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HuffPost Politics: So That Happened Podcast

HuffPost Politics: So That Happened Podcast

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An inside-the-beltway show that's truly for beltway outsiders. Each week the HuffPost Politics team offers an entertaining alternative to the Sunday shows you've stopped watching. Along with their outside the beltway guests, join Arthur Delaney, Zach Carter, and Jason Linkins as they analyze the news of the week and explain why it should matter to you.


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by David Barsamian

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Draconian Budget Cuts And Fake News Conspiracy Theories: Just Another Week In Trump's America


Thu, May 25, 2017


So, that happened. This week, while President Donald Trump was away on foreign business, the wider world got a look at the latest White House budget proposals and the experience was like staring into a moral void. Broadly targeted for elimination: just about anything that offers assistance to the poor and vulnerable. Cashing in big time: rich income earners. There are education cuts that could decimate profitable research, new burdens on food stamp providers that could result in fewer in the market. Joining us to marvel at the pure draconian nature of it all is Alexis Goldstein from Americans for Financial Reform. Meanwhile, the murder of Seth Rich -- a young DC resident and Democratic National Committee staffer -- was a tragedy for those who knew him. But the internet's conspiracy swamps and right wing media outlets have teamed up to further traumatize Rich's family and friends. It's weaponized fake news, and it's perfectly emblematic of the surreal world that Donald Trump has both ushered in and continues to maintain. Finally, four years ago, Thomas Piketty's book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" took the world by storm, a deeply researched book on the history of wealth inequality that managed to jump beyond an academic audience and become a popular best-seller. Now, a new book titled "After Piketty: The Agenda For Economics and Inequality" has arrived, bringing together a wide group of economists and social scientists to try to assess the impact Piketty's book has had since it hit the shelves. Joining us to give us a taste is one of the editors of "After Piketty," Marshall Steinbaum.

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Donald Trump Is Taking His Clown Show To Europe


Thu, May 18, 2017


So, that happened. This week, President Donald Trump had another one of those weeks where Donald Trump is president. By which I mean, total omnidirectional omnishambles. Building off the controversy of last week's controversial firing of James Comey, Trump revealed highly classified intelligence from a source in Syria to two high-ranking Russian officials, touching off yet another self-immolation. He's ended the week with more trouble from Comey, more indefensible deceptions, fewer allies willing to go to bat for him, and a newly appointed investigator nipping at his heels. We'll dive into the Trump black hole to try to rescue some light Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, fans of fixing the criminal justice system scored a major victory this week. Civil rights attorney and progressive-minded reformed Larry Krasner won the Democratic primary election for Philadelphia district attorney. It's a major shift in Philly, and it's also part of what seems to be a burgeoning trend of voters opting for reform champions at the ballot box. Finally, the Trump White House is populated by people who simultaneously hate their jobs and are terrified of being fired. How does that work? Well, in what can only be called a radical act of empathy, we're going to try to imagine what life in this oddball cult is like.

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Donald Trump Is Lighting His Presidency On Fire


Thu, May 11, 2017


So, that happened. This week, Donald Trump fired James Comey. And that's been the implacable news event of the week, so much so that we are just going to surrender to it entirely. This single decision is the apotheosis of Trump. It has everything: a stumbled over decision that landed with a kersplat on the news-cycle, constantly shifting rationales that change by the hour, massive leaks from the White House, the usual concerns over temperament, and the unalterable impression that the White House is either strategically engineering a cover-up, or too impulsive to govern in a sane way. Or both! We even have White House press secretary Sean Spicer hiding among the bushes on the White House grounds. It's well and truly bonkers. We'll try to piece through the most troubling aspects of this decision, beginning with the implausible reason we've been told guided Trump's decision. Former Department of Justice spokesman joins our own Sam Stein, to offer an insider perspective on the matter. And we'll deal with the aftermath, in which a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that was supposed to be regular discussion on global threats, became consumed with this week's Comey-a-Lago instead.

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Republicans Initiate Brilliant Midterm Strategy Of Kicking Tens Of Millions Of People Off Health Insurance


Thu, May 04, 2017


So, that happened. This week, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a bucket of garbage, placing the lives of some 24 million people at risk. Quite a spectacle really. We'll have fifteen minutes of flabbergasted gasping for you to enjoy. Meanwhile, for some reason we'll also talk about other things. For example, just how populist is the Trump White House going to get? The new head of the SEC will be Goldman Sachs' bailout lawyer, Jay Clayton, so it's sure not looking good for that whole "drain the swamp" project. But maybe we're wrong. Joining us to figure this out is our pal Alexis Goldstein from Americans for Financial Reform. Finally, Donald Trump is hoping to appoint Tennessee State Senator Mark Green to the position of Secretary of the Army. This is his second attempt to place someone in that job, and based upon Green's litany of bizarre statements and strange positions, there is a not insignificant chance that he'll need a third. With that in mind, why did Trump pick this guy? We'll try to figure it out.

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The 100 Day Deadline Has Trump Flailing


Thu, Apr 27, 2017


So, that happened. This week, we've reached the end of Trump's first 100 days. How will it be remembered? In many ways, it's been like watching someone's body reject an organ transplant. Somehow, Trump has managed to hit the century mark at the threshold of a government shutdown fight with his own party. Nevertheless, some things never change, and 100 days into the Trump presidency we can report with confidence that everything remains really, really great for people who are really, really rich. Meanwhile, we are taking a look in at the mayoral race in Omaha, which would normally be a sleepy race focused mainly on things like potholes. But the Democratic nominee, Heath Mello, has become one of those totemic candidates in 2017 -- a test of post-2016 Democratic Party strength. And so Democrats made a big investment in raising his profile, only to discover that he was not with them on a key issue: reproductive rights. Finally, our guest today is Jonathan Taplin, a filmmaker and author who used to be a tour promoter for Bob Dylan. But now he's turning his attention to Silicon Valley and tech monopolies in a new book titled, "Move Fast and Break Stuff: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy."

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O'Reilly Out, Pointless Executive Orders In


Thu, Apr 20, 2017


So, that happened. This week, President Donald Trump issued another one of his patented executive orders, this time endeavoring to bring jobs back to America through a "Buy American, Hire American" policy. Trump immediately went back out on the campaign trail to signal that great changes were now afoot in the land, but are they really? We've dug down into the details and discovered that it's a blend of activity masquerading as achievement. And guess what: it's a trend. Meanwhile, the conservative media universe played a big role in boosting Trump to the White House in 2016. But in 2017, there's a growing sense that the favor will not be returned in kind. This week, Fox News' top talent Bill O'Reilly was pushed out of a perch that was once pretty secure, owing to a litany of past sexual harrassment transgressions that finally came home to roost. Meanwhile, in Texas, Trump enthusiast Alex Jones is in the middle of a custody battle with his ex-wife, and Jones' legal counsel has asserted an interesting defense: that the conspiracy-mongering and hot rhetoric that shot Jones to acclaim is all just an act. Finally, we look once again to Turkey, where Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has prevailed in a referendum vote that will give his office sweeping new powers. It looks for all the world like the vote was rigged, that authoritarianism is gaining a deeper foothold, and that these changes will bring grave complications to U.S. foreign policy. So why is President Trump celebrating this?

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Donald Trump Has Small Hands But Huge Flip-Flops


Thu, Apr 13, 2017


So, THAT happened! Remember all that stuff about draining the swamp and taking down the Washington establishment? Well, President Trump talked to some guys from Goldman Sachs and has decided to be Jeb Bush instead. HuffPost reporter S.V. Date joins us to discuss the latest contours and convulsions of the Trump presidency. But some things never change, including The Democratic Party, which just blew a chance to pick up a House seat in deep-red Kansas. Party leaders -- they actually said this and appear to believe it -- they told reporters they thought the best way to win the election ... would be to not try to win. Amanda Terkel helps us break down why Democrats are still bad at politics. Speaking of bad, for-profit colleges exploit people desperate for higher education thanks partly to political rhetoric about how college is the only way to have a good life. We interviewed Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Tressie McMillan Cottom about her new book on the great college swindling of America's lower classes.

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A Colony In A Nation On A Podcast


Thu, Apr 06, 2017


So, that happened. This week, we are joined by the host of MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes," who in case you haven't figured it out is named Chris Hayes. We'll be talking about his new book "A Colony In A Nation," which documents how white fear has led to America's frustratingly unjust two-tiered justice system -- where some get to live peacefully as citizens, and others get treated by the state as if they were under the bootheel of an occupying force. Meanwhile, have you been wondering how the next big world war would start? Well, wonder no more! It could all begin over the Baltic Sea, with a confrontation between an American spy plane and a Russian fighter jet, pushing the boundary of confrontation. But this isn't just some fantasy out of "Top Gun." The real story here is that all of the traditional mechanisms by which we've de-escalated conflict so many times in the past have deteriorated, and leaders on both sides who seem ill-equipped to lead the way back. The Huffington Post's David Wood joins us to explain. Finally, we have to strap in and deal with the week that was. The judicial filibuster in the Senate has been put out to pasture. White House advisor Steve Bannon has been kicked off the National Security Committee. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is recusing himself from the House's investigation into Russian meddling. And Paul Ryan's attempt to bring TrumpCare back from the dead is now also dead. When will life ever be sane again?

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The Brief Wondrous Life Of Trumpcare


Thu, Mar 30, 2017


So, that happened. This week, Washington lawmakers began crawling out from under the wreckage of the failed American Health Care Act, better known as the bill that finally emerged from the GOP's seven-year effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. The bill largely foundered because of deep divides within the House Republican caucus, with House Speaker Paul Ryan and establishment leaders on one side, and the insurgent House Freedom Caucus on the other. But now, they have a common enemy at least, in the form of President Donald Trump -- who has spent the last week lashing out at both sides, raising an obvious question, where does everybody go from here? Meanwhile, this week the president unveiled his Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, a measure that would roll back steps taken by his predecessor to reduce carbon emissions and keep America on track to hit its climate change targets. Trump has framed this endeavor as one that would end what he calls the "War on Coal," and which would supposedly bring back mining jobs in coal-rich Appalachia. Trump's one of the few national politicians in recent memory who's engaged with this part of the country, which is a good thing. What's not as good is making promises that you can't keep, and restoring coal country to its former glory looks to be a very heavy lift, if not impossible. Finally, our guest this week is professor and author Michael Kazin, who joins us to talk about his book "War Against War: The Fight For American Peace, 1914-1918," which tells the largely forgotten story about the mass movement in America that tried to keep the country out of World War I, and what today's activists can learn from their efforts.

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Trump's Defense Splurge Won't Trickle Down To Working Soldiers


Thu, Mar 23, 2017


So, that happened. This week, Neil Gorsuch made his confirmation hearing debut as Donald Trump's prospective Supreme Court nominee. And he came to DC with a long and concerning history of putting his finger on the scales of justice in favor of entrenched monopolies of money and power. What's really at stake here, is your money, and we're joined by law professor Zephyr Teachout, to explain what you stand to lose if Gorsuch is confirmed. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has promised to boost the military budget, bringing a considerable amount of your tax dollars into a Pentagon that already hardly wants for cash. But with all this money sluicing through the system, it might surprise you to learn how little of it makes it down to the grunts who do all the hard work, and whose lives are much more frequently on the line than Washington's dizzying array of defense contractors. We'll take a look at the working class military, with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Wood. Finally, we have a real cops and robbers caper to share with you today, but it's not something out of Law And Order. Unless, of course, there's a Law And Order: Special Financial Victims Unit that we've not heard of. It involves insider trading, the biggest hedge fund in the world, and a guy who's idea of fine art is a dead shark in a formaldehyde tank -- and you can read all about it in a new book called "Black Edge: Insider Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street." Author Sheelah Kolhatkar is joining us to talk about it.

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Three Trump Fails In One Week


Thu, Mar 16, 2017


So, that happened. This week, President Donald Trump moved forward on a number of policy fronts. He also moved backward on a number of policy fronts. Very typical week, to be honest. But we now have the first Trump budget, and as you might expect, it really does a number on several high profile domestic policy projects. We'll lay out where negotiations with Congress are likely to begin. We'll also bring you up to speed with the Congressional Budget Office's evaluation of Trumpcare (it wasn't good) and the how the president's second attempt at a Muslim travel ban became another hilarious self-own. Meanwhile, our guest today is Ganesh Sitaraman, an associate professor of law at Vanderbilt University, who's written a new book titled "The Crisis Of The Middle-Class Constitution." In it, he goes back to our nation's founding, uncovers our founders' belief in the necessity of a strong middle class. That's a belief that persisted for much of our history. But in recent decades, the vitality of the middle-class has badly eroded. So if the the middle-class and our Constitution are inextricably linked, there is an inevitable question: is our current state of income inequality a Constitutional crisis? Perhaps we should start treating it that way. Finally, a few weeks ago a group of American reporters took a journey to Ankara, Turkey, and the memories they made will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, those will be memories of a trip undertaken on the promise that they would get exclusive access to a gaggle of high-ranking Turkish officials, including President Erdogan himself. But things did not go as planned, instead these reporters were taken down a strange, conspiratorial rabbit hole of bewilderment. Our own Jessica Schulberg was one of the reporters who made the trip and she's here to tell you all about her zany adventures.

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The Early Reviews Of Trumpcare Are In And They're Not Great


Thu, Mar 09, 2017


So, that happened. This week, House Speaker Paul Ryan finally released the Republican alternative to Obamacare plan from the sanctum sanctorum in which he'd been keeping hidden, and as soon as it was seen by the light of day it became something everybody from across the political spectrum instantly hated. Still, Ryan say it's the plan he's been dreaming about. What does this plan do, and how will he get it passed? We'll try to figure it out. Meanwhile, we are less than a week away from the implementation of the second version of President Trump's executive order banning Muslim travel into the United States. This time out, the White House believes they've got something that will survive legal scrutiny. Whether the tweaks they've made will be sufficient is unknown. What may be more important, is how these orders continue to reveal this White House's ideological beliefs where the Muslim world is concerned. Finally, we really can't let this week pass without mentioning some more of Donald Trump's lonely weekend tweets, which this week involved an extraordinary flight of fancy in which the Obama administration had wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower. Whoa if true! It would be a truly cunning plot -- perhaps the most cunning part about it is that it makes no freaking sense at all.

