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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 18th, 2015
The president has been trying for several years to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement done. Democrats have been wary of granting the president the fast-track authority (TPA) he claims is vital to getting a larger TPP agreement done. The president pulled out all the stops last week, making a personal visit to Capitol Hill, to plead with Congressional Democrats to give him their support on crucial votes for his trade agenda. But in a stunning defeat Congressional Democrats voted against a worker assistance program (traditionally a Democratic priority) in order to slow down the president’s trade agenda.
What were the details surrounding the Democrats’ rebellion and has the Obama Presidency officially entered lame-duck status? We discuss in today’s episode.
June 11th, 2015
In 2012 the Republican field of presidential nominees was often referred to as the clown car. Candidates were criticized for having positions that were out of step with the mainstream and for generally seeming to be not quite ready for prime time.
The 2016 field of Republican hopefuls has swelled to nearly 20 candidates. Many on the Democratic side believe the field is going to be a repeat of 2012: full of unserious candidates whose stars will shine brightly at the outset but eventually fizzle out. Are Democrats underestimating Republicans’ ability of making the case that they should win the White House in 2016? We summarize the 2016 presidential field and discuss why 2016 will be different than 2012 on the Republican side in today’s episode.
June 4th, 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 this week 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 review in today’s episode.
May 28th, 2015
There are questions in every job interview that a prospective employee knows are going to be asked. The answers, while not disingenuous, are known to everyone, even the person asking them, to be shall we say, rehearsed. And yet if they’re fumbled it is counted against you nonetheless. The same holds true for president candidates.
Jeb Bush was recently asked about his thoughts on the Iraq War. A question he should have seen coming gave him quite a bit of trouble and took several days to straighten out. It did however give rise to a narrative about the Iraq War that seems to be taking hold. What is that narrative? We discuss in today’s episode.
May 21st, 2015
President Obama has for the last several years been pushing Congress to approve a massive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and related Trade Promotion Authority. The trade deal has caused consternation on the left side of the aisle that sees the trade deal as NAFTA on steroids. The rift deepened over the last two weeks as a war of words between the President and progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) became public and personal.
What is the TPP and why is it causing so much strife within the Democratic Party? We discuss in today’s show.