Background Briefing: June 25, 2019


Holding Poor, Destitute Kids Hostage to a Reelection Strategy

We begin with the inhumane conditions children are being held in at a Border Patrol detention facility in Clint, Texas and speak with Nicole Austin-Hillery the U.S. Program Executive Director of Human Rights Watch who is the co-author of a new report at CNN “We went to a border center for children. What we saw was awful”. She joins us to discuss the unhealthy and unsanitary conditions these unaccompanied minors are being held in and the appalling diet of cheap fast food that everyone from toddlers to young nursing mothers are being fed and the cold cement floor the kids have to sleep on. As a result of the revelations by Nicole and other lawyers who exposed the cruel and callous conditions the children were enduring, the Trump administration ordered the children evacuated to an undisclosed facility only to have them return later today to the Clint detention center. We will assess whether President Trump is really interested in solving a problem that he uses as a rallying cry to whip up his base with poor destitute kids from Central America held hostage to a Republican reelection strategy to paint Democrats as only caring about brown and black people as they give preference to non-Americans at the expense of red-blooded white Americans. And with the House poised to pass a $4.5 billion aid package to address the crisis on the border, we will examine whether the pause in mass deportation Trump promised to allow the Congress to pass this aid package, will be met by a veto if the President doesn’t get money for ICE and his wall instead of money to feed and shelter these kids in humane conditions even though they are being unlawfully detained in the first place.


The Disastrous Foreign Policy of the Master of the Art of the Deal

Then we get an analysis of Trump’s erratic foreign policy and the fix the master of the art of the deal has got himself into in the Middle East with the Iranians holding the cards as Trump careen between offering peace and prosperity to hurling insults at Iranian leaders while threatening to obliterate their country. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland who served as an advisor to the U.S. Mission at the U.N., on the Iraq Study Group and as a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of State, and is the author of the forthcoming book “U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle east Under Obama and Trump”, joins us.


Undemocratic Quorum-Busting by Republicans in Deep Blue Oregon

Then finally we speak with Jason Wilson, a reporter for The Guardian based in Portland, Oregon who has an article at The Guardian “Oregon senator walkout: ‘patriot’ groups vow to protect Republicans who fled”. He joins us to examine the undemocratic quorum-busting going on in the deep blue state of Oregon where the Democrats have a supermajority in the State House and Senate but the Democratic Governor is poised to give up on a climate bill because of the tactics of the Republican senators who are hiding out in Idaho with burner phone denying a quorum, out of reach of the Oregon State Police who had to shut down the government over the weekend because of threats from militia groups who support the Republicans.