Podcast 596-Our Values

Journalism’s new norm is reaction. It is called News. In Podcast 596-Values, news coverage today is a reaction to something someone said or wrote. News is reaction to a new initiative by some government entity. Donald Trump hasn’t been president for a month yet. Already it seems like a year. Trump’s pace of executive orders, executive actions, tweets and initiatives allows him to dominate the media battle space while he cooks up another controversy stew to cauterize yesterday’s controversy.

In Podcast 596-Values, where is the media battle ground? It’s not the Internet. It’s some some battlefield in Europe or Virginia where armies clashed. It’s not a battlefield with stories of élan, bravery or great deeds. The media battle space is our brain. This battlefield is as small or as expansive as it needs to be. As the media storm rages and the wind blows, how do we know our tent is securely fastened and isn’t going to blow away? It call comes down to something called values.

In Podcast 596-Our Values, time to take a pause in this daily insanity of back and forth partisan media coverage. A break from ‘journalists’ who call two or three people, get some quotes, write it up and call it a day. Time to take a look at what we believe as individuals and as a people. Democrat, Republican, Populist, Populist Nationalist, Libertarian, Communist, Socialist, Moderate, Partisan, and Extreme alike. We’re all on a journey together in our lifetime on this planet.

What do we believe? What are the Values we hold dear? Where do those values come from? How do those values anchor us when the gales of change blow up even when those gales are generated from the hot air of politicians in Washington? Politicians who cry and grandstand secure in the knowledge the things they say and do won’t be investigated for any length of time or to any real conclusion?

Reporters determine our values by looking at the latest poll or driving to a shopping center and asking people in the parking lot a few questions. The result is a few hundred words taking the ‘temperature’ of regular everyday ‘folk’. Don’t have any supporters of the president in your state to talk to? Just drive across the state line to the first town and sit in the parking lot of a Safeway or Piggly Wiggly until mom and the kids show up, or chat up and write up what old uncle Frank thinks, while he sits in his 1997 Lincoln waiting for Aunt June. The headline? “Middle America Supports Trump”. Boom.

Work on a national TV show? Find that article about middle america. Get that pollster on the show. Find that Congressmen who says that crazy stuff. Get that woman on from that foundation. Say some stuff. Get some calls. Move on to the next ‘story’. Clicks. Listens. Comments. Calls. Ratings!

The battlefield is the mind. How do you avoid becoming a casualty in the partisan political war? It’s increasingly a battlefield filled with threats. More and more it’s a battlefield better characterized as a moonscape no man’s land, where the shell shocked wander, dazed and confused. Survival in this environment depends on what we believe. Why we believe it. Where we learned it. Who taught us. Where we get our information. How we check our information. What anchors us in the storm, or what kind of ground we have pounded our tent pegs into.

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Hydrus Performance.

 

Podcast 595-Money

Money and Controlling the Media Battle Space

Money. Money. Money! Everything the new President says and does is controversial. The latest eruption concerns Trump’s executive order regarding immigrants from several war-torn countries in the middle east region. A handful of court rulings challenging the order are centered on whether due process can be denied people allowed into the United States legally. The court rulings do not suggest the President cannot use executive orders to control departments in the executive branch but whether if the executive orders deny legal rights without due process.

This is just another in a series of actions and comments by President Trump and his administration that have received wide comment and coverage in the media. While protesters protest and media outlets gas-bag about the latest affront to society, Trump and his people throw another rock into the lake creating new ripples that have to be protested against and reacted to by the already too reactive media. This is a tactic or strategy known as an OODA Loop. Trump is forcing the media and his opponents to react to him. When they react his team observes their reaction, decides on a new initiative and then acts, restarting the loop. In this way the administration controls the media battle space.

About the Money

In Podcast 595-Money: When it comes to Money, once the initial spate of executive orders and stunts at press conferences passes, Congress and the President will get down to work on legislative initiatives to address the moribund economy of the United States. Podcast 595-Money wonders whether what has been talked about by this president on the campaign trail and in the media will indeed, make America Great Again.

