June 28 - SCOTUS Tears Down the Separation of Church and State; The Venezuelan Tragedy Worsens; China's Rare Earth Monopoly and America's Blindness

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We begin with Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court in a case that appears innocuous but the 7 to 2 decision could result in a tectonic shift in American life. Elaine Pagels, a Professor of Religion at Princeton University and the author of “Revelations: Vision, Prophesy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation”, joins us to discuss how churches are now eligible for public funds. We assess the warning issued in an impassioned dissent from the bench by Justice Sotomayor that the decision “discounts centuries of history and jeopardizes the government’s ability to remain secular” and how right wing “Christian” fundamentalists cheering the ruling like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Pence could use the decision to drive their agenda of promoting religious schools and voucher programs to the extent that, quoting Justice Sotomayor, “leads us to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment”.

Part 2

Then we go to Caracas, Venezuela for an update on the helicopter attack on the Supreme Court by a dissident police officer who is a highly-trained agent with the Special Actions Brigade as well as a movie actor and something of an almost-comical action figure proclaiming “peace is coming”. Michael Penfold, a professor of Political Economy and Governance at IESA, a Business and Public Policy School in Caracas and co-author of “Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chavez”, joins us to discuss the deadlock between a population opposed to an incompetent government and a government with the power of the military and vigilante “collectivos” behind it.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Victoria Bruce, the author of a new book just out “Sellout: How Washington Gave Away America’s Technological Soul and One Man’s Fight to Bring it Home”. We will discuss her alarming and true story of one citizen’s fight to preserve a U.S. stake in the future of clean energy and the rare earth elements essential to high tech industries and national defense. We will examine why China has a monopoly over rare earth minerals and why the U.S. let it happen.

 

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June 27 - The Republican Overhaul of Healthcare is Stalled; A Critique of Oliver Stone's Valentine to Putin; How the World Sees the US Under Trump

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We begin with the Republican Senate delaying their vote on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was hoping to ram through before the 4th of July recess. A leading authority on healthcare and healthcare reform, Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of Social Medicine and Heath Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina joins us. We discuss the difficulty pleasing the demands of the Libertarian wing who want to do away with any government role and the moderate Republican wing who don’t want to see millions of citizens in their states loose healthcare coverage that they have only recently gained. We will look into the obvious truth about these bills that they are tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of taking coverage away from our poorest citizens, and whether in the event that the Republicans get nothing done, we will be left with the probability that Obamacare will be slowly but surely undermined and killed by neglect and sabotage.

Part 2

Then we speak with Masha Gessen, the author of “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin” who is now a contributing writer for The New York Times where she has an article “How Putin Seduced Oliver Stone, and Trump”. We discuss her critique of the four hour-long interviews of Vladimir Putin that Oliver Stone made for Showtime which were widely panned as a platform for Putin to parry sycophantic softball questions into a propaganda exercise. We also examine whether Putin’s meddling in the U.S. election has backfired.

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Then finally we analyze a major shift in global attitudes about the United States reflected in the latest poll from the Pew Research Center that surveyed over 40,000 people in 37 countries to find that only 2 countries, Israel and Russia have a better opinion of America under Trump while 26 of the 37 countries consider Trump dangerous. Michael Fuchs, a former deputy assistant secretary of state who was a special advisor to the secretary of state and a member of the secretary’s policy planning staff, joins us to assess how far the U.S. has fallen in the estimation of the world since Trump became president.


 

 

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June 26 - Alternative Strategies to Stop Democrats From Losing; The Danger of Delegating Presidential Decisions to the Military; A CIA Insider on Trump's War With the Intelligence Community

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We begin with an analysis of the daunting task ahead for the Democrats who hope to take back the House and even the Senate in 2018 and speak with George Lakoff, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley and author of ”The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant” and “The Political Mind”. He joins us to discuss the recent Democratic defeat in the most expensive congressional race in history and offer an alternative strategy for Democrats as they try to reach out to disaffected Republican voters in potential swing districts. Facing a gerrymandered electorate with unlimited Republican money pouring in, Lakoff argues that the Democrats are doomed as long as they fail to learn from recent defeats while clinging to the vain hope Trump will self-destruct or be impeached. He urges them to stop running the same campaigns with bland candidates who continue to run on facts and figures, platforms and policies, while ignoring the political mind and the importance of values and emotions.   

