Day: October 29, 2023

Background Briefing: October 29, 2023


Winning the Military Campaign But Losing the Information War

We begin with the beginning of a ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces and the human cost in Palestinian lives as television screens around the world show heartbreaking images of wounded and traumatized children. Joining us to discuss who is winning the military campaign, but losing the information war, is Lara Friedman, the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Previously she was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict, settlements and Jerusalem, and on the role of the U.S. Congress.


After the 565th Mass Shooting This Year, a Look at Red and Yellow Flag Laws

Then, following the 565th mass shooting this year, we examine the glaring inadequacy of the red and yellow flag laws meant to confiscate firearms from mentally ill people who pose a danger to themselves and others. We speak with Jonathan Metzl, professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and director of its Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. A prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness, he is the author of several books including Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland, and his forthcoming book is What We’ve Become: Living and Dying in a Country of Arms.


The Ascension of Mike Johnson as a Christian Fundamentalist Politician

Then finally we get a profile of the new House speaker from an expert on the religious right who first noticed the ascending Christian fundamentalist politician Mike Johnson in 2015. Joining us is Frederick Clarkson, a Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates and an analyst of the Religious Right for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of the important group blog about the Christian Right, “Talk to Action.” His books include Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America and Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy and he has a series of essays on the New Apostolic Reformation, the cutting edge of the Christian Right, at the online magazine Religion Dispatches.