Background Briefing: November 17, 2022


Nancy Pelosi’s Former Chief of Staff on Her Career and Legacy

We begin with Nancy Pelosi’s emotional speech today before the House of Representatives in which she announced she will be stepping down as Democratic leader of the House but remain a member of Congress. Joining us is someone who knows her well, John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington Center who worked in the House of Representatives for 38 years and served as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff for 8 years.  His latest book is Arc of Power: Inside Nancy Pelosi’s Speakership, 2005-2010 and we discuss how the demonization of her by Republicans led to the recent attack on her husband while the motive for demonizing Nancy Pelosi was always mostly to do with how effective she has been.


Trump is Now Effectively in Control of the US House of Representatives


Then with the Republicans eking out a very narrow victory to take over the House, we speak with Sidney Blumenthal, the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker and his books include the bestselling The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment and The Permanent Campaign.  His latest book is All the Powers on Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856-1860 and we discuss his article at The Guardian, “Trump is now effectively in control of the US House of Representatives.”


Convictions of Those Responsible For Downing a Malaysian Airliner Over Ukraine

Then we look into a Dutch court’s conviction today of two Russians and a Ukrainian for the shoot-down of a Malaysian passenger airliner over Ukraine, one of whom, a former Russian intelligence officer, is now Putin’s man in charge of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. Joining us is Ambassador Cynthia Schneider, a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University, co-director of the Los Angeles-based MOST Resource and the Timbuktu Renaissance, a Mali-based platform for countering extremism and promoting peace and development through a focus on culture. From 1998-2001, she served as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, during which time she led initiatives in cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, and education.


The World’s Population Has Skyrocketed in Less Than a Century From 2 Billion to 8 Billion

 Then finally, with the world’s population skyrocketing in less than a century from 2 billion to now 8 billion, we speak with John Bongaarts, vice president and distinguished scholar at the Population Council where he has worked for over 4 decades. He serves as chairman of the Panel on Population Projections of the National Academy of Sciences at the National Research Council and is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.