April 16 - The Refugee Crisis in the Mediterranean; Republicans Move America Towards an Oligarchy; Anti-Vaxxers Stall Bill in California

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We begin with the increasing refugee tragedies in the Mediterranean where 10,000 immigrants have been rescued in recent days with more than 500 drowned including a hideous incident in which Muslims tossed Christians overboard. Daryl Grisgraber, who leads Refugees International’s research and advocacy related to the Middle East and North Africa, joins us to discuss divisions in the E.U. over how to respond to the refugee crisis which the Pope has warned is turning the Mediterranean into “a vast cemetery”.

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Then, with the Republican House passing the so-called “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015” that will exempt America’s richest families from estate taxes and allow them to pass on their wealth from generation to generation without ever being taxed, we will speak with Jeffrey Winters, a professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and the author of “Oligarchy”. We discuss the power of America’s elite to escape taxes and the political strategy to pass the burden down to the middle class and working Americans, thus making those who are unfairly taxed more angry at taxes than at the one percent who are avoiding paying their fair share.  

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Then finally we examine the bill to limit vaccine exemptions of school children that is stalled in the California legislature between the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Education Committee, following vocal demonstrations from the anti-vaxxers who don’t want to vaccinate their kids but want them to get a public education where they pose a danger to their classmates. Dr. Peter Katona, a Clinical Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine and a Professor of Public Health at UCLA, joins us to discuss whether a special school for the children of those with unconventional belief systems is a viable option.

 

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April 15 - Economic Fairness on Tax Day; Your Cuban Terrorist is My Freedom Fighter; Finally a For-Profit College Gets Fined

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On this tax day we begin with an overview of the economy and look into the issue of growing economic inequality as the Republican Congress moves to reward the richest one percent of the one percent with a repeal of the so-called “death tax” along with a loophole that allows America’s wealthiest families to pass on their estates to heirs without paying a penny of capital gains or taxes. Jeff Madrick, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, whose latest book is “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World”, joins us to discuss who among us pays their fair share on tax day.

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Then we assess the future of President Obama’s historic opening to Cuba now that Cuba is to be removed from the list of nations that sponsor terrorism. We speak with William Leogrande, a Professor of Government at American University and author of “Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana” and discuss whether concerns over the so-called American “terrorists” who have been given political asylum by Cuba will be offset by the anti-Castro Cuban “terrorists” living in the U.S.

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Then with the Department of Education finally moving against a predatory for-profit college that misled students and falsified job placements, slapping Heald College with a $29.7 million fine, we speak with David Halperin, a senior fellow at Republic Report who was founding director of Campus Progress. We examine the recent remarks by Hillary Clinton, who has just started her 2016 presidential campaign, charging that these over-priced, low-quality diploma mills which are almost entirely subsidized by the taxpayer, are “ruining student’s lives”.

 

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April 14 - A Compromise Between the White House and the Senate on the Iran Deal?; Blackwater Mercenaries Sentenced as Iraqi Leader Arrives; The Republican Gift to the Uber-Rich and Their Heirs

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We begin with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s unanimous vote on the compromise between the White House and the so-called Corker Bill that could determine the fate of the deal that President Obama and the P5+1 just made with Iran that is expected to be finalized by the end of June. Joining us is Dr. Paul Pillar, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University who was the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia at the CIA. We discuss his latest article in The National Interest, “America’s Not-So-Ultimate Weapon: Economic Warfare” and whether those who want to give the Iran deal a chance can overcome the determination of those who want to kill the deal before it is made.

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Then we examine the life sentence for one Blackwater military contractor and 30-year sentences for three others charged with murdering 14 Iraqis in 2007. Author, filmmaker, journalist and explorer Robert Young Pelton, the author of “Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror”, joins us to discuss the sentences that were handed down as Iraq’s Prime Minister Abadi arrived in Washington for meetings with President Obama.

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Then finally on the eve of tax day, we speak with Chuck Marr, the Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about efforts by House Republicans this week to eliminate what limited taxes on family capital the richest one percent of the one percent pay, thus creating a permanent class of Americans who never have to work or pay taxes and moving America closer to becoming an aristocracy of inherited wealth rather than the meritocracy the founding fathers intended.

 

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April 13 - Is There a Saudi-Turkey Plan to Remove Assad?; An Old Friend of Hillary Clinton on the Candidate Herself; The Pope Speaks Out on the Armenian Genocide

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We begin with the recent visit to Iran by Turkey’s President Erdogan, after an earlier visit to Saudi Arabia, and look into a possible shift in regional alliances as Saudi Arabian military involvement in Yemen deepens and warnings from Iran are ignored. Henri Barkey, a Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and a former member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, joins us to discuss whether the rumored talks between the Saudis and Turkey in Qatar, aimed at removing Syria’s Assad, indicate a new boldness from the Saudis or paranoia over a possible U.S. rapprochement with Iran.

 

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Then as the just-announced presidential candidate Hillary Clinton heads to Iowa in a van on a road trip across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, we speak with someone who has known her since she first met her husband Bill. Ambassador Derek Shearer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Finland who is currently a Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College, joins us to discuss whether in a country whose politics are dominated by a plutocracy, there is still an American meritocracy, and whether his old friend Hillary, could become the first female president of the United States.

 

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Then finally we look into the remarks made by Pope Francis that the Armenian genocide was the first genocide of the 20th Century and that Turkey’s concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding. Ronald Suny, a Professor Emeritus of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago and the author of a new book, just out, “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else: A History of the Armenian Genocide”, joins us. 

 

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April 12 - Shattering the Ultimate Glass Ceiling; Drones and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare; The U.S. and Cuba's President At An Historic Meeting

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We begin with the announcement by Hillary Clinton that she is running for president and will champion income equality, for women in particular, and fight for a higher minimum wage, affordable education and child care. Heidi Hartmann, the President of the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research, joins us to discuss the ultimate shattering of the glass ceiling with the election of the first woman to be president of the United States.

 

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Then we speak with one of the country’s premier military experts, William Arkin, about his new book Unmanned: Drones, Data, and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare and how our security is being undermined by an impulse to gather as much data as possible, as well as the increasing use of America’s nuclear submarines as spying platforms.

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Then finally we examine the historic meeting between Cuba’s President Raul Castro and President Obama at the summit of the Americas in Panama and speak with a former political analyst for the Cuban government, Arturo Lopez Levy, a professor at the Center of Global Affairs at New York University. We discuss the removal of Cuba form the list of state sponsors of terrorism and how and when the embargo will be lifted.

 

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