April 10, 2018

Half of the US Senate’s All-Day Grilling of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
Trump’s Threats and Russia’s Counter-Threats Over Syria
White House Admits Trump Believes He Can Fire Mueller
Program Notes

We begin with half of the United States Senate grilling the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg for most of the day today, as he tried to deflect criticism with contrition and vague promises to reform his company’s business model of surveillance capitalism in which the user is the product.  Matt Stoller, a Fellow at the Open Markets Institute who was recently a senior advisor to the Senate Budget Committee, joins us to discuss his article at The Daily Beast with Sarah Miller “Facebook Can’t Be Fixed, It needs to Be Broken Up”. We look into what appears to be the first challenge to the culture of impunity which Silicon Valley has enjoyed in a perfect unregulated libertarian world that transcends nation states, out of which the world’s richest and most powerful companies have been built in part on monetizing the abuse of citizen’s privacy. With regulations now emerging in Europe which Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft oppose, we assess whether the senate will force Mark Zuckerberg to deliver on his promises in a meaningful way.

Then we speak with Frances Brown, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program. She recently served on the White House National Security Council staff under Presidents Obama and Trump and joins us to discuss her op-ed at The Hill “If Trump wants to defeat ISIS, America must stabilize Syria”, and Trump’s threat to make Russia, Iran and Assad pay a price in Syria. Threats which have been met by a counter-threat from the head of the Russian military that if the U.S. attacks Syrian government facilities, Russia will fire back with the Russian armed forces taking “retaliatory measures against both missiles and their carriers”.

Then finally we examine the fallout from the FBI’s raid on Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and the admission by the White House today that Trump believes he has the power to fire Robert Mueller. Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “The Cohen raid is a game changer: Trump’s reaction tells us so” and the extraordinary claim Trump made that the FBI raid was “an attack on our country” when the opposite is true; it is Trump who is attacking the rule of law in America.

Matt Stoller | Frances Brown | Lawrence Douglas