About TRP

The Rational Progressive is a publication focused on progressive news and issues. Focused forward and focused on the facts, we avoid demons and demagogues.



by James Andre

  • The fight against the Right is over. The Left lost.

    The Guardian just out with a story connecting Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Billionaire Robert Mercer, and the Brexit campaign that is severing England from the EU. This is a frightening, but not surprising, story that adds to a growing list of facts that demonstrate the existence and operation of a shrinking number of geopolitical players whose power is growing… Read more… 

  • Trump raised more money from small donors than Clinton and Sanders combined. America has a problem.

      The Campaign Finance Institute just released an analysis of FEC filings for the 2016 election. You may remember Bernie Sanders bragging about the money he was raking in from small donors at an average of $27 each. Well, Hillary Clinton beat him in small donations. And Trump beat them both - combined. Not only did Trump raise more small… Read more… 

  • Think About This – Monday 8/8/16

    Here are a few things to think about this week when you are talking politics and policy: • The world grows more peaceful and prosperous everyday. Violence and warfare have been declining since World War II. • Respect for civil and human rights in the U.S. is growing greater every day. More police are wearing cameras, and more are being… Read more… 

  • Haters, Whine All You Want. Hillary’s Nomination Is Unprecedented.

    I just wanted to write a quick note to Hillary supporters with some info for when you hear haters complaining that Hillary is not the first woman to run for president. That is true, however:   • The Clinton campaign is not making that claim. Maybe some in the media have. • Hillary is the first woman to win the… Read more… 


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Resources for information on local and national elections.


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Progressivism

Progressivism is not an ideology at all, but an attitude towards the world of politics that is far less black-and-white than conservatism or liberalism, breaking free from the false and divisive dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative that has dominated American politics for too long.

Progressives aren't simply liberals; progressives see the world for what it is, accept it as ever-changing and dynamic, and choose the best course of action in line with decidedly American values.

-From an article on Alternet.org by Andrew Garib

tweets


.@HillaryClinton urges women to be resilient in the face of sexism and misogyny.

Extended interview: https://t.co/3HLT3h4Jsf

Hillary had no need of illegit help in debates. Was chalking Brazile's cheating up to passion. Now it appears it was just low character.

Get the vote put for a sensible choice and restore stability in our country! #DougJonesforSenate https://t.co/4Nv1agHZOl

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I3M



Maybe Trump thinks no one can see him?

Seems like a good time for a recap of Trump activity. Read to the end because trust me it gets incredibly bad:
 
1] Trump blows Comey kisses, praising him for his help in Trump taking the White House
 
2] Despite continuing questionable(but not negligent or illegal)statements from Comey, Trump says he still has confidence in him.
 
3] Trump has a phone conversation with Putin
 
4] Trump asks senior officials to come up with a rationale for firing Comey
 
5] Comey asks for more resources for his investigation of Trump
 
6] Trump fires Comey
 
7] Trump has a meeting with high ranking foreign officials in the Oval Office. He allows Russian state media in, but not U.S. media.
 
Then there is this:
 
Former national security advisor Colin Kahl, asks on twitter whether it was “a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office?”
 
Kahl went on to say that when he worked for Barack Obama’s administration, he “couldn’t let foreign delegations bring phones/cameras” into his own office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and that he had to leave his own phone and camera outside the Oval Office when he worked there.
 
And this:
 
The chummy White House visit had been one of Putin’s asks in his recent phone call with Trump, And indeed the White House acknowledged this to me later Wednesday. “He chose to receive him because Putin asked him to,” a White House spokesman said of Trump’s Lavrov meeting. “Putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked.”[Politico]

Former Deputy Director of CIA and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen tweeted in reply, “No, it was not.”

 
Later in the day, White House spokespersons spread the message that “it is time to move on” from the Russia/Trump investigation.

