May 2 - Commercialism Trumps Democracy; A Critique of Bernie Sanders From the Left; What's Behind Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis

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We begin with commercialism trumping democracy reflected in the recent statement by the head of CBS, Les Moonves, who said the Trump campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS”. Victor Pickard, a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania joins us to discuss the symbiosis between the TV and cable monopolies and Donald Trump who serve each other’s interests as the press enables Trump with up to two billions dollars of free publicity covering his headline-grabbing antics which feeds their ratings and generates their profits with little to no regard for the public good which used to be an obligation the mainstream media had for the use of the public’s airwaves.

This is a picture of Victor Pickard at Annenberg School for Communication ASC UPenn

Part 2

Then we get an unusual critique from the left of Bernie Sanders and his campaign from Kevin Drum, a political blogger at Mother Jones where his latest article is “Here’s Why I never Warmed Up to Bernie Sanders”. He joins us to discuss his concern that in calling for a revolution that may not come about and not offering inspiration is service of attainable goals, the likely failure of the Sanders’ campaign will result in a net increase in cynicism about politics with Bernie’s young followers giving up in disgust.

Part 3

Then finally we examine Puerto Rico’s debt crisis with Charles Venator Santiago, Professor of Latino Politics, Public Law, and Political Theory with the Department of Political Science and the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at the University of Connecticut. He joins us to discuss Congressional inaction in the face of Sunday’s default on a $422 million debt payment and the deceptive campaign by so-called vulture funds, shadowy hedge funds that are blanketing the airwaves with ads featuring middle class Puerto Rican grandmas worried about losing their life savings when it’s all about the vulture funds squeezing every last dollar out of the island.  

 

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May 1 - Obama Chastises the Press for Elevating Trump; Election Desperation in Indiana; The Difference Between Republicans and Democrats in Electing Supreme Court Nominees

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We begin with President Obama’s remarks at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner where he needled the press noting that Donald Trump had entered the presidential race to promote his hotel business and look where he is today thanks to all the free publicity the press has given him.  Award-winning investigative correspondent for CNN, ABC and NBC, Mark Feldstein, Chair of Journalism at the University of Maryland, joins us to discuss the press as enablers of Donald Trump who, like Ben Carson, entered the primaries to promote his business brand but because of his headline-grabbing antics, has received as much as two billion dollars-worth of free press, which the president gently reminded the press corps last night is astounding if not disgraceful.

Work, 4-10

Part 2

Then we get an update on the political landscape in Indiana where Ted Cruz is making his last stand to stop Trump on Tuesday and speak with Marjorie Hershey, Professor of Political Science at Indiana University whose research focuses on political parties, campaigns and elections. She joins us to discuss the almost-comical nature of the Hoosier-pandering with Cruz referring to the basketball “ring” instead of the hoop and Trump introducing coach Bobby Knight who praised the Republican frontrunner as one who, like Harry Truman, would have the guts to drop the atomic bomb.

Part 3

Then finally we discuss the importance of the Supreme Court in presidential elections with Lisa Graves who was Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, she joins us to discuss how this year’s election is critical in deciding who will replace Supreme Court Justice Scalia and the accuracy of the HBO movie about Clarence Thomas, “Confirmation”, which portrays the Republican senators as ruthless and determined while the Democratic Majority Leader of the Judiciary Committee appears gutless as he sells out the star witness against a demonstrably unqualified candidate.  

Lisa Graves

 

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April 28 - Trump and Cruz’s Economic Fantasy; In the Year of the Outsider, Trump Could Win; Could China and the US Drift Into a New Cold War?

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We begin with President's stinging rebuke of the economic plans being offered up by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz which Obama described as "fantasies". Economist Bruce Bartlett, who served as a domestic policy advisor to Ronald Regan and deputy assistant for economic policy in the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration, joins us to discuss the absurdity of Trump's economic plans that would add $9.6 trillion to the deficit in a decade while Cruz's plan would add $8.5 trillion over the same period. We also discuss a prescient article Bruce Bartlett wrote for Politico last July "A Moderate Republican's Case for Trump: Only Trump Can Make the GOP Sane Again - By Losing in a Landslide to Hillary Clinton". 

Part 2

Then Matthew Rothschild joins us in the studio. He is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and the former editor of The Progressive Magazine and we discuss his efforts to get money out of politics in Wisconsin where Governor Scott Walker has benefited greatly from outside billionaire money that has financed a reactionary agenda in the state. We also discuss the presidential race now increasingly narrowing to a Clinton/Trump face off that, in this year of the outsider, could see Donald Trump elected as the next president of United States.

Part 3

Then finally historian Alfred McCoy joins us in the studio to discuss President Obama's pivot to Asia and the strategy that underlies it and the possibility of the U.S. and China drifting into a new Cold War. A TomDispatch regular, Alfred McCoy holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin and is the author of "Policing America's Empire: the United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State" and a forthcoming book on U.S. global power "Ending the American Empire".    

 

Alfred W. McCoy

 

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April 27 -An Analysis of Last Night's Primary Election Results; Comparisons Between the Anti-War Movement of the Sixties and the Bernie Sanders Movement of Today

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We begin with last night's primary election results from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island which resulted in a blow-out victory in all states for Donald Trump on the Republican side and wins for Hillary Clinton in four of the five on the Democratic primaries with Bernie Sanders winning in Rhode Island. We will begin with an analysis of the way forward for Bernie Sanders following a statement last night from his campaign that did not mention wining the nomination, but rather focused on giving voters a chance to express themselves in the forthcoming primaries and the Sanders campaign exercising its influence in the Democratic convention on behalf of the eight million voters who have already demonstrated their support for the insurgent campaign of Senator Sanders. John Nichols, The Nation magazine's Washington correspondent, whose latest book with Robert McChesney is "People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy", joins us to discuss last night's electoral results and whether a Clinton- Trump presidential race will be the cakewalk for Hillary as the Republicans fear and the Democrats gleefully anticipate. 

Part 2

Then the mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, Paul Soglin joins us. He was active in that city's anti-war protests in the 60's which were chronicled in David Maraniss's book, "They Marched Into Sunlight and we discuss similarities with the anti-war movement of youthful activist to the current youthful insurgency inspired by Bernie Sanders and assess a way forward for the Sander's movement beyond the current political races given the energy and activism that has been generated, which if channelled could become the future of the Democratic Party or a powerful political movement on the left that could counter the rightward drift in America. 

 

 

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April 26 - Similarities Between the Campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and Bernie Sanders; Our Rotten, Corrupt and Deliberately Complicated Election System

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We begin with the possibility that the current divisions between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns will continue and could become more strained at the primary process heads towards its likely conclusion in California on June 7. Matt Lindstrom, a Professor of Political Science at St. John’s University where he is the Director of the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement, joins us. We discuss similarities shaping up between the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago and this year’s Democratic convention, in terms of how the young flocked to Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 campaign in huge numbers that resulted in a rift between the insurgent McCarthy and the establishment candidate Vice President Humphrey who was narrowly beaten by Nixon, leaving a bitter residue in the Democratic Party which effectively lost the executive branch for decades after.

 

Part 2

Then we are joined in the studio by award-winning investigative reporter, political columnist and foreign correspondent Andrew Gumbel whose latest book, just out is “Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America”. On the eve of tonight’s primary election results in five states, we examine the truth in Donald Trump’s charges that the system is rigged and look into why it is that the United States is alone among advanced democracies in having a deliberately complicated and easily-gamed election system whose manifest flaws were exposed in Florida in 2000 but essential remain as broken as ever today, a condition which appears to be the way the two major parties, the Democrats and especially the Republicans want it.

 

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