Background Briefing: August 18, 2019


The Antifa-Proud Boys Battle in Portland

We begin with the showdown between the loose affiliation of anti-fascist groups, Antifa, and groups of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the hate group Proud Boys in one of the most liberal cities in the country, Portland, Oregon. While it appears the police who formed a barrier between the opposing sides, were able to keep violence at a minimum, President Trump nevertheless showed his one-sided support for white supremacists by threatening Antifa in a tweet “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ORGANIZATION OF TERROR” and that “Portland is being watched very closely”. Jason Wilson, The Guardian’s Portland, Oregon-based columnist and journalist whose latest article is “Portland rally: Proud Boys vow to march each month after biggest protest of Trump era”, joins us to discuss how about 500 rightwing protestor draped in flags and Proud Boys colors marched across the bridge to the waterfront park where they knelt in prayer and sang the U.S. national anthem. Facing them was a diverse group of protesters offering Buddhist and Jewish prayers, along with a poop emoji costume parade organized by the PopMob group. The counter-protests also included a large group of masked anti-fascist Antifa protesters in “black block” attire who Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz wants to designate as domestic terrorists. Apparently the anti-fascists outnumbered the white supremacists, some of whom slinked off out of town to the overwhelming chants of “Nazis go home”.


How Starbucks is Forcing Guatemalans to Head North

Then we examine the root causes of why Central Americans are fleeing El Salvador, Honduras and in particular, Guatemala, and speak with Fernando Morales-de la Cruz a political consultant, journalist and social entrepreneur and founder of Café for Change. He joins us along with economist and investigative journalist James Henry, the co-founder with David Cay Johnston of, to discuss the exploitative business model that has caused impoverished Guatemalan coffee farmers to head north because the monopolies including Starbucks, now pay only one quarter of what the cartel paid in the 1980’s for coffee beans.


The Author of “Kochland”

Then finally we  speak with Christopher Leonard, the author of the new book, just out, “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America”. A business reporter, he joins us to unravel one of the largest privately-owned and secretive companies in the world, Koch Industries, with its tentacles in fossil fuels, commodities trading, chemicals, paper products and fertilizers which while raking in billions, has invested heavily in right wing politics to the point that the Republican Party itself in almost a subsidiary of Koch Industries.