Background Briefing: January 23, 2022


Russia’s Military Industrial Complex and Hawkish Generals Driving the War Party

We begin with the expectation of war in Europe as Russia masses more forces surrounding Ukraine in the north from Belarus, the east in the Donbas and the south on the Black Sea and the west from Transnistria. Since this is a crisis of Putin’s making, we look into the role of Russia’s military industrial complex and the hawkish generals driving the charge to recapture important military manufacturing plants as the Russian military runs out of Ukrainian-manufactured jet engines and ship-building components. Joining us from Moscow is Dr. Pavel Felgenhauer, a defense analyst, columnist and journalist who previously served as senior research officer in the Soviet Academy of Sciences and published a regular column on defense in the English language local daily The Moscow Times. After more than six years as an independent defense analyst, Felgenhauer joined the staff of Novaya Gazeta, the last independent newspaper left in Russia that is not a mouthpiece for Putin.


How Do Democrats Get Out the Vote and Motivate Their Demoralized Base?

Then, with voting rights reform dead in the water due to Senators Manchin and Sinema joining with Republicans engaged in massive voter suppression, we will explore what options Democrats have to get out the vote in November as they face a rigged playing field and need to motivate a demoralized base. Joining us is Astra Taylor, a documentary filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director, most recently, of What Is Democracy? and the author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone and the American Book Award winning The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. The co-founder of the Debt Collective, a union for debtors, she contributed the foreword to the group’s new book, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: The Case for Economic Disobedience and Debt Abolition, and her latest book is Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions and we discuss her latest article at The Guardian, “If the Democrats don’t shape up, Biden’s presidency will lead to a Trumpian sequel.”


Florida’s Thuggish Governor to Form His Own Election Police Force

Then finally, with Florida’s Governor DeSantis forming his own election police force to go after nonexistent voter fraud, we speak with Daniel Uhlfelder, an attorney based in Florida who served as a law clerk in the White House, the United States Attorney General’s Office, the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and at various law firms in Florida and Washington, D.C.  Known widely as the Florida Grim Reaper, he works to draw attention to Governor Ron DeSantis’ disastrous mishandling of the Covid pandemic and his organization Remove Ron is dedicated to funding any future Democratic challenger to DeSantis.