Day: December 20, 2018

Background Briefing: December 20, 2018


Did Ann Coulter Cause the Government to Be Shut Down?

We begin with the latest reversal by President Trump who had signaled he would sign the CR, the Continuing Resolution the Senate passed on Wednesday to avoid a government shutdown, but after criticism from Fox & Friends and an attack on his manhood from Ann Coulter Trump is now saying he won’t sign the stop-gap funding bill unless he gets $5 billion for his wall. Norman Ornstein, a contributing editor for The Atlantic and the co-author of “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported” joins us to discuss how Trump is lurching from one reality TV stunt to the next to distract the public from the many investigations closing in on him. Meanwhile with the stock market plunging, Trump is more and more isolated from reality as the last of the adults in the White House are purged with Secretary of Defense Mattis resigning in protest in February. We assess what might prevent further catastrophic damage particularly in foreign policy since Trump is poised to withdraw the small but strategically vital U.S. force from Syria in a move that Putin not surprisingly is praising which has all of Trump’s top national security officials alarmed and is likely the reason why Mattis is heading for the door. Since the wheels are coming of the Administration and Trump is about to inflict even greater damage, we will discuss what the American people can do short of being spectators to the country’s descent into chaos, corruption and collapse.


Finally the Legislative Branch Is Doing Its Constitutional Duty

Then we examine further the looming government shutdown and speak with an expert on public service since federal public servants will be the collateral damage from Trump’s ignorance and incompetence since they will not be getting a paycheck over Christmas. Paul Light, Professor of Public Service at New York University and the former director of the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution joins us to discuss the absurdity of shutting down the government over a snide remark from Ann Coulter and the positive sign amid the dysfunction that finally the legislative branch is doing its constitutional duty as a check and balance on the executive branch.


Criminalizing Opposition to Israeli Policies

Then finally we look into the sneaky attempt to slip the Israel Anti-Boycott Act into the must-pass budget bill by Senators Cardin and Portman at the behest of AIPAC, the Israel lobby and the Netanyahu government who are alarmed by the growing support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement around the world. Miko Peled, an Israel writer and activist and author of “The General’s son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” whose activities would be criminalized by the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, joins us to discuss opposition to the Act from the ACLU and Senators Sanders and Feinstein who are calling for debate, not censorship on the Israel/Palestine issue.