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

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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?

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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"

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We begin with political uncertainty in the U.K. following an inconclusive election that was another catastrophic miscalculation by a Conservative leader following David Cameron’s fateful miscalculation to call for the Brexit referendum. Craig Calhoun, the Global Distinguished Professor at New York University and Centennial Professor and former head of the London School of Economics who is now the President of the Berggruen Institute joins us. We will discuss whether Prime Minister Theresa May, who former Tory Chancellor George Osborne called a “dead woman walking”, can put together a government with the D.U.P., the tiny ultra-conservative North Ireland Unionist party and whether in doing so she will undermine the “Good Friday Agreement” that has brought peace between the north and south of Ireland which could be threatened by putting up a wall along a border that has been largely erased by cross-border commerce.

Then we will examine whether there is a real possibility of an impeachment against President Trump happening soon as the special counsel Robert Mueller begins an investigation that is impacted daily by new revelations in the press, not to mention recent testimony by fired FBI Director Comey and contradictory claims by Trump that Comey both vindicated him in his testimony and lied. Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor of law at Duke University who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner and was a federal prosecutor in the Chicago United States Attorney’s Office, joins us to offer a practical assessment of the complexity and duration of Mueller’s investigation that may be completed around the time of the 2018 elections.

Then finally we will look into the explosion of hate and ignorance erupting around the country as “March Against Sharia” demonstrations took place in St. Paul, Seattle, Washington, New York City and San Bernardino, California, attracting counter-demonstrations that led to violence and a massive deployment of police to separate the sides. Brian Levin, a criminologist, professor of criminal justice and Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, joins us to discuss why a non-existent threat such as Sharia Law is inspiring right wing hate groups to emerge from the fringes.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

The Uncertain Political Situation in the UK

An Analysis of the Impeachment Process

What is Behind the Hate Marches Across America?

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We begin with today’s much-anticipated testimony from the fired FBI Director James Comey about his meetings with Donald Trump that even after petty partisan attempts on the part of Republican senators to defend the indefensible, Comey’s damning testimony now leaves the American people with a momentous choice, do they believe the truth-teller Comey or the serial liar Trump? We will speak with Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice about her op-ed at The New York Times, “James Comey’s Testimony: Comey was Playing Chess” and look into how Comey took careful notes from the outset because he saw Trump as different from Bush and Obama, as a president who could not be trusted and might lie about what was said. We will discuss how Comey appears to have set the special counsel process in motion by leaking a memo to the New York Times which Trump’s private attorney has seized on claiming Comey should be investigated for illegal leaks.

Then an expert on political polarization, Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution joins us to discuss his new book “The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas”. We will assess the extent to which the alarming significance of the Russian attack on the very foundation of American democracy has been lost in a blizzard of spin and counterspin as tribal politics, plutocratic patronage and partisan propaganda have blurred the difference between lies and truth, selfishness and service, power and principle and demagoguery and decency.

Then finally we will analyze the results of the British election that Prime Minister Theresa May called for to increase her majority, but now in what looks like a grave miscalculation, it appears from exit polls that she may not even eke out a majority and that the U.K will be mired in political paralysis. One of the world’s leading analysts of popular culture, media and their connection to the politics of everyday life, Toby Miller, a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, joins us to discuss how Theresa May’s hand will be weakened in negotiations with the E.U. over Brexit.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Believing the Truth-Teller Over the Serial Liar

Outrage at Russian Meddling Overshadowed by Political Polarization

UK's PM Theresa May's Grave Miscalculation

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We begin with the high drama on Capitol Hill with a contentious hearing today involving top intelligence officials who appeared to be stonewalling saying they could not talk about their conversations with the president without saying why and without denying that the conversations took place, all of which are documented in great detail on the front page of The Washington Post. Congressman Ted Lieu who serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joins us to discuss the anticipation gripping Washington D.C. ahead of tomorrow’s testimony by the recently-fired former head of the FBI, James Comey. We examine the disconnect between an open press and a closed government as the public waits for clarity on one of the most important issues of our time and that is whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians in the last elections which we know the Russians meddled in to help elect Trump.

Then we speak with a leading intelligence historian and expert on the NSA who attended today’s hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Matthew Aid, the author of “Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror” and “The Secret Sentry”. He joins us to discuss the remarks by the former Director of National Intelligence that the Watergate scandal pales in comparison to the Trump/Russia situation we are confronting now and whether witnesses who clammed up today will be more forthcoming in closed hearings.

