National Emergency(?), Public Lands Bill, Amazon Cancels NY HQ2

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Mike and Kristin open this week’s show with President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to fund border wall construction. Mike argues that there’s no real emergency in the first place, though Kristin doesn’t quite agree. They go on to consider whether or not the president’s declaration will hold up in court (probably) and if he’ll then have the legal authority to build a wall (maybe not). Mike and Kristin agree that Trump did this not necessarily because he cares about a wall, but because he wants to keep his base happy – a strategy Mike thinks might end up working to Democrats’ advantage in 2020.

Next is a look at a major public lands bill that passed the Senate with a huge bipartisan majority and is set to sail through the House and be signed into law by President Trump, who’s signaled his approval. How did it happen? Largely because there was something for everyone in the bill. Mike says we could have more positive-sum outcomes like this if Congress brought back earmarks, which were banned in 2011. Kristin is concerned about both waste, and the potential for corruption from earmarks, but agrees that they’re a very useful legislative lubricant.

Finally, Mike and Kristin discuss Amazon’s decision to not build a second HQ in Long Island City, New York after pressure from area activists. Mike sees this as a good thing, argues that Amazon should have engaged with the community from the beginning, and claims that the entire HQ2 competition exemplifies the disaster of ‘race to the bottom’ corporate giveaways by state and local governments. Kristin feels that Amazon’s decision is a loss to New York, in that the tax subsidies would have more than been made up for in long-term economic growth.

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Venezuela, 2020 Candidates, and Anarcho-Communism

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This week, Will is again joined by self-described anacrcho-communist Zach to discuss the latest in American political happenings.

Will and Zach begin by examining the current situation in Venezuela. Zach is clear to discuss how the United States has negatively impacted Central and South America historically through coups and interference. He worries that we are doing the same again, in a nation with relatively high standards of living and development. Will, on the other hand, believe the National Assembly democratically created a power vacuum, and the United States is helping to ensire the people’s voices are heard.

Next, Will and Zach discuss the 2020 nominees. While Zach supports Bernie Sanders, he does wish that someone younger was carrying the mantle for progressive causes. He also finds himself aligned with Elizabeth Warren but does not believe her chances of victory are strong. Will says he likes Cory Booker out of the group, but that it’s likely none of the current candidates can survive the long process. Will and Zach both agree Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are not where these decisions should be starting, however.

The show closes with Will posing listener questions to Zach about his self-proclaimed ideology.

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State of the Union, Green New Deal, State of Virginia, Abortion Stay, and Trump Investigation Updates

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This week, Will is joined by self-described anacrcho-communist Zach to discuss the latest in American political happenings.

Will and Zach begin by examining the State of the Union Address. While both believe the entire occurrence is little more than a facade, Will believes this was a better moment for Trump than Zach. Both, however, agree that Democrats missed an opportunity by using Stace Abrams to respond.

Next is a discussion of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Zach believes the steps within the proposal are necessary to move the country forward and acknowledges there will be sacrifices made to ensure the future of the environment. Will, on the other hand, finds mentioning of eliminating air travel and cows to be counterproductive and nothing more than a dream. While both have issues with Nancy Pelosi, Will does note how uncomfortable he is regarding his apparent alignment with Pelosi regarding the chances of this legislation ever coming to fruition. Both Will and Zach believe many politicians may be paying lipservice in support of the bill while not fully backing its provisions.

Zach and Will then turn to discuss the current happenings in Virginia. Between blackface and sexual harrassment, there are questions abound with the executive team and its future. Both are confused by Northam’s change of story, along with why the Secretary of State has volunteered his past actions. Yet, both are also concerned about the alelgations against the Lieutenant Governor and whether a resignation would be over-reacting to the allegations at this point.

Then they move to the Supreme Court decision to stay Louisiana’s enactment of new law with Chief Justice Roberts casting the deciding vote. While Zach does not feel abotion is a political issue, Will is more concerned about what is decided on this case come October. If women’s health is going to be used as an argument, there are merits to requiring credentials with local facilities. Zach suggests mandating all hospitals offer abortions, which Will believed would lead to a seismic shift in the medical landscape.

The show closes with a brief discussion of the latest updates into House investigations of President Trump. Zach believes this is an issue of paramount importances while Will just wonders why we keep focusing on this area instead of more closely looking at what Trump has done since taking office.

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News Recommendations, Privacy Legislation, Experience as a Handicap, Demographic Representation, Cohen’s Ethics, Politics Guys Bingo

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In this listener comment show, Mike & Jay discuss:

  • their recommendations for daily news updates
  • pros and cons of privacy legislation
  • if experience hurts presidential candidates
  • basing representation on demographics, not geography
  • Michael Cohen and legal ethics
  • a ‘Politics Guys Bingo’ game

If you haven’t take the short (two-question) Politics Guys Listener Survey, please do. It will really help us out!