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Donald Trump's Not Changing; Here's How Dems Can Go Populist


Thu, Mar 02, 2017


So, that happened. Well, how about that pivot, folks? Tuesday night, President Donald Trump gave a speech to a joint session of Congress and somehow the media managed to extract the idea that he'd finally undergone that transformation into a real live "presidentialness." And then, hours later, the Trump White House was once again plunged into their customary chaos, as reports emerged that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had meetings with members of the Russian government, facts that ran against testimoy he proffered during his confirmation hearings. Will the media ever learn? We'll try to paper train these puppies again. Meanwhile, the contest for the Commonwealth of Virginia's governor's mansion is one of the few really big electoral contests of 2017. In general, it's going to be test case for whether or not the Democratic Party can recover after their 2016 wipeout. But more specifically, this race is emerging as a proving ground for whether or not Democrats can fashion their own message of economic populism in the age of Trump. Joining us to discuss this is one of the candidates in that race, former Virginia Representative Tom Perriello. Finally, while we're on the subject of what the Democrats are doing to get back in the game, we'll take a look back at last weekend's exciting conclusion to the race to be the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, won by former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez. The Huffington Post was on the scene for the final act, and we'll share what we learned about the future of the Democratic Party, and whether it's truly ready to evolve into a party that can compete again.

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Town Halls And Tocqueville Are Back In Style


Thu, Feb 23, 2017


So, that happened. Every week we talk about how insane it can be to simply live in America. This week, we're going to help you do something about it, by welcoming journalist and author James Poulos to the show. James' new book, THE ART OF BEING FREE, looks back at Alexis de Tocqueville's masterwork, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, and pulls from its pages some wisdom about how each of us can confront the challenges of love, sex, loss, and this crazy-making, frustrating, wonderful nation that is our predicament and birthright. Yes, for a brief mad moment, we're going to try out this "optimism" thing we've heard so much about. Meanwhile, we've got politics as well. It seems like only eight years ago that the Affordable Care Act was galvanizing town hall protests all across the country, birthing new political movements. Well, it's happening again, only this time all the players are reversed and President Obama's landmark health care bill's defenders are the ones getting into lawmakers' grills. We'll talk about this phenomenon -- and we'll also spend a little time trying to get into House Speaker Paul Ryan's well-coiffed head, to figure out what GOP lawmakers might do next. Finally, after their first attempt at a Muslim travel ban ended in chaos and court decisions, the Trump administration is going back for a second bite of the apple. Plans are afoot to release a new executive order that promises the same policy effects with sufficient technical tweaks to avoid judicial rejection. We'll discuss that coming order, the stepped up enforcement actions from ICE, and the possibility that Trump may be wavering on one of his immigration promises.

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This Week Has Been Flynn-sane


Thu, Feb 16, 2017


So, that happened. It's been a truly FUBAR week for the Trump administration, who this week accepted the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn in the wake of an unfolding investigation into Flynn's contacts with Russian officials, whether or not he told the truth about them, and the extent to which entanglements with the Russian government can be found throughout Trump's political organization. Add to that the recurring theme of a quiet war between the White House and the intelligence community, and the worries only get wider. But how alarmed should we be? We'll try to find out. Meanwhile, one of the more interesting things about Trump advisor Steve Bannon is that when he talks about the 2008 financial crisis he can sound...well, a little like us, to be honest. At least, up to a point. But there is an observable point at which our points of view diverge. One person who has noticed this is journalist and author Thomas Frank, who joins us today to talk about it. Finally, as the Democrats rebuild themselves after the 2016 election, they've been debating the extent to which they need to shift their political priorities and alter a philosophy whose usefulness has expired. One way in which the Democrats can obviously reform themselves is to end their co-dependent relationship with Wall Street. But are they smart enough to do so? One person who is skeptical is The Week's Ryan Cooper, who joins us to talk about his recent piece on the matter.

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The Resistance Gets A New Mantra


Thu, Feb 09, 2017


This week, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tried to read a letter penned by Coretta Scott King and an objecting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided that she should the maximum amount of attention she could possibly receive by silencing her on the floor of the Senate. Smooth move, Ex-Lax, for out of this dust-up, a new slogan of resistance was born. Meanwhile, you've probably noticed that Donald Trump's White House is the leakiest one in memory, and this week, the Huffington Post told the story of the President making oddball late-night calls and complaining about the quality of Air Force One handtowels. But hey, should you be concerned by all of this? Well, the people who keep leaking stories like this clearly are. Finally, as you may have heard, one of the more potent members of Trump's inner-circle is former Breitbart News' media maven Steve Bannon, who is a different sort of conservative than your standard issue Beltway Republican. One way in which he differs? He's a full-on apocalypticist who believes America should be getting ready to fight multiple, potentially world-ending wars. Which is probably going to be news to those Trump voters who thought they were electing a war critic. We'll delve into where Bannon gets his ideas from -- I'll warn you in advance that you won't be feeling too optimistic by the time we're done. So it'll be just like all of our other podcasts.

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Democrats Notice They Have A Base


Thu, Feb 02, 2017


So, that happened. This week, something interesting started to occur. The Democrats...started listening to their base. After a weekend in which demonstrated erupted at major airports in protest of President Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban, Democrats in Washington have suddenly found some steel, standing with their supporters in the street and withdrawing a more readily offered rubber stamp in the Senate confirmation hearings. Can they possibly keep this up? Meanwhile, we need to talk about that executive order itself. Talk about a Friday news dump -- the Trump White House's directives, which initially barred refugees, travelers, and legal permanent residents alike from entering -- or re-entering -- the country caused disorder and chaos across the country, all of which the Trump administration is pretending to have not noticed. We will break down what we know, and what might come next. Finally, the new president had the opportunity to dip his toe in a fetid pond left behind by his predecessor -- the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which played host to Donald Trump's first command decision as the Chief Executive. It's an open question how Trump will deal with this mess that Obama left behind, but this week gave us some indication about the shape that Donald Trump's foreign policy might take. Is it going to be good? I'd stick around to hear for myself if I were you, but spoiler alert: no.

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Big League Lying From The Trump Administration So Far


Thu, Jan 26, 2017


So, that happened. This week, the wider world was introduced to Donald Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer, who christened his tenure in the White House Briefing Room with several days of big league lying. Now, this may not be Spicer's choice -- White House insiders have turned out by the dozens to tell multiple newspapers about how Trump's first week has been a tumultuous mess, with Trump lashing out at numerous petty slights. Spicer has been tasked with offering up forceful responses, to nonsensical complaints. And we have a highlight reel to share with all of you. Meanwhile, Trump has been taking numerous steps to begin the implementation of his policy preferences, including several geared toward the fulfillment of promises he's made about immigration. Naturally, that wall he wants to build, at taxpayer expense, has taken center stage. But there have, in this first week been some curious omissions and at least one surprising addition to his plans, all of which we will break down for you. Finally, as the Democratic base takes to the streets to organize against Trump, Democratic elected officials have chosen another path -- a surprising deference to the president. This has primarily taken the form of Democrats by the bushel offering a rubber stamp to Trump's Cabinet appointments, which has fostered a deep disappointment among their voters. What are the Democrats playing at here? In all likelihood, a losing strategy.

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The Trump Administration Is Already A Mess


Thu, Jan 19, 2017


So, that happened. This week, the parade of cabinet appointments continued in the Senate, as Trump's nominees continued to try to strut their stuff under what was often withering questioning from Senate Democrats. There should be little doubt that all of these people are going to be confirmed but it has to be said -- in another era, some of what these folks said during these hearings would have gotten them bounced from consideration. Welcome to the new normal, which is the old abnormal. Meanwhile, this week, the Huffington Post hosted a debate between seven candidates who are vying to lead the Democratic National Committee. At issue: who's doing the best coming to terms with the Democratic Party's catastrophic 2016, what reforms are coming to the committee to make their process fairer, and who has the best vision for the party's future. It was...what's the word? Oh, yes: disappointing. Very disappointing. Finally, the battle over Obamacare continues to, moderately simmer, I guess? The desire to repeal remains strong, even in the face of a robust public defense of the law that's emerged in recent weeks. But as they say, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak: GOP lawmakers still haven't committed to a plan, and what they seem likely to rally behind isn't what even committed Trump voters want.

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Repeal and Replace Collides With Reality


Thu, Jan 12, 2017


So, that happened. So, everything happened! This was one of those weeks where the worst thing you could say is that the news wouldn't get any crazier. By mid-day on Tuesday, we were pretty convinced the most bonkers story was going to be the anti-vaccine alliance that president-elect Donald Trump forged with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. By the end of the day, however, CNN and Buzzfeed were breaking different aspects of a troubling intelligence community report that the Kremlin had compromising material on the president-elect. We'll break down the details, but I'll warn you, there is nothing good to be said about this. Meanwhile, late Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate cast a series of procedural votes that have been hailed as the first move in eventually scuttling the Affordable Care Act. Not necessarily a surprise, mind you, the Republican Party have long been threatening to repeal and replace the bill. But after taking this first move, what are Republican lawmakers going to do next. As it turns out, even they may not know. Finally, this week the Senate began the process of holding hearings on Trump's various cabinet appointments. Leading things off was Trump's attorney general pick, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who began the proceedings being dogged by his checkered past, and ended up being dogged by a very unique rebuke.

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The DNC Chair Race Is Lit


Thu, Jan 05, 2017


So, that happened. Happy New Year everyone. On January 18th the Huffington Post will be hosting a debate between the declared candidates for the chair of the Democratic National Committee. The way things are shaping up, it's looking like the top contenders will be Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison and Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez. We'll continue to dig down into the distinctions between the two men and explain what's at stake. Meanwhile, incoming President Donald Trump has made a lot of promises about keeping the United States out of pointless military conflicts. But in Yemen, which has become a destructive proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Trump is inheriting quite the quagmire. It's been almost a year since he's had anything substantive to say about Yemen, so I guess we're going to be warning him that he'd better stop tweeting and start thinking about this. Finally, we're going to spend a little time on the legacy of outgoing President Barack Obama, with an eye on his judicial legacy -- the appointments he's made, the opportunities he's lost, and the political precedents that have been left behind. As with most things in life, it's a mixed bag -- only the contents of this bag will shape policies affecting all of us for decades to come.. I'm Jason Linkins, with Huffington Post reporters Akbar Ahmed, Jen Bendery, Zach Carter, and Arthur Delaney. Here's what happened first.

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Let's Talk About Moral Grandstanding


Thu, Dec 29, 2016


This week, we are bidding farewell to to an old year and welcoming in a new one, because we are slaves to artificial constructs like calendars. But since this is a time for New Years' resolutions, we'll offer one up: let's try to do less moral grandstanding in 2017. And to explain why that's bad, we welcome University of Michigan post-doctoral research fellow Justin Tosi to the show. Meanwhile, with all the talk of an incoming administration, we sometimes forget that our politics are primarily shaped by figures who've actually been in town for a while. One in particular is our sometimes-reluctant Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Not too long ago, Ryan was the de facto standard-bearer of conservative politics, but there's been a lot of changes lately. What does his future look like? We'll dig down into the Ryanology to find out. Finally, you the funny thing about unaccountable executive power is that once it's unleashed, it's hard to stuff it back in the box from which it came. Now, America's drone war capability -- which got ramped up considerably under Barack Obama's presidency -- will become Donald Trump's plaything. We'll take a look at some lasting Executive Branch regrets that will surely not stress you out at all.

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Four Books That Should Be On Your Holiday Reading List


Thu, Dec 22, 2016


Happy holidays, friends! This week, we have a special treat for everyone -- we're welcoming back the authors of our four favorite books of 2016 to celebrate their accomplishments and hopefully convince you that if you need last-minute or late gifts for people you love, you couldn't do better than these reads. With us today: David Dayen, author of CHAIN OF TITLE; Thomas Frank, author of LISTEN, LIBERAL; Sarah Jaffe, the author of NECESSARY TROUBLE; and our own Eliot Nelson, who wrote THE BELTWAY BIBLE. Do you want some more festive? Well we have got some more festive. Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer is with us today, with an important Christmas message: fruit cake doesn't have to suck. It really doesn't! And Congressman Blumenauer should know because he has perfected a fine fruitcake recipe, and he's using his baking skills to give back to his community. Finally, I guess we wouldn't really be "on brand" if we didn't give you guys some bad news, so...what have we got? Oh, yeah, here's a real kick in the pants! Have you heard about Donald Trump's incoming Labor Secretary, Andy Puzder? He's basically best known as a serial target of the Department of Labor for wage-theft and workplace safety violations. Now he'll be in charge of that agency. I tell you what, this Trump administration is gonna be populist as fuck.

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What If Obama Actually Prosecuted Wall Street?


Thu, Dec 15, 2016


This week, we bring you a Democratic party autopsy, of sorts. But it's not likely to be the one sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. And in fact, much of it was written before the election took place, and written by our guest, author Thomas Frank, whose 2016 book, "LISTEN LIBERAL" now, in many ways seem prophetic. But speaking of the Democratic National Committee, their future is now up in the air and it won't be settled until a new leader for the organization is chosen. And the way it's shaking out, the race to run the DNC could come down to Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison and outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez who, on the surface, don't appear to be all that different. So what's all the shouting about? We'll take a deeper look. Meanwhile, the Cabinet of president-elect Donald Trump is taking shape and it's looking more and more like an exercise in irony, as the candidate who ran against elites continues to populate his administration with people who will, if anything, be even more elite than their predecessors. Maybe we are going to drain the swamp through global warming? Finally, did you know that the government nearly shut down last week? How are we supposed to know this if the cable news channels don't put up countdown clocks? But yes, it nearly did, and it was all because it's wanting to help coal miners avoid dying is somehow controversial

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The Real Reason Carrier Stayed In The U.S.


Thu, Dec 08, 2016


President-elect Donald Trump doesn't just use his phone for tweeting. Apparently, he's also taking and making frequent calls with other world leaders. And hey, it's good to get to know other people. But there is some concern that Trump's communications abroad are being done off-the-cuff, without the benefit of briefing from the foreign policy community. And in a couple of examples, his mere phonecalls have had the potential to undo long-standing foreign policy goals and alliances. So, should this worry us? We're going to find out. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are already making plans to fulfill one of their longstanding goals -- the dissolution of Obamacare. But there's a catch: right now, the GOP doesn't have a plan in place to serve as a replacement. It's been sort of an ongoing thing with them, actually. So with the chance to repeal looming, Republicans are looking to pull off a maneuver called "repeal and delay" -- that is, if they convince everyone in their caucus to go along with it. Finally, has the Democratic Party lost it's populist soul? The 2016 election definitely raises the question, but if we're being honest, the party has been gradually forfeiting their claims to the working class over the course of several decades. How did it all fall apart? Matt Stoller of the New America Foundation joins us to explain where everything went wrong.

