MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Mandatory arbitration agreements apply to millions of American workers—probably you, too. We’ll learn the ins and outs of alternative dispute resolution.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today the Monday Moneybeat: new inflation data and contra the president, it’s not zero. But it is better than it was. We’ll talk it over with economist David Bahnsen.
And the WORLD History Book.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, August 15th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Time now for news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: More lawmakers visit Taiwan » A plane carrying another delegation of US lawmakers touched down in Taiwan on Sunday.
Democratic Sen. Ed Markey is leading the five-member delegation. They’ll meet with leaders in the Taiwanese government and the private sector to talk about investments in semiconductors among other matters.
Congresswoman Michelle Steel said if Beijing doesn’t like it, that’s too bad.
STEEL: China is the biggest threat to the United States of America. And since when China dictates that US officials, you know, where to go and where not to go.
That visit comes less than two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to Taiwan. Pelosi’s visit drew threats from China, which considers the self-governing island its property.
Following her visit, China conducted weeklong war games in the Taiwan Strait.
FBI violence warning/reaction » The Department of Homeland Security is warning about an increase in threats against federal law enforcement agents after the recent FBI raid of Donald Trump’s Florida home.
DHS said Sunday that it’s seeing more online threats “across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, and image boards”
Meantime, lawmakers continue to sound off on that search of Trump’s estate. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar:
KLOBUCHAR: What really happened here was a judge looked at this and said, yeah, there’s evidence, enough evidence to warrant a search warrant to go in there and retrieve those documents that are of high national security classification.
Trump said any documents he possessed had been declassified before he left office.
Republicans still want more answers.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is a former FBI supervisor. He still questions whether the unprecedented raid was justified.
FITZPATRICK: That remains an open question, and we know exactly where to look, and that is the affidavit of probable cause, the one document that remains under seal.
He said he’s urging colleagues on the left and right to reserve judgment until the affidavit is unsealed.
Democrats climate (anti-inflation) bill » Members of Congress are still sparring over a $740 billion climate and spending bill that was passed Friday.
GOP Congressman Carlos Gimenez argues that this bill does two things Congress should not do right now:
GIMENEZ: You don’t spend more money during inflation because you want to bring inflation down, and you don’t raise taxes when you’re in the middle of a recession.
But House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries fired back …
JEFFRIES: The Inflation Reduction Act will lower energy costs, confront the climate crisis with the fierce urgency of now.
The majority of the bill, nearly $400 billion, will pay to push industry and consumers toward cleaner forms of energy.
It also seeks to cap prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients.
It passed in both chambers on straight party-line votes.
Democrats named the bill “The Inflation Reduction Act,” but a new analysis from data scientists at the University of Pennsylvania projects that the bill will not help lower inflation anytime soon. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reached a similar conclusion.
Man arraigned after Saturday car attack » Authorities in Pennsylvania have charged a 24-year-old man with two counts of criminal homicide after he drove his car into a crowd of people.
Police identified the suspect as Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes.
State Police Trooper Anthony Petroski told reporters in the town of Berwick …
PETROSKI: There’s one confirmed fatality from the Berwick crash, along with 17 people injured.
Prosecutors say Reyes drove into a fundraising event for fire victims on Saturday.
Police arrested him shortly after the death of his mother in a separate incident.
Church fire in Cairo » Flames ripped through a packed Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday. The fire quickly filled the church with thick black smoke and killed 41 worshippers, including at least 15 children.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]
One witness told reporters that “Some people threw themselves out the windows” from the upper floors to escape the fire.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]
At least 16 people were injured, including four police officers involved in the rescue effort.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.
Box office » At the weekend box office, the latest Brad Pitt action flick took the top spot again this week.
TRAILER: You’re getting the new and improved me because when you put peace out into the world, you get peace back. I think you may be forgetting what you do for a living.
The R-rated Bullet Train finished atop the box office for the second week in a row, raking in another $13 million.
DC League of Super Pets finished second with $7 million.
And Top Gun: Maverick finished third with another $7 million. Globally, the film has now grossed nearly $1.4 billion.
I'm Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Mandatory arbitration agreements apply to millions of American workers—probably you, too.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday, August 15th, 2022. This is The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you are along with us today. Good morning! I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s time for Legal Docket.
And for that, let’s say good morning to WORLD’s legal reporter Jenny Rough. Hey there!
JENNY ROUGH, REPORTER: Good morning, Mary, Nick!
