Here And There with Dave Marash

America’s top 3 security officers, the heads of the FBI and the CIA and Director of National Intelligence say one thing; President Trump says another.  The Islamic State is not defeated, say the experts; they will be soon, says the President. And there are profound disagreements about the nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea. Only President Trump believes Iran is building a bomb, and only he believes North Korea will give up theirs.  Respected Washington analyst Joe Cirincione of The Ploughshares Fund sorts it out…

Direct download: HereAndThere_020719_Cirincione.mp3
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 The economic and political implosion in Venezuela has sent millions of people out of the country – between 2 ½ and 3 million, says the United Nations.  More than a million refugees are now living in Colombia… and top government officials predict that number could double in a couple of years.  Christine Armario of the Bogota bureau of the Associated Press (AP) has covered the conflict over a now-closed tent camp in the capital, and several, much larger, more permanent-looking camps close to the Venezuelan border.

Direct download: HereAndThere_020519_Armario.mp3
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It’s news when Israel shoots missiles at Iranian military facilities in Syria.  But it’s bigger news when they publicly announce it and say they’ve done it hundreds of times. Kenneth M. Pollack of the American Enterprise Institute and author of Armies of Sand: The Past, Present, and Future of Arab Military Effectiveness on what’s going on here.

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Since 2000 it’s been Federal law that Federal nuclear workers only needed to show they had one of 22 radiation-linked cancer and proof they worked a plant that had had nuclear accidents, and incomplete records on human exposures to claim medical coverage and a lump-sum benefit.  But Rebecca Moss of The New Mexican says workers from Los Alamos Labs who would seem to qualify often get nothing.

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We Want to Negotiate…4 words no government ever wants to hear from terrorist kidnappers.  It’s also the title of a new book by Joel Simon, Executive Director of The Committee to Protect Journalists, who are all too often the hostages being negotiated for…, if their governments are willing.  The US Govt is not. 

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It was 1990, and a Congress tired of being lied to by agencies of the Federal Government passed the Chief Financial Officers Act, which required all departments of Uncle Sam’s government to submit to annual audits.  28 years later, they all had complied, except the Defense Department.  Investigative reporter Dave Lindorff of The Nation and thiscantbehappening.net tell us why.

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“People with disabilities” learn to deal with them.  Why?  Basically to keep up with the rest of us, to be treated simply as “people,” to avert separation.  So why is it that we still have so many tests, and rules that exclude and isolate people with physical or cognitive differences from the norm?

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Making recreational use of marijuana legal has long been an ambition of the NM Democratic Party.  Now there’s a Democratic Governor and Democratic majority in both houses of the Legislature.  So does that mean legal pot’s a sure thing?  Not according to investigative reporter Mike Gallagher of the ABQ Journal – the vote, like the issue itself is complicated.  Any legalization law will have to cover who can use marijuana and where, and who can sell it and where, and regulate standards of quality and collection of taxes.  Among other things… 

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On Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we consider whether life as has changed for people of color in America during the Donald Trump Era.  With our guest, the Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, we examine 4 cornerstones to Dr. King’s concept of the good life: security, civility, justice and opportunity.

Direct download: HereAndThere_012119_Clarence_Page.mp3
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President Donald Trump wants to roll back many basic protections of America’s environment, it air and water.  He’s issued a lot of proclamations and policies, but what’s been the real effect on New Mexico and the rest of America.  Environmental reporter Laura Paskus of the NM Political Report sorts out the rhetoric and the reality.

Direct download: HereAndThere_011719_Paskus.mp3
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For 50 years RAND Corporation analyst Brian Michael Jenkins has been on the leading edge of policies to combat and contain terrorism. Among the things he’s learned, good police work can do more to protect societies than military counter-terrorism units.  How and why America has been kept so safe, and why shutting off immigration may not be an effective way to keep the country secure.  Most of America’s relatively few terrorists lived here for decades before going radical.

