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Ed Blakely has served in different capacities under a succession of presidential administrations, has guided government policy on urban planning and is a widely cited academic. My name is Sean Britten, and each week, Ed and I have a chat about what’s the latest news out of the United States, talking everything politics, planning and policy from sea to shining sea.

Ed Blakely has served in different capacities under a succession of presidential administrations, has guided government policy on urban planning and is a widely cited academic. My name is Sean Britten, and each week, Ed and I have a chat about what’s the latest news out of the United States, talking everything politics, planning and policy from sea to shining sea.
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Ed Blakely has served in different capacities under a succession of presidential administrations, has guided government policy on urban planning and is a widely cited academic. My name is Sean Britten, and each week, Ed and I have a chat about what’s the latest news out of the United States, talking everything politics, planning and policy from sea to shining sea.






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SPECIAL: South of the Border

"We have some countries that are very near collapse... Let's see if we can prevent that by doing the right thing now. We really can't wait til 2020." Sick of talking about Trump, we gave ourselves a week off to travel south of the border and talk about issues plaguing Central and South America. Record numbers at the US-Mexico Border and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrado. The latest on the Venezuelan Crisis and sanctions on Cuba, Brazil's rightward turn under Jair Bolsonaro and...


Executive Privilege

"Showtime USA, the president has no policies, no programs, no directions, so more show, that's what we're going to get for a long time." Contempt seems commonplace in the current American political environment, but as William Barr is voted in contempt of Congress Trump has hit back by asserting executive privilege over the Mueller Report. Tough talk on Iran and China serving as a distraction from presidential woes. Also talking Sandra Bland, Trump taxes, and are Republicans trying to goad...


Barr's Battle for Trump

"When Trump raises these spectres the unfortunate thing, no matter how big or deep a lie it is, there's some people who are going to repeat it." Fallout from the Mueller Report continues, with the official resignation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and William Barr grilled in the Senate. Trump took some time off fighting subpoenas to tell some truly outrageous and disturbing lies about late-stage abortion at a rally this week, does his mental state need to be taken more...


Biden at the Bat

"Joe Biden is what you might call, a dressed up Trump. A person with good manners, good vocabulary, but still 'one of the boys'." One week on from the Mueller Report and little has changed, impeachment seems a distant dream for anti-Trump diehards but have Republicans and Democrats set a dangerous precedent? Joe Biden has officially entered the 2020 race, will his Average Joe manner be enough? Also talking Sri Lanka, Putin and Kim Jong-un, and the American opioid crisis. Correction: This...


There's Something About Mueller

"There is enough dirt in that report to pin on this administration without trying to do obstruction of justice." Release of the redacted Mueller report has Washington DC in a feeding frenzy, but what does it say we didn't already know? The ousting of Julian Assange and his potential extradition set to cause another big stir that could be felt all across the 2020 election season. And all the news fit to print, Notre Dame, North Korea, attacks on Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders, and the...


Borders, Banks and Bibi

"If you are not accomplishing the mission, and that mission may be illegal... you're on your way out." Following last week's backdown on a Mexican border shutdown, Trump wants to step up migration controls but only seems to be making the situation worse. Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has been forced out but her position is only one of a bunch of vacancies being filled right now. Also talking the Israel election result, measles emergencies, and Trump's new trade war with the EU.


Where is the Bloody Mueller Report?

"[Barr] put out that summary, and the summary now has to agree with the report... That summary is really a noose around the Attorney General's neck." Not content with progress on The Wall, Donald Trump threatening to shut down the Mexico border this week unless the flow of migrants stop. The wall around the Mueller Report seems to be more effective because in spite of claims it exonerates the president entirely, where is it? Also talking Joe Biden, the Obamacare fight pushed back to 2020,...


Complete and Total Exoneration?

"He's emboldened now that the Mueller report is over. He's going to keep doing this, he's going to try to get rid of Obamacare by executive order. He's really become crazed with power." At long last, the Mueller Report has been complete but given we've only seen a four page summary of a 300 page report, are we just spinning our wheels trying to analyse what it all means? Meanwhile, a cool one billion dollars has been diverted from Army funds to build Trump's wall, without congressional...


Christchurch, White Supremacy, and Trump

"Words count, and the words of leaders count very much, and this man has become the leader, the representation, of white supremacy." A mass shooting at a New Zealand mosque has left 50 dead and reignited debate globally around Islamophobia and race-baiting language used by many politicians, especially Donald Trump. The shooting also came just days after Trump had hinted at the possibility of using violence involving the military, police and bikers against political opponents, and he's spent...


