#391 'Debt Drama, DEI, and Deceased Rock* Legends*'

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The Fifth Column - Analysis, Commentary, Sedition
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* Release The List

* Crosby, Not So Great

* A Few Nights In Chicago

* Squashing Racism ($5 Million at a Time)

* Reparations and the US Constitution

* A Seat at the Table

* Hereditary Culpability and Entitlement

* Manhattan Beach

* Daily Wire vs. Mug Club

* Drew Carey 🖤 CDC

* “We ain’t gonna talk bout dem papers (so y’all can quit asking)”

* Debt Limit Hold’em

* The Anti-Woke Caucus

* Florida’s “Objective” Nonsense

* What Students Deserve

* “If We Lose, You Lose”

Recorded: 1/19/23

Published: 1/20/23



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No Red Wave. No Blue Wave. No Fascist Takeover. No Democracy Dying in Darkness. The 2022 midterm elections came; they’ll take almost a month to sort out (including a runoff in Georgia) — but things are generally about as bad (and good) as they were before the election.

Moynihan returns from the field, where he was covering the race in Florida.

Welch and his family are momentarily clear of any exigent health emergencies.

And Kmele taps in from Austin, Texas.

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* The Libertarian Moment?

* To Start A War

* Weapons of Mass Delusion

* Pelosi Attack

* Definitely Not Bothsidesing

* Voting For Anyone Else Is a Vote Against Democracy

* The Gravity of Things

* Reddit profiling

* A Few Parting Thoughts

Recorded: 11.2.22

Published: 11.3.22

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* Power Strip

* A Victory for Equity

* Surveying the Midterms

* Fetterman’s Debate Disaster

* The Mystery of the AIDS Quilt

* The People vs Jim Eagle

* Eminent, Indefatigable Election Fraud

* Yarvin - The Mastermind

* Black Lives Redux

* I Miss The Old Kanye

* “Whatabout!?” MSNBC Montage

* Antisemitic Calypsos

* Antisemitic Hip hop

* Crosby, Stills and Ugh

* T Boz Lives

* From Ken Burns to Colorblind

* African Apologia

Recorded 10/26/22

Published 10/28/22

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* Moynihan has COVID (Again)

* Another NYC Covid Spike

* “Dangerous New Levels of Misinformation”

* The Kids Are Actually All Right (but they’re mostly not getting vaccinated)

* No Apologies for #DeathSantis

* Ladies Who “Lead” (and cry about it)

* Red Wave, Blue Wall, Purple People Eaters

* Moynihan’s “Free Smoke” Preview

* Republican Skullduggery

* Yes, And, [ Deepest Possible Sigh ]

* The “AOC to Nazi” Pipeline

* Trust in Media… still virtually non-existent

* The Sycophants and Cynics Coalition

* YouTube is Kinda for Snuff Films (but don’t mention suicide or possible vaccine side effects)

* Censorship is BipartisanPlus: Nat Con Paradise, Matt’s Latest Thing, Finding the Right Photo, Free Ads, and more

Recorded: 10.19.22Published: 10.20.22

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The lads are all around the same table in New York City! And LA Times journalist Gustavo Arellano calls in at the top of the show to explain why the President is calling on four local politicians in L.A. to resign.

* Gustavo explains Spanish racial slurs

* Gustavo explains the racism of the LA City Council

* This is the logical endpoint for dumb identity politics

* We obsess over the race stuff at the expense of the naked corruption

* Punching dogs for social justice

* Matt is a cop-adjacent apologist

* Berlin is bad, but not is bad as it was in 1945

* A revolution with no solutions

* What the WaPo forgot to tell you

* Like almost everyone else in American politics, Hershel Walker believes in nothing

* Dear lord does Matt hate Margaret Sullivan’s book

* Adjectiving your way out of trouble

* The U.N. slaps down the Kremlin

* Reporting on Fetterman’s stroke is violence

* Also: subscribe to the Substack, you freeloader….

