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American Public Radio, "Nothing Unconsidered"

A radio show that covers current events in Washington. Usually has three sections:

1. News

2. Commentary

3. Interview

Rarely, in times of major events, there will be special programs that take a different form, but usually this is the form it takes.

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

Our main story today is one that has been making waves in Washington over the past week. The new Speaker of the House, John Knox, shocked many when he came out strong against the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF. The AUMF was passed after 9/11 to make it easier for the executive to use military force to combat terrorism by striking the congressional approval otherwise required for all military action. Though it was passed to combat the terrorist forces associated with 9/11, it still survives today and is used as legal authorization for many of the military actions used by President Fitzgerald, maybe until now.

Advocates for the AUMF claim that it allows our government to combat dangerous terrorist movements or foreign insurgencies that are time-sensitive, while opponents argue that it gives too much power to the executive that should be with congress.

These arguments have traditionally pit different factions of our political parties against each other, with the more pacifist, non-interventionist, civil-liberty focused left normally agreeing with the more libertarian, small-government right being pit against the more institutionalist, interventionist sections of their respective parties.

This is why Speaker Knox’s move is so curious. Have the political winds shifted? Has the Democratic Party become more unified against the AUMF? Is Speaker Knox trying to challenge the libertarian sect of the Republicans against their party leadership?

Hopefully we will get some of these questions answered, as Speaker Knox has agreed to an interview for this program. But first, commentary.

 

AUMF repeal is, in my view, long overdue. It made sense as a short term authorization to fight terror in the early 2000s, but as a long term policy, it basically gives warmaking power to the executive, when the framers of the constitution clearly intended for that power to be in the hands of the people’s direct representatives in congress. The drone strikes and constant war with unspecified enemies all over the world is a byproduct of a limitless AUMF.

The only true ideologies that support the AUMF are really passionate nationalists that believe in centralized power and war hawks that believe that quick military action is regularly necessary in the modern world. I subscribe to neither of those ideologies, and I don't believe the American people do, either.

 

With us to discuss this is Speaker of the House John Knox. Thank you for speaking with us, Mr. Knox.

Knox: Thank you for having me.

So, why AUMF repeal now? Why do you think this is the time for this bill?

Knox: Why not now? I know that answers your question with another question so let me explain. When this AUMF was passed, Congress authorized us to engage in perpetual war. I don't believe the Founders gave us this ability, in fact I believe when you read Madison, they were completely opposed to it. However, it needs to be done now because there's never a wrong time to fix a mess. There's always time to do the right thing; and I firmly believe that the right thing is for Congress to take back their responsibility.

Are you worried about the repeal passing congress?

Knox: I'm not worried. I think getting through the House will be easy, if you go back most House Democrats were on board. I think many Republicans will actually join us. In the Senate, Rand Paul has made similar arguments, so I think we have some support there as well. 

Do you believe President Fitzgerald will sign AUMF repeal if it passes both houses?

Knox: I would certainly hope he does. I think it’s something that most Americans want to see. I think they’re tired of the war.

Who do you anticipate will be the strongest opposition to the bill, Republicans or Democrats?

Knox: Ultimately, it's going to come down to what President Fitzgerald decides. He has said before that Congress cannot fix this and he will do this alone. However, he is strongly mistaken. We can fix this and we are going to fix this. This isn't a big government solution. We are actually restoring the government back to it's constitutional framework. I will fight tooth and nail to see this passed. Unfortunately for him, he's not a king and he has to listen to the people's representatives.

So, when do you intend to put this on the docket? Should we be expecting it soon?

Knox: It’s a top priority to me that we get this ball rolling. 

Finally, if you could leave the American People with one final argument concerning why AUMF should be repealed, what would it be?

Knox: This is a win for Americans across ideology lines. Progressives want to see and end to the war. Libertarians not only want that but would also like us to get back to a constitutional framework. Conservatives want to see spending cuts. This has a “win” for everyone. 

Thank you again for taking the time to speak with us, Mr. Knox

Knox: Thank you as well, Michael.

 

Well there you have it. The battle for AUMF repeal is sure to be a hard fought one, and you can be sure to get all of the updates here at APR.

 

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

Today our story is about the 2020 election. No, not the presidential one, but the race for control of Senate.

It may be early, but there are already a handful of candidates that have filed and started running for senate in their states, including John Alexander of Colorado who will be with us today and Ralph Labradoodle of Idaho who will be with us next week. These candidates have kept a relatively high profile in the house and will most likely be early favorites in their state races. 

Alexander has still been focusing mostly on his position in the house thus far, especially considering the house is currently debating a bill he wrote that affirms state law’s preeminence over federal law and a bill to end the federal ban on marijuana, a position he has long advocated for. Whether he will spend the next year focusing on proposing and passing more legislation like this in the house or try to get an early jump on the senate race is unclear—maybe we’ll get it cleared up from him later on this show.

 

But first, commentary.

Alexander is one of the more progressive and most prominent members of an unusually conservative crop of House Democrats. He is one of the only openly gay members of congress and has pushed hard for many liberal social issues, but at the same time, he has joined his more conservative colleagues to fiercely fight for greater state sovereignty, even leading the charge by authoring the bill currently on the docket affirming this sovereignty.

All of this to say, Alexander is the perfect candidate to run in Colorado, who’s interesting mix of social liberalism and fierce independence is fully represented in him. This is one of the best pickup opportunities for the Democrats, and I’m sure they’re extremely happy that Alexander has decided to run.

 

Here to join us is the man himself; thank you for joining us Rep. Alexander.

Alexander: Pleasure to be here, Micahel

Early polling showed you as the favorite among the Democrats to run for President. Did you ever consider that race?

Alexander: I considered it briefly, but I decided I would like to serve the Colorado people for a time before I go national.

What made you want to run for Senate in Colorado?

Alexander: I wanted to give Coloradans the voice in Congress they deserve. 

When do you plan to start focusing on the senate race rather than proposing and passing legislation in the House

Alexander: I’ll focus on both for the time being. When congress goes into recesses I’ll go hard on my campaign.

Do you think your states’ rights bill will pass?

Alexander: I think that if the GOP can realize that 55% of Coloradans want this bill it will pass. This bill affects Colorado mainly so Coloradans should have the biggest voice. The federal government had no business meddling in votes directly from the people.

Do you think the marijuana bill will pass?

Alexander: I’m not sure on that one but I’m confident that our libertarian friends in congress will vote for it. It’s worked harmlessly in Colorado so what’s stopping us from making it a nationwide thing?

Since you have been focusing so much on the marijuana and states’ rights bills, we have yet to hear you weigh in on AUMF repeal. What’s your position on that bill?

Alexander: I’m voting for it. Our wars on terror abroad have cost to many American lives. We should pull our troops out and this can help us do that.

Are there any bills you're working on right now? What should we expect to see on the next docket?

Alexander: I can't disclose what the party is working on as of now as to not tip-off our GOP counterparts. But rest assured, me and my party will continue to provide legislation to help the American people thrive. 

Finally, if you could leave the people of Colorado with one early reason for them to vote for you, what would it be?

Alexander: Because I will speak for them. The incumbent, Senator Gardner, listens to his party leaders and not the voice of the people. I will be the change everyone needs.

Thank you again for being here, Rep. Alexander.

Alexander: Thanks for having me.

 

Well, there you have it, Representative Alexander. Any hope the Democrats have or taking the senate runs through Colorado, so many are crossing their fingers and hoping that Alexander can pull off the win. Thanks for listening to Nothing Unconsidered--tune in next week to hear our interview with and analysis of Rep. Labradoodle's race for the senate.

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

 

Before we dive into our mains story, some important breaking news has come out in the past few days. Karim Abdulayev, a popular journalist in Kazakhstan, has been arrested for writing an article critical of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s authoritarian tendencies and human rights abuses. This follows a seemingly worldwide trend of leaders consolidating power and moving toward authoritarianism. How will President Fitzgerald respond? No one knows. But, we will keep you up to date on all of the biggest stories in Washington here on APR.

 

And now for our main story. Today, we continue our analysis of the 2020 race for the senate. Today we have with us a Republican, Rep. Ralph Labradoodle of Idaho.

Rep. Labradoodle is the only candidate that has declared his candidacy for Senate in Idaho as of yet, so at the moment it seems that he is going to cruise to election in Congress' upper house.

It’s early though, so anything can happen.

Rep. Labradoodle has made waves throughout Washington over the last few months. Labradoodle, an outspoken libertarian, has fiercely taken on both parties in an extremely high-profile and public way. Last month, it was the Democrats, who he called fascists for proposing a resolution to condemn the Alt-Right, which he eventually voted for after the Democrats passed an amendment that removed a section specifying that the House would refuse to seat anyone subscribing to that ideology. He got into an especially aggressive spat with Democrat Karl Cox of Tennessee, who he called “unhinged” after Cox called him a fascist sympathizer.

At the end of the day, he voted for the resolution, and the rhetoric calmed down. It was a pretty wild episode, and most chalked it up to partisanship, until a few weeks ago.

The Democrats’ second Docket in the House is a pretty libertarian one. It includes marijuana legalization, repealing the AUMF which we discussed here, and a proposition to reenforce the sovereignty of state law over federal law, all of which are currently being voted on and are expected to pass the House.

More establishment types of Republicans like Jack Swanner of Texas came out against each of the bills mentioned, while Mr. Labradoodle came out fiercely for them. This has turned into another public brawl, only this time with his own party, calling Republican lawmakers “prudishly prohibitionist” and “inconsistent on the constitutional separation of powers.”

This all culminated in a press release released yesterday, in which Labradoodle criticized Republican President Fitzgerald’s recent executive order on immigration, calling it “unconstitutional” and “draconian.” The President has yet to respond publicly, but it's safe to say that the party is upset.

 

And now, commentary.

Rep. Labradoodle is a problem for party leadership on both sides. He marches to the beat of his own drum, and he’s not going to mince words with anyone. Critics have called him extreme while supporters have called him independent and courageous, but no one can call him inconsistent.

The problem is that he threatens losing the support of his own party or possibly being challenged by a more well-funded Republican. While there have been no calls for removal or Republican challenges to his Senate propositions yet, it’s no secret that the leadership of the Republicans aren’t happy with him, and the Democrats definitely wouldn’t take him in. I have found his rhetoric to be extreme against both sides. He is a consistent, principled libertarian, but one with an affinity for hyperbole that rivals a talk-show host.

This isn't to say that he isn't willing to bury the hatchet. After heavily criticizing the Democrats on their Alt-Right bill, he voted for it and has since co-authored or co-sponsored many Democratic bills, and I expect the same to happen with the Republicans.

He’s a wildcard, pure and simple. He’s made it clear that he intends to stay within the Republican ranks though, and as of now, it seems like he will cruise to the Senate.

 

Here to join us is Rep Labradoodle himself! Thank you for joining us.

Labradoodle: Thank you for having me.

Rep. Labradoodle, early polls put you with significant support for a Presidential run, and your ideological differences with the President are pretty stark. Did you ever consider a run for President?

Labradoodle: I have considered running one day....but I do not think opposing a sitting president would be my best option right now.  While I do disagree with the president on some thing (including the latest EO), I agree with him on many other things. I think the media has blown up the few differences between us in order to make them look bigger than they actually are in reality.

Why are you running for Senate?

Labradoodle: I am running for the senate because the senate needs constitutional originalists who will oppose big government and violations of constitutional law in the name of big government. One example of this is national security. After 9-11, congress allowed the extreme unconstitutional and extremely dystopian "Patriot Act"  to be passed. Mind you, this was under a supposed republican.....George W Bush. This act and the unconstitutional atrocities that were perpetrated by his administration under the patriot act were defended by pointing to national security. This bullying tactic was used to silence those in the GOP back in 2001 onward who opposed those actions on constitutional principles by accusing them of being weak on security. Well.....you cannot trade security for freedom. If we do, then we might as well have a dictatorship with soldiers on every corner. Sure we would be safe.....but you would no longer be free. 

I believe that the same thing is being done with the AUMF Act and the latest executive order. In the senate, I will make sure that such legislation gets stopped dead in its tracks. 

Some critics have said that you use unnecessarily harsh language such as “unhinged” and “draconian.” Why do you choose to use such language?

Labradoodle: Perhaps I was being over dramatic in my choice of hyperbole, but what else would you call arresting someone on "suspicion of being a terrorist" with a secret court that lacks jurisdiction, assumes the guilt of the person prior to a trial and overall denies the person of a fair trial under the 6th amendment? 

I absolutely care about the safety of our nation, our citizens and all of those living within our borders....But with that being said, you cannot trade "security" by trampling on our freedoms and rights.

You have made it clear that you do not intend to leave the Republican Party, even though your criticism has been very harsh as of late. Why is that?

Labradoodle: I make criticisms where criticism is due....on both sides of the aisle. I also give praise where praise is due on both sides of the aisle. Just because I praise a democrat does not mean I am now a democrat....and just because I criticize a republican does not mean that I am leaving the republicans. 

The people of Idaho do not give one hoot about intra-party politics. The people of Idaho care about integrity and sticking to the principles on which the politician is elected. Even if I have to correct and rebuke a fellow republican, that is better in the eyes of an Idaho voter than a politician who will abandon his principles in the name of refusing to call a spade a spade.

Can you expound to us on why you feel so strongly that the President’s recent EO is bad for the nation?

Labradoodle: For the same reason that I had such harsh criticisms for the Bush Administration and later the Obama administration........I care because our freedoms are what makes us the United States of America. If we take that away, even in the name of supposed security, we are compromising our most fundamental principle in order to become the very tyranny that we left back in 1776.

