Day: March 22, 2021

Background Briefing: March 22, 2021


Republicans Seize on Border Issues Using Mexican Trolls for Anti-Immigrant Propaganda

We begin with the influx of unaccompanied minors at the Southern border with 14,000 children now in U.S. custody as of Thursday and the expectation that the number could climb to two million because of worsening conditions in Central America. Jean Guerrero, an investigative border reporter for NPR and the PBS Newshour who won the PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers prize and an Emmy and is the author of Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda, joins us to discuss her article at The Daily Beast, “The MAGA Clowns Making Chaos at the Border Have Ugly Pasts.” We examine how right wing media have been using pro-Trump Mexicans Paloma Zuniga alias “Paloma For Trump” and Oscar Ramirez alias “Oscar El Blue” to spread anti-immigrant propaganda while harassing migrants stuck in an unsafe border camp in Tijuana. Jean’s investigation found that Oscar Ramirez was sentenced to four years for importing methamphetamine into the U.S. but for some mysterious reason he has had a lifetime ban on entering the U.S. lifted due to apparent inside help from the Trump administration or perhaps from Steve Bannon or the QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who Ramirez claims as a friend.


Democrats Should Call McConnell’s Bluff on the Filibuster

Then we look into the fate of the filibuster as more Democratic senators express their opposition to it and the need to make those creating paralysis in the senate responsible for their obstruction. Paul Pierson, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and co-author with Jacob Hacker of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer  – And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class and their latest, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Inequality, joins us. We discuss their article at The Atlantic, “Why McConnell Gets Away With Filibustering: Accountability suffers when a united minority party can kill popular ideas without leaving a mark” and the need for the Democrats to call McConnell’s bluff because as long as there is a filibuster, the Republicans will be able to get away with murdering the Democrat’s agenda without leaving fingerprints.


Gangs and Kidnappers Rule the Streets of Jovenel Moise’s Haiti

Then finally we speak with Amy Wilentz, an award-winning writer whose books include The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier and her latest, Farewell Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti. She joins us to discuss her latest article at The Nation “Gangs Rules the Streets of Jovenel Moise’s Haiti” and we examine the enduring support the U.S. gives to corrupt and criminal leaders in Haiti while resisting the elections of any popular candidate who advocates for reform and representative government.