Guest: David Faris of Roosevelt Univ. on our broken Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2017, 6:39pm PT  

During a press avail in New Jersey on the opioid epidemic on Tuesday, Donald Trump threatened "fire and fury like the world has never seen". Disturbingly, he was threatening the Korean peninsula with those remarks. But he may as well have been talking about climate change without even realizing it. On today's BradCast: so much for the momentary sense of calm some of us may have felt for a few blessed hours with both Congress and Donald Trump on "vacation." [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up today, deadly dangerous saber rattling is quickly ratcheting up world tensions on the heels of new United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The isolated nation responded with threats of "physical action". Trump responded with promises of "fire and fury". NK responded in kind with a reported threat to attack Guam --- a U.S. territory and home to U.S. military bases --- with "enveloping fire", as our show got under way today.

Then, speaking of global threats, the New York Times published a disturbing leaked report last night authored by scientists from 13 federal agencies, warning of quickly accelerating man-made global warming. The report, already approved by the National Academy of Sciences, is part of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a statutorily mandated quadrennial report now awaiting final approval by the climate science-denying Trump Administration. We discuss the alarming details of the report, why it was leaked to the press in advance of the August 18 deadline for approval, and the question of whether Trump, his EPA and other science-based federal agencies will sign off on it (or change it before they do).

Then we're joined by author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University, to discuss his recent article on "Why the GOP Congress will be the most unproductive in 164 years". He blames the increasing extremism and polarization within the GOP's own caucus, which, he argues, has virtually hamstrung the Trump/GOP agenda.

"What has happened over the last forty years is Republicans have moved much, much further to right than Democrats have to the left," Faris tells me. "They've moved a little bit to the left since 1980, but not my much --- it's almost imperceptible. Whereas if you chart the movement of the GOP, it's just a long, consistent straight march off the ideological map into uncharted territory."

He describes what he sees as the the reasons for this historic "asymmetric polarization" among Republicans, and why there does not appear to be nearly as much of an ideological divide within the Democratic caucus in Congress.

Finally, we mark today's passing of country/pop superstar Glen Campbell before we return again to a world now very much on edge --- a fact made even more troubling as Trump's approval ratings, even from his most ardent base voters, appear to be quickly eroding at the 200th day mark of his Presidency...


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