Jimmy O’Neill became New York City’s 43rd Police Commissioner last September. Since then, he has coped with a terrorist attack in Chelsea, solving a brutal homicide of a jogger in Queens, protecting a new President on 56th Street, and a negotiating a new union contract. He tells Jim that he seeks no legacy, except to keep New Yorkers safe in a new relationship with police.
At Harvard, University-issued table placemats give students talking points on lines to take with their parents in discussing immigration policy. At Yale, students savaged a faculty member whose wife questioned University guidelines on appropriate Halloween costumes. At Princeton, students took over the President’s office to demand removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from University institutions. Noted author, and former dean of Princeton’s iconic Woodrow Wilson School, Anne-Marie Slaughter, tells Jim that the situation requires prudent management and patient listening.
In 2009 Jeff Smith was a PhD, a Missouri state senator, and a rising star in the state Democratic Party. Sentenced to one year and one day in prison for filing a false affidavit in connection with a Congressional primary campaign he had lost almost five years earlier, Smith served his time working in a warehouse at a medium security federal prison. He tells Jim of a corrupt and racist penal system that only encourages recidivism and squanders a treasure in human potential.
In office from January 2014, with the crime rate down, terrorism checked, but community relations strained as police departments fall under a cloud throughout the country, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is in the midst of a major community-based overhaul of the NYPD. He tells Jim Zirin that the police need to heed the words of Sir Robert Peel, and be at one with the communities they serve.
We live in a chaotic world. Will Europe implode? Will ISIS proliferate its venomous brand to North Africa, Yemen or Bahrain? Will there be, as Leon Panetta has suggested, a terrorist attack on the United States? Is our government dysfunctional, particularly our foreign policy? Risk analyst Michael Moran gives Jim his assessment of what’s in store in 2015.
American annual healthcare spending is $3.8 trillion, a whopping 20% of GDP. Obamacare covered millions of uninsured Americans, but did nothing about spiraling costs. Steven Brill, author of the bestseller, America’s Bitter Pill-Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, analyzes the issue and tells Jim what can be done.
The death in custody of an African-American, Eric Garner, spurred a firestorm of protest after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict the white police officer who tried to subdue him. The Garner incident, its impact on minority communities, and the function of grand juries in such situations are among the topics Jim discusses with his guest, Michael Armstrong who, when District Attorney in Queens County, obtained the indictment of a white police officer for shooting an unarmed African American youth.
An outspoken centrist in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, Olympia Snowe overruled her pro-choice convictions and voted to confirm Alito and Roberts. Later, she also voted to confirm Sotomayor and Kagan. Hear her tell Jim why she left office, although her re-election was certain, and how she now proposes to end the dysfunction in Congress.
Bob Herbert left the New York Times almost four years ago where he was a top Op-Ed columnist. He has written a best-selling book about 21st century America in which he sees that LBJ’s “ Great Society” has become a hollow promise, and tells Jim he imagines a greater nation.
On September 28 tens of thousands of student-led Chinese took to the Hong Kong streets to protest Beijing-imposed limitations on voting rights. They were met with police tear gas, which the protesters warded off with umbrellas, declaring that they would not be moved. China expert Elizabeth Economy tells Jim that she sees little hope of true reform, but is guardedly optimistic that the “occupy Central” movement will produce some degree of change, and not end in Tiananmen-style violence .
Beheadings in Syria, military trials in Guantanamo, rising Antisemitism in Europe, a dysfunctional immigration policy, we live in a world pervaded with grave challenges in human rights. Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First, a non-governmental organization, tells Jim of gains over the past year, and of serious setbacks as well.
With pro-Russian protesters storming governmental buildings in East Ukraine, Putin seems poised to invade Ukraine to restore order. Will he do it? Will he go on to Moldova or the Baltic states to whom we owe common defense obligations under NATO? Russian expert Stephen Sestanovich tells Jim Zirin that Obama must support Ukraine economically and show a more robust response if Putin’s geopolitical ambitions are to be deterred.
Snowden revealed a massive NSA spying program that embarrassed our relations with friendly countries and reminded many Americans of Orwell’s 1984. Was he a traitor or a whistleblower? CIA spymaster Fred Hitz tells Jim that Snowden might have better made his case for clemency had he thrown himself on the mercy of an American court rather than fleeing to the eager arms of Putin.
China has embarked upon a startling acquisition spree in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, in a relentless quest for minerals, raw materials and energy resources that has the foreign policy community raising its eyebrows, Council on Foreign Relations experts Liz Economy and Michael Levi talk their new red-hot book and tell Jim what there is in China’s actions they worry about.
The LA Times calls him “the most powerful and dreaded investigator in the world.” Terry Lenzner, author of the red-hot new book, The Investigator, recalls his remarkable half-century career in private and public sleuthing, and shares with Jim the secrets of his amazing success.
The United States Senate now holds a narrow Democratic majority. On November 4, Americans will elect 36 senators for seats occupied by 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans. To gain control of the Senate, the GOP needs six seats, and must defeat more than two incumbents. Will they do it? Veteran political analyst Doug Schoen tells Jim that there is one central issue transcending each campaign—President Obama’s declining popularity.
