Russian Invades Ukraine, Biden’s Nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson, 1st Amendment vs LGBTQ+ Anti-Discrimination

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Mike & Jay are joined by Trey on this episode of the podcast, which starts off with an extended discussion of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The guys get into likely outcomes, Putin’s strategic savvy, the ineffectiveness of sanctions, democratic vs authoritarian regimes, prospects for energy policy in Europe, the GOP split in reactions to Putin and Russia, how Russia’s actions might affect China’s view of a Taiwan, and a lot more.

Then it’s a look at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Nobody is surprised by Biden’s choice, and the guys expect Jackson to be confirmed on a narrow, mostly party line vote. Jay suggests that a more consensus-building nominee might have been shortlisted candidate J. Michelle Childs, though Mike argues that we’re in an age where almost no conceivable Supreme Court nominee would be confirmed with any significant bipartisan support.

After that is a discussion of the Supreme Court’s announcement that it will be hearing 303 Creative v. Elenis, in which a Christian website designer argues that Colorado’s LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination law violates her 1st amendment free expression and free exercise of religion rights. The Court declined to consider the religious freedom implications, but Jay, Mike, and Trey all agree that a majority of the Justices are likely to see that law as unconstitutionally compelling speech.

Next, they talk about why a Democratic House member would want to deliver a response to Democrat Joe Biden’s upcoming State of the Union Address, as Michigan Representative and “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib plans to do for the progressive group Working Families Party. Following that, they discuss the launch of Donald Trump’s Truth Social app, as well as a federal court ruling that pits deference to administrative regulations against the Court’s role in determining the meaning of major legal questions.

Mike’s Recommendations
The Hitman’s Bodyguard & The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Trey’s Recommendations
The Constitution, An Introduction.  Michael Stokes Paulsen and Luke Paulsen

The Least of Us, Part II (video game)

Jay’s Recommendations
The NRPLUS Facebook Group

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. Ben Macintyre

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Economist Bryan Caplan: Labor Econ vs The World

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Mike talks with Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and a prolific and always interesting blogger for Econlog. He’s the author of multiple books, three of which Bryan and Mike have discussed on previous episodes: The Myth of the Rational Voter (interview), The Case Against Education (interview), and Open Borders (interview). Today they discuss Bryan’s latest book Labor Econ vs The World: Essays on the World’s Greatest Market.  

Topics Mike & Bryan discuss include:
– what labor economics is and why it stands against the world
– if politicians are irrational and wrong or rational and deceptive
– the problems with almost all government regulations
– how the minimum wage hurts workers (and everyone else)
– the largely illusory gender and race pay gap
– the questionable value of higher education (for most people)
– why open borders would be a good thing for America (and the world)

CBO Interactive Minimum Wage Modeling Tool

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Russia, DOJ Sues MO, TX Sues CDC, Durham Probe, Kids Online Safety, Politics & Culture

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Mike & Jay kick off the show with a look at what seems to be the “it’s only a matter of time” Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jay thinks that the Biden administration’s approach has been very good to this point, while Mike attempts to present the non-interventionist, “America First” case for staying out of Russia’s (and possibly China’s) spheres of influence.

Then it’s on to two lawsuits – the first being the Department of Justice’s suit against Missouri’s “Second Amendment Protection Act” and the second Texas’s suit against the CDC for the federal travel hub mask mandate. Mike & Jay agree that Missouri doesn’t get to nullify federal law, and that their law is almost certain to fall. They think Texas may have a stronger case on the mask mandate, but that it’s important to separate what may be good public policy from what’s within the power of a government agency to do absent specific congressional authorization.

Following that, they look at a pretrial motion filed by Special Counsel John Durham in his investigation of the federal government’s investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 elections. They agree that the allegations are serious, but that it’s easy to reach bad conclusions so early in the process.

The show winds up with discussion of “prestige television”, class, and politics followed by an appreciation of the late P. J. O’Rourke, and then some thoughts on ballot harvesting.

Jay’s Recommendation
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. Gordon Wood

Mike’s Recommendations
A Mencken Chrestomathy and Notes on Democracy. H. L. Mencken
The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt

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Alabama & the Voting Rights Act, National Archives vs Trump, Ending Congressional Stock Trading, the Open App Markets Act, Trucker Protests, Republican Party Identification Shifts

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In this episode Emily Smith of Oklahoma Christian University joins Ken & Trey. The trio begin by looking at the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow Alabama redistricting maps to remain, despite a potential conflict with the Voting Rights Act.

Following this the trio talk Trump and his 15 boxes of documents retrieved by the National Archives and Records Administration. Trey focuses on the growing power of the modern presidency and the seeming inability of other branches of government to check it. Ken thinks that there are checks, they just have not been effectively used.

Next the trio look at the recent bipartisan push to end individual stock trading for members of Congress or their immediate family. Ken argues it ought to be expanded to the court where there is more evidence of harm. Trey looks at the evidence of success in the stock market for those in Congress.

Then the trio turn to the Open Apps Market Act. Ken is fully in support of the motion, but is surprised by the Republican support. Emily wonders what it may do to increase disability software for mobile platforms. Trey is supportive of opening devices to more app stores, but not of forcing how those app stores to adhere to particular rules.

Following that topic they turn their attention to the northern border and the Canadian trucker protests. All three discuss what these larger protests mean and if there isn’t an end to COVID restrictions in sight for no other reason than an ability to convince more people to get vaccinated.

Last comes a conversation on the growing number of individuals in the U.S. who identify as Republican. Trey points out that the conventional wisdom from the left was wrong, demographics do not necessarily favor Democrats. Ken focuses on border communities and what might explain their shift. Emily suggests that the religious conviction of certain demographic groups may incline them towards Republicans.

Ken’s Recommendations

Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown That Shaped the Modern World by Giles Milton

Emily’s Recommendations

A Kind of Spark & Show Us Who You Are & Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll

Trey’s Recommendations

The Cult of the Presidency by Gene Healy & Swan Song (2021)

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Russia & Ukraine, Trump & The GOP, Ginni Thomas & Judicial Recusal, Brian Flores Sues NFL, Joe Rogan

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Mike & Jay start off this week’s episode with a look at the latest developments in the no longer “immanent” Russian invasion of Ukraine (at least not according to the White House). That’s followed by discussion of Donald Trump’s comments on the Electoral Count Act, pardons for those involved in the January 6th Capitol rioting, and the Republican National Committee’s censure of Republican House members Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney.

Following that is a discussion of judicial recusal and whether Justice Clarence Thomas should be hearing cases involving the House January 6th Commission, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL and its larger societal implications, and whether Joe Rogan should be reined in or even censored for giving a platform to people advancing questionable information concerning COVID-19.

Jay’s Recommendations
Nightmare Alley (1947) & Nightmare Alley (2021)

Mike’s Recommendation
Napoleon’s Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand. David Lawday

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Economist Glenn Hubbard: The Wall And The Bridge

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Mike talks with Glenn Hubbard, the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics at the Columbia Business School. Professor Hubbard is the author of a number of highly regarded economics texts and he’s also served as the chairman of the US Council of Economic Advisers from 2001 through 2003. His latest book, and the topic of this conversation, is The Wall and the Bridge: Fear and Opportunity in Disruption’s Wake.

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