Arkansas' Assembly Line Executions
A Report From Turkey on the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
The Turkish Scholar Known as the Sherlock Holmes of the Armenian Genocide
We will begin with the production line killings being carried out by the state of Arkansas with eight men scheduled to be put to death in 11 days because suppliers of drugs used for lethal injections will only allow their products to be used for medically approved purposes so the state’s executioners, who are short on supply, had to drive to an undisclosed location to make a drug deal with an unnamed dealer who made no record of the sale. The President of Death Penalty Focus, Mike Farrell, a political and social activist best known for his roles in MASH and Providence, joins us to discuss the unseemly rush to kill which resulted in Justice Gorsuch casting his first vote on the Supreme Court to put a likely innocent man to death even though Ledell Lee in mentally incapacitated, DNA evidence was never tested, his defense was grossly incompetent and the judge who sentenced him was having an affair with the prosecutor.
Then we will go to Istanbul, Turkey to speak with Ronald Suny an historian at the University of Michigan and a professor emeritus of political science and history at the University of Chicago. The author of “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else: A History of the Armenian Genocide”, he joins us to discuss the local reaction to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide and how the educated and urban half of Turkey who voted against President Erdogan’s recent power grab feel about Donald Trump’s endorsement of their new dictator.
Then finally we will speak with the Turkish scholar who is considered the Sherlock Holmes of the Armenian genocide. Taner Akcam, who holds the chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University and is the author of “The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity” joins us to discuss how he found documentation, the “smoking gun” that proves the genocide against the Armenians that the Turkish government persists in denying, took place.
We will begin with the G7 nations meeting in Italy to find a unified approach to pressure Russia to distance itself from Syria’s Assad regime following its use of chemical weapons on children. Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center For Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and author of the new book “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East” joins us to discuss his latest article at CNN, “Obama’s Syria Mistake is now Trump’s Problem”. We will assess whether Assad’s latest atrocity has brought the Syrian conflict back onto the front burner after it appeared that the fall of Aleppo meant that Assad, the Russians and Iranians had won the war and that the U.S. was prepared to accept that reality and go along with a Russian plan to keep Assad in power as this war that has destroyed Syria enters its seventh year.
Then we will look into the Rose Garden ceremony today where Judge Gorsuch was sworn in amid sunny smiles and spring flowers as the president Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley celebrated a great victory for which Justice Gorsuch thanked them without any mention of the seat stolen from Judge Garland and that the U.S. Senate was blown up in order to get Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Wydra, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center, joins us to discuss the important cases before the court that Gorsuch will now rule on.
Then finally we will speak with Josh Gerstein, a Senior White House reporter at Politico, about his latest article at Politico “New suit demands Trump White House visitor logs”, and discuss how what used to be public information, is kept under wraps by the new Administration so that the identity of Trump’s visitors to the White House, Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago remain secret. We will also examine how being a member of Trump’s private club in Florida has its benefits with the Koch brothers enjoying a table-side chat with Trump as a perk that goes along with William Koch’s $200,000 annual membership of Mar-a-Lago.
We begin with the shakeup on the National Security Council and assess how much or how little President Trump is engaged in the presidency or whether it is simply a business opportunity for him and his family. Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who was formerly with the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, the advisory body for the U.S. Department of State, joins us to discuss how Trump, who seems to prefer visiting the campaign trail to reminisce about his victory in the Electoral College while blaming Obama for everything that goes wrong, is now faced with some real decisions in foreign policy that do not lend themselves to bluster and hollow threats.
Then we will examine the wrangling going on at the U.N. Security Council where expressions of outrage by the U.S., France and the U.K. over the Assad regime’s use of poison gas on Syrian citizens are falling on deaf ears as Russia’s U.N. representative tries to argue that a bomb accidentally blew up a hidden rebel supply of poison gas. Dulcie Leimbach, a fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at City University of New York and founder of PassBlue.com which covers the U.N., joins us to discuss the collective alarm and dismay amongst diplomats at the U.N. who cannot believe Trump is president and have no idea what his administration is up to.
Then finally we will speak with Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean and professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law who frequently argues before the Supreme Court. He joins us to discuss the political power plays underway with the expected filibuster by Senate Democrats against the Gorsuch nomination on Thursday followed by the “nuclear option”, then the promised vote on Friday to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
We will begin with the Senate Democrats vowing to filibuster Judge Gorsuch after nomination hearings in which he said as little as possible while insisting he is fair an open-minded. We will discuss Gorsuch’s most shocking ruling which Senator Franken tried to question him on and that is the case of the frozen truck driver, an appropriate subject of a day when Donald Trump had a photo-op with a bunch of truckers. Robert Fetter, a labor lawyer whose client was Alphonse Maddin, joins us to discuss how Gorsuch put corporate interests over the survival of a man freezing to death. We will look into how six of seven judges sided with Mr. Maddin against TransAm Trucking who fired him for unhitching his trailer with frozen brakes to seek warmth and fuel for his truck in minus 27-degree Arctic weather. As opposed to waiting for a repairman who was three hours late and freezing to death. But one judge sided with the company who fired Maddin, which brought Neil Gorsuch to the attention of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation and made him popular with the Chamber of Commerce, with all three promoting his Supreme Court candidacy for siding with business over regulation.
Then we will look into the extraordinary lengths that Devin Nunes, the Republican Chair of the House Intelligence Committee went to in trying to give Donald Trump cover for his lie that Obama phone-tapped him and extricate Trump from an impasse since Trump refuses to apologize to Obama for calling him “a bad (or sick) guy!” James Bamford, an investigative journalist specializing in national security issues and author of “The Shadow Factory: Inside the Ultra-Secret NSA, from 9/11 to Spying on America”, joins us to discuss the need for an independent investigation and his article at Foreign Policy “The Multi-Billion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard of”.
Then with today’s delay of the vote on the Trump-Ryan repeal of Obamacare, Trump’s first piece of legislation now hanging by a thread, we will examine what he has achieved so far. James Goodwin, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform joins us to discuss Trump’s successes so far via the Congressional Review Act which includes allowing mentally ill people to buy guns, big oil to pay bribes, the dumping of mineral waste into headwaters and the killing of bears and wolves in Alaska’s wildlife refuges.
We begin with today’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Justice Scalia. Eric Segall, a Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law and author of “Supreme Court Myths: Why the Supreme Court is not a Court and its Justices are not Judges” joins us to discuss what he calls a charade in which Trump’s candidate for the Supreme Court is not required to answer any question that pertains to the broader political and social reality in which we all live, but rather is allowed to restrict himself to matters of legal precedent and procedure, wrapped in the majesty of the law inside a cocoon that insulates him from any real-world impact that the Court’s decisions might have on the lives of everyday people.
Then Paul Collins, Director and Professor of Legal Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst joins us with Lori Ringhand, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. They are the co-authors of “Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change” and we discuss the important questions that were not answered about “dark money” from unknown benefactors being spent on Gorsuch’s behalf and the fact that he will be sitting in a “stolen seat”.
Then finally we look into whether threats from Donald Trump and warnings from Paul Ryan will sway the 26 House Republicans who so far are refusing to get on board the repeal and replace Obamacare bill that is supposed to be voted on this Thursday. An expert on health insurance markets and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Dania Palanker, a Research Professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reform at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute joins us to discuss whether the bill will squeak through the House to face an even more uphill climb in the Senate.
We begin with the testimony today before the House Intelligence Committee by FBI Director James Comey and the Head of the NSA Admiral Rogers into on-going investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. James Henry, the author of “Blood Bankers”, who is an expert on offshore and pirate banking and kleptocracy, joins us to examine questions that focused on the money trail between the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization and Russian oligarchs that seemed to indicate that is where the investigation is perhaps heading, as well as the definitive rejection by both Rogers and Comey of the explosive charge Trump made that Obama had wiretapped him which he has yet to retract or apologize for given Trump’s accompanying smear of Obama who he called “a bad (or sick) guy!”.
Then we look into the apparent death of the long-held notion that partisanship ends at America’s shores, which was on display today as members of the House Intelligence Committee appeared to be operating in two different universes, with Democrats probing reports of possible collusion between Trump and the Russians while Republican Congressmen went to extraordinary lengths to shift the focus onto leakers and press reports. Loch Johnson, Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia who served on the staffs of both House and Senate Oversight Committees, joins us to discuss the raw partisan nature of the probe that nevertheless established that there is an on-going investigation into collusion between Trump and the Russians and that there was no factual basis to Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped him.
Then finally we discuss the other major hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee into the confirmation of Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch. Garrett Epps a Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law and author of “American Justice 2014: Nine Clashing Visions of the Supreme Court”, joins us to discuss his article at The Atlantic “Gorsuch’s Selective View of Religion”.
