April 23, 2018

Was the Latest Mass Shooting Ideologically Motivated or a Result of Mental Illness?
The Peculiar Concessions Rand Paul Got For Voting to Confirm Pompeo
Ceremony Likely to Trump Substance at Trump’s First White House State Visit
Program Notes

We begin with the capture of the fugitive who on Sunday morning shot four people dead at a Waffle House in Tennessee and but for the heroic intervention of a customer James Shaw Jr. many more lives would have been lost. We assess whether this latest mass shooting is ideologically motivated in as much as the 29 year-old suspect Travis Reinking claims to be a “sovereign citizen”, or whether since he carried out his shooting rampage naked and claimed that Taylor Swift was stalking him, we once again have the results of the tragic intersection of mentally unstable Americans having access to military-style assault rifles. Brian Levin, a criminologist, civil rights attorney and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino, joins us to discuss the suspect’s prior arrest at the White House where he claimed to be a “sovereign citizen” who had the right to inspect the White House grounds, and the referral by the FBI and Secret Service to the local police in Illinois who seized Reinking’s arsenal of weapons but, because of lax laws thanks to the NRA, the Tazewell County Sherriff’s did not have the right to confiscate them so handed the weapons over to Reinking’s father who later gave them back to his troubled son.

Then we speak with John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies who has been an international affairs representative in Eastern Europe and East Asia for the American Friends Service Committee and is the author of “Aftershock: A Journey Through Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams”. He joins us to discuss the narrow vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to approve Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be the next Secretary of State and the peculiar reason that Senator Rand Paul gave for switching his vote based on Pompeo’s assurances that he admits the Iraq war was a mistake and that we should get out of Afghanistan, which in the light of history, are hardly controversial concessions.

Then finally we get an analysis of what might emerge from the pomp and pageantry associated with the Trump White House’s first state visit hosting France’s President Macron and speak with Irene Finel-Honigman, a Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who served on the board of the French American Chamber of Commerce, the French American Foundation, and Maison Francaise. Since Macron is trying to convince Trump to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and not pull out of the Iran agreement, expectations for this summit are low, with ceremony likely to trump substance.

Brian Levin | John Feffer | Irene Finel-Honigman