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Left, Right & Center

Author: KCRW

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Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.
31 Episodes
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The Ukraine story got a lot bigger this week. Can a lot of this mess be explained by pointing to the departure of the people in President Trump’s circle who contained his worst instincts?The impeachment story and a health scare have shaken up the Democratic primary. Joe Biden struggles to hit back at the president’s unfair attacks on him. Not much attention has been paid to Bernie Sanders suffering a heart attack, but Elizabeth Warren has gotten quite a bit of attention for saying she was fired from her teaching job for being pregnant.Then: China is really mad at the NBA for a tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters from the Houston Rockets general manager. The panel discusses how the Chinese Communist Party uses global capitalism to their advantage, and what the US can do to export ideas of freedom to China and not import their restrictions on speech.Finally: President Trump made a seemingly rash decision to withdraw American military support of the Kurdish forces that control much of the north of Syria. This paved the way for a Turkish invasion. Turkey has a long and hostile relationship with the Kurds. Both are allies of the United States, and the move got a bipartisan backlash from Congress. What motivated this decision? And where does it leave American security interests in the region, particularly with ISIS? Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations joins to discuss.
“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” That was a text message from our top diplomat in Ukraine last month, just before this whole mess about President Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden became public. Ukraine was wondering what was going on with the $400 million in militar aid it was owed, and it’s looking more and more like a quid pro quo. Trump says his key focus is corruption.  Democratic pollster Margie Omero joins the panel to discuss public polling on impeachment and how much Republicans and Democrats should worry about what it will mean for the next election.Nick Miroff talks about how President Trump has and hasn’t changed immigration policy, and why many fewer people are trying to illegally cross the southern border.
Impeachment

Impeachment

2019-09-2700:57:414

Nancy Pelosi says the inquiry is on, and it now has the support from nearly every Democrat and therefore, a majority of the House. This may be a rapid impeachment — just two months and just about the new Ukraine scandal. Should this be quick and easy? Or should there be more hearings and more charges? Spoiler alert: no one on the show expects the Senate to actually remove President Trump if he is indeed impeached, so what then is the strategic reason to impeach him? And how might this affect Democrats, including those running for president against Trump and those running for down-ballot races in 2020?President Trump railed against the whistleblower, insinuating that people who passed along information to that person were spies and spies should be executed. Bradley Moss, a lawyer specializing in national security issues and whistleblower protections, joins the panel to talk about President Trump’s comments, protocols for whistleblowers, and how this story saw daylight in the first place. Finally, what is going on with Brexit? Tom Nuttall updates the panel on the mayhem across the pond.
The secret memo

The secret memo

2019-09-2000:52:463

There’s a whistleblower complaint from a member of the intelligence community that has something to do with President Trump communicating an inappropriate promise to a foreign leader. Multiple outlets are reporting the memo is about Ukraine and the president’s efforts to lean on the Ukranian government to investigate Joe Biden. But the acting director of national intelligence won’t share the complaint with Congress even though they are ordinarily legally entitled to see it. So, information about the complaint has been leaking. What could the president have said to prompt the whistleblower complaint? Evelyn Farkas joins the panel to discuss that, and the attack on a Saudi oil facility, what it means for the American economy and what had looked like hopes for a Trump thaw with Iran.Then: like many politicians in Washington, we will revisit the fight over Brett Kavanaugh, plus the fight between supporters of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Finally: Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post will make the case for moving your family to rural Minnesota, like he did.
Let me be clear...

Let me be clear...

2019-09-1401:07:19

Ten Democratic presidential candidates took the stage Thursday night at Texas Southern University. There were a lot of predictions for the debate, and well, not all of them came to be. For one, we didn’t really get the Biden-Warren showdown many people were expecting. Maybe it was because Julian Castro lashed out at Biden, implying that he’s too old to be president. Josh Barro, Rich Lowry, Christine Emba and Dorian Warren discuss that exchange, plus Elizabeth Warren’s performance on health care, and the on-stage disagreements over guns, trade, China, criminal justice system, and whether it’s a good idea to announce a sweepstakes giveaway of $12,000 from your campaign. Yeah, that’s one actual thing Andrew Yang announced during the debate.Then: Jarrett Blanc, a former coordinator for the Iran nuclear deal and a State Department official focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan, joins the panel to discuss the outlook after President Trump canceled peace talks with the Taliban and indicated he wants to meet with Iranian President Rouhani without preconditions. Those don’t sound like things John Bolton would propose -- which is maybe why he got fired this week.
A hurricane and a tweetstorm

