We begin with an analysis of the just-released draft of the Republican Senate’s repeal and replacement of Obamacare bill that Mitch McConnell is determined to get passed by the fourth of July holiday in a grotesque perversion of patriotism as Republicans are poised to celebrate millions of their fellow citizens loosing healthcare coverage in order to make a handful of their richest patrons even richer. A veteran of the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter, who was chief corporate spokesman at CIGNA and head of corporate communications at Humana, joins us to discuss what has emerged from secret behind-closed-doors negotiations and the unseemly rush to get something passed before it can be studied or scored to assess its impact, in order to fulfill a Trump campaign promise so that Republicans can move on to the important work of “reforming” taxes to further enrich the wealthiest Americans like Trump and his family.

Then we get an assessment of the Democrat’s recent loss in the most expensive House race in history and why they ran such a bland candidate with a feckless message and whether by reaching so high they gave Trump a gift and squandered millions of dollars of small donations from concerned citizens who are alarmed by Trump’s reckless and destructive presidency. Simon Rosenberg, the President and Founder of the New Democrat Network, a leading progressive think tank and advocacy organization, joins us to discuss the kind of messages and candidates the Democrats need to take back the House and Senate in 2018.

Then finally we speak with John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington who worked for 38 years in the House of Representatives and served as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff. He joins us to discuss unrelenting Republican attacks on Pelosi as well as some criticism of her leadership from a few Democrats and the underlying reason why she is the target of Republicans, not because they see her as a weak leader, but as a strong one.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

The Republicans Celebrate the 4th of July By Making America Sick Again

The Kind of Messages and Candidates Democrats Need in 2018

Why the Republicans are Attacking Nancy Pelosi

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We begin with an analysis of why the Democrats lost the uphill race they hoped to win in Georgia’s sixth congressional district and speak with Ian Haney Lopez, a Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class”. We will discuss how the successful demonization of Hillary Clinton by the Republicans in the last election was updated to target Nancy Pelosi in yesterday’s election and tie her to Jon Ossoff who was depicted as her puppet. We explore why people prefer to believe that Nancy Pelosi is a monster without any apparent evidence to support the demonized portrait of her GOP operatives so successfully employed. Using dog whistle coded appeals they implied Jon Ossoff was not one of us, but a gay-loving San Francisco sanctuary city type who wants to hand out benefits to undeserving minorities while looking down at hard working white folks who the Democrats don’t care about that have been left at the back of the cue.

Then we examine the absence of American leadership with a commander in chief who is AWOL on Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, where the Russians appear to be running the show and making the rules. Kate Brannen, the Deputy Managing Editor of Just Security and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council joins us to discuss her latest article at Foreign Policy “White House Officials Push for Widening the War in Syria Over Pentagon Objections” and how hawks on the National Security Council are working behind the backs of the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor to confront Iran and its proxy forces.

Then finally we assess the elevation of Saudi Arabia’s 31 year old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the role of Crown Prince by his father King Salman, passing over his older uncle Prince Nayef. Dr. Ali Alyami, the founder and director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia joins us to discuss this palace intrigue and his latest article at cdhr.info “Settling Scores with Qatar in the Guise of Defeating Terrorism” and how the Saudis are shamelessly stroking Trump’s ego while playing him like a gullible fool.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

How Demonizing HIllary and Then Pelosi Has Paid Off

Our Commander in Chief is AWOL

Saudi Arabia's Boy King Moves Closer to the Throne

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We begin with the most expensive congressional race in the nation’s history in Georgia where the polls closed an hour ago and speak with Andra Gillespie, a Professor of Political Science at Emory University who served as a Martin Luther King Visiting Scholar in Political Science at MIT and was an analyst for Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. She joins us to discuss this tight race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel that has been flooded with outside money since it is widely seen as an early referendum on the troubled Trump Administration. We look into whether Ossoff can squeak by with a narrow victory this time with the help of the African/American vote, the absence of which some analysts say cost Ossoff an outright win in the primary in which he fell just short of the 50% threshold.

Then following the shoot-down of 2 Iranian drones and a Syrian fighter-bomber by U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria, we assess the warning from the Russians that any coalition aircraft venturing west of the Euphrates will be painted by Russian radar and treated as targets. An expert on Syria, Nicholas Heras, a Middle East researcher at the Center for a New American Security, joins us to discuss how Syria and Iran are trying to capture territory in the east of Syria, attempting to fill the vacuum as the Islamic State is defeated in the hope that they can create a land corridor from Assad-controlled territory across Iraq to Iran.

