Here And There with Dave Marash

America continues to be tortured by an epidemic of addiction to opioid drugs.  A lot of people blame the drug Oxycontin, the company, Perdue Pharma that manufactured it, and the Sackler family that largely owned and ran the company.  Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post on how the opioid blame game is playing out in State and Federal Courts.  The State of Massachusetts says the drug made profits of $14 Billion, and it wants to claw some of that money back. 

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President Donald Trump’s only thought on Syria seems to be – “We’re Outta Here.”  Well, we’re not and won’t be, but Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent Roy Gutman says American influence and credibility in Syria and the surrounding region have taken a big fall since Trump announced he wanted out.  One place US troops will staying is a base called Al-Tanf.  One place the White House will continue to ignore is Rukban, a terrible refugee camp right next door. 

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Who says there are no second acts in America?  Investigative reporter Robert Anglen of the Arizona Republic uncovered a nation-wide restaurant scam being run by a former Mafia leg-breaker in the Witness Protection program.  Anglen helped that one go bust, but he didn’t stop Frank Capri whose second fraudulent scheme is actually almost a duplicate of his first one.  He even hoodwinked some of the same victims twice. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_042519_Anglen.mp3
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For the Trump Administration starving Venezuelans are pressure points against the crookedly re-elected President Nicolas Maduro, but to the Red Cross, they are just people in need of food and medicine, and if getting it to them means giving some credibility to Maduro, so be it. Joshua Goodman of the Associated Press has been reporting the story from Caracas, where American huffing and puffing hasn’t blown Maduro’s house in.  

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The United States and China are in the midst of a trade war as well negotiations for trade peace and mutual prosperity.  It’s complicated, because the two competing economies are deeply interlinked, so damaging one, actually damages both.  Another complication, the economies of the rest of the world are also hanging on the outcome.  John Feffer of The Nation tells the story, i

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The world is entering a new and revolutionary economic phase, one defined by robots and artificial intelligence.  Our guest Nigel Cameron has just written a book which asks and answers an important question – Will Robots Take Your Job?  The answer is yes, and unlike say, the Industrial Revolution, the AI economy may not supply enough substitutes for the jobs rendered obsolete. Training people for STEM jobs may make sense today, but will it make things better in the future?  Cameron says, think STEAM..add A for the Arts to science and technology. 

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A Federal ATF campaign in Albuquerque seemed built to produce disproportionate arrests of African-Americans and Hispanics, and it did.  Do similar racial and ethnic disparities exist in NM law enforcement at the state and local levels?  It’s no accident that no one can know for sure.  In all America, NM is one of only 2 states that refuses to collect the data.  Investigative reporter Jeff Proctor of NM in Depth and Santa Fe Reporter, on what the NM State Government doesn’t want to know, and doesn’t want you to know either.  

Direct download: HT041619proctor.mp3
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For years the small Kazakh minority in China’s far western province, Xinjiang, had good relations with the Beijing government.  But now, President Xi Jinping’s relentless crackdown on the local majority Uighurs has expanded, and the Kazakh’s language, customs, Muslim religion and personal freedom are also under attack. Kazakhs as well as Uighurs now face more invasive government surveillance, mass arrests, family separations and punishing re-education camps.  Salih Hudayar of the East Turkestan National Awakening Movement tells the story in depth.

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 Ukraine is between Presidential elections.  In the recently-completed first round, Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian who plays Ukraine’s president in a popular television series got by far the most votes.  His opponent in the decisive second round is Ukraine’s incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko.  Who will the Ukrainian people, and the Russian trolls and bots back in the race?  Scholar Alexander Motyl looks cautiously ahead.  

Direct download: HT041119MotylPOD.mp3
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In today’s headlines, tens of millions of migrants are causing crises on every continent.  But Harvard University scholar, Jacqueline Bhabha, says human migration has been part of the global experience forever.  As long as mankind has known wars, famines, floods and political conflicts, it’s seen people on the move, seeking better lives. Professor Bhabha asks, in a new book, Can We Solve the Migration Crisis? and offers some reasons why the answer should be yes. Human kindness and political wisdom would both help.

Direct download: HT0409BhabhaPOD.mp3
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Nothing President Trump has tried to stop the flow of migrants to America’s southern border has worked.  His latest trick, slowing down processing for asylum applicants “doing it the legal way,” has made everything worse. Slowing that route drives desperate people to cross illegally, give themselves up and divert from real border security, hundreds of border patrol officers.  Photo-journalist Roberto Rosales of the Albuquerque Journal has been covering the border crisis for months.

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What do you do with captured terrorists, and what about their families?  As more and more fighters for the Islamic State are being taken prisoner in Syria, the big question is what should happen next.  Terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins of the RAND Corporation says the US should do what President Trump recommends for all other countries except the United States …bring ‘em home and put them on trial.

Direct download: HereAndThere_040419_Jenkins.mp3
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For 5 years in Darfur, and years after that in Kenya, Susan Burgess-Lent delivered humanitarian aid and community organizing expertise to women in need.  She wrote about it in her book, Trouble Ahead, Dangerous Missions with Desperate People, and tells us about it, in depth.  Making aid effective means much more than cutting a ribbon and handing over medicines or supplies. 

Direct download: HereAndThere_040219_Burgess_Lent.mp3
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Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots has been charged with buying sexual services at a so-called massage parlor in Florida. His celebrity made the bust a headline story, but the real story is that the massage parlor may be part of an $3 billion a year international trafficking industry.  How women get to the US from China and then are moved like checkers from massage parlor to massage parlor around the country. Frances Robles of the NY Times has the story.

Direct download: HereAndThere_040119_Robles.mp3
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