Right now you are the only one in the race for Idaho’s open Senate seat. Do you anticipate a strong opponent? Do you anticipate that contender to be a Republican or a Democrat?

Labradoodle: I do not see any so far.....but I should never be so bold as to say that no democrat or republican is a close contender. I guess time will tell. I will approach any contender as a serious contender and take the race seriously.

Do you think, assuming the marijuana bill and AUMF repeal passes the house, that your Republican colleagues in the Senate will pass them or shoot them down?

Labradoodle: I imagine both will die in the hopper and will never see the light of day in the senate....which is very unfortunate. That is precisely why you need more candidates like me in the senate to keep the status quo honest.

Are you concerned that you are alienating the leadership on both sides of the aisle?

Labradoodle: I do not think so. I have quite a good relationship with party leadership on both sides of the aisle. Even though I disagree with my party's leadership, we have come to an understanding that while we disagree, we can still be part of a big-tent GOP. On the democratic side......I co-authored two bills with the democratic speaker of the house and plan to have more. I plan on the same approach in the senate. That does not mean I will compromise my conscious or principles just to look bipartisan, but it does mean that I am more than just a party animal who votes the party line and refuses to find reasonable compromise and reasonable opportunities to work together.

Are there any bills you're thinking about authoring or co-authoring next? What would you like the next issue that the House debates be?

Labradoodle: I am working on a co-authored and bipartisan infrastructure bill. Stay tuned for that coming out later this session.

Finally, if you could leave the voters in Idaho with one reason why they should vote for you, what would it be?

Labradoodle: Integrity. I have it and I have shown it. I have put politics aside to work with democrats, and I have stood up for what is right even when it was standing up to my own party. I am not your average politician....I will do what is right by Idaho and right for this nation.

Thank you again for joining us, Rep. Labradoodle.

Labradoodle: Thank you very much.

 

Well, there you have it. Rep. Labradoodle. Thank you for tuning in to APR--come back next week to hear our interview with Senate Minority Leader Mark Rambor.

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Hello and welcome to a special segment of Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

Today we bring you live, breaking news from Washington. The EU has just announced retaliatory tariffs targeting various U.S. products, including large American exports such as motorcycles, cranberry juice, denim, cigarettes, and peanut butter. These tariffs were meant to be “proportional” to tariffs announced earlier this week by President Fitzgerald.

These tariffs threaten American producers and have shaken markets that fear an escalating trade war. Will this trade war affect the economy at large? Will it cost President Fitzgerald politically? That is yet to be seen.

APR correspondents caught up with House Speaker Knox earlier, who had scathing words on the matter:

Knox: As i said in Memphis this is just bad for business. What we can expect is more of the same. Our prices will go up. Our costs on small business will go up. Businesses can expect to see their profits slow down. This is solely at the feet of President Fitzgerald. It’s his executive order. It’s his fault. He needs to own up to it and get rid of it now before we’re in a worse spot.

Be sure to listen here at APR for all of the latest breaking news.

Edited by Wm96

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Hello and welcome to another special, online segment of Nothing Unconsidered from APR.

Another stunning turn of events tonight in an ever-unfolding trade saga. After negotiations between the Fitzgerald Administration and the EU, the EU has agreed to drop the proposed retaliatory tariffs in exchange for a promise of an exemption from the steel and aluminum tariffs.

This is surely just the first chapter of this trade conflict, because the concessions made to the EU are sure to embolden other countries to impose high retaliatory tariffs as well in hopes of earning exemptions as well. Be sure to stay tuned for all of the updates on this conflict here at APR.

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Hello again and welcome to yet another special, online segment from APR. I'm Michael Moonwilkins.

The reports from inside the EU that reported a deal to lower tariffs between their union and ours has now been denied by both the EU and President Fitzgerald, with EU President Junker claiming that the mentioned report came from a staffer who has since been fired. It appears that the tariffs still stand, and this tumultuous affair is far from over.

Negotiations are still open, and other countries have yet to react, so we will see where this economic brinksmanship will bring us. Tune in to APR as we cover it all!

And, assuming there are no more special segments, listen next week to hear our interview with Senate Minority Leader Mark Rambor.

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Good morning, welcome to a special morning segment of Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

After a jarring back and forth in our trade conflict with the EU last night, we have more breaking news, but interestingly enough, not concening ongoing trade disputes.

ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been confirmed dead from a drone strike launched by the U.S. His passing is thought to likely bring an end to the Islamic State’s prominence in the region, as factions of the group have already begun to splinter from the leaderless headquarters.

This is a great win for opponents for terror around the globe, as ISIS has long been a hotbed for human rights abuses and international terrorist coordination.

This news happened to break during the recording of our upcoming segment with Senate Minority Leader Mark Rambor, so we were able to get a comment from him.

Rambor: This is a win for free people all across the world. Congratulations to our generals and great military minds who planned and carried out this strike that will likely bring about an end to this terrible gang of murderous, hateful people. We must stay vigilant and fight any terrorist group that emerges in ISIS’ wake, as they tend to do, but for today, let’s just celebrate a victory for freedom the world over.

Tune in tomorrow for our full interview with Sen. Rambor.

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

Before we break into our main story tonight, we have a few massive bombshells that have dropped even since our special segment that aired yesterday. The first is an update on the situation in Kazakhstan. As we covered last week, President Nursultan Nazarbayev jailed popular journalist Karim Abdulayev for a piece he wrote that was critical of the government's authoritarian tendencies. Well, this has caused massive, sustained demonstrations all around the country in support of Abdulayev. The government has not responded as of the airing of this show, but stay tuned as this situation could turn nasty at any moment.

We also had a slew of high-profile candidates enter the Presidential Race today. Senator and former Governor of West Virginia Beau Bennett joined the Democratic side this morning, causing that race to grow to four-wide.

But the startling development is on the Republican side, which saw two extremely high-profile candidates enter the race for President. These two include Former House Speaker and House Minority Leader Kurt Faulhammer and Rep. and thought to be Senate Candidate Ralph Labradoodle who was on our show last week, when he said, and I quote:

On 9/23/2018 at 9:44 PM, Wm96 said:

have considered running one day....but I do not think opposing a sitting president would be my best option right now.  While I do disagree with the president on some thing (including the latest EO), I agree with him on many other things. I think the media has blown up the few differences between us in order to make them look bigger than they actually are in reality.

This quote is notable because it represents a change of heart for Rep. Labradoodle, but it also demonstrates that he understood that President Fitzgerald was intending to run for reelection, which The White House contested earlier today in a press release which claimed that Rep. Labradoodle and Rep. Faulhammer both are only running because they believe the President is not running for reelection. 

Maybe The White House is correct, but it seems that Labradoodle thought differently last week. Should Fitzgerald run and be challenged by these high-profile Republicans, it could spell disaster. The only two modern presidents to lose reelection bids, Bush Sr. and Carter, both faced strong primary opposition. Will Fitzgerald run? Will the other two candidates drop out if he does? No one knows yet, but we will keep you posted here on APR.

