Here And There with Dave Marash

The San Luis Valley of southern Colorado is beautiful, a hammock between 2 major ranges of the Rocky Mountains, and prosperous, with some ranching but more farming of potatoes and...--this is the 21st century-- quinoa.  But it has a problem: not enough water.  The Rio Grande can only supply so much and underground aquifers are dropping.  The solution, the Golden Rule of Nursery School -- learning to share.  Kelsey Cody of the University of Colorado, Boulder, has been keeping a scholarly eye on the life-lessons and political-lessons being learned in the shadow of the Rockies. 

Direct download: HT082917CodyPOD.mp3
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Yemen may be the most unfortunate country on earth, beset by civil war and devastating air attacks, a famine that could starve millions, and the worst cholera outbreak ever reported...up to half a million already infected.  And things are getting worse: land and air attacks are more frequent than ever, and the coalitions that comprise the 2 sides are coming apart and still more people are being killed.  Oh, and the US is firmly on the side of the Saudi and Emirati invaders, the people UN officials call the worst child-killers on earth.  AP Cairo Correspondent Maggie Michael has been covering the story from the beginning. 

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The Islamist radicals of ISIS have been almost entirely expelled from the Old City of Western Mosul.  But the costs of this military victory have been enormous…as many as 40,000 civilians killed, an estimated one million people made homeless, and between a quarter and a half of buildings reduced to rubble.  How to help Mosul recover, the RAND Corporation analyst Shelly Culbertson has put in a year refining a plan.  It starts with supplying basic needs…food, shelter, security…and then considers restoration of police and health care and other public services, and allowing displaced people to return to their homes. 

Direct download: HT082417CulbertsonPOD.mp3
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When the Iraqi-led allied assault on the city of Mosul, Iraq, to expel the Islamic State from its biggest base city began, predictions were, it would take 3 or 4 months.  But after it took 5 months just to take East Mosul, and the casualty count among Iraqi forces was reaching unsustainable levels, the strategy for taking West Mosul was changed.  American-supported Air strikes and Iraqi ground force shelling with artillery and mortars was stepped up, and damage to property and civilians soared.  Photo-journalist Ivor Prickett covered the story in depth.

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NM Gov. Susana Martinez says the way to grow jobs is to cut corporate taxes and cut back on environmental law enforcement.  That’s exactly the opposite from what’s happening in the neighboring state of Colorado.  Guess which state shows rapid economic growth, and has tough laws regulating methane…and which state has the worst methane plume in the western hemisphere.  Well, at least it’s easier to identify NW NM from space….even if our economy is still in the ICU.  Rebecca Moss of the Santa Fe New Mexican gives us the story.

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Are you in deep trouble with your people, because your economy is disintegrating and criminal violence is amok on your streets and your clumsy political manipulations are as stupidly obvious as they are anti-democratic?  Want fast relief?  Get Donald Trump to threaten you and become a global martyr in waiting.  AP Andean bureau chief Joshua Goodman on the big favor America’s President did for Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolas Maduro..and why the Trump scarecrow might not save Maduro’s political future. 

Direct download: HT082117goodmanPOD.mp3
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The pattern is all too clear.  The Federal Department of Justice files criminal charges against some of the biggest brand name financial institutions on Wall Street, and winds up settling for money taken from innocent shareholders, while letting the people who dreamed up or passed along the scams that helped crash the economy go unpunished.  Pulitzer Prize winner Jesse Eisinger’s new book The Chickenshit Club shows – this injustice is no accident.  The toughest time for white collar criminals was when George W Bush was President…under Barack Obama prosecution became negotiation and bosses and their companies got more protection than citizens. 

Direct download: HT0817EisingerPOD.mp3
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In 2016 voters in New Mexico emphatically rejected Donald Trump, and by giving Democrats majorities in both houses of the State Legislature, rejected Republican Governor Susana Martinez’ 6 years of economic austerity.  In Kansas, in 2017, Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s hard-line austerity program was rolled back by opposition from within his own party.  Analyst Kim Rueben of The Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute explains what happened…and what it might say about a newly developing mindset among American voters…paying taxes for services you want and need may be acceptable, after all. 

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What one investigative reporter can do.  Thomas Brennan of The War Horse.com broke the story of the widespread cyber-stalking of female US Marines, by male US Marines and revealed a command that had been asleep at the switch.  Our guest Elliot Ackerman, who fought alongside Thomas Brennan as Marines in Fallujah, Iraq, has taken Thomas’s reporting a big step further: the need to tame the so-called “battle of the sexes” to protect the integrity and effectiveness of the men and women of the armed service uniquely focused on the literal battlefield. 

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It’s back-to-school time, and after a summer of budget cuts, job cuts and new assignments, school teachers, staff and administrators will have a tough time matching the bright first-day smiles on their students faces.  But Dr. Veronica Garcia, Superintendent of Schools in Santa Fe says she’s looking forward to the academic year ahead.  Her big investment, in the face of cuts elsewhere, student health.  In the era of Trumpcare, in-school nurses and aides go from being valuable to vital. 

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It was a mislabeled container of radioactive materials, sent by Los Alamos Labs to the WIPP site in Carlsbad, whose danger was covered up in Los Alamos, before the barrel of waste blew up underground, exposed a dozen workers to radiation and forced the WIPP site to close for 3 ½ years and counting.  Patrick Malone of the Center for Public Integrity says both the errors and the dishonesty are parts of a malign pattern of mismanagement inside the national nuclear weapons industry.  Firing the Los Alamos management is supposed to change that…but why did it take 3 years before the fired managers left their jobs? 

