The presenting sponsor to America is hypocritical. Well, it's been quite a year, hasn't it, gentlemen? Yeah, but it's Thanksgiving week, so if you had to think about what you're grateful for, what would it be? Look, it gives us a gives us a list here of the folks who wrote this copy with your health and safety, obviously.
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Welcome to Positive America, I'm John Fabara. I'm John Lovett. I'm Tommy Vietor. Today's Pot is our annual Thanksgiving mailbag episode, where we answer your questions and give thanks for what has pretty much been a perfect year. No, just three old mailbags answering your questions.
Let's do this. So be fun. Wow, nice.
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That's right. Move over Supreme. Let's take some questions and a Marshall asks, what are your thoughts on the reports that Republicans are pressuring Georgia's secretary of state to throw out legal absentee votes?
Is this even legal? What can be done? John Lovett, what do you think?
It is not legal to throw out ballots for no reason.
Didn't even have to. Didn't even have to. Google Allen.
You know, look, sometimes legal questions are hard, especially if you're Rudy Giuliani was playing as a trial attorney for the first time and, you know, many, many, many drinks questions like where am I?
I don't know, Pennsylvania, but no, you can't throw out legally cast ballots just because you don't like the outcome of an election. There's even now a question as to whether or not Lindsey Graham acted illegally when he tried to pressure the secretary of state of Georgia to throw out legally cast ballots. There's a dispute as to what was said in my experience. I think when there's a dispute about something Lindsey Graham said, it's probably best to go with the person who's not Lindsey Graham just because he's he lies about a lot of things, a lot of stuff.
And and I'll I'll add to that is I would really suggest checking out excerpts from the court transcripts, not just from Rudy Giuliani, but in general from Republican lawyers, many of whom are trying to get out of representing Donald Trump or Donald Trump allies in these fights. Because the thing about being a lawyer when you're not on television and you're in court is that you're a member of the bar. And with that comes certain obligations, like not to lie to a fucking judge's face.
And so the judge turns to these lawyers who are, you know, you know, Donald Trump is saying it's fraud. Rudy Giuliani saying it's fraud. And then the judge turns to these lawyers and says, are you, sir, a member of the bar going to say that there were no observers? No, I can't say that. Are you a member of the bar going to say that that you have evidence of fraud? No, we can't say that.
So it's I'm really enjoying the difference between me and even Rudy.
Even Rudy said in court or on the Pennsylvania case, there was no fraud. That's not what they were alleging.
Even Rudy. I mean, if they take away Rudy's bar license, what does he have? Just the bar in his cocktail, just as cocktail. Just Rudy is used to judge Jeanne, you know, hammered down a bag of Franzia and then ruling on his statements.
He's not used to an actual courtroom.
And it's quite funny. But, you know, and asks what can be done? Don't worry about this one.
Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state in Georgia, was a Republican who's been attacked, who's been getting death threats because he refuses to illegally throw out ballots. And he has decided to conduct a fair election and says there's no fraud. He has resisted efforts from Lindsey Graham, from Doug Collins to throw out the ballots.
And so nothing has to be done because Lindsey Graham scheme and Doug Collins scheme and Donald Trump scheme is not going to work in Georgia.
Yeah, it's not going to work. I would watch watch his interview, Brad Ravensbruck, his interview with Meti Hussin on his peacocke show, because he also talks through the fact that it's not like Georgia is a state that hasn't been focused on voter fraud. Right. Like they got rid of ballot harvesting, their photo ID laws. They have sort of an extensive process. They're auditing the election anyway. So there's a lot a lot of steps are already being taken to prevent voter fraud.
It barely ever happens in this country. It seems like Raffensperger is actually being pretty principled here. So it's worth watching the whole interview.
And again, you don't have to believe in Redfin's Bergers principles or worry that he's going to change his mind. What happened, as Graham called him and said, do you have the power to toss all male ballots and counties found to have higher rates of non matching signatures? So the signature match, which is a bad law anyway, if the suit if you have a mismatch signature instead of just throwing out that ballot, you throw out all the ballots and the whole bit and end.
And Raffensperger said to Graham, no, of course, I don't have that power like so much of this. And everyone everyone's nervous, like, oh, but Republicans are going to do this. Like there are laws in place that if they break the law enforcement and judges and courts will step in. This is the problem that happens.
Berger was so concerned about the call that he was advised not to call Lindsey Graham back.
That's how bad it was. I was just just to stop on the Lindsey Graham, everyone more like Lindsey Graham is a senator from South Carolina, which means he has about as much official capacity in this matter as you, as me, as anyone listening to this. He's just a famous, concerned citizen calling people who will answer. That's what he is. He is a he's just as a it's like normally celebrities do this to get like a PlayStation five early.
But Lindsey Graham's doing it to try to destroy democracy.
Yeah. He's also the fucking chairman of. The Senate Judiciary Committee, so he should be investigated for this fucking bullshit. All right, Nicole Dilli asks, Can Biden really legally cancel student loan debt through an executive order? It sounds too good to be true that someone could wave a magic wand and erase debt for millions of people. Tommy, what do you think?
