Against The Current

Oliver North On American Foreign Policy And Military Strength

How strong is the U.S. military in 2017, and where does America stand currently as a world leader? On this edition of "Against the Current," Dan Proft talks to the decorated Lt. Col. Oliver North about pressing foreign policy issues – both past and present – and North gives his assessment on the military leadership under President Donald Trump. And, taping on Veterans Day, North offers some thoughts on how he thinks the day and veterans should be honored.


Discussing Culture And Politics With Kevin Williamson

National Review columnist Kevin Williamson was an early critic of Donald Trump's candidacy for president, considering Trump out of step with what many conservatives and advocates for small government stand for. A year after Trump's election to that office, how has the larger political conversation changed, if at all, for advocates of limited government? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Williamson about the first year of Trump's presidency, his rise to the office and where the president truly falls ideologically. What was Trump's value proposition in getting elected, and should Republicans and conservatives embrace his agenda? They also discuss how different institutions – such as the entertainment industry and the media – drive culture on both the left and the right, influencing political discourse and outcomes. 


How Northridge Prep Builds Young Leaders

Parents in Illinois are continuously looking for the best educational options for their kids. What schools provide the most both in the classroom and in terms of character development? Northridge Prepatory School in Niles prides itself on both. On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Northridge Headmaster Niall Fagan and Athletic Director Will Rey about how the school is working to build the next generation of male leaders. Specifically, they discuss the dynamics of an all-boys school, and how Northridge Prep differs from other private institutions. They also discuss Illinois' new tax credit scholarship program and how it might impact them.


How Well Does Cook County Government Work For Its Residents?

Cook County residents are outraged about the County's sweetened beverage tax, which could be repealed this October. How were the county board and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle so tone deaf on the issue? On this edition of Against the Current, one of the tax's strongest opponents, Commissioner Richard Boykin, tells Dan Proft how Preckwinkle and many other commissioners ignored citizens' concerns. Proft and Boykin also debate the merits of hiking the minimum wage, and they discuss how to tackle the county's gun violence problem. This and more important county policy topics on this edition of Against the Current.


Believing In Capitalism And The American Dream On College Campuses

Is a belief in capitalism and the American Dream dead in academic circles? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft sits down with DePaul Philosophy Professor Jason Hill about the culture and academic diversity on college campuses. Hill, a Jamaican immigrant, tells his story about how believing in the American Dream led to a successful career and life in the United States. Proft and Hill also discuss the growing anti-American sentiments among college students and the lack of free thought on college campuses. How can these trends in higher ed change? This and more on this edition of Against the Current.


Charles Thomas & Maze Jackson: Politics And The Black Community

Illinois politicians often claim to stand up for disadvantaged and minority communities. But what have been the actual policy results, in particular for black Illinoisans? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Charles Thomas and Maze Jackson, the morning show hosts on WVON radio in Chicago, about the political, economic and educational challenges facing the black community in Chicago and Illinois. Thomas and Jackson discuss the record of the Democratic Party – in the city of Chicago, statewide and nationally – as it pertains to improving opportunities for the black community. They also discuss how black voters can get more engaged and hold Illinois politicians accountable, especially when those politicians ignore their concerns. All this and more in a wide-ranging discussion on Against the Current.


Reflecting On The Springfield Political Culture With Kyle McCarter

Why can't Springfield enact any needed reforms? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) - who has chosen not to seek reelection - about the political culture in Springfield, which has led to disastrous public policy results for taxpayers across Illinois. Proft and McCarter discuss reform efforts that have stalled in the General Assembly, including a balanced budget McCarter introduced that didn't include any tax hikes. They also discuss McCarter's humanitarian efforts in Kenya, and what's next for the retiring conservative lawmaker.


ATC W/ Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

On this edition of Against The Current, Sen. Ted Cruz sits down with Dan Proft to discuss the lessons he took away from his POTUS run, his assessment of President Trump's performance eight months in, the four policy priorities he identifies for the GOP-controlled Congress and whether free market conservatism is still where the center of gravity exists within the party. Cruz doesn't just take the positions. He makes the arguments. And he does so on this special installment of Against The Current.


