Day: August 3, 2020

Background Briefing: August 3, 2020


All of Trump’s Public Health Experts Should Have Resigned Months Ago

We begin with both Trump and Nancy Peloisi attacking Dr. Deborah Birx who has so far avoided being banished as other public health experts like Dr. Fauci have been. Pelosi said that since Dr. Birx is Trump’s appointee and the president spreads disinformation, she has no confidence in her. But Trump went further in a tweet today with “So Crazy Nancy said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing combatting the China virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us, pathetic.” What in fact Dr Birx said was that the pandemic has reached a new phase and is extraordinarily widespread and into rural areas as well as urban areas. Dr. Irwin Redlener the Founding Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Earth Institute joins us to argue that all of the public health experts working for Trump should have resigned en masse a long time ago as well as discuss the Stalinist nature of Trump’s White House where the mildest criticism or contradiction of the great leader gets you banished while only frauds such as Stalin’s Lysenko whose scientific quackery cost millions of lives, are listened to like Trump’s Nigerian doctor Stella Immanuel who believes that demon sperms are on the prowl. With 155,000 Americans having died from the coronavirus and 4.6 million infected, a figure that is 10 times lower than the likely number of infections, the deaths so far are undercounted and the toll will get much worse.


The Countrywide Spread of the Coronavirus and Herd Immunity

Then we look further into how a microscopic virus has brought the richest and most powerful country on earth to its knees and since the outbreak was allowed to grow and was never contained, most of the country will be infected sooner than later. Dr. Stanley Perlman, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa who has studied coronavirus pathogenesis for four decades, joins us to discuss how we could be close to herd immunity and what that means.


Billionaires Are Richer Than Ever So Why Aren’t They Giving More?

Then finally with the 62 living American billionaires who have signed the Giving Pledge having seen their combined wealth soar up from $376 billion in 2010 to $734 billion as of July 18, 2020, we discuss how philanthropy should not become a taxpayer-subsidized extension of private wealth, power and influence for the richest 0.1 percent. Chuck Collins, who directs the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits, joins us to discuss his new report “Gilded Giving 2020: How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy and Imperils Democracy” and his article at The Guardian, “In a pandemic, billionaires are richer than ever. Why aren’t they giving more?”