 

And now, on to our main story which seems tame in comparison. Senate Minority Leader Mark Rambor shocked the country during the last midterms when he turned then thought to be bright red Texas blue, in one of the few bright-spots of an otherwise brutal Senate outcome for the Democrats. He has since become minority leader as a freshman Senator and is widely thought to be emblematic of a new, changing face of the Democratic Party. He was thought to possibly be a strong presidential challenger until earlier this week, when he was asked whether he would be running for president this term and confirmed that he would not be entering the race.

Rambor also shocked the world by throwing out the traditional party playbook of pivoting right when running in red state. Rambor ran on a populist message based in empathy and standing up for the people, which, all in all, was fairly progressive in nature.

It worked out for him though, as he took down incumbent Ted Cruz by a pretty wide margin.

Since becoming Minority Leader, Sen. Rambor has been unable to get the Republicans to field any of the bills he and his colleagues have introduced. He has made public calls for debate, but the Republicans have stonewalled all of their legislation, much to his public frustration. How will he work to get anything passed, and how will he use his momentum to influence the Senate race? Hopefully we can get some answers.

 

With us is Sen. Mark Rambor himself. Thank you for joining us, Sen. Rambor.

Rambor: Thank you for having me.

Early Presidential polling put you at number two among Democrats, behind only Rep. Alexander. Especially once he confirmed he wasn't running, did you ever consider running for the highest office in the land?

Rambor: No, I never considered it. The people of Texas elected me to represent them in the Senate for six years, and for me to turn around and spend all of my time running for President only a year after they sent me to do this job would be irresponsible. I could see myself running at some point in the future, after I've served the people of Texas to the fullest of my ability.

It is no secret that you have been frustrated with Republican Leadership in the Senate. Can you expound on that for us?

Rambor: Sure. So our focus as Democrats in the Senate has been to propose nonpartisan, noncontroversial legislation that we can all agree will make this country better. We've done that, across the board. We've proposed legislation like The Better Workforce for Veterans Act of 2019, The Rural Infrastructure Improvement Act, and The Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act of 2019. All of these would not meet opposition if brought up for a vote in the Senate, but the Senate majority refuses to put them up for blatantly partisan reasons.

What do you plan to do about it?

Rambor: There's nothing we can do. We can't force them to put our legislation up for a vote. All we can do is keep proposing good legislation and make our case to the American people, who I believe will put us in the majority if the Republicans continue to cede their responsibility to govern.

As you know, there is an extremely interesting 2020 race for President going on. What do you think about the Democratic side? Any favored candidates.

Rambor: Ha, I'm not making any endorsements yet. I know each of the candidates personally and am currently with two of them in the Senate. They are all fine people and fine candidates. I will probably make an endorsement by the end, but right now I'm just wishing them all luck.

What about the Republican side?

Rambor: I don't really care to comment further than that I'm watching it closely. It will get interesting if President Fitzgerald decides to officially enter the race. Right now, I'm much more focused on governing in the Senate.

You said that you intend to make endorsements in the Democratic Primary. What are you looking for in a candidate?

Rambor: Someone who shows that they will fight for the people, particularly the working people, over corporations, the rich, or political interest groups. We need to be a party of the working class, and that will be the important factor to me in the primary.

Is there any legislation that you're working on right now?

Rambor: I've been speaking with my friends in the house to write and work to pass a set of worker's rights bills. You can expect more of those.

Thank you for being here with us, Sen. Rambor.

Rambor: It was a pleasure.

 

Well there you have it, folks. Tune in next week for our analysis of and interview with Beau Bennett, one of the major Democratic candidates for President.

Also, we are proud to announce that on December 2 (this Monday IRL), APR will be hosting the first Democratic Primary Debate! Speaker Knox, Sen. Truboenski, and Sen Bennett are all confirmed to attend, so make sure to tune in for that.

Edited by Wm96
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Alexander Momentum: 5

Labradoodle Momentum: 7

Knox Momentum: 1

Rambor Momentum: 11

Bennett Momentum: 1

Faulhammer Momentum: 1

 

Background Fundraising

Alexander: $100,000

Labradoodle: $100,000

Knox: $100,000

Rambor: $5,000,000

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

It’s been an eventful week, so we’ve got a lot to get through today. First, breaking news.

A shooter opened fire at The Brandeburg Gate in Berlin this morning. Before being killed on the scene by police, he killed approximately twelve people, with at least double injured. The Citizens United for a Pure World, the white nationalist group responsible for the Mall of America shooting last year, has claimed responsibility. This only continues a rising tide of terrorist activity worldwide, but particularly in America and the EU. We will be following this development closely in the coming days.

The situation in Kazakhstan is further deteriorating. After the jailing of a popular journalist for a story critical of President Nazarbayev’s authoritarian tendencies and human rights abuses, worldwide protests broke out. These protests have become violent as they clashed with pro-government groups. There is no reliable estimate of the amount of casualties, but the toll is sure to rise in the coming days.

President Fitzgerald denounced the Nazarbayev Administration and cut foreign aid to the country. Whether this pressure will lead to the release of Karim Abdulayev remains to be seen.

President Fitzgerald announced a drastically revised Afghanistan strategy yesterday. This plan would completely remove American military forces from the region and replace them with a small contingent of private military contractors hired by the U.S. This has been met with skepticism our outright condemnation by many, due to large amounts of evidence that military contractors are only seldom more cost effective, much less militarily efficient, and much more prone to fraud or misconduct than our government’s military.

America has a long and storied history with military contractors, particularly with our wars in the middle east. This would be a large escalation in their use as they have seldom been hired to be the vast majority of forces in the region. Advocates say that this will control costs and save American lives that don’t choose to go as a private contractor, while critics say that this will lead to even more misconduct like the alleged torture of Abu Ghraib, the use of burn pits that make people sick, the poor infrastructure development they were hired to oversee in Iraq, or the instance when the contractors used their position in Iraq to sell arms and hire prostitutes through a military base.

Speaker and Presidential Candidate John Knox takes issue from a constitutional perspective. Knox argues that only congress has the power to raise an army, and therefore President Fitzgerald does not have the constitutional power to hire contractors to that degree without congressional approval. Knox did not specify whether there should be a lawsuit filed in accordance with this message.

Regardless, this criticism doesn’t seem to shake the Fitzgerald administration, as the plan is already looking to be executed through as early as 2022. We will be following this story closely as it develops.

 

Now, on to the main story of the night. Today, we start a series detailing the Democratic Presidential Primary that has really begun in full swing. Today, with have with us Senator Beau Bennett of West Virginia, next week we will have Senator Alex Truboenski of Montana, the next week we will be hosting the first Democratic Primary Debate, followed by hosting Speaker John Knox of Arkansas just before voting begins.

