May 23, 2018: Was the $1.6 Million Payoff to the Pregnant Playmate Done for Trump’s Benefit?; Are We back on the Path Towards Another Wall Street Crash?; How Trump’s Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Prolonged the Opioid Crisis Leading Towards More Deaths

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Part 1

We begin with the recent investigative article by the Associated Press “The Princes, the president and the fortune seekers” which details the role of the convicted child molester George Nader who is now cooperating with Robert Mueller and the deals he brokered with Elliot Broidy, a top fundraiser for Donald Trump and the crown princes of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia that led to a secret meeting in the Seychelles with Erik Prince to set up a backchannel between Trump and the Kremlin as well as use Prince’s mercenary force in the Gulf to start a war with Iran. Following on from the AP report we will speak with Paul Campos, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School about his articles at New York Magazine “Here’s a Theory About That $1.6 million Payout From GOP Official to a Playboy Model” and “Hey Look: More Evidence That Broidy May Have Been Covering for Trump in That Playmate Affair”. We will discuss the extraordinary coincidence that two days after the $1.6 million payoff to the pregnant Playmate Shera Bechard to get an abortion, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen arranged for an Oval Office photo opportunity for Elliot Broidy with Trump which Broidy then used to get a $600 million Arms contract with the Emirates. With no evidence of a supposed two year- long relationship that Broidy was supposed to have had with the Playmate and plenty of evidence Michael Cohen has been paying off Playmates and porn stars who had relationships with Trump, enquiring minds want to know more.

Part 2

Then with the vote in the House of 258 to 159 to roll back the Dodd Frank regulations and the expected soon watering down of the Volcker Rule which stops big banks from making risky bets with depositors’ money, Nomi Prins joins us to examine how much we will soon be back on the path of freeing up the “banksters” to run wild and bring about the next Wall Street crash. She is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs and ran the international analytics group at Bear Sterns in London and is the author of a new book “Collusion: How Central Banks Rigged the World” which looks into what happened to the $21 trillion created out of thin air by central banks in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.

Part 3

Then finally Chris McGreal a senior writer for The Guardian U.S. and their former correspondent in Jerusalem and Johannesburg joins us to discuss his latest article at The Guardian “Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths”. We will examine how Trump’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who represented the makers of OxyContin Purdue Pharma, tried to thwart the federal prosecutor and blame the opioid epidemic caused by Purdue pushing their drug on the doctors who prescribed it, while managing to prevent Purdue from being banned from doing business with Medicare, Medicaid and the V.A. to the point where Purdue was able to make $5 billion more out of OxyContin, then the leading cause of the 300,000 overdose deaths in America.

 

May 22 - Are the DOJ and FBI Making Too Many Concessions as Trump Bullies Them?; Trump Dampens His Own Expectations on the Summit With Kim Jong-Un; Why the Reaction in Texas is So Different To What Happened After the Florida High School Shooting

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We begin with the unprecedented assault on the law by the President of the United States who is being investigated but has now managed to have his investigators investigated and to unleash his lapdog Congressman Devin Nunes and Tea Party Republicans to rummage through secret evidence which the special prosecutor Mueller has compiled to find selective and misleading leaks to pass on to Fox News and to give Trump a preview which he can use to prepare his defense.  Bruce Green, the Director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics and the Chair at Fordham Law School who was the past chair of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, joins us. We  discuss his forthcoming scholarly article “Can the President Control the Department of Justice” and whether top officials in the DOJ and the FBI are making too many concessions as Trump bullies them into chipping away at prosecutorial independence.  Or is the tasking of the DOJ’s Inspector General to investigate Trump’s absurd claim that the FBI “infiltrated” his campaign and spied on him, a way to placate the target of the investigation who is likely be held criminally liable if Mueller is able to complete his investigation?

 

Bruce Green

Part 2

Then with Trump meeting today with South Korea’s leader ahead of the planned summit with Kim Jong-un where he announced that, “there is a very good chance that it won’t work out”, we will speak with Charles Armstrong, a Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University and author of “Tyranny of the Weak: North Kores and the World”. We  discuss how much Kim Jong-un learned from Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” which Dennis Rodman gave him since the North Korean dictator seems to have Trump begging for a deal while minting commemorative medals and musing about Nobel Peace prizes.

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Part 3

Then finally we assess why the response to the recent gun massacre at a high school in Texas was so different from what happened after the 17 students and teachers were gunned down at the Parkland High School in Florida and speak with best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television news correspondent James Moore. He joins us from the Texas capitol to discuss his article at CNN “Thoughts and prayers this isn’t true in Texas” and why the gun culture is so strong in Texas that the priority of the State’s leaders is to protect guns over protecting children.

James Moore

 

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May 21 - North and South Korea Blame Neocon Bolton For Shaky Summit; Gorsuch Kills Off Long-Standing Workers' Rights; Did the Ultimate Dealmaker Get Smoked By the Chinese?

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We begin with Ken Vogel, a reporter with The New York Times Washington Bureau joins us to discuss his latest article “Advising Bolton Is a “Shadow N.S.C.”  We look into the role of a group of neocon activists and lobbyists close to the new National Security Advisor John Bolton which means that now, with like-minded neocons dominating the NSC, there will be no diversity of opinion or dissenting views presented to Trump.  With both North and South Korea blaming Bolton for the shaky ground that the summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un is now on because Bolton tied the upcoming talks to the “Libyan model” which Kim interprets as regime change by a mob tearing a dictator apart, it looks like the tail of the neocon is wagging the big dog in the Oval Office.