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A New Era Of Theatrical Populism


Fri, Dec 02, 2016


Over the course of the presidential campaign, president-elect Donald Trump was quick to make elaborate promises to working class Americans, promising to do away with Washington's business as usual, usher in an era of tough dealmaking, and revive the country's moribund manufacturing sector. Three weeks after the election, Trump has earned himself something of a win in the area, with a claim to having saved a thousand jobs at Carrier from going to Mexico. But how different from the status quo was this Carrier deal. Joining us to walk us through it is Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Meanwhile, while we're sorting through whether or not Trump's first foray into working-class populism is sustainable or not, we're going to be taking a look at how he's proceeding in his efforts to, as he says, "drain the swamp" in Washington. It's a noble goal, to be sure, but it's hard to look at the way his cabinet is shaping up and see a lot of hope. What's so different about Trump's coterie of billionaires that makes them more apt to help the working poor than everyone else's coterie of billionaires? We'll try to sort that out. Finally, ever since the election ended, the media has been having to wrestle with an uncertain future, in which they'll have to report on a president whose gone to great lengths to attack press freedom while simultaneously drowning the media in shiny twitter distractions and outright deception -- all coming at the same time that news organizations are contending with an influx of fake news that has dominated the information landscape. What is to be done? Joining us to figure it out is reporter and columnist Emma Roller.

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Obama Has Pardoned More People Than Turkeys


Wed, Nov 23, 2016


It's Thanksgiving week, and by the time you hear this podcast, President Barack Obama will have already performed his ceremonial turkey pardoning duties. But here in the last few months of his presidency, Obama will have more acts of mercy on his mind as he heads for the exits. Today we'll discuss presidential pardons and commutations, and whether or not Obama will fulfill an ambitious clemency plan. Meanwhile, as Trump mulls the activities he'll pursue at the beginning of his presidency, attention has turned to his infrastructure proposals, which are typically the sort of thing that could earn him a lot of bipartisan buy-in. But is Trump's plan on the level, or is it just another con? Joining us to discuss the matter is journalist and author David Dayen Finally, Congressional Democrats are still at sixes and sevens, nursing their electoral wounds, girding themselves for a lame duck session, and planning for the years ahead. We'll catch you up with what Democrats are thinking about up on Capitol Hill, and how they might challenge and collaborate with a Trump White House.

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A Messy Transition For President-elect Trump


Thu, Nov 17, 2016


So *that* happened, Donald Trump is now President-elect of the United States. With this somewhat unexpected victory, the So That Happened team takes a deep dive into the messy transition process for Trump, and questions what will happen to the Affordable Care Act, and the future of America's foreign policy.

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2016 Election Post-Mortem


Thu, Nov 10, 2016


Welcome to our official 2016 post-mortem. Emphasis on the mortem. So, let's remember my first rule of political thermodynamics: an object in fucked-up motion tends to stay in fucked-up motion until a force sufficient to the task arrests it. That force did not materialize in this election. We'll try to get started down the path to explaining why that is. Meanwhile, the polling industry spent the bulk of election night coming to the numbing realization that the mechanics of their enterprise need to be newly recalibrated. We are joined once again by HuffPost Pollster's Ariel Edwards-Levy who will endeavor to explain what went so badly wrong. Additionally, for every winner there is a loser -- in this case Hillary Clinton, who's political fortunes rose and fell in dramatic fortunes over the course of an evening. We'll take a look at the remarkable circumstances that led to her having to concede this election, and what can be drawn from a speech she never anticipated having to give. Finally, it's not too soon to start looking ahead to the transfer of power and the transfer of policy. This week, we look at something Donald Trump will inherit from Obama -- our ongoing foreign policy commitments in the Middle East. Specifically, we'll ask why the Obama administration has been helping Saudi Arabia bomb the hell out of Yemen, and what the Trump administration intends to do about it.

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Then We Came To The End Of The Election


Thu, Nov 03, 2016


We have finally come to the end of this election cycle. It was too long and mostly terrible. And we're probably kidding ourselves that everything is going to be fine just because it's over. But let's end it anyway. At this point, you probably want to know what's going to happen in a few days time. You're probably looking to polling experts for certainty. One of our in-house polling experts is here to help. Keep calm. Look at the polling aggregate. And remember that there is always a margin of error. Meanwhile, you have probably been wondering just what is going on over at the FBI ever since its director, James Comey, announced that the agency was pursuing a new and not-totally clear angle on the Clinton email scandal, despite longstanding Bureau traditions of keeping the hell out of the way of electoral politics. Former Justice Department official Matt Miller joins us to discuss Comey's decision to politicize the FBI by injecting the agency into our lives at this late date. It's not all 2016, thank God. The Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg has just published a fantastic and fun study on the relationship between the entertainment industry and the police. It's a fascinating look at the way pop culture and real police intertwine, shaping both Hollywood storytelling and law enforcement policy. We are fortunate to have Rosenberg here to talk about her ambitious project and what we can all learn from it. Finally, it's our last podcast before the election. The next time you hear from us, the world will have changed. We'll have our final thoughts about the path we took to get here, and what the future might look like. And we'll offer our best prediction about how this will all turn out.

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What Kind Of Voters Make Up Trump's Donor Base?


Thu, Oct 27, 2016


This week, with the election winding down, Donald Trump is running out of creative ways to spend Republican money on himself. But the wily old grifter has still got it, and now people who thought they were donating to a presidential campaign have actually bought copies of the Art Of The Deal. We'll take a look at Trump's ability to rook gullible Republican donors. Meanwhile, the media has been having a debate about Trump's voter base. On one side you have people who believe it's entirely driven by racial resentment. On the other, you have those who insist it's all rooted in economic anxiety. But what if the real problem is that we've all just taken sides in a dumb debate? Joining us to travel to a middle ground is University of Connecticut history professor James Kwak. Additionally, the 2016 election cycle has been a real boon for the factchecking industry. Interest in fact-checking among readers is seemingly at an all-time high. And thanks to Donald Trump, there is a never-ending supply of material. And yet, it doesn't seem that it makes much of a difference. Joining us to talk about how fact-checking is still losing the battle of confirmation bias is New York Times columnist Emma Roller. Finally, you have a choice in this election, and it's not limited to the imperfect humans running for president. If you're out there on Twitter, you may know that one of the candidates whose thrown their hat into the presidential ring is a self-described "Sweet Meteor Of Death." On this week's show, we talk to the Sweet Meteor, live from deep space, about its bold plan to annihilate the planet and extinguish all life on Earth.

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The Presidential Debates Are Over, Now The Voters Have To Decide


Fri, Oct 21, 2016


This week, the season of debates has finally ended, with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican counterpart Donald Trump doing battle in Las Vegas, Nevada. And the emerging headline from the final head-to-head tilt is that Donald Trump doesn't seem to be planning for a peaceful transition of power, refusing to promise to accept the result of the election. That shouldn't pose a threat to our democracy at all, right? Well, for all the attention that Trump gets whenever he goes out of his way to deform our democratic norms, it's worth asking ourselves how our civic foundation has come to be so rickety that a glorified reality-teevee huckster can so readily endanger it. Joining us to discuss whether or not there was some notable rot in our foundations that we should have noted much sooner is Rolling Stone columnist and author Matt Taibbi. Finally, for all you history dorks out there, we have a special treat for you today, author and historian John Cooper Miller, Jr. is on the show today. Miller is best known for his 2009 biography of President Woodrow Wilson, he joins us today to examine some of the historical roots of the Democratic Party and how it may inform its future.

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What We Learned From Clinton's Wall Street Speeches


Thu, Oct 13, 2016


This week, with the help of WikiLeaks, we've finally gotten some real insight into Hillary Clinton's famous speeches to Wall Street elites, and you'll probably be shocked to learn that many of the policies she happily advocated in those circles are a little bit different from the economic agenda she's pitching now. We can't be sure, but it seems that Clinton is some sort of centrist? But the big question is whether or not Clinton might be pulled from these positions as the tide of conventional wisdom is changes. And speaking of those changing tides, last week, Jason Furman, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers gave a speech in which he all put rejected the deficit-hawk consensus that President Barack Obama and most mainstream Democrats had embraced during Obama's first term in office. In its place, Furman advocated for a new view of fiscal policy and its application, and Furman is going to join us today to discuss it further. Finally, as Republican legislators abandon Donald Trump in the wake of constantly unfolding scandals, Trump has responded by lambasting House Speaker Paul Ryan for disloyalty. It's an open war between the GOP's down-ticket steward and their party's standardbearer, and it's almost as if it could have been avoided if someone had said, early on, that Trump was going to be a disaster for Republicans. Here to remind us about how he said, early on, that Trump was going to be a disaster for Republicans, is our pal, Congressman Reid Ribble.

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Trump And Clinton: Ready For Round Two


Fri, Oct 07, 2016


This week, it's all about hot vice-president on vice-president action, as largely forgotten white guys Mike Pence and Tim Kaine laced them up in Farmville, Virginia. Who won? Who lost? Will it matter in the end? Surely our thoughts will be worth the zero dollars you paid for them, but we will offer them to you, humbly, anyway. Plus we'll set up this weekend's presidential debate between the two people that American actually cares about. Meanwhile, it is possible that things could get worse for Wells Fargo? Weeks after getting beat up in the press for massively defrauding their own customers, the beleaguered bank is getting savaged by Wall Street analysts, shedding business partners, and trying to satisfy critics by clawing back compensation from executives. Plus, did you hear about all the military veterans that the bank has mistakenly tossed out of their homes? Alexis Goldstein from Americans for Financial Reform joins us to discuss whether we should just burn this bank down to the rafters. Finally, columnist Ryan Cooper will join us for a look at the blossoming fascist movement in Greece. Is Donald Trump a harbinger of something worse already playing out in Europe?

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Let's Talk Trade: Is There An Alternative To TPP?


Thu, Sep 29, 2016


If there's been one issue that has animated the presidential race this year, it's got to be the future of trade. The Obama administration's efforts to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership in place have been met with resistance. The issue has been central to Donald Trump's pitch to the middle class. Hillary Clinton, somewhat recently and conveniently, has also come out against the TPP. So, great. But here's a question: anyone have any new ideas? As it happens, yes, Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a new paper out that promises a progressive approach to globalization. He joins us to discuss it. Meanwhile, do you feel that the media has given short shrift to Hillary Clinton's actual policies? Well, we have some good news: the Huffington Post's own Jonathan Cohn recently spent some time in Brooklyn at Clinton's HQ, and discovered that it has a nougaty, wonkish center that's not only the hub of Clinton's campaign effort, but an engine that's reshaping the Democratic Party's whole approach to policy. Next up, our colleague Elliot Nelson, who many of you may know from the Huff Post Hill newsletter, has written a book! It's funny and it's accurate and you will actually learn things you didn't know about how Washington works. It's called The Beltway Bible and he's here to talk about how the best place to read it is on the toilet -- just like all Bibles. Finally, in the past year you may have started to notice that the worst people on Twitter have all become closely associated with a cartoon frog named Pepe. Well, this week, this frog has been designated as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. Well, Pepe's creator, Matt Furie, called in to urge the good people of America to reclaim his creation.

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The Final Stretch: What To Expect In The First Presidential Debate


Fri, Sep 23, 2016


I don't know if you've noticed this, but when people talk about how it came to pass that Donald Trump is the presidential nominee of a major political party and looking more and more like he could win, one group that often gets the blame is...well, us. The media. Has the press become the brilliant ally of democracy's gravedigger? Joining us to sort through this is the New Republic's Brian Beutler. Meanwhile, we return to the matter of Wells Fargo bank, who face huge fines for having feathered their bottom line on the backs of a massive scam perpetrated against their customers. This week, Wells Fargo head John Stumpf was called before Congress to answer for his bank's malfeasances, and while there were the expected pyrotechnics from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, there were also helpless shrugs from other parties. We're joined by Slate Columnist Haleine Olen to discuss the matter. Finally, are we headed toward yet another government shutdown? Probably not. Hopefully not! But once again, Congress has run up against the deadline to pass another continuing resolution to fund their own operations and are leaving it very, very late. To help get us sorted on where the fault lines are, we're joined by our pal, Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble.

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Big Banks Are Still Behaving Badly


Wed, Sep 14, 2016


This week, we have a bank dork treat for everyone as we are joined by author and historian Eric Rauchway, to talk about his most recent book, "The Moneymakers" and how FDR getting our currency off the gold standard is the gold standard of economic policy. Meanwhile, a bill that would allow the victims of terrorism to sue the states that sponsor such acts has passed the House and is on the way to the president's desk, where it is sure to be vetoed. However, this bill has such broad and bipartisan support that we may be on the verge of a first-ever Congressional override of an Obama veto. How did the White House end up here? We'll lay it out. Finally, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has levied a huge fine on Wells Fargo bank, after it was revealed that thousands of Well Fargo employees were routinely, and purposefully, charging their customers bogus fees. It was a dumb and venal scam that we're all glad was caught out by the CFPB. But can a hefty fine cure a diseased corporate culture?

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Journalists Have Become Comfortably Numb To Trump


Thu, Sep 08, 2016


Summer vacation is over, school's back in session. and the long hard march to Election Day is the only thing filling our days. Fortunately, we are sharing this journey with one of our favorite guests, MTV News' Ana Marie Cox. She joins us today to talk about the renewed focus on Donald Trump's shady dealings with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and how the Bondi story serves as unique platform to discuss the way the media has treated both the Trump and the Clinton campaigns over the past year. Meanwhile, in case you've forgotten, America is still facing a Zika crisis, especially in the Gulf Coast states, where mosquitoes carrying the virus have established a foothold. You may also recall that we have this thing called "Congress" that is supposed to provide the means by which the Zika crisis is averted. Well, once again, Congress has managed to cock up their response. We'll break down the Zika week that was, and the solutions that aren't coming. Finally, we return this week to our previous coverage of America's jails -- a story that the Huffington Post provided some relentless coverage of back at the end of July, in which we found that over 800 people died needlessly in jail in the year since Sandra Bland's well publicized death. Since then, we've continued to uncover stories about the ways in which these punishments hardly fit the crime, and HuffPost reporter Ryan Reilly joins us to tell some of them.

