Background Briefing: December 27, 2023


Growing Concern at the Supreme Court’s Impunity From Ethical Norms as Its Credibility With the Public Plunges

We begin as this year ends with selected programs from our archives following yesterday’s coverage of events from early in the year, today we cover stories from the middle of the year then on tomorrow’s programs 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 May 1, 2023 Growing Concern at the Supreme Court’s Impunity From Ethical Norms as Its Credibility With the Public Plunges. We began with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee to deal with the need for an ethics code of conduct at the Supreme Court after the Chairman Dick Durbin was rebuffed by Chief Justice Roberts who declined to testify and following recent revelations of unreported favors from a billionaire to Justice Thomas, Gorsuch’s sale of a hunting lodge to the head of a law firm with business before the court, and the Chief Justice’s wife’s $10 million in earnings from law firms also with business before the court. We were joined by Moira Donegan, a writer in residence at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University whose work has appeared in The London Review of Books, Bookforum and The Paris Review. She is a columnist at The Guardian where her latest article was “The US supreme court’s alleged ethics issues are worse than you probably realize.”

Evidence That It Was Ukraine, Not Russia, Behind the Sabotage of the Nord Stream Gas Pipelines

Then we go to a broadcast of Background Briefing from June 7, 2023 Evidence That it Was Ukraine, Not Russia Behind the Sabotage of the Nord Stream Gas Pipelines. We began with the revelations from The Washington Post that a small group of six Ukrainian operatives blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines which the US government blamed on Russia leading to many journalists, including myself reporting that the Kremlin was most likely behind the sabotage. We discussed how Ukraine’s military intelligence headed by General Budanov is striking back at Russia as Putin wantonly destroys Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. Joining us was Michael Weiss, Senior Correspondent for Yahoo News who has reported on international affairs for over ten years with a focus on the Middle East and Russia. He has interviewed ISIS operatives and Russian spies; published and curated a series of still-classified KGB training manuals; reported from rebel-held Syria and war-torn Ukraine; broken major stories about financial corruption; and exposed the Russian intelligence services’ ongoing subversion efforts in the United States and Europe. He is the the author of The Menace of Unreality: How Russia Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money and coauthor of the New York Times Bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.

Is America Now Divided Between “Team Crazy” and “Team Normal”?

Then finally we play a broadcast of Background Briefing from July 9, 2023 Is America Now Divided Between “Team Crazy” and “Team Normal”? With the Special Counsel Jack Smith looking into the December 18, 2020 White House meeting between what has been characterized as “team crazy” and “team normal,” we assess the extent to which America is now divided between team crazy and team normal as a Trump-appointed Federal Judge has decided to forbid the government from interacting with social media companies based on fringe conspiracy theories with crackpot plaintiffs. We were joined by Ryan Cooper, Managing Editor at The American Prospect. He is the Cohost of the Left Anchor podcast as well as the author of the new book, How are You Going to Pay for That? Smart Answers to the Dumbest Question in Politics and we discussed his latest article at The American Prospect, “Trump Judge Effectively Names Himself President.”