Background Briefing: March 27, 2024


Plutocrats Are Backing Trump, Not Because They Like Him, but to Extend Trump’s Tax Cuts for the Ultra-Rich

We begin with America’s plutocrats lining up to support Trump, not because they like him, but because he will extend the Trump tax cuts for the ultra-rich when they expire next year. Joining us to discuss the motives and machinations of the biggest donor to the Republicans, Jeffrey Yass, is Jacob Silverman, a contributing writer for The New Republic and a contributing editor for The Baffler, covering tech and national security. He is the author of Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection, and his latest book, an instant New York Times bestseller, co-authored with Ben MacKenzie, is Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud. He also blogs at where his latest articles include “Jeffrey Yass, GOP Megadonor and TikTok Investor, Gets His Turn Directing Republican Policy.”


RFK Jr.’s Pick for His Running Mate Has Deep Pockets but a Shallow Resume

Then we examine the credentials or the lack thereof of RFK Jr’s running mate as his VP, Nicole Shanahan, whose main qualification appears to be that she has the money to get Kennedy on the ballots in more states than the one he is on now, Utah. Joining us is Fred Turner, the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University. He is the author or co-author of five books including Seeing Silicon Valley: Life inside a Fraying America, The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, and Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory.  


Guns and Ammo From the U.S. Fuel Anarchy in Haiti

Then finally we look into what is fueling the anarchy in Haiti, now controlled by marauding gangs, and that is the half a million guns imported into the country from the U.S. according to a U.N. report. Joining us is Brian Concannon, a human rights lawyer and the Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti who lived in Haiti from 1995 to 2004, where he served as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations and Co-Managing Attorney with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, a public interest law firm. He has an article at Responsible Statecraft, “US should let Haiti reclaim its democracy.”