Well, lots of smart people seem to think he can. So, I mean, the context is twenty two million borrowers had their federal student loans paused and the interest waived through twenty twenty, I believe, because of the pandemic. So that's already happened. And then the Higher Education Act goes back to sixty five, authorizes the education secretary to compromise, wave or release federal student loan debt, which has led smart folks like Elizabeth Warren to argue that that means the president can use an executive order to wipe away their debt.
Warren thinks Biden can cancel up to fifty thousand dollars in debt per borrower, so that's a big chunk of change.
Back in March, Biden tweeted that we should cancel at least ten thousand dollars in student debt per person, but he wanted that authorized by Congress. So you know, how you do it is still seemingly important to him. Biden has a pretty generous, broader student loan plan, but when you have a debt erased, there's a question about whether it will be taxed or not. Jason Furman, former economist at the Obama White House, suggested that it could be others have pushed back and said, no, it probably won't.
Joe Biden will be in charge of the IRS. So he might have a say in the matter. But, you know, it seems like a pretty great idea to me. So love it, I want to get to you, there's there's one other legal question. There's as you said, Tommy, advocates believe Higher Education Act gives the education secretary the authority to cancel the debt. There's some people who think that there's a separation of powers issue here because Congress is supposed to be in control of handing out money and then they say, OK, well, this could be challenged if Biden does it in court.
So what will the courts do? And if the banks and lenders went to court and they won, what would then happen to the borrowers whose debt was already erased? Do they have to then pay that back?
So there are some legal questions around this, though. Again, like you said, a lot of smart people think that the act does give the secretary the authority. Love it. What do you think about sort of this this proposal?
So in terms of just the tax liability, like one of the reasons people are concerned about that is if you're going to do this in the middle of a pandemic, one of the arguments to do it is that it helps people who are in dire financial straits and it helps get more money back into the economy. If all of a sudden you've issued a tax liability to whatever, 40 million people, suddenly, suddenly, yeah, they don't owe money down the line.
But right now they owe a bunch of money. The government could have a kind of the reverse effect of what you want. The war on claims and others claim that that the president can waive that, you know, specifically through by the way, we should say they believe they can waive it through.
The IRS can actually issue a rule saying that you don't have tax liability on the debt cancellation.
Yeah. Now, I do think that like Warren and the lawyers who believe that this is legal, like they have a pretty firm ground to stand on, I do think we're back in a conversation about absent like functioning Congress in a functioning kind of system. We are once again looking to executive action to step in to do the work that probably we would all prefer be done through legislation. I do think it raises a bunch of other problems. If you're not doing this as part of broader reforms, I obviously think we should do debt relief and it's an emergency for a lot of people.
I don't think that should stand in the way of doing it. But if you're not going to put in other reforms, you're still in the same broken system. There are still people that are going to begin accruing debt right away.
There's a practical issue to figure out here, which is, say, on Monday, you wipe away the debt of you will pay up to 50 thousand dollars in debt. For everyone who's taken out debt Tuesday, a bunch of people take out new student loans. What happens to their debt? You keep wiping out, you know, in the atlas what you're saying in the absence of legislation fixing the system, you have sort of this system where you're like, are you just sort of wiping away debt every couple weeks?
How how how is it set up, which I think is a challenge to figure out.
Yeah, but again, the only reason Joe Biden would be doing it this way, and I think one of the reasons that he sort of hedged on the question when he was asked at a press conference last week was that you'd only be doing it if you didn't have a Democratic Congress.
If Joe Biden has a Democratic Congress, if we win the two Senate seats in Georgia, then absolutely he will try to pursue debt relief via legislation and not via executive action, because it is it's just easier to do that way and it's more legally sound. Yeah.
I'd also say to, by the way, like if we had again, like, this is not about, I said functioning system, functioning two party system in which the Republicans were honest and good faith actors. Because what you could also imagine happening is Joe Biden basically says, you know, I would like to see this broad range of reforms to student debt and to how we pay for college, generally making it, making it free to go to public colleges, all the pieces of his plan that are really good, because then you can do debt forgiveness as part of a longer term plan to make sure that this kind of problem doesn't creep up again.
And so you could imagine Joe Biden basically using this as a cudgel if Joe Biden has the authority to cancel 50 thousand dollars of student debt. He also has the authority to pause it while negotiations are ongoing to get something done in Congress. So I think we'll see. But I think what is exciting and good about this is it changes the debate from will there be student debt forgiveness to will there be student debt forgiveness through Congress or will Joe Biden have to do it alone?
My only recommendation is like there's a lot of people who support getting rid of this debt, who are dunking on people on Twitter who say it might cause resentment among people who've already paid off their loans or people who didn't go to college and don't have loans.
And look, I get that right. Like, I. I think we should do the policy. My suggestion to them would be let's all spend less time dunking on those people and just start to make a broader argument for how it could help the economy, how this could actually trickle down on tax cuts for billionaires that Republicans always jam through under the guise of this somehow helping working people. I mean, if you got twenty two million kids out from under a pile of debt and they were able to spend that money on literally anything else, it should benefit all of us and it should be a good thing.