Analyzing Cook County Property Taxes With Dan Patlak

Illinois has the highest property taxes in the nation. Cook and the collar counties know that especially well. On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak about Cook County's property tax system, its appeals process, and how Cook County differs from the rest of the state in terms of property taxes. They also discuss some of the drivers behind the county's ever-increasing property taxes, and ways to reform the system.


Charles Cooke: Standing For Conservatism In The Age Of Trump

Before his election, many conservatives had reservations about Donald Trump's commitment to limited government, and some still do. Charles Cooke, editor of National Review Online, has been one of the leading voices for skepticism of Trump's small government credentials, while still giving credit to Trump for his early accomplishments. On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Cooke about conservatism in the age of Trump, intellectual diversity at National Review and how the right should be defending its values. In this wide-ranging discussion, Proft and Cooke cover everything from defending free markets to free speech, the second amendment, social values and much more.


Breaking Down Springfield's Action & Inaction With State Senator Dan McConchie

Springfield lawmakers ended session without passing a balanced budget yet again, and instead considered multibillion-dollar tax hikes on already overburdened Illinois taxpayers. Why are lawmakers so resistant to enacting needed economic reforms and passing a balanced budget?

On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft sits down with one lawmaker who has said 'no' to any new tax hikes. State Sen. Dan McConchie actually has proposed a budget plan that balances without raising taxes, though he's been met with opposition from many of his tax-and-spend colleagues. What were the budgetary discussions like in this last legislative session? What is causing inaction in the General Assembly, and are there any reasons for optimism moving forward? Proft and McConchie discuss all of this and more in a comprehensive discussion on the state of Illinois' legislative debates.

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Dan Proft & John Tillman On How To Start IL's Comeback

The Illinois Policy Institute has been the leading free-market voice in Illinois for years, but faces fierce opposition from the state's political class – which has led the Land of Lincoln astray for decades. On this installment of Against the Current, Dan Proft and John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, discuss how to overcome that opposition and implement free-market, liberty-based policy solutions in Illinois. In a detailed discussion on Illinois politics and policy, Proft and Tillman explore how Illinois actually can turn itself around and why there can be hope for the state.


Charter Schools Fight To Expand In Chicago

With political battles both in Springfield and between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools, education reform in Chicago and Illinois is an uphill battle – and students and parents suffer. On this installment of Against the Current, Dan Proft explores the ins and outs of that uphill battle with Andrew Broy, the president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. Broy explains the political hurdles charter schools need to jump over to expand in Chicago and across the state, while also detailing how they can provide better options for students and parents.

What can be done politically to offer more school choice in the state? How and why did Chicago become the first U.S. city to cap its number of charter schools? Proft and Broy discuss this and more in a detailed discussion on education reform and how to improve the status quo.

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David French On Free Speech, Trump's Presidency, Foreign Policy & More

Conservative voices have been shut down on college campuses throughout the country, and few have had keener insight on the issue than National Review's David French. On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft goes one-on-one with French to examine how and why this is happening in a wide-ranging discussion on culture, politics and free speech.

They also discuss some of the nation's most pressing foreign policy issues, with French giving his perspective as a military veteran himself. And French tells the rarely-told story of how he was briefly recruited to run for president in 2016, and offers what he thinks are the positives and negatives of the Trump administration so far. This, and more, in this in-depth conversation on Against the Current.


Political Scientist Dick Simpson On The Past And Present Of Chicago Machine Politics

How did the city of Chicago become known for corruption, and why has it struggled to change its ways? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Dick Simpson, University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former Chicago alderman, about the past and present of Chicago machine politics, as well as how to change its future.

How does Rahm Emanuel's machine differ from Richard Daley's? How  have Chicago mayors skated past corruption charges while governors, aldermen and state legislators go to jail? And what would an active Republican Party in Chicago providing real competition do for the city's ethics?

Proft and Simpson discuss all this and more, in a detailed discussion on the history of Chicago politics and the reforms the city needs.


