Episode

8/8 The Niger Coup, & Biden’s Prevailing Wage Gambit w/ Hannah Rae Armstrong

August 8, 2023

It’s News Day Tuesday! But first, Sam and Emma speak with writer and conflict analyst Hannah Rae Armstrong to discuss the developments in the conflict in Niger. First, Sam and Emma check in on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, doing some retail politics in Kentucky and getting mercilessly booed and heckled for his troubles. Then, they’re joined by Hannah, in a dispatch from where she’s located in Dakar, Senegal, to give some context to the burbling conflict in Niger, and the history of the Sahel region where the country is located, one that has been defined by coups recently. Hannah mentions that, given the turbulence in the Sahel countries of Niger, Burkina Faso, & Mali, it’s been known as the “Coup Corridor” in Africa. Emma probes on why, in Niger, per Hannah, the leadership under Nigerien President Bazoum was mostly democratically elected in name only. Hannah then breaks down some of the electoral history in Niger prior to Bazoum, and the military action that was taken to depose Bazoum and who seized from him. Sam asks Hannah about the colonial and resource-based interests within the country and if that factors in at all to the regional turbulence, an influence (in this case, from the French) that Hannah concedes is slightly overblown at this point. They then touch upon the regional influence that the Russian mercenary Wagner Group have in the area, with Wagner leader Prigozhin going so far as to congratulate military leaders on the coup of President Bazoum, and if that had any influences on the conflict, and if there’s any chance of a proxy war in the region given some of these outside foreign influences. They then discuss the inevitable American influence on this conflict, and how, as with many global destabilization efforts, military leaders and members had been trained and matriculated in the U.S., and whether the U.S. support for President Bazoum is sincere. Hannah tells Sam and Emma what might be next for Niger the country and the Sahel region going forward before she jumps off. Afterwards, Sam touches on Lee Harris’s reporting in The American Prospect about Biden’s Labor Department being set to issue a ruling on the Davis-Bacon Act, a ruling that could raise the salaries of some of the lowest-paid workers on infrastructure projects.

And in the Fun Half, Sam and Emma check in on Ron DeSantis bravely monologuing to NBC for 2 minutes before conceding that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, as well as former Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany potentially…admitting she watched private testimony from Hunter Biden’s business associate Devon Archer last week. They then touch on an inscrutable point Greg Gutfeld tried to make about “mobs”, then zero in on RFK’s…seemingly thin healthcare policy that he outlined on milquetoast podcaster Jimmy Dore’s show yesterday. Plus, your calls & IM’s!

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