Presidential Debates

Show Details for the week of September 26th, 2016

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The Monitor is not the normal format this week, we are being cut short by 30 minutes to allow for Network-wide coverage of the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. With that in mind, it seemed fitting to invite Egberto Willies to join us for the show to discuss the debate, likely topics for the debate, and the election cycle in general.

More about this week’s guest:

Egberto WilliesEgberto Willies is a political activist, author, political blogger, radio show host, business owner, software developer, web designer, and mechanical engineer in Kingwood, TX. Egberto is an ardent Liberal that believes tolerance is essential. His favorite phrase is “political involvement should be a requirement for citizenship”. He believes that we must get away from the current policies that reward those who simply move money/capital and produce nothing tangible for our society. If a change in policy does not occur, America will be no different than many oligarchic societies where a few are able to accumulate wealth while the rest are left out because it is mathematically impossible to catch up.
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Show Details for the week of August 15th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • D. Brian Burghart on creating an impartial, comprehensive and searchable national database of people killed during interactions with law enforcement
  • Jeff Cohen on why presidential debates should be opened up to all candidates

More about this week’s guests:

083015_2951D. Brian Burghart is the creator of Fatal Encounters. He is a former editor/publisher of the Reno News & Review, a master’s student and often, although not at this moment, a journalism instructor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He lives in Reno, Nevada and created Fatal Encounters because, as he says: “I believe in a democracy, citizens should be able to figure out how many people are killed by law enforcement, why they were killed, and whether training and policies can be modified to decrease the number of officer-involved deaths.”

 

 

Jeff Cohen is the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College and author of Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. He is also is cofounder of RootsAction.org, founder of the media watch group FAIR.

He recently wrote the piece “TV Networks Should Open Up the Presidential Debates,” which states: “If ten major TV networks got together and decided to nationally televise a presidential debate restricted to Republican nominee Donald Trump and right-leaning Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, while barring other candidates including Democrat Hillary Clinton, it would be recognized as an act of media bias or exclusion. But what if the televised debates this fall are restricted to just Trump and Clinton? That, too, needs to be recognized as an intentional act of media exclusion.

Beginning in 1988, major TV networks granted journalistic control over the debates to a private organization with no official status: the Commission on Presidential Debates. The CPD is often called ‘nonpartisan.’ That’s absurdly inaccurate. ‘Bipartisan’ is the right adjective, as it has always carried out the joint will of the Republican and Democratic parties. The commission grew out of a deal cut in the 1980s by GOP and Democratic leaders. Today, even though the U.S. public largely distrusts the presidential candidates of the two major parties, TV networks seem willing to allow them to again dictate the terms of debate, including who gets to participate.”

Show Details for the week of March 28th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Gareth Porter on How Putin’s leverage shaped the Syrian ceasefire
  • Max Blumenthal on Israel, BDS, and U.S. media coverage of Israel and Palestine

Houston Event:

There is an event on Tuesday the 29th of March that is probably of interest to our listeners: The Ervin Frederick Kalb Lecture in History at Rice University. The title is “America, Energy and War” and the speaker is Toby C. Jones. The event starts at 7:00PM. Get all the details here and come along, if you can. See you there!

More about this week’s guests:

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian who specializes in U.S. national security policy. He writes regularly for Middle East Eye and has also published investigative articles on Salon.com, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites. Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is the author several books, including Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in 2005, and Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare in 2015. He has taught Southeast Asian politics and international studies at American University, City College of New York and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Follow him on Twitter

GHOSTS101111Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He has written several books, including The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party (a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller). He also recently completed a short documentary with James Kleinfeld in which they speak to far right activists in Finland. Watch it here. Follow him on Twitter

Show Details for the week of March 14th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week

  • Assessing the gap between rhetoric and policy – just how “extreme” is Trump’s discourse? We discuss the topic with Arun Kundani
  • A journey from Zionism to peace activism with Miko Peled

More about this week’s guests:

