Background Briefing: September 13, 2018


The 10th Anniversary of the Wall Street Crash and Paths Not Taken

We begin with the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008 which triggered the Wall Street crash and speak with Jesse Eisinger, the Pulitzer Prize-winning senior reporter at ProPublica who covers Wall Street and finance. The author of “The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives”, he joins us to explore the paths not taken by President Obama who bailed out Wall Street in the greatest transfer of private debt into public debt in the history of the world in which Wall Street was rewarded for its reckless and criminal behavior and Main Street got stuck with the bill. We discuss the extent to which the economic crisis of 2007 to 2012 morphed into the political and geopolitical crisis of today as the unfairness of the 1% stiffing the 99% aroused right-wing nationalism both in the United States and Europe and helped install Donald Trump in the White House. Unfortunately instead of a backlash of social justice, populist anger was cynically captured by a con man who used the rage and alienation to gain power then screw his voters to reward the super-rich in the upper echelons of the Forbes list of billionaires, an exclusive club which Trump has always so desperately aspired to join.


Flooding From Florence Will Spread Pig Feces Across North Carolina

Then with Hurricane Florence striking North Carolina, we  examine an aspect of the damage from flooding which does not get the attention it deserves in spite of the devastating experiences from prior hurricanes. Matthew Starr, who works with the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation in North Carolina on their Muddy Water Watch program, joins us to discuss how there are 62 industrial swine operations within the 100-year floodplain with 366 within 100 feet of the floodplain. This means these vast so-called lagoons filled with pig feces and urine will be flooded and the contamination will spread into the rivers and streams polluting vast swathes of the state.


Pompeo Certifies Saudi War Crimes

Then finally, with Wednesday’s certification to Congress by Secretary of State Pompeo that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have shown “demonstrable actions” to limit civilian casualties in their war on Yemen, we speak with Kate Gould, the Legislative Director for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker lobby in the public interest fielding the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington D.C. She joins us to discuss how much the U.S. has blood on its hands from providing the Saudis with refueling, intelligence and targeting in a war the U.N. describes as causing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.