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I am usually among the most allergic to broad, immutable-characteristic-based analyses along the lines of “The Crisis of Men and Boys.” Some of this is the usual self-loathing—Screw guys, especially if they’re 54-year-old baseball fanatics from California!, etc. But also, probably due to the extended influence of the man formerly known as Casanova Brown, I have seen too often the fact-bending, anti-individualist and too often punitive ideological temptations of sorting humans into various pens and making grand statements about the resulting statistics.

However! When tasked during a recent media appearance to have comments on The Trouble With Males, I stumbled across a stunning (to me) chart at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that the employment rate for dudes between 2001 and 2021 was down in every age bracket younger than 55, and up in every cohort after 55. Dramatic numbers, too—16-19-year-old males went from 50% to 36%; 20-24s from 82% to 73%, and so on. If we’re getting to the point where half of men have never worked before the age of 25, that’s a profoundly different America than some of us old farts grew up in.

So when I received a publicist email saying that the Bradley Prize-winning American Enterprise Institute economist Nicholas Eberstadt had just come out with a brand new post-pandemic edition of his groundbreaking 2016 study Men Without Work, I leaped at the chance to talk to him about this subject that I cared not at all about just one month ago. Hoo-ray for the on-the-job learning!

Eberstadt, as you will soon hear, has a more interesting pedigree than your average math professor, with a wife who writes about the sexual revolution and identity politics, a sister who was in Warhol’s Factory, one grandfather who was Ogden Nash, and another who co-founded the CIA. And don’t worry, we also talk a bit about commies.

-- The myth of “full employment”

-- NILFs

-- “There is absolutely nothing good that comes out of this trend”

-- “Uncannily, weirdly, eerily regular”

-- “There's no country in the rich world that has had such a steep radical and continuing drop as the U.S.A.”

-- The Lost Decade, and the New Misery

-- Wealth without growth

-- The populist reaction

-- “They don’t do civil society”

-- Immigrants get the job done

-- California vs. Texas on immigrant welfare

-- Schmancy Bobbleman vs. the feminists

-- The ex-felon factor

-- They’re all on disability

-- We just did a national UBI experiment

-- Get a job, teens!

-- Does this also explain woke/cancel stuff?

-- We weren’t gonna let that Warhol connection slide

-- Nor the CIA grandpa

-- Charles Murray, Tim Carney, J.D. Vance

-- North Korea’s role in Russia’s failing war

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* Only Fans is for Justice

* Internet Experts

* Not Even Not Fascism

* Right Wing Extremists Everywhere

* Blame The EU

* What You’re Really Afraid Of

* The Beyonce of Journalism

* Call of the Wild

* Lil Baby Offends

* Democratic Illiberalism

* Not That Big Lie

* Don’t Call It a “Ban” (Even If It’s A Ban)

* They Were Watching Baseball

Recorded: 9.28.22Published: 9.29.22

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* Toddler Pestilence

* Death Defying Drives

* Naked Pool Slide (are you “The Big Guy”

* Russia, Ukraine, A wildly outdated PBX systems

* Trump’s Devolving Legal Situationship

* This Isn’t Political; Trust Me 🤞🏼

* Russia Hacked the Women’s March?

* Buses, Planes, and “Kidnapping” Stunts

* Maybe Build that Wall Now?

Recorded: 9.22.22Published: 9.23.22

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Featuring:Thomas Chatterton Williams - Contributing Writer @ The Atlantic, Visiting Professor and Senior Fellow Hannah Arendt Center @ Bard College Adam Davidson - Co-Founder @ Planet Money, Contributing Writer @ The New Yorker*** “It amazes me that any straight, white dudes don't see the privilege we have. It's not subtle.” - Adam Davidson - via Twitter (8/20/22)Not a long tweet. And in the grand scheme of things, hardly an unusual opinion to encounter. Ordinarily, I fire off a reply —maybe there’s some pithy back and forth, but things more or less end up about where they began— until the next (pointless?) social media drama.But maybe we agree to talk instead? Probe a bit further. Perhaps even learn a few things in the process?

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So I broke into the Palace with a sponge and a rusty spanner

With the Right Honorable Matt Welch ensconced in a posh Beverly Hills hotel, prepping to shock and sicken America with yet another appearance on Real Time, Kmele and Moynihan got on the horn to discuss the death of corgi-loving colonialist Queen Elizabeth II, moronic “anti-colonialist” Twitter, Bannon’s perp strut, Moynihan’s unwitting mentor, phantom racist volleyball fans, and an unarmed man shot in the back who wasn’t unarmed or shot in the back.

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Against a blood-red backdrop, President Biden gives an urgent campaign speech, warning that America is becoming semi-Nazi Germany, Donald Trump is partial Hitler, and our almost democracy is on the precipice of kinda revolution. The lads watch the speech and say lots of really smart things. But before they discuss the end of America, Kmele forces a conversation about Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He has a theory. Moynihan and Welch are…skeptical.

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* Zuck Talks w/ Rogan

* Student Loan Forgiveness

* Who Cares if It’s Democratic

* WashPo: “It’s Regressive!”

* The Redbox Test

* Student Debt is immoral

* Moynihan in an elevator w/ Harry Styles

* Oh, my god, they fired Brian (You bastards!)

* The Jim Jones of Journalism

* NBC “News”

* The Many Papers of Donald Trump

* That NPR Voice

* Ben Shapiro Goes to a Conference (Hilarity Ensues)

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A few weeks ago, with Matt Welch bleeding out of his ears and supposedly forbidden from flying, Kmele and Moynihan hopped a plane to a post-apocalyptic hellscape called “San Francisco” to kibizt with their new benevolent overlords at Substack. Unlike the boring prigs at Patreon (whose “Trust and Safety” commissars never even returned our calls), Substack rather generously hosted the Fifth crew for drinks, drinks, some more drinks, and a live show at company HQ.

In Matt’s stead, the lads called up FOTF (Friend of the Fifth - ed.) Lara “Che” Bazelon, a local law professor and communist revolutionary, and Substack co-founder* Hamish McKenzie, a reactionary publisher of fake news. They discuss San Francisco, the state of the media, the future of free speech, and much, much more. Enjoy.*Note: We previously referred to Hamish as CEO of Substack. He is, we are reliably informed, the 'chief writing officer,' which sounds to us like a fake job. As such, we now have significant doubts he even works at Substack and suspect he's never even been to New Zealand (which he told us “is the country where Kyle Minogue and Yahoo Serious are from”).

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Many urgent matters loom large in this dispatch.

How did boxes full of TOP SECRET documents turn up a Trump’s Mar-a-lago compound?!Could be an honest mistake… Few moving labels get mixed up; nuclear secrets turn up in a Florida man’s safe. Maybe a box full of Melania’s bawdiest intimates gets serendipitously misdirected to the National Archives.Could America be so lucky?Could Trump be selling state secrets to the highest bidder?Could the “Deep State” be up to no good?Is there a clearance sale at the Banana Republic?We’ve got margaritas, Sativa, a burning desire to sort this 💩 out — and Eli Lake is a responsible adult whose laptop definitely won’t run out of power mid-podcast.Recorded: Aug 11, 2022Published: NOW

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It's among the most unusual and noteworthy congressional primary races of 2022. For a surprisingly long stretch, Michigan's third district has been home to a uniquely independent brand of republican congresspersons. But after Peter Meijer (R) narrowly lost his primary race this week, MI-3's respectability streak is no more.