Then finally we speak with Jonathan Marshall, an award-winning journalist and researcher who has a 5 part series of articles on foreign lobbying at Consortium News, the latest of which is “Saudis Win Hearts by Lining Pockets”. We discuss how other nations, apart from Russia, interfere in our elections by pouring money into hiring lobbyists and former officials while funding think tanks and political issues using the dark money channels opened up the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

An Update on the Georgia Congressional Race

Could an Accidental War Between the US and Russia Break Out in Syria?

How Other Nations, Apart From Russia, Interfere in Our Elections

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We begin with a looming showdown in the U.S. Senate as Democrats try to force the Republican Obamacare replacement bill out into the open from its behind closed doors negotiations by Republicans whose Senate leader hopes to jam it through using the reconciliation process to avoid a filibuster. Joining us is a veteran senate staffer Paul Light, Professor of Public Service at New York University who was director of the Government Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and is the author of “Government by Investigation: Presidents, Congress, and the Search for Answers 1945-2012”. We discuss the many tactics that can slow down the Senate and the likelihood that when the Republican healthcare bill sees the light of day and is scored by the CBO, moderate Republican will abandon it, as well as try to figure out Trump’s tweet calling the bill “mean” and what effect that might have on its uncertain future.

Then we examine the latest disarray caused by Trump’s tweets attacking the Deputy Attorney General for initiating an investigation of him which Trump calls a witch hunt only to have his lawyer say the president is not being investigated at the same time saying he is. James Kirchick, a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington D.C. and author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age” joins us to discuss his article at the Los Angeles Times ”If Trump were really in league with Russia, that would be reassuring for America’s civic sanity” and why he thinks it is unlikely that Trump will be found guilty of collusion with the Russians and how the various investigations serve to distract us from the fact that Trump is guilty of being an unscrupulous, unpatriotic demagogue.

Then finally we look into a terror attack in London in which nine worshippers leaving a north London mosque were seriously injured by a van driven by a father of four from Cardiff who told the group of Muslims who held him until the police arrived that “you deserve it” and “I did my bit”. Charles Kurzman, the co-director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations joins us to discuss how this attack is exactly what the Islamic State was hoping to provoke in response to its terrorist attacks designed to drive a wedge between Muslims in the diaspora and their host countries.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Senate Democrats Try to Force Republicans Into the Open

What Trump is Really Guilty Of

Terror Attack in London Against Muslim Worshipers

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We begin with a unique insight into the mind and motivations of America’s number one enemy at the moment the Islamic State. Souad Mekhennet, a correspondent for The Washington Post’s national security desk who was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University, is a visiting fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Policy at Harvard, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the Geneva Center for Security Policy. She joins us to discuss how she got access to leaders of the Islamic State and although she was unsure whether she would end up kidnapped and held hostage, she was able to interview them for her now book, just out, “I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad”. We look into the reasons why young Muslims who grew up in the comfort and safety of Europe join ISIS and conduct acts of terrorism against their host countries. We will also examine the role of Wahhabi mosques and recruiters in prisons as well as Saudi Arabia itself, where much of the money and spiritual guidance for anti-Western terrorism comes from.

Then we look further into Saudi Arabia’s petro-dollar-financed spread of their austere, reactionary and anti-Western state religion Wahhabism which they have exported around the world that has already destabilized Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bosnia and has now taken hold in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia. We speak with Stephen Kinzer, an award-winning foreign correspondent with The New York Times who is now a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute at Brown University where he teaches international relations. We will discuss his article at the Boston Globe, “Saudi Arabia is Destabilizing the World” and why the U.S. continues its willful blindness towards the damage done by Saudi Arabia’s long campaign to drag the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims back to the 7th century while inspiring murder and mayhem from 9/11 to Nice, from Mumbia to Manchester.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Insight Into America's Enemy Number One

"Saudi Arabia is Destabilizing the World"

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We will begin with an examination of the resistance against Trump, not so much from domestic critics, but from critics of his foreign policy who decry his America First stance and failure to uphold liberal norms in the international system. Andrew Bacevich, a retired Professor of History and International Relations at Boston University who taught at West Point and served for 23 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army whose latest book is “America’s War for the Middle East: A Military History”, joins us. We discuss his latest article at The American Conservative “The ‘Global Order’ Myth” and his contention that to characterize American statecraft as “liberal internationalism” is akin to describing the business of Hollywood as “artistic excellence”.

Then, with Donald Trump’s visit to Miami of Friday where he is expected to undo another Obama achievement, the end of the 56 year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba and the beginning of normalization, we speak with Ann Louise Bardach, a PEN-USA Award-winning journalist and author of “Cuba Confidential” and “Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington”. She joins us to discuss the role that Senator Marco Rubio has played in laying the groundwork for Trump’s pending crackdown on trade and travel between the U. S. and Cuba.

Then finally we look into the possibility that there could be a do-over of the Trump election and Brexit and speak with John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus and author of “Crusade 2.0”. We discuss his article at Foreign Policy in Focus, “Is It Possible to Undo 2016?” and whether with the special prosecutor now investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, 2016’s accidental president could be sent into early retirement, as well as the growing possibility that Brexit will be undone or perhaps suffer a slow death by a thousand cuts.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

A Critique of Trump's Foreign Policy Critics

Trump Undoes Obama Again: This Time Cuba

Could We Have a Do-Over of 2016?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We begin with the 153rd mass shooting so far in the U.S.A. in 2017, this time with the victims being a congressman, an aide, a lobbyist and two Capitol Policemen. But later today the 154thmass shooting took place in San Francisco at a UPS facility that left four dead. Joshua Horowitz, the Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and author of “Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea”, joins us to discuss whether the unity and bipartisanship on display in the House today as well as President Trump’s call that “our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace”, will lead to an easing of the deadlock over guns rights versus gun safety, over the right to bear arms versus the right to be safe from gun violence. We will assess whether any change will come from this latest tragedy that hit so close to home for lawmakers, or since the perpetrator once supported Bernie Sanders, will right wing media fan the flames as they blame the shooting on Trump-haters.

Then we will explore the broader issue of what is behind the proliferation and availability of firearms and with so much access to data, why is it we as a nation are unable to prevent people with a history of mental illness, or in the case of the gunman who shot the congressman, a history of domestic violence and the reckless discharge of a firearm, from getting hold of lethal military-style weaponry and causing multiple deaths and injuries. Tom Diaz, a former senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center and author of “The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What to do About It”, joins us to discuss what is driving America’s disproportionately-high civilian death toll from guns.

Then finally we will look into the siege of the tiny Gulf state of Qatar and speak with an Arabic-speaking expert on the Middle East, Graham Fuller, the former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council who is currently a professor of history at Simon Frazer University. He joins us to refute the bogus claims by Donald Trump and the Saudi rulers that they are fighting terrorism and confronting Iran when in fact it is all about the self-preservation of autocratic monarchs who can’t stand the freedom of expression on al-Jazeera and want to spread Saudi Wahhabism to dominate the Gulf.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Today's 153rd Then 154th Mass Shootings So Far in 2017

What is Driving America's Unique Epidemic of Mass Shootings

The Bogus Excuses For the Saudi Siege of Qatar

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We begin with today’s testimony by Attorney General Sessions before the Senate Intelligence Committee and speak with Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department. She joins us to discuss Sessions’ stonewalling as he easily answered softball questions from Republican senators but dragged out his answers to probing questions from Democrats to run out the clock by either pretending not to understand the questions, or answering a question not asked. We assess how theatrical Sessions’ indignation was when confronted with his stonewalling and the Attorney General’s assertion that he could not speak about what he discussed with President Trump on the grounds of executive privilege even though Trump himself has not invoked executive privilege.

Then we speak with Russia expert David Satter, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and author of “The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin”. We discuss his latest article at The Wall Street Journal “From Russia With Chaos” and analyze the impact of the demonstrations that took place across Russia on Monday’s national holiday in which young Russians, some in high school, were roughed up and arrested by riot police and assess what this means for Putin’s open-ended rule into the future.

Then finally David Michôd joins us in the studio. He is the writer/director of a new film starring Brad Pitt “War Machine”, now out on Netflix, that is based on the Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hasting’s book “The Operators”. We discuss his satirical dark comedy set around the downfall of the former commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal and, on a day when the Defense Secretary General Mattis testified to Congress that “we are not winning in Afghanistan” and that a new strategy will emerge in mid-July, we examine why after 16 years we keep doing the same thing in Afghanistan yet expect a different outcome.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Sessions Stonewalls the Senate

Russia's High School Kids Revolt Against Putin

The Writer/Director of a New Film Starring Brad Pitt "War Machine"

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail