Independence Day, COVID Masks, Russian Bounties, Abortion Rights, Religious Freedom

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On this week’s show, Mike and Kristin kick things off by discussing some of the recent developments in COVID-19 news and the differences in how governors and the President have handled mask-wearing. They also talk about allegations of Russian bounties on US troops  as well as two recent SCOTUS decisions handed down this week, one involving abortion rights (June Medical Services v. Russo) and one involving religious freedom (Espinoza v. Montana), as well as related issues of activist judges and precedent in similar cases.

Mike’s Weekly Recommendation
1776 (musical)
John Adams: A Life, by John Ferling
John Adams (two volumes), by Page Smith

Kristin’s Weekly Recommendation
Floor is Lava (Netflix)
Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager

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2 thoughts on “Independence Day, COVID Masks, Russian Bounties, Abortion Rights, Religious Freedom”

  1. I take offense to Michael’s incessant AD HOMINEM attacks against President Trump.

    I just wrote 1000 words critiquing the first 20 minutes of this podcast. I realize
    space is limited in the comment section, so instead of posting all 1000 words,
    here is a brief synopsis of one crucial segment of the podcast.

    Under the guise of ‘Mask Wearing in Public during Covid Epidemic’, Michael spent the first 17 minutes smearing the President. (Kristin grudgingly agreed – I think she capitulated just to shut him up.)

    Please direct your attention to the 17minute mark of the podcast. More specifically,
    let’s pick up with Kristin at 16:36.

    Kristin (referring to her friend who is a COVID doctor): “Concerns about getting a straight
    story… how COVID is being reported… DATA… conflated numbers… legitimate questions…”

    AMEN! It took 18 MINUTES to get past the AD HOMINEM against the President and to
    FINALLY get to something worth talking about! And now, LISTEN to WHAT HAPPENS!

    Kristin: “The issue has led to DISTRUST of the MEDIA.”
    Kristin: “Policy is FLUID… like the numbers, changes everyday.”
    Kristin: “(It’s) frustrating trying to sift through sources to find actual DATA.”

    LISTEN TO MICHAEL’S (ADHD) RESPONSE @ 19:40 – it is clear he isn’t even paying attention to Kristin at this point!

    Michael: “Yeah… frustrated… why don’t we take a break from COVID…”

    UNBELIEVABLE! What a brush-off! The moment Kristin stops supporting an AD
    HOMINEM against the President, and brings up points actually worth discussing,
    Michael loses interest and changes the subject. And what does Michael change the subject to? Another AD HOMINEM against President Trump regarding Russian bounties for Afghan soldiers! Michael launches into yet another tirade of MISINFORMATION and SPECULATION about a developing story that we have since learned the truth about this week. You know we will never hear a retraction from Michael regarding this story!

    The Political Guys, aka The SMEAR Guys.

    1. Thanks very much for taking the time to post your extended critique. I think it’s great that we have such passionate listeners, and I also believe I can learn a lot from constructive criticism.

      I try my best to avoid ad hominem attacks and smears. I’m grateful when people bring them to my attention, and I’m more than happy to apologize on the air for them. I don’t recall any instances in which I attacked Donald Trump as a person, as opposed to critiquing his policies and leadership. But if you can point out any specific smears or ad bominem attacks – ideally with time markers, as you helpfully included later in on your post, let me know and I promise to listen to them, comment, and if appropriate apologize for them on the next episode.

      As for Kristin capitulating to shut me up, I can say with a high degree of confidence that that wasn’t the case. Kristin isn’t one to capitulate to me or anyone else.

      I absolutely agree with Kristin’s points on the frustration of both the right and the left sensationalizing and misreporting in ways that support their own ideological preferences. I’m not sure how my response to that, (“There definitely are a lot of frustrated people all over the place, that’s for sure.”) suggests that I’m not paying attention to Kristin. However, I probably should have taken more time to clearly indicate that I agreed with the points Kristin had been making.

      We changed the subject not because I was trying to ignore important points, but because I agreed with Kristin (again, I should have made that more clear) and we had a number of other stories we wanted to get to.

      You’re correct that I speculated about the Russian bounty story, which is what analysts often do. I don’t see anything wrong with that. However, I don’t think it’s accurate to characterize my comments as a tirade, and I don’t see any instance in which I knowingly promoted misinformation or engaged in any ad hominem attacks on President Trump. Again, if you can point to any specific points where you believe you heard those things, I’ll give them a close listen.

      As for retractions, I’ve issued them in the past when it’s clear I’ve been wrong about something, and I most definitely will continue to do so. If you can let me know what you believe I said merits a retraction, I will definitely consider it. – Mike

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