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The Crisis Facing America's Public Higher Education


Thu, Sep 01, 2016


This week, joining us in the studio we have documentary filmmaker Steve Mims, whose latest movie, "Starving The Beast," details an ongoing crisis in public higher education. After decades of funding cuts, our great public universities are finding themselves increasingly vulnerable to the whims of agenda-setting politicians and post-crash "disruptors" who are angling to redefine these universities' missions and curricula -- leaving them as shadows of their former selves. The movie is coming soon to a theater near you, hopefully it gets there before the emergency it describes. Meanwhile, are capitalism and democracy headed for some kind of nasty break-up? That's the provocative contention of influential British economist Martin Wolf, who recently took to the pages of the Economist to suggest that the pace of globalization may be pushing us to make a choice. Given the state of our politics, where cash rules everything around us, it could be that this choice is already being made for us. Finally, they say that any time our national anthem is sung, we have the opportunity to pause and contemplate this nation of ours and our place within it. Oddly enough, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently took the opportunity to think deeply about these matters, and he's getting pilloried in the press for having done so. I guess ruminating on America is all well and good until you point out the racism. We'll discuss the story that has every hot-take artist with a sub-100 IQ all a-froth.

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Lets Talk About The Clinton Foundation


Fri, Aug 26, 2016


This week, we have got the latest storm and stress from the 2016 presidential race. The Associated Press rocked the Clinton campaign's world after they released a report detailing new concerns about the Clinton Foundation, alleging that foundation donors got better access and treatment from Hillary Clinton's State Department. Clinton's defenders have pointed to the fact that the AP failed to prove any evidence of quid pro quo. We're here to remind you that this is exactly what a defender of the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision would say. Over in the Trump campaign, they are working hard at the pivot they've promised to make for months, and the most interesting thing that's emerged is that on the reality-television host's signature issue -- his draconian approach to immigration -- Trump no longer seems to know what he either believes or says. Did Donald Trump mean it when he said his Republican rivals were soft on immigration? And if so, why does he suddenly seem to prefer the immigration policies of low-energy Jeb Bush? Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company called Mylan is under fire this week after they raised the prices of their epi-pens -- a device used by the severely allergic to prevent a fatal allergy attack -- by 400%. Consumers are angry, as are members of Congress, who are demanding that Mylan reverse course. If only that same Congress hadn't continually made policy choices that allowed for these monopolistic practices in the first place. Finally, for some third-party perspective on our presidential race, we welcome back our favorite Bernie Sanders supporter, the always effervescent Tim Black of the Tim Black show. We'll ask him if Clinton's managed to close the deal with him, and whether or not folks like him are having an impact on Democratic party policies at all.

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Does The Aetna Merger Have Obamacare On Its Deathbed?


Thu, Aug 18, 2016


This week, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump opted to shake-up his campaign for what seems like the twenty-third time. Paul Manafort, who was the campaign's manager -- and who was thought to be a force toward professionalizing the wayward effort -- is out. His replacement, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, heralds a shift toward allowing Trump to fully fly his freak flag. Hopefully this is amusing to the aliens who watch over us. Meanwhile, in an effort to contend more substantively with Trump, we're going to wade into what's turning out to be a hot media debate -- are his followers fueled by racial animus, or by economic anxiety? And to that end, we have a rather interesting interview for you, with Republican lobbyist who thinks that a Clinton presidency would be much better for the GOP than a Trump presidency. This lobbyist wishes to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, so you'll get to enjoy our first foray into digital voice alteration! Finally, we turn to Obamacare, which faced some bad news this week after Aetna, a major player in the insurance business, announced that they would be pulling back from participating in the Afforable Care Act's exchanges. According to Aetna, the sticking point is lost profits, but we found out something interesting -- namely, that Aetna threatened to pull out of Obamacare if the Department of Justice impeded their planned merger with Humana. Funny how creating a market-based solution to health care provision created the means by which corporations could use leverage to procure other favors, isn't it?

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The Long Intertwined History Of Politics And Protests


Thu, Aug 11, 2016


This week, we are going long on the politics of protest and the short term legacies of movements that have become an essential part of the public discourse. First up, we welcome journalist and author Sarah Jaffe to the program to discuss her forthcoming book, "Necessary Trouble: Americans In Revolt," which documents everything she has learned about the various protest movements that have emerged in post-crash America after spending years in the field with them. Meanwhile, we are marking the two-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown and the protest movement that emerged shortly thereafter, to consider what effect they've had in changing the conversation on the criminal justice system in Ferguson, Baltimore, and beyond. Finally, we are pleased to welcome Zephyr Teachout back to the show, now officially the Democratic party nominee for the House of Representatives in New York's 19th district. After a long career in taking on big issues like government corruption and economic justice, we'll ask her about the challenges of paring down her message to fit a House race, and whether or not in this 2016 election, if the bigger ideas about policy and governance might come from the down ticket races.

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This Week In Trump


Thu, Aug 04, 2016


This week, we are happy to have one of our old Huffington Post colleagues on the show for the first time: author and journalist Marc Lamont Hill. Marc has new book out called "Nobody," in which he traces America's state-sanctioned war on its most vulnerable citizens, from Ferguson, Missouri to Flint, Michigan and beyond. He joins us to talk about how much America has learned about itself since Michael Brown was killed, and whether or not forces are emerging that might achieve a more perfect union. Meanwhile, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro have kicked off, and if you're enjoying watching the competition from the comfort of your own home, you may want to think about doing everything you can to prevent where you live from becoming a host city for the games because it's becoming increasingly clear that when the Olympics come to town, people lose their homes. Maybe the Olympics are just bad for us? Finally, we are marking a sad chapter in history this week, the two-year anniversary of the genocide of the Yazidi people in Iraq at the hands of ISIS death-cultists. We're joined by the Kurdistan Regional Government's Representative to the United States, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, to find out how the Yazidi community is rebuilding itself, and whether or not any progress against ISIS has been made.

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Bernie Sanders Supporters Express Their Fears At DNC


Fri, Jul 29, 2016


We are coming to you this week from both Washington, DC and from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the host city of the Democratic National Convention. The big issue of the week has been about unifying the party after a bruising primary fight between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the man she dispatched, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. But while Sanders' supporters have, to some extent, made peace with Clinton's nomination, one issue has emerged that they've refused to back down on -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. We'll discuss how the TPP seized all this attention, and we'll speak to Sanders' supporters about where they'll take their movement next. Of course, the Democratic National Convention kicked off under a black cloud, and we're not talking about the intermittent downpours that have drenched the attendees. Emails hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee were published by Wikileaks ahead of the Democrats' confab, causing enough embarrassment that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was forced to resign her position. Since then, the matter has only grown more concerning, with security experts fingering Russia for the original hack, and Vladimir Putin's BFF Donald Trump publicly soliciting further assistance from Russia's state-sponsored spies. Finally, our own Sam Stein and Ryan Grim sat down for an interview with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in Philadelphia. They asked him what he'd say to his colleague Bernie Sanders now that the campaign is finally over, and what he thought about Donald Trump withholding his income tax returns. Reid got...quite colorful.

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So That Happened Crashes The Republican National Convention


Fri, Jul 22, 2016


We are coming to you this week from both the nation's capital and from Cleveland, Ohio, the host city of the Republican National Convention, where amid the chaos, there has been one consistent refrain from the gathered delegates -- that Hillary Clinton should be locked up. Interestingly enough, not every party elder has been enthusiastic about the "Hillary for prison" meme, and there's a good reason why -- it originates well outside the party with the Alex Jones/Infowars conspiracy theory set, who have been ubiquitous on the streets of Cleveland. We'll catch up with the agitators who have put their stamp, for better or for worse, on the campaign rhetoric. We'll also hear from California Democratic Representative Xavier Becerra, for his thoughts on the Republican message. The other big issue in Cleveland has been the forging of party unity -- a goal of every convention that's proven to be difficult to bring about in Cleveland. Wednesday night, those efforts took a big hit after Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the stage, refused to endorse Donald Trump, and was greeted with a chorus of recriminations from the audience. We'll catch up with some of the delegates who witnessed the conflagration last night. Meanwhile, as America watches the conventions unfold, across the Atlantic, democratic norms in Turkey have been gravely imperiled after an attempted coup d'etat to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to do so, clearing the way for Erdogan to accelerate the entrenchment of his autocratic regime through a brutal, countering crackdown. We'll discuss what the road ahead looks like for this scarred nation. Finally, next week is the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and by the time we get there, Hillary Clinton will have decided who will serve as her running mate in 2012. We'll talk about who she might choose, and what signal it might send to the Democratic base.

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Brace Yourself, The Conventions Are Coming


Thu, Jul 14, 2016


It was just over a year ago that a Texas woman named Sandra Bland died, under mysterious circumstances, while being held in jail after being arrested at a routine traffic stop. Among the many unanswered questions was this: how often does this sort of thing happen? Well, in one of the most exhaustive investigations the Huffington Post has ever undertaken, we scoured the public records to find out how many people have died in jail in the year since Sandra Bland's death. And what we discovered was staggering. The lead reporters on this story join us today. Meanwhile, this week, Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders bestowed his endorsement upon Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But while there's now a larger unity among the broader Democratic base, it was a bitter moment for Sanders' diehard supporters. We're joined by one such diehard, Tim Black, the host of the Tim Black Show, who'll give us an idea about the future of Sanders' movement and what, if anything, Clinton can do to win him over. Finally, we are taking our talents to Capitol Hill this week, to visit Wisconsin Representative and friend of the podcast Reid Ribble at his office. The retiring Congressman talks about one last piece of bipartisan business he hopes to get done before he heads home, and we'll ask him if a little bit of legislator quid pro quo might actually help Congress function again.

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Where's The Accountability?


Thu, Jul 07, 2016


This week's podcast seems to have a common theme: accountability. In the biggest political news story of the week, the FBI has concluded their investigation into the matter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server, and have decided no indictment is in order. But the report from FBI head James Comey was nevertheless quite scathing. It's a black cloud that could hang over Clinton's presidential candidacy, but the black cloud hanging over our politics seems to be that political elites just seem to get off easier than the rest of us. Meanwhile, in the biggest international story of the week, after an exhaustive inquest officials in the UK have released the Chilcot Report -- an epic length documentation of their nation's involvement in the Iraq War, and a damning one at that, cataloguing the bad intelligence that drew Britain into the conflict and the poor planning that occurred afterwards. It's a report that could well impact the United Kingdom's already fraught politics, but beyond the typical Bush-Blair blaming, their are larger lessons for everyone. Finally, in what's become a too-frequent national story, two black men were killed by police under circumstances that -- if we are being extremely charitable -- can only be described as dubious. What sort of conversation to have about this? Maybe it's time to listen to those who know what it's like to be black in America, and consider how we can amplify their voices.

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Sorry, But Alexander Hamilton Is So Overrated...


Thu, Jun 30, 2016


This week, an awful terrorist attack in Istanbul seemed to trigger less than the usual amount of Facebook sympathy, but the same amount of enthusiasm for torture from Donald Trump. Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout cruised to victory in the New York primary election -- will the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee get her back in the general? We'll ask Zephyr Teachout herself. Congress took off on recess without doing anything significant on gun control -- have Democrats missed their window? And why doesn't anyone ever talk about the number one type of gun death? We'll ask Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Finally, what's the deal with everyone loving Alexander Hamilton so much? Historian William Hogeland joins us to explain why Hamilton is SO overrated.

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Congress Says 'Hello Summer', Ignores Democrats Sit-In


Thu, Jun 23, 2016


This week, Democratic members of the House Of Representatives staged a sit-in in the chamber to try to force House leadership to allow a vote on a pair of gun safety measures. But one proposal -- to use the so-called terrorist "no fly list" as a screener for gun ownership, comes encrusted in controversy. We're joined by one of Democratic legislators at the center of this story, Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, to talk about what they hope to achieve and where things go from here. Meanwhile, a lot of ink has been spilled about GOP nominee Donald Trump's various rancid statements. But this week, we've learned more about a larger problem -- the candidate's inability to mount a professional campaign. Joining us to lend his insight into the weaknesses of Trump's campaign is veteran GOP digital strategist Patrick Ruffini. And is it possible for the Clinton campaign to become overconfident and complacent running against Trump? We'll put the question to the Center for American Progress' Daniella Leger. Next up, we return to the matter of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Previously, we talked about how these Olympic Games were facing all sorts of storm and stress from ongoing political, social, and medical problems in Brazil. This week, we take on the Olympics as an institution, and ask if this celebrated athletic event has become nothing more than an engine for income inequality. Finally, closer to home, Maine Governor Paul LePage has gotten himself into a game of chicken with the FDA over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. LePage wants to prevent beneficiaries from being able to purchase soda and candy. The FDA has balked at carving out an exception for Maine. Now, LePage is threatening to stop administering the program in his state altogether, putting tens of thousands of SNAP recipients at risk of losing their primary source of food. We'll break down the latest in a long line of food stamp cat fights.

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America, Where Do We Go From Here?


Fri, Jun 17, 2016


This week on the podcast, we reflect on the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack that left 49 dead and dozens more wounded. We talk about the LGBT community, gun reform, and what if anything can be done to prevent another mass shooting. We also sit down with Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. She lays out her platform for us, and explains why she's unlike Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

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So You Survived The Primaries, Brace Yourself For The Next 5 Months Of The Presidential Race


Thu, Jun 09, 2016


This week, the primary season finally came to a merciful, and historic end, with Hillary Clinton reeling off series of decisive primary victories one day after the AP reported that she'd earn the backing of a sufficient number of superdelegates to take her to the nomination. Now comes the tricky part: Clinton has to forge a path forward in a way that integrates the durable legacy left behind by her opponent, Bernie Sanders. We'll commemorate the beginning of what will be a very interesting challenge for the Democratic standardbearer. Meanwhile, on the other side of the docket, Donald Trump has found his own support with Republican elites eroding badly, days after he'd earned the endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump's problem may be the fact that the general election season brings a higher intensity of scrutiny than he's ever faced in his career. But Trump's saving grace may be the fact that with so much to scrutinize, how will any of it stick. Maybe too much of a bad thing is a good thing? Finally, we are weeks away from the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Back when Rio won the IOC's bid, Brazil was enjoying a booming economy and looking forward to joining the ranks of elite nations. Now in the midst of a historic recession, massive political strife, and the ongoing Zika outbreak this Olympic Games might be a disaster in the making with Rio's impoverished population caught in the middle.

