Tag: foreign policy

Background Briefing: April 18, 2023

The House Republican Caucus Fails to Agree on a Budget to Punish the Poor and Reward the Rich Using the Debt Ceiling as Leverage 

 We begin by mentioning what was predicted on yesterday’s program that the Murdochs would settle with Dominion and that just happened with Fox News agreeing to pay Dominion $787.5 million. Also today the House Republican caucus met behind closed doors where Speaker McCarthy tried to wrangle the 218 votes needed to pass his budget proposal that would use the debt ceiling as leverage to exact cuts in Medicaid and food stamps. But it appears there was no agreement particularly from the Freedom Caucus who want to cut IRS enforcement which contradicts with the need to raise revenues to pay down the debt that Republicans claim is their top priority. Joining us is Karen Dolan, the Project Director of the Poverty and Race Project at the Institute for Policy Studies whose work focuses on anti-poverty issues, local democracy and empowerment. She previously coordinated the Economic Hardship Reporting Project with the late New York Times Best-Selling Author Barbara Ehrenreich, is author of The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty and she has an article at The Hill, “President Biden: Don’t negotiate with fiscal terrorists.”


“Donbass Devushka,” The Navy Vet Behind the Pro-Putin Site that Doctored and Spread Documents Stolen by a 21 year-old National Guard Airman

Then we look into the role of a recent member of the US Navy, Sarah Bils, who runs a pro-Putin social media site Donbass Devushka that was the source of disseminating to Russia and beyond some of the secrets leaked much earlier by a 21 year-old National Guard Airman who was arrested on Friday. Apparently this 37 year-old former NCO doctored the stolen documents to make Ukrainian casualties high and Russia casualties low in an April 5 post that was picked by Tucker Carlson who broadcast her lies on Fox News on April 13. Joining us to discuss the peculiar pathology of American leftists who support a right wing fascist Vladimir Putin is Joseph Bodnar, a research analyst with the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund where he is part of their information manipulation team and focuses on Russian propaganda and disinformation. He previously worked with the Atlantic Council’s Global Strategy Initiative and with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to identify trends in foreign disinformation targeting the 2020 U.S. election.


A Chronicle of 40 Years of Delusional Misunderstanding, Appalling Errors and Death and Destruction by the US in the Middle East

Then finally we speak with Steven Simon, who served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs from 2011 to 2012. He also worked on the NSC staff 1994 to 1999 on counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. These assignments followed a fifteen-year career at the U.S. Department of State. Between government assignments, he was a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, an analyst at the RAND Corporation, and deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Currently a Fellow in International Affairs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is the co-author, among other books, of The Age of Sacred Terror, winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations. We discuss his latest book, just out, Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East which chronicles 40 years of delusional misunderstanding, appalling errors and death and destruction by 8 US administrations towards a region about which they knew little and cared less.