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Part 2

Then we examine the consequences of having a commander in chief who delegates decisions to the military as the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq gets more complicated and potentially explosive while the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorates. Henri Barkey, the Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who was a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff on the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and Intelligence, joins us to discuss that in the absence of hands-on leadership, there is a growing possibility that a clash between the U.S. and Syrian or Iranian forces could spark a wider war in Syria.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Mel Goodman, an expert on U.S. relations with Russia who served as a senior analyst and division chief at the CIA and is the author of six books on U.S. intelligence and international security, the latest of which is “Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider’s Account of the Politics of Intelligence”. He joins us to discuss the inner workings of the intelligence community and how corruption, intimidation and misinformation can lead to disastrous foreign interventions.

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June 25 - Trump Now Blames Obama For Russia's Election Meddling; Intel From Inside Putin's Office Reveals Putin Was Hands-On With Election Hack; Rampant Rumors Suggest Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is About to Retire

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We begin with an update on the Trump/Russia story that continues to haunt a president who vents into the wee hours of the morning calling his friends who wake up to a diatribe of complaints from the beleaguered leader of the free world. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harpers in legal affairs and national security, joins us to discuss the latest twists and turns in a story that won’t go away although now that The Washington Post has released an exhaustive investigate article “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault”, Trump is now blaming the whole Russian election meddling saga on Obama. We look into the irony that now at least Trump is acknowledging what he has long denied, that the Russian meddling took place, and the reasons why the White House is lawyering up with both Trump and Pence hiring defense lawyers, and whether General Flynn is cooperating with the FBI and spilling the beans on who colluded with the Russians and in terms of a cover-up, what did they know and when did they know.

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Part 2

Then we look further into the intelligence angle on perhaps the most extraordinary revelation in The Washington Post article, that Putin personally ordered the U.S. election active measures operation and oversaw it, evidence apparently obtained by U.S. intelligence from inside Putin’s inner circle. Malcolm Nance, a globally recognized counterintelligence expert and Intelligence Community member joins us. He is the author of “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and Wikileaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election” and we discuss where the various investigations are heading.

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Part 3

Then finally we assess the frenzied rumors and rampant speculation that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is about to retire and speak first with Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law who frequently argues before the Supreme Court. Then Eric Segall, a Professor of Law at Georgia State College of Law joins us to analyze the impact on the country of a shift to the hard right with Trump appointing another arch conservative to the Supreme Court, given that Trump’s new lawyer Jay Sekulow in the former lawyer for the anti-abortion evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

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June 22 - The Republicans Celebrate the 4th of July By Making America Sick Again; The Kind of Messages and Candidates Democrats Need in 2018; Why the Republicans are Attacking Nancy Pelosi

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We begin with an analysis of the just-released draft of the Republican Senate’s repeal and replacement of Obamacare bill that Mitch McConnell is determined to get passed by the fourth of July holiday in a grotesque perversion of patriotism as Republicans are poised to celebrate millions of their fellow citizens loosing healthcare coverage in order to make a handful of their richest patrons even richer. A veteran of the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter, who was chief corporate spokesman at CIGNA and head of corporate communications at Humana, joins us to discuss what has emerged from secret behind-closed-doors negotiations and the unseemly rush to get something passed before it can be studied or scored to assess its impact, in order to fulfill a Trump campaign promise so that Republicans can move on to the important work of “reforming” taxes to further enrich the wealthiest Americans like Trump and his family.

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Part 2

Then we get an assessment of the Democrat’s recent loss in the most expensive House race in history and why they ran such a bland candidate with a feckless message and whether by reaching so high they gave Trump a gift and squandered millions of dollars of small donations from concerned citizens who are alarmed by Trump’s reckless and destructive presidency. Simon Rosenberg, the President and Founder of the New Democrat Network, a leading progressive think tank and advocacy organization, joins us to discuss the kind of messages and candidates the Democrats need to take back the House and Senate in 2018.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington who worked for 38 years in the House of Representatives and served as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff. He joins us to discuss unrelenting Republican attacks on Pelosi as well as some criticism of her leadership from a few Democrats and the underlying reason why she is the target of Republicans, not because they see her as a weak leader, but as a strong one.

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