Direct download: HereAndThere_011519_Brian_Jenkins.mp3
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The inauguration of new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was full of messages.  A heavy military/security presence signaled a sense of national crisis, restrictive rules that forced reporters to wait without food or drink for 7 hours told journalists what the new President thinks of them.  Now, ceremonies are over, and AP Brazil Bureau Chief Peter Prengaman says radical changes are underway.

Direct download: HereAndThere_011419_Prengaman.mp3
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Todd Ewen was an enforcer.  A recognized part of every National Hockey League team, the guys whose main job is to fight.  Ewen lasted 11 years, retired to careers in finance and coaching and patented 5 inventions, and shot himself to death at 49.  A factor, says reporter Ken Belson of the NY Times, is that Ewen had CTE.

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Billions of dollars have been spent by FEMA and HUD rebuilding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.  Investigative reporting by a NY Times team led by Frances Robles found at least 40% of that money was being claimed by selected contractors for repairs that were too little, too late, and too badly done while the prices paid were too much. 

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Predatory lending has gone upscale, businesspeople are being suckered into signing away all their rights even as they take on high-interest debt.  Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Zachary Mider of Bloomberg News broke the story of Confessions of Judgment, the legal trap that lets one group of lenders strip more than $1 billion from their debtors.

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President Donald Trump shocked the world, and particularly America’s military leadership, when he announced the sudden withdrawal of US forces from Syria.  Even Republican analysts say Trump has ceded victory to Russia.  And why not, says the head of the Carnegie Center in Moscow, Dmitri Trenin, Putin’s Syria strategy was already winning.

Direct download: HereAndThere_122418_Trenin.mp3
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Here’s to crossroads cities; places where lots of people are always passing through and lots of different kinds of people choose to stick around.  Like New Orleans, whose 300 years attracted a historian’s delight of characters and complications.  Jason Berry takes full advantage in his delightful new book The City of a Million Dreams

Direct download: HereAndThere_122018_Berry.mp3
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Every day in America close to 200 people die of a drug overdose, most of them from an opioid, and more and more of a particular street opioid, fentanyl.  How people in pain got hooked, and how – even as thousands of dead bodies testified to the crisis,  -- government was largely paralyzed, is what Chris McGreal’s new book, American Overdose is all about.  How did a pharmacy in Kermit, WV population less than 500 sell millions of doses of Percocet, Vicodin and oxy-contin? 

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There’s a lot to be learned about President Donald Trump from the women in his life: the 2 who made and shaped him, his mother and Grandmother Trump.  Then came 3 wives and now made and shaped in some measure by Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka. Nina Burleigh’s new book Golden Handcuffs has enough dish and plenty of dash, it also is studded with good reporting and even better perspective.  It may explain the more transient relationships, tabloid-ready or not, and the indecorous, compulsive verbal attacks Trump makes on women.

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 People who’ve been briefed on the evidence say there’s no doubt Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi.  President Trump’s continued backing for MbS, says former top CIA analyst Emile Nakhleh, Director of the Global and National Security Institute at the University of New Mexico is bad for America’s reputation and the safety of Americans in the Middle East.  And then there’s Yemen, where America’s complicity is deeper and the negative impact in the region, even bigger.

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Poor Pakistan, desperately begging for financial relief, a bailout loan from the IMF, and better repayment terms from its international creditors.  Top of that list, China, but Kathy Gannon of the Associated Press Islamabad bureau says, so far Beijing hasn’t shown any signs of re-writing the contract.

Direct download: HereAndThere_121318_Gannon.mp3
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Donald Trump says he doesn’t believe in climate change.  Here’s how much he knows about it – he’s handed over global leadership on one of the defining issues of our time to China.  So, Barbara Finamore asks in her new book Will China Save the Planet? Few are better qualified to answer her own question.

Direct download: HereAndThere_121118_Finamore.mp3
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Amazon wins again! But the way it’s framed is that Long Island City, Queens, NY and Arlington, VA won the competition to become Amazon HQ cities. But, Bryce Covert asked in the NY Times, is this a win-win for the cities or just -- Amazon wins again!

