Background Briefing: January 31, 2021


The Enemy Within the House of Representatives

We begin with the degradation of our political discourse to the point Democratic lawmakers are now wearing body armour to work as some Republicans who supported the assault on the Capitol by a mob wanting to lynch the VP and assassinate the Speaker, insist on carrying loaded weapons onto the House floor.  As Republicans move to downplay the coup attempt and try to stop the impeachment trial in the Senate, Nancy Pelosi warned that “The enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside.” Wendy Brown, a professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley whose latest book is In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West, joins us to discuss how the threat of right-wing domestic terrorism has been aided and abetted by Trump and the Republican who have played down this growing menace while focusing law enforcement on Antifa and creating the false equivalence that BLM is a threat to public safety rather than a movement for justice and police reform. With dangerous radicals like the QAnon Congresswomen Taylor Greene and Boebert and Congressmen Gosar, Biggs and Gaetz who campaigned against Liz Cheney in Wyoming on Thursday, we speculate whether Trump will split the Republican Party he still dominates, and lead the lunatic fringe as the Patriot Party.


The Spectacular Fall of U.S. Power and Influence Around the World

Then we examine the spectacular fall of U.S. power and influence around the world due to Trump’s stupidity, corruption and ignorance, not to mention his culpability for the deaths of 430,000 Americans and the worst economic downturn since the end of World War II. Yet Trump remains a hero as HL Mencken predicted back in 1920 when he wrote that America has finally come to the point where, “the plain folk of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by an outright moron.” Alfred McCoy, the Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin and the author of In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, joins us to discuss his article at TomDispatch, “Waking from a Four-Year Fever Dream to Find US Global Power Gone” and examine how Trump has accelerated the rise of China which suffered only 4,600 deaths from Covid while their booming economy did not miss a beat.


Biden’s Bold Climate Initiatives as a Win-Win, Creating Jobs While Saving the Planet

Then finally we speak with Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox Professor at Harvard Law School and the Founding Director of the Law School’s Environmental Law and Policy Program who served as Counselor for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama White House. She joins us to discuss Biden’s bold climate initiatives and how his ambitious agenda will focus on the win-win of creating new jobs while saving the planet.