David Graham – Trump: Friends and Family First

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On July 21 Ian spoke with  David Graham, a staff writer for The Atlantic where he has an article “The Inadvisable President, joins us to discuss the one-way street of loyalty in the Trump White House where Trump expects absolute loyalty while everyone around him, except for perhaps his family, are disposable. And in an Oval Office with the opposite message of Harry Truman’s that “the buck stops here”, if underlings are not blamed for everything that goes wrong they are at the mercy of a man who made himself famous as the gleeful executioner of jobs and careers with his power-play pronouncement – “you’re fired!”

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July 20, 2017

We begin with the public humiliation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by his boss Donald Trump who told The New York Times he would not have hired Sessions had he known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. David Graham, a staff writer for The Atlantic where he has an article “The Inadvisable President”, joins us to discuss the one-way street of loyalty in the Trump White House where Trump expects absolute loyalty while everyone around him, except for perhaps his family, are disposable. And in an Oval Office with the opposite message of Harry Truman’s that “the buck stops here”, if underlings are not blamed for everything that goes wrong they are at the mercy of a man who made himself famous as the gleeful executioner of jobs and careers with his power-play pronouncement – “you’re fired!”

Then we look into the deteriorating situation in Venezuela where today’s national strike has paralyzed a country on the brink of economic collapse and social chaos. David Smilde, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America who has studied Venezuela for 25 years and curates a blog “Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights”, joins us to discuss how much the embattled and unpopular President Maduro is in control of a country he is systematically turning into a Cuban-style pseudo-democracy. We assess what other centers of power exist with deep-rooted Cuban influence over the Intelligence and Military services as well as the power of cartels in the lucrative drug trade and the corrupt former Chavez loyalists who have become the new oligarchs.

Then finally, following the diagnosis that Senator John McCain has a virulent form of brain cancer, we assess the possibility that Arizona will have two senate races in 2018 with both the junior Senator Jeff Flake who is up for re-election and successors to John McCain on the ballot. Evan Wyloge, and investigative reporter with the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting joins us to discuss how the White House is already gunning for Jeff Flake who Trump hates and what a prolonged absence of Senator McCain will mean for the narrow Republican lead in the senate.


July 19, 2017

We begin with the revelation that Donald Trump held an hour-long second meeting with Vladimir Putin at the recent G-20 meeting that the White House did not mention at which there was only a Russian interpreter and no notes were taken leaving the U.S. Government to rely on whatever record the Russian Government produces. James Goldgeier, the Dean of the School of International Service at American University who was Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council and is the author of “Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy towards Russia after the Cold War”, joins us. We will discuss his article at The Washington Post “There are no notes on Trump’s meeting with Putin. That’s a big deal” and the importance of Memorandums of Conversations known as MemCons which are not only important for the leaders themselves, but are invaluable for scholars and the historical record.

Then we examine why the Republicans are having such a hard time repealing and replacing Obamacare, a seven-year-long mission if not obsession that is in disarray. James Morone, a professor of Political Science at Brown University and editor of “Healthcare Policy in the USA and Germany” whose latest book is “The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office”, joins us to discuss how not just Obamacare is proving to have a powerful political constituency, but also Medicaid is proving durable since it covers the costs of retirement homes for most of the nation’s elderly citizens.

Then finally, with the president hosting Republican senators for lunch at the White House where he issued a not-so-veiled threat to wayward senators urging them to “hammer” out a health plan adding, “We shouldn’t leave town until this is complete”, we look into the conflicted politics of repeal and replace. Jonathan Cohn, a senior correspondent at The Huffington Post and author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Healthcare Crisis – and Who Pays the Price”, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Huffington Post “Republicans Have a Way Out of Their Health Care Mess: Working with Democrats”.


July 18, 2017

We begin with an attempt to understand why Donald Trump persists in trying to make deals favorable to Russia on Putin’s terms, and speak with Dr. Michael Carpenter, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense with responsibility for Russia who served as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Biden and as director for Russia at the National Security Council. Now a senior director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, he joins us to discuss his article at Defense One, “The U.S. Should Steer Clear of Russian Help in Syria”. We look into the folly of working with the Russians to combat ISIS since Putin’s strategy is to support his proxy Assad at all cost without recognizing that Assad is the main reason why Islamic terrorists have a foothold in Syria.

Then we examine the reasons why Trump and the Republicans have sold their souls to Russia following a recent poll that finds 48% of Republicans see nothing wrong with Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with Russian operatives offering help to elect Trump and damage his opponent. James Kirchick, a journalist and foreign correspondent who is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age”, joins us to discuss his article at Politico “How the GOP Became the Party of Putin”. And since Trump’s core supporters live in a bubble of delusion impervious to facts and evidence, we assess the extent to which Trump’s advisors like Bannon and Gorka have followed the playbook of Putin’s media guru Vladislav Surkov to create a parallel universe of alternative facts in which there is no objective truth, but where only subjective truth matters.

Then finally we speak with Abbe Gluck, a Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School. She joins us to try to make sense of the many tweets and statements coming from Donald Trump in the wake of the Republican Senate’s latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act which Trump is praising as “a pretty impressive vote by any standard” while declaring he wants Obamacare to fail and that “Republicans are not going to own it”.


July 17, 2017

We begin with White House plans to privatize the war in Afghanistan following a proposal by Erik Prince the brother of Betsy DeVos and founder of the mercenary army Blackwater along with Stephen Feinberg the billionaire hedge fund owner of the military and intelligence contractor DynCorp, that Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner are championing. A biographer of Erik Prince, Robert Young Pelton, the author of “License to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror”, joins us to discuss what is called the “Laos option”, to turn over the fate and future of Afghanistan to a CIA shadow army largely made up of foreign mercenaries thus reducing American boots on the ground and providing Trump with an exit strategy from nation-building, a concept that Stephen Bannon abhors.

Then we speak with Alexander Klimburg, a program director at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies about his new book, just out, “The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace”. He joins us to discuss the weaponization of information and the global struggle over the future of the Internet with democracies wanting to keep the Internet free and open while autocracies like China and Russia argue for sovereign control of information using appeals to nationalism to control their populations through censorship and propaganda.

Then finally we examine a rare victory in the congress for decency and human rights following a surprise vote in the House to block U.S. participation in the Saudi war on Yemen. Kate Gould, the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest fielding the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington D.C., joins us to discuss the two amendments to the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act that passed overwhelmingly.


Roger Morris – White House Being Destroyed from Within

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On July 16, Ian spoke  Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under presidents Johnson and Nixon and is the author of “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and their Failed Ideals”. We will discuss the deadly combination of ignorance and arrogance, avarice and amateurism, that characterize this chaotic administration which so far has not had to deal with an international crisis, but in the event that the White House is faced with a serious challenge as is likely to be the case, how will the petulant, childish, insecure and unstable leader we have in the Oval Office deal with it? Particularly if it requires the steady and experienced hands of Generals Mattis and McMaster who Trump apparently does not listen to, but instead, will the fate of the world rest on the advice of a white nationalist nihilist Stephen Bannon, a neophyte reactionary throwback, Stephen Miller, and a Hungarian fascist Sebastian Gorka?

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July 16, 2017

We begin with the unprecedented and alarming possibility that the greatest threat to our national security is the President of the United States, Donald Trump. Joining us is Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under presidents Johnson and Nixon and is the author of “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and their Failed Ideals”. We will discuss the deadly combination of ignorance and arrogance, avarice and amateurism, that characterize this chaotic administration which so far has not had to deal with an international crisis, but in the event that the White House is faced with a serious challenge as is likely to be the case, how will the petulant, childish, insecure and unstable leader we have in the Oval Office deal with it? Particularly if it requires the steady and experienced hands of Generals Mattis and McMaster who Trump apparently does not listen to, but instead, will the fate of the world rest on the advice of a white nationalist nihilist Stephen Bannon, a neophyte reactionary throwback, Stephen Miller, and a Hungarian fascist Sebastian Gorka?

