April 18 - George HW Bush's Former National Security Advisor on the Trump-Kim Summit and Barbara Bush's Passing; Cuba's New Leader and the Prospects for Economic Reform; Navigating Between Cuba's Old Guard and the Expectations of the Young

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We begin with President Trump tweeting out: “Denuclearization will be a great thing for the World, but also for North Korea!” after announcing that his head of the CIA Mike Pompeo, who is awaiting senate confirmation as the next Secretary of State, secretly visited North Korea and met with Kim Jong-un to lay the groundwork for a summit meeting between Trump and Kim.  A former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Donald Gregg, who served as Vice President George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor, joins us to discuss how it is likely the summit will take place but exactly what denuclearization of the Korean peninsula means remains as unclear as it will be difficult to achieve. We look into whether a peace treaty to end the Korean War will be on the table and since Donald Gregg is close to former President George H.W. Bush and knew Barbara Bush well, we get his impressions and memories of the former First Lady who passed away yesterday and today is being remembered as tributes pour in.  

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Part 2

Then, with Cuba’s Communist Party poised to announce a successor to Raul Castro tomorrow, we assess the new leader 57 year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez who is the first outside of the Castro dynasty which has ruled the country since the revolution over 50 years ago. Marc Frank, a freelance journalist based in Cuba who writes for Reuters and the Financial Times and is the author of “Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana”, joins us to discuss how the Internet-savvy Diaz-Canel can go about modernizing Cuba’s moribund economy and getting the country more connected to the world as the U.S. under Trump turns back the clock to impose more isolation on the island nation.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Ann Louise Bardach, the author of “Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana” and “Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington”. She joins us to discuss how the expectations of young Cubans can be met in terms of both wanting the social services the government provides but also wanting to be free of a government that won’t give them access to the outside world or let them travel and has them under constant surveillance.

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April 17 - How the Internet is Killing Democracy and How We Save It; The Blindness of India's Prime Minister to the Rape of Young Women and Girls; Chaos in the White House and No Strategy on Syria

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We begin with the suspended head of Cambridge Analytica refusing to appear at a U.K. parliamentary inquiry into the misuse of data on 87 million Facebook users in the 2016 election which helped elect Donald Trump and speak with Jamie Bartlett, director of the Center for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos who presented the two-part BBC documentary series “The Secrets of Silicon Valley” and is the author of the new book “The People Versus Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and how we save it)”. He joins us to discuss the struggle between dataism and humanism and the fight against algorithmic authoritarianism as the titans of Silicon Valley see their future markets in authoritarian states like China and are willing to export their business model of surveillance capitalism to work alongside police-state censorship and surveillance of Chinese citizens who use their platforms. We explore what can be done to save democracy from big data and revive humanism to wean users from their zombie-like addiction to their devices.

 

Part 2

Then we examine the explosion of outrage in India over the latest rapes and murders of an eight-year old girl and of a teenage girl raped over several days by a legislator and his brother who belong to Prime Minister Modi’s ruling BJP party. Dr. Sumit Ganguly, who holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University and is the author of “Ascending India and its State Capacity” joins us to discuss how Modi’s Hindu fundamentalism and patriarchal outlook appears to render him tone deaf to the plight of poor young women and girls from minority communities who are frequent targets of BJP nationalists.

Sumit

Part 3

Then finally we get an update on the fallout following the recent American, French and British bombing of Syria which is widely seen as a futile and militarily insignificant gesture which will not impeded the Assad regime from committing its daily acts of brutal depravity against the Syrian people. Henri Barkey, professor of international relations at Lehigh University who served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, joins us to discuss his article at The National “Limited strikes, limited goals and no strategy on Syria” and the state of chaos in Washington where one day the U.S. Representative to the U.N. announces sanctions against Russia then the next day Trump reverses her and gives Putin a free pass yet again.

 

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April 16 - Can Comey Fight Trump Without Being Contaminated By Him?; Michael Cohen Forced to Reveal Who His Third Client Is; "Can Democracy Survive Capitalism?"

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We begin with the former FBI Director James Comey’s book launch and television interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos and speak with a former Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who specialized in counterintelligence investigations in New York City. Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean at Yale Law School who teaches national security law and is a political analyst at CNN, joins us to assess whether Comey can thread the needle between not wanting to appear he is paying Trump back for firing him, at the same time wanting to inform the American public about what kind of man sits in the Oval Office, a person who Comey describes as being “morally unfit to be president”. We also look into how the FBI can fight back against the war Trump is waging on the FBI and DOJ with the help of Fox News who are pushing the narrative that there is a conspiracy by the so-called “Deep State” underway to undermine Trump’s presidency.  And although the FBI is a non-partisan law enforcement agency with a majority of its agents registered Republicans, Trump and Fox are portraying the Bureau and its leadership as Democratic shills for Hillary Clinton, who apparently viewers of Fox News are unaware lost the election and is not in power and running the United States.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who writes about national security and civil liberties at emptywheel.net and is a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. She joins us to discuss her article at The New York Times “Trump Pardoned Libby to Protect Himself From Mueller” and today’s hearing before a Federal judge in which Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen was forced to reveal that his third and only client after Trump and Elliot Broidy is Fox’s Sean Hannity the propagandist who is leading the charge in ginning up the phony “Deep State” conspiracy while covering up mounting evidence of Trump’s criminality.

