2010 Program Archive

2010 Program Archive

Background Briefing - Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dr. George Lakoff is the Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Lakoff’s books include Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values, Frame the Debate, Whose Freedom? And his most recent, The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain

Background Briefing - Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today we will look into a number of stories and issues in the news. We will begin in a moment and speak with Jon Hilsenrath who is the chief economics correspondent for The Wall Street Journal who is analyzing the enormous amount of data just released by the Fed on who got what in the Fall of 2008 when Wall Street was crashing and the Fed was shoveling 9 trillion dollars out the back door to giant American banks and corporations as well as foreign banks and firms.

Then we will talk about the contents of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables that refer to Russia and its leaders in less than flattering terms. Joining us is Cathryn Collins, whose recent documentary “Vlast” ("power" in Russian) explored the nexus between organized crime, the KGB and the oligarchs in Russia and the role of the boss of bosses, Vladimir Putin, who is described as playing Batman to his protege Medvedev's Robin in what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates calls a government that is an oligarchy run by the security services.

Then we will look into the possibility of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange facing espionage charges, with a veteran investigative reporter James Bamford who was the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC News and has tried to pry secrets loose from the ultra-secret NSA and the other spy factories and has received the same warning notice that Assange has recently received from the U.S. Government.

Then we will talk about the President and the Democrats abdicating to the Right and the ascendant American aristocracy, the title of a new article by Kathleen Reardon in the Huffington Post. She is a professor at USC's Marshall School of Business and will elaborate on her belief that the American people don't want more money going to fat cats in gigantic financial swindles while their own and their children's opportunities are taken away.

Background Briefing - Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today we will look into a number of subjects and issues in the news. We will begin in a moment and discuss the one - two financial punches aimed at the American people today. ONE, the President's Deficit Commission's recommendations to slash taxes for the rich and corporations while asking working Americans to work longer until they are 69 to collect Social Security while cutting Medicare, education, environmental cleanup and senior housing. And TWO, the Fed's release today of who they gave $3.3 trillion in cash to in the fall of 2008, more than a thousand big corporations including McDonald's, GE and the Bank of America, who got bailed out overnight, indicating who is first in line in America with your tax dollars, while the unemployed, waiting in line, are denied benefits. Joining us is Chuck Collins who directs the Program on Inequality and The Common Good who co-wrote with Bill Gates Senior “Wealth and Our Commonwealth”.

Then we will get a reaction to the Wikileaks release of diplomatic cables questioning China's patience with the North Koreans and the possibility that they would welcome a reunified prosperous Korea under the control of the South with Chinese access to resources in the North. We are joined by Gordon Chang who is an International Policy Analyst and the author of “Nuclear showdown: North Korea Takes On the World”. Since the Chinese government has blocked Wikileaks and dismissed its leaks as gossip, we will try to get an understanding of the apparent division within the leadership between those who favor China's economic interests with the U.S., South Korea and Japan and those like Wu Dawei, the top Chinese negotiator with North Korea, described in a leaked cable as an arrogant former Red Guard who favors spouting Karl Marx.

Then finally we will hear from the Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker of a new feature documentary premiering tonight at 7.30 PM on Showtime “The Other City”. On this day, World AIDS Day Susan Koch joins us to talk about her film that is set in the nation's capitol which also happens to be ground zero for the highest concentration of AIDS in America, mostly affecting Washington DC's poor and non-white residents.

Background Briefing - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today we will look into a number of stories and issues in the news. We will begin in a moment and talk about the future of the Bush tax cuts about to expire at the end of the year. After first spurning the president’s invitation, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate met today with the President in the White House and agreed to further meetings involving the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the OMB with a designated Republican and Democrat from the House and the Senate. Joining us to examine the fate of both income and estate taxes in the lame duck session, is Lee Farris, the senior organizer on estate tax policy for United For A Fair Economy.

Then we will look into the pattern of assassinations of Iranian Nuclear Scientists and Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders with one of the founders of the Revolutionary Guard Corps Moshen Sazegara. On Monday one senior scientist was assassinated on the streets of Tehran and a second was seriously injured by assassins on motorcycles who attached bombs to the victim’s cars, this following the assassination of an Iranian nuclear physicist killed by a bomb last January outside his home in Tehran. We will look into the possibility of fratricide within the Guard Corps who along with President Ahmadinejad blame the Zionists and the Americans for the assassinations.

Then finally we will get an update on Sunday’s disputed elections in Haiti as ballots are being counted amid anger and protests from voters. Brian Concannon, the founder and director of the Institute For Justice and Democracy in Haiti joins us to analyze the charges of widespread fraud and ballot stuffing and also address the continuing deterioration of conditions following last January’s earthquake in spite of substantial aid amounting to $500 per person in a country where people work for a dollar a day, in contrast to the far more devastating floods in Pakistan where the victims there received an average of $3 and 20 cents in humanitarian aid from foreign donors.

Background Briefing - Monday, November 29, 2010

Today we will deal with the big story in the news, that is the latest Wikileaks data dump of some 250,000 mostly State Department cables that the Italian Foreign Minister is describing as the 9/11 of world diplomacy. We will get a number of perspectives on the release of this trove of secret information beginning with a career State Department Intelligence official who will assess the damage of the leaks from the perspective of one who kept the government secrets. Joining us is Wayne White, a member of the Iraq Study Group and the former Deputy Director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Middle East desk and a State Department Representative to NATO.

Then offering the perspective of an investigative journalist who has spent his career trying to pry loose secrets from the government, we are joined by Mark Feldstein, a former investigative correspondent for CNN, ABC and other news outlets who now teaches media and public affairs at George Washington University. We will discuss the value of this latest leaked material to the citizen's right to know what their government is up to and the response to the leaks from the mainstream press who have been scooped by an on-the-run former hacker from Australia, who just promised to go after a major American bank early next year.

Then finally we will be joined by Peter Scheer, the Executive Director of The First Amendment Coalition who will examine the impact of the latest Wikileaks on the troubled relationship between the Press and the Government and argue for the enactment of a Federal shield law to protect journalists and their sources from government retribution, something that the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange might find useful since he has made so many powerful enemies both here and abroad.