November 4 - A Frantic Trump Campaigns to Hold the Senate But Not the House; Trump Doubles Down on Racial Resentment; The American Right's Drive for Permanent Minority Rule

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We begin in the closing days before a watershed election with Kevin O’Leary, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and a former reporter for Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times whose forthcoming book is “Reactionary Revolution: The GOP’s Attack on the Founders and the American Idea”. He joins us to discuss the frantic last-minute racist demagoguery and fear-mongering spewing from Trump at rallies in states where Republicans hope to hold onto their slim majority in the senate, and whether Trump’s lack of focus on the House means that flipping more than enough Republican House seats in California and across the country is increasingly likely.

headshot photo of Dr. Kevin O'Leary

Part 2

Then we will examine how economic factors rather than racial resentment played a larger role in Trump’s 2016 election based on a new study at INET, the Institute for New Economic Thinking “The Economic and Social Roots of Populist Rebellion: Support for Donald Trump in 2016”.  A co-author of the report, Thomas Ferguson joins us. He is professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts and we will discuss how after taking credit for the economic recovery that Obama brought about, Trump is now doubling down on racial resentment both in terms of immigrant-bashing and casting China, the Democrats, globalists and the press as the enemy.

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Part 3

Then finally in the closing days before a watershed election we will get an analysis of whether the majority in this country will show up at the polls in sufficient numbers to overcome the vote rigging by the minority. Ian Samuel, a Professor of Law at Indiana University joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “Rigging the vote: How the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule” and what strategies can be employed to reverse the formidable project of the Republican Right to install permanent minority rule to guarantee control of the government even though fewer and fewer Americans support their policies and programs. This growing tyranny of the minority should be clear since the last two Republican presidents entered office with fewer votes than their opponents got, and the last two justices to join the Supreme Court were confirmed with lifetime appointments to the court by senators who received 22 million fewer votes than the senators who voted against him in the case of Gorsuch. And in the case of Kavanaugh he was confirmed by senators who received 38 million fewer votes than the senators who voted no. So the challenge is not just to win on Tuesday but to wrestle back control from the entrenched minority with an overwhelming victory, then begin the work of leveling the playing field.

Ian  Samuel

 

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November 1 - US Troops and Being Used as Props for Trump's Propaganda; Does Trump Now Have Blood on His Hands?; How to Get Free from the Expropriation of "Freedom"

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We begin with President Trump’s plan to deploy as many as 15,000 troops on the Southern border before the midterm elections even though what he calls an “invasion” of a dwindling number of destitute migrants, mostly women and children from Central America travelling as a group for protection, is about a month away from reaching the border. Joining us is Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan Administration in charge of manpower and personnel where he administered about 70% of the defense budget. We discuss Trump’s unabashed racist campaign commercial blaming Democrats for an alien invasion and the extent to which the U.S. military are being used as props to support dog-whistle propaganda aimed at demonizing unarmed impoverished migrants as a national security threat. And since 2,000 troops were already deployed on the border back in April and Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have spent hundreds of millions hiring more personnel, we will assess the opportunity costs of more troops than we have in Iraq and Afghanistan dragooned away from their families to fight a non-existent threat.

 

Lawrence J. Korb

Part 2

Then we speak with Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America about her article at CNN “We see President Trump for what he is” and make the obvious connection between Trump’s cynical fear-mongering against the “caravan” of Central American migrants he claims is full of terrorists from the Middle East and what triggered the massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue since the anti-Semitic shooter’s last message was a racist attack blaming a Jewish refugee agency for bringing in “invaders that kill our people”. We analyze whether a shift is underway in America as the curtain is pulled back on a small hateful man who only cares about himself but, having legitimized and emboldened hate groups, now has blood on his hands.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into how the concept of freedom has been expropriated by the Koch brothers and other powerful plutocrats who have been successful in defining freedom as freedom from government. Using unlimited supplies of dark money, they are shaping our politics through think tanks they fund while buying our politicians. Nell Abernathy, the Vice President for Policy and Strategy at the Roosevelt Institute, the co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of “Rewriting the Rules on the American Economy”, joins us to discuss her article at Talking Points Memo “Democrats Must Become the Party of Freedom” and how Americans can free themselves from monopolies, oligopolies and a plutocratic takeover of our democracy.

 

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October 31 - The Person Who Revealed an Attempt to Smear Robert Mueller; Reining in the Murderous Unchecked Powers of MBS; A 6000% Increase in the Dynastic Wealth of the Walton, Mars and Koch Families Since 1982

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We begin with Special Counsel Robert Mueller referring evidence to the FBI that pro-Trump political operatives are offering to pay women to make false claims against Mueller accusing him of sexually harassing women in an effort to discredit the Mueller probe. One of these women, Jennifer Taub, who recently received an email trying to enlist her in smearing Mueller, joins us. A Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School, she forwarded the email to the Special Counsel’s office who then contacted the FBI and we will discuss the content of the email and the offer of money from a Simon Frick, a researcher at a firm called Surefire Intelligence. Although Jennifer has never met or spoken to Mueller, the pro-Trump troll wrote “It’s my understanding you may have had some past encounters with Robert Mueller” and he wanted her to talk about it in a phone call, “for which I would compensate you at whatever rate you see fit (inside reason), would be a good place to start …and a beginning rate to talk with you about all encounters you’ve had with Special Counsel Mueller”.  And on another subject, with widespread condemnation and dismissal of Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship which many see as a last-minute election ploy to rile up his base, we discuss Jennifer Taub’s op-ed at CNN, “Trump’s thumbing his nose at the law on citizenship.” 

