Background Briefing: January 12, 2020


Iranians Mourn Suleimani Then Demonstrate Against the Regime

We begin with the sudden shift in public opinion inside Iran away from the outpouring of grief recently displayed at the funeral for General Suleimani to Saturday’s demonstrations against the regime by angry citizens furious at the government’s clumsy lies and cynical attempt to cover-up the shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner by the Revolutionary Guards. Mohsen Milani, the Executive Director of the World Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies and Professor of Politics at the University of South Florida joins us to discuss whether Trump’s assassination of Iran’s military leader galvanized public support for the regime as Iranians rallied around the flag or whether the embers of resistance still burn beneath the ashes of repression. With evidence that even members of the resistance who were brutally put down with many shot, arrested and tortured by Suleimani’s Quds Force had joined in the mourning for Suleimani, we assess how deep and pervasive the opposition to the regime is in this country under crippling sanctions as the U.S. ramps up its economic warfare against the Islamic Republic of Iran. With hawks on our side still wanting payback for the 1979 seizure of American hostages, and hawks in Iran still chanting the tired refrain of “Death to America”, we will assess where the majorities are on both sides, since recent polls indicate 75% of Americans would prefer a diplomatic approach to dealing with Iran.


Will There Be a Real or a Sham Trial in the Senate?

Then we get an update on what to expect this week as articles of impeachment are expected to be sent to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday along with a list of House impeachment managers to begin what is called a trial in the senate but questions remain as to whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will see to it that what transpires is a speedy sham, fast-tracking a foregone acquittal. A former United States Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, Harry Litman, who is currently a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego and the Executive Producer and Host of the Talking Feds podcast, joins us.


The Buying of the Presidency by Billionaires

Then finally, with billionaire Mayor Bloomberg pledging to spend a billion dollars to defeat Trump and billionaire Democratic candidate Tom Steyer rising in the polls in Nevada and South Carolina after blanketing the airwaves in those states with an overwhelming advertising blitz, we speak with Ian Madrigal, a creative activist and political strategist who appeared in a viral video at a Congressional hearing as Monopoly Man and shamed former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson out of a Mexican restaurant and launched a satirical bid to be Starbuck’s billionaire Howard Shultz’s 2020 running mate.