Background Briefing: June 19, 2024

Juneteenth and the Legacy of Racism in Texas

We begin with today’s Juneteenth holiday and examine the legacy of racism in Texas since Juneteenth celebrates the freeing of slaves in Texas who were cynically and cruelly kept in slavery in Texas well after the Emancipation Proclamation. Joining us is Melanye Price, Endowed Professor of Political Science at Prairie View A&M University, Texas. She is the author of The Race Whisperer: Barack Obama and the Political Uses of Race and Dreaming Blackness: Black Nationalism and African American Public Opinion and we discuss a latest poll that shows a sharp increase in support from black voters for Trump up from 7% to 21% and a decrease in support for Biden down from 86% to 70%.

The Wholesale Self-abasement, Humiliation and Degradation in the Recent Groveling of GOP Lawmakers Before the Insurrectionist Who Directed the Attack on Their Capitol Workplace

Then we speak with an historian of Abraham Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, to assess Trump’s capture of the party on display last week on Capitol Hill as Speaker Johnson and Minority Leader McConnell grovelled before the insurrectionist who directed the January 6 attack on their Capitol workplace. We discuss how in the entire history of the Congress, there has never been such a scene of wholesale self-abasement, humiliation and degradation in spite of a deadly duel in the early 19th century and the shocking caning on the floor of the Senate in 1856 by a South Carolina congressman of the abolitionist senator Charles Sumner as he sat at his desk. Joining us is Sidney Blumenthal, the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker and his books include the bestsellers The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment and The Permanent Campaign. His latest book is All the Powers on Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856-1860, and we discuss his article at The Guardian, “Trump’s enablers in Congress are a fascinating case study of political amnesia.”

The Senate Votes 88 to 2 to Boost Nuclear Power Based on “New” Reactor Technology That is Old and Less Safe

Then finally we examine the 88 to 2 vote in the Senate for a bill to boost nuclear power based on the false promises of a new technology that is both old and less safe than the current aging power reactors which have been plagued with near-disasters and massive cost overruns. Joining us is Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists and an internationally recognized expert on nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism as well as nuclear power safety and security. He is a member of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and has testified numerous times before Congress and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He co-authored the critically acclaimed book, Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster.