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Pantsuit Politics

For anyone discouraged by our current political discourse, Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers bring a nuanced and grace-filled perspective to discussions about politics and news.
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Pantsuit Politics
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Now displaying: February, 2018
Feb 27, 2018

Critical discussions in this country continue to develop about election interference, #metoo, and gun violence. 

Thanks to our sponsors for today's podcast: ThirdLove and Martha Stewart Wine Company

Beth summarizes her thoughts on the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee response to the Republican memo on the Russian investigation as well as her new found commitment to primary sources. She also shared her thoughts on the recent indictments and movement of Robert Mueller and his team. We also talk about Mona Charen's #metoo moment at CPAC.

Beth compliments the Democratic governors. Sarah compliments Florida Governor Rick Scott.

In our main segment, we discuss the great feedback we've got from our community on the ongoing gun debate.

We end with what's on our minds outside politics. Beth is thinking about her crafting and we talk about the essential nature of idle time. 

 

Feb 23, 2018

The conversation on guns in this country is changing. We talk about a particularly intense day this week filled with listening sessions, marches, and town halls. 

We then spoke with Jeremy Hays and Eve Pearlman, cofounders of Spaceship Media, about dialogue journalism and their new project The Many

This show is sponsored by Tamara Mellon.

Feb 20, 2018

Students across the U.S. are demanding action to prevent future gun violence, and Robert Mueller has issued an extensive indictment related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. We discuss the week’s news and talk with Tabitha Isner about her run for Congress. 

Thanks to our sponsors for today's podcast: Tamara Mellon and Martha Stewart Wine Company

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are leading a nationwide movement, demanding that policymakers address gun violence in schools. We discuss their activism and the need for reasonable progress and compromise. 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in a 37-page indictment, has described Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. We discuss the indictment and updates regarding Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and Richard Pinedo

Sarah compliments Congressman Carlos Curbelo for his remarks following the Parkland shooting. Beth compliments the Albuquerque, New Mexico City Council

We talk with Tabitha Isner and her campaign manager, Megan Skipper, about her run for Congress as a Democrat in Alabama. You can find Tabitha on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

We end with what's on our minds outside politics. Beth is thinking about her bucket list. Sarah is excited about her friend's new children's album

 

Feb 16, 2018

On January 23, there was a school shooting in our home state. On February 14, 17 people were killed in yet another

If you are ready to take action, consider doing one of the following things: 

  • text ACT to 64433 to join Moms Demand Action 
  • host a conversation in your community about the threat of violence (agree in advance about whether you'd like to discuss gun control provisions or not) 
  • contact your elected official to express your insistence on measures to combat gun violence  

Post-note: 

At the top of the episode, we cite the statistic from EveryTown that there have been 18 school shootings in 2018. This statistic has been criticized today by, among others, the Washington Post. EveryTown uses an expansive definition of school shooting to encompass every time a gun has discharged live rounds on school property. We encourage you to judge the meaning and importance of this statistic for yourself. 

 

 

Feb 16, 2018

On January 23, there was a school shooting in our home state. On February 14, 17 people were killed in yet another

If you are ready to take action, consider doing one of the following things: 

  • text ACT to 64433 to join Moms Demand Action 
  • host a conversation in your community about the threat of violence (agree in advance about whether you'd like to discuss gun control provisions or not) 
  • contact your elected official to express your insistence on measures to combat gun violence  

Post-note: 

At the top of the episode, we cite the statistic from EveryTown that there have been 18 school shootings in 2018. This statistic has been criticized today by, among others, the Washington Post. EveryTown uses an expansive definition of school shooting to encompass every time a gun has discharged live rounds on school property. We encourage you to judge the meaning and importance of this statistic for yourself. 

