Month: September 2018

Background Briefing: September 30, 2018


The Powerful Special Interests Behind Kavanaugh

We will begin with the remarks by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse at last week’s dramatic senate hearing when he questioned Judge Kavanaugh, referring to him as the culmination of a long strategy by powerful special interests who have already seated Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and now a possible fifth who will ensure a far right wing conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades to come. Francis Kissling, the former president of Catholics for Choice who writes a weekly column for and blogs at, joins us to discuss the pivotal role of Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society in stacking the Supreme Court and the Federalists’ on-going TV campaign boosting Brett Kavanaugh through the dark money pouring into their Judicial Crisis Network. We will look into Leo’s membership of the secretive extremely conservative Knights of Malta and his closeness to Cardinal Burke, Stephen Bannon’s mentor and a fierce critic of Pope Francis who is undermining the pope’s efforts to reform the Catholic Church. We will also investigate the money and motives behind the funding of Leo and the Federalists by Koch Industries, the Mercer Family Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, Chevron, Google, Microsoft and Pfizer.


10 Years Later How a Better Bailout Would Have Prevented the Creation of the Tea Party, the GOP Takeover of Congress and the Emergence of Trump

Then we will speak with Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who was the Chief Economist for the United States Senate Banking Committee and the Budget Committee. We will discuss his article at Project Syndicate with George Soros, “A Better Bailout Was Possible” and his recent trip to London to find a way out of the political paralysis surrounding the Brexit crisis with the leader of the U.K. Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn appearing to waffle over whether to support a do-over vote.


Actor and Activist Mike Farrell on “Dr. Keeling’s Curve”

Then finally actor and activist Mike Farrell joins us to discuss his one-man performance in an updated version of George Shea’s climate change play “Dr. Keeling’s Curve” which is presented by the Sierra Club. We will discuss how the scientist Dr. David Keeling gave the world its first warning of global warming from his research on CO2 sixty years ago, and the painfully slow progress in recognizing the clear and present danger of the increase in global warming from the unrelenting and on-going release of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, in spite of the manifest global evidence of worsening droughts, floods, fires and rising sea levels.