Background Briefing: October 17, 2021


Manchin Holds Biden Hostage to Coal Ahead of the UN Climate Conference

We begin with Senator Manchin holding Biden and the Democrat’s agenda hostage in the service of coal, a dying industry which is killing the planet and should be immediately shut down if we are to curb global warming. Unfortunately for Biden as he heads for the U.N. Conference on Climate in Glasgow at the end of the month, the U.S. might find itself talking big but acting small as the dirty fossil fuel energy lobby works the congress to thwart renewable alternatives and green energy infrastructure. Joining us Bill McKibben, a founder of the environmental organization who was among the first to have warned of the dangers of global warming. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and the author of more than a dozen books, including the bestsellers The End of Nature, Eaarth, and Deep Economy. His latest book is Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? and he has an article at The Guardian, “It’s easy to feel pessimistic about the climate. But we’ve got two big things on our side.” We discuss economic projections showing how much money is saved from switching to wind and solar generation and the growing ranks of young people inspired by Greta Thunberg joining the fight to save our planet.


Congressman Adam Schiff on the Insurrectionists in Suits Threatening Our Democracy

Then we speak with Congressman Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who led the first impeachment of Donald Trump, and, before that served in Congress and worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and as a California State Senator. He is the author of the new book, just out, Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could and we discuss the insurrectionists in suits and ties who now populate Trump’s Republican Party which is abandoning American democracy in its determination to cheat rather than compete to hold onto power indefinitely.


Xi’s “Common Prosperity” Hoax and the Faltering of The Chinese Economic Miracle

Then finally we get an analysis of the slowdown of the Chinese economy which appears to be teetering from a real estate crisis impacting a third of its economy and an energy crisis. Joining us from the U.K. is George Magnus, an associate at the China Centre at Oxford University and research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies who was formerly chief economist of UBS. He is the author of Red Flags: Why Xi’s China Is in Jeopardy and has an article at The Guardian, “End to China’s estate market boom could spell trouble for the economy” and we discuss whether Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” program is really about reducing income inequality and the likely economic consequences of Xi’s more militant foreign policy.