December 8 - An Insult to American Workers: Trump's Choice of Labor Secretary; A Third General in Trump's Administration?; How to Get Rid of the Electoral College

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We begin with another case of putting Dracula in charge of the blood-bank with Donald Trump’s nomination of Andrew Puzder, the CEO of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains, who is a relentless foe of raising the minimum wage and paying workers overtime yet will be heading up the Department of Labor tasked with enforcing workplace safety and wage laws on behalf of American workers. Fred Rotondaro, a member of the Patriotic Millionaires who was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress working on poverty and inequality, joins us to discuss how this nomination will put the brakes on a raise in the minimum wage and overtime pay since Puzder has made it clear he thinks giving a worker a fancy job title helps them more than paying them a living wage. Puzder also believes that food stamps discourage poor people from working and machines are better than humans because “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take vacations, they never show up late, and there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case”.

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Part 2

Then we speak with David Schanzer, Professor of the Practice and Director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University.  He was staff director of the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security and we will discuss Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, who will be the third general nominated to a top position in Trump’s Administration with General David Petraeus a possible fourth. We will examine how a military mindset might adjust to civilian challenges in an agency that will oversee the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine efforts to abolish the antiquated Electoral College that twice in recent years has resulted in the loser of the popular vote winning the presidency. A Pulitzer Prize-winning expert on the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, Jack Rakove, a Professor of History and American Studies at Stanford University and author of “Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America”, joins us to discuss his testimony this week before the House Judiciary Committee on the future of the Electoral College.

 

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December 7 -- Trump's Cynical Choice for Head of the EPA; Academic McCarthyism; The Continuing Fallout From Trump's Taiwan Call

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We will begin with Donald Trump’s naming of the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt as the next head of the EPA and speak with a leading expert on energy and environmental issues who helped bring about the Environmental Protection Agency under President Nixon. David Freeman, a senior advisor to Friends of the Earth who headed up the Tennessee Valley Authority, New York Power, the Los Angeles DWP and is the author of “All Electric Future: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future”, joins us to discuss the cynical choice of an aggressive anti-environmentalist to head up an agency meant to protect the land, air and water. As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, a protégé of Oklahoma’s global warming denying Senator James Inhofe, has spent most of his time suing the EPA on behalf of fossil fuel companies and shale oil “fracking” outfits who have turned Oklahoma into the earthquake capitol of the United States. 

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Anthea Butler, a Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is on a McCarthyite hit-list funded by a right wing billionaire that targets academics who they consider subversive which results in an organized blizzard of hate mail and demands for resignation sent to university chancellors, deans and students to get professors fired. She joins us to discuss her article at The Guardian “I’m on the ‘professor watchlist’. It’s a ploy to undermine free speech” and the Orwellian nature of “reporting” on professors by students who, in the name of fighting “bias”, are encouraged by groups like Turning Point USA and Campus Reform, to be informants rather than enter into dialogue and discourse with those who have differing opinions.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into the continuing fallout from Donald Trump’s call to the leader of Taiwan with The New York Times’ revealing that Senator Bob Dole, a lobbyist for Taiwan, helped arrange the call that has China fuming and many wondering whether it is a sign of incompetence and amateurism or if there is some kind of strategy at work. An expert on Taiwan, Shelley Rigger, a professor of Political Science at Davidson College and author of “Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse” joins us to try to make sense of where relations between the U.S. and China might be heading amid mixed and contradictory signals from the new Trump Administration.

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December 6 - General Flynn and Son's Peddling of Fake News; Pentagon Buries Evidence of $125 Billion in Waste; The Former Head of Exxon as Secretary of State?

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We begin with the consequences of General Michael Flynn and his son and other top members of the incoming Trump Administration spreading fake news which resulted in an attack on a Washington pizzeria popular with families and children by a supporter of family values who had a real gun and believed an online conspiracy theory Flynn and his son were peddling that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex-trafficking ring out of the pizzeria.  An Internet and technology policy lawyer, Leslie Harris, the former President of the Center for Democracy and Technology, joins us to discuss what happened at her neighborhood pizzeria and the reckless and dangerous behavior of the next National Security Advisor General Flynn and his son. We will also look into how Republican pressure on Facebook to get rid of supposedly “biased” human oversight and use algorithms instead, led to the proliferation of fake news and a deluge of outrageous fabrications and hate speech aimed at the Clintons that helped elect Trump. 

 

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Part 2

Then we examine a Washington Post expose of how the Pentagon buried evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste so their next budget under the next Administration will be laden with pork from a massive spending binge promised by Trump. Mandy Smithberger, the Director of the Straus Military Reform Program at POGO, the Project on Government Oversight, joins us to discuss how little outrage has been expressed in Washington as top Republicans with oversight like Senator John McCain, ignore the report and plan to throw more money at the Pentagon. 

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Cleo Paskal, who is a Trudeau Fellow at the University of Montreal’s Center for International Studies and a Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London. An expert on the geopolitical, security, and economic consequences of environmental change from global warming, she joins us to discuss the possibility that Trump will choose the former head of Exxon as his Secretary of State, at a time the oil giant is under investigation for actively suppressing evidence of the contribution to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels.

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December 5 - Trump Meets With Gore While Appointing Global Warming Deniers; Italy's "Brexit" Moment With Their Trump Who is Actually a Clown; Carson as Head of HUD is Dracula in Charge of the Blood Bank

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We begin with Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka’s meeting today with Al Gore who has been at the forefront of arguing for an urgent need to address the catastrophic effects of global warming, perhaps the most critical issues facing mankind, which Donald Trump has labelled a fraud. Michael Wara, a Professor of Law at Stanford University who is an expert on energy and environmental law and climate policy joins us to discuss the mixed signals from the Trump Transition where he has a global warming denier in charge of the EPA transition and a former Koch Industries lobbyist in charge of the Energy Department transition who is dedicated to reversing and rolling back policies and subsidies that promote green energy and renewables while keeping in place subsidies for coal, oil and nuclear. 

 

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Part 2

Then we look into the political turmoil in Italy following a constitutional referendum that was a stinging defeat for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and is widely seen as another populist political tantrum like “Brexit” and the election of Donald Trump in which an angry and alienated public voted to upend the political order and take their chances on the chaos that might follow. Alexander Stille, a Professor of International Journalism at Columbia University and author of “The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a fabled History and a Storied Culture was taken over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi”, whose latest book is “The Force of Things: Marriage in War and Peace”, joins us. We will discuss this upset victory by a former clown, Beppe Grillo, who has called for a new election within a week.

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Part 3

Then finally we assess the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to be the Trump Administration’s head of HUD, Housing and Urban Development, where the former neurosurgeon with no government experience will oversee an agency with a $47 billion annual budget. Ronnie Dunn, a Professor of Urban Studies at Cleveland State University joins us to discuss a man whose only background in housing has been to oppose attempts to desegregate public housing as “failed socialists experiments” and real estate deals with a convicted fraudster Alfonso Costa who heads up Carson’s charity and manages his real estate investments.

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December 4 - A Compilation of Recent Interviews: Steven Mnuchin's Amazing Raid on the Treasury; A Fox News Political Hack for the National Security Council; Fox News as the Brains of the White House

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We begin with an interview from November 30th examining the business reputation of Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, whose wealth appears to be derived from massive corporate welfare as a result of a vulture capitalist feast on the carcass of the 2008 Wall Street crash. After which Mnuchin bought a bailed-out bank for pennies on the dollar then aggressively foreclosing on tens of thousands of families using robo-signing of dubious liars-loan documents. Saied Kashani, a lawyer whose clients included the largest private homebuilders in California and litigated extensively against Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank, joins us. Saied acquired numerous private agreements between the government and the owners of OneWest through court orders and the Freedom of Information Act and we discuss Mnuchin’s amazing raid on the U.S. Treasury that he will now be in charge of. 

Part 2

Then we assess the 50 year-long U.S. embargo and countless assassination attempts on Castro’s life which just ended with him having outlived ten U.S. presidents. Roger Morris, who served on the senior staff of the National Security Council under presidents Johnson and Nixon and is the author of a comparative history of the inner politics of the U.S. and the USSR, “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and Their Failed Ideals”, joins us. We will also discuss the makeup of Trump’s new national security team with the addition of a Fox News political hack, K.T. McFarland as the Deputy National Security advisor.  

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Part 3

Then finally we discuss the extraordinary number of Fox News analysts who will be staffing the Trump White House, in part because Trump watches Fox News and gets much of his information from it. Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of “Fox News and American Politics: How One Channel Shapes American Politics and Society” joins us to discuss how Fox News, the “Pravda” of the Republican Party, will now become the voice if not the brains of the White House. We also discuss the irony, now that Trump is considering General Petraeus to be the next Secretary of State, of the appointment of Fox News analyst K.T. McFarland as the Deputy National Security Advisor, given her past effort on behalf of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch to recruit General Petraeus to run for president against his Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama in 2012. Apparently Petraeus’s conviction for sharing classified information with his mistress does not rise to the level of “crooked Hillary’s” alleged crime of having a private email server for which she was exonerated by the FBI.

 

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