And I will also say, you know, Jason Furman, who we know you said to me was skeptical of this idea, said one thing you can do administratively that that would be very effective is tougher regulation of for profit colleges. Fuck those for what?
I mean, one of the major and just in general, one of the major challenges here with student loans and the cost of college is if the government continues to provide grants and loans to students without doing anything about the rising cost of college. All we're doing is sort of, you know, we're trying to like it's a wealth transfer to the schools.
It's exactly it's not really solving the problem. And it's the same thing is not doing anything about the cost of health care and health insurance, but continuing to subsidize people getting health insurance. Right. Which is what we do. We have to the source of the problem is the rising cost of college of health care, and that requires regulation of colleges of the health insurance industry.
Well, the for profit business is is even sort of a specific thing that's very egregious, like not all for profit colleges are bad. There were some that were really bad that went after veterans in particular and basically enrolled them in these programs that gave them bogus online degrees that were completely useless and and got a bunch of people in a pile of debt. So they're just awful. And they've been protected and defended by the education secretary currently. And it's just horrible.
So Erica Carpenter asks, I've heard EU leaders like McCRUDDEN say that they will be more hesitant to work with the US now that they know all agreements can be undone by the election of one idiot.
How will this impact the Biden administration? I know he used to do a lot through executive orders because of McConnell, but can't all egos just be undone? Executive orders in the next election if, God forbid, a Trumpy candidate wins?
Yeah, I guess I would roll my eyes at this Macron's comment a little bit. I mean, love us or hate us. The US is a key ally for most European countries. We trade a trillion dollars worth of goods and services a year. We work at the UN, we work at NATO, we work on the Iran nuclear deal. So I guess my point is we don't really have a choice. We all have to work together. I think the French and most other countries are sophisticated enough to know that US political power can swing back and forth from Republican to Democrat and lead to big changes in policy that's kind of priced into the system.
In the same way, we know that the French, like McCrone, invented a political party and and ran and won. And that was something new we had to work with. So that doesn't mean that America's reputation and standing in the world wasn't enormously damaged. Like, I think Iran, for example, they will be far more hesitant to want to work with us because they were promised a bunch of sanctions relief under the GPA and they lived up to their end of the bargain for a long time, didn't enrich nuclear material, and then got no sanctions relief and actually got hammered even further by the Trump administration.
But I'm I'm less worried about relations with the French or Europeans, so I love it.
I do think, you know, government by EO, sort of by executive action or executive order does sort of highlight the importance of winning these two Senate races in Georgia. Yes, it really does.
And, you know, I do feel a tension. And I think one of the lessons to me about the Trump administration that I'm going to really try not to forget is the accrual of power to the executive, the reliance on executive orders, the like, stretching the bounds of what an executive order can do to make it look more and more like legislation, in part because over the decades, Congress has shifted more authority, given more leeway, given more abilities to the presidency, that these things are dangerous when in the hands of Donald Trump.
So we should be afraid of them even when they're in the hands of a president we have more alignment with. But right now, we're going to have a choice between doing what we can in an emergency around covid or on the economy, among other long term challenges versus our fears around executive power. And if we had had if we have a Democratic Congress, we can have the ability to to re-establish some of the congressional prerogatives and do progressive legislation at the same time.
But right now, we're going to have to make unless we win those seats, we're going to make some really hard choices.
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Laura Jones dotcom slash cricket maple leaf forever asks many bridges to repair. But what foreign country does President Biden visit first? I feel like I know who maple leaf forever. What their choice.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I bet Maple Leaf River. I bet Biden goes to Canada or Mexico first. Obama's first trip was to Ottawa in February of 2009. George W. Bush went to Mexico in February, which pissed off the Canadians. Then he went to Canada in April. I think Bill Clinton went to Canada first, I hope shortly after Biden creates some sort of summit or event, either hosted or travels to it around climate change to try to get, you know, everybody who is in the Paris climate accords to renegotiate.
There may already be actually a cop. One of the summits on this get on the books I'm just not aware of. But it would be great to do that, to talk about climate internationally. You could do something alongside of it that reaffirms the US commitment to NATO. You know, there's lots of ways to do this. All of your travel will be scrutinized. All of your calls will be scrutinized. In ways that border on the absurd, but it will be really fun to watch Joe Biden go to places and be met with crowds in jubilation and know that Trump will be watching that on cable news and that it will piss him off to no end.
You know, it's funny, is Biden one thing Biden has said over the years, just all the time, is don't compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative. No one will benefit more in the history of human civilization. I'm telling you, you already see it. You've already seen it since the election. Like Joe Biden gives a pretty standard set of remarks on covid or the economy.
And everyone's like, oh, my God, he didn't yell at us. He's got plans. It was called tweets per day. It's not it's not like super impressive, but it just it feels so much better.
You know, it's funny, as we say that now. But you know that the other thing that's going to happen is they're going to cover Biden, especially when he's on foreign soil, as if Donald Trump and his bananas behavior abroad didn't happen. And he's going to be right back. Oh, like the definition of gaffe is about to drop again. Love it. Like it's going to happen.
And then there. And then. And then they're all going to walk around being like, well, we were all tough on Donald Trump. So we're tough on Joe Biden, too. That's just the way it is. I love it.
It's already happening. Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post, who I think is brilliant and I love her stuff, wrote The Tired like Obama was hard on the media thing because there were leak investigations and because he didn't do an interview with The Washington Post. And then she singled out the fact that in Vietnam, he did an interview with Anthony Bourdain, who is like a brilliant writer, someone who cares about Vietnam, someone who's taught me more about foreign places and foreign policy than most political reporters who wanted to have a conversation about how to get rid of fucking landmines that were sprinkled across Asia after Vietnam, like super substantive, important stuff.
And like, you know, it was just like self-interested, ridiculous critique. And I'm like, I've just I need to I need to maybe stop reading so much stuff.
You know, I think like the Biden strategy during the campaign, which is like ignore Twitter and a lot of the like, you know, crap is probably a good thing to continue. You can't fighting with them never works. Just fucking ignore them. That's that's my that's my proposal.
But by the way, physician, heal thyself is what I would say to you, John, what do you think?
Is hypocrisy something we avoid?
No, I love it, but it's sort of my brand. I'm rolling in it. Yeah.
Speaking of ignoring things, Allison Griffin asks, let's talk about parler. Do you think it is something to worry about since it appears to be an echo chamber for the worst ideas of white supremacists? Or is the site there to just blow off steam? Love it. What do you think?
Echo chamber for the worse ideas of white supremacist? What is this, the Republican caucus meeting?
Oh, my foot.
I honestly like usually you say that kind of humor for the ads.
What I what I would say is I have never been to parler. Don't plan on going. You know, we talk a lot about how Twitter isn't real life, but there is a lot of journalists and like conversations on Twitter that influence the way politics is discussed and that discussion influences coverage in a broader sense. And so I do think there's real value to a lot of the conversation on Twitter, even even if it is very, very frustrating because it helps set a larger conversation outside of that.
It is obviously very worrying to have yet another kind of festering swamp of right wing nationalism and conspiracy theories. That said, there's no shortage of them already. Those exist across the Internet. So, you know, the fact that a bunch of right wing politicians are kind of taking their little pot shots on Twitter so reporters see it before they go to parler and post the same shit. I don't know what the consequences are. That's obviously not good.
I'm of two minds of this to like the extreme version. And my concern is that like any safe space for hate speech is bad. The Christchurch killer posted his psychotic manifesto on H and he also posted a link to a Facebook live video of the murder itself. So that is that is horrible death, a safe space for like literal Nazis to gather and plan and incite each other.
I think the majority of parler people are just like whiny, stupid, trolling. Conservatives writes like a bunch of Charlie Kirks running around. And the reason I don't think those people are going to be happy on Parla is because they love to perform, actively complain about how they're being suppressed and they love to own the Libs.
And if there is no Lib's there to own, I'm not sure what they're going to do right. If Charlie Kirk is just pretending that liberals hate Thanksgiving to an audience of Dan Bongo's, I'm not sure that's going to get him the the thing that he wants. It's also worth noting, though, that parler is backed by the Mercer family. They are these horrible billionaires who bankrolled everything Steve Bannon did. So, you know, TDR, we need a wealth tax yesterday.
Wow. I guess. Well, that's great. I like that. All right.
We have a few questions about Georgia. Adam Gray asks, given what we saw with Magrath and. Harrison, Amy McGrath and Jamie Harrison, nine figure fundraising, but both lost by big margins. Is there any reason to think donating money to Georgia races will help versus non-financial stuff?
I will take a shot at this one. So. I think the the partisan and demographic makeup of a state is by no means the only factor, but probably the most determinative factor in electoral outcomes. And what's going to happen. Presidential margin of victory in a given state is over 10 points. It is most likely not a competitive state. Doesn't matter who your candidate is, what the message is, it's just not going to be competitive. If it's under five points.
It's always a competitive state between five and 10. Unlikely, but who knows? In these competitive races, a great well-funded candidate with a strong message and good organizing really matters. And that is Georgia. You know, Joe Biden won Georgia.
John Asaph only was down by a point. When you add up the votes in the special election with Warnock and Loffler, again, Democrats and Republicans extremely close. So when you have states that are extremely close, money very much matters in the outcome. Funding a campaign matters in the outcome. The ads, the run, the organizers they hire, that all matters. I think looking back on it like that, Amy, Magrath race was never really competitive.
It just wasn't. Mitch McConnell won by like 20 something points. Donald Trump won by thirty something points beat Joe Biden. Now, again, people can be forgiven for thinking that it might be competitive because Andy Beshear, a Democrat, won the governor's race in that state. But, of course, the Beshir name in Kentucky is famous and that might have been a special situation. You get the situations where, like Doug Jones wins a special election in Alabama.
Right. That was a unique situation and that poor Doug Jones lost this time around.
So there are outliers for sure. But when you have a state that is as red as Kentucky, it doesn't matter how great the candidate is or how much money they have or how the message is just going to be a hard race. And so I do think that, like, when you're thinking about where to give money for races, you know, think about the races that where the state is competitive and close. Now, there's a whole nother conversation about like how do we make red states competitive?