No Growth

The United States has grown less than 3 percent a year roughly for the last eight years. Those old enough to remember the early 80’s know that the experience of robust economic growth in that era was real. People didn’t worry so much about getting jobs. As inflation came under control and interest rates came down and as unemployment started to come down, optimism took hold. We have not had that kind of feeling in the United States for a long time.

The question is whether the things Trump wants to do will actually produce economic growth. Middle Class taxes are already historically low. Cutting corporate taxes may result in higher profits which is good for Wall Street but may not translate to jobs. Some parts of clearing out the thicket of Federal Regulations can be done by executive order but most of it will require congressional action. Will a Trillion Dollar Stimulus package to build roads and bridges spur economic growth?

A Republican Stimulus?

President Obama’s Trillion Dollar stimulus was supposed to stimulate economic growth and didn’t. Part of the problem with big federal stimulus efforts is the money has to be block granted to states and the spending becomes political. Another issue is the fact that most people in the United States are employed in services rather than construction trade. Aside from the fact that government spending doesn’t ‘create’ jobs, putting people to work in a small swath of the population usually doesn’t result in a high multiple. This is why the Obama Stimulus produced dubious results.

Another problem is Trump’s Trade Protectionist sentiments. While the trade unions love the idea generally the United States has been a free trade nation. Trade agreements are negotiated because most of our trading partners are trade protectionists. The agreements generally break down borders to our trade. The fact certain kinds of manufacturing is cheaper in Latin America and Asia has actually benefited Americans in the form of cheaper goods. Putting up barriers to manufacturing overseas also means goods in the US will become more expensive.

Most of the jobs lost in the last decade or so have been lost due to information technology, robotics and automation. New manufacturing plants are much more automated these days which means they will not produce the manufacturing jobs expected. When one considers completely automated warehouses like Amazon’s and robotic manufacturing like Elon Musk’s showplace plant, don’t expect ‘bringing manufacturing back to the United States’ means jobs at the factory for Uncle Mike.

If you believe the economy is the sum total of individual’s transactions then an economy can be considered a force of nature. This is the first time in recent memory a ‘conservative’ president has endorsed trade protection and big government spending. Two of the biggest problems economically in the United States are the ongoing budget deficits and the total public debt. One wonders how the cornerstones of the Trump economic policy will produce enough growth to reduce the deficits and public debt.

Finally in Podcast 595-Money, the proof will be in the pudding. With all the other controversies swirling around this president after just two weeks if his policies fail to produce the promised economic growth republicans will have real problems in the 2018 and perhaps the 2020 cycles, especially for the politicians that endorsed Trump. Be careful what you pray for.

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63

In Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, Suddenly people in this country are interested in George Orwell’s 1984. A new movie is being made called ‘Little America‘, a dystopian depiction of what happens after the ‘Trump Administration bankrupts America and the Chinese take over’. Several stories suggest rich people are worried about a Civil War between the haves and the have nots. The Rich are building bunkers and buying reinforced compounds in New Zealand. In fear of a Civil War the Elites are signing up for luxury bunkers in the desert, protected by mercenaries. Academics are getting into the act by lecturing and writing about the Civil War between Athens and Sparta. Of course all of this will be caused by President Trump’s Authoritarian ways.

Tyranny

Of course in order to have tyranny whether it is fascism, communism some kind of junta, or 1984 style mind control, the conditions to support such tyranny have to exist first. Mechanisms like the peaceful transfer of power, countervailing powers, representative state and federal power, and a robust judiciuary governed by a written constitution have to be disabled. The United States differs structurally and significantly from unstable powers that have experienced tyranny like Germany’s Weimar Republic, Italy prior to Mussolini and the Russian Monarchy’s spectacular failure prior to Bolshevism.

In Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, reaction to the first week of the Trump presidency has been nothing short of hysterical. From Shia Laboufe’s ranting in New York City to the media taking the bait on an almost hourly basis either pointing out that Trump is always wrong or asking what he is doing. Honestly, it seems like Trump is doing exactly what he promised and what the people that voted for him expect him to do. From the controversy with the Mexican government over the wall, to the back and forth about illegals voting and brining back torture, the media is like a moth to a flame. As Trump and the administration tweets and stunts and the media reacts, the new president is signing executive orders and readying legislation. These real actions aren’t getting nearly as much coverage as his tweets and comments. None of it is getting any real substantive or investigative reporting.

