February 26 - The Net Neutrality Victory; Fox News Circles the Wagons on O'Reilly's Big Lies; Jihadists from the Former Soviet Union Slip through the Net

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We begin with the historic ruling by the FCC on protecting the Internet from cable and telecom monopolies as well as taking on efforts by those same monopolies to preemptively restrict the abilities of communities to offer competitive high speed Internet service. Craig Aaron, the President and CEO of Free Press, joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post “How We Won Net Neutrality” and the battles ahead in the Congress as Republicans try to restore monopoly control, as well as the broader battle for the U.S. to play catch-up to Japan, South Korea, France and much of the world in providing universal low cost high speed Internet service.

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Then we speak with David Corn, the Washington Bureau Chief at Mother Jones magazine whose reporting uncovering exaggerations and fabrications by Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly has been met with character assassination, indignant attacks on the messenger without refuting the message, as Rupert Murdoch’s minions circle the wagons around their popular talk show host and best-selling author. We discuss the irony that NBC’s Brian Williams has been fired for embellishing his war zone credentials far less that O’Reilly has done on many occasions without being anywhere near a war zone, all the while claiming he is the truth-teller in charge of the no-spin zone.

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Then finally we examine the apparent lapse in screening immigrants from the former Soviet Union who harbor sympathies and have ties to jihadists, as was the case with the Boston bomber and now appears to be the case with the two Uzbeks and the one Azeri charged by the FBI with plotting to kill the president and attempting to joins the so-called Islamic State in Syria. Gordon Hahn, a professor at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterrey and the author of “Russia’s Islamic Threat” and a new book “The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond”, joins us. 

gordon hahn

 

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February 25 - Shutdown of DHS Now In Boehner's Hands; Netanyahu "Destructive" to U.S.-Israeli Relations; The Religious Right's Crusade to Deregulate Political Spending

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We begin with the possibility of a partial government shutdown over funding for the Department of Homeland Security that with two days to go, rests in the hands of House Speaker Boehner now that the Senate has agreed to a clean bill to fund DHS without any measures to block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Michael Greenberger, the former director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who is now the Director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, joins us to discuss the political and security consequences of de-funding the Department of Homeland Security at a time of heightened terror alerts and arrests of alleged American jihadists on there way to join the so-called Islamic State.

 

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Then, with the National Security Advisor warning that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress next week will be destructive to U.S./Israeli relations and Secretary of State Kerry telling the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Netanyahu is wrong on the Iran negotiations and was wrong on invading Iraq, we speak with Daniel Drezner, a Professor of International Politics at Tufts University about his op-ed at The Washington Post “Benjamin Netanyahu’s blinkered view of American politics”. We also discuss Netanyahu’s spurning of an invitation to meet with Senate Democrats on the peculiar logic that it might be perceived as partisan when his address to Congress was arranged by the Republican leadership as a partisan event.

 

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Then finally we look into a new report from Common Cause “Unlimited and Unregulated: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Deregulate Political Spending” and speak with its author Arn Pearson, the Vice President for Policy and Litigation at Common Cause about the 70 lawsuits challenging campaign finance laws at state, local and federal levels brought by religious right front groups, and the millions in political spending these groups give to Republican candidates. 

arn pearson

 

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February 24 - Is Racism and Science Denial the New Republican Presidential Litmus Test?; Obama's Veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline; The Dramatic Sea Level Rise on the Northeast Coast

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We begin with the increasingly poisonous political discourse in the country that is likely to get worse as the 2016 elections approach, with a recent poll finding only 11% of Republicans think President Obama loves America, a question pollsters posed repeating the ugly statements from former New York City Mayor Giuliani that none of the Republican presidential candidates have distanced themselves from. Doug McAdam, a Professor of Sociology at Stanford University and author of “Deeply Divided: Social Movements and Racial Politics in Post-War America” joins us to discuss the looming partial shutdown of the government over Obama’s attempt at immigration reform and the apparent litmus test for presidential candidates to make it through the Republican primaries where they have to reject the science of evolution and condone the dog whistle racist canard that Obama is not a real patriotic American who as Giuliani charged “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country”.

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Then we discuss President Obama’s veto of the Republican’s Keystone XL pipeline bill, the third veto of his presidency, which he did in part to protect established executive branch prerogatives but the fight is hardly over as Senate Majority Leader McConnell vowed, “we are just getting started”. Joining us is Connor Gibson, a member of Greenpeace’s Investigations team who obtained documents exposing a prominent climate change denier Willie Soon’s financial ties to the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, the Southern Company and the American Petroleum Institute. We examine the fossil fuel industry’s role of denial and disinformation in selling the Keystone pipeline and frustrating efforts to deal with climate change from global warming caused by methane and CO2.

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Then finally we look into the dramatic sea level rise along the northeast coast of America with the co-author of a new report that shows sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm in two years. Jianjun Yin, a Professor of Geosciences at the University of Arizona whose research includes Natural and Anthropogenic Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and the Ocean’s Role in Climate Change, joins us. 

 

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February 23 - A Progressive Muslim's Open Letter to the New Saudi King; The Double Jeopardy of Corporate and Government Spying on Americans

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We begin with the recent White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism and Obama’s efforts to bridge the growing divide between the West and Islam that has been met with derision from the Republican Right who are demanding that Obama hold the Muslim religion itself responsible for the actions of terrorists rather than as the president tried to made clear, quoting Obama, “we are not at war with Islam but at war with those who pervert Islam”.  Following an outburst from former New York City Mayor Giuliani who seems to think the president is so soft on terrorists that he does not love America, we look into the bizarre symbiosis between the forces that are radicalizing Islam and the reactionaries in the West who want to declare a religious war. Joining us is Ani Zonneveld, the Founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values, whose group was among the Muslim reformists who were not invited to the White House summit that was dominated by conservative American Muslim groups. She discuss her open letter to the new king of Saudi Arabia at Al Jazeera, “Open Letter to Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz: Saudi Arabia should curb Wahhabi ideology to alleviate human suffering in the Muslim world”, and her efforts to reform a religion that has been captured by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi ideology which Ani Zonneveld argues is at the root of all the ills in the Muslim world.

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Then we speak with Robert Scheer, a journalist, author and Editor-in-Chief of Truthdig about his new book, just out, “They Know Everything About You: How Data Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies are Destroying Democracy”. We discuss this double jeopardy facing American citizens of corporate and government spying, and the recent White House summit in Silicon Valley which called for a private and public sector partnership to combat cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism which was boycotted by the heads of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook whose overseas business has been severely impacted by Edward Snowden’s revelations that the NSA was intercepting and collecting data stored by giant American tech companies. 

robert scheer

 

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February 22 - Turkey Intervenes in Syria; Polar Opposite Personalities Negotiate the Greek Debt Deal; Outside Factions Prevent a Settlement of Libya's Civil War

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We begin with the Turkish military incursion into Syria and assess its significance in terms of whether this will mean a more active role for Turkey on the ground in Syria or will the impasse persist between the U.S. and Turkey as Turkey’s president Erdogan repeatedly insists that the priority should be to remove the Assad regime, rather than face up to the consequences of earlier Saudi and Turkish support for the Islamic State and other radical factions who hijacked the Syrian revolution and have created havoc across the region. Henri Barkey, a Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University who served on the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and is the author of “Reluctant Neighbor: Turkey’s Role in the Middle East”, joins us to discuss the possibility of Turkey continuing to stay on the sidelines of a crisis they helped create.

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Then we look into another standoff, this time between Greece and Germany, where two very different personalities, one a leftist former economics professor and the other a conservative former tax-collector who is an ardent supporter of austerity, are negotiating a restructuring of the Greek bailout in very tense talks that are not being helped by the Greek press characterizing Wolfgang Schaeuble SHOI BLEH as a Nazi and the German press criticizing the flamboyant Yanis Varoufakis as an uncouth hyperbolic Greek. The founder and editor of the journal Modern Greek Studies, Theofanis Stavrou, a Professor of History and Classical and Near Eastern Studies, and the author of “Greece Prepares for the 21st Century” joins us to discuss how the clash of personalities is exacerbating policy differences as the Greek debt negotiations come to the crunch.  

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Then finally we examine the role of ISIS and other foreign actors in the chaotic Libyan civil war which is hampering efforts of the various Libyan factions to come together and settle their differences. Mohammed Bamyeh, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of “Islam and Society: Social Movements, Global Structures, Social Critique” joins us to discuss what can be done to restart negotiations to end the factional violence that is bankrupting and destroying Libya.

 

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