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Steve Bannon and The Fourth Turning
The President’s co chief of staff is obsessed with a book called The Fourth Turning. Podcast 605-Bannon’s Fourth Turning discusses reaction to the idea someone as powerful as Steve Bannon would formulate a political philosophy on a pop history/sociology best seller. The Fourth Turning co-author the late William Strauss was a playwright, theater director and lecturer. Co-author Neil Howe is a best selling author and consultant. Strauss and Howe coined the term ‘Millennial’. Both men described themselves as Amateur Historians. The Fourth Turning, Bannon’s apparent magnum opus, was published in the early 1990’s. See a video of the two authors appearing on C-Span’s BookNotes here.
Chaos Dead Ahead
The book some say Steve Bannon has based his political philosophy on postulates every 80 years the United States is marked by crisis and chaos. Business Insider says Bannon believes the United States will soon reach our climax conflict and that Trump is in the White House to usher it in.
Is the United States in a Political Crisis?
Politicians tend to magnify the political challenges they face. Reporters play along. Divided since the beginning crises of one kind or another have been a way of life in the US. It’s very American to think of the government with distrust and apprehension. Especially when, as the saying goes, the legislature is in session. Are we in a political crisis?
Want To Know The Future?
Crisis will find the Trump administration. The response to crisis is what will determine it’s fate. Theories predicting ‘the’ crisis are questionable. Free Will is a gift to Human Beings. We think and act voluntarily. We can be the authors of our own stories. Controversy surrounding the Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon’s embrace of the theory encapsulates much of what is wrong with our politics. In Podcast 605-Bannon’s Fourth Turning I’ll tell you why.
One Day At A Time
Living one day at a time doesn’t mean avoiding passionate views. We do not remain passive and uninvolved but do the best we can with what we have. We will never know exactly what tomorrow may bring. Isn’t that the fun part of life?
Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show #67
In Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles. He is known as Milo. A self described agent provocateur. A guy who took it to the left using the left’s tactic. A person who could cause left wingers to spontaneously combust. Taken down by the right. Another personality raised up to do people’s thinking for them. Someone to speak for so called conservatives.
These days videos and articles by personalities suffice as arguments. Someone getting the best of you on FaceBook? Don’t like someone’s tweet? Bam! Throw up the Milo video and the other guy is toast. Want to say something about politics? Post someone’s video or article about what you think. It’s the ‘What He Said’ method of political discourse. Of course the bigger they are the harder they fall.
Suddenly a heavily edited video tape from the near past emerged. Milo allegedly appearing to condone pedophilia, Goodbye Breitbart. See ya later Book Deal. Forget about taking the purple at the Vatican Conclave known as ‘CPAC‘. Post that Milo video now and you’re a pedophile too. There’s a vacuum in the market for ‘What He Said’ videos and articles. Don’t worry. Plenty of future Milo’s into the breech, boys.
Principles Over Personalities
We’re urged to put principles over personalities. What principles? What are the principles of the republican party? Free markets. Oh wait. We’re talking about trade protection. Republicans and so called conservatives are for Freedom too. Oops! Not if you’re taking about increasing NSA surveillance of people we don’t like. The GOP is for lower deficits and ‘smaller’ government. Oh wait. We’re going to have a trillion dollar stimulus package and cut taxes. So. Yeah. Before people can support principles over personalities a political movement has to have some principles. Neither the republicans or the democrats have any. Welcome to Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles.
Also in Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles. A new study ranks the most business friendly states. Vermont and Minnesota lead the least business friendly states. Nevada, Texas and South Dakota lead the most business friendly. The biggest problem according to the study is that the least business friendly states seemingly have no intention of addressing the thicket of taxes and regulations that prevent the formation of small scalable businesses. A little principle here might be useful. Of course most of the time its republicans in states like Minnesota that often are the first to propose more government solutions to problems created by too much government.
Robots and AI are nothing more than sophisticated tools. People think nothing of using the wheel or a wrench but break out in a cold sweat when confronted with the feared robot. Bill Gates has a solution for all that. Tax Robots. Employees are usually the biggest cost center for businesses. Its natural to want to cut those costs as much as possible. Cutting costs and freeing human capital to do better things is a natural part of human progress. Let’s slow it down by making robots more expensive. Principles? Lots to talk about in Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles.
We Love To Talk About The Weather
n Podcast 602-Snowstorm! Predictions Stories Hopes, people who live in the Upper Midwestern United States love to talk about the weather. Weather is safe. Talking about the weather offers a respite from political nonsense. Everyone has a pet theory about weather in all four seasons in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and Iowa.
