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Today former press secretary for Hillary Clinton and spokesman for Chuck Schumer Brian Fallon jumps into the Left Anchor lion's den to advocate for his proposal for all 2020 Dem candidates to promise the following: "[no] more corporate lawyers on the federal bench during the next Democratic administration."

We discuss the plague of corporate lawyer logrolling, how Brian came to believe in the need for stark reform to the Democratic Party (including breaking up its comfortable consultant monopoly), and the need for drastic restructuring of the U.S. courts to defend any possible progressive agenda, should Dems win full power in 2020.

We and Brian obviously do not see eye to eye on everything, but it was still a productive conversation.

Something is happening in the Texas legislature's Republican delegation ... but what it is ain't exactly clear. We bring on Chris Hooks to talk about his Texas Monthly article explaining how the state's GOP Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen punched himself directly in the dick through the medium of a loony right-wing crank, and how that bodes for the political future of Texas.

Adam Gaffney is the president of Physicians for a National Health Program and a doctor at the Harvard Medical School. He talks to us about the prospects for Medicare for All, whether moderate Democrats are serious about reform, and the best way to cut down America's ludicrously high health care costs.

Svalbard is a huge island about halfway between the north coast of Norway and the North Pole, which has the unusual characteristic of being accessible to anyone in the world without a visa (with some exceptions). Atossa Araxia Abrahamian joins us to talk about her trip there for an article in The Nation, as well as her book The Cosmopolites.

The article in The Intercept about the late Jimmy Aldaoud can be found here.

Harris County (home of Houston, Texas) recently entered into a consent decree to overhaul the cash bail process in its courts -- which among other things makes it much harder to lock up poor people for minor offenses. Famed Judge of the Harris County Criminal Court No. 8 Franklin Bynum joins us for the second time, together with his friend, adviser, and fellow organizer Bryan LaVergne, to tell us what it all means and what being a judge is like after 6 months on the bench.

Watch Franklin give a speech advocating for the consent degree here.

In this excerpt, we've got Professor Rob Larson on the podcast to talk about his new book Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom.

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This time we have some actual breaking news on the podcast! After discussing the Pelosi/Squad dispute (TNR article here) and the Mueller testimony today (NR article here), we turn to Senator Josh Hawley's (R-Mo.) speech at the National Conservative Conference a few days ago. We discuss the deeply anti-Semitic overtones of singling out 3 Jewish academics (out of 4 mentioned) to blame for "cosmopolitan elites" who despise patriotism, have no national roots or identity, and sell out the working class to international business.

But then we actually looked up the quotes of the academics he mentioned, and discovered that he had wildly mischaracterized all but one of them. Indeed, one said basically the opposite of what Hawley accused him of.

The discussion of Hawley's deception starts at 40:15, but we'll also include the details below the fold. You can listen to our previous episode about patriotism here. Continue Reading »

For the free episode this week, we are UNLOCKING a bonus episode from back in April on Ilhan Omar and Patriotism.  We are doing this for unfortunately timely reasons, in light of Trump's bigoted, xenophobic attacks that then were amplified by a chanting crowd at his rally soon thereafter. 

In this discussion from the bonus episode archives, we discuss the ongoing conservative hate campaign against Ilhan Omar, and then turn to the question of patriotism -- is there anything worth salvaging in the concept? Starting with this brilliant lecture "Is Patriotism a Virtue?" from Alasdair MacIntyre, we bring in Kant, Rawls, Charles Mills, and Kurt Vonnegut.

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