Day: April 23, 2020

Background Briefing: April 23, 2020


The Plutocrat-funded Organizers Behind the Astroturf Anti-lockdown Demonstrations

We begin with the revival of the phony grassroots Astroturf movement behind the Tea Party whose co-founder Mark Meckler is now one of the organizers behind the anti-lockdown demonstrations against Democratic governors. Joining us is Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the new corporate watchdog group True North Research who served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government and has an op-ed in today’s New York Times, “Who’s Behind the Reopen Protests?: They are anything but spontaneous“. We discuss how these Astroturf organizers and their plutocratic backers are back at it again but this time it’s not just the Koch brothers but the DeVos family sponsoring demonstrations in Michigan. Then there is one of Trump’s biggest backers Robert Mercer who is behind the Convention of States, which seeks to convene a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the Constitution as a plutocrats wish-list. They recruit activists at gun shows while their offshoot Meckler’s Citizens for Self-Governance, promotes these demonstrations online so that their recruits show up at these demonstrations heavily armed. With America facing three calamities; a deadly contagion, an erratic president and a well-funded right-wing infrastructure, the hacks and hirelings of the plutocrats at Fox News and in the Republican Party appear determined to divert popular anger away fromTrump’s bungling into reactionary populism which blames Democrats for the economic hardship from the lockdowns rather than the virus.

Trump’s Glaring Failure to Protect the Homeland

Then we speak with one of the nation’s leading experts in Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem, who served as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security where she handled crises from the H1N1 pandemic to the BP oil spill. She joins us to discuss her article at The Atlantic, “After Social Distancing, a Strange Purgatory Awaits” and the glaring failure of President Trump to protect the homeland from the coronavirus which is spelled out by the appalling fact that there are roughly 2.7 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide with 190,000 deaths, but the richest and most powerful country is by far the worst off with 870,000 cases in the U.S. and 50,000 deaths so far.

The Role of the Second Most Powerful Person in the U.S., Jared Kushner

Then finally we investigate the role of the second most powerful person in the United States, Jared Kushner, and speak with Andrea Bernstein, the Peabody and duPont-Columbia Award-winning cohost of the WNYC/ProPublica podcast Trump Inc. She is the author of the new book American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power and joins us to discuss her article at Pro-Publica “How Jared Kushner is Tackling the White House Coronavirus Response – Without Any Evident Experience“.