Category: Uncategorized

Background Briefing: January 26, 2020

 

One of the World’s Leading Experts on Coronaviruses

We begin with the outbreak of a new or “novel” coronavirus that normally affects animals which apparently originated at a market in Wuhan, China where the sale of wildlife is common with badgers and bamboo rats and other animals sold for human consumption. Joining us is Dr. Ian Lipkin, the director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University who has over 35 years of experience in microbial discovery and outbreak response having assisted the WHO in China during the 2003 SARS outbreak and investigated the deadly coronavirus MERS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Virus in 2012. With a third case showing up in the United States in nearby Orange County, California we discuss the battle to contain the virus in China and around the world since it has spread during the Chinese New Year celebrations to neighboring Asian countries Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam as well as further abroad to Singapore, Australia, France and the U.S. With China admitting the new coronavirus has infected more than 2,000 people with fifty-six deaths reported so far, we look into the rate of infection and the ability of the virus to spread which appears to be strengthening. And since the new virus is infectious during its incubation period before new symptoms emerge, its potential to cause an epidemic or even pandemic is harder to contain.

 

Can the President Be Exonerated Without Offering a Defense?

Then we examine the White House lawyer’s rebuttal of the impeachment case made by the House Managers who did not present any legal arguments but rather recycled the Trump political refrain that the Democrats couldn’t get over Trump’s election and wanted to impeachment him from day one to overturn the will of the voters. Victoria Nourse, a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center and the executive director of the Center on Congressional Studies at Georgetown Law whose latest book is Misreading Law, Misreading Democracy, joins us to discuss how Trump is ramping up the hate meter by threatening Adam Schiff, warning in a tweet that “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country”.

 

The “Adult in the Room” General Mattis Now Back at General Dynamics

Then finally we speak with Mandy Smithberger, the director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight about her article at Tom Dispatch, “A Recipe for Disaster” and how too much has been invested in the so-called “adults in the room” like General Mattis who sat by when Trump called the top brass at the Pentagon “dopes and babies”. With the defense budget now at a record high of $740 billion, Mattis is now back on the board of General Dynamics, one of the country’s largest defense contractors.