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Then finally we examine the new book just out, “Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?” by Robert Kuttner who joins us to discuss how democracies govern nations while global capitalism runs the world. The co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and former chief investigator for the Senate Banking Committee, he illuminates the urgent need to defend our democracy which is in retreat as plutocracy takes over America and Americans more and more become passive consumers instead of active citizens.

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April 15 - The Cosmetic and Theatrical Attack on Syria; Trump's Lawyer Cohen Did Visit Prague; We Are The Least Taxed But Feel The Most Burdened By Taxes

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We begin with Friday night’s strikes on Assad’s alleged chemical weapons sites in Syria by the U.S., France and the U.K. and get an assessment of what was achieved in terms of “mission accomplished” which Trump triumphantly tweeted out on Saturday. An expert on Syria James Gelvin, a professor of History at UCLA and author of “The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know”, joins us along with a Syrian opposition spokeswoman Rafif Jouejati, the founder and director of FREE-Syria Foundation. We discuss the extent to which the military action was largely cosmetic and theatrical in nature given that empty buildings and bunkers were destroyed, but on the other hand it does appear that General Mattis won out over the hawks Trump and Bolton in limiting the strikes so that no Russians were killed, which if there had been Russian casualties, a wider war with catastrophic consequences might have ensued. We will also examine the moral blindness of Nikki Haley’s threat that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” if Assad uses chemical weapons again, since Assad is free to bomb hospitals and use barrel bombs and starvation on his people because the U.S. has no policy when it comes to the all other aspects of the Syrian war.

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Part 2

Then we speak with veteran investigative journalist Peter Stone about the bombshell story he broke at McClatchy “Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016, confirming part of dossier”.  He joins us to discuss the significance of the trip by Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen to Prague in the fall of 2016 during the presidential campaign just after Manafort was fired to meet with a top Russian official close to Putin and a group of hackers who were reported to have been paid for hacking the DNC and the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.

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Part 3

Then finally as Americans file their taxes due on Tuesday, we will examine how we are the least taxed among the advanced nations yet feel the most burdened by taxes.  The former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, Edward Kleinbard, a Professor of Law at USC and author of “We are Better than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money”, joins us to discuss his article at The Los Angeles Times “Tax Policy is a bore, until they take your Social Security and Medicare away” and the profligate spending of taxpayer money by Trump and his cabinet, in particular by Scott Pruitt.

Edward Kleinbard

 

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April 12 - Russia and Iran Frustrated With Assad as Trump Prepares to Bomb Him; Republican Lawmakers are Quitting in Droves; An Update on the Mueller Investigation

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We begin with the looming probability that bombs and missiles will soon rain down on the House of Assad in Syria and speak with Dr. David Lesch, a professor of Middle East History at Trinity University and author of “Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad?” Since David knows Bashar al-Assad, he joins us to discuss what is likely going on inside the Assad family and how much the Russians are frustrated with the Syrian dictator’s uncompromising ruthlessness and refusal to make any kind of diplomatic settlement which would enable the Russians to withdraw their forces. We also look into the extent that the Iranians too are frustrated with their client Assad and how much Iran and Israel are on a collision course which could spark a wider war involving Syrian and Lebanon, a war that would dwarf whatever punitive display of military power Trump and the coalition he is forming are about to unleash on Assad.

Professor David Lesch

Part 2

Then with the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan walking away from the third most powerful office in the land, we will assess why it is that so many of Ryan’s predecessors have either been driven out, quit or been forced to resign as did John Boehner before him and before Boehner gave up, Dennis Hastert, Newt Gingrich, Tom Foley and Jim Wright left in ignominy or scandal. Gregory Wawro, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and author of “Legislative Entrepreneurship in the U.S. House of Representatives” joins us to discuss how Republican lawmakers are quitting in droves as Republican leaders jockey to succeed Ryan, and the deep and possibly irreparable divide within the GOP that will last as long as the Koch Brothers-backed Freedom Caucus holds sway.

Part 3

Then finally we get an update on the status of the Mueller investigation just as concerted efforts are underway at the White House to undermine Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, discredit James Comey and possibly fire Robert Mueller. A former Federal Prosecutor and deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department Harry Litman, joins us to assess whether a bill by a bi-partisan group of lawmakers to protect Mueller could allow Mueller’s findings to emerge before Trump shuts down the inquiry and buries the report.

Harry Litman

 

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