Now the American Left is convinced we won’t last through the presidency of Donald Trump. Now the left is posting the crazy memes on social media. Now the left is putting up You Tube videos predicting a massive economic failure and national takeover of one kind or another. How quickly they forget their brethren on the right who were posting videos telling the world us Barack Obama wouldn’t leave the White House and would declare martial law, or that Hillary Clinton and her reptilian cohorts would stage a coup and remove Trump before he could be sworn in.

Civil War?

In Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, Civil War. Really? Civil Wars are the bloodiest wars of all. Time for a little history lesson regarding the American Civil War, which killed over six hundred thousand people in a country which boasted only 33 million at the time. This is the worst war in American history, worse even than World War II which only claimed somewhere around four hundred five thousand casualties. It almost goes without saying that the fissures that sparked the Civil War in the US were significant. Nothing like the minor political differences we have to today.

After the National Park Service and the EPA tweeted and spoke out about the new president’s supposed positions on Climate Change, they were told to stop tweeting. This is viewed as tyranny? Does anyone remember Reagan firing the air traffic controllers? What about Harry Truman firing Douglas MacArthur for doing exactly what the park service in the Badlands did; Going around the president to the media with a position that undermines the boss. What is the difference between a public servant and a civil servant? A public servant has an election certificate and has been chosen by the people to represent their interests. A civil servant works for elected officials.

Then there’s the executive orders. People hated Obama for issuing executive orders because he was blocked by a republican congress, but suddenly Trump’s use of executive orders is just fine? What’s the history of executive orders? How many executive orders have been issued? Which president issued more in recent history? In short the use of executive orders, which have been issued starting with Washington, does not make any president a dictator. It is the content and constitutionality of those orders that is in question.

Finally almost everyone is predicting Trump’s presidency will be a disaster. This podcaster refuses to take sides or defend this president, but will give credit where credit is due. As was suggested at the dawn of the Obama presidency concerning the Stimulus, what if it works? Of course we know the ARRA was a dismal failure in terms of making the economy grow. So let’s afford Trump the same consideration and ask what if his policies work? If the United States starts experiencing 4 to 5 percent economic growth per year for the next few years, things are going to be completely different in this country.

In Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, when Reagan came into office in 1981, some people thought he would be a great president. Others weren’t sure Carter was so bad, despite the economic problems the country faced at the time. 2 years later, we all knew James Earl Carter, for all his sincerity and honesty, had been a terrible administrator. It was hard for some to recognize what a good president Reagan was but eventually many did. Is it possible people will be saying the same about Trump in a couple of years?

Time will tell.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Hydrus Performance.

 

Podcast 593-Surreal Weekend

Surreal Weekend

The Inaugural Ceremony in the United States is supposed to symbolize the peaceful transfer of political power. Podcast 593-Surreal Weekend reviews my reactions to the weekend of January 20th, 2016 from the Inauguration speech of the new President Trump, to the protests on Sunday and a bizarre first-time appearance of the President’s new press secretary. Yes. It was a surreal weekend.

After the new President’s speech, the arguments started almost immediately over how many people watched and attended. Sunday’s protests can only be described as the ‘anti-inaugural’. From talking vagina signs to the thugs smashing windows in Washington to Madonna fantasizing about ‘blowing up the White House‘, this was a was a Surreal Weekend.

FaceBook and Twitter were ghettos of dueling memes and videos posted by furious adherents to one side or another. An old woman berated a fellow passenger on a plane for being a Trump supporter, ending with her being escorted off the plane by police to the cheers of passengers.

If you did not support either mainline candidate you’re in a difficult position. The media believes its job is to react to whatever stimuli is thrown out by Trump’s team. When so called journalists aren’t taking the bait on Trump’s line they’re busy predicting the future. We’re swimming in a sea of partisanship. Pundits discuss the ‘significance’ of protests in urban centers that would have supported any candidate put up by democrats in 2016. News anchors debate something called ‘alternative facts’.

