December 10 - Trump is More Interested in His TV Reviews Than His Performance as president; The Alabama Race is Shaping Up as Trump's Waterloo and a Referendum on America; Thanks to Trump the Saudis Are Losing the "Arab Street" to Iran

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We begin with the emergence of an orchestrated campaign led by Fox News to delegitimise the Robert Mueller investigation and cast it as a Democratic plot to undermine Trump’s election victory in the Electoral College. David Mindich, a Professor and Chair of the Journalism Department at Temple University and author of “Just the Facts: How “Objectivity” Came to Define American Journalism”, joins us to discuss how Trump watches between 4 and 8 hours of television a day, tuning into Fox News for the comfort it provides him while occasionally watching MSNBC to get riled up and ready for combat. We will examine this un-American relationship between a sitting government and a volunteer Ministry of Truth which Fox has become under Rupert Murdoch who talks to Trump every day and appears to set the agenda for the White House talking points and policies, as well as assess what work the president actually does given his television watching habit which suggests the reality TV star is more interested in his reviews than his performance.

 

David Mindich

Part 2

Then we go to Montgomery, Alabama for an update on Tuesday’s election for the U.S. Senate seat that is both shaping up as Trump’s Waterloo and a referendum on America itself with a child-molester likely to win against a former U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted the KKK. Mark Potok, the former Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project who was a spokesman for the SPLC, joins us to discuss the close race and the concern that turnout of the critical African-American vote may not be sufficient to overcome the expected mobilization of the fundamentalist so-called “Christians” who see the tribulations of Jesus Christ in their persecuted champion Roy Moore.  

Part 3

 
Then finally we speak with Lina Khatib, the head of the Middle East and North African Program at Chatham House and the former Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. She joins us to discuss the demonstrations in front of the US Embassy in Beirut and across the Arab world in response to Trump’s gambit to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and how this is complicating the close ties Trump has forged with the Saudis who are losing the so-called “Arab street” to Iran due to the anger Trump has ignited in the Middle East.
 
Lina Khatib

 

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December 7 - Will Franken's Resignation Hurt Dems' Senate Chances?; Trump Wrecks US Foreign Policy to Get Christian Zionist Votes in Alabama; The Republican Tax Plan's Massive Giveaway to Private Jet Owners

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We begin with the resignation of Senator Al Franken today which he announced on the floor of the US Senate, noting with some irony that while he is resigning, a sexual predator who bragged about his ability to assault women is still sitting in the Oval Office. David Schultz, a Professor of Political Science at Hamline University who also teaches election law at the University of Minnesota School of Law, joins us to discuss the local reaction to their senator stepping down under pressure from his Democratic senate colleagues who are doing the right thing while their Republican counterparts in the senate and the White House are brazenly ignoring the record of the child molester they are running in Alabama and the open admission by the head of the GOP sitting in the White House who boasted he can grab women by the private parts and get away with it because he is a celebrity. We also assess whether the appointment of a placeholder to fill Franken’s vacated seat until the 2018 election will expose the Democrats to a potential loss of a safe seat in a critical election in which Democrats now have to defend 26 senate seats while the Republicans only have to defend 9 seats.  

 

Part 2

Then we speak with Matthew Sutton, Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University and author of “American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism”. He joins us to discuss the main reason why Trump upended U.S. diplomatic history and foreign policy in moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, and that is apparently his political calculus that he needs to shore up the Christian Zionist vote in Alabama for accused child molester Roy Moore. We  look into the sick theology behind the Christian Zionists’ spiritually pornographic interpretation of the Book of Revelation that has them raptured up to heaven while the rest of us burn in hell as the end of the world begins in Israel.

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Part 3

Then finally we examine a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, “High Flyers 2017”, and speak with its author Josh Hoxie, who heads the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies and edits inequality.org and was a legislative aide to Senator Bernie Sanders. We discuss the big lie in the Republican tax plan that is supposed to help the middle class but massive tax breaks for the owners of the 12,000 private luxury jets in the U.S. whose owners have an average net worth of $1.6 billion, tells another story.

Josh Hoxie

 

December 6 - A View From Israel on Trump's Dangerous Gambit; Could Tax Reform Die in Conference?; Trump's 3 Month Window to Attack North Korea

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We begin with President Trump’s formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital announced today and his plan to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. The former spokesman for Shimon Peres, Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Ha’aretz joins us from Tel Aviv to discuss Trump’s gift to Netanyahu that leaves the U.S. totally isolated as the only country in the world to have an embassy in Jerusalem. We assess the likely impact of Trump’s announcement on the Palestinian territories and in the neighboring countries and the extent to which it dims the hope for any future two state solution, a prospect that already appears to be dead in the water. We will also examine the similarities between Trump and Netanyahu in as much as both are pursuing aggressive right wing policies while judicial inquiries close in on them and threaten their political futures.

