Akhilesh Pillalamarri: Should the U.S. Have a Parliament?

Every student of American government learns that the separation of powers is a key component of the checks and balances upholding our democracy. The fact that the president often meets fierce opposition from the legislature is supposed to be a feature – not a bug – of the system. It could even be argued that partisan gridlock, and Washington's inability to "get things done," are positively good things. But with a mounting national debt and innumerable other crises, partisan rancor and division seem to be hindering real reform from happening. Bob fears we will never return to the optimistic America of his youth, and that America may be in decline. His guest this Sunday offers a hopeful solution, borrowing from our friends from across the pond – Akhilesh (Akhi) Pillalamarri argues that Britain's parliamentary system could resolve some of the America's governmental dysfunction. Akhilesh is a journalist, editor, international relations analyst, and historian who writes for The Diplomat and The National Interest magazines. He argues that our presidential system, like others throughout history, has a tendency towards autocracy. Counterintuitively, this is because the president can claim to be doing "the will of the people" in a way that a prime minister elected by parliament cannot. Bob also presents his unique proposal for representative democracy, and takes your calls on the future of the republic. 

LINKS

@AkhiPill on Twitter

America Needs a Parliament”, The National Interest, Aug. 2, 2016, by Akhilesh Pillalamarri

Federalist No. 47 by James Madison

The Diplomat

The National Interest

Alan Axelrod on the National Debt

According to author and historian Dr. Alan Axelrod, ISIS isn't the greatest threat to American security. Our leaders are. This might sound sensationalist, until you recall that our national debt is quickly approaching $20 trillion, and has already surpassed the total GDP of the United States. This Sunday, Halloween comes early with the scary message Axelrod brings in his new book, *Full Faith and Credit: The National Debt, Taxes, Spending, and the Bankrupting of America.* Axelrod, author of more than 140 books, joins Bob to discuss his sweeping examination of the origins of the U.S. national debt, its beneficiaries, and (hopefully) its possible solutions. Axelrod finds the source of fiscal irresponsibility in the core architecture of the growing "administrative state," in which unelected career bureaucrats carve out fiefdoms, going beyond the powers prescribed by the Constitution. After tracing the gradual rise of the current administrative state, Axelrod devotes special attention to the dangers of the military-industrial-(congressional)-complex, and shows how support for major spending categories transcends partisan divides (as long as the members of congress are "getting theirs"). Be sure to tune in to get your weekly fix of libertarian ideas. Bob and Alan will take your calls at (424) BOB-SHOW, on the Bay Area's 860AM – The Answer. [CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN LIVE, 10/16, at 8am PACIFIC]

Dr. Jeffrey Singer on Gary Johnson vs. The Lesser of Two Evils

With just three months to the general election, voters must now come to grips with the grim reality of their choice between the major parties’ presidential candidates. Naturally, the conversations around the “lesser of two evils” have begun, along with the ensuing mental gymnastics by those looking to justify their preference for either Trump or Clinton. There may be a silver lining, however. While former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson may not be the political savior many are hoping for, he is getting a hearing from a large swath of the electorate who otherwise would never have considered backing a third party candidate – let alone a libertarian. Jeff Singer, a general surgeon and libertarian from Arizona, has voted for the lesser of two evils for most of his life – but now he's had enough, and is casting his lot in with Johnson. Is it true that a vote for Johnson is a throwaway, or that it makes a victory of the greater of two evils more likely? Bob and Jeff spend the hour on the intricate question of how one can still vote smart, and on principle, in the unusual times we find ourselves in.

Christina Sandefur on the Right to Try Initiative

There's a wave of state-based reform sweeping the nation, and it's giving hope to thousands of terminally-ill patients. Since just 2014, 31 states have passed so-called "right to try" initiatives, which allow those with incurable and life-threatening illnesses to access potentially life-saving experimental treatments that have not yet been approved by the FDA. Leading this legislative cascade is Arizona's Goldwater Institute. They believe the Food and Drug Administration has been overly paternalistic in making what amounts to an incredibly difficult, yet personal decision, on behalf of all Americans. When early "Phase I" evidence shows a treatment's potential, physicians in Right to Try states are able to take the experimental treatments out of the laboratory in an attempt to save their patients. Christina Sandefur, executive Vice President of the Goldwater Institute, is a co-drafter of the Right to Try initiative and has been pivotal in getting these laws passed around the country. She joins Bob to make the case to the remaining 19 states – including California. 

Dr. Rick Doblin on MAPS and the War on Drugs

Dr. Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, joins the show to discuss the history of the War on Drugs, and the efforts to legalize certain scheduled substances through formal FDA approval.

Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

F.H. Buckley on *The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America*

Sensing a wave of populist frustration, the Democratic Party has embraced the narrative of the 99% versus the 1%, and called for a new round of socialist policies. Conservatives, seeing the failures of socialism, have downplayed the severity of inequality, and all but ignored the even greater problem of economic immobility. Mitt Romney, for his part, spoke of the “47%” who would always vote for bigger government to receive the benefits, and he was roundly rejected by voters. Yet both sides may have a point – America does increasingly resemble an aristocracy with a dependent class, stuck in poverty. In his new book, *The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America,* Francis H. Buckley puts a face to the modern inherited aristocracy, which Founders like Thomas Jefferson had hoped to do away with for good. A Professor at George Mason University School of Law, Buckley honestly admits that he is one the “New Class” – those whose education and birthright advantages have enabled them to ride the wave of globalization and technological progress that has gutted the middle class. This gives him a unique vantage point to describe what he sees standing in the way of opportunity and justice for all. Buckley joins Bob to discuss how America lost the promise of economic mobility for the hardworking poor, and how he thinks we can find our way back. While Buckley sees a revolution brewing in the form of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Bob says, "Not so fast."

*The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America* by F.H. Buckley [AMAZON]

Trump's Revolution, by F.H. Buckley, The American Spectator, June 6, 2016