Here It Comes
When it comes to a predicted snowstorm we go into high gear. Snow out west has given way to severe weather predictions for Minnesota. Heavy Snow. Severe Winds. Blowing Snow. The return of winter to the plains and upper midwest. After a long period of unseasonably warm weather the cold returns. We’ll talk about it in Podcast 602-Snowstorm! Predictions Stories Hopes.
March Is The Cruelest Month Maybe
In our neck of the woods we often say March is the cruelest month. 20 days or so before Daylight Savings and the start of spring does not mean daisies and green fields in Minnesota. It could mean deep snow drifts and freezing temperatures.
Biggest Snow Storms In Minnesota
While late February and March is a transition period the standard weather theory is the biggest snow storms come in March. Statistically though, the biggest snowstorms have been in December and January, with only the fourth largest storm in Minnesota history occurring in March.
From November 1940 to Halloween 1991
Everyone here remembers the great Halloween Storm of 1991. Most everyone remembers twin snowstorms that his in January of 1982. The old folks remember the famous Armistice Day storm of 1940. Those did not occur in March. What happens in March though usually, is gloomy, rainy, snowy and cold weather. I’ll provide a list of the biggest storms in Podcast 602-Snowstorm! Predictions Stories Hopes.
We Aren’t Worthy
Warmer weather has lulled us into a false sense of security. Warm is something we Lutheran and Catholic Minnesotans do not deserve. When it is warm for too long in the winter we feel there must be a pay back.
We’re Gonna Get Clobbered
As if on cue, the National Weather Service models predict the possibility of a major winter storm with high winds and so much precipitation and if it is cold enough and conditions just right we will get clobbered. Accumulations of between ten and twenty inches of snow. A major winter storm. Get the details in Podcast 602-Snowstorm! Predictions Stories Hopes.
A Kid’s View of Severe Weather
In Podcast 602-Snowstorm! Predictions Stories Hopes some stories about extreme weather. Tornadoes. Snow Storms. The twister scene of the Wizard of Oz. Twisters that destroyed towns in Xenia Ohio, Siren Wisconsin and in Missouri. Tornadoes that blew over my house when I was a kid. Yes, they do sound like freight trains. Snowstorms that made schoolers happier than Christmas morning.
Turn Up The Heat and Plan The Menu
Get ready to make the trip to the store before the shelves are picked clean, Walking Dead style. Plan your menu. Get ready to settle in. Listen to a ridiculous list of tips for ‘staying alive’ during a snow storm. Get ready to shovel. The National Weather Service is predicting a major winter storm. No one is safe! Look at it this way. It gives us something to talk about on the bus.
Fighting and Arguing
A presidential press conference that had the look of a Dino De Laurentiis movie. Angry tweets. Arguments about whether the president is a narcissist or psychotic. These days the argument is the thing. Division. Confusion. Anger. Frustration with the fact that everything is political. A friend said recently, “When civil society breaks down everything becomes political”. The more we fight about politics the less we know. Argument and rhetoric have replaced substantive discourse. This idea forms the basis of Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society.
What is Civil Society
People think Civil Society these days is political action groups. Angry protests. Social media rants. Angry calls to talk radio. Everyone wants the silver bullet argument. We want to be the guy on TV that ‘takes it to them’. This is not civil society. In Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society.
Stop Yelling and Start Building A Community
Civil Society is community. It is distinct from government and business. Civil Society is individuals working together to solve problems, build community and be good citizens. People who have learned from experience to build consensus to get things done. Civil Society is the core of your town, village, city, county and state.
Fighting and Arguing Does Not A Warrior Make
Do you show up to set the chairs up and make the coffee for the community meeting? Help your neighbors? Attend boring public meetings no one else cares about? Are you one of those people who responds to calls for help in the community regardless of where they come from?. Are you willing to work with people you may not agree with politically? Show genuine concern for others through your actions? You’re the real warrior. Commentators and people who imitate them are not warriors and they are not leaders. We’ll talk about it in Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society
Eroding Civil Society
There are times when political action is called for. When people who have different points of view try to gather people to their cause. These can be bitter contests. Bitter feelings linger after contests that inevitably produce winners and losers. These days people won’t convene with anyone they don’t agree with. Discussions descend into bitter screaming matches on Social Media, Talk Radio, and Cable TV News. The media cultivates and encourages anti social behavior. Friendships are ended. Familial relationships are strained.
A true warrior doesn’t yell and scream. A leader is a good citizen people trust. These are people who understand people of like mind have to work to see that their ideas gain support. Protests and rallies serve a purpose but they are just a starting point. You don’t win in the rally. You win because you can work behind the scenes to build support for a concept, idea, or a solution to a problem.