A hurricane and a tweetstorm

2019-09-0600:56:283

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and battered the Carolinas, but what dominated the news cycle? President Trump’s insistence that Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by the hurricane. He spent the week trying to justify the claim. Did the president put residents at risk? Then: Brexit politics boiled over in the UK this week. David Henig from the European Centre for International Political Economy joins the panel to discuss the outlook for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a no-deal Brexit, and a trade deal between the UK and the US.Finally: WalMart’s getting out of much of the gun business after a very deadly shooting at one of its Texas stores, and it will ask customers not to open carry guns in its stores unless they are law enforcement officers. How should we think about actions like this by private companies? Is this social change by corporations? Is it really for their employees? And is there a God-given right to bear arms?
The week started with news from the G7 summit and headline-grabbing fires in the Amazon. Then, new polls this week seemed to indicate the Democratic primary race was tightening around Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Other new polls showed mixed messages. Did the media just hype the it-might-not-be-Biden possibility? Meanwhile, other candidates are shut out of the September debate but vowed to press on while others decided to throw in the towel. And is the love affair between President Trump and Fox News over? Elizabeth Bruenig talks about her reporting on Texas evangelicals and their faith in President Trump.Keli Goff interviews screenwriter Gregg Hurwitz on his efforts to teach Democratic candidates how to rise above the noise of Twitter and tell stories that connect better with voters in the heartland.
Two chairmen

Two chairmen

2019-08-2300:55:13

Clearly, it’s still August. Let’s review.President Trump was told he couldn’t buy Greenland from Denmark, so he canceled a visit to Denmark.The White House floats trial balloons of policies to address recession fears, while the president calls concerns about a recession a ploy by the Democrats and “Fake News Media.”The markets were on a rollercoaster Friday, spurred by tweets from President Trump, public comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell, and then more tweets from President Trump in response.Earlier this week, President Trump said American Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal.The Amazon is on fire, and French President Emmanuel Macron wants to talk about it at the G7.By the way, President Trump still wants Vladimir Putin to be invited back to that meeting of the world’s largest advanced economies.Automakers are aligning with California to oppose the Trump administration’s rollback of emissions standards.More Democrats — 130 at Friday’s count — are lining up in support of impeachment.
It was a wild week in the financial markets, driven by increasing worries about the global economy. President Trump delayed some tariffs on China so they won’t affect the holiday shopping season — an implicit admission that his trade policy is hurting the economy and his political standing. Plus: visas for Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to visit Israel are denied, and the panel discusses the “electability” narrative around the women in the 2020 Democratic field. A new immigration rule from the Trump administration that could make it a lot harder to get a green card, especially if you’re poor. Randy Capps from the Migration Policy Institute talks the panel through the numbers and whether the rule is even legal.Then Michael C. Davis discusses the risks in Hong Kong that could escalate the crisis in the United States’ relationship to China.
After last weekend’s deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, President Trump said Friday morning he and Congressional Republicans intend to do something on gun background checks. He said Mitch McConnell is even on board. Republican strategists told the Washington Post they’re concerned that gun issues have hurt their ability to win in the suburbs and contributed to their loss of the House in the 2018 midterms. Is there something genuine here? Might Republicans feel compelled to be seen “doing something” about guns? And what kind of regulation or policy might be possible?Then, Jane Coaston of Vox joins the panel to discuss the white nationalist movement and mass shootings, the role of national law enforcement in preventing them, and the possibility of a new law on domestic terrorism.After a dramatic escalation in the trade war with China — it’s now a currency war too — Brad Setser explains why it matters in the United States if the yuan is weakened.
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Comments (10)

Francesca King

I would like to know what is going to done about the court backlog? One of the current reasons most immigrants overstay is due to the undue stress of immigrant courts. The system needs a serious injection of Metamucil.

Oct 17th
Reply

Francesca King

Rich is really delusional sometimes. I think he's an example of why Republicans and Trump supporters continue to back Trump. It's so easy for them to deflect and bolster their support. They keep expecting some "smoking gun". I think if the House of Representatives Impeachment Inquiry found a tape with Trump's handwriting that showed him holding his Social Security Card speaking with Putin about what his next move should be that it wouldn't be accepted as real.

Oct 17th
Reply

MrMajk898

Apparently "left, right and center" are just three directions from which to say fuck trump! Since the "show got moved to a new place", I didn't want this to get lost.

Oct 10th
Reply

MrMajk898

Democrats know the best defense is a good offense. In politics it's called projection. Accusing your rival of doing what you are guilty of. Rinse and repeat until the sheep follow!

Oct 7th
Reply

MrMajk898

Sheep

Oct 6th
Reply

MrMajk898

really just the name of this episode... words useable in court.

Oct 5th
Reply

MrMajk898

Brain washed... Double Standard hard at work!

Oct 1st
Reply (3)
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