A History of Paranoid Fantasies and Today’s Rise of Fascism Led by a Reality TV Star
We begin as this year ends with selected programs from our archive starting today with events early in the year, then tomorrow stories from the middle of the year then on Thursday’s program from later in the year before special programming on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Let’s start with a broadcast of Background Briefing from January 17, 2023, A History of Paranoid Fantasies and Today’s Rise of Fascism Led by a Reality TV Star when we spoke with Jared Yates Sexton, the author of American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed Its People and The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore as well as three collections of fiction. The host of The Muckrake Podcast, his latest book is The Midnight Kingdom: A History of Power, Paranoia, and the Coming Crisis, and we discussed how the current rise of fascism lead by a reality TV star is a part of a long history the book covers in which reality is rejected for paranoid fantasies ending up with today’s apocalyptic mindset that has become Republican orthodoxy.
Rising Tensions With China and a U.S. China Policy of Self-Harm
Then we go to a broadcast of Background Briefing from February 8, 2023 Rising Tensions With China and a U.S. China Policy of Self-Harm which covered tensions rising between the U.S. and China and the absence of a diplomatic dialogue following Secretary of State Blinken’s cancellation of talks with Chinese leaders over the balloon incident. We spoke with Ambassador Chas Freeman, a visiting scholar at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94, earning the highest public service awards of the Department of Defense for his role in reestablishing defense and military relations with China. The former Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, he was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon’s path-breaking visit to China in 1972 and we discussed his article at The American Academy of Diplomacy, “U.S. China Policy: A Case of Self-Harm.”
Hatred and Division Intensifies in the US as the Phony War Against the Woke, Drag Queens and Trans Kids Accelerates
Then finally we deal with divisions on the home front with Background Briefing from March 14, 2023 Hatred and Division Intensifies in the US as the Phony War Against the Woke, Drag Queens and Trans Kids Accelerates which dealt with the slow death of bipartisanship and civility in America’s politics and social discourse as hatred and division accelerates stoked by Fox News and other far right outlets and led by the divider-in-chief, the head of the Republican party Donald Trump, who is running for the presidency again. We discussed the phony war against the woke, Drag Queens and trans kids with Ian Haney López, a Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. An incisive voice on white identity since the publication of his path-breaking book White by Law, he remains at the forefront of conversations about race in modern America. A former professor at Yale and Harvard law schools, he is the author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class and Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America. We discussed who benefits from having Americans at war with each other and how much the emboldened far right is pushing the country towards fascism.