Background Briefing: September 1, 2021

The Handmaid’s Tale Comes to Texas as SCOTUS Moves to End Abortion Rights

We begin with The Handmaid’s Tale now a reality in Texas and the beginning of the end for abortion rights in this country following the Supreme Court’s deliberate failure to block a restrictive Texas law that encourages anti-abortion vigilantes to hunt for anyone involved in helping facilitate an abortion after six weeks for a bounty of $10,000 and coverage of court costs. At six weeks many women do not even know they are pregnant and if they were to miscarry they could still be hauled into court by neighbors or anyone who does not like them and be forced to prove their innocence. Joining us is Sarah Slamen, a pro-choice advocate who works for the Texas Legislature and is currently the district director for Texas State Representative Julie Johnson. We discuss what happens when a radical right wing minority, aided and abetted by a radical right wing majority on the Supreme Court, takes over a state by suppressing the votes of the majority then enacts in one day 666 laws that are both unpopular and unconstitutional.


Panic Among House Republicans and Their Leader

Then we look into the apparent panic among Republican lawmakers and their leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, who is threatening telecom and social media companies complying with a lawful request from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. The House Minority Leader is effectively obstructing justice to protect his members who do not want their ties to the insurrection investigated. Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, bestselling author, a contributor to The Guardian and the author of All the Powers on Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856 – 1860, joins us to discuss Trump’s capture of the craven Republican leader and McCarthy’s blatant threats and extortion which are based on his certainty that the Republicans with take the House in 2022 because of the voter suppression they are engaged in.


Can the Taliban Rule Afghanistan’s Urban Population Who Do Not Want to Go Back to the 7th Century?

Then finally we speak to a leading scholar and expert on Afghanistan who has been visiting and studying the country since the 1970’s, seeing regimes come and go and in the case of the Taliban, come back. Thomas Barfield, the President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies joins us to discuss the likelihood that the Taliban will not be able to rule a country which depends on foreign aid for 42% of its budget and whose urban population has no interest in going back to the 7th century.