03:35 GMT25 October 2020
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    Ahead of US Vice-Presidential Debate, What Challenges Face Pence, Harris?

    The Critical Hour
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    On this edition of The Critical Hour, co-hosts Dr. Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon talk to Daniel Lazare about Wednesday evening's debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

    From 9 to 10:30 pm EDT on Wednesday, Pence and Harris face off in the vice-presidential debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. What are the challenges that face both candidates, and what’s at stake for each of them?

    Kyrgyzstan's "electoral agency annulled the results of Sunday’s disputed parliamentary elections and the president offered to mediate," the New York Times reported Tuesday. "But it remained unclear who was in control." What’s going here, and why now? 

    "The conservative-dominated US Supreme Court late Monday largely revived a South Carolina law requiring that absentee ballots contain a witness signature, a Republican-passed mandate that could increase voters' exposure to the coronavirus," Common Dreams reported Tuesday. How could this affect the forthcoming elections?

    "Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and longtime confidant of Julian Assange, has been fastidiously reporting on the Australian publisher’s extradition hearing to the United States. Yet few people have been reading it," Alan MacLeod wrote in a Monday piece for MintPress News. "This, according to Murray, is because of a deliberate decision by online media giants to downplay or suppress discussion of the case." 

    "China, Russia and two dozen other countries called on the United States and Western nations to end the use of unilateral sanctions, which they said make it harder to deal with COVID-19," AFP reported Monday. "In a statement read by Chinese envoy Zhang Jun at the United Nations, they accused the US of violating human rights, systematic racial discrimination and hindering development in countries it places economic sanctions on." Has the moral high ground shifted?

    "Iran and Venezuela are two of President Donald Trump's most frequent foreign-policy targets, and increasing US pressure has only brought the two closer," Business Insider reported Sunday. "Their ties are again on display ahead of the presidential election, as US actions directed at Iran raise concerns Trump could seek a confrontation for political benefit." What are we to make of this?

    There’s a great piece in Responsible Statecraft by William Smith making the assertion that "empire is destroying the American republic." Smith opens by writing, "Many American hawks fail to grasp one of the most axiomatic rules of history: when a republic becomes an empire, it is no longer a republic." What are the highlights?

    "The United States is arguably the most secure country on Earth, with friendly nations to the north and south and great oceans isolating it from its claimed biggest rivals, China and Russia," read a South China Morning Post editorial published on September 20. "But superpower status demands shows of strength and that has driven military budget increases that if approved, will push spending for fiscal 2021 to US$740 billion, more than one-third of the global total." Is this show of military strength really necessary?

    Guests:

    Daniel Lazare - Investigative journalist and author of "The Velvet Coup"

    Mark Sleboda - Moscow-based international relations and security analyst

    Greg Palast - Investigative reporter

    Daniel Lazare - Investigative journalist and author of "America's Undeclared War"

    Dr. Margaret Flowers - Pediatrician, health reform activist and co-director at Popular Resistance

    Jim Jatras - Retired US diplomat and GOP Senate foreign policy adviser

    Richard Lachmann - Professor at the State University of New York at Albany and author of "First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline Great Powers"

    Leo Flores - Latin America coordinator for Code Pink

    Ricardo Vaz - Political analyst and editor at Venezuelanalysis.com

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

    Tags:
    Venezuela, sanctions, Julian Assange, Kyrgyzstan, October Surprise, Voting
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