Are We Still a Democracy or Have We Become a Plutocracy?
Have the Koch Brothers Bought the US Government?
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.
We begin with Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court in a case that appears innocuous but the 7 to 2 decision could result in a tectonic shift in American life. Elaine Pagels, a Professor of Religion at Princeton University and the author of “Revelations: Vision, Prophesy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation”, joins us to discuss how churches are now eligible for public funds. We will assess the warning issued in an impassioned dissent from the bench by Justice Sotomayor that the decision “discounts centuries of history and jeopardizes the government’s ability to remain secular” and how right wing “Christian” fundamentalists cheering the ruling like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Pence could use the decision to drive their agenda of promoting religious schools and voucher programs to the extent that, quoting Justice Sotomayor, “leads us to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment”.
Then we go to Caracas, Venezuela for an update on the helicopter attack on the Supreme Court by a dissident police officer who is a highly-trained agent with the Special Actions Brigade as well as a movie actor and something of an almost-comical action figure proclaiming “peace is coming”. Michael Penfold, a professor of Political Economy and Governance at IESA, a Business and Public Policy School in Caracas and co-author of “Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chavez”, joins us to discuss the deadlock between a population opposed to an incompetent government and a government with the power of the military and vigilante “collectivos” behind it.
Then finally we will speak with Victoria Bruce, the author of a new book just out “Sellout: How Washington Gave Away America’s Technological Soul and One Man’s Fight to Bring it Home”. We will discuss her alarming and true story of one citizen’s fight to preserve a U.S. stake in the future of clean energy and the rare earth elements essential to high tech industries and national defense. We will examine why China has a monopoly over rare earth minerals and why the U.S. let it happen.
We begin with an update on the Trump/Russia story that continues to haunt a president who vents into the wee hours of the morning calling his friends who wake up to a diatribe of complaints from the beleaguered leader of the free world. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harpers in legal affairs and national security, joins us to discuss the latest twists and turns in a story that won’t go away although now that The Washington Post has released an exhaustive investigate article “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault”, Trump is now blaming the whole Russian election meddling saga on Obama. We look into the irony that now at least Trump is acknowledging what he has long denied, that the Russian meddling took place, and the reasons why the White House is lawyering up with both Trump and Pence hiring defense lawyers, and whether General Flynn is cooperating with the FBI and spilling the beans on who colluded with the Russians and in terms of a cover-up, what did they know and when did they know.
Then we look further into the intelligence angle on perhaps the most extraordinary revelation in The Washington Post article, that Putin personally ordered the U.S. election active measures operation and oversaw it, evidence apparently obtained by U.S. intelligence from inside Putin’s inner circle. Malcolm Nance, a globally recognized counterintelligence expert and Intelligence Community member joins us. He is the author of “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and Wikileaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election” and we discuss where the various investigations are heading.
Then finally we assess the frenzied rumors and rampant speculation that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is about to retire and speak first with Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law who frequently argues before the Supreme Court. Then Eric Segall, a Professor of Law at Georgia State College of Law joins us to analyze the impact on the country of a shift to the hard right with Trump appointing another arch conservative to the Supreme Court, given that Trump’s new lawyer Jay Sekulow in the former lawyer for the anti-abortion evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
We begin with the proposition that we may only have one year left to save American democracy from an autocratic president who is increasingly isolated from reality as he and his tightening inner-circle of right wing zealots move to undo institutions and confront the truth in a fascistic approach to governance that indicates a fascist worldview. Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale who has researched and written extensively on Hitler and Stalin, joins us to discuss his latest book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” and how as the incompetence and crudeness of the Trump Administration drives down the popularity of the Republicans heading into the 2018 elections, Trump will try to stage a coup to overthrow American democracy. We will assess the extent to which American institutions already under attack from the Trump Administration like the judiciary, the military, the intelligence community, the press and now much of corporate America as well as an expanding majority of the American people, will fight back against Donald Trump’s incipient authoritarian regime.
Then we speak with Thomas Wright a fellow and director of the Project on International Order and Strategy, as well as a fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He joins us to discuss his latest book “All Measures Short of War: The Contest For the 21st Century and the Future of American Power” and explore the reasons why Trump is undermining America’s long-standing alliances while ceding global leadership to China on trade, the environment and now human rights.
Then finally, with the Supreme Court taking up a cell phone tracking case that will test the boundaries between technology and privacy, we examine the issues surrounding CSLI, Cell Site Location Information with Marc Rotenberg, the President and Executive Director of EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He joins us to discuss how the current Third Party Doctrine which the government relies on to justify warrantless tracking and surveillance needs to updated in the digital age as smartphones now can provide precise location information on citizens similar to GPS tracking devices which in 2012 the Supreme Court ruled against allowing the police to place on vehicles on 4thAmendment grounds.
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 begin with the looming nuclear showdown between the U.S. and North Korea as Pyongyang gets ready for Saturday’s “Day of the Sun” celebration of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. With a U.S. carrier task force heading for Korean waters and Donald Trump tweeting that Kim is “looking for trouble” and that Trump would “solve the problem”, we will speak with a former CIA officer Donald Gregg who was Vice President George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor and United States Ambassador to South Korea. He joins us to discuss the “full range of options to remove the threat to the American people and to our allies and partners in the region” that General McMaster has said President Trump asked for and whether there will be another North Korean nuclear test or missile launch accompanying Saturday’s celebration.
Then we will examine the conservative pipeline to the Supreme Court, the title of a New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin that profiles Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society who has succeeding in getting John Roberts, Samuel Alito and now Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Caroline Fredrickson, the President of the American Constitution Society, the progressive alternative to the Federalist Society, joins us to explain how Leo, a zealous foe of abortion, has built the farm team of judicial nominees and reared a generation of originalists to turn the American judiciary as far to the right as possible.
Then finally we will get an update on Saturday’s marches across the country and around the world on Tax Day, April 15, and speak with the organizer of the Los Angeles Tax March, Delia Brown, an artist and activist who is demanding Donald Trump release his tax returns. She joins us to describe both the serious side of the demonstration with Congressmen and celebrity speakers, and the fun side with a giant inflated chicken with a Trump hairstyle and golden beak and claws that appropriately is made in China, which will be joining the march.
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 looming showdown in the U.S. Senate now that it is clear the Democrats will filibuster the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and in return Mitch McConnell, whose finger is itchy on the trigger, will go nuclear and blow up the Senate rules eliminating the filibuster. A 21 year veteran of the Senate, Jim Manley, who served as a senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for six years and before that served for 12 years as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, joins us to discuss the recognition that it no longer makes sense to pretend that normal business can be conducted with the Trump presidency. He argues against going along with the Republican charade pretending their Supreme Court nominees are not judicial activists like John Roberts who promised to uphold precedent then made radical changes to increase corporate power and perpetuate Republican rule while restricting worker’s rights and weakening political competition.
Then we will speak with Aziz Huq, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago and a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He joins us to discuss the difficult and dismal choices facing Senate Democrats and the increasingly phony nature of Supreme Court confirmation hearings in which candidates now say as little as possible in as many words as they can muster.
Then finally with Donald Trump’s lavish praise in a White House greeting for the Egyptian military dictator General Sisi who overthrew the country’s first freely elected president in a coup, we will examine Trump’s disregard for human rights and the throttling of a free press and the filling of prisons with political opponents. Mokhtar Awad, a Research Fellow in the Program on Extremism at George Washington University who specializes in Islamist and Salafist groups and insurgencies in Egypt, joins us to discuss his article at Politico “What Trump Should Ask Sisi” and whether this new era of transactional politics with bring about the peace that both leaders promised today.
