May 24 - Another Oil Spill and "The Sea Party Rebellion"; A Police Acquittal in Cleveland; The Iraq War Blame Game

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We begin with the Santa Barbara oil spill and discuss the largest citizen lobby for ocean conservation in U.S. history that took place last week in Washington where delegations from 24 states held 163 meetings on Capitol Hill to oppose new offshore drilling in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard. David Helvarg, executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation and policy group joins. His latest book is “Saved by the Sea: Hope, Heartbreak and Wonder in the Blue World” and he has an op-ed at the Los Angeles Times “Lessons of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill: Leave Petroleum in the Ground”, and an article at The Huffington Post with Ralph Nader, “The Sea Party Rebellion”.

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Then we examine the unrest in Cleveland following the acquittal of a police officer who fired 49 shots at two African/Americans after a car chase prompted by the vehicle backfiring, with 15 of the shots fired a point black range through the windshield as he stood on the hood. Ronnie Dunn, a professor of Urban Studies at Cleveland State University, whose research focuses on social policy, racial profiling, racial inequality and the criminal justice system, joins us.

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Then finally we speak with Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He joins us to discuss his article at CNN “Iraq, the war that won’t go away” and we discuss the critical comments by Secretary of Defense Carter about the Iraqi military and the recent history of American presidents blaming other presidents for the wars they inherit, as well as presidential challengers blaming incumbents for contemporaneous wars that are not going well. 

 

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May 21 - A Priceless World Heritage Site in Syria Now in Hands of ISIS; Another Nuclear Plant Faces NRC Scrutiny; Big Banks Pay Fines While Republicans Cut Enforcement For IRS and CFTC

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We begin with the capture of a priceless World Heritage site, the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. We speak with UCLA Historian James Gelvin whose research focuses on the Middle East and in particular Greater Syria and discuss the likelihood that the ancient Roman ruins at Palmyra will be the next victim of the desecration and destruction of antiquities by the terrorist group whose theological justification for such barbarity against human history is found in Saudi Wahabbi doctrine.

 

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Then we look into the ruling by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that will decide whether the controversial Diablo Canyon nuclear plant was illegally allowed to alter the plant’s license in an attempt to hide its vulnerability to earthquake faults only 3.5 miles offshore and one that is less than 1,000 feet from the ocean water intake that cools the plant with 2.5 billion gallons of seawater per day. The former head of the TVA, New York Power, the LA DWP and the California State energy czar, David Freeman, a leading authority on the production, management and delivery of energy to large populations, joins us.

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Then finally, following the $5.8 billion fines against 5 big banks for fixing markets, we look into the disconnect between claiming success for penalizing too-big-to-fail banks without jailing too-big-to-jail bankers while the Republican Congress cuts enforcement funds for the IRS and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. James Henry, an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist joins us to discuss the almost trillion dollars per year in revenues owed to the federal government that is not collected. 

 

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May 20 - A "Cabal" of 5 Big Banks "Fixed" the Markets; Bin Laden's Interest in Conspiracy Theories; Nebraska Votes to Repeal the State's Death Penalty

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We begin with the $5.8 billion in fines that five big banks, Barclays, Citigroup, JP Morgan, UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland have agreed to pay for market manipulation following guilty pleas. Dennis Kelleher, the President and Chief Executive Officer for Better Markets Inc., a Wall Street watchdog group that has been referred to as “a persistent thorn in the side of Wall Street”, joins us to discuss how the big banks formed what they called “The Cartel” in order to set the $5 trillion currency market to their benefit with “the fix” that determines the daily price of trades and the values of large institutional holdings.

 

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Then, with the release of a cache of documents captured in the SEAL’s raid that killed Bin Laden, we examine the list of English-language books that were on the late Al Qaeda leader’s bookshelf. Arthur Goldwag, the author of “Isms and Ologies, Cults, Conspiracies and Secret Societies” joins us to discuss Bin Laden’s apparent interest in conspiracy theories that not only relate to 9/11, but also include the “Illuminati” and the “Committee of 300”.

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Then finally, with Wednesday’s vote of 32 to 15, Nebraska lawmakers overcame an expected veto from the governor by a sufficient margin to abolish the state’s death penalty. We speak with the person who led the fight in Nebraska to repeal the death penalty, Stacy Anderson, the Executive Director of Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. She joins us to discuss what set her on her four-year journey to change the minds of her fellow conservative citizens in a very conservative state.

 

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May 19 - The Ghosts of Iraq Haunt Republican Presidential Candidates; How Governor Scott Walker Bought Wisconsin's Supreme Court; "The Misfires in Hersh's Big Bin Laden Story"

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We begin with the ghosts of the Iraq war haunting the Republicans in the 2016 presidential race, following Jeb Bush’s stumbles and now the impending entry of Senator Lindsey Graham into the race with his call to send an additional 10,000 American troops into the latest Iraq quagmire. Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, joins us to provide a perspective on what happened to the monopoly that Republicans had over competence and leadership in foreign policy from Eisenhower through to George Bush senior, compared to the current crop of neophytes and ignoramuses recklessly trying to prove who is the most hawkish.

 

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Then we speak with John Nichols, the Nation magazine’s Washington correspondent and associate editor of the Capitol Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. We will look into the man who might end up as the Republican front-runner for president and the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Governor Scott Walker campaign finance case that is now in the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a body that Scott Walker has stacked with conservative judges elected on a torrent of campaign money from similar sources that prompted the original criminal investigation into the Walker campaign’s illegal coordination with the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other big Republican donors.

 

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Then finally we speak with independent investigative journalist and historian Gareth Porter who specializes in U.S. national security policy. He has an article at Truthout “The Misfire in Hersh’s Big Bin Laden Story” and we discuss what parts of Seymour Hersh’s explosive challenge to the official narrative of the Bin Laden raid stand up, and what aspects of his controversial account of the SEAL’s killing of Bin Laden misfire.

 

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May 18 - Curbing The Pentagon's Military Weaponry to Police Forces; Chasing Ghosts in the War on Terror; The Fall of Ramadi and Historical Amnesia Over Iraq

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We begin with President Obama’s actions on Monday to limit military-style equipment for police forces, banning some types of heavy weaponry and restricting the availability of other equipment supplied under a Pentagon program. Elizabeth Beavers, the Legislative Associate for Militarism and Civil Liberties at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, who lobbies Congress to end the Pentagon giveaway of military weaponry to America’s police forces, joins us. We discuss the significance of Obama’s executive order and what pushback it is likely to meet.

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Then we speak with Dr. John Mueller, the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security at Ohio State University and the author of “Terror, Security and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security”. He joins us to discuss the millions of false terrorist leads the FBI has tracked down since 9/11 in a futile activity known as “chasing ghosts”, and why in the most recent so-called terrorist attack attributed to ISIS in Garland, Texas, the tip-off by the “hacktivist” group Anonymous to the Garland police two days earlier, was ignored.  

 

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Then finally we examine the latest setback by the Iraqi army and Shia militias with the loss of Ramadi to the self-declared Islamic State. Iraq expert Juan Cole, a Professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan and author “The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East” joins us to discuss why the fall of Ramadi is significant in spite of protestations by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the contrary.

 

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