Day: December 1, 2019

Background Briefing: December 1, 2019


Pelosi Represents America at the Madrid Climate Conference

We begin with the COP25 climate change conference in Madrid which according to the U.N. is meant to raise overall ambition in combating climate change leading to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. With the Trump Administration’s recent formal announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is nevertheless leading a large delegation to the talks, arguing in the face of Trump’s denial, that it is “a national security decision to address resource competition and climate migration and also a moral decision to be good stewards of God’s creation and pass a sustainable, healthy planet on to the next generation”. Michael Mann, the Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with others on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is the author of “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy”, joins us. We discuss the clear injection of U.S. domestic politics into the Madrid talks which may or may not feature a drive-by appearance of the American president at the conference that ends on December 13. We also address the politics behind denial and obstruction and the extent to which Trump is a “useful idiot” for the giant oil companies who can hide behind the hollow claims of their TV ad campaigns stressing their alleged focus on alternative energy when their corporate bottom line depends on the value of the reserves they have in the ground.


The Growing Schism Between Iran and Iraq

Then, with Iraq’s pro-Iranian prime minister stepping down unable to quell demonstrations against Iran’s militias that are spreading across the country as security forces shoot down demonstrators following the firebombing of the Iranian consulate in Najaf, we look into the possible breakup of Iraq as Iraq’s tribes take on Iran. A leading expert on Iraq, Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan and the author of “Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires”, joins as to discuss the growing schism between Iraq and Iran.


Trump’s SEC Plans to Silence Shareholders

Then finally Mike Lux, the co-founder of Democracy Partners who was a special assistant to the President for Public Liaison in the Clinton White House and is the author of “How to Democrat in the Age of Trump”, joins us to discuss the Democratic establishment’s fears of progressive populism and his latest article at the Daily Kos “The Danger of Conventional Wisdom”. We also examine a pernicious rule change Donald Trump’s SEC is proposing that would silence shareholders and undermine corporate accountability.