November 5, 2018

Heavily Armed and Untrained Militias Head for the Border
The GOP No Longer Believes in Democracy
Today’s Re-Imposition of Sanctions Against Iran
Program Notes

We begin with armed militia groups heading for the Southern border which is already militarized with active-duty and National Guard troops along with Border Patrol and speak with Michelle Garcia, a journalist and former Texas correspondent for The Columbia Journalism Review and a former columnist for The Texas Observer. She joins us to discuss her new 3-part essay series on the border at The Baffler and concerns that heavily-armed untrained militia groups like the Texas Minutemen are responding to President Trump’s fear-mongering against destitute migrants he calls “invaders” with their website warning of a “large number of criminals” crossing the border and that “several U.S. law enforcement officers and civilians have been murdered by international bandits in these areas.” It also warns militia members that the mainstream media “are not your friends. They work for their globalist, open-border $$-sponsors-$$”. And already, according to planning documents from U.S. Army commanders leading the 5,200 troops Trump has dispatched to the border, 200 unregulated armed militia members are operating along the southwest border.

Then on this day before an election, we begin with Andrew Gumbel, an award-winning investigative journalist and author of “Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America”. He joins us to discuss a recent poll which found 46% of the American electorate do not believe their votes will be counted fairly with a third thinking it’s likely a foreign county will tamper with the vote. Nevertheless with partisan enthusiasm and energy surging and an increased turnout expected on both sides, we will focus on the close and controversial race for governor in Georgia and since more and more races are decided by narrow margins, the need to have transparent and auditable voting systems is increasingly clear, along with undeniable evidence that the Republican Party no longer believes in democracy and the free and fair exercise of the vote.

Then finally, as a re-imposition of sanctions against Iran goes into effect today aimed at crippling their economy by driving away customers for Iran’s oil, the country’s main source of revenue, we speak with Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and author of “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East”. He joins us to discuss Iran’s already shaky economy with their currency in freefall and the young and women taking to the streets to protest soaring prices and massive subsidies to support Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Assad dictatorship in Syria. We will assess whether Iran’s main customers, China, India and Turkey will bend under U.S. pressure and expose the hypocrisy of the tough guy Trump cynically giving Japan, South Korea and others a grace period to cut back on their imports of Iranian oil because a sudden cut-off would bring about a spike in oil prices, raising prices at the pump just ahead of a critical election.

Michelle Garcia | Andrew Gumbel | Nader Hashemi