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So Much For That Trump University Degree...


Thu, Jun 02, 2016


This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published new rules that would govern the super-scammy payday lending industry, in the hopes that new oversight will lead to fewer people falling victim to the industry's predations. Alexis Goldstein from Americans For Financial Reform joins us to evaluate whether the Bureau's recommendations have real teeth. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, we've had the first child born in the continental United States with Zika virus-related microcephaly. This largely symbolic event gives us another opportunity to examine the halting and insufficient way Congress has thus far approached the threat of a wide-spread Zika outbreak and the increasingly desperate warnings from public health professionals about the costs of inaction. Mosquito season, we remind you, is fast approaching. Speaking of public health, the lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan did grievous harm to the public's trust in institutions that badly failed in their mission. But there's lately been a new twist in the tale: an organization called Water Defense -- associated with actor Mark Ruffalo -- has been stoking fears in Flint about further dangers in the water supply, fears that scientists who have been working in the area say are entirely unfounded. Finally, how is that degree from Trump University working out for you? Well, if you're like many of the people who attended this ersatz college, or who sold it to unsuspecting marks, probably not well. Newly released documents in the lawsuit against Trump's real estate education venture confirm what you probably already know -- the whole enterprise was a predatory scam.

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Twitter Wars: Elizabeth Warren Takes Down Donald Trump


Thu, May 26, 2016


This week, as Donald Trump celebrated winning the GOP nomination, he also earned himself a new antagonist -- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. After spending the bulk of the primary season cautiously straddling the line between the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Warren has gone on the attack against the reality-television host, and has rattled him in ways that the Clinton campaign has not. Is it time for Clinton to name her as her running mate? We'll make the argument. Meanwhile, we have some beyond the Beltway stories for you this week. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe has given hundreds of thousands of ex-felons who have paid their debt to society the opportunity to vote. But Republicans in Virginia are suing to reverse McAuliffe's executive order. It's all touched off a mad dash to get people registered. We'll take a look at that effort and the partisan lines that have been drawn. In addition, every year, scores of people come to the United States from abroad, seeking asylum, in the hopes that they can live a life free of danger. But in Atlanta, Georgia, these people face courts that deny asylum at a staggeringly disproportionate rate, relative to other parts of the country. Our own Elise Foley traveled to Atlanta to find out why, she joins us today to share what she discovered. Finally, are you prepared to live in a world where billionaires use their deep pockets to litigate the journalists they don't like out of existence? That's a trick question, actually, because this future is now, thanks to Silicon Valley plutocrat Peter Thiel, who has admitted this week to funding litigation against Gawker Media as a part of a personal vendetta. It all raises the question as to whether or not he's provided a blueprint for other billionaires to follow. Enjoy your free press while you've got it, guys.

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Sorry, Party Unity Is Clinton's Job


Thu, May 19, 2016


This week, a fracas at the Nevada state Democratic convention in Las Vegas has rent divisions between the Hillary and Bernie camps newly asunder, leading the media to speculate about whether Sanders will ever be able to unify the party again. But what if this media narrative has it overrated? What if they've got it backwards? Wouldn't be the first time! Meanwhile, Congress is taking their best shot at dealing with multiple crises at the moment. Up on Capitol Hill, legislators are proceeding in relatively swift and bipartisan fashion to address America's opiate addiction crisis, optimistic that they'll have a law signed soon. Joining us to talk about these goings on is Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble. Shaping up more slowly is Congress' response to the Puerto Rico debt crisis. The island territory could miss a two billion dollar payment in July, creating the dire need for a loan restructuring plan before the problem deepens. Our own Laura Barron-Lopez has been covering this story from San Juan to Capitol Hill, she'll join us to talk about whether or not Congress will miss their shot. Finally, the 2008 financial collapse spurred a terrifying foreclosure crisis across America, forcing countless people from their homes. But what many homeowners discovered when they tried to fight foreclosure, is that the entire foreclosure industry was underpinned by rampant fraud and forged documents. Author David Dayen met many of the people who fought on the front lines of this battle, and wrote a book about it called "Chain Of Title." He's here to talk about what many people missed about this aspect of the financial crisis.

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Donald Trump and Paul Ryan: A Flailing Bromance


Thu, May 12, 2016


This week, GOP nominee Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan sat down for a meeting that the media has been hyping as something on the level of the Yalta Conference, if the Yalta Conference was about domesticating an insane, doll-handed white supremacist. But unifying the party won't be easy: there remains a subset of conservatives that's not given up on stopping Trump's ascension. Joining to talk about what the "NeverTrump" movement plans to do is one of its chief organizers, Republican consultant Liz Mair. Meanwhile, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's quest to demonize transgendered residents of the Tar Heel state has entered a new stage, in which the Federal government threatens to withhold federal money from the state on the grounds that they've enshrined unconstitutional discrimination as a state practice, and the state answers back with a legal claim of their own. Who is suing who and why and how and good lord why is any of this happening and has everyone forgotten it's 2016 and we're all supposed to be adults for Pete's sake are some of the questions we will attempt to answer. Finally, the Federal Reserve. For many, it's an institution that brings order out of chaos and helps our world thrum along effectively. For others, it's a famous opaque institution whose mysteries should be prised open. But how did the institution come to be created? Well, rejoice, bank dorks. We'll talk with Roger Lowenstein, whose book, "America's Bank: The Epic Struggle To Create The Federal Reserve" takes us back in time to chronicle the...you know...epic struggle to create the Federal Reserve.

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What Does The Future Hold For The GOP?


Thu, May 05, 2016


This week, New York Magazine's Andrew Sullivan penned an alarming missive to America, contending that our presumed-to-be stable democracy is ripe for an authoritarian takeover. Wondering is he had anyone particular in mind? Well, we're going to find out, because he's joining us to talk about it today. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal from former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who was convicted on corruption charges back in 2014, on one of the most open and shut cases of cash for favors we can ever remember. So why does the Supreme Court seem inclined to take his side? We'll talk about the case that could destroy our already meager protections against government corruption with author and House candidate Zephyr Teachout. Finally, we continue our coverage of the Flint lead water crisis by talking to Michigan Representative Dan Kildee, who this week maintained that what's been going on in the beleaguered city should continue to be a paramount concern of all Americans. We'll discuss how Flint figures in future policy and political discussions.

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Why Politicians Lie


Fri, Apr 29, 2016


This week, someone in the 2016 campaign did something crazy and unprecedented. And for once, it's not something that reality-television star Donald Trump did. I mean, okay, he offered up his fair share of deep weirdness, don't get me wrong, but for once, he was bested in the arena of inexplicableness by his rival Ted Cruz, who...named Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Did he vet Fiorina? Does he understand that he's not winning the nomination? Is his campaign now just an act of live action role-playing? We'll try to figure this out. Meanwhile, you may have noticed that in American politics, a lot of people lie. You may have also noticed that a lot of people get caught lying, and yet somehow retain the public status to simply continue lying. It's almost as if lying were an industry unto itself right? Well, joining us this week to confirm this thesis is Ari Rabin-Havt, fellow at People For The American Way and author of a new book, Lies Incorporated: the World of Post-Truth politics. Finally, the lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan has received a lot of deserved attention, and it's shone a light on the structural problems that led to the crisis in Flint in the first place. But as you probably know, the need for lead abatement is a national problem. We return to the topic today to get a sense of how widespread the problem might be, and how other cities and towns in America are confronting an old problem.

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What's Next For Bernie?


Fri, Apr 22, 2016


This week, we are taking a look at the possibility -- THE POSSIBILITY! -- that maybe -- MAYBE -- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is not going to win the Democratic primary. We know how difficult this prospect is for some people to face. We are being gentle. But as it is one, of many possibilities, we're going to ponder what's next for the movement he's engendered and the issues they've elucidated in the event that Sanders' revolution has to start somewhere other than the Oval Office. MTV News' Ana Marie Cox joins us in discussion. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with our best frenemies in the war on terror. Our diplomatic relationship with the Kingdom, which is awkward on its best days, has been considerably strained of late, and adding to the tension is a bipartisan bill in the Senate, supported by both Democratic candidates, that would allow victims of terrorist attacks to sue states that sponsor terrorism. It's a bill Obama has threated to veto, and its very existence has him in a bind. Finally, public safety advocates are warning that the U.S. Senate is about to make our lives more dangerous, by passing legislation that will loosen what are already pretty loose regulations on truckers and the length of their workweek. We'll explain the impact these rules have on public safety, and how Congress manages to slide this sort of nonsense into law.

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Gloves Off For Hillary And Bernie


Fri, Apr 15, 2016


This week, Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton took to the debate stage in Brooklyn, in what might be the final debate of the Democratic primary. The setting is key: New York State has loomed as a delegate-heavy prize to the two candidates, both of whom claim the state as their own turf. We will deliver a full after-action report of the proceedings. Meanwhile, we bring you the best in bank dorkery. We're joined by progressive Democrat and U.S. House of Representatives candidate Zephyr Teachout, who is channeling FDR with her plan to break up big cable monopolies. And speaking of breaking things up, Alexis Goldstein of Americans for Financial reform is here to discuss the frightening new announcement from the Federal Reserve that five big U.S. banks are officially too big to fail. Dum-dum-dum. Finally, in previous podcasts, Wisconsin Representative and friend of the podcast Reid Ribble has announced that he'll be retiring after this term. But before he goes, he wants to sidle up to the famous third rail of American politics one last time, and drop a Social Security reform bill. He'll detail his plan that, in Ribble-esque fashion, everyone might be able to get behind

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What Are The Panama Papers?


Thu, Apr 07, 2016


One week after a sheaf of leaked documents fingered Unaoil as a hothouse of global corruption, we get the Panama Papers -- a massive document dump that reveals the extent to which Panama has been used as a tax haven for the world's plutocrats, and the many global leaders who've been swift to stash their cash offshore. Meanwhile, six years ago an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia claimed the lives of 29 coal miners. This week, a court has rendered a sentence on Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's involvement in a conspiracy to systematically flout safety regulations. His punishment: one year in jail. If that seems deeply screwed up to you, we'll help you nurture your outrage. Finally, with every passing week on the campaign trail, resolution seems further away, and tensions keep getting racheted up. We'll discuss the New York Daily News interview that caught Bernie Sanders up in a hot sack of nonsense. Plus, Wisconsin Congressman Marc Pocan joins us to talk about how his fellow Wisconsinites voted in this week's primary, and how they may vote in the general..

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The Problem With Donald Trump's Current Stance On Abortion


Thu, Mar 31, 2016


This week, documents obtained by Fairfax Media, have exposed energy contractor Unaoil as an almost comical practitioner of corporate graft, bribing their way across the developing world on behalf of well-known Western corporations. We'll break down the story. Meanwhile, in some better news for major U.S. corporations, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal defied his party this week in vetoing a religious freedom bill that would have enshrined legal discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Finally, what is it like to fall into the burning ring of fire produced by Donald Trump's legion of social media fans? Our own Christina Wilkie found out for herself firsthand, and has some of the vile details to share with us.

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Is Donald Trump A Fascist?


Thu, Mar 24, 2016


This week we witnessed an awful terrorist attack in Brussels, so we'll ask what that means for America's foreign policy. Is Donald Trump a fascist? Kind of, but we asked a history professor and it turns out he may be closer to Jefferson Davis than Benito Mussolini. Also, Bernie Sanders is still running for president, even though it's hopeless. We'll explain why.

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Are Democrats Still The Party Of The Working Class?


Thu, Mar 17, 2016


This week, President Barack Obama picked Judge Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia's vacant seat on the Supreme Court. But who is Merrick Garland, and why? Answers are coming. Meanwhile, is the Democratic Party still the party of the working class and the little guy? Our guest, Thomas Frank, says this is not the case, and he joins us to talk about it. Finally, Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble is back with us, talking about his plans to travel to Cuba with President Obama.

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America's Lead Pipe Problem, A SCOTUS Reproductive Rights Battle, And All The 2016 You Can Handle


Fri, Mar 11, 2016


This week, the intensity of the 2016 campaign season ratched up another hundred notches or so. On the Democratic side, a surprise win in Michigan from Bernie Sanders flummoxed the pollsters, boosted the Vermont Senator's chances, and put the Clinton campaign back into arrears. But as life bloomed anew for Sanders, on the Republican side, Florida Senator Marco Rubio looked to be headed to his end, with only one debate left to alter his fortunes in Florida. Full coverage of these races are on the way. Meanwhile, the Flint water crisis has shone a despairing light on what life is like in poorer cities, and the infrastructural problems that need fixing across the nation. But now that the Michigan primary is over and Flint is no longer a campaign talking point, are we poised to forget about our nation's lead pipe problem just as attention is cresting? Finally, the biggest threat to reproductive freedoms in two decades is currently before the Supreme Court, and it comes in the form of some restrictions on abortion providers that have long ventured over the border of absurdity into pure, mountain grown disingenuousness. We'll explain what's happening and why.

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War On Terror Worries, Super Tuesday Woes, And An Interview With Comedian Anthony Atamaniuk


Fri, Mar 04, 2016


This week, we had a Tuesday that some would say was far more super than most other Tuesdays, as voters in eleven states took to the polls to weigh in on who should be the presidential nominees. But beyond the winners and losers, what we learned from Super Tuesday is that big realignments are afoot for both the Republicans and the Democrats. Meanwhile, we put a spotlight on the War on Terror this week. Joining us is Amal Alderat, whose father and brother, both Libyan-American businessmen, were detained by the United Arab Emirates in 2014, jailed, and brutally tortured. Our big question: Why are two Americans being tortured by a US ally, and what does this portend for our ongoing strategy in Libya? Finally, we welcome comedian Anthony Atamaniuk who has been touring the country with James Adomian as the two men offer the nation their take on a Trump vs. Bernie debate. We'll talk about what inspired Tony to take up the task of imitating Donald Trump, and his very real fears of a Trump presidency.

