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.

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 . . .

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.

Earlier this week, Jay wrote a piece about Donald Trump and the “F-word”: fascism. In response, Mark Helprin had this to say, about the 2016 presidential election: “… we are skewered on the devil’s fork of fascism lite and communism lite, both of which can change rather speedily into heavies.”

1007636In this “Q&A,” Helprin and Jay talk about this, of course. Helprin is utterly uninhibited in expressing his disgust at the two major-party nominees. He says that we are in a time of craziness and criminality. Those two C’s are in the saddle.

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.

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.

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?

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.”

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.


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.

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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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.


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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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.

The greatest player of our day, Jordan Spieth, had an epic meltdown at the Masters. Then he charged back, bravely — and came up short. Jay discusses this with an expert: Mark Farrell, a pro golfer, teacher, and analyst, and an old friend of Jay’s. They “workshop” the matter, to use Mark’s lingo.

They also discuss, or workshop, some other matters: Rory, Bubba, Tiger, Jack, “Caddyshack,” etc. Jay has always found it a joy to talk with Mark, and suspects that you will too.

Manfred Honeck is the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and one of the best conductors in the world. He has been in New York this week, to guest-conduct the Philharmonic. Jay caught up with him for “Q&A.”

They talk about music and the musical life. What does it take to be a conductor? What are the differences, if any, between American orchestras and European ones? (Maestro Honeck is an Austrian and, indeed, a Manfred_Honeckformer member of the Vienna Philharmonic – where his brother is a concertmaster.) What about new music? How about the future of classical music (a much worried-over question)?

President Obama sat down with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic for a series of interviews. Those interviews concerned foreign policy and America’s place in the world. Goldberg wrote them up, here. And Jay wrote a couple of columns, critiquing Obama (here and here).

elliott-abrams1Wanting reinforcement, he has called on Elliott Abrams, the conservative foreign-policy guru, and veteran of the Reagan and Bush 43 administrations. The two men talk about Reagan-era events and people – Grenada, the Contras, Gorbachev – and more recent events and people: the Iraq War, the Syrian Civil War, Putin . . . Mainly, they talk about our current president, Obama.