Day: June 4, 2018

Background Briefing: June 4, 2018


A Supreme Court Ruling as “Christian” Nationalists Move Into State Legislatures

We begin with the Supreme Court decision on the Christian fundamentalist baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple and discuss the ruling with Rachel Laser, the President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She joins us to discuss her article at The Advocate “We Can Protect Religious Liberty Without Denying Rights to LGBT People” and how The Do No Harm Act co-sponsored by Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman Joseph Kennedy would fix the main issues involved in this case which the Supreme Court did not address in their narrow ruling. We also examine Project Blitz, the legislative assault underway in state legislatures by Christian nationalists to reshape America which has brought forward 75 “In God We Trust” bills in more than 20 legislatures using the claim of imaginary attacks on religious freedom to impose their narrow Christian fundamentalist dogma on the American public to dictate our political and cultural life. With a Christian fundamentalist televangelist asking his flock to pony up $54 million for him to fly around in a top of the line Gulfstream private jet, it hardly seems possible that the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation’s justification for Project Blitz is based on the absurd notion that Christians in America are oppressed and that Sharia Law is about to be imposed on these beleaguered believers.


How Work Could Become Meaningful

Then with President Trump touting last month’s job numbers, we go to the U.K. to speak with David Graebera Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics about his new book, just out, “Bull**** Jobs: A Theory”. We discuss how up to 40% of the working public believe their jobs are pointless, a view held in both the private and public sector, and that less than half of their time spent working involves actual work.  We discuss the paradox that the more valuable your work is to society, the less you are paid for it, and as robotics replace repetitive manual labor, the need for a guaranteed universal basic income begins to look more necessary.


Analyzing Trump’s Claim He Can Pardon Himself

Then finally, following today’s barrage of petulant protestations in tweets from Trump claiming he has “the absolute right” to pardon himself and that the Mueller investigation led by “13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats” is “totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”, we speak with Brian Kalt, a Professor of Law at Michigan State University about his article in Foreign Policy written over a year ago “Can Trump Pardon Himself?” We analyze both Trump’s and his TV lawyer Rudy’s Giuliani’s claims of the presidential right to self-pardon which they claim is supported by “numerous legal scholars”.