February 7 - Alternative Facts at the National Security Council; Neocon Royalty as Number 2 at the State Department; Inside Trump's "Successful" Raid in Yemen

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We begin with the extra jeopardy the United States finds itself in with not just a president who is delusional and operates according to his own belief system, but the National Security Council that is meant to provide Trump with real-world information and intelligence is also operating in an alternative universe tailoring its own reality with NSC Advisor General Flynn reportedly rewriting the Presidential Daily Briefs. Ali Watkins, who covers national security and foreign policy for BuzzFeed News joins us to discuss the bizarre claim that Trump made to a military audience at CENTCOM headquarters in Florida that the “very dishonest press” have not reported terrorist incidents and what kind of information and from what sources is intelligence being fed to Trump about what is happening in the real world.

 

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Then Jacob Heilbrunn, a Senior Editor at the National Interest and author of “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons” joins us to examine reports that the number two job at the State Department is about to be filled by Elliot Abrams who is considered neocon royalty. If today’s meeting with Trump goes well for Abrams then his nomination will be a clear repudiation of everything that Donald Trump said on the campaign trail about the disastrous Bush/Cheney Middle East misadventures. And since this former Reagan Administration and George W. Bush Administration official was so scathing in his criticism of Trump in his role as advisor to Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Abrams closeness to Netanyahu and Jared Kushner and his hawkish stance in favor of a war with Iran would indicate the reasons why Abrams got the job.

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The finally we look into the recent U.S. raid in Yemen against AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, that the Trump White House is claiming as a great success although the evidence presented by the Pentagon of a captured al Qaeda video turned out to be a decade old and available online. An expert on Yemen, Sheila Carapico, a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond and author of “Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf” joins us. 

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February 6 - Trump Trashes Allies While Making Excuses for Enemies; Another Trump Betrayal, His Chair of the FCC; A Senate "Talk-a-Thon" to Stop Billionaire Betsy DeVos From Becoming Education Secretary

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We begin with the unease in foreign policy circles and among leaders of long-time allies of the U.S. about Donald Trump’s undiplomatic approach to international relations and the anti-democratic, pro-authoritarian leanings of his chief strategist Stephen Bannon who appears more and more to be the power behind the throne. A veteran diplomat, Ambassador Peter Galbraith, who was also a professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College and is the author of “Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies”, joins us to discuss the “dissent” memo signed by 1,000 Foreign Service Officers objecting to Trump’s Muslim ban. We also try to analyze why Trump trashes America’s closest allies while going out of his way to make excuses for a leader not widely seen as friend of the U.S., Russia”s President Putin, who along with meddling in our elections, has been accused of financing far-right white nationalist parties in Europe to undermine democracy and pluralism.

 

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Then, as Trump moves to gut financial reforms aimed at protecting retirees from being ripped off by crooked financial advisors, we will look into Trump’s latest betrayal of his supporters as the new head of the FCC stops discounted high speed internet service to low-income working families while preparing to kill net neutrality rules that ensure equal access to content on the internet. Matt Wood, Policy Director at Free Press joins us to discuss the aggressive agenda of a former lawyer for Verizon, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who promised transparency but has already acted swiftly and in secret.

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Then finally as Democrats tie up the Senate in a day and night-long “talk-a-thon” in the hope that one more Republican Senator will break ranks and bite the hand that feeds them by rejecting the nomination of a billionaire Republican donor Betsy DeVos, who Trump wants as his Secretary of Education. Mitchell Robinson, chair of music education at the Michigan State University College of Music who has written extensively about Betsy DeVos’s lavishly-financed campaigns against public education in Michigan, joins us.

 

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February 5 - Could Trump Be Tried For Treason?; Could Erik Prince Start a War For His Friend Bannon?; Wilbur Ross's Bank For Dirty Russian Money

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We begin with the growing possibility that Donald Trump could be put on trial for treason given the extraordinary lengths he goes to in making excuses for Putin and his unwillingness to lift the cloud of illegitimacy that hangs over his presidency, a refusal to clear the air which suggests Trump has something to hide. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harpers in legal affairs and national security joins us to discuss the latest evidence that Donald Trump is the main beneficiary of the most successful covert operation in history run by a former KGB Colonel who managed to get his asset Donald Trump placed in the White House as the head of the most powerful nation on earth. We discuss the roll-up of America’s network of spies inside the top levels of the Russian government which has resulted in many senior FSB and former KGB officers arrested and some murdered, and the coincidence that Putin’s purge began shortly after officials in the Trump Administration were given access to secret information on sources and methods inside Russia that were providing intelligence to the U.S.

