March 1 - Kushner's Deepening Troubles and Trump's Tariffs; The Author of "War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century"; Did the US Emphasis on Missile Defense Lead to Putin's New "Invincible" Nukes

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Part 1

We begin with the mounting troubles for Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who has not only lost his security clearance but is using the White House for his private boardroom meetings with bankers who have loaned him over $500 million for his troubled real estate investmentsWilliam Cohan, a former senior Wall Street investment banker who is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair and writes a biweekly opinion column in the New York Times, joins us to discuss Kushner’s apparent lack of political judgment in recommending the firing of Comey and his disastrous business record which leaves one to ponder why he was given such an array of amazingly important responsibilities by Trump. We also assess how much Wall Street is rattled by Trump’s impetuous imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum against the advice of every senior official except Wilbur Ross who made a fortune out of investing in distressed U.S. steel companies.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with David Patrikarakos, a contributing editor at The Daily Beast and a contributing writer at Politico whose latest book, just out, is “War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century”. We discuss how narrative war is now far more important than physical war because of new technologies in social media that shape public perceptions in what David calls a “virtual mass enlistment”, regardless of what happens on the battlefield. We will examine how much Russia has perfected this new form of information and hybrid warfare and whether Americans will ever be able to rally around a clear and present danger or a challenge we all agree is real.

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Part 3

Then finally, in showcasing Russia latest strategic weapons in his annual state of the nation address today, Vladimir Putin bragged about Russia’s new hypersonic nuclear cruise missile and nuclear torpedo depicted on a giant video screen behind him in a simulated nuclear attack on Florida, claiming his new weapons are “invincible”. Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he researches ballistic missile defense technologies and fraud in the U.S. missile defense program, joins us to discuss what will likely be described by our defense hawks as the “hypersonic gap” and how our emphasis on missile defense has led to Putin taking the steps he announced today.

 

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February 28 - The Deadly Difference Between Social Media Meddling and Cyberwar; The Sad Truth About the Happiest Place on Earth; The Collateral Damage of Conspiracy Theories

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Part 1

We begin with an analysis of why the head of the NSA and Cyber Command’s testimony on Russian interference yesterday misses the point and how meddling in social media is nothing compared to an act of cyberwar which the U.S. engaged in against Iran with Stuxnet and that if the U.S. and Russia went down the path of cyberwarfare, thanks to Admiral Roger’s lax management of the NSA, 80% of the NSA’s arsenal of hacking tools were stolen by the mysterious “Shadow Brokers” and are now in enemy hands, meaning Russia, China and North Korea could shut down the United States. James Bamford, an investigative journalist specializing in national security issues and author of “The Shadow Factory: Inside the Ultra-Secret NSA, from 9/11 to Spying on America” joins us to discuss how the CIA is the only agency authorized to conduct covert cyber warfare and not the NSA or Cyber Command. We  also look into the dangerous combination of arrogance and amateurism in a White House that allowed Jared Kushner’s access to the nation’s top secrets which attracted Israel, China, Mexico and the Emirates to exploit Trump’s naïve son-in-law and Jared’s desperation to find the $1.2 billion he is underwater for on a bad real estate investment he made to impress Ivanka and her father.    

 

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Part 2

Then we look into how the happiest place on earth Disneyland is full of unhappy employees who are forced to smile while one in ten workers are homeless, 74% can’t afford basic monthly expenses, two thirds don’t have enough to eat three meals a day and 85% are paid less than $15 an hour. Peter Dreier, Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College and co-author of a new study “Working for the Mouse: A Survey of Disneyland Employees”, joins us to discuss how the head of Disney Bob Iger will take home $162.5 million this year while his workers’ pay has dropped 15% since 2000.

Part 3

 
Then finally we examine the collateral damage of conspiracy theories as students in Florida who survived the shooting are harassed by followers of Alex Jones with death threats as happened with the parents who lost their kids at Sandy Hook because of Jones’ claims that the Florida students are “crisis actors” and the massacre at Sandy Hook was a government “false flag” operation. Joseph Uscinski, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami and co-author of American Conspiracy Theories”, joins us to describe the dilemma that removing offensive videos from You Tube can provide Jones with the free speech martyrdom he craves and increase his viewership.
 

 

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February 27 - China's President Declares Himself Leader for Life; The Head of Cyber Command Admits Trump is Ignoring Russian Attacks; The Continuing War Within the Democratic Party

