14:34 GMT04 December 2020
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    Italy's Election: Political Destabilization Continues to Upend Europe

    Loud & Clear
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    On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

    Yesterday's Italian elections are set to produce a deadlocked parliament, as the populist Five Stars Movement and the far right Northern League surge, leaving the Center-Left bloc of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in an embarrassing third place.

    The Trump Administration and Congress have been working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act despite their failure to outright repeal the law. While some states have embraced this effort, others are pushing back. Leo Cuello, an attorney and the director of health policy for the National Health Law Program, and Mary Gerisch, an organizer and member chair of the Rights & Democracy health care justice team, join the show.

    The leaders of West Virginia teachers unions say that they will remain out on strike after the state senate voted to cut the five percent pay increase they negotiated with the governor. Meanwhile, teachers in Oklahoma are discussing a strike, inspired by West Virginia. Is this the beginning of a wave of teacher activism? Brian and John speak with Liz Davis, president of the Washington Teachers Union who has taught in DC public schools for 41 years, and Dr. Curry Malott, a professor of education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania where he is the mobilization chair of the faculty union.

    Today is the last day of the NAFTA talks between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. After intense anti-NAFTA rhetoric on the campaign trail, Trump has now taken the position that if what he calls "a new and fair NAFTA agreement" can be agreed upon, then he'll exempt the two neighboring countries from the steel and aluminum tariffs. Pete Dolack, an activist and writer with Trade Justice New York Metro, and the author of "It's Not Over, Learning from the Socialist Experiment," and Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression," joins the show.

    The Israeli extreme right has a high profile at the ongoing annual conference of AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the country, with a seminar being held today headlining some of the biggest names in the pro-Settler movement. This comes hours before Netanyahu and Trump are scheduled to meet here in Washington, with confrontation with Iran high on the agenda. Miko Peled, the author of "The General's Son: A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine" and a new book called "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five," joins Brian and John.

    In the first visit of high-ranking South Korean officials to North Korea since Kim Jong Un took office in 2011, South Korean National Security Office director Chung Eui-yong and intelligence agency head Suh Hoona led a delegation to North Korea to discuss a potential historic meeting of the leaders of both Koreas. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins the show.

    Venezuela's presidential election, which had been scheduled for late April, has been postponed until May 20 as a faction of the opposition breaks ranks and decides to participate. Will the country's Bolivarian Revolution continue its streak of electoral success? Can the country overcome economic turmoil? Brian and John speak with Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com.

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com


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