May 29 - Donald Trump's Finger on the Nuclear Button?; How Bernie Sanders Has Broadened America's Narrow Political Debate

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Part 1

We begin with an assessment of what it would be like to be on the National Security Council with Donald Trump as president and having the so-called “football”, the nuclear launch codes, only feet away from President Trump at all time. Roger Morris, who served on the Senior Staff of the National Security Council under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon joins us to discuss the frightening turn in American political life with Donald Trump having just become the presumptive Republican candidate for President of the United States, an unprecedented moment in our 240 year old democracy where a reality TV star who has manifestly visible personality disorders such as extreme narcissism and a child-like propensity to lash out at any critic or opponent, if elected president, will have his finger on the nuclear button.

Part 2

Then we look into the contribution that Bernie Sanders has made to the American political discourse that has long been circumscribed by a narrow spectrum of ideas and issues dominated by the far right, the right and the center-right, with occasional inroads but not lasting influence from the left. Richard Parker, who teaches economics and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is a former managing editor of Ramparts, was a cofounder of Mother Jones magazine, and serves on the board of The Nation, joins us. We discuss the broadening of the political debate as a result of the Bernie Sanders campaign and the impact on contemporary politics of the Internet and social media that brings both the promise of unfettered access to boundless information and enlightenment, as well as the peril of a virtual world of Twitter and Instagram that Donald Trump inhabits, a Kardashian culture in which people live vicariously in thrall of the every move and utterance of tawdry celebrities.  

Richard Parker

 

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May 26 - Harry Reid's Mediation Between Sanders and His Democratic Critics; The Government's Broken Cyber Security Systems; Obama's Historical Visit to Hiroshima

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We begin with the efforts underway by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to mediate between the Sanders camp and a growing number of senior Democrats who are concerned that Bernie’s continuing campaign is hurting their chances of beating Donald Trump. Jim Manley, a Senior Director at Quinn Gillespie and Associates who served as senior advisor to Harry Reid for the past six years, and before that, 12 years as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, joins us. We discuss Harry Reid’s call on Tuesday to Democrats criticizing Bernie urging them to, quote, “I think we should just kinda lay off Bernie Sanders a little bit, OK?” and Reid’s meeting with Jane Sanders on Wednesday, as well the future of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz who will preside over the Democratic convention where she is likely to booed the minute she bangs the gavel and be less than useful in helping Hillary Clinton win over Sanders supporters in the name of party unity.

Part 2

Then we examine that case against Hillary Clinton for her unauthorized use of a private email server and focus on the fundamental issue at stake which is the privacy and security of communications at the highest level of government that involve state secrets. Robert Morgus, a policy analyst with The New America Foundation’s Cybersecurity Initiative joins us to discuss why the protection of government emails and communications is so lax making it easy for hackers to breech antiquated and poorly managed systems, as well as the private emails of current and former government employees.

 

Part 3

Then finally we assess the historic visit of President Obama to Hiroshima on Friday and discuss the criticism coming from all directions with some upset that Obama has ruled out an apology, while others argue that his call to eliminate nuclear weapons flies in the face of a massive trillion dollar “modernization” of the U.S.’s vast nuclear arsenal. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist Kai Bird, the author of “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” joins us to discuss the father of the atom bomb Oppenheimer’s charge that we dropped the bomb on “an essentially already defeated enemy”.

 

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May 25 - Political Theater and the Real Problem of Government Cyber Security; "Plutocratic Equilibrium" and the Global Shrinkage of the Middle Class; The Trump Rally/Riot in New Mexico

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We begin with the State Department Inspector General’s report delivered to the Congress today that is critical of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server that she had not sought permission to use. Cyber security expert Alan Paller, the director of the Sans Institute who has testified several times before the House and Senate, joins us to discuss the broader issues involved in this largely partisan manufactured scandal and the irony that Clinton’s private server was not hacked but the State Department’s server was. We discuss the appalling lack of cyber security in all government departments except the FBI, CIA and NSA and the unbelievable breech of personal data on all government employees, especially those involved in defense and intelligence, hacked from the Office of Personnel Management by the Chinese. And in an even more unbelievable display of bureaucratic incompetence, the contractor hired to fix cyber security at the OPM has suddenly gone out of business and disappeared from the scene.

