Background Briefing: August 9, 2018
Puerto Rican Government Admits 1427 Died From Hurricane Maria Not the 16 Trump Claimed
We begin with the government of Puerto Rico quietly admitting that the death toll from Hurricane Maria was 1,427 not the 64 they originally announced or Donald Trump’s number of just 16 people which he declared in praising his own administration’s response, boasting that everyone “can be really proud of what’s taken place in Puerto Rico”. Charles Venator Santiago, Professor of Latino Politics in the Department of Political Science and the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at the University of Connecticut, joins us to discuss the belated release of the real death toll in a draft report requesting $139 billion in recovery funds from the congress. With infrastructure on the island still in tatters and power still not restored, we assess the political impact of the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican refugees who settled in Florida, where unlike on the island itself, they are able to vote. We look into whether their votes will be influenced by the photo op of Trump tossing paper towels to needy islanders with patronizing insensitivity, clearly showing that he did not care about the destruction and the lives lost as he touted a fictional version of how great his response was, awarding his administration 10 out of 10 for its response to the devastation from Hurricane Maria.
Nunes Protects Trump Over Defending the Constitution
Then we speak with Rory Appleton, the politics reporter at the Fresno Bee who covers the local congressman Devon Nunes, about the secret tape recording revealing Nunes’s strategy of tabling efforts to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein until after the confirmation of Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and his admission that the GOP must hold onto the House to protect Trump from Mueller. We assess the local reaction and the impact this might have on Nunes’s reelection since it is clear he is protecting Trump over doing the job of congress and defending the constitution.
How the Birthplace of Progressive Politics Became a Laboratory for Billionaire and Corporate Interests
Then finally we examine the test case of how the Republicans took over a progressive state which was crucial to the election of Donald Trump and how it can be taken back in November. Dan Kaufman, the author of “The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics”, joins us to discuss how the birthplace of progressive politics became a laboratory for billionaire and corporate interests and how what happened in Wisconsin is happening to America and must be reversed.