Impeachment, Iowa Apps, Barr’s Memo, SOTU

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This week Trey and Ken are joined by Mike and the three begin the show by discussing the final impeachment vote. Ken notes the historic nature of Romney as the first to ever cross party lines for an impeachment vote. Trey argues that Romney is the consistent conservative and both the Republicans and Democratic parties have shifted around him. Mike and Ken counter that Republicans are the party that has far more profoundly shifted. Ken is not surprised, but disappointed, that President Trump was not found guilty. Mike, although he believes President Trump to be guilty, does not agree the President should have been found guilty. For Mike the penalty did not fit the crime.

Next the trio turn to Iowa and the procedural mess that resulted from the use of a new app. All three agree that it might mean the end of Iowa as the first in the nation status. While there are downsides to that, all agree this is generally a positive development if it occurs. The three also address what, if anything, the results mean to an ultimate winner. Ken sticks by his assessment earlier last year that Joe Biden would fade early and never recover. Mike continues to disagree and argues that, while Biden will fade, he has enough momentum to win the nomination.

Then the three turn their attention to Attorney General Barr’s three page memo outlining new rules for investigations of political figures. Specifically the memo gives the Attorney General the power to determine which, if any, political investigations can be undertaken. Ken and Mike generally agree this is evidence of further corruption on the part of the Trump administration. Trey counters that it is perfectly consistent with presidential power to make the determination political and that Ken and Mike would not find it an abuse of power if it was someone other that Barr at the helm.

Finally the trio discuss the State of the Union Address. Here the focus is on the images of the handshake denied and Pelosi’s ripping up of the address itself. Trey worries that these “memeable” moments are all that matters. Further that political communication is primarily about effectively creating such images. Mike agrees to a degree, but Ken doesn’t think such discourse ultimately effects real political outcomes.

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Trump’s Acquittal, FISA, Progressive Prospects, Political Principles, Christians for Trump, News Sources

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In this episode, Mike & Kristin address listener questions on:

  • the ramifications of President Trump’s acquittal in the Senate
  • how those who abused the FISA warrant process should be held to account
  • prospects and strategies for progressives
  • our dominant political principles
  • why many evangelical Christians are enthusiastic Trump supporters
  • what our main political news sources are, and why we’ve chosen them

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An Impeachment Trial Without Witnesses, Iowa Caucuses, The ‘Stop Bernie’ Movement

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This week, Mike and Kristin cover the latest news regarding the impeachment trial. In an effort to cover different items and fuel different discussions than those all over mainstream news , they both lay out their personal highlights of the week. Mike brings up Alan Dershowitz’s odd defense of the President and the backlash he faced, while Kristin discusses some of the procedural shortcomings of Democratic lawmakers. They agree that the President will likely be acquitted on Wednesday, on the true nature of “impeachment” as laid out by the Founding Fathers, and that it’s apparent that both sides seem to have surrendered to partisan pandering.

Mike and Kristin also discuss the Iowa Caucuses, which are just days away. Mike weighs in on the “Stop Bernie” movement, saying that he doesn’t think it has risen to the level of a “movement” yet. He also predicts that Sanders and Biden will emerge the frontrunners in Iowa, but that there is growing doubt, once again, that Sanders would be a formidable opponent to Trump in November – an argument he deems valid. Kristin agrees, and makes the point that the Iowa Caucuses are more about momentum than anything else, which Sanders has. They also discuss the low likelihood that “purple” states and swing states would move to support a Sanders nomination and how this could impact other elections later this year.

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Purity, Socialism, Supporting the Troops, Polarization, Education, Parties, Bernie v Trump, the Judiciary

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In this episode, Mike & Jay respond to listener comments on:

  • political purity tests
  • fear of socialism
  • supporting the troops
  • fixing polarization
  • grading public education
  • problems with political parties
  • Bernie debating Trump
  • the power of the judiciary

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Trump’s Trial, Religious Funding, Faithless Electors

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This week’s show opens with Mike & Jay discussing the Senate trial of President Trump. They both agree that the president did something, but while Mike thinks that something is criminal activity worthy of impeachment and removal, Jay doesn’t believe it rises to that level. Along the way, Mike suggests that President Trump is like a monkey in a museum and Mitch McConnell is the Senate’s Bill Belichick.

Next, the Guys look at Montana v Espinoza, a case the Supreme Court heard this week involving an indirect state subsidy to religious schools. They agree that Montana’s Supreme Court overreached in invalidating the program, a program that Jay feels is good public policy and that Mike thinks hurts public schools.

After that is the issue of faithless electors, which the Supreme Court will be ruling on prior to the 2020 presidential election. The issue is whether or not states can bind their electors to vote a certain way. Both Mike and Jay argue that electors are free to vote as they wish. Mike goes further and makes a case for replacing electors with either a national popular vote (his ideal) or a system of split electoral votes like Maine and Nebraska currently employ.

