056 “James Comey Gets Sh**canned, Julian Assange is Still at Large” - The Fifth Column

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The Fifth Column - Analysis, Commentary, Sedition
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Is former FBI boss James Comey's unexpected and unceremonious termination a Nixonesque attempt to bury the Russian narrative once and for all... Is it just the latest salvo from a calculating monster with totalitarian asperations... Or maybe the Trump regime is just about as inept as it seems...

PLUS:- Clapper: 'You ain't no got'damn journalist, Julian!' Assange: 'You's a liar!' - What's this about Sea World!? Sounds Gross. - And Comey may be out, but we'll always have James Taylor (FTW)



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Another mass shooting, more performative outrage (note: and this was recorded right before Beto’s gross little stunt), and never any practical solutions. The lads discuss the massacre in Texas, a “racist” incident at Yankee Stadium, a terrible Marvel movie, and a proposed new female superhero. Oh and as Moynihan explains in his brief preamble, the Rodecaster Pro is a horrible piece of audio hardware that ate 28 minutes of this podcast…but if you’re an audio genius—and this might take a genius to fix—and you want a copy of the muddy, robotic bit to tinker with….feel free to reach out.And as previously pointed out, your free trial is ending soon. So make not to be a filthy freeloader and sign up for real. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit wethefifth.substack.com/subscribe

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In celebration of the Fifth’s triumphant move to Substack, the lads decided to do a live show in New York City, with the two most New York City guys they could find. But that live show in New York City sold out immediately, provoking a flurry of angry and/or heartbroken emails. So how does one skip the queue for the next one? Well, tickets are released to subscribers first. And our subscribers are bored and like to get liquored in the middle of the week. You see what we’re getting at? Now, it’s nothing like the sweaty, drunken energy of the Comedy Cellar on a Wednesday night, but this is a pretty reasonable facsimile: we present to you, in all of its random and rambling glory, an unedited recording of The Fifth Column live at the Comedy Cellar. A huge thanks to Michael Rapaport and Colin Quinn, who finished the show out. A few video clips forthcoming. And more pics over at Moynihan’s Instagram. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit wethefifth.substack.com/subscribe

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Another two-parter: the first half with our new favorite lefty Lara Bazelon, professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, journalist, feminist, novelist, controversialist. After Lara leaves, probably to free someone from prison, the lads take the second half of the show to catch up on the stupid and depressing news of the week.- Baaaa-zelon- Broken clock: Lara thinks Betsy DeVos had a point…- The lefty case for free speech and due process on campus- Lara’s Atlantic piece on how the ACLU lost its way - From Skokie to the lady from Aquaman- The social justice cafeteria- The ACLU’s face of gender violence is a rich actress who probably beat up her husband- Like this podcast, courtrooms are rhetorically “violent.” Get used to it.- That Laura Kipnis book - That sold out live show in NYC next week (with special guest hints)- The Dems failed borsh bill- Cooling inflation that is still really hot and “barreling ahead”- The failure of Trump’s trade policy- The anti-commie case against Ron DeSantis’s performative anti-communism - And so much more!- Stop being cheap and subscribe below. The money kind of subscribe. Because every dollar helps pay off Matt’s substantial gambling debts. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit wethefifth.substack.com/subscribe

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We’re unlocking this subscriber-only podcast, recorded back in January, just to give you freeloaders a taste of what lurks behind the paywall. It’s not only those amazing bonus episodes, wherein the morons from The Fifth Column yammering and stammering through the most important issues facing civilization. But occasionally one-on-one interviews with some of the most interesting people on Earth. Like this one with the great Jon Ronson, host of the new podcast Things Fell Apart. So head over to Substack and subscribe.By popular demand, we present to you, dear patrons, the triumphant return of journalist, podcaster, Welshman, filmmaker, and nicest guy in the business, Mr. Jon Ronson.Ronson, whose classic works include The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test and So You've Been Publicly Shamed, stopped by the Fifth's Chinatown studio to for a fascinating, revealing one-on-one chat about his phenomenal new podcast series Things Fell Apart, losing friendships because of the culture war (ahem), the first internet cancellation, satanic panics, and the interview that made him almost believe in god...and Moynihan almost (almost) cry. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit wethefifth.substack.com/subscribe
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- Mean Babies w/ Pink Eye

- Tity Boi

- Dangerous Misinformation

- Show Tunes

- Cinco de Mayo

- Live From New York, Again

- Apartheid Daydream

- Combating Misinformation

- The Sims 2

- Anatomy of Tribal Hysteria

- Everyone Starts to Say It

- Its Own Reward

- From Cuba to the Marshall Islands

- Entangling Alliances

Recorded: April 29th, 2022

Published: April 30th, 2022


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  • Ulysses for kidz
  • Stop complaining. It's a secret.
  • It's all over, folks. Barack solved misinformation
  • The Fairness Doctrine was dumb then. It's even dumber now
  • BTW, they're *all* liars
  • Defining misinformation (down)
  • Sarah Hepola, author of the memoir Blackout and this great Atlantic piece
  • Moynihan v. Hepola on drinking
  • She started drinking at 7??
  • Wherein we demand Hepola credit the Fifth Column for saving her life or something
  • On self-censorship and gaslighting
  • Kmele's stirring defense of that fantastic beast, Johnny Depp
  • And so much more

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- A Very Bad Week

- Best, Final

- Like, Literally the Holocaust

- F*ck You Money

- Narrative Malfunction

- Round the Water Cooler

- How America Got Stupid

- Going Solo

- Automotive Analogy

- Expanding Nato, Deploying Nukes

- The Bully Decides

Recorded: April 14th, 2022

Published: April 15th, 2022


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- Take Em' To Church

- Okay, Groomer

- How 'Lion King' Made Kmele Trans

- Troll Culture

- Mr. Cooper's Pronouns

- Elon's New Gig

- BLM House Flippin'

- The Purpose Driven Journalist

- Louie CK and The Larger Truth***

- Mr Perfect

- The Truth About Ukraine

- Red Dawn x 1,000

- Obamacare 2022

- Covid Zero

- That Time Welch Got Us Canceled

- Howard Stern's Golden (Shower) Age

Recorded: April 6th, 2022

Published: April 7th, 2022


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  • Slappy White and the Hot Takes
  • Birthdays Was the Worst Days: Six Years of the Fifth
  • Hey Twitter World (The Ballad of OJ Simpson)
  • Jon Stewart’s excruciatingly dumb show on race
  • A Ben Dreyfuss tweetstorm
  • America: From James Madison to Madison Cawthorn
  • Sex party etiquette
  • A seven hour gap, a laptop that keeps on giving, and an ex-prez who won't go away
  • On this sacred anniversary, a very, very exciting announcement

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  • On casualties, causation, and delusion
  • Is there a risk of overcorrection in Ukraine?
  • Sanctions, free trade, and nukes
  • The power of historical grievance
  • Kmele and Matt...disagree on corporations taking sides in wars
  • Also, the war in Ukraine is not about your dumb culture war issues
  • The Ketanji Brown Jackson Show
  • Ma'am, where do you stand on NAMBLA?
  • Florida's 'Lia Ackshully Lost Act'
  • Slava Ukraini and slavery tips
  • RIP Madeleine Albright
  • Cory Booker is a bad actor
  • Some thoughts on Arianna Huffington's mattress business

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Kmele got a new baby!

Welch is doing -- something.

And a disheveled, bleary-eyed Moynihan checks in from Europe -- where he's been bouncing between checkpoints and bunkers in Ukraine. The dude is earning his WHOLE paycheck this week.