 

 

Feb 13, 2018
It’s hard to keep up with the memos, interviews, and leaks coming out of Washington DC so we take a painstaking look at what we do and don’t know about the memo and the Mueller investigation 
 
Thanks to our sponsor: Martha Stewart Wine and TomboyX Underwear
 
We discuss the resignation of Rob Porter and the President's wholly unacceptable response to the accusations of domestic violence against Porter. We also talk about the Olympics: North Korea's participation, the ugly part of the event, and why we keep watching
 
To compliment individuals who aren't members of our respective parties, Beth compliments the Democratic candidate in her home district, Patti Piatt. Sarah compliments Rand Paul on his continued stance against deficit spending. 
 
For our main segment, business journalist Heidi Moore joins us for a discussion of the stock market, the economy, and why debt colors Donald Trump's opinion of it all. 
 
We end with a discussion on what's on our minds outside politics. Beth loved Lady Bird and Victoria & Abdul. Sarah loved The Power and Sing, Unburied, Sing. Heidi shares her love for The Good Place and Call Me By Your Name. 
Feb 9, 2018

The United States continues to grapple with cultural tension over race, the military, and religion. We talk about the latest news around these topics and listener feedback in today’s episode.

The death of Black Lives Matter activist Muhiyidin d’Baha and the vandalism of a Confederate monument in Louisville, Kentucky, have us thinking about continued racial tensions in the United States. At the same, a message from our listener, Karen, and Sarah's experience passing a Fairness Ordinance in her city have us thinking about tension around Christianity. That tension is not helped by an evangelical minister who made headlines this week by claiming that Christians don't get the flu. 

The President has expressed interest in a military parade. Sarah has a great solution to dealing with this. 

We shared feedback from Michelle regarding #HearHerHarvard and the culture on Harvard's campus. We also discuss Melissa's message sharing her desire for a more balanced conversation -- one of many messages questioning Beth's political perspective. 

Finally, we discuss SpaceX's launch of the Falcon Heavy. 

 

Feb 6, 2018
It’s hard to keep up with the memos, interviews, and leaks coming out of Washington DC so we take a painstaking look at what we do and don’t know about the memo and the Mueller investigation 
 
Thanks to our sponsor: Casper Mattress
 
First up, we discuss how we think about the economy as we approach another government shutdown this week, including whether or not we should pour more money into the Department of Defense considering the results of the latest audit.   
 
We discuss Uma's #metoo moment and why the coverage became the story
 
To compliment individuals who aren't members of our respective parties, Sarah praises recently retiring and suddenly refreshingly honest Representative Trey Gowdyl. Beth compliments Senator Chris Coons on his work on a bipartisan immigration bill. 
 
For our main segment, we start with a mini-primer on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA"), which was enacted in 1978 to protect Americans’ privacy in the midst of counter-terrorism efforts. A law enforcement training white paper helped us significantly in understanding key provisions of FISA. FISA was enacted to limit the presidents' power and to create a judicially-manageable standard for issuing warrants in national security investigations. 

The key provisions of FISA were: 

  1. Non-criminal electronic surveillance can only occur for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence
  2. Foreign powers and agents of foreign powers could be targeted for electronic surveillance (foreign powers and agents of foreign powers are defined in the statute—explicitly says “non US persons” — US persons are citizens, legal permanent residents, US corporations, unincorporated associates with a substantial number of members who are citizens or lawful permanent residents) 
  3. The government needs probable cause to conduct surveillance (and set a probable cause standard)
  4. Established foreign intelligence surveillance courts (FISC) at the district and appellate levels to review applications for warrants under the act
  5. The government can only conduct electronic surveillance in the US for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence or foreign counterintelligence pursuant to a warrant issued by a FISC or in an emergency with approval from the attorney general provided that a warrant is sought within 24 hours 

In 1995, FISA was expanded to include physical searches (which meant a recognition that the president’s power to order physical searches in the interest of nat security is limited)  In 1998, provisions were added on pen registers and trap and trace - includes phone calls, email, and all electronic forms of communication. These provisions specifically prohibit investigation of US persons for activities protected by the 1st Amendment. 