Our first candidate is Senator Beau Bennett. Bennett is the former Governor of West Virginia that won a high-profile race against another Republican former Governor last year. He is jumping straight from one campaign to the next, and thanks to a terribly gridlocked senate, all of the new members have yet cast a single consequential vote in the Senate.

Bennett is thought to be possibly the most conservative high-profile member of an increasingly conservative Democratic Party. He is extremely pro-life, came out strongly against common core, and even spoke at an NRA rally during the campaign. This has been praised by “blue dog” Democrats that believe a moderate, more conservative party is best, but it has been derided by others as the wrong direction for the party, unelectable, and inconsistent with party values.

Bennett makes this race interesting because while there is a long history of red-state conservative Democrats, they very rarely run in or win national elections. Senator Bennett is working to upend this trend and draw in moderate voters into what he believes is the best coalition to beat President Fitzgerald. The hardest part might just be to win the primary though.

 

Here to tell us how he plans to do just that is Senator Beau Bennett. Thank you for joining us, Senator.

Bennett: Thank you for having me on.

Early polling showed you to have the most backing of any candidate that ended up joining the race. Do you consider yourself the frontrunner?

Bennett: I think its a little too early to be talking about front-runners just yet, however I do think that my executive experience is attractive to primary voters.

What is the main message you want to convey to voters in this race?

Bennett: The main message I want to convey to voters is that dysfunction in Washington D.C. will never be solved unless you have an independent leader in the Oval Office.  One that is not blinded by ideology.  One that will restore separation of powers in our federal government.  And, last but not least, one that will work for the middle class and not the upper crust.

What do you say to people who claim that you are too far to the right for the Democratic Party?

Bennett: I would say to those people that the Democratic Party is a big tent.  We will have disagreements.  But, kitchen table disagreements are one thing, disagreements on the goal and operation of our government is quite another.  My campaign will unite all Democrats- progressive, moderate, conservative, and any other type- around small d Democratic values that have been the bedrock of our party since the New Deal.

What is your view on marijuana legalization and AUMF repeal that was passed by the house?

Bennett: Marijuana laws should be state by state. I support ending the federal government's ban on it. As far as the AUMF repeal, I strongly support it.  It helps restore checks and balances, which is essential to keeping our constitutional republic up and running.

Senator Rambor was on last week and talked a lot about Republicans blocking Democratic legislation. What is your view on that?

Bennett: I agree with Mr. Rambor.  We (Democrats in the Senate) have proposed common sense bipartisan bills that help improve veterans health care andstrengthen states rights.  If they won't even have a vote on these bipartisan bills, they really need to reevaluate what their job is as Senators.  Myself and my democratic colleagues are trying to work for you, the people.  But, as you know, bipartisanship works both ways.  We can't do it all.

How do you feel about President Fitzgerald’s new Afghanistan policy?

Bennett: I feel that President Fitzgerald needs to dust off his civics textbook.  War powers belong to the legislative branch, not the executive.  Our founding fathers didn't like the idea of one person making executive war decisions and neither do I.  By that same token, Congress needs to start making bills that addresses our foreign policy so that the President doesn't feel the need to act on his own.  It is a two-way street.

What is your plan for Healthcare?

Bennett: My plan on healthcare is a public option. I believe that Affordable Care Act gave too much power to insurance companies, which led to costs not decreasing and skyrocketting premiums. We need to provide a public option so that people have a choice between a government plan and a regular plan. They are in control of their health care choices. 

What do you say to critics who say that you don’t have the experience for Presidency since you only were joined the Senate less than a year ago?

Bennett: To these critics, I would point them to my record as governor of West Virginia.  I learned early on that it takes a lot of moxie to be a leader of an executive branch.  I worked with both parties and we were able to get a lot accomplished for the Mountain State, and I'm ready to do the same for the greatest nation on God's green Earth.

Finally, why should Democratic Primary voters choose you over your rivals?

Bennett: Democratic primary voters should choose me because I am the person who will unite all wings of the party around a Workers Bill of Rights, around bread and butter economic issues, and around protecting civil rights and liberties.  I may be a West Virginia Democrat and be a little different than Washington Democrats, but I have the experience and the Independence to restore dignity to our political process, restore respect from our foreign allies, and bring prosperity to all Americans.  It's time to have leadership you can trust.

Thank you for joining us, Senator Bennett.

Bennett: Thank you, Michael.

 

Well, there you have it, Presidential Candidate Beau Bennett. Tune in to APR over the coming weeks to hear our analysis of and interview with each of the other Democratic Presidential Candidates. For APR, I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

Last week President Fitzgerald signed three bills into law. Each was uncontroversial and passed both Houses easily, and none of them are built for major reform.
 
At the same time, though, the President accused China of planning to use social media to interfere with the 2020 election. He claims that their goal is to undermine American faith in our democracy, and has signed two executive orders, one imposing steep tariffs on China and the other outlining the sanctioning of any country caught trying to meddle in our elections.
 
We have yet to have concrete proof of China’s plans to interfere with our election. If such evidence does arise, be sure to tune in and hear our analysis as soon as it does.
 
In other news, Senate Minority Leader Mark Rambor’s frustration with Senate Republicans blocking Democratic bills from being voted on prompted him to start a national “push” called “People Over Party.” He said that it was going to include a national tour and consistent protest until “they (Senate Republicans) are ready to govern.” That goal was met within one day, in which the Senate Republicans put the first two Democratic bills up for a vote since this congress came together. Both bills were actually written by Senator Rambor himself—one reforms VA hiring practices to help it better hire and retain quality physicians, and the other waives the standard five month waiting period it generally takes to claim social security benefits for patients that suffer from ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder.
 
Upon learning that the Republicans put those bills up, Senator Rambor quickly praised the Republicans for listening to the people and canceled the rest of his rallies associated with the push. Whether this newfound bipartisanship will last in the Senate is anyone’s guess.
 
 
Now, on to our main story today which is our continued analysis of the 2020 Democratic Primary. Our focus today is Senator Alex Truboenski of Montana. Senator Truboenki is a former judge on the Montana Supreme Court who ran successfully for Senate in 2018. He is probably the least known of the very vocal Bennett and Knox, who have spent much more time in the news cycle.
 
Regardless, in his campaign announcement, he set out more than a few policy proposals that caught the eye of many voters.
 
Quote

Under a Truboenski Presidentcy we would work to fix the relationships strained by a President more focused on his agenda then the good of the people, end this trade war, but ensure any trade deals we make bring jobs to America not steal jobs from America. We will do away with this rediculous cap on immigrants on work study or coming over for college, for without them we would not have the great diverse nation we have today. We will ensure wages are rising for those who work through the implementation of a $14 dollar an hour minimum wage for tipped and non-tipped workers which will rise with the cost of living in each state. We will punish businesses who are leaving and going overseas by taxing them til near bankruptcy then taxing them some more. We will ensure that the wealthiest 10% give back to our veterans to our healthcare to our police and to our schools through closing loopholes in the tax codes, and reducing the 73,954 word document to simple 3 or 4. And finally we are going to work with schools to ensure every single student who wants to go to college can, without amassing the national debt amount to do so. And that my friends is just simple within the first 100 days.

