Andrew Roberts is one of the foremost historians in the English-speaking world. His recent books include a history of World War II and a biography of Napoleon. With Jay, he talks about Napoleon. And also some other characters: Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton; Paul Johnson; Winston Churchill; Boris Johnson; Roger Scruton. Furthermore, he talks about the critical referendum in Britain tomorrow, the one on the U.K.’s relationship with the EU.

A conversation with Andrew Roberts is an elegant, nourishing meal. Enjoy.

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Evan Sayet is a stand-up comedian and writer in Hollywood – and a conservative. How’d he get that way? Well, he discusses it with Jay.

They also talk about Carson, Leno, Letterman, Maher, Stewart, Colbert, and others you know. Evan Sayet, you will very much enjoy knowing.

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That’s the question former CIA officer Herb Meyer answers on this podcast. Meyer was one of the only people, maybe the only person, to predict the fall of the Soviet Union, and he offers insights on Orlando and the terror threat generally. They also discuss his brand new booklet, Why Is the World So Dangerous?

HerbMeyer1Jay and Mona then consider the left’s unwillingness to confront homophobia if it comes wearing a hijab, what killed JFK, the “see something/say something” fraud, Muslim allies in the fight against extremism, boots on the ground, and, naturally, some Clinton/Trump.

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James Rosebush was chief of staff to Nancy Reagan. And senior advisor to President Reagan. He was now written a book: True Reagan: What Made Ronald Reagan Great and Why It Matters. And he discusses it with Jay. (They’re old friends.)

3b01b3dAmong the questions: Was Nancy a tough boss? How about her clash with Donald Regan? What about astrology? What about political differences with her husband?

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At Yale, English majors have called for the abolition of the core curriculum: the Major English Poets, who include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, et al. Heather Mac Donald and Jay agree Heather-McDonald-Manhattan-Institute-e1437937997277-620x433that this is a tragedy – and an outrage. Ms. Mac Donald is particularly well placed to speak about this, because she was an English major at Yale: and got the good stuff. Students today ought not to be deprived of it – by themselves or others.

This is the topic of an impassioned, Englishy, musicky “Q&A.”

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Mona and Jay are joined by Tom Nichols – known on Twitter as RadioFreeTom – professor at the Naval War College, NeverTrumper extraordinaire, Jeopardy champion (though that didn’t come up), and author of the forthcoming book The Death of Expertise. If you think there might be a connection between the KXgUhEzsdeclining respect for expertise and authority in America and the rise of Trump, you’d be right. Can he pivot for the general election? Why do people even ask that?

Jay and Mona then mull why Trump’s attack on Judge Curiel had purchase when so many of this other offenses slipped by, and ask what will become of the Republican Party. They close with some praise: Jay lauds Bernard Lewis on his 100th birthday, and Mona raves about Jung Chang’s book, The Wild Swans, that she’s having trouble putting down.

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86231President Obama visited Japan, reawakening old debates. Jay’s guest is superbly positioned to comment. He is Christopher Szpilman, a historian of modern Japan, who teaches in Japan. He is a particular expert on the Japanese Right. He is also the son of a famous memoirist: Wladyslaw, who wrote The Pianist. It was made into a movie in 2002. With his guest, Jay discusses this, too.

 

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Mona begins with a guest: Walter Olson, of the Cato Institute. They talk about the Libertarian party and the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld. Then Jay joins wolsonMona for some Trump talk: Trump U, the “Mexican” judge, and so on. For the remainder of the show, Mona leads a discussion of some big problems facing America: runaway entitlements, debt, a feeble foreign policy. Jay chimes in dyspeptically. Mona is indulgent. In conclusion, Jay relates an unusual lunchtime encounter.

Music: The final section of the final movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 9 in C, Op. 59, No. 3

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Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.44.59 PMDavid French — lawyer, writer, soldier, father — and decent, humane man joins Mona and Jay to discuss matters of conscience and how to cope with the Republican Party’s embrace of an unstable, fascistic showman. The only good thing to emerge from the Year of Trump may be the demonstrated integrity of those who staunchly oppose him.

Music: “Ombra mai fu” from Handel’s opera “Xerxes” by George Frederich Handel. The voice sounds like a woman, but is actually a male countertenor.

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IMG_1484Jay and Mona begin with some Memorial Day reflections and then turn to the grim business of politics. This podcast is a protracted answer to those who say that this election is just a contest like all the others, a choice of the lesser of two evils, a hold-your-nose-and-pick one case. They think it’s different, a hinge moment that could destroy conservatism, and possibly much more. The week offered a perfect contrast: Gov. Susana Martinez, they urge, is the antithesis of Trump. Little good cheer this week, but honesty aplenty.