We begin with Donald Trump’s disregard for the truth and whether he is delusional in his beliefs or simply a salesman who may or may not believe in his sales pitch. Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Though at Amherst College joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “Donald Trump’s disregard for words – and truth – is finally catching up with him” and look into how much there are two separate universes at play in America with liberals who watch MSNBC expecting Trump to be impeached at any moment while conservatives inside the Fox News bubble see Trump as being wildly successful as his support amongst Republicans remains sky high.
Then we try to assess what is behind the Trump Administration’s apparent strategy to trash allies and undermine long-standing alliances while praising adversaries, in particular Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Having insulted and hung up the phone on Australia’s leader, Trump behaved boorishly and went out of his way to insult Germany’s Angela Merkel then blamed the U.K. for tapping his phone after the White House had promised the British PM that he would not repeat his ridiculous charges. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harpers in legal affairs and national security, joins us to examine whether Monday’s testimony by FBI director Comey will expose Trump as a liar who smeared his predecessor with reckless disregard, calling Obama “a bad (or sick) guy!”
Then finally we speak with Ian Millhiser, the author of “Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted”. He joins us to discuss the upcoming confirmation hearings of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Gorsuch, and whether grassroots pressure with force Democratic senators to play hardball like Mitch McConnell did with Obama’s nominee Judge Garland.
We begin with the call by a former deputy chief of staff to Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, for the Democrats to hold the new minority president accountable and to play hardball. We begin with Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public policy at Princeton University who is the author of “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society”, and discuss his article at CNN “What Democrats Should Learn From Republicans”. We assess President Trump’s advice that Senate Republicans should use the nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster if Democrats filibuster his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. And, with a radical Republican agenda underway threatening transformative changes, will the Democrats borrow from the Republican obstructionist tactics of shutdowns, fiscal cliffs, financial chaos and procedural warfare to stop an unpopular and divisive president and his unqualified cabinet by playing hardball?
Then we speak with a 21 year veteran of the US Senate Jim Manley, who served as senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for six years and before that 12 years as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He joins us to discuss his former colleague’s call for the Democrats to play hardball and offers his insight into whether, because of the cloud of illegitimacy that hangs over the president as investigations into how much Vladimir Putin helped elect Trump continues, the tactic of withholding consent is a viable strategy until a credible investigation either indicts or clears Trump.
Then finally we investigate the takeover of national security policy and process by the Trump Administration’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who appears to have accrued so much power so quickly that he is being seen as the de facto President of the United States. Kate Brannen, the deputy managing editor of Just Security and a nonresident fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council, joins us to discuss her article at Foreign Policy “Steve Bannon is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source”.
We will begin with the announcement expected at any minute by President Trump of his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left since the death of Antonin Scalia that President Obama attempted to fill but the Republicans played hardball and would not allow Obama’s choice of a moderate Merrick Garland even a hearing let alone a vote.
We will begin with an initial response to Trump’s choice from Lisa Graves who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Deputy Chief for the U.S. Courts.
Then we will speak with Paul Ryan, the Vice President of Litigation and Policy at Common Cause about the highly-charged atmosphere in Washington as Democrats consider delaying a vote on Senator Jeff Sessions to head up the Justice Department, which has just had its acting Attorney General fired by the White House, after today boycotting key votes on two of Trump’s cabinet nominees, Stene Mnuchin at Treasury and Congressman Tom Price as the new head of H.H.S. We will discuss the possibility of this just-announced nominee to the Supreme Court being filibustered in the Senate by Democrats, many of whom feel they should not vote to confirm any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court since the appointment to fill Scalia’s seat has already been “stolen” by the Republicans.
Then we will discuss Trump’s just-announced Supreme Court nominee’s qualifications, record and likelihood of confirmation with Caroline Fredrickson, the President of the American Constitution Society which is a progressive counterweight to the Federalist Society, a Koch brothers-funded group of conservative judicial activists who have been influential and successful in getting right wing judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas appointed to the federal bench.
Then finally we will discuss the chances of the confirmation of this nominee just put forward by President Trump being confirmed and whether and for how long the Supreme Court could function with an evenly divided court of eight justices. Daniel Goldberg, the Legal Director at the Alliance For Justice who served as Chief of Staff of the Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs, joins us to discuss whether the Democrat’s decision to stand up to the Trump train was sparked by the firing of the acting Attorney General or is the growing resistance to the Trump/Bannon presidency being fueled by a fury at the grassroots.