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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: Category: politics
Mar 18, 2019

Alyssa Mastromonaco spent 6 years in the Obama White House as assistant to the president, director of scheduling and advance, and deputy chief of staff for operations.  She says working in the West Wing is a lot like VEEP and recalls some of the lighter moments including getting down on the dance-floor with Michelle Obama,
impersonating a hedge hog for President Obama,
and the time the leader of the free world tried to play matchmaker. She opens up about her at times comical struggles with irritable bowel syndrome including a few close calls at the most inconvenient moments, and the time that she contracted something called "beaver fever" (yes, it’s a real thing) during a state dinner in Tanzania.  She reveals all the care and protocol that went into every foreign trip she planned for President Obama, and why it was more than a little disheartening to watch President Trump bungle his way through a hastily thrown together North Korea summit.  She also warns that Trump’s use of a personal iPhone is a major security risk, she predicts what Democrats will be looking for in 2020, and she advises Dems to banish the term socialism from their vocabulary.

Order Alyssa Mastromonaco's book So Here's the Thing: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow her on twitter at @AlyssaMastro44.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Kronos and BetterHelp.  Please take our annual podcast listener survey and register to win a $100 Amazon gift card at www.podsurvey.com/kick.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review.  Follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.  Visit our website at www.kickassnews.com.

Mar 11, 2019

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, returns to the podcast to call on Americans to reject the culture of contempt and the outrage industrial complex.  He talks about the event that woke him up to the ugliness of our political discourse two and a half years before the 2016 election.  He pulls back the curtain on how political parties are pushing us farther apart and how talking heads in the media are profitting from stoking division and hate.  Arthur reveals the connection between trolling on social media and personality disorders and his own strategy for handling angry emails and twitter trolls.  He shares what we can learn about civility from the Dalai Lama and a leading marriage counselor.  We discuss the power of stories to bridge divides and the necessity of the competition of ideas to a health democracy.  Plus, Arthur shares what he thinks about President Trump’s two hour speech at last week’s CPAC conference, the time he got mistaken for a Mormon (and loved every minute of it), and why this free-market conservative says everyone needs a friend like Cornel West or Robert George.  

Order Arthur's book Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Subscribe to The Arthur Brooks Show wherever you listen podcasts and follow him on twitter at @arthurbrooks.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Brother INKvestment Tank Printers and season 2 of Breach podcast.  Please take our annual podcast listener survey and register to win a $100 Amazon gift card at www.podsurvey.com/kick.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and visit our website at www.kickassnews.com.

Feb 21, 2019

Parag Khanna says America has a China problem and the solution is Asia.  He suggests that rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and building stronger ties with other countries in the region are much more effective and less risky ways to gain leverage over China than a direct trade war.  He reveals what President Trump gets wrong when he says that America holds all the cards with China, and suggests that Trump’s tariffs may actually hasten China’s push to become self-sufficient.  He talks about the booming markets emerging in other parts of Asia and how leading American tech companies are getting in on the game by signing major manufacturing agreements in place like India, South Korea, and Vietnam.  Parag also discusses the growing cultural influence represented by the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians and discusses a new trend of Asian-Americans crossing back over the Pacific to pursue opportunities as "American-Asians."

Order Parag Khanna's new book THE FUTURE IS ASIAN on Amazon or Audible, and follow him at ParagKhanna.com or on twitter at @ParagKhanna.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos and BetterHelp.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and rate and review the podcast.  Like Kickass News on Facebook and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.  For more interesting stuff, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com.

 

Feb 14, 2019

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie sets the record straight about his tenure as a corruption-busting prosecutor and a Republican running a Democratic state, as well as what really happened on the 2016 campaign trail and inside Trump Tower.  He recalls how his friendship with Donald Trump began and the nasty details of the infamous Charles Kushner case that would later come back to haunt him.  He talks about why he passed on running for President in 2012, Hurricane Sandy and that notorious Obama hug (which he says wasn’t really a hug), and how the Romney campaign used it as a scapegoat for their own candidate’s shortcomings.  Christie reveals that he even had to convince his own son that he had nothing to do with the George Washington Bridge closure and in the end it boiled down to stupid people doing stupid things.  I ask him if he thinks the Trump-Russia collusion may turn out to be a similar situation, he says he could tell General Mike Flynn was trouble from day one, he talks about his former colleagues Bob Mueller and James Comey, and he shares the advice he gave President Trump when the whole Russia investigation began.  He reveals why he believed he was going to be tapped as Trump’s running mate, how Jared Kushner tossed out the entire Trump transition plan just to get even with him, and the day he finally got fed up and said "I’m done."  Plus Chris Christie on how he became the first Youtube Governor, why he unfollowed every New Jersey reporter on Twitter, and why it took him 3 months to convince Donald Trump to cash his check.

