Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/15/2019)

Another Of Trump's Men Falls: Roger Stone Found Guilty, but Based on What?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

Roger Stone, a longtime political operative and associate of US President Donald Trump, was found guilty of federal charges on Friday. "The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts," the Washington Post reported. "A judge set Stone’s sentencing for Feb. 6 and allowed him to remain free until then. Stone faces a legal maximum penalty of 50 years in prison — 20 years for the witness tampering charge and five years for each of the other counts, although a first offender would face far less time under federal sentencing guidelines."

Loud & Clear Discussion of Tulsi Defamation Charge, Bloomberg & Patrick Entering Primary (11/12/2019)

Gabbard’s letter, Bloomberg, Patrick: New 2020 Democratic primary developments

Attorneys representing presidential candidate and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard have sent a letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding that Clinton retract a statement she made several weeks ago calling Gabbard a “Russian asset.” When challenged about the assertion, Clinton responded, “If the nesting doll fits..” Gabbard’s lawyers say the statement was defamatory, and they want a retraction. Meanwhile, two new likely entrants are trying to upset the Democratic presidential primary. Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net whose latest article is “Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage,” joins the show.
[Related article: Hunting 250s: “We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to violate some rights.”]

Listen to "Gabbard’s letter, Bloomberg, Patrick: New 2020 Democratic primary developments" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage

thegrayzone.com
To withdraw, or not to withdraw? That is the question Donald Trump, in his own inimitable way, has answered both ways.
First came the withdrawal. It was real, and had a significant effect. Trump ordered the removal of US troops from Kurdish areas, putting an end to the prospect of an independent Kurdish statelet, split off from Syria. Such a partition was always implausible, given the general balance of forces in the region and the specific refusal of NATO-member Turkey to accept any such thing. (Turkey had already invaded Syria in 2016, and the Obama-Biden administration ordered the Kurds to accept it.) It was also a lynchpin of the longstanding Plan B for dismembering the Syrian state. As I argued in a previous article, agreeing with ”the entire spectrum of US-imperialist politics and media,” Trump’s withdrawal decision “marked ‘a major turning point in Syria’s long war’ and has, indeed, ‘upended decades’ of imperialist and Zionist plans for the Middle East.” 
But, as I also noted, Trump is impulsive, shallow, and weak, and “surrounds himself with neocon deep-state actors on whom he depends and who often ignore or actively oppose…his non-interventionist instincts,” and who “may yet get him to reverse that [decision] or over-compensate for it.”
And thus it came to be. Kinda-sorta.

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/8/2019)

Bloomberg Plans to Jump Into 2020 Race: Is He Being Pushed?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to join the Democratic presidential primary campaign. The decision is a shift in direction for Bloomberg, who said in March that he wouldn't be running. Is there a path here for Bloomberg? Is this a public rebuke of the performance so far of former US Vice President Joe Biden, who has attempted to build a coalition of the same moderate Democrats that Bloomberg would court? Will this inflame the populist wing of the party? Where does he pull votes from?

"House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy," the Washington Post reported Thursday. Is this a plausible defense?
[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Loud & Clear Discussion of Burisma's Use of Hunter Biden (11/6/2019)

New reports show Hunter Biden’s political value to Ukrainian Burisma company

A lobbying firm representing Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that famously had Hunter Biden on its board of directors, referenced Biden’s role in the company when it contacted the State Department in 2016 to downplay concerns about corruption. The revelation, so far published only in the conservative media, is important because the lobbying took place at almost exactly the same time that then-Vice President Joe Biden was pressuring Ukraine’s president to fire a prosecutor in order to secure $1 billion in loan assistance. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.
[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "New reports show Hunter Biden’s political value to Ukrainian Burisma company" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (11/1/2019)

Contrary to Mainstream Media Reports, Slowdown Begins: Are We Close to Recession?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported, "The US economy cooled over the summer, growing at a 1.9 percent annualized pace from July through September, the latest sign that the slowdown is deepening. Economists anticipated slightly weaker growth following President Donald Trump’s decision to dramatically expand his trade war with China." On Friday, the Post reported, "The United States added 128,000 jobs in October as the jobless rate ticked up to 3.6 percent, outperforming analyst forecasts during a month in which one of the largest private-employer strikes in recent years weighed on the economy."

Friday, November 1, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion of House Impeachment Vote (10/31/2019)

It’s Official: Impeachment Goes Forward with Newly Passed Rules

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net.

