January 18 - Chaos and Trump's Latest Attack on the Truth; The Oval Office Reality TV Star as the Center of Attention in His Own Tawdry Drama; The Most Unethical Presidency

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We begin with the chaos on Capitol Hill caused by our chaotic president whose tweets and rhetoric risk blowing up frantic last-minute deals his own party is trying to negotiate to avert a government shutdown. While senior House Democrats introduced a resolution to censure the president for his recent crude racist remarks insulting the people of Africa today, Trump tweeted out his much-anticipated “Fake News Awards” with a link to the Republican National Committee website which promptly crashed. Jason Stanley, a Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and the author of “How Propaganda Works”, joins us to discuss Trump’s latest attack on the truth just a day after a Republican senator had delivered an impassioned speech on the senate floor lamenting Trump’s use of Stalin’s death-threat in branding the press “the enemy of the people”. This a day after Senator McCain had published an op-ed stating “The phrase ‘fake news’ – granted legitimacy by an American president – is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens”.   

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Then we examine further the political rhetoric coming from the White House with John Murphy, a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois where he studies the rhetoric of the U.S. presidency. He joins us to discuss the antics of the reality television star in the Oval Office who continually creates his own tawdry drama with him in the starring role as the center of attention, and how much Trump has broken the mold of traditional presidential decorum and dignity and whether respect for the executive branch can be restored.

 John Murphy

Part 3

Then finally Ambassador Norman Eisen joins us to discuss a new report he has co-authored at CREW, the Center for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, “The Most Unethical Presidency: Year One”. He served in the Obama White House as special counsel and special assistant to the president for ethics and government reform and was U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic and we will discuss not just the most chaotic, but the most unethical presidency in modern times and possibly in the nation’s history.

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January 17 - An Analysis of Trump's First Year Trashing US Foreign Policy; Internet Search Data Reveals a Dramatic Drop in the Public's Interest in Trump; The Arrest of an Ex-CIA Officer Suspected of Exposing the CIA's Spy Network in China

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We begin with two important new and revealing studies assessing the first year of the Trump Administration, the first “Trump’s National Security and Foreign Policy Failures: Year One” and the second “What Internet search data reveal about Donald Trump’s first year in office”. Daniel Benaim, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as a Middle East policy adviser and foreign policy speechwriter at the White House, the Department of State, and the U.S. Senate, joins us to discuss his report on the first year of Trump’s abysmal foreign policy record which has left America more isolated and less respected, and the extraordinary speech in the senate today by Republican Senator Jeff Flake who likened Trump to Joseph Stalin and other despots warning “The president has it precisely backwards – despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy” and in terms of Trump’s lasting damage to our foreign policy, “Mr. President, so powerful is the presidency that the damage done by the sustained attack on the truth will not be confined to the president’s time in office.”

 

Daniel Benaim

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Then we speak with Darrell West, the vice president and Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and the Founding Director of the Center for Technological Innovation. He is the author of “Billionaires; Reflections on the Upper Crust” and the author of a new report “What Internet search data reveal about Donald Trump’s first year in office” which finds that over the year the public’s interest in Trump has dropped dramatically while interest in his impeachment has spiked.

Darrell West, director and vice president of Governance Studies. 2/2017

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Then finally we examine the arrest of an ex-CIA officer charged with spying for China who is suspected of exposing the CIA’s spy network in China causing the murder or capture of around 20 undercover U.S. agents. June Dreyer, a professor of Political Science at the University of Miami specializing in Chinese government and foreign policy who was the Asia Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations, joins us to discuss the pervasive nature of China’s spying activity in the U.S. and the tensions between and the CIA and FBI counterintelligence over their mole hunt inside the CIA.
 
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January 16 - Should Democrats Negotiate With Liars?; Who Will Be Blamed For a Government Shutdown?; The Hypocrisy of Religious Freedom

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We begin with the looming possibility of a government shutdown on Friday and analyze who has leverage at the moment and which party will be blamed if Washington grinds to a halt. Democratic strategist Matt Angle, who directs the Texas Democratic Trust and the Lone Star Project, a Political Action Committee that aims to be an aggressive fact-checker on the Republican Party, joins us. We discuss what strategies the Senate Democrats might employ in the face of the outrageous lies from Trump and Senators Cotton and Perdue who trashed the truth-teller Senator Durbin. We will assess whether the Democrats can draw a line and say we are not talking to the White House or the Republicans until they stop lying because what is the point of negotiating with liars? And since the Democratic base will not sacrifice “dreamers” for wasting money on Trump’s wall, which he will not budge on, we look into whether, with the Democrats poised to tack back the House and possibly the Senate in November, using DACA as the issue upon which to shut down the government will hurt Democrats in Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and other Red States.

 

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Then we examine further the showdown over DACA versus the wall and who gets blamed for shutting down the government and speak with Robert Shapiro, a professor and the former chair of the Department of Political Science at Columbia University and author of “Politicians Don’t Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness”. He joins us to discuss the Democrat’s dilemma and the Republican lying, with The Washington Post counting over 2,000 lies Trump has told in his first year in office and the shameless lies Senators Cotton and Perdue are engaged in covering up for Trump.

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Then finally, with Trump proclaiming today January 16 Religious Freedom Day, we discuss the historical hypocrisy of celebrating the Religious Right’s idea of religious freedom and the absurdity of their claim that the founders wanted a “Christian Nation” when in fact Jefferson, Madison and other founders championed religious tolerance because they had witnessed the public beatings of Baptist preachers and still carried the memory of women branded as witches being burned at the stake. Frederick Clarkson, a Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates joins us to discuss how the theocratic bent of the Religious Right and their intolerance towards women’s rights and the LGBT community makes a mockery of religious freedom. 
 
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January 15 - "Mr. President, Are You a Racist?"; Trump and the Moral Sickness He is Spreading; A Backlash to Trump in the Spirit of MLK

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We begin with President Trump’s White House appearance shortly after he made vulgar and hateful remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and the entire continent of Africa at which he praised Doctor King but was overshadowed by questions from the press causing Trump to hurry out of the room ignoring shouts of “are you a racist”. Kristen Clarke, the President and Executive Director of the national Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights which leads the national nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, joins us to discuss her overview of where race relations and voter enfranchisement stands in the Trump/Sessions era. With a racist in the Oval Office and a relic of the Old South as the nation’s top lawman supposed to protect voting rights which Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111 has always opposed, we will examine ways to turn back the turning back of the clock on civil and voting rights in the country.

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Then we speak with the theologian and scholar Obery Hendricks the author of “The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic”. He joins us to discuss the moral sickness that Trump is spreading across the land with enablers like the moral midgets Republican Senators Cotton and Perdue joining in the Trump lies of denial when the whole world knows that the racist and hateful remarks attributed to Trump are what he said. We discuss harnessing the power of love against the tide of hate and a revival of the religious left in this country while the religious right loses any claim of Christian legitimacy as they cling to a racist misogynist in the White House.

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Then finally we discuss the likelihood of a backlash to the Trump/Sessions assault on civil rights and voting rights in the spirit of Martin Luther King’s teaching and sacrifice as the millennial generation shows signs of growing political activism in reaction to Trump and Betsy De Vos indenturing them with student debt while Sessions tries to reverse the legalization of marijuana. Garrett Duncan, a Professor of Education and of African and African/American Studies in Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington in St. Louis joins us on this Martin Luther King Day.

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January 14 - An African Perspective on Trump's Insult of the Continent; An Historian of Immigration on the Trump/Sessions Agenda; Why Our "Populist" President Governs of, By and For the Plutocrats

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We begin with the vulgar and hateful remarks that Donald Trump made about Haiti, El Salvador and the entire continent of Africa during White House discussions with lawmakers over the future of DACA ahead of an increasingly likely government shutdown on Friday. Aniedi Okure, the executive director of the Africa Faith and Justice Network which advocates for responsible U.S. relations with Africa, joins us to discuss the outrage at Trump’s insult to the continent’s 55 countries expressed by the African Union and African ambassadors to the United Nations. We also examine the role of African leaders who, while venting indignation at the racist ignoramus in the Oval Office, in many cases care little for their own populations and are mainly interested in enriching themselves by accepting foreign bribes for access to critical minerals and vast tracts of agricultural lands.

 

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Then we look into the historical roots of Trump’s racist attitudes to immigrants that go back to the language of nativists and racists in the1920’s, and speak with a political historian who specializes in immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. Mae Ngai, Professor of History and of Asian American Studies at Columbia University and author of   “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America” and the forthcoming book “The Chinese Question”, joins us to discuss how Trump and Sessions are trying to turn back the clock on immigration. We examine how DACA is being held hostage by Republican hardliners who want a wall and a so-called “merit-based” immigration system, while the Democrats hold considerable leverage ahead of a government shutdown at the end of next week.

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Then finally we speak with Thomas Ferguson, a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts who is co-author of a new study from the Institute for New Economic Thinking “Industrial Structures and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games” We look into the report’s detailed research of the last election that finds the bulk of the $861 million that Trump raised flooded into the race in the finally weeks of the campaign and it came mostly as dark money from private equity billionaires who have been rewarded by a president who ran as a populists but governs for the plutocrats.

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