Day: October 3, 2019

Background Briefing: October 3, 2019


Will Trump Become More Unhinged as Impeachment Pressure and Evidence Mounts?

We begin with Trump’s near meltdown in the Oval Office in front of the president of Finland after he has tried to dodge a simple question from Jeff Mason of Reuters who asked what it was that Trump wanted from the Ukrainian president. But when asked again to answer the actual question, Trump went full-on Robert De Niro from the movie “Taxi Driver”, “are you talkin’ to me?”. Dr. Allen Frances,a Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University and author of “Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump”, joins us to discuss the possibility that Trump might not leave the Oval Office in a orange jumpsuit or a straight-jacket, but rather have a public meltdown on TV as the Howard Beale character did in the movie “Network”. And while Trump appears rattled by the impeachment which has just started, we will speculate whether his behavior will get more unhinged as the pressure and evidence mounts. However, Dr. Frances warns that our president, who is essentially a two-year-old prone to tantrums, knows his base and how to talk to them, and he could be reelected unless there is a mass mobilization of concerned and disgusted Americans who get out to vote in overwhelming numbers whether or not the Democrats stop wasting money arguing among themselves. Because once they’ve picked a candidate and the general election begins, the Democrats will be massively outspent by Wall Street and brutally vilified by Trump and Fox News.


How to Heal Our Fractured Relationship with the Land and Each Other

Then we speak with one of the country’s finest writers and leading environmental thinkers, Jedediah Purdy, a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School whose latest book, just out, is “This Land is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth”. He joins us to discuss what it means to belong to a land – a country, a nation, a place – and what it means to live with others on it at a time of renewed nationalism and nativism. We explore how we might begin to heal our fractured and contentious relationship with the land and with each other.


A Leading Russia-Watcher on How the West Gets Putin Wrong

Then finally, with Putin making a joke of whether he will interfere with our 2020 elections by whispering conspiratorially, “I’m going to tell you a secret. Yes, sure. We’re going to do that. But don’t tell anybody”, we go to the U.K. to speak with one of the foremost Russia-watchers today, Mark Galeotti, whose latest book is “We Need to Talk About Putin: How the West gets Him Wrong”. He joins us to discuss how Putin is not a great strategist but rather a skilled Judo player who goes after our weaknesses instead of building on Russia’s strengths, because he and his cronies are robbing the country blind.