May 25 - Political Theater and the Real Problem of Government Cyber Security; "Plutocratic Equilibrium" and the Global Shrinkage of the Middle Class; The Trump Rally/Riot in New Mexico

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Part 1

We begin with the State Department Inspector General’s report delivered to the Congress today that is critical of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server that she had not sought permission to use. Cyber security expert Alan Paller, the director of the Sans Institute who has testified several times before the House and Senate, joins us to discuss the broader issues involved in this largely partisan manufactured scandal and the irony that Clinton’s private server was not hacked but the State Department’s server was. We discuss the appalling lack of cyber security in all government departments except the FBI, CIA and NSA and the unbelievable breech of personal data on all government employees, especially those involved in defense and intelligence, hacked from the Office of Personnel Management by the Chinese. And in an even more unbelievable display of bureaucratic incompetence, the contractor hired to fix cyber security at the OPM has suddenly gone out of business and disappeared from the scene.

 

Part 2

Then we examine the broader global rise of Donald Trump-like nativism and right wing populism and its connection to the shrinking middle class with Branko Milanovic, the former lead economist in the World Bank Research Group and author of the new book “Global Inequality”. He joins to discuss the awakening brought about by Bernie Sanders of the decades-long rising inequality in America that Milanovic calls “plutocratic equilibrium” in which the elites purchase political power then ensure the working class supports the unequal status quo by distracting them with issues like gun control and gay marriage.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Lonna Atkeson, the Director of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy at the University of New Mexico about the rally/riot at a Trump event in Albuquerque which the Governor of New Mexico did not attend because she was “really busy”. Although Governor Susana Martinez has been touted as a possible vice presidential running mate for Trump to repair his image with women and Hispanics, this did not stop Trump from trashing the head of the Republican Governor’s Association and blaming her for the state’s unemployment and increase in food stamps as well as accusing her of accepting refugees from Syria which is a total lie.

 

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May 24 - Confusion Over Ballots in California; Iraq's Continuing Agony; Theater of the Absurd on Capitol Hill

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Part 1

We begin with the confusion over ballots in California’s upcoming June 7 primary which has some supporters of Bernie Sanders crying foul since those independents who registered to vote with a “no party preference” or NPP ballot have received their vote-by-mail ballot that has no presidential candidate listed. Since supporters of Bernie Sanders have already sued in federal court to have the registration deadline that passed on Monday May 22nd, extended until Election Day as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battle it out until the end for the big delegate prize in California, we try to clear the air. California State Senator Ben Allen, the Chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee, and Deborah Seiler, the former registrar of voters for San Diego County join us to discuss how many independents have registered with the American Independent Party founded in the 1960’s by the racist George Wallace, and how some of the parties themselves have created the confusion by not allowing NPP voters to request their party’s presidential ballot or participate in their presidential primary election.

 

Part 2

Then we examine the latest battle for Fallujah underway in Iraq which has the U.N. warning that 10,000 civilians trapped in the city are at risk while another 10,000 of the approximately 100,000 residents have already been killed. Iraqi-born Raed Jarrar, the Government Relations Manager at the American Friends Service Committee in Washington D.C. joins us to discuss the continuing suffering of the Iraqi people in this endless war started by the Bush/Cheney Administration which has yet to be held to account.

Raed Jarrar, AFSC

Part 3

Then finally we look into the theatre of the absurd on Capitol Hill where today Republican congressmen used a Judiciary Committee hearing to push for the impeachment of the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen with Congressman Darrell Issa fuming because the head of the IRS had not shown up and spitefully preventing the Democrats from reading the Commissioner’s testimony into the record. Bob McIntyre, the Director of Citizens for Tax Justice, joins us to discuss the determination of Tea Party anti-government zealots to impeach the head of the IRS to cripple the government they hate, even though their colleagues in the Senate want nothing to do with the House’s impeachment theatrics. 

Bob_McIntyre

 

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May 23 - Obama's Visit to Vietnam; China's Strategic Agenda in the South China Sea; Congress Dithers While Zika Spreads

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Part 1

We begin with President Obama’s visit to Vietnam and the announcement that the U.S. is lifting its arms embargo on Vietnam, a move that is widely interpreted as a response to China’s territorial encroachment into the South China Sea, which the Vietnamese call the East Sea. First we speak with Professor Hung Nguyen, emeritus professor of East Asian Studies and a professor of Government and International Affairs at George Mason University. He joins us to discuss how the Vietnamese view the expansionist activities of China and whether those concerns are greater than the economic and Communist Party to Communist Party ties that are being made between Vietnam and China, which is Vietnam‘s biggest trading partner.

