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 539

Podcast 539 What Now? Election 2016 is a bust. Primary voters and the party political process selected the two worst possible candidates. No one can make the case that one will be worse than the other, despite the constant attacks and demands that each side ‘bleed red’ or ‘bleed blue’. Hold your nose and vote for the ‘least worst’. Which one is ‘least worst’? The tragic story in this whole drama? If Trump wins, Republicans will be the most shocked and disappointed by what he does. Meanwhile, Trump trails Clinton 6 points with serious deficits in key battleground states. If the democrats maintain this lead, republicans won’t have to face the reality of their decision to embrace and nominate someone who seems to be both a republican and a democrat, when it suits him. Someone who has doubled down on rhetoric and ‘earned media’, someone who doesn’t really stand for or the carry the standard for ‘traditional republican values’, whatever those are. In Podcast 539 Now What? Election 2016 is bust, time to go back to the drawing board. What is a liberal? What is a conservative? What are the issues? What is grassroots? What do we believe? What do we stand for? What do we want? Building a movement strong enough to take on the establishment, especially now that rules have been changed to prevent such movements in both mainline parties, is going to take more than a few protests and some meetings on Tuesday nights. Guess what? An establishment that stands for nothing except maintaining their hold on political power isn’t going to reduce the size scope and and power of government, and I’m talking about republicans. Podcast 539 Now What, as a beginning, asks some of the questions that need to be asked. I don’t expect answers and don’t answer these questions, but think about them. Meditate on them. Answering questions, and making a good plan are only a start down a very long road. The sooner we start, the better. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Brush Studio.

Podcast 402

America 2015 Pre Fascism? These days American politics seems to be nothing more than snark, shouts and screams, politicians doing and saying whatever they can to get as much media time as possible, served by a willing media looking for a three ring circus to increase ratings, clicks, favorites and views. Rather than working in politics, people seem to want to be their own movement (of one), or hang out only with those they agree with. Mostly no one does anything. These days a political argument is calling someone a name, or a personal attack. No one wants to hear the details. Frustration, fear and anger rule the day, and rhetoric is king. Need to solve a complex problem? Demand a solution, usually involving more government regulation, all tied up with a red white and blue ribbon with ‘Make America Great’, or ‘Hope and Change’ written on it. All of this is a movement waiting for a leader. A leader that promises to win the argument, fix the problems, make the bad things go away, and make everyone feel better again. The word fascism is so loaded, just saying it in a crowded room in relation to American politics provokes all sorts of angry responses. People almost always think of Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. We’re taught fascism comes from the right, but the truth is that in Italy, and Germany it was a center right, or center left movement, to the right of socialism, marxism and anarchism but to the left of the established ‘conservative’ governments. When government becomes so powerful it is responsible for everything, it can’t do anything right. Sound familiar? Is America in a Pre Fascist political state? Are the conditions necessary for fascism on the horizon? If so, who or what is responsible and what can be done about it? Do we blame the elite? The government itself? Or people who have grown too dependent on a powerful state, and now they just want it to work. It’s time to talk about politics differently and name the real danger. Sponsored by X Government Cars.

Podcast 207

If nothing changes. If nothing changes…nothing changes. Does it feel, sometimes, as if things seem like they are about the change, but they don’t? Sometimes there are long periods of ‘stasis’. Some interpret this as a positive, but it can be negative. While the media thrives on making viewers and listeners think huge changes are right around the corner; Prosperity is just ahead, War is about to break out, Disease threatens us all, then…nothing. With the jobs numbers last week, the the ongoing situation with slow or no economic growth, the slow down in the foreign affairs situation, the political pundits talking about a wave election for republicans one week, and no wave the next, Mitt Romney making noises again, and Hillary Clinton talking about running, it sure feels like 2008, or 1999? The world is on the verge of great era. Advances in manufacturing, communications, robotics, autonomous agents, software, medical science, even physics may be forming the building blocks of a world those of us born in the 20th century will not recognize. But getting there means huge changes, and getting through those changes will not be easy. We are living through a low ‘stasis’ point. Our leaders, republican and democrat, do not know what to do. We don’t know what to do. Everyone seems to be looking to someone else to solve problems, and yet problems never seem to get solved. The language remains the same; systemic problems in the labor force, a collapse – or boom – on wall street, republicans are against democrats and so on. A change agent is coming. Call it a black swan event, singularity, or whatever you want. We can’t know what and when it will be, but a catalyst that begins a period of upheaval and change is inevitable. Take what you hear on the day to day news with a grain of salt, and look for that catalyst. Sponsored by Baklund R&D