Background Briefing: April 28, 2022


Does Putin Have a Samson Complex and Will He Use a Nuke on Ukraine?

We begin with the possibility that Putin is losing his mind and cannot deal with the disconnect between his grand ambition to restore Russian pride and lost territory with the reality that his kleptocratic mafia state has led to an army that is a paper tiger, hollowed out by corruption. Joining us is Robert Baer, one of the most accomplished agents in CIA history, and a winner of the Career Intelligence Medal. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers and is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East and is an intelligence and national security affairs analyst for CNN. His forthcoming book, out in May, is The Fourth Man: The Hunt for a KGB Spy at the Top of the CIA and the Rise of Putin’s Russia and we discuss the possibility Putin might use a tactical nuclear weapon on Odessa and that his mindset has deteriorated to the point he has a Samson complex and will pull the whole temple down, meaning unleash a nuclear war rather than admit defeat.


What is Driving the Price of Commodities, Especially Oil

Then we look into what is driving the rise in prices of commodities and especially oil and speak with Tyson Slocum, the Research Director for Public Citizen’s Energy Program, where he works to promote stronger regulation of energy markets, examine the impact of mergers and lax regulations over electricity, petroleum and natural gas, and monitor federal legislation on energy issues. He conducts extensive research on the influence of corporate special interests on our political system and works to promote corporate and government accountability.


How Bad Are Today’s Economic Numbers For Biden and the Democrats in the Midterms?

Then finally we assess how bad the news is for Biden and the Democrats in the upcoming midterms with today’s news the U.S. economy has shrunk over the last quarter with the GDP falling to 1.4% between January and March compared with 6.9% GDP in the final quarter of 2021. Joining us is Dean Baker, senior economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive economic think-tank based in Washington DC. He is the author of The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive and Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, and he writes the popular economics blog, “Beat the Press” where his latest articles are “Two Routes to Lower Inflation” and “President Biden and the Price of Gas.”