The Strange Case of Susan Rice and Other Mysteries-Podcast 619

Different Mysteries Left and Right

Susan Rice is the leaker. A political Flack. Running an operation to discredit the new president before he took office. Rice is at least guilty of a felony. At least that’s the story the right wing commentators are telling. In The Strange Case of Susan Rice and Other Mysteries-Podcast 619.

On the left it’s a different story. National security became a top concern after someone hacked the DNC computers. The Russians did it. The Russians did it because Trump did some kind of back room deal.

Opinion Is Not News

In America’s increasingly partisan media most people only want their beliefs confirmed. There’s no chance a political point of view different from my own can be right. Is there? A sea of information. Where opinion masquerades as fact and personalities beat the drums. We’re supposed to dance to their rhythm.

We Know Nothing…yet

Real Facts? In The Strange Case of Susan Rice and Other Mysteries-Podcast 619 we’ll see there are few facts. Russians hacking the DNC? Not so fast. Trump making deals behind the scenes with Putin? Obama ordering illegal surveillance of a president elect? Maybe. Maybe not.

Tin Foil Hats Anyone?

Evidence supporting claims of the right and left in this case is thin. All of it has the classic elements of conspiracy theory. So we’ll take a moment in The Strange Case of Susan Rice and Other Mysteries-Podcast 619 to detail the known facts. You can draw your own conclusions. Mystery lovers beware though. We’re along way from wrapping this one up in the final chapter.

Basic Framework

Is Susan Rice a political operative? What is the legal framework regarding National Security Agency intercepts. Why did the Trump administration leak NSA documents to a congressmen? What provoked the president to tweet he was ‘wiretapped’ in the first place? Is there a difference between a wiretap and an NSA intercept? Who gets to see intercepts? What are the significant legal justifications for executive orders in 2011 and 2017 allowing sharing in the first place. Lots of questions.

Where There’s Smoke

One thing is true. The dust kicked up by the Susan Rice story obscures real developments. North Korean Missiles. Syrian chemical weapons. Congressional action on the ACA, Tax Reform and Immigration. We’ll talk about it in The Strange Case of Susan Rice and Other Mysteries-Podcast 619.

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Podcast 610-Davis & Davis Discuss Right Wing Political Correctness

Republican “Political Correctness” Is Now A Thing

Right wingers are thinkers. Open to new ideas. Right? Nope. There’s a new kind of “Political Correctness“. “Patriotic Correctness”. If you question right wing ideas and conclusions? Present a source not ‘approved’? Say something not part of the right wing mainstream? You’ll receive the same pressure to tow the line usually reserved for the left. In Podcast 610-Davis & Davis Discuss Right Wing Political Correctness.

Republican Win

Republicans are happy about their victory in 2016. Makes sense. Putting on blinders can be politically dangerous though. Andrew Davis is a film maker and reporter in Los Angeles. Bob Davis is a podcaster living in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Father and son have discovered right wing political correctness at about the same time. Alex Nowrasteh of CATO is the subject of this father and son podcast. In Podcast 610-Davis & Davis Discuss Right Wing Political Correctness

Social Media

Say something that doesn’t support Trump? Tweet something raining on the republican parade? Insults and propaganda follow. Furthermore, ask for proof or supporting arguments you’ll get only right-wing approved links and comments. Seems like liberty people used to be about open discussion. Sadly, not any more apparently. It isn’t easy to talk about. We have to talk about the hard things. In Podcast 610-Davis & Davis Discuss Right Wing Political Correctness.

Alternate History

Rational right? Party of Reagan and Ron Paul? These days the right has it’s own media. It’s own history and narratives. Ask a question? Disagree? You’re a ‘democrat’, ‘communist’, ‘marxist’. Facts? Principles? Proof? Meme. Picture. Link. There! Shut up. These are reactions usually reserved for the political left. In conclusion we wonder what happened.

Socialist Construct For 70 Years

We have had big government since the 1930’s. Seems like we’re fighting over different sides of the same coin. If Patriotic Correctness demands loyalty to the right wing version of big government how does the right present an alternative? In conclusion, political correctness leads to tyranny. Especially relevant is the fact that it isn’t easy to point out. If you’re on the political right though, you have to point it out. Because most people are good, maybe it will do some good. In Podcast 610-Davis & Davis Discuss Right Wing Political Correctness.

Sponsored by X Government Cars.

 

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.

Sponsored by X Government Cars.[powepress]

 

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.

Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016

Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show Number 59.

In Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016 Guest Andrew Davis and I have a father and son discussion of some of the big takeaways from 2016 and a look ahead to 2017. This isn’t one of those big stories of the year countdowns that populate the media at the end of every year. Just some thoughts about the year from both of us. What we have seen and what we thought was significant.