5wmyicxArun Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror (2015) and The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain (2007)He is a lecturer at New York University. His writings are available online at kundnani.org — including his articles “The Guantánamo in New York you’re not allowed to know about,” and “The belief system of the Islamophobes.” You can see him here on CNN in discussion with Trump supporters.
He recently wrote the draft paper: “Islamophobia: Lay Ideology of U.S.-Led Empire,” in which he analyzes Islamophobia as an ideology that “offers an everyday ‘common sense’ explanatory framework for making sense” of crisis such as terrorists attacks. He argues that it does so “in ways that disavow those events’ political meanings (rooted in empire, racism, and resistance) and instead explain them as products” of a “Muslimness.”
Arun states that this Islamophobia within U.S. and Western culture in effect pretends that there is a fixed “other” that must be opposed. He argues: “This maneuver is also an act of projection in the psychoanalytic sense: the racist and imperialist violence upon which U.S.-led capitalism depends cannot be acknowledged in liberal society so it is transferred onto the personality of the Muslim and seen as emanating from ‘outside’ the social order. Imperial violence is then only ever a proportionate response to the inherently aggressive and threatening nature of the fanatical Muslim enemy. In these ways, a Western self-image of innocence and beneficence can be maintained by screening out resistance to the U.S.-led system of global capitalism.”
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220px-miko_peledMiko Peled was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr.  Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai.Miko is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. His book has been newly revised and the new edition is expected to be out on April 19, 2016. You can read more about Miko online at mikopeled.com
About the book:
In 1997, tragedy struck when his beloved niece Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. That killing propelled Peled onto a journey of discovery. It pushed him to re-examine many of the beliefs he had grown up with, as the son and grandson of leading figures in Israel’s political-military elite. This powerful memoir details Miko Peled’s transformation into a courageous and visionary activist in the struggle for equal rights and a hopeful, lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and a new epilogue describes his extraordinary travels that have opened new paths of solidarity in the last few years.In her foreword, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker writes, “There are few books on the Israel/Palestine issue that seem as hopeful to me as this one.”

Show Details for the week of October 12th, 2015

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Presidential Debates, Cable News, and the Miseducation of the American Public – an interview with Jeff Cohen
  • Assessing Putin and Obama in Syria and Ukraine – an interview with Joe Lauria

More about this week’s Guests:

Jeff Cohen is the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College and author of Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. He is also is cofounder of RootsAction.org, founder of the media watch group FAIR.

From his recent article:

At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month at the Reagan presidential library, one of the three panelists CNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, affiliated with the proudly right-wing Salem Radio Network. But at Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic Party debate, CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.

It’s clear that who gets to pose questions has impact on the tenor of the debate. For example, Hewitt used September’s Republican debate to declare that President Obama’s “knees buckled” over Syria and that every Republican candidate was “more qualified than” Hillary Clinton. Hewitt pressed Jeb Bush from the right over his comment about making sure guns are not in the hands of the mentally ill: “Where does it go from what you said last week, how far into people’s lives to take guns away from them?”

Along with Hewitt, the panel at CNN’s GOP debate was composed of two journalists CNN presents as neutral or objective: CNN anchor Jake Tapper and CNN correspondent Dana Bash. (Hewitt’s appearance was reportedly part of an agreement by which CNN and the right-wing Salem Media company are teaming up on three GOP presidential debates.)

At CNN’s upcoming Democratic debate, the panel is to be composed of four journalists CNN presents as neutral: CNN’s Bash and three CNN anchors (Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol.) Glaringly missing from this proposed lineup is an unabashed progressive advocate.

There are many qualified journalists for this seat — from respected progressive media institutions that haven’t taken sides in the Democratic primaries (like The Nation or Mother Jones, to name just two).

Today, the online activism group RootsAction.org (which I cofounded) launched a one-sentence petition to CNN: “For the sake of basic fairness and balance, you should add to your panel an unapologetic progressive for Tuesday’s debate.”

Recent articles:

CNN’s Double-Standards on Debates (10/9/15)
26,000 Petition Bernie Sanders to Tackle US Militarism (8/31/15)
Bernie Trumped By Mainstream Media (8/18/15)
Memo to Media: Ask Trump If He’s a ‘Serial Racist’ (7/4/15)
Will Bernie Be the Beginning of a Revolution? (6/2/15)

Joe Lauria is an international affairs correspondent specializing in the United Nations, Lauria just wrote the piece “Obama’s Self-Deceit” for ConsortiumNews.com. Lauria writes: “There was stunned silence in the General Assembly Hall on Monday as U.S. President Barack Obama warned leaders against falling back to pre-United Nations days, in which strong nations imposed their will by force against the weak. There was apparent disbelief as he said it was Russia and China that wanted a ‘return to the rules that applied for most of human history and that pre-date this institution.’ …

    “The silence in the chamber came because everything Obama ascribed to others perfectly describes U.S. behavior from the end of the Second World War until today. …

“Yet Obama on Monday was blaming Russia and China for the mess Washington has created, saying, ‘We see some major powers assert themselves in ways that contravene international law.’ Obama cited Russia’s ‘annexation’ of Crimea and ‘further aggression’ in Eastern Ukraine.