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When it comes to experience with immigration policy and the inner workings of ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service, reporter Marcelo Rochabrun of Pro Publica says the team assembled by now former Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly may be the most qualified ever.  But together they’ve created an indiscriminate deportation machine.  Fewer immigrants are crossing the border to the US, but families and lives are being destroyed in the process.

Direct download: HT080317RochabrunPOD.mp3
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When China took control of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997, Deng Xiaoping promised the island would always be run by Hong Kong people.  But veteran Hong Kong journalist Steven Vines says the promise has been bent if not broken. The Hong Kong people running the island territory take their orders from Beijing, and dissenters from Mainland control, like 6 members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council get nbunced from their jobs. 

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What happens when Takata, one of the biggest manufacturers of airbags for the auto industry, is revealed to have spent 2 decades putting unsafe “safety devices” into the world’s automobiles?  Legal expert Chuck Tatelbaum on why owners of 2001, 2 and 3 Hondas and Acuras are being told, get your air bags replaced before you drive another mile.  This is a mess the auto industry says will take years to set right, after 16 linked deaths and close to 200 linked injuries.

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What benefits did Obamacare bring to New Mexico, and what could be the effects of the Republican attempt to destroy it?  Colin Baillio of Health Action NM on what happens when you remove the fine for not insuring, and replace it with incentives to buy the cheapest policies insurors will sell.  What are the public health consequences of low premiums and very high deductibles in one of the poorest states in America? 

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In 1946 William Perry enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Japan.  There he lived the grunt’s life of collaborative survival and saw first-hand, the horrors of nuclear war.  Both experiences shaped his career as an entrepreneur and Secretary of Defense, building better homes for non-commissioned officers and helping disarm the weapons of the cold war.  The latter feat was achieved through co-operation with Russia…amost inconceivable, he admits unhappily, today. 

Direct download: HT080117PerryPOD.mp3
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Who won the war?  It’s a question we often ask too soon.  Especially since wars are usually, really, won by whoever sticks around and does the most to help after the fighting is over.  Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief of the NY Times on why few Iraqis think the US won the last war there.  And have low expectations after ISIS is defeated.  So, Who won? Iran.  Tim says you can see that on pilgrimages, in shops, at border posts and in how the Iraqi Parliament spends tax money.

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The NM Department of Human Services drove 15 behavioral health providers out of business, accusing them of fraud –a word the state’s own hit team auditors never used, and which 2 state Attorneys General investigations refuted.  But DHS is still dunning the social service agencies, sometimes for 5 cents or less on the dollar of their original charges.  Sylvia Ulloa of NM in Depth on what the DHS phony scandal did to one long-time provider of care to the vulnerable and needy. 

Direct download: HTUlloaPod.mp3
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Luis Ignacio da Silva…Lula, the most popular ex-President in Brazilian history has been sentenced to 9 ½ years in jail for corruption.  The present President Michel Temer seems likely to be indicted, and the guy next in line for the Presidency is also under investigation.  The corruption crisis that’s crippling Brazil.  Meanwhile President Temer is fighting back, trying to cripple the now globally famous Operation Car Wash investigation.  AP Correspondent Mauricio Savarese has the story in depth.

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Look at the pictures of the Old City of West Mosul, Iraq…utter devastation, buildings pulverized and flattened, block after block…but even in the ruins, unexploded ordinance and intentional boob-traps make every step dangerous.  Tony Cheng of CGTN spent the last 2 weeks reporting on the aftermath of the Battle for Mosul, and the administrative nightmare just unfolding.  Just sorting out genuine refugees from would be ISIS sappers hidden among them is slow and difficult…and deadly mistakes are inevitable.

Direct download: HT072417ChengPOD.mp3
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Why do we lie?  There are, of course, a million specific reasons, but the important general reason is, we lie because we can.  So what is it about human nature that leads us to mislead?  Yudhijit Battacharjee wrote about the fascinating science behind lying and deceiving for National Geographic…not just why we lie, but who lies most often…can you guess mankind’s prime years for untruth? 

Direct download: HT070617BattacharjeePOD.mp3
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On the surface, where most real property and rivers and streams are found, the border between Mexico and the United States has begotten volumes of lows, rule and codes, strictly laying out shares and responsibilities.  But Lauren Villagran, now of Search Light NM, just did a 5 part series of the ABQ Journal on the absence of rules or treaties or even explicit agreements on underground water, like the massive cross-border aquifer, the Mesilla Bolson.  It’s a big problem for sharing today and building towards tomorrow. 

Direct download: HT071917VillagranPod.mp3
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I’m an old guy.  I love my Medicare.  But for my oral health, I’m on my own.  Why is that? and how does it explain the inequality of America’s dental care?  Mary Otto, the author of an excellent new book called Teeth, knows the answers and the history behind them.  The economics of taking care of what’s in your mouth…the differences between medical care and dental care in America…they may not put a smile on your face. 

Direct download: HT070317OttoPOD.mp3
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All those recent articles on President Trump’s options in the face of North Korea’s test flight of a missile capable of hitting Alaska, were anticipated and excelled in Mark Bowden’s Atlantic Magazine analysis.  Bottom line: none of the options is good.  The biggest reason, the 25 million people living in the Seoul metropolitan area are unprotected hostages to Kim Jung Il’s nuclear threats.

Direct download: HTBowden071717pod.mp3
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Some call Donald Trump, the first Facebook President, the first Tweeter-in-chief.  Twitter may be where Trump sounds off, but deep data soundings purchased from Facebook, may have been what got him the White House platform from which he Tweets.  Nina Burleigh of Newsweek on her recent cover story on big data and high-stakes politics in the US and the UK where the same data miners and propaganda marketers, financed by the same ultra-conservative American billionaire also did BREXIT. 

Direct download: HT071317pod.mp3
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In 2013, to the staff of safety engineers at Los Alamos Labs’ Plutonium Unit, safety had become a dangerously low priority, that 12 out of 14 of them quit, and the Unit, PF-4 had to shut down.  4 years later it still is. Investigative reporter Patrick Malone of the Center for Public Integrity just published a 5 part series on safety issues at the National Labs.  A tale of 2 photo opportunities: 1 almost caused a catastrophe, the other covered up the consequences.

Direct download: ht071117MalonePOD.mp3
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State-sponsored domestic terrorism, that’s what Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has unleashed to keep his hold on power.  One of his “colectivos” – armed gangs, who have long  threatened or beaten up Maduro ‘s opponents, stormed the National Parliament Building and savagely attacked opposition legislators, while government security forces stood by.  AP Andean Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman has been in Caracas as the Venezuelan political crisis has spun closer to the brink. 

Direct download: HT071017GoodmanPOD.mp3
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I asked America’s Money Answers Man, Jordan Goodman, to take a look at an op-ed written by NM Congressman Steve Pearce.  It defends what’s called The Financial Choice Act, passed by the Republican majority in the House and presently bogged down in the Senate.  Goodman, one of America’s top financial journalists says Pearce has some legitimate points, but overall the bill mostly benefits the already rich and powerful.  For one thing it protects predatory pay day lenders and guts the Consumer Financial Protection Board, which has taken back from financial cheaters some $12 billion in 6 years.

Direct download: HT070617GoodmanPOD.mp3
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When various branches of the Mexican government bought $80 million worth of spyware from an Israeli manufacturer, The NSO Group, they all had to promise to use it only against terrorists, drug cartels and big time criminals.  Instead, Nicole Perlroth of the NY Times has revealed in a series of front page articles, the Pegasus bug has been used against human rights crusaders, anti-corruption activists and some top Mexican journalists.  Pegasus has never been used to catch the murderers of 117 Mexican journalists since the year 2000. 

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One complication of the war to oust the Islamic State from Iraq has been the behavior of often-Iranian-trained Shi’ite militias.  They’ve frequently been accused of abusing, torturing, even killing innocent Sunni civilians.  That’s why they’ve all been told to steer clear of the Battle for Mosul and concentrate on IS units in the hinterlands outside the city.  Kenneth R. Rosen of the NY Times spent time recently with one Shi’ite militia group in the desert, near the Syrian border.  Their denials of bad behavior, Rosen says, didn’t account for a hidden prison camp, where Human Rights Watch says, those very abuses have been committed.

Direct download: HT062917RosenPOD.mp3
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In the Middle East, the United States says it has only one mission – to defeat Islamic State terrorism.  But most of our allies in the region, who did almost all of the actual fighting, have several different agendas.  Pulitzer Prize winning foreign correspondent Roy Gutman, who has recently visited the conflict zone in Syria, reports this often involves small-scale but bitterly fought wars between our allies.  As both American-supported and Russian-supported forces get closer to the Islamic State’s Syrian capital of Raqqa the danger of clashes involving both Russians and Americans is growing.

Direct download: HT062717GutmanPOD.mp3
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A recent series of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester in the United Kingdom, like attacks in the United States in the past several years, appear to be the work of “lone wolves,” operating independently of any Islamic State or Al Qaeda management or networking.  They are what RAND Corporation Terrorism analyst Brian Michael Jenkins calls “pure terrorism.”  He says they are a product of the shrinking territory and bankroll at Islamic State command headquarters and they present new problems for security forces meant to defeat them.

Direct download: HT062617JenkinsPOD.mp3
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After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s Veterans Administration Hospitals are facing more cases of Post-traumatic-Stress-Injury than ever before…and their standard treatments, anti-depression drugs and traditional psycho-therapy are failing many vets.  Matthew Farwell went through Hell in Afghanistan and then underwent both those treatments, to limited effect.  Then he got what some call, The God Shot, and felt a lot better quickly and still does a couple of years later. 

Direct download: HT061217FarwellPOD.mp3
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The Trump Administration approach to methane, the climate-heating greenhouse gas is relight the flares and celebrate their brightness.  Of course, you and the planet might choke on the fumes.  Environmental reporter Laura Paskus on a double-barreled blow to regulation designed to make the Koch brothers, among others, very happy.  Then there’s the Gila River diversion project, the best thing to be said of it is … it probably won’t happen, but meanwhile NM Gov. Martinez is spilling millions of dollars on it.

Direct download: HT062117PaskusPOD.mp3
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The battle for the city of Mosul, the biggest by far in Northern Iraq continues, with the forces of the Islamic State more and more encircled and diminished.  But Tony Cheng, who has been covering this battlefront since March for CGTN, the Chinese English-language news channel, says that claims that ISIS is on the ropes, and that the endgame has begun may be a bit pre-mature.  Tony reports the fighting, often house by house and block by block in the Old City of West Mosul remains fierce, and far from completely locked into the Old City, he says, ISIS forces continue to cause alarm in the hinterlands south and west of the city. 

Direct download: HT062017ChengPOD.mp3
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British Prime Minister Theresa May thought she was launching an easy victory tour when she called a snap election for Parliament.  Instead she lost her party its majority and almost lost her job.  AP’s London Bureau Chief Gregory Katz looks at what went wrong for May and what might happen next for the UK.  First on May’s agenda is negotiating BREXIT, Britain’s exit from the European Union.  She wanted a separation that was quick and complete…but what she wants may not matter. 

Direct download: HT062917KatzPOD.mp3
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President Donald Trump’s approval ratings keep falling.  No wonder, given that many of his biggest moves, like dumping the Paris environmental agreement and destroying Obamacare fly in the face of the expressed wishes for roughly 70% of American voters.  His smaller, less publicized moves may prove equally unpopular.  Senior national affairs correspondent Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post has been keeping close track of them.  Among the things Trump’s de-funding, workplace protections against employment discrimination and dangers to health and safety, and then there’s the deregulation of the environment.  Methane emissions are coming back, big time.

Direct download: HT061517pod.mp3
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To hear Gov. Susana Martinez tell it, the economy of New Mexico will soon be bouncing back as oil and gas prices rise.  2 things shadow that happy talk…oil prices seem stalled again, well below $50 a barrel, and even if prices come back, tax revenues from oil jobs may not follow.  Matthew Reichbach of the New Mexico Political Report on this impoverished state’s prospects after a legislative special session robbed most of the state’s piggy bank funds.  The Governor’s chosen hallmark is “No new taxes,” but some say the real meaning is, “No new ideas; no new investments for New Mexico.

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Turkey’s present is bad enough, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exploiting a State of Emergency and the new powers granted him by a recent and highly questionable referendum to make more political arrests and foreclose more platforms for public communication.  But Pinar Tremblay, columnist at Al Monitor says Turkey’s future may be defined for a plan to build more than 100 new prisons.  Meanwhile Erdogan’s tattered army has been cut out of the main fight to defeat the Islamic State and 2 of his biggest economic backers are squabbling. 

Direct download: HT061217pod.mp3
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After a commando raid in Yemen which cost the American military one of its most expensive airplanes and, much worse, the life of Navy Seal “Ryan’ Owens, the White House called it a success.  But award-winning reporter Iona Craig sneaked into that dangerous country and trekked 1000 miles to see the target village and talk with survivors of a raid that killed more than 2 dozen civilians.  A success is not what she calls it.  As for the war itself, no one is winning, but Yemen’s civilians, killed by the thousands by American-supported Saudi and Emerati bombing, are now facing famine. 

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Whether or not the House-passed repeal, replace and ruin of Obamacare bill ever gets through the Senate, American health care will remain the world’s most expensive, and nowhere near the world’s best.  Journalist Elizabeth Rosenthal, herself an experienced physician, has written a new best-selling book, An American Sickness, which not only details the many failings of our healthcare system, but has lots of suggestions on how you can get your best value from it. 

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Dan Habib was an award winning newspaper photographer.  Then his second son Samuel was born with cerebral palsy and Dan became his son’s advocate, and a maker of stunning video documentaries about children with special needs and how public school systems deal with them.

The first was called Including Samuel.  The second, Who Cares About Kelsey, tells the story of a teenager with ADHD and one school’s attempt to get her through graduation.

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Our guest today is writer and journalist Frank Deford.  Our subject, the NFL, football, and violence.  The National Football League is the 1% of professional athletics, the richest sport, with some of the richest and most admired performers, its televised games are the highest-priced, most widely popular athletic commodity in America.  But it has a violence problem, 2 of them at least: violence turned inward player on player, which a recent study suggested will leave 1/3 of its players with some form of irreversible brain damage.  And then, there’s the NFL’s problem of violence turned outward, assaults and batteries, most consistently violence within the family, victimizing wives, girl-friends, even children.  No one has written or spoken out more sharply on these issues than Frank Deford.

How to describe Frank Deford.  First of all, he is a writer of clean, elegant and decisive prose, and of fiction that mixes both penetrating empathy for character and often daring moral judgment with prose that has the richness and beauty of poetry.

Frank Deford has written 17, or is it 18 books, 2 screenplays and several libraries of magazine articles, television and radio scripts.  6 times his colleagues have named him U.S. Sportswriter of The Year. and of course, he’s in the sports journalists’ Hall of Fame. And beyond the press box, For sixteen years, Deford served as national chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and he remains chairman emeritus.

And to top it off, Deford is a real mensch

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A cult is defined as an isolated or at last separated community with a charismatic leader.  America is full of them, some good, some bad.  Pulitzer Prize-winning AP investigative reporter Mitch Weiss reveals how one religious congregation, The North Carolina-based Word of Faith fellowship was turned into an abusive cult, ruled by an erratic tyrant and run like a totalitarian prison camp.  There had ben whistleblowers in the past, but they were defeated by local prosecutors turned cult enablers.  

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Finally an eye-witness to conditions inside Trump-era detention facilities used for unaccompanied minor immigrants.  Dr Fernando Stein, President of the American Academy of Pediatricians has seen the kids, their bunks, their holding areas.  His report will shock you.  Put more than a dozen kids in a single area, he says, you expect a lot of noise.  At the El Paso holding center there was dead silence, kids staring dead-eyed from their bunks.

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President Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to keep out “bad dudes” and worse narcotic drugs.  Albuquerque Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallagher has done a 6-part series on the international market for illegal drugs called The Cartels Next Door and says a wall won’t even slow down the cross-border traffic in cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and the fentanyls.  Almost all of them, he says, are smuggled through legal Ports of Entry, the gateways through the wall.  

Direct download: HT052917GallagherPOD.mp3
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First, Sallyport, a major US military contractor in Iraq hired two investigators to check out operations there.  The investigators found evidence of security violations, alcohol smuggling, theft of U.S. government equipment and sex trafficking, which, investigative reporter Desmond Butler of the Associated Press says, got them fired and their report buried.  But not for long.  The investigators told Butler what they’d found and what had happened to them and their report, and then things got really ugly. 

Direct download: HT052517ButlerPOD.mp3
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The first round of France’s Presidential elections saw an almost perfect 4-way split in the votes.  But in the second round, the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron defeated second-place finisher, the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen by a 3-2 margin.  What are the implications for France’s future.  Former 60 Minutes producer Barry Lando, a longtime resident of Paris has some interesting ideas. Can a post-ideological President, backed by a gender-balanced, politically varied Cabinet bring some competence to French governance?

Direct download: HT052417LandoPOD.mp3
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In California’s Central Valley, America’s most productive food-producing region, there is widespread fear of President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.  Workers fear deportation, breaking families apart; farmers wonder who will harvest their crops.  Journalist Lauren Markham has talked with the migrants and their bosses.  But so far, most ICE raids have been in Southern California.  Will campaign contributions and personal relationships to Trump staffers add up to protection for workers and an industry in peril?

Direct download: HTMarkhamPOD.mp3
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Finally an eye-witness to conditions inside Trump-era detention facilities used for unaccompanied minor immigrants.  Dr Fernando Stein, President of the American Academy of Pediatricians has seen the kids, their bunks, their holding areas.  His report will shock you.  Put more than a dozen kids in a single area, he says, you expect a lot of noise.  At the El Paso holding center there was dead silence, kids staring dead-eyed from their bunks.

Direct download: HTStein053017POD.mp3
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New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez offered no suggestions during the State Legislature’s 60 day session earlier this year, but now she’s demanding a Special Session enact a full-scale overhaul of the budget-making process.  Milan Simonich on the Santa Fe New Mexican warns that’s an awfully big job for such a short session.  4 years ago, a rushed passage of a cut in corporate taxes, based on inaccurate estimates, enacted what has proved to be an economic disaster for the state. 

Direct download: HT052217SimonichPOD.mp3
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Pictures of Western Washington Mental Hospital show an old-fashioned factory-sized institution, right out of the movie melodrama, The Snake Pit.  Seattle-based Associated Press investigative reporter Martha Bellisle says years of problems at the state’s largest mental hospital suggest the resemblance is more than skin-deep.  Dangerous inmates have escaped; needy inmates have been neglected; and relations between hospital management and staff, especially staff who work everyday with patients, could hardly be worse.

Direct download: HT051817BellislePOD.mp3
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It’s on everybody’s list of archeological marvels, the several Native American buildings in Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico.  The amazing capitol of Chaco Puebloan culture has some protection from invasion by the oil and gas industry, but Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank Clifford worries the protection could be too small-scale and too short-term to ward off the oncoming frackers.  The Bureau of Land Management predicts up to 4000 wells will be drilled as close as 10 miles from the UN World Heritage Site, Pueblo Bonito. 

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Last summer a flying squad of agents and informants working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) went to work in Albuquerque.  What they found, whom they arrested see, to have been pre-determined, and not necessarily in a good way.  Reporter Jeff Proctor of nmindepth,com has investigated, and says, the mission’s alleged goal, busting “the worst of the worst,” does not seem to have been fulfilled.  

Direct download: HT051517ProctorPod.mp3
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For more than 20 years Carol Weston has been “Dear Carol” the advice columnist of Girls Life magazine.  She is also a best-selling author of books aimed at that same audience of teenaged girls.  Her latest is called Speed of Life.  You could say of the lives and concerns of American girls, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Boys and how to relate to them; body image and how to get comfortable and confident with it; parents and co-existence. 

Direct download: HT051517WestonPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

For undocumented immigrants to the United States, the rules are changing.  And Caitlin Dickerson of the NY Times reports this can mean quicker arrest, and worse living conditions while in detention.  Right now, some of these changes are still just proposals, but the Trump White House says it’s going to make life harder for undocumented migrants from Mexico, Central America and Haiti.  The Trump plan calls for more agents for the Immigration Service and Border Patrol, more use of local lock-ups as detention facilities and denial of almost all legal, civil and human rights for the immigrants.  

Direct download: HT051117DickersonPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

You get what you pay for, which makes the NM State Legislature a bargain, since it’s members get no salaries at all, just small per diems for the days they’re in Session.  This means for many NM law-makers, the free meals and gifts they get from lobbyists can make a difference in their lives, and for some lobbyists it can mean they get what they pay for.  Sandra Fish of nmindepth.com uses big data to sort out winners and losers, although, she admits, NM could really improve the transparency of its governance.

Direct download: HT050917FishPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Whether or not the House-passed repeal, replace and ruin of Obamacare bill ever gets through the Senate, American health care will remain the world’s most expensive, and nowhere near the world’s best.  Journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal, herself an experienced physician, has written a new best-selling book, An American Sickness, which not only details the many failings of our healthcare system, but has lots of suggestions on how you can get your best value from it.

Direct download: HTRosenthal050817POD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm MST

Manufacturing pharmaceuticals has long been a highly profitable business.  But there were risks involved, high costs for research and development for drugs that might never work, or find a market.  But now, we have vulture pharma manufacturers, who buy old companies, dump all the expensive R&D and jack prices sky-high.  Investigative reporter Roddy Boyd on the rise and fall of Valeant the king of the vultures.  Wall Street loved this predatory model, and now some of the fattest hedge fund hogs are out billions of dollars.

Direct download: HTBoydPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Opiate addiction is a major American problem, and the biggest drug pushers are the so-called legitimate manufacturers of opioid medicines.  So how come they are far less punished for putting millions of doses onto the streets than some schlub who sells 5 pills? Lenny Bernstein and Scott Higham won a George Polk Award for their series of investigative reports. Thet bring us up today on the fumbling Federal attempts to reign-in the billion-dollar opioid maker Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. 

Direct download: HT050317BernsteinPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

It’s been called the fastest-growing religious group in the Western Hemisphere: The cult of Santa Muerte, the Goddess of Death.  Millions have joined in Mexico…tens of thousands in the United States.  Albuquerque-based AP reporter Russell Contreras on what caused Catholic Church leaders in Texas and New Mexico to follow up on the denunciations of Santa Muerte by Pope Francis and church leaders in Mexico. Followers include drug criminals, sex workers and others who see themselves as outcasts from society.

