Tag: beltway banthas

#25: THE STATE OF THE PODCAST ADDRESS

To inaugurate 25 episodes of Beltway Banthas, we sit down to talk about the evolution of the podcast. In a fun and free-wheeling conversation we share some of our favorite moments doing this show and what we have learned along the way.

Also on the menu for this weeks episode, Stephen and Swara dig into Star Wars news and updates including The Last Jedi, Empires End and the upcoming Thrawn novel. Swara is not a fan of the Aftermath trilogy, he explains why. Stephen shares how he is missing out on a chance to hang with Snoop Dogg, and goes over a few upcoming changes with work and the podcast.

 

Leave us a review on iTunes and tell us what you think of the show! Subscribe and connect with us on Twitter:

@Stephen_Kent89 | @SwaraSalih1

We want to hear from you! You can send us your thoughts on the show and topics at BeltwayBanthas@gmail.com.

We are going to be launching bonus content soon for subscribers to a super not-so-secret email list. Sign up here: eepurl.com/cxPyoX

INTERVIEW: ALEXANDRA PETRI (WASHINGTON POST)

This week we speak with Alexandra Petri, columnist and satirist for The Washington Post. Alexandra and Swara talk about keeping up with the crazy politics of the day, how it affects satire, her love of Star Wars and so much more! 

Listen to this conversation, which is sure to lighten up your day and make the daily political madness much more palatable. For more of her humor, follow Alexandra Petri @petridishes on Twitter and her blog the ComPost!

Leave us a review on iTunes and tell us what you think of the show! Subscribe and connect with us on Twitter:

@Stephen_Kent89 | @BeltwayBanthas | @PetriDishes

Please share our show with a friend, review us on iTunes and shoot us some feedback. We grow in quality everytime someone reaches out to tell us what they liked.

We want to hear from you! You can send us your thoughts on the show and topics at BeltwayBanthas@gmail.com.

INTERVIEW: U.S. CONGRESSMAN DEREK KILMER

This interview with U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer is a continuation of the Beltway Banthas interview series!

Stephen spoke with U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer (D) of the state of Washington’s 6th District in his DC office. This conversation is a landmark for Beltway Banthas because it is our first chat with a sitting member of Congress It was nothing short of honor to be on Capitol Hill talking Star Wars with someone as busy as Derek Kilmer. We want to thank him and his staff for making it possible.

Leave us a review on iTunes and tell us what you think of the show! Subscribe and connect with us on Twitter:

@Stephen_Kent89
@BeltwayBanthas
@RepDerekKilmer

Please share our show with a friend, review us on iTunes and shoot us some feedback. We grow in quality everytime someone reaches out to tell us what they liked.

We want to hear from you! You can send us your thoughts on the show and topics at BeltwayBanthas@gmail.com.

Star Wars Celebration Roundup: Chats with Bryan Young & Riley Blanton

Surprise! We have a bonus episode this week from Star Wars Celebration London! Our senior foreign correspondent, Swara Salih, attended the convention and spoke with Bryan Young of Full of Sith, and Riley Blanton of the Star Wars Report about politics & Star Wars. They are really nice people and fun chats so check this out.

You can follow Swara on Twitter at @SwaraSalih1
Full of Sith podcast at @FullofSith and Bryan @Swankmotron
and the Star Wars Report at @StarWarsReport and Riley @TheRileyGuy

Norma episode next Thursday is on the way! Have a great week.

Brexit: Star Wars Can Make Sense of Britain Leaving the EU

By: Swara Salih 

The political underpinnings of the prequels never cease to fascinate me. One instance that is especially pertinent, as I’m now writing from the UK., is the formation of the Confederacy of Independent Systems between Episodes I & II. This week, Great Britain, in an historical referendum with far reaching consequences, voted to leave the European Union (EU). Is Britain an outlier, or the first domino to fall in a wave of voter discontent that has characterized 2016 for the western world?

SeparatistSenate-HOBS The Confederacy of Independent Systems convenes (The Clone Wars TV series) 

The EU and the Old Republic are similar, despite being on literally cosmically different scales. Both are multi-government systems united by the prospect of facilitating free trade and commerce between borders. The Republic expanded not through force, but by pulling outlier systems in with the promise of trade with the Core Worlds. While the EU began with the express intent of preventing another continental war, having just come out of World War II, it started with these same economic underpinnings. West Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed the Schuman Plan, which established a single-authority to control the production of steel and coal in Europe, thereby ensuring that none of the member countries could make weapons of war to use against each other, as they did in the recent past. Eventually this led to the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which established the European Economic Association (EEC), which aimed to create a common market for its member through the elimination of most existing trade barriers and the establishment of a common external trade policy. It eventually allowed for all internal tariffs to be removed by July 1968, allowing for the free flow of goods and services throughout the continent, massively boosting the economies of its member states. Eventually, member states signed the Schengen agreement in 1985, which enabled passport-free movement across most of the EU; the UK is not a signing member of this agreement but has still had immigration from Europe due its membership to the EU’s Single Market, which solidifies the EU’s economic unity with free movement of goods, services, and workers. 