ATC W/ David Keene Of ACU, NRA: The Leviathan Always Grows

On this edition of Against The Current, Dan Proft sits down with David Keene, former Chairman of the American Conservative Union and President of the National Rifle Association.

They discuss the fundamental problem of how to roll back the size and scope of government. The fear that the Leviathan always grows, that at best we can only slow its growth. Reagan changed that assumption. Can Trump?

What lessons can we learn from the NRA, one of the most successful political movements in history? What is the last frontier in the struggle for gun rights?

As the Opinion Editor of The Washington Times, Keene offers his perspective on media and answers Dan's question: Is journalism better today than ever before?

Plus Proft and Keene cover identity politics, political courage, and more in this wide-ranging discussion.


What Is The Future For School Choice? AEI's Rick Hess On Education Reform

What is the future for the school choice movement across the country? Dan Proft talks to Rick Hess, the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, about education reform efforts at both the federal and state levels.

What mistakes do we need to correct in education? And why aren't more politicians willing to own up to them? Proft and Hess take a deep look at both the good and bad in education policy over the last few decades.

Also, which states are the best models for school choice? Could anything be done at the federal level to expand school choice? Hess shares his thoughts on Betsy DeVos' confirmation to lead the Department of Education, too, and whether or not he thinks school choice advocates are winning the arguments they're trying to make.


Is There Any Reason To Stay In IL? Michael Lucci Answers That Question

Thousands of taxpayers flee Illinois every year. For those still in the state, is there really any reason to stay? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft poses that question to Michael Lucci, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, taking into account the state's unfriendly business climate, tax and regulatory policies and quality of K-12 education.

Lucci explains who is leaving Illinois, why they are leaving and where they are going. What does Illinois need to do to keep them? What impact does out-migration have on Illinois?

Proft and Lucci also dig into Illinois' lack of competitiveness in the Midwest, with the state surrounded by pro-growth, Right-to-Work states, and they discuss ways Illinois can rebound. What is Illinois doing wrong that all its Midwestern neighbors are doing right?

Also, as Chance the Rapper publicly feuds with Gov. Bruce Rauner over funding for Chicago Public Schools, what should the conversation really be about? Did Rauner miss a moment to advocate for school choice?

Proft and Lucci discuss this and more in a wide-ranging discussion, analyzing the future of a state people are leaving by the thousands.


Jim Iuorio: I Am An Unapologetic Bull For The Market & The Economy w/ Trump As President

On this edition of Against The Current, CNBC Analyst Jim Iuorio joins Dan Proft to discuss everything from Donald Trump's economic team to Illinois' pension crisis. 

Dan and Jim cover what the stock market's performance says about Trump's chances of achieving structural reforms, the future of manufacturing in the U.S., and taxing robots to pay for government services. 

Jim explains why he is optimistic about the market and the economy but cautions that Trump only has 30 days to make progress on his promise to roll back regulations and reform the tax code. 
And Jim shares his personal experience dealing with well water testing regulations to demonstrate one of Dan's iron laws of public policy: predatory government prevents the poor from obtaining more.

Dan and Jim explore these and many other topics in this installment of Against the Current.

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What's Real in the Era of Fake News? Proft Goes 1:1 W/ Venerable Chicago Newsman Bernie Judge

Bernie Judge spent 50 years in Chicago media working in various stints for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, City News and the Daily Law Bulletin.

What advice did Judge give Ed Asner for Asner's signature "Lou Grant" character? Would that be good counsel for journalists today? 

How did Judge cover stories as compared to how they're covered today?

Does putting a premium on speed necessarily sacrifice accuracy?

Do journalists get it wrong more often than they used to and is that a function of ideology or oversight? Is journalism no longer fact-gathering and simply polemics?

What's fake news and what isn't it? Who is trafficking in it and who isn't?

What is the future of journalism as it pertains to content not just distribution channels?

Is the era of the must-read journalist/columnist who commanded the attention of the general public, influenced the outcomes of elections and otherwise exerted great sway on politics and culture (e.g. Mike Royko) gone for good?

We get the who, what, where, when, why and how from eminent Chicago newsman Bernie Judge on this installment of Against The Current.

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