20:31 GMT +321 March 2019
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    Trump Renews Vow for Government Shutdown Over Border Wall

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    Wilmer Leon
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    On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Eugene Craig III, Republican strategist, former vice-chair of the Maryland Republican Party and grassroots activist.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis will retire at the end of February, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday night.

    The announcement comes shortly after the White House said the US would be withdrawing its troops from Syria, a move that came despite reported concerns among Pentagon officials. "General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years," Trump tweeted in part.

    The Trump administration unveiled a plan today to force hundreds of thousands more Americans to hold jobs if they want to keep receiving food stamps, pursuing through executive powers what it could not achieve in Congress. What's the logic behind this plan? The country's food assistance program, which is run by the Agriculture Department (USDA), requires most adults without dependents to work if they collect food stamps for more than three months in a three-year period. But USDA regulations allow states to waive the requirement in areas with unemployment rates that are at least 20 percent greater than the national rate. These requirements were actually introduced during President Bill Clinton's administration as a part of his promise to end poverty as we knew it. The USDA is now proposing that states could waive the requirement only in areas where unemployment is above 7 percent. The current national unemployment rate stands at 3.7 percent. Helping poor families get into the workforce so they'd no longer need government aid was an admirable goal, and the new program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) did work for many families, but not all. As many low-income families have become more independent, many others have been left behind.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his annual end-of-year press conference today, an event that I thought would have received — if not should have received — greater attention and analysis in this country than it has, at least from what I have been able to discern. President Putin emphasized that Russia is not interested in an arms race: "Generally, this is simply an element of containing and evening parties in the strategic balance. This is what it is. This means keeping parity and nothing more than that…We do not seek advantages, but we keep the balance and ensure our security… in actual fact, today we observe the disintegration of the international system of armaments and arms race containment." Putin hopes mankind will have enough common sense to prevent another world war from ever happening. He has said he regrets the growing global tendency of underestimating the risks of a nuclear war. Putin also warned that terrorists could spill over from Syria to other countries. "There is a danger that [terrorists] and groups akin to them could spill over to neighboring regions, such as Afghanistan, and also to other countries, including their origin," the Russian leader said. "That is a major threat for all of us."

    GUESTS:

    Eugene Craig III — Republican strategist, former vice-chair of the Maryland Republican Party and grassroots activist.

    Ray McGovern — Former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Peace.

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

    Tags:
    SNAP, government shutdown, border wall, Republicans, James Mattis, Donald Trump
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