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Turnout vs. Reachout

Aug. 27th, 2015

     Donald Trump declared himself a candidate for president about two months ago and it has been wall-to-wall Trump coverage in the news ever since. Despite controversial comments about undocumented immigrants and the entire Latino community, he soon found himself at the top of Republican Primary polls and has remained there ever since.

After the 2012 presidential election the RNC conducted a post-mortem; a report that analyzed the state of the Party and how it could better position itself in future presidential elections. One of the main findings was that the party needed to do a better job of reaching out to minority communities, especially the Latino community. But there are many within the party who say that the RNC’s main goal should be nominating a true conservative and that only by doing that will the party get its base truly excited and ready to turn out in the election.

In this episode we discuss the Trump phenomenon and why the Republican establishment is going to find itself confronted with a very interesting decision in the next few months.


The Return of the Silent Majority

Aug. 20th, 2015 

     In 1969 Richard Nixon famously asked the “great silent majority” of fellow Americans for their support. Their support in bringing the Vietnam War to a close and restoring “law and order” to the streets of America in the midst of all the violent anti-war protests that were taking place. It worked. After the “silent majority” speech, Nixon’s approval rating shot up to 80% and he was propelled to a landslide victory the 1972 election, winning 49 of 50 states.

Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump has recently evoked the memory of the silent majority, claiming that it is back, and that he, along with it, was going to “make America great again.” Trump is currently leading all of the polls with a sizeable margin. In this episode we discuss why Trump’s lead is perhaps not as puzzling as many believe and why, regardless of where the Trump campaigns winds up, the sentiment he has tapped into may remain a force to be reckoned with.


Obama Goes to Iran - Rebroadcast

Aug. 13th, 2015 

     The US and its coalition partners recently finalized a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Critics of the deal lambasted the agreement, arguing that it doesn’t prevent Iran from getting a bomb but rather paves Iran’s path to one. They cite provisions in the deal that call for restrictions to expire in 8 ½, 10, and 15 years respectively, as proof that ultimately Iran will become a nuclear power under the deal.

In this rebroadcast episode we discuss the details of the agreement, why the bigger picture may be being missed, and why the real story may be the international community’s re-alignment with Iran in the Middle East.


Patriot Games - Rebroadcast

Aug. 6th, 2015 

     The US intelligence community took a lot of blame for failing to thwart the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of 9/11 the Patriot Act was passed. It contained several provisions that sought to strengthen some of the intelligence gathering weaknesses that the 9/11 attacks laid bare. Twelve years later, a NSA contractor by the name of Edward Snowden revealed to the world several bulk surveillance programs the US government was conducting that used the Patriot Act as authorization.

The Patriot Act was set to expire in early June 2015 unless Congress renewed it or passed a competing law that some in Congress were working on in its stead. The debate caused quite a stir on Capitol Hill over the last two weeks. What is the fate of the bulk surveillance programs and the related Patriot Act? We take a closer look in this rebroadcast of an earlier episode.


Ted Cruz Playing the Trump Card

July 30th, 2015 

     Ted Cruz recently took to the Senate floor and in a startling move railed against Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over his decision to put funding of the Ex-Im Bank up for a vote. The news is not so much McConnell’s decision on funding the Ex-Im Bank but rather the calculation that Cruz seems to be making that running hard against other GOP’ers is going to prove just as beneficial as running hard against Democrats.

Donald Trump is surging in national polls despite controversial comments regarding many, and especially Republicans. Has his success provided a roadmap for other GOP hopefuls’ path to the nomination? We discuss in today’s episode.


Obama Goes to Iran

July 23rd, 2015 

     The US and its coalition partners finalized a deal with Iran on its nuclear program last week. Critics of the deal lambasted the agreement, arguing that it doesn’t prevent Iran from getting a bomb but rather paves Iran’s path to one. They cite provisions in the deal that call for provisions to expire in 8 ½, 10, and 15 years respectively, as proof that ultimately Iran will become a nuclear power under the deal.

In this episode we discuss the details of the agreement, why the bigger picture may be being missed, and why the real story may be the international community’s re-alignment with Iran in the Middle East.


Super-Duper PAC’s

July 16th, 2015 

     In the 2010 Citizens United case, the US Supreme Court decided that campaign contributions were a form of free speech and that corporations and labor unions were allowed to give unlimited amounts of money to the candidates of their choosing. A separate court decision two months later allowed for the creation of “independent expenditure-only” groups which have become commonly known as Super PAC’s.

Super PAC’s raised about $700 million in the 2014 election cycle, a staggering sum for an off-year election. More staggering yet is the sum some people estimate is going to be raised in the 2016 election cycle - a sum that promises to make Super PAC’s much more impactful in the 2016 cycle. In this episode we discuss the effect Super PAC’s are having on the 2016 race and why some of the restrictions between Super PAC’s and official campaigns are regulations in name only.


Our New Partner Iran

July 9th, 2015 

     In the 1950’s US and British Intelligence agencies overthrew the democratically-elected government in Iran and replaced it with the government of the Shah of Iran. The Shah’s government, one of the most corrupt and oppressive in recent memory, was overthrown in the late 1970’s by a religious revolution. The revolution culminated in the hostage-taking of US Embassy personal for 444 days. The US and Iran have been estranged since.

There are intense negotiations going on between the US and Iran on the future of Iran’s nuclear program. Delays notwithstanding, an agreement seems more likely than not. But world events have conspired to give Iran leverage not just in these negotiations but in world affairs as well. Is Iran becoming the US’ de-facto regional partner in the Middle East? We discuss in today’s episode.


Bailed Out by the Supreme Court

July 2nd, 2015 

     Progressives had been trying to get universal health care passed in this country since the early 1900s. From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, many presidents have come close to achieving its goal but have never been able to get reform over the line. That changed in 2010 when Barack Obama and Democrats muscled the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) through Congress.

The US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare in 2012 in a decision that infuriated conservatives. Last week, the Court once again upheld the law. Once again conservative ire was directed at Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote the majority opinion in the ruling. In this episode we explore the health care debate over the years and discuss why this latest decision may have bailed the Republican Party out of a potentially tricky situation.


Confederate Debates

June 25th, 2015 

     A 21 year-old man walked into the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC a little over a week ago and after listening to a bible discussion, opened fire on the participants killing nine of them. His stated goal, we learned later, was to start a race war because, he felt, African-Americans were, “taking over the country.”

The debate in the wake of the tragedy has centered around the confederate flag flying on South Carolina Capitol Building grounds. Gov. Nikki Haley announced on Monday that she would move to have the flag removed. But are there deeper issues that need to be addressed here? Are we doing ourselves a disservice by spending as much time focusing on a symbol even though the symbolism in this case is quite significant? We discuss in today’s episode.


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