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 will begin with the saber rattling coming Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn putting Iran “on notice” which was followed by a tweet from Trump himself making the same vague threat. Abbas Milani, the Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and co-author of “Politics and Culture in Iran: Challenging the Status Quo”, joins us to discuss the symbiosis between the hawks on both sides and how much Trump’s threats play into the hands of the IRGC, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, who got rich off the sanctions and are not happy with the nuclear deal that Trump also opposes. We assess the consequences of a naval clash in the Persian Gulf that would likely close the Straits of Hormuz and cause a catastrophic rise in global oil prices which would greatly benefit Trump’s friend Putin.
Then, following today’s National Prayer Breakfast at which Donald Trump asked the attendees to pray for better ratings for “Celebrity Apprentice”, we will examine the aggressive agenda of the Religious Right that Vice President Pence is enacting and the forthcoming White House Executive Order on so-called “Religious Freedom”. Matthew Sutton, Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University and author of “American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism” joins us to discuss how the new nominee to the Supreme Court is a part of a tectonic shift underway in American life where the often fanatical beliefs of a religious minority will soon be imposed on the majority of citizens in the name of religious freedom.
Then finally we look into the reality TV treatment Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull got from Donald Trump in last Saturday’s call from the Oval Office in which the leader of one of America’s closest allies was informed by Trump that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day – including Russia’s Putin – and “this was the worst call so far”, all-but telling Turnbull “you’re fired” before hanging up on him. Toby Miller, a Visiting Professor at Tulane University and a regular contributor to Australia’s national newspaper, “The Australian”, joins us to discuss the embarrassing antics of the most undignified and unhinged head of state in American history.
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.
We will begin with the extent to which the press can be blamed for helping elect Donald Trump and speak with Jeff Jarvis, a Professor and Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University New York who is a national leader in the development of online news and writes an influential blog Buzzmachine.com. He joins us to discuss how the media failed to communicate to the public who Donald Trump is, in spite of the overwhelming evidence he provided to make clear how unsuitable he is for the highest office in the land, and how much the false equivalency of so-called “balance” provided endless coverage of Hillary Clinton’s email server, while Trump was able to get away with not releasing his tax returns and thereby not reveal who he in indebted to and who has influence over him.
Then we will look into whether or not Donald Trump is a “useful idiot” for the GOP who rode into power with the trifecta of control in Washington on Trump’s divisive racist appeals that Republicans can now distance themselves from as they call for unity while this clueless amateur moves into the White House surrounded by lobbyists who will guide him to enact the agenda of the Koch Brothers instead of delivering on his promise to drain the swamp. David Halperin, a Senior Fellow at Republic Report and a former senior policy advisor for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, White House speechwriter, special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, joins us to discuss Hillary Clinton holding FBI Director responsible for her loss (although two million more American voted for her than Trump) and whether Trump could be impeached for treason once the full extent of his ties to Putin and the Russians are established.
Then finally Elizabeth Wydra joins us to discuss how the Republicans stole Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court and what kind of justices Trump will fill the Supreme Court with. The President of the Constitutional Accountability Center, she frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation and we will assess how much the court will move in a pro-corporate direction while Vice President Pence toils behind the scene with evangelical zeal to rollback of rights of women, gays and minorities.
Following recent declarations by Senators McCain and Cruz that Republicans should hunker down for the next four years and refuse to allow anyone Hillary Clinton nominates to sit on the Supreme Court, we will begin with the rumors of war on the Supreme Court coming from Senate Republicans who apparently are prepared to let the judiciary wither and die as threats of a total blockade on any and all of Hillary Clinton’s nominees to the Supreme Court gather momentum. Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science, joins us to discuss how the no-hearings–no-vote stance of the Republican Senate in holding up Judge Garland’s nomination for over a year that is unprecedented in American history, is now taking on an even more partisan and obstructionist tone. We will assess whether threatening a constitutional crisis to rile up Republicans will also motivate Democrats to vote in sufficient numbers to take away the senate from Republican control.