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Economist Bryan Caplan on Open Borders

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Mike talks with Bryan Caplan, a Professor of Economics at George Mason University and a blogger for EconLog. Professor Caplan is the author of multiple books, including two he and I have previously discussed on the show – The Myth of the Rational Voter, and The Case Against Education. On this episode, they discussing Bryan’s latest book, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration.

Topics Mike & Bryan discuss include:

  • ‘a world of global apartheid’
  • immigration and economic inequality
  • the moral presumption in favor of immigration
  • why Nobel Laureate Milton Freedom was wrong about immigration
  • how open borders could easily double world GDP
  • the cultural effects of open borders
  • immigration, crime, and terrorism
  • the partisan political calculus of immigration policy
  • open borders and global brain drain
  • a Burkean approach to immigration
  • and lots more!

Bryan Caplan on Twitter

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Senate Trial, Lev Parnas, USMCA, Warren v Sanders, iPhone Hacking

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This week Trey and Ken start by tackling the weeks biggest issue: the Senate trial of President Donald Trump. The biggest focus for the hosts is the ongoing question concerning witnesses. Ken is reluctant to make a prediction, but Trey suggests there will be witnesses.

This leads the pair to Lev Parnas and the peculiar nature of Trump witnesses. It also leads to speculation on Ken’s part about the differences between a political trial and a civil trial. Specifically how in a political trial witnesses do not have to necessarily be relevant.

After this Trey brings up the quick passage of the USMCA and reminds Ken this is one of the few times he was wrong. The trade deal passed with bipartisan support. The pair discuss the few holdouts, most specifically Senator Sanders. His refusal to support the deal was a weakness in Trey’s view.

The topic of Sanders led to the next item: the Democratic debates. Here the topic of the issue of sexism between Sanders and Warren was discussed. Trey also suggested Sanders is not the best representation of his party.

Finally Trey and Ken tackled the new push for backdoors in cellphones, specifically the iPhone from Attorney General Barr and President Trump.

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Free Music Archive Love the Government.

Richard Robb on Choice in Economics, Politics, and Life

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Mike talks with Richard Robb, a professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University and CEO of the investment firm Christofferson, Robb & Company, which he co-founded in 2001. They discuss his recent book Willful: How We Choose What We Do.

After the interview, Kristin joins Mike for a conservative perspective.

Topics Richard and Mike cover include:

  • the rational choice paradigm
  • behavioral economics
  • purposeful, ‘for itself’ action
  • how and why we pick beliefs that appeal to us
  • the four-step process of belief formulation
  • Pareto efficiency and public policy
  • if policymakers have enough skin in the game
  • choosing over time
  • the critical need for authentic challenges with real stakes and uncertain outcomes

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Iran Confrontation, Senate Impeachment Trial, Three Years of Trump

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This week, Mike and Kristin take on the confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, discuss what our clear policy goals should be regarding Iran, and whether those goals are feasible. Both agree that heading into a full-fledged war is a terrible idea, but while Mike argues that Trump’s pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was disastrous, Kristin brings up that nothing before or since Trump has worked to create a stable Iran without nuclear capability and that the process needs to be rethought entirely. Mike also unpacks the House vote to force the President to come to Congress for authorization for future military action, and Kristin weighs in on Rep. Matt Gaetz’s point that Congress should have “skin in the game” when it comes to conflict and war.

Next, Kristin and Mike discuss the latest in the Senate impeachment trial saga. For just over three weeks, the Articles of Impeachment have been stalled. Mike gives Speaker Nancy Pelosi credit for her “gamesmanship”, arguing that this was a strategy to compile more witnesses, obtain more documents, and so on. They disagree on whether potential testimony from Joe Biden was a factor in Speaker Pelosi’s delay. Kristin believes that the maneuver was more political than strategic, but agrees with Mike that a fast timeline or a quick motion to dismiss aren’t in good form – on principle and in terms of politics.

Finally, Mike reminisces over the past three years since Trump’s inauguration – what he’s learned, what has changed for him, and he presents some interesting ideas that are in line with a desire to curb executive power. Kristin and Mike discuss whether political bias plays a role in this desire to curb executive power (spoiler alert: they agree that it definitely does).

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Binyamin Appelbaum on The Economists’ Hour

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Mike talks with Binyamin Appelbaum, who writes about economics and business for the editorial page of the New York Times. From 2010 – 2019 he was a Washington correspondent for the Times, covering economic policy in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. They discuss his recently released book: The Economists’ Hour.

After the interview, Jay joins Mike to provide a conservative perspective.

Topics Mike & Binyamin discuss include:

  • why markets are wonderful
  • Keynesianism, monetarism, and supply side economics
  • the massive influence of Milton Friedman
  • fine-tuning the economic machine
  • balancing unemployment and inflation
  • the shifting value of a human life
  • why we shouldn’t reinstate 20th century financial regulations
  • President Trump’s ‘turtle shell nationalism’
  • defending Alan Greenspan
  • and lots more!

Binyamin Appelbaum’s NYT Columns

Binyamin Appelbaum on Twitter

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