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Michigan Lawmaker Speaks Out On Flint, Another GITMO Closure Plan, And Marco Rubio's Last Stand


Fri, Feb 26, 2016


This week, one of President Barack Obama's oldest campaign promises -- his pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility -- is back in the news after the Pentagon put forth the latest version of a plan to finally fulfill this commitment. Meanwhile, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is coming to Washington to testify about the Flint Water Crisis. We'll talk to one member of that committee about the extent to which Snyder is himself culpable for the poisoning of Flint's citizens. Finally, Alexis Goldstein joins us to talk about a great new plan from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schutlz that would gut a new rule from Elizabeth Warren's consumer financial protection bureau that would regulate the predators in the payday loan business.

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Supreme Court Battle, 2016 Madness, And The Black Vote Is Up For Grabs


Thu, Feb 18, 2016


This week, the passing of Supreme Court Justice has created yet another opportunity for a gigantic political meltdown between President Barack Obama and his opponents in the Senate, as well as a new round of talking points for candidates on the campaign trail. We'll explain where battle lines have been drawn and what's likely to happen next. Meanwhile, our guest this week is Maryland State Senator and law professor Jamie Raskin, who's gotten into the crowded Democratic primary to replace Representative Chris Van Hollen in Maryland's 8th District. He'll make his case for why he belongs getting the nomination over some well funded, but less experienced opponents. Finally, we've been talking on this show about the dangers to the economy posed by Too Big To Fail banks, and we have some good news to report: our overwhelmingly sound arguments have convinced former bailout czar and current president of the Minneapolis Fed Neel Kashkari to join us. This was pretty unexpected, but now we're gonna gloat.

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Flint Fights For Accountability, Mississippi Fights Payday Lenders, Bernie and Hillary Fight Too


Fri, Feb 12, 2016


This week, the 2016 campaign went to New Hampshire for the Granite State's first in the nation primaries, and after all the hoopla, we ended up with the blowout wins for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders that the polls predicted. Meanwhile, payday lenders are scammy, terrible scourge on this earth, preying on the poor in order to profit from consuming their incomes in a cycle of indebtedness. But in the state of Mississippi, there's new hope for everyone who'd like to see these predators brought to heel. Finally, we circle back to another big story -- the Flint lead-water crisis. This time we're talking about something positive: specifically how Flint's residents and local activists may actually achieve something that's been lacking in other similar lead water crises around the country -- namely, accountability.

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Interviews with Zephyr Teachout, Chris Murphy, and Reid Ribble, Plus A Super Sweet 2016 Recap


Fri, Feb 05, 2016


This week, Zephyr Teachout wants in! The Fordham law professor has set her sights on New York's 19th District's House seat. Meanwhile, Reid Ribble wants out! The reform-minded Wisconsin Republican announced that he'd be retiring from the House at the end of the year. We'll chat him up about the 2016 scene, his plans for his last year, and what he hopes life after government is like. And Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy joins us to talk about reforming the U.S. relationship with the brutal and warlike regime in Saudi Arabia. Finally, the presidential race has finished its sojourn in Iowa, and the moveable feast moves on to New Hampshire. We'll discuss everything we learned about voters and the numbers.

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Interviews Galore Episode With Adam McKay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Tim Canova -- Plus The GOP Debate


Fri, Jan 29, 2016


So, that happened. This week, we have interviews galore. First up, Hollywood Director Adam McKay. Next up, award-winning author and Atlantic reporter-slash-essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates is on hand to offer his perspective on about reparations, Reconstruction, and the Democratic primary. Finally, Florida Representative and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has drawn an opponent in her Democratic primary. We talk to her challenger, Tim Canova. You can listen to our show at itunes.com/panoply or itunes.com/sothathappened or by searching for "so that happened" on stitcher.

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An Inside Look At The Flint Water Crisis, And The Latest On The 2016 Trail


Fri, Jan 22, 2016


So, that happened. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has reached a fever pitch, as 2016 candidates weigh in and various emergency declarations get made. We're going to step away from the sideshow this week and attempt to figure out how all of this actually came to pass. Joining us to discuss this is a man who was there when the fateful decisions got made, former Flint City Councilman Josh Freeman. Meanwhile, we are mere days away from the Iowa Caucus, and across this land, the geek show is in full effect. The GOP is slowly starting to cotton to the notion that they may have to accept Donald Trump, even as he uses Sarah Palin to rub their faces in their failings. And the Democratic side of the ledger has taken a veer into edgy chaos as well. We go searching for constants in a race where the norms have slipped and the scripts have flipped. Finally, Washington DC played host to the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week, and the scene was more electric than usual. Flint's lead pipes, Baltimore's inequality, and Chicago's policing woes brought attention and protest. The Huffington Post was there, so we'll tell you about it.

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Another GOP Debate, One Last State Of The Union, A Glass-Steagall Redux, And A Hillary-Bernie Brawl


Fri, Jan 15, 2016


So, that happened. Another GOP debate is in the books, as the remnants of the Establishment do battle to preserve their bid against the firebrands currently dominating the race. And what of those two firebrands? Will Donald Trump successfully paint Ted Cruz as...Canadian? Your Huffington Post team is in full effect with post-debate analysis Meanwhile, as a wise man once said, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Or something. The point is, President Barack Obama delivered his final State Of The Union this week, and like all States of the Union, it was mostly pageantry. What's the point of these things anyway? We'll talk to one camera shy member of Congress, our pal Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble, about what these addresses are like when you're in the midst of them. Finally, here's a phrase you might have heard if you'd been tuning in to the Democratic debates: "reinstall Glass Steagall." Is this some home repair tip, where you take your plastic Steagal out and put in a glass one? Probably! But to be 100% sure we'll check in with Alexis Goldstein from Americans for Financial Reform.

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Chris Murphy On Gun Control (Again), Hillary vs. Bernie, SOTU Preview, And Food Stamped Out!


Thu, Jan 07, 2016


This week, President Barack Obama has kicked off 2016 by issuing a new set of executive actions intended to reduce the number of people who end up as casualties to America's gun culture. But it's an open question as to how significant, and how lasting, these orders will be. Joining us to discuss this is Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy. Meanwhile, out on the 2016 campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has launched some hot broadsides against Bernie Sanders' Wall Street policies. Which is...very strange? It's not where Sanders is vulnerable and, if I recall correctly, Clinton is routing Sanders in most of the primary polls. So why make these attacks at all? We will try to figure it out. Finally, for food stamps beneficiaries, 2016 could be a troublesome year, as Congressional desire to kick people out of the program continues to run a few miles ahead of where the economic recovery really is. Now, hundreds of thousands of Americans face a new year of unexpected and unnecessary food insecurity. We'll talk with one person affected by the coming changes. Plus, we'll set the stage for President Obama's final State of the Union address!

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2015 Year In Review: #GOP Cringe Politics, Sad Bank Lobbyists, And Paul Ryan's Hipster Beard!


Thu, Dec 31, 2015


This week, it's time to bid farewell to an old year and move on to a new one. And in a few short months, at last, we'll have the Iowa Caucus -- you know, when the story we spent all of 2015 talking about finally starts. Some things don't change, though: the GOP, with Donald Trump, is having a hot mic moment. But is this a dark cloud or a silver lining? Joining us to discuss is our friend Ana Marie Cox of the Daily Beast and the New York Times and the Brouhaha podcast.Meanwhile, you know who else has a lot of unfinished business here at the end of the year? Congress, who continues to leave an absurd number of judicial vacancies unfilled. What, this again? Ahh, but it gets even dumber -- remember how we're at war with ISIS? If you answered yes, could you maybe run for office? Finally, what other burning questions do we have about the coming year? Did Wall Street leave us any money? Will a grand jury ever indict a police officer? Will Zach Carter move out of his tent into a real apartment? Finally we can guarantee you some closure. Oh, wait, sorry my producer is telling me that we are not actually allowed to make that guarantee.

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So Christmas Happened: We Watch Movies, Celebrate The CFPB, And Unwrap A Gift From Janet Yellen!


Thu, Dec 24, 2015


This week, it's Christmas, and we're celebrating the holidays by talking about our favorite Christmas movies, and adding a lot of silly economic and political wonkery. What do our Christmas entertainments teach us about our life and times? Let's find out. Meanwhile, in America, you can't have Christmas without also having a war on Christmas. So how did this year's war go? Here to discuss everything from blood red Starbucks cups to the Lifetime Channel's quick shots of false Yuletide hope is comedy writer and reporter Katla McGlynn. Finally, you know what the best gift we received all year was? A government agency not shot through with grotesque regulatory capture. Our pal Alexis Goldstein joins us to discuss what a mitzvah the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been.

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Flint's Water Emergency, A Trump Fan Explains Trump Fandom, Omnibus, And #GOPDebate!


Thu, Dec 17, 2015


This week, the Mayor of Flint, Michigan declared a state of emergency over the amount of lead that's been in the city's drinking water. But why did it take so long? Joining us to talk about it is the woman who's been beating the drum about this emergency for months, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Meanwhile, for months, political observers have been struggling to understand what it is about Donald Trump that has made him so appealing. Well, for once we're going right to the source -- a self-professed Trump admirer who appreciates the Donald's message -- even if he's not yet ready to actually cast a vote for him. Finally, we got debates! The GOP candidates met out in Las Vegas to talk National Security this week. We'll break down who helped their own cause, and who's headed for the exits. Also, there's another Democratic debate coming up…on a Saturday night. Do the Democrats even want people to watch?

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GOP Cowers As Trump Towers, More Hillary Skepticism, And Congress Gets Omni-Busted!


Thu, Dec 10, 2015


This week, Donald Trump said some crazy stuff -- but what does it matter? How to solve a problem like Donald Trump? We've got guests who'll do their best to answer just that including Wisconsin Republican Congressman Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisc), and writer and podcaster Ana Marie Cox. Meanwhile, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seem to want to have a serious debate over the future of the Democratic party. So why doesn't the Democratic party want anyone to watch? Can Clinton's plan to rein in Wall Street immunize her against the charges that she's under their thumb. Also: Martin O'Malley will be there. Finally, Congress needs to pass an omnibus funding bill to keep the government from shutting down -- again. Last time we did this, some big banks used the leverage to make off with some of your money and paid no price for the extortion. So guess what's happening this time, just guess!

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Agony in California, Banks Bask In Congress' Cash, And A Diaper Fix For Working Families!


Thu, Dec 03, 2015


This week, we live through the horrors of two mass shootings -- one in Colorado Springs, one in San Bernadino. We'll fight this battle of broken records with our August 28 interview with Senator Chris Murphy. In hopeful news, world leaders have assembled in Paris to discuss the next steps to combat climate change, and observers are coming away feeling fairly optimistic about what's unfolding. And closer to home, a few lawmakers have hit upon one of those small ideas that make a big difference -- a way to help working class parents make ends meet by providing them with diapers, a product that poor parents spend an astonishing portion of their income procuring. Joining us to discuss this is Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) Meanwhile, in Washington, a big winner has emerged in the fight to pass a highway funding bill and, naturally, it's an obscure bank with enough lobbying clout to get key lawmakers to just hand it money. Finally, the ostensible mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is presiding over the biggest public crisis his city has faced during his tenure -- so why is he so angry about Politico's Mike Allen asking him about his vacation plans?

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Surviving The Politics of Thanksgiving, Playing The Trump Card, And Reclaiming Black Friday!


Fri, Nov 27, 2015


This week, it's Thanksgiving, and we've got a diverse array of guests around our table. Here to join us to talk about his biennial budgeting reform proposal, Wisconsin Representative Reed Ribble. And giving us a lesson in how to get along with everyone at Thanksgiving dinner is the host of the Brouhaha podcast, our pal Ana Marie Cox. Meanwhile, by the time you hear this, it will be Black Friday. Do you remember when Black Friday didn't use to start on Thanksgiving Day? We'll talk about the backlash that's beginning to brew behind the retail industry's most evil invention.Finally, it's becoming more and more clear that Donald Trump intends to make angry, racist, lying the centerpiece of his campaign. Now, a group of Republicans have ordered the Code Red, forming one of those shady dark money organizations just to stop Trump. But what if RNC's Chair Reince Priebus' worst fear is realized, and Trump runs as a third party candidate?

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#ApresParis, Congress Debates AUMF & Syrian Refugees, And Racist Auto Loan Lenders Get A Break!


Fri, Nov 20, 2015


It's been a week since a cell of European ISIS-supporting death cultists launched a horrific attack on the city of Paris. None of us would be here were it not for France, we are going to try to do right by them. But why have so many American politicians chosen this moment to demonize the most defenseless people on the planet, refugees from war-torn Syria? We'll talk about this with Massacusetts Representative Jim McGovern. Meanwhile, what do the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State hope to gain by attacking Parisiens? As it turns out, there's something very specific that they hope to destroy called the "Grayzone of coexistence." So what does that mean? We shall explain as best we can.Finally, while the world's been watching Paris, your Congresscritters have moved a law through the House of Representatives that would make it easier for auto dealers to practice racial discrimination in the issuance of car loans. And guess what? This passed with massive bipartisan support. It's the latest chapter in a continuing story titled "You Probably Don't Have Enough Money To Buy Your Congressman's Vote But Guess Who Does Just Guess!" And just so you know: we haven't forgotten about the insane thing Hillary Clinton said about 9/11 in the last Democratic debate. Oh, hey -- did you know there was a Democratic debate?

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#Mizzou Students Prevail, Jeb’s Debatable Performance, The Fight For $15, And Gitmo Problems!


Thu, Nov 12, 2015


This week, students at the University of Missouri, angry about the school's indifference to racist incidents on campus, forced the resignation of the anthropomorphic shrug emoticon that had managed to become the school’s president. What next? Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, the GOP met for their fourth debate and, it didn't end in tears and angry remonstrations like the last debate -- but are we any closer to a candidate? Finally, it was a big week for the Fight for $15 movement, with their fast food strike earning them a place at the GOP debate. It wasn't a good week for those who want to close Guantanamo Bay prison, with Congress once again throwing barriers in front of one of President Obama's oldest campaign promises. We'll figure out what happens next.

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Obama 'Bans The Box', Latinos Get No (GOP) Respect, And Ben Carson’s Pyramid Scheme!


