West Wing Reports

Washington Correspondent Paul Brandus shares the news affecting YOU from Washington — your money, your job, your life, reported fairly and accurately.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

May 20th, 2022: Another Gun Massacre, New Members of NATO, and an Infant Formula Shortage

This week, White House Correspondent Paul Brandus shares key insights from Washington about the most recent mass killing in Buffalo, Finland and Sweden's recent NATO membership, the nationwide shortage of baby formula, and more.

The nation — jolted by another mass shooting. But what, if anything, will change?

A momentous development in Europe — NATO will expand — it’s Putin’s worst nightmare.

And baby formula — the scramble to increase supply.

I’m Paul Brandus — you’re listening to West Wing Reports from Washington — it’s Friday, May 20th.

It has happened again — an all-American massacre -- with an automatic weapon. This time — a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Ten dead, three wounded — and the killer, an 18-year old self-admitted white supremacist — says he deliberately targeted the store because — it’s in a black community. President Biden describes it as straight-up terrorism — pure evil:

Biden also says the media — or parts of it at least — is to blame, for spreading incendiary rhetoric — and for playing up something called the “great replacement theory.” What IS that, anyway?

The so-called “great replacement theory” isn’t new…

You may recall, for example, the 2017 demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, when young white men, some carrying Nazi flags, or Confederate flags…rallied against people who weren’t like them: Blacks, Jews, immigrants. You had to be white, and presumably native-born and presumably Christian to be a part of this crowd.

Never mind of course, that unless your ancestors were Native Americans — you’re the product of immigration yourself — and never mind that for those who hate blacks, as the Buffalo shooter did — they were brought here forcibly to be slaves. Perhaps those proudly waving the Confederate flag might ask themselves — if you hate blacks so much, why do your glorify a culture that brought them here in the first place? Oh, right — because it brought them here to be slaves. The Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision — the worst, the most disgraceful decision in American history — ruled that blacks were unworthy of American citizenship.

But when we consider the Buffalo killer and similar mass murderers — the white man who shot up a black church in Charleston, or the white man who shot up a synagogue in Pittsburgh, or the white man who shot up a WalMart in El Paso — it’s clear who the unworthy ones truly are.

Those other incidents are a reminder that we’ve seen this before — too many times before. FBI Director Christopher Wray described them in recent Congressional testimony:

Speaking of seeing this before — the Buffalo attack has reignited the debate about guns, particularly weapons of war like the AR-15 that was used there and in so many other massacres over the years.

But don’t expect anything to happen at the federal level — the gun lobby remains powerful, and well-financed. In fact, one prominent gun rights group — not the NRA — is raising money off the Buffalo massacre. It sent out an email saying that quote — “while the bloodthirsty killer who murdered these innocent people is to blame for his actions," unquote NY politicians who favor strict gun control — and I’m quoting again — “have blood on their hands, too!"

Sweden and Finland made it through the entire Cold War without joining NATO — the U-S - led military alliance. But now — they want in, thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Their leaders got a warm welcome at the White House:

Putin has long sought to get rid of NATO — his dream nearly came true when former President Trump spoke of pulling America out. One theory, is that Putin held off invading Ukraine — in the hopes that Trump would be-reelected and wreck NATO himself. That didn’t happen, and so Kremlin planning for the invasion began in the Spring of last year. Just one theory.

That’s C-SPAN coverage of two big House votes to provide money to help get more baby formula onto store shelves. Shelves are bare in parts of the country. The House votes came after President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act — usually a wartime measure — to help companies make more formula. Meanwhile — and get this — the vast majority of House Republicans voted AGAINST both measures — this is a factual matter — Republicans voted NOT to try and help desperate parents secure more formula.

Meanwhile — Patrick Sly — President of Global Nutrition at Reckitt — which makes the formula “Infamil” — spoke with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell:

Other headlines this week:

You may think you’re done with Covid — but it might not be done with you. Federal officials say case numbers are so high in about one third of the country — and spreading so fast — that folks should consider wearing a mask. Most of these areas, the feds say, are in the northeast.

A key reading on the economy softened in April. The so-called index of Leading Economic Indicators — slipped largely on a fall in home-building permits — AND a decline in consumer confidence. Jeffrey Bartash — an economics writer for MarketWatch says quote — “The U.S. economy is in pretty good shape. Consumers are still spending plenty of money and businesses are hiring and investing." But he adds adds rising interest rates could further slow the economy

And talk about a pain in the gas — the average price of regular nationwide — now four-58 a gallon. Triple-A says that’s up nearly half-a-buck from a month ago. This as the big summer driving season approaches.

Now, lets hear about ANOTHER Evergreen podcast — that I know you'll enjoy”

Time now to open up the West Wing Reports archives — and see what made history this week in the past:

1844 — The first telegraph line in the United States—between Washington and Baltimore—was completed. It was more than a telegraph — it was key military technology that would be used by President James Polk to manage the Mexican-American War, and it gave Abraham Lincoln an edge during the Civil War

Speaking of technology — John F Kennedy said in 1961 — that landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s — would be a huge leap for America — the kind of daring adventure that only free men were capable of. Kennedy’s audacious goal would be achieved in 1969 — the president of course did not live to see.

And in the old days, you could drive your car on the stretch of Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House. That ended in 1995, when the Secret Service shut it down for security reasons, It’s now a pedestrian plaza.

Want more history? Check out my books on Amazon — I’ll sign ‘em for you too — just shoot me an email: [email protected].

And need a speaker for your event? I do that too — current events, economics, analysis — history — I connect the dots — would love to hear from you.

Speaking of books — I’ll send you one — IF you download my new app — it’s called — West Wing Reports — available in the Apple and Android stores — just download it on your phone or tablet — there’s a button called “What’s on your mind?” All you do is push, talk and send. That’s it. Leave a comment — and your name goes into a drawing for any of my books — your choice.

I like to end each week with a quote — something you might find thoughtful: This week: it's from the late, great comedian Robin Williams.

He said quote — politicians should wear sponsor jackets like NASCAR drivers — then we’ll know who owns them.

Think about it.

That’s all for this week. Here’s my email again — [email protected].

West Wing Reports is a production of Evergreen Podcasts.

Special thanks to CSPAN for the audio clips.

Our producer and sound designer and engineer: Noah Foutz

Executive producers: Michael D’Aleoia and Gerardo Orlando.

View Less

Recent Episodes

View All

June 10th, 2022: January 6th Hearings, America’s Gun Epidemic

West Wing Reports
Listen to June 10th, 2022: January 6th Hearings, America’s Gun Epidemic

June 3rd, 2022: The Debate On Gun Control, Mark Meadows' Text Revelations, and The War in Ukraine

West Wing Reports
Listen to June 3rd, 2022: The Debate On Gun Control, Mark Meadows' Text Revelations, and The War in Ukraine

May 27th, 2022: Uvalde Texas Shooting, Biden on China and Taiwan

West Wing Reports
This week on West Wing Reports, outrage: The latest on the Texas school massacre. What, if anything, can be done? And President Biden speaks of a ...
Listen to May 27th, 2022: Uvalde Texas Shooting, Biden on China and Taiwan

May 13th, 2022: The Economics of Roe v Wade, Ukraine, and an Infant Formula Shortage

West Wing Reports
Listen to May 13th, 2022: The Economics of Roe v Wade, Ukraine, and an Infant Formula Shortage