January 31 - Trump Announces His SCOTUS Choice of Neil Gorsuch; Gorsuch is More Reactionary Than Scalia; Will the Democrats Make a Stand Against a Stolen Seat?; Gorsuch as an Extreme Corporatist

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We begin with the announcement expected at any minute by President Trump of his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left since the death of Antonin Scalia that President Obama attempted to fill but the Republicans played hardball and would not allow Obama’s choice of a moderate Merrick Garland even a hearing let alone a vote.

 

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We begin with an initial response to Trump’s choice from Lisa Graves who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Deputy Chief for the U.S. Courts.

Then we speak with Paul S Ryan, the Vice President of Litigation and Policy at Common Cause about the highly-charged atmosphere in Washington as Democrats consider delaying a vote on Senator Jeff Sessions to head up the Justice Department, which has just had its acting Attorney General fired by the White House, after today boycotting key votes on two of Trump’s cabinet nominees, Stene Mnuchin at Treasury and Congressman Tom Price as the new head of H.H.S. We discuss the possibility of this just-announced nominee to the Supreme Court being filibustered in the Senate by Democrats, many of whom feel they should not vote to confirm any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court since the appointment to fill Scalia’s seat has already been “stolen” by the Republicans.

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Paul Ryan

Part 3

Then we discuss Trump’s just-announced Supreme Court nominee’s qualifications, record and likelihood of confirmation with Caroline Fredrickson, the President of the American Constitution Society which is a progressive counterweight to the Federalist Society, a Koch brothers-funded group of conservative judicial activists who have been influential and successful in getting right wing judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas appointed to the federal bench.

Part 4

Then finally we discuss the chances of the confirmation of this nominee just put forward by President Trump being confirmed and whether and for how long the Supreme Court could function with an evenly divided court of eight justices. Daniel Goldberg, the Legal Director at the Alliance For Justice who served as Chief of Staff of the Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs, joins us to discuss whether the Democrat’s decision to stand up to the Trump train was sparked by the firing of the acting Attorney General or is the growing resistance to the Trump/Bannon presidency being fueled by a fury at the grassroots.  

 

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January 30 - What Motivated the Canadian Mass Shooter?; Trump Puts a Target on the Back of US Soldiers in Iraq; Trump's Radical and Unworkable "Two Out, One In" Executive Order

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We begin with the unusual mass shooting in Canada at a mosque in Quebec City that left six worshipers dead, five in critical condition and 12 others injured. Mubin Shaikh, the author of “Undercover Jihadi: Inside the Toronto 18 – Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism in the West”,  joins us. A former jihadist, Mubin came to see how his extremism was inconsistent with the teachings of the Quran and he became an undercover counterterrorism operative for the Canadian security intelligence service. We discuss what motivated the suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, who on his Facebook page says he “likes’” Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, France’s anti-immigrant right wing political leader, and how the shooter got hold of an AK-47 assault rifle which is banned in Canada but readily available across the border in the U.S.

Mubin Shaikh

Part 2

Then we look into the extent to which Donald Trump’s remarks about redoing the Iraq war and this time stealing Iraq’s oil, as well as his Muslim ban that named Iraq as one of the seven Islamic countries whose citizens are banned from entering the U.S., are going down with Iraqis and how it is effecting the seven thousand U.S. soldiers and contractors who are fighting alongside Iraqis against the Islamic State. Iraq expert Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan, joins us to discuss the blowback in the Islamic world from Trump’s Muslim ban and how much it plays into the hands of the Islamic State.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with an expert in administrative procedure and regulatory policy, Sidney Shapiro, the Vice-President of the Center for Progressive Reform and Chair of Administrative Law at Wake Forest University. He joins us to attempt to understand Trump’s latest “Two-out, One-in” Executive Order to scrap two regulations for each new one which appears to be as radical as it is unworkable. We discuss the coming legal entanglement and the arbitrary “Sophie’s Choice” aspect of enacting a new regulation to protect public health which means you are forced to get rid of two older regulations that have protected public health. 

Sidney Shapiro

 

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January 29 - Mysterious Murders in Moscow; Stephen Bannon, The De Facto President of the United States; Backlash From Trump's Muslim Ban

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We begin with arrests of top officials in Russia’s Intelligence service dealing with cyber-espionage and the mysterious death on Boxing Day of Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB and FSB general who was a key liaison between Igor Sechin the head of Rosneft and Vladimir Putin, a murder which appears to be linked to the release of the dossier on the Kremlin’s hold over Trump prepared by the former MI-6 officer Christopher Steele who is now in hiding. A former Swedish diplomat who served in Moscow, Anders Aslund, now a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russia and East European Studies at Georgetown University, joins us to discuss the phone call between Donald Trump and Putin and whether Putin will help Trump bury the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin by claiming that a rogue FSB operation has been shut down and that Putin has decisively dealt with the traitors.