Recorded: March 14th, 2022

Published: March 15th, 2022


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  • Does the media have this conflict wrong?
  • The privatization of protest
  • Europe shutting down shitty, Kremlin-funded media
  • Wait, did Matt Taibbi just say he was warming to intervention?
  • Verdict: unclear
  • No due process for shitty, Kremlin-funded oligarchs
  • America's overlooked role in the beginnings of Putinism
  • Could Russia have been democratic?
  • Mearsheimer and the interminable NATO debate
  • The narcissism of Twitter war tourism
  • Taibbi post game
  • On Biden's SOTU speech
  • On the forgotten trade wars


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With Kmele waiting for his son to arrive and moving into his new East Coast digs (or something), Welch and Moynihan again find a temporary replacement. This time the honor is bestowed upon Jamie Kirchick, senior fellow for the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council and author of the forthcoming book Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington. Bullet point topics for this episode seem unnecessary because....lotta Ukraine. With a bonus digression into Jamie's recent piece on Sohrab Ahmari and the right's lurch towards 'national conservatism.' Enjoy.

Also: another Patreon coming at the end of the week. So go sign up.


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Guest: Jeffery Sachs, Lecturer in Politics @ Acadia University

  • A Huge School Board Recall in San Francisco (With National Implications)
  • A Proposed Ban on Talking About *Gay Stuff* w/ School Kids (In Florida, Of Course)
  • A Contoversial Federal Crackdown on Protesters in Canada (Swastikas! Swastikas! Swastikas!)

Is there more? Maybe 😏

Recorded: Feb 17th 2022

Released: Feb 18th 2022


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Kmele's on a plane back East, where he shall remain and where the Fifth will increasingly ditch Zoom for in-person recordings. Yay. Filling in for Comrade Foster this week? Journalist, author, inventor, CNN contributor, mother of three, and all around swell gal, Mary Katherine Ham!

  • The triumph of the stupid
  • The stupid Washington Post
  • Hating friends with stupid politics
  • Mary Katherine, like Switzerland to her ex-friends
  • The right after Trump
  • Unharassed by Ailes
  • When Hammer and Moynihan met
  • Revisiting MKH’s reporting on the Tea Party town hall madness
  • More on Hitler’s truckers 
  • Broken risk analysis: MKH on schools, masking, and Covid culture wars
  • Masked and anonymous
  • Does Dave Chappelle hate the poor?
  • Don't influence the normies 
  • The electoral power of hypocrisy
  • Sports bras, shaming, and misinformation
  • And so much more!

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Our favorite Danish intellectual returns! After a three-plus year absence, Jacob Mchangama is back on the Fifth, this time promoting his amazing new book, Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media, which P.J. O'Rourke calls 'best history of free speech ever written and the best defense of free speech ever made.' We tend to agree. The lads make quick work of a bottle of sake and still manage to blather about...

  • The state of free speech in Europe
  • Joe Rogan and the crisis of speech
  • Many of history's heroes of free speech were kind of shitty on free speech
  • It always comes back to Nazis
  • The Weimar fallacy
  • Hanged for speech. Really, really bad speech
  • The sheep theory
  • Jacob brings up Nazis again
  • Tell the moon about the crying room
  • The most powerful engine for social change
  • Free speech is a powerful engine *against* racism
  • Two islamists realize they were wrong about free speech

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A freebie for the great unwashed, cheapskate masses. A little...ummm....looser than the free feed pod. And note that Moynihan's car was stuck in the snow just moments before recording, so he's slightly more unhinged than usual. When contacted, he apologized profusely and said 'had I known you were releasing this to the freeloaders I wouldn't have said all of those things that I totally believe but make people pay to hear...' -TFC

Snowstorms. People moving. Daughters acting crazy. Fiona Hill. Lots happening in the Fifthdom, but the lads got together this afternoon for a shouty, everyone-is-insane rant fest. The following topics were soberly discussed:

- To save democracy, it must be destroyed

- A left-right synthesis! Let's all abandon principles!

- 16 free speech help lines

- Oprah: The OG Joe

- Jenny from the U of G

- Smooth brown something

- We need to talk about Rogan

- We need to talk about (Ilya) Shapiro

- Welcome to Georgetown...now into the penalty box, you racist!

- A warning label for everything

- A magic word supercut!

- Canadian truck driving Nazis?

- The Thousand Beer Reich: 14 out-of-shape Nazis stand on an Orlando bridge

- Patti for SCOTUS

- And much, much more....