Then finally we look into the tomorrow’s testimony by James Comey and discuss his opening statement that was released today by the Senate intelligence Committee with Scott Horton a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harpers in legal affairs and national security. He joins us to assess the explosive nature of Comey’s notes on meetings he had with Trump that some legal scholars already see as evidence of obstruction of justice and discuss the fate of the young woman charged with espionage for what appears to be blowing the whistle on Russian attempts to hack our election.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Top Intel Officials Stonewall

The Trump/Russia Scandal Worse Than Watergate

Comey's Testimony Indicates Obstruction of Justice

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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.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Do We Have One Year Left to Save American Democracy?

Why Is Trump Undermining Alliances and Ceding American Leadership?

The Supreme Court to Test the Boundaries Between Technology and Privacy

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We begin with the increasing attacks by Donald Trump on the Mayor of London who is dealing with the aftermath of a terrible terrorist attack which would normally elicit support and solidarity from allies not petty insults and unseemly opportunism. A CIA veteran Robert Baer, who is now the national security affairs analyst for CNN, joins us to discuss the possibility that the leader of the free world in not just out of his depth, but is out of his mind. We examine our tenuous reliance on the few adults in the room that we rely on to contain Trump’s erratic behavior as we learn that Generals Mattis and McMaster were overridden by Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller who edited Trump’s NATO speech at the last minute to remove America’s support for Article 5 of the NATO treaty. We will also assess the pressure on the British PM Theresa May to release a secret report she oversaw as Home Secretary on Saudi funding and influence in jihadist groups inside the U.K. who just carried out a third attack with one of Saturday’s terrorists featured in a documentary shown last year on Britain’s Channel Four “The Jihadis Next Door” who was filmed holding up the ISIS flag in Regents Park complaining about the treatment of Muslims in the U.K. And now that six Arab states have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and are essentially blockading the country to bring about regime change, we will look into whether this confrontation is a step towards a war with Iran.

Then we will examine further the motives behind the growing crisis in the Gulf as a Saudi-led blockage of neighboring Qatar is underway cutting off transportation links and food supplies as well as isolating important American military bases in the Middle East. David Hearst, the Editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye where his latest article is “Three potential motives behind the spat between Qatar and Gulf neighbors”, joins us to discuss the subtexts beyond the Saudi charge that Qatar is too friendly towards Iran. We will look into whether this is a part of a U.S.-Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli strategy to defund and isolate Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and contain Iran and how much it is payback for the “Arab Spring” from reactionary monarchs and military dictatorships who were rattled by popular revolts and want to continue to hold onto power at any cost.

 

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Is Trump Not Just Out of His Depth But Also Out of His Mind?

The Motives Behind the Blockade of Qatar

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We begin with a second horrific terrorist attack in the U.K. that has left 7 innocents dead and 48 wounded and 3 terrorists shot dead by police with 12 more suspects arrested. Nafeez Ahmed, the editor-in-chief of Insurgeintelligence at medium.com and a weekly columnist for Middle East Eye, joins us from London to discuss his latest article at Insurgeintelligence “The Manchester Bombings as Blowback” and the role of the British Intelligence services in covertly supporting jihadist groups in Syria and Libya. We will look into the handling of the 300 ISIS and Al Nusra jihadists who have returned to the U.K. after fighting in Syria and Iraq and how this latest terrorist attack is likely to impact Thursday’s election as the current Prime Minister Theresa May’s lead in the polls continues to shrink while she vows to clampdown after announcing that there has been “too much tolerance” of Islamic extremism in the U.K. Since before coming Prime Minister she was Home Secretary, Theresa May is particularly vulnerable to the same criticism that she herself is levelling.

Then we will speak with Anders Aslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He served as a Swedish diplomat in Moscow and was an economic advisor to the government of Russia and joins us to discuss Jared Kushner’s December meeting with the head of Russia’s VEB bank that is both a private slush fund for Vladimir Putin and an asset of the Russian Intelligence services. We will examine the Trump family and the Trump campaign’s murky ties to Russian money and who will emerge the winner from Trump’s war with the U.S. intelligence community.