Democrats’ War on Due Process and Terrorist Fearmongering Long Predate Orlando

Even worse was the messaging that came from an operative with CAP, who has become a little Twitter star among the Democratic faithful for his endless Cheneyite exploitation of terrorism fears to attack Republicans and justify gun watchlists. This is how he described Feinstein’s bill:

It’s hard to put into words how appalling that is. This CAP official is not only outright lying about Feinstein’s bill: pretending that it bars “terrorists” — rather than people placed on a suspicion watchlist — from buying guns. Worse than rank dishonesty, he is literally, explicitly equating people who will be deemed suspicious by the U.S. government — overwhelmingly Muslim, needless to say — with “terrorists.” As Sam Adler-Bell put it about this tweet, “Referring to all people on the DOJ’s watchlist as ‘terrorists’ is legally incorrect and ethically ugly.” In Volsky’s mind, or at least in his propaganda, anyone deemed by the government to be suspicious is now a “terrorist” — no evidence needed, no trial held, no due process accorded.

For eight years, this mentality was the driving force behind the worst Bush/Cheney war-on-terror abuses. No matter what the extremist policy was — indefinite detention, warrantless eavesdropping, torture, no-fly lists, Guantánamo, rendition, CIA black sites — Republicans would justify it by saying it was merely being done to “terrorists” and would accuse their due process-advocating critics of wanting to “protect terrorists.” What they actually meant was that all of this was being done to people accused by the U.S. government of involvement in terrorism. But in their mind, “government accusations of terrorism” were synonymous with “proof of guilt.”

That is exactly the warped, Orwellian formulation Democrats embrace: As is extremely obvious, the Democrats’ definition of “terrorist” is “anyone whom the U.S. government suspects of being a terrorist.” Just as was true of all those GOP abuses, what makes these Democratic proposals so dangerous is that they constitute a war on the most basic right of due process. As Vox’s Dara Lind explained, “If you give the government more power to ban terrorists from having guns, you’re reinforcing the power it has to define who counts as a terrorist.” That’s why the ACLU yesterday wrote to the Senate and denounced Feinstein’s bill:

Source: Democrats’ War on Due Process and Terrorist Fearmongering Long Predate Orlando


 

Florida considering weakening restrictions on discharging chemicals in water

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has proposed revising limits on toxic chemicals that can be released into surface waters, something it’s supposed to do from time to time under the Clean Water Act but hasn’t since the early 1990s.

The agency is updating human-health criteria for 43 dangerous chemical compounds it currently regulates and adopting standards for the first time for another 39.

Of the 82 toxic substances, the vast majority would have lower standards than recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency. And of the 43 chemicals now regulated, a couple of dozen would see limits increased beyond those currently allowed.

DEP officials say the new standards — based on risk and factors like seafood consumption — would let Floridians safely eat Florida fish and drink local tap water their entire lives. They say the concentration of pollutants in the water wouldn’t pose a significant risk to the average Floridian’s health.

But environmental groups and some doctors say the new standards would increase chances people will get sick or develop cancer from the contamination in seafood and water. The proposal drew fire during a recent DEP workshop in Tallahassee, one of three held around the state.

Source: Florida considering weakening restrictions on discharging chemicals in water


 

House Democrats Stage a Sit-in on the House Floor on Gun Control

But members of Congress are among the most powerful political actors in the country, and they are acting on an issue that is endlessly discussed and debated, not one that requires unusual tactics, like subverting order in the national legislature, to air all sides of the matter. When Republicans respond to not getting their way by undermining legislative norms, the press objects.

It should object here.

Legislators who lack the votes to do what they want have the platform to persuade the public and to campaign to oust their colleagues. Precisely because of their political power, their extra-political machinations have less legitimacy. And they are likely to fail, because they do nothing to change the underlying obstacles to more gun control: the Constitution, a determined minority interest group that cares about the issue more than its opponents, and voters who, while well to the left of the NRA, are well to the right of congressional Democrats on guns.

