Tag: usaid

Background Briefing: April 26, 2020


Deadly Advice From the Quack-in-Chief

We begin with the toddler-in-chief pouting that the other kids in the playground were making fun of him, prompting Trump to tweet petulantly that his daily White House briefings were “Not worth the time & effort” as he blamed the media’s “hostile” questioning for his ridiculous but dangerous ramblings at Thursday’s briefing which invited scorn and alarm from around the world, making the American president the butt of numerous jokes. Robert Mackey, a Senior Writer at The Intercept who was a reporter and columnist at the The New York Times joins us to discuss his latest article at The Intercept “Quack-in-Chief Donald Trump Asks If Bleach Injections or Tanning Could Cure Covid-19“. We discuss the spectacular stupidity of Trump’s latest offering of a miracle cure following a VA study that found his and Fox News’s snake-oil malaria drug kills but does not cure. Trump actually suggested household disinfectants could be injected into the body along with UV light to kill the coronavirus. Along with the outpouring of ridicule, there has been an uptick of calls to Poison Control Centers while the makers of Lysol were forced to issue a statement, “we must be clear that under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body through injection or any other route”.


The Pandemic is Magnifying Already Grave Economic and Security Problems

Then we examine a new study, “Coronavirus in Conflict Zones: A Sobering Landscape” and speak with its co-author Frances Brown, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Democracy Conflict, and Governance Program. She joins us to discuss how the pandemic is magnifying already grave economic and security problems while giving countries like China cover to crack down and crush the Democracy movement in Hong Kong. A normal United States would at least object, but under Trump, the richest and most powerful nation on earth with 4% of the world’s population has one third of all Covid-19 cases and more than one quarter of all deaths worldwide.

How Societies Can Transform From Unequal Plutocracies into Egalitarian Democracies

Then finally we look into the latest massive work by the renowned economist Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology, which argues that ideology is not a byproduct of how the economy is organized but rather ideology itself can and often does become the determining factor in history. Ryan Cooper, a national correspondent at The Week where he has an article “The world’s dominant ideology is breaking. What will replace it?”, joins us to discuss how Sweden is the model for how when people are mobilized, societies can quickly transform from unequal plutocracies into egalitarian democracies.