Day: October 24, 2019

Background Briefing: October 24, 2019


A Phony Rebellion for the Pleasure of a Leader Demanding Devotion

We begin with the phony rebellion of Tea Party Republicans crashing the House Intelligence Committee SCIF with cellphones is hand deliberately committing felonies in the hope they would be arrested by the Capitol Police and end up as martyrs on Fox News for the viewing pleasure of their leader who demanded more displays of  devotion. Lisa Graves, who served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government – as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the DOJ, as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Deputy Chief of the Article 3 judges division for the U.S. Courts, joins us. We discuss the desperate antics of the cult-like followers of Trump in the House and the apparent ability of the Republicans to gin up phony scandals based on zero evidence which are amplified by the right wing media echo chamber and relentlessly repeated until 40% of the country believe they are true. This happened with Benghazi and with Hillary Clinton’s emails, but after a long and thorough investigation that found there was no truth to the accusations against HRC, the Republicans just moved on to a new chant from “lock her up” to “no collusion” to their latest mantra, “no quid pro quo”.  In contrast, the Democrats, don’t seem to be able to change the narrative to make the case to the American public that their president in a criminal and a traitor, even though they have the truth and growing piles of evidence against Trump on their side.


From Manafort to Giuliani, How One Crook Replaced Another

Then we speak with Keith Darden, a Professor in the School of International Service at American University where his research focuses on nationalism, state-building, and the politics of Russia and Ukraine. He joins us to discuss how, while Trump claims he doesn’t care about politics, only corruption in Ukraine, the Trump Administration has been trying to cut funds to fight corruption in Ukraine. And after losing Paul Manafort as the conduit for corrupt money from Ukrainian oligarchs along with orders from Moscow, it looks like Rudy Giuliani became Manafort’s replacement as the Trump Administration not only encouraged corruption, but has tried to get in on the action of looting Ukraine’s economy.


Turmoil in the South from Chile to Haiti, from Ecuador to Bolivia

Then finally, with tanks in the streets of Chile, one of the richest countries in South America, and Haiti, the poorest, on the brink of revolution, and with Ecuador’s centrist government in turmoil and Bolivia’s socialist government facing electoral fraud charges with barricades and bloodshed in the street, we look into what is happening in the region. Katherine Hite, a Professor of Political Science at Vasser College who focuses on Latin American politics and social movements and is the co-author of “The Politics of Memory in Chile: From Pinochet to Bachelet”, joins us to discuss how unlike their North American counterparts, people are fed up with austerity and income inequality and are taking to the streets.