Day: August 25, 2021

Background Briefing: August 25, 2021


The IC’s Report of the Origins of the Pandemic and the PRC’s Hysterical Propaganda Onslaught

We begin with the arrival at the White House today of the report from the U.S. Intelligence Community ordered by President Biden 90 days ago to look into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the report apparently is not definitive on whether there was a zoonotic leap from animals to humans or a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, nevertheless there is an onslaught underway from the Chinese government’s propaganda machine blaming the U.S. for starting the pandemic as a bioweapon developed at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Joining us is Thomas Wright, the Director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a Senior Fellow at the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution as well as a contributing writer to The Atlantic. His latest book just out, co-authored with Colin Kahl, is Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order and we discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “The Center Cannot Hold. Will a Divided World Survive Common Threats?”


Unprecedented Judicial Activism From the Supreme Court’s Meddling in Foreign Policy

Then we look into the Supreme Court’s order on Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy which defies decades of precedent in a display of aggressive judicial activism from the rightwing conservative supermajority who are meddling in foreign policy without any coherence or guidance. Paul Campos, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School and author of Against the Law and Jurismania: The Madness of American Law, joins us to discuss how the court sided with a Trump-appointed Federalist judge in Texas in a way that forces the Biden administration to open negotiations with Mexico which has the advantage of knowing the U.S. is negotiating under the treat of a contempt order.


House Democratic Moderates Take a Stand That Looks More Like Grandstanding

Then finally we get an assessment of the wrangling among Democrats over the passage of the blueprints for the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill and the John Lewis Voting Rights bill in which 10 moderate Democrats made a stand which ended up looking like grandstanding since all 10 eventually voted for the bills. Paul Light, Professor of Public Service at New York University and author of The Government-Industrial Complex: Tracking the True Size of Government, joins us to discuss the difficult path ahead for the budget and voting rights bills.