Direct download: HTContrerasPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The vote for the National Legislature a year and a half ago, and polls taken in recent weeks show, 3 out of 4 Venezuelans want President Nicolas Maduro to leave office, and the sooner the better. Joshua Goodman, AP Buro Chief for northern South America has watched as support for, and protests by the opposition have grown.  Even after President Maduro called back an attempt by the Supreme Court to fire the Parliament, calls for his ouster have intensified.

Direct download: HT050117GoodmanPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

It looks like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won the referendum to restructure government to give him dictatorial powers.  But the vote was close and tainted by more than a million potentially illegal  ballots his supporters managed to get counted. Turkish-American journalist and scholar Pinar Tremblay sees trouble ahead.  Will Erdogan step up his purges from government jobs and his jailing of political opponents, and what about all those voters who think they’ve been cheated? 

Direct download: HT042717TrembleyPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The US has dropped its biggest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State hideouts in Afghanistan.  Former Afghan President Karzai calls his successor Abdel Ghani a “traitor” for authorizing the bombing. Will “the mother of all bombs” make a difference?  And for whom?  Journalist, author, aid worker and recent Kabul visitor, Will Everett on a country in which most of the young people want just one thing, a way out.  Is this any place for America to invest in to trying to build a future? 

Direct download: HT042517EverettPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Let’s face it, American healthcare is a mess.  It costs us more and gives us less than most citizens get in every other First World country. And most of what’s been proposed by President Trump and the deadlocked Republicans in Congress will only make things worse.  NBC News Chief Business Correspondent and MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi sorts through the bad ideas and the consequences.  The next big decisions by the President and our legislators are only days away, and they could cost you your money or your life.

Direct download: HT042417VelshiPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Over almost 40 years of service, the SEVA Foundation has cured more than 3 million cases of blindness – most of them in poverty-stricken places in India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Guatemala and Paraguay.  They also work in 3 places in the United States, all of them serving Native Americans.  Optometrist Dr. Lindsey Marvel talks about restoring sight in India and the Kewa/Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico, where the SEVA program starts with curing visual problems and goes on to train local people to work with them, and help create a self-sustaining medical facility. 

Direct download: HTMarvelPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

After a commando raid in Yemen which cost the American military one of its most expensive airplanes and, much worse, the life of Navy Seal “Ryan’ Owens, the White House called it a success.  But award-winning reporter Iona Craig sneaked into that dangerous country and trekked 1000 miles to see the target village and talk with survivors of a raid that killed more than 2 dozen civilians.  A success is not what she calls it.  As for the war itself, no one is winning, but Yemen’s civilians, killed by the thousands by American-supported Saudi and Emerati bombing, are now facing famine.

Direct download: HT0419CraigPod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

President Trump’s persistent denigration of American journalists may aggravate us folks in the profession here in the United States, but Joel Simon, the Executive Director of The Committee to Protect Journalists says, when the “leader of the free world” knocks journalists it licenses dictators around the world to do much worse things, including threatening, jailing and even killing their most honest reporters.  Already, CPJ’s global surveys show, the practice of journalism has never been more dangerous.

Direct download: HT041817SimonPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

After initially shrugging off the Sarin gas attack on Syrian civilians, almost certainly by forces of President Bashar al-Assad, with the comment, “I’m not the world’s policeman, US President Donald Trump retaliated with 59 Cruise missiles against a Syrian Air Force Base.  Left unanswered, the all-too-familiar question --“And then what?  Journalist and author Charles Glass, one of the world’s real experts on Syria, and a frequent and recent visitor there helps us sort out some possible answers, as repercussions echo from Damascus to Washington to Moscow. 

Direct download: HT041717GlassPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

At the University of New Mexico, several of the key trends are turning downward.  Financial support from the dead-broke State are down, and so are enrollments.  Acting UNM President Chaouki Abdallah says many parts of his system are “broken” and in need of fixing.  One example – the University’s heavy dependence on part-time teachers known as adjuncts. Thy can fill many holes, Dr Abdallah says, but there are important roles on campus they cannot play.

Direct download: HT041317AbdallahPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

A President’s public decisions and his private fortune are supposed to be kept strictly separated.  But several credentialed ethicists say even President Trump’s inadequate promises are already bing abandoned.  There are decisions with ethical implications being made every day at the Trump White House.  Investigative reporter Justin Elliott on why so many of them are so controversial.  Is the President “draining the swamp,” of swamping the Washington drain with too many wrong choices? 

Direct download: HT041117ElliotPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The battle for Mosul, Iraq.  Correspondent Tony Cheng is just back from the front lines of the months-long allied campaign to expel the Islamic State, ISIS, from its most important city. American air power has been crucial in this fight, but has also been the cause of many civilian casualties, which are starting to run into the thousands.  And Tony also explains why reporters covering today’s wars always try to keep their feet and their vehicles on pavement.  

Direct download: HT041017ChengPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

First there was BREXIT, then the election of Donald Trump, and pundits were saying, the world is going hard right.  Then the Dutch hyper-nationalist identity politician Geert Wilders was upset, going down in flames in national elections. Now votes are coming up in Germany and France with mainstream parties and politicians under sharp pressure.  James Kirchick of Foreign Policy looks at those elections, and the role being played in them by millions of dollars in imported right-wing American money. 

Direct download: HT040617KirchickPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

When a fired public employee becomes a whistleblower, reporters can check out the he said-they said charges by checking the public record.  But what happens when an arm of a public university says it is a separate non-profit and everything it does can be kept off the books? Daniel Libit of nmfishbowl.com says, that’s when you have to sue them.  He’s asked the University of New Mexico Foundation about selling naming rights for the school’s iconic basketball arena, and gotten no answers…yet. 

Direct download: HT040517LibitPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The best wall between you and financial predators, says Jordan Goodman, America’s Money Answers Man, is the CFPB, the Consumers Financial Protection Bureau.  In less than 6 years it has saved consumers $11 Billion.  President Trump and Republicans in Congress want to tear it down.  Who stopped the Wells Fargo Bank scams? Who’s busted mortgage flim-flams at Citimortgage and Nationstar Financial?  And who stopped crooks preying on 9/11 first-responders and brain-damaged NFL veterans? The CPFB.  Close it down? 

Direct download: HTGoodman040417POD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

What happens to immigrant children detained at the US-Mexico border?  Their first stop is a large warehouse, subdivided by chain link fences into separate areas for boys and girls, men and women.  Dr. Fernando Stein, President, American Academy of Pediatrics says the lights are on 24/7 and kids are absolutely silent.  They’re likely to be there for days, and their next stop, while better, still feels like a jail, where their average stay is more than a month. Dr. Stein says simply, this is unhealthy. 

Direct download: HT040317SteinPod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

President Donald Trump has called several of the most important components of the news media “enemies of the people.”  It’s an ugly charge with an ugly history.  Alan Miller, Founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project on what the charge means and how journalists and news consumers should respond to its challenge.   And then there’s the label “fake news.”  What is fake news, and has President Trump applied the label appropriately.  Does he really just mean, real news, I don’t like? 

Direct download: HT033017PodcastMiller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The 2017 session of the New Mexico Legislature ended with on vital piece of unfinished business.  The Legislature passed a budget, but Gov. Susana Martinez has promised to veto it and call for the law-makers to return to Santa Fe for a special Session.  Which is not to say that a lot did not get done in the 60 day session.  Matthew Reichbach of the New Mexico Political Report sorts things out. There were important reforms on the use of solitary confinement, and a big step forward towards a State Code of Ethics, but there was also a series of Martinez vetoes likely to be challenged in court.

Direct download: HT032817ReichbachPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

What will Iraq be like 100 years after the American invasion of 2003?  That’s the question, Iraqi author Hassan Blasim asked 10 of his fellow writers to address in short stories or a book called Iraq + 100.  One of those Iraqi writers is Anoud al-Anoud.  Like most of her colleagues,  Anoud predicts an Iraq still dominated by foreigners. Especially American foreigners.  Again, like almost all her colleagues, Anoud al-Anoud finds today’s Iraq an uncomfortable place to write in and lives as an expatriate.

Direct download: HTannoudPodcast0320.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The American Southwest is full of animal species struggling against extinction.  The chances of survival of the jaguar, the ocelot and the Mexican Grey Wolf will almost certainly be made worse by President Trump’s planned 1954 mile wall on the US-Mexico border. Bryan Bird of the organization Defenders of Wildlife explains why the wall and its service roads and regular patrols will make migrations necessary to species survival all but impossible, and what might be done to mitigate this problem. 

Direct download: HT_BIRD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Even the former head of New Mexico’s Department of Corrections admits, he found 2 days of solitary confinement to have been a devastating experience, but most days hundreds of prisoners in state and county lock-ups are kept in solitary for weeks and months at a time.  Exactly how many, the Department won’t say.  Investigative reporter Jeff Proctor of NM In Depth and the Santa Fe Reporter has more, including the story of one man, put into segregation, probably wrongly, and then kept there for months beyond his term, who still shows the effects more than a year after his release into society.

Direct download: HT_PROCTOR_6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Northwest New Mexico is marked by the biggest methane plume in North America.  The Obama Administration’s EPA enacted rules to make oil and gas producers reduce their emissions of methane into the atmosphere, but now Laura Paskus of the New Mexico Political Report tells us the Trump EPA is eradicating the evidence and  rolling back the rules.  The effects on climate change could be dramatic, because methane is among the worst chemical contributors to global warming. 

Direct download: HT_PASKUS_5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

A cult is defined as an isolated or at last separated community with a charismatic leader.  America is full of them, some good, some bad.  Pulitzer Prize-winning AP investigative reporter Mitch Weiss reveals how one religious congregation, The North Carolina-based Word of Faith fellowship was turned into an abusive cult, ruled by an erratic tyrant and run like a totalitarian prison camp.  There had ben whistleblowers in the past, but they were defeated by local prosecutors turned cult enablers. 

Direct download: HT032017WeissPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

President Dwight Eisenhower used his farewell Address to warn Americans about what he called “the military-industrial complex.”  65 years later, the warning still sounds prescient, even though the complex has grown, and now includes thousands of private military contractors who author David Isenberg says have been “systematized, legalized, normalized, and, in all important aspects, accepted.”  But are these contractors and the costs they add to the military budget, under control? 

Direct download: HT031617IsenbergPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

President Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to keep out “bad dudes” and worse narcotic drugs.  Albuquerque Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallagher has done a 6-part series on the international market for illegal drugs called The Cartels Next Door and says a wall won’t even slow down the cross-border traffic in cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and the fentanyls.  Almost all of them, he says, are smuggled through legal Ports of Entry, the gateways through the wall. 

Direct download: HT031517GallagherPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Dan Habib was an award winning newspaper photographer.  Then his second son Samuel was born with cerebral palsy and Dan became his son’s advocate, and a maker of stunning video documentaries about children with special needs and how public school systems deal with them.  The first was called Including Samuel.  The second, Who Cares About Kelsey, tells the story of a teenager with ADHD and one school’s attempt to get her through graduation.

Direct download: HT031417HabibPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Apparently the burden of creating “alternative facts” has grown too great.  The Trump Administration has returned to its simpler signature: no facts.  But now the President has opened the door to Congressional fact-finding – usually quite a carnival in its own right -- about his un-verified charge that he was wire-tapped by President Obama.  Recently retired NBC Political Correspondent Steve Handelsman helps us sort out phony facts and fancy fictions about Mr. Trump’s alleged Russian connections and the investigations into them.

Direct download: HT031317HandelsmanPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

On New Year’s Day 2017 in Brazil, a savage gang war inside a major regional prison killed 57 inmates, and insurgent mayors were sworn in to run the 2 biggest cities in the country.  In the days following, there were more riots, and fresh evidence of widespread corruption at the top of government and the private sector.  AP’s Rio Correspondent Mauricio Savarese got exclusive access to the Compaj prison, and helped lead the coverage of the latest revelations from the so-called CarWash prosecution of politicans and business executives.

Direct download: HT030917podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Nigeria is sorely beset, by an internal war with the Islamist radical terrorist group Boko Haram, by a budget crisis caused by low oil prices, and by corruption in government and human rights abuses by the military.  Meanwhile, says AP Lagos Bureau Chief Michelle Faul, President Mohammadu Buhari is out of the country getting medical care in London.  In Nigeria there is one state-of-the-art hospital, reserved for high government officials…all the rest are considered short-cuts to the cemetery.  Africa’s biggest and potentially richest country is in deep trouble.

Direct download: HT030717FaulPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The court system of the State of New Mexico is in the midst a great change, a reform of its process for deciding who is eligible for bail and who is eligible for pre-trial release with no bail. It is also in the midst of what Chief Justice Charles Daniels has called a “crisis” of funding.  He says the courts’ ability to fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities is in danger.  The impact of budget cuts not only inflicts pain and injustice on many people, it costs the state millions of dollars in avoidable costs. 

Direct download: HT030617DanielsPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

The so-called “frozen war” in Eastern Ukraine suddenly got hot in a small town called Avdiivka.  The Ukrainian government and its pro-Russian secessionist adversaries each blame the other.  No on is surprised about that, but the reaction, or lack of one from the Trump administration seems to have shocked President Poroshenko.  Meanwhile Trump’s long-time personal lawyer receives a secret peace plan that would legalize Russian control of the Crimean territory it seized 3 years ago. Former US Ambassador Steven Pifer on what all this may mean. 

Direct download: HT030217PiferPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Another European country in political turmoil.  This time it’s Italy, where the populist 5-Star Movement is now the second-most-popular political group in the polls.  PBS News Hour special correspondent Christopher Livesay, who’s been based in Italy for half a decade, on the political magnetism of the movement and its leader, comedian Beppo Grillo.

Direct download: livesay_31_podfcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

As the Iraqi-American battle to toss the Islamic State out of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, continues, thousands of refugees have been fleeing the city, some in need of shelter, some of medical care as well.  Santa Fe naturopath Dr. Andrew Lustig and his Global Outreach Doctors have been there dispensing comfort and care.

Direct download: Ht_022817_lustig_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Here in Albuquerque, for the second time in weeks, a bomb threat was phoned into the Jewish Community Center, the kind of threat that’s been made dozens of times across America since Donald Trump’s election.  Investigative reporter A C Thompson of Pro Publica says hateful threats and actual hate crimes are on a sharply pointed spike, including, he was saddened to learn, in his own Northern California neighborhood.  Religious, racial and sexual minorities are the targets, sometimes of simple rhetorical spew, but sometimes of deadly violence.

Direct download: HT021517ThompsonPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

In his latest national poll, Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland found 70% of Americans with favorable views of Muslims.  So how to explain a later poll’s finding that President Trump’s Executive Order stopping immigration of refugees and people from 7 Muslim-majority countries was approved by a 48% to 41 margin?    Over the course of 4 polls taken between November 2015 and October 2016, Democrats and Independents grew more and more tolerant of Muslim and Islam.  Republicans?  Not so much. 

Direct download: HT_telhami_podcast_022317.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Today’s political fight for hearts and minds has shifted from the battlefield to the internet, and the US military has an on-line program to win over potential recruits to Islamic State terrorism.  But AP investigative reporter Richard Lardner says the CENTCOM Web Ops program isn’t doing that well.  Why not?  He says 3 reasons are ignorance, incompetence and cronyism.  One example: poor language skills has America’s persuaders criticizing, not the Palestinian Authority, but the Palestinian salad.

Direct download: HT021317LadnerPodcats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Shortly after Donald Trump started his Presidency, the market for dystopian fiction went crazy.  George Orwell’s 1984 shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, with the American classic It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis close behind.  UNM English Professor Gary Scharnhorst talks about these literary warnings against the threat of authoritarian or even totalitarian political takeovers.  What are the elements writers like Orwell, Lewis, Nathanael West and Jack London say turn populism into something much worse?

Direct download: HT_sharnhorst_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

Remember the Rev. Thomas Malthus?  He’s the guy who said, around the turn of the 19th century…there will eventually be not enough Earth for a growing population.  Many people have said the same about water in the Southwest, there’s not enough for all the people.  Author and UNM Professor John Fleck on why those folks are as wrong as Dr. Malthus.  The answer in his recent book Water Is for Fighting Over is a flow-chart…from consciousness to collaboration to adaptation to resilience…how our region is surviving even is a drying climate.

Direct download: HT021617podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST

You might think of Bayer in terms of aspirin and Alka-Seltzer, but the company is huge in agri-chemicals…and it has a plan to get much bigger, by merging with Monsanto.  What will this mean for farmers who fear less competition and higher prices for seeds and pesticides…and wonder why President Trump has been boosting the merger.  Justin Elliott of Pro Publica looks at President’s unprecedented hands-on approach to a big anti-trust issue, one where he might have an undisclosed conflict of business interest. 

Direct download: HT021517ElliotPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MST