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We begin with China’s president Xi Jinping abolishing term limits and declaring himself the “unrivaled helmsman” of China for years to come. Orville Schell, the Director of the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and author of “Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty First Century” joins us to discuss the growth of illiberal regimes around the world with authoritarian leaders like Xi Jinping, Putin and Erdogan grabbing power and holding on to it ruthlessly and permanently. We will assess the absence of any pushback in defense of Democratic ideals and values coming from the traditional bulwark of Democracy the United States, whose leader Donald Trump does not care for or defend democratic values but instead is infatuated with dictators and demagogues. And although Xi Jinping has vowed to restore the Middle Kingdom to its rightful place as a global power, he presides over a corrupt Communist Party and a brittle economy which if internal pressures were to erupt, the fear is the aggressive nationalism that Xi champions could find expression in Chinese military assertion in the South China Sea and against Taiwan.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with a leading intelligence historian and expert on the NSA, Matthew Aid, the author of “The Secret Sentry” the definitive history of the NSA. He joins us to discuss the testimony today before the Senate Armed Services Committee by Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA who is also head of Cyber Command. In response to questions from senators about why the U.S. has not responded to cyberattacks from Russia that continue and will impact the 2018 elections, Admiral Rogers admitted that the President of the United States Donald Trump has shown no interest or inclination to do anything and that the Russians “have not paid a price that is sufficient to change their behavior”.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the peculiar phenomenon of the DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attacking a candidate who is one of seven running for congress in the Democratic primary in the Texas 7th congressional district in Houston. Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College joins us to discuss the unnecessary and suicidal but continuing battle between the Democratic Party’s progressive Bernie Sanders and centrist Hillary Clinton wings, and his article at The Guardian “The Democratic party is now publicly attacking progressive candidates”.

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February 26 - The Republican's Successful Stacking of the Supreme Court to Kill Unions and Defund Democrats; Has the White House Succeeded in Burying the Democrat's Rebuttal to the Nunes Memo?; The Dangerous Complexities of the Combined War in Syria and I

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Part 1

We begin with arguments before the Supreme Court today in Janus vs AFSCME, a case that will likely rule against AFSCME and cripple public sector unions representing teachers, firefighters, nurses and municipal workers and limit the ability of unions representing public employees to fund the Democratic Party. Celine McNicholas, the Economic Policy Institute’s Labor Counsel who tracks the Trump Administration’s wage and employment policies, joins us to explain how, with the death of Scalia, an earlier union-busting case was deadlocked so the Republicans, led by Senator Mitch McConnell, were so determined to get a conservative replacement for Scalia to rule against unions that they denied Obama his appointment to the court.  And now with Gorsuch on the court, they have another bite at the apple with the Janus case which was put together by a handful of billionaires, one of whom is close to Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who not only championed Gorsuch’s appointment, but is an expert in Supreme Court shopping for reactionary causes.

Celine McNicholas

Part 2

Then we assess the impact of the Democratic memo meant to rebut the Nunes memo which was held up by the White House and released on a Saturday in the hope it would get limited media coverage which appears to be the case. Harry Litman, a former United States Attorney and deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department who is now a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego, joins us to discuss how successful Trump and his Republican enablers are in distracting the press and public from the Mueller investigation which is closing in on Paul Manafort.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with William Harris, a Professor of Politics at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the author of a new book “Quicksilver War: Syria, Iraq and the Spiral of Conflict”. He joins us to discuss the dangerous complexities of a rapidly changing combined war in Iraq and Syria which recently saw Russian mercenaries attacking American troops as we now witness a humanitarian horror unfolding in the suburbs of Damascus with the possibility of a major clash between Israel and Iran looming on the horizon since Iran in poised to send Iraqi Shia militias into Syria and Lebanon.

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February 25 - The Democratic Memo Rebutting Nunes; The Breakdown of Bipartisanship in Intelligence Oversight; Supreme Court Poised to Break Unions and Defund Democrats

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Part 1

We begin with the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo and speak with Robert Litt, the former General Counsel for the Director of National Intelligence who is now with Morrison and Foerster National Security and Global Risk and Crisis Management Practices. He joins us to discuss whether our intelligence agencies will continue to confide in Congress and the increasing pressure that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is bringing to bear on Paul Manafort whose business partner Rick Gates is now cooperating with Mueller. We assess whether Manafort will break under the mounting pressure of spending decades in prison or hang tough and fall on this sword for Trump in the hope of a presidential pardon and examine the reasons why Rick Gates lied to Mueller as recently as February 1st after his proffer to make a deal in an apparent attempt to cover up for the Kremlin-friendly Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who Gates met with but lied about the 2013 meeting.

Robert S. Litt

Part 2

Then we look further into the Democratic memo from the Minority Chair of the House Intelligence Committee and the extent to which it reflects the total breakdown of an oversight committee that was traditionally bi-partisan. Loch Johnson, the Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia who served as staff director of the Senate Committee on Intelligence and is the author of a new book just out, “Spy Watching: Intelligence Accountability in the United States”, joins us. We discuss Trump’s Republican enablers apparent willingness to destroy the DOJ and FBI in order to cover up for Trump and distract the public from the Russia investigation.   

Loch K. Johnson

Part 3

Then finally we look into the Janus v. AFSCME case before the Supreme Court on Monday which could strike a major blow to public sector unions and dry up Democratic Party funding before the 2018 midterm elections. With Janus predicted to win the case thanks to Neil Gorsuch, we speak with labor expert and University of California, Berkeley professor Dr. Harley Shaiken, about how this conservative assault could set a precedent for workers’ invocation of the First Amendment to essentially free-ride on unions without having to pay dues as well as further limiting workers bargaining rights, like the restrictions Scott Walker passed in Wisconsin in 2011.

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