Background Briefing: August 12, 2018


A Former White Supremacist on the “Unite the Right” Rally

We begin with the “Unite the Right” rally of Neo-Nazis about to take place in Washington D.C. opposite the White House in Lafayette Park on the one year anniversary of the violent confrontation between white supremacists and counter-protesters in which a Neo-Nazi used his car as a weapon to run down and kill Heather Heyer and injure others on the streets of Charlottesville.  We will speak with a former organizer for the White Aryan ResistanceAntony McAleer, chair and co-founder of Life After Hate, who works with Neo-Nazis who wish to leave a life of hate and violence, and discuss President Trump’s belated condemnation of “all types of racism”, whatever that means, after he took to Twitter to attack black NFL athletes with the racist insult that they weren’t smart enough to know what they were protesting about.  We get a report on the gathering of white supremacists across from the White House and a number of other counter-protests the police are keeping separate, emphasizing that this is a First Amendment event in the nation’s capitol.  While in Charlottesville, the overwhelming police presence has resulted in no significant protests as police confiscate brass knuckles and skateboards at security checkpoints, but since Virginia is an open-carry state, brandishing an assault rifle is OK.


Using the US Treasury as a Weapon Will Eventually Backfire

Then with Trump sanctioning Russia, Iran and Turkey while escalating a trade war with China, we examine the extent to which the president is over-using the power of the U.S. Treasury Department as a weapon, which in many ways is a more powerful tool than the Pentagon. And sometimes he does this for personal reasons as is the case with Turkey where Trump boasts the Turkish lira is tanking while the dollar is stronger than ever, as he puts the screws to Erdogan who apparently reneged on a promise he made in person to Trump. Robert Hocketta Professor of Law at Cornell Law School whose research focuses on the national and transnational dimensions of monetary law and economics, joins us to discuss whether the capricious and injudicious use of U.S. financial power will lead to other nations finding an alternative to the dollar as the global reserve currency.


Canada Stands Up for Human Rights While Trump Remains Silent

Then finally as the spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada escalates, we speak with Thomas Juneau, a professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottowa, Canada. He joins us to discuss how the Trump Administration is making it clear which side the U.S. is on as Canada takes a moral stand against human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia’s pugnacious boy king, with whom Trump and his son in law Jared Kushner have both political and financial ties.