Initially, the UK declined the invitation to sign the treaty. In 1961, however, seeing its own economy falling behind and France and Germany doing well in their post-war recovery, they changed their mind, and applied to be part of the EEC in 1961. French President Charles de Gaulle vetoed their attempted entry twice accusing Britain of “deep-seated hostility” towards European construction. However,  Ironically, the UK entered the EU through a referendum as well in 1975, with over 67% of voters choosing to enter the union. However, Britain’s relationship with the EU has always been tumultuous, with vigorous debate on what exact form the relationship should take.

This dichotomy of wanting to remain in the EU and have it be on Britain’s exact terms might be best represented in Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female Prime Minister. She had played a key role in the 1975 referendum vote to get Britain into the EU. However  during her premiership, she repeatedly decried the development of a “European super state” that would, in her view, impose excessive regulation and taxation on Britain. The buildup of this rhetoric, wage stagnation for working class Britons, anti-immigration sentiment, and perception of corruption in the EU helped lead to the result we saw on Friday. At least one of these arguments had some weight, as analysts have pointed out that corruption in certain EU countries, like Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia, cost the EU up to £800 billion/year (this is 6.3% of the EU’s total GDP). Likewise, systems that would eventually form the Separatist Alliance, particularly the Trade Federation who “disputed the taxation of trade routes,” were loathe to comply with the Republic’s taxations and regulations, seeing these as an infringement on their sovereignty and ability to conduct business. The Republic’s obviously increasing corruption bolstered this argument. Episode I attempted to display this discontent with, in my view, an extreme measure: the blockade and subsequent Invasion of Naboo. While the execution could have used more finesse, George Lucas successfully conveyed the chaos that could arise from built-up frustrations with inherent deficiencies in international (or in this case intergalactic) economic unions.

sep-alliance-1_ee7172d6 Count Dooku and the Seperatist Council (Attack of the Clones)

And we’re seeing some of this chaos now with Britain’s recent vote to leave the EU. Citizens in the UK and the rest of the world are in shock, and markets are already feeling the effects, as this could have massive implications for global trade. On Friday, after the final results came in, US stock markets fell their hardest in ten months, the British pound fell to its lowest level in more than 30 years, and Scotland, whose population overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU, made a push for a second independence referendum. While it is far beyond the realm of thought that the EU would wage a war to get the UK back in the union (in fact EU leaders want them gone as soon as possible to deter further economic uncertainty) as the Republic did with the Separatists, the parallels of instability are palpable. Both entities’ (the UK and the Separatists) actions have far-reaching consequences not just for themselves, but the economic unions in which they took part.

Both the UK and the Separatists wanted to “take back economic control” by being freed from the billions of pounds/credits each entity had to pay to their respective unions, and in doing so created massive economic and political uncertainty. While it is just one “system” voting to leave the EU, as opposed to the thousands of Separatist worlds, both have had massive reverberations. For the Republic, which is a fully formed government with the ability to enact regulations of all kinds on its member systems, the outlawing of slavery being one example, a multitude of systems exiting put its entire structure at risk. The EU, being mostly an economic league, has overall much less to lose, but because it is so entwined with the global economy, any change of membership it endures runs risks for the world at large.

While it was clear that the formation of the Separatist Alliance was disastrous for the Galactic Republic, interestingly Britain’s exit from the EU could simultaneously strengthen and weaken the Union. While there will likely be call for referenda in other EU countries on their membership, some analysts say this could result in a stronger, more united EU with France and Germany at the center, with the UK, often a dissenting voice, out of the picture.

EU proponents in the UK lost the referendum because they had, in effect, lost touch with working class British voters who, without a full understanding of how the UK worked, who blamed the EU in part for their lack of economic opportunity. They wanted to take a jab at the political elites whom they deemed to be corrupt, selfish, and indifferent to their grievances. Likewise Count Dooku was able to rally star systems to join his cause by pointing to the deeply embedded corruption in the Senate that was unable to pass even the most basic laws. The EU and the Old Republic may be very different systems of governance, but both of these crises convey the great degree of economic and political fallout that can occur when multilateral systems of government break apart. Perhaps both needed to create more safeguards against this event, or do more to foster better understanding between rival political factions.

This was written by Swara Salih!

What do you think? Tweet us @BeltwayBanthas or email at BeltwayBanthas@gmail.com

 

Episode IV: Mourn Them Do Not

On episode IV of Beltway Banthas, Stephen and Tirso talk death & Star Wars. Stephen’s grandfather passed away a few backs ago, and we felt this was a good time to talk about it. No better place to do so than on this podcast. If there is one thing the Star Wars saga can guarantee you, it is systematic and cyclical heartbreak, starting with Qui-Gon and ending most recently with Han Solo. “Death is a natural part of life” and so it is a natural part of Star Wars. Which Star Wars deaths have impacted you the most? Has Star Wars helped you deal with the loss of a loved one?

Also! We preview our interview with with Kristen Soltis Anderson (Fox, CNN and MSNBC contributor) Kristen co-founded a DC polling firm, authored The Selfie Vote and has guested a couple times on The Bill Maher Show.

If you have some thoughts, reactions or questions about this episode…please email us at BeltwayBanthas@gmail.com…we want to hear from you.
Hit us up on Twitter @BeltwayBanthas, Instagram @BeltwayBanthasPodcast and on Facebook.

 

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