Did you think the tactic of distracting the media with one stunt after another would be over after the election? Think again. Apparently the media will take the bait every time. Hook, line and sinker. Pundits and talking heads will ‘explain’ whatever stunt was employed or argue the reaction to the stunt. ‘Guests’ will appear on every show arguing the merits of the silly outcome of the latest stunt. Popular songs will be written. Memes will be distributed on social media. Videos will be made. People will scream and yell at each other.

What if you support no one. If you don’t believe any of then are going to remove the boot heel on our necks, then what? Substance? Really? Compare the substance and specificity as well as philosophy of the first Reagan inaugural to the vacuum of Trump’s. Examine the difference between the language and intent of the so called protests this weekend to the language of Martin Luther King’s rally in Washington. America’s discourse today is a sad echo of the past. Yes. It was a surreal weekend.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

We don’t think anymore we attack. Attack the messenger. Or attack the source. Attacking the person is always good too. The method is attack and attack and then move on to the next target. This week’s talking head video says what needs to be said. Tomorrow it’s another meme or video. Ignorant of the facts? Unable to put a sentence together? No problem. Just post this meme or video and boom! It’s bad and its going to get worse.

We should certainly give the new president and his team the benefit of the doubt but I do not intend to defend him. He is capable of defending himself. When the new administration does something I think is right, I’ll say so. However, I do think people who supported President Trump all through the campaign have a responsibility to defend him. Trump supporters will have to develop the arguments to defend him and they’ll have to organize against what is already formidable opposition. If you’re a Trump supporter and you’re not our organizing your neighborhoods, good luck in the next election cycles.

I get this feeling there is something evil out there. Something Wicked This Way Comes. Maybe it’s the result of a surreal weekend, but something doesn’t feel right. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m not talking about the man in the oval office. I’m not talking about the left’s protests. It is a feeling that I can’t shake.

We’ll see.

(Editor’s Note: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton collapsed during the State of the State message at the Minnesota State Capitol Monday, adding to the surreal quality of the current time frame. While I find little to agree with the Governor on politically, I have interviewed him and he is a gracious and nice man. The latest reports in the current time frame are that the Governor is doing well.)

Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End.

 

 

Podcast 592-New Era

Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 62

While the media ‘predicts’ the future of the new Donald Trump Era, I’ve been under a self imposed news blackout. I prefer to see what happens with the Trump before I comment. It seems to me an unpredictable personality as President is going to make it very difficult for pundits to tell you what kind of presidency it will be. Why not just wait and see? I think there are bigger trends at work.

Big Changes

We’re living through the dawn of a new industrial revolution. It seems to me, as everything around us changes government is changing too slowly. Technology is changing work and trade despite all this talk of returning America to 1950’s greatness. The biggest transportation company in the world owns no cars. The biggest hospitality company in the world owns no hotels. One of the biggest retailers in the world doesn’t own that many retail stores. It’s often difficult to determine the difference between a national export or an import.

Most of the jobs lost in manufacturing in the United States have been due to IT not outsourcing. Then there are the markets. One-size-fits-all mass markets are transitioning to mass specialization markets. Many new manufacturing plants will be automated and located close to markets they serve. It’s sad to me that in the midst of all this technology development we have a government designed for the 1950’s. Maybe this is something that will change.

In Podcast 592-New Era Day One-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 62 I discuss what we need in the future. It seems to me this is more important than what someone said about Trump’s big speech. As a so called conservative takes power, I want to know whether Big Government Republicans will reduce the pernicious power of government. It seems to me we should be asking ourselves what will be required of us. What do we know? How do we know what we know? How did we learn what we know? Why do we fear competition? Why do some of us we fear change?

Sponsored by Hydrus Performance and X Government Cars.

Podcast 591-Midnight Winter Walk Talk

Time’s Prisoners

Could leaders be Time’s Prisoners? This week Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Partisan congressmen and entertainment figures on the left are taking the extreme step of boycotting the peaceful transfer of power. Partisans on the right believe the New York Businessman will right all wrongs and solve all problems. Are we Prisoners of Time? Both sides might take a lesson from the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Johnson is certainly one of the best of the pure politicians to occupy the White House. Serving as a Congressman and then Senator from Texas, Johnson rose to Senate Majority Leader, Vice President and the presidency after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson won the 1964 presidential election by one of the largest popular vote margins in history. Johnson’s administration overcame democrat opposition and managed enough republican votes in congress to pass the The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Johnson’s signature legislation creating ‘The Great Society‘ programs have been a centerpiece of the Democrat ideal that government can help ease the afflictions of the poor and downtrodden.

From that high political perch in 1965 Johnson backed into the war Vietnam and scuttled his presidency. Johnson will be forever remembered as the president who escalated the Vietnam War, rather than the president who did a great deal to ease the afflictions of the poor and downtrodden. It’s important to remember that many of the most experienced and smartest people in Washington backed Johnson’s war initiatives. It was Congress that gave the Texan full authority to do as he wanted in Vietnam after the Gulf on Tonkin incident.

In Podcast 591-Midnight Winter Walk Talk-Time’s Prisoners, I wonder how much the time we live in determines how much a government can do. This is a cautionary question for the vehement supporters of Donald Trump and his vocal detractors. Are the leaders we elect, their lieutenants and advisors prisoners of the time they live in? We can’t know the future and therefore may not be prepared to right all wrongs or avoid fatal mistakes.

We make decisions in everyday life based on the best information available and the best advice. Should I buy the chicken or the steak on sale at the grocery store? Should I buy a car now or later. Should I take that job and move to another city? It is the same with complex decisions and matters of state. State decisions have more weight but in the end, are often made the same way. People do the best with what they have and what they know at the time.

Two movies on HBO NOW depict the Johnson Administration. ‘All The Way‘ features Bryan Cranston as LBJ and depicts his struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act. The other is John Frankenheimer’s ‘Path To War‘ which depicts the Johnson Administration’s decisions to escalate the war in Vietnam ultimately foundering Johnson’s presidency.

Now, these films reflect and bias and perspective. It may not have been the intent of the film makers to show a president’s power is tentative, dependent on the best advice he can get, and his own experience. The presidency is a political office. I think congresses and presidential administrations are prisoners of their time. The decisions they make and the reaction to them are as much determined by the time we live in, and the experience it has given us, as any other factor. Call it fate. Call it blindness. Either way this is a sobering concept if you believe the new president is the second coming, but a comforting thought if you think he is the devil incarnate.

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 590-Ending Met Council Tyranny

Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show #61-Jeff Johnson

Across the country regional councils controlled by unelected appointees are amassing great power over elected town councils, county councils and in some cases state legislatures. The biggest and most expensive of all is the Metropolitan Council, which exerts funding and legal control across the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Metro, up to and including its own taxing authority. In some cases saying no to the Met Council results in a loss of funding, public relations attacks on the offending elected official and his or her town, or lawsuits because, “You can’t say no to the Met Council”.

In Podcast 590-Ending Met Council Tyranny, Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show #61-JeffJohnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner gives a history of the Met Council, a description of just how large the council’s budget is, how many employees it has, the extent of its vast influence in planning and development in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area. If your town wants state and federal funding for various projects, the Met Council is the conduit for that funding.

At issue is the Met Council’s peculiar view of just what development is supposed to look like, which is decidedly not funding for highways and bridges. The Metropolitan Council’s view of the future is fewer roads, more bike trails and more sidewalks. We’re supposed to ride our bikes to work when it is 5 below zero, or sit in traffic jams of biblical proportions or ride light rail transit being forced through at a cost of billions.

This podcast is a companion to Podcast 501-Mark Korin, which details the trails and tribulation of a small town Minnesota Mayor against the Mighty Metropolitan Council. As Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson explains, the Metropolitan Council’s tyrannical control over towns, cities, counties and even the legislature is becoming a bi-partisan issue. With the advent of the Minneapolis South West Light Rail project and its threat to the peace and quiet of Minneapolis’ Chain of Lakes Parks, local residents are furious at the unelected council’s heavy handed approach.

An agency that began in 1967 as a way to mange water and sewer connections between local towns and cities, and to manage bus lines, has grown into an agency employing thousands and costing taxpayers billions, with its own police force, and the power to tell local administrators and elected officials to pound sand.

