May 4 - Islamophobes Invite Jihad; Fanatics Versus Fanatics; New Information on the 43 Disappeared Students in Mexico

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We begin with a cynical and self-serving provocation that achieved its goal with two wannabe Jihadis dead from a shootout with police at an event in Texas in which Islamophobes and bigots gathered for a competition to see who could present the most sacrilegious and insulting cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in order to win a $10,000 prize offered by the organizer of the hate-fest, Pamela Geller. Mark Potok, the Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and author of the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog, joins us to discuss the role of professional Islamophobes who have so far managed to get 8 American states to institute anti-Sharia laws despite any evidence that anyone is seriously proposing such a ludicrous legal impossibility.

 

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Then we hear from Mike Ghouse, President of the America Together Foundation and the Foundation for Pluralism in Dallas, Texas, near the scene to the shootout. He joins us to discuss this so-called expression of free speech in the form of a competition to draw the most insulting cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in order to provoke Muslims, and the extent to which this is a case of one group of fanatics managing to bait another group of fanatics into threatening public safety.

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Then finally we examine new evidence and lines of inquiry into the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico, an incident that infuriated and mobilized the Mexican public to demand justice and accountability. Ryan Devereaux, who covers national security and criminal justice for The Intercept, joins us to discuss his new article at The Intercept “Ghosts of Iguala, Mexico: How 43 Students Disappeared in the Night”, and the possibility that justice in this case, that has been long-delayed, is still denied. 

 

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May 3 - Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Turnout Factor; "Baltimore: Race, Class and Uprisings"; Dysfunction at the Top in Saudi Arabia

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We begin with the entry of Independent Senator Bernie Sanders into the 2016 presidential race and discuss his likely impact on the Hillary Clinton campaign with Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore, the principal writer for the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog. He has a new book “Election 2014: Why Republicans Swept the Midterms” and we will analyze the turnout factor for Democrats and whether or not they have to be inspired to vote as opposed to the Republicans who seem to able to turn out over last one of their voters in midterms and presidential elections.

 

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Then with six police officers on trial for the murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and the mayor lifting the curfew we look into the broader economic and social issues that have to be addressed in the wake of the recent riots. Bill Fletcher Jr., a longtime labor, social justice and international activist joins us to discuss his article at teleSUR “Baltimore: Race, Class and Uprisings” and the extent to which, rather that have activists parachute in to demonstrate every time a black man is shot by the police, sustained community organizing is needed over the long haul to bring about social justice.

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Then finally we get an assessment of how dysfunctional the leadership is at the top in Saudi Arabia with a king who might have dementia and his reliance on his youngest son who may not even be 30 years old who is not only been made Defense Minister, but is now in charge of the Oil Ministry and the world’s largest oil company ARAMCO. Youssef Ibrahim, who served for 18 years as the senior regional Middle East correspondent for The New York Times, joins us to discuss divisions and dissatisfactions within the ruling Saudi family that may surface soon. 

 

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April 30 - Russell Brand's Interview with Ed Miliband; An Analysis of Next Week's U.K. Elections; The Shake-Up at the Top of Saudi Arabia's Ruling Familiy

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We begin with the neck-and-neck elections between Labor and the Conservatives in the U.K. that are a week away and first play excerpts of an interview that the establishment politician Labor leader Ed Miliband did with the counter-culture, anti-establishment citizen journalist Russell Brand. Since Brand’s main message to his millions of followers among the disaffected youth of Britain is that there is no point in voting because the financial elite and their political lackeys have rigged the process, it is worth contrasting the Brand/Miliband political debate with the highly orchestrated, shallow and antiseptic exchanges between our press and our politicians that we will be subjected to from now until the elections in November of 2016.

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Then we speak with Toby Miller one of the world’s leading analysts of popular culture, media, and their connections to the politics of everyday life.  He is a Professor of Media and Culture Studies at the University of Cardiff in the U.K. and we will discuss the role of alternative media in the British elections that has resulted in an extraordinary upsurge for the Green Party due to their wildly popular video that spoofs boy bands and pale-male politicians, and whether the smaller parties like the Greens, the right wing UKIP Party and the Scottish National Party will determine which party next rules Britannia.

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Then finally we examine the shake-up at the top of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family and speak with an expert on the House of Saud, Robert Lacy, a British historian and author whose latest book is “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia”.

 

 

 

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April 29 - Republicans Block Efforts to Shield Military Families From Payday Lenders; Payouts by Cash-Strapped Baltimore for Police Brutality; The Only Person to Be Punished for the Bush/ Cheney Torture Regime

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We begin with a shocking and shameful example of the priorities of the House Republicans who have slipped legislation into the National Defense Authorization Act at the behest of the banking lobby that would block protection for American servicemen and their families from predatory payday lenders. Robert Weissman, the President of Public Citizen joins us to discuss how efforts to shield military families from short-term high-interest loans where a yearlong $2,600 loan costs $3,967 to pay back and a six month $485 loan costs $1,428 to pay off, have been stalled before the House Armed Service Committee.

 

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Then following an impassioned speech today by Hillary Clinton in her first major policy address where she called for “an end to the era of mass incarceration” saying “from Ferguson to Staten Island to Baltimore, the patterns have become unmistakable and undeniable”, we will speak with Amy Dillard, a Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She recently served on a Baltimore commission to examine the death of a prisoner in police custody and we will discuss the payouts the cash-strapped city has made to more than 100 people in court judgments and settlements over the past four years for civil right violations and police brutality.

 

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Then finally we look into the case of the only person so far to be punished for the Bush/Cheney CIA torture regime, Obama’s nominee for the Army’s General Counsel, Alissa Starzak, whose nomination is being held up as payback for doing her job of oversight for the public as a lead investigator on the torture report. Ali Watkins, who covers national security and foreign policy for The Huffington Post joins us to discuss her latest article at The Huffington Post “Someone is Finally Paying the Price for the CIA Torture Report”.

 

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April 28 - Riots, Arson and Looting in Baltimore; The Racial Divide in Baltimore; Missing Black Men in Freddie Gray's Neighborhood; The Supreme Court's Deliberations on the Same-Sex Marriage

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We begin with the riots, arson and looting in Baltimore after days of peaceful protests following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray. Kenneth Burns, a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore City and Baltimore County joins us. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and has been on the streets of Baltimore’s embattled Sandtown covering events as they have unfolded over the past few days. 

 

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Then we speak with Michele Gilman, a Professor of Law and Director of the Civil Advocacy Clinic at the University of Baltimore. She is the past president of the board of the Public Justice Center and a member of the Committee on Litigation and Legal Priorities for the ACLU of Maryland. We examine the racial divide in the divided city of Baltimore where African-Americans make up two thirds of the city but are less than a third of Maryland’s population.

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Then we further examine the late Freddie Gray’s neighborhood of Sandtown which has more residents in jail than any other neighborhood in Baltimore. Marc Schindler, the Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute, who worked as a Public Defender in Baltimore’s juvenile court, joins us to discuss the choices young black men face in a neighborhood where there are 84 men for every 100 women with many black men between the ages of 25 and 54 either incarcerated or victims of homicide.

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Then finally we look into the Supreme Court’s deliberations on same-sex marriage and speak with Marc Soloman, the National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry and the author of “Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and the Pundits”. He was in the court today and we discuss what the arguments might reveal about how the ruling expected in late June will come down.

 

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