Jonah Goldberg is a leading conservative critic of Trump and Trumpism. Therefore, there is a big target on his back, and front, and everywhere else. And yet he stands and delivers.

With Jay, he talks about Assange. Putin. The American Right. National Review. The National Enquirer. Hillary. The Trump Train. Anti-Semitism. The GOP future. Etc. He and Jay talk it all out, or most of it out, or a great deal of it out.

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At the end of the 1980s, Kanan Makiya wrote the book that taught everyone about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq: “Republic of Fear.” His most recent book is a novel, also about Saddam: “The Rope” (as in the instrument of his death).

With Jay, he talks about Iraq past, present, and future. He also talks about the greater Arab and Muslim world, and its relation to the West. Many Americans would like to wash their hands of the Arab and Muslim world, understandably. But can they? Can we?

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Evan McMullin, independent candidate for president, joins Jay and Mona with surprisingly encouraging news about his efforts to offer a choice to those dismayed and disgusted by Trump/Clinton. He explains the p’s and q’s of ballot access and write-in campaigns and then talks some policy.

Jay and Mona then mull their mixed feelings about banning the burkini. They discuss Georgetown’s affirmative action for the descendants of slaves the university sold generations ago, a teacher who denied Shakespeare to her “diverse” students, a few words about a truly heroic doctor, Denis Mukwege, and some reflections on childhood in the summertime.

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That was the title of Timothy Crouse’s famed book of 1973: “The Boys on the Bus.” It was about reporters covering the 1972 presidential campaign.

This year, Robert Costa, of the Washington Post, is covering the presidential campaign. He is an old friend and colleague of Jay’s, and they discuss the reporting life: What’s it like to cover Hillary, Bernie, the Donald, and them?

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WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes – the radio host whose incisive interview with Donald Trump before the Wisconsin primary made headlines around the world — joins Jay and Mona to discuss how a conservative non-Trumpian copes with the Alice Through the Looking Glass world we’re in.

Jay and Mona then catch up on some Hillary anathematizing. A certain university gets some praise, along with another podcaster.

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The University of Chicago dropped a very pleasant bombshell this week: a letter to incoming freshmen, announcing that the university honors freedom of expression, and that it will not put up with any of the “trigger warning” or “safe space” nonsense. Well.

To discuss this with Jay is an illustrious Chicago professor, Charles Lipson, a political scientist. He was born and raised in little Marks, Mississippi. They talk about this, too. He went on to Yale and Harvard – and has been teaching at Chicago for some years.

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That would be a good name for a show, and it’s a good idea for a show: “Ask Dan” – Dan being Daniel Hannan, the distinguished British writer, and member of the European Parliament. You can ask him virtually anything, and he will give you a good, well-informed answer, beautifully expressed.

This is essentially what Jay does in this “Q&A”: He asks Hannan about Britain and America and some other things. British questions include Brexit, the color of passports, and the Bolshevikation of the Labour party. American questions include – well, guess who? Trump ’n’ Hillary.

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A two-part Need to Know this week begins with the American Enterprise Institute’s James C. Capretta, who knows everything there is to know about Obamacare and related questions. Mona asks him about the Aetna decision to withdraw from exchanges and what the state of the law is generally. He’s not optimistic, but then, who is?

Jay then joins from Salzburg (within sight of Mozart’s home) to discuss Louisiana flooding, Bill Clinton, music, what we expect of politics, and many other subjects. The one topic not covered: Trump. Everyone needs a break from time to time.

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That was the name of a Mel Brooks flick. And that’s how many people think of Election 2016 – including Mona and Jay. They go over the latest. Trump and Hillary. The media. McMullin, Johnson, and Stein (yes, Stein). At the end, the hosts leave off politics to talk about an extraordinary incident in Rome – involving a quarreling old couple and their tender, sweet treatment by the police. The closing music is Respighi’s “Pines of Rome,” conducted by the great Fritz Reiner, leading his Chicago band.

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For conservatives, is the Supreme Court reason enough to vote for Donald Trump? Also, if you’re a conservative and you’re voting for neither Trump nor Hillary, are you really voting for Hillary, as so many allege?

