February 23 - More Nukes to Make America Great Again; Bannon Vows His War With The Press Will Get Worse; Tillerson Conciliates While Trump Inflames

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We begin with Donald Trump’s remark in an interview today that the U.S. “has fallen behind on nuclear weapons capacity” and “we’re going to be at the top of the pack”. William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Initiatives Program at the Center for International Policy and author of “The Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex” joins us to discuss the enormous spending spree Trump is about to embark on by throwing money at the military industrial complex in additional military spending yet to be defined, and making America great again by going back to a Cold War nuclear arms race with the Russians. We assess what the strategy is behind wasting more money on the Pentagon and the DOE’s nuclear weapons “modernization” plans, as well as blowing billions on a wall on the Mexican border. Is this a repeat of the Reagan strategy to ramp up defense spending to blow up the deficit in order to foreclose all other domestic spending and force cuts on Medicare and Social Security?

 

William Hartung

Part 2

Then we speak with Washington-based journalist Adele Stan who is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. She has been at today’s Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC and we  get an update on the speeches by Betsy DeVos and the joint appearance by Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon where the alleged power behind the throne, Bannon, attacked the press as the enemy in a battle that is “going to get worse” while telling the gathering of right wing movers and shakers that Trump had their backs and he was “maniacally focused” on delivering on his campaign promises”.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the frosty meeting that took place in Mexico City between Secretary of State Tillerson and Mexico’s Foreign Minister and Interior Secretary where concerns were raised about the human rights of Mexicans living in the United States facing deportation. Shannon O’Neil, a Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead”, joins us to discuss the contrast between Tillerson’s conciliatory tone and Trump’s fighting words today about kicking out “really bad dudes” in what he called a “military operation”.  

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February 22 - Will General McMaster Have Direct Access to Trump?; The Rise of Fascism in Europe; Was Jill Stein Putin's "Useful Idiot?"

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We begin with the forth general to join the top ranks of the Trump Administration, Lt. General H.R. McMaster, who is the new National Security Adviser and speak with Colonel Andrew Bacevich, a retired Professor of History at Boston University who previously taught a West Point. He is the author of “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War” and “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” and joins us to discuss the top-heavy influence of generals in the Trump White House, many of whom appear sympathetic to neocon machinations to find a way to go to war with Iran, and whether or not General McMaster will have direct access to President Trump or have to go through Stephen Bannon who already controls and edits the flow of intelligence to the president.

 

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Part 2

Then we examine the influence of fake news and Russian disinformation in the important upcoming elections in France, Germany and The Netherlands. Rob Riemen, the founder of the Nexus Institute in The Netherlands and author of the forthcoming book “To Fight Against This Age: Two Timely Meditations”, joins us to discuss the emergence of a far-right front-runner in the March 15 Dutch election as well as the rise of right wing populism both in Europe and the United States that because of the “organized stupidity” of marketing and social media, could quickly morph into a revival of fascism that took place in the 1930’s. 

 

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Part 3

Then finally we look further into the role of the Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein in the last election since she received many more votes in the key swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania than the 77,000 vote margin that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. Casey Michel, a journalist who has worked in both in the former Soviet Union and the United States joins us to discuss his article at The Daily Beast “How Putin Played the Far Left” and assess the extent to which Jill Stein was a “useful idiot” and perhaps the most effective part of Putin’s overall strategy to manipulate the American election to hurt Clinton and help elect Trump.

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February 21 - Will the Democrats Continue Pursuing the Wrong Voters?; Trump's Open Season on the Deportation of Immigrants; America's Changing Attitude to Human Rights and Immigrants

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We begin with the upcoming choice facing the Democratic Party in next Saturday’s election of a chairman of the DNC which may determine the fate of political opposition in the country as a groundswell of resistance to the new Trump Administration is erupting across the country and around the world. Steve Phillips, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority” joins us to discuss his article at the New York Times, "Move Left, Democrats." He is the founder of Democracy in Color and we will examine the fact that in the last election more Obama voters defected to the Green and Libertarian parties than was the increase in the number of white working class voters who supported Donald Trump, with Hillary Clinton getting 193,000 fewer white voters in Wisconsin for example compared to Obama than Trump, who picked up just 9,000 more white voters that Romney did. We will assess whether the election of an African-American Muslim, Congressman Keith Ellison, will steer the Democrats away from pursuing the wrong white voters in the Rust Belt to instead focus on the growing opportunities in the south and west.

 

Part 2

Then we speak with Kamal Essaheb, an Immigration Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center whose advocacy focuses on the DREAM Act and DACA. We examine the memorandums released today by the Department of Homeland Security that appear to declare open season on the deportation of undocumented immigrants and discuss the deputizing of local police and sheriffs that in effect will nationalize the infamous Arizona Sheriff Arpaio’s enforcement approach to immigration reform.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into the human rights dimensions of this change in America’s attitude and approach to immigrants and speak with Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, the Co-Director of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch about whether Trump’s impending roundup will become a referendum on America’s decency and humanity. And also assess the extent to which Donald Trump is threat to American democracy itself, with his increasing preference for “patriotic” political rallies favored by autocrats that whip up crowds with populist fervor which often scapegoats so-called “enemies of the people”.

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno

 

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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Part 2

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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Part 3

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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