Tag: stock market

Background Briefing: April 20, 2020


The Oil Market’s Historic Plunge to a Negative $37.63 a Barrel

We begin with today’s dramatic crash of the oil market with May contracts for West Texas Intermediate oil plunging 300% on the New York Mercantile Exchange to settle at a negative $37.63 a barrel, meaning you would have to pay somebody to take barrels of oil off your hands. Amy Myers Jaffe, the Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations joins us to discuss the unprecedented glut on the global oil market as a result of the sharp drop in demand due to the global coronavirus pandemic and the Saudis and the Russian having flooding the market in their recent oil war. This means that there is simply no space left to store oil and while it is a good time for countries like India and China to buy oil on the cheap to fill up their strategic petroleum reserves, it would also be a good time for the U.S. to increase the federal tax on gas in order to spur alternative and renewable energy production. But that would never happen with Trump in the Oval Office and it was only as recent as April 12 that the president was congratulating himself for saving hundreds of thousands of American jobs by intervening with Russia and Saudi Arabia to end their oil war, something he also thanked and congratulated Putin and MBS for.


In Search of the “Deep State” That Does Not Exist

Then we investigate the “deep state” which as become a core component of how Trump communicates with his base to rally them around the idea that his presidency is under constant and sustained attack from a secret cabal of insiders determined to thwart his efforts to make America great again. David Rohde, Executive Editor of The New Yorker who is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and co-author of A Rope and A Prayer which is about his experience being kidnapped and held by the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, joins us. We will discuss his new book, just out, In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth About America’s “Deep State” in which he debunks these toxic conspiracy theories concluding that the “deep state” does not exist. But there is however an alternative state created by Trump with amateurs like Hannity and Giuliani on the outside running amok while inside professionals like AG Barr bend the government to Trump’s will.

Wearing Face Masks or Not Means You Either Support Dr. Fauci or Trump

Then finally we examine how wearing face masks or not during this COVID-19 pandemic has become the new tribal symbol of whether you support Dr. Anthony Fauci or Donald Trump. Robert Kahn, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas who has studied Americans’ attitudes toward wearing face masks and the battle lines now being drawn over whether to abide by state lockdowns or not, joins us to assess who is following Governor Whitmer of Michigan’s advice that it’s better to be six feet apart than six feet under.