Order Chris Christie's book Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow him on twitter at @ChrisChristie.  Today's episode was sponsored by BetterHelp.com.

Dec 31, 2018

Today's episode is a rerun of my interview with journalist Bob Woodward that originally aired 11/04/15.  Bob talks about his book "THE LAST OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEN" which chronicles the White House career of Alexander Butterfield, who served as deputy assistant to President Nixon.  Through countless documents and hours of interviews, Butterfield gave Bob Woodward a revealing glimpse into the disfunction, paranoia, and corruption in the Nixon White House.  Woodward talks about how Alex Butterfield oversaw the installation of the infamous taping machine in the Oval Office and served as the right-hand man to Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.  We'll talk about the isolated world of Richard Nixon, Nixon's relationship with his wife and with Henry Kissinger, Nixon's awkward though likely unconsummated flirtations with White House secretaries, and the chip on Nixon's shoulder that haunted him his entire life.  Plus we'll talk about the man known as "Deep Throat."

If you enjoy this episode, then go to Amazon to order Bob Woodward's fascinating new book "THE LAST OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEN."

Dec 20, 2018

Leon Panetta talks about hard decisions, worthy fights, and "governing by leadership instead of by crisis."  He recalls growing up in Monterey, California as the first generation of Italian immigrants and warns the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration policies could mean fewer immigrant success stories like his own.  He reveals how he started out his political career as a Republican until President Richard Nixon fired him for daring to enforce civil rights.  He shares some early lessons in political civility and bipartisanship from his mentor Senator Thomas Kuchel and how those lessons served him well as a Congressman and President Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  He discusses stepping in as Clinton’s Chief of Staff during a particularly chaotic time in his Presidency, how his early military training helped him get the White House in shape, and some words of advice he recently shared with President Trump’s outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly.  Panetta admits to his surprise when years later President Obama tapped him for Director of the CIA, opens up about what went through his mind as he watched the Bin Laden raid go down, and says that Obama’s failure to enforce his own red line on Syria’s chemical weapons may have embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Learn more about the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at www.panettainstitute.org.  Thank you to the Ronald Reagan National Defense Forum and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting this interview.  Today's podcast was sponsored by the new Wondery podcast Safe for Work and Ben Sasse's audiobook Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Dec 3, 2018

Trevor Noah talks about his new standup special TREVOR NOAH: SON OF PATRICIA and why he dedicated it to his mom whom he calls “the first comedian that he ever saw” and “most gangster human being you’ll ever meet in your life.”  He discusses growing up in South Africa during Apartheid, the power of humor to fight oppression, and why he believes that hateful words aren’t nearly as important as addressing with the hate itself.  He shares how the 2016 election affected his own vision for THE DAILY SHOW, why the current President reminds him of certain African dictators,
and how he deciphers what’s news and what’s nonsense in the age of Trump.  Plus Trevor talks about interviewing President Barak Obama, whether he would be down to do the same with Donald Trump, and the question that he would most like ask the 45th President.

Watch Trevor Noah's new standup special TREVOR NOAH: SON OF PATRICIA now available on Netflix, order his memoir BORN A CRIME on Amazon, and watch THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH every weeknight at 11PM ET on Comedy Central.  Visit www.trevornoah.com for more on Trevor including upcoming tour dates, and follow him on twitter at @TrevorNoah.  Today's episode was sponsored by Human Rights Watch, Espresso Monster, Zeel, and Bombas.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Nov 29, 2018

David Priess returns to deliver a colorful political history of the schemes, maneuvers, and conspiracies that have attempted to remove unwanted presidents.  He discusses the various President’s who’ve died in office of natural and unnatural causes including two President’s who some suspect may have been poisoned and a bizarre conspiracy by a cabal of wealthy businessman to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt.  He explains the 25th Amendment which allows for the President’s Cabinet and Congress to declare a leader physically or mentally unfit to serve, the two Presidents who played instrumental roles in crafting it, and the closest we ever came to using it.  He walks us through the surprising history of Presidential mental illness and why some of Richard Nixon’s closest advisors questioned whether he was mentally stable.  We talk about the process of impeachment, when Presidential lies rise the level of a "high crime or misdemeanor," and whether he thinks Congress could realistically impeach President Trump.  Plus, the man who served as the daily intelligence briefer to former FBI director Robert Mueller weighs in on the Russia investigation, what might be going through Mueller's mind right now, and what we can expect as the investigation winds toward a conclusion.

Order David Priess's book How to Get Rid of a President: History's Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with David at www.lawfareblog.com/contributors/dpriess or on twitter at @DavidPriess.  Today's episode was sponsored by The Flatiron School.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Nov 12, 2018

Greg Miller is one of the reporters for The Washington Post who received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his groundbreaking stories on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and the resulting investigations of the Trump campaign and administration.  Today he shares how he cornered the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a science conference in Washington and caught General Michael Flynn in a blatant lie about his dealings with Russian officials.  He describes the almost comical level of incompetence surrounding the 2016 DNC hacks, gives an insider's look at the secretive Russian hacking agencies known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, and the troll farm behind Russia’s social media influence campaign.  He defends the Post’s longstanding practice of using anonymous sources and explains how they go about verifying those stories.  Greg reveals efforts by the White House to derail the Washington Post’s reporting on Trump’s Russia connections,
and how he learned that President Trump discussed targeting him personally and even putting him in jail for refusing to reveal his sources.  Plus he discusses what happened to the Trump-Mueller meeting that never was and we speculate on just what it is that Vladimir Putin might have on Donald Trump.

Order Greg Miller's book The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  You can read Greg’s reporting in The Washington Post and follow him on twitter at @gregpmiller.  Today's episode was sponsored by National Security Agency Career Recruitment, Homecoming on Amazon Prime Video, Flatiron School, and the StarTalk All-Stars podcast.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Oct 29, 2018

Senator Ben Sasse does a deep dive into the societal shifts affecting modern American life and the roots of our political divisiveness.  He talk about the outsized role politics plays in our daily lives, how "polititainment" celebrities like Sean Hannity are fueling dangerous tribalism in America, and how to build a healthier tribe of family and friends instead of political outrage.  He shares recent data that indicates that Americans are feeling increasingly lonely, and explains how the digital economy and smart technology are leading us to pull up our roots and lose our sense of community.  He then reveals how his own family has embraced the idea of a "digital Sabbath" and shares a few of his favorite tips for unplugging and living in the moment.  Plus I ask Senator Ben Sasse if he’s still comfortable with a GOP that seems to be remaking itself in President Trump's image and what would it take for Senator Sasse to challenge Trump for the nomination in 2020.

Order Senator Ben Sasse's important new book Them: Why We Hate Each Other--and How to Heal on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold, and follow him on twitter at @SenSasse.  Today's episode was sponsored by Heineken and National Security Agency Career Recruitment.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Sep 27, 2018

CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett has covered the last 4 administrations but says nothing could prepare him for President Donald Trump.  He recalls his strange first encounter with the reality TV star who would become President and the craziest 11 days he’s ever experienced as a White House correspondent.  He discusses the many ways in which the President is his own worst enemy, how the President’s failure at healtchare reform lead to his success on tax reform, and yet he learned nothing from it.  He shares some of the reasons why many Republicans have said no thanks to a job in the Trump Administration, why the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation is a must win for Trump, and why he believes we are already witnessing a transformative Presidency.

Order Major Garrett's new book MR. TRUMP’S WILD RIDE:
THE THRILLS, CHILLS, SCREAMS, AND OCCASIONAL BLACKOUTS OF AN EXTRAORDINARY PRESIDENCY
on Amazon.  See Major regularly reporting from the White House on CBS News, subscribe to his podcast The Takeout on Apple Podcast or wherever you like to listen, and follow him on twitter at @MajorCBS.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Heineken.

Sep 17, 2018

Fox News' politics editor Chris Stirewalt discusses the history of American populism, how economic resentment fuels populism even in times of huge prosperity, and why the will of the people doesn’t always make for great policy.  He discusses why populist leaders are so prone to hucksterism and easy answers including one politician who literally started out as snake oil salesman, and why it’s a good thing that most populist leaders never actually get to govern.  He talks about how the least likely populist President Teddy Roosevelt's progressive Bull Moose Party impacted the GOP for over a century and how George Wallace shifted the focus from economic populism to cultural populism.  He explains why Pat Buchanan is the grandfather of Trumpism and how Ross Perot invented the trope of the businessman who can fix Washington.  Plus we talk about the time America flirted with electing a self-professed socialist and radical, why the election of 1864 still gives Chris hope, and why modern aspiring populists would do well to study Andrew Jackson's appeal to immigrants.