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Almost a year after being run out of Slate for possession of an unpopular opinion, journalist and podcaster Mike Pesca joins the Fifth for his first post-controversy conversation on how it all went down, when banal opinions became 'harassment,' and what we can expect from the The Gist 2.0.

  • Is Kmele being prioritized for Covid treatment? Because, ya know...
  • Mike Pesca gets pushed out of Slate (for referencing, but not saying, a magic word)
  • Bull Connor's boss, Steve
  • A 'harassment-worthy' opinion
  • Was anyone brave and did they call bullshit? Ummm...
  • N-words and Mohammad cartoons
  • Insert $5 for more podcast
  • Kmele's Kovid fog
  • The roughest period of Mike's life, ever
  • The new, new journalism
  • Hating Joe Rogan
  • You don't have the truth, journalists. But you can get there
  • The Gist's approchal
  • Moynihan likes The Gist. Except that one episode...
  • The media is atomized. Or maybe balkanized
  • Coleman is a good rapper
  • Don't catastrophize the normal

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  • Kmele at Hereticon
  • Fallibility vs. Fundamentalism
  • A Time to Choose
  • In Your Heart You Know He's Racist
  • Gerrymandering for Good
  • Credibility, Transparency
  • Ignoring Alex Jones
  • Arguing with Alex Jones
  • The One Thing Americans Agree On...
  • ...It's All Going to Shit
  • Alex Jones' America
  • Idiots Wrote This

Recorded: Jan 13th, 2022

Published: Jan 14th, 2022


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He's brilliant. He has a Pulitzer Prize, And he's totally jacked. New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who was at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and could definitely kick your ass, joins the Fifth to reflect on the riot, coup, insurrection, revolution, putsch, mass hate crime...whatever you want to call it. But hang around after the Rosenberg Coup Hour for a freewheeling postgame meditation on legal crime in New York City, upbraiding Moynihan for his bad parenting skills, and the secret ghostwriters behind Kmele's Twitter account...

*Note: It's someone else's fault, obviously, but allow us to extend a half-hearted apology for the slightly subpar (occasional but not terrible) audio quality on one of our mics. If this was a Patreon episode and you forked over cash--which you really, really should do--our regrets would be far more groveling and effusive. But you skinflints and freeloaders can just deal with it....


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  • A Covid Christmas
  • A Merry Kwanzaa
  • Before you eulogize the dead, I have stupid tweet you should consider
  • Matt sort of emptywheels Harry Reid
  • Planes, Trains, and superspreader events
  • Yes, there are no tests
  • The usual Covid frustrations
  • The Webb Hubbell telescope
  • The Memorial shutdown
  • The non-historians lecture us on history
  • Destroy the idols of Americanism
  • What on Earth is the Flatbush Remonstrance?

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Back for his third (we think?) visit, the scourge of crackpots and charlatans, America's greatest ginger, and our favorite congressman...Rep. Peter Meijer!

  • Look, it's not a great time for the Republican Party
  • Unity! Now get the fuck out
  • What Rep, Meijer wrong about January 6th
  • Dear Congress: gimme some truth about January 6th
  • Why Nancy Pelosi wanted impeachment to fail
  • To get out of an anti-democratic moment, we must have even less democracy
  • 'You voted to impeach and your career has been weird ever since' - Matt Welch
  • Was that terrorism? Or just a bunch of delusional losers
  • Is the insurrection investigation the job of congress or...historians?
  • He's 'fucking furious'
  • Exit question to Rep. Meijer: What say you about Julian Assange?
  • 'Just find out about the UFOs' - Kmele Foster
  • An hour of post-Meijer postgame
  • A mask for Dmitrios: remembering Kmele's trip to Greece
  • Pack the court! / Kmele's insane Elizabeth Warren impression
  • Unlike most rich people, Elon acts like a rich person
  • Merry Christmas, wokeness is over (if DeSantis wants it)

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Jussie Smollett's years-long legal drama careening toward its conclusion. New York City enacts the countries most expansive (and ill-conceived) COVID restrictions. While the Biden Administration sends diplomatic shots at Xi in China and navigates an increasingly tumultuous situation with Putin in Russia.

