February 20 - A "Bad and Nasty" Woman Organizer of Today's "Not-My-President's Day" Actions; For Profit President; Trump's Cronies' Shady Back-Channel Deal to End Sanctions on Russia

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We begin on this President’s Day with demonstrations in opposition to the month-old Trump Administration across the country organized around the theme of “Not-my-President’s Day”. One of the organizers of today demonstrations, Melanie Manos, joins us from Detroit. She is one of the lead organizers of “Bad and Nasty”, an online art and activist community organizing “not-my-President’s Day” coordinated performances and actions around the country. We will discuss the role of the arts, satire and humor that has emerged as a way to both deal with the reality of a Trump presidency and protest it, as millions of people in the U.S. and around the world are taking to the streets in more and more demonstrations which started with the women’s marches on the day after Trump’s inauguration. They drew huge crowds compared to the day before, a comparison that has not sat well with Trump who has been offering up his own altered reality and alternative facts ever since.

 

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Then we speak with Rick Claypool, the research director at Public Citizen who is the author of a new report just out “For Profit President”, that analyzes Trump’s first 30 days in a day-by-day review of the new Trump Administration’s first month that has seen an extraordinary grant of power to corporate interests in Donald Trump’s get rich-quick-scheme known as the American presidency. We will discuss this full-fledged assault on our health, safety, environment, workers, consumers, financial security, civil rights and other protections.

Rick Claypool

Part 3

Then finally we look into the report by The New York Times on an initiative by close Trump associates involving a back-channel plan for Trump to lift sanctions on Russia in exchange for a peace plan with Russia and Ukraine. Alexander Motyl, a professor of political science at Rutgers University whose latest book is “Ukraine Versus Russia: Revolution, Democracy and War”, joins us to discuss the shady characters in this deal involving a disgraced Ukrainian politician, a Russian-American businessman with long-standing ties to Trump and prior convictions for stock manipulation involving the Mafia, along with Trump’s personal attorney.

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February 19 - Who is Minding the Store at the NSC?; The Press as "An Enemy of the People"; Trump's War on Whistleblowers

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We begin with the vacuum at the top of the chain of command following the forced resignation of General Flynn as National Security Advisor. Now after two prominent people turned the job down, we assess the candidates on the short list, three of whom are generals and the other a controversial former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. Lawrence Korb, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration and is the author of “A New National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction”, joins us to discuss the turmoil in the White House with qualified candidates turning down President Trump because of his refusal to take Stephen Bannon out of the chain of command and allow the new NSC Advisor to pick his own staff and report directly to the president.

Lawrence J. Korb

Part 2

Then we examine the unfortunate historical examples of the use of the term “enemy of the people” that President Trump called “The FAKE NEWS media” in a tweet which prompted Senator John McCain to warn “the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press”. Russian expert Mitchell Orenstein, a professor in the Slavic Department at the University of Pennsylvania joins us to discuss what it meant if Josef Stalin called you “an enemy of the people” and the paradox that in terms of the checks and balances against Trump’s autocratic tendencies, we have to rely on the CIA, the Pentagon and a hawkish Senator who Rand Paul has criticized saying “we’re very lucky John McCain is not in charge because I think we would be in perpetual war”.

 

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Then finally we speak with a whistleblower about Donald Trump’s fury at leakers following his warning that “The spotlight has finally been put on the lowlife leakers! They will be caught”. Peter Van Buren, a 24 year veteran Foreign Service Officer who led two State Department Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and was punished for blowing the whistle on massive waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money, joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “When It’s Time to Blow the Whistle” and the fact that a government official’s oath of service is to the Constitution, not to a political leader.

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February 16 - Trump's Paranoid and Petulant Press Conference; A Psychiatrist on Trump as a Person, Not a Patient; Trump's Plans to "Review" the Intelligence Community

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We begin with the combative presidential press conference today that has prompted a lot of headlines and talking heads questioning Donald Trump’s mental state. The Pulitzer prize-winning author of “The Making of Donald Trump, veteran investigative journalist and founder of DCReport.org David Cay Johnston, joins us to discuss Trump’s paranoid and petulant attacks on the two institutions that could hold him responsible and accountable, the press and the intelligence community, who are investigating his ties to the Russians. We look into a White House careening off the rails while the Republicans in Congress are poised to steamroller through a radical right wing agenda that may be slowed down by executive branch dysfunction, and the irony that most of leaks are coming from inside the White House from people appalled by what is going on, as opposed to the Republican establishment, who remain shamefully silent.

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Then we examine further the psychiatric opinions about Trump that are proliferating as more of the real person who is president is put on display as was the case in today’s press conference. Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University who was chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the author of the forthcoming book “Trump’s Not Crazy But We Are”, joins us. We will look into NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which has been ascribed to Trump and has motivated 23,000 mental health professionals and others to sign a petition asking for Trump’s removal, and discuss how mentally ill people are by and large good and decent folk and should not be compared to Trump who is a nasty, horrible person who should be held to account politically, not let off the hook psychologically.

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The finally we look into reports that Trump is considering a “review” of the Intelligence Community conducted by Stephen Bannon’s friend Stephen Feinberg, a hedge fund billionaire who own DynCorp, a defense and intelligence contactor. Melvin Goodman, a former CIA analyst whose forthcoming book is “The Path to Dissent: A Whistleblower at CIA”, joins us to discuss the pending Feinberg “review” as a purge of the CIA to stop them from building an impeachment case against Trump who today appeared increasingly desperate and unhinged as he attacked the press and the Intelligence Community. 

Melvin Goodman

 

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February 15 - The White House's Dangerous Dysfunction; Institutionalized Lying in the White House; Trump's "Burgers and Boobs" Bully Bows Out as Labor Secretary

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We begin with the dangerously dysfunctional White House that prompted a high ranking serving senior officer, General Tony Thomas, the head of JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, to warn that “our Government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we are a nation at war”. A veteran observer of Washington politics, Norman Ornstein, a contributing writer and editor for The Atlantic and co-author of “It’s Even Worse Than it Was”, joins us to discuss how the White House’s chaotic first month undercuts Trump’s appeal to the electorate that he is a successful businessman who will get things done. But in spite of this it, the Republican leadership, who are busy enacting an aggressive agenda as they implement their right wing wish list, appear to be quite happy with the situation and don’t see the need for any investigations.

 

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Then we speak with Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought at Amherst College. He joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “Lying got Michael Flynn fired. But that’s what the Trump White House does best” and the extent to which lying has become institutionalized in the Trump Administration whose use of “fake news” plays well with their core constituency inside the Fox News bubble. The roughly 30% of Americans Trump talks directly to via Twitter, who are in an alternative universe to the readers of what Trump calls the “failing” New York Times

Part 3

Then finally we examine the downfall of Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andy Puzder, who withdrew his nomination amid mounting concerns about his record of alleged domestic violence and spousal abuse. Judith Conti, the Federal Advocacy Coordinator for the National Employment Law Project joins us to discuss the other factors that cast doubt on the nominee such as his repeated failure to provide documents leading to five separate delays of his confirmation and the opposition to Puzder’s hostility towards workers by the “Fight For $15” movement.

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February 14 - The Firing of Trump's National Security Advisor; The North Korean Dictator's Brazen Assassination of His Older Brother; Venezuela's Vice President Sanctioned as a Drug Kingpin

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We begin with the resignation of the embattled National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who during the transition, made phone calls to the Russian Ambassador that were intercepted by the NSA, prompting then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to alert the White House that Flynn was exposed to potential Russian blackmail and had lied to Vice President Pence, all of which President Trump was informed about more than two weeks ago. The former director of European Affairs on the National Security Council in the Clinton Administration who for the last three years was a special assistant to President Obama for national security, Charles Kupchan, joins us. He just left the White House on January 19, and discuss the disarray and dysfunction in the Trump White House’s National Security Council and how the Russian story that the White House and the Republicans were hoping would go away, has come back into the headlines, adding weight and urgency to growing calls for an independent commission to investigate Russian involvement in our election.

 

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Then we look into the public assassination of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s older half-brother who was killed at the airport in Malaysia’s capitol by two female operatives who placed a poison-laced cloth over the victim’s face then escaped in a taxi. Sung Yoon Lee, a Professor of International Affairs at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, joins us to discuss the ruling Kim family dynasty’s ruthless purges of relatives and their long history of conducting brazen political killings on foreign soil.

Part 3

Then finally we go to Caracas, Venezuela and speak with David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America who has researched Venezuela for the past 22 years and lived there for a total of 12 years. He joins us to discuss the sanctions announced today at a White House press briefing by the new Treasury Secretary against Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who is accused of being a drug kingpin with tens of millions in frozen assets, as well as a supplier of Venezuelan passports to Hezbollah operatives. 

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