March 2 - AG Jeff Sessions Caught in a Lie; Trump is Reviving Print Journalism; The Needed Democratic Rebuttal to Trump's SOTU From Bernie Sanders

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We begin with the Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal he announced today from investigations into Russian involvement in the election following news reports from The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal that appear to have caught him in a lie during his confirmation testimony before the senate. Ed Kilgore, a political columnist for New York Magazine joins us to discuss his latest article at New York Magazine, “Sessions Executes Strategic Retreat on Recusal but Leaves Some Big Questions Unanswered”. We discuss the questions that loom over the country’s top law enforcement official who has many Democratic political leaders and some Republicans calling for his resignation or for a special prosecutor to investigate possible ties to Trump and the Russians.

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Part 2

Then we speak with John Nichols, The Nation magazine’s Washington Correspondent and co-author of "People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy”. He joins us to discuss his article at The Nation “If Jeff Sessions Will Not Resign, He Should Be Impeached” and the extent to which the “failing New York Times as Trump calls it, is leading a comeback for print journalism with its investigative reporting on Trump that is causing the paper’s subscriptions to soar, and the growing possibility that Sessions could be impeached.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the failure of the Democratic Party to offer an effective response to Donald Trump’s successful address to Congress and contrast former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s folksy rebuttal to the powerful takedown that Bernie Sanders offered up in a point-by-point list of the critical issues facing the nation and the world that Trump did not mention. Investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss joins us to discuss thepopulist.buzz, a new online news platform he has co-founded that is devoted to reporting on and analyzing post-2016 efforts to rethink and rebuild the Democratic Party.

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March 1 - The Difference Between Performing and Governing; The Difference Between Trump's Actions and Words; Assisting Trump's Speech and the Democratic Rebuttal

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We begin with the positive reviews coming from media pundits and across the country praising Donald Trump’s first “presidential” moment in last night’s address to Congress when he managed to follow the teleprompter and control his impulse to go off script and lash out at enemies real or imagined. Michael Kruse, a senior staff writer at POLITICO joins us to discuss his latest article at Politico “He’s a Performance Artist Pretending to be a Great Manager: Donald Trump sits at the top of the biggest org chart in the world. Why does he look so uncomfortable in the job?” We discuss the difference between performance and policy, grandstanding and governing, and whether Trump can maintain the discipline necessary to live up to the glowing praise he is now getting from conservative and liberal commentators on both Fox News and CNN.

 

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Part 2

Then we look further into the gap between Trump’s actions and words and speak with Eric Liu, the founder of Citizen University and author of the forthcoming book “You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen”. He joins us to discuss his article at CNN ”A Master of Symbols Over Substance”, and we will discuss what citizens can do to hold Trump and other politician’s feet to the fire so that their populist promises withstand the demands of their plutocratic patrons.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with a former White House speechwriter to get an assessment of Trump’s speech and the Democratic rebuttal that seemed peculiar and off-key, especially considering the explosion of activism with massive and sustained demonstrations and boisterous Town Hall meetings where citizens at the grassroots appear to be way out ahead of their political partiesPaul Glastris, the editor-in-chief of The Washington Monthly who was a special assistant and senior speechwriter to President Bill Clinton, joins us.  

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February 28 - Trump Kills the Clean Water Act; Trump Can't Govern; Trump Passes the Buck on the "Successful" SEAL Raid

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We begin with the executive order Donald Trump signed today to roll back the Clean Water Rule as a first step to dismantle EPA protections enacted by President Obama. Wenonah Hauter, the author of “Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America” and the Executive Director of Food and Water Watch, joins us from across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park where she has organized a demonstration along with Bernie Sanders’ “Our Revolution” and a diverse group of activists in what they are calling “A Resistance Address: Defending American Values in a Time of Moral Crisis”. We discuss Trump’s plan to cut the $8 billion budget of the EPA down to $6 billion as a way to offset a $54 billion increase in defense spending upping the Pentagon’s budget to $603 billion a year, with the additional amount of $54 billion being the equivalent of the entire amount of what Russia spends on defense per year.