 

 

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Somalia is a place most Americans would like to forget about.  The disastrous mission there in the 1990s left many Americans and many times more Somalis dead and little accomplished.  Dan Joseph, the chief of the Africa desk at Voice of America has co-authored a book, Inside Al-Shabaab following governance in Somalia is went from bad to worse to today’s stalemate.  2 things have changed in the past 15 years, more American drones in the sky and more American Special Forces boots on the ground.

Direct download: HereAndThere_120618_Joseph_podcast.mp3
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The present state of America’s diplomatic romance with North Korea seems to have both sides playing hard to get.  Although there is still talk of another Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit, just getting second-level diplomats in the same room is off the table for now.  What does this mean?  Bruce Bennett of the RAND Corporation, one of America’s top Korea-watchers has lots of insights, if no clear answer to the what’s next question. Meanwhile, Bennett says evidence suggests the North Koreans are stalling while they make their nuclear arsenal even stronger.

Direct download: HereAndThere_120418_Bennett.mp3
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It was called America’s Main Street, the Mother Road and the Will Rogers Highway, US Route 66, the highway that ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, from NM’s eastern border with TX to its western edge at AZ.  It was well-traveled and well known, but it took singer pianist Nat King Cole to put Route 66 on more than just roadmaps.  Photographer Terrence Moore traversed Route 66 many times, took his pics, got his kicks and shares the pleasures with us.

Direct download: HereAndThere_120318_Moore.mp3
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When reporter Kathleen McLaughlin first went to China, she needed regular doses of blood plasma, but in China at that time, the odds on any medication were only about 50-50 that it was both safe and effective.  So she smuggled in her own, but as a reporter for the Guardian, she  wondered, what’s the impact of defective Chinese medicines around the world.  In Tanzania, where malaria is a widespread problem, those 50-50 odds were leaving a lot of patients ill-treated or dead.  

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New Mexico and Louisiana are polar opposites in climate.  Louisiana is wet and NM is bone dry. But their public schools face very similar problems caused by deep poverty and complicated diversity. Julia Kaufman of the RAND Corporation has been monitoring school reforms in Louisiana.

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Today’s America has come to this: teaching in the public schools, like harvesting green chiles, is a job nowhere nearly enough Americans want to do -- especially in low-paying states like New Mexico.  So, there are established pipelines for foreign teachers, but what should be a win-win for everybody – mostly good, dedicated teachers, being paid better than they would be at home -- has been corrupted.  Lauren Villagran of Searchlight NM tells a story of indentured servitude.

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It was a blue, blue year in New Mexico’s electoral politics, as Democrats swept all the big statewide and Federal races.  In most of the races, the Democrat not only won, but won big, but it was 2 very tight races that may have delivered the most interesting messages.  New Mexico’s premier political pollster Brian Sanderoff on the 2018 elections in New Mexico.

Direct download: HereandThere_112018_Sanderoff_pod.mp3
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If elections are close, and the vote count runs late, and a lot of Republican trees fall from the House of Representatives after many folks watching returns on TV have gone to bed, how loud is the political sound?  Will the late Blue Wave change anything about Washington politics. Veteran political pollster and analyst John Zogby considers what happened in the midterm elections.

Direct download: HereandThere111918JohnZogby.mp3
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As he turned into the homestretch of his second and final season as California’s Governor, Jerry Brown created a suitable occasion to celebrate an important aspect of his work: a Global Climate Action Summit,  Mark Hertsgaard of The Nation covered the event and spoke with Brown and considers how Green Was this Governor?  And then there’s the question many of the Summit attendees were pondering -- how long will Green Spring politics survive in the coal, gas and oil-fired winter of Donald Trump?

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Here in NM, and many other places in America, the recent midterm elections burned through more money than ever before.  This is a record with the endurance of a sandcastle.  So, from where and whom is the money coming from? and is it paying off in votes? Dave Levinthal led a team of reporters from the Center for Public Integrity to answer these questions. Fortunately for us, the answers are complicated and interesting. Like are a lot of little skinny financial supporters better than a small bunch of big fat ones?

