Background Briefing: September 15, 2021


What is the Plan B If Joe Manchin Can’t Sell the Republicans His Freedom to Vote Act?

We begin with the new Freedom to Vote Act put together by a group of Democratic Senators and Joe Manchin who is now trying to sell it to his Republican colleagues before a vote is supposed to take place as early as next week according to Senate Majority Leader Schumer. Joining us is Greg Palast, a journalist who has been investigating voter suppression for decades and is the author of the New York Times and international bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse. The recipient of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Prize for his BBC television documentary, Bush Family Fortunes, his latest book is How Trump Stole 2020 and we discuss what is in the bill as well as what is not. Given that it is highly unlikely that Senator Manchin will win over 10 Republican senators or even one, we assess what the Plan B might be for the Democrats who will surely lose the 2022 and 2024 elections due to the massive and brazen nationwide Republican voter suppression campaign underway unless they get something passed, even if it does not make the electoral playing field completely level.


After We Wasted $2.3 Trillion, China Looks Like the Biggest Winner in Afghanistan

Then we speak with Alfred McCoy, who holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose latest book is In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power. He joins us to discuss his latest article at TomDispatch, “China Biggest Winner in Afghanistan. A debacle marks the decline of Washington’s world leadership” and how while the U.S. has little to show for its $2.3 trillion investment in Afghanistan, China is building infrastructure and pipelines in the region that will benefit the Taliban regime while the Chinese tap into Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.


Averting a Nuclear Arms Race Between North and South Korea

Then finally with North Korea testing two ballistic missiles on Wednesday following cruise missile tests over the weekend, and South Korea launching a ballistic missile from a submerged submarine today, we look into what the Biden regime should be doing to avert an arms race in the region. Jessica Lee, a Senior Research Fellow in the East Asia Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft who researches alliances and North Korea and is the co-author of the Quincy Institute report, “Toward an Inclusive & Balanced Regional Order: A New U.S. Strategy in East Asia” and an article at Korea on Point, “Beginning of the End for Diplomacy? A Case for U.S-North Korea Engagement Post-IAEA Report,” joins us.