Day: April 19, 2020

Background Briefing: April 19, 2020


Trump’s Rhetoric Escalates Into Dangerous Territory

We begin with Trump’s rhetoric escalating from infantile incoherence to irresponsible insurrection as he called upon his gun-toting MAGA-hatted followers to LIBERATE Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia, all key swing states with Democratic governors. Joining us is Jennifer Mercieca, a professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University who teaches courses on Political Communication and Presidential Rhetoric whose forthcoming book is, “Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump“. We discuss the increasingly desperate superlatives of self-aggrandizement in Trump’s daily briefings as he congratulates himself for the greatest handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the world, claiming foreign leaders are in awe of his amazing achievements when in fact the U.S. has by far the world’s highest number of cases and deaths. And while these absurd ramblings by a clearly mentally ill man who has degenerated from a Reality TV pitchman to a create-his-own reality demagogue, go largely unchallenged by the White House press corps, there are real world consequences. Trump is dangerously dividing America in order to win reelection by stoking political anger and is pushing the country into a partisan incivility not unlike the disunion before the Civil War.


 Is Trump Both the Arsonist and the Fire Brigade Sparking Insurrection Then Declaring Martial Law?

Then we look further into Trump’s encouragement of insurrection, aided and abetted by his propaganda mouthpiece Fox News, and speak with William Banks, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University College of Law who is the author of Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military and has an article at The Atlantic “Martial Law Would Sweep the Country Into a Great Legal Unknown“. He joins us to discuss how Trump is both the arsonist and the fire brigade igniting the spark of insurrection while possibly declaring martial law to put out the “Reichstag Fire” he has lit. Unfortunately while unprecedented, this prospect is not entirely hypothetical given Trump’s hatred of the press which he would shut down, and his fear of losing the election, which he would suspend.

Are We Seeing a Repeat of 2008 With Victims Punished and Perpetrators Rewarded?

Then finally we speak with a leading expert in labor and employment law, Katherine Stone, Professor of Law at UCLA who has an article at The American Prospect “The Rise of Neo-Feudalism: The private capture of entire legal systems by corporate America goes far beyond neoliberalism. It evokes the private fiefdoms of the Middle Ages“. We speculate whether the current crisis in which Trump is quick to rescue corporations while slow to help the legions of unemployed, will be a repeat of what happened after the 2008 crash when the victims were punished and the perpetrators rewarded.