Then finally we will look into another stabbing that was not labelled as terrorism that took place recently in Portland and speak with Daryl Johnson, the former head analyst for domestic terrorism at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He joins us to discuss the political resistance he experienced from Republican lawmakers who thwarted efforts to identify and combat the growth of white nationalist militias and terrorist groups inside the United States which he wrote about in his book “Rightwing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored”.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Another Terrorist Attack and Blowback in the UK

Jared Kushner's Meeting With the KGB's Banker

Republican Resistance to Dealing with Domestic Terrorism

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We begin with today’s expected announcement by Donald Trump that he is taking the United States out of the 195-nation Paris Accords on combating climate change claiming he is fulfilling “my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens”. Without bothering to analyze the absurd and specious justifications Trump offered, we will speak with Bruce Bartlett, a former senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration. He joins us to discuss his concern that “the evidence is becoming overwhelming that Trump lacks the temperament, basic knowledge or intelligence to be a minimally competent president” and the deeper problem of a leader unable to absorb essential information who listens to the white nationalist world view of a bitter, failed Hollywood producer driven by hatred of liberals, rather than the only adults in his inner circle Gary Cohn and General McMaster, whose tenuous tenure lasts only as long as they are prepared to cover-up Trump’s alarming incompetence. We will assess the even greater danger to the nation if one of the adults quits in disgust, only to be replaced by another Bannon, as well as Bruce Bartlett’s forthcoming book “The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks” and his article at The Guardian, “Donald Trump’s incompetence is a problem. His staff should intervene”.

Then we examine an alarming new report on the real terrorist threat facing the nation that the White House and the Washington political establishment is ignoring or covering up, and that is the fact that 400 Saudi and Kuwaiti students living in the United States mostly on government scholarships have joined terrorist groups, mainly ISIS, with some of them returning back to the United States. Ali Al-Ahmed, the co-author of the new report “From American College Campuses to ISIS Camps, How Hundreds of Saudis Joined ISIS in the U.S.”, joins us to discuss how the Saudi government has blocked this information from the U.S. government and the failure of American intelligence and the lack of coordination among federal agencies.

Then finally we look into the impact that Trump’s immigration policies are having on migrant workers and their families, with American-born kids living in fear that their parents could be deported at any moment. Gabriel Thompson, a journalist who has worked with immigrant laborers in the lettuce fields of Arizona and the poultry plants of Alabama, joins us to discuss his latest book “Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture”.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Trump joins Bannon's Dark Side to Trash the Planet

Hundreds of Saudi Students in the US Have Joined ISIS

Living in Fear in Trump's America

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We will begin with the apparent intention of the Trump Administration to pull out of the 195-nation Paris Accords to deal with global climate change, leaving the U.S. in the company of the only other holdouts in the world, Syria and Nicaragua. Jody Freeman the Archibald Cox Professor at Harvard Law School and the founding director of the Law School’s Environmental Law and Policy Program who served as Counselor for Energy in the Obama White House, joins us. We will discuss this nail in the coffin for America’s global leadership since World War 11 now coming to an end as China and the European Union vow to step up and accelerate their effort to reduce CO2 emissions causing climate change. And while the once-respected United States is fast becoming an unpredictable, unreliable and even dangerous player on the world stage, we will assess how the rest of the world will move ahead without the U.S. and whether Trump’s actions will in any way slow innovation and technological change underway to move us to clean and renewable energy.

Then we will look into another planned reversal by Trump as this unpopular president intends to kill the popular birth control coverage inviting insurance companies to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that requires employers to cover cost-free contraception in their health insurance plans. Gretchen Borchelt, the Vice President for Reproductive Rights and Health at the National Women’s Law Center joins us to discuss how the religious and moral objections of a minority will now trump the rights of a majority in terms of access to reproductive health care.

