May 30 - Why Does Trump Trash Allies While Praising Adversaries?; "White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness'; Republicans Reward Predatory Payday Lenders and Title Loan Sharks

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We begin with the unexplained and unsettling radical change in U.S. foreign policy the Trump administration has brought about where close allies are punished and insulted while adversaries like Russia are praised and dictators, depots, murderers and kleptocrats in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Turkey are rewarded. Thomas Berger, Professor of International Relations at Boston University who specializes in German politics and political culture joins us to discuss the puzzling nature of Trump’s about-face in U.S. relations, with close allies like Germany, Australia and South Korea gratuitously insulted while thugs and dictators are praised. We examine the embarrassing optics of a preening president pushing aside the leader of a small European country and the disgust across Europe at Trump’s boorish behavior during the NATO summit and the G-7 meeting, as well as the extent to which the September elections in Germany will be all about running against Trump.

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Then we speak with Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hasting College of Law who joins us to discuss her new book “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America”. We look into why populist movements around the world are gaining traction among the white working class and how much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided and rooted in class cluelessness.

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Part 3

Then finally Diane Standaert, the executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending joins us to examine the stealth move on the part of House Republicans who slipped in a free pass to payday lenders and car-title loan sharks in the Financial Choice Act pushed by the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling. He happens to be the largest individual recipient of money from the payday lenders and title loan bottom feeders that charge up to 400% interest on predatory loans and hold onto car titles, charging exorbitant interest rates which, if you fall behind in payments, means you lose your transportation to work.

 

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May 29 - Is the Treasury Secretary Sabotaging the Russia Inquiry?; Taking on the New Monopolies: Facebook, Google and Amazon; Trump Now Finds Himself As the Dumbest Guy in the Room

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We begin on this Memorial Day weekend with reports that Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is slow-walking requests from the Senate Intelligence Committee for financial records and data of transactions between Trump associates and the Russians that FinCEN, the U.S. Treasury Division has collected. James Henry, an investigative economist and lawyer who has written widely on offshore and onshore tax havens, kleptocracy and pirate banking who is a co-founder of DCReport.org and author of “Blood Bankers”, joins us to discuss how important the assets and capabilities of the Treasury Department are in investigating the layers of shell companies and offshore accounts that criminals, oligarchs and money launderers use to disguise the sources of ill-gotten-gains and the beneficiaries of secret transactions.

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Part 2

Then we examine the role that Facebook could play in uncovering who is behind the fake news that was injected into the U.S. election and more recently the British, Dutch, French and now the German elections. Jonathan Taplin, the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and author of the new book “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”, joins us to discuss how these powerful new monopolies have amassed and monetized personal data while protected by “safe harbor” laws from responsibility for complicity in the dissemination of fake news, jihadist messaging and criminal activity.

Jonathan Taplin

Part 3

Then finally we look into America’s diminishing role on the world stage with the leadership deficit from a president who may have made smart real estate deals but has so little knowledge of foreign affairs and how government works that instead of being the focus of flattery and adoring attention that he craves, he finds himself more and more as the dumbest guy in the room. Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon and is the author of “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and Their Failed Ideals”, joins us to discuss a president out of his depth and the reckless endangerment of the United States. 

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May 28 - Improving the Quality of Death at the Expense of America's Quality of Life; Trump's Generals Should Protect the County, Not the President

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We begin with Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. We will discuss America’s shrinking middle class as more plutocratic-friendly policies and priorities are enacted by the Republican Congress while a distracted Trump, who was elected as a populist, is increasingly mired in investigations over Russian influence and possible collusion in our election. With an increase in defense spending being offset by slashing safety net programs for working and middle class Americans, we assess how much as a nation we are prioritizing projecting power abroad over protecting the health and welfare of our people at home, as we improve the quality of death at the expense of our quality of life.