Music is the Marine Corps hymn in honor of Cpl. Nicholas Thom (whom Mona mentioned) and all those who gave their lives for this country.

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Garry Kasparov is a great chess champion. He is also a champion of human rights, freedom, and democracy. He is the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, based in New York. And he was recently at the Oslo Freedom Forum, in Norway.

Kasparov’s new book is Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.

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Antonio Ledezma is the mayor of Caracas. He is also a political prisoner – a prisoner of the chavista government, led by Nicolas Maduro. He was arrested last year, brutally. He was arrested because he is a democrat and the chavistas are not.

Freedom is eroding fast in Venezuela.

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Anastasia Lin has an unusual résumé, and she has led an unusual life. She is a Chinese-Canadian actress. And beauty queen. And human-rights advocate. She is a practitioner of Falun Gong. In 2015, she was crowned Miss World Canada. But the international competition was held Anastasia+Lin,+Miss+World+Canada+2015.in China. And the Chinese dictatorship blocked her from coming. And put terrible pressure on her family.

She and Jay talk about this most unusual life. And Anastasia Lin has profound things to say about the West and its dealings with police states.

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2D7A29137-D28A-C9EA-582D565F14B0865C.jpg.pagespeed.ce_.1fRZy2rq4uJay’s guest is the grandson of the late Omar Sharif. Like his grandfather, this Omar Sharif – Omar Sharif Jr. – is an actor. And an Egyptian. He is also a model and a gay-rights activist. He is a speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum, in Norway. That’s where Jay caught up with him, for a most interesting conversation: about Omar Sharif, about coming out gay, about coming out half-Jewish at the same time, about the aftermath of these revelations, about Arab societies at large, etc.

Coming out gay and half-Jewish would not provoke even a yawn in many places. In Egypt? Put it this way: Omar Sharif Jr. did a very gutty thing.

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Oswaldo Payá was a great Cuban democracy leader. He was killed by the regime in 2012. His daughter, at some risk, is carrying on his work. Jay talked with Rosa María Payá at the Oslo Freedom Forum, the annual human-rights conference in the Norwegian capital. They talked about her dad, of course. And her upbringing, and the murder, and President Obama, and many other things.

Incidentally, Ted Cruz has proposed renaming the street outside the new Cuban embassy in Washington after Oswaldo Payá. It is an inspired idea.

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One of Jay’s favorite politicians, and favorite Republicans, and favorite Americans, is Robert Ehrlich, the former governor of Maryland. Governor Ehrlich is the author of a new book, Turning Point: Picking Up the Pieces After Eight Years of Failed Progressive Policies. He BobEhrlich_Govand Jay talk about “where we are now”: with Obama, Trump, Hillary, and America. Jay thinks we are at a really lousy pass, as his readers and listeners know: but Bob Ehrlich always cheers him up. Ehrlich is clear-eyed and can-do.

 

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kristol-190aBill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, is interested in an alternative to Hillary-Trump – a third option on the ballot, preferably a conservative one, and definitely an honorable one. Jay is interested in the same thing. They discuss it in this half-hour – with a mixture of wonder, anxiety, and hope.

 

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Jay and Mona are actually in the same place for this edition of Need to Know — on a boat on the Danube courtesy of National Review. With the river (which is not blue) as backdrop, they discuss travel, and the state of things in the post-Trump inevitability world. NR senior editor Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.33.57 PMRamesh Ponnuru joins to discuss whether the people are to blame, how and whether to reform the primary system, and whether conservatism was rejected. Jay announces that he has left the Republican Party. Mona is unusually indecisive. Even Ramesh (unlike the river) is a bit blue.

 

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There are too many people to condemn to fit into one podcast, but Jay and Mona do their level best to race through some of the most deserving: John Boehner, Bob Corker, Terry McAuliffe, Will Ferrell, Mike Pence, and Hillary Clinton. But there are a few bright spots: the late Harry Wu, a hero, former Senator Tom Coburn, ditto, and well, that’s it for heroes. These are not good times. Still, this podcast sets some records for sheer number of topics covered – and with pizazz!

The music is from Tom Lehrer’s That Was The Year That Was.

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David Landon Cole is a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of York. He was also the captain of York’s team in “University Challenge,” the British quiz show – which has its origins in America’s “College Bowl.” “University Challenge” is Jay’s favorite television show, and he treats Mr. Cole as the celebrity and phenomenon he is, in the Old Country.

They talk about the show, of course. And about life in Britain. And about learning, and the love of it. And about other things. Tune in for a most unusual, interesting, and genial guest.

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