Trump Budget Dead on Arrival

"Trump is kind of a game that's played itself out... no more anti-Trump stuff is going to help the Democrats." Trump's record-setting $4.75 Trillion budget calls for more military spending and massive cuts to social safety nets, but what's the point when none of it is going to happen? Nancy Pelosi has waved away the idea of impeaching Trump right now but her blithe dismissal is putting some in her party offside. Also talking Paul Manafort, Dreamers back in the spotlight, and Deal or No Deal...


All Smoke, No Mirrors

"Trump's belligerence is hurting the whole world, and he's too distracted now to do anything." Trump's failure at his recent summit with Kim Jong-un will have bigger consequences going forward, and the president is too distracted and crippled by investigations to do anything about it. China and the US could be on the verge of reaching an agreement on trade but neither is negotiating from a place of strength, and despite 'America First' policies the trade deficit is bigger than ever. Also...


Songbird Cohen Hits All the Right Notes

"This testimony was a lot better than anything we've had before, and I think it will stick with voters much better." Michael Cohen has testified to the House Oversight Committee that Trump is a conman, a cheat, a racist, and lied about business dealings with Moscow during the 2016 campaign, but was there anything we didn't know? While bombs were flying in Washington DC, there seemed to be a lot less action in Vietnam with talks between Trump and Kim Jong-un. Also talking sexual assault...


The National Emergency That Wasn't

"That is the most remarkably unintelligent thing I've ever heard." Sixteen states are suing Trump over a national emergency that even he admits in his public statements isn't needed for anything but convenience, so what's the point? The Mueller investigation is set to release as early as next week. Also talking Andrew McCabe, Roger Stone, North Korea and are we set to Feel the Bern in 2020?


From Swamp to Shining Swamp

"Trump knows he can't win a face down fight with Pelosi, and he can't even win in his own party." Trump seems amenable to border control negotiations this week as another shutdown looms, should we keep our eyes open for last minute bomb-throwing? Mitch McConnell wants to force a vote on the Green New Deal currently spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and although Democrats are having to be careful around the talks it could end up backfiring on him as well. Also talking Saudi Arabia,...


Endless Wars of the Trump Presidency

"Two things though were pretty clear, he wants The Wall, and he wants to stop the investigations." Calls for bipartisanship in the 2019 State of the Union might have been welcomed, but it's the messenger not the message that's raising eyebrows. Pitches for The Wall in particular look likely to drag on into endless partisan warfare as Trump issued more threats but no plans or incentives. Also talking HIV prevention, Syria, more legal woes, and Virginia Democrats.


The Stone Around Trump's Neck

"Those people are going to be mad for a long time, and I think that's what swayed Trump." After 35 days the second major shutdown of Trump's government ended with no concessions for The Wall, yet the fight isn't finished for either side. Former Trump adviser Roger Stone features a list of charges related to his time with the campaign, but is Mueller just using him to send a message to the top? Also, Venezuela, Trump's refusal to listen to intelligence chiefs, and presidential aspirants...


State of the Disunity

"If the Democrats had caved, and [Trump] went back on his word, what could they do?" Donald Trump seems at a loss on how to handle Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the US shutdown stalemate drags on. The Mueller team has stepped in over a Buzzfeed article claiming Michael Cohen was directed to lie to Congress by Donald Trump, but are they really clearing the record, or firing a shot across the bow? Also talking economic hardships, Brexit spillover, and Martin Luther King Jr Day, his...


Shutdown Just a Distraction From Russia?

"Trump still doesn't care, because from his point-of-view his voters will stick with him no matter what." The US government shutdown has now gone on for 26 days and seems no closer to a resolution than it did on day one. Trump may want his Wall, but given last week the first solid evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was largely ignored in favor of shutdown updates, is the president stretching it out as a distraction as well? Also talking the Syria bombing, Steve...


Crisis Point

"What does he want? He just wants five billion dollars and an erector set so he can play games?" Trump's promised shutdown seems no closer to being resolved, as the president addresses the nation with fear and storms out of negotiations with Democrat leaders. Is America on the verge of a likely illegal declaration of national crisis? Can Democrats keep their hands clean, and keep following through on their refusals to fund The Wall?


New Year, New House, Same Trump

"[Trump] thinks... I don't have any support anywhere but my base. My base wants this, if I don't deliver this then I have no support anywhere at all. As Trump's third government shutdown drags toward the two week mark, unfortunately for him it has done nothing to delay Democrats as they take over the House of Reps. If he couldn't pass his agenda when Republicans controlled both houses of government, what hope is there now? Also talking the chances of impeachment, Elizabeth Warren, Mitt...