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Building a Wall, Trump vs. Intel Chiefs, INF Treaty Withdrawal, Afghanistan Pullout, Pressing Maduro in Venezuela

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This week, Jay takes charge of the show, starting things off with a discussion of the ongoing budget negotiations and President Trump’s authority to declare a national emergency and use the military to build a wall.

Next is a look at President Trump’s seeming disagreement with his intelligence agency chiefs about the greatest threats to the United States. Jay points out that Trump shouldn’t have bought into the media’s sensationalist rendition of events and that, as usual, Trump tweeted precipitously. Mike says that we should focus on the substantive point made by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats: Russian and China are the main threats, and at present they’re working more closely together than they have been at any point since the 1950s.

Then they move to the INF Treaty, which the Trump Administration announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from, citing persistent and blatant Russian non-compliance. While Jay is sorry to see the INF Treaty go (he wrote a killer paper on it back in his college days), he and Mike believe that at some point the U.S. has to call Russia to account for its actions in violation of the treaty.

After that, the Guys discuss the potential withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. They agree that this would essentially give the Taliban a victory and make the world less safe. Mike mentions that he’s largely abandoned his former ‘go big or go home’ approach to U.S. military presence abroad, recognizing that we may have to keep small but significant forces in many places around the world on a permanent basis.

The show closes with analysis of the U.S. move to recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, freeze Venezuela’s assets in the U.S., and call on that country’s military to back Guaido over incumbent president Nicolas Maduro. Both Mike and Jay agree that this was the right move, though Mike points out that some on the left are right to be at least somewhat hesitant, given the less than honorable history of U.S. intervention in Latin America.

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The National Emergencies Act is not a Blank Check (Take Care Blog)

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Civil War, Thinking Critically, Federalizing Elections, and Nominations

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This week Trey and Ken tackle a number of listener questions including:
* Can we avert civil war?
* How can I think critically?
* Is failing to federalize elections voter suppression?
* How would The Politics Guys fix the nomination process?

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Roger Stone, Covington Catholic, Giuliani, and the Shutdown

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This week Trey is joined by Ken. In a surprise ending Trey and Ken deeply disagree! Before that the pair look at a potential hidden sentence in the inditement of Roger Stone. Then they turn to the Covington Catholic so-called smirk, focusing more on the complexities of social networking combined with constant recording making non-news events seemingly news worthy. Next Trey and Ken turn their attention to Giuliani and ask if there might not be a coherent strategy to his seemingly unending number of statement walk backs. Finally the pair end on a heavy bit of discord as the two disagree over not only the blame of the shutdown, but the normative and ethical requirements of budgets for an exciting show close!

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Aquinas and the Market: Theologian & Economist Mary Hirschfeld on a Humane Economy

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Mike talks with theologian and economist Mary Hirschfeld about her book Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy. Professor Hirschfeld started her career as an economist, getting her Ph.D. from Harvard and then working and teaching in the field for the next 15 years. She then made a fascinating career change, going back to graduate school and earning a doctorate in theology from Notre Dame. She’s currently an Associate Professor of Economics and Theology at Villanova University.

Topics Mike and Professor Hirschfeld discuss include:

  • what theology can bring to a discussion of economics
  • what Thomas Aquinas – a medieval Dominican friar – can contribute to our understanding of 21st century economics
  • why economics isn’t as value-neutral as many people think
  • money, desire, and happiness
  • ‘maximizing your utility’ vs. ‘ordering your life’
  • why private property is a good thing
  • inequality and economic justice

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Shutdown, Barr Confirmation, Citizenship on Census, Gillibrand Announces

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This week, Mike is joined by Republican policy analyst (and podcaster) Kristin Matheny. Mike and Kristin start things off by talking about the continuing government shutdown, including what it’s costing, the back-and-forth between Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell’s role, and how (and when) they think it will all end.

After that, they discuss the Senate hearings to confirm William Barr as Attorney General. Mike thinks liberals should be suspicious of President Trump’s pick, especially considering that Barr would be in charge when Robert Mueller wraps up his investigation. Kristen, who’s on board with far more of Barr’s policy views than Mike is, agrees that it’s reasonable for liberals to have at least some suspicions.

Next, Mike and Kristen consider whether there should be a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, as well as whether or not Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross broke with legal requirements in attempting to include the question. Kristen isn’t as convinced as Mike is on the potential damage from including a citizenship question, but she agrees that there are some major issues in how Ross attempted to insert the question.

The show closes with a discussion of New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who this week announced her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Mike calls Gillibrand ‘Hillary Clinton 2.0’ and argues that she’d be a bad choice on multiple levels. Kristen agrees, and says that Gillibrand is vulnerable in a number of areas, and isn’t very likely to win the nomination.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or  politicsguys.com/support.

Revamping the Constitution

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Mike is joined by Beth Silvers from the Pantsuit Politics podcast to talk about some ideas he has for changing the U.S. Constitution. They discuss:

  • Doubling the size of Congress
  • Semi-proportional representation in the Senate
  • Eliminating the Electoral College
  • Mandatory voting
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Mandatory national service
  • 20 year term limits for federal judges (including the Supreme Court)

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.