Background Briefing: November 18, 2020


Trump’s Petty Vengeance Against CISA Head Risks Hospitals Getting Ransomware Attacks

We begin with Trump’s firing of Chris Krebs, the government’s top Cyber Security official in charge of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency who instead of being congratulated for protecting the recent election from foreign interference, was fired by tweet for contradicting Trump’s bogus claims of voter fraud and knocking down ridiculous conspiracy theories from the likes of Stephen Bannon. Sean Lyngaas, a Senior Reporter at Cyberscoop who covers the Department of Homeland Security, joins us to discuss his latest article “Trump fires CISA chief Chris Krebs, who guarded the 2020 election from interference and misinformation.” We examine CISA’s primary role of protecting the nation’s vital infrastructure and the reckless stupidity of Trump’s petty vengeance since the former Microsoft executive Chris Krebs was doing important work protecting hospitals from ransomware attacks at a time when the Covid pandemic has hospitals at the breaking point. With Krebs essentially getting punished for keeping Putin and other malign foreign actors at bay in protecting our election, we are left to assume that Trump would have preferred a different outcome in which the votes were rigged in his favor, now that he is flaying about trying to invent evidence of voter fraud that does not exist. 


Survey Finds 40% of Americans Not Taking Precautions at Thanksgiving Gatherings

Then with the White House press secretary saying restrictions on social gatherings at Thanksgiving are “Orwellian”, we speak with the author of a new survey which assesses the risks of large Thanksgiving holiday get-togethers amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center joins us to discuss his survey which found 40% of Americans plan to gather in groups of 10 or more with 33% of them not wearing masks and 25% not practicing social distancing.


Turmoil In Thailand As Subjects Question the King’s Excesses and Entitlement

Then finally we speak with Tamara Loos, Chair and Professor of History and Asian Studies at the Center for International Studies at Cornell University. An expert on Thailand, she is the author of Bones Around My Neck: The Life and Exile of a Prince Provocateur and joins us to discuss a country in turmoil over the divide between the yellow shirts who support the monarchy and the red shirts who want democracy and the end of military rule. With the King’s consort taking a more public role, we explore the reasons for the loyalty his subjects have towards this absentee monarch whose excess and entitlement knows no bounds.