A few weeks ago, President Trump made some remarks about the Civil War. He said, “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” He also said that Andrew Jackson – had he been “a little bit later” – would have prevented the war.

Jay takes the occasion to have a “Q&A” with one of the most distinguished historians of the United States, and in particular of the American South: J. Mills Thornton III. They talk about the origins of the Civil War; the effect of slavery on Manifest Destiny; the issue of the Confederate flag today; and other things.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Defense Secretary James Mattis for telling CBS News that he doesn’t lose sleep over anything but makes other people lose sleep. They also scratch their heads over Jared Kushner allegedly discussing a secret communications channel with Moscow during the Trump transition and wonder why a real estate guy is dealing with national security. They shudder a bit as Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says people wouldn’t leave the house if they knew what he knows about terrorism. And they are not exactly teary as they discuss the death of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

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The pro-life movement would be nowhere without grassroots activists who are women, writes Karissa Haugeberg in Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Haugeberg explains what attracted her as an academic historian to this topic, whether her liberal professorial colleagues give her funny looks when she describes her research interests, and whether feminism and pro-life activism can coexist.

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for May 30, 2017 it’s the “Pagophobia” edition of the podcast, brought to you by ZipRecruiter and SimpliSafe.

This week, we focus first on the only really important issue going on right now, which is the imminent breakout of nuclear war. It’s a hard topic to be flip about (though we do our best). Two articles frame the discussion. First, a piece discussing a speech by an investor named George Friedman, founder of Geopolitical Futures, claiming that war with Kim Jong Un is essentially inevitable. Saying that North Korea appears to have “offered the US no alternative” to a clash, Friedman goes on to say:

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Bodyslamming, Trump in Europe, the great Mollie Hemingway (you are hereby ordered to buy her new Encounter Broadside Trump vs. The Media right now), the lies we tell ourselves about terrorism (thanks John Kluge), and Peter Robinson once hung out with Roger Moore. No, we didn’t know that either. Happy summer, everyone.

Music from this week’s podcast: Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) by Carly Simon

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Welcome to the Special Bonus Euro-edition of the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for May 26, 2017, introducing our European correspondent William Campbell.

We’ve decided that we don’t sound sophisticated enough (why did it take so long to reach *that* conclusion??) and we have attempted to remedy that situation by finding a new HLC contributor who has an Irish accent (although he sounds British to me). Mr. William Campbell is an author, podcaster and entrepreneur. Although he has spent most of his life in Ireland, he was also educated in the UK and the US and has lived in Italy, Germany and Thailand. He is the host of his own podcast: Challenging Opinions on which Todd has appeared (although I haven’t been invited yet).

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Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian democracy leader, and one brave hombre. Twice, he has been poisoned. Twice, he recovered. And he is still at his work.

Jay wrote about him earlier this year in a three-part series: Part I, Part II, and Part III. And Kara-Murza is Jay’s guest on this “Q&A.”

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Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. Since then, it has been ruled by one man: Robert Mugabe, the dictator. Like most Zimbabweans, Evan Mawarire has never known any other leader. Today, he is Mugabe’s worst nightmare: a principled, moral, talented, brave critic.

Mawarire is a Christian pastor. Last year, he made a video, expressing love of country, and exasperation at the longstanding dictatorship. The video went viral in Zimbabwe. Mawarire was arrested, of course, and eventually had to flee the country with his family. He has since returned (and, of course, been arrested again).

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Ajit Pai. Net Neutrality. Spectrum. These and other buzzwords are now circulating not just in the mouths of policy wonks in Washington, but in viral videos, on major network evening talk shows, in Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets.

But seriously, what should tech policy look like for the next generation, or two, or three? Can we continue to have a system largely based on 1930s regulation? 

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This week, Jay has been at the Oslo Freedom Forum, the annual human-rights gathering in the Norwegian capital. Its founder is Thor Halvorssen, who also started the Human Rights Foundation, which is based in New York.

And he is Jay’s guest on this “Q&A.”

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Gao Zhisheng is one of the most heroic men in China, or anywhere. He is a human-rights lawyer who has put his neck on the line and paid for it with ten years of imprisonment and torture.

His wife and two children fled to America. One of those children is Grace, a senior in college, who is presently at the Oslo Freedom Forum, where Jay is too. They sat down for this “Q&A.” What’s it like to be the daughter of such a man? What does it do to you?

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It’s been a terrible week for Trump – which means a terrible week for those who love this country. Jay and Mona consider the implications of the Russia probe, Flynn’s conduct, the Comey business, and the president’s leaked comments to the Russians about Comey. What a world. The podcast ends with some happy musings about music, and a note of hope, if not exactly optimism, from Jay.

Music is Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Third movement.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to the news that the Justice Department named a special counsel to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign and the choice of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead it. They discuss reports that Michael Flynn told the Trump transition team that he was under federal investigation before becoming national security adviser but was hired anyway. They tear apart the idea from New York Times columnist Ross Douthat that Mike Pence and the Trump cabinet need to invoke the 25th amendment and begin removing Trump from office. And they note the passing and mixed legacy of media and politics titan Roger Ailes.

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Ricochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel and Heatstreet’s Stephen Miller talk about Trump spilling the beans to the Ruskies, Comey slipping a memo to the New York Times, and whether we think Trump lasts another year.

Our intro and outro music is “Crawling After You” by Bass Drum of Death. Stephen’s song of the week is “Punk” by Gorillaz, and Jon’s is “No Shade” by Wavves. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist. You also should subscribe to this podcast and give it five-star, glowing reviews on iTunes!

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for May 17, 2017 it’s “The Hate Party” edition of the podcast, brought to you by ZipRecruiter and the Great Courses Plus.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss reports that President Trump revealed very sensitive intelligence during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. They also get a kick out of a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee, alleging staffers weren’t paid the current minimum wage for their work in 2016. And they have some fun with the news that a published photo of President Trump’s bodyguard revealed the personal cell phone number of Defense Sec. James Mattis.

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As a journalist, Jay Nordlinger covers a lot of ground: people, human rights, language, music, golf and more. His best articles and essays from the last decade now appear on the pages of Digging In: Further Collected Writings of Jay Nordlinger.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Nordlinger describes how he comes up with story ideas, the importance of writing about people rather than concepts, and how William F. Buckley Jr. influenced him.

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It’s never a dull moment with the Trump administration and to parse everything that happened this week, we call on our good friend, former podcaster, and the newly minted host of Washington Week In Review Bob Costa. After that, we take a look back at the 2016 race with Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed CampaignAlso, taping, vaping, and narrative shaping. Yeah, we went there.

Music from this week’s podcast: Shattered by The Rolling Stones

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America examine the logic behind a surprising tweet from Utah Sen. Mike Lee suggesting Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland should be Trump’s choice to head the FBI. They also react to dozens of anonymous government sources suggesting the firing of James Comey was about Russia and that the deputy attorney general allegedly threatened to resign because the administration claimed the firing was his idea. And they discuss reports that Trump has repeatedly asked White House lawyers if he can communicate with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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Ricochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel and Heatstreet’s Stephen Miller talk about, what else, Trump’s pink slip to FBI Director James Comey. They cover the politics surrounding both the firing and the crazy, nay, hysterical reaction of the DC press corps.

Our intro and outro music is “Teenage FBI” by Guided by Voices. Stephen’s song of the week is “Slip Away” by Perfume Genius, and Jon’s is “Prom Song” by Pile. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist. You also should subscribe to this podcast and give it five-star, glowing reviews on iTunes!

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