 

 

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Part 2

Then we get an analysis of the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision led by Trump’s new justice Neil Gorsuch which kills off a vestige of the 1935 New Deal in terms of worker’s rights, doing away with class action suits for redress such as wage theft and forcing employees into arbitration which is heavily weighted in favor of employers over their employees. Celine McNicholas, the Economic Policy Institute’s Labor Counsel and a core member of their Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages, joins us to discuss the court’s corporatist tilt and today’s stinging dissent by Ruth Bader Ginzberg.  

 

Celine McNicholas

Part 3

Then finally we examine the Secretary of Treasury announcement “we’re putting the trade war on hold” after the completion of talks with Chinese negotiators in what looks like a win for China since they appear to have given up little in return for the U.S. holding off on imposing tariffs of $150 billion on Chinese imports. Katheryn Russ, a Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis who worked for the Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors as Senior Economist for International Trade and Finance, joins us to discuss whether the self-proclaimed ultimate dealmaker Donald Trump has been smoked by Xi Jinping.  Given the recent case of a Chinese bank investing in a Trump-related Indonesian deal which appears to be a quid pro quo to get the Chinese telecomm giant ZTE off the hook, we will assess whether calling Trump’s bluff with money is an advantage the Chinese and others can exploit if Trump can be bribed with financial deals that enrich him at the expense of our economy and U.S. national security. With Jared Kushner having already shown that a bad investment by the Kushner Company in 666 Fifth Avenue can be rescued by the Trump Administration using the instruments of statecraft against Qatar to get them pay up to have a blockade lifted, then how can we be confident that the Trump family business does not take priority over our economic and foreign policy?

 

Katheryn Russ

 

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May 20 - Trump Tries to Manufacture a "Spying" Scandal; An Election in Venezuela as the Country Falls Apart; Maybe We Are Not as Polarized and Politically Dysfunctional as We Think

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We begin with the outing of an FBI confidential informant who President Trump is claiming was a spy “infiltrated” into his campaign which he is demanding the congress investigate, tweeting out that “this is bigger than Watergate”. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security joins us to discuss how Trump is trying to gin up a campaign of phony outrage to get Devon Nunes and the junkyard dogs of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” to yap loudly along with Sean Hannity and the Fox New propagandists in the hope Trump can use this as an excuse to slow or shut down the Mueller investigation. We assess whether the revelation that a 73 year-old American professor at Cambridge University who has been a long-time CIA and FBI informant for the Administrations of Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush junior and was meeting with Trump campaign officials who the FBI suspected had ties to the Russians, will be seen by the broader public as the “smoking gun” Trump is trying to make it appear to be. We also examine the latest expose from The New York Times on meetings in Trump Tower and the Seychelles brokered by the convicted child molester George Nader who set Donald Trump Jr. up with Erik Prince who was offering his services to the Trump campaign to use his mercenary army in the Emirates to start a war with Iran.  

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Part 2

Then we will go to Venezuela to get an update on today’s elections which are widely seen as a choice between participating in a rigged election or boycotting the vote, thus handing the incompetent ideologue Maduro another term as the country spirals into economic ruin and social disintegration. Caracas-based journalist Virginia Lopez, who covered Latin America and Venezuela for The Guardian and Al Jazeera English joins us to discuss her article at the Toronto Globe and Mail, “In Venezuela, an election where no one wins” and how the oil infrastructure in the once oil-rich country is so neglected and mismanaged that oil exports will soon grind to a halt.

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Part 3

Then finally James and Deborah Fallows join us in the studio to discuss their new book, just out, “Our Towns: A 100,000 mile journey into the heart of America”. James has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic for more than 35 years and Deborah is a linguist and writer and they have traveled into America’s heartland in their small private plane to discover a surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place outside of the view of the national media which at a time of polarization and political dysfunction, is both welcome and encouraging.

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May 17 - Kim Jong-Un Has Mastered the Art of the Deal at Trump's Expense; Trump Disregards the Emoluments Clause and American National Security to Rescue Jobs in China

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 We begin with the North Koreans casting doubts on whether the upcoming summit is Singapore between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump will happen on June 12 as they cut off talks with South Korea and lambaste Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton in an official statement saying that it would be a “ridiculous comedy” if Trump payed too much attention to Bolton’s positions and that “we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him”. This prompted Trump to distance himself from the hawkish Bolton and try to clarify what Bolton meant by applying the “Libyan model” to disarming North Korea in a garbled and incoherent statement which ended in a threat to decimate North Korea if they did not make a deal with him. Jacob Heilbrunn, a Senior Editor at the National Interest and the author of “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons”, joins us to discuss his article at The Spectator “Could John Bolton cost Trump his Nobel Peace Prize?” and the extent to which Kim Jong-un has mastered the art of the deal and has Trump begging to meet in Singapore, making it clear that it was not Trump’s toughness and threats of “fire and fury” which brought Kim to the negotiating table, but rather Trump’s weakness and his narcissistic need to make a deal”.

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Part 2

Then we look into the highly coincidental reversal by Trump of his campaign mantra that the Chinese were stealing American jobs to has call on Sunday to rescue the Chinese company ZTE from U.S. sanctions because it is costing “too many jobs in China”. This at the same time a State-owned Chinese bank loaned a half a billion dollars to an Indonesian developer in partnership with Trump to build a Disney-like theme park, hotel and golf course in a protected rainforest.  Joining us is Sarah Chayes, a senior associate at the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who was a special advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and whose latest book is “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security”.  We will discuss the brazen contempt President Trump has for the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as his daughter Ivanka who is being paid $1.5 million annually from three companies one of which manages the Indonesian project. Her 2017 financial disclosure was dueTuesday but has not yet been released by the Office of Government Ethics.  But more outrageous is Donald Trump’s almost treasonous disregard of the national security concerns raised by the heads of the CIA, NSA, DIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Director of National intelligence, all of whom consider ZTE, the Chinese company Trump is rescuing, a national security threat and a front for Chinese Intelligence.

 

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