Background Briefing: March 8, 2020


A Leader in Public Health and Disaster Preparedness on the Worsening Coronavirus Pandemic

We begin with the growing gulf between reality and President Trump’s rosy claims that anyone in the U.S. can be tested for the coronavirus and that many people are surprised that he has such a strong grasp of the science and medical facts surrounding this outbreak which he assured us will “miraculously go away” in the spring. Dr. Irwin Redlener, Clinical Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute where he is Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, joins us to discuss the handling or mishandling by the administration of its response to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. which appears to be a threat to public health and the economy which is growing by the day. With first reports of the novel coronavirus emerging in China in early December, medical experts havie been doing their best to prepare the public and inform them of the risks but they have continually come into conflict with the White House whose focus has been to treat the outbreak as a public relations problem, not a growing public health disaster. Meanwhile at the governmental and bureaucratic level the crisis appears to have been mismanaged from the start and we discuss the problems beyond the mixed-messaging between the president and his vice president and if and when there will be sufficient testing to understand the spread and scope of the epidemic and resources deployed to isolate and quarantine those infected before the epidemic becomes a pandemic.


The Infiltration of Mercenary Intelligence Operations Into Domestic Politics

Then we look into the infiltration of mercenary intelligence operatives into U.S. domestic politics with revelations in The Intercept and The New York Times that Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater mercenary army and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recruited a former British spy and others to work with the political dirty-trickster James O’Keefe of Project Veritas to spy on his sister’s nemesis the American Federation of Teachers and the congressional campaigns of Democrats. Will Sommer, a reporter covering tech and conservative media for The Daily Beast joins us to discuss this well-funded murky alliance of intelligence operatives and opposition research infiltrators.


MBS’s Latest Purge and the Saudi-Russian Oil Wars

Then finally we go to the U.K. to speak with David Hearst, the Editor of Middle East Eye about his latest article “At least 20 princes detained in mass purge by Saudi crown prince”. We will discuss the latest act of impetuous thuggery by Mohammed Bin Salman who with reckless impunity is paving the way for himself to be king by arresting his outspoken uncle. We will also examine the rift between Saudi Arabia and Russia in OPEC as Russia decides to flood the oil market to hurt U.S. shale oil producers and pay back America for messing with its Nord Stream 2 pipeline.