Well, that you have a lot of grassroots organizing and a presence in the state, but sometimes that can take five, 10, 15 years. Again, look at Georgia. So I thought I would I would I would definitely recommend giving in that situation. But I don't know if you guys have a different different view now.
Well said. I mean, Biden just won. Yeah. Give Biden just a big deal. Jessica Pinnell asks also about Georgia. What accounts for the disparity in votes between the two races in Georgia? Do we expect that same gap again?
And if so, what happens if Warnock doesn't get 50 percent?
Tommy so I assume we mean the disparity of votes between Asaph and Warnock, and that is because Asaph was running against David Perdue and then some Libertarian candidate, whereas Warnock was running against like 20 some odd candidates, including several Democrats in the vote, got split up a bunch of different ways, including some really confused people who voted for Lieberman, which was just never acceptable.
So not getting to 50 percent in those elections triggers a runoff between the two candidates and then they believe it's winner take all no matter what. Right. Yes, once the runoff happens in the runoff, whichever candidate gets the most votes wins, that's just the Georgia law. So, you know, I think the big question is like Biden got two point four, seven million votes in Georgia. John USCIRF got two point three seven million votes. It's hard to compare with the other race because it was so many different candidates.
But so there's two possibilities for the split. Right? There were voters who cast a ballot for Biden and then also Perdue split ticket voters or there were voters who just voted in the presidential and didn't vote in the Senate.
And we know there was a mix of both because there were forty six thousand more votes cast in the presidential race than in the Senate. But then there was about one hundred thousand vote difference between Biden and Asaph. So you have a mix of voters. So I think the question is in Georgia, how do we get people who either just voted for Biden to vote for USCIRF and Warnock or people who voted for Biden and then Perdue and Loffler to maybe change their votes and vote for USCIRF and whatnot?
But that's that seems to be the challenge.
Or new voters or register new voters or registered voters are also just you know, it seems unlikely to me that you will have a turnout in the runoff that equals the presidential right.
Like that would be seem to be pretty crazy. And so actually. Yeah, like we need to go after the split ticket voters or the people that just voted in the presidential. But also, it seems to me one of the reasons Loffler and Perdue are trying to nationalize the race and trumping the race with these kind of spurious attacks on the secretary. The Republican secretary of state of Georgia is they need a Trump like turnout. And so they're hoping that by bringing Trump's energy, evil vibes into this thing, they can keep a greater percentage than we can keep.
And so that's part of the fight, too, like, you know, how many of their voters do we lose versus how many do we lose?
And the reason that it's close, that it should be close is that traditionally runoffs, you have high propensity voters, right? People who vote all the time, high propensity voters tend to be college educated voters.
In the past, college educated voters were Republican voters. Now, college educated voters are very Democratic. And you have low propensity voters. Voters that don't show up as much are both non college educated white people. Those are all the numbers that came out in twenty twenty for Trump.
And you have a lot of sometimes black voters and Latino voters can be more low propensity on the Democratic side, even though a lot, even though a ton of them came out in twenty twenty for Joe Biden.
So we do have it's going to be more competitive than past runoff elections because now Democrats have a lot of high propensity voters.
OK, so Charlotte Greenbaum asks, how will Crooked Media's focus or mission change under the Biden Harris administration?
What does crooked look like? We've actually talked about this a lot, and we said from the very beginning that while Trump winning led us to start crooked media, it was always about the fact that Trump represented a bunch of deeper systemic problems in our economy, our politics, our media, our culture. And, you know, Trump gone. Those problems remain. Those challenges remain. I think one lesson of the last four years is we need to not just pay attention during elections.
We need to pay attention every day in between. And our goal continues to be to help turn people's anxieties, hopes, fears into political action, to give them a place where there's a political conversation that's not just about being an observer, but being a participant. And with Joe Biden in the White House, we have a very short window to do as much good as humanly possible in between now and the midterms. And it's never been more important that people stay in the fight.
You know, Trump gone, everyone paying attention. We finally have the chance to do some real good. And that really depends on sustained activism. Sustained activism is how we can make sure that Joe Biden keeps his promises and make sure that Joe Biden is successful. We can be his ally and we can provide pressure. We can also provide a backstop. You know, for so many years, Republicans in Congress have said, oh, I can't go back to my people with this this proposal, I'll get killed.
The base, the the Freedom Caucus, what have you. We need to be behind Democratic politicians, creating the pressure and the support where necessary to make sure they have the tools in what will be incredibly divisive, incredibly difficult negotiations to get as much good done as possible. Is that as ideal as what it would be if we had a full Democratic Senate? No, we should keep fighting for it. But even absent that, we all have to just stay in the fight.
Yeah, I have three quick points. The three of us talked about starting a media company even before Trump was elected.
And we did that because we thought that right wing media outlets are poisoning people's brains. And non right wing media outlets don't give people the information, the opportunities, the encouragement to actually fix what's broken about politics. That is what's different about cricket. That's why we have to save America. That's why we've been in this in this fight for so long. We also, I think as we have now, a Democrat in power in the presidency, a Democratic House, and we have the opportunity to do some things.