Jay explores these questions with a brilliant colleague of his from National Review, Ian Tuttle. They also talk about Tuttle’s alma mater: St. John’s College. There, young people study the best that has been thought and written. Are they better off for it? Is their society?

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What is up with the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump? Michael J. Totten of World Affairs Journal joins NTK to talk about the connections. They go way back.

Jay and Mona then discuss the Kahns, partisanship poisoning, rigged elections, economic growth (remember that?) and “Article XII” of the Constitution, among other topics.

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51G93vyEl5L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_J.D. Vance joins to discuss his fantastic new book Hillbilly Elegy, a book that gets to the heart of the troubles of working class white Americans, which could hardly be more topical.

Jay and Mona then speak of Democrats – who continue to act like themselves, sowing racial disharmony, for example – but have added odd moments this year because it’s a year like no other. And nothing will ever be the same.

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avatar_1428772734-192x192The Baltics are little, beautiful countries a long way from the United States – and very close to Russia. They were once ruled – captured and brutalized – by the Kremlin. Today, they are members of NATO.

What does this mean? Does it matter? The issue has come up in the current presidential race. And Andrew Stuttaford is an excellent man to address it. He talks with Jay about matters historical and burningly current. They are related.

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UnknownWhat follows is a complete list of those who know more about American politics than Michael Barone: . Okay

Barone is Jay’s guest, and they talk about conventions, primaries, parties, presidents, and the Fate of America. The guru is in: Michael Barone is in, expounding on the subject he has devoted his life to.

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Mona and Jay welcome Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens to pick over the wreckage, er, evaluate the Republican National Convention. Putin seemed the big winner, both in style (we all worship strong men now) and substance (Trump kicked the Baltic ySzcskV-States away in a NY Times interview).

They consider whether the Republican Party is any longer the freedom party, and where this leaves conservatives.

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It’s the Ides of July. Trump has chosen Mike Pence and Jay and Mona have chosen to withhold laurels. They consider the state of the Republican Party – is there room for Reaganism anymore? – as well as who’s being asked to pay for the big show. (Hint: The guy who claims to be worth $10 billion ain’t the one.) The week saw another horrific terror attack, a discouraging Obama speech in Dallas just when the moment demanded largeness of spirit. Mona and Jay disagree about W’s performance at the memorial service for slain officers, wonder about who is the biggest liar this year, and note the Pokemon craze.

Music from this week’s episode: Berklee Percussion Ensemble, “Ogoun Badagris”

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As Jay says at the outset of this episode, there is a lot to follow in the world: ISIS, the American presidential election, and so on. But Venezuela is not to be ignored: It is a fascinating, appalling story. A state is failing before our eyes. And it was once a prosperous, pleasant state. Now hunger, robbery, and murder are routine life.

vZplNTrx_400x400The correspondent of the Associated Press in Venezuela is Hannah Dreier. She is Jay’s guest on this “Q&A.” She has seen a great deal and knows a great deal. She reports the eye-popping facts.

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Roger Scruton, the English philosopher, political writer, novelist, composer, etc., has just been knighted. So he is Sir Roger (as he long should have been). Jay points out that, within the past year, he has published four books, at least. The most recent is about Wagner’s “Ring” cycle: “The Ring of Truth.”

He and Jay end this “Q&A” with a discussion of Wagner. But before that, there is much more: Brexit; Trump ’n’ Hillary; Islam and Europe; trade and protection; nationalism and patriotism . . .

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It has been a week heavy with news, most of it bad. Shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. The FBI/Hillary drama. On hand with Mona and Jay is Andrew C. McCarthy, the onetime prosecutor and a friend, as it happens, of the FBI director.

McCarthyIn due course, Mona and Jay talk about the presidential race: Trump and Saddam. Trump and Newt (who was once immensely proud of NAFTA). The Libertarian nominees, Johnson and Weld.

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Nominally, this is “Q&A,” but it’s really a music program: a program of music in celebration of America and its independence day. Jay plays an assorted concert: You have some Gottschalk, some Dvorak, some Joplin, some Copland, some Ravel. And you have a couple of star-spangled singers at the end. A musical tribute to America.

The complete track list for this show is here.

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