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Kickass News

Hosted by Hollywood producer and political media strategist Ben Mathis, KickAss News is a twice weekly podcast that features the most interesting personalities and thought leaders in politics, entertainment, tech, business, science, and more. Enjoy the podcast? Then please support the show and help keep us on the air by making a donation to our GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Another way you can support the show is to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on iTunes to help keep us ranking strong on the top podcasts charts. For more information visit www.kickassnews.com. Thanks for listening!
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Now displaying: 2016
Mar 8, 2016

General Michael Hayden is the only person in U.S. history to have served as head of both the CIA and the NSA.  General Hayden served as the Director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 where he implemented a dramatic overhaul and expansion of the agency in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.  He later serves as America's first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and then as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President George W. Bush.  General Hayden has written a new book called PLAYING TO THE EDGE: AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE IN THE AGE OF TERROR.

On the podcast, General Michael Hayden will give a frank assessment of the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 and talk about what he did as NSA director and later as director of the CIA to close those intelligence gaps.  We’ll discuss the conundrums of domestic surveillance, CIA black sites, and enhanced interrogation.  Plus we’ll talk about cyber warfare, the Apple encryption controversy, the personal toll for the men and women who keep America’s secrets, why he says the U.S. military may have an obligation to reject orders from a President Donald Trump, his thoughts on James Bond and the TV series Homeland, and much more.

If you enjoy this episode, you can order General Michael Hayden's new book PLAYING TO THE EDGE: AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE IN THE AGE OF TERROR on Amazon.  You can also download the audio version of PLAYING TO THE EDGE for free with a special 30 day trial for our listeners at www.audibletrial.com/kickasspolitics.  Follow General Michael Hayden on Twitter at @GenMHayden.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Mar 4, 2016

My guest today is two time Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative political cartoonist Michael Ramirez.  His cartoons appear daily in Investor's Business Daily where he serves as co-editor and his work is also syndicated in over 550 newspapers and magazines.

He'll will talk about what makes good political satire, what’s fair game and when is "too soon."  Plus we’ll discuss the very first political cartoon that he drew in college, how President Obama has been a gift comedy gods, and how one innocent drawing led to a not so friendly visit from the Secret Service.

If you enjoy this episode, you view Michael Ramirez's work each day in Investor's Business Daily at www.investors.com/cartoons.  Follow him on Twitter at @Ramireztoons and you can order his new book of cartoons called GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME OBAMACARE on Amazon.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Mar 1, 2016

My guest is former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  In his remarkable 50 year career, he has served as a U.S. Congressman, Director of the Office Economic Opportunity and U.S. Ambassador to NATO under President Richard Nixon, White House Chief of Staff to President Gerald Ford, Special Middle East Envoy for President Ronald Reagan, and Secretary of Defense...both for Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.  In fact, Donald Rumsfeld has the distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest Secretary of Defense.  

Today he comes on the show to talk about the his amazing career, the current state of national defense, and the "unknown knowns" that America might be missing.  Plus he'll talk about his first impression of Saddam Hussein, his favorite President, his prolific body of memos written, the issues that keep him up at night, and how Winston Churchill inspired him to create a fun new gaming app called Churchill Solitaire.

If you enjoy this episode, then be sure to go to your app store and download Churchill Solitaire for your tablet device or smart phone.  You can also find out more about the Rumsfeld Foundation at www.rumsfeldfoundation.org.  View the massive archive of his memos at www.papers.rumsfeld.com and be sure to order his fascinating books Knowns and Unknowns and Rumsefeld's Rules on Amazon.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Feb 22, 2016

 

Just in time for Oscar weekend, my guest is Evgeny Afineevsky director/producer of WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE'S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, which is currently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  He and his crew spent 93 days risking their lives to film the 2013/2014 Ukrainian revolution from the initial protests in Kiev's Maidan Square through the murderous government crackdown in the streets to the eventual overthrow of corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych.

We talk about what separates the Maidan demonstrations from the Arab spring and other recent revolutions, and how it can serve as a blueprint for democracy and reform around the world.  We also talk about the brutality of the now disbanded Ukrainian Berkut police force and how it brought Ukrainians of all types together in unity against the corrupt and criminal government of Viktor Yanukovych.   Plus Evgeny will talk about the emotional toll that making WINTER ON FIRE took on the filmmakers, and the inspiring story of one brave 12 year old boy who risked his life for freedom and his country.

If you enjoy this episode, then I encourage you to see WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. You can order it on Netflix or see it in select theatres.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Feb 19, 2016

Doug Schoen is Democrat pollster, campaign consultant, author, and Fox News political analyst. He pioneered overnight polling and has worked on the campaigns on Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Michael Bloomberg, Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and three Israeli Prime Ministers just to name a few. He’s a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Newsmax.

He’s authored eleven books, and today he comes on the podcast to talk about his latest book THE NIXON EFFECT: HOW RICHARD NIXON’S PRESIDENCY FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED AMERICAN POLITICS. Doug makes the case that Richard Nixon was one of the most accomplished Presidents in history and the most liberal president in modern times. He’ll also talk about the profound effect that Nixon has had on the politics of the past 40 years including inventing the wedge issue, creating the “Silent Majority,” launching the GOP’s often misunderstood “Southern Strategy,” polarizing the two parties in ways we still see today, and unintentionally giving birth to the modern conservative movement.

Plus we talk about why the polling business has missed the mark in several recent high profile elections, what can be done to improve polling accuracy, and Doug’s recommendations for the most reliable public polls.

If you enjoyed this episode, then order Doug Schoen’s book THE NIXON EFFECT: HOW RICHARD NIXON’S PRESIDENCY FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED AMERICAN POLITICS on Amazon. You can follow Doug Schoen on twitter at @DouglasESchoen or at www.dougschoen.com. You can also read his regular column for Newsmax Magazine at www.newsmax.com.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Feb 16, 2016

Over the years, Iconic photographer Platon has captured every living U.S. President from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama on film, and he’s photographed well over a hundred world leaders including Tony Blair, Ban Ki Moon, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Adhmadenijad, Silvio Berlusconi, Mohamar Qaddafi, Hugo Chavez, and Vladimir Putin for the 2007 Time Man of Year cover.

 

His work has been featured on 20 Time Magazine covers as well as GQ, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Esquire, New York Times Magazine, Wired, Texas Monthly, and the New Yorker Magazine, with whom he won a Peabody Award for his large scale photo essay on Russia’s Civil Society. Platon also started his own non-profit foundation called The People’s Portfolio which “aspires to create a visual language to break barriers and enlist public support human rights around the world.”


On today’s podcast, he’ll reveal some of his secrets to getting the most powerful people in the world to let their guard down, he’ll talk about the most intimidating shoot of his life (Vladimir Putin), and he’ll give the inside scoop on his now infamous cover photo of Bill Clinton for Esquire. Plus he’ll talk about his photographing the Arab Spring protests and his new mission to put a face on human rights sufferers around the world.

 

If you enjoy this episode, you can view Platon’s work at www.platonphoto.com or on instagram at @platon. You can find out more about the People’s Portfolio at www.thepeoplesportfolio.com.


Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Feb 12, 2016

Today I talk with campaign media advisor Mark McKinnon about his new documentary series for Showtime called THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SHOW ON EARTH.  He co-stars with journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann of Bloomberg Politics as they follow all of the Presidential candidates as well as the campaign teams and traveling reporters.  They give an inside glimpse into the stress and craziness and the ups and downs of running for the most powerful position in the world.  

Mark McKinnon will talk about the break-neck pace of THE CIRCUS and how they manage to produce a political reality series in real time as well as what it's like for him going from being the ultimate campaign insider to being a member of the media following the campaigns.  He'll also talk about his experience as the chief media strategist to President George W. Bush's campaigns in 2000 and 2004 and Senator John McCain in 2008.  Plus he'll give his observations from the trail and predictions for 2016.  

If you enjoy this episode then be sure to see Mark McKinnon in THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SHOW ON EARTH every Sunday at 8PM EST on Showtime.  You can also read his weekly column at www.thedailybeast.com and support his efforts to take money out of politics at www.mayday.us.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Feb 8, 2016

Today I talk with filmmaker Greg Barker, who won an Emmy for his HBO documentary MANHUNT: THE UNTOLD STORY BEHIND THE HUNT FOR BIN LADEN, about his new film for HBO called HOMEGROWN: THE COUNTER-TERRORISM DILEMMA.  In his latest project, he explores the threat of "self-radicalizing" terrorists right here in America through the eyes of the Deputy Directors of the National Counter Terrorism Center and the FBI's National Security Branch, as well as the family members of the Ft. Hood shooter and other U.S. citizens convicted of providing "material support to terrorism."  

We talk about the film and the many aspects of the issue of homegrown terrorism including domestic surveillance, 1st Amendment rights, the availability of jihadi propaganda online, and the need for U.S. Muslims to take a more proactive role in combating that propaganda and saving young Muslim-American men from the influence of groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.  

Greg Barker's film HOMEGROWN: THE COUNTERTERRORISM DILEMMA premieres Monday, February 8 at 9PM EST on HBO.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Feb 1, 2016

Today is the Iowa Caucuses when the first votes are cast in the 2016 Presidential election!  But what exactly is a Caucus?  And why does Iowa get to be the first?  Is it different from a Primary?  Does the weather really affect caucus results?  Can a candidate win Iowa without loving ethanol?  And what the heck is a "full Grassley?"  We'll answer all of these questions and I take a comprehensive look at the Iowa Caucuses with my guests today - Congressman Steve King, nationally syndicated radio host Steve Deace, and Dr. Cody Hoefert Co-Chairman of the Iowa GOP.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Jan 29, 2016

For 10 years The Senate Majority Leader office traded hands between Senators Tom Daschel (Democrat) and Trent Lott (Republican).  As the leaders of their respective parties in the U.S. Senate, Senator Lott and Senator Daschle often found themselves on opposite sides of an issue, but they kept things moving in the Senate and got things done for the American people by working together, showing mutual respect, and engaging in that four letter word-compromise.  

Today they say that politics is getting so ugly and divisive that has nearly stalled the legislative process, because no one is willing to reach across the aisle and find common ground.  They write about it in their new book, CRISIS POINT: WHY WE MUST - AND HOW WE CAN - OVERCOME OUR BROKEN POLITICS IN WASHINGTON AND ACROSS AMERICA.  Today they come on the show to talk about it and offer solutions to fix the rancorous partisan divide and get Congress moving again.

If you enjoy this episode, you can click here order Tom Daschle and Trent Lott's book CRISIS POINT: WHY WE MUST - AND HOW WE CAN - OVERCOME OUR BROKEN POLITICS IN WASHINGTON AND ACROSS AMERICA on Amazon.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Jan 27, 2016

This week National Review Magazine published a special edition with the headline "Against Trump."  In that issue, the editors of National Review along with 22 noted conservatives like Bill Kristol, Glenn Beck, Katie Pavlock, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager made an impassioned plea for Republican voters not to nominate the brash real estate billionaire as the Republican nominee.  They look at Donald Trump's record (including his many years as a Democrat) and make a thorough case that Donald Trump is not a credible conservative.

I'll have a new episode for you later in the week, but in light of all the media and the controversy surrounding this "Against Trump" issue of National Review, I am rebroadcasting my interview from this past December with National Review editor Rich Lowry.  In it we discuss Donald Trump's worse than spotty record as a conservative, his influence on the conservative movement and his role in the GOP primary, and I'll ask Rich Lowry what his late friend and mentor William F. Buckley, Jr. might think of Trump if he were alive today.  We'll also talk about the 60th Anniversary of National Review, the possibility of a Cruz-Rubio showdown, hashtag heroics in the wake of the Paris attacks, and his memories of William F. Buckley, Jr.

If you enjoy this conversation with Rich Lowry, then click here to read more and subscribe to the online or print edition of National Review Magazine. You can also go to Amazon to order Rich Lowry's books Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream and How We Can Do It Again, Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years, & his novel Banquo's Ghost.

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Jan 21, 2016

As Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Congressman Michael McCaul has looked into the dark minds of America’s enemies and their most diabolical plans. In his new book FAILURES OF IMAGINATION: THE DEADLIEST THREATS TO OUR HOMELAND AND HOW TO THWART THEM, he lays out 8 horrifying scenarios for how terror groups and hostile nations might attempt to attack the U.S. The scariest part of it all is that these nightmarish situations are largely based on real intel about past, present and potential threats.

On today’s episode, we discuss everything from a North Korean cyber-attack on U.S. financial markets to terrorists releasing smallpox at Disney World or detonating a radiological bomb at the second busiest U.S. port. Chairman McCaul reveals the terrorist plots that form the basis for these theoretical attacks and what we can do to prevent them from becoming reality.

If you like this epsiode, you can order Congressman Michael McCaul’s book FAILURES OF IMAGINATION: THE DEADLIEST THREATS TO OUR HOMELAND AND HOW TO THWART THEM on Amazon or download the audio version of his book for free with a special promotion for our listeners at www.audibletrial.com/kickasspolitics.
 
Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Jan 12, 2016

In today's episode, I explore the areas where America's prisons are failing society and the growing call for sensible, results-based criminal justice reform.  My guests are Senator Rob Portman, author of the Second Chance Act, Julie Stewart president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and Jeff Smith, author of Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: What Me Year Behind Bars Taught Me About America's Prison Crisis.

