Background Briefing: March 6, 2019


Hypocrisy and a Double Standard Roiling the House

We begin with the rampant hypocrisy in display on Capitol Hill as House Republicans and some Democrats fulminate with indignation against one of only three Muslim members of the House accusing Representative Ilhan Omar of anti-Semitism and racism and being a national security threat while comparing her to 9/11 terrorists. Meanwhile the racist-in-chief in the Oval Office is apparently free to praise neo-Nazis, hurl obscenities at Africans, dehumanize Muslims and smear Mexicans as rapists and murderers. Amir Tibon, the Washington correspondent for Israel’s Haaretz and the co-author of “The Last Palestinian”, joins us to discuss his latest article at Haaretz “Ocasio-Cortez Defends Ilhan Omar as anti-Semitism Storm Roils Democratic Party”. We discuss how the Republicans are trying to drive a wedge into the Democratic caucus pitting the new crop of progressives against the older pro-Israel lawmakers who were quick to circulate a resolution condemning Congresswoman Omar for suggesting that pro-Israel activists were pushing “for allegiance to a foreign country”. This prompted a backlash from the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats who complained of a double standard when bigoted comments by the president and Republicans go unchallenged, arguing that Islamophobia needs to be included for condemnation along with anti-Semitism.


Supporters of Trump Are Dying from His Policies

Then we speak with Jonathan Metzl, Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and Director of its Center for Medicine, Health and Society about his new book, just out, “Dying Of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland”. We discuss the documented evidence that across the South and the Midwest supporters of Donald Trump who have swallowed the Republican dogma against Obamacare, Medicaid expansion and gun control in a backlash against governance itself, are literally dying as a result of the policies put in place by the politicians they support.


The Expanding Investigations into Trump, His Family and His Administration

Then finally we get an update on the expanding number of investigations into Trump, his family and his administration and speak with Lawrence Douglas, a Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College. He joins us to discuss the significance of Michael Cohen providing the House Intelligence Committee with proof his testimony was altered by White House lawyers, and speculation by the former head of the CIA that grand jury indictments will be unveiled on Friday by Robert Mueller.