“He didn’t mention the documented U.S. orchestrated coup against a democratically-elected president in Kiev, which eastern Ukrainians have resisted. …

“At heart is either Obama’s willful ignorance of Ukraine, a clumsy attempt at disinformation, or as Vladimir Putin suggested in his U.N. speech a half hour later, a big measure of self-deception.

“Obama said Ukrainians favor the West. That may be true of most western Ukrainians but not the whole country. Then, he said the U.S. has ‘few economic interests’ in Ukraine. That’s woefully ignorant or a blatant lie. Monsanto has a big interest. Then there’s Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and a John Kerry family friend joining the board of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, just after the coup.

“And the country’s finance minister is an American, Natalie Jaresko, who was given Ukrainian citizenship on the day she began the job. Why put an American government official in charge of the treasury of a foreign country? …

“On Syria, Obama (and his junior partners in Europe) insist that President Bashar al-Assad must leave office, as though that would make ISIS lay down its arms. …

“Putin argues that Assad’s military is the most effective ground force (along with the Kurds) against the monstrous group and that all nations who want ISIS defeated should work with Assad. …

“‘The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere,’ Putin told the Assembly. ‘It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes.’ …”

Show details for the week of October 1st, 2012

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This week’s show:

  • 5 things you will not hear discussed in the Presidential Debates – an interview with Mattea Kramer
  • The MEK (The Mujahedin-e Khalq) was recently taken off the list of terrorist groups – an interview with Jeremiah Goulka

More about our guests:

Mattea Kramer is senior research analyst at the National Priorities Project  and lead author of the new book “A People’s Guide to the Federal Budget.” She just wrote the piece “Tough Talk for America, A Guide to the Presidential Debates You Won’t Hear,” which states: “Five big things will decide what this country looks like next year and in the 20 years to follow, but here’s a guarantee for you: you’re not going to hear about them in the upcoming presidential debates. Yes, there will be questions and answers focused on deficits, taxes, Medicare, the Pentagon, and education, to which you already more or less know the responses each candidate will offer. What you won’t get from either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is a little genuine tough talk about the actual state of reality in these United States of ours:

1. “Immediate deficit reduction will wipe out any hope of economic recovery: These days, it’s fashionable for any candidate to talk about how quickly he’ll reduce the federal budget deficit, which will total around $1.2 trillion in fiscal 2012. And you’re going to hear talk about the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan and more like it on Wednesday. But the hard truth of the matter is that deep deficit reduction anytime soon will be a genuine disaster. …

2. “Taxes are at their lowest point in more than half a century, preventing investment in and the maintenance of America’s most basic resources. …

3. “Neither the status quo nor a voucher system will protect Medicare (or any other kind of health care) in the long run. …

4. “The U.S. military is outrageously expensive and yet poorly tailored to the actual threats to U.S. national security: Candidates from both parties pledge to protect the Pentagon from cuts, or even, in the case of the Romney team, to increase the already staggering military budget. But in a country desperate for infrastructure, education, and other funding, funneling endless resources to the Pentagon actually weakens ‘national security.’ …

5. “The U.S. education system is what made this country prosperous in the twentieth century — but no longer: Perhaps no issue is more urgent than this, yet for all the talk of teacher’s unions and testing, real education programs, ideas that will matter, are nonexistent this election season. During the last century, the best education system in the world allowed this country to grow briskly and lift standards of living. Now, from kindergarten to college, public education is chronically underfunded. …”

https://twitter.com/kramervkramer

Jeremiah Goulka writes about American politics and culture.  He used to be an analyst at the RAND Corporation, where he was lead author of a report on the Mujahedin-e Khalq called “The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq: A Policy Conundrum.”  His recent work on the MEK has been published in Salon and the American Prospect.  He visited the MEK’s camp in Iraq in 2007.

Recent writings:

Confessions of a Former Republican,

The MEK Still Isn’t OK

https://twitter.com/JeremiahGoulka