 

Part 2

Then we examine the broader global rise of Donald Trump-like nativism and right wing populism and its connection to the shrinking middle class with Branko Milanovic, the former lead economist in the World Bank Research Group and author of the new book “Global Inequality”. He joins to discuss the awakening brought about by Bernie Sanders of the decades-long rising inequality in America that Milanovic calls “plutocratic equilibrium” in which the elites purchase political power then ensure the working class supports the unequal status quo by distracting them with issues like gun control and gay marriage.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Lonna Atkeson, the Director of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy at the University of New Mexico about the rally/riot at a Trump event in Albuquerque which the Governor of New Mexico did not attend because she was “really busy”. Although Governor Susana Martinez has been touted as a possible vice presidential running mate for Trump to repair his image with women and Hispanics, this did not stop Trump from trashing the head of the Republican Governor’s Association and blaming her for the state’s unemployment and increase in food stamps as well as accusing her of accepting refugees from Syria which is a total lie.

 

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May 24 - Confusion Over Ballots in California; Iraq's Continuing Agony; Theater of the Absurd on Capitol Hill

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We begin with the confusion over ballots in California’s upcoming June 7 primary which has some supporters of Bernie Sanders crying foul since those independents who registered to vote with a “no party preference” or NPP ballot have received their vote-by-mail ballot that has no presidential candidate listed. Since supporters of Bernie Sanders have already sued in federal court to have the registration deadline that passed on Monday May 22nd, extended until Election Day as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battle it out until the end for the big delegate prize in California, we try to clear the air. California State Senator Ben Allen, the Chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee, and Deborah Seiler, the former registrar of voters for San Diego County join us to discuss how many independents have registered with the American Independent Party founded in the 1960’s by the racist George Wallace, and how some of the parties themselves have created the confusion by not allowing NPP voters to request their party’s presidential ballot or participate in their presidential primary election.

 

Part 2

Then we examine the latest battle for Fallujah underway in Iraq which has the U.N. warning that 10,000 civilians trapped in the city are at risk while another 10,000 of the approximately 100,000 residents have already been killed. Iraqi-born Raed Jarrar, the Government Relations Manager at the American Friends Service Committee in Washington D.C. joins us to discuss the continuing suffering of the Iraqi people in this endless war started by the Bush/Cheney Administration which has yet to be held to account.

Raed Jarrar, AFSC

Part 3

Then finally we look into the theatre of the absurd on Capitol Hill where today Republican congressmen used a Judiciary Committee hearing to push for the impeachment of the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen with Congressman Darrell Issa fuming because the head of the IRS had not shown up and spitefully preventing the Democrats from reading the Commissioner’s testimony into the record. Bob McIntyre, the Director of Citizens for Tax Justice, joins us to discuss the determination of Tea Party anti-government zealots to impeach the head of the IRS to cripple the government they hate, even though their colleagues in the Senate want nothing to do with the House’s impeachment theatrics. 

Bob_McIntyre

 

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May 23 - Obama's Visit to Vietnam; China's Strategic Agenda in the South China Sea; Congress Dithers While Zika Spreads

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Part 1

We begin with President Obama’s visit to Vietnam and the announcement that the U.S. is lifting its arms embargo on Vietnam, a move that is widely interpreted as a response to China’s territorial encroachment into the South China Sea, which the Vietnamese call the East Sea. First we speak with Professor Hung Nguyen, emeritus professor of East Asian Studies and a professor of Government and International Affairs at George Mason University. He joins us to discuss how the Vietnamese view the expansionist activities of China and whether those concerns are greater than the economic and Communist Party to Communist Party ties that are being made between Vietnam and China, which is Vietnam‘s biggest trading partner.

Hung M Nguyen

Part 2

Then we get a broader strategic view of Obama’s agenda with Vietnam and the extent to which the TPP and lifting the arms embargo are a response to China’s territorial encroachment deep into Vietnamese and Philippine waters. Alfred McCoy, Chair of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of “Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State” joins us to discuss the “protein wars” which are a result of China having fished out its waters as it now launches a military-like invasion of the rich fishing grounds between Vietnam and the Philippines with massive fishing fleets in coordination with the Chinese Navy.

Alfred W. McCoy

Part 3

Then finally we examine the remarks made by the head of the World Health Organization that the Zika epidemic is both the fault of governments that abandoned mosquito eradication and failed to provide birth control to young women in poor countries. With Congress delaying funding for 90 days after low-balling Obama’s request of $1.9 billion down to $622 million for mosquito eradication in the Southern states and to find a vaccine for Zika, we speak with Dr. Peter Katona, a Clinical Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to see if there is a way forward to deal with this alarming epidemic.

 

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