  • Kmele's New York State of Mind
  • Creep Show
  • Playin' Journalist
  • Diplomatic Games + Human Rights
  • Blaming Everything on NATO (and Biden)
  • Russia Hawks
  • No Justice for Jussie
  • Elite Lives Matter
  • Yoko/Lennon
  • McLaughlin Psychic Friends Network

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Joining us for his third appearance on the Fifth, one of the sexiest men on planet Earth, the man with his own cam, the smartest and least partisan person on cable news...Massachusetts's own Steve Kornacki!

  • Thank you North Dakota roughnecks
  • The dust clears in VA and NJ...and Kornacki tells us what it all means
  • Will the Republican Party divorce Trump?
  • Voters, crime, and culture wars
  • Remember when Alan Keyes was MAKING SENSE???
  • How much power does the progressive caucus *really* have?
  • Massachusetts Steve is obsessed with Mike Dukakis
  • Biden, polling, and the Afghanistan debacle
  • Partisanship and the history of cable news
  • We know little, but Waukesha already proves so much
  • Quiet Steve Kornacki....is one of the good ones
  • And so, so, so much more!

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w/ Jonathan Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law @ Case Western Reserve University

- Three Stacks

- Kanye ♥️ Drake

- Steve Bannon's Day in Court

- Google That

- Hurry Up, Charge Him!

- Black Panthers, Communist and MAGA Corps (Oh, My)

- Seeing What We Want

- Rittenhouse Rorschach

- (Still More) Media Malpractice

Recorded: November 17th, 2021

Published: November 19th, 2021


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  • Way Too Sexy
  • Crypto Art
  • Miss Universe (Can Get It)
  • Fifth Coin
  • 'A Bad Gal Dat'
  • Palliative Journalism
  • Virginia is for Hustlers
  • The Trouble w/ Complicated
  • Was Rufo Right? (No)
  • We're Very Sorry (But We Keepin Your Stuff)
  • Map Makers + Freak Shows

Recorded: 11/5/21

Published: 11/7/21


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w/ Zaid Jilani, former reporter at The Intercept and current substacker (inquiremore.com)

  • Kmele, missing in a mudslide?
  • Zaid, the most left-wing staffer at the Center for American Progress
  • Cable news is horrible / Jeff Toobin slays white supremacy
  • School board chaos in Virginia
  • Creating wee lil' apparatchiks
  • Why do we care about the stupid VA governor's race?
  • Words don't mean anything anymore, part 322
  • We are all India-Pakistan now
  • The steady hand in DC is trembling
  • Dumb Republicans still have no economic program
  • Dear lord, she's wearing a vest!
  • The collapsing Biden economic agenda
  • Is Kyrsten Sinema a bad politician? Bad dresser? Bad bisexual?
  • Matt discovers his white privilege (and he likes it)

Recorded: 10/28/21

Posted: 10/28/21


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w/ Ethan Strauss, (HNIC @ 'House of Strauss' / Substack)

  • Enemy of the Syntax
  • Ethiopian Royalty
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
  • Leaving the Athletic
  • Not Just for Sports Fans
  • Breaking for Black Bodies
  • NBA Vax Mandates
  • Obama Decides to Be Black
  • 'Racist' Emails
  • Moynihan's First Job
  • Double 0' Sistas
  • Jokes that Kill (But Not Actually)

Recorded: 10/16/21

Published: 10/14/21


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w/ Robby Soave, (Senior Editor @ Reason - Author, 'Tech Panic')

  • Oral Surgery
  • Buying Robby's Book
  • How Facebook (Isn't) Destroying The World
  • Incompetent + ill-informed
  • Please, Think of The Teenagers
  • A Vintage Moral Panic
  • Mark Zuckerberg's Body Count
  • Victims + Victors
  • Messy Speech
  • When Google Becomes Microsoft
  • 26 Words (That Created the Internet)
  • About That FBI Memo
  • The Darkest Day in American History
  • The Great Culture War Vortex
  • Americas' Dumbest Holiday

Recorded: 10/6/21

Published: 10/10/21


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w/ Katie Herzog, Host @ 'Blocked and Reported'

