PG149: Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korea Summit, Torture & the CIA Nomination, 2018 Primaries, Michael Cohen’s Shenanigans

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This week’s show opens with a look at the Iran nuclear deal that President Trump pulled the U.S. out of. Both Mike and Jay agree that it was an imperfect deal, but Mike feels we should have stayed in and worked to improve it. Jay feels that the deal was far more imperfect than Mike does, but he agrees that the president’s propensity for walking away from international agreements isn’t the best way to handle things.

The Guys next turn to the historic summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, which President Trump announced would be held in Singapore on June 12. Jay sees this as a potential step in the right direction and though Mike has plenty of doubts about President Trump’s diplomatic ability, he agrees that after decades of stalemate, things could possibly be changing for the better. Even so, it’s still very early days, and the U.S. is dealing with an incredibly secretive and untrustworthy country, so expectations should be very low.

After that Mike and Jay discussion Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA. Mike acknowledges Haspel’s experience and expertise, but agrees with Senator John McCain that Haspel’s position on torture / ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ is disqualifying. Jay disagrees arguing that much of the outcry against Haspel is simply due to her being Donald Trump’s nominee.

Next is a look at the Senate primary elections in Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana. Neither Mike nor Jay saw much to surprise them, with Jay pointing out that there seemed to be a move away from extreme Republicans.

Finally, Mike and Jay talk about former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen raising millions peddling his connection to the president. Mike says that while this sort of thing goes on all the time – in Republican and Democratic administrations – he’s troubled by yet another Russia connection. Jay sees things more or less the same way, and in discussing the topic he clarifies his position on Trump, Russia, and collusion.

What Mike’s Reading
Why the specter of Marx still haunts the world.

Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx!

Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!

What Jay’s Reading
I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye: Kanye West wants freedom – white freedom. Ta-Nehisi Coates

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4 thoughts on “PG149: Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korea Summit, Torture & the CIA Nomination, 2018 Primaries, Michael Cohen’s Shenanigans”

  1. The most annoying thing is when people like Jay start talking about Kanye West when they don’t even take the time to understand the culture in which he came from. If you’re wondering why so many black people are upset at with Kanye why don’t you try asking some stop trying to create your own logic simply to fit your own narrative about black people and their mindset.

  2. First– I think there may be some assumptions about me imbedded in the question that aren’t warranted. Everyone brings his or her own experience into any conversation, and I while I certainly can’t claim to have lived as a black man in America, my experiences, things I’ve done, causes I’ve been involved with, people I talk to, might surprise you.

    More importantly, though, and my point on Saturday, was that Coate’s insistence on viewing everything through a racial “with us or against us” lens is exactly what prevents actual dialog and discussion. I think that the idea that members of any racial group ought to vote/think in lockstep is abhorrent. If that’s the rule, then there can never be any discussion, and there can never be any progress.

    I think you can make a good argument that blacks who help capture fugitive slaves were ‘race traitors,’ –indeed traitors to humanity. But Kanye’s tweet was about Trump having “dragon-energy”– whatever that means–isn’t in the same ballpark.

    I’ll admit that there may be a cultural gap in terms of me getting Kanye’s significance. I don’t think that Kanye is a serious person, and I don’t understand why Coates treats him as one. There have been plenty of black artists who have had something important say and are/were serious people–I’m thinking of people like Paul Robeson, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye– who transcended race and gave black and white audiences a view into their experience. That’s what great art does. I don’t see Kanye (or Michael Jackson, who Coates talks about a lot) as that kind of artist, and therefore think its unwise to worked up over what Kanye thinks– whether its about George W. Bush or Donald Trump. But maybe I’m wrong.

    Here’s a link to an Andrew Sullivan piece in the New York Magazine that sort of echoes my thoughts. Sullivan is hardly conservative and certainly not a Trump fan, and New York Magazine is hardly a conservative outlet, but he says it better than me. Here’s the money line:
    “And [tribalism], of course, is one of the most dangerous aspects of our elite political polarization: It maps onto the even-deeper tribalism of race, in an age when racial diversity is radically increasing, and when the racial balance of power is shifting under our feet. That makes political tribalism even less resolvable and even more combustible. It makes a liberal politics that rests on a common good close to impossible. It makes a liberal discourse not only unachievable but increasingly, in the hearts and minds of our very elites, immoral.” ~ J

  3. Please no banter in the beginning of the podcast. That just seems like wasting 5-10 minutes of time, when you can do that more at the end of the podcast for your Patreon supporters. I hate other podcasts doing it too, because I don’t necessarily care about their personalities. Not that I’m saying I don’t care about the host’s personalities here, it’s just not what I come to this specific podcast for.

    1. That’s exactly how I feel, but I thought we should see what listeners preferred instead of making assumptions based on what I like. Thanks for your input! -Mike

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