Episode 69

More-a-Lago, The IRS, Visa/Mastercard Duopoly, DeSantis vs. Prosecutor

First, Ravi drops in with a breaking news update on Merrick Garland’s press conference regarding the FBI seizing documents at Mar-a-Lago. Rikki then starts the show off with some exciting personal news: an appearance on Bill Maher’s show tomorrow. From there, the hosts dig into all the fallout from Mar-a-Lago and the media circus around it, along with Trump’s deposition in New York. They then move on to the funding hike for the IRS and the reactions to that move, as well as some compelling primaries in Wisconsin and Minnesota, challenges to the Visa/Mastercard credit card duopoly, and a legal showdown in Florida between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state attorney he suspended. Finally, Ravi and Rikki end with one of Ravi’s radical ideas.


Rikki runs down a quick timeline on the documents in question before Ravi jumps into the presumptuous media reactions around the raid this week. The hosts then tie it into Trump’s deposition in New York. 

Ravi and Rikki then tackle the most scintillating topic we’ve ever taken on: the IRS. They discuss the new funding provided by the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act and how it will affect the organization as well as American taxpayers. 

Ravi offers his thoughts on the now-final Senate matchup in Wisconsin between Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Sen. Ron Johnson, while Rikki notes a surprisingly close margin of victory for “Squad” Rep. Ilhan Omar. 

The hosts then turn to the various lawsuits threatening the heretofore ironclad duopoly of Visa and Mastercard, including the scandal around the credit card companies’ business with Pornhub, Senate legislation targeting them over antitrust concerns, and companies filing suit over processing fees.

Ravi and Rikki debate who’s overstepping their mandate in the faceoff between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and state attorney Andrew Warren after the governor suspended Warren for pledging not to prosecute the state’s new 15-week abortion ban. 

Rikki finds no reason to argue as Ravi reveals his rather pragmatic ‘radical idea.’ Hint: this one involves wigs!

“More-a-Lago” [04:20]

Donald Trump has been preparing for this moment for a long time (The Washington Post, 08/09)
The right’s post-Mar-a-Lago effort to impugn the FBI kicks up a notch (The Washington Post, 08/10)
Welcome to the Third World (TK News by Matt Taibbi, 08/09)
Trump raid not about classified documents – it’s about Jan. 6 (New York Post, 08/09)
Trump Takes the Fifth Amendment in New York Deposition (The New York Times, 08/10)

The IRS [15:00]

With the IRS hiring more employees, here’s who agents may target for audits (CNBC, 08/09)
Democrats’ $80 billion wager: A bigger IRS will be a better IRS (The Washington Post, 08/06)
Dems Poised To Make IRS Larger Than Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol Combined (The Washington Free Bacon, 08/06)
AP FACT CHECK: GOP skews budget bill’s impact on IRS, taxes (AP, 08/10)

Primary Updates [24:25]

Meet Mandela Barnes, the 35-Year-Old Candidate Working to Oust Ron Johnson (The New York Times, 08/09)
‘Out of touch’: Wisconsin’s Barnes and Johnson prepare for general election campaign defined by attacks (CNN, 08/09)
Cook Political Report Race Analysis (01/01)
Don Samuels Concedes to ‘Squad’ Member Ilhan Omar in Minnesota House Primary (National Review, 08/10)

Visa / Mastercard Duopoly [27:55]

Why Are Visa And Mastercard Still Doing Business with Pornhub? | Opinion (Newsweek, 06/28)
Mastercard, Visa suspend ties with ad arm of Pornhub owner MindGeek (Reuters, 08/04)
Senate Bill Takes Aim at Visa, Mastercard Credit-Card Fees (The Wall Street Journal, 07/27)
The Legal Onslaught Facing Credit Card Companies (The New York Times, 08/01)
Distributional Effects of Payment Card Pricing and Merchant Cost Pass-through in the United States and Canada (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 2020)
The ugly truth behind your fancy rewards credit card (Vox, 06/03/2021)

DeSantis vs. Prosecutor [35:00]

DeSantis Suspends Tampa Prosecutor Who Vowed Not to Criminalize Abortion (The New York Times, 08/04)
Ron DeSantis is right to suspend Tampa’s woke prosecutor (Spectator World, 08/05)
DeSantis May Lose Suit By Tampa Prosecutor He Fired For Pro-Choice Stance (Forbes, 08/05)

Ravi’s Radical Idea [43:30]

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken (07/01/2018)