Thu, Nov 05, 2015


This week, the GOP candidates, furious at the rough treatment they received at the hands of CNBC, rebelled against the debate process. The first casualty of all this nonsense was a debate scheduled to take place on Telemundo. It's just one of a series of slights suffered by the Latino community so far this election cycle. Meanwhile, if you've ever applied for a job, you've seen the box on the application, asking you to detail any history of criminal conviction. This week, President Obama ordered Federal agencies to remove that from their forms, joining a growing, bipartisan movement to "ban the box.”Finally, the 2015 election is over and in Kentucky the big loser wasn't Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway -- though he did lose. Rather, it was the thousands of poor Kentuckians who now might lose their health insurance as a result of Republican Matt Bevin's ascension. Will this finally be the moment Democrats realize that they are functionally dead as a party at state-level? Probably not!

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#GOP vs. CNBC, Ted Cruz-es To Win, Ryan Gets To Eat His Cake, And Warren Schools Wall St. AGAIN!


Thu, Oct 29, 2015


This week, the GOP met in Colorado for their third debate, and once again we were struck by how many of them there are! So many candidates, plus Jim Gilmore, the human asterisk. Will this be the debate that finally begins the winnowing? Meanwhile, Congress has actually agreed to a budget deal. At least in principle. Will there be no crises? Will Paul Ryan's sweet Speaker deal get a LOT sweeter? Or will Rand Paul unleash the power of the filibuster to defeat comity? Finally, Elizabeth Warren just embarrassed Wall Street AGAIN, this time with a new report detailing the extent to which bad financial advisors get lavish vacations as a reward for steering clients into terrible investments. At the rate she's going, America may not have a grifter-sector of the economy left for anyone to make money.

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Ryan's In, Biden's Out, The SEC Is Up To No Good, And Come Get It Trudeau!


Fri, Oct 23, 2015


This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that they were going to reanimate a zombie deregulation plan from the pre-financial crisis Bush administration, that could tip the balance of power away from Main Street. Meanwhile, imagine a place where a liberal party could declare forthrightly that they were going to run temporary deficits to facilitate infrastructure upgrades, and have the entire country reward this radical honesty with a landslide vote. That nation is Canada, they've just had an election, and it took less than three months to boot! Finally, it's been a week of upheaval in American politics as Joe Biden opts to not run for President, and Paul Ryan offers to serve as the Speaker of the House, provided he gets some free stuff from the Federal Government first.

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#DemDebate Takes, The Future Of Cold Beer, And Dude Where’s My Drone!


Thu, Oct 15, 2015


This week, the Intercept published new information on our drone assassination program, gleaned from a trove of secret documents, which include new details on how targets are selected, and how well we do at hitting those targets. Also, the Democratic candidates for president have had their first primary debate of the season. Now that we've had time to reflect on it, we're going to confront our own conventional wisdom and see if what we said that night still stands up. Who won the debate? It may have been someone that never appeared on the stage—it’s not Joe Biden. Finally, the manufacturers of Miller and the makers of Budweiser have agreed to a merger that would create the biggest beer company in the world. But is bigger best, or even better? Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) joins us to roll out the barrel on behalf of America's small brewers.

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McCarthy Can’t Speak, Rep. Thompson: Focus On Guns, And Draft Fiends!


Thu, Oct 08, 2015


This week, we bombed some folks. Specifically, a Doctors Without Border hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. President Barack Obama finally came out with an apology, but why the hell did this happen in the first place? Meanwhile, you've heard of the Benghazi Committee, you might know about the Planned Parenthood Committee, but what if we had a Congressional committee focused on reducing gun violence in America? Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) joins us and explains. Finally, if you've watched any televised sports or televised anything -- you may be aware of the existence of Draft Kings and Fan Duel. Is the sudden ubiquity of big money fantasy sports making you question reality as well?

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Elizabeth Warren vs. #ThisTown, Trump Has A Tax Plan, And Congress Vents Near Cecile Richards!


Thu, Oct 01, 2015


This week, Donald Trump provided us with some evidence that he might really be a serious candidate by doing something that a serious candidate would do -- release a tax plan claiming to benefit some people when it really benefits others. Meanwhile, this week, the House Oversight Committee erupted into furor over Planned Parenthood, staging an all-day marathon of angry blather. Are we headed for a government shutdown over this? We'll talk to Rep. Reed Ribble (R- Wisc.) who wants to defund the organization but doesn't want to shut down the government over it. Also, Elizabeth Warren is not running for president, but she's still putting fools on blast on your behalf and her latest takedown really illuminates how this entire town is basically built on a foundation of cheap, chummy corruption.

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#PapalChase2015, Walker Drops Out, and Rocker Ted Leo Has 2016 Advice!


Thu, Sep 24, 2015


This week, Pope Francis comes to the United States, driving around in his Fiat, paying President Obama a visit, and taking his act to a joint session of Congress for a round of grand-master level thought leadering. Much of the focus in the lead up to his DC visit concerned what he's had to say on the environment and immigration. We'll talk about what he said to lawmakers, and the extent to which he might change people's minds on those issues. Meanwhile, politicians just want to rock! But what happens when the artists that write and perform their favorite songs find out that their work is being played at political rallies? In the case of some Republican presidential hopefuls, it has not been ending well. Joining us to offer his perspective is musician and songwriter Ted Leo. Finally, one person who won't have to worry about the songs being played at his political rallies anymore is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) who this week announced that he was quitting the presidential race after 70 days. We ask what went wrong, besides basically everything?

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#GOPDebate Pt. Deux, Pope-splaining, And Bernie Visits The Land Of Liberty!


Fri, Sep 18, 2015


This week, the 278 candidates vying for the Republican nomination gathered in the seamiest of valleys to debate one another. Or, sorry, deal with Donald Trump. New York Times magazine's Ana Marie Cox joins us for some debate post-game analysis. Meanwhile, Washington DC is bracing for a visit from Pope Francis, coming to America at a time in which his message about income inequality is resonating -- especially among liberals. The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney helps us get jesuitical. Finally, speaking of odd intersections of politics and religion, presidential aspirant Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - Vt) brought his very liberal campaign the evangelical college Liberty University. Was Sanders preaching to the unconvertible, or was there an real opportunity for connection? Fusion's news director Kevin Roose helps explain the significance of this event.

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#WTFCongress?! Jeb Files A Colbert Report, And #TBT Hillary: Bring Child "Superpredators" To Heel


Fri, Sep 11, 2015


This week Congress is set to return from Labor Day weekend, and once again we find ourselves staring down the prospect of government shutdown. Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro joins us to explain the next coming chapter of political dysfunction. Meanwhile, it's starting to look more and more as if the Iran deal is here to stay. But just because the deal is nearly done, that doesn't mean opponents have any plan to retreat. We discuss the shape of Iran hawkery to come. Finally, if you listen to some of the public pronouncements of several Democratic presidential candidates, you'll hear many talk a good game about criminal justice reform. What you won't hear is any reckoning of the ghosts of votes pasts and the actions that have spurred the need for reform in the first place. We say: Not so fast you guys.

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Kids Lunch w. Sec. Tom Vilsack, Congress Plays Chicken, Iran Away, And Brady Is The New Trump!


Thu, Sep 03, 2015


This week we examine the legacy of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which has just secured its political survival in the Senate. Also Congress is coming back after August recess which means the government is probably going to shut down. We also talk to Sec. Tom Vilsack about problems facing the national school lunch program. Meanwhile, in 2016 land, Donald Trump is still running for president and Hillary Clinton has an incredibly stupid e-mail scandal on her hands.

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Trump's Alienation Act, Sen. Chris Murphy On Gun Violence, And A Warren-Biden Showdown!


Fri, Aug 28, 2015


This week, the shocking murder of two television journalists in Virginia forced us to confront the fact that America only seems to be good at producing mass shooting tragedies. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy joins us to see whether Congress has finally reached the point of attempting to solve this problem. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is doing everything he can to alienate every last Latino voter. Will his flamboyant hostility accrue to the eventual GOP nominee? Joining us is NPR's Latino USA digital media director Julio Ricardo Varela to answer just that. Finally, as Joe Biden mulls getting into the 2016 race, he's taking meetings with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. We’ll take a trip down memory lane to 2005 when Biden and Warren sat on opposite sides of a bankruptcy bill that would change the game for Main Street. Plus we about stock market swings and the battle to defend ancient culture from ISIS!

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Spies Get Scrutinized, Northwestern Labor Pains, Rubio Blows A Pass, And Forest Trump!


Fri, Aug 21, 2015


This week, we learned about the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, an interagency outfit set up to bring the nation's most elite interrogators to fight terror. But what we've learned kind of calls the entire"elite" thing into question. Meanwhile, a group Northwestern University football players snapped the ball to the National Labor Relations Board, hoping that the NLRB would run a play that would get student athletes closer to real labor rights. Unfortunately, the NLRB chose to punted. And that's not all, folks. We've got news you can use about the pet food industry and how hard it is to find safe food for Fido. Plus, we take a dip into the 2016 race, ponder Marco Rubio's passing ability, and well, talk about Donald Trump.

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Bernie and Hillary Meet #BLM, And White Men Can't Trump!


Fri, Aug 14, 2015


This week, Bernie Sanders had what might have been a dream week as a presidential candidate, drawing bigger crowds than anyone in the presidential race. But Sanders was also subjected to a Black Lives Matter protest. Can Sanders' new racial justice platform win them over? Also, we talked to Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and HuffPost's own Ryan Reilly about the absurd criminal charges filed against them for being journalists covering Ferguson. And Lawrence Lessig just joined the 2016 Democratic field! But he doesn't actually want to be president, also just call him Larry.

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#GOPdebate, Fiorina's Finest Hour, And Student Loan Debt Threats!


Fri, Aug 07, 2015


This week, we cover the wild wonders of the first Republican Presidential debates. We hate to say it, but Donald Trump won. Carly Fiorina also won, because there were actually two debates. Everyone else landed somewhere between meh and oops-I-lost-my-donors. Much like Clarissa, we explain it all. Also, someone give Sen. Lindsey Graham a hug. Please.

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GOP Debate ’n’ Switch, High(Way) Drama, And Leave That CEO Alone!


Thu, Jul 30, 2015


On this week's podcast, we game out the survival strategy for the seventeen GOP candidates who hope to succeed in August's debate, check in on the progress Congress has made on the highway funding bill, and note the irony of Phil Gramm returning to DC to testify against Dodd-Frank.

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Warren PWNs Wall Street Again, Highway Funding And The NSA Goes Bananas!


Thu, Jul 23, 2015


On this week's podcast, we look back on Elizabeth Warren ripping apart a rip-off artist from Primerica, break down the latest effort to pass a highway funding bill, and explain why a former NSA chief is talking to a bunch of fruit growers.

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Senator Sherrod Brown, Money In The GOP Primary And Planned Parenthood Under Siege


Thu, Jul 16, 2015


This week we talk to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) about austerity in Greece and banking regulations at home, break down the latest attack on Planned Parenthood, and examine the way unlimited money is wrecking the RNC's hopes for an orderly primary season.

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Greece’s Debt, Iran’s Deal, A Food Stamp Testimonial And Tucker Carlson On The Grateful Dead


Thu, Jul 09, 2015


This week we examine the austerity battles in Greece, break down the latest stage of the Iran nuclear talks, and we get a real world account of what happens when Congress cuts off your access to food. Plus, the Daily Caller's Tucker Carlson is a huge Grateful Dead fan, who knew? He joins us to talk about it.

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Laura Bassett's Own Goal, Grexits And Criminal Justice Horrors


Thu, Jul 02, 2015


On this week's podcast, Dana Liebelson joins us to discuss her recent expos? of the prison system in Michigan, where children -- commingled with adult criminals -- are being broken, not rehabilitated. Plus: we discuss last week's marriage equality ruling, this week's new overtime regulation, and we talk to Laura Bassett about England's heartbreaking loss in the Women's World Cup.

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Rep. Hank Johnson, Confederate Flags And The Charleston Shooting’s Aftermath


Thu, Jun 25, 2015


This week we hear from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) about his bill to pursue police demilitarization, discuss the confederate flag and the aftermath of the Emanuel AME church shooting in Charleston, debrief on the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare subsidies and find out why the state of Florida actually banished one of its residents.

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Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Keith Ellison And Some Magic


Thu, Jun 18, 2015


On this week's podcast, we talk to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about how he would get things done as president, discover the joys of hearing a magic trick delivered by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), chat with Rep. Keith Ellison about the fast track trade bill's life after death and finally, we get the details on a bill preventing U.S. ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Strategic Defaulting and Rep. Mark Pocan on TPP


Thu, Jun 11, 2015


This week we asked Senator Eilzabeth Warren (D-Mass.) if Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan Should be fired (she didn't say no), discuss strategic defaulting on student loan debt, and get the scoop from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) on the latest fast track vote in Congress.

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Rand Paul Fails To Stymie More Bulk Data Collection


Fri, Jun 05, 2015


On this week's podcast, we get excited about some sporting updates, get the lowdown on newly passed USA Freedom Act and discuss why Senator Elizabeth Warren isn't happy with SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White.

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FIFA Corruption, The GOP 2016 Field, Trade Bill Woes


Fri, May 29, 2015


This week we discuss how and why FIFA officials were arrested over a wide array of corruption charges, how crowded the 2016 GOP presidential field is getting and finally how the House is hoping to keep countries with oppressive labor and human trafficking records party to the President's already controversial fast track free trade bill. Guests: HuffPost Reporters Zach Carter, Arthur Delaney, Laura Barron Lopez and Ryan Grim

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The Trouble With This Texas Abortion Bill


Thu, May 21, 2015


This week we look into legislation passed in Texas restricting access to abortions for minors, compare and contrast federal legislation aimed at curbing what food stamps can buy with the fact that Congress want us to give them more money and we conclude our conversation from last week on Seymour Hersh's controversial claims about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

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How A Trade Deal Is Tearing Democrats Apart


Sat, May 16, 2015


This week we'll take a look at a trade deal that's so contentious, President Barack Obama is finding himself at odds with congressional leaders in his own party. We'll reflect on the tragic Amtrak train accident that left eight people dead, and discuss what role infrastructure funding can play in preventing this from happening again. Then, we'll discuss Seymour Hersh's new piece, which has become the center of a lot of criticism. Should his article be dismissed, or should it encourage other reporters to reopen the story around the death of Osama bin Laden?

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The Economic Context For Baltimore's Unrest


Fri, May 01, 2015


This week we take a look into some of the backstory explaining Baltimore's issues with inequality in the wake of protests after Freddie Gray's death, get the scoop on arguments heard this week in the Supreme Court's landmark case on same sex marriage and explore some of the complexities surrounding campaign finance laws and Hillary Clinton's run for president.

