17:59 GMT +311 December 2019
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    Loud & Clear

    Pushing Iran to the Brink

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    On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, and Mazda Majidi, an Iranian specialist, author, journalist, and educator.

    Iran has deployed 50 small naval vessels to the Strait of Hormuz, the very narrow and very strategic waterway where the Persian Gulf flows into the Arabian Sea. Twenty percent of the world's oil flows through the Strait, so any disruption would be highly problematic for the world economy. What happens if Iran closes the Strait? How would Israel respond? What about the US or Saudi Arabia? And what would happen in Syria? The hosts look at the hypotheticals possible in a new conflict in the Middle East.

    On today's regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about the Democrats' strategy going into the midterms as a nationwide party. Jacqueline and Abdus Luqman, the co-editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream "Coffee, Current Events & Politics" Thursdays at 9 p.m., join the show from Netroots Nation, an annual progressive Democratic conference.

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said yesterday that Russia is still trying to interfere in US elections. Donald Trump, however, said three times yesterday that the Russia investigation is a "witch hunt." Tellingly, though, Coats also said that he had no idea why the President didn't condemn this alleged Russian meddling during his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, mainstream media is writing hit pieces on Maria Butina's character, saying she has an "overly flirtatious approach." Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist.

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Trump donor Franklin Haney apparently agreed to pay Trump attorney Michael Cohen a $10 million finders fee if Cohen could successfully lobby for the building of an unfinished nuclear power plant in Alabama. The new information is part of a federal investigation into Cohen's unregistered lobbying activities. And, breaking today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering yet another route though waterways and population centers for highly radioactive waste. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.

    With all ten provinces counted, Zimbabweans have elected Emmerson Mnangagwa president with 50.8 percent of the vote. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was second with 44.3 percent. Outside observers say the election was free and fair. But Chamisa is disputing this and refuses to concede. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including "Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis," joins Brian and John.

    The Chinese government said today that it would impose as much as $60 billion in new tariffs if the US goes forward with its own threatened tariffs against China. The Chinese tariffs would cut across all sectors and would be a 25 percent duty on meat, coffee, nuts, alcohol, minerals, chemicals, leather and wood, machinery, furniture, and auto parts. Steve Keen, the author of "Debunking Economics" and the world's first crowdfunded economist whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins the show.

    The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and his Twitter account @leftiblog, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

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

    middle east tension, war, geopolitics, Strait of Hormuz, Iran, Israel
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