Johnson and Bob Davis discuss at least two ways to eliminate the Metropolitan Council’s authority or all together. Johnson proposes eliminating the council and replacing it with a board of elected officials from the area, with a more circumscribed and specific authority.

Bob Davis suggests at the very least, the Met Council’s budget could be deeply cut starting with council members who make over six figures a year, its police force absorbed by county and city law enforcement, and the creation of a separate transit authority. Finally, statutes which coerce local towns and cities to comply with the Met Council’s plans for dense growth, low income housing, bike paths and light rail transit, must be repealed.

Finally, are there enough votes in the legislature to accomplish Ending Met Council Tyranny? Johnson seems to think there is a chance, since many legislators hail from rural, suburban and exurban districts, with residents who have to pay for the Met Council’s grandiose plans, but receive none of the benefits. Moreover, legislators from urban districts in Minneapolis are getting an earful from wealthy Minneapolis liberals incensed at the way they’ve been treated by the Met Council over the Southwest Light Rail Project.

Sponsored by Brush Studio and Hydrus Performance.

 

 

Podcast 589-Celebrity Worship

Podcast 589-Celebrity Worship-When The Famous Become Gods

Fame. Notoriety. Our fascination with famous people. Our fascination with those who are famous. One of the things I like to do in podcasting is to focus on the first thoughts I have at the beginning of the day. You might think podcasting in this manner is easy. Unfortunately sometimes these first thoughts turn out to be a lot deeper and complex than first imagined.

Two thoughts ignited Podcast 589-Celebrity Worship. First, the concept of fame itself. Where did it come from? When did it start in the United States? What makes someone famous these days? How is that different from what made someone famous three hundred years ago? Second, we form a bond with famous actors and musicians because of a movie or a song we connected with at a certain time in our life. The performer is forever part of our life because of a performance.

The kick off for these first thoughts is the HBO documentary ‘Bright Lights’ detailing the relationship Carrie Fisher had with her mother Debbie Reynolds. Both of these women are recently deceased. Carrie Fisher from a heart attack and her mother from a stroke shortly thereafter. Some of the content in the documentary has to do with Postcards From The Edge, first a book and then a movie about the relationship between Carrie and her mother, in which Meryl Streep played the role of Carrie Fisher.

All of this connected for me because Streep’s recent comments about the President-Elect at the Golden Globe Awards. The Golden Globes usually has lower viewership than the Academy Awards and would be forgotten save for unsavory comments from Streep this year. While any citizen has the right to say what they want about political events, stars seem to think they can use their fame to tell the rest of us what we should feel, how we should vote and how to live our lives

Back in the day, people became famous for doing something. They discovered a continent, or won a big naval battle, a war, or saved western civilization. One became famous for building a bridge, mass producing an automobile or opening the east to western trade. Great artists and performers became famous for work that changed the world. Today it seems like people become famous for being famous.

The roots of this kind of fame, or notoriety go back a long time. Dime store novels, traveling road shows, Vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, and the movies. It wasn’t long before you could become famous for just playing someone who had actually accomplished something. Actors who played western heroes, Pharaohs, and Great Leaders became associated with the accomplishments of someone else.

2016 was the first time I’ve seen the media tally the deaths of ‘Celebrities’ as they might natural disasters. We ‘mourned’ the loss of people we did not know as though they were part of the family, and seemed to forget the thousands who have been killed in America’s violent big cities, or in war zones across the world.

Prince, David Bowie, Carrie and Debbie Fisher and many others. Oh! What a loss!

Some people who are famous for a role they played in a movie forty years ago have insights into how fleeting fame is. Carrie Fisher reluctantly came to terms with her connection to the character she played in the original Star Wars, comparing it to her mother’s performance in ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’.

Fisher considered herself the ‘caretaker’ of the Princess Leia character, and felt she was irrevocably connected to her. A fact fans sometimes did not seem to understand. Or did they? We wonder what fame and fortune is like because we think of people who are famous and rich at the height of their powers. What is it like when people who live every day of their lives in scrutiny begin to age and decline?