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Obama's Trade Deal Battle Heats Up


Fri, Apr 24, 2015


This week we look at one Washington State community in which the battle for a $15 dollar minimum wage has been won, discuss the latest developments in the political battle over the Trans Pacific Partnership, and discuss the 2016 election by talking about how much we hate the 2016 election.

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Hillary's Running, So Are The Reporters Covering Her


Fri, Apr 17, 2015


This week, Hillary Clinton launched her campaign, but didn't order sofritas at Chipotle, the House of Representatives voted to offer upwards of 250 billion dollars in handouts to needy, filthy rich Americans and a man flew a gyrocopter onto the U.S. Capitol lawn to get us to talk about campaign finance reform.

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The Rand Paul School Of Journalism


Fri, Apr 10, 2015


This week, we discuss the fall out from the Columbia Journalism Review report on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “A Rape On Campus” story, Rand Paul’s campaign strategy of talking down to reporters, and why Democrats have been obscuring their positions in support of more deregulations for big banks.

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RFRA Laws, Homelessness And Some April Foolery


Fri, Apr 03, 2015


Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) one-upped Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) over the handling of controversial religious freedom legislation, there's a new hope for millions of Americans living on the ragged edge of homelessness, and since April Fool's Day was this week, we explore the dark side of all the foolery. This week's episode features: Arthur Delaney, HuffPost Senior Reporter Jen Bendery, HuffPost White House Correspondent

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Ted Cruz 2016, A Foreign Policy Update And A Platinum Coin


Fri, Mar 27, 2015


This week, the 2016 race welcomed Ted Cruz to the GOP scrum after the Texas Senator made his presidential ambitions clear to a literally captive audience of Liberty University students. He's been immediately anointed as a long shot, but is he really? Meanwhile, there are other places in the world besides America. How are things going there, and what does it mean for us? We'll talk about elections in Israel, unrest in Yemen, and -- I hesitate to even say this aloud -- a potentially hopeful turn in Afghanistan, graveyard of empires. Finally, as if you needed something even more surreal and complicated in your lives, we're going to talk about seigniorage, the minting of dollar coins, the minting of platinum coins, the eternally ephemeral nature of the concept of money, and -- strangely enough -- whether or not Europeans are terrible people.

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The GOP Budget, Aaron Schock Resigns And The Starbucks Race Conversation


Fri, Mar 20, 2015


This week, the GOP released their budget proposals and it's good news if you like massive cuts in discretionary spending and a bloated defense budget. We'll detail the broad strokes of a funding fantasia that probably won't pass and will likely lead to some new apocalyptic showdown. Meanwhile, Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock is resigning his seat, after the public disclosure of his "Downton Abbey" themed office inspired reporters to investigate the numerous ways Schock was spending taxpayer money. But is this the best we can do when it comes to fighting government corruption? Sadly, yes. Finally, Starbucks has decided to take on race relations in America by asking their baristas to lead a national conversation about it. Are they getting paid more? Will the coffee taste better? What is a caramel flan latte, exactly? We have three white dudes on hand to talk about this, so sit back and listen to us make a sad, blundering hash of unformed thoughts and unintended microaggressions out of this topic.

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The Iran Letter, Hillary Clinton's Emails And A Fed Leak


Fri, Mar 13, 2015


This week, Iranian leaders got a letter, authored by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and signed by 46 other Republican Senators, in which a clear message was sent. That message? "No one should ever take the United States of America at their word." Why did this have to happen? We're joined by HuffPost national security reporter Jessica Schulberg to figure that out. Meanwhile, letters of an unseen, electronic variety are also in the news this week, as presumptive Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton spoke publicly for the first time about the email flap that's embroiled her nascent campaign. It's one big weird own-goal, and the soccer metaphors do not end there. Finally, someone at the Federal Reserve spilled a secret to wealthy investors. Someone else at the Federal Reserve tried to find out who that was. Then everyone found out that the Federal Reserve was trying to find this out. And Congress would like to know why they've not been apprised about any of this. Will this bolster those who say the Fed deserves greater scrutiny? Spoiler alert: yes.

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The Politics Page, Obamacare On Trial And Scott Walker’s Union Bust


Fri, Mar 06, 2015


This week, let's talk about you. What kind of stuff you like to read on this site, and how do we provide it when Congress takes off a day early to avoid a snow storm? Senior Politics Editor Paige Lavender explains.  Meanwhile, the Supreme Court took up a challenge to Obamacare. If you like your health insurance, will you get to keep it? We talked to health care reporter Jeff Young about how nine people in robes could become the Affordable Care Act's final death panel.  Finally, you might have heard that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) doesn't know whether President Barack Obama is a Christian, but did you know Walker dealt a major blow to labor unions this week? Labor reporter Dave Jamieson tells us all about it.

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Food Stamps, Obama And Warren Team Up And The Invisible 2016 Primary


Fri, Feb 27, 2015


This week, the Republican-led House Agriculture Committee began what they termed as a "top to bottom" review of the federal food stamp program. In a surprising twist, however, the Committee's new management struck a soft and empathetic tone towards a government program they'd previously demonized. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren are teaming up on a plan to bring more security to retirees by making it harder for fly-by-night financial advisors to screw their clients for their own personal gain. But why did dozens of Democrats sign a letter, opposing this idea? Finally, the 2016 invisible primary continues, and the big winner this week, we are told, is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. We'll explain why so many people are telling us that. We'll also remind you that it is February of 2015, because sometimes it seems we forget that.

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DHS Funding Fight, Jeb Bush And Elizabeth Warren’s Secret Meetings


Fri, Feb 20, 2015


This week, the fight over President Barack Obama's immigration policies returns to the halls of Congress, with opponents of the President's executive actions threatening to cease funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Is this a smart idea? Of course not. But we'll talk about it as if it might make sense to someone. Meanwhile, potential Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush went through the ancient campaign ritual of giving a foreign policy philosophy speech, to prove that he cares about foreign policy, and ancient rituals. Did you notice that Jeb Bush has the same last name as another president with a foreign policy? Because this was the week that every political reporter finally noticed this. Finally, Elizabeth Warren has been having what we are told are world-historical chit-chats with people like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. What do these meetings augur? Well, none of us were present at the meetings, so we'll do what media experts call "guessing."

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AUMF, Governors Behaving Badly And Media Shake-ups


Fri, Feb 13, 2015


This week, America's ongoing battle with ISIS reached a new stage, specifically that stage where the President asks Congress if its okay with them that he started an ongoing battle with ISIS. Meanwhile, closer to home we have governors behaving badly -- Sam Brownback wants gays to experience workplace discrimination. Scott Walker isn't sure he has the guts to talk about middle school science. And have you heard about all the nonsense that brought about the resignation of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber? Finally, famous media people are leaving their famous media jobs. But did they jump, or were they pushed?

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Vaccine Denialism, Obama's Budget And A Downton Abbey Scandal


Fri, Feb 06, 2015


This week, the early stages of the 2016 presidential election collided headlong with the phenomenon of vaccine denialism, with two candidates ending up in intensive care for foot-in-mouth disease. Meanwhile, the Obama budget is out, and from the looks of it, it seems the president wants to swing for the fences on infrastructure. early-childhood care, and increased federal spending. But did he notice that Congress is controlled by the GOP? Finally, this was a big week for Downton Abbey-inspired Congressional interior decoration scandals.

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Obama's Trade Deal, Koch Brothers Spending And The Super Bowl


Fri, Jan 30, 2015


This week, we learned that President Barack Obama is really upset with our coverage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. So he's not gonna like what we're about to do, which is talk about the fact that the one part of his agenda Congress might sign on to is the trade deal every liberal hates. Meanwhile, the Koch brothers announced they have budgeted a cool $889 million for the 2016 elections. To put it in perspective, if you stacked $889 million one by one on a table, we would knock you over the head and steal as much as we could. Finally, it's Super Bowl weekend. What time is the Super Bowl? We don't answer that question. But we do talk about all the hilarious goings-on from media week in Arizona.

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The State Of The Union, Middle Class Economics And Congressional Fodder


Fri, Jan 23, 2015


This week, President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State Of The Union Address before a joint session of Congress now completely controlled by his opposition. In that speech, the most newsworthy moment came when the President urged a focus on what he called "middle-class economics." The quick, hot take was that by doing so, Obama was opening a new round of combat with Republicans. Finally, once the pageantry of the State Of The Union had faded, Congress returned to their typical State Of Disarray.

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Mitt Romney, A Volcker Rule Delay and Paid Family Leave


Fri, Jan 16, 2015


This week, the 2016 race was roiled by the announcement that former GOP nominee and 2012 loser Mitt Romney was, against all logic, getting his band back together to mount yet another run for the White House. This has baffled everyone, including the Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel, who joins us to form a chorus of confused noises. Elsewhere, the past few weeks has seen the age-old battle between Wall Street and Main Street re-enjoined with American taxpayers facing the prospect of the Volcker Rule getting delayed. But the spines of the Democratic minority have suddenly stiffened. We'll talk about why with Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney. Finally, President Barack Obama is pitching a plan to reform paid family leave for Federal workers. We'll discuss the implications of the plan, and its potential to spur similar reforms elsewhere.

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Charlie Hebdo, The New Congress And Barbara Boxer


Sat, Jan 10, 2015


This week, radical militants from a pseudo-Islamic death cult murdered twelve members of the staff of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in their Paris office, ending any hope we had that 2015 would be a respite from 2014's garbage and misery. Meanwhile, the new year has ushered in a new Congress -- so far bringing us the same old stories: a leadership fight with John Boehner, a rift over budget policy, and the perennial question, "Can our government govern." Finally, the 2016 race is now officially underway, and right off the bar we have one of those silly, unserious rows between two rivals. Is there any chance that we might actually raise the bar in this election? L-O-L.

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Cuba Relations, North Korea's Sony Hack And The 2014 Year In Review


Fri, Dec 19, 2014


This week, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would make an effort to normalize relations with Cuba, ending a decade long policy of distance that had been surprisingly effective in doing nothing in particular. We'll talk about the new plan, and who is hopping mad about it. Meanwhile, a Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy has been cancelled, because North Korea apparently now dictates what movies we watch in our spare time? How did something so simple get so out of hand? And finally, we're taking a look back at 2014: a great year for garbage monsters. What are our least favorite things about the past year? Well, this is going to take a while.

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The CIA Torture Report, The CROMNIBUS And DC Weed


Sat, Dec 13, 2014


So That Happened, Episode 13: The CIA Torture Report Was A Chronicle Of Depravity And Incompetence This week, the Senate's report on CIA torture was released into the wild, and while the redactions were thick, it nevertheless read as a thoroughgoing chronicle of depravity and incompetence that will, at the very least, ruin hummus forever. National security reporter Ali Watkins is here to walk us through the report. Meanwhile, last week we introduced you to the CROMNIBUS -- the lame-duck budget bill that needed to be passed to keep the government working. This week, legislators got lathered up about a Wall Street poison pill that came along with the bill, leading to new fractures and strange alliances that could come to define the legislative fights ahead. And speaking of the CROMNIBUS, the bill also contained language that may scuttle the efforts of the District of Columbia to decriminalize weed. It's another blow to a group of Americans who have never had fair representation in Congress.

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Grand Jury Fallout, Ebola And The CROMNIBUS


Fri, Dec 05, 2014


This week, hard on the heels of the Ferguson grand jury decision, a grand jury in New York City returns no indictment on the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death on the streets of Staten Island. Can the cops be stopped before they kill again? Meanwhile, America's first brush with an Ebola outbreak has been resolved, but President Barack Obama wants to do more to prevent the next one. Will Congress come through, or has interest with Ebola faded now that it's no longer a sexy, midterm election issue? And finally, we would like to introduce a new work to your political lexicon: CROMNIBUS. We'll tell you what a cromnibus is, and how it could totally screw up your life.

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Immigration, Keystone XL And The CIA Torture Report


Sat, Nov 22, 2014


This week, after several months of "will-he-or-won't he" wonderings, President Barack Obama went ahead on his own and issued new executive actions to fill the space where a comprehensive immigration reform bill should be. We'll sort this out with HuffPost immigration reporter Elise Foley. Meanwhile, the Senate came one vote shy of approving the Keystone XL pipeline -- all because Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) got the notion that willing the pipeline into existence might rescue her all-but-doomed re-election prospects. HuffPost environmental reporter Kate Sheppard is here with her observations on this strange week in the life of the Keystone debate. Finally, have you heard about this CIA torture report? This long-awaited investigation of the troubled period in the War On Terror was supposed to be nearing its release. But that's now in doubt as legislators and the White House fight over redactions. We'll find out what secrets we can with HuffPost's national security reporter Ali Watkins.

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Net Neutrality And Obamacare Challenges


Sat, Nov 15, 2014


So, that happened: This week, President Barack Obama announced his full-throated support for "net neutrality," a term that basically means "don't let Comcast turn the Internet into a dystopian mess" -- unless you're Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and then you think it's "Obamacare for the Internet." Speaking of, this weekend marks the beginning of another period of Obamacare enrollment. Health care reporter Jeff Young joins the podcast to tell consumers -- old and new -- what they need to know about buying insurance from the health care exchanges. Finally, we'll talk about the latest threat to the Affordable Care Act: a daffy legal case that threatens to end the subsidies that Obamacare customers are using to -- you know -- continue staying alive.

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Dems Got Waxed In The 2014 Midterms


Wed, Nov 05, 2014


So that happened: And we mean this literally just happened. The 2014 midterm elections are in the books, and for the Democratic party, it was one big coast-to-coast Red Wedding. "Drinking and Talking" host Sam Stein joins the podcast to pick through the wreckage and answer some questions: What are the next two years going to be like? What can Democrats learn from this historic waxing? And can they manage to flip this script in 2016?

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2014 Election Edition


Sat, Nov 01, 2014


So that... is about to happen: Tuesday, November 4th is Election day, and we've enlisted Huff Post Pollster's own Mark Blumenthal to set the table. We'll talk about the marquee event of Election Night -- which party will end up control the Senate -- is shaping up. Mark will let us know whether and how the polls we've been paying attention to are wrong. Most importantly, we'll discuss the reasons why we may not actually know the results of the election by the time election night ends.

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