Order Chris Stirewalt's book Every Man a King: A Short, Colorful History of American Populist on Amazon, subscribe to his podcast Perino and Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What wherever you like to listen, and follow him on twitter at @Chris Stirewalt.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Heineken, Emma Email Marketing, NFL Podcasts, and Espresso Monster.

Sep 3, 2018

Ambassador Wendy Sherman was the lead negotiator on the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and she writes about it in her new book titled
Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence.  Today she recalls working with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to halt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in the 90’s, and how they came close to an agreement only to see their efforts derailed by the chaos of the 2000 election.  She explains why negotiating with North Korea is always "one part diplomacy and one part absurdity," she recalls her personal interactions with Kim Jung Il, and weighs in on how his successor Kim Jung Un measures up.  Ambassador Sherman talks about the many months of diplomacy (both covert and overt) that went into the nuclear agreement with Iran, how much was lost when President Trump decertified the deal,
and what her colleagues from across the negotiating table are saying about it.  She explains why the negotiation was a lot like solving a Rubik’s Cube, just how heated things got in the behind closed doors, and why sometimes tactics are no substitute for pure raw human emotion.

Order Ambassador Wendy Sherman's book Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence is available on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow Ambassador Sherman on Twitter at @WendyRSherman.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Heineken, NFL Podcasts, and ZipRecruiter.

Aug 30, 2018

Republican strategist Rick Wilson was one of the very first conservatives to oppose Donald Trump and a co-founder of the Never Trump movement.  Today he enumerate the many reasons why Trump is so abhorrent to him, how his opposition to Trump has caused him to feel like a pariah in his own party, and how he gets far more death threats from crazed Trump-supporters than he ever got from Democrats.  He calls out the “vichy Republicans” in Washington who sold out out to Trump, and singles out former GOP Chairman Reince Priebus for special condemnation as the one person who could have stopped Trump from running away with his party’s nomination.  He talks about the island of misfit toys that make up the President’s inner circle, how any person with experience and integrity the inevitably leaves the Trump White House with his reputation in tatters, and we try to make sense of what has happened to Rick’s former boss Rudy Giuliani.  Rick picks apart what he calls the “But Gorsuch” argument, looks at the potential field of Republican challengers in 2020, and he speaks frankly about inevitable fallout of the Trump Presidency and the long road ahead as the GOP struggles to rebuild its brand.

Order Rick Wilson’s book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever on Amazon or Audible.  Follow Rick on Twitter at @TheRickWilson.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay Audiobooks, Emma Email Marketing, and RelentlessMV.

Aug 27, 2018

As the president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks has long worked to foster more civilized and productive discourse, and now he is exploring the art of disagreement on his new podcast The Arthur Brooks Show.  Arthur says the answer is not to stop talking with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum but to talk to each other better.  Arthur describes how social media lowers our inhibitions and makes us meaner, he discusses America’s addiction to moral outrage as a form of virtue signaling, and says contemptuous political debates can actually impact our health or even lower our immune system.  He talks about the science of persuasion and how we change our minds, why people take politics so personally, and recommends that everyone take a 2 week vacation from politics every now and then. 

Subscribe to The Arthur Brooks Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.  Visit the American Enterprise Institute at www.aei.org and follow Arthur on twitter at @ArthurBrooks.  Today's podcast is sponsored by and Ladder Life Insurance.

Aug 16, 2018

Greg Gutfeld discusses his new book The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from The Five and how it gave him a unique opportunity troll his own work.  He talks about his political evolution starting out at liberal enclave UC Berkeley, his problem with "mob thinking," and how extremism on both the left and the right led him to Libertarianism.  He recalls his early days working at the Huffington Post with his best buddy Andrew Breitbart and how a prank involving costumed dwarves got him fired as editor of Stuff Magazine.  Then he shares how his quirky little late night show Red Eye became a hit on the unlikeliest of networks by giving Fox News viewers a much needed break from 24 hour politics and stoners an alternative to infomercials.  He reveals how he’s broadening the Fox News demographic one unicorn at a time, how thrash metal helps him bridge the political divide,
and how he mostly manages to behave on The Five.  Plus Gutfeld talks about the scourge of British lad culture, cute pet videos, and Fox News’s next big hit...a talk show hosted by a dolphin.