Source: House Democrats Stage a Sit-in on the House Floor on Gun Control – The Atlantic


 

A House of Representatives Sit-In? Whatever.

democrat-protest.jpg.size.custom.crop.867x650
Today Dems are staging a sit in in the House. Regular readers can probably guess my position on the matter. I don’t want to denigrate other people’s actions for change, but since the story is being so widely reported and commented on, I feel like I would be remiss in not sharing an opinion.
 
A sit-in is not legislating.
This is not 1960.
Any concessions will be for a vote that is guaranteed to fail.
 
Since I was admonished recently for not being explicit about my preferred method to achieve legislative progress, here are the bullet points:
 
• Have a hearing to determine the most effective and comprehensive changes that should be made Constitutionally and in the public interest.
• Create a bill called something like “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act”
• Create a bill called something like “The Disarm Terrorists Act”
• The “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” will have one intent, e.g. block those on the watchlist from buying guns or other weapons.
• “The Disarm Terrorists Act” will have all the legislative recommendations of the congressional hearing, starting with
the one in the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act”
• Present the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” to Congress, again and again, publicize it, comment on it, until it is passed, at least in some form.
• Once the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” is passed in some form with a single intent, begin submitting amendments based on the original congressional recommendations, one at a time, until the bill is amended.
• Meanwhile, take “The Disarm Terrorists Act” to every state legislature, in its entirety, making every effort to force votes IN THE STATES.
• Use the bill and the votes on “The Disarm Terrorists Act” in the states to force progress on gun control, or to damage Republican state representatives in local races, turning state legislatures as Democratic as possible.

This Is Why Democrats Don’t Win

murphy
So Dems are conducting a filibuster in the Senate. I have to tell you this is another major fail, and exactly why Dems prove so ineffective so often.
 
We all know that with a Democratic president the Republicans main objective in the Senate is to do nothing. So far from making an impact on Republicans, a Dem filibuster actually HELPS Republicans.
 
Secondly, once again Dems demonstrate an inability to connect liberal concepts to concrete action. Where is the specific legislation? Let’s start with an FBI flag on background checks to prevent terrorists and others under suspicion from buying weapons.
 
Do you really think a bill to keep terrorists from buying guns is a difficult sell to any American, liberal or conservative?
 
Instead we have a bunch of useless talk about ‘action’ and some undetermined ‘bill’, and how the Senate should ‘come together’ on this issue.
 
Write a simple bill. Give it a simple and catchy name. Take it across the country state by state, district by district. Start with the people, not the gridlocked Senate.
 
How long do you think the biggest gun rights advocate will be able to stand citizens calling asking why they believe terrorists should be able to buy automatic rifles with high capacity magazines?
 
Democrats, this is exactly why Republicans are eating your lunch.

Obamacare Cut The Uninsured Rate To Single Digits Last Year

Obamacare’s health coverage programs remain works in progress, with 19 states continuing to refuse the law’s Medicaid expansion for the poorest uninsured and financial difficulties facing some major insurance companies participating in the exchange marketplaces where low- and middle-income households buy subsidized private insurance.

But when it comes to covering the uninsured, the law has been a clear success.

The CDC data demonstrate that 16.2 million fewer people were uninsured during the fourth quarter of 2015 than at the end of 2013.

A previous estimate from the Department of Health and Human Services puts the total number of newly covered people higher, at 20 million. This year, Gallup reports the uninsured rate continued to fall.

•••

Republicans continue to seek repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and House GOP leaders have vowed to unveil health care reform policies of their own in the coming weeks. Whatever they propose, the plan is likely to result in fewer people with insurance, as indicated by a preview of that plan offered by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this month.

Read Full Article=> Obamacare Cut The Uninsured Rate To Single Digits Last Year

Great Recession: Where’s the Punishment After the Crime?

 

wall-st-sign

The U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating whether individuals and entities involved in toxic, collateralized mortgage-backed securities can be charged with crimes. But, as yet, there have been no criminal convictions of high-level corporate officials directly linked to the practice.

Michael Greenberger, former director of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets, says the Obama administration needs to step up and press charges against those involved in toxic mortgages.

“The American public as a whole expected there would be accountability for upending the economy,” says Greenberger, now a law professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. “There hasn’t been, and common sense tells us that the taxpayer is angry about this.”

On the other hand, the Justice Department, along with other agencies, has successfully held investment banks civilly responsible. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other banks have agreed to pay millions or even billions of dollars to settle allegations they knowingly bundled toxic loans and then sold them to unsuspecting investors. As part of JPMorgan’s record-breaking $13 billion settlement, the bank admitted to making “serious misrepresentations” to investors.

But some critics, including an outspoken federal judge in the Southern District of New York, say the department’s failure to bring criminal charges against high-level individuals at investment banks depicts weakness in the prosecutorial system. Manns also thinks prosecutors are failing to deter the next generation of potential financial criminals.

“We are now seeing large dollar settlements but very little individual accountability,” says Manns. “If individuals aren’t held accountable, it’s not clear that there will be much deterrence. What’s the worst that happened to folks who engaged in dubious activities? They made money, they were bailed out, and now they have retired in places like Boca Raton.”

Former federal prosecutor Aitan D. Goelman says the Justice Department “has acutely felt the pressure and public desire for accountability on this issue.”

“There’s been a lot of attention and resources devoted to looking for fraud cases,” says Goelman, now a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. “But they have to prove criminal intent, and that can be difficult. If there were low-hanging fruit cases that could have been brought and won, they would have been brought. Prosecutors can only go where the evidence and law leads them.”

Read Full Article => Great Recession

How the GOP Candidates Are Blocking the Vote

As a senator from Texas, Cruz has championed his state’s voter-ID law, the strictest in the country. The law—which allows voters presenting a handgun permit to cast a ballot, but not those with a student ID—has been blocked by federal courts on three occasions. Cruz’s website featured a petition calling on supporters to tell Obama: “Don’t Mess With Texas Voter ID Laws.”

Praising the Supreme Court decision that gutted the VRA, Cruz claimed it no longer subjected “democratically-elected state legislatures to second-guessing by unelected federal bureaucrats.” Two hours after the Court ruled, in a separate verdict, that states couldn’t require proof of citizenship for voter registration in federal elections, he filed an amendment to an immigration bill that would override the decision.

Despite his outspoken conservatism, Cruz is not an outlier in the GOP on voting rights. The leading Republican presidential candidates—who unanimously support tough new voting restrictions—have all opposed efforts to expand access to the ballot box.

As a senator from Florida—a state with a well-documented history of voter suppression—Marco Rubio opposed the restoration of voting rights for nonviolent ex-felons and supported his state’s cutbacks in early voting, which contributed to seven-hour lines during the 2012 election. That same year, he supported a controversial purge of voter rolls by Governor Rick Scott that was stopped by a federal court. Along with Cruz, Rubio also backed a Senate amendment requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote in federal elections.

The so-called moderates in the race are no better. In the pivotal swing state of Ohio, Governor John Kasich signed legislation that cut the window for early voting and eliminated same-day voter registration.

READ FULL ARTICLE => How the GOP Candidates Are Blocking the Vote | The Nation


 

Full Text of the Trans Pacific Partnership

USTRSeal

The full text of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement has been released. For all those complaining about how this is a secret deal, you’ve got a lot of dry reading ahead. Here’s the link:
TPP Full Text


 

The Disproportionate Risks of Driving While Black

A national uproar over racial profiling erupted in the 1990s after New Jersey state troopers were found to have focused on minority drivers for traffic stops in hopes of catching drug couriers. Thousands of local law enforcement departments and more than a dozen state police agencies began collecting traffic-stop information as a result.In the seven states with the most sweeping reporting requirements — Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina and Rhode Island — the data show police officers are more likely to pull over black drivers than white ones, given their share of the local driving-age population.