Then finally we will analyze the impact of the huge explosion in front of the German and Turkish embassies in Kabul that killed 90 and wounded hundreds in a terrorist act that the Taliban insist they had no part in. Thomas Barfield, the President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies whose office in Kabul suffered damage, joins us to discuss the exodus of diplomatic personnel underway that is a no-confidence vote in Afghanistan’s weak government and the likelihood that Pakistan is behind yet another act of destabilization.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

The Untimely Death of American Leadership

Trump to Allow Insurance Companies to Drop Contraception Mandate

Diplomats Desert Afghanistan Following Bombing Likely Directed By Pakistan

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We begin with the unexplained and unsettling radical change in U.S. foreign policy the Trump administration has brought about where close allies are punished and insulted while adversaries like Russia are praised and dictators, depots, murderers and kleptocrats in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Turkey are rewarded. Thomas Berger, Professor of International Relations at Boston University who specializes in German politics and political culture joins us to discuss the puzzling nature of Trump’s about-face in U.S. relations, with close allies like Germany, Australia and South Korea gratuitously insulted while thugs and dictators are praised. We will examine the embarrassing optics of a preening president pushing aside the leader of a small European country and the disgust across Europe at Trump’s boorish behavior during the NATO summit and the G-7 meeting, as well as the extent to which the September elections in Germany will be all about running against Trump.

Then we will speak with Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hasting College of Law who joins us to discuss her new book “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America”. We will look into why populist movements around the world are gaining traction among the white working class and how much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided and rooted in class cluelessness.

Then finally Diane Standaert, the executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending joins us to examine the stealth move on the part of House Republicans who slipped in a free pass to payday lenders and car-title loan sharks in the Financial Choice Act pushed by the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling. He happens to be the largest individual recipient of money from the payday lenders and title loan bottom feeders that charge up to 400% interest on predatory loans and hold onto car titles, charging exorbitant interest rates which, if you fall behind in payments, means you lose your transportation to work.

 

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Why Does Trump Trash Allies While Praising Adversaries?

"White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness"

Republicans Reward Predatory Payday Lenders and Title Loan Sharks

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We begin on this Memorial Day weekend with reports that Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is slow-walking requests from the Senate Intelligence Committee for financial records and data of transactions between Trump associates and the Russians that FinCEN, the U.S. Treasury Division has collected. James Henry, an investigative economist and lawyer who has written widely on offshore and onshore tax havens, kleptocracy and pirate banking who is a co-founder of DCReport.org and author of “Blood Bankers”, joins us to discuss how important the assets and capabilities of the Treasury Department are in investigating the layers of shell companies and offshore accounts that criminals, oligarchs and money launderers use to disguise the sources of ill-gotten-gains and the beneficiaries of secret transactions.

Then we examine the role that Facebook could play in uncovering who is behind the fake news that was injected into the U.S. election and more recently the British, Dutch, French and now the German elections. Jonathan Taplin, the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and author of the new book “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”, joins us to discuss how these powerful new monopolies have amassed and monetized personal data while protected by “safe harbor” laws from responsibility for complicity in the dissemination of fake news, jihadist messaging and criminal activity.

Then finally we look into America’s diminishing role on the world stage with the leadership deficit from a president who may have made smart real estate deals but has so little knowledge of foreign affairs and how government works that instead of being the focus of flattery and adoring attention that he craves, he finds himself more and more as the dumbest guy in the room. 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”, joins us to discuss a president out of his depth and the reckless endangerment of the United States.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Is the Treasury Secretary Sabotaging the Russia Inquiry?

Taking on the New Monopolies: Facebook, Google and Amazon

Trump Now Finds Himself As the Dumbest Guy in the Room

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We begin with Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. We will discuss America’s shrinking middle class as more plutocratic-friendly policies and priorities are enacted by the Republican Congress while a distracted Trump, who was elected as a populist, is increasingly mired in investigations over Russian influence and possible collusion in our election. With an increase in defense spending being offset by slashing safety net programs for working- and middle-class Americans, we assess how much as a nation we are prioritizing projecting power abroad over protecting the health and welfare of our people at home, as we improve the quality of death at the expense of our quality of life.

Then we continue the conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Ricks, an advisor on national security at the New America Foundation where he participates in the “Future of War” project. A contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine where he has the prizewinning blog The Best Defense, he joins us to discuss his latest book “Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom”. With the current trend of ideology trumping facts as we appear to be going back to the 1930’s, we explore how the conservative Churchill fought totalitarianism from the right while the socialist George Orwell fought totalitarianism from the left and given the unusually high number of senior military officers at the top level in the Trump Administration, how the generals around Trump should be protecting the country, not the president.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Improving the Quality of Death at the Expense of America's Quality of Life

Trump's Generals Should Protect the County, Not the President

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We begin with the thuggery displayed by the Republican candidate for Congress in Montana and look into how much the millionaire Greg Gianforte models himself on the billionaire Donald Trump.  And in body-slamming The Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs who Gianforte’s office claims is a “liberal reporter”, how much has Trump’s rhetoric in casting the press as “the enemy of the people”, trickled down to not just GOP candidates, but to the party’s grassroots. Trevor Timm, a columnist for The Guardian and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation joins us to discuss how dangerous it has become for journalists to ask questions in Trump’s America and how Trump’s inflammatory attacks on the press and reporters seems to be emboldening GOP activists and politicians to mete out frontier justice.

Then we speak with Charles Kupchan, who was director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration and spent the last 3 years as a Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security. He joins us to discuss Donald Trump’s scolding of NATO allies over defense spending and the disconnect with the Trump Administration’s priorities as they throw more money at the Pentagon while slashing funds for “soft power” in the face of a sustained and effective Russian propaganda and active measures assault on the U.S. and Western Europe.

Then finally we examine the hunt for a terrorist network underway in the U.K. following the horrendous suicide bombing in Manchester. David Schanzer, Director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University, joins us to discuss how the British handle the some 300 former ISIS jihadis who returned from Syria and Iraq compared to the U.S. and the current focus on who made the bomb that was used as well as the likelihood that the bomber had training in Libya where he was for the past three weeks before returning to the U.K. just days before the attack.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

The Danger to Journalists For Asking Questions In Trump's America

Trump Scolds NATO Allies While Disarming Against Russian Active Measures

The Hunt For the Terrorist Network Underway in the UK

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We begin with the Trump budget that both conservative and liberal economists are scratching their heads in disbelief at the amateurism and mathematical absurdity of what the White House Director of the OMB, former Congressman Mulvaney, presented. Jacob Leibenluft, a senior advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who previously worked at the National Economic Council at the White House, joins us to discuss the double counting of $2 trillion in additional revenues which are in themselves dubious and wishful thinking based on the ideological pipe dream that cutting taxes on the rich and corporations will magically spur economic growth to make up for the loss in tax revenues for the Treasury. We will also analyze the extent to which the entire budget punishes the poor in order to further reward the already rich, and address it in terms of the guns versus butter paradigm as more guns are foisted on the pork-bloated Pentagon while butter is rationed to those who can prove they are looking for work.

Then we will look into yesterday’s testimony by the former CIA Director John Brennan in which he recounted how he had warned his counterpart Alexander Bortnikov the head of Russia’s FSB that “American voters would be outraged by any Russian attempt to interfere in the election”. Mark Lowenthal, the President of the Intelligence and Security Academy who served as Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and Vice Chairman for Evaluation at the National Intelligence Council, joins us to discuss what happened to bipartisanship when it comes to a foreign adversary attacking the very foundation of American democracy itself.

Then finally we will assess President Trump’s visit with Pope Francis in the Vatican at which his daughter and wife were in attendance and where at the end, the Pope expressed concern to Melania Trump about her husband’s eating habits and expansive girth. Tiziana Dearing, a professor of social work at Boston College and the former head of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston joins us to discuss the extent to which the Pope was able to influence Trump to change his views and policies on climate change and immigration.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Trump's Amateurish and Mathematically Absurd Budget

What Happened to Bipartisan Outrage at Russian Interference in Our Election?

The Pope Tries to Influence Trump

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We begin with the suicide bombing in Manchester, England in which a 22 year old British born Salman Abedi deliberately targeted young innocents killing 22 and wounding 59 in a terrorist act that the Islamic State is taking credit for. Hassan Hassan, a Senior Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Peace and co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror”, joins us to discuss the role of Libyans in the Islamic State and the approximately 300 former ISIS fighters who have returned to the U.K. whose role in this horrendous bombing of young concert-goers is not apparent in what is known about the suspect so far, but it is likely that the instructions to build the bomb that was laced with nuts and bolts came from ISIS websites where instructions to make explosives and use trucks as weapons against soft targets are readily available.

Then following today’s testimony by former CIA Director John Brennan and the current head of the NSA Admiral Rogers, we speak with Kate Brannan, the Deputy Managing Editor of Just Security who is a non-resident fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security at the Atlantic Council. She joins us to discuss her latest article at Just Security “Connecting the Dots: Political Microtargeting and the Russian Investigation” and the testimony of top intelligence officials that is keeping the Russia story alive with next week’s testimony by the recently-fired FBI Director likely to intensify interest bigly.

