December 26 - Government by Billionaires Who Want Even More Tax Breaks; Moral Monday as a Model for a National Resistance Movement

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We begin on this day after Christmas with some reflections on the need for morality to infuse a new opposition movement as it has done in North Carolina which for the past six years has been under the political control of Tea Party radicals financed by a multi-millionaire. With the Moral Monday movement growing by the day and making progress in reversing the damage done by the state’s right wing Republican wrecking crew and their reactionary programs and laws, we explore the possibility of Moral Monday as a model for a national resistance movement to counter the Trump Administration. With our Democratic opposition braindead and bankrupt, we discuss what will be needed as we face the aggressive national agenda of the political agents of the Koch brothers and other plutocrats who will gain even more wealth as the rest of the country is impoverished further as what is left of the social safety net is ripped out from under them.

First Henry Giroux joins us. He is a writer and the current Global Television Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada and the author of “America at War With Itself”. We discuss his article at Counterpunch “Militant Hopes and the Politics of the Disconnect”, and why for the most part, the billionaire class about to rule America in the name of populism, wants to increase inequality and social decay and accrue even more wealth as the country becomes hollowed out and more Third World.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Dr. Charles van der Horst, Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, who was arrested outside the North Carolina statehouse while peacefully demonstrating against laws he saw hurting children and the poor. We discuss the growing Moral Monday movement and the need for the Democratic political opposition to move beyond the failures of identity politics and form coalitions of diverse concerned citizenry united by what people have in common as the real enemies of working Americans and the middle class show their true face and reveal their actual agenda as the Trump Administration gets underway with its ideologically-driven priorities that mirror what has been tried in North Carolina.  

6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2011)
 

 

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December 25 - Why American Christians Voted for a Serial Philanderer Who Owns Gambling Dens; Is Mike Pence a Theocrat or a Dominionist?

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We begin on this Christmas holiday which, although heavily commercialized, is ostensibly a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and speak with Frank Schaeffer, a best-selling author whose parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer were world famous evangelical speakers and leaders of what became known as the Religious Right. Having worked with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Frank felt increasingly alienated and experienced a crisis of faith which led him to depart from the evangelical movement. His book is “And God Said Billy” and we will discuss why American evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists voted overwhelmingly for a serial philanderer and owner of gambling dens who openly boasted about coveting his neighbor’s wife in a video in which he boasted about his exploits as a sexual predator who could grope women with impunity.  

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Part 2

Then we speak with Frederick Clarkson, a Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates who has been an analyst of the Religious Right for over 30 years. The author of “Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America” and “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy”, he joins us to discuss the role of Vice President Mike Pence who appears to pretty much run the Trump Administration, and whether Pence, who has shown theocratic tendencies, is in fact a dominionist, who sees the Lord Jesus as the ultimate political authority and ruler and believes that God has called upon conservative Christians to exercise dominion over society by taking control of political and cultural institutions. 

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December 22 - Trump Tweets Out a New Nuclear Posture; The Deals That Trump and Tillerson Plan to Make; The Emolument Clause and Trump's Conflicts of Interest

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We begin with Donald Trump’s strange tweet on the most important issue he faces as Commander-in-Chief and that is the use of the nuclear arsenal that will be at his fingertip. Hans Kristensen, the Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists and lead author of their new report “United States Nuclear Forces 2017”, joins us to try to figure out what Trump meant when he tweeted “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capabilities until such time as the world comes to its senses about nukes”.  We discuss whether we are entering a new nuclear arms race with the Russians since, earlier in the day on Thursday, Putin announced that “we need to strengthen the military potential of our strategic nuclear forces”.

Hans M. Kristensen

Part 2

Then we examine whether Trump’s earlier announcements that he’d like the U.S. and Russia to work together and get along better were just campaign rhetoric, given today’s tweet that suggests Trump is prepared to go along with the trillion dollar nuclear “modernization” plan for new bombers, submarines and land-based missiles. Michael Klare, a Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College and author of “Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws”, joins us to discuss the reversal of course from President Obama, who in Hiroshima last May called for “a world without nuclear weapons”, and what kinds of deals the Putin-friendly Trump/Tillerson team plan to make with Putin.

Michael Klare

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Fred Wertheimer, the Founder and President of Democracy 21, who has spent 35 years working on government integrity issues and is a national leader on ethics reform and government transparency. He joins us to discuss the emolument clause in the U.S. Constitution and the unprecedented nature of Donald Trump’s global business ventures and the potential for conflicts of interest unless Trump really divests himself from his companies and does not treat the White House as another acquisition. 

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December 21 - Keeping Donald Trump's Finger Off the Nuclear Button; Trump's Financial Ties to Russian Oligarchs and Gangsters; How Much are Trump and His Children Pushing the Ethical Envelope?

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We begin with a way to address the main concern many Americans have over Donald Trump’s fitness to be Commander-in-Chief which has to do with his temperament as Hillary Clinton noted often and turned into a campaign theme; that we don’t want someone with such a thin skin close to the nuclear button. Joseph Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund and author of “Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons”, joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post” “Keep Donald Trump’s Finger off the Nuclear Button” and steps that President Obama can take such as, with a stroke of a pen, taking America’s nuclear missiles off high alert so that Donald Trump could not launch them rashly.

 

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Then we speak with James Henry, one of the world’s leading investigative economists who has written widely about offshore and onshore tax havens, kleptocracy, and private banking. He is a Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment, a Global Justice Fellow at Yale, a Senior Advisor to The Tax Justice Network and the author of “The Blood Bankers”. He joins us to discuss his latest report at The American Interest “The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections” and how, after Trump was blackballed by American banks following his many bankruptcies, he turned to financing from Russian oligarchs and gangsters, many of whom ended up residing in Trump Tower.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine how much Donald Trump and his children are pushing the ethical envelope in terms of trading access for money and whether we are heading into a pay-to-play presidency with Trump’s children, who will be running Trump’s business enterprises, trading access for donations to their favorite charities or other entities as they have already tried to do. Sheila Krumholz, the Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics, who tracks money, politics and influence in Washington, joins us to discuss how much this new president who plays by his own rules, will follow the existing rules that govern money influencing politics. 

 

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December 20 - Germany's Right Blame Merkel For Terrorist Act; US National Security In the Hands of Conspiracy Theorists and Ethnic Nationalists; Russia, Turkey and Iran Announce a Peace Deal for Syria

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We begin with the second terrorist attack in Europe where a big-rig truck was used as a weapon of mass destruction, this time plowing into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin. Thomas Berger, Professor of International Relations at Boston University who specializes in German politics, joins us to discuss how already the leader of the far right Alternative for Germany party has labeled the victims of an attack that the Islamic State is taking credit for, “Merkel’s dead”, indicating how explosive a political issue it will be if the perpetrator turns out to be a refugee from the Middle East. We also examine how right wing parties across Europe are stoking anti-immigrant xenophobia which plays into the hands of the Islamic State who want to drive a wedge between refugees and Muslims in Europe and the populations of the host countries.

 

Part 2

Then we look into why Trump’s new national security advisor General Michael Flynn met recently with the head of Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party which was founded by former Nazis. Daniel Serwer, Professor and Director of the Conflict Management Program and Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, joins us to discuss the capture of U.S. national security and strategy by conspiracy theorists, ethnic nationalists and anti-Semites who are the top close advisors of a president-elect who is an anti-immigration bigot who ran on a platform of ethnic cleansing of Mexicans and Muslim immigrants.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the announcement today in Moscow by the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran that they are ready to act as guarantors in a peace deal between the Syrian government and the opposition. Henri Barkey, the Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars joins us to discuss the growing anti-American and pro-Russian rhetoric coming from Erdogan’s government that prompted Secretary of State Kerry to raise concerns about allegations of American involvement in the assassination of the Russian Ambassador which Erdogan blames on Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric living in the United States.   

 

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