Episode

8/13 The Inevitable Fall of Afghanistan And The Politics Of Coercion In The Vaccine Culture War w/ Ben Burgis

August 13, 2021

It’s Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Ben Burgis, columnist at Jacobin, host of Give Them An Argument With Ben Burgis, and author of Canceling Comedians While the World Burns: A Critique of the Contemporary Left, to cover the top stories of the week. Ben, Sam, and Emma start off with a discussion on the developments in Afghanistan as the Taliban sweeps through, taking up control as the US evacuates, before they jump back to the decisions that led us there. They walk through the original choice to invade Afghanistan, rather than work with a Taliban surrender and find ways to diplomatically get their hands on Osama Bin Laden, only to pull resources out and move towards Iraq within a year and a half, keeping Afghanistan on the border of disarray for well over a decade until we let it fall back into Taliban hands. Sam and Ben look into the unlikelihood of US leaders learning from the failures of military intervention, before they move onto discussions of what Republicans have constituted as “authoritarian” and how that has changed over the last two decades, largely as a function of what party is implementing the policies. Starting with the post-9/11 Bush-era policy, and working through reactions to Obama’s handling of Ebola, Sam, Ben, and Emma explore how Republicans have sponsored countless invasive policies only to draw the line at one life-or-death vaccine. After discussing the importance of both recognizing and implementing legitimate coercion in the face of the pandemic, they wrap up the interview by touching on the developments on the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, and the state of progressive leverage heading into the final votes. Sam and Emma round out the first half with updates on the Delta variant, as Fl, OR, AR, MS, and LA all reach record hospitalizations, while MTG and Republicans continue to tout misinformation and Americans are forced out of hospitals.

And in the Fun Half: Sam drums up some beef with old colleagues Tom Scharpling and Jon Benjamin, Louie Gohmert pours one out for the birds (but the “one” is “fossil fuels” and “for the birds” is “on the birds”), and Emma trashes on radio as Sam defends the medium made for his face. Next, the crew admires Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer’s willingness to focus on Bars, and let other people worry about his employees well being, as he and Laura Ingraham promote treating our workforce like dogs while the pandemic ramps up. The show gets two Joshes (from MD and PA, respectively) to give updates on the state of their states, and the latter inquires about the potential of fiction authors coming onto the show. They also discuss factors that promote new variants and get some high-level important ideas, plus, your calls and IMs!

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