Day: March 11, 2021

Background Briefing: March 11, 2021


Pandemic Fatigue, States Opening Up Prematurely and the New Brazilian Covid Variant Among the Challenges Biden Might Address

We begin with President Biden who just sign the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and is about to deliver his first address to the nation which is happening now as we go to air and speak with Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center where he conducted a national survey assessing the risks of large holiday gatherings amidst Covid -19. He joins us to discuss how Biden might address the dangerous combination of pandemic fatigue, states opening up prematurely, and the emergence of Covid variants like the Brazilian strain which have alarmed many epidemiologists. With governors in Texas and Mississippi already opening up their states in order to distract from their mishandling of an ice storm that caused electricity blackouts and the bursting of frozen water pipes, we look into the possibility of a cascade of Republican governors following Texas and Mississippi grandstanding to the Trump base of the GOP which will cause an increase in infections and deaths from Covid now at 1,500 Americans dying per day.


How to Fix Our Senate

Then we speak with Eli Zupnick, the spokesperson for Fix Our Senate, a group dedicated to ending the Senate filibuster. He worked ten years in the United States Senate, including six years as Communications Director for Senator Patty Murray and prior to that as Communications Director for the Senate Budget Committee, and joins us to discuss how the Republicans benefit from the filibuster because their priorities of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and stacking the courts with right-wing judges is not affected by the filibuster whereas Biden’s legislative agenda is. So as long as McConnell can sabotage Biden’s agenda he will, in order to get back in the majority in 2022 based on the success of that sabotage having turned voters against Biden for not fulfilling his promises.


Since Biden is Focused on His Domestic Agenda, Could North Korea Act Up Soon?

Then finally we examine the possibility that North Korea will act up soon since Biden is focused on his domestic agenda and can’t afford to be distracted by a foreign policy crisis. Bennett Ramberg, who was a foreign policy analyst in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs at the State Department, joins us to discuss his article at Project Syndicate “Is Peace with North Korea Possible?” which argues, since Kim Jong-un will not give up his nukes, for a normalization of relations with the lifting of sanctions in exchange for the elimination of ICBM’s capable of reaching the U.S.