 
This bold agenda, along with Judge Truboenski's judicial and legal prowess, has made him very attractive to many Democratic voters. Will he be able to pull off a win against Speaker Knox and Senator Bennett? Only time will tell.
 
 
Here to join us and discuss this race is Senator Truboenski himself! Thank you for joining us Senator.
 
Truboenski: Thanks for having me on the show today I'm a big fan.
 
Some have been unable to figure out where you stand in the race, with Bennett a conservative Democrat and Knox as more of the classic moderate/progressive. Are you more conservative or more liberal than your rivals?
 
Truboenski: I'm not really either a conservative or a liberal, I am a common sense constitutionalist, meaning I put what's the best plan for the people above ideology.
 
What is the main message you want to convey to voters in this race?
 
Truboenski: I want to convey to the people that this election is a choice a choice between an administration who doesn't care about you the people, and will continue to circumvent your elected representatives and not even hold a single press conference or town hall to field questions, and a candidate who is willing to forgo their right to an executive order, and use the people's representatives to get things done, and listen to you the people.
 
As a Senator, did you join Sen. Rambor in his “People Over Party” push?
 
Truboenski: Absolutely I did, and while I wish this had always been the case I'm glad finally one party is getting the message at last.
 
If you are elected, what is one thing you would immediately change that this admin has done?
 
Truboenski: I would undo the executive order deporting people suspected of committing a crime something which is unconstitutional and hopefully the court doesn't allow.  After that, I'd undo every other executive order put out by the Fitzgerald administration, and maybe set the record for longest single executive order in history.
 
How do you feel about President Fitzgerald’s new Afghanistan policy?
 
Truboenski: Quite frankly insulted and embarrassed, not only has he unconstitutionally hired himself a private army which is somehow cheaper then the troops we have there, but he has also told those in the armed forces you aren't good enough to finish the job, as President I would end the ridiculous escapade in Afghanistan and set in motion a plan to prop up a temporary peacekeeping force made up of non-American troops, and bring our boys home.
 
What is your plan for Healthcare?
 
Truboenski: We'll be releasing that information shortly in an upcoming rally, sorry my campaign manager said no spoilers on your show.
 
What do you say to critics who say that you don’t have the experience for Presidency since you only were joined the Senate less than a year ago?
 
Truboenski: I'd say I have more experience then most in the race in legal matters, which is one of the biggest roles of the President. As a state supreme court justice and a legal scholar I have dedicated my life to making sure not only laws are just and fit in the constitutional parameters for Montana, but also making sure they are executed correctly something we have been lacking in the White House.
 
Finally, why should Democratic Primary voters choose you over your rivals?
 
Truboenski: Honestly, any one of my colleagues would be better than Fitzgerald,  however I feel I am the best suited because, as I said I'm the only one who has experience with the law, making sure they are just and constitutional, and I will not be bound to party lines, I'm more interested in helping to make the people's lives better than the Washington elite richer.
 
Thank you for joining us, Senator Truboenski.
 
Truboenski:  Thank you for having me on.
 
Well, There you have it, folks: Senator Truboenski. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for our live radio Democratic Primary debate, and tune in next week for our interview with the last Democratic candidate, Speaker Knox. For APR, I'm Michael Moonwilkins.

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Fitzgerald Momentum: -1

Knox Momentum: 1

Bennett Momentum: 15

Rambor Momentum: 2

Truboenski Momentum: 11

 

Knox Momentum: 16 (Debate)

Truboenski Momentum: 14 (Debate)

 

Background Fundraising

Bennett: $5,000,000

Truboenski: $5,000,000

Knox: $16 million (Debate)

Truboenski: $14 million (Debate)

 

NOTE: Obviously you see that the debate is weighted more heavily because of the general attention it would receive IC and the additional difficulty of format OOC. However it is not counted towards party momentum for the week.

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Hello, you’re listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I’m Michael Moonwilkins.

It’s been a news-packed few days here as primary season is ramping up. Last week we had the first Democratic Primary debate here on APR between Speaker John Knox and Senator Alex Truboenski. You can listen to it all here:
 
On 10/3/2018 at 12:42 AM, Bruce said:

 

 

We are planning another Democratic debate before the primary season ends, but it does not yet have a date.

 
Earlier this week, on the last day before the deadline to file for a run for President closes, President Fitzgerald announced his candidacy for the 2020 election. Fitzgerald, the presumptive nominee as the incumbent, has been mulling over a bid for another term for a few weeks now. 
 
President Fitzgerald has strong approval numbers right now, but it is early in the campaign season, and many analysts have noted that an unelected incumbents such as President Fitzgerald, who took office after the passing of President Macmillan, have much weaker track records of reelection than elected incumbents.
 
It is sure to be a riveting election now, if it wasn’t already.
 
Since his announcement, Rep. Labradoodle dropped out of the race, saying he will now focus on his bid for Senate in Idaho. Rep. Faulhammer has yet to make an announcement.
 
In legislative news, President Fitzgerald unveiled a highly anticipated trade deal with the EU called T-TIP. The deal will remove all tariffs between the two large economies. It has yet to be finalized, and is looking to first pass congress. We will discuss this plan with Speaker Knox later in this program--stay tuned.
 
The President also unveiled a plan to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and move the American embassy there. This plan has been met with stark critics, with many saying that this is an overtly hostile move toward the Palestinian people, who regard Jerusalem as illegitimate land stolen from them. Karl Cox, representative of Tennessee who we will be having on next week, had harsh words about the action:
 
Quote

I am unashamedly pro-Israel. I don’t believe that you have to be anti-Palestinian to be pro-Israel, and above all, I am pro-peace. I believe in doing whatever it takes to bring peace between those divided people. This move will not bring peace—it will bring conflict.

Many have said that moving the embassy is sure to bring violence to the area. We will be following this story closely in the coming days.

 
And now on to our main story tonight, which is the final dive into the 2020 Democratic Primary. Our highlighted candidate tonight is Speaker John Knox of Arkansas.
 
Though Speaker Knox is relatively new to Washington, he has made waves since being there. As an appointed first-term Representative appointed to the seat vacated by Rep. Ward, he quickly was elected Speaker of the House for this term. Since then, he has been known for his direct, informal style of communicating with constituents and politicians alike. 
 
“You always know where Speaker Knox stands” said Rep. Karl Cox, to quote him again. “That’s why I like him.”
 
Speaker Knox has taken on more than a few contentious issues since becoming speaker. He’s passed a resolution to condemn the alt-right, AUMF Repeal, Marijuana legalization, and much to his pride, worker’s protection and support bills like the FAMILY Act and the Schedules that Work act.
 
