Ben Shapiro is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire. He is one of the most prominent conservative journalists in America. The 2016 cycle was a wild ride for him, as for many. He has the distinction – is that the word? – of being the No. 1 target for anti-Semitic hate in his field.

And, as Jay notes, the guy has a spine of steel. (Also a stomach of iron.)

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Michael McFaul is one of the outstanding Russianists in America. A boy from Montana, he made Russia his life’s occupation, and preoccupation. He is a professor at Stanford. And he was U.S. ambassador to Russia.

With Jay, he talks about being a student in the Soviet Union. And developments thereafter (personal, national, and international). He talks about Putin and his rule. About NATO and the West. And other critical questions.

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Years ago, Radek Sikorski was the chief foreign correspondent of National Review. Later, he was a major politician and statesman in Poland: first the defense minister, then the foreign minister.

With Jay, he talks about some of the most important issues facing Europe and the world: NATO, the EU, the Kremlin, the United States, and so on. He is a man of immense learning and experience, as you will see.

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Alexandra DeSanctis is a colleague of Jay’s at National Review. A recent graduate of Notre Dame, she is a William F. Buckley fellow at NRI (the National Review Institute). She is especially knowledgeable about the “life” issues. About abortion in particular. Also, she has been on the beat of Planned Parenthood, doggedly. She and Jay talk about that organization, and about abortion, etc.

“Is this dinner-table conversation?” Jay asks at the end. Is abortion a topic for polite company? For a podcast? In any event, it’s an important one. Both Jay and his guest are pro-life, or anti-abortion, if you like. (Jay will even accept “anti-choice,” on the subject of abortion.) But perhaps even the other side will be interested in what they have to say. To “know where they’re coming from,” as was said, once upon a time.

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Ildar Dadin is a political prisoner in Russia. He has the unwelcome distinction of being the first person imprisoned under an onerous new law: a law that effectively bans protests of the government without permission from that same government.

Dadin has been tortured. He feared that he would be killed. Just recently, he was transferred from one prison, in Karelia, near Finland, to another, in Siberia, near the Kazakh border. The good news is: Ildar Dadin is alive and well, after all he has been through.

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Piotr Anderszewski is one of the leading pianists in the world. He paid a visit to New York, where Jay caught up with him in the offices of the Steinway company (in the Lady Gaga conference room, specifically). (Really.) Anderszewski has recently returned to concert life from a short sabbatical. During this sabbatical, he made a film about Warsaw. He and Jay talk about this and many other issues, concerning music and not. A distinctive personality, Anderszewski.

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The Venezuelan situation is hard to believe: hunger, violence, a reversion to the primitive. Yet there is beauty there too, and human goodness.

Hannah Dreier is on the scene for the Associated Press. And, once again, she is Jay’s guest on “Q&A.” They talk about parents who give their children away, or even kill them. And people who rob and murder with impunity.

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Kimberley Motley is an American attorney and human-rights activist. She has been working in Afghanistan. She has been of particular help to girls and women. Last week, she traveled to Cuba, where she hoped to represent Danilo Maldonado.

Maldonado is a dissident and street artist nicknamed “El Sexto” (which means, “The Sixth”). Jay wrote about him here. He has been in and out of prison: and he is in prison again, for not saying and doing the right things after the death of Fidel Castro.

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Jay calls Larry Diamond “Mr. Democracy.” Professor Diamond has devoted his career to the study and advocacy of democracy — a very important thing to study and advocate. “The worst system of government except for all others.”

In this “Q&A,” Jay covers some basic questions with his guest: Why is democracy so important? The United States is a republic, not a democracy, right? 

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As regular listeners may know, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the veteran congresswoman from Miami, is one of Jay’s favorite politicians: favorite politicians, favorite Americans, favorite people. She is a champion of freedom the world over, not just in her native Cuba.

But it is about Cuba that Jay talks with her in this “Q&A.” Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen fled with her family when she was eight. Fidel Castro has at last died – at 90, in bed. He did so much damage. With Jay, Ileana talks about the past, the present, and the future.

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Fazil Say is a famous pianist, and a composer as well. He is particularly associated with the music of Mozart. Years ago, he took Mozart’s Rondo alla turca and made a jazzy arrangement of it – an arrangement that has gone all around the world, prized by concert pianists and amateurs alike. Say himself is a Turk. He is the most famous Turkish musician, certainly in the classical world. Yet this has not shielded him from harassment by the regime in Ankara.

On Friday, Say was in New York, preparing to play in a concert at Carnegie Hall: a concert featuring a Mozart concerto and one of his own. Jay Nordlinger talked to him about this, and about a variety of musical issues. You will enjoy getting to know Say’s mind, and, even more, his playing: Start with his jazzed-up Ronda alla turca

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Jay wanted to turn to Lincoln Diaz-Balart, to get his thoughts on the death of Fidel Castro. Diaz-Balart is a veteran Miami lawyer and politician. He served in Congress for nearly 20 years. His family has been prominent in politics, both in pre-Castro Cuba and in the United States. His father, Rafael, was a friend of Castro’s; his aunt, Rafael’s sister, married Castro. But soon, Rafael and Castro had a sharp parting of the ways.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s reflections come from deep experience and knowledge. You will want to cock an ear to them.

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Jay ditches a traditional “Q&A” – a proper “Q&A” – to do a music program: a program of music related to Thanksgiving, or at least to thanksgiving: expressions of gratitude. You have some Baroque, including Bach, and some Beethoven, and some Strauss (Richard Strauss), and some Barber, and, finally, a cherished familiar hymn. Happy, happy Thanksgiving.

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David Clarke is one of the most famous lawmen in America. He is the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He is a commanding personality who has much experience and much to say. And he says it very well.

Sheriff Clarke is a guest on National Review’s current cruise. Jay sat down with him for a “Q&A” in front of an audience.

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America and the world after the election of Trump: This is the general topic of Jay’s “Q&A” with John Hillen – who is, as Jay says, a soldier, scholar, businessman, athlete, and, in a word, hombre. Their specific topics are Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Europe, NATO, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. military, NAFTA, freedom, and so on.

As Hillen pointed out to Jay, after the podcast, Churchill had a word to America when our nation was on the ascendant, internationally: “The price of greatness is responsibility.” Clearly a theme of our time.

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Dana Perino is a leading personality on Fox News. She is also a former White House press secretary (for George W. Bush). She is just out with a book, “Let Me Tell You about Jasper …: How My Best Friend Became America’s Dog.”

Jay talks with Ms. Perino in her home, along with Jasper himself. They talk about him, of course, and about dogs. But also about broader issues in life, which a discussion of dogs can prompt. As far as Jay is concerned, the new book is essentially about love. The author does not disagree.

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Anne Applebaum is one of the foremost writers on Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet Union. She is a columnist for the Washington Post, and has written several books: including “Gulag,” which won a Pulitzer prize.

She is Jay’s guest on “Q&A.” They talk about Russia and Putin. And Ukraine and Putin. And Europe and Putin. And America and Putin.

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Jay takes advantage of “Q&A” to do away with “Q&A” and record a music program instead – this one related to Halloween. So there is a variety of spooky and devilish music – by Tartini, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and others. From a violin sonata to an aria to a horse ride into hell to a sorcerer (or rather, his apprentice). Enjoy, and don’t be too scared.

The track list for this show is here.

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October is a big month for the baseball world. And Jay would like nothing better than to talk baseball with George Will — which he does.

Will wrote a blockbuster baseball book, Men at Work. It keeps selling and selling. He himself is an encyclopedia of baseball. He has opinions, as everyone does, and they are all undergirt by facts.

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Grant Starrett is a lawyer and politician in Tennessee. Kind of a model, if you’re a conservative Republican – a blue-chipper. He ran for Congress this year, against the Republican incumbent, and lost. Still in his twenties, he will probably run again, with a different result.

Jay is a friend of Starrett’s, and they talk about running for office: the fundraising, the handshaking, the issues, and so on. They also talk about conservatism. How did Starrett become one, by the way?

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