 

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Part 2

Then we examine the shakeup at the National Security Council engineered by the de-facto President of the United States, Stephen Bannon, who has inserted himself onto the NSC and kicked off the Director on National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Roger Morris, who served on the Senior Staff of the National Security Council under presidents Johnson and Nixon before resigning with Anthony Lake over the invasion of Cambodia, joins us to discuss the extraordinary power the new White House chief strategist has accrued for himself to essentially run the country while Donald Trump watches himself on cable TV and tweets about his coverage into the wee hours of the morning.    

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Then finally we speak with Dr. Trita Parsi, the co-founder and the president of the National Iranian American Council and author of the forthcoming book “Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy”. He joins us to discuss Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and the chaos it has created at American airports with spontaneous demonstrations erupting in support of travelers from the seven Muslim nations who are now prevented from entering the U.S., while those that come from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, countries from which terrorists attacks against the homeland were inspired, planned and financed, are free to enter.  

 

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January 26 - Trump Humiliates His Lackey Peña Nieto; The Hollowing Out of the State Department; Moving Closer to Midnight and the Apocalypse

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We begin with the president of Mexico’s cancellation of a scheduled visit to Washington to meet with his friend Donald Trump who effectively gave him no choice after humiliating Pena Nieto by insisting that Mexico will pay for Trump’s wall with a 20% tax on import from Mexico. We will go to Mexico City and speak with Dr. John Mill Ackerman, an author and a professor at the Institute of Legal Research of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and discuss his article at The Atlantic “How Mexico’s President Laid the Foundation for a Wall” and look into Pena Nieto’s fealty towards Donald Trump whose presidential campaign was helped immensely by Mexico’s president who staged a photo op for Trump back in August to make him look presidential and shore up his foreign policy credentials in an apparently vain hope that Trump would reciprocate. We  also examine the consequences of tearing up NAFTA which has been a disaster for Mexicans while benefiting U.S. farmers and corporate America.

 

John M. Ackerman

Part 2

Then we assess the damage to U.S. foreign policy from the hollowing out of the State Department with abrupt departures of many of its top officials. Wayne White, who served as the Deputy Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and was an advisor/expert to the Iraq Study Group joins us to discuss Trump’s appointment of two callow political neophytes from a right wing website and a Koch brothers front group who are now running the Voice of America which will soon lose its global credibility and become a Fox News-like propaganda arm of the new administration.

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Then finally we look into today’s turning of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ doomsday clock closer to midnight in a symbolic recognition of a drift towards Armageddon that we have not seen since 1953 when the Soviet Union exploded its first Hydrogen bomb. Lawrence Krauss, the director of the Origins Project and Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Physics Department at Arizona State University, joins us to discuss growing concerns that Donald Trump’s reckless talk about nuclear weapons and denial of scientific facts is moving us closer to midnight, midnight being the apocalypse.  

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January 25 - Trump's Imaginary 5 Million Illegal Voters; Trump's Selective Muslim Ban; The New Authoritarian Threat

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We begin with Donald Trump’s latest tweets as he doubles down promising a "major investigation" into his bizarre conspiracy theory that between 3 and 5 million illegals voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election thus robbing him of a victory in the popular vote. A nationally-recognized expert in election law and campaign finance regulation, Richard Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, joins us to discuss how the Republicans, who since the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, have been proactive and aggressive in pushing strict voter ID laws and other voting restrictions that Democrats and the courts have labelled as voter suppression, could somehow have allowed the Democrats to keep 5 million extra illegal votes up their sleeves for so long without saying anything about it.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Arun Kundnani, a Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and the author of “The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror”. He joins us to discuss Donald Trump’s forthcoming executive order banning entry of Muslims into the U.S. from 5 countries the U.S. is currently bombing, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. We also discuss the absence on the list of countries from which perpetrators of domestic terrorism came or from where attacks were planned, launched or financed, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the creeping authoritarian nature of the new presidency of Donald Trump where already signs of censorship, propaganda, fake news, alternative facts, lies, intimidation and a thirst for adulation are emerging. Kevin O’Leary, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and the author of the forthcoming book “The New Authoritarian Threat and What to do About It” joins us to discuss Pope Francis’s concern expressed about the rise of populism in the United States and Europe, warning that “Hitler did not steal the power, his people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people”.

 

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