7 episodes

The Continuous Action, a five-part podcast exploring the labor of democracy, will work to pin down what our troubled republic demands of us, ordinary citizens, right now. Join Walt Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, and Virginia Heffernan, journalist and host of Trumpcast, as they talk with analysts, activists, government leaders and philanthropists to break down some of the biggest issues our democracy faces — and to identify some paths forward. The podcast is broken into five episodes on the following topics: defending voting rights, pursuing truth in government, addressing government surveillance, reining in the executive branch, and getting the government we deserve. 
The inspiration for the title “The Continuous Action” comes from the admonition by John Lewis that “freedom is not a state; it is an act.” Speaking of our duty as citizens, he proclaimed: “Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” 
 
The Continuous Action is sponsored by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), hosted by Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan, and produced by Myron Kaplan. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

The Continuous Action Walter Shaub

    • Government
    • 4.8 • 45 Ratings

The Continuous Action, a five-part podcast exploring the labor of democracy, will work to pin down what our troubled republic demands of us, ordinary citizens, right now. Join Walt Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, and Virginia Heffernan, journalist and host of Trumpcast, as they talk with analysts, activists, government leaders and philanthropists to break down some of the biggest issues our democracy faces — and to identify some paths forward. The podcast is broken into five episodes on the following topics: defending voting rights, pursuing truth in government, addressing government surveillance, reining in the executive branch, and getting the government we deserve. 
The inspiration for the title “The Continuous Action” comes from the admonition by John Lewis that “freedom is not a state; it is an act.” Speaking of our duty as citizens, he proclaimed: “Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” 
 
The Continuous Action is sponsored by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), hosted by Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan, and produced by Myron Kaplan. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Out of Control

    Out of Control

    In Episode 5 of The Continuous Action, hosts Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan sound a dire warning about the largest law enforcement agency in the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While most people think of the agency as having limited reach, two-thirds of Americans live within CBP jurisdiction. It’s also one of the country’s least transparent — and least accountable — law enforcement agencies.  
     
    This episode’s guests explain how this highly militarized agency came to prioritize stopping border crossings over protecting human life. They explore the culture of impunity for CBP agents that has led to tragic consequences for civilians they encounter, often far from the eyes of supervisors and witnesses. And, as always, they come with recommendations for action. 
     
    Vicki Gaubeca, director of the Southern Borders Community Coalition, and Nick Schwellenbach, senior investigator for POGO, help us understand the problem from both outside and within the agency. And Sarah Turberville, director of The Constitution Project at POGO, shares a powerful oversight agenda for reining in this rogue agency. 
    The Continuous Action is sponsored by The Project On Government Oversight.
    Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe
    For show notes, visit: pogo.org/series-collections/the-continuous-action/

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 50 min
    It’s Good To Be The King

    It’s Good To Be The King

    Hosts Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan investigate the ways presidential power has expanded at the expense of checks and balances. What systems exist to rein in a would-be authoritarian president, and how are they faring in these turbulent times?   
     
    The hosts talk to historian Matt Dallek, who explains the expansion of presidential power and the dangers of relying on norms and traditions alone to rein in executive power. As Dallek notes, some theorists have flooded the zone with talk of a nearly omnipotent leader who resembles a king more than a president. But law professor Jed Shugerman joins Virginia and Walt to offer listeners a differing view of the executive: that of a faithful servant who is limited by the responsibility to take care in carrying out the laws enacted by Congress.   
      
    With the nation at a crossroads in the struggle between democracy and a burgeoning authoritarian movement, questions about the president’s power have never seemed more urgent. The episode’s third guest, POGO’s own Liz Hempowicz, wraps up the show by telling our hosts about pending legislation that could add new, crucial checks on a president’s power.   
    The Continuous Action is sponsored by The Project On Government Oversight. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe 
    For show notes, visit: pogo.org/series-collections/the-continuous-action/

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 53 min
    Bonus: China’s Surveillance State 

    Bonus: China’s Surveillance State 

    This bonus episode features our full interview with Maya Wang, the senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. As Maya explains, a comprehensive, multi-layered surveillance system blankets much of China with one primary goal: to ensure that the Chinese communist party can rule forever. We included an excerpt of this interview in Episode 3, “The Eyes On Your Face.” But the rest of Wang’s harrowing account of this surveillance system was too compelling to leave on the cutting room floor. Join us for a deeper dive into China’s surveillance state. 
    The Continuous Action is sponsored by The Project On Government Oversight. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe 
    For show notes, visit: pogo.org/series-collections/the-continuous-action/