EICHER: Hey, great job y’all on the first episode for Season 3 of the Legal Docket podcast. That was incredible. Great work!
ROUGH/REICHARD: Well, thank you. It’s an ongoing effort, so I would encourage each listener to subscribe to our Legal Docket podcast feed. We are in the Top 10 and that’s great because the higher the ranking, the more likely it is that new listeners will find out about it.
EICHER: Yes, so please subscribe and I’ll be honest and say it’s a bit of a mystery how the rankings work. Apple doesn’t share that. But it does stand to reason that the more subscribers, the better. The more individuals rating the podcast, the better. The more reviews, the better.
So, as one who gets to edit the scripts, I see how much work Mary and Jenny put into this, and if you appreciate the work they do, please take a moment and leave a rating and review and share with a friend. It’s such an education!
REICHARD: And Nick, I’d say you as editor by this point have an honorary JD!
Well, Jenny, Legal Docket Podcast episode two airs tomorrow—and today, let’s provide a preview: It’s a dispute between an employee and employer about fair wages.
ROUGH: That’s right, although it’s also about resolving legal conflicts without a judge or a jury or even the rules of evidence, using alternative dispute resolution.
REICHARD: So for today, we want to touch on that subject in a more general way.
ROUGH: We do. You know, I think about this every time I pass by a nearby neighborhood store. It’s a shoe and luggage repair shop. The cobbler’s been serving our area for over 30 years. There’s a sign above the check-out counter that says: “If you like my work, please tell others. If you don’t, please tell me.”
I love that sign.
REICHARD: I do too, but so often people do the exact opposite! It’s easier to speak badly about someone to other people than it is to speak directly and honestly to a person we’re unhappy with.
ROUGH: Mmm. That could be one reason why there are so many lawsuits in this country. An inability to reconcile.
REICHARD: One thing’s for sure: duking it out in court doesn’t promote reconciliation. It’s contentious. It’s draining of time, money, and emotions. It creates bitter feelings. That’s not to say our judicial system is wrong or bad.
ROUGH: Oh, no, it’s a great system. And it is a necessary part of a civil society.
PETER ROBINSON: I mean, without a functioning legal system, then might makes right. And we have vendettas.
Peter Robinson is a lawyer and law professor. He says a civil court system keeps us from killing each other in anger. It’s where a person can take a complaint to an institution designed to decide disputes.
ROBINSON: However there’s a big difference between getting an outcome to a lawsuit and reconciliation.
There’s another way to resolve differences.
Robinson specializes in an area of law known as alternative dispute resolution. He steers people away from the courtroom. A different kind of advocate.
ROBINSON: I want to be a lawyer, but I’m not sure I want to be a Rambo, scorched earth kind of human being.
And as a Christian, he incorporates Biblical principles: apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
He says encouraging fellowship—even amid a dispute—is of utmost importance.
ROBINSON: There’s that sense in our Western view of rugged individualism, we think we can have a conflict and nobody else is affected by it. And that’s just rarely the case. Usually, there’s collateral damage.
Robinson began his career over 30 years ago, working for a Christian conciliation ministry in Los Angeles. Many days, he would show up to the courthouse like any other lawyer. Except he wasn’t there to litigate. He would wait for the bailiff to address the parties to the lawsuit.
ROBINSON: The bailiff would say, okay, you guys are going to stand before the judge for a few minutes, and half of you are going to be disappointed. So, if you want to try and work something out, we have a mediator here.
A mediator is sort of like a coach. He helps the disputing parties negotiate. The bailiff gave the parties the opportunity to meet with Robinson as their mediator.
ROBINSON: He'll meet you out in the hallway, and he'll try and help you guys work something out.
Mediators don’t have authority to make a binding legal decision, like a judge or jury. But they do facilitate communication and understanding.
ROBINSON: And we found that people who met with us often came to agreements.
Robinson says a mediator takes a step and back and asks: What’s the nature of the parties’ relationship?
ROBINSON: Sometimes we sue complete strangers. A car accident, right? But often we sue people who played an important part in our life. A business partner, a family member over an estate, our employer.
Robinson also spent a lot of time helping Christians who wanted to avoid court altogether.
On the one hand, Christians are called to live by 1 Corinthians 6.
ROBINSON: Saying let’s not take our lawsuits to the courts, let’s take care of it in-house.
On the other hand:
ROBINSON: God cares about justice also. Micah 6:8: What does God require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. So God desires justice.
Mediation can help those two ideas work together.
ROBINSON: And now here is a forum where you can within your faith act as a follower of Christ as you come to agreement on a solution.
He says that’s a sign of spiritual maturity.
ROBINSON: That we don’t need a judge or 12 strangers to look into our business and tell us what’s right.
Even if it hurts financially.
ROBINSON: Plaintiffs might do better with a jury. And for them to say, okay I might get more money if I went with a jury, but I wouldn’t be obedient, obedient to the explicit instructions that even Jesus himself spoke.
He says disputes among Christians tend to fall into three categories.
One: Small business partnerships.
ROBINSON: A couple people go to church together, they decide to form a business together. And maybe the business does pretty good for a couple of years. But one of them is a visionary. And the other one is a bookkeeper. And so someone is out there making promises willy-nilly. And the other person says, how are we going to fulfill all these expectations? And frankly, they make a really good team, but they also get on each other’s nerves. So they decide to end the partnership, and now we need to allocate assets and liabilities.
A second area of conflicts among Christians: employment disputes within Christian organizations, ministries, and schools.
ROBINSON: You have human beings who all love the Lord, but yet, someone thinks that this person’s not a good third grade teacher, and the third grade teacher says, oh, yes, I am.
And finally? By far the most difficult: divorces. Some Christian conciliation services won’t handle them because of the scriptural admonition to stay married. But here’s Robinson’s take:
ROBINSON: We decided that we would rather help people get divorced amicably with as much love as possible. As compared to send them into an adversarial court system where the system encourages them to be antagonistic towards each other.
When Christians did call him with a dispute, he first encouraged them to talk with each another. Without him. He says that’s in line with scripture, too.
ROBINSON: Matthew 18. If you have a dispute with your brother, go and talk to him privately. I said, you know what? Have you talked to the other person is about this? Have you let them know how hurt you’ve been?
He encouraged them to have breakfast together.
ROBINSON: Don’t attack them. Just reach out to them and ask them to understand your needs in the situation. The first step is to go talk privately. It’s hard sometimes, but that’s what Jesus instructed us to do.
If they don’t reach an agreement, then bring a witness. That’s also from Matthew 18. Not necessarily someone who saw the incident.
ROBINSON: I think when Jesus said bring a witness, it may not be a witness to the underlying facts, right? It may be a witness to witness how the two of you are talking to each other.
A pastor, or mediator.
ROBINSON: And to coach you as to how you might say what you want to say but to say it in a way to where the other person is likely to hear it and receive it.
And if the parties still can’t reconcile? The third instruction in Matthew 18 says to take the matter to the elders of the church.
ROBINSON: Tell it to the church, and it becomes an arbitration.
Arbitration. Instead of mediation. Unlike mediation, arbitration is a binding decision.
ROBINSON: And I will sign that I’ll be bound by it. And I will not only be bound by it, but I also take a pledge that I know that I’m not supposed to have bitterness in my heart.
So Matthew 18 gives important procedural instruction. But Robinson says remember what comes before it:
ROBINSON: Interestingly, he gave us that instruction right after he told us to forgive each other 7 times 70. And right after, he said he tells the parable of the unmerciful servant.
Robinson has spent much of his career teaching at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and says the Christian community needs people who are trained and gifted in dispute resolution to help those in conflict and to encourage reconciliation.
ROBINSON: Now let’s find a solution where you guys can reach an agreement and move forward. You don’t have to be best friends, but you can’t be enemies. You need to love each other no matter what.
On tomorrow’s Legal Docket Podcast, Mary and I cover a Supreme Court case about arbitration. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts.
That’s it for this week’s Legal Docket. I’m Jenny Rough.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now for our weekly conversation on business, markets, and the economy with financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen, head of the wealth management firm The Bahnsen Group. Good morning!
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good to be with you, Nick.
EICHER: Let’s begin with the inflation report—the government’s Consumer Price Index for July—showing a rise in the index of 8.5 percent versus the previous July. But it’s down from the historically high number from June, which put year-on-year price inflation at more than 9 percent. How’d you read the inflation report last week, David?
BAHNSEN: Well, it's really kind of uncanny how much of it was what we talked about a month ago, when the last CPI number came out that I thought the CPI number had peaked—that goods inflation, having dropped four months in a row, probably was the leading indicator to where overall inflation was going. And that the stubbornly and persistently high inflation was coming from the big increase higher in energy prices that we saw in May, and June. And as those numbers in energy prices came down in July, it really brought both headline inflation and the total CPI number down.
Now, again, 9.1, coming down to 8.5 is still very high. The reason the market was up so much last week, and is now up just thousands of points over the last few weeks, is that the Fed gave so much indicator that their main concern was still growing inflation, not still-high inflation, and that seeing the inflation rate begin to drop was likely going to at least pause the level and rate of their monetary tightening.
There's more and more economic data coming in suggesting we're not in a recession; some numbers have not looked great, but some numbers have certainly looked better than expected. And so what that's done is just give the market this opening to believe that the soft landing issue is at least possible. And by soft landing, I mean that they'll be able to somehow get monetary policy tightened to some degree, that inflation will naturally come down and that the worst of a recession can be avoided. The market could very well be really overly optimistic about all that.
But the CPI number you asked me about, I believe will be coming lower in the months ahead. And the one issue is still keeping it higher, that will eventually work its way into the data to come down, too, is the housing side. the renters price. I think that rent inflation is way down. But that lags in the data, it takes a few months to catch up.
EICHER: I’m guessing more people heard the reaction of the president and the White House spinning the inflation report than actually read the inflation report. And if so, they heard President Biden say inflation was zero in July, saw him take a victory lap. Is it a little early for that?
BAHNSEN: Well, everything in politics is spin and everything is done to manipulate a narrative towards a desired political end. And so both parties want to make the bad news for the other party worse than it is and make the good news for their own party better than it is.
Obviously, the President substantially misspoke. And the question is whether or not it was just a pure fumble, or whether or not he literally didn't know what he was talking about. I'm open to either interpretation, but the inflation rate was not zero. If what he was trying to say is that the rate of inflation declined, he would have said it was negative point six. But of course, even that would have been substantially wrong.
Going from 9.1 to 8.5, is not zero. It's a decline in the rate of growth, the inflation rate month over month, was still higher. It's just that the rate of growth of that inflation, the better way to say it is year over year, prices in June were 9% higher than they were the year before. Prices in July were eight and a half percent higher than they were the year before. Either way, it's still positive inflation for the time being.
Now, I will say this, Nick, because I said it on your show a lot. I've written about it a ton. I believed last year that Republicans were walking into a trap here. And I think that they are, because even though the president is way premature on this, there is going to come a time in which the inflation rate is substantially subsided, and they will claim victory, and it's one of the great fears I have about either party politically. When you put so much blame on an economic event on another party, you logically are allowing that other party to take credit.
Now there's a lot of hypocrisy in this. President Biden, you notice, blamed fuel prices going up on Putin. And he's taking credit for fuel prices coming down. So there's a sort of best ball that goes on here. I'm critical of all of it. But no, I do believe the inflation rate will come down. It just wasn't 0% this month.
EICHER: Before we go, and since we’re on politics, we should touch on the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.” The House gave approval on Friday—$700 billion in spending, new IRS agents, and other things. The key was the Senate coaxing the two most reluctant Democrat senators to get in line. So the leadership got Joe Manchin and got Kyrsten Sinema to go along and they got their bill.
BAHNSEN: Well, I don't agree with that interpretation. They didn't get Sinema; she took out the worst part of it, which was that they were going to put in a 15% minimum corporate tax, and take away the deductions of people actually buying new equipment in factories and manufacturing. And Sinema got that deduction back in, she got rid of the deal they were going to do to eliminate carried interest on private equity, and so forth.
So in the end, they got the bill, you’re right, and they get to title it something that is hysterical. They may as well have titled it, you know, the Los Angeles Clippers NBA Championship Bill, because it has a better chance of doing that than it does the inflation issue. But again, I have a cynical view of politicians to begin with.
But in this case, you can argue that the Democrats can do a victory lap because they got a bill done. And it does give a lot of free money out to solar companies. But you could also argue that if this was the best they were able to get, versus what they were trying to do, the amount of things that are not in this bill that they had said they were going to do a week ago, let alone a month ago, let alone a year ago with Build Back Better, this is a very miniscule victory. But all that to say it's still a bad bill.
EICHER: David Bahnsen is head of The Bahnsen Group. He writes daily at DividendCafe.com and as mentioned last week he has just launched a free video course on economics—30 lectures with quizzes along the way and a final exam. You can go at your own pace, but a serious program free of charge at Bahnsen.com. David, thanks for giving us this time each week, appreciate it. See you next time.
