Day: October 26, 2020

Background Briefing: October 26, 2020


How Dark Money Put Barrett and Her Predecessors on Our Highest Court

We begin with the partisan rush to install Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court which culminated Monday night with her being sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas shortly after she was confirmed in a narrow party line vote in the Senate. Anne Nelson, a Research Scholar at Columbia University whose latest book is Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right joins us to discuss the tide of dark money that swept Barrett onto the court from Leonard Leo’s Judicial Crisis Network and his other fronts the Wellspring Committee, the Rule of Law Trust and the BH Group along with the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and the Council on National Policy which has Clarence Thomas’s wife on the board. All told Amy Coney Barrett’s seat on the Supreme Court now gives Leonard Leo a six out of nine bench and is the culmination of a decades-long effort by conservative groups funded by tens of millions in dark money from anonymous wealthy right wing donors to stack the court to the far right to enact a corporatist wish-list that could demolish the foundation of the current social order and doom the planet to terminal fossil-fuel pollution.


As We Intrude on Nature With Ecological Disruption, Expect More Pandemics

Then with five of Vice President Pence’s top staff coming down with Covid while the president tells his rallies it’s going away and we’ve turned the corner, we speak with Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist studying host responses to infection by combining classical virology with modern systems biology focusing on viruses that are highly pathogenic and newly emerging because of climate change, land development and ecological disruption. We discuss a new study coming out of Columbia University that finds Trump has “blood on his hands” because he could have avoided over 130,000 Covid deaths had he responded the way his top scientists and public health officials told him to.


Erdogan’s Son-in-law’s Drones Tip the Balance in the War Over Nagorno-Karabakh

Then finally we look into the war of words between Turkey’s Erdogan and France’s President Macron and the new Sultan’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy which appears to be driven by his need to distract Turks from his failures at home. With Erdogan sending his Jihadist mercenaries to fight Armenia and drones manufactured by his son-in-law tipping the military balance in the battle over Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan’s favor, we speak with an expert on Turkey, Max Hoffman, the Associate Director for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress.