Day: July 29, 2018

Background Briefing: July 29, 2018


The Person Who Brought Down Nixon on the Cohen Tapes

We begin with the irony that not just one president Richard Nixon was brought down by secret tape recordings, but that another Donald Trump, could also be vulnerable to the many recording his former fixer Michael Cohen has of conversations between them. The first of which has been made public involving a discussion over the payment of hush money just before the 2016 election to a Playmate with whom Trump is alleged to have had a year-long extra-marital affair. The person who revealed the existence of the secret White House recording system that finally provided the evidence during the Watergate hearing to back up the word of John Dean against all the president’s men, Alexander Butterfield, joins us. He served as the Deputy Assistant to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973 and later served as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and is the subject of the latest book by Bob Woodward, “The Last of the President’s Men”. We  discuss the stark difference between two flawed presidents, one Nixon who was unusually prepared for the office and was exceedingly competent, while the other in office now, Donald Trump, was totally unprepared and is dangerously incompetent.


100 Days Out: Winning for the Democrats Is Not Enough

Then we examine the challenges facing the Democrats as we head into the midterm elections 100 days away and speak with Paul Glastris, the editor-in-chief of The Washington Monthly who was a special assistant and senior speechwriter to President Clinton about his article in The Washington Monthly “Winning Is Not Enough”. We discuss the alarming statistic that only one third of Democrats voted in the last midterm elections prompting President Obama to remark that Democrats have an almost genetic problem of not voting in midterms. Which calls into question whether the so-called Blue Wave will sweep them into control of the House and Senate in November. Paul Glastris argues that merely winning is not enough, to save our Democracy, Democrats need to win big.


An Expert Analysis of Why Wildfires Are Raging in California and Around the World

Then finally we get an analysis of the wildfires raging across California and as far away as Greece and Sweden from an expert on the history, ecology and management of fires,Stephen Pyne, the Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and author of “Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America”. He joins us to discuss the difference between good and bad forest fires and what can be done to prevent devastating urban fires such as what just happened in Redding California, and recently in Santa Rosa, California and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.