Jennifer Taub

Part 2

Then with the return to Saudi Arabia from exile in London of the younger brother of King Salman, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, we will examine the possibility that there may be efforts underway to check the reckless and murderous abuse of power being exercised by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS. Gregory Gause, Chair and Professor of International Relations at Texas A&M University and author of “Saudi-Yemeni Relations: Domestic Structures and Foreign Influences”, joins us to discuss the other signal that limitations may be imposed on MBS’s power with the announcement today by Secretary of State Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mattis that the U.S. wants a halt to the disastrous Saudi war in Yemen.

F. Gregory Gause

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Chuck Collins, who directs the Program on Inequality and co-editsinequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies about his new study at inequality.org “Billionaire Bonanza 2018: The Role of Dynastic Wealth” and his article at The Guardian “The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982”. With former Fed Chairman Paul Volker warning “we are developing into a plutocracy”, we will discuss how since 1982, the Walton, Mars and Koch families have seen their wealth increase by 6,000% while the median household wealth went down 3% over the same period.

Chuck Collins

 

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October 30 - Trump and the Resurgence of Anti-Semitism in America; Trump's Unwelcome Visit to Pittsburgh; Are Bombs and Mass Shootings a Welcome Distraction for Trump from the Saudi Debacle?

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We begin with the funerals today of the victims of a massacre of worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue gunned down by an avowed anti-Semite and discuss the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the United States since Donald Trump came into office with a 57% jump in anti-Semitic attacks in 2017 following a 35% rise in 2016 when Trump was campaigning. David Myers the Chair in Jewish History and the Director of the Luskin Center for History and Policy at UCLA joins us to explain how a conspiracy theory became a perverted ideology which flourished in the 1930’s thanks to industrialists like Henry Ford spreading its hateful delusions. But with a million Americans dead and wounded at the hands of the Nazi’s and the revelations of the death camps in 1945, anti-Semitism became a dormant virus only to reemerge with the arrival of Donald Trump whose kid-glove treatment of neo-Nazi and white supremacists has emboldened fringe groups to enter the political mainstream. We will also discuss the paradox that since most American Jews live in coastal metropolitan Blue States, the lack of familiarity with Jews in rural Red States allows for anti-Semitism to take root in spite of the fact that the Religious Right which dominates conservative politics in these states, is an ardent champion of Israel resulting in American anti-Semites loving Israel while hating Jews. On top of that there is the irony that the State of Israel does not recognized the victims of the Pittsburgh massacre as Jews since according to Israel’s chief rabbis, the Tree of Life synagogue is not a real synagogue.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Kristin Kanthak, a professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh about her article at CNN, “Hate can’t diminish ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  A resident of Squirrel Hill where the massacre took place, she joins us to discuss the vigils today and the unwelcome arrival of President Trump and his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner in Pittsburgh which was boycotted by political leaders and local officials along with the neighborhood’s Representative in Congress, a Democrat who was not invited by the White House to attend a presidential photo-op which is attracting a large crowd of protesters.  

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Part 3

Then finally with the President today throwing out yet another bone to rile up his base, this time a dubious claim that he alone can end birthright citizenship with an executive order, we look into how much the bombings and mass shootings have been a welcome distraction for the White House from the embarrassing attempt at a cover-up by Trump and Jared’s close friend the Saudi Crown Prince who most observers believe ordered the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Michael Brenner, a Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh who was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department, joins us.

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October 29 - Brazil's Alarming New Leader; Can Democrats Count on the Latino Vote?; Trump is Manufacturing a Border Crisis

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We begin with the election of a far right former Army captain as the next president of Brazil, the world’s fourth largest democracy. James Green, Professor of Modern Latin American History and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies as well as Director of the Brazil Initiative at Brown University, joins us to discuss the alarming facts about who the clear winner of Sunday’s election Jair Bolsonaro is, what he believes, and what he has said. Having insulted women, gays and Brazil’s majority of citizens of African decent, Bolsonaro has given clear indications that he will remove restraints stopping the farming and mining lobby from cutting down more of Brazil’s rainforests, often referred to as the lungs of the earth. He has also threatened to remove protections which indigenous peoples have been given to save their rainforests and ancestral lands. We also discuss why left of center parties that have ruled for decades in France, Italy and Germany like the worker’s Party in Brazil, have dramatically lost ground to right wing populism. And we will assess what role the military might have in Bolsonaro’s Brazil given the likelihood that they will play a dominate role in the future which many fear could auger a return of right wing military dictatorship.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Ruy Teixeira, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress whose latest book is “The Optimistic Leftist: Why the 21st Century Will Be Better Than You Think” about his article at The Guardian, “Democrats hope Latino voters will help them win. Don’t count on it.” With over 90% of the eligible Latino voters concentrated in 10 states and 56% living in California, Texas and Florida, we discuss polls that indicate the Democrats are underperforming with Latino voters, 55% of whom have not been contacted in any way about the upcoming election. Meanwhile Republicans in California and Texas, including Ted Cruz who is drawing 37% of the Latino vote in spite of the impressive challenge by Beto O’Rourke, are not behind Democrats by a wide margin.

Ruy Teixeira

Part 3

Then finally, with 5,200 troops heading for the Southern border in the Trump Administration’s “Operation Faithful Patriot”, we speak with Ryan Devereaux, an award-wining investigative journalist covering immigration enforcement, the drug war and national security for The Intercept where he has an article “How the Trump Administration is Manufacturing a New Border Crisis”. He joins us to discuss the drumbeat of organized hysteria Fox News and the right wing echo chamber are ginning up, orchestrated by Fox’s Bill Shine at the White House, to make the caravan of migrants from Central America, seem like an apocalyptic alien invasion.

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