Month: August 2023

Background Briefing: August 30, 2023


The Political Rise of the Annoyingly Ambitious Ramaswamy Who Will Do or Say Anything to Get Ahead

We begin with Trump toying with the idea of Ramaswamy as his running mate because Ramaswamy said Trump was the greatest American president for a generation. Joining us to discuss the Republican presidential candidate rising in the polls as others languish is Jacob Silverman, a contributing writer for The New Republic and a contributing editor for The Baffler, covering tech and national security. He is the author of Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection, and his latest book, an instant New York Times bestseller, co-authored with Ben MacKenzie, is Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud. He also blogs at where he has a recent article “The Rapid Ascent of Vivek Ramaswamy” and we investigate Ramaswamy’s business practices and claim to be an outsider while cultivating ties as an insider. 


How Trump and DeSantis Brought Racism Out Into the Open

Then we look into the 2024 campaign as a referendum on American racism which has been revived by Trump and DeSantis and is now in the open, motivating young white supremacists to kill black people. Joining us is Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Propaganda Works which was the winner of the 2016 PROSE award for philosophy. His latest book is How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them and we discuss his article at The Guardian, “The racist Florida shooter’s ideology extends to ordinary people.”


How Big Pharma With the Help of the Corporate-Friendly Supreme Court Could Kill the Lowering of Drug Prices

Then finally we speak with Ananya Kalahasti, a researcher at The Revolving Door Project who has previously worked for federal government offices, campaigns, and advocacy groups, most recently working in health care legislative work and with Asian-American civic engagement groups. We discuss her article at The American Prospect, “Who’s Running Big Pharma’s Last Stand Against Slightly Fairer Drug Pricing” and how lawsuits from Big Pharma could result in the Corporate-friendly Supreme Court overturning the lowering of prescription drugs just announced by the Biden White House.