Background Briefing: October 9, 2018


Speculation About Nikki Haley’s Sudden Departure

We begin with the surprise resignation of the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley whose sudden departure has led to feverish speculation. Barbara Crossette, the former UN Bureau Chief for The New York Times who is now the UN correspondent for The Nation, joins us to discuss the extent to which Haley was forced out of her job by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor Bolton. We assess whether since Trump said to Haley today in the Oval Office that “hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point in a different capacity. You can have your pick”, that Trump might dump Pence and put Haley on the 2020 ticket as his VP. Conversely, because she is seen by the White House as being too close to Mike Pence, he might find a way to dump Trump and take Haley on as his VP in 2020. There is also the speculation that the Attorney General Jeff Session will soon be fired and replaced by Senator Lindsay Graham and that the Governor of South Carolina would then appoint Nikki Haley to fill out Graham’s term in the senate until 2020. We will also get an appraisel of her tenure at the UN and how diplomats from around the world found her as the representative of Trump’s hostile, xenophobic administration that wants to undo the very purpose of the UN which is global cooperation and multilateralism, and roll back the clock to a world torn apart by the passions and perils of patriotism and nationalism which Trump recently advocated at the UN.


An Even More Dire Warning on Global Warming From the UN

Then we get an analysis of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that issued and even more alarming warning of the rapid pace of global warming which has eclipsed earlier projections of catastrophic and irreversible damage if temperatures were to rise to 3.6 degrees by 2040, to now show that the dire effects will come sooner at the 2.7 degree mark. Robert Stavinsa Professor and the Director of the Environmental Economics Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the lead author of three reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, joins us.


“How to Save a Constitutional Democracy”

Then finally we speak with Aziz Huq, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is the co-author of a new book, just out, “How to Save a Constitutional Democracy”. We discuss how the new Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh is likely to use his position on the court to be a zealous partisan making sure the Republicans control the House and Senate so as to prevent his own impeachment, and what citizens can do to reform our democracy to make it harder for authoritarian populist like Trump to entrench their power.