Background Briefing: April 8, 2021


As Joe Manchin Exerts More Power Over Biden’s Agenda, an Analysis of What Motivates His Stance

We begin with an analysis of the increasingly key role West Virginia’s Senator Manchin is playing in controlling Biden’s agenda and look into what motivates Manchin’s stance as he announced his opposition to Biden’s corporate tax raise to pay for infrastructure and vowed that there was, “no circumstances in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster”. Anne Marie Lofaso, a Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law where she teaches labor and employment law, jurisprudence, and comparative labor law, joins us to discuss how Manchin could learn from his mentor Senator Byrd who lavished the state with pork. With West Virginia the 50th state in the country in terms of underinvestment in infrastructure, we also discuss how much infrastructure could help Manchin but with Sinclair broadcasting brainwashing the population with “Stop the Steal” lies, the overwhelming majority who voted for Trump don’t see Biden as a legitimate president so as a Democrat, Manchin does not have much room to maneuver in this poor, white, evangelical and gun-toting state.


Biden’s Modest Proposals to Curb an “Epidemic” of Gun Violence

Then we examine President Biden’s executive orders announced today to curb what he described as “an epidemic” of gun violence which he called “an international embarrassment”. Biden proposed adding serial numbers to the components in kits from which untraceable “ghost guns” can be assembled, and issued guidance for “Red Flag” laws that allow for intervention “to stop mass shooters before they act out their violent plans” but he made clear a lot more needs to be done by Congress to strengthen background checks, ban assault rifles and strip immunity from gun manufacturers. Joining us is Patrick Blanchfield, a journalist and faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research who has written extensively about gun violence, mass shootings and the politics of gun control and is the author of the forthcoming book Gunpower: The System of American Violence. We discuss Biden’s modest attempts at gun safety and how the important much-needed reforms could be achieved.


Absent a GOP Platform, Right Wing Media’s Outrage Machine Stokes the Culture Wars

Then finally we speak with Dr. Andrew Hartman, a Professor of History at Illinois State University who is the founding President of the Society for U.S. intellectual History and the author of A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars. He joins us to discuss how the Republicans, absent a party platform and agenda, are invested in feeding the outrage machine of right wing media to distract their base from how their representatives no longer serve the people but are servants of the oligarchy.