Then we speak with Peter Stone, a special correspondent for McClatchy DC Bureau about his latest article co-authored with Greg Gordon “Trump-Russia investigations probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation”. We investigate Kushner’s relationship with the right wing billionaire Mercers and Jared’s use of their social media data mining company Cambridge Analytica of which Stephen Bannon is a board member. And since Russia deployed armies of bots carrying pro-Trump messages and used human “troll farms” to flood social media and the Internet with anti-Hillary stories, we look into what collusion took place between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Then finally, on the first anniversary of the botched coup in Turkey, that President Erdogan is celebrating as a victory for democracy as he rolls back democratic rights and jails thousands of teachers, soldiers, judges, lawyers and journalists, in a creeping dictatorship, we assess whether the coup itself was fabricated or manipulated. A former senior advisor and foreign affairs expert to the State Department during the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations, David Phillips, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Huffington Post “Was Turkey’s Coup for Real?”

 


July 13, 2017

We begin with questions surrounding Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian Attorney who met with Donald Trump Junior, who was the same attorney representing the accused in the civil forfeiture case involving the money laundering of $230 million stolen from the Russian treasury which ended up in Manhattan real estate. Jenna McLaughlin, a reporter and blogger covering surveillance and national security at Foreign Policy magazine, joins us to discuss her latest article at Foreign Policy “DOJ Settled Massive Russian Fraud Case Involving Lawyer Who Met with Trump Jr.” We investigate why President Trump fired the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara just before he went to trial with this case, after which the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions settled the case for $6 million instead of $230 million. On Wednesday, 17 Democratic Congressmen on the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Sessions expressing their concern that DOJ “may have settled the case at a loss for the United States in order to obscure the underlying facts.”

Then we examine further what looks like a massive cover-up by the Trump Administration of a brazen Russian money laundering scheme that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions settled at a huge loss after Donald Trump had fired the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case, using the firing of all of the U.S. Attorneys as a cover at the time. Lisa Graves, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, joins us to discuss how even the Russian attorney representing the Russian crooks who met with Trump Junior, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was surprised at how generous Jeff Sessions’ settlement was.

Then finally we try to figure out why the new French President Emmanuel Macron is giving Donald Trump the red carpet treatment, hosting a leader who is unpopular in France for what looks like an extended photo-op. An expert on French politics and the French Socialist Party, Phillipe Marliere, a professor of French and European politics at University College, London, joins us to discuss the French reaction to Trump’s sexist behavior. With his wife Melania who is 25 years younger than he is at his side, Trump commented crassly on first meeting France’s First Lady who is 25 years older than her husband, “you’re in such great shape”.


July 12, 2017

We begin with the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump filed today for the first time in the House of Representatives accusing Trump of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for obstructing justice by firing James Comey to stop the Russian investigation and pressuring him to drop the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn. A senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Congressman Brad Sherman, who introduced an article of impeachment, joins us to discuss why he did so and what the grounds are for doing so even though few Democrats in the House are joining in the effort that the Republican majority will not act on and could easily reject the resolution, but in doing so they would put all members on record as to how they feel about impeaching Trump.

Then we speak with the author of an important new book “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America”. Nancy MacLean, Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University joins us to discuss her latest book, just out which explains how we got to the current situation where just two plutocrats, the Koch brothers appear to have captured the congress and are having their agenda enacted at the expense of the American people. She explains how James Buchanan, an economist out to preserve white privilege in the Jim Crow South, figured out a way to deploy plutocratic power while preventing the majority of Americans from using their voting power to better their lives.

Then finally, with today’s nationwide protests against the Trump-appointed head of the FCC Ajit Pai which has giant corporations like Facebook, Twitter and Google supporting the “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality”, we speak with a former FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps. He joins us to discuss what is at stake in preserving Internet freedom and the urgent need to mobilize grassroots action to stop the Trump Administration’s undemocratic putsch by corporate power via their lackey Ajit Pai, to deny the will of the vast majority of Americans who don’t want the Internet “cableized” with telecomm monopolies controlling internet content.