Of course in the United States, the big story of the year was Election 2016. Father and son talk about the winners and losers this year and how to stay informed going into 2017. The biggest loser of 2016 was traditional broadcast and cable television news and what is generally referred to as the mainstream media. This year though, you could add broadcast talk radio to the list. The biggest offense for these outlets was the penchant for predicting the future, picking a winner and endorsing a candidate.

From the media perspective the biggest winner was social media and You Tube. According to a recent study by Pew, more people got their news from social media and You Tube than ever before. This is a tectonic shift away from broadcast radio news and news delivered over traditional sources like broadcast television and cable television. This shift has provoked efforts to control what news and links people see and hear on social media sources.

In Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016, the biggest surprise in 2016, for traditional media and politics in 2016 was Trump’s Electoral Victory. For political elites inside the beltway and those who believed what old line traditional media told them, the emergence of Donald J. Trump in the primaries, his nomination as the Republican presidential candidate and his electoral victory was a shock. The biggest factor in politics in 2016 were the misconceptions fostered by terrible reporting and analysis.

Late in the election season the Clinton campaign and the White House introduced the idea that the Russians somehow ‘hacked’ the US election. While a convenient explanation for bereft democrats, even at this late date proof of a Russian Interference is lacking. Moreover, proof the alleged Russian intervention resulted in actually effecting the outcome of the election is even more elusive. Father and son disagree on this topic. This disagreement that carried over from the radio show to intense discussions with friends well into the evening.

With change back on the front burner in 2017 our discussion turns to how to get good information. There will be a need to evaluate the performance of the Trump administration and arguments against its initiatives. With so called fake news, opinion journalism rather than good investigative journalism, having good sources is more important that ever.

Once you have goos sources, you also need context. Good sources include source materials such as reports, think tank studies, documents, and live video. Context comes from reading history, source documents, non fiction books on various topics and your interests. Both of us caution against pop culture books which are nothing more than the same type of rehashing and alarmist coverage you see in social media, cable news and talk radio. They are designed to persuade, rather than inform. Certainly one can say think tanks have biases, which are usually fairly obvious, but reliance on source material from different parts of the spectrum and academic interests gives you the background and context to understand the biases without being manipulated.

Finally, the big issues in 2017 to watch will be the Trump Team’s transition, foreign policy issues including the South China Sea, ISIS, Europe, Russia and China, foreign trade, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s role in US foreign policy, United States Economic policy. Politically what the 115th congress does and how it does what it does will be significant stories in 2017. Supporters of the new President will be hard pressed almost from day one to defend his actions, and the opposition is treading through brand new territory. Both sides will need objective facts.

Finally, we have a little fun with the millennial obsession with smart phones and the hand wringing over ‘so many’ celebrity deaths in 2016 and thank the sponsored, supporters and listeners to the Bob Davis Podcasts throughout 2016. Happy New Year. See you in 2017.

 

Podcast 582-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-57

Podcast 582-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-57. Hillary Clinton’s Tribe Throws a Temper Tantrum. The Electoral College will soon gather in respective state capitols for the purpose of choosing the the next president of the United States. In a last ditch attempt to influence the outcome of this final hurdle for Republican President-elect Trump, democrat supporters are hurling unsubstantiated charges regarding Russia, Wikileaks, Fake News and Hacks. I separate and break down very different story lines behind it all in Podcast 582-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-57.

New protests say the Electoral College should be abolished because it isn’t ‘democratic’, all while they try to influence electors to vote for Clinton rather than Trump. ‘The Electoral College’ is our last line of defense, they shout. Perhaps the most absurd assertion of all; ‘This is how Hitler came to power’. I also break this down in Podcast 582-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-57. The Electoral College for all its faults is in fact a democratic process. Getting rid of the Electoral College as an institution would be a very complex process involving amending the US Constitution.

The so called ‘Russian Hack’ is actually a constellation of assertions and claims, circumstantial at best, from shadowy sources in the US Intelligence Community. Suddenly very entertaining ‘Fake News’ stories on the Internet require complex rules and warning labels from social media in what amounts to a George Soros funded violation of our First Amendment rights under the US Constitution. If you can’t make baseless assertions about child sex rings at Pizza Restaurants in Washington, you can’t make baseless assertions about Russians ‘hacking’ the US Election to put Trump in the White House.

What about the Hitler comparisons? How did the Nazis come to power in Germany in the 1920’s? How did Hitler come to power in the early 1930’s? How are these factors different from the Representative Republic known as The United States of America? Attempts to intimidate and influence Electors to comparisons of Trump to Hitler and Republicans to Nazis, fevered assertions about the wily Russians as Hillary Clinton’s Tribe Throws A Temper Tantrum.

We’re living through an age of disruption as technology destroys centralized processes, including a massive, sclerotic Federal Government. Forget Republican and Democratic. There are really two poles now. Tyranny and Liberty. Which do you choose? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul, X Government Cars and Hydrus Performance.

(Editor’s Note: Since this show was produced and posted, the Washington Post is reporting Director of National Intelligence Clapper, and FBI Director Comey have ‘signed on’ to the assessment of the CIA regarding Russian “intervention in the US Election for the purpose of influencing its outcome”. This assessment remains classified and is therefore not public and one should read the statements of Clapper and Comey on this matter for more details.)

Podcast 580-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-56

Podcast 580-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-56. Four mini podcast for your weekend. It’s time to move beyond talk about fake news and false narratives. Time to work on becoming better citizens. We have to get beyond reactions to get what is needed to create better political structures for the future. People have very high expectations about a Trump presidency. Whether you fear the future or can’t wait for it, the President-Elect’s cabinet nominations are moderate and establishment republicans. Trump’s ideas are philosophically all over the road. The new republican administration may end up being just as statist as a Hillary Clinton presidency. One example is Trump’s penchant for roads and bridges and airports. Given the establishment congress of republican moderates expecting a reduction in the cost and power of the federal government is too much to ask for. Fake News is still ‘in the news’. There were suggestions from the CIA at the end of last week that the Russians ‘could have’ been responsible for the Wikileaks hack. Still no proof though. That doesn’t stop the media from feeding into the Clinton camp narrative that Russia put Trump in the White House. It’s impossible to say what influenced voters in Ohio, Pennsyvania, North Carolina and Florida where Trump won by tight margins. None of these facts stop demands to ‘do something’ about ‘fake news’. FaceBook is caving and censorship is suddenly now a big topic. There have also been reports that Electors (members of the electoral college for 2016) have received death threats. What happens if Trump doesn’t have a majority of electors? What is the goal of people supporting the effort to influence the Electoral College? Have you driven around the country lately? If you had, you would know the United States does not have an ‘infrastructure’ problem. Building new airports, roads and bridges will not create enough new jobs to influence a 16 trillion dollar economy. Moreover, trade protection, cutting taxes on the middle class, increasing spending and government power including military spending is fraught with problems and probably won’t result in economic growth. Where does the money come from for these shiny objects? It has to be taxed or borrowed, sooner or later. For those who supported Trump because he ‘isn’t Hillary’, there are no guarantees he’ll be materially different from Clinton, when it comes to results. Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.[Powerpress]

Podcast 579-Internet Censorship

Podcast 579-Internet Censorship. The news media has a new story-line. Fake News Elected Donald Trump. We have to do something about fake news. It amounts to is censorship of the Internet. A violation of the right to free speech guaranteed by the US Constitution’s first amendment at least in spirt. What IS Fake News? I think of Fake News as False Narratives. Story lines seeded by politicians and corporate PR people. Narratives that are picked up and reported on by journalists who take down quotes for their stories rather than investigate and report. These story lines are picked up by more journalists who quote talking heads. Commentators commentate, more quotes and more stories until the narrative outlives its usefulness and then the whole thing starts over. Examples include explanations of why Trump won the election including, ‘Women voted for Trump instead of Hillary’. Another was the reporting on ‘What the Polls showed’ which usually meant Clinton was supposed to win. Facts in both cases debunked these claims. The definition of ‘Fake News’ we’re actually dealing with now are false stories presented as fact. You see them on You Tube, FaceBook and Twitter. But they are picked up by websites like Breitbart or Huffington Post if they fit a narrative. Since ‘fake news’ elected ‘a person like Trump’, Clinton backers are demanding social media and search engine companies like FaceBook and Google ‘do something about fake news’. In Podcast 579-Internet Censorship, we spend a little time explaining the American Political system, specifically the Electoral College. This explains how Donald Trump was able to eke out an electoral victory in key states, as well as a solid victory among the voters of Ohio, which gave him a victory in the presidential contest, regardless of popular vote totals, fair and square. There is virtually no evidence fake news had anything to do with these tight victories. If Clinton’s voters had actually voted in those states we’d be talking about a Clinton transition and Trump would be on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere. Despite the fact that Clinton has been a proponent of doing away with the electoral college for years, suddenly the hoary old institution is her best friend. We don’t know if anyone voted for Trump based on the Pizza Gate story, we can’t and we won’t. That doesn’t stop the left from putting immense pressure on FaceBook, the supposed culprit here in publishing so called fake news. What does Mark Zuckerberg the head of FaceBook do? He caves. A second story making the rounds in the alt-right community with headlines like, “We told you so” says they’re already censoring the Internet. Finally there have long been discussions in the national security and foreign policy community regarding censoring Islamic Jihad sites that radicalize followers. All three of these stories are being conflated right now online as though some imminent threat to free speech exists. Is there? Or are these companies simply formalizing procedures to suppress violent or illegal content that has been part of their service agreements? As a content creator the idea of ‘warning labels’ is chilling. The idea of some kind of algorithm to be defeated is chilling. That said, wouldn’t such procedures invite work arounds? Wouldn’t censorship invite efforts to defeat algorithms? Personally I don’t concern myself with speech control in countries that don’t have guarantees of free speech. I do care about attempts to limit speech in the United States where free speech is THE cornerstone of a successful representative republic and is constitutionally guaranteed in the first amendment. You can’t stop things you don’t agree with. As a content provider, this concerns me. Sponsored by X Government Cars and by Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 576-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-54

Podcast 576-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-54. Hillary’s recount demands and Fidel Castro’s death prove real news stories are out there. Podcast 576-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-54 features a look at the opportunities and challenges confronting the people. I have no endorsement of any major candidate to defend. I have no wish to add to the media reactive political noise. What I can do is help people break out of the political box, by asking some important questions. If Donald J Trump is chosen by the Electoral College and inaugurated in January of 2017, the Republicans will be in the best position to control the Federal and State Governments in decades. However, celebrating republicans should keep in mind, most elected republicans leaders are still ‘establishment’ types. Despite his promises suddenly Trump is backpedaling on repealing the Affordable Care Act, and prosecuting Hillary Clinton. His top advisors are discussing a trillion dollar stimulus package for infrastructure. He’s pulling back on the ‘big beautiful wall’. ‘Moderate’ republicans are also pulling back on  trade policy and managing expectations on foreign policy. It is doubtful republicans will address tough economic challenges with policy fostering dynamic economic growth. While we’re lost in debates about tweets from Trump Tower, The US economy is hampered by too much regulation, excessive debt and spending. Many of the so called social problems in this country can be attributed at least in part to low employment and slow or no economic growth since 2008. This is why it feels like we’re living in the Matrix. With a technology revolution as significant as the industrial revolution we need new ideas about society, politics and government. Instead, we have institutions designed for an agricultural or industrial age that don’t serve us anymore. On top of all that are demographic changes. The Baby Boom population is aging rapidly. Younger people have different ideas about politics, government and society. The future belongs to these younger demographics, and with different ideas about society, ‘Conservative’ and ‘Liberal’ mean different things. To address the challenges of the future will require more of us than reacting to tweets, the latest outrage, or someone’s personality. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul, Hydrus Performance, and X Government Cars.[powepress]

Podcast 575-Surviving Thanksgiving

Podcast 575-Surviving Thanksgiving. How to maintain your sanity through Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. As the final curtain is drawn on election 2016 the phrase “it’s all over but the shouting” should read, “It’s all over but for Political Junkies and others who can’t let it go”. Whether it is the cast of a broadway play, members of the alt-right paying homage to their leader, or Kanye West it seems sometimes as though people have lost their minds and are intent on making fools of themselves. Prepare for the toughest challenge of the political season: Your family at the Thanksgiving Day Table. A News Cleanse might be just what the doctor ordered. The Thanksgiving experience sets the tone for the rest of the holiday season. Podcast 575-Surviving Thanksgiving provides some simple ground rules so you don’t end up in a screaming match with your crazy uncle. If you are the crazy uncle these rules apply double. Back in the day people gave thanks at harvest time for surviving one more year. Today we give thanks for the new flat screen TV and stuff more of that cheeseball into our mouths. My favorite holiday is the fourth of July. No one cares what you do, or what you eat, or how much beer you drink and there are fireworks. Fireworks! At Thanksgiving it’s dark, winter is coming and we’re stuck with people who may just say things to see what happens. The culprit at Thanksgiving is High Expectations. People get very emotional. They want everyone to be happy. If you start in about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, everyone is not going to be happy. Among strategies for avoiding arguments or falling victim to relatives who like to poke at you, I mention techniques for changing the course of the conversation abruptly. Just bring up the Hollow Earth theory, Planet X, The Mandela Effect, the new Paul Is Dead theory, Time Travel, the Trumpets of Jericho and the idea that the world actually ended in 2012 and we are living in a computer. These are like conversational ‘in case of emergency break glass’ tools. Use them wisely. And have an excuse that allows you to leave early. Sponsored by X Government Cars, Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Hydrus Performance.[powepress]