By itself, that proves little, because other factors besides race could be in play. Because African-Americans are, for example, generally poorer than whites, they may have more expired vehicle registrations or other automotive lapses that attract officers’ attention.

More telling, many researchers agree, is what happens after a vehicle is pulled over — especially whether officers use their legal discretion to search a car or its occupants and whether those searches uncover illegal contraband. An officer can conduct a “consent search” without any justification if the driver grants permission. A search can also be made without consent if an officer has probable cause to suspect a crime.

In the four states that track the results of consent searches, officers were more likely to conduct them when the driver was black, even though they consistently found drugs, guns or other contraband more often if the driver was white. The same pattern held true with probable-cause searches in Illinois and North Carolina, the two states that carefully record them.

Read Full Article => The Disproportionate Risks of Driving While Black – The New York Times


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 10, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – the Jade Helm military exercise brings out the crazies, Potential Reid successor Senator Schumer bucks White House on Iran deal, voting rights on the 50th anniversary of the voting rights amendment, an update on the HIV outbreak in Indiana, the EPA accident polluting a Colorado river with heavy metals, Guantanamo may finally be closing, and Bernie Sanders, #blacklivesmatter, and the blatant racism of the “Left”.

0:27 Jade Helm 15
4:12 Iran Nuclear Deal
6:15 Voting Rights
9:14 Indiana HIV
10:55 Animas River Spill
12:52 Guantanamo
14:16 Black Lives Matter

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – August 3, 2015 – The Rational Progressive

TRP News with James Andre.

This week – Sanders vs Clinton, smears and facing reality, the Iran deal is being reviewed by Congress and touted by Sec Kerry, Obama reveals new carbon emissions rules, the first of their kind in the nation, Fukushima takes steps forward in the clean up of the nuclear accident, and the establishment of an 8MW offshore wind plant, and in France migrants try to cross the channel tunnel into England, and Italy rescues more crossing the Mediterranean.

0:25 Clinton/Sanders
13:37 Iran Deal
15:44 Carbon Rules
17:26 Fukushima
21:00 Migrants
For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – July 13, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week South Carolina finally takes down the confederate flag from the capitol, BP reaches a settlement on the Gulf spill while Shell moves forward with Arctic drilling plans, Islamic State propaganda and activity around the world, and a deal with Iran on nuclear research is said to be imminent.

0:30 South Carolina Confederate flag
2:50 BP Settlement/Shell arctic drilling
9:35 Islamic State
16:09 Iran negotiations

 

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

U.S. court rules NSA can temporarily resume bulk phone data collection

A new law, called the Freedom Act, which substantially reformed and narrowed the bulk phone data program, was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama a day after the existing program lapsed on June 1.

The Freedom Act also allowed the existing surveillance program to continue for a six-month transition period, but it remained in legal limbo pending Monday’s ruling by a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“In passing the USA Freedom Act, Congress clearly intended to end bulk data collection … But what it took away with one hand, it gave back – for a limited time – with another,” wrote Michael Mosman, a judge on the surveillance court.

In his ruling, first reported by the New York Times, Mosman rejected the May ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that the Patriot Act had never authorized the NSA to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk.

“Second Circuit rulings are not binding on the F.I.S.C. and this court respectfully disagrees with that court’s analysis, especially in view of the intervening enactment of the U.S.A. Freedom Act,” he wrote.

The U.S. Justice Department welcomed the decision.

Read Full Article: U.S. court rules NSA can temporarily resume bulk phone data collection


 

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – June 29, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week Fast Track has passed and been sent to the President, the Islamic State turns one year old and calls for a month of disaster, SCOTUS hands down several important decisions including same sex marriage, the Iran talks overrun but are said to be near completion, and the politics of smear by association.

0:19 TPA/Fast Track
5:38 Islamic State
8:35 SCOTUS
15:33 Iran Negotiations
18:30 Smear, Distract, Deceive

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews


 

Magical Mystery Tour of American Austerity: How One State Is Destroying Democracy and Poisoning Its People | Alternet

One city neglected to inform its residents that its water supply was laced with cancerous chemicals. Another dissolved its public school district and replaced it with a charter school system, only to witness the for-profit management company it hired flee the scene after determining it couldn’t turn a profit. Numerous cities and school districts in the state are now run by single, state-appointed technocrats, as permitted under an emergency financial manager law pushed through by Rick Snyder, Michigan’s austerity-promoting governor. This legislation not only strips residents of their local voting rights, but gives Snyder’s appointee the power to do just about anything, including dissolving the city itself — all (no matter how disastrous) in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

If you’re thinking, “Who cares?” since what happens in Michigan stays in Michigan, think again. The state’s aggressive balance-the-books style of governance has already spread beyond its borders. In January, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed bankruptcy lawyer and former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr to be a “legal adviser” to Atlantic City. The Detroit Free Press described the move as “a state takeover similar to Gov. Rick Snyder’s state intervention in the Motor City.”

And this spring, amid the hullabaloo of Republicans entering the 2016 presidential race, Governor Snyder launched his own national tour to sell “the Michigan story to the rest of the country.” His trip was funded by a nonprofit (fed, naturally, by undisclosed donations) named “Making Government Accountable: The Michigan Story.”

To many Michiganders, this sounded as ridiculous as Jeb Bush launching a super PAC dubbed “Making Iraq Free: The Bush Family Story.”  Except Snyder wasn’t planning to enter the presidential rat race. Instead, he was attempting to mainstream Michigan’s form of austerity politics and its signature emergency management legislation, which stripped more than halfof the state’s African American residents of their local voting rights in 2013 and 2014.

As the governor jaunted around the country, Ann Arbor-based photographer Eduardo García and I decided to set out on what we thought of as our own two-week Magical Michigan Tour. And while we weren’t driving a specially outfitted psychedelic tour bus — we spent most of the trip in my grandmother’s 2005 Prius — our journey was nevertheless remarkably surreal. From the southwest banks of Lake Michigan to the eastern tips of the peninsula, we crisscrossed the state visiting more than half a dozen cities to see if there was another side to the governor’s story and whether Michigan really was, as one Detroit resident put it, “a massive experiment in unraveling U.S. democracy.”

Source: Magical Mystery Tour of American Austerity


 

House Votes To Overturn D.C. Reproductive Health Discrimination Law

The House vote targeted the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act passed by the District’s council last year. The city legislation aimed to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees accessing in-vitro fertilization, using birth control, having premarital sex or seeking an abortion. The measure would have added reproductive health to the city’s other employment discrimination protections.

Congress has the power to stop laws passed by the D.C. council, but the House hadn’t voted to do so in 23 years. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) introduced the House version of the resolution, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offering the Senate’s measure. Black’s bill on Thursday passed 228 to 192, with 13 Republicans voting against it and three Democrats in favor.

Conservatives have argued the city law would violate religious employers’ religious liberty, suggesting they could be forced to hire applicants whose beliefs conflicted with their own or be compelled to cover contraception and abortion.

“While the law’s supporters in the big-abortion lobby claim that this act protects against discrimination, the truth is this oppressive measure directly targets the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life and faith-based employers in our nation’s capital,” Black said in a statement before the vote.

Source: House Votes To Overturn D.C. Reproductive Health Discrimination Law

TRP News – Progressive News & Information – June 1, 2015

TRP News with James Andre.

This week focus on Iowa and a new poll in the presidential primary race, Provisions of the Patriot Act expire including the NSA’s bulk data collection program, Iraq pushes back ISIS but loses 2,300 humvees, the migrant crises around the world escalates with the summer weather, and the migrant crises in southeast Asia may become a sticking point for Malaysia and the TPP.

:20 Quinnipiac Primary Poll
6:42 Patriot Act Provisions
13:22 ISIS
15:30 Migrant Crises
26:25 Malaysia/TPP

For audio only, stream or download here : https://archive.org/details/TRPNews