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Veterans Day, one of our national occasions to remember, to honor, all who served and to consider the causes in which our veterans have been asked to fight.  The holiday is an important reminder to remember.  Too few public reminders mean a lot of Hispanic-American history will be lost from America’s memory.  Union leader Cesar Chavez’ childhood home could disappear, another reason not to know about one of the most important Americans of the 20th century. Russell Contreras of the Associated Press tells the story, in depth on HERE & THERE

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First the New York Times revealed that Donald Trump’s fortune wasn’t built by himself, but with hundreds of million  of dollar given him by his father.  Now, Heather Vogell of Pro Publica has led an 8 month investigation of the Trump family’s real estate dealings.  As you might expect, it’s not a pretty picture. The Trumps say they just lent their name to projects, but Heather says her team’s investigation showed the Trumps were more deeply involved and helped mislead investors and buyers — and profited handsomely. 

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Senior Counsel to The Wilderness Society, on the meaning and impact of the biggest sale of oil leases (in Southeastern New Mexico) in American History.

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Has President Donald Trump turned American politics into a Battle of the Sexes?  Aimee Allison created the activist group “She the People” to fight for the female perspective on how our country should be governed.  She knew her campaign would draw opposition, but after the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, gender-politics has hit new lows for civility and new highs for conflict and abuse.

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Foreign correspondent Christopher Livesay knew he and his PBS News Hour cameraman would be unwelcome visitors to Libya. The government had banned all foreign TV crews for months. Livesay had no idea how dangerous the country had become and how hard his government minders would work to prevent him from getting his story about the plight of stranded sub-Saharan migrants. 

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Many Native Americans in the Southwest live in what are effectively food deserts, places were fresh fruits and vegetables and non-processed foods are simply not available.  But in Arizona, Native American farmers are trying to change that.  Tayler Brown of Cronkite news of AZ PBS with a story of corn in many colors and beans full of nutritional magic.

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I call it family separation with Chinese characteristics.  First Chinese authorities put Muslim Uighurs into “re-education” centers, then they take their children away and put them into special “orphanages” where, their parents fear, they’ll be stripped of their cultural identities.  Yanan Wang of the Associated Press Beijing Bureau broke the story.

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It’s one of the biggest crimes against human rights in the world today – the government of China’s crackdown on the Uighur minority, and other Muslim groups in Western China.  Scholar Rian Thum has visited Xinjiang, but said, he couldn’t be seen talking with anyone lest he put them in danger of detention.

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Over her 20 years covering Afghanistan for the Washington Post, foreign correspondent Pamela Constable has seen a lot of positive changes: a better economy, more opportunities for education and new freedoms spread by smart phones and the internet. What hasn't changed is the endless bloodshed. 

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Economically, Yemen has barely any value; politically, it has historically been among the most ungovernable places on earth. So why are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates destroying the place in a war they may never win, and why is the US working so hard to help them? Trevor Johnston follows Yemen for the RAND corporation and will explain. 

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A distraught mother reports her 3 year old son missing, probably kidnapped by his father.  The child has epilepsy and could die without medication.  The FBI tracks the father for months and doesn’t intervene until long after the child has died for a seizure for which his medication was withheld.  Why did the FBI wait so long?  Could it be they were building a case against suspected terrorists and child abuse didn’t seem as important. John Miller of the Taos News has followed the story since sheriff’s deputies finally intervened on August 3. 

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The fastest-growing phenomenon in American retail right now is the Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar General.  There are more Dollar General stores than there are McDonalds.  Low prices.  Low overhead.  Low wages for few workers.  2 struggling towns in Kansas decide if they want one. Chris McGreal of The Guardian with the story.

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A tough year for Brazil to choose a new President.  The economy’s terrible, violent crime is rampant, and the man who led all the polls, former President Lula was tossed from the race.  Then the new poll leader, right-winger Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed and now confusion reigns.  AP Rio de Janeiro Bureau Chief Peter Prengaman sorts out the story.

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A California jury has ordered Monsanto  to pay a high school groundskeeper named Dewayne (Lee) Johnson $289 million, because Monsanto never warned Johnson that the weed-killer Roundup could give him cancer. Carey Gillam wrote the investigative book Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science.

