Background Briefing: February 16, 2021


The Democrats Will Get Nowhere Unless They End the Filibuster

We begin with the “big lie” that lives on after the insurrection as the GOP moves to pass hundreds of laws at the state level to suppress Democratic votes in the next elections while gerrymandering districts to create enough new House seats by redistricting to win back the House before any votes are cast. With the idea that instead of voters choosing their politicians, politicians get to choose their voters now entrenched in the GOP going forward, we speak with Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones and author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. He joins us to discuss his article at Mother Jones “The Insurrection Was Put Down: The GOP Plan for Minority Rule Marches On” and how it is becoming increasingly clear that President Biden and the Democrats will get nowhere in the new two to four years unless they get rid of the filibuster in the senate in order to pass SB 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.


Climate Change Deniers in Charge of Texas Grapple With a Frozen Electricity Grid

Then we look into the relationship between climate change and electrical grids which is at the heart of the problems in Texas as millions freeze without electricity in an unusual arctic winter storm gripping the state whose ruling politicians focus on transgender bathroom issues rather than the nuts and bolts of governance. Amy Myers Jaffe, a Research Professor and Managing Director of the Climate Policy Lab at the Fletcher School of Tufts University joins us to discuss the how climate change-denying politicians are the last thing Texas needs with a crippled and frozen electric grid which is insular from the rest of the nation’s grid where power shortages are routinely dealt with by getting emergency supplies from other states.    


With Biden Isolating MbS, Will the Saudi Royals Come Up With More Acceptable Leadership?

Then finally we assess the impact of the Biden Administration refusing to deal with MbS, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and instead deal with Biden’s counterpart, the 85 year old Saudi King Salman who suffers from dementia. An expert on Saudi Arabia, Ali Al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins us to discuss Biden’s determination to end U.S. support for MbS’s disastrous war in Yemen and to isolate Jared Kushner’s pal who is responsible for murdering and dismembering a Washington Post journalist, to the point the Saudi royal family may be forced to come up with more acceptable leadership.