June 28 - The Co-Director of Justice Democrats Who Recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cartel; The CBO Warning About Trump's Exploding Deficit; Examining Retiring Justice Kennedy's Swing Vote Record

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We begin with the surprise upset victory in Tuesday’s New York primary election by 28 year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who defeated the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House and will be the youngest member ever to serve in the United States Congress. A Democratic Socialist and a protege of Senator Bernie Sanders, Alexandria was the first candidate recruited to run in this year’s primary by Justice Democrats and the Co-Director of Justice Democrats, Corbin Trent joins us to discuss how his grassroots organization is running 38 congressional candidates who are committed to refusing PAC money and who will fight for progressive change.  We discuss the importance of authenticity and genuine connections to constituents and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other candidates Justice Democrats hope to get elected to Congress, will not accept the limited horizons of tinkering with Washington at the margins and the need to go along with the system which is only capable of accepting small incremental change, rather than change the entire system to serve the people not the donor class.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Stephanie Kelton, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Stony Brook University, New York who served as Chief Economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and as Economic Advisor to the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign. The author of the forthcoming book “The Deficit Myth”, she joins us to discuss the recent report by the Congressional Budget Office warning that Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporation will add close to two trillion more to the federal deficit over the next ten years, adding to the $21 trillion national debt which candidate Trump, citing his brilliant business record, promised he would use to “get rid of” the debt “over a period of eight years”.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the record of retiring Supreme Court Justice Kennedy who is being widely praised as a swing vote who sided with the liberal minority of important issues. Lisa Graves, Co-Director of Documented, a watchdog group that investigates how corporations manipulate public policy, harming our environment, communities and democracy, joins us. She served as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and we will discuss how a president who is under investigation for possible criminal activity and even treason, should not be able to stack the highest court in the land with judges who could exonerate him.

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June 27 - The Retirement of Justice Kennedy and What it Means; The Republican Money and Power Behind the Janus Case Aimed at Drying Up Democratic Party Coffers; SCOTUS Hands Trump Absolute Authority Over Immigration

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We begin with the announcement today by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that he is retiring, giving President Trump another opportunity to nominate a far-right replacement like Neil Gorsuch, increasing the court’s conservative majority to a 6 to 3 margin from the current 5 to 4 split. A former law clerk to Justice Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, Nancy Combs, Professor of Law and Director of the Human Security Law Center at William and Mary Law School joins us to discuss how, without Kennedy there will not be a swing vote since the reliably conservative Kennedy voted with the liberal minority in support of abortion rights, same sex marriage and affirmative action. And with Senate Minority Leader Schumer commenting that Kennedy’s departure creates “the most important Supreme Court vacancy for this country in at least a generation”, we assess what the Democrats can do to stop Trump from choosing from his list of conservative ideologues now that Majority Leader McConnell has ignored Schumer’s call for the Republican Senate to adhere to the rule they came up with in denying Merrick Garland a hearing, that Supreme Court nominees should not get a confirmation vote in election years.

Nancy Combs

Part 2

Then we examine the genesis of today’s Janus versus AFSCME ruling by the Supreme Court against public employee unions which both weakens unions and diminishes their ability to fund Democratic campaigns and candidates.  Mary Bottari, the Deputy Director of the Center for Media and Democracy where she has an article “Trump’s Supreme Court Strikes Blow to Government Workers, Good Paying Jobs”, joins us to discuss how a network of right wing front groups funded by billionaires in league with the Federalist Society find plaintiffs like Mark Janus who they use to build a right-to-work case around and fast track it through the courts to further the interests of anti-union plutocrats, all in the name of free speech and the First Amendment.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into yesterday’s Supreme Court 5 to 4 ruling upholding Trump’s Muslim ban which will give the president enormous authority to pursue his anti-immigrant policies on the Southern border. Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice joins us to discuss how the court’s conservative majority refused to consider mountainous evidence of Trump’s racist statements and biased attitudes as they handed him absolute authority over immigration policy.

 

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June 26 - The Dilemma Democrats Face in How to React to Trump's Insults and Lies; The Correlation Between the Intolerance of White Americans and Their Support for Authoritarian Rule; Addressing the Root Causes of the Immigration Crisis

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We begin with the dilemma facing Democrats about how to react to Donald Trump’s relentless barrage of insults and lies without stooping to Trump’s level of gutter politics and hateful rhetoric. An historian of American political discourse, Jennifer Mercieca, a Professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M where she teaches courses on political communication and presidential rhetoric joins us. We discuss how much public shaming and protests against Sarah Sanders and Stephen Miller only serve to make these otherwise unsympathetic henchmen of Trump’s, sympathetic. And while Democrats are entitled to righteous anger at Trump’s inhumanity and immorality, how do they avoid the trap of playing into Trump’s hands by reacting in a way that Congresswoman Maxine Waters advocated as opposed to following Michelle Obama’s advice of “when they go low, we go high”?

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Part 2

Then we speak with Nicholas Davis, a Research Scientist at the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M who is currently at work on a book about the popular meaning of democracy and is the co-author of a study “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy”. As the Republican Party moves from family values to white nationalism, we explore the correlation between the intolerance of white Americans and their support for authoritarian rule as intolerant white people appear to be abandoning their commitment to democracy while their perceptions are shaped by Trump and Fox News to believe that undeserving minorities are benefiting more from democracy than they are.

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Part 3

Then finally we go to El Salvador and speak with Elizabeth Kennedy, an activist and scholar who focuses on the experience and needs of child, youth and forced migrants and asylum seekers fleeing gang-related violence. We discuss what can be done to solve the immigration crisis on the U.S. southern border by dealing with the root causes of why migrants are fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador. Elizabeth calls for a need to address conditions of corruption and violence in these countries rather than have Trump score political points with absurd exaggerations that the MS-13 gang is taking over America when in fact it has all but taken over El Salvador.

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June 25 - The Supreme Court Enables Suppression of Minority Votes; Trump Calls for Even Harsher Treatment of Immigrants; Trump Deliberately Stokes Polarization to Trap Democrats into Lowering the Rhetoric to His Level

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We begin with today’s ruling by the Supreme Court upholding Texas’ discriminatory election maps in another blow to the Voting Rights Act. Justin Levitt, a Professor of Law at Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles joins us to discuss how the court’s newest Justice Neil Gorsuch appears intent on killing off the Voting Rights Act entirely, making a mockery of assurances given by Chief Justice Roberts five years ago that other parts of the act would still protect minority voters after he gutted Section 5 of the Act requiring pre-clearance by the Justice Department of changes to voting laws in states with a history of discrimination. But given today’s 5 to 4 ruling, the future of voting rights for minorities looks increasingly grim because without the only likely swing vote of Justice Kennedy who might retire soon, if Trump were to appoint another justice like Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, then suppression of minority voting rights in this country would get dramatically worse. And although Gorsuch tried to dress up his opinion in arcane legalese, the intention of the ruling appears to be grounded in raw partisan politics.

 

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Then, after saying in a series of angry tweets between golf games on Sunday and President Trump’s day job at the White House today that “we cannot allow these people to invade our Country and that we must “bring them back from where they came”, we speak with Lindsay Nash who helped establish the nation’s first system of institutionally-provided counsel for detained non-citizens facing deportation. A Clinical Professor in the Immigration Justice Clinic at the Cardoza School of Law, she joins us to discuss how after appearing to show compassion for children separated from their parents, Trump is doubling down, blaming Democrats, vilifying immigrants and calling for even harsher treatment at the border by taking away immigrants’ constitutional rights to due process.  

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Part 3

Then finally, following Erdogan’s victory in yesterday’s election helped by his control of the press and the state of emergency he has imposed, we examine how autocrats like Erdogan, Maduro and Putin are using the trappings of democracy to claim legitimacy while undermining democracy. Daniel Ziblatt, a Professor of Government at Harvard University whose latest book is “How Democracies Die”, joins us to discuss how our President appears more comfortable with autocrats and, as Trump deliberately stokes the partisan divide to further polarize the country, the Democrats are being drawn into the trap of lowering the rhetoric to Trump’s level.

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June 24 - Critical Elections in Turkey; Conditions in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico Are the Source of Our Border Crisis; An Independent Russian Journalist on the World Cup

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We begin with today’s snap elections called by Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian leader Erdogan who is seeking more power but now faces the biggest threat to his 15 year rule.  Asli Bali, the Director of UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies and a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law joins us to discuss the results of today’s critical election as they come in which will decide the fate of democracy in that divided country and whether Turkey remains a credible member of the NATO alliance. We will discuss Erdogan’s tough challenger the center-left candidate Muharrem Ince who has revived Turkey’s demoralized opposition which is forced to operate under a state of emergency with little access to the media dominated by Erdogan and his ruling Islamist party. With Turkey’s economy in a steep downturn since Erdogan called for the election he expected to win, we will assess how the Kurdish vote for their candidate who is in prison is key but subject to government repression, in a country polarized between Kurds and nationalists and the religious and secular. And with six journalists jailed for life, according to press monitoring groups, Erdogan’s Turkey has become the world’s biggest jailer of journalists.

Asli Bâli

Part 2

Then we investigate the source of the immigration crisis on our southern border which stems from the lack of personal security, the rule of law and citizen-based governance in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, countries rife with corruption and beset by narco traffickers and criminal gangs.Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the author of “Los Zetas Inc: Criminal Corporations, Energy and Civil War in Mexico” joins us to discuss her study at The Wilson Center “Trafficking in Persons, irregular immigration and Transnational Organized Crime in Central America and Mexico”.

Part 3

Then finally we  go to Moscow to speak with an independent journalist Alexey Kovalev, who writes about propaganda, fake news and Russia State media. He joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “The World Cup is Fun. Except for the Russians Being Tortured” and how Putin, who has unleashed the FSB secret police on so-called dissidents, is using the popular success on the World Cup among Russians who are welcoming foreign guests as a cover for introducing unpopular pension reforms.

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