2012 Program Archive

December 31 - A Government Exempt From Having to do Their Job; Obama's Pyrrhic PR Victory; Is President Chavez on His Death Bed?

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We begin with the latest news on the cliffhanger over the so-called fiscal cliff that has America’s elected representatives entangled in a drama of their own making while they haggle at the last minute over doing their job which apparently, unlike the rest of us, they are exempt from having to perform or be fired. Paul Glastris, the editor of The Washington Monthly, joins us to try and make sense of what is happening, or not, on Capitol Hill. glastris

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Then we hear from Harvard economist Richard Parker the co-founder of Mother Jones who serves on the editorial board of The Nation. We discuss how President Obama has skillfully played the public relations game against bone-headed Republican ideologues, but at the same time, while trying to avert a self-inflicted wound on the American economy, the overall damage to the already tattered image of government sinks from dismay to disgust.

parker

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Then finally we examine the secrecy surrounding the deteriorating health of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with Caracas-based journalist Virginia Lopez who covers Latin America and Venezuela for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Sky TV. We discuss the very real possibility that President Chavez has days or weeks to live and whether his anointed Vice-President Nicholas Maduro will be able to win a new six year term if the popular and charismatic leader is not inaugurated as planned on January the tenth.

virginia

 

December 30 - Broken Government and a Government Going Broke; How the NRA Protects Criminals; A Possible Breakthrough in the Israeli/Palestinian Deadlock

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As we go to air the House is set to begin last-ditch deliberations on the so-called fiscal cliff following the convening of the Senate one hour ago. Keith Poole, Chair of Political Science at the University of Georgia and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at U.C. San Diego joins us. He is the author of “Polarized America”, “The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Rights” and “Ideology & Congress”. We discuss the role of ideology and money in the latest standoff between a president who promised to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes and the Republicans who are determined to protect tax cuts for the top one percent. keith pool

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Then we speak with a former Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms William Vizzard about how the NRA protects criminals while claiming to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens. We discuss how Congress, at the behest of the NRA, have passed laws that make it impossible for law enforcement to share data on guns used in crimes; who sells them, buys them and uses them in committing murders and armed robberies.

william

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Then finally we go to Amman, Jordan and speak with Daoud Kuttab a leading Palestinian journalist who is at the forefront of revealing what could be an historical shift in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute over land and sovereignty that has been deadlocked for over 40 years. We discuss the secret negotiations going on between the Israelis and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that could lead to an breakthrough deal first reported in Daoud Kattub’s article in The Atlantic “Are Palestinians Ready to Share a State With Jordan?”

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December 27 - Hagel the Least Worst Choice for the Pentagon; The Ideological Underpinnings of the Obstructionists; Is Gun Violence "Supposed" to Happen in America's Poorer Neighborhoods?

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We begin with the latest effort to scuttle the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense with a full page attack ad in Thursday’s New York Times by the Log Cabin Republicans. A long-time Pentagon insider and designer of the A-10 and F-16 fighters, Pierre Sprey joins us to discuss why he thinks Hagel would be a bad choice and Michelle Flournoy or Ashton Carter even worse. pierre

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Then with the Tea Party all but shutting down the Congress and the ship of state heading over the fiscal cliff, we speak with journalist and author Gary Weiss about the ideological underpinnings of the obstructionists and their billionaire backers. He is the author of “Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul” and we discuss the wealthy acolytes of Ayn Rand who have taken over the Cato Institute and Freedom Works.

gary weiss

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Then finally we speak with Dina Rasor about her article at Truthout “Slow-Rolling Massacre Unfolds in the Shadow of Shocking High-Profile Shooting Sprees” which explores the contrast between the intense media focus on the recent killing of school children in an affluent Connecticut neighborhood and what happens almost every day in poorer neighborhoods across America where school kids are gunned down with barely a mention in the press.

dina rasor

 

December 26 - An Armed Coup Within the Tea Party; The "Day After" in Syria; Will Obama Cave on Hagel and Japan's Seventh P.M. in Six Years

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We begin with a bizarre attempted armed coup by the founder of the Tea Party organization Freedom Works Dick Army, in which he took back control only to later accept an eight million dollar payoff from a wealthy donor to go away. Kenneth Vogel, the chief investigative reporter for Politico joins us to discuss disarray inside the conservative movement since Obama’s reelection and Obama’s return to the White House from vacation in Hawaii to await a last-minute deal on the so-called fiscal cliff with only 5 days left before the U.S. hits the debt limit ceiling. ken vogel

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Then we speak with a member of the Syrian opposition and of the “day-after” group of prominent Syrians planning to take over when Assad falls. Murhaf Jouejati, a professor of Middle East Studies at the National Defense University joins us to discuss the latest high-level defection from the regime and reports that Iran is planning a guerrilla war inside Syria to destabilize any future government.

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Then finally we discuss whether Obama will cave on the Hagel nomination and look into the once and future Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe who unveiled his new cabinet today and vowed to enact “bold” economic policies to reverse stagnation and deflation. Steve Clemons, the Washington Editor-at-Large for The Atlantic and the co-founder with Chalmers Johnson of the Japan Policy Research Institute joins us to discuss Senator Hagel's fate and the comeback of the former Japanese PM, the seventh premier in six years, who served for a year in 2006 only to be ousted ignominiously on the grounds of ill health.

steve clemons

 

December 25 - What do we Know About What's in the Negotiations over our Economic Future?; Some Hopeful Signs and Grim Challenges Ahead

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We begin with an analysis of where the economic brinksmanship in Washington is likely to take us in the last few days before we are supposed to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff”. Economist Randall Wray, a Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College and author of “Modern Money Theory: a Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems” joins us to discuss how little the American people actually know about these negotiations that could drastically effect our economic future. randall wray

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Then we discuss some of the more hopeful signs that our future could improve, as well as some of the grim challenges we face as a society in which school children are routinely massacred and nothing appears to be politically possible to fix this intolerable situation. Stephen Schwartz, a Senior Fellow at the Samueli Institute joins us to discuss the new report issued by the CIA’s National Intelligence Council on how the world will look in 2030 as well as how our money-driven politics can be changed so that all Americans, not just the rich, have a stake in a better future.

steven schwartz