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 39 min
    The Eyes On Your Face

    The Eyes On Your Face

    In Episode 3, hosts Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan grapple with government surveillance, focusing in particular on facial recognition technology and the ways that the government could — and already does — abuse this pervasive technology. Facial recognition expert Jake Laperruque describes the arms race between technology companies developing new software to be used by law enforcement on one side, and lawmakers and privacy advocates working to regulate this fast-developing technology on the other. Framing privacy as a human rights issue, Laperruque reminds us of the abuses of the post-9/11 era, when the government carried out indiscriminate surveillance of Muslim communities.  
    In our next interview, we step back and look more broadly at how targeted surveillance of all types can harm vulnerable populations, a problem that technology like facial recognition software exacerbates. Law professor and former prosecutor Paul Butler explains how the Supreme Court has unleashed the forces of control on minority populations. Finally, Maya Wang, the senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, paints a picture of the future we must avoid. As always, the show concludes with ideas about the actions listeners can take to help address these wrongs. This episode features some good news, as the hosts break down a recent victory by privacy advocates that forced the IRS to back off a plan that would have force some Americans to use problematic facial ID tech to access their tax records.
    The Continuous Action is sponsored by The Project On Government Oversight. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe
    For show notes, visit: pogo.org/series-collections/the-continuous-action/ 

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 54 min
    War Lies, Watchdogs, and Whistleblowers 

    War Lies, Watchdogs, and Whistleblowers 

    In Episode 2, hosts Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan explore a troubling truth: the government lies, particularly when it comes to war. The government has repeatedly misled the American people to justify starting or staying in a military conflict, leaving whistleblowers and watchdogs the dangerous task of exposing the truth.
    Military expert Mandy Smithberger recounts how manipulation of intelligence information sent us to war in the Middle East, and activist Ben Cohen talks about the need for consequences when government officials lie us into war. The cohosts speak with John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, about the systemic pressures that led officials to exaggerate success and conceal failures, and he talks about the vital role whistleblowers play.
    The episode also features reflections from Ron Ridenhour, who exposed the My Lai massacre and combatted a massive government coverup. His words drive home just how crucial whistleblowers are — and how hard it is for them to tell the truth. Finally, Walt explains what we can do to better encourage whistleblowers to come forward and protect them from retaliation.  
    The Continuous Action is sponsored by The Project On Government Oversight. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe 
    For show notes, visit: pogo.org/series-collections/the-continuous-action/

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 54 min
    The Wave

    The Wave

    In the inaugural episode of The Continuous Action, former Office of Government Ethics Director Walt Shaub and journalist Virginia Heffernan begin exploring the issues confronting democracy by examining the wave of voter suppression efforts crashing across the states. They interview Janai Nelson, president and director-counsel of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund, about the fight for voting rights. They also speak with Supreme Court expert Dahlia Lithwick about the judiciary’s role in ripening the conditions for voter suppression. Their message: The fight for voting rights is urgent and requires the public to act – right now.  
     
    The Continuous Action is sponsored by The Project On Government Oversight. Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe 
    For episode show notes, visit pogo.org/series-collections/the-continuous-action/

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
45 Ratings

45 Ratings

BMcCay07 ,

Last Episode (?)

I just finished listening to the last episode and I'm hoping it's not really the last one...
I thought the CBP was scary *before* I listened to this episode. Now I'm more afraid.
Virginia and Walt are great hosts bringing really important issues to light. I hope they come back to talk about other important matters. Thanks to both of them!
BTW - What is that *GREAT* theme music?

huckleberry79 ,

If nothing else…

A very imprtant podcast! THANK YOU FOR THIS.

Timotheetee ,

The Single Most Important Podcast To Exist.

Virginia and Walter are two informed inspirations. They, along with excellent and important guests, help shine the flashlight of Ethics into all the dark areas of our Establishment. If everyone listened to this podcast, our country would veer off to a better direction from the path we’re currently on.

Top Podcasts In Government

Crooked Media
Sharon McMahon
Prologue Projects
The Lawfare Institute
Rewire News Group's Jessica Mason Pieklo and Imani Gandy
The DSR Network

You Might Also Like

Politicon
Politicon
The Lincoln Project
The Daily Beast
Politicon
Harry Litman