Order The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from The Five on Amazon or Audible.  Watch Greg on Fox News weekdays on The Five and Saturdays on The Greg Gutfeld Show.  Subscribe Greg's podcast The One with Greg Gutfeld on Fox News Radio, Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.  Visit Greg’s website at www.ggutfeld.com and follow him on twitter at @GregGutfeld.  Special thanks to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting our interview.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Emma and RelentlessMV.

Jul 26, 2018

Famed attorney and lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz says even though he make not like Donald Trump's policies, the President is entitled to the same rights as any other American and impeachment is a clearly defined Constitutional procedure not political theatre.  He explains exactly what is and is NOT an impeachable offense, why even a criminal act may not necessarily lead to impeachment, and how this applies to Presidents from Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.  According to Dershowitz, President Trump has every right to fire the FBI director, shut down investigations, and pardon anyone he wants...perhaps even including himself.  He warns against a dangerous trend of criminalizing politics on both sides, argues that the Mueller investigation runs the risk of abusing attorney client privilege, and asks where has the ACLU been throughout it all?  Plus he rates Rudy Giuliani’s performance as Trump’s attorney, weighs in on the President’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and advises that Trump should absolutely NOT agree to an interview

with the Mueller investigation.

Order Alan Dershowitz's book THE CASE AGAINST IMPEACHING TRUMP on Amazon or Audible and follow him on twitter at @AlanDershowitz.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay.

Jul 19, 2018

In the wake of the bizarre Trump-Putin Summit, intelligence expert Malcolm Nance says Trump has gone from being an unwitting asset of Russia to a willing asset deliberately undermining NATO, the European Union, and even his own country.  Nance says Donald Trump has betrayed his oath to uphold the Constitution and is the closest thing America's seen to another Benedict Arnold.  He reveals Russia’s broader efforts to undermine US and the influential Americans enabling Russian interference including the most powerful gun-rights organization in the country, the politician known Putin’s man in Congress, and the alt-right media baron he calls “the American Goebbles.”  What’s Vladimir Putin’s end-game?  Malcolm Nance says Putin's ultimate goal is to dismantle western democracy itself!

Order Malcolm Nance's new book The Plot to Destroy Democracy:
How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West on Amazon or Audible.  Follow him on Twitter at @Malcolm Nance.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay.

Jul 12, 2018

Rob Reiner returns to talk about the long road to making his latest film Shock and Awe about the journalists who "got it right" about WMD in Iraq and why he says Americans still may not be ready to deal with the mistakes of the Iraq War.  How discusses the lesser known news syndicate that uncovered the truth about WMD and why the mainstream media at the time ignored all the warning signs.  He talks about his love for classic newsroom films like All the President's Men and his urgency to make a film about great journalism at a time when the free press and the truth are under greater assault than ever.  Rob Reiner gives an update on his group the Committee to Investigate Russia, he cautions that the rhetoric on the Left treads a thin line between energizing their base and energizing the other side, and we ponder how Archie Bunker went from a punchline to a political movement.

Rob Reiner's movie Shock and Awe opens in theaters Friday, July 13.  Follow Rob Reiner on Twitter at @RobReiner and learn more about The Committee to Investigate Russia at www.investigaterussia.org.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Adiamor JewelryGooglePlay and Morning Brew.

Jun 28, 2018

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recalls how tinkering with a TV set as a boy led to a career in signals intelligence, his frustration when working as an intelligence briefer to General William Westmoreland during the Vietnam War, and what it was like to be in the room when President Obama ordered the raid on Osama Bin Laden.  He discusses Russia's interference in the 2016 election, the now infamous intelligence meeting with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower, and why he believes that Russia’s efforts successfully tipped the election for Donald Trump. Plus he weighs in on the North Korean Summit, his war or words with President Trump, and much more.

Order James Clapper's book Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence on Amazon or Audible. Today's podcast is sponsored by The Jim Jefferies Show podcast and Dollar Shave Club.