Hung M Nguyen

Part 2

Then we get a broader strategic view of Obama’s agenda with Vietnam and the extent to which the TPP and lifting the arms embargo are a response to China’s territorial encroachment deep into Vietnamese and Philippine waters. Alfred McCoy, Chair of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of “Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State” joins us to discuss the “protein wars” which are a result of China having fished out its waters as it now launches a military-like invasion of the rich fishing grounds between Vietnam and the Philippines with massive fishing fleets in coordination with the Chinese Navy.

Alfred W. McCoy

Part 3

Then finally we examine the remarks made by the head of the World Health Organization that the Zika epidemic is both the fault of governments that abandoned mosquito eradication and failed to provide birth control to young women in poor countries. With Congress delaying funding for 90 days after low-balling Obama’s request of $1.9 billion down to $622 million for mosquito eradication in the Southern states and to find a vaccine for Zika, we speak with Dr. Peter Katona, a Clinical Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to see if there is a way forward to deal with this alarming epidemic.

 

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May 22 - Austria's Split Vote for a Far Right President; Will Trump Break Up the GOP; Who Benefits From the Killing of the Taliban Leader?

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Part 1

We begin with the elections in Austria that are too close to call but could result in the election of a far right candidate as the first head of state of an E.U. country. Christian Schueller, a reporter and correspondent in Austria who covers Eastern Europe for Austria’s TV network ORF and previously reported from Turkey and Iran for ORF, joins us. We discuss the rise of Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party that has been propelled by anxiety and a resurgent nativism as a result of the influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. We discuss recent incidents of cultural clashes between Austrians and immigrants from the Middle East and whether the Green Party candidate, an economics professor, can squeak by with mail-in ballots that will decide this 50/50 election.

Part 2

Then we speak with Sean Wilentz, Professor of American History at Princeton University and author of “The Politicians and the Egalitarians, The Hidden History of American Politics”. We will discuss the historical record of nativism in the United States and how much its revival with Donald Trump’s candidacy is a repeat of the past anti-immigrant “Know Nothing” movement and whether the divisions that Donald Trump is creating within the Republican Party will lead to a break-up of the GOP. We also discuss Sean Wilentz’s latest article at the New York Times, “If Trump Breaks Up the GOP, It Won’t be a First”.

 

Sean Wilentz

Part 3

Then finally we examine the assassination by drone of the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mansour and whether it will have any impact on the military situation in Afghanistan or, since Mansour was opposed to any compromise or peace agreement, will his death open the way for peace talks between the government in Kabul and the Taliban. Chris Fair, a former United Nations Political Officer in Afghanistan, and a professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program joins us to discuss the extent to which Pakistan may have helped in targeting the Taliban leader and what the rise in the influence and military clout of the Pakistani-supported Haqqani network means for the future of Afghanistan.

C. Christine Fair and canine associate, Ms. Oppenheimer

 

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May 19 - The Facebook-Republican Farce; Israel Slouches to the Right; The Lobby Trying to Stop California's Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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Part 1

We begin with the meeting Wednesday between Facebook’s top executives and a group of conservative pundits and politicians that apparently was collegial and cordial even though it was based on a completely made up lie that Facebook was censoring conservative-slanted news. One of the world’s leading analysts of popular culture, media and their connections to everyday life, Toby Miller joins us to discuss the successful right wing strategy of inventing a left wing bias then moving the debate to the right by having conservative activists blackmail Facebook by threatening to boycott it, then getting Facebook to solve a non-existent problem by moving its news coverage to the right. We will also discuss the presence of Donald Trump’s campaign coordinator and Facebook’s sponsorship of Donald Trump’s Republican convention in Cleveland.

Part 2

Then we look into the rightward shift by Israel’s right wing government of Prime Minister Netanyahu, with a new coalition that makes the former bouncer from Moldova, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s new Minister of Defense, a post that has always been held by former military veterans which Lieberman is not, and the weakening of Israel’s political opposition that is largely becoming irrelevant. Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal, the author of “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” joins us to discuss the tensions between Netanyahu’s government and Israel’s military over the execution of a Palestinian by an Israeli soldier that military officials deplore and right wing Israeli politicians celebrate. 

 

Part 3

Then finally, with the presidential races capturing most of the attention, we examine some other issues in this election and look into the marijuana legalization initiate on the California ballot in November that has mobilized a lot of opposition. Lee Fang, an investigative journalist with The Intercept joins us to discuss his latest article at The Intercept, “Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California” and the extent to which the law enforcement lobby is afraid of losing the funds from the war on drugs that they have become hooked on.

 

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