Day: August 6, 2020

Background Briefing: August 6, 2020


Trump Insists Without Evidence the Destruction of Beirut Was Not an Accident

We begin with Trump insisting that the explosion which devastated much of Beirut was not an accident but a bombing, citing his generals as having told him so although neither Trump nor the generals have presented any evidence. With France’s President Macron visiting the destroyed port area today where he was mobbed by local citizens angrily shouting “revolution, revolution”, we look into some of the theories suggesting there were other causes aside from the widely accepted explanation that a combination of incompetence and negligence caused the explosion. Lebanon-based journalist Thanassis Cambanis who writes “The Internationalist” column for The Boston Globe and is a contributor to Foreign Policy and the author of A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, joins us. We discuss rumors of an Israeli jet bombing the warehouse allegedly full of Hezbollah’s arms and the difficulty of igniting Ammonium Nitrate with fireworks and not a high explosive, as well as the possibility that the reason the 2750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate sat in the warehouse for six years was that the warlords who run Lebanon were haggling over who gets to sell it on the blackmarket.


The Once-Powerful NRA Will Go the Way of the Trump Foundation

Then we examine the comeuppance of the once-powerful head of the NRA who, along with his cronies have been looting the non-profit organization for decades, until today when the Attorney General of the state of New York announced she was filing a lawsuit to dissolve the 148 year-old National Rifle Association. Joshua Horwitz, the Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence and the author of Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea, joins us to discuss how the NRA is likely to go the way of the Trump Foundation.


A Veteran of the U.S.P.S. on the Manufactured Crisis to Destroy it

Then finally we speak with Philip Rubio a 20 year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service who is now a Professor of History at North Carolina A&T State University and the author of the new book, just out, Undelivered: From the Great Postal Strike of 1970 to the Manufactured Crisis of the U.S. Postal Service. We discuss how Trump is so invested in stopping mail-in ballots that he was prepared to veto the $2.2 billion Cares Act if they did not take out money for the U.S.P.S. but now the shoe is on the other foot as Schumer and Pelosi negotiate with the White House to restore funds in the next stimulus package