July 28 - As Netanyahu Makes Obama and Kerry Impotent, He Inflames the Middle East; Taking on Murray Energy, Perhaps the Worst Company in America; As Record Money Pours into this Year's Election, a Profile of the Biggest Spenders, The Koch Brothers

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We begin with an overview of the roiling Middle East and examine how Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is not just making President Obama and Secretary Kerry look impotent, he is also inflaming the region and making life difficult for Americans still stuck in the region, in particular in the Green Zone in Baghdad that could soon be overrun by radicals from the so-called Islamic State. Graham Fuller, the former vice chair of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA joins us to discuss the growing anger and frustration among the young in the region as the killing in Gaza continues in spite of appeals for humanity from the U.N., and the growing territorial gains and swelling ranks of radical movements like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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Then we speak with Tyson Slocum, the Research Director for Public Citizen’s Energy Program about the campaign Public Citizen has launched against Murray Energy Corporation, a privately owned coal company that is suing the government to stop federal clean air standards and protection for miners, as well as suing the EPA to stop efforts to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.  We discuss the so-called “war on coal” in important electoral battlegrounds and the power of the coal lobby in fighting environmental rules even as there is a shift underway from coal to natural gas in generating electricity.

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Then finally, as record amounts of money pour into attack ads early in the mid-term elections, with the Koch brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity taking the lead in the Senate races with $44 million spent so far to make Mitch McConnell the Majority Leader in November, we talk with Daniel Schulman, a senior editor in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones, and a founding member of the magazine’s investigative journalism team. We look into the most powerful players in American politics and discuss Daniel Schulman’s latest book, just out, “Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty”.

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July 27 - Putin is Afraid of Liberal Democracy, Not NATO; Ex-CIA Head Sanitizes Report on His Role in Torture; Libya Falls Apart

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We begin with Vladimir Putin doubling down in his support for his proxies in Eastern Ukraine to checkmate gains made by the Ukrainian military. Cathy Young, a contributing editor to Reason magazine and author of “Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood” joins us to analyze the real cause of Putin’s exaggerated fear of NATO, which is fear of encirclement by more liberal and modernized societies which would then exert pressure on Moscow to follow the same path, an argument made in her latest article at Reason.com “Vladimir Putin’s Circle of Fear”, that we also discuss.

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Then we examine efforts by the former head of the CIA George Tenet, to sanitize the long-held up and scathingly critical report compiled by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, joins us to discuss the extent to which the agency is being allowed to vet the report due out next month, that is very critical of them, and the apparent hundreds of pages that Tenet and other officials have managed to get redacted along with slow-walking the declassification process, which has prompted Senator Ron Wyden to complain that “this report should have been public yesterday, and attempts to disrupt and delay it are unacceptable.”

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Then finally we speak with a leading expert on Libya, Dirk Vandewalle, a professor of Government at Dartmouth College and author of “Libya Since Independence: Oil and State Building”. We look into the chaos enveloping the country that was freed from the Qadaffi dictatorship by a NATO bombing campaign only to descend into factionalism in which it is difficult to determine where ideology ends and criminality begins as various militias, ranging from radical Islamists to former generals, battle over oil exports, the parliament building and the airport in Tripoli.

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July 24 - Arizona's Botched Execution; Israeli Tourism Takes a Hit; GOP Immigrant-Bashing Will Backfire Over the Long Term

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We begin with the botched execution in Arizona and speak with a retired judge Donna Hamm, who is the founder and executive Director of Middle Ground Prison Reform in Arizona where she is an expert witness in executive clemency and prison policy and procedure. We discuss the two hour-long drawn-out death of James Wood who gasped and snorted 660 times according a reporter who witnessed his barbarically incompetent execution by lethal injection that the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court described as “a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful…but executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality.”

 

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Then we speak with Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan and author of the new book “The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation are Changing the Middle East”. We discuss the growing strength of the Islamic State in Iraq who are now turning on their erstwhile allies, executing Baathist generals, while making military gains to the point they are threatening Baghdad. We also discuss Juan Cole’s article at truthdig.com “Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future.”

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Then finally with the Texas Governor grandstanding on the border with the National Guard as a prop for Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions, we look into the Republican Party’s seizure of the issue of the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border as an election year issue to beat up on Obama and the Democrats, with Dr. Manuel Pastor, a Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He joins us to discuss the extent to which immigrant-bashing may backfire later in terms of the millions of potential Latino votes Republicans will lose, and his article in the Los Angeles Times, “GOP Focused on the wrong set of children”.

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July 23 - How Much Did Israel Help Create Hamas?; If Putin is Proven Guilty Will Russians Blame Him for Irresponsible Brinksmanship?; Indonesia's New Leader Joko Widodo

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We begin with an analysis of the diplomatic efforts underway between U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to end the latest war in Gaza. Robert Dreyfuss, an investigative journalist who covers national security for The Nation, Mother Jones and Rolling Stone and is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, joins us. He is the author of “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam” and we discuss the extent to which Israeli intelligence services, in particular Shin Bet, used religion to thwart Palestinian nationalism by encouraging the growth of Hamas from 1967 to 1987 during which time the number of mosques tripled in Gaza from 200 to 600.

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Then we speak with Nina Khrushcheva, a professor in the graduate Program of International Affairs at The New School whose latest book is “The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind”. We discuss if and when the verdict in the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner implicates Russia and Vladimir Putin, will it damage his popularity with the Russian people who so far see him as a skillful tactician, not someone who has damaged Russia’s economic interests and global reputation through irresponsible brinkmanship?

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Then finally we get an assessment of Joko Widodo, the new leader of the world’s fourth most populous country, the third largest democracy and the biggest Muslim nation, Indonesia. Sylvia Tiwon, a professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “Breaking the Spell: Colonialism and Literary Renaissance in Indonesia” joins us to discuss the challenge by General Prabowo, who lost in the recent election by 53% to 47%, and whether the populist policies of the new leader will break the grip of the military in Indonesian politics and slow the destruction of the country’s rainforests and the ease the oppression of its indigenous peoples.

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July 22 - A Militant Mood in Israel as Politics Move Further to the Right; The Perspective of a Former Palestinian Negotiator; Improving Fortunes for Democrats in the South

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We begin and go to Jerusalem for an update on the mood in Israel as the military assault on Gaza continues, and because a Hamas rocket landed a mile from Ben Gurion airport, U.S. airlines have cancelled flights due to security concerns. Asher Kaufman, a professor of History and Peace at Notre Dame and the former head of Middle East Studies at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, joins us to discuss the overwhelming support in the press and among the Israeli people for the Gaza operation and the absence of a political opposition as Israel’s politics move further to the right.

 

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Then we speak with Leila Hilal, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation who served as a legal adviser to the Palestinian Negotiations Department and as an external adviser to the Palestinian Negotiating Team at the Annapolis bi-lateral peace talks of 2008. We discuss the continuing intense bombardment of Gaza as U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursue peace talks to end the fighting that has claimed over 625 Palestinians, mostly civilians including 100 children, with 183 militants killed according to the Israeli military, while so far two Israeli civilians have died, along with 27 soldiers.

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Then finally we look into Tuesday’s Republican primary in Georgia and assess the fortunes of Democrats running in the South where a number of incumbent are facing well-financed Koch brothers-funded challengers while two Democratic challengers, Alison Grimes who could upset Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Michelle Nunn, running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, both look promising for Democratic pick-ups. Bob Moser, senior editor at National Review and executive editor of The American Prospect, where he has an article “A Bridge in Georgia”, joins us to discus how these candidates running as Republican Lite in red states, can inspire the Democratic base to come out in a mid-term election.

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