Spoiler Alert!

By Miles Leicher

Full disclosure: I have no idea what I’m spoiling. Anything could happen on tonight’s show and I won’t know where the conversation will lead until it’s over. But if I were a betting man – and five bucks says I’m not – I’d say that some of these topics may warrant discussion from Bill and the panel:

Pakistan

We all have that friend who always comes over to the house, eats our food, drinks our beer, has a great time, and then leaves. They never offer to bring anything, but once or twice you’re pretty sure they walked out with your leftovers. Hopefully there came a point when you had to decide if this person was actually worth keeping around, or if they were indeed just a big, fat moocher. Expanding this to geopolitics, if the United States were throwing a dinner party, Pakistan would show up wearing the Tupperware trench coat.

From the New York Times

Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has granted more than $20 billion in military and development assistance, an amount that does not include covert aid, according to K. Alan Kronstadt, the South Asian Affairs specialist at the Congressional Research Service.

 In return, we get to chase bad guys around in their backyard – but only if we find them first. Bin Laden? Puhleez…they won’t even give up their legendary kebab recipe.

If you really want some knowledge dropped on you about our relationship with Pakistan, take writers assistant Allison MacDonald’s advice and check out this ‘New Yorker’ article by Lawrence Wright.

2012 Elections

The race for the Republican nomination is starting to heat up. Not that it’s getting interesting; overweight white guys just generate a lot of heat. Newt Gingrich just inserted himself into an overflowing pool of candidates and – surprise, surprise – it didn’t stop overflowing.

Donald Trump seems to have gotten his fill of actual reality and may be bowing out of the race in what the ‘Real Time’ writers are describing as “one of the most spectacular, top-notch public flame-outs of all time.”

And Mitt Romney continues to run for president, just as he has every year since his home planet, Kolob, formed at the beginning of time. Watching him attack the very health care plan that he promoted as Massachusetts governor is like watching a snake eat its own tail.

Swipe Fees

There is an epic battle taking place in Washington right now over the fees big financial institutions charge retailers to accept credit and debit payments. It’s the lobbyist version of King Kong vs. Godzilla, but instead of slugging it out on Mount Fuji, they’re giving political tug jobs on Capitol Hill. Of course, the terrified Japanese populace has been replaced by American consumers, who watch helplessly while their representatives decide who gets to play with $15 billion of their money.