We all love our movies and TV shows. We love our favorite music and performers. Human beings need entertainment. We all love a good story, told well. Great artists don’t do what they do because they want to change the world. They do what they do because doing it is what makes them happy. Sometimes the result of their work is world-changing. I don’t think they know this when they are creating these world changing works. Sometimes too, a movie is just a movie, or a song is a one-hit wonder, or a show only airs for two or three seasons. We want to know the people who write and perform these works, and some of us put them up on a pedestal.

Do we mistakenly worship these people and their works and believe they have some insight or power to be able to tell us how to live our lives or what kind of political system we have? What happens when the works of Hollywood form a bond with the works of fame-seeking politicians in our capitols? Are the performers worthy of our worship? What happens when powerful media mechanisms make politicians famous for being famous?

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbings and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

 

Podcast 588-Russians Coming!

 

CIA Report on Russian Hacking

On this week’s Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show, we’re back in a news rich environment. The release of the CIA Report on ‘Russian Hacking‘ adds to the latest tempest in a teapot. A skeptical President Elect Trump got a briefing from top intelligence officials in the Obama Administration last week. What does ‘Russia Hacks The US Election’ mean to you? Does it mean the Russians managed to get control of voting machines and change votes in key states. Decidedly no.

In Podcast 588-Russians Coming! The story goes, the Russians, under order from President Putin, hacked into the DNC through John Podesta’s email, gaining access to the server for months. The Obama administration also has been told by its US intelligence employees that the Russians were responsible for the release of sensitive material from the DNC severs to Wikileaks. Oh, and the Russia Today network put a new TV show on critical of Hillary Clinton. The Russians also apparently employed a number of Internet trolls in service to Donald Trump. Or something like that.

The subliminal message here is Americans have lost control of their political process and therefore should have no faith in its outcome, which oddly seems like the original goal of Russia’s alleged interference. Proving the Russians hacked into the DNC is hard enough to prove. Proving it had any effect on the election is quite another. One should never say never and skepticism should be the first approach for people who want to believe the Russian Hack story and those who do not. Still, there are reasons why this is one story that may never be proven. Find out why in Podcast 588-Russians Coming!

While Trump supporters remain skeptical, Clinton supporters have latched onto the Russian Hack story as the new grand conspiracy theory in all that ails America. However, if you’re looking for a smoking gun you may be waiting a long time. Like the famous WMD in Iraq story, when a president asks the intelligence community to ‘prove’ something, a ‘report’ will be issued. Reports issued because a president wants one, usually include a ‘preponderance‘ of evidence.

Remember how the CIA managed to convinced Congress and most of the people in the country going to war against Iraq was necessary? While the left attacked Bush and the CIA for its ‘preponderance of evidence of WMD’s in Iraq’ finding, suddenly they’re ready to believe the ‘Russia Hack’ story. Even though we all know how the WMD story turned out for George W. Bush, the left wonders how else Hillary Clinton’s loss could be explained. It had to be the Russians.

2016’s presidential race heralded a tectonic shift in politics in the United States and perhaps the world. How politics is conducted. How it is reported on. How races are measured and predicted. Considering this shift, is it impossible to suggest people in the great lakes region in 2016 reached the point where they were just fed up with politics as usual? Maybe the cozy relationship between big government types, Hollywood and Wall Street just got to be too much for the little guy? Bernie Sanders thinks so. Senator Sanders has called Clinton out for choosing to hang with Gentry-Liberals rather than campaigning in Wisconsin and Michigan in the final stretch when it might have made a difference.

Foreign involvement in the US political process is nothing new. During the effort to ratify the US Constitution, in an effort to support arguments for an indirect election of the President through the Electoral College, The Federalist talked about foreign involvement in US Presidential elections. Historian Barbara Tuchman wrote a book about British subterfuge to get the US into World War I. The Soviets attempted to influence US politics through the creation and promotion of the American Communist Party from the 1920’s on. During those early decades of the twentieth century, some American intellectuals thought the Soviets had solved the problems of industrialization. Some Americans were happy to move to the glorious Soviet Union.

Will the new president plan a reorganization of the United States’ far flung fleet of intelligence agencies? The OSS was originally tasked with the collection and interpretation of strategic information. After the National Security Act of 1947, the newly formed CIA took up the job with some additional responsibilities. Federal agencies tend to grow and morph from their original mandate as time goes on. The United States now has scores of intelligence agencies. Are we sure our Congress and President knows what these agencies actually do? Are we sure that our government can actually supervise intelligence services that have a long history of making serious mistakes?

What is this story obscuring right now? As we argue about the ‘preponderance of evidence’ linking a spear phishing scheme to the DNC servers, a scheme that succeeded because DNC officials who should have known better did not follow security procedures, politicians in Washington, our State Capitols and City Councils are stealing us blind.

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Podcast 587-Easy Talker

Decoding The New Year’s Media Nonsense

Key stories from the first week of 2017 provoked me to do a podcast type I call an ‘Easy Talker’. In Podcast 587-Easy Talker, I’m grabbing a few key stories and taking a little time with each before guests come over to the broadcast bunker for some hang out time.

Podcast 587-Easy Talker brings you up to date as the Republican Congress is sworn in. We’re back into a ‘news-rich’ environment. There is need for Decoding The New Year’s Media Nonsense. Media outlets are firing on headlines with little or no follow up. With all the talk recently about ‘fake news’ you would think the country’s biggest newspapers and broadcast outlets would put some effort into improving their approach to actually covering the news.

The Washington Post has retracted a story that reported the Russians hacked into Vermont’s power system. In fact the paper never talked to anyone to find out whether a ‘hack’ happened in the first place. Allegedly an employee’s computer had been infected with malware, supposedly put there by Russians, thus ‘infecting’ the power grid. Subsequent efforts to run down the story revealed that the computer in question may never have been infected with Malware to begin with.

As I post this podcast, we’re told US Intelligence Honcho Clapper is convinced ‘The Russians Intervened In The US Election’. Clapper promises to reveal all to President Elect Trump very soon. After the big reveal evidence will be released to the public. Of course if the CIA had released its evidence to the public when they released their “13 page report” (really was only about 2 pages of information about the alleged Russian Hack) then we would know. All media outlets now refer to the story as “The Russian Hack of The US Election” which is a lie. We have seen no direct evidence of a Russian Interference in the US Election. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just means we haven’t seen any direct evidence proving the allegation.

What’s to be done about poorly written and edited news stories? Do we need a law or commission? No one seems to understand this would contravene our rights to free speech. If people can’t understand they have to use multiple sources and look at source documents no law in the world will fix the problem. We are a poorly informed population drowning in a sea of dis-information. This podcast attempts to provide context and perspective. It isn’t always pleasurable to do so. People have told me they depend on The Bob Davis Podcasts for this kind of coverage. Ignorance does not mean stupidity. If someone is ignorant they can inform themselves.

As the new Congress prepares some kind of action on the repeal of Obama’s Signature Affordable Care Act, now come stories warning of impending doom. Republicans ran on the promise of repealing ObamaCare. If the Republicans do not repeal the ACA regardless of whether they replace it, they will lose all credibility with their voters. On a side note, Republicans in Minnesota are preparing to spend 300 million dollars from the so called ‘rainy day fund’ to keep MNSURE going. These are the same people who trotted through tea party meetings all over the state selling themselves as ‘conservatives’. Proof positive, the best thing to do is to wait and watch what the politicians do and then punish them accordingly.

If you dispute the idea that the American Electorate is grossly ignorant, in Podcast 587-Easy Talker consider a Facebook post in which the writer wrote, “If you’ll notice when the economic numbers come out, they quietly revise them up”. It is fact that all economic numbers released from the government undergo normal revisions as new information comes in. Sometimes they are revised up. Sometimes they are revised down. This has been the case for many decades.

Along these lines, a story is circulating that upward revisions of November construction and manufacturing numbers mean Trump has had a positive effect on the economy. This is fake news from the right. Remember when so called ‘conservatives’ were furious over then President Elect Obama’s blaming of the 2008 crisis and subsequent recession on Bush? Suddenly now they’re giving credit to Trump for things that happened on Obama’s watch. And revisions at that!

With people getting their news in shards and memes from social media, and refusing to inform themselves completely on any issue they might be interested in, it’s no wonder the elites in Washington and in State Capitols continue to do exactly what they want. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance.