Background Briefing: January 5, 2020


An Update From Georgia on Today’s Critical Elections

We begin with the critical elections in Georgia today that will determine control of the senate and whether Joe Biden will be able to get anything done in the next four years if senate leader McConnell is able to continue his obstruction as the “grim reaper” holding up confirmation of Biden’s appointments, his nominations to the judiciary and whatever bills the House passes.  Joining us from Georgia is Jeffrey Lazarus, a Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University to give us an update on the Republican turnout today since a lot of Democrats have already taken advantage of early voting. We assess whether the recent predictions by the normally reliable Five Thirty Eight poll that had Democrat Jon Ossoff ahead of Republican David Purdue at 49.2% to 47.4%  and the other Democrat, the Reverend Warnock, ahead of the richest member of the U.S. Senate, the Republican Kelly Leoffler at 49.5% compared to 47.2% will hold. Or are the Republicans more fired up than much of the speculation in the press would suggest having them divided and dispirited by Trump’s crazy antics trashing his fellow Republican leaders in Georgia.


Operation Warp Speed Delivered Vaccines But Not Vaccinations

Then we examine how Operation Warp Speed delivered vaccines but not vaccinations as the backlog in distribution is such that at the pace the Trump administration is operating at, it will take seven years to inoculate the country. Meanwhile thousands die every day and we have not yet reached the peak of infections expected from those who foolishly travelled over Christmas. Joining us is David Dayen, the Executive Editor of The American Prospect to discuss his latest article at the Prospect, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Should Infuriate You: A host of problems have hindered our national response in inexcusable ways.”


The Maker of the Documentary on the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi, “The Dissident”

Then finally we speak with the Academy Award winning director Bryan Fogel, about his new film, The Dissident, just out in select theaters and streaming on demand on Friday. The documentary which Bryan wrote, directed and produced, tells the inside story of the grisly murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the orders of the Saudi Crown Prince, and exposes how money trumps human rights, revealing the insidious machinery of surveillance and repression in Saudi Arabia.