FEATURING SEBASTIAAN FABER - The Spanish government has reacted aggressively to the October 1st independence vote by Catalonia. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has dissolved the Catalan Parliament, dismissed separatist leaders, and prosecuted them for rebellion. While a number of leaders including former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont were reported to have fled to Belgium to escape charges it is now not clear what their next move will be. Rajoy has called for new regional elections on December 21st to form a new government in Catalonia. Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College and author of the forthcoming Memory Battles and the Spanish Civil War.
FEATURING LARRY BENSKY - Donald Trump's defensive cries of "No Collusion" on Twitter earlier this week may be premature. The insistent plea came after his former campaign chair Paul Manafort and an aide named Rick Gates turned themselves in to the FBI after they were indicted on numerous charges. The President was also quick to distance himself from George Papadopoulos who was a lead campaign foreign policy advisor. It was revealed on Monday that Papadopoulos had turned himself in to authorities in late July, accepted a plea deal and was cooperating with authorities. Trump tweeted, "Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar." What are the repercussions, direct and indirect of these indictments? Larry Bensky, long time award winning print and broadcast journalist, teaches political science at California State University East Bay and just finished teaching a class in European
FEATURING KEVIN GOSZTOLA - Monday morning brought with it the explosive news of former Trump election campaign chair Paul Manafort turning himself into FBI custody in the latest on the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation. Manafort has been indicted along with former Trump aids Rick Gates. The charges facing the two include money laundering, operating as agents of a foreign government, as well as hampering a federal investigation and failing to disclose offshore bank accounts. It was also revealed on Monday morning that a man named George Papadopoulos who advised Trump on foreign policy during the election campaign pled guilty on October 5th of lying to federal authorities about his contacts with Russian officials. Over the weekend Trump himself anger-tweeted up a storm claiming that the charges were upsetting the GOP's push for tax reform and asking why Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were not being investigated. For more information visit
FEATURING KAREN BERNAL - Progressive forces within the Democratic Party released a scathing indictment of their own party on Monday calling out leaders for failing to understand last year's devastating election loss. On the website DemocraticAutopsy.org, the critics write, "the party’s national leadership has shown scant interest in addressing many of the key factors that led to electoral disaster. Instead, the main emphasis has been on matters that the Democratic Party and its presidential nominee had little or no control over -- an approach that largely obscures the party’s role in its own defeat." A recent internal shakeup within the Democratic National Committee that pushed out some progressive figures underscores the autopsy's criticisms. While this week's indictments of some of Donald Trump's colleagues is cause for celebration among Democrats, my guest contends that Robert Mueller's investigation will not save the Democratic Party come election time. To read the report visit www.democraticautopsy.org.
FEATURING GRANT SMITH - President Trump last week declared the opioid addiction crisis a 'public health emergency,' which is a step short of calling it a 'national emergency.' Trump had said in August that he would declare the nation's worst drug addiction crisis in history a 'national emergency.' His declaration enables funding from the Public Health Emergency Fund but critics pointed out that the fund is nearly empty and that Trump's designation only lasts 90 days. Comedian John Oliver over the weekend concluded that the funding amounted to "literally two cents" per addict. Trump also claimed that his border wall and tougher immigration laws would stop heroin from flowing into the nation. The Drug Policy Alliance, which is one of the nation's leading organizations tackling the drug war, issued a statement saying, "Trump’s approach to drugs ignores the facts about the causes of the opioid overdose crisis, stigmatizes immigrants, and
FEATURING GERRY YANDEL - It isn't just Puerto Rico that has suffered enormous damage from hurricanes, but the US Virgin Islands as well. The group of small islands located 40 miles east of Puerto Rico consists of Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas, and a number of smaller surrounding islands. The mostly Afro-Caribbean population of the US Virgin Islands has been hard hit. According to the Miami Herald, "Power has been restored to less than a third of St. Thomas residents, to 16 percent of St. Croix customers and to hardly anyone on St. John. Many schools are still too damaged to reopen. Others were destroyed or are still in use as shelters." Because Congressional representation of the US Virgin Islands is only in the form of a single elected delegate with limited voting capabilities, the territories are often marginalized when it comes to federal assistance. Donations can be
FEATURING CHARLES KUCK - A well-known immigrant rights and undocumented activist was recently denied her DACA renewal by Donald Trump's government. Jessica Colotl became prominent in 2010 when she was pulled over for driving without a license. She found herself at the center of the debate over immigration and was eventually granted a stay of deportation. Now, her registration under the Obama-era program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was denied. President Trump had canceled the program giving Congress a deadline to come up with legislative solution. But those with current DACA status were allowed to renew their status until October 5th. Jessica Colotl's lawyers are now fighting her DACA denial. For more information visit www.immigration.net. Charles Kuck, attorney with Kuck Immigration Partners, working on the case of Jessica Colotl.
FEATURING KEYANNA CELINA - Professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos plans to descend onto a campus in Southern California on Halloween. The Cal State Fullerton chapter of the College Republicans invited Yiannopoulos to speak despite the on-going security concerns around the high-profile Alt-right figure. Yiannopoulos's speeches in Glendale, California, and Phoenix, Arizona have already been canceled. His name has popped up in the news once more after his former intern Lane Davis was found to have stabbed his father. While Cal State Fullerton campus authorities have grudgingly allowed Yiannopoulos's Halloween speaking event to go forward, anti-fascist activists are refusing to let the event remain unchallenged. For more information visit facebook.com/LAUFAF/. Keyanna Celina, organizer with the Los Angeles United Front Against Fascism.
FEATURING CHUCK COLLINS - The Republican-dominated House just passed a blueprint for a federal budget with a slim majority. The vote clears the way for the GOP to try to pass Donald Trump's ambitious tax reform plan that will add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, despite the party's history of railing against deficits when it comes to social spending. The President and his party have yet to release details on their tax plan, only offering broad outlines and citing misleading figures from their own analysis of the plan such as the claim that the average American family would get a $4,000 raise. Read Chuck Collin's latest piece on CounterPunch called 'An Independent Thinker’s Guide to the Tax Debate' HERE. Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good. He has written a number of books including 99 to
FEATURING LIZ HITCHCOCK - Among the many protections of public health and safety that the Trump administration is unraveling faster than we can keep track are safety rules for dangerous chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency tracks tens of thousands of chemicals, among them one called PFOA which has been linked to all sorts of sordid health problems. But when an industry insider named Nancy Beck was appointed to the head of the EPA department that oversees such regulations she promptly began rolling back standards on PFOA. A recent New York Times exposé profiles an EPA scientist named Wendy Cleland-Hamnett who left in disgust and has sounded the alarm on the agency's about turn on toxic chemicals. For more information visit www.saferchemicals.org. Liz Hitchcock, Government Affairs Director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.