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It’s called the Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratories Communities, a harmless group that offers community platforms and Washington lobbying in behalf of the Labs.  But Steve Terrell, the Statehouse Reporter and Columnist for The Santa Fe New Mexican, says it does the little it does on our dime, and that’s just the beginning of the scandal.  The Coalition’s former chief executive is running for the State Legislature in spite of what was at best sloppy bookkeeping and at worst a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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The standard measurements all show the US economy doing well.  So how come so many Americans are doing so badly?  And can an economy live off by skimming the fat off the top, while down below, major cities are awash in people living in homelessness and hunger and small towns are fading away?  Financial journalist Nomi Prins, the author of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World sees signs of trouble ahead in America and in emerging markets like Turkey, Brazil and Mexico, and perhaps for the banks that invested there. 

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Sen. Jeff Flake had been planning to run for another term, as a Republican alternative to Donald Trump.  Instead he’s planning to retire.  In the Republican primary for Flake’s seat, Martha McSally’s key to victory was convincing voters she wasn’t a never- her story, in depth.

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There is neglected history and there is hidden history.  In his award-winning book The Other Slavery, Andres Resendez uncovers both the neglected history Native American slavery in America, and the hidden history of Christopher Columbus, big-time slave trader.

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Homelessness in New Mexico has not exploded at anything like the rates seen along the Pacific Coast, but still the state is short of places to stay and services to help homeless people become self-supporting.  In Albuquerque tiny homes are being suggested as an answer the first problem, and in Northern New Mexico a federally funded campaign is being launched to help young people with nowhere to live.  Hank Hughes of the NM Coaltion to End Homelessness talks problems and potential solutions…in depth on HERE & THERE

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Remember the Parkland, Florida high school shootings?  On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018, 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High were killed by a 19 year old former student Nikolas Cruz armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and multiple magazines.  “The Parkland effect” – led by survivors of the shooting -- helped change gun laws in Florida, but Steve LeVine of Axios.com wonders if Parkland will affect the November elections.  

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President Trummp’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh told Maine Senator Susan Collins that he considered Roe V. Wade “settled law.”  But what if he changed his mind?  Margaret Wright of the NM Political Report says in the case, access to abortion in this state may depend on the fate of a 50 year old state law. The battle to repeal it, she says, will be a big issue for the 2019 session of the NM Legislature. 

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What does it mean when citizens of Los Angeles vote overwhelmingly to raise their own taxes to pay for housing for the homeless?  Reporter Bryce Covertof The Nation says it’s just one sign of several – including anti-austerity rebellions in the state legislature of Kansas and Illinois, that 2018 may be a banner political year for progressives.  But winning won’t come easily.  Small government conservatives aren’t just well-organized, they’re well-funded, by among others, the Koch Brothers and the Mercer family.

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Of all the places on earth, the one you’d probably least like to find yourself is Yemen, where deadly bombings by the Saudi and Emerati air forces continue to pound cities, towns, hospitals and basic infrastructure.  There is vicious, if strategically stalemated fighting on the ground as well.  Military analyst David Isenberg tells us who’s actually doing the fighting.  It may be Saudis and Emeratis in the air, but the ground forces trying to defeat the Houthis that have seized control of Yemen’s capital and main northern seaport are foreign mercenaries. 

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First, the Rohingya Muslims were violently driven from their homes in Myanmar, in what the UN calls another case of the crime against humanity known as ethnic cleansing.  Now, up to 700,000 Rohingya are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.  Conditions are wretched and the Bangladeshi government refuses to allow for imporvements that might suggests the camps may become permanent.  Registered nurse Tylerr Jones is just back from a medical relief mission for the Sante Fe-based Global Outreach Doctors 

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What’s the hardest word for a tyrant to say to his people?  “Goodbye,” as in, my time’s up now.  That’s the problem right now in Nicaragua, where President Daniel Ortega is under siege, loudly rejected by a growing portion of the Nicaraguan population.  And every killing and crackdown committed to keep him in in office only makes the crisis worse.  So far hundreds have been killed and thousands are in jail or ominously out of sight.  Steve Hellinger of The Development GAP think tank looks at the story.

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Do you know where the State of NM spends its money?  Last year, 43 cents of every dollar were contracted to firms from outside NM, and that share has only increased in each of the last 5 years of Gov. Susana Martinez’ administration.  The Legislature has mandated State Govt time and again to make this data publicly available.  But it took John R. Roby, the big data specialist of Searchlight NM not only to dig out the info, but make it available on line for you.  How’d he do it?  It wasn’t easy. 

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For years, the housing authority in Alexander County in southern Illinois, let their public housing properties deteriorate.  By the time the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development took over, the buildings were too far gone to repair.  So HUD shut them and left hundreds of families looking for affordable places to live in a market that has little to offer.  Many residents have had to relocate hours away from the places they lived for decades. Molly Parker of The Southern Illinoisan and Pro Publica has the story.

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Amazon pays its warehouse workers more than some competitors, and they offer medical benefits, which is unusual.  But, critics say, the company’s close digital monitoring of everything from productivity rates to bathroom breaks make it an oppressive workplace.  And why were ambulances on stand by at 2 Amazon warehouse where workers were fainting from the high heat before the company put in air conditioning? Reporter Nina Shapiro of the Seattle Times went to an Amazon warehouse and has the story.

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Experts say, there has never been a voting system that was not vulnerable to hacking.  Investigative reporter Kim Zetter of VICE News’ Motherboard says, with election day less than 3 months away, those vulnerabilities remain largely unaddressed.  Will Putin play spoiler in the American elections again?  Suspected Russian spoofing of American power grid controls has been spotted.  Does this mean the Kremlin is shifting targets away from the election, or just that they’re expanding their hacking techniques? 

Direct download: zetterPOD0813.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MDT

Dona Ana County in southern NM is at the heart of what’s expected to be the closest contest among the state’s 3 Congressional races.  In the past, low voter turnout has limited the county’s influence on such political decisions, but this year, Heath Haussamen of NM Politics.net says, county election officials are determined to change that.  It’s a non-partisan effort to get out the vote, but it could have an impact on a very partisan election.

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Israel tells Russia, a 60 mile buffer zone between Iranian forces and the Syrian-Israeli border is a non-starter; we want Iran out of Syria.  Russia’s answer –no can do…and when asked about Russian attitudes towards further Israeli airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah bases in Syria, his answer is, It’s not for us to say. So should Israel see this as a green light, a yellow light or a red light for future bomb and missile attacks?  Andrew Parasiliti of the RAND Corporation on the implications. 

Direct download: parasalitiPOD.mp3
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Russia and Germany are working together to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which will further solidify Russia as the energy supplier for Germany and much of Europe.  President Trump says this will give Russia political domination over Germany.  Keith Johnson of Foreign Policy calls that an exaggeration.  But Keith agrees with the White House that there’s no exaggerating the negatives in the new pipeline for Ukraine, both in terms of national income and energy security. 

Direct download: Johnson0806pod.mp3
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Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO for short, finally won the Presidency of Mexico on his 4th try, and he did it by an overwhelming majority vote.  He’s also got strong majorities in both houses of Congress to tackle his promises to reduce historic levels of crime and violence and uproot endemic corruption.  And Victoria Gaytan of the think tank Global Americans reminds us, AMLO also has to deal with Donald Trump, who has publically called him “a terrific person.” 

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Twelve Thai schoolboys, aged 11 to 16 and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave for more than a week before they were found alive, after which it took more than a week to bring them to safety.  It was, for its time, the biggest news story in the world.  What an event! What a media event! How did it affect politically divided Thailand and what happens next for the kids and their soccer coach?  Tassanee Vejpongsa, Bangkok-based reporter for the Associated Press has been covering the story

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The migration of mostly middle-class, often well-educated and skilled refugees from the war in Syria has stirred lots of hostility and conflict in Europe.  So why has an equally large migration of similar people fleeing the police state in Venezuela gone so much more smoothly across Latin America?  Could it be because Europeans cling to tribal identities while Latin Americans see themselves as a single community?   Demetrios Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute explains. 

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America has had it both ways…as a country filled with beavers to one where the busy aquatic rodents have been almost exterminated.  Finding a livable middle ground for beavers and human hasn’t been easy, but Ben Goldfarb, author of the new book, EAGER: THE SURPRISING SECRET LIFE OF BEAVERS AND WHY THEY MATTER says we’re getting there…and we’re setting examples of how to do beaver restoration that are changing Western Europe.  Find out how transformative beavers can be to our riverine environments.

Direct download: ht072418pod.mp3
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Do the facts matter anymore?  The crime rate in Germany is very low and the absorption of more than a million migrants since 2015 has hardly affected the economy.  But enough Germans have been listening to the nativist rants of outsiders like Donald Trump and insiders like Interior Minister Host Seehofer that they believe the opposite. This has put Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government in danger.  Madeleine Schwartz of the NY Review of Books is based in Berlin and has been following the story. 

Direct download: HTschwartz0723pod.mp3
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First, Donald Trump threatened to pull the US out of NATO is member states didn’t fulfill their pledges to boost their defense spending.  But that’s just a squabble about money.  Now, he’s called into doubt America’s commitment to NATO’s collective security by questioning why the US should fight to defend Montenegro.  “They’re an aggressive people,” Trump says, adding that an aggressive Montenegro could start World War 3.  Montenegrins are insulted and bemused…NATO allies are worried.  USA Today White House correspondent David M Jackson helps to sort things out. 

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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.

Direct download: ht071918pod.mp3
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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?

Direct download: ht071818pod.mp3
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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.  

Direct download: HT070518pod.mp3
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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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It has been more than 32 years since one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents destroyed a reactor at the Chernobyl complex in Ukraine.  Harvard University historian Serhii Plokhy new book, entitled Chernobyl, sorts out the many consequences of the accident, for the health of people in Northern and Eastern Europe and for the politics of the Soviet Union and its successor states. 30-plus years and we’re still learning new things about the persistence of radiation and its human impacts. 

Direct download: HT_PLOKHY.mp3
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Colombia has elected a new President who wants to do a Trump-like thing and toss out a peace treaty his predecessor made with the former FARC guerilla army.  But at least the results were decisive and the election was clean.  Christopher Sabatini of Columbia University says recent elections in Venezuela and Honduras were as dirty as could be, and the prospects for upcoming Presidential elections in Mexico and Brazil show how threatened the very existence of real democracy is in today’s Latin America.

Direct download: HT062618pod.mp3
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In the last weeks before NM’s gubernatorial primaries, Politico Magazine broke what is called a “scandal” about the Democratic primary winner Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.  Grisham’s spokeswoman admits to “honest mistakes,” but how big a deal is this?  Are the faults in the state’s Democratic star, or in the way the State does public business.  Should public servants make private profits doing other public services? Trip Jennings of NM In Depth helps us sort that out. 

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The first place Russian use of fake news to manipulate foreign populations was uncovered was in Ukraine.  Todd Helmus of the RAND Corporation led a study team to detail what the Russian trolls were doing and how they did it.  He’ll tell us what his team found, and how they did that.  Ukraine, of course was only the beginning, interfering in the 2016 American Presidential election was the main event, but the Russian digital intrusions kept on coming, in the Brexit vote, and in national elections in France, Germany and Italy.  

Direct download: HT062118pod.mp3
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For 9 of the past 11 years, the University of New Mexico’s Athletic Department overspent its budget by millions of dollars.  And now it’s revealed UNM is out of compliance with Title IX because women aren’t getting an equal share of finding or participation in UNM athletics.  What went wrong and how did the University’s Presidents and Regents let it happen, and did the fact that a lot of university fund-raising has been kept secret from the public made problems worse?   Investigative reported Daniel Libit of the websitenmfishbowl.com has been first on this story, and give us an update. 

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