Trump vs the Fed, ‘Disloyal’ Jews, Flores Settlement, Buying Greenland, Planned Parenthood & Title X

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Jay and Mike kick off the show by discussing President Trump’s tweets in response to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. Jay says that the tweets, which led to an over 600 point drop in the stock market, take him close to a breaking point with President Trump. Mike points out that this is yet another indication that the presidency is not a job for amateurs and that Donald Trump is in over his head.

Next, they discuss Trump’s comments on the ‘disloyalty’ of American Jews who vote for Democrats. Both Mike and Jay agree that this is an attempt by Trump to gain more Jewish support by painting the Democratic Party as anti-Israel. Mike says that while there are some Democrats who oppose Israel, they no more represent the bulk of the Democratic Party than right-wing extremists represent the Republican Party as a whole. Jay says that Trump’s remarks were stupid, but not anti-Semitic. Mike isn’t entirely sure about that, but suggests that Trump may be too self-involved to be anti-semitic.

After that, the Guys talk about the Trump administration’s attempt to dissolve the Flores Settlement, which puts a 20-day cap on the time that undocumented minors can be detained. Neither Mike nor Jay believe that the judge overseeing the settlement will allow this, and while they have their ideas on how to improve the broken immigration system, they agree that nothing significant can happen without congressional action, which neither sees coming any time soon.

Next, Mike & Jay consider President Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. buy Greenland from Denmark. Mike agrees with the Danish PM’s view that Trump’s idea was absurd, and points out that leasing would probably be a better idea. He also says that the president’s inartful remarks make any potential deal that much more difficult. Jay is more open to the idea of buying Greenland, or at least the idea that an American president can openly discuss it.

The show closes with a discussion of Planned Parenthood’s decision to no longer receive Title X funding, due to a Trump administration regulation that disallows Title X recipients from referring patients to abortion providers. Mike doesn’t think this is exactly a gag rule, but he argues that it’s anti-speech and anti-choice, and hopes that the next administration reverses it. Jay feels that the state can reasonably restrict information about abortion because it’s something a large number of Americans view as morally wrong.

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Will & Brian Take Your Questions!

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On this episode, Will and Brian respond to listener questions. Topics covered include:

      • The lack of ideas being publicly announced from the Left and its impact on American politics today
      • Allegations of racism against Republicans and how it feels different today
      • The impact of media coverage of the Mueller investigation on the impact of his report
      • How senate majority leaders obstruct the legislative process—and whether we should keep accepting it
      • The direction of the Democratic and Republican parties in America today

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Epstein, Israel, Hickenlooper and the Dems, New Immigration Rules, and the American Dream

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Will and Brian kickoff this week’s episode by discussing the death of Jeffery Epstein, the fascination with Clinton conspiracy theories, and the potential need for prison reforms across the United States. Will posits that the Clintons seem to have really bad luck with their acquaintances and sudden deaths. He does, however, firmly believe Epstein’s death shows a drastic need for both transparency in autopsies and some degree of prison reform. Brian doesn’t buy the conspiracy argument, but he does believe the public fascination with conspiracies is telling of political society today. He also thinks prison reform is not likely in response despite the very public nature of problems today due to lack of attention for particular offenses.

Next, they turn to discuss Netanyahu’s decision to not allow Representatives Tlaib and Omar to enter Israel to visit the West Bank and Palestine. Will believe this is well within the nation’s rights given the obvious goal of the two to use the trip as a means for further protests, directly questioning Israel’s legitimacy. Brian points to the unusual actions of President Trump in suggesting they should not be permitted to enter and Netanyahu’s response. He also brings up the pressures faced by the two for not agreeing to sign the statement saying their visit wasn’t going to be politics. Will also points out how this decision could impact younger American Jews as they think about the nation of Israel.

Next, they turn to discuss the decision by John Hickenlooper to resign from the Democratic nomination battle to run for Senate and Beto O’Rourke’s defiance when asked to consider the same. Neither Will nor Brian believe either candidate had a chance of winning, but Will believes this may better reflect O’Rourke’s Vice-Presidential aspirations. Brian discusses how Hickenlooper ran his campaign and failed to distinguish himself. Moreover, he believes O’Rourke is clearly living in a delusional world after plateauing during the Cruz debate. They also discuss Joe Biden’s continual gaffes in recent weeks. Will believes this is tried and true Biden and will help him appear genuine. Brian, on the other hand, questions if this may be a reflection of Joe’s age and ultimate ability to win a contested primary.

Will and Brian then turn to discuss the Trump Administration’s new immigration rules, which limit the ability for individuals to receive visas for mailing to meet income standards or for receiving public assistance. He believes tradition should not dictate future direction, and that the president is exercising his legal and constitutional rights to do this. Brian agrees that Trump is within his rights and aiming to develop a self-reliant American citizenry. He does believe, however, that the public charge is being misapplied in this case given the data on who uses which policies. Brian believe this is symptomatic of a larger concern, however: the demise of the American Dream. He is concerned about what the image of America is today to the world and how it will impact our short- and long-term futures. As he posits, why are the companies using these workers not being punished, as well?

