May 9 - Are Israel's and Saudi Arabia's Leaders Drawing the US Into Fighting Iran on Their Behalf?; Trump's CIA Pick Refuses to Say Torture Was Morally Wrong; How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics

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We begin with an assessment of what is widely seen as a strategic blunder and foreign policy malpractice by President Trump who yesterday tore up an agreement which the U.S. signed together with the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany just as Trump is poised to sign another agreement with North Korea. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who now teaches at the College of William and Mary and has an article at The American Conservative “Gina Haspel and How Torture Deceived Us Into Iraq”, joins us. In the absence of any alternative policy or rational explanation for such a destabilizing and unnecessary act, we  discuss how much Trump is motivated by spite in undoing his predecessor’s achievements following his racist campaign of hatred towards Barack Obama whose birth certificate and legitimacy Trump rose to political prominence questioning. Or could it be Trump’s own ego-driven exaggerated sense of fulfilling his campaign promises, no matter how ridiculous, at the expense of U.S. National Security and global peace? With Iran now free to pursue nuclear weapons as the U.S. moves away from diplomacy towards military confrontation, are the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia hoping to draw the U.S. into fighting a war against Iran on their behalf?

Part 2

Then with Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee to head up the CIA, refusing to say in senate testimony today that the torture program she was involved in was morally wrong, we will speak with Stephen Soldz, an anti-torture advisor with Physicians for Human Rights who is the co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and was a dissident psychologist inside the American Psychological Association who opposed their collaboration with the Bush/Cheney torture regime. We discuss America’s ill-fated journey to the dark side and how torture does not work.

Dr. Soldz, Stephen

Part 3

Then finally we speak with David Faris, a professor of political science at Roosevelt University and the author of a new book just out “It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics”. He joins us to discuss how Democrats have got to battle for democracy as vigorously as Republicans fight for power and undo voter suppression, reverse gerrymandering and stop the capture of the courts by Federalist Society reactionaries by winning electoral power then using it to carry out the will of the majority.

 

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May 8 - Trump's Monumentally Stupid Gift to Iran's Hardliners; The Legal, Moral and Ethical Gap Between Private Behavior and Public Policy; New Extensive Evidence of Trump's Long-Standing Ties to Russian Gangsters

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We begin with the expected withdrawal from the JCPOA Iran agreement by President Trump today which America’s allies tried to warn against because the only winners will be the hardliners in Iran who will be drawn closer into a strategic embrace with Russia and China in spite of the yearning of the Iranian people to join the West and be free of the corrupt theocratic regime which has wrecked and looted their economy but has now been given a new lease on life by Donald TrumpAbbas Milani, the Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University who taught at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, joins us to discuss today’s tragic betrayal of hope for reform in Iran and a dangerous step away from diplomacy towards war. Given the volatile mix of proxies, surrogates and Erik Prince’s mercenary army in the Emirates, it would not take much to spark another war in the Gulf and the wider Middle East that neither the U.S. or Iran wants, but one that Israel’s Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and America’s new National Security Advisor John Bolton would love to see happen.

 

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Part 2

Then we explore the roiling legal, moral and ethical landscape between private behavior and public policy with the sudden downfall of New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman following revelations in The New Yorker of his violent private sexual behavior which four women have come forward to report. Tiziana Dearing, a professor of social work and co-director of the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College joins us to discuss how this latest expose of a prominent liberal politician, who was seen by many as the Plan B of the Russia investigation if Trump fires Mueller, fits in this era of the #metoo movement in the context of the U.S. having a leader who boasts about being a sexual predator and is increasingly mired in tacky sexual scandal, yet his approval is going up in the polls.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Seth Hettena the author of a new book just out today “Trump/Russia: A Definitive History”. An award-winning journalist who was a long-time investigative reporter for the Associated Press, he joins us to discuss the enormous amount of evidence he has complied on Trump’s dealing with Russia that go back to 1984 and reveal a long-standing relationship Trump has had with mobsters and organized crime bosses which makes the case that Trump’s business plan is based on laundering money for Russian and Ukrainian gangsters.

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May 7 - The Disgraced Coal Baron and Felon Who Could Win Tomorrow's W.Va. Primary; Trump is Planning For Regime Change in Iran; What is Behind the Rise in the Price of Oil?

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We begin with tomorrow’s primary race for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia which has already emerged as an ugly feud between the disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship who is responsible for the deaths of 29 miners and Mitch McConnell who Blankenship has attacked in racist TV ads as “cocaine Mitch” and because of McConnell’s marriage to Elaine Chao, accused him of having a “China family” which has “created millions of jobs for China-people”.  Russell Mokhiber, the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter and author of “On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy”, who is currently working with the West Virginia local activist organization Morgan County USA.org, joins us. With the president who won the West Virginia by 40 points, likening a win by the recently-jailed felon to Roy Moore’s fate in Alabama, we will discuss whether Trump’s tweets today discouraging Republicans from voting for Blankenship will work, since Blankenship clearly won the recent debate on Fox against the other two leading candidates who came across as bickering politicians while Blankenship presented himself as a regular guy. We will also speculate whether the Democrats are falling into the trap Hillary Clinton set for herself hoping Trump would win the Republican presidential primary, given their assumption that Blankenship is the most beatable candidate for the Democratic incumbent Senator Joe Manchin to run against.

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Part 2

Then with Trump’s new lawyer Rudolph Giuliani signaling to an Iranian opposition front group for the MEK, which was formerly designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group, that the U.S. is about to pull out of the P5+1 deal with Iran, we will speak with Nader Hashimi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. He joins us to discuss dire warnings coming from Iran’s President Rouhani and, after the failures of the French and German leaders to talk sense into Trump, today’s last-ditch effort by the U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson which appears to be equally futile since Trump will likely announce tomorrow that he will be tearing up the deal Obama made with Iran, China, Russia, France, the U.K. and Germany.

Josef Korbel School of International Studies Professor Nader Hashemi

Part 3

Then finally we get an analysis of what is behind the rise in the price of oil now up to $70 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Amy Myers Jaffe, the senior fellow for energy and the environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, joins us to discuss how Russia and Saudi Arabia are cutting production to drive up prices while the global growth in demand from China, India and U.S. where Detroit is making gas-guzzlers again, has reached the point where the world will soon be consuming 100 million barrels of oil a day.

 

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May 6 - Revelations about mob ties to Trumps' lawyers; Could we have peace on the Korean peninsula?; Could democratic fratricide hurt their chances in Tuesday's Ohio primaries?

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We begin with the bombshell revelations in The New York Times into the background of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen who was the target of a recent FBI raid. An expert on money laundering and offshore banking James Henry, the author of “Blood Bankers” and co-founder with David Cay Johnston of the new investigative reporting news service DCReport.org. He joins us to discuss how Cohen came to Trump’s attention because he was buying condos in Trump Tower for Russian and Ukrainian gangsters and what role Cohen played after Trump was blackballed by U.S. banks after taking them down and the Trump Organization moved from debt to cash. Given Cohen’s mob ties revealed by The New York Times that go back to his favorite uncle Morty who was the doctor for the Lucchese crime family and owner of a catering hall frequented by mobsters, then deeper connection with Cohen’s Ukrainian father-in-law who runs a catering hall frequented by Ukrainian and Russian mobsters. Little wonder that Cohen was on the FBI’s radar and we will speculate how much the extent of evidence seized by the FBI will implicate Trump in ties to organized crime.

 

Lisa Graves

Part 2

Then we will get an assessment of whether the upcoming Trump-Kim Jong-un summit and the recent meetings between the leaders of North and South Korea could bring an end to the Korean War and peace on the Korean peninsula and even a reunification of the two Koreas. Graham Fuller, the former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, joins us to discuss the competing centers of power in the Trump Administration over the direction of U.S. foreign policy with the Koch brothers-backed Mike Pompeo who laid the groundwork for the summit with Kim representing a more libertarian realpolitik approach, competing with the neoconservative wing championed by the new national security advisor John Bolton who is itching to go to war with Iran.

Part 3

Then finally we look into Tuesday’s important primary races in the important swing state Ohio and speak with Robert Alexander, the Chair of the Department of History, Politics and Justice and a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University. Because the Ohio governorship is key to the Democrat’s chance to remake the electoral map in the 2020 census which is now in doubt, he joins us to discuss the weird, wacky and bitter battle for the governorship in Ohio which the Democrats were hoping to pick up with Richard Cordray who is now being challenged by Dennis Kucinich who ironically was gerrymandered out of office.

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May 3 - Are Trump Giuliani Signaling Cohen Not to Flip?; The Defining Battle Between Truth and Power Facing America; Elon Musk Insults Investors Then Tesla's Stock Plunges

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We will begin with yesterday’s extraordinary display of prominent people spouting damaging and damning statements, starting with Rudolph Giuliani on Fox admitting Trump paid a porn star to gag her just before the election. Then in Arizona yesterday Vice President Pence praised someone the GOP does not want as their senate candidate, the convicted criminal Joe Arpaio who Pence called “a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law”.  And finally the wackiest self-inflicted wound came from Elon Musk who in a Tesla earnings call, insulted his investors with the dismissal that “Boring boneheaded questions are not cool”, resulting in Tesla stock plunging 8%. Lisa Graves, the co-founder of Documented, a watchdog group which investigates corporate manipulation of public policy who was formerly Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Deputy Chief for the U.S. Courts, joins us to discuss Trump’s escalating war on the Mueller investigation.  We examine whether Giuliani was sending a signal to Michael Cohen not to flip, and since the FBI already has the evidence of the $130,000 “funneled” to Stormy Daniels from their raid on Cohen and their prior wiretaps of him, are Trump and Giuliani trying to get out in front of an impending bad news nightmare?

 

Lisa Graves

Part 2

Then we look further into the aggressive stance being taken by Trump’s new legal team and speak with Andy Wright, a Professor at Savannah Law School who served in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama. He joins us to discuss whether as America faces a defining battle between truth and power, Trump will drag the country through a protracted constitutional crisis and fight a Mueller subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court, something that previous presidents Jefferson, Nixon and Clinton declined to do.  We will assess whether short of coming clean, which Trump could have done the day after he was elected, Trump’s only strategy now is to try to run out the clock until after the elections.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the most bizarre behavior in terms of biting the hand that feeds you, with the CEO and founder of Tesla going out of his way to insult investors who wanted to know how he burnt through a billion dollars in cash in the last quarter and is still way behind in delivering cars on order and meeting earlier manufacturing goals.Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist at the Los Angeles Times whose column “Golden State” covers business and economic issues in California, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Los Angeles Times “Elon Musk’s performance on Tesla’s earnings call could make people afraid to buy his stock – or his cars”.

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