Often the collection of information under FISA leads to collection of evidence of a domestic crime (not the intention of the surveillance). The FBI is obligated by the statute and executive order to pass that evidence the appropriate law enforcement agency. But, there have been many challenges to evidence collected under FISA in criminal cases because of 4th and 5th Amendment concerns. These challenges led to the establishment of the “primary purpose” test and “the wall” — the intelligence community became very careful about ensuring that applications for FISA warrants demonstrated that the primary purpose of surveillance was foreign intelligence or foreign counterintelligence — not law enforcement. Law enforcement and intel community have struggled a little with the appropriate sharing of information. 

This information-sharing struggle was directly confronted and significantly altered by the October 2001 passage of the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (the PATRIOT Act).

Under the PATRIOT Act, the intelligence community's burden on a FISA warrant application is to show that collection of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence is a significant purpose rather than the purpose of the activity.  In 2002, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (part of the DOJ) asked the FISC to remove “the wall” (separating law enforcement and foreign intel collection). The FISC declined and wrote its own minimization standards, trying to maintain a balance between effectuating the PATRIOT Act and limiting the very intrusive methods available under FISA. The DOJ appealed to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. The Court of Review said that the FISC was wrong and was trying to end run the PATRIOT Act. It found that the wall did not survive the PATRIOT Act. 

Now, disclosure and use of FISA information: 

  1. Must be for a lawful purpose
  2. Must be accompanied by an admonishment that FISA derived info can only be used in a criminal proceeding with the advanced authorization of the Attorney General 
  3. The government has to give notice to the criminal defendant and the Court if it is going to use FISA derived info in a criminal proceeding (so the defendant has a chance to contest the use of the evidence)
  4. There are no exceptions to the AG having to approve disclosure in advance, and the government never produces a copy of the application to obtain a FISA warrant. 

In 2008, FISA amendments were passed. These amendments included section 702, which allows the government to collect email and other communications of non-US persons. Over 25% of the NSA’s intelligence relies on information obtained under 702. Section 702 expires at the end of 2017 and needs to be reauthorized — that’s what House Republicans were referring to in the Comey/Rogers hearing. This section has been widely criticized but not well understood. Surveillance under Section 702 can only be directed at specific foreign targets outside the US. It doesn’t allow for bulk collections. There are two important aspects of the Section 702 program: PRISM and upstream collection. Section 702, FISC, and intelligence agencies use minimization standards to protect incidental collection of information, including masking

We then review the major actions of taken so far by Robert Mueller during the course of his investigation. We then discuss the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence which was created in 1977 to oversee the US intelligence community. It was created in response to the Church and Pike Committees investigating the CIA and other intelligence agencies in response to Watergate. Because the Church and Pike Committees found evidence of spying on American citizens, illegal wiretapping, and coverups, the Senate and the House established intelligence committees to prevent future abuses of power. The HPSCI has 22 members, including at least one member from Appropriations, Armed Services, Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs and is chaired by Representative Devin Nunes, recently cleared of an ethics investigation regarding the release of classified information. Last, we discuss the infamous memo and what we think it does (and doesn't) mean.  

We end with a discussion on what's on our minds outside politics - mainly the Super Bowl and America's obsession with football.  
Feb 2, 2018

California voters will soon decide whether to recall the judge who sentenced Brock Turner, and conspiracy theories seem to be taking over our public discussions. We’re talking about institutional trust and accountability as well as discussing the brutal realities of gun violence in today’s episode.

Thanks to TomboyX for sponsoring today's podcast. 

We discuss the campaign to recall Judge Persky, how elections impact the judiciary, and the punitive side of rape culture. 

We also talk about "The Storm" and how the Nunes memo is mainstreaming conspiracy theories. 

Finally, we talk with Dr. Sterling Haring about his experience treating victims of the Marshall County High School shooting. Content warning: Our conversation with Dr. Haring includes some upsetting and graphic information about how bullets impact human bodies. 

 

 

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