Ran Levi on Hacking, Cybersecurity, and Ransomware

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Mike talks with Ran Levi, author of Battle of Minds: The History of Computer Malware and host of the Malicious Life podcast, which explores the people and the stories behind the cyber security industry and its evolution.

Mike and Ran discuss Russian hacking into Democratic and Republican systems, potential hacking into state election systems, why paper ballots are a really good idea, the cybersecurity threat posed by Russia, North Korea, and terrorist organizations, the most common vulnerabilities and what governments aren’t doing to protect themselves, and more.

Ran Levi on Twitter

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Kurt Andersen on Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire

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Mike talks with journalist and best-selling author Kurt Andersen about his most recent book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History.

Mike and Kurt discuss America’s founding by ‘a nutty religious cult’, the long history of American pseudo-empiricism, the dynamic equilibrium between fantasists and realists that made American great, how the fantasists ended up in the driver’s seat, ways in which the 1960s empowered the modern right, Donald Trump as a 21st century P.T. Barnum, and lots more.

Kurt Andersen on Twitter.

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Sheila Tate on First Lady Nancy Reagan

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Mike talks with Sheila Tate, who served as press secretary to First Lady Nancy Reagan from 1981 to 1985. After leaving the White House staff, she co-founded the Washington D.C. public relations firm Powell Tate. She served as press secretary to George H. W. Bush during his successful campaign for the presidency in 1988, as well as for his transition. Sheila remained in close touch with Nancy Reagan after the Reagans returned to California, speaking with her often until Mrs. Reagan’s passing in 2016. Ms. Tate is the author of the recently released book The Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan.

Mike and Sheila discuss what First Ladies do, what Nancy Reagan was like, the role she played in the Reagan presidency, the ‘Just Say No’ anti-drug campaign, her ‘Dragon Lady’ reputation, what people most commonly get wrong about Nancy Reagan, and lots more.

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Economist Tyler Cowen on The Complacent Class

Mike talks with economist Tyler Cowen. In addition to being a professor of Economics at George Mason University, Dr. Cowen blogs at Marginal Revolution, hosts the ‘Conversations with Tyler‘ podcast, is a regular contributor at Bloomberg View, and is the author of a number of books, including The Great Stagnation, An Economist Gets Lunch, Average is Over  and The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream, which recently came out in paperback.

Mike and Tyler discuss how the United States got so complacent, the rise of segregation, monopolies and anti-trust regulation, ‘matching’ and inequality, why Americans don’t riot like they used to, Brazil as the best comparison country to the United States, Donald Trump’s ‘placebo presidency’, if the future belongs to China, and lots more.

Tyler Cowen on Twitter 

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Danielle McDonald on Barriers to Justice

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Mike talks to Dr. Danielle McDonald, a criminal justice professor at Northern Kentucky University about her book Race, Gender, Class, and Criminal Justice: Examining Barriers to Justice.

Mike and Danielle discuss racial profiling, the militarization of law enforcement, problems with public defenders, racial sentencing disparities, and capital punishment.

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Jacob Hacker on What We’ve Forgotten About Growth & Prosperity

Mike talks with Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker about his work on economic growth, insecurity, and inequality. Dr. Hacker’s books include The Great Risk Shift,Winner-Take-All Politics, and, most recently, American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.

Mike and Dr. Hacker discuss what we’ve forgotten about shared economic growth, why the United States is lagging in so many areas where it once was a world leader, if we’re too nostalgic for a past that can’t be recreated, the effects technological change and globalization have had on American prosperity, how we can move to a positive-sum economic future, why Donald Trump is an unexpected opportunity for progressives, and lots more.

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Bryan Caplan on The Case Against Education

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Mike welcomes George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan back to the show to talk about his latest book, The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money.

In this episode, Mike and Dr. Caplan discuss the myths that people believe about the value of a college education, if college teaches people job-relevant skills (mostly no), if it teaches them ‘how to think’ (not as far as we can measure), if it’s an economically smart move for the student (not in as many cases as you might think), and if having a lot of well-educated people benefits society in any measurable way (I bet you can guess the answer at this point).

In spite of the depressing (at least to Mike) and impressive amount of data and analysis Dr. Caplan brings to bear, Mike makes a game attempt to salvage some meaning and value for his life’s work.

Follow Bryan Caplan on Twitter

Bryan Caplan’s previous Politics Guys appearance (where he and Mike discussed The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies)

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What We’ve Learned About Fake News

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Mike talks with Jason Reifler, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, about his research into fake news. They discuss Dr. Reifler’s recent paper on the topic (‘Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign‘), whether fact checking helps combat fake news, if this is a Trump-specific phenomena or part of a broader and even more disturbing trend, and lots more.

Follow Jason Reifler on Twitter

Episode Links
Politifact
Factcheck.org
Snopes
Craig Silverman

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Reforming an Unresponsive Political System

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Mike talks with Jim Jonas, a founding director of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers and co-founder of Colorado Independent Voters. Jim is an experienced political, public affairs and corporate communication consultant based in Denver, Colorado. For the last decade he’s helped create and manage a wide variety of entrepreneurial, disruptive political organizations and campaigns to promote independent/nonpartisan causes and candidates. He was a co-founder of Unity ’08, a consultant to Americans Elect, and the campaign manager to Greg Orman’s independent campaign for the US Senate in Kansas in 2014. Jim got his start in politics writing and producing political media for consulting legend Roger Ailes in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC. He also served as Senator Lamar Alexander’s communications director for his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 1996.

Mike and Jim discuss whether political elites have too much power, the barriers both major parties have set up to reform, how reform can happen, and what listeners can do to help the cause of nonpartisan reform.

Jim Jonas on Twitter

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The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution

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Mike talks with Ganesh Sitaraman, a professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He’s a longtime advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren, serving as her policy director and senior counsel. Professor Sitaraman has commented on foreign and domestic policy in The New York Times, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, and The Christian Science Monitor and is the author of The Counterinsurgent’s Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars, which won the 2013 Palmer Civil Liberties Prize and, most recently, The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution: Why Income Inequality Threatens Our Republic.

In this episode, Mike and Professor Sitaraman discuss ‘class warfare’ vs ‘middle class’ constitutions, the radicalism of the Founders, why income inequality wasn’t a big problem in 18th century America, the reasons for increased economic inequality over the past 40 years, and lots more!

Ganesh Sitaraman on Twitter

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