Then we will examine the latest report from the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index that shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% from 1970 levels and unless urgent action is taken to reduce human impact, we are on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals on the planet by 2020. Stuart Pimm, a Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University who is a world leader in the study of present day extinctions and what can be done to prevent them, joins us. With just 15% left of the natural world that is protected, we will discuss how to stop the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging and reverse the impact of unsustainable fishing.
Then finally we will speak with Helmut Norpoth, a Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University whose research includes Electoral Behavior, Public Opinion and Electoral Forecasting. He has developed a model that has accurately predicted the winner of the popular vote in presidential elections that applied retroactively, goes back to 1912. We will discuss his prediction of a Trump win back in February and why he is sticking by that prediction today, in spite of all the polls that favor a Hillary Clinton win.
We will begin with the short-handed Supreme Court returning to work this week and President Obama’s article in The Huffington Post “Republican Obstruction is Undermining the Supreme Court” in which Obama accuses the Republican Congress of trading partisanship for progress on a range of issues that would rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, combat the opioid epidemic and deal with poverty. Eric Segall, Professor of Law at Georgia State University School of Law and author of “Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court is not a Court and its Justices are not Judges,” joins us to discuss how Senate Majority Leader McConnell is defying the constitution in as much as it does not say a president is only able to govern for the first three years of a four year term. But while it has been 202 days since Obama nominated a replacement for the late Justice Scalia, Eric Segall argues that an eight member court’s rulings on most issues would be preferable to a nine member court that brought us Citizens United and gutted the Voting Rights Act.
Then we will speak with the former Secretary of Defense, William Perry who is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University where he serves as director of the Preventative Defense Project. The author of “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink”, he joins us to discuss his article in The New York Times “Why it is Safe to Scrap America’s ICBM’s” and the launch of the William J. Perry Project, the first free online course on nuclear weapons, “Living at the Nuclear Brink”. We will also look into the dangers of accidental nuclear war and the wrong direction that Obama’s $ trillion nuclear modernization program is taking us, in particular the destabilizing new nuclear-tipped cruise missile.
Then finally, just before the Vice-Presidential candidates first and only debate is about to begin, Marjorie Hershey, who teaches Political Science at Indiana University, joins us to discuss how, while Senator Tim Kaine might try to tie Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence to Donald Trump, this may actually help the Republican ticket. She argues that because Pence can appear to be more reasonable, he will assuage voters who might be unsettled by Trump’s antics by showing that a Vice President Pence who will be actually running the country while Trump makes speeches and promotes his brand, will be a steady hand on the reins of power.
July 29, 2016
Amid gridlock over a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, we examine recent decisions from an evenly divided court […] Read more »
Republican Obstruction Means the Supreme Court is No Longer Supreme
We begin with President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland’s strange trip to Capitol Hill today and speak with Elizabeth Wydra, the President of the Constitutional Accountability Center who frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation and has argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals. She joins us to discuss whether simple courtesy was on display today and if Republican senators were able to bring themselves to shake the nominees hand in spite of the dictate from the Senate’s Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who on day one vowed to destroy Obama’s presidency and vowed to block a replacement for Justice Scalia within an hour of the announcement of Scalia’s death.
The Populist Explosion
Then we speak with John Judis, a senior writer at The National Journal who has a recent article at The Washington Post “After 2016 Will Political Parties Ever Look the Same”? He joins us to discuss his forthcoming book “The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession has Transformed American and European Politics”. We examine the rise of populism on the right and left in both Europe and the U.S. and assess whether Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders will be the main beneficiaries of populist anger at those who have rigged the economy and downsized the American Dream.
The Motivated Versus the Alienated
Then finally we explore the electoral landscape ahead in terms of who is motivated and who is alienated, and speak with Katherine Newman, the Provost at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of twelve books on poverty, the working poor and the consequences of inequality and joins us to discuss how much the enthusiasm deficit on the Democratic side will depress the vote while Trump is activating Independents and so-called Reagan Democrats on the Republican side.