Day: August 4, 2019

Background Briefing: August 4, 2019


Is the Kremlin Already Deciding Who Will Be the Democrat’s 2020 Candidate?

We begin with the takedown of a leading Democratic candidate for the presidency, Kamala Harris, by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who has now qualified for the next round of Democratic debates in September while Kamala Harris has sunk in the polls. Following the recent warning by Robert Mueller that “as we sit here” the Russians are interfering with our elections, could it be that they are already interfering in the 2020 election by boosting their favorite candidate Tulsi Gabbard at the same time hurting their least favorite candidate Kamala Harris? An expert on Russian media who has been tracking Russian media support for Tulsi Gabbard, Julia Davis, the founder and editor of “Russian Media Monitor“, which analyzes Russia media and the relationship between news and propaganda, joins us. A former federal officer who served with the Department of Homeland Security and is a featured expert with the Atlantic Council’s Disinformation Portal, she has an article at the Daily Beast, “The Russians, Rooting for Trump, Are Loving the Democrats’ Debates.” We discuss the Kremlin’s apparent determination to use their media, propaganda and social media trolls to do whatever it takes to make sure Donald Trump is reelected and examine the broader vision expressed by their propaganda arm RT that “the liberal global world order” is coming to an end to be replaced by a fundamentally different system “which will be discussed in the next three to four years by Putin, Trump and Xi Jinping.”


Holding Trump Responsible for Inspiring Killers Who Act on His Rhetoric;

Then in the wake of two mass shootings, with presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke condemning Trump’s racist rhetoric and support for white nationalism, we will speak with Jennifer Mercieca, a professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University where she teaches courses on Political Communication and Presidential Rhetoric. An historian of American political discourse, especially discourses about citizenship, democracy, and the presidency, she is finishing a third book about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and demagoguery. We assess if and when Donald Trump will be held responsible for inspiring white nationalists to do what they think is their patriotic duty, to stop the “Mexican invasion” which Trump’s repeated rhetoric refers to and warns about.


Will the 250th Mass Shooting Break the Political Grip of the NRA?

Then finally we speak with Tom Diaz, a writer, lawyer, and public speaker on the gun industry and gun control. Formerly senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, he is the author of “The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It.” He joins us to discuss his latest book, just out, “Tragedy in Aurora: The Culture of Mass Shooting in America”. We assess whether the 251th mass shooting in America so far this year in Dayton, Ohio which followed the 249th yesterday in El Paso, will finally break the political grip of the NRA and lead to gun safety reform.