21:11 GMT18 September 2020
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    Trump Insists COVID-19 'Will Go Away,' Even as Cases Rise

    The Critical Hour
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    On this episode of the Critical Hour, co-hosts Dr. Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon talk to Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi about US President Donald Trump predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will peter out, even as deaths surge in the US.

    In a Wednesday interview on Fox News, Trump "claimed COVID-19 was spreading in a 'relatively small portion' of the country (it is spreading nearly everywhere); said children are 'virtually immune' to the virus (they are not), and once again insisted the outbreak 'will go away like things go away,'" the Washington Post reported. He continued to press his view that schools should be reopening, even as more districts delay in-person instruction. “My view is the schools should open. This thing is going away," Trump said. With COVID-19 cases and deaths continuing to rise in the US, how concerned should we be?

    "The blast near Beirut's port sent up a huge mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, flipping cars and damaging distant buildings," CNN reported Tuesday. "It was felt as far as Cyprus, hundreds of miles away, and registered as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake in the Lebanese capital." At least 135 people were killed, and thousands more were injured. Lebanese officials have said the explosion was an unfortunate accident caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate, though Trump said Tuesday that it looked like the incident resulted from a "bomb of some kind," citing unnamed US military officials. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper contradicted the president on Wednesday, saying the blast was likely an accident.

    "US GDP Collapses & Economic Rebound Fades" is the title of the latest op-ed by our next guest, Professor Jack Rasmus. He writes, "This past week US economy collapsed in the 2nd quarter by 32.9% at annual rate and nearly 10% just for the April-June period. Never before in modern US history — not even in the worse quarters of the 1930s great depression — has the US economy contracted so quickly and so deeply!" What are we to make of all of this?

    "In the last sitting week of 2019, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne requested the highly influential Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade to report on the possible introduction of legislation that mirrors the US Magnitsky Act," Philip Citowicki wrote in a July 2 piece for The Diplomat. "The Committee aims to report back by the end of 2020." What does this mean?

    A Tuesday headline in Common Dreams read: "Elliot Abrams Confirms to Senate Hearing That US Still 'Working Hard' to Overthrow Maduro in Venezuela." The outlet reported, "The US Special Representative to Venezuela Elliott Abrams told a Senate panel Tuesday that despite a number of failed previous attempts, the Trump administration is continuing efforts to foment the ouster of President Nicolás Maduro, elected democratically by the Venezuelan people two years ago. 'Obviously we hope that [Maduro] will not survive the year and we are working hard to make that happen,' Abrams told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." What does this mean going forward, and how concerned should Americans be that the US government, which claims to support democracy around the world, is working to overthrow a democratically elected president in a foreign country?

    "Rep. Roger Marshall won the Republican Senate nomination in Kansas on Tuesday night, defeating former secretary of state Kris Kobach and easing GOP fears that a victory by the conservative firebrand could have cost them a seat in November," the Washington Post reported Wednesday. While on the other side of the aisle, another Wednesday article in the Post was titled "Longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay loses Democratic primary in Missouri." Are these subtle or not-so-subtle indicators of shifts in the political landscape?

    "The Trump campaign late Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Nevada over a law aimed at expanding mail-in voting before the November general election, saying it and changes to election procedures make 'voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable,'" The Hill reported Wednesday. What does this mean going forward?

    An interesting piece ran Tuesday in Consortium News, entitled "A United State of Delusion." Its subheadline said, "Americans are caught in a kind of national psychosis, wherein little of what is said about foreign conduct — from Germany to the South China Sea — can be taken at face value." What are we to make of this?

    Guests:

    Dr. GiGi El-Bayoumi - Founder and executive director of the Rodham Institute of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC

    Laith Marouf - Broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon

    Jack Rasmus - Economist, author of "Central Bankers at the End of their Rope?: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression" and professor in the Economics and Politics Departments at St. Mary’s College of California

    Lucy Komissar - Investigative journalist focusing on corporate and financial corruption whose articles can be found at TheKomisarScoop.com

    Leo Flores - Latin America coordinator for Code Pink

    Dr. Colin Campbell -  Washington, DC, senior news correspondent

    Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever - Award-winning author, international speaker, political commentator, and race and gender empowerment expert

    Margaret Kimberley - Editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report and author of "Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents"

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

    Tags:
    Voting, United States, Primary Elections, Elliot Abrams, Magnitsky Act, Economy, Beirut, SARS coronavirus, COVID-19
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