Interestingly, last week he heard a speech by Rep. Labradoodle on ending “pork barrel” legislation, which is legislation that has miscellaneous, special, and usually highly local funding or projects attached to it to win the support of swing legislators, and it inspired him to write a bill to end the practice, even though Labradoodle is a Republican. This legislation is thought to be bipartisan, and will likely be put on the docket and pass the House, but it remains to be seen whether it will be put up in the Senate.
 

Here to talk about all of that and more is Speaker Knox. Welcome back to the show a third time, Mr. Speaker.

Knox: Thank you sir. Glad to be back

How are you feeling about the race? Do you feel like your message is getting through to voters?

Knox: We’re doing well. I think we’re meeting with real Americans. People who work hard and have real concerns. We’re meeting with moms and dads who have to choose between a newborn and making rent. We’re meeting with first and second generation immigrants to talk about how the current administration have treated them as second class citizens. We’re talking about addressing student debts. People are for sure responding to us.

President Fitzgerald joined the race today. Are you glad to see him join, or do you feel like he will be a tougher opponent than Rep. Labradoodle or Rep. Faulhammer?

Knox: Rep. Labradoodle would have been the toughest opponent. He’s consistent and a constitutional whiz. Now we can address all our attention on the runaway man who wants to “do it himself”

How do you feel about T-TIP? Do you think it will be good for the country?

Knox: I’m glad to see the President realize tariffs aren’t the way forward. I wish he’d have negotiated from a diplomatic position instead of bullyship but it’s what I’ve come to expect. Ultimately it’s a good move, but we need to continue. Tariffs hurt our economy, period.

Why do you think this Pork Barrel legislation will be good for the country? What will it solve?

Knox: It solves a major issue of transparency. It makes sure that members from both sides don’t add backend funding for fruit fly studies or massaging rabbits.

Should we expect it on the docket? If it passes the House, do you think the Republicans will put it up in the Senate?

Knox: It will absolutely be in the next docket. I’d certainly hope the GOP puts it up. It’s common sense legislation.

What else should we expect to see on the docket in the coming months?

Knox: We’re going to keep working towards our policy goals. We’ve seen the stats that say more people are asking for tighter gun laws. I don’t believe that means a seizure, but it means closing the gun show loophole, banning bump stocks, etc. I also want to put up some Republican bills, which I do most dockets. 

One hard hitting policy question: what do you think is the best way to combat climate change?

Knox: Incentivize consumers and business to green. Educate about the benefits. I’m a Christian, my family and I attend service each week; it’s a priority. I believe God created and gave us the world as Genesis says “to keep it” that is to preserve it. I think we should utilize natural resources, but as technology has improved, renewable energy has become a great way for us to increase our responsibility and care.

And finally, we heard a lot of agreement between you and Senator Truboenski yesterday. What do you think is the main thing that differentiates you from your rivals? 

Knox: For both of them I think they sway further conservative than I, though I think strongly we should actually sit and discuss those differences. The major difference between Sen. Bennett and I is he tends more nationalistic tendencies. I think he’s more pro life than me; I think he’d support bans; I’d much rather us find alternatives to prevention than to encourage women seek abortion as contraception. 

Thank you for joining us again, Speaker Knox.

Knox: Thanks for having me.

There you have it folks. Tune in next week to hear our interview with Representative Cox, who has been keeping a relatively high profile in the House. We'll talk about the election and what it means to govern as an opposition party. For APR, I'm Michael Moonwilikins. Good night.

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Hello, you're listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I'm Michael Moonwilkins.

Today we are announcing a change in our show's format. There is simply too much news to cover every topic in a once a week story. So, to still be able to cover everything well, we will start having more frequent, shorter broadcasts. This way, news won't be buried and our listeners can still stay up-to-date on all of the current issues in Washington. So, our interview with Karl Cox will still play in a few days, but that program will be on its own, while we analyze current events now. So, on to the news.

President Fitzgerald's T-TIP plan was initially introduced in both houses, but now it looks like it is going to be put up for ratification in the Senate as a treaty. Since this news has broken, Senate Minority Leader Mark Rambor announced that he will vote for the trade deal. It looks like with Rambor, the plan will likely be ratified, but we still have yet to hear from Beau Bennett, who is running for President and represents many conservative Democrats in the Senate.

We had some economic news come in earlier today. Since the Republican tax cuts, the economy has been supercharged, but many economists are expecting that surge to be slowing, with economic growth slowing to 3.2%. This kind of growth is not bad on its own, but many are worried about the slowing growth turning into a recession.

There was also a report that came out today from the Government Accountability Office that claims that a portion of the $12,000,000,000 spent on the U.S.-Mexico Border has been wasted on parts of the the border which are protected naturally, such as the Rio Grande. We currently don't know how much of the appropriated money has been wasted, but we will be looking into it in the coming days.

China also announced retaliations to the President's trade policies. U.S. based companies in China will now face higher regulations, such as health and safety requirements and slower queues in customs procedures. The Chinese government is also considering agricultural tariffs on the United States, which will hurt U.S. farmers very seriously. It is unclear whether a trade deal similar to T-TIP is possible with China, but until then, many American's livelihood hangs in the balance of this trade war.

Special Prosecutor Bryant Clarke Wolfe, who was appointed by President Fitzgerald to investigate the campaign finance violations of former Tennessee Senate Candidate Booker Marshall, Former Representative Calvin Ward, and Former DNC Chair Evelyn Vanderfleet, released his report today. The comprehensive report shows that Calvin Ward ordered his campaign chairman to work with Evelyn Vanderfleets PAC manager to funnel money to Marshall's campaign. Jonathan Baltzell, Marshall's finance czar and longtime DNC operative, tipped off the FEC to the scheme after Marshall attempted to blackmail him, telling him that he would "never work again" if reported Marshall's violation.

The big story here is that Nelson Beltran, CEO of Evelyn Vanderfleet's PAC and Vanderfleet's testimony both confirm that Vanderfleet had no knowledge of the scheme, essentially clearing her name after having to resign as Chair of the DNC.

The Supreme Court made a 5-4 decision today, in which the conservatives upheld President Fitzgerald's executive order that deports immigrants suspected of ties to terrorists. In her decent opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor passionately said the decision was no better than Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 decision that endorsed the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II. This is one of the examples how the court has moved to the right in the last few years, as the liberals had no way of contesting this decision. Protests are expected nationwide in response to this decision.

A huge development just breaking: Jared Taylor, a self-proclaimed white nationalist and founder of American Renaissance, has announced his candidacy to challenge Democrat Mark Warner for his Senate seat in Virginia. Early polling shows Taylor polling surprisingly well, with Warner only leading 52-46. Will the national Republicans rally behind a white supremacist? We will be following this closely.