Danielle Ivory – Trump’s Deregulation Teams

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On July 11, Ian spoke with  Danielle Ivory, a reporter with The New York Times who covers the intersection of business and government, including contracts and regulations, about her article co-written by Robert Faturechi, a reporter at ProPublica, “The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams”. They discussed how these appointees to Trump’s deregulation teams have been working in secret across the government, with 28 of the 71 appointees identified so far, having close ties to industry and clear conflicts of interest.

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2-Minute Enlightenment


July 11, 2017

We begin with the release of an incriminating email chain between Donald Trump Junior and a British tabloid journalist representing a Russian pop singer whose father is a billionaire developer close to Putin. The emails are about setting up a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer based on the promise that this lawyer worked for the Russian government and had top secret information from the Russian Crown prosecutor that was damaging to Hillary Clinton and “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”.  Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean at Yale Law School who is a former FBI Special Agent specializing in counterintelligence investigations in New York City, joins us to discuss the extent to which the participants in this meeting acted with corrupt intent to violate campaign finance laws and if they were innocent, why did they not call the FBI immediately to report an effort on the part of Russian Intelligence to compromise them?

Then we will examine the incriminating emails further with David Halperin, senior fellow at Republic Report who was previously a special assistant for National Security Affairs to President Clinton and a counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. He joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post “Trump Jr’s Smoking Gun Email” and the sleazy cast of characters emerging in this sordid tale that reflects the nature of the Trump presidency and the Trump family business that is built on financial ties with the international dregs of bottom-feeders, tacky celebrities, kleptocrats, gangsters and oligarchs.

Then finally we will speak with Danielle Ivory, a reporter with The New York Times who covers the intersection of business and government, including contracts and regulations, about her article co-written by Robert Faturechi, a reporter at ProPublica, “The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams”. We will look into how these appointees to Trump’s deregulation teams have been working in secret across the government, with 28 of the 71 appointees identified so far, having close ties to industry with clear conflicts of interest.


Richard Parker – Democrats and Demographics, A Dream and A Trap?

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On July 10, Ian spoke with the co-founder of Mother Jones, Richard Parker, who teaches Economics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, joins us to discuss how organized people with small donations can compete against the organized money of the Koch brothers network. They discussed the state of the resistance and the Democratic opposition now that Vice President Mike Pence is beginning to raise campaign money as the Republicans gather a war chest to buy the 2018 and 2020 elections with overwhelming resources.

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July 10, 2017

We begin with the revelation that the Mexican government used sophisticated spyware to neutralize the work of a team of international investigators the Mexican government was forced to accept to solve the case of the missing 43 students whose disappearance in 2014 roiled the nation. Laura Carlsen, the Director of the Mexico-based Americas Program of the Center for International Policy, joins us to discuss how the cyberweapon Pegasus, which can only be sold to governments on the condition it is used against terrorists and criminals, was used to stymie an investigation into one of Mexico’s most gruesome human rights atrocities which the Pena Nieto PRI government clearly does not want solved.

Then we will look into who Donald Trump Junior, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were meeting with in Trump Tower shortly after Trump became the Republican candidate for president. Bill Browder, who was the largest foreign investor in Russia until his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was murdered for uncovering government corruption, joins us to discuss who this disgusting, sleazy lawyer the Trump boys met with is. We will examine the role of Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was not only Putin’s point person to go after the Magnitsky Act the congress passed to punish the murderers of Browder’s lawyer, but she defended the Kremlin-connected Russian gangsters who laundered the stolen $230 million of tax money meant for the Russian treasury.

Then finally we will get an update on the state of the resistance and the Democratic opposition now that Vice President Mike Pence is beginning to raise campaign money as the Republicans gather a war chest to buy the 2018 and 2020 elections with overwhelming resources. The co-founder of Mother Jones, Richard Parker, who teaches Economics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, joins us to discuss how organized people with small donations can compete against the organized money of the Koch brothers network.