 

In the first part, Jeff Smith will recount his eye-opening year in federal prison, and what he saw personally about how the prison system is failing to rehabilitate criminals, destroying families, and in many ways, financially crippling the most vulnerable Americans.  Then I'll talk with Julie Stewart, founder and president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, about how sentencing discretion has been taken away from judges, filling our prisons will non-violent offenders.  Finally, I'll talk with Senator Rob Portman of Ohio who authored The Second Chance Act and has been a leader on the Hill on the issue of criminal justice reform.  He'll explain how innovative programs like the Second Chance Act are doing a better job of reforming and rehabilitating criminals by giving them a shot at a better life.

 

If you enjoy this episode, visit the website for Families Against Mandatory Minimums at www.famm.org or follow Julie Stewart on Twitter at @julieonjustice.  Encourage your Congressman or Senator to support the re-authorization of the Second Chance Act and get involved with a local Prisoner Re-Entry Task Force in your county.  You can order Jeff Smith's book Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: What Me Year Behind Bars Taught Me About America's Prison Crisis on Amazon or download the audio version of his book for free with a special promotion for our listeners at www.audibletrial.com/kickasspolitics.

 

 

Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!

Jan 8, 2016

Ben is sick this week, but he'll be back with a brand new episode on Monday.  In the meantime, enjoy this rebroadcast.  In part 2 of The Political Genius of George Washington, I'll talk again with author and historian John Ferling about motivated George Washington to run for President, what motivated him to leave the office after two terms and what he might think of the political climate today.
 
 
If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on Itunes for a chance to win Ben's book of the week.  All you have to do to enter is subscribe and leave a review.  For more information, visit www.KickAssPolitics.com, and if you enjoyed the show and would like show your support then donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics.

Jan 8, 2016

Ben is sick this week, but he'll be back with a brand new episode on Monday.  In the meantime, enjoy this rebroadcast.  In this episode, I'll talk with author and historian John Ferling about the hidden political genius of our first President.
 
 
If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on Itunes for a chance to win Ben's book of the week.  All you have to do to enter is subscribe and leave a review.  For more information, visit www.KickAssPolitics.com, and if you enjoyed the show and would like to help keep us on the air, then please show your support at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics.

Jan 8, 2016

Ben is a little sick this week, but he'll be back with a new episode on Monday.  In the meantime, enjoy this rebroadcast of Part 2 of his expose on E.M.P.

In Part 1 on E.M.P. or the phenomenon known as an electromagnetic pulse, guest Dr. Peter Vincent Pry (director of the Task Force on National & Homeland Security) warned that an electromanetic pulse, either caused naturally by a solar flare or by a high altitude nuclear detonation by our enemies, has the ability disable the entire U.S. electric grid and send Americans right back to a time before electricity.  And not just for weeks or months but for years.  The scariest part is that right now, the U.S. is completely unprepared and defenseless against an E.M.P.  We are a sitting duck.

 
In Part 2, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry will discuss why the U.S. government refuses to take the neccessary steps to protect the grid against an E.M.P. attack, the powerful lobby that is behind a misinformation campaign in the media designed to convince you that E.M.P. isn't even real, and how some states aren't waiting around for the Feds to act but instead are protecting their citizens against the very real threat of an electromagnetic pulse.
 
If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review for a chance to win Ben's book of the week.  For more information, visit www.KickAssPolitics.com, and if you enjoyed the show and would like to help keep us on the air, then please show your support at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics.
 

Jan 8, 2016

Ben is a little sick this week, but he'll be back with a new episode on Monday.  In the meantime, enjoy this rebroadcast on E.M.P.

If you have heard of an electromagnetic pulse at all, it's probably from sci-fi movies like The Matrix or novels, but an E.M.P. is not science fiction.  E.M.P. is a real scientific phenomenon that has the ability to destroy not just every single electronic in your home, but the entire U.S. electric grid.  It has happened before and will almost certainly happen again.  But next time, it may not be a natural E.M.P. from a solar flare.  It very well may be a man-made E.M.P. from a nuclear warhead detonated at a high altitude by one of America's enemies like North Korea or Iran.  And the scariest part is that right now the U.S. is entirely defenseless against an E.M.P. attack.  E.M.P. expert Dr. Peter Vincent Pry will explain what an E.M.P. is, how bad the devastation would be, and which countries have weaponized E.M.P. with the intention of using them against the United States.

 
If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review for a chance to win Ben's book of the week.  All you have to do to enter is subscribe and leave a review.  For more information, visit www.KickAssPolitics.com, and if you enjoyed the show and would like to help keep us on the air, then please show your support at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics.

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