 

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Then we look into the role of Erik Prince, the founder of “Blackwater”, the notorious mercenary army and cutout for intelligence paramilitary operations, who is a close friend of Stephen Bannon and the brother of Trump’s nominee for education secretary Betsy DeVos. Joining us is Robert Young Pelton who was hired by Prince to write his biography. He is author of “License to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror” and the “Adventurist” and is a Strategic Advisor to MOAS, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station that operates ships to rescue migrants at sea. We will examine whether Bannon will use Prince’s shadowy outfit now called “Frontier Services Group” to provide the spark to start a new war.     

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Then finally we speak with an expert on offshore tax havens, kleptocracy and pirate banking, investigative economist James Henry.  He is the co-founder of DC Reports and author of “Blood Bankers” and joins us to discuss Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross’s partnership in a Cyprus bank with a Russian mobster and money launderer, and whether Trump is the secret beneficiary of a recent sale of 19% of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, the proceeds of which went into a myriad of hidden accounts in the Cayman Islands.   

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February 2 - Iran's Hawks and America's Hawks Head for War; The "Religious Freedom" Executive Order That Will Change American Life; Trump Disses the Australian PM

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We will begin with the saber rattling coming Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn putting Iran “on notice” which was followed by a tweet from Trump himself making the same vague threat. Abbas Milani, the Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and co-author of “Politics and Culture in Iran: Challenging the Status Quo”, joins us to discuss the symbiosis between the hawks on both sides and how much Trump’s threats play into the hands of the IRGC, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, who got rich off the sanctions and are not happy with the nuclear deal that Trump also opposes. We assess the consequences of a naval clash in the Persian Gulf that would likely close the Straits of Hormuz and cause a catastrophic rise in global oil prices which would greatly benefit Trump’s friend Putin.

 

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Then, following today’s National Prayer Breakfast at which Donald Trump asked the attendees to pray for better ratings for “Celebrity Apprentice”, we will examine the aggressive agenda of the Religious Right that Vice President Pence is enacting and the forthcoming White House Executive Order on so-called “Religious Freedom”. Matthew Sutton, Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University and author of “American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism” joins us to discuss how the new nominee to the Supreme Court is a part of a tectonic shift underway in American life where the often fanatical beliefs of a religious minority will soon be imposed on the majority of citizens in the name of religious freedom.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into the reality TV treatment Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull got from Donald Trump in last Saturday’s call from the Oval Office in which the leader of one of America’s closest allies was informed by Trump that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day – including Russia’s Putin - and “this was the worst call so far”, all-but telling Turnbull “you’re fired” before hanging up on him. Toby Miller, a Visiting Professor at Tulane University and a regular contributor to Australia’s national newspaper, “The Australian”, joins us to discuss the embarrassing antics of the most undignified and unhinged head of state in American history. 

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February 1 - Time For Democrats to Play Hardball; Withholding Consent Until the Trump-Putin Ties Are Fully Investigated; Steve Bannon's Takeover of National Security Policy

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We begin with the call by a former deputy chief of staff to Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, for the Democrats to hold the new minority president accountable and to play hardball. We begin with Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public policy at Princeton University who is the author of “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society”, and discuss his article at CNN “What Democrats Should Learn From Republicans”. We assess President Trump’s advice that Senate Republicans should use the nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster if Democrats filibuster his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. And, with a radical Republican agenda underway threatening transformative changes, will the Democrats borrow from the Republican obstructionist tactics of shutdowns, fiscal cliffs, financial chaos and procedural warfare to stop an unpopular and divisive president and his unqualified cabinet by playing hardball?

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Then we speak with a 21 year veteran of the US Senate Jim Manley, who served as senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for six years and before that 12 years as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He joins us to discuss his former colleague’s call for the Democrats to play hardball and offers his insight into whether, because of the cloud of illegitimacy that hangs over the president as investigations into how much Vladimir Putin helped elect Trump continues, the tactic of withholding consent is a viable strategy until a credible investigation either indicts or clears Trump.

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Part 3

Then finally we investigate the takeover of national security policy and process by the Trump Administration’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who appears to have accrued so much power so quickly that he is being seen as the de facto President of the United States. Kate Brannen, the deputy managing editor of Just Security and a nonresident fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council, joins us to discuss her article at Foreign Policy “Steve Bannon is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source”. 

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