Here And There with Dave Marash (general)

Jeffrey Wilson wanted a Wise Man’s view of today’s American political reality, so he conducted an interview with the scholar-activist Noam Chomsky; and he wanted to communicate what he learned to an audience that might never read Chomsky’s books.  So, he turned his interview and some reality-testing of it in a graphic novel-style book The Instinct for Cooperation.

The making of the book actually exemplifies its subject: the transformative effect of mutual aid as seen through the Occupy Wall Street action in New York and a Mexican-American Studies program in Arizona.

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Although there are still a few pockets of resistance in Syria, the Islamic State has largely been defeated, and its ability to be a base for large-scale terrorism has been sharply reduced.  But Brian Michael Jenkins of the RAND corporation says that has only re-shaped, not eliminated terrorist  threats.  So how should America adjust is strategies and tactics in the GWOT, Global War on Terror to pre-empt almost random, so-called “lone wolf” terrorism?

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The First Amendment could not be more clear.  It protects freedom of speech, personal and published, and freedoms of assembly and religion.  Now a 5-4 majority decision written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito extends First Amendment protections to outvoted minorities who won’t join and don’t want to pay into their workplace’s labor union.  Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent says this isn’t so much an extension as a dangerous corruption of First Amendment law. Noam Scheiber of the NY Times covered the Janus vs AFSCME case and talks with us about the story.

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We start our program week, with President Donald Trump’s trade war.  Who are supposed to be the foreign targets of Trump’s economic belligerence, and who are meant to be its beneficiaries?  And who in America already consider themselves to be among its casualties?  And when and where will consumers start to see rising prices on things they buy because of Trump’s tariff policies?  Ali Velshi, the chief economic correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC looks at the story, in depth on HERE & THERE -- coming up next. 

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Almost every corporation tries to present a pretty face to the news media.  But reporter Marie C. Baca of the Albuquerque Journal and the Columbia Journalism Review says Facebook’s attempts to channel journalists into telling the story it wants before the public are as aggressive as anyone’s.  Gosh, did the state’s leading newspaperreally want to talk with Gov. Susana Martinez? they said, after shunting Marie into a lesser session with carefully coached small business people.  

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Military forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are re-taking southwestern Syria from one of the last group of rebel holdouts.  The front lines keep getting closer to the borders of Jordan and Israel, and Israel at least is warning Hezbollah and Iranian forces fighting for Assad to back off, or else.  The government advance has gotten lots of air support from Russia, which is one reason why Israeli leader Binyamin Netanayhu is heading for Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin.  Josef Federman, the Associated Press’ Bureau Chief in Jerusalem has been directing coverage of the story. 

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Libya still has 2 governments, one based in Tripoli in the West and the other in Tobruk in the East.  Neither one is much good, but the Tripoli government has international recognition from the UN and the US.  But the Tobruk government has by far the better army and now controls Libya’s biggest oil port, and its military leader, Field Marshall Khalifa Hifter says it will no longer let Tripoli dictate shares in oil profits.  Award-winning Libyan journalist Mustafa Fetouri of Al-Monitor helps us sort things out. 

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Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un both came to Singapore, had an apparently amiable conversation and went home in peace.  President Trump called this a game-changing triumph, but only weeks later admitted that North Korea hadn’t changed, and was still a dangerous nuclear threat to America. So are the analysts who say Trump gave North Korea more and got less than his Presidential predecessors correct?  Joe Cirinicione of the Ploughshares Fund is one of our top experts on nuclear weapons and diplomacy with Pyongyang.  

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President Donald Trump, under extreme political pressure, suddenly reversed his family separation policy for migrants crossing America’s southern border.  But are the forcibly separated families really being reunited, and will they now face years together in detention while they await their day in court? Zoe Carpenter of The Nation has visited one notorious detention center and tells how it’s just one part of a zero tolerance policy that collapsed of its own weight, incompetence and cruelty. 

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Ivan Duque won the Presidency of Colombia campaigning on the program of his political mentor, former President Alvaro Uribe, to undermine the peace agreement with the FARC rebels.  Now that he’s won, Colombians are asking if he’ll keep to that hard line or show some independence and try to negotiate changes the FARC will accept?  The bigger question is will he bring law, order and governance to the rural areas the FARC has surrendered?  Joshua Goodman of the Associated Press discusses the story, in depth.

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