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Then we continue the conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Ricks, an advisor on national security at the New America Foundation where he participates in the “Future of War” project. A contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine where he has the prizewinning blog The Best Defense, he joins us to discuss his latest book “Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom”. With the current trend of ideology trumping facts as we appear to be going back to the 1930’s, we explore how the conservative Churchill fought totalitarianism from the right while the socialist George Orwell fought totalitarianism from the left and given the unusually high number of senior military officers at the top level in the Trump Administration, how the generals around Trump should be protecting the country, not the president. 

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May 25 - The Danger to Journalists For Asking Questions In Trump's America; Trump Scolds NATO Allies While Disarming Against Russian Active Measures; The Hunt For the Terrorist Network Underway in the UK

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We will begin with the thuggery displayed by the Republican candidate for Congress in Montana and look into how much the millionaire Greg Gianforte models himself on the billionaire Donald Trump.  And in body-slamming The Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs who Gianforte’s office claims is a “liberal reporter”, how much has Trump’s rhetoric in casting the press as “the enemy of the people”, trickled down to not just GOP candidates, but to the party’s grassroots. Trevor Timm, a columnist for The Guardian and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation joins us to discuss how dangerous it has become for journalists to ask questions in Trump’s America and how Trump’s inflammatory attacks on the press and reporters seems to be emboldening GOP activists and politicians to mete out frontier justice.

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Then we speak with Charles Kupchan, who was director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration and spent the last 3 years as a Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security. He joins us to discuss Donald Trump’s scolding of NATO allies over defense spending and the disconnect with the Trump Administration’s priorities as they throw more money at the Pentagon while slashing funds for “soft power” in the face of a sustained and effective Russian propaganda and active measures assault on the U.S. and Western Europe.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the hunt for a terrorist network underway in the U.K. following the horrendous suicide bombing in Manchester. David Schanzer, Director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University, joins us to discuss how the British handle the some 300 former ISIS jihadis who returned from Syria and Iraq compared to the U.S. and the current focus on who made the bomb that was used as well as the likelihood that the bomber had training in Libya where he was for the past three weeks before returning to the U.K. just days before the attack.

 

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May 24 - Trump's Amateurish and Mathematically Absurd Budget; What Happened to Bipartisan Outrage at Russian Interference in Our Election?; The Pope Tries to Influence Trump

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We will begin with the Trump budget that has both conservative and liberal economists scratching their heads in disbelief at the amateurism and mathematical absurdity of what the White House Director of the OMB, former Congressman Mulvaney, presented. Jacob Leibenluft, a senior advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who previously worked at the National Economic Council at the White House, joins us to discuss the double counting of $2 trillion in additional revenues which are in themselves dubious and wishful thinking based on the ideological pipe dream that cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations will magically spur economic growth to make up for the loss in tax revenues for the Treasury. We also analyze the extent to which the entire budget punishes the poor in order to further reward the already rich, and address it in terms of the guns versus butter paradigm as more guns are foisted on the pork-bloated Pentagon while butter is rationed to those who can prove they are looking for work.   

 

Jacob Leibenluft

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Then we look into yesterday’s testimony by the former CIA Director John Brennan in which he recounted how he had warned his counterpart Alexander Bortnikov the head of Russia’s FSB that “American voters would be outraged by any Russian attempt to interfere in the election”. Mark Lowenthal, the President of the Intelligence and Security Academy who served as Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and Vice Chairman for Evaluation at the National Intelligence Council, joins us to discuss what happened to bipartisanship when it comes to a foreign adversary attacking the very foundation of American democracy itself.

Mark Lowenthal

Part 3

Then finally we assess President Trump’s visit with Pope Francis in the Vatican at which his daughter and wife were in attendance and where at the end, the Pope expressed concern to Melania Trump about her husband’s eating habits and expansive girth. Tiziana Dearing, a professor of social work at Boston College and the former head of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston joins us to discuss the extent to which the Pope was able to influence Trump to change his views and policies on climate change and immigration.  

Tiziana Dearing

 

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