We've always wanted cricket to be a place where people can participate in a healthy, respectful, productive debate about the future of liberalism, broadly defined from the left to the center and everything in between. So we want to have that debate can be feisty at times, but we want to have a respectful debate about that. I also worry, and we've seen this in the last couple of weeks, I worry that democracy will not survive if the coalition that beat Donald Trump in twenty twenty fractures or disengages from politics in any way, Trump or no Trump, Republican politicians are just they are all in on crushing democracy.
And and we have to we have to beat them. And if that isn't our focus, then we won't be as lucky as the next time. You know, I've been telling you, I've been saying, like, don't be worried about the coup succeeding this time. And I really don't believe it will. But next time it could be this is a very this is a very closely divided country. Joe Biden won by small margins in the swing states.
And if we don't keep our shit together and keep energised for twenty to twenty twenty two, twenty, twenty four, we could be in some real trouble.
Real trouble. Yeah. I mean, just very briefly, like, let's help Biden do the things that he ran on and that we want him to do. We can focus more on on issues and down ballot races when Donald Trump isn't doing something horrible every day, we need to do a much better job fighting disinformation. We talked a little bit about parler in the Mercer family, pumping money into these right wing wannabe Twitters. But the Federalist Breitbart, real clear politics, those aren't real businesses.
Those is our pieces of shit rags that are propped up by right wing billionaires because they're used as political weapon. So we need to fight back on that. We want to focus on activism, focus on building community around progressive activism. We want to lift up inspiring candidates like Jamal Bowman like that next generation. And then let's just make a bunch of cool shows and broaden the audience and bring more people in and get people to care about this stuff. Because like I think talking to a lot of people who are part of both of America has been so rewarding because they talk about how meaningful the experience was for them.
Because you think about like getting on a campaign like, oh, all politics is ugly. Knocking on doors sucks. Cold calls suck. Actually, it was incredibly rewarding and can be inspiring and makes you feel great about yourself. And we just need to, like, help people experience that.
We've got big plans in twenty, twenty one. Everyone stay tuned for shows, more hosts, more, more of it all.
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Let's take some fun questions, Tommy Sam Masta wants to know what's going on with the Patriots.
Watching the Jets game on Monday night was agonizing, but we look great against Baltimore. We'll see how the Texans game goes. Listen, Sam, we lost the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. We lost Rob Gronkowski, one of the best beer bong ers, tight ends of all time. Cam Newton is amazing, but like, he's got to learn a new system and he got covid. You can't practice. So cut him some kind of a break.
We had a bunch of players opt out because of covid, including like Dante Hightower and Patrick Chung. Right. So that's a big hit to the defense. They have good reasons, by the way, with players, with the babies. We had players. Cancer survivor Julian Edelman just had knee surgery. But like, look, you know, Jacoby Meyers is out there catching and throwing touchdowns. So fuck off, Sam. OK, Bill Belichick just tweeted a statement on Nagorno Karabakh.
So this is this is this is touching all my my zones today. Do you think Bill Belichick is a world summit that's happening?
Someone told me that Bill Belichick has an Armenian assistant who must have filled him in on all this. Wow, uh, that was I did not expect to see. What do you think what do you think about the pass this year? I love it. I think it's like obviously people are noticing the big hole that Tom Brady has left in your squad, but on the other hand, he is bringing a lot of good energy to his new role as the lead counselor for the Wisconsin recount for Trump.
So that's pretty cool.
The rest was incomprehensible to me.
That's cool. Yeah. Talk about talk about new Tampa Bay voters that turn the election to Trump and Florida.
OK, Whitney Fitzpatrick wants to know what Tommy and I order a Dunkin Donuts. I order a if it's summer, a large ice French vanilla coffee. Yep, that's right. Get that within our control. But also put the sugar in.
Even though the French realized that we now know that I have a I do the ham, egg and cheese on an English muffin as a as a sandwich. What about you, Tom?
Egg and cheese on an English muffin is the perfect breakfast. I obviously prefer a biscuit, but I just can't be an everyday thing. You're going to end up in a bad place. I don't think I had Starbucks until after college.
My my job after freshman year was painting the exterior of houses. And so every morning I drag my ass out of bed and go to Dunkin and get a large coffee with cream, you know, a solid half inch of unresolved sugar, which I think is technically called the the Ben Affleck order.
And that's just as good as it gets. Now, I reached out to a celebrity who is one of the world's biggest Duncan fans. He mentioned the other day that he got a Dunkin bathrobe, Josh Connellan, and he said ice coffee year round unless you work outside. And it's called best doughnut is blueberry cake glazed blueberry favorite savory item is the beyond sausage sandwich. So. Wow, I some of your did some reporting, original reporting on SUNBERG over there.
But I mean, I don't know if you guys go to to Starbucks in high school.
Never know I was Dunkin Donuts my entire life through college, even through after college, until I think I moved to D.C. and suddenly there were a few Starbucks around and there wasn't enough Dunkin Donuts. That's what happened.
It was Starbucks for me was just a place to go to the bathroom for a very long time. That's really what it was.
Kelsey DeChambeau wants some book recommendations. I didn't pick this question. This is from Tommy because I don't read books, as you all know. Oh, yeah, I did.
