When it comes to guns, it seems doubtful. Mona and Jay talk discourse, extremism, and the seeming elusiveness of serious policy discussion.

The podcast begins with the redoubtable Richard Brookhiser, historian and NR senior editor, who reflects on Trump’s influence on conservatism, dirty tricks in politics, and much more.

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Nicholas Burns is one of the leading U.S. diplomats of our time. For nearly 30 years, he served in the government, in a variety of posts: ambassador to NATO, for example. He had major responsibility for the Arab world, Iran, Russia, etc. Today, he teaches at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, which is where Jay sat down with him. They talk over the world: North Korea and South Korea; Iran and its nuclear program; the Israel-Palestine question; Putin’s Kremlin; NATO and defense spending; and more. It’s an hour-long tutorial with one of the best. And, as Jay remarks at the end, free of charge.

 

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Prof. Gabriel Rossman of UCLA joins NTK to offer reflections on being a conservative in academia – and also on invitations to provocateurs like Milo. 

Jay and Mona then analyze the Mueller indictments, Russian interference, domestic divisions, crime, and the origin of a famous expression.

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The wry and witty Andrew Ferguson joins NTK to report on The Post, which he had just seen, and on the Washington world, which he’s seen through the years.

Jay and Mona then speak of Rob Porter, bias, Riccardo Muti, and much more.

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Riccardo Muti has arrived in New York for two concerts with his Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Taking advantage, Jay has recorded a “Q&A” with him on a variety of subjects: musical, personal, and social. Muti is one of the leading conductors of our day, having studied with Antonino Votto, a lieutenant of Toscanini. He was also nurtured by Nino Rota, known to many of us as the composer of the “Godfather” music.

Among the topics Jay discusses with Muti is his famous, enviable hair (the latter’s, that is). Muti sums it up as “la forza del destino” – a matter of destiny. So, this “Q&A” closes with Maestro Muti conducting the overture to Verdi’s opera “La forza del destino.”

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Lawrence Brownlee is one of the leading tenors of our time. He has sung on opera and recital stages all over the world. Tomorrow night, he will sing in Chicago, wearing the same boots that Pavarotti once wore (in Bellini’s “Puritani”).

A kid from northeastern Ohio, Brownlee is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He has sung the national anthem at Pittsburgh and other NFL games. And, yes, he interpolates the high note at the end of “the land of the free.”

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Ioan Grillo is a British journalist long resident in Mexico. He gets into the nitty-gritty – and the bloody. He is the author, most recently, of Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America. Jay talks with him in a Mexico City park (with birds chirping all about, and at least one helicopter overhead). They talk about Mexico, the rule of law, bad guys, good guys, the USA, Trump, and more. Jay gets Grillo to describe at least one narrow escape. He is a gutsy journalist, and an excellent talker.

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Benjamin Wittes of Lawfareblog joins a special NTK that includes David French to analyze the release of the Nunes memo and the state of our intelligence community in the Trump era.

David, Jay, and Mona then opine on the State of the Union speech, the state of conservatism, and the unpredictable nature of courage.

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From the “secret society” to banned memos to shady “informants,” the infotainment wing of conservative world went into full baying mode this week. Jay and Mona also talk about Hillary’s aide, Kenneth Starr, disobeying presidential orders, “Young People’s Concerts,” and the poor little team that must do its best against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Jerome A. Cohen is a law professor, a China scholar, and a friend to Chinese democrats and freedom-seekers. For many years, he has been at New York University, and before that he was at Harvard. He clerked on the Supreme Court for Warren and Frankfurter. With Jay, he talks about the Chinese Communist Party, the Christian church in China, Falun Gong, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many other issues.

How did he get bitten by the China bug? Well, it really started with Dean Rusk.

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David Frum believes there is something deeply wrong with the American system — the American political system — and he sums up the problem in the word “Trumpocracy.” His new book is “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.” As Frum says, the book is more about the “ocracy” than about the man. Jay talks with the author about many aspects of the current era, including how we got here and where we go. An exceptionally stimulating conversation.

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David Byler crunches numbers about the 2018 elections and explains his impressive degree. Jay and Mona then talk deportation, immigration, and telling it like it is. They also ask who deserves credit for serving in the Trump administration. They close with music jokes.

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Charlie Dent is a longtime congressman from Pennsylvania. He is a Republican, born and raised in Allentown. Billy Joel wrote a song about the town. With Jay, Congressman Dent talks about that and much else. He talks about what it’s like to be a politician, what it’s like to be a congressman, what it’s like to be a Republican in the Age of Trump. A very interesting and candid conversation.

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Marina Nemat is an Iranian dissident, a former political prisoner, and now an exile. She is the author of the blockbuster memoir “Prisoner of Tehran.” She and Jay have known each other for some years, through human-rights circles. In this “Q&A,” Jay asks her about the protests going on in Iran: what they mean, for the protesters, the regime, and Iran as a whole. She is a brainy, articulate woman who speaks with great passion – and from painful experience.

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The new year begins with a behind the scenes book that President Trump is attempting to suppress. Jay and Mona consider its merits or faults. This leads to a discussion of conservative virtues and Burke v. Paine. They then move on to Steve Bannon, Mitt Romney, Sweden, the British health service, and parties.

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Yuval Levin answers that question and others. He is the editor of National Affairs and the author of “The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left.”

With Jay, he talks about those terms, “Right” and “Left.” He talks about how he himself became a conservative. About the teachers who influenced him. He talks taxes, health care, etc. Jay asks him about his favorite Founders. And favorite presidents. Also about his pastimes.

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NTK reviews the week’s news – and 2017’s, and then reflects on a little known Romanian heroine, a New Jersey senator who stood up to Andrew Jackson (his descendant is in the House today), and some thoughts on the heavens (UFOs and the Milky Way).

Music from this week’s episode: Ain’t It a Pretty Night by Dawn Upshaw

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Moore is gone. Is Bannonism? Could you imagine voting for a Democrat? Do you fall in love with politicians? Some of the questions Jay and Mona tackle this week.

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Ryan Crocker is one of the outstanding U.S. diplomats of our time. In addition to his other posts, he was ambassador to Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He has had some of the most challenging assignments on offer. George W. Bush, in the last days of his presidency, hung the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Crocker’s neck.

In this “Q&A,” Jay asks Crocker about the State Department today. Along with others, Crocker has sounded the alarm about cuts to the Foreign Service. He and Jay also take a tour of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and other countries, discussing matters past, present, and future.

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Jay and Mona talk a little Roy Moore (as little as possible) and then consider the state of the Democrats and Republicans, the recognition of Jerusalem, Kuwaiti TV, immigration, abortion, and Hogan’s Heroes – inter alia.

Music from this podcast: Martin Fröst and VFCO play Giora Feidman “Let’s be happy” (Klezmer tune) – Verbier Festival 2010

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