BAHNSEN: You bet Nick, thanks so much.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, August 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Next up: the WORLD History Book. This week we celebrate the birthday of a culinary legend, and we reflect on a recent tragedy.
EICHER: But first, we’ll go back to the year 1882, when a memorable piece of classical music made its debut. Here’s arts and media editor Collin Garbarino.
MUSIC: [1812 Overture]
COLLIN GARBARINO: This week marks the 140th anniversary of the first performance of Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Most people remember the 1812 Overture as the piece that contains cannon blasts. And there’s good reason for those cannon blasts. The piece was meant to commemorate the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat during his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812.
Tchaikovsky wrote the overture to celebrate the completion of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, which itself was built to commemorate Russia’s salvation from the French.
The overture begins with the melody from a Russian hymn representing the prayers of the Russian people. Then the overture includes strands from La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, to represent the invading French army.
Russian melodies battle La Marseillaise for a while. And then those famous cannons fire, representing the Battle of Borodino, the battle in which Napoleon defeated the Russian army.
But the French couldn’t capitalize on their victory. Supplies were scarce and winter was coming, so Napoleon ordered a hasty retreat. Tchaikovsky’s piece begins descending runs symbolizing Napoleon's flight out of Russia. Russian religious melodies resume before the piece ends with elven cannon blasts and strains of the Russian national anthem, “God Save the Tsar.”
Things didn’t go according to plan at that first performance in 1882. The Tsar had recently been assassinated, the cathedral still wasn’t finished, and the production was significantly scaled back—no cannons. Tchaikovsky didn’t even direct that first performance. In fact, he said the 1812 Overture was “very loud and noisy and completely without artistic merit, obviously written without warmth or love.” Maybe someone pointed out neither the French nor the Russian anthem were the national anthems of their countries in 1812.
In spite of its creator’s dislike, the 1812 Overture would go on to become one of his most popular works.
From celebrating French defeats to celebrating French cuisine.
MUSIC: [Theme for the French Chef]
Today is the 110th birthday of Julia Child—one of America’s first culinary superstars credited with bringing French cuisine to everyday Americans.
But Child wasn’t always interested in food. She didn’t begin cooking until after she was married in her mid-thirties, and she didn’t become interested in French cuisine until she and her husband lived in France after World War II.
But through her cookbooks and her popular TV show which debuted in 1963, Child hoped to inspire Americans to learn about the French food she loved, as well as French culture.
JULIA CHILD: Welcome to The French Chef. I’m Julia Child. Today, I’m going to show you how to make a real French omelet, and it’s a wonderful dish to know about. It’s not just a breakfast dish. In France, for instance, they never eat them for breakfast at all because they only eat cafe au lait and croissants.
Cooking wasn’t just about the taste of the food. Child thought cooking could be part of living a good life. In a 1978 interview with Dick Cavett, Child gives some advice that sounds very relevant to Americans today.
CHILD: More and more people are getting interested in cooking as a creative activity. And I think as restaurants get more and more expensive and the food goes down and down, if you’re used to good eating you’re better off cooking it by yourself at home. As a matter of fact, not by yourself. I think it’s a great deal of fun to cook with friends. And more and more people are doing that.
And finally, today marks the one year anniversary of the fall of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
AUDIO: [Street noises and gun fire]
As Taliban fighters enter the capital city, President Ashraf Gani and many other high-level administrators flee the country. Helicopters evacuate the U.S. embassy as the American flag is lowered.
The next day, President Joe Biden addresses Americans. He blames the Trump administration and Afghan security forces for the chaos unfolding in Kabul.
BIDEN: When I came into office, I inherited a deal President Trump negotiated with the Taliban. Under his agreement, U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. Just a little over three months after I took office.
Even as Biden speaks, tens of thousands of Afghans flee to the airport hoping for escape.
SOLDIER: Over there on the other side of the tarmac, you can see all the Afghans lined up. The place is turning into Mad Max quick.
Over the next two weeks, more than 120,000 people with ties to the West are evacuated from Hamid Karzai International Airport. But when the airlift stops on August 31, thousands of people with U.S. passports or visas are left behind.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book. I’m Collin Garbarino.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision is having an effect not just on abortion policy, but on foster care. We’ll tell you what kind of effect.
And, the latest on the U.S. housing market.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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