Charles Kupchan – The U.S. Exits the World Stage

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On July 9 Ian spoke with Charles Kupchan, who was director of European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration and spent the last 3 years as Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security. They discussed the much-anticipated meeting between Putin and Trump that was conducted in secret without Trump’s National Security Advisor or his National Security Council’s Russian-speaking expert present. What does the meteoric fall of the U.S. under Donald Trump from the world power that dominated the G-20 to something of a joke on the world stage mean?

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July 9, 2017

We begin with the meteoric fall of the U.S. under Donald Trump from the world power that dominated the G-20 to something of a joke on the world stage where the daughter of a president known for her clothing line sits in between the British and Chinese leaders on an important meeting for her father who has managed to isolate the U.S. from the rest of the G-19 in less than 6 months. Charles Kupchan, who was director of European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration and spent the last 3 years as Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security, joins us to discuss the much anticipated meeting between Putin and Trump that was conducted in secret without Trump’s National Security Advisor or his National Security Council’s Russian-speaking expert present.

Then we will examine the two separate foreign policies the U.S. appears to have, one conducted by the Trump family and the other by a compromised, hamstrung and largely ignored defense, intelligence and diplomatic establishment that fringe ideologues inside the White House close to Trump like Stephen Bannon and Sebastian Gorka refer to as the “deep state”. A CIA Middle East veteran, Robert Baer, who is now the national security affairs analyst on CNN, joins us to discuss the unprecedented nature of having a leader of the United States trash his own intelligence services on foreign soil while defending the actions of an adversary who attacked the United States.

Then finally we will get an update on the latest revelations coming from the many investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russians following a story in The New York Times that Trump’s son and son-in-law met with a Russian lawyer close to the Kremlin who led the Kremlin’s campaign to destroy the late Sergei Magnitsky’s investigation into high-level corruption. An expert on international money laundering, James Henry, an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist who is the co-founder of DCReport.org, joins us to look into whether Trump’s former mob-connected partner Felix Sater, has ratted him out.


July 6, 2017

We begin with the latest NPR/PBS/Marist poll that finds 54% of Americans think Trump’s dealings with Russia were unethical or illegal while 73% of Republicans believe Trump did nothing wrong with only 4% saying he has done something illegal. The author of “National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear” and “The Great Questions of Tomorrow”, David Rothkopf, a columnist for The Washington Post and a visiting professor at Columbia University and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, joins us. We discuss Donald Trump’s unprecedented attacks on American political leaders and institutions on foreign soil as he stood next to Poland’s authoritarian leader who is cracking down on his press and was no doubt pleased to hear Trump’s attacks on the American Press, along with his trashing of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the U.S. Intelligence community.

Then we speak with Timothy McCarthy, a Lecturer on History, Literature and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of “”Protest Nation: Words That Inspired a Generation” and “The Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings or the People’s Historian”. He joins us to discuss the extent to which Trump has laid the groundwork with his supporters by convincing them that the press propagates “fake news” so that when the real news about Trump’s ties to Putin comes out, 35% of Americans won’t believe it.

Then finally we look into the stark division in U.S. foreign policy between the Trump family and his coterie of right wing fringe ideologues, and the broader U.S. defense, intelligence and diplomatic community otherwise known as the “deep state” that have been laid bare by Saudi Arabia’s attack on Qatar. David Hearst, the Editor of Middle East Eye, joins us from the U.K. to discuss the contentious report on the Saudi role in radicalizing young Muslims in Britain and how Trump and his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared’s financial ties to the Saudi Crown Prince are dictating a dangerous Middle East policy that goes against U.S. interests in the region.


Marwan Kraidy – The Caging of Qatar

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On July 5 Ian Spoke with Marwan Kraidy, the Anthony Shadid Chair of Global Media, Politics and Culture and Director for Advanced Research in Global Communications of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the growing tensions in the standoff between Qatar and its neighbors led by Saudi Arabia who issued an unrealistically harsh and humiliating set of demands to the tiny Gulf state under an ultimatum that has since past, and now they are dismissing Qatar’s response to their list of demands as the crisis deepens. Kraidy, an expert on the Arab media, they discussed how much Egypt’s and Saudi Arabia’s demand to shut down Qatar-based Al Jazeera is at the heart of this dispute provoked by Saudi Arabia’s belligerent young Crown Prince who appears to have bitten off more than he can chew in Yemen and is now threatening war or at least regime change in Qatar.

