July 30, 2018

Sessions’ Bogus Holy War Against an Unnamed “Dangerous Movement” Persecuting American Christians
Could Putin Turn On Trump?
An Assessment of Today’s Elections in Zimbabwe

Program Notes

We begin with the Religious Liberty Summit held today at the Department of Justice presided over by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who announced the formation of a “Religious Liberty Task Force” to fight a holy war against an unnamed “dangerous movement” underway in this country which is eroding the rights of American Christians to worship. Rachel Laser, the President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State joins us to discuss Sessions’ dog whistle appeal to bigotry in the name of religious liberty as the Attorney General of the United States cited Christians as victims with the fictional example of nuns being ordered to buy contraceptives. Sessions also offered another example of trespass against Christian freedom in America with Senator Diane Feinstein’s alleged attack on religious liberty referring to her suggestion that “dogma lives loudly within you” as she questioned a nominee for the 7th Circuit, Amy Coney Barrett who was recently on the short list to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. The Attorney General then praised Jack Phillips, a member of the new Task Force’s panel of Christian fundamentalist activists on display at the DOJ today whose claim to fame is that he refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, an example of religious persecution Sessions claimed “we’ve all seen the ordeal he (Phillips) faced bravely”.

Then we speak with Jeff Steinthe National Security Correspondent for Newsweek who writes the SpyTalk column. He joins us to discuss his article at Newsweek “How Vladimir Putin Will Take Down Donald Trump When He’s No Longer Useful” and the recent coverage of Trump in the Russian press where he has been widely referred to as “our president” but now following Trump’s pathetic deference to Putin at Helsinki, is now described in the state-controlled Russian press with a mixture of concern, pity, and ridicule.

Then finally we assess the elections today in Zimbabwe, the first without the longtime dictator who wrecked and plundered the country, Robert Mugabe, on the ballot.Ambassador John Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria who was political counselor at the U.S. Embassy during South Africa’s first non-racial election and is the author of “Morning in South Africa”, joins us. We discuss the generational challenge the 40 year-old Nelson Chamisa represent as he tries to unseat the General in charge of security who removed Mugabe in a coup, 75 year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “the crocodile” for his decades-long service of feeding Mugabe’s opponents to the crocodiles.

Rachel Laser | John Campbell | Jeff Stein