September 18 - Arming Ukraine when a Peace Settlement is the Only Way Out; The British Prime Minister's Ineptitude; Ebola Now a Global Threat

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We begin with the Ukrainian president’s appearance before a joint session of Congress where he made a plea for U.S. military hardware over and above the non-lethal assistance Ukraine is getting, stating that “one can not win a war with blankets”. Robert English, a Professor of International Relations at USC who formerly worked as a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Committee for National Security, joins us to discuss the possibility that Ukraine’s Petro Poreshenko is courting the more hawkish Congress to put pressure on Obama to arm the Ukrainians at a point where there is a stalemate that is inviting a diplomatic settlement.

 

robert english

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Then, as Scots go to the polls in record numbers, we  look at the political ineptitude of British Prime Minister David Cameron who has missed signals at every turn that the up-or-down referendum he decided on could blow up in his face as his complacent ministers ignored warnings from civil service professionals that the “No” vote was not a sure thing and that the United Kingdom could soon be split in half. James Cronina professor of history at Boston College and an associate at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University where he chairs the British Study Group, joins us to discuss Cameron’s self-inflicted political wounds as his action threaten to take the “Great” out of Great Britain.

cronin

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Then finally we examine the out-of-control outbreak of Ebola in West Africa which the U.N. Security Council has called a threat to global security. Gregory Koblentz, a Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University and a member of the Scientist Working Group on Chemical and Biological Weapons at the Center for Arms Control and author of “Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security”, joins us to discuss the role of the Pentagon in combating Ebola in Liberia and the virulence of Ebola that was weaponized as a biological weapon in the former Soviet Union.

gregory koblentz

 

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September 17 - The House Republican Follies on Capitol Hill; Comparing Spending on Climate Security and the Military; James Bamford on his Three Days in Moscow with Edward Snowden

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We begin with a new low in the theater of the absurd that has become the trademark of the House Republicans on Capitol Hill as two hearings begin, one the umpteenth investigation into Benghazi and the other even more farcical, a hearing chaired by global warming denier Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas aimed at criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to curb global warming CO2 pollution from power plants. Norman Ornstein, who write a weekly column for Roll Call, “Congress Inside Out”, and is the author with Thomas Mann of the recent best-seller “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism”, joins us to discuss how far the Republicans have gone off the rails since President Nixon founded to EPA and President Theodore Roosevelt established the Republican Party as the stewards of the environment.

 

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Then we look into a new study “Combat Versus Climate: The Military and Climate Security Budgets”, and speak with its co-author Miriam Pemberton, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies where she directs the Peace Economy Transitions Project. We discuss the modest increase in the Pentagon’s climate security budget from 1% in 2008 to 4% in 2013, which pales in comparison to China, which allocated nearly as much to climate change - $162 billion in 2013 as it did for its military forces - $188.5 billion.

 

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Then finally, we speak with James Bamford, the author of “The Shadow Factory: Inside the Ultra-Secret NSA, From 9/11 to Spying on America”. He is an investigative journalist specializing in national security issues who writes for Wired Magazine and spent three days in Moscow this summer with Edward Snowden, the fugitive former NSA contractor living in exile in Russia. We discuss what Snowden told him about the activities of his former employer and James Bamford’s article at the New York Times, “Israel’s NSA Scandal”.

james bamford

 

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September 16 - Last Minute Sweetener for a "No Vote" in Scotland; Another Suicidal Referendum that Will Diminish the U.K. Further; Iraq War III: The Next Big Meal Ticket for Military Contractors

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We begin with an apparent outbreak of panic inside David Cameron’s ruling conservative government in the U.K. as Thursday’s referendum on Scottish independence comes down to the wire with Cameron throwing sweetener after sweetener into the mix to lure Scottish voters away from a “Yes” vote. Polly Toynbee, a columnist for the U.K. Guardian and a former BBC Social Affairs Editor and Associate Editor of The Independent, joins us to discuss last-minute efforts by a Tory government that is deeply unpopular in Scotland, to persuade Scottish voters that they are better off with Britain.

 

polly

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Then we look further into the fateful vote in Scotland that has tremendous geopolitical implications for the future of the U.K. which will be diminished further if the Scots vote “Yes” because the opposition Labor Party will lose 40 seats to Scotland and will therefore be unlikely to win the next election in Britain, allowing the Tories to proceed with a suicidal referendum Cameron has promised for Britain to leave the E.U., further diminishing the U.K. into irrelevance. One of the world’s leading analysts of popular culture, media and their connections to everyday life, Toby Miller, joins us from the U.K. to discuss the political failures that have led to a resurgence of nationalism.

 
toby miller

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Then finally, following testimony by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs before the Senate Armed Services Committee where General Dempsey said that under certain conditions American boots on the ground might be required in Iraq, we will speak with William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and author of “Lessons From Iraq: Avoiding the Next War”. We discuss the likelihood that a third U.S. war in Iraq will be the next big meal ticket for military contractors.

william hartung

 

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September 15 - Why Turkey is Not Joining the Anti-Islamic State Coalition; The Economic Consequences of Scottish Independence; Garnishing Wages for Consumer Debt

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We begin with 26 nations meeting in Paris to form a strategy and a military alliance to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and look into the key regional state that is absent from the anti IS coalition, Turkey. Soner Cagaptay, who writes extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations and Turkish domestic politics and is a regular columnist for Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, joins us to discuss why Turkey is taking a back seat in the regional response to the Islamic State until the fate of the Turkish diplomats and their families being held hostage by the IS in Iraq, is resolved.  

 

soner chaptay

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Then we get an economic analysis of the impact of Scottish independence on both the economies of a new state that may emerge from Thursday’s vote and on the U.K., where both the ruling Tories and the opposition Labor Party are urging a “No” vote in the referendum. Economist Stephany Griffith Jones, who is Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University and Associate Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London, joins us to discuss the contradiction of having independence from Britain while Scotland retains the Queen as head of state and the pound sterling as the currency.

stephany

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Then finally we speak with Paul Kiel, who covers business and the economy for ProPublica, about his latest study a ProPublica, co-published with NPR, “Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts”. We  discuss how many employees across the U.S. now lose up to a quarter of their paychecks over debts like unpaid credit cards upon which 26% interest rates compound the debt, often doubling or tripling it, or medical bills and student loans, which most states allow creditors to garnish at the highest rate permitted under federal law, one quarter of the after-tax wages.

paul kiel

 

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September 14 - The Missing Piece of Obama's Strategy Against the Islamic State; Entering the Syrian Minefield; The War at Home Between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee

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We begin with an assessment of President Obama’s strategic plans to combat the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria from Steve Clemons, who is Washington editor-at-large for The Atlantic and editor-in-chief of Atlantic LIVE. We discuss the missing element in the president’s plans and that is the Sunni “buy in” since so far we will be working with the Iranians and the hated government in Baghdad against the Sunnis in Iraq in what appears to be shaping us as a boon for private military contractors and a boost for the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, but a bust for any durable solution to a region that the Bush/Cheney Administration broke and which the Obama Administration is unlikely to be able to fix.

 

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Then we go to Beirut to speak with Lebanese-based journalist Thanassis Cambanis, a fellow at The Century Foundation, who writes “The Internationalist” column for The Boston Globe. We examine an increasingly deadly and intractable civil war next door in Syria, further inflamed by the beheading of a third Western hostage by the Islamic State which is likely to draw the United States further into a conflict involving 1,500 rival militia groups fighting among themselves and occasionally against the Assad regime, that has resulted in the deaths of 200,000 Syrians, the destruction of the country and the displacement of a third of Syria’s population.

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Then finally, as the CIA gears up to enter into a third war in Iraq and get more involved in Syria, we look into the war at home between the CIA and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence over the long-delayed report on the agency’s use of torture and rendition during the Bush/Cheney presidency. Ali Watkins, who is with the McClatchy Washington Bureau where she covers national security and the Intelligence Agencies, joins us to discuss her recent article at McClatchy, “New Sparks Fly between CIA, Senate Intelligence Committee” that indicates many senators are furious with the CIA over their disrespectful attitude toward the Committee that Senator Levin describes as “arrogant and unacceptable”.

ali watkins

 

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