Jun 18, 2018

Ambassador Michael McFaul helped President Obama craft the US-Russia “reset," and he later had a front-row seat for the end of the reset with the return of the hostile, paranoid Russian President Vladimir Putin.  He recalls witnessing history unfold during the attempted Russian military coup in 1989 and early encounter with a young unimpressive Vladimir Putin in the 90s.  He gives an insiders account of being with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she presented the infamous "reset" button, the first meeting between Putin and the newly elected President Obama, and his own thoughts on what motivates the Russian President.  He talks about arriving to protestors in Moscow on his first day as Ambassador, the Russian FSB’s sinister surveillance and harassment campaigns against him and his family, and the extensive efforts to gain Kompromat on US officials as well as certain wealthy American businessmen.

Order From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia on Amazon or Audible. Follow Michael McFaul twitter at @mcfaul or at www.michaelmcfaul.com.  Today’s podcast was sponsored by Michelin Premiere Tires, Just for Men Control GX, and Travel Guard Travel Insurance.

May 17, 2018

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his role in the 2000 Camp David Summit, and his tortured dealings with Yasser Arafat.  He recalls his early years growing up on a kibbutz, how his intelligence and navigating skills lead the physically unimposing young man to become commander of Israel's special forces unit Sayeret Matkal, and the time he lead a daring mission to rescue hostages on a hijacked Sabena Flight in 1972.  He talks about current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who served under his command and later became his political rival, he discusses his own transition from military officer to politician, and reveals what he says was the biggest mistake of his political career.  Plus, Ehud Barak shares how his thinking has evolved on the Iran nuclear agreement.

Order Ehud Barak's book new memoir My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace on Amazon or Audible.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Citizen Watches  and Grasshopper.

May 14, 2018

General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA, talks about his concerns over President Trump's attack on the Intelligence Community and objective facts.  He refutes the President’s paranoid narrative of a so called "deep state" operating in the shadows, explains the lasting impact of a damaged relationship between the Intelligence Community and the Commander-in-Chief, and reveals what friends inside the IC are saying about that relationship including how they have to tailor the Daily Intelligence Brief to a President with zero attention span and constantly wonder “do you think he got that?”  General Hayden talks about the lasting impact of the IC’s decision to focus their efforts on cyber instead of information dominance and reveals how one analyst saw the early warning signs 2 years before the Russian attack of the 2016 election.  He weighs in on the President’s nominee for CIA director Gina Haspel, the decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and why he believes Kim Jung Un is unlikely to give up his nukes.  Plus General Hayden discusses the advice he gives to those considering a job in the Administration, how the President’s Twitter addiction aids our enemies, and the Russian’s FSB’s nickname for men like Donald Trump..."the useful idiot."

Order Michael Hayden's book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies on Amazon or Audible.  and follow him on twitter at @GenMHayden.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Citizen Watches, US Marker Board, and Grasshopper.

May 10, 2018

CNN political analyst Sally Kohn talks about her investigation into the epidemic of hate all around us and how we can stop it. She discusses what scientists and researchers have learned about the evolutionary and cultural roots of hate, and how incivility can be a gateway to much worse.  She shares some surprising lessons and dramatic stories from her travels to Rwanda, the Middle East, and across the United States engaging with former terrorists, white supremacists, and even her own Twitter trolls.  Plus Sally Kohn opens up about confronting some of her own less than perfect moments such as when she bullied a classmate in school or times when the ugliness of the politics has gotten the best of her.

Order her book The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity on Amazon or Audible.  Subscribe to her podcast The State of Resistance on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.  For more information, visit www.sallykohn.com and follow her on twitter at @sallykohn.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Everquote, US Marker Board, and Zyppah.

May 7, 2018

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment of crisis in American politics by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame hatred and reveals how his latest book The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels was born in the dark days following the infamous Charlottesville rally.  He talks about similarities between the current age and the 1920’s, how America during Great Depression could have easily followed the path of Germany into totalitarianism, and what Donald Trump could learn from the fate of red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy.  He discusses moments when Presidents have served as moral leaders for the nation including the day George H.W. Bush handed in his NRA card and an oft forgotten speech by Dwight Eisenhower that is all too relevant today.  Plus George H.W. Bush's biographer shares some candid memories of the late former First Lady Barbara Bush.

Order Jon Meacham's book The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels on Amazon or Audible.  Keep up with him at www.jonmeacham.com and follow him on Twitter at @jmeacham.  Today's episode was sponsored by Citizen Watches, Grasshopper, Quip, and U.S. Markerboard

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