Here And There with Dave Marash

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
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MST

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.

Direct download: HT061317ReichbachPOD.mp3
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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
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm 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: HT050817pod.mp3
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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.

Direct download: HT060617pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm MST

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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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm 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: HT060117WeissPOD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm MST