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July 5, 2017

We begin with growing tensions in the standoff between Qatar and its neighbors led by Saudi Arabia who issued an unrealistically harsh and humiliating set of demands to the tiny Gulf state under an ultimatum that has since past, and now they are dismissing Qatar’s response to their list of demands as the crisis deepens. Marwan Kraidy, the Anthony Shadid Chair of Global Media, Politics and Culture and Director for Advanced Research in Global Communications of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, joins us. An expert on the Arab media, we discuss how much Egypt’s and Saudi Arabia’s demand to shut down Qatar-based Al Jazeera is at the heart of this dispute provoked by Saudi Arabia’s belligerent young Crown Prince who appears to have bitten off more than he can chew in Yemen and is now threatening war or at least regime change in Qatar.

Then we assess the extent to which Donald Trump’s visit to Poland is based on his aversion to protests which are being planned in Hamburg and London, and his susceptibility to enticements by the authoritarian right wing Polish leader whose Law and Justice government will bus in adoring fans of Trump from the countryside to what they have promised the White House will be “a great patriotic picnic”. A former senior advisor with the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, Charles Gati, a Senior Research Professor of European and Eurasian Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies, joins us to look into what seems more like a mutually beneficial photo-op than a diplomatic engagement, particularly since Trump has refused to meet with anyone from Poland’s opposition.

Then finally we examine the looming crisis following North Korea’s long-range missile test which has essentially called Trump’s bluff since he had warned that a test of a North Korean missile that could reach the U.S. “is not going to happen”. Now that it has happened, we will speak with a former State Department Senior Analyst, Stephen Noerper, Senior Director of the Korea Society, an associate of the Weatherhead Institute and Pacific Forum, and a professor at Columbia University. He joins us to discuss this crisis that, in the absence of diplomacy, could lead to devastating military consequences and civilian casualties.


Jeffrey Winters – USA, Democracy or Plutocracy?

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On July 4 Ian spoke with Jeffrey Winters, a Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University where he specializes on oligarchs and elites spanning a range of historical and contemporary cases from ancient Athens and Rome to Indonesia, Russia and the United States. He is the author of “Oligarchy” and they discussed how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has turned our political system into a money competition in which the race goes to the richest donor who can buy the most politicians, which is exactly what the Koch brothers and their network have done. They celebrated the 4th of July with the question of how much of a democracy the United States still is and to what extent it has become a plutocracy, given that just two plutocrats, the Koch brothers, have essentially bought the U.S. Congress along with the Presidency which are both enacting the Koch’s agenda at the expense of the American people.

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July 4, 2017

We begin on this 4th of July, as we celebrate American democracy, with the question of how much of a democracy we still are and to what extent have we become a plutocracy, given that just two plutocrats, the Koch brothers, have essentially bought the U.S. Congress along with the presidency which are both enacting the Koch’s agenda at the expense of the American people. Jeffrey Winters, a Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University where he specializes on oligarchs and elites spanning a range of historical and contemporary cases from ancient Athens and Rome to Indonesia, Russia and the United States, joins us. He is the author of “Oligarchy” and we will discuss how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has turned our political system into a money competition in which the race goes to the richest donor who can buy the most politicians, which is exactly what the Koch brothers and their network have done.

Then we explore further the question of whether or not we are still a democracy or have become a plutocracy with Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. He joins us to discuss how the plutocrats succeeded is having one of their own, Donald Trump, barely win the presidency running as a populist against the moneyed establishment. And how now Trump, and the Congress elected by the Koch network, are now rewarding their donors with tax cuts for the rich, opening up offshore drilling, bringing back coal, turning on the tar sands pipeline, crippling the EPA and reversing U.S leadership on climate change.