The House today voted to move forward on a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The inquiry will include public hearings and will end with a formal vote on impeachment. Meanwhile, Republican senators are adopting a more sober tone on impeachment.

[Related articles: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "It’s Official: Impeachment Goes Forward with Newly Passed Rules" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Discussion of Brexit Delay and Syrian Situation on The Critical Hour (10/28/2019)

John Conyers Jr., Longest-Serving African American Congressman, Dies at 90

Former Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr., a liberal Democrat from what is now Detroit’s 13th Congressional District, has died at the age of 90. Conyers was first elected in 1964, becoming one of five African Americans in the House of Representatives. His overwhelmingly Democratic constituents reelected him 26 times over a period spanning 10 presidents, from Lyndon B. Johnson to Donald Trump. He passed Sunday at his home in Detroit.

US President Donald Trump confirmed that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died. He was killed during a US military raid in northwest Syria on Saturday. Trump announced Sunday that al-Baghdadi died after running into a tunnel, where he detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his children.

Loud & Clear Discussion on Release of Maria Butina (10/25/2019)

Political prisoner Maria Butina released from prison

Political prisoner Maria Butina has been released today after serving over a year in prison, most of which was in solitary confinement. She was accused of failing to register as a foreign agent and slandered by the corporate media. Her case became a main component of the now-debunked Russiagate narrative. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose most recent article is “The Empire Steps Back,” which is at Counterpunch and thepolemicist.net, joins the show.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on Bill Taylor Testimony re Ukraine (10/23/2019)


Impeachment battle rages on in Washington

Ambassador Bill Taylor, the US Ambassador to Ukraine, testified on Capitol Hill yesterday and made explosive charges against President Trump, including that the President directed officials to withhold aid to Ukraine over demands that the Ukrainian government open an investigation of the Biden family. Taylor said that he was convinced in July that the White House was withholding aid for electoral purposes. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent article is “The Empire Steps Back,” which is at Counterpunch and thepolemicist.net, joins the show.

Listen to "Impeachment battle rages on in Washington" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (10/11/2019)

Trump Claims Victory Trade Deal, Did Xi Give Sleeves From His Vest?

US President Donald Trump said Friday that the US and China have reached what he called a substantial “phase one“ trade deal in which Beijing agreed to limited measures to improve trade ties between the countries. In exchange, Trump will not move forward with another round of tariff increases against roughly $250 billion in Chinese goods that had been set to take effect on Tuesday. Who really won in this deal?

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (10/18/2019)

Week in Review

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the Turkish invasion of Syria, the impeachment probe, and the possible breakthrough in UK-EU negotiations over Brexit. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose most recent article is “The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now Possible,” and Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell.


Listen to "Week in Review" on Spreaker.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now Possible


Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai
What everyone is most upset about with regard to Syria isn’t the bloodshed or anything having him do with human rights. It’s the decline in American control of the Middle East. This is 100% about US imperialism taking a hit.
A series of Donald Trump’s decisions, culminating in the decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, has set off a cascade of effects that are dramatically changing the geopolitics of the Middle East and the internal politics of the United States.
Two months ago, I wrote an article opposing the impeachment drive and stating that Donald Trump is not going to be removed from office by impeachment proceedings. I said: “Donald Trump will be removed from office one way: by an election.”
At that time, in the wake of the fizzling out of the Mueller Report and testimony on Russian “collusion,” the new smoking gun was “obstruction of justice.” “The evidence is overwhelming,” Jamie Raskin said, echoing more than 90 of his Democratic colleagues, “10 different episodes of presidential obstruction of justice.” Walls closing in.
Somehow, even after Mueller’s “very, very painfultestimony, the impeachment drive by the Democrats had intensified to the point that it was de rigueur for every major Democratic presidential candidate, and for anyone calling themselves “progressive,” to demand impeachment proceedings. Because “obstruction of justice.”
Of course, the Democrats were not going to create an irresistible political tide that would get enough Republican senators to vote to oust Trump with that “obstruction of justice” issue, and they knew it. The chance of that was effectively zero.
The odds on that are now changing significantly. What happened to change the impeachment calculus? That might move enough Republicans?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (10/4/2019)

Will the Ukraine Scandal Turn Out to Be a Double-Edged Sword for Dems?

It's Friday, which means it's panel time!

