August 9 - The FBI's 4 AM Raid on Paul Manafort; Could a Paranoid Trump and a Paranoid Kim Unleash Nukes?; Next Time in October Will the Tea Party Shut Down the Government?

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We begin with a raid by the FBI that took place at 4 AM on July the 26th at the home of Paul Manafort who was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and was present in the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower which Donald Trump Jr. set up with representatives of the Russian government who were promising dirt on Hillary Clinton to help elect Trump. Harry Litman, a former United States Attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, joins us to discuss the significance of the raid in terms of the investigation underway by the special counsel Robert Mueller. And since Manafort, who took notes during the meeting with the Russians and was treated shabbily by the Trump family when they disposed of him, might be persuaded to cooperate with the investigation, could he avoid legal jeopardy by ratting out his former employers including Jared Kushner who callously fired him?

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Part 2

Then we speak with an expert on the North Korean nuclear program, Paul Carroll, who has visited North Korea twice and previously worked on nuclear weapons issues at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the U.S. Department of Energy. He joins us to assess whether the Trump-Kim schoolyard exchange of belligerence with the bombast of the strong threatening the tyranny of the weak, could get out of hand. And could Trump, who is increasingly paranoid as the Russia investigation closes in on him, and Kim who is paranoid to the point he preemptively killed his own brother with nerve gas out of fear the Chinese might stage a coup against him, lash out with nuclear weapons?

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Part 3

Then finally we assess the possibility that there will be a fourth attempt by the House Republicans led by the Tea Party Freedom Caucus, to shut down the government in October over the debt ceiling as they have tried to do in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Edward Kleinbard, who served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “The Debt-Ceiling Crisis is Real” and the likelihood that Mick Mulvaney, the Tea Party zealot who is now the White House Budget Director and his boss Trump, could destroy the full faith and credit of the United States and take away America’s greatest economic advantage of having the U.S. dollar the world’s reserve currency.     

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August 8 - Is There a Method to Trump's Madness?; South Africa's Corrupt Leader Survives A Sixth No-Confidence Vote; The DOJ Reversal on Voting Rights

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We begin with Donald Trump inflaming the combustible situation with North Korea with name-calling and threats that play to his base but could ignite a catastrophic war. Norman Ornstein, a contributing writer for The Atlantic and co-author of “It’s Even Worse Than it Was” whose forthcoming book is “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not Yet Deported” joins us. We discuss whether there is a method to Trump’s madness in continually riling up his base with overheated attacks on his enemies while constructing an alternative reality via propaganda pumped out by Fox News and Sinclair. In addition to unlimited financial backing from billionaires and on-going efforts to suppress the vote, would this be enough to keep him in power? Particularly as long as the Democrats fail to exhibit leadership and offer a narrative beyond Trump is a disaster and if you vote for him you’re an idiot, a refrain which Hillary Clinton ran on unsuccessfully.

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Part 2

Then we get an assessment of why South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has faced six no-confidence votes in parliament and how he dodged the latest bullet in a 189 to 177 vote despite mounting evidence of his corrupt ties to the wealthy Gupta brothers. Ambassador John Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria who was political counselor to the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria during South Africa’s first non-racial election and is the author of “Morning in South Africa”, joins us to discuss how long the ruling ANC can excuse corruption while clinging to the moral authority bequeathed to them by Mandela.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the sudden reversal of the Justice Department in withdrawing support from a case before the Supreme Court challenging how voters were purged from the rolls in the important swing state of Ohio. Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School who served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, joins us to discuss how much the Trump Justice Department’s switching to support Ohio’s aggressive purging of voter rolls in the middle of a case is tied to the Administration’s wider efforts at voter suppression via the Kobach Commission.

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August 7 - Will Venezuela's Opposition Take Up Arms and Its Military Split?; Could Imaginative Diplomacy End The Stalemate With North Korea?; The Real Reasons Behind the Opioid Crisis

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We begin with the worsening situation in Venezuela following the electoral coup by the unpopular Maduro government which has defied the will of the majority in a power grab that has shut down the opposition, arrested its leaders and exposed divisions within the ranks of the military. Alejandro Velasco, a historian of modern Latin America at New York University and author of “Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela” joins us to discuss whether in a country racked by crime and awash with guns, the opposition will turn to armed resistance. We will also assess the likelihood of a split within the military between junior officers who want to re-establish constitutional order and the top leadership whose loyalty to the government has been ensured by Maduro who has lavished generals with economic spoils and allowed their active participation in the lucrative drug trade.

 

Alejandro Velasco

Part 2

Then we look into the unusual unity on the U.N. Security Council in their unanimous condemnation of North Korea as the world body ramped up sanctions on the isolated country whose exports of coal, seafood, iron ore, lead and cheap labor are now blocked. Kyung Moon Hwang, a professor of history at the University of Southern California and author of “Rationalizing Korea: The Rise of the Modern State”, joins us to discuss the possibility of imaginative diplomacy ending the stalemate if the U.S. were to offer the North a peace treaty and refuse to be the enemy anymore, thus removing the glue that holds the Kim regime in power.    

Part 3

Then finally we investigate the real reasons behind the opioid crisis in America and why the epidemic is not being dealt with effectively. Stephan Schwartz, the editor of the daily web publication Schwartzreport.net joins us to discuss his article in the journal Explore, “America’s Deadly Opioid Epidemic From Which Everyone But the Users Profits”. 

 

 

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August 6 - The DOJ is "Reviewing" Press Subpoenas to Stop Leaks; Why Does West Virginia Love Trump?; The Fight to Unionize the Right-to-Work South

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We begin with the warning from Attorney General Sessions to would-be leakers “Don’t do it!” and his threat to reporters that he is “reviewing” press subpoenas that would force journalists to reveal their sources or face jail time. Cora Currier, a journalist who, as a reporting fellow at ProPublica covered national security, and now covers national security and press freedom for The Intercept, joins us to discuss Sessions’ response to humiliating public criticism from Trump that he was “VERY weak on Intel leakers” and the release of embarrassing transcripts of the president’s private conversations with world leaders. We examine the DOJ’s pursuit of three times as many leak investigations that occurred under the Obama Administration and the FBI’s creation of a new unit to handle the investigations.

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Part 2

Then we look into why Donald Trump holds so many campaign-style rallies in West Virginia and why the state’s governor and only billionaire made an appearance at last Thursday’s rally to announce that he had switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Bob Kincaid the co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign and the President of the Coal River Mountain Watch joins us to explain Trump’s popularity in a state with the nation’s worst opioid addiction crisis and the highest death rate from opioids yet is the most dependent on Medicaid funds to address the crisis as Trump plans to cut Medicaid and proposed a 95% cut in funding for the agency leading the charge against the country’s opioid epidemic.

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Part 3

Then finally we assess why the United Auto Workers failed in their bid to unionize the Nissan plant in Mississippi at which the majority of workers voted with the company against the UAW in a bitterly contested campaign. An expert on labor issues, Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who studies labor, information technology and the organization of work, joins us to discuss the latest defeat for labor in the “right to work” South.

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August 3 - Transcripts Reveal How Much Trump Has Lowered the Bar for the Presidency; Could Trump's Alarming Lack of Qualifications Be Grounds for Impeachment?; The Director of the New Netflix Documentary "Icarus"

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We begin with the release of the transcripts of Donald Trump’s calls to foreign leaders early in his Administration that indicate a woeful ignorance of world affairs, a delusional obsession with the greatness of his campaign and election victory, and a child-like temperament when confronted with facts and reality. We speak with two prominent American historians of the presidency and begin with Sean Wilentz, Professor of American History at Princeton University whose latest book is “The Politicians and the Egalitarians”. He joins us to provide an historical context on how much Trump has lowered the bar to the point where comparisons with prior presidents does a disservice to our history since Trump is such a disastrous aberration to the point that no matter how much his predecessors have faced the harsh judgement of history and are held in low esteem, it does a disservice to them and to our history to compare them to Trump.

 

Sean Wilentz

Part 2

Then we speak with the American political historian who teaches at American University, Allan Lichtman. He is the author of “The Keys to the White House: A Surefire Way to Predicting the Next President”, a system that has correctly predicted the outcomes of all US presidential elections since 1984 including the last election when, against all odds, he predicted a Trump victory. His latest book is “The Case For Impeachment” and we discuss whether Trump’s alarming lack of qualification for the job of president that the transcripts reveal, could be considered grounds for his impeachment.

Part 3

Then finally we are joined in the studio by Bryan Fogel, the director of the new Netflix documentary opening nationwide “Icarus”. He sought to investigate the Lance Armstrong story of doping in sports and the science of cheating the tests for doping. But instead, he uncovered a brazen scheme of state-sponsored cheating that resulted in the hero of the film, a brave Russian whistleblower, having to escape Kremlin death threats by taking his family into witness protection, while the villain behind the cheating scandal was promoted by Putin to be his Deputy Prime Minister.

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