May 21, 2018

North and South Korea Blame Neocon Bolton For Shaky Summit
Gorsuch Kills Off Long-Standing Workers’ Rights
Did the Ultimate Dealmaker Get Smoked By the Chinese?

Program Notes

We begin with Ken Vogel, a reporter with The New York Times Washington Bureau joins us to discuss his latest article “Advising Bolton Is a “Shadow N.S.C.”  We look into the role of a group of neocon activists and lobbyists close to the new National Security Advisor John Bolton which means that now, with like-minded neocons dominating the NSC, there will be no diversity of opinion or dissenting views presented to Trump.  With both North and South Korea blaming Bolton for the shaky ground that the summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un is now on because Bolton tied the upcoming talks to the “Libyan model” which Kim interprets as regime change by a mob tearing a dictator apart, it looks like the tail of the neocon is wagging the big dog in the Oval Office.

Then we get an analysis of the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision led by Trump’s new justice Neil Gorsuch which kills off a vestige of the 1935 New Deal in terms of worker’s rights, doing away with class action suits for redress such as wage theft and forcing employees into arbitration which is heavily weighted in favor of employers over their employees. Celine McNicholas, the Economic Policy Institute’s Labor Counsel and a core member of their Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages, joins us to discuss the court’s corporatist tilt and today’s stinging dissent by Ruth Bader Ginzberg.

Then finally we examine the Secretary of Treasury announcement “we’re putting the trade war on hold” after the completion of talks with Chinese negotiators in what looks like a win for China since they appear to have given up little in return for the U.S. holding off on imposing tariffs of $150 billion on Chinese imports. Katheryn Russ, a Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis who worked for the Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors as Senior Economist for International Trade and Finance, joins us to discuss whether the self-proclaimed ultimate dealmaker Donald Trump has been smoked by Xi Jinping.  Given the recent case of a Chinese bank investing in a Trump-related Indonesian deal which appears to be a quid pro quo to get the Chinese telecomm giant ZTE off the hook, we will assess whether calling Trump’s bluff with money is an advantage the Chinese and others can exploit if Trump can be bribed with financial deals that enrich him at the expense of our economy and U.S. national security. With Jared Kushner having already shown that a bad investment by the Kushner Company in 666 Fifth Avenue can be rescued by the Trump Administration using the instruments of statecraft against Qatar to get them pay up to have a blockade lifted, then how can we be confident that the Trump family business does not take priority over our economic and foreign policy?

Ken Vogel | Celine McNicholas | Katheryn Russ