Background Briefing: December 19, 2023

Texas is About to Turn Into the “Show Me Your Papers” Gestapo State

We begin with an anti-immigrant law just signed by the Texas governor that will allow Texas police to arrest anyone who looks suspicious with brown skin who might not have the right papers on them. Joining us to discuss the collision course between the Federal government and the state of Texas over this cruel and unconstitutional power grab by Governor Abbott is James Moore, an Emmy Award–winning television news correspondent who has covered Texas politics and has traveled extensively with every presidential campaign since 1976. He is the founder of Big Bend Strategies and publishes regularly at Texas to the World.


The US and 10 Nations Will Police the Red Sea Following Houthi Missile Attacks That Have Scared Off International Shipping

Then, with the US organizing 10 nations to police the Red Sea after missile attacks by the Houthis have scared off international shipping, we speak with Gregory Brew, an analyst with the Eurasia Group’s Energy, Climate & Resources team focusing on the geopolitics of oil and gas. In addition, he serves as the Eurasia Group’s country analyst for Iran. A historian of modern Iran, oil, and US foreign policy, he is the author of The Struggle for Iran: Oil, Autocracy, and the Cold War, 1951–1954 and Petroleum and Progress in Iran: Oil, Development, and the Cold War, and we discuss his article at Time Magazine, “How—and Why—Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Are Poised to Seriously Disrupt the Global Economy.”


As Trump Channels Hitler, Insight Into America’s 40% Who Would Be Happy With an Authoritarian Leader

Then finally, with Trump channelling Hitler with outrageous statements that “immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country,” we speak with Jennifer Mercieca, a professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University where she teaches courses on Political Communication and Presidential Rhetoric. An historian of American political discourse, especially discourses about citizenship, democracy, and the presidency, she is the co-Editor of The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency and author of Founding Fictions as well as Demagogue for President:The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump.