Background Briefing: August 26, 2021


Terrorists Bombs at Kabul’s Airport Kill U.S. Marines, Afghan Civilians and Taliban Guards

We begin with the bombings at the Kabul airport in which 12 U.S. Marines were killed and 15 injured along with over 50 Afghans killed including Taliban guards. On Tuesday President Biden had warned that ISIS-K was seeking to target the airport making the case that “the sooner we can finish, the better”, but that will not stop the predictable storm of Republican criticism. Joining us is Adam Weinstein, a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and a former Marine who served in Afghanistan. We discuss the murky relationship which on the surface has the Taliban an enemy of the Islamic State, but nevertheless the Taliban did empty the jails letting terrorists free. With 100,000 now evacuated ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline, we assess what can be done to get the remaining 1,000 Americans out, some school children from San Diego whose parents ignored State Department warnings not to travel to Afghanistan.


Growing Pressure For Vaccine Mandates Puts Grandstanding GOP Governors in a Bind

Then we examine the growing pressure for vaccine mandates as the U.S. military and corporate America start insisting that their members or employees get vaccinated which puts Republican holdouts in the uncomfortable position of opposing their long-standing support of free enterprise. However the priorities of Governors DeSantis, Abbott and Noem as aspiring presidential candidates is to pander to the GOP’s base that votes in the primaries over the health and safety of their constituents, many of whom are children without defenses against the Delta variant. Dorit Reiss, a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law whose research focuses on legal and policy issues related to vaccines, joins us to discuss her article at Barron’s “A Licensed Vaccine Demolishes the Arguments Against Vaccines.” 


The 100th Anniversary of America’s Largest Labor Uprising

Then finally with the 100th anniversary commemorating the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest labor uprising in American history, coming up and continuing through Labor Day, we speak with Dave Kamper, a senior policy coordinator at the Economic Policy Institute. He worked for 20 years in the labor movement and has an article at the Economic Policy Institute, “A century after the Battle of Blair Mountain, protecting workers’ right to organize has never been more important” and joins us to discuss how the state of West Virginia, still dominated by coal barons, has purged the history of the mine wars from school textbooks but not from the memories of the families of the hundreds who fought and died for labor rights.