There have been some really interesting developments in the Presidential race. Last week, former Speaker of the House and New York Representative Kurt Faulhammer dropped out of the race, clearing the way for President Fitzgerald to cruise to the Republican nomination. Faulhammer was seen as the strongest contender for the nomination, but in his resignation speech, he gave President Fitzgerald his full endorsement.

Senator Truboenski also dropped out of the race last week. He cited personal reasons and declined to endorse Speaker Knox or Senator Bennett, the only Democrats left in the race. With Senator Truboenski out, it looks to be a simple progressive vs conservative Democratic race now, with Knox the obvious progressive pick and Bennett representing conservative Democrats well.

Just a few days out from the Iowa Primary, though, we had the Iowa Straw Poll released this morning. It put Speaker Knox with a slight, 4 point lead in the primary. He held 47% of the vote, while Bennett held 43% and Delaney held the remaining 10%.

That's it for the news today! We will be back later this week with our interview with Rep. Karl Cox, and then next week we will be hosting Speaker Knox and Senator Bennett for the next Democratic Primary debate! For APR, I'm Michael Moonwilkins.

Edited by Wm96
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Cox Momentum: 2

Knox Momentum: 7

Follow up questions are your friend, don't be afraid of them. I'm particularly disappointed that we still don't know Knox's full position on T-TIP outside of lukewarm support.

 

Background Fundraising

Cox: $500,000

Knox: $4,500,000

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Hello, you're listening to Nothing Unconsidered on APR. I'm Michael Moonwilkins.

Today, we will have our interview with Congressman Karl Cox, which we planned on having in a standalone piece, but alas, there is just too much important news to pass over it.

There have been major developments with China. Following the Chinese threat of retaliatory tariffs on American agriculture in response to American tariffs, President Fitzgerald threw out his own threat in response. The President threatened "unprecedented retaliation" if the Chinese chose to enact the threatened tariffs. In response, the Chinese government said that they are prepared to do what is "necessary," implying that agricultural tariffs are likely to come in time.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has been expanding its economic influence throughout the world, developing an economic network that could soon rival that of the United States. Just last week, as part of its "belt and road initiative," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Pakistan and countries along the East African coast, unveiling $900m for rail and port infrastructure for Pakistan and Kenya. This combination of expansion of influence and degradation of relations with the United States has sparked fears of another instance of competing eastern and western empires.

But that's not all. Just this morning, The Chinese National Space Agency announced they completed the first ever landing for mankind on the far side of the moon. This was not a manned mission, but a probe. The remnants of Chang'e 4 landed in the Atlantic Ocean a view days ago. Will the President follow in the footsteps of the space race a generation ago and try to compete with the Chinese space exploration? Will all of this develop into another Cold War? We will keep you updated here on APR.

First, we at APR have some commentary on these developments. President Fitzgerald's actions in both sparking and accelerating this trade war are reckless and dangerous for the American economy. There is no justification for such a hawkish position against China--they never provoked us in any way. There is no evidence that diplomacy would not work to try and garner a better trade deal, but nonetheless, American industry is getting caught in the middle of this reckless and unnecessary conflict. Anyway, back to the news.

Earlier today, Verizon announces its intentions to acquire the Sprint Corporation and its 53,700,000 customers, adding to its already 155,700,000 strong consumer count. This merger has led to speculation about whether the United States Department of Justice should file for an injunction to stop the merger, under anti-trust legislation. In 2011, the Obama Administration filed to block a merger from AT&T who wanted to acquire T-Mobile, in a similar case. There has been no word from the Justice Department about their intent in this case. If the Department of Justice allows the merger to proceed, Verizon will hold a huge majority of U.S. consumers who use wireless communication services.

 

Now, on to our interview with Karl Cox. Earlier today, Congressman Cox announced his full endorsement of House Speaker John Knox for President in the first high-profile endorsement of the campaign season. We will ask him about that and more--stay tuned!

Here to join us is Congressman Karl Cox of Tennessee. Welcome to APR, Congressman.

Cox: Thanks for having me Michael. This is a great show.

So, the big story right now is your endorsement of Speaker Knox. Why did you decide to make such a strong endorsement?

Cox: Well, I know Speaker Knox well. I know he will always stand up for people in need, I know he will lead with integrity and strength, and I know he understands that he can't just do whatever he wants like it seems like President Fitzgerald does. He has the right values for our country, and I have complete confidence that he is the right man for the job.

What are some of the bills he's passed or fought for that are important to your decision to endorse him?

Cox: Oh, there are so many. AUMF repeal shows that he understands that executive overreach must end. Ending the marijuana ban shows that he believes in states rights. The Schedules that Work act and the Family Act show that he will fight for the American worker. Have you seen his education plan that he came out with? He has the right priorities in mind, and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the Oval Office.

Ok, so moving on from Speaker Knox. What are some pieces of legislation that you are looking to pass in the House going forward?

Cox: Well, I'm looking forward to passing VA Reform and the ALS bill from our colleagues in the Senate. Those will do some real good. But I'd really like to see my Climate Change Education bill go up for a vote. Climate change is becoming such a big problem that I can't see how anyone could be against educating our people on it. I'm hoping that bump stock regulation passes the house, because honestly I can't imagine how anyone could be against that bill either.

Speaking of your climate change bill--bills like that tend to attract a significant of political interest group attention, and with that comes a lot of dark money that tends to influence those political decisions. Are you worried about that with your bill?

Cox: Yeah, that's why people hate politics. I'm not too worried about it though--at least on our side of the aisle. I for one will always fight for education, regardless of what the political interests say. If the Republicans choose to take the money and not provide education, that will be just another reason to vote them out in November.

What's your position on all of these new developments with China?

Cox: China is an extremely valuable trading partner, and I think it's just plain stupid to attack them and then posture like the President did when they talk about retaliating. This is all just politics, and the President is trying to look strong. All that's going to come from it is our people losing money and business overseas. It's a real shame.

What is your take on the recent Supreme Court Decision on President Fitzgerald's executive order?

Cox: Oh, I think it's a real shame. No one should ever be deported just because someone else in their family has done something wrong. Issa was a real patriot and believed in the American dream, and he was deported when he did absolutely nothing wrong. It's a travesty for justice, and I think that it represents exactly what's wrong with this administration.

How do you feel about the Democrats' chances in the upcoming election?

Cox: Well, I feel like with Speaker Knox we have a great shot at winning the Presidency, and I feel good about our chances at keeping the House. The Senate is going to be tougher, but I think we definitely have a shot. I think the people see that the Republicans don't represent real American values, and that President Fitzgerald has really overstepped what he should be doing. I'm looking forward to the campaign season, because you know I'll be out on the road dong whatever I can.

Thank you for joining us today, Congressman Cox.

Cox: Thanks for having me.

 

Well there you have it! Be on the lookout for the next Democratic Primary debate live on APR next week. For APR, I'm Michael Moonwilkins.

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