August 21 - A Former Police Chief on the Behavior of the Ferguson Police; The Record $16.65 Billion Settlement Between the DOJ and BofA; The Failed U.S.-Special Forces Rescue Attempt of James Foley

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We begin with the former Chief of Police of Seattle for an analysis of both the behavior of the police in Ferguson, Missouri and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police who just released cell-phone videos confiscated from bystanders of the fatal shooting of a mentally disturbed young African-American man who taunted the police to shoot him. Norm Stamper, who is an advisory board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and author of “Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing” join us to discuss the criminalization of the mentally ill in America as well as the criminalization of drug abusers, neither of whom Chief Stamper feels should be in jail, but instead should be dealt with by medical professionals, not law enforcement officers.

 

norm stamper

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Then we look into the record settlement of $16.65 billion between the Justice Department and Bank of America with Bartlett Naylor, the financial policy advocate for Public Citizen who formerly served as chief of investigations for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee where he led probes of the savings and loan crisis, corporate takeovers, and insider trading. We discuss how much money BofA paid out compared to how much they made off selling toxic mortgages, and the likely fate of Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Savings who at one time was responsible for about one third of the liars loans that ruined the lives of millions of aspiring homeowners, most of whom, unlike Wall Street bankers, have not been made whole.

bart naylor

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Then finally, we speak with Elias Groll, an assistant editor at Foreign Policy where he just wrote the article “U.S. Special Forces Tried and Failed to Rescue James Foley”. We examine what is known about the rescue attempt which was apparently based on human intelligence and what is known about the London-accented British member of ISIS who issued a statement before executing James Foley and is believed to one of three British members of ISIS nicknamed “John, Paul and Ringo” who are believed to be the jailors of Foley and other journalists held hostage.

elias groll

 

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August 20 - Did Assad Hand James Foley Over to ISIS?; A Reporter Just Back From Iraq Who Works for the Same News Organization as James Foley; Has a Turning Point Been Reached in Ferguson?

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We begin with the gruesome beheading of an American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS in Syria almost two years after he was abducted on November 22, 2012 after leaving an Internet café in Binesh, Syria, a battle zone contested by Sunni rebels and the Assad regime. Michael Kelly, the front page editor for Business Insider where he reports on Military and Defense joins us to discuss his latest article at the Business Insider “One Big Question Surrounds the Murder of U.S. Journalist James Foley by ISIS” and the possibility that the Assad regime handed Foley over to ISIS.

 

michael kelly

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Then we speak with Reese Erlich, a veteran foreign correspondent just back from the Kurdish region of Iraq who reports for the same news organization Global Post that James Foley was working for when he disappeared. We discuss Reese Erlich’s efforts with Syrian officials to find out where and who was holding James Foley and his latest book “Inside Syria: The backstory of their civil war and what the world can expect”, as well as his impressions from just being on the ground in Northern Iraq of how the offensive against the Islamic State is going.

audioport

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Then finally, we examine the latest efforts to bring calm to Ferguson, Missouri after 12 days of unrest and speak with Clarissa Haywood, a political theorist at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of “Justice and the American Metropolis” and “How Americans Make Race: Stories, Institutions, Spaces”. We discuss whether as Captain Ronald Johnson of the State Highway Patrol claims, a turning point has been reached, and what influence Attorney General Holder could bring to bear on the hunkered-down local police and whether the prosecutor Bob McCulloch is impartial enough to make a case against the police officer who shot Michael Brown six times, a sentiment shared by protesters outside the St. Louis County Justice Center where the grand jury was convenedWednesday.

clarissa

 

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August 19 - Regulating the Unique Life and Death Power of Police Who Have a License to Kill; The Author of "Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of an American City; Turf Battles Among Police on the Tenth Day of Protest in Ferguson

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We begin with an historical perspective on race riots in America going back to the 1960’s where invariably the spark that ignites the protests was the killing of a black man by a white policeman. James Meyerson, who served as an Assistant General Counsel of the NAACP and who now maintains a civil rights trial and appellate practice with a longstanding focus on law enforcement misconduct, joins us. We will discuss his article in The Huffington Post “What Is the Kerner Commission and Why It Should be Revisited in Light of Ferguson” and the need for a similar high-level inquiry like the 1968 Kerner Commission today to curtail the life and death power of local police and hold them accountable for the abuse of the unique power they have with a license to kill.

 

james meyerson

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Then we look into the changing demographics of St. Louis with Colin Gordon, a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Iowa and author of “Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of an American City” which is also an interactive digital mapping project on the web at Mapping Decline. He joins us to discuss his research that shows racial and economic stress building for years is the tinder fueling the anger and frustration that has exploded in Ferguson.

gordon

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Then finally, we will speak with Garrett Duncan, a Professor of African American Studies at the University of Washington in St. Louis about the extent to which outside troublemakers from as far as New York and California are fanning the flames in Ferguson and the turf battles amongst the various Federal, State and local police who have been unable to quell ten days of protests and looting, as well as the need for adult supervision to take charge of the situation and conduct a swift and credible inquiry that results in accountability and justice.

duncan

 

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August 18 - The Need for a Credible Inquiry and Justice in Ferguson, Missouri; There is a "There" There in the Indictment of Rick Perry; The Fate of the African Elephant Reaches a Tipping Point

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We begin with the on-going racially-charged situation in the divided city of St. Louis where the National Guard has been deployed following a week of protests and looting provoked by the shooting of an unarmed young black man by a white policeman who shot Michael Brown six times until he was dead. An expert on distressed suburbs and economic segregation among municipalities, Todd Swanstrom, a professor in Community Collaboration and Public Policy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, joins us to discuss how the rapid change in Ferguson from a majority white to a majority black community, as well as poverty and unemployment factor into this tense confrontation between angry residents and defiant local police, as the need for a credible inquiry and for justice to be served grows more urgent.  

todd swanstrom

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Then we examine the case of State of Texas versus James Richard “Rick” Perry, and look into the role of the Travis County DA’s office that contains the Public Integrity Unit that the governor is trying to defund. Forrest Wilder, associate editor of the Texas Observer, who writes the “Forrest for the Trees” blog, joins us to discuss his latest article at the Texas Observer, “What the Pundits Don’t Get About the Rick Perry’s Indictment” and how there may be more of a “there” there than the national press is reporting in terms of Governor Perry’s legal jeopardy.

forest wilder

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Then finally, with the fate of the African elephant reaching the tipping point where more are being killed by poachers than are being born in the wild, we speak with George Wittemyer, a professor in Colorado State University’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology who is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board to Save the Elephants in Africa. We discuss his new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that finds 100,000 elephants have been killed by poachers in the last three years, with Central Africa, the hardest hit, seeing a 64% decline in its elephant population in the last decade.

george wittemyer

 

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August 17 - The Militarization of America's Police Forces; Obama on a Tightrope as Critics Pile On; Will Republican Big Bucks Backfire?

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We begin with the continuing protests and looting in Ferguson, Missouri in spite of an intervention by the Governor and the deployment of a more community-friendly less militarized State Police force. Elizabeth Beavers, the Legislative Associate for Militarism and Civil Liberties at the Friends Committee on National Legislation joins us to discuss her recent article in the New York Times “Get the Military off Main Street” and the lobbying efforts of she and her colleagues for the past year on Capitol Hill to block the Pentagon’s hand-out of surplus military weapons and hardware to police forces across the country known as the 1033 program that has resulted in the streets of Ferguson looking like a war zone.

elizabeth beavers

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Then, with President Obama curtailing his vacation to deal with the volatile situations in Ukraine and Iraq, as a joint U.S. and Kurdish military operation to retake the Mosul dam is underway, we will discuss the precarious decision-making situation the president is in with the possibility of the Islamic State retaliating by unleashing a monstrous and catastrophic tidal wave across Iraq that will flood the country and plunge it into darkness.Dr. Stephen Walt, a Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University joins us to discuss his article at Foreign Policy “Double Diss” and the upside and the downside for the president at a time when his foreign policy in not just being criticized by Republicans, but is being second-guessed by one of its architects, the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

stephen walt

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Then finally we speak with Darrell West, the Vice President of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of the forthcoming book, “Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust”. He joins us to discuss his recent article in USA Today “Republican Big Bucks Backfire” that suggests much of the massive and unprecedented campaign spending by plutocrats to elect Republicans to do their political bidding might reverse itself and over time go to Democrats, as these conservative donors age and their liberal children inherit their fortunes.

stephen walt

 

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