It May Not Be Working Anymore
Recent studies show the stress levels of Americans increasing since the election. Not just the left. People on political right show the same kinds of intensifying stress levels. This kind of stress can’t be sustained. We might be seeing the end of the efficacy of rhetorical argument to fuel a movement. People may have just about had it with all the shouting and arguing regardless of where it is coming from. Maybe rebuilding civil society is a good first step.
Talking Politics Is Work
It is difficult to contemplate or talk about politics. In Podcast 601-Nobody Knows Anything! a phrase attributed to screenwriter William Goldman is applied to American politics. The guy who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All The President’s Men once said “Nobody Knows Anything”. Goldman was referring to Hollywood know-it-alls. In those days as today producers, professors and other so called experts wanted to make people think they knew the ‘formula’ for success in the movie business. The truth is making movies is almost always a gamble because no one knows what’s going to sell before the fact. Nobody Knows Anything.
Nobody Knows Anything And Our Politics
What goes for movies goes for American politics these days. Everyone has a voice. An audience. A constituency. Everyone wants to tell you what is happening. What to do about it and what will happen next. Everyone knows. Except no one really knows anything. From the highest of the high to the lowliest position on a small town board of education. Everyone has a voice they can’t wait to use but what they have to say is empty. In Podcast 601-Nobody Knows Anything!
Tell Your Audience What They Want To Hear
Social media. Local radio. The Internet. Protect your audience. Tell it what it wants to hear. Get accolades, speaking fees, book sales, click throughs and even election certificates. Commentariat. Bloggers and podcasters. Comedians. Subpar politicians and local political operators. All ply their political but noncontroversial wares to people only too willing to applaud when they hear what they want to hear.
It’s All About Power
For those in what is called the Deep Government where policies are implemented everything is theater. Everything is Pay Back. Get Back. It’s all about power and games. Using your constituency to get what you want. In office. Out of office. All part of the game in the puzzle palace we call government in Washington DC or your state capitol.
The Fairness Doctrine
30 years ago a regulation called ‘The Fairness Doctrine‘ was rescinded by the FCC. The Fairness Doctrine simply required broadcast licensees to both present controversial issues and to do so in a manner that was, in the FCC’s view honest, equitable and balanced. 30 years ago there was no social media. There was no political talk.
Political talk was something you heard on Sunday mornings or read on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. The news was something you heard at the top of the hour. With a technology and media revolution, political talk today isn’t just a virus. Political talk has become a cancer.
Every political development is dissected, repurposed, rewritten, opinionated, worked over, subjected to satire and analysis. Today’s demons and today’s heroes. They’re only too happy to tell you what will happen tomorrow. The louder the cacophony grows the less we know. The solution isn’t some kind of new Fairness Doctrine. Maybe the cure is more of the disease. We’ll talk about it in Podcast 601-Nobody Knows Anything!
Nobody Knows Anything
The big talk radio guy speaking at your local political dinner doesn’t know anything. The guy who has the You Tube Channel or the Podcast? Nope. The local radio station talk show? Talk radio now depends on people calling in who don’t know anything to add to the conversation by two guys who don’t know anything either. Clearly the White House doesn’t know. The Pentagon doesn’t know. The people at your state capitol don’t know. The people behind the desk on the 24 hour news channel don’t know either.
Open your mouth about a political issue on social media and you’re branded. We’re saturated with political talk and political partisanship. Our differences are encouraged by know it alls commanding increasingly misinformed tribes fed a steady diet of what they want to hear. A few sell ‘expertise’ on the US Constitution. Some are self appointed media experts. Many are the founders of popup political movements. Many more are simply political operators selling their wares to the highest bidder, behind the scenes. These are the new carpet baggers.
Hungry For Leadership
Those sold to us as heroes turn out to be pygmies and charlatans. We read their books. We cheer and believe in them. When they are destroyed we move on. In Podcast 601-Nobody Knows Anything I share with you my utter disgust with the political process in this country. You can forget the labels. They all suck. Republicans. Democrats. Socialists. Populists. Libertarians. It’s all noise. Memes. Rants. Photos. Guest Appearances. Stand Ups in front of the capitol. Everyone wants to be the next Juke Box Hero.
Republicans who claimed to be for freedom and less government continue to expand the scope and cost of government. Democrats who claimed to be for the little guy are increasingly associated with the rich and powerful. Both sides want to increase the surveillance state and curtail your freedoms. Are we reaching a tipping point?
In Podcast 601-Nobody Knows Anything!.