Background Briefing (5am)

Background Briefing with Ian Masters – April 28, 2023

We begin with the House Republican budget that Speaker McCarthy barely got enough votes from his side to pass 217 to 215 which is dead on arrival and has nothing to do with raising the debt limit but is being used as leverage to exact Draconian cuts in an already inadequate social safety net. We discuss McCarthy’s call for “fiscal responsibility” after successive tax cuts for the rich that have ballooned the debt while instead he is offering up a budget that is cruel and unnecessary and won’t make a dent in the debt that targets the poorest and most vulnerable, America’s children who had nothing to do with running up the debt. Joining us is Jeff Madrick, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, and a former economics columnist for The New York Times. He is editor of Challenge Magazine, and a visiting professor of humanities at The Cooper Union. His books include Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present and Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World and his latest book is Invisible Americans: The Tragic Cost of Child Poverty.

Then we examine the Washington Declaration that emerged from the White House meeting yesterday with South Korea’s President Yoon who was feted with a state dinner at which he displayed his karaoke skills singing “American Pie.” We discuss the nature of the nuclear guarantees South Korea got to allay the call for “self nuclearization” in response to North Korea’s growing nuclear threats. Joining us is Sung Yoon Lee, a Professor of International Affairs at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, a National Asia Research Fellow and a Faculty Associate at the US-Japan Program at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He has testified as an expert witness in the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearings on North Korea policy, and his forthcoming book, out soon, is The Sister: The extraordinary story of Kim Yo Jong, the most powerful woman in North Korea. We discuss his article at The Conversation, “US-South Korea nuclear weapons deal – what you need to know.”

Then finally, following yesterday’s call between Xi Jinping and Ukraine’s President Zelensky in which the Chinese leader offered to send a peace delegation to Kyiv, we assess how serious China’s commitment is to get Russia to the table and how long the war will go on short of a decisive blow to Russia’s already weakened military from the upcoming Ukrainian offensive. Joining us is Michael Kimmage, a professor of history and department chair at the Catholic University of America, chair of the Kennan Institute Advisory Council and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund. From 2014 to 2017, he served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. His latest book is The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy and he has an article at Foreign Affairs, “How China Could Save Putin’s War in Ukraine: The Logic—and Consequences—of Chinese Military Support for Russia.”


Artist Song Album Label
Jermaine JacksonThere's A Better WaySoul Satisfaction 3 - Motown Delights, Soft-Centred SoulUMG - Universal-Island Records Ltd.
William OnyeaborAtomic BombWorld Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?Luaka Bop
The SmithsAskCompleteWM UK
XTCGenerals And MajorsJust Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s - Volume 4Rhino
Los LobosOne Time One NightJust Another Band From East L.A.: A CollectionRhino/Warner Bros.