Diane Rehm’s weekly podcast features newsmakers, writers, artists and thinkers on the issues she cares about most: what’s going on in Washington, ideas that inform, and the latest on living well as we live longer.
The Death Of Alexei Navalny And The Future Of Russia
Last week the Russian government announced the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin’s harshest and most well-known critic.
For more than a decade, Navalny campaigned against the corruption of Vladimir Putin and his allies. He ran for mayor of Moscow, crisscrossed the country in an attempted run for president, and offered a younger generation a glimpse of a post-Putin Russia.
During that time, he also endured arrests, beatings, and in 2020, a near fatal poisoning. At the time of his death, he was imprisoned at a penal colony in the Arctic on what his supporters say were politically motivated charges.
“Navalny was the plan for the day after,” says Julia Ioffe, longtime journalist who covers Russia and U.S.-Russia relations. Even behind bars, she says, he represented hope for those who opposed Putin’s power.
Ioffe joins Diane on this episode of On My Mind to discuss the life, death and legacy of Alexei Navalny.
The Supreme Court, Donald Trump And The 2024 Election
Last week Supreme Court justices heard arguments about whether the state of Colorado could ban Donald Trump from the ballot. This week, Trump petitioned the justices to temporarily block a decision by a federal appeals court regarding his claim of presidential immunity.
“The real question to me is how do these two cases, the Colorado case and the January 6th prosecution, end up fitting together,” says Stephen Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Shadow Docket.”
Vladeck joined Diane on this episode of On My Mind to explain these cases and why, together, they highlight the role today’s Supreme Court plays in the country’s democracy.
For more from Stephen Vladeck, you can read his newsletter, One First.
The Fight Over Decriminalization In Oregon And The Future Of US Drug Policy
In 2020 Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that decriminalized drug use. Since the law went into effect three years ago, homelessness in the state has increased, the rate of overdose deaths has risen sharply and the support for decriminalization has plummeted.
Now, Oregon legislators on both sides of the aisle are considering overturning the measure, reinstating a more “law and order” approach to addiction.
“Drugs are a symptom of what’s going on,” says Maia Szalavitz, contributing opinion writer at the New York Times who covers addiction and public policy. “Drugs are not the primary cause of what happened.”
Szalavitz joins Diane on the latest episode of On My Mind to talk about the fight over decriminalizing drugs in Oregon – and what it means for the rest of the country.
The Threat Of Deepfakes In The 2024 Election
Over the last year, a leap in technology has put powerful generative AI tools in the hands of practically anyone with a computer. This means creating fake audio, images, and video has never been easier.
“That’s a democratization of a technology that should terrify us,” says Hany Farid, professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. “Because now I can make the president of the United States, or a candidate for the highest office in the United States, say anything I want them to say.”
Farid is an expert in artificial intelligence and disinformation who is tracking the use of AI in the 2024 election. He worries that widespread access to these powerful new technologies will exacerbate pre-existing challenges to our democracy, particularly a shared understanding of truth itself. “I think it’s like throwing jet fuel onto a dumpster fire,” Farid tells Diane in the latest episode of On My Mind.
Visit Hany Farid’s website to see how AI has been used in the 2024 election: farid.berkeley.edu/deepfakes2024election
What's Missing From Today's Immigration Debate
A record surge of migrants at the U.S.- Mexico border has pushed politicians on both sides of the aisle to look for ways to ease pressure on what many consider to be an overloaded, out-of-date, and needlessly bureaucratic immigration system.
Yet, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Molly O’Toole says the focus of negotiations misses the mark when it comes to finding real solutions to the current crisis at the border.
“We first need to understand who is coming, why they are coming, and where they are coming from,” she explains, adding that the demographics of the migrants crossing into the United States over the southern border has changed dramatically since the 1990s, but the proposed solutions have not.
In the latest episode of On My Mind, O’Toole outlines what she thinks is missing from the country’s current immigration debate.
Paul Krugman Takes The Temperature On "Bidenomics" And The U.S. Economy
In poll after poll, voters around the country say their number one issue is the economy. Which should be good news for President Biden as we approach the November election. The job market is strong, the stock market is up, and inflation is down.
And yet, a December 2023 Gallup poll, showed that four in five U.S. adults rate the country’s current economic conditions as “poor” or “fair.” Meanwhile, voters in swing states say they trust Donald Trump more than Joe Biden as an economic leader.
“There are a bunch of things that have conspired to perpetuate the narrative of a bad economy even as the reality is kind of a miracle,” says Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate in economics.
Krugman joins Diane to offer his perspective on just how healthy the U.S. economy is under Biden, was under Trump, and whether either man should actually get credit for it.
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I am listening to your episode about the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. once again, it is clear that your show is one of the only places where one can find thoughtful, evenhanded, clear presentation of the issues, without inflammatory biases, or Political, talking points. Please extend my thanks to the reporter who presented both sides so well. I am so happy. We still have your show online.
Diane is the absolute best
Such a Washington mainstay, and excellent interviewer and thinker.