  • Stay in Your Hood
  • So Many Sources
  • Dog Run Confidential
  • What Emma Knew
  • Katie's Nightmare
  • How Did You Get This Number
  • Cool Off
  • Denzel Was Drinking
  • More Shaft
  • Very Heavily Redacted
  • Even More Heavily Redacted
  • Two Spirits
  • Wizard of Ozy

Recorded: 9/30/21

Published: 10/2/21


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W/ Antonio Garcia Martínez, Propritor @ 'The Pull Request'

  • False Start
  • Driven to Drink
  • Cultural Valley ('Crazy Ones Need Not Apply')
  • Mission Protocols
  • The Full NYT Software Download
  • Section 230
  • The Devil in the Details
  • A Conservative War on Big Tech
  • Stormfront / SJW
  • An Uncertain Future
  • GOP 🥰 FDR
  • A Crypto First Economy
  • We Probably Can't Get Along?
  • Amazon vs. Google vs. Apple vs. Facebook
  • Nancy Pelosi: Project Manager?
  • Pull Request
  • Le Tech Blog
  • Rendered Absurd By Time
  • From Nokia to MSNBC to Google Wave...
  • 'Will it Pass?' - Infrastructure Edition
  • 'Will it Pass?' - George Floyd Edition
  • False Stop

Recorded: 9/22/21

Published: 9/24/21


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- Bacon Egg and Cheese (Late Capitalism Edition)

- The Met Gala -- America's Most Glamours Tax Shelter

- Hetro Negative

- No Sex Cults for Kmele

- Democrat Wins Most Democratic State

- Larry Elder: White Nationalist?

- The Republican Trump Conundrum

- How Long Can Democrats Run Against Donald Trump

- 'She was in coach!'

- Covid Hospitlziations, Vaccine Booster Controversy

- Protecting the Vaccinated

- Bob Woodward's New Trump Book

- Gen Mark Milley Called the CCP

- Trump: 'Withdrawl all the troops. Nuke China. Stop the steal!'

- Stop the Steal Part Deux

- As Afghanistan Dispeares from the Headlines

- Me Love You Long Time

Recorded: 9/15/21

Published: 9/16/21


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-- Aussie Impressions of a Missing Moynihan

-- A Gay Dad’s Homophobia

-- Australian Federalism; Who Knew?

-- Libertarianism, Shmibertarianism!

-- Islands Are Weird, Man

-- QR Covid Tracking Is Totally Fine

-- Concentration Camp or Exercise Yard?

-- Anti-Science Quarantines

-- What Tucker Carlson Got Wrong

-- What Tyler Cowen Got Right

-- The CRT/Abortion Parallels

-- He’ll Come Visit Just as Soon as He Can Escape!


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- Lead Astray

- Wrong Line

- Blues Traveler

- Sugar in his Tank

- When in Kabul

- Repeal/Replace/Keep the AUMF for another 20 years?

- Matt's Basement is Flooding (No, Really)

- 1/2 Trimester

- The Reverend Dr. James P Eagle Sr

- The Rule of Law

- Playin Coach

- Reading Playboy for the... Ads?

Recorded: 9/1/21

Published: 9/2/21


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W/ Eli Lake, Opinion Columnist @ Bloomberg

- New Dad

- Moynihan's Big Night Out

- Things to Remember (or Naw)

- Meet Gutter (He Kidnaps Kids)

- Whose on Top

- The Most Inevitable Thing in the World

- Hard Limits

- Public Sentiments

- Vietnam Syndrome

- Hip Hop Conservatives

- Afghan Clean Up

- The Afghanistan Variant

Recorded: 8/23/21

Published: 8/25/21


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W/ David French

- Various Notes on the Amy Cooper Interview

- The Enablers

- Earnest Disagreement

- The Two Illiberal Wings of Twitter

- False Dichotomies, All The Way Down

- Negative Partisanship and the Politics of Animosity

- When ‘Your’ Base Turns on You

- The Home Teams Defect

- Structural, Systemic, Real, Imagined

- Revising the CRT Bans

- The Empty Promise of CRT

Published: 8/10/21


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