart from within.

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Then finally, with a poll just out from The Military Times that finds 53% of active-duty military officers oppose their commander in chief Donald Trump, we speak with General Robert Gard who was the U.S. Army’s first director of Human Resources Development and later served as President of the National Defense University. He joins us to discuss the alarming lack of staffing at the senior levels of the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council at a time when we have a reckless and ignorant president who the top generals in the White House are busy “containing” instead of addressing global crises. 
 
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October 24 - The Urgent Need to Stop Trump's March to War in Korea; A Senator's Impassioned Plea to Stand Against Trump; The Family Who Profit From America's Opioid Epidemic

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We begin with the Trump Administration’s National Security Advisor threatening a military option against North Korea in addition to Japan’s Defense Minister sounding the alarm at a meeting in the Philippines with the US and South Korean defense ministers that the nuclear and missile threat from North Korea had reached an “unprecedented, critical and imminent level” requiring “different responses”. A former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Donald Gregg, who was Vice President George HW Bush’s National Security Advisor, joins us to discuss his concern that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to peace and stability in Asia. He urges the Trump White House to urgently take up the offer by former President Carter to act as an envoy to resume diplomatic dialogue with North Korea before the war of words and reckless threats lead to a war that could see the first nuclear weapons used since Nagasaki, in spite of General McMaster’s assertion that there are military options available to deal with North Korea.

 

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Then we assess the impact of Senator Jeff Flake’s impassioned resignation speech before the U.S. Senate today in which he lamented the damage being done to the country by Donald Trump and pleaded with his senate colleagues to show the leadership and courage necessary to oppose the destruction and desecration of American values, appealing to them in the name of our children who will ask “why didn’t you do something. Why didn’t you speak up?”  Joining us to discuss the likelihood that both U.S. Senate seats in Arizona will be contested in the next election is Evan Wyloge, an investigative reporter with the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting who previously spent 5 years as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times. We will discuss the number of Republicans vying for the seats and how much this could be an opportunity for the Democrats and who they might run.

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Then finally we speak about Trump’s expected announcement on what he will do about the opioid crisis with Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the Co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University who is also the Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He joins us to discuss the article in The New Yorker profiling the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma and how these prominent philanthropists pushed their drug OxyContin to generate billions in profits while creating millions of addicts in what has become America’s opioid epidemic.

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October 23 - Trump's New Low as He Attacks the Widow of a Fallen Green Beret; Niger and Why It Is Suddenly in the News; How the Adults in the Room Are Enabling Trump

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We begin with a new low for Donald Trump who in effect called the widow of the slain Green Beret killed in Niger a liar, following her remarks on ABC’s “Good Morning America” where she supported what Congresswoman Wilson had said about Trump’s botched condolence call, saying Trump “made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn’t remember my husband’s name”.  A highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded 2 Silver Stars, 2 Legions of Merit, and 2 Purple Hearts, Phillip Butler, who was shot down over North Vietnam and spent 8 years as a POW, joins us.  Now that we are in day 8 of the continuing scandal over Trump’s handling of Gold Star families, we will discuss the national wound Trump opened when he accused his predecessors of not making condolence calls to the fallen, and the escalating war of words between Trump and Senator McCain. Having known McCain since they graduated together from the US Naval Academy in 1961 and later as Phil Butler spent 8 years in captivity compared to McCain’s 5, which Trump disparaged during the campaign, we will assess how Trump will react to being called a draft-dodger, which was clearly implied in McCain’s remark that rich kids avoided the Vietnam war by claiming to have bone spurs.

 

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Then we look into Niger, the country suddenly in the news, and the growing questions surrounding the US military mission there and the apparent failure of intelligence that led to the ambush of the four Green Berets whose deaths have led to frictions between our military and civilian authorities and between Trump and the family of one of the fallen. Laura Seay, a professor of Government at Colby College who studies African politics, conflict, and development with a focus on central Africa, joins us to discuss the activities of AFRICOM and Senator Lindsay Graham’s announcement that there will be more US aggression on the continent.

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Then finally we speak with John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies whose latest article at Foreign Policy in Focus is “Trump’s Enablers Should Be Shamed Out of Public Life”. He joins us to discuss how the generals, the so-called “adults in the room”, are in fact enabling militaristic policies around the world and are only restraining Trump’s personality defects and impulses, not his policies. 
 
John Feffer

 

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October 22 - Will the Release of the JFK Assassination Files Clear the Air?; The Author of "How the Right Lost Its Mind"; How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump

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We begin with Thursday’s expected release of the last of the JFK files on the Kennedy assassination following a 1992 order from Congress to the National Archives to release the documents 25 years later. Along with MLK and RFK, the JFK assassination has long been the subject of a cottage industry of conspiracy theories, and now with a conspiracy theorist in the Oval Office who claimed Ted Cruz’s father was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before Kennedy’s death, we have Trump tweeting out on Saturday that “I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JKF FILES to be opened”.  Philip Shenon, the bestselling author of “The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission” and a former reporter with The New York Times for 20 years, joins us to discuss his latest book “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination” and his article at Politico “The JFK Document Dump Could be a Fiasco”. We examine whether Thursday’s release will satisfy conspiracy theorists and whether there will be further redactions before the release of the last of the classified documents.

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Then we speak with Charlie Sykes, a longtime host of the #1 conservative talk radio show in Wisconsin who is now a regular contributor to MSNBC. He joins us to discuss his new book, just out “How the Right Lost Its Mind” and the paradoxical place the Republican Party is now in with control of all branches of government and the judiciary but with all that power they can’t seem to get anything done and are becoming increasingly unpopular. We look into why Republicans have abandoned facts in the Trump era, why they can’t govern and when will traditional Republicans fight back in Steve Bannon’s “season of war” against the GOP.

 
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Then finally we examine how voter suppression in Wisconsin may well have been the deciding factor in Trump’s narrow win of 23,000 votes in that key swing state. Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones covering voting rights and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America”, joins us to discuss his article at Mother Jones “Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump”. We look into the key role in enabling voter suppression that the judiciary played, and now that Trump is stacking the Federal Courts with reactionary judges, how Wisconsin’s “success” in voter suppression will be expanded nationwide.

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