This is one I'm currently reading, Homeland Elegies by a doctor, which is amazing. I think all of Rick Pearlstein's books are great. I always ask you guys about these. Nixonland haven't read Reagan Land yet, but I bought it over the summer. I was reading these Ben MacIntire books that are like really cool, real spy stories. I read a really good but super depressing book called King Leopold's Ghost, which is about colonialism in the Congo, The Devil's Chessboard to Start a War by Robert Draper about Iraq.
That's about all I remember. Wow, had some cheese. Hey, what do you what do you what do you what else do you do to relax? I got I got a Kindle then I know how to use it, but it's just very those are intense books.
Yeah. Also, I feel like we're talking to you most of the day. When where are you.
I read the wind down, but it's not ideal to wind down with a book about how 10 million people in the Congo were killed by the evil Belgians who were colonizing it, you know. I have I just started a promised land. There it is by Barack Obama. I bought it. How is it? I haven't started yet so far, so it's a little navel-gazing. Can't wait to see what happens. I can't wait to see what happens. I saw that.
I was watching. How is it going to end one of those Sunday shows I was watching, like Guy Benson or whatever was like mocking Obama for having written three books. He's like about himself. It was like back to the old, like, arrogance trope. And I was like, Hey, man, you're like a Fox News guy and wrote a book. So maybe the first black president can write a couple, I don't know, just a thought.
He's he's a person that doesn't matter whether you have any books. Yes.
I'll recommend some books. One from bacteria to be taken back by Daniel Dennett about evolution, A.I. and consciousness and bringing them all together. It was a fascinating book. I really enjoyed it. And, you know, the one thing I'd say is Daniel Dennett is he's trying to develop a theory of consciousness. And it's fascinating. But you kind of get to the end and you realize that, like, wow, it's a really hard problem. And the second book is a book called Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, recommended by Sarah Zwick, who runs our company.
And we were both looking for a follow up to a book called Seven Moves by Neal Stephenson, which is a fascinating sci fi book. And it was great, is a great book. Those are my two recommendations.
Excellent. Another question for you, Morris Watson asks, I'm an escape room designer. If you could create an escape from game based on the past four years, what would its theme be? What would you call it?
So that's really interesting. It's a great question. Thank you. I was thinking about this, and what I was thinking about is you really want something that where as you're in the escape room, the puzzles get harder as you go, because with each passing moment, the democratic and institutional tools at your disposal to escape begin to dwindle. So you can imagine an escape room where every few minutes the the two sides of the room get closer, like when they're in the trash compactor and Star Wars.
And at each moment you have the squeeze of anti-democratic movements and the institutional rot are coming at you from both sides as you try to solve a puzzle on the wall ahead of you to convince enough people to let you out. That was my pitch. That's a fun one.
That's pretty cool. I got a couple of pitch. You got to go escape a Tinder date with Steven Miller. You have to find your way out of some like, you know, moderate to low priced restaurant without, you know, getting like a tiki torch in your face or something. Escape with a gentleman. See, that's when Jared Kushner's dad buys your way into the escape room and then you just kind of walk right out. It's not a very hard one.
Escape a communal restroom when Steve Bannon heads toward the stall. Is that too graphic for everybody? Oh, my. Wow.
We're at the end here. Yeah, we've been we've been doing for years of pods, for years of pots.
Then I had some other ones that I probably shouldn't say. But I you know, I think we could start with that. I think look, I think no, I know bad ideas in a brainstorm. Nobody better. You know, other theme options that I've seen in the real world are Jumanji, you know.
So Sylvia Crump asks, in several years, Crump did ask, hi, I'm in a Roald Dahl book. Can you get me out of here?
Sorry, Sylvia. I'm sorry, Sylvia.
Sylvia crumples In seven years, I never thought I could have too much time with my doodle, but it's happens.
Any advice on how to keep our relationship fun while working sixty hours a week remotely and living in an apartment?
Have you tried roleplaying? Do do we think Sylvia has a partner named Doodle or are we talking about a dog. We're talking about a dog.
A dog. We're talking about, they're different, very different answers.
So I mean, I will say I've never been happier to have I have have Leo with us here and in quarantine since March.
It's been a it's been a saving grace.
Yeah. We play a lot of tug of war, maybe a couple of walks a day.
I don't know that. I don't know I'm not sure if the locks are for me or if they're for Luca, because when I try to put the leash on her, she literally hides behind the couch.
But, you know. I think the dogs are happy I wouldn't worry about it, the dog just wants to be with you. I do a lot of a lot of ball throwing. I know if you're just in a department that's tough, but you can still just throw that ball across the room. I could throw the ball. I throw the ball like two feet to Leo, and he literally could get the ball thrown to him over and over again for six hours and not do anything else.
But that's that's Leo. He's a little he's a little interesting that way.
Ball guy balls life, not a maranto asks what is the worst Thanksgiving side dish and why is it string beans? I think I think string beans are pretty bad.
I like string beans, yams, candied yams, not often candied yams. Make no sense. It's a very look I get like they're already sweet. You don't need to put it doesn't make any sense. Like there they come. Sweet. They're yams, they're sweet potatoes. They're very sweet. So why would you put a layer of marshmallows? On top of it, that's too much like a desert, that's too much like a desert, I don't ever I've never liked it.
And one thing I'll just say growing up is over the years, the the ratio of yams to marshmallows in my home became, frankly, near criminal. By the end, Robert Lovett was just scooping marshmallows onto his plate, like maybe just a kind of like a it's almost like a dry martini, like, hey, I'd like what I'd like with my candied yams is can you can you just put a yam next to it while it's cooking so it gets some yam flavor from the oven and then put marshmallows on my plate.
That was the that was the vibe at the end of my childhood for Thanksgiving.
When you guys are wrong about yams, yams are good. String beans suck, bean casserole suck. I was looking around you people posting cauliflower options are monsters. Get that shit out of here. I'm not really.
But here's the thing. I will say this. I am shocked by how much taking a bunch of cauliflower and mashing it up tastes like mashed potatoes. And I really like I'm into it. Obviously not in Akito emotional or practical phase right now of my life. That's not the energy of this part of the pandemic. We are eating what we see when we want it at any moment, but in better and more disciplined times. Yeah, I'm pro cauliflower.
That's awesome. Yeah.
You fry up some cauliflower, make it buffalo cauliflower. That's delicious. OK, Jozo, we're not at the Garden Cheesecake Factory.
This is Thanksgiving now had buffalo cauliflower.
I'm just telling you what I like. I'm not saying it's I didn't know more on Thanksgiving, like Thanksgiving side. Awesome. On Thanksgiving. OK, what do you what do you have? Blossom would be a great addition to the table.
It would be a great addition to the table. I just want to make one more point on Buffalo Cauliflower before we move on is to put some bacon on those cheese fries.
Hey, restaurants, we're on to you. You can't charge buffalo wing prices for buffalo cauliflower. All right? It's a fucking scam. It's just six pieces of cauliflower just because it's the same. You know, it's it's we're charging chicken prices here. It's outrageous. You say not really a potato au gratin fan, even though knowing the ingredients, it should be good. I just don't know why it isn't.
Don't mash. Yeah.
Don't don't disrespect me with a salad or a salad plate. Mac and cheese seems a little too decadent for Thanksgiving to me. I don't know. Some people do brussel sprouts.
I don't really feel those skin on mashed potatoes are skin off. I'm skin on. I'm pro scannon. I like them but they throw those for those skins right in there or whatever. I guess maybe not.
I don't know. I love mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy's Brussels sprouts again like you're going to put some bacon in with the Brussels sprouts then I'll eat it. But that's ruining the whole point of the healthy Brussels sprouts, you know.
Anyway, Lizzo, eight, asks favorite cheese. This is our last question. Perfect favorite cheese.
I'm Gouda and Feta. I like a sharp, hard cheese like an aged gouda and cheddar.
OK, obviously it's situational dependent. You know, there are cheeses that are great in various circumstances. The one thing I will say is I'm never interested in a goat cheese. I don't really care for it. I don't really want it. I don't want anything. I love Coaches', I like feta. But like just like I know better than goat, but I also love goat.
Yeah. Yeah. OK, fettah better if you live in L.A., there's a great place called say cheese and it's fun because the guy who works there is great because he'll ask you what you like, you'll try to answer, he'll be just incredibly disappointed in you and then give you a better idea. And then if you live in Boston, check out what cheese shop in Wellsley. That used to be one of my my dad, my favorite place on the planet.
Nice family run joint. Good people. Love a good story. Lovegood cheese, well, I wish you all a Thanksgiving filled with plenty of cheese and delicious side dishes.
I realize a lot of people are not celebrating with the usual family and friends this year because the former president or the outgoing president led a pandemic run wild through the country. So that sucks. But I hope everyone still has a a very good Thanksgiving at home.
Yeah. Thanks, everybody, for listening. Thanks for listening, everyone.
After four long years, thanks for listening and thanks for stepping up in this election in an incredible way and volunteering and donating and making calls and everything that you all did that that is what I will be grateful for at the end of this year.
And though I didn't highlight them in the document because I knew I'd get a bunch of shit for it. Thank you for the questions about the haircut. I did it myself. I did it myself. I don't know how you do that. How do you cut the back? I'll thank you, Tommy, for suggesting that I share the time release video, I'll do it. We're going to put it. I did not Jordan didn't send us any questions about your haircut or they were in there.
They were in there. Are you wearing.
They're gonna love it. Love it, love. It's digging through the mensches, folks. He's looking for those haircut questions.
Why are you so upset with me? I'm sick of those questions.
I'm sick of them. So a lot.
Have you been asking me why is this everyone happy? Happy Thanksgiving. Pottsy of America is a crooked media production, the executive producer is Michael Martinez, our associate producer is Jordan Waller. It's mixed and edited by Andrew Chadwick. Kyle Soglin is our sound engineer, thanks to Tanya Nominator, K.D. Lang, Roman Papadimitriou, Caroline Ruston and Justin Howe for production support into our digital team, Elijah Konar Melkonian, Elfriede and Milo Kim, who film and upload these episodes as videos every week.