Background Briefing: July 9, 2020


SCOTUS Hands Trump a Victory Even Though he is Whining That it’s Not Fair

We begin with today’s two 7 to 2 rulings from the Supreme Court on Trump’s taxes which appear to be a huge win for Trump since the American public will not learn before the November election why Trump has broken the presidential tradition and refused to make his tax returns public because he is obviously hiding something. Nevertheless in response Trump is tweeting out aggrieved nonsense that the courts which he has staked with very conservative and unqualified younger judges are not fair to him. Joining us is the country’s leading expert on Trump’s taxes who has covered Trump for 35 years, David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author of the bestseller The Making of Donald Trump who has uncovered so many tax dodges he has been called the “de facto tax enforcement officer of the United States”.  He joins us to discuss how yet again the chief justice and the conservatives on the court have ruled in favor of the rich, powerful and connected over the interests of ordinary tax paying citizens. David argues that the so-called liberals on the court got rolled in joining the majority 7 to 2 opinion out of which they only got the acknowledgement that no man is above the law, while the man in question in effect escapes the law once again and could get reelected without the public knowing who Trump is indebted to and where his money came from, not to mention how he has routinely cheated on his taxes.


Trump and Roberts are the Winners While the American Public is the Loser

Then we look further into the rulings with Leah Litman, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan who clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U. S. Supreme Court and is now a regular contributor to the Take Care blog and co-host and creator of Strict Scrutiny, a podcast about the U.S. Supreme Court. She joins us to discuss today’s victory for President Trump and Chief Justice Roberts and the loss for the American people.


In Extinguishing the Voice of America, We Lose Our Best “Soft Power” Asset

Then finally we examine the latest example of the U.S. shooting itself in the foot by extinguishing the Voice of America one of the few “soft power” assets U.S. foreign policy has. Joseph Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics and Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump joins us. We discuss the rash of firings at VOA by Trump’s appointee Michael Pack who is a protegee of Stephen Bannon and a producer of right wing propaganda films. Not only is this unqualified ideologue purging America’s international broadcaster of its managers and talent, he is threatening 100 employees who are not American citizens but are on routinely renewed visas who report stories and produce news reports in 47 languages. Now these broadcasters in Mandarin and Farsi for example face the prospect of being sent back to China and Iran where they face harsh punishment for having broadcast the truth about these despotic regimes.