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Lone Wolves and Security

Oct. 24th, 2014

     A lone assailant burst into Canada’s Parliament building this week and went on a shooting rampage. He had already killed one guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa and threatened to kill several more before being by Parliament security forces. The assailant had tried to travel to Syria to join extremist groups there. Authorities believe frustration over his delayed passport application led to the rampage.

There is concern and outrage over the government surveillance programs that have been revealed over the past year; many believe they are a violation of our civil liberties. But in an age where a lone gunman can cause so much damage are we placing our intelligence authorities in an impossible position by asking them to maintain complete security while also respecting our privacy completely?

Can’t Vote in Texas

Oct. 23rd, 2014

     Our Bill of Rights guarantees us personal freedoms and liberties among which are the freedoms of speech, religion, and press etc. But I would argue that the most important freedom our system of government grants us is the right to vote. If taken away, that right would alter our society in a much more fundamental way than any of the others.

Last year the Supreme Court chose to overturn a key provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Since then several states have passed, or attempted to pass, strict voter ID laws. Some view the motivation behind these laws as political. In this episode we discuss the laws and whether wresting the right to vote from certain demographic groups is a viable long term strategy for a political party.

The Real Solution to ISIS

Oct. 22nd, 2014

     Barack Obama is the 4th consecutive US president to order military operations in Iraq. Our actions in all of the other conflicts have laid the foundation for the next one to arise. How can we take the proper measures this time around to see to it that history is not repeated?

President Obama has our articulated our goals in Iraq as “degrading and destroying” ISIS. But what does “destroying” ISIS mean? Is it possible to truly destroy ISIS without solving, or at least addressing, the underlying Sunni-Shia conflict has set the conditions for the rapid growth of the extremist group?

Small Government and Ebola

Oct. 21st, 2014

     For the past 30 years we have been debating whether big government is the source of many of our problems. The overriding narrative has been that we have to do everything in our power to shrink the size of government and its role. Yet whenever disaster strikes government is one of the first places we look to for accountability.

Should government be responsible for national relief efforts for disasters? If so, do we need to change the terms of the debate from small vs. big government to how much government should we pay for?

Hong Kong on YouTube - Rebroadcast

Oct. 16th, 2014

     For years many believed that the main contribution of the internet to the world would be economic; the fact that entrepreneurs and small business owners could compete with the biggest retail players in the market. But what if the main contribution of the internet turns out to be political? What if the internet turns out to be a more powerful weapon of revolution than a weapon of trade?

Protests have erupted in Hong Kong over the last week over the decision by the Chinese government to allow only candidates that have been vetted by them to run for leadership. The government is downplaying the protests and attempting to wait them out, but they show no sign dissipating. We discuss the circumstances surrounding the events and ask whether the days of governments being able to quell popular uprisings are officially over.

ISIS Whack-a-Mole

Oct. 16th, 2014

     ISIS forces have besieged the northern Syrian town of Kobane this week. Tens of thousands of people have fled the town for bordering Turkey. Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey said in a recent interview that it is probable that the town will fall into enemy hands.

The US and coalition forces have been bombing ISIS forces in Syria and Iraq for the last two months and yet the ISIS advance has slowed. Are we in danger of falling into a pattern of pushing ISIS out of certain territory while seeing other territory fall into their hands at roughly the same rate?

The Ebola Blame Game

Oct. 15th, 2014

     A nurse at Texas pres hospital has been diagnosed with Ebola. She was one of those that cared for the first Ebola victim in the US, Thomas Eric Duncan. She is reportedly in good condition and is expected to make a recovery.

In the wake of the revelation, and the Ebola fears that are spreading, a health official made the accusation that budget cuts are largely to blame for, if not the spreading of the disease, then for the lack of a vaccine and other therapeutics in the US that could help fight it. We discuss the merits of the accusation in our latest episode.

Would a Republican Senate Be that Bad?

Oct. 14th, 2014

     We are in the final stretch of the midterm elections and most of the key senate races are virtual ties. Chances are 50/50, if not slightly better, that Republicans will gain control of the Senate after Election Day. Republicans have vowed to jam spending bills with amendments that would stall President Obama’s policies forcing either cooperation from the president or government shutdown.

But if Republicans win the Senate they would control of 2/3 of the Federal government. Would that responsibility actually work to encourage more bipartisanship than brinksmanship?

Trouble at the Secret Service

Oct. 13th, 2014

     The Unites States Secret Service is one of the most venerable security agencies in the country if not the world. We take pride in the fact that our elected officials enjoy some of the tightest security known to man no matter who they are. Recent allegations including the White House fence jumper and a man who fired shots at the White House with a semiautomatic weapon have placed the widely respected agency under the microscope.

Is major reform needed at the Secret Service and what do the recent lapses say about the larger Federal Government’s ability to carry out its stated objectives?

The Midterms

Oct. 9th, 2014

     We are less than a month away from the 2014 midterm elections and conventional wisdom said that this would be a wave election for Republicans. As far as midterm elections go history favors the party that does not control the White House and with the president’s approval ratings at or near all-time lows it seemed as though this would be the Republicans’ year.

And yet polls show that Republicans are not running away with the elections. In fact, polls in key Senate races show Republicans either within the margin of error or behind altogether. And in the most interesting wrinkle, Republicans are tied not just with Democrats in some races but with independents as well.  

Is Obamacare Here to Stay?

Oct. 8th, 2014

     The administration recently revealed that more that 7.3 million people have signed for Obamacare. This is more than the 6 million they originally hoped for but less than the 8 million they announced had enrolled in the program back in March.

It’s hard to believe how far the program has come since its disastrous rollout last October. After pledging to make it a defining issue in this year’s midterm elections Republicans have all but stopped campaigning on the issue. Is this a tacit admission that the program has become a permanent part of life in America?

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