Congressman Meijer's party largely abandoned him. The former President still really hates him. And Democrats spent $435,000 to help boost his MAGA-loving opponent's sparse media profile. Meijer joined us to break down the race, spill a little tea about his soon-to-be-former-colleagues, and share some high/lowlights from his all-too-brief time in office.Recorded: Aug 3, 2022Published: Aug 4, 2022

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w/ John McWhorter and Glenn Loury

- No Moynihan, No Welch- Progress or Pesmissim- Campus Culture- Culture Warriors- Gaslighting + Reactionaries- DEI Obstacles- Overstatement and Bravery- Dignity + Individualism- Race as Ethnicity- All in Bounds- Pride, Honor, Shame- “Tolstoy is Mine. Dickens is Mine.”- Everything is permissible to meRecorded: 6/14/22Published: 7/24/22

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with David French contributing writer @ The Atlantic and senior editor @ The Dispatch.James GD WebbCleaning Your RoomPlaying to the CrowdThe Great CRT Ban KurfufflReconsidering that Roe decisionThe Capacity for PregnancyCorroboration, Prosecution, and RestraintTrump v DeSantisWorld Level ExpertsDarker Woods BeyondAnarchapulco

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* Matt breaks an eardrum

* Boris breaks British politics (Ed note: Boris renounced his American citizenship in 2017. We sort of regret the error)

* Would Putin free LeBron?

* Remember Macy Gray? Well, whoever she is, she’s very sorry

* Tim Hardaway, self-proclaimed homophobe

* The end of interventionism

* Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is shot

* Andrew Schultz goes the way of Louis CK

* 2022 Freedom Bowl: California v. Florida

* Gavin Newsom: Slightly Better than Beto

* Covid and culture wars: What will matter in 2024

We love all of our freeloading listeners. But we’d love you a whole lot more if you subscribed and reaped all the benefits of being a dues-paying member of the Fifdom. So click the button below. Now. It would make us very happy.

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“Tear it down. Start over again. We can make a brand new start.” - Blue Mafic

* A Bad Omen

* Judicial Superfluity

* Beyond Roe

* unenumerated, natural, ipse dixit

* Carry Concealed

* Conservative Excesss, Judicial Restraint

* Europe is Always Better

* “Sand in every damn gear…”

* Antidemocratic AF

* Release the Transcripts

Recorded: June 25th, 2022Published: June 26th, 2022

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* You Got a Friend

* Restrictive Covenant

* #MJInnocent

* Beefin with TSA

* Blockchain Nostradamus

* A Very Bad Thing/The Worst Possible Thing

* What Barr Knew

* Clear and Present Danger

* Google: maps of Capitol tunnels

* The Blame Game

* Can’t White a Book

* Quietest Jazz Solo

* Great Replacement Theory (But It’s Fine)

* The Al Sharpton

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* Kmele is flying

* Dude has four parents. Not one isn’t a terrorist

* The decline and fall of San Francisco, Part I 

* Fiona Dourif’s piece on how California fails the mentally ill

* A sexy retweet

* Ilya Shapiro quits Georgetown. He stops by to tell us why

* Ilya apologized. Should he have?

* He mentioned it, we’ll link to it: the paperback edition of Supreme Disorder

* Shapiro: Cato abandoned me

* Dave Weigel gets suspended because of his colleague and “close friend,” Sammy “the Bull” Sonmez,” rats him out

* Another editors note re: the TikTok lady

* A St. Louis Cardinal tweeted bad words when he was 14

* Everything is dumb

* CNN retools, but all the tools still work there

* If you ask the question “should I have kids on account of climate change,” you probably shouldn’t have kids

* A primetime January 6th hearing, produced by Busby Berkeley

* Breaking: Chesa the Chavista needs a new job

* The decline and fall of San Francisco, Part II

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* Imperfect Introduction

* Queerest story ever told

* The heart-pounding conclusion of Depp v Heard 

* Birdwatching for Karens

* A firearms 'clarification'

* The other 99% (and the warmth of simple narratives)

* Incitement for “journalists”

* Half Junky / Half Wonk

* The absurd hilarity of historical injustice

* Believe All Jedi

* Fixing CNN+ (“Toobin After Dark” Edition)

* Star Wars is for racists

* Chief Colt 45

* Total Recall, Certain Guilt

* You always need more gays

* Professional crybabies

* The Pride of Prejudice

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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