Background Briefing: August 26, 2018
A Remembrance of Senator John McCain
We begin with a remembrance of Senator John McCain who died on Saturday a few days short of his 82nd birthday and speak with Norm Ornstein, a contributing editor for The Atlantic and co-author of “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported”. He led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law known as McCain-Feingold and we will discuss how, now that the GOP has been captured by Trump, John McCain appears to be among the last of an endangered species of Republicans who are principled and patriotic. With McCain gone and Senators Corker and Flake retiring, there are very few Republican senators left who are willing to stand up to Trump and defend traditional Republican values and the legacy of the party of Lincoln at a time when the leader of the GOP is acting and talking like a mob boss as the ugly truth about his associates and business practices emerge. We assess whether this is a moment for the silent majority to speak out against the tyranny of the vocal minority inside the alternative universe of Fox News who seem willfully blind to the growing evidence that America’s president is compromised by a hostile foreign power. And that the Trump Organization’s business model is and was laundering Russian mob money via cash deals through shell companies which bought 1,300 Trump condos for Russian investors.
A Report from Ireland on the Pope’s Visit
Then we go to Ireland to speak with Susan McKay, an award-winning Irish journalist and author of “Bear in Mind These Dead”. She joins us to discuss her article at The Guardian “What will the Pope have to say now that Ireland’s dirty secrets are out?” and how Pope Francis dealt with the onslaught of criticism from Irish Catholics and victims of sexual abuse by clergy punished further by the subsequent cover-ups by the church hierarchy. We get a report on the Stand for Truth rally and criticism leveled at the Pope to stop praying and do something about the ongoing crisis in the church.
Is It Too Late to Protect the 2018 Election from Russian Meddling?
Then finally we discuss the warning by the former head of security at Facebook, Alex Stamos, who wrote a blog post last week “It’s Too Late to Protect the 2018 Elections. But Here’s How the U.S. Can Prepare for 2020”. David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School who explores the intersection between media design, culture, politics, privacy, surveillance, social media and journalism, joins us to assess whether Russia will meddle with the midterms to help Trump as they did in 2016.