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Entries in BBC World Service (7)


US Politics Audio: A Good Deal on the "Fiscal Cliff? --- Scott Lucas on a BBC Panel

I joined a panel on the BBC World Service's Have Your Say tonight to discuss the economic and social issues around the package, approved by Congress last night after days of to-the-wire negotiations, to avert a "fiscal cliff". 

I found this one of the most useful discussions, albeit one which was generally pessimistic about the outcomes of the agreement. No one was fighting a political corner, so the chat could ask "What issues are not being addressed by the deal?" That allowed topics such as health care, education, and income inequality to be introduced alongside the headline topics of taxes and Government spending.

Other panellists are Tiziana Dearing, the CEO of Boston Rising, a "nonprofit organization committed to ending the cycle of poverty in Boston; Robertson Williams of the Tax Policy Center; and Robin Murray, a retired family doctor from Florida.

The discussion starts at the 11:25 mark and lasts for about 25 minutes, before and after the news.


US Audio Feature: Why Can't America Have Gun Control? --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

President Obama's speech in Newtown, Connecticut on Sunday

See also US Opinion: Thoughts on Gun Control and Friday's Mass Murder in Connecticut

I have done 10 television and radio interviews today considering what happens next after last Friday's mass killing of 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut.

The discussions have ranged across US culture, history, and politics but have often come back to the question, "Do you think the response about gun control will be different this time?"

My response:"My heart says, 'Please, God, let it be so.' My head says, 'No'."

Three of the conversations:

BBC Radio 5 Live "Your Call": The discussion starts at 06:34 --- I participated in the first 20 minutes.
BBC World Service "World Update": The item starts at 26:39.
BBC Radio Wales: The debate, which includes Rahim Kassam of the Henry Jackson Society, starts at 2:10.44.


Bahrain Video Interview: Nabeel Rajab on BBC HARDTalk "Why This Regime and This Revolution Are Different"

On Saturday, Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was detained again by regime for "illegal participation in a regime" and held for several hours. His alleged criime was to protest the continued detention of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, his predecessor at the BCHR who has been imprisoned for life and is on Day 53 of a hunger strike.

Earlier in the week, Rajab was in a much different setting, fielding the challenge of questions from the BBC's HARDTalk programme about the situation in his kingdom, including the ongoing violence, and about his vision of a political resolution:


Britain and the US: Scott Lucas with the BBC on Lobbying and the Liam Fox Case

Liam FoxBritain is currently in the throes of a scandal over a politician named Liam Fox, who resigned as Minister of Defence last Friday after the discovery of his close friend's unauthorised lobbying.

This morning Dan Damon of BBC World Service's World Update and I discussed the wider issues, both in the US and Britain, of the episode.

The clip starts at the 48:25 mark.


Obama's State of the Union: Scott Lucas on BBC World Service

I appeared this morning on the BBC World Service's World Today to discuss President Obama's State of the Union address, considering the politics, economics, and (lack of) foreign policy as well as the prospects for Obama in the near-future and in 2012 on the back of this speech.

The item begins at the start of the programme. I join at 4:40 after comments from a California housewife on Obama and the address.


US Politics Audio: Scott Lucas on BBC World Service "Obama and the Politics of Tax Cuts"

This morning I appeared on the BBC World Service's World Update, speaking about the politics behind President Obama's decision to extend the 2003 tax cuts of the Bush Administration. The discussion includes Brian Carney, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor in London, and American comedian Dave Fulton.

The item begins at the 14-minute mark.

See also on EA: US Politics Analysis --- The Progressives Attack Obama


US Elections Analysis: No Victory, Only Stalemate

UPDATE 1605 GMT: Amongst all the post-mortems, I was struck by this conclusion from Alexander Cockburn: "By 1996 Clinton had outmaneuvered the Republican leadership and won reelection. Today the economic situation is far worse than it was in 1994. No effective political and economic strategy for recovery is on the cards in the current atmosphere. As always, these days in America, our last best friend will be gridlock."


With the notable exceptions of health care reform and financial regulation, the situation in Washington has been one of stalemate, with the Republicans blocking Obama's legislation --- even in the limited success on health care, not one GOP Senator voted for the bill --- but lacking the strength or willingness to make deals with the Democrats to put forth their own measures.

That situation has not changed. So the best prospect is to try and keep the American economic ship on the water, rather than under it, amidst protracted recession and unemployment. (And, although this was largely forgotten in campaign coverage, to do so while keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq and fighting a war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.)

The Democrat/Obama strategy will be to present this pragmatic "stay the course" approach, appealing to the good sense --- political and economic --- of an American centre. It is unlikely they could do more, even if they wanted to take the risk. No prospect of climate change legislation, no campaign reform measures, no further moves on health care. And unless the Republicans do more than put forth a vague "Pledge for America", unless the Tea Party can move beyond the appealing but illogical mantra --- given the existence of programmes like Medicare and Social Security, let alone US defense --- of "slash taxes, slash Government", they will not be putting forth any significant programme for progress.

So the ultimate outcome of Tuesday night is stalemate. And as even a beginner chess player will tell you, that's not a win.

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