‘Free State Politics’ Episode 3: Israel vs Hamas, COVID-19 and health insurance

‘Free State Politics’ Episode 3: Israel vs Hamas, COVID-19 and health insurance


Episode 3 of the “Free State Politics” podcast presented by MarylandReporter.com is now available to download.

It features award-winning journalist John Rydell and producer Douglas Christian, an independent White House multimedia journalist. If you have not subscribed to the podcast, please do so now.

The 22-minute episode features interviews with Larry Luxner, a freelance writer and Bethesda-native who now lives in Israel, as well as Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative President Vincent DeMarco.

Luxner recently penned a piece about the Hamas attack for the Baltimore Post-Examiner. On the podcast, he discussed being caught in the middle of last month’s escalation in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and having to seek shelter from incoming rockets that landed not far from his Tel Aviv neighborhood.

Earlier this week Israel continued to make headlines in the U.S., especially when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) garnered bipartisan criticism after having seemingly suggested in a tweet that military actions taken by Israel and the U.S. are morally equivalent to attacks carried out by terrorist organizations.

She wrote: “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”

Omar has refuted claims that she was “equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries.”

Luxner speaks on the rocket attack

“The mood here is actually pretty quiet,” Luxner said. But during the height of this 11-day battle people were of course traumatized. Tel Aviv has been insulated for years from this kind of thing. Most of the rocket attacks and Hamas missiles have generally fallen around the perimeter of the Gaza Strip… I can tell you that it is the first time since 1992, during the Iraq War, that Tel Aviv has actually been targeted by rockets of any kind.”

Luxner refuted claims that Israel’s military response to Hamas rocket attacks was disproportionate.

“You could say that Israel overreacted…Yes, it is true that 12 Israelis died and over 200 Palestinians died in Gaza. That is absolutely true. But that does not mean that one side is right and one side is wrong. In World War II 60,000 Brits died from the Blitz of London and half a million Germans died. Does that mean that the Nazis were morally in the right? No, I don’t think so.”

DeMarco praises the state on getting people insured 

“Maryland has done a great job in a bipartisan way of implementing the Affordable Care Act. Our uninsured rate is down to six percent. But the pandemic has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs and lose health care coverage. But we are coming back.”

DeMarco emphasized the importance of the enactment into law of a permanent funding source for the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

“This is not about prices… This is about what Marylanders pay. And the attorney general and top legal experts have said that the state can put a limit on what people pay for their drugs. Drug companies can charge whatever they want. But there will be a limit on what Marylanders pay.”

The podcast concludes with Rydell’s signature two-minute societal self-reflection: “A Moment of Clarity.”

This week the host discusses the ongoing debate on Capitol Hill over President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package and Biden’s frequent use of Amtrak during the more than three decades he served in the U.S. Senate.

Click here to listen and subscribe to the podcast

About The Author

Bryan Renbaum


Reporter Bryan Renbaum served as the Capitol Hill Correspondent for Talk Media News for the past three-and-a-half years, filing print, radio and video reports on the Senate and the House of Representatives. He covered congressional reaction to the inauguration of President Donald Trump as well as the confirmation hearings of attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He also filed breaking news reports on the 2017 shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others. Previously Bryan broke multiple stories with the Baltimore Post-Examiner including sexual assault scandals at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a texting scandal on the women’s lacrosse team at that school for which he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He also covered the Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 legislative session as an intern for Maryland Reporter. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from McDaniel College. If you have additional questions or comments contact Bryan at: bryan@marylandreporter.com

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