Then finally we examine the looming confrontation with Iran that the Saudis and the Israelis are leading a gullible and ill-informed Donald Trump towards and speak with William Beeman, a Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota who was a consultant to the State and Defense Departments as well as the U.N. and the U.S. Congress. The author of “The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other”, he joins us to discuss how Iran in being demonized because Israel uses it as an excuse for its failure to deal with the Palestinians while the Saudis blame Iran for the problems they have with their own Shia minority who they mistreat.

 

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

ISIS Takes Credit For Deliberately Targeting Young Innocents

Testimony By Top Intel Officials Keep the Russian Story Alive

Israel and Saudi Arabia Lead Trump By the Nose Into a Confrontation With Iran

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We begin with the second leg of Donald Trump’s first presidential trip abroad and discuss his first day in Israel where he has promised to take on the ultimate challenge, an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal. Joining us to assess Trump’s meetings with Israeli officials and his meeting tomorrow with the so-called Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is Kate Gould, the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby fielding the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington D.C. We discuss whether Israel, as a member of the anti-Iran alliance with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, can be pressured into making a peace deal with the Palestinians as a part of a broader strategic realignment in the Middle East with the U.S. and Israel joining an alliance of Sunni states against Shia Iran.

Then we speak with Christine Fair, a former United Nation’s political officer in Afghanistan and a Professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program who specializes in South Asia security issues. She joins us to discuss a matter unrelated to her regional expertise and that is her encounter with the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer in her gym in Alexandria, Virginia which resulted in the termination of Spencer’s gym membership. We discuss how Spencer, who leads an alt-right movement that seeks a whites-only America and recently led a Nazi-like torch light rally in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, asked a female African-American gym instructor to protect him from Chris Fair’s verbal confrontation.

Then finally we look into today’s Supreme Court ruling rejecting two gerrymandered districts in North Carolina citing racial bias. Thomas Wolf, counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University who focuses on redistricting issues, joins us to discuss what former Attorney General Holder describes as “a watershed moment in the fight to end racial gerrymandering” and another recent Supreme Court victory for North Carolina Democrats that struck down a restrictive Republican voter ID law.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

Trump Takes on the Ultimate Challenge

Confronting the Leader of America's Alt-Right White Nationalist Movement

A Victory Over Racial Gerrymandering in North Carolina

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We begin with speech by President Trump in Saudi Arabia before more than 40 leaders of Muslim nations in which he condemned extremism and terrorism as not “a battle between different faiths” but “a battle between good and evil”. Natana DeLong-Bas, a Professor of Theology at Boston University who is an expert on Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism and is the author of “Jihad for Islam: The Struggle for the Future of Saudi Arabia”, joins us to analyze the speech and its likely impact. We will discuss how Trump avoided his inflammatory language against Muslims but instead was eloquent in describing how much Muslims are the main victims of terrorism, and examine the apparent disconnect with reality as Trump castigated Iran for spreading destruction and chaos across the region before a group of leaders who oppress their own people and would never allow an election such as the one which the Iranians just conducted.

Then with scandal and intrigue still rolling back in Washington as reports emerge that Trump told the Russians in the Oval Office that he had just fired Comey who he called “a nut job” to relieve pressure on him from the Russia investigation, together with reports that Jared Kushner is likely the “person of interest” investigators are looking into, we will speak with a former senior CIA analyst who was National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Chief of Station in Asia. Kent Harrington joins us to discuss his latest article at Project Syndicate “Trump’s Loose Lips and America’s Intelligence Relationships” and examine reports that China has “systematically dismantled” CIA spying operations killing or imprisoning between 18 and 20 CIA sources in China.

Then finally we speak with Middle East expert Rasool Nafisi, the author of “The Rise of the Pasdaran”, which is about the social, political and economic roles of the Guardians of the Revolution in Iran, who just lost the election to the incumbent Rouhani with their hardline candidate losing by 20 points. We will look into the country that Trump just blamed for all the troubles in the Middle East and assess how and when the dwindling chorus chanting “death to America” will fade into the background.

Background Briefing

SHOW NOTES

In Saudi Arabia, Trump Vows to Meet "History's Greatest Test"

A Former CIA Official on Trump's Loose Lips

Trump Blames Iran For Chaos in the Middle East

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