December 19 - The Assassination of Russia's Ambassador to Turkey; Trump's Collision Course with the CIA; An Expert Who Conducted the Recount in Wisconsin on Whether the Issue is Settled

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We begin with the assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey at the hands of an off-duty Turkish policeman who shouted “don’t forget Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire. Aaron Stein, a Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Center for the Middle East whose research interests include U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy and the Syrian conflict, joins us. We discuss whether there is a disconnect between President Erdogan’s policy of stirring up anti-Americanism while cozying up to Russia, and how the Turkish people feel about Russian atrocities in Aleppo and Syria that are straining Turkish resources on the border as more and more Syrian refugees pour into Turkey to escape the Russian/Iranian/Assad offensive to capture Aleppo and the rest of rebel-controlled Syria.

 

Stein Aaron

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Then we speak with a veteran former CIA officer Mel Goodman, about Donald Trump’s continuing denial of Russian involvement in helping him win the election, now that it is the consensus of the Intelligence Community that Putin did indeed intend to hurt Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump. We will discuss whether Trump, who has trashed the CIA and refuses to take daily briefings, will continue on this collision course and reject the findings of a report on Russian hacking that Obama has ordered released before his term ends and Trump is inaugurated.

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Part 3

Then finally, with today’s The New York Times report finding that there was next to no voter fraud in the recent election, we speak with David Jefferson, a computer scientist in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing who sits on the boards of the California Voter Foundation and Verified Voting. He was among the experts who conducted the recount in Wisconsin and was poised to do so in Pennsylvania and Michigan before the Trump campaign sued to stop the recount. We discuss whether the issue is settled and what remains to be done to secure voting systems in America. 

 

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December 18 - Trump's Pro-Settler Anti-Two-State Ambassador to Israel; Why is the Left So Blind to Who Putin Is?; As Left Wing Populism Ruins Venezuela, Will Right Wing Populism Under Trump Ruin America?

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We begin with Donald Trump’s nomination of David Friedman, his bankruptcy attorney who has no diplomatic experience, to be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and speak with Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Haaretz and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. He is the author of “The Punishment of Gaza” and we discuss the choice of a hardline, pro-settler opponent of the two-state solution who wants to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem where he maintains a residence. We also examine whether this radical right-wing Zionist who calls liberal American Jews “kapos”, a reference to those Jews who helped the Nazi’s during the holocaust, will be a divisive figure in the American Jewish community and undermine the bi-partisan consensus on Capitol Hill for support of Israel.

Gideon Levy

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Then we speak with Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security. He served as counsel to Andrei Sakharov and other activists in the former Soviet Union and we discuss President Obama’s criticism of Republicans who support Putin that would “make Ronald Reagan roll over in his grave” and why the American left is so blind to who Putin is, when if he were placed in an American political context, would be a right wing capitalist kleptocrat and thug who persecutes gays, encourages vigilantism and supports reactionary “Christian” fundamentalism.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into comparisons between how left wing populism has wrecked oil-rich Venezuela and how right wing populism fanned by the Donald Trump Administration could wreck American, starting with the American government, since Trump had deliberately installed members of his cabinet who are hostile to the mission of the government departments they will be overseeing. An expert on Venezuela, David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America and professor of sociology at Tulane University who moderates the blog Venezuelan politics and human rights, joins us.

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December 15 - Putin Personally Directed the Operation to Elect Trump; The Shia Crescent is Now a Reality; Putin Now Targets the German Elections

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We begin with the White House spokesman Josh Earnest today chiding Donald Trump over his dogged insistence that Russia did not hack our elections saying “Mr. Trump obviously knows that Russia was engaged in malicious cyberactivity that was helping him and hurting Secretary Clinton’s campaign…and it might be time to not attack the intelligence community but actually be supportive of a thorough, transparent, rigorous, non-political investigation into what actually happened”. A veteran U.S. intelligence operative, Malcolm Nance, the author of “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and Wikileaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election”, joins us to discuss how it has been obvious for a long time that Russian hacking has been going on yet only now are we learning that Vladimir Putin conducted a hate-filled vendetta against Hillary Clinton, personally handling the operation to help elect Donald Trump and defeat the woman against whom he harbors a bitter grudge.

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Part 2

Then, with the fall of Aleppo to Russian, Iranian and Assad regime forces, we will look into the major geostrategic shift underway in the Middle East with what amounts to the so-called “Shia Crescent” becoming a reality with Iran, through its proxies, now effectively in control of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Nader Hashemi, The Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and author of “The Syria Dilemma”, joins us to discuss how the folly of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s war in Iraq has rewarded Iran at the expense of Saudi Arabia and possibly in the near future, Israel. 

Josef Korbel School of International Studies Professor Nader Hashemi

Part 3

Then finally we speak with a former Swedish diplomat who served in Moscow and was an advisor to the Russian government, Anders Aslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. He joins us to discuss Putin’s next target, now that he has his man Trump in the White House, Germany’s Angela Merkel and her party up for reelection. With Putin’s cyber-warriors now switching their attention to sabotaging the German elections, we examine the Russian trolls farms now deployed to spread fake news and anti-immigrant paranoia to help elect right wing and neo-Nazi parties in Germany. 

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December 14 - Yes Russia Hacked the Election, But What Was Putin's Intent?; Trump's Cabinet is the Koch Brothers' Dream Come True; Could Today's Raising of the Fed Interest Rate Lead to More

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We begin with the intensifying argument over the Russian hacking of our recent election following a lengthy investigation by The New York Times and speak with an expert on cyber espionage and cyber warfare, Peter Singer, a strategist and Senior Fellow at The New America Foundation and author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know”. He joins us to discuss the question of intent on the part of Putin, since there is no doubt that Russia hacked the election, but there are different conclusions coming from the CIA, who believe that Putin’s intent was to help Trump and hurt Clinton, while the FBI is less certain about that but are certain that Russia did the hacking. We assess the political spin with the Republicans in denial and Trump claiming the CIA has been politicized, while Democrats can certainly argue the FBI has become politicized since the FBI’s director James Comey, clearly swung the election in Trump’s favor.

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Then we speak with Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and the publisher of ALECexposed.org and PR Watch. She joins us to discuss the extent to which Donald Trump’s cabinet is the Koch Brothers’ dream come true since it is stacked with global warming deniers who represent the coal, oil and gas extractive interests. And since David Koch celebrated Donald Trump’s victory of election night in Trump Tower with him, perhaps the alleged distance between them and their agendas was a piece of theater aimed at making working class voters think that Trump cared about them and not his fellow plutocrat.

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Part 3

Then finally with today’s raising of interest rates by the Fed, we speak with economist Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington D.C. and the author of “Rigged: How Globalism and the Rules of the Modern Economy are Structured to Make the Rich Richer”. He joins us to discuss whether this is the beginning of a trend that could lead to a recession and whether at today’s meeting with the Silicon Valley titans, Trump promised a sweetheart deal to repatriate capital stashed abroad in exchange for a one-time favorably low tax rate.

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December 13 - Rick "Oops" Perry for Secretary of Energy; How Trump Used Facebook to Win the Election; Is the Russian-Turkish Ceasefire in Aleppo Real?

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We begin with Donald Trump’s reported nomination of Governor Rick Perry to be his Secretary of Energy and speak with Luke Metzger, the founding Director of Environment Texas, a statewide, citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces. He joins us to discuss Rick “Ooops” Perry, whose 2011 run for president crashed and burned when Perry couldn’t remember the third of the three government departments he wanted to abolish, which ironically happened to be the Department of Energy. We look into the former Texas governor’s record in Texas of being pro-coal. pro oil, pro-fracking and pro-nuclear waste, and assess what qualifications compared to his two predecessors Perry has considering he has a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from Texas A&M while one of Obama’s last two energy secretaries was a professor of physics at MIT and the other won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

 

Part 2

Then we speak with Jonathan Taplin, the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC and author of the forthcoming book “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”. He joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times, “Forget AT&T: The Real Monopolies are Google and Facebook” and how Steven Bannon and the Trump campaign used Facebook to win the election by mining social media date which they used to target different groups with different personal messages, while Clinton spent heavily on polling and advertising the same message to the same people.

Jonathan Taplin

Part 3

Then finally we assess whether the Russian/Turkish planed ceasefire and evacuation of besieged civilians and fighters from Aleppo is real and workable since the U.N. has warned that the Assad regime is committing atrocities in Aleppo, murdering civilians in their homes and on the streets. The English-language spokeswoman for the Local Coordination Committees in Syria, Rafif Jouejati, the Founder and Director of the FREE-Syria Foundation, joins us to discuss the lack of protection the majority of Syrians will have from the murderous Assad regime if the Russian-Iranian-Assad forces recapture all of the regime’s lost territory and succeed in “winning” the war for the Assads.  

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