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Liberalism vs. Religious Freedom

Mar. 31st, 2015 

     The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law in 1993. It provided individuals with protections against the government substantially burdening their exercise of religion. Recent state versions of the law have made headlines because many believe they are being used as licenses to discriminate, especially against homosexual couples.

In today’s program we discuss the details of the law and how the Indiana version differs from its counterparts. We also pose the following questions: Can we legislate liberalism? And is there a point where liberalism becomes discrimination against religious beliefs?

Widening Struggles in the Middle East

Mar. 30th, 2015 

     The Obama Administration is often criticized for being caught flatfooted by events in foreign policy. While that criticism may be unwarranted in some conflicts, it seems to have the most credibility when it comes to events in the Middle East.

Over the past week, developments in Yemen have highlighted just how little influence the US seems to be wielding in the region at this time. We detail the developments and discuss whether the US seems to be on a path toward less involvement in the region.

Harry Reid Retires and Vote-A-Rama

Mar. 27th, 2015 

     There was some surprising news this morning: Democratic Senate Minority leader Harry Reid will be retiring after a 30-year career in the Senate. He had been battling an injury incurred from a fall that broke bones around his eye and ribs since January, but says his decision was made prior to that. His retirement opens up discussion about his successor both in the Senate and in Democratic leadership.

The Senate passed a budget proposal yesterday at the end of a marathon voting session that lasted until the early morning hours. What were the 2016 implications of the process and what are the chances of Republicans achieving reconciliation on a budget that has its goal the repealing of Obamacare? We discuss in today’s episode.

The House GOP Budget Passes

Mar. 26th, 2015

     The House adopted a budget resolution yesterday by a vote of 229-199. The budget would balance in nine years and would, among other things, partially privatize Medicare and turn Medicaid into a block grant program. It would also increase our emergency war fund by more than $100 billion, a provision that some on the right have a problem with both in terms of process and amount. What are the main points of contention between fiscal hawks and defense hawks on the budget and what are the chances of its passage in the Senate? We discuss in today’s show.

The Permanent Medicare Doc Fix

Mar. 25th, 2015

      Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, in a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation and leadership taking, have come together to strike a $200 billion Medicare reform deal. The deal, among other things, comes up with a permanent solution to the Medicare “doc fix.” But abortion language inserted into the bill threatens to block its support on the Democratic side. What are the issues holding it up and what are the broader implications of the leaders of the respective parties working together directly on broad reform? We discuss in today’s episode.

The GOP House Budget

Mar. 24th, 2015

     The GOP controlled House released their budget proposal last week. It’s a document that lays out the GOP’s plan to dramatically cut spending across social programs and the full repeal of Obamacare. Perhaps the most controversial element to the proposal though is its funneling of billions of dollars into a war contingency fund to circumvent the mandatory spending cuts known as Sequester. The provision sets up a showdown between fiscal hawks and defense hawks on the Republican side in Congress. Which group has the better chance of prevailing? We discuss in today’s episode.

Ted Cruz is Running for President

Mar. 23rd, 2015

     One of the questions I like to ask myself during election cycles is whether candidates for president actually believe they can win. Herman Cain, in 2012, ran for president and actually became the frontrunner for a time. Subsequently though it became clear, at least to some, that his candidacy was more a career move and about book sales than a realistic quest for the White House.

Does Ted Cruz actually believe he can win the presidency or is his candidacy more about advancing his own brand and becoming an influencer in the campaign and the national dialogue? We discuss in today’s episode.

ITN is off today

Mar. 20th, 2015

Tune in Monday March 23rd for our next show!

Trafficking in Leverage

Mar. 18th, 2015

     An anti-human trafficking bill that would set up a fund for victims has stalled in the Senate. The sticking point is anti-abortion language that Democrats claim was snuck into the bill by Republicans. The bill has failed twice to advance into the Senate and Republicans are now threatening to delay a vote on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General until the bill advances. In this episode we discuss the row over the bill as well as how leverage seems to have become the ultimate goal of legislators in Washington.

Battle in Tikrit

Mar. 18th, 2015

     The US led coalition has been waging a battle to liberate the city of Tikrit from ISIS control for the better part of 3 weeks. While the majority of the city has been rid of ISIS small pockets of the city remain under their control.

In this episode we discuss why the inability of coalition forces (numbering around 30,000) to achieve decisive victory in Tikrit is symbolic of the way the administration is conducting the military campaign against ISIS. We also discuss the status of the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) that the president sent to Congress for approval this year.

ITN is off today!

Mar. 13th, 2015

We are off today, Monday and Tuesday but back on Wednesday, March 18th, with a brand new show.  See you then!

Walker Lands Another Blow

Mar. 12th, 2015

     Governor Scott Walker has battled Wisconsin unions for the better part of 4 years. It started in 2011 with his attack on collective bargaining rights and union dues, and continued this week with the passage of right-to-work legislation in Wisconsin. Wisconsin unions see his maneuvers as attacks on the foundations of their organization and their political muscle. Walker supporters characterize them as budget issues and states’ rights issues. Which side is correct? We detail the debate in this episode.

Letter vs. Spirit of Emails

Mar. 11th, 2015

     Hillary Clinton gave a press conference yesterday in which she defended her use of a personal email address for government business during her tenure as Secretary of State. She says she has fulfilled her responsibilities and handed over every email that was work related that was on her personal server.

Guidelines and regulations surrounding the use of personal email addresses have been hazy. Detractors say that while Secretary Clinton may not have broken any laws she is using policies that are opaque and nebulous. Who’s right? We discuss on today’s program.

Is Obama Channeling LBJ?

Mar. 10th, 2015

     The Justice Department recently announced that they are preparing criminal corruption charges against Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) over, among other things, his dealings with a Florida ophthalmologist accused of overbilling Medicare by $9 million. As many have commented, the timing of the announcement seems a little suspect with the imminent announcement of a nuclear deal with Iran and Sen. Menendez being one of the Administration’s most outspoken critics.

What is the state of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and how have this week’s developments affected them? We discuss in today’s show.

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