Day: January 2, 2024

Background Briefing: January 2, 2024

Will Israel’s Killing of the Hamas Ambassador to Hezbollah Trigger a Wider War? 

We begin with the assassination by an Israeli drone of a top Hamas official in Beirut which is bound to inflame an already tinderbox situation that could lead to a war between Israel and Hezbollah, since the target, Saleh Arouri, was in effect the Hamas ambassador to Hezbollah with close ties to Iran. Joining us is Thanassis Cambanis, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and Director of the Center for International Research and Policy. Until recently, he worked as a journalist based in Lebanon and his books include A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story, and most recently, Shia Power Comes of Age: The Transformation of Islamist Politics in Iraq, 2003-2023.


The Move Underway to Get SCOTUS to Tear Down Jefferson’s Wall Between Church and State

Then we investigate the well-funded movement underway, led by the man who has already stacked the Supreme Court and the Federal judiciary, to create a test case to tear down Thomas Jefferson’s wall between Church and State by reversing the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment. Joining us is Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst whose research focuses on understanding bias and inequality in the American legal system, particularly in the behavior of actors like judges, legislators, presidents, the media, and interest groups. His books include Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making, Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change and The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump.


The Frightening Similarities Between Germany in 1933 and the US in 2024

Then finally we explore the frightening similarities between Germany in the early 1930s and the US in 2024 with Trump and his followers who are about a third of the vote, as Hitler’s Nazi Party was in the last democratic election in 1933 when German democracy died and dictatorship began. Joining us is Benjamin Carter Hett, a professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Burning the Reichstag, Crossing Hitler, and Death in the Tiergarten, and The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic How Hitler Took the World Into War. His latest book is The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Road to War and we discuss his article in the The Los Angeles Times 2024 could be the year America fends off dictatorship, or invites it in?”