2013 Program Archive

December 31 - The Founding Fathers and Gun Control; The Fear of Terrorists While Accepting Gun Massacres; The Son of a Victim of a Gun Massacre

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Today we focus on gun violence in America following the massacre of school children in Connecticut that outraged the nation yet no reforms followed and gun massacres continue unabated. We begin with a broadcast of “Background Briefing” from January 9, 2013 and look into what the President, who deputized Joe Biden to take on the task of reducing gun violence in this country, can achieve in the face of determined, organized and well-funded opposition. Saul Cornell, the author of “A Well Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America” and “The Second Amendment Goes to Court”, joins us to discuss what could be achieved through executive order short of the American people standing up to the NRA.

 

saul cornell

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Then from April 25, 2013 we speak with Michael Cohen who is a columnist for the UK Guardian and the Observer where he has an article “Why Does America lose its head over ‘terror’ but ignore its daily gun deaths?” We examine the paradox of our inordinate fear of random violence from terrorists compared to our acceptance of the daily death toll from gunsand the preventable workplace deaths of 14 Americans every day. As well as try to understand why 3,531 Americans, more than were killed on 9/11, have died from gunssince Newtown, yet a majority of Americans are not as motivated to do something about it while the 1% who belong to the NRA are highly motivated to ensure that America’s criminals and terrorists are the best-armed in the world.

 

michael cohen

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Then finally from December 8, 2013, on the one year anniversary of the Newtown school massacre, Amardeep Kaleka joins us in the studio to discuss the lack of progress on gun control and legislation to reduce hate crimes and mass shootings. The son of the president of the Sikh Temple who was murdered along with five members of his congregation by a white supremacist, Amardeep Kaleka is running for Congress to unseat Representative Paul Ryan in whose district his father was shot.  

 
amardepp

 

December 30 - The Regional Implications of a Wider War; The Refugee Catastrophe the World Largely Ignores; The War Within The War Amongst Syrian Rebels

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Today we focus on Syria’s descent into hell as the civil war becomes a war of attrition with the rebels losing ground and losing support as Jihadis overwhelm their ranks playing into Assad’s hands. We begin with a broadcast of “Background Briefing” from January 6, 2013 as we assess that day’s speech by the besieged Syrian dictator Bashar Assad that was a mixture of defiance and delusion devoid of any mention of a diplomatic possibility to end a war that is destroying Syria and has already claimed 60,000 lives. Henri Barkey, a former member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, joins us to discuss the consequences of a collapse of the Assad regime and its regional impact, particularly on Iraq. He has an article at The American Interest “Spinoff: The Syria Crisis and the Future of Iraq”.

henri barkey

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Then from September 9, 2013 we speak with award-winning investigative journalist Max Blumenthal who is in Ramallah, Palestine, having just visited the vast Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. We discuss the appalling conditions the traumatized refugees live under and the fate of the many thousands more Syrian refugees just across the border who are prevented from entering Jordan. An opponent of U.S. intervention, Max Blumenthal was repeatedly told by the refugees that they want America to bomb Assad even if it costs them their homes and livelihoods.

max blumenthal

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Then finally from November 19, 2013 we go to Jordan to speak with Nicholas Heras, a Contributing Editor and Analyst with the international affairs journal Fair Observer. We discuss the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut and the war within the war amongst the Syrian rebels where the more secular Free Syrian Army has clashed with the jihadist Al Nusra Front who in turn have clashed with other al Qaeda affiliated groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, turning northern Syria into a patchwork of warring fiefdoms.

nicholas heras

 

December 29 - The Multi-Billion Dollar Swindle of the Taxpayer; "American Coup"; International Blowback that is Hurting American Business

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Today we focus on the leaks from the NSA contractor Edward Snowden that dripped out during 2013 and have shaken up the national security establishment causing repercussions to our foreign policy abroad and blowback to American businesses around the world. We begin with a broadcast of “Background Briefing” from June 10, 2013 and look into the post 9/11 Intelligence Industrial Complex following the latest leaks from an employee of an intelligence contractor Booze Allen Hamilton who in turn are owned by the Carlyle Group. A former CIA veteran Robert Baer joins us to discuss the real story that has been lost amid the familiar civil liberties versus national security arguments, and that is that the taxpayer is being swindled by multi-billion boondoggles that don’t work.

 

robert baer

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Then from August 13, 2013 we speak with one of America’s premier military experts who, along with the Washington Post’s Dana Priest, wrote the groundbreaking expose of the privatized national security state “Top Secret America”. William Arkin joins us to discuss his explosive follow-up “American Coup: How a Terrified Government is Destroying the Constitution”. We discuss his new book that describes the desk-bound takeover of the highest reaches of government by a coterie of “gray men” of the national security establishment that he calls the executive agents. We look into how doomsday has become every day in contemporary America as a result of the forever war and how the mechanism is already in place for an American coup that William Arkin warns about in this latest and most powerful reminder of our fading freedoms that we are trading away for a fictional guarantee of security.

 

william arkin

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Then finally from December 9, 2013 we look into the full page ad from the giant tech companies in The New York Times and Washington Post calling on the president and Congress to rein in the NSA. Marc Rotenberg, the President and Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), joins us to discuss the call for tighter controls on government surveillance in an open letter from AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo, and the international blowback from NSA spying that is hurting American business.

marc rotenbrrg

 

December 26 - The Old Reactionary Right Re-Packaged as the Tea Party; Two Washington Insiders on our Broken Government; Senator Sanders on the Supreme Court Empowering Billionaires

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As this year comes to a close, we are looking back on some of the stories that dominated the news in 2013. Today we will focus on the rise and fall of the Tea Party in 2013 and begin with a broadcast of “Background Briefing” from May 16, 2013 when the Tea Party was claiming political victimhood. We analyze the real nature of the Tea Party movement with Chris Parker, the author of a new book “Change They Can’t Believe in: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America”. We discuss his thoroughly researched study of the Tea Party that presents itself as a new revolutionary phenomenon when in fact it is the old reactionary right re-packaged as a grassroots movement. With its funding from billionaires, it is much more the heir to the “Know Nothing Party”, The Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society than to those who inspired the American Revolution.

 

chris parker

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Then from October 2, 2013 we speak with two Washington insiders who wrote the New York Times bestseller “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism”. Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann were among the first to expose the capture of the Republican Party by extremists and we discuss the threat to the constitution posed by Tea Party radicals who want nothing short of unconditional surrender by Barack Obama of his presidency.

normal ornstein

thomas mann
 

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Then finally from October 8, 2013 we look into arguments before the Supreme Court in McCutcheon versus the FEC that could strike down any remaining limits on spending on candidates and parties. Senator Bernie Sanders, who was in the Supreme Court and later spoke on the steps afterwards, joins us to discuss whether the Court will further empower a few billionaires like those behind the Tea Party shutdown, who are radically altering the American political landscape, moving the country further and further to the right.

bernie sanders

 

December 25 - The Right Wing's Phony "War on Christmas"; Celebrating a Holiday in Which Materialism has Overwhelmed Spiritualism

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On Christmas Day we look into the real meaning of Christmas and what it has to do with the frenzy of materialism that has been underway since Thanksgiving. Best-selling author Frank Schaeffer, who previously worked with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, before breaking with the Religious Right his father helped create, joins us. We discuss the phony “war on Christmas” that the right-wing have created out of thin air as they rally to the support of a fellow “Christian”, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty, whose hateful rhetoric they are defending in the name of the prophet of peace and love whose birthday is being celebrated today.

frank schaeffer

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Then we hear from Sister Ann Kendrick, one of the founders of the Hope Community Center in Apopka, Florida where she addresses the problems confronting migrant farm laborers in Central Florida. We discuss how she and the families of mostly undocumented immigrants celebrate Christmas, and the gulf between the material wants that overwhelm our culture and the spiritual needs that she ministers to the least among us, as and the gulf between the rich and poor widens in the land of plenty where just one family has a personal wealth equal to the entire wealth of 40% of all Americans.

thomas ferguson