The world in 2014 is a risky place. What are its greatest perils—a nuclear accident, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or an economic meltdown? Risk analysis expert Michael Moran takes Jim on a global tour, analyzes the probabilities and gives his financial and strategic outlook for the coming year.
Snowden’s revelations prompted Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff to cancel a planned state visit to Washington to meet with Obama. She even threatened to remove Brazil from the world wide web. Latin American expert Julia Sweig tells Jim that the motivation for the spying is inexplicable, and that the damage to our relationship with a friendly neighboring country is incalculable.
The Brothers Tsarnaev slipped through the cracks and brought untold damage to Boston. Homeland security expert Stephen Flynn examines their motivation, analyzes the investigation, and tells Jim why public resiliency is key in the aftermath of any attack.
Obama says he is free to use drones to attack senior members of al Qaeda who are planning to attack the United States. So far drones may have killed as many as 4700 people, including American citizens. What, if any, limitations should be placed on the President in using drones to target and kill suspected terrorists? Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Micah Zenko tells Jim that definitive standards are necessary to prevent drone attacks from spinning out of control.
In recent decades, Mexico has turned the corner politically and economically, while immigration and security issues persist. Council on ForeignRelations Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies Shannon O’Neil tells Jim that we are two nations indivisible, and that the two countries must collaborate further in their own national interests.
After the King and Kennedy assassinations, LBJ pushed hard for comprehensive gun control, including gun registration and licensing of owners. Congress dithered, and all Johnson got was a ban on mail-order sales, sales of guns to minors and imports of $10 specials. Joe Califano, LBJ’s domestic adviser, tells Jim that Obama needs to act fast before the gun lobby blocks any real legislative changes.
Leading Mayoral candidates Quinn, deBlasio, Thompson and Liu all want to throttle the NYPD with an Inspector General and a curtailed stop and frisk. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks the candidates’ policing strategies will make the City less safe. He tells Jim that stop and frisk saves lives, and the NYPD already has amply sufficient oversight and regulation.
Obama recently said he wanted to take the Nation off a “perpetual war footing,” in favor of robust diplomacy, foreign aid and more measured responses. Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass agrees. But will Susan Rice? Taking the line of his new best-selling book, Foreign Policy Begins at Home, Richard tells Jim that America’s claim to leadership is based mainly on economic power, and we have much to do domestically if we are to maintain our primacy abroad.
On November 14, China unveiled its new generation of leaders with an announcement via Twitter. Does the regime’s newly minted connection to the Net presage significant political and economic reforms? Council on Foreign Relations China expert Elizabeth Economy tells Jim that China needs to rid itself of systemic corruption.
The Syrian conflagration, which began as an insurgency, has left at least 40,000 dead in less than two years. Mid-East expert Mohamad Bazzi tells Jim that the conflict may engulf the region in a drawn-out and dangerous sectarian war. Meanwhile, with international recognition of the new rebel coalition, Obama weighs a deeper U.S. involvement as Assad shuts down the Internet leaving an information void that may presage an escalation.
The former chief counsel to the legendary Knapp Commission, chair of the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Police Corruption and author of the bestselling book, “They Wished They Were Honest,” tells Jim why systemic corruption flourished in the New York City Police Department of the 1970’s and how the NYPD has succeeded in policing itself today.
Adam, a top cyber-war strategist, assesses the escalation in China’s cyber-attacks on U.S. interests and argues that as China steps up the hacking, America must change its game plan, shore up its defenses and counterattack.
The premier political analyst analyzes poll results, measures the Republican slate, reads the tealeaves and calls the race. He also speculates about unexpected events, such as an Internet-launched third party candidacy, which could derail Obama’s re-election.
When four days of rioting broke out in London last August with thugs mobilizing on the social media, the British government turned to our own Bill Bratton for advice in handling the violence, the street gangs and the Metropolitan Police. Bill explains his strategy to restore law and order in England.
The House repealed Obamacare, but the Senate refused to go along. At least one federal judge has declared the entire law unconstitutional. The former HEW Secretary says he sees benefits in Obamacare, which should be preserved, but that reforms are necessary to make the measure work.
The former CIA Inspector General discusses just how harmful were the WikiLeaks leaks, and whether Julian Assange is to be praised as a new media hero or hunted down and punished for violations of the Espionage Act.
Republicans have made it a priority to repeal or reform the Healthcare Reform Act, but the president and CEO of New York Presbyterian Hospital, explains how soaring healthcare costs can be curtailed without new legislation.
Obama claims he can achieve huge savings in healthcare. One part of it is the digitalization of healthcare records. Can he force doctors into the Digital Age? Califano, who was at LBJ’s side when Medicare was enacted, knows how healthcare costs can spiral out of control.
Before there was a debt crisis in Europe, the Japanese banks had their own problems with non performing loans. Gillian Tett of London’s Financial Times and Japanese banker Mat Nagato tell Jim Zirin how Japan solved its banking crisis in ways that should be lessons learned for the Eurozone.
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