Background Briefing: December 2, 2020


The Erupting White House Bribery-for-Pardons Scandal

We begin with a bribery for pardons scandal that has emerged from court documents just as Trump is musing about preemptively pardoning himself and his children and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Jennifer Taub, an expert on white collar crime who is a professor of law at Western New England University Law School and is the author of Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime, joins us. We speculate who might be named in the heavily-redacted court documents with so many possibilities in this corrupt White House run by a bunch of grifters overseeing an administration Trump has filled with grifters in an open season of trading public office for personal gain.


An Organizer of the “Make Amazon Pay” Campaign

Then we go to London to speak with David Adler, a political economist and General Coordinator of the Progressive International. He previously served as a foreign policy advisor to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and has formed a progressive group around the world including figures like Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders who have organized a campaign “Make Amazon Pay” and they projected those words onto the company’s London headquarters. He joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian, “Amazon workers are fighting for their rights. This holiday season, think of them.”


Thomas Frank on His New Book The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism

Then finally we speak with Thomas Frank, the bestselling author who is the founding editor of The Baffler and a regular contributor to The Guardian. He joins us to discuss his latest book The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism. With Trump, Orban, Boris Johnson and Bolsonaro having given populism a bad name, we look into the history of populism in this country from 1891 to Trump to discover the contribution of populism to the labor and civil rights movements.