Background Briefing with Ian Masters Russia Files

April 8, 2018

Trump Calls Out Putin for the First Time
Why Does the White House Press Corps Passively Stomach the Daily Diet of Lies?
Hungary’s Election Marred By Islamophobia and Anti-Antisemitism
Program Notes

We begin with Donald Trump publicly criticizing Vladimir Putin for the first time today in a tweet holding Russia and Iran responsible for backing the “animal Assad” for his use of a chemical weapon against women and children in which Trump threatened they would pay a “Big price”…Nina Khrushcheva, a Professor in the Graduate Program of International Affairs at the New School and author of “The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey into the Gulag of the Russian Mind”, joins us to discuss why Putin appears to be testing the boundaries of the democratic world’s tolerance for human right’s atrocities and the flouting of civilized norms. We assess whether the latest round of sanctions against Russian oligarchs and government officials, which Trump delayed implementing to the point where the likely targets had plenty of time to move their money stashed abroad, will influence Putin’s behavior and whether a threatened U.S. military attack on Assad will deter future provocations or trigger a wider war in Syria.

Then we examine why the White House press corps tolerates the sneering contempt that the Press Secretary Sarah Sanders levels at them daily while flagrantly lying as she defends her boss the Liar-in-Chief often to the point of laughable absurdity. Eric Boehlert, a Senior Writer for Share Blue Media and author of “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush”, joins us to analyze the extent to which the press enables Trump’s reality TV presidency and government by stunt by following the bright shiny light down the rabbit hole instead of shedding light by exposing the obvious lies and sleight of hand of a tawdry and transparent carnival huckster.

Then finally we get an update on the elections in Hungary that were marred by ugly Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and speak with Charles Gati, a senior research professor of European and Eurasian Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and author of “Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt”. He joins us to discuss whether today’s strong turnout means a further drift to the right empowering the government of the increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, or that the splintered opposition might win enough seats to constrain Orban in his fourth term in office.

Nina Krushcheva | Eric Boehlert | Charles Gati


April 5, 2018

Trump’s Reality TV Antics on the Border
General McMaster’s Parting Broadside
A Former Sinclair News Director on Having to Mouth Pro-Trump Propaganda
Program Notes

With Donald Trump sending the military to the Southern border to help build his wall, we will begin with President Trump trying to have it both ways taking credit for the drop in border crossings while ginning up fears of a looming invasion from Mexico. Ivan Eland, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independence Institute who spent 15 years in Congress working on national security issues, joins us to discuss Trump’s latest stunt in reaction to criticism from Ann Coulter which has him shoring up his base by making it seem he is doing something to deliver on his promise to build a wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. We will assess how long our reality TV president can keep the press and the public distracted by his daily reality TV stunts to mask the utter incompetence of this dangerous ignoramus who was elected by a minority of Americans. We also look into whether reality will catch up with Trump’s increasingly frenzied performances and at what point will his base tire of his antics and realizes Trump is a fraud, because then presumably, the Republicans in congress will stop defending him thus making impeachment both possible and likely.

Then we speak with Steven Pifer, the Director of the Brookings Institution’s Arms Control Initiative and a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council. He joins us to discuss outgoing National Security Advisor General McMaster’s broadside at the Trump Administration deliberately contradicting Trump’s claim that nobody has been tougher on the Russians than Trump has. We also assess the U.N. Security Council meeting today called by Russia to head off next week’s release of a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on their investigation into the use of a nerve agent against a Russian exile on British soil.

Then finally we speak with a former News Director of a TV station that the Sinclair Group took over and forced the local news anchors to mouth “Must run” pro-Trump propaganda mandated by the owners of Sinclair, the Smith Family. Aaron Weiss, who spent 14 years as a local news producer and news director, joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post “Confessions of a Former Sinclair News Director” and how Sinclair is forcing professional journalists to become state propagandists”.

Ivan Eland | Steven Pifer | Aaron Weiss


Timothy Snyder – June 6, 2017

We begin with the proposition that we may only have one year left to save American democracy from an autocratic president who is increasingly isolated from reality as he and his tightening inner-circle of right wing zealots move to undo institutions and confront the truth in a fascistic approach to governance that indicates a fascist worldview. Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale who has researched and written extensively on Hitler and Stalin, joins us to discuss his latest book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” and how as the incompetence and crudeness of the Trump Administration drives down the popularity of the Republicans heading into the 2018 elections, Trump will try to stage a coup to overthrow American democracy. We will assess the extent to which American institutions already under attack from the Trump Administration like the judiciary, the military, the intelligence community, the press and now much of corporate America as well as an expanding majority of the American people, will fight back against Donald Trump’s incipient authoritarian regime.


Fatih Akin – December 27, 2017

We speak with the director of a new film that takes on the issues of immigration and race relations roiling America and Europe and deals with the ugly re-emergence of white nationalism. Fatih Akin, the director of “In the Fade”, a feature film out of Germany starring Diane Kruger, joins us to discuss this drama about a German woman seeking justice for the terrorist attack that killed her Kurdish husband and son. Based on a real incident involving young German neo-Nazis who killed Turks living in Germany, the movie reflects the political tensions resulting from immigration in Germany today that Donald Trump has inflamed here at home and which emerged in Charlottesville.


February 27, 2018

China’s President Declares Himself Leader for Life
The Head of Cyber Command Admits Trump is Ignoring Russian Attacks
The Continuing War Within the Democratic Party
Program Notes

We begin with China’s president Xi Jinping abolishing term limits and declaring himself the “unrivaled helmsman” of China for years to come. Orville Schell, the Director of the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and author of “Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty First Century” joins us to discuss the growth of illiberal regimes around the world with authoritarian leaders like Xi Jinping, Putin and Erdogan grabbing power and holding on to it ruthlessly and permanently. We will assess the absence of any pushback in defense of Democratic ideals and values coming from the traditional bulwark of Democracy the United States, whose leader Donald Trump does not care for or defend democratic values but instead is infatuated with dictators and demagogues. And although Xi Jinping has vowed to restore the Middle Kingdom to its rightful place as a global power, he presides over a corrupt Communist Party and a brittle economy which if internal pressures were to erupt, the fear is the aggressive nationalism that Xi champions could find expression in Chinese military assertion in the South China Sea and against Taiwan.

Then we speak with a leading intelligence historian and expert on the NSA, Matthew Aid, the author of “The Secret Sentry” the definitive history of the NSA. He joins us to discuss the testimony today before the Senate Armed Services Committee by Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA who is also head of Cyber Command. In response to questions from senators about why the U.S. has not responded to cyberattacks from Russia that continue and will impact the 2018 elections, Admiral Rogers admitted that the President of the United States Donald Trump has shown no interest or inclination to do anything and that the Russians “have not paid a price that is sufficient to change their behavior”.

Then finally we examine the peculiar phenomenon of the DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attacking a candidate who is one of seven running for congress in the Democratic primary in the Texas 7th congressional district in Houston.Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College joins us to discuss the unnecessary and suicidal but continuing battle between the Democratic Party’s progressive Bernie Sanders and centrist Hillary Clinton wings, and his article at The Guardian “The Democratic party is now publicly attacking progressive candidates”.

Orville Schell | Matthew Aid | Lawrence Douglas



Subscribe on

itunes_200px googleplaylogo200px stitcher-square.png soundcloud logo

iTunes

Google

Stitcher

Soundcloud