Background Briefing: September 14, 2020


Trump’s Threat to Withhold Funds Unless States Follow his Advice to Rake the Forest Floor

We begin with the wildfires raging in the West and Trump’s visit today to Sacramento, California, a state he has threatened to withhold funds from blaming California for not following his ludicrous advice of raking the forest floor to prevent wildfires. Daphne Wysham, the Climate Justice Program Director at the Center for Sustainable Economy and the director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network where she works to reverse the climate impacts of deforestation in the Pacific Northwest, joins us. Recently Trump admitted on TV that he spent a whole day watching Fox News, the very same day Oregon’s Democratic governor was calling him for federal disaster relief as her state went up in flames. But she could not get through to the nation’s leader who clearly favors states that voted for him and punishes states that did not. We discuss the role of the big timber companies like the Koch Brothers’ Georgia Pacific who dominate the state of Oregon and whose forest practices are adding fuel to the fires.


The Role of Winds and Power Lines in the Oregon Fires

Then we speak with Meg Krawchuk, a Professor of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University where she researches landscape ecology, biogeography, pyrogeography and conservation science. She joins us to discuss the need to protect and preserve the natural forests of the Pacific Northwest from the clear-cutting of forests by the timber industry in order to plant an unnatural monoculture of trees that dry out the soil and make fires worse.


The 48 to 59 Million Displaced by the U.S. War on Terror

Then finally with refugee camps in Greece wiped out by fire and displaced refugees being tear-gassed by Greek police, we look into the 48 to 59 million people, mostly civilians, displaced in countries where America has fought its war on terror. We speak with David Vine, professor of Anthropology at American University and author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic StateHe joins us to discuss the report from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University he is the lead author of, “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars.”