On Thursday night, investigators from the House of Representatives released a trove of text messages obtained from former US Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, in which US State Department officials and Rudy Giuliani — US President Donald Trump's personal attorney — negotiated with a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The texts show that US officials felt Trump would not agree to meet with Zelensky at a summit unless the Ukrainian president publicly promised to investigate both the 2016 US presidential election and a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden, the son of current Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden. As this continues to play out, where’s the leverage? Who has the advantage?

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (10/4/2019)

The Week in Review

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the new details in the impeachment inquiry and the US’s longer-term relationship to Ukraine, plus the protests in Iraq and Hong Kong. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst and producer and Nicole Roussell.
[Related article: Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "The Week in Review" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on Trump-Zelensky Call (9/25/2019)

Impeachment Fever: What Trump Said to the Ukrainian President

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.

At least 200 Democrats have now said that they support impeaching President Trump for abuse of power after he apparently pressured Ukrainian President Zelensky to assist in an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. But the White House released what it says is a transcript of that call. And the accusations against Trump are now not so clear.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (9/20/19)

If Ukraine Connection With Trump Is True Could This Be The Real "Russiagate"?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

A battle between Congress and the White House, set off by an anonymous whistle blower and believed to involve the government of Ukraine, according to two former US officials who spoke to the Washington Post, has moved into the public eye. The whistle blower, an intelligence official who worked at the White House, said US President Donald Trump made a "promise" to a foreign leader, which the official found sufficiently alarming to alert Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson. Atkinson found that the complaint reached the threshold of an "urgent concern," which would require him to notify congressional oversight committees on the matter. However, Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, has been unwilling to provide Congress with the details of what Trump allegedly did, causing some to charge that he is improperly protecting the president. What happened?
[Related article: Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

The Pentagon said Thursday that the US will leave it up to Saudi Arabia to decide whether there is sufficient proof accuse Iran of being behind the drone strikes that hit two Saudi Aramco oil facilities last weekend. “We'll wait until the final assessment's completed with the Saudis and that they've made the declaration,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters. Really? Well that’s a change of tone. “This was an attack on Saudi Arabia. We're supporting their investigation. We have teams on the ground working with them, but we're not going to get ahead of their conclusions.” What are we to make of this?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Thursday that if the US or Saudi Arabia attacks Iran, an "all-out war" is sure to follow. "We don't want war, we don't want to engage in a military confrontation," Zarif told CNN, noting that any conflict would result in "a lot of casualties." The latest source of tension between the three nations is last Saturday's drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities, which temporarily halved Saudi Arabia's oil production and for which the Yemeni Houthis have claimed responsibility. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the attacks were "an act of war" against Saudi Arabia, and that they involved not just drones, but cruise missiles, pointing the finger at Tehran. President Trump tweeted September 15 that the US military was "locked and loaded" to respond against the perpetrators, though he said the following day that the US would prefer not to go to war. Where will all of this tension lead?
[Related Article: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

"Californians, the Trump administration said Thursday, breathe the same air, and live in pretty much the same environment, as the rest of the country. Their vehicles spew the same gases. So their emissions standards should be the same as everyone else’s," the San Francisco Chronicle reported in August 2018 on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to revoke federal waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing the state to enact more demanding vehicle emissions standards than the rest of the US, colloquially known as the tailpipe emissions waiver. On Thursday, the administration officially revoked the waiver, but a legal battle is sure to ensue.

In an attempt to keep the economy from faltering, the US Federal Reserve lowered interest rates Wednesday from 2.25% to just below 2%. While President Trump has called for the Fed to cut rates, the reduction is much more modest than he might have liked, emphasizing the gap between how the Fed and the White House view the American economy as the 2020 elections loom. Is this effort to keep the economy strong being made because of the projections of a recession and the data that continue to point in that direction?

All those stories and more!

GUESTS:

Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."

David Schultz — Professor of political science at Hamline University and author of "Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter."

Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.


Listen to "If Ukraine Connection With Trump Is True Could This Be The Real "Russiagate"?" on Spreaker.

The Critical Hour is a daily 60-minute news analysis and talk radio program on Radio Sputnik hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon. Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (9/20/2019)

Why is the New York Times Begging Trump for a War Against Iran?

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek.

The panel takes a look at the biggest stories of the week, including U.S. war threats against Iran, the global climate strike, the controversy over a call between Donald Trump and a foreign leader, and the Israeli election.

