Background Briefing: April 5, 2021


Yellen’s Initiative and McConnell’s Determination to Stop Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

We begin with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s determination to block Biden’s $2.3 billion infrastructure plan at every turn and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s initiative to have the G-20 Finance Ministers agree on a global minimum corporate tax rate. Joining us is Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking where she founded and edits the Next New Deal blog and where she has an article; “Meet the ‘New Koch Brothers’ – the Hedge Fund Activists Wrecking America’s Green New Deal.” We discuss the Republican offer to cut the infrastructure package down to $615 billion, to less than one third in order to avoid taxing corporate America and how wealthy predators are playing stock market games with companies needed to develop and produce clean energy technology by forcing them to buy back stock to drive up the price instead of investing in R&D.


Palace Intrigue in the Kingdom of Jordan

Then we look into the palace intrigue in the Kingdom of Jordan where King Abdullah’s nephew is under house arrest for criticizing government corruption. Jillian Schwedler, a Professor of Political Science at Hunter College whose forthcoming book is Protesting Jordan: Geographies of Power and Dissent, joins us to discuss how this once stable country is now showing signs of unrest due to half of its population Palestinian refugees and waves of refugees from Iraq and Syria having settled there stretching its limited resources, along with the apparent friction within the royal family.


How Biden Could Learn From the Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Then finally we speak with Dr. Ken Dekleva, a former senior U.S. diplomat and regional medical officer/psychiatrist who has published leadership profiles of world leaders such as Putin, Kim, Xi and others and is currently a Senior Fellow at the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.- China Relations. He joins us to discuss his article at The Hill, “Biden should look to ‘Ostpolitik’ to negotiate with autocrats” and how Biden could learn from the diplomatic initiatives of Pope Francis.