 

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Part 2

Then we get an analysis of whether the rush to get something passed by the Republicans so that they will not have to run next year as the “do-nothing” congress will result is a worse backlash once their constituents know what is in their so-called tax reform bill and how much it will hurt average Americans. Paul Waldman, who writes for The Washington Post’s Plum Line and is a contributing editor to The American Prospect where he has an article “How Republicans are Digging Their Own Grave for 2018” and another at The Week “Republicans’ remarkable self-deception on tax cuts”, joins us to discuss the possibility that the bill will die in conference as many members from blue states begin to realize how much their vote for the bill will amount to political suicide.

Part 3

 
Then finally we speak with the former speechwriter for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Mark Seddon, a professor of international relations at Columbia University about his article at The Guardian “Have we got just three months to avert a US attack on North Korea?” He joins us to discuss John Bolton’s recent trip to the U.K. House of Commons where the former US Ambassador to the UN relayed a message from the Trump White House that the CIA head had told Trump he had a “three month window” to strike North Korea before they had the capability to hit Washington with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.
 

 

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December 5 - Resurrecting the Logan Act; Will All Hell Break Loose in the Middle East?; Corporate Backers of GOP Tax Giveaway Are Now Complicit with Who Trump is and What He Does

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We begin with the possible resurrection of the 18th century Logan Act under which only two people have been charged and neither convicted, and assess whether Jared Kushner or his father in law Donald Trump could be charged with violating the Logan Act based on what Michael Flynn has told the special counsel Robert Mueller who Flynn is cooperating with. Daniel Hemel, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago who was a law clerk for Justice Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court, joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “Why the Trump Team Should Fear the Logan Act”. And while the Logan Act prevents private citizens from unauthorized communication with foreign officials to influence U.S. foreign policy, as the incoming National Security Advisor to Donald Trump, Michael Flynn was hardly an ordinary private citizen. Furthermore his communications with the Russian Ambassador about easing sanctions and advising them how to react to President Obama’s new round of sanctions in response to Russian meddling in our election, appears to rise to the level of “a high crime and misdemeanor”.

 

Daniel Hemel

Part 2

Then we anticipate the reaction in the Middle East and Europe to President Trump’s expected move on Wednesday to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem which is widely seen and an abandonment of any pretext of supporting any future viable Palestinian state. Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern  and South Asian History at the University of Michigan and author of “The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East”, joins us to discuss the possibility of a new “intifada” erupting, the Jordanian kingdom in turmoil and Saudi influence over Trump because of the friendship between MBS and Jared Kushner exposed as worthless.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with David Halperin, who served on the Clinton National Security Council and was counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his article at The Huffington Post “GOP’s Unholy Alliance: Trump-McConnell-Moore-Kochs”. We discuss how all the big corporations backing the GOP tax giveaway to the rich including the so called ones that do good like Google and Facebook, are now complicit in screwing the middle class, supporting a sex offender and validating Trump’s bigotry, misogyny, environmental destruction, kleptocratic corruption and his likely treason with Russia.

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December 4 - Trump Trashes the Peoples' National Monuments; After Switching Sides, Yemen's Ex-President is Killed by Houthis; Saudi patriot missiles Failed in Five Out of Five Launches

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We begin with today’s unprecedented reversal by Donald Trump of protection of America’s national monuments as he announced the reduction of the size of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and the Grand Staircase Escalante by 50%. Robert Keiter, the Director of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment at The University of Utah College of Law and author of “To Conserve Unimpaired: the Evolution of the National Park Idea”, joins us to discuss the peculiar logic of Trump’s remarks today when he said he was bringing the land back to the people from Washington bureaucrats when it is the “people” of the United States who own the land in national parks being preserved for posterity. We will assess what the real motives for Trump’s latest unpopular act might be given that there is no evidence the now unprotected land is rich in oil and gas and minerals that can now be extracted. Could it be that this sick and spiteful man in the Oval Office is simply doing this to undo Obama’s legacy in furtherance of Trump’s obsessive racist hatred of his predecessor.

 

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Part 2

Then we speak with Sheila Carapico, a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond and the author of “Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf” about the killing of Yemen’s ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh by Houthi rebels after he had accused them of “idiocy” for protracting the devastating civil war and had switched sides to joins the Saudi-backed coalition. We discuss the merciless Saudi blockade that is starving the Yemeni population and a proxy war that has no end in sight.

Part 3

Then finally, following a recent missile attack on Saudi Arabia from Yemen, we will look into the results of an investigation by The New York Times which finds that the US missile defenses in Saudi Arabia failed five out of five launches in spite of President Trump’s claim that “Our system knocked the missile out of the air. That’s how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we’re selling it all around the world”. Laura Grego, Senior Scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists who analyzed the data, joins us to explain how the failure of five of the five Patriot missiles fired at the incoming Houthi Scud-type missile exposes the false assurance that the US and South Korean military have in their Patriot batteries intercepting North Korean missiles.

 

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