[Related article: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

Listen to "Why is the New York Times Begging Trump for a War Against Iran?" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Loud & Clear Discussion on Lesandowski Testimony (9/18/2019)

Addicted to Russiagate, Dems Make Another Huge Blunder with Lewandowski

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net and whose latest article on the subject is “Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit,” on Counterpunch and thepolemicist.net.

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, testified before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday in what was a day-long, very heated, event. Lewandowski repeatedly invoked Executive Privilege, even though he has never worked in the White House, refusing to answer most questions put to him by Democrats. But many Democrats came off as angry, loud showboaters, more interested in getting on television than in finding the truth over whether the President committed obstruction of justice. The hearing puts committee chairman Jerry Nadler even further at odds with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  

[Related articles: Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake PoliticsDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Listen to "Addicted to Russiagate, Dems Make Another Huge Blunder with Lewandowski" on Spreaker.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (9/6/19)

The Complex, Wrongly Told Life of Freedom Fighter Robert Mugabe, Dead at 95

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.
[I come in at 16:35]

The Washington Post reported it this way: “Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president who rose to power as a champion of anti-colonial struggle but during 37 years of authoritarian rule presided over the impoverishment and degradation of one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising countries, died Sept. 6 at a hospital in Singapore. He was 95.” That statement disgusted me - did not surprise me but disgusted me, because I know better. We'll discuss the man, the freedom fighter, the myth and how the US contributed to the reputation of Mugabe.

The US economy added a disappointing 130,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday, heightening fears that US President Donald Trump’s trade war is starting to bite. The jobs report has taken on greater significance as concerns grow that the US economy has entered a rough patch. Economists had predicted a gain of 160,000 jobs in August, but anemic hiring in manufacturing, mining, truck driving and retail — industries that are most directly affected by the trade war — helped drag employment gains down this summer. That 130,000 number is not truly representative of the strength of the economy, since hiring in August was boosted by the federal government adding part-time workers for the 2020 US Census. Without the addition of those temporary jobs, the new data reveals private sector companies added 96,000 jobs, the weakest total in many months.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on Lawrence O'Donnell's Deutsche Bank Trump Loan Report (8/28/2019)

MSNBC’s Deutsche Bank loan conspiracy theory attempts to revive Russiagate

Deutsche Bank confirmed yesterday that it has a copy of Donald Trump’s tax returns responsive to Congressional subpoenas. But MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell went further than that and made some brash accusations on his show yesterday. He said that other Deutsche Bank loan documents show that Donald Trump’s cosigners are “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.” O’Donnell repeated the words “if true” multiple times. Even if it’s not true, he and MSNBC are doing what they can to keep the fake Russiagate narrative alive. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article is “Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit” on Counterpunch and The Polemicist, joins the show.

Listen to "MSNBC’s Deutsche Bank loan conspiracy theory attempts to revive Russiagate" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (8/23/19)

Trump's Twitter War Becomes Reality, China Imposes New Tariffs Starting September 1

On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Dr. Jack Rasmus, professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California; Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist; and Caleb Maupin, journalist and political analyst. 

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time. 

US President Donald Trump is raising the stakes in his trade war with China, tweeting Friday that he's increasing the tariffs scheduled to start next week from 10% to 15% on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trump's comments came on a volatile day in his trade war. China started things off by announcing tariffs on $75 billion of US goods Friday morning. Just as the market was starting to calm down, Trump made two tweets that further rattled investors. The first ordered American companies to find alternatives to doing business in China, and the second wondered who is the bigger enemy: Chinese President Xi Jinping or US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Trump also tweeted his justification for taking on China over trade, saying it is something that was long overdue.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Discussion on The Critical Hour about Boris Johnson and Brexit (8/20/19)

Same Game, New Tactic: Trump Goes After Legal Immigrants, States Fight Back & Sue

New York state, New York City, Connecticut and Vermont sued the federal government Tuesday over new Trump administration rules blocking green cards for many immigrants who use public assistance, including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. The states and city join a growing list of entities suing over the change, one of the Republican administration’s most aggressive moves to restrict legal immigration. The rules set to take effect in October would broaden a range of programs that can disqualify immigrants from legal status if they are deemed to be a burden to the US. What’s the real impact behind this action? 

Planned Parenthood announced on Monday that it will drop participation in a federal program that supports family planning services because of new restrictions placed on it by the Trump administration, calling a recent regulation an "assault on access to birth control and reproductive health care, especially for people struggling to make ends meet." What impact will the administration's actions have on access to women’s health care for poor women and women of color? 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (8/16/19)

Global Unrest: Hong Kong Protests, Chinese Tariffs, US Near Recession and More!

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time. 

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has been caught up in the fallout of ongoing pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Hundreds of flights were canceled this week because of protests at Hong Kong International Airport, and the airline has threatened to fire employees who take part in the demonstrations. It was announced Friday that the company's CEO Rupert Hogg and Chief Commercial Officer Paul Loo are resigning. The airline's stock has fallen almost 24% since April. What’s going on in Hong Kong and why?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit


nakedcapitalism.com
The two-year Mueller investigation of Donald Trump’s alleged collusion (“largely synonymous with conspiracy”) with Russia is over. Nothingburger.
The 448-page Mueller Report has been published in full, and made into a dramatic hour-and-twenty-minute stage performance adapted by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright with a cast of Hollywood stars. Yawn.
Then there was the seven hours of Mueller himself testifying before two committees of Congress and the public. Painful, "very, very painful.”
One might expect that the Democratic Party’s #Resistance would abandon its attempt to unseat Donald Trump through litigation, in the face of the glaring fact that this whole Russiagate/Mueller Investigation thing has only been of great political benefit, a “massive gift,” to Donald Trump. Seeing all the chips flow to your opponent, you gotta know when to fold ‘em and play a new hand.
One might think a shrewd and serious #Resistance would perhaps switch to a strategy of frontal political assault that highlights substantive alternatives to reactionary social and foreign policies, where Trump is vulnerable for increasing inequality, social insecurity, and foreign aggression. ‘Cause, you know, as Nathan Robinson puts it: “People are upset because they’re drowning in debt, their rent is too damn high, they can’t afford their health insurance and they are working crappy jobs,” not because Konstantin Kilimnik got some polling data. One might think, with Robinson, that “hopefully we can put this pathetic chapter in American politics behind us.”

Monday, August 12, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (8/9/19)

Democrats In Iowa: Second Tier Candidates Are Carrying The Day

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time. 

Democratic presidential candidates are traversing Iowa this week with lively summer bus tours, stopping with their families at the Iowa State Fair and eating fried butter and fried Oreos, and speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox and the annual Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser. So, right now Real Clear Politics has Joe Biden up by nine points over Elizabeth Warren, followed by Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Is there any sense of momentum on the ground that either confirms these numbers or provides a different perspective? Have the shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio, changed the focus of discussion for these candidates?

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (8/9/2019)

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, the huge immigration raid that took place in Mississippi, the anniversary of the killing of Mike Brown and subsequent Rebellion in Ferguson, and the anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
[Related articles: The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights (Reprise)Lawyers, Guns, and Twitter: Gun Battles and Class Struggle after San BernardinoThe Siege of Venezuela and The Travails of Empire]

Listen to "The week in review" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, July 29, 2019

By Any Means Necessary Discussion on Mueller Testimony

21st Century Lynchings: AG Barr Reinstates Federal Death Penalty

On this episode of "By Any Means Necessary" hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon are joined by journalist and author Daniel Lazare to talk about Robert Mueller's two-part Congressional hearing, what Democrats and Republicans accomplished from the hearing, the underlying Russiaphobia present throughout the hearing, and if Robert Mueller will ever be heard from again.

In the second segment, Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star to talk about what promises new Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to keep as he enters 10 Downing Street, the Boris Bump Conservatives are feeling and the climate of environmental politics in the UK.

In this special segment of "By Any Means Necessary" Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon are joined by Dr. Rima Brusi, anthropologist, writer, educator and scholar-in-residence at the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies, at Lehman College-City University of New York, to talk about the resignation of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, the rigging of the Puerto Rican economy by Wall Street and the US Federal government, the process of decolonizing the island and restoring the public oversight of the economy.

Later in the show, Eugene and Sean are joined by Jim Kavanagh, a political analyst who publishes on Counterpunch and ThePolemicist.net to talk about Robert Mueller's testimony in Congress, the lack of any new substantive information coming to light, and where we are left after the latest Russiagate theatrics. (My segment starts at 57:37)

Loud & Clear Discussion Previewing Mueller Testimomy (7/23/2019)

Mueller to testify tomorrow to house committees

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify tomorrow before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees following two years of silence and release of his written report on allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller, however, is unlikely to say anything of substance. He already told Congress that he would limit his statement and answers to what was released in the report. And the Justice Department yesterday instructed him to limit the scope of his testimony solely to the report and the information contained in it. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (7/19/19)

What's Going Wrong In America? Real Talk: Puerto Rico, Sex Offenders & Iran

On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Dr. Jack Rasmus, professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California; Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist; and Caleb Maupin, journalist, and political analyst. 

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time. 

Disputes between the Trump administration and Puerto Rican leaders over rebuilding costs and the unsteady implementation of a new process to approve project funding have severely hamstrung recovery from Hurricane Maria. Out of some 10,000 schools, bridges and other damaged sites dotting the island, funds for only nine have gotten the green light from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as of Wednesday. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló faces calls to resign over two separate scandals: a fraudulent scheme involving federal funds that ensnared two former top aides; and the release of private chat messages between the governor and other top aides that were insulting and inflammatory.

Loud & Clear Discussion on IG Russiagate Surveillance Report (7/10/2019)

New developments as Inspector General report on Russiagate-related surveillance is prepared

The release of Justice Department’s Inspector General report on the Mueller investigation is being pushed back because investigators spent much of June interviewing Christopher Steele. Meanwhile, Yahoo News reporter Mike Isikoff is at it again. After writing an utterly discredited book on how the Steele Dossier was a Russian intelligence operation and doubling down on the equally discredited Russia collusion narrative, Isikoff has published an article saying that reports that former DNC staffer Seth Rich was killed by a hit squad working on behalf of Hillary Clinton was, you guessed it, a Russian propaganda operation. Isikoff makes pointed accusations, but the facts in his piece just don’t add up. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show.

Listen to "New developments as Inspector General report on Russiagate-related surveillance is prepared" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

The Week Ahead Discussion on Loud & Clear (7/8/2019)

The Week Ahead

In this segment, which we call The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including 2020 politics, the indictment of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (who is a friend of Trump and Bill Clinton and many others in high places) for running a vast network for the trafficking of young girls who were victims of rape and sexual assault, and Iran’s decision to breach the limits of enriched uranium production. Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show.
[My related article Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

Listen to "The Week Ahead" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Week in Review discussion on Loud & Clear (6/28/2019)

Kamala Harris Takes Down Biden…And Then Affirms Neo-Con Foreign Policy

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Nicole Roussell.

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the democratic debates from last night, where they examine Kamala Harris’s attack against Joe Biden’s ongoing and recent embrace with the most notorious racists and segregationists in the US Senate. They also look at Kamala Harris’s own record as a prosecutor and her neocon political positions. Plus, they talk about the decline of European centrist parties and the announced shift back by European elites and capitalists to democratic socialism, and about US-Iranian tensions, including an Iranian saying today that they’ve examined North Korea’s trajectory as a lesson for their own next move.

[My related articles: For What It’s Worth: The Yellow Vests and the Left
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

Listen to "Kamala Harris Takes Down Biden…And Then Affirms Neo-Con Foreign Policy" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)



Friday, June 28, 2019

Loud & Clear Discussion on New Iran Sanctions (6/25/2019)

Iran says latest U.S. sanctions close off possibility of negotiations

The Trump Administration yesterday announced strong new sanctions on Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and moderate Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif in response to the Iranian shoot-down of a US Global Hawk drone. The Iranians responded by saying that negotiations with the United States were over forever. Meanwhile, Russian officials say their own investigation shows that the drone was actually flying over Iranian airspace. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back” is on CounterPunch and thepolemicist.net, joins the show.
[My related article Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]

Listen to "Iran says latest U.S. sanctions close off possibility of negotiations" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Discussion on The Critical Hour about new Iran Sanctions (6/25/19)

Border Commissioner Resigns As Congress Battles Over Forgotten Migrant Children

The acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner is resigning amid a surge of immigrants at the southern border. John Sanders' resignation is set for July 5, and he didn't provide a reason for stepping down. The resignation comes as CBP deals with accusations of poor living conditions at US border facilities. House Democrats are battling over a $4.5 billion emergency aid bill for the southern border. Liberals are outraged over the treatment of migrant children and are pushing for more protections in the bill. They want tougher standards for facilities that house migrant families. In the meantime, the White House is threatening a presidential veto, as it seeks more funding for ICE detention. House leaders want to get the bill passed before next week's July 4 recess. 

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