 

Part 2

Then we assess Donald Trump’s upcoming State of the Union address with John Stoehr, a lecturer in political science at Yale University and a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report where he has an article “Trump Can’t Govern: The Democrats Best Play Might Be to Highlight the Trump Administration’s Incompetence”. We will discuss his idea that rather than expose Trump’s white nationalist sympathies and express alarm at the rise of fascism in America, the best way forward for the growing opposition may be to stress what is abundantly clear, Trump can’t govern.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Robert Young Pelton, an author, filmmaker, journalist and explorer who has been on a number of Special Forces raids in Afghanistan and Iraq. He joins us to discuss the call for an investigation into the recent raid in Yemen by the father of the SEAL Ryan Owens who died in the raid, and Donald Trump’s remark on Fox News this morning where he passed the buck saying “They examined what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. My generals are the most respected we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan”. We also look into the real possibility that the Trump Administration will launch a war against Iran.

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February 27 - What is Behind the Sudden Rise in Anti-Semitic Attacks?; How Social Media and Technology is Undermining Democracy; Trump's 10% Increase in Defense Spending

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We begin with the rash of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish cemeteries and Community Centers with 500 headstones desecrated at a Jewish graveyard in Philadelphia less than a week after a similar outrage in St. Louis. Brian Levin, a Criminologist, civil right attorney, professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, joins us to discuss the more than 160 bomb threats made to over 60 Jewish Community Centers since January. And with anti-Semitic incidents on the decline prior to this, we will look into what factors might be involved in this upsurge of hate in the country that coincides with the arrival of the Trump presidency. We also discuss Trump’s slow reaction to these hate crimes and his response to Jewish reporters who raised the issue to Trump only to be met with hostility and evasion.

 

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Part 2

Then we explore how technology is disrupting democracy and if used maliciously, could undermine it further. Johan Bollen, a professor at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing who previously was a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, joins us to discuss the recent article in The Guardian that investigates the role of algorithms in social media and the activities of Robert Mercer, the right-wing billionaire who is close to Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon and Nigel Farage and the war he is waging on the mainstream media by creating a multi-million-dollar propaganda network that funds Breitbart, proliferates “fake news” and spreads global warming denial disinformation.  

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Then finally we speak with Roxana Tiron, who covers defense business, national security and Congress for Bloomberg News, about the historic increase in defense spending Donald Trump is proposing for 2018 with an extra $54 billion being added at the expense of cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department whose budgets are $8 billion and $50 billion respectively, compared to the $600 billion that goes to the Pentagon. We also examine Senator John McCain’s criticism of the addition 10% in defense spending which he thinks is not enough. 

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February 26 - Trump's Firewall Against Impeachment; China's Reaction to North Korea's Use of VX Nerve Gas; Can Perez and Ellison Unite the Democratic Party?

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We begin with increasingly desperate denunciations of the press by Donald Trump who, having created a firewall at the DOJ with Sessions, the CIA with Pompeo, the DNI with Coats, the Senate Intel Committee with Burr and the House Intel Committee with Nunes, appears to be constructing a cover-up against mounting evidence of his collusion with Putin by pushing the narrative of “fake news” in the hope that when the truth comes out, enough Americans will not believe it so that Trump could be saved from impeachment. Malcolm Nance, a globally recognized counterterrorism expert who has been deployed to intelligence operations in the Balkans, Middle East, and sub Saharan Africa, and is the author of “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election”, joins us to discuss whether Trump has succeeded in putting a cork in the bottle or if the truth will find a way of leaking out.

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Part 2

Then we get a strategic overview of broader issues that might be at play in Putin’s relationship with Exxon’s Rex Tillerson, now the U.S. Secretary of State, and how energy deals and pipelines underway in Siberia and Russia’s Pacific regions are aimed at realigning Russia’s relations with China, Japan and South Korea. Gilbert Rozman, a Professor of Sociology at Princeton University specializing in societies of China, Japan, Korea and Russia, joins us to discuss the politics of energy in that region and the significance of China’s cutoff of coal imports from North Korea and the likely consequences from the North Korea’s leader’s use of VX nerve gas to assassinate his older brother in Malaysia.

Part 3

Then finally we assess whether the election of former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to head up the DNC, with his rival Congressman Keith Ellison appointed as his deputy, will unify the progressive and centrist wings of the Democratic Party as its leadership tries to play catch-up to the explosion of demonstrations, activism and energy erupting at the grassroots against the Trump Administration. Matt Angle, who directs the Texas Democratic Trust and the Lone Star Project and served as Executive Director of the Democratic Campaign Committee and the Executive Director of the House Democratic Caucus, joins us.

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