17:49 GMT04 August 2020
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    US Surpasses 4 Million COVID-19 Cases, 11 Cities Urged to Take "Aggressive" Action

    The Critical Hour
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    On this edition of The Critical Hour, co-hosts Dr. Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon talk to Dr. Lisa K Fitzpatrick, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-trained medical epidemiologist and board-certified infectious disease physician, about the US surpassing 4 million total COVID-19 cases.

    The US surpassed 4 million confirmed coronavirus infections on Thursday. "Despite the rosy picture painted by President Trump at his latest White House briefing, almost every metric shows just how badly America is losing its fight against the virus," the Washington Post reported. This comes a day after Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned officials in a private phone call that 11 major cities in the US needed to take "aggressive" actions to fight COVID-19, according to the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity. What are we to make of these recent developments?

    "Filings for weekly unemployment benefits rose for the first time in nearly four months as some states rolled back reopenings because of the coronavirus pandemic, a sign the jobs recovery could be faltering," the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. "Initial unemployment claims rose by a seasonally adjusted 109,000 to 1.4 million for the week ended July 18, the Labor Department reported Thursday." What are we to make of these new numbers?

    There are great levels of consternation within the Republican Party regarding the Senate's latest coronavirus relief bill. "Conservatives are apoplectic about its $1 trillion cost. Mainstream Republicans in very tight races are desperate to act quickly and aggressively to show voters they are doing something about the pandemic and resulting recession," the New York Times reported Wednesday. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump, the party's leader, keeps insisting on senseless proposals, like a payroll tax cut, that won’t stimulate anything but the pockets of the 1%. How do we square this circle?

    On Thursday, China launched its first mission with the intent of landing a rover on Mars. Once again, space exploration has become a contest between nations. While the US once competed in this sphere with the Soviet Union, today its rivalry is with China. The US is planning to launch a similar mission to the red planet next week. What does this say about the relationship between these two countries?

    There was a great story in The Grayzone on Thursday entitled "An inside look at Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution on its 41st anniversary." In it, Ben Norton writes, "Since the 1823 declaration of the Monroe Doctrine, the US government has portrayed all of Latin America as its own imperial 'backyard.' Among the most enticing prizes for US political leaders and corporate oligarchs over the decades has been Nicaragua. ... This July 19, 2020, Nicaragua celebrated the 41st anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution. It came at a turbulent moment for the country, two years after an extremely violent US-backed coup attempt and in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic." What can we learn about US interventionist, neoliberal foreign policy as it relates to Nicaragua and the entire region of Latin America?

    There’s some great analysis in a Wednesday Common Dreams article entitled "King Joe and the Round Table: Biden's America in a Multipolar World," by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies. They write, "In an article in Foreign Affairs in March titled, 'Why America Must Lead Again,' Joe Biden claimed that 'the world doesn’t organize itself,' and promised to 'put the US back at the head of the table' among the nations of the world. But the premise that the world can only organize itself under the direction of the United States and Biden’s ambition to restore the US to such a dominant position at this moment in history are out of touch with global reality." How so?

    Is the president struggling to draw support to his professed "law-and-order" stance? "Trump on Wednesday announced that the Justice Department’s 'Operation Legend' — an effort to help local police combat violent crime — is expanding from Kansas City, MO, to Chicago, Albuquerque, NM, and other US cities," The Hill reported Thursday. Will this questionable policy translate into political gains?

    Our final guest, Maram Susli, will be discussing the effect of American sanctions on Syria and US policy towards Syria overall. 


    Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick - CDC-trained medical epidemiologist & board-certified Infectious diseases physician with both domestic and global experience in public health

    Dr. Linwood Tauheed - Economist

    Caleb Maupin - Journalist and political analyst

    Michael Wong - Vice president of the San Francisco chapter of Veterans for Peace

    Dave Lindorff - Journalist

    Media Benjamin - Co-founder of Code Pink

    David Schultz - Professor of political science at Hamline University

    Maram Susli - Syrian political commentator and geopolitical analyst 

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    Syria, Joe Biden, Nicaragua, China, Republican Party, Unemployment, SARS coronavirus, COVID-19
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