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Jennifer Rauch on Why Slow Media is Satisfying, Sustainable, and Smart

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Mike talks with Jennifer Rauch, Professor of Journalism and Communication Studies at Long Island University Brooklyn. Dr. Rauch is an award-winning writer, educator and researcher whose work focuses on alternative media, media activism and popular culture. Her latest book is Slow Media: Why ‘Slow’ Is Satisfying, Sustainable, and Smart.

Topics Mike and Jennifer discuss include:

  • Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death
  • Jennifer’s extended digital media retreat
  • the Slow Food movement’s influence on slow media
  • the best slow journalism being produced today
  • whether slow media is elitist
  • liberal bias in slow media
  • why Luddites get a bad rap
  • the politics of time

Check out Jennifer’s Slow Media Blog
Jennifer Rauch on Twitter

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Mass Shootings, China & Currency Manipulation, ICE Raid, Castro Tweets Trump Donors

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This week, Mike and Kristin discuss news of the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. As the nation sinks deeper into political divide, what transpired was a conversation about white nationalism, whether political parties are “responsible” for hate and tragedy. Mike thinks President Trump should be held accountable for his ramped-up rhetoric, while Kristin says that both parties must take responsibility for violent language. Kristin and Mike both bring up points about mental health and gun control, as well as Red Flag laws and assault weapons bans. They agree that they aren’t hopeful anything would transpire – but that we should work towards solutions. 

Next, they talk about the Treasury Department declaring China a currency manipulator. Mike thoroughly explains the terms and says that China may have manipulated currency in the past, but that recent devaluation of currency isn’t manipulation. Kristin brings up the fact that all nations engage in currency devaluation, and mentions President Trump’s increased tariffs on Chinese goods. Both Mike and Kristin maintain a “wait and see approach” – will the tariffs work to level the trade playing field, or will this declaration lead to a trade war? Time will tell. 

Mike and Kristin often find themselves discussing immigration law, and this week is no exception. After ICE officials raided seven plants in MS and arrested 680 undocumented workers, both agree that the system is broken. Mike remains skeptical that anything will be done, citing powerful business interests. He also argues that businesses are often put in positions where they are forced to hire undocumented workers, who are then mistreated and separated from their families. Kristin agrees and both say that there must be a middle ground, an easier pathway for obtaining work visas or citizenship. Kristin argues this would help everyone – the government could vet immigrants and account for them, and the workers would be kept with families and they would have recourse for payment disputes and unsafe working conditions. 

Finally, they move to the topic of Rep. Joaquin Castro’s alleged “doxxing” of Trump donors and their businesses in his district. Was it an effort to be transparent, or was it “dog-whistling”? Mike thinks that Republican critics are being overly sensitive, and mentions that this information is public record and easily found. Kristin brings up motive and the fact that these donors and their employees are constituents, but Mike argues that the tweet won’t affect businesses much. They discuss connections Castro made between the El Paso shooter and Trump donors. 

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David Hawkings and The Fulcrum

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Trey welcomes David Hawkings to the show to discuss his latest media project The Fulcrum.

Topics discussed include:

  • What is the current fundamental problem or problems in the American system?
  • Why do we need a news outlet like The Fulcrum?
  • What makes The Fulcrum different?
  • The problems with Congress.
  • The problems with Congressional transparency.

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The Democratic Debates, The Fed, Trade Wars Continued, the Director of National Intelligence

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Trey and Mike begin the show by discussing the Democratic primary debates. Mike outlines his rubric for picking the best candidate, listen to find out who, and then rank orders the options. Trey, an outsider to the party, argues that Democrats are not running strongly enough against a powerful presidency and are unfortunately embracing the trade policies of President Trump with better packaging.

Next, they talk the federal interest rate cut, the first since 2008. Mike argues this is more of the same erratic behavior predictable of the Trump era and, further, limits the tools the Fed has to deal with a real crisis. Mike’s economic data is found here. Trey suggests Powell is bowing to political pressure and that this is precisely the problem with the current Fed. He also doesn’t understand how, even if you agree with Keynesianism the rate cut is a bad idea.

After that, Trey and Mike move to the related topic of Chinese tariffs. Mike is in large agreement with the underlying goals of the Trump administration, but concerned that they are not using the best tools to get Chinese compliance on issues including intellectual property rights. Trey sees the consumer fallout as being a potential electoral question in the 2020 presidential election.

The show closes by discussing the drama surrounding the exit of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the withdraw from consideration of Congressman John Ratcliffe.

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