Background Briefing: March 20, 2019


New Zealand’s Response to Erdogan’s Demagoguery

We begin and go to New Zealand to speak with William Harris, a Professor of Politics at the University of Otago where he teaches the politics and history of the Levant states whose latest book is “Quicksilver War: Syria, Iraq and the Spiral of Conflict”. As funerals begin for some of the 50 victims of last Friday’s shooting rampage at two mosques, we will discuss how New Zealand’s Prime Minister has acted quickly to reassure the country’s small Muslim population in contrast to Trump’s inability to even acknowledge that the victims are Muslims, and the PM’s swift response to enacting gun control measures which our Congress appears incapable of doing no matter how many massacres happen here and how many die every year from gun violence. We will also examine the cynical use of the tragedy by Turkey’s President Erdogan at campaign rallies in the elections underway in Turkey. With New Zealand’s Foreign Minister heading to Turkey for talks, presumably to complain to Erdogan about his comparisons to New Zealand soldiers invading Gallipoli in 1915 with a lone gunman’s attack on Muslims, we will contrast Erdogan’s cooperative tone in his op-ed in The Washington Post with what he is saying to his domestic audience as he continues to insist the gunman responsible for the massacres at the mosques did not act alone.


A Psychological Explanation for Trump’s Manic Tweeting

Then we seek a psychological explanation for Trump’s flurry of furious tweets over last weekend which prompted the husband of one of Trump’s top advisors to include the textbook diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder in his warning to the public that our president’s mental condition is worsening. Dr. Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine and co-founder of Yale’s Violence and Health Study Group who is the editor of the new book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Expert Assess a President”, joins us.


The Intensifying Scrutiny of Trump’s Relationship with Deutsche Bank

Then finally we look into the other bad news along with the details of the Cohen search warrants which have Trump rattled and that is the revelations about the billions loaned to Trump by Deutsche Bank at a time when Trump was blackballed by Wall Street. James Henry, an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist who specializes in global banking, debt crises and tax havens and is the author of “Blood Bankers”, joins us to discuss the intensifying scrutiny of Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank.