Day: April 20, 2021

Background Briefing: April 20, 2021


Three Guilty Verdicts in the Trial of the Murderer of George Floyd

We begin with the three guilty verdicts of second degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the Minneapolis trial of Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd in plain sight which was captured in a video that documented the last nine minutes of Floyd’s life. We all saw a sadistic policeman, with his hands casually in his pockets while his knee was choking the life out of a prone, compliant and handcuffed black man, ignoring the pleas of local citizens as the victim gasped “I can’t breathe.” Mark Osler, a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and a former federal prosecutor, joins us to discuss an outcome that was clearly a great relief to local and state politicians who had deployed the National Guard, and President Biden who indicated he was praying for the right verdict. With the whole world watching on to see whether there would be yet another example of police impunity sparking civil unrest, we assess what the trial means for future policing in this country and whether there will be an appeal by the defense which the judge acknowledged as a possibility when he castigated Congresswoman Maxine Waters for her remarks before the verdict was delivered.


Why Does the U.S. Support the Drug-Dealing Leader of Honduras?

Then we look into the greatest political challenge Biden faces, short of a Russian invasion of Ukraine that is growing increasingly likely, and that is the influx of desperate immigrants arriving from Honduras on the Southern border who are fleeing violence and unsafe conditions brought about by a corrupt government in collusion with drug traffickers which the U.S. continues to support in spite of the fact the brother of Honduras’s president was recently convicted for smuggling close to 185 tons of cocaine into the United States.  Andrew Cockburn, the Washington Editor of Harper’s magazine whose forthcoming book is Spoils of War: Power, Profit and the American War Machine, joins us to discuss his article at Harper’s, “Narco in Chief: How America enables corruption in Honduras.” 


The Agreement by China and the U.S. to Work Together Against Climate Change

Then finally with Earth Day coming up on Thursday along with the Biden administration hosting a world Leaders’ Summit on Climate, we speak with Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, who contributed with other IPCC authors to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. The author of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy and his latest, The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, he joins us to discuss the agreement recently worked out by John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart for the U.S. and China to work together to the deal with global warming and climate change.