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.

 

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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.  

 

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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.

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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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September 11 - The Complexities and Contradictions about to Embroil Us in Syria and Iraq; Why Americans Choose War; The Other 9/11

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We begin President Obama’s vow that he “will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq”, where we are already fighting with Iran as an ally against ISIL, while at the same time we are preparing to fight ISIL in Syria against Iran’s ally the Assad regime. With this just one example of the complexities and contradictions about to embroil us, Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of the daily newsletter and blog on Syrian politics, “Syria Comment”, joins us to discuss the President’s war plans which already have Russia warning the U.S. against airstrikes without the backing of the U.N., over which Russia and China have veto power on the U.N. Security Council.

 

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Then we speak with Richard Rubenstein, University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University and author of “Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War”. We will look into why a reluctant Obama chose war when he is trying to extricate America from lost wars in the Middle East, and why we are stuck in a cycle of constant wars, none of which we have won since World War 11, and why we can’t talk to our enemies unless they agree to our terms before we talk to them.

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Then finally we discuss the other 9/11, the 41st anniversary of the U.S.-backed brutal military coup against Chile’s socialist government in 1973 that resulted in thousands of Chilean citizens being tortured, murdered and disappeared. Katherine Hite, a Professor of Political Science and Chair of Political Science at Vasser College and author of “The Politics of Memory in Chile: From Pinochet to Bachelet”, joins us to discuss the slow process of truth, reconciliation and justice underway in Chile and the economic as well as human rights crimes committed by Pinochet’s family and cronies.

katherine hite

 

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September 6 - Independence for Scotland has Westminster Panicked; Syria's Tangled Web of Opposition Factions: The Punditry Versus the Presidency on ISIS

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We begin and go to Scotland to discuss the upcoming referendum on independence from Britain that is turning into a nail-biter as both the “yes” and “no” sides ramp up their campaigns a week away from the fateful vote. William Walker, a Professor of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews joins us to discuss how British Prime Minister Cameron’s efforts to persuade Scots to stick with the U.K. seem to have backfired, and why the Labor Party is deeply invested in a “no” vote against succession, as well as William Walker’s article at International Affairs, “International Reactions to the Scottish Referendum”.

william walker

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Then we examine the patchwork of factions in Syria fighting the Assad regime and amongst themselves, as President Obama is poised to ask Congress for an additional $500 million in arms and training for the Syrian opposition. An expert on the various opposition factions in Syria, Nicholas Heras, an analyst with extensive field work in Syria at the Washington D.C. think tank, The Jamestown Foundation, joins us to ascertain whether there are any reliable secular or moderate factions within the Syrian opposition who the U.S. could train and arm without ending up losing the arms to Islamists or having the arms used to slaughter religious minorities allied with the Assad regime.

nicolas heras

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Then finally, ahead of the President’s address to the nation on his strategy to combat the Islamic State, we speak with Michael Cohen, a fellow at the Century Foundation and a columnist for the Boston Globe and the UK Guardian. He is a former speechwriter for the U.S. Representative at the U.N. and we discuss his recent article in the New York Daily News “The Punditry Versus the Presidency: How the Constant Chorus of “Do Something” Obama Foreign Policy Critics Gets it Wrong” and now that John McCain is badgering the President to bomb ISIS, we will discuss his praise earlier this year thanking the Saudis for arming ISIS, quoting John McCain…“thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar and for our Qatari friends”.

michael cohen

 

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