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 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 584-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-58

Podcast 584-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-58. With the Electoral Vote, Donald J. Trump is the official President Elect of the United States. He’ll be sworn in as the 45th President on Friday, January 20th, 2017. As terrible coverage of the election, post election and the events leading up to the inauguration continues, time to shift the conversation toward the challenges ahead. Podcast 584-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-58 my coverage of these challenges.

Last summer I predicted the final outcome of the 2016 election would center on the Great Lakes region of the United States. Ohio, Pennsyvania, Wisconsin, Michigan. The former industrial heartland has been plagued by bad economic and policy initiatives, excessive taxation, corruption and incompetent local governments. It’s not surprising people in these regions would have reached a point where they have had enough.

The new narrative is Donald Trump heralds a new kind of politics in America. Depending on the source, either a darker, jingoistic throwback to the 1950’s, a new kind of Populist-Conservative politics, or a new Centrism. Every politician wants to be thought of as a rail splitter, born in a log cabin. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump come from upper middle class backgrounds. Park Ridge, Illinois and the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, in New York City are hardly breeding grounds for American Populists.

While the tone of the executive branch might change under Trump the fact is moderate, establishment Republicans and moderate Democrats are still in control of the United States Government. How do we expect this group of out-of-touch politicians to address the challenges we face?

Since 2008 the US has had stimulus, banking legislation, the adoption of The Affordable Health Care Act and a change in Foreign Policy. The result is nominal economic growth, with 63 percent of the eligible workforce sidelined. A foreign policy that was supposed to herald a new era of peace and cooperation, didn’t. Despite major changes in technology, trade and comparative advantage the new story line is Manufacturing’s Greatest Days lie ahead. Is this true? Another initiative of the new administration is to force spending of a trillion dollars on ‘infrastructure’. Will this work? Is this a conservative economic policy approach? With only 8 percent of the work force is employed in manufacturing and construction and most of the rest of us are employed in value added services, one wonders.

Whatever the new president wants to do, it will be processed through the US Congress, State Legislatures and the Courts. With plenty of Democrats in congress and state legislatures ready to put up a good fight, we’ll see how much the GOP and Trump can get done. We’ll also see if the policy they end up with will work to address major challenges of the future.

Massive changes are taking place in our society and the world as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes hold. While it’s good for Trump supporters and Republicans to celebrate, and for Democrats to prepare their opposition, the question is whether any of the leaders in Washington really understand what is needed for the people of the United States to grow our economy, move forward and prevail in the new world. Sponsored by Brush Studio and X Government Cars.

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 455

Impeach the Con Con. All hands will be required on deck to win the 2016 election. Caucuses and Primary Elections produce low voter participation. What is the tea party doing? Sending out petitions to impeach President Obama and calling for a constitutional convention to pass a grab bag of wacky amendments. In 2012, only about 7 percent of Iowans participated in precinct caucuses. Sadly, in Minnesota, which depends on caucuses for political volunteers to turn out the vote, turn out in 2012 was in the single digit range. Tea Partiers may be ‘angry’ and ‘frustrated’ with Congressman Tom Emmer and Speaker Kurt Daudt, but are so busy with the Obama Impeachment, they don’t have candidates to oppose either. Meanwhile Democrats are already door knocking and asking for contributions for a surfeit of candidates. Barack Obama leaves office on January 20th, 2017. Then there is a pesky detail that if an impeachment, guilty verdict and removal from office could be accomplished during a presidential election year, Joe Biden would be president of the United States. The constitutional convention idea, pitched several times in the last 60 years, is currently championed by talk show hosts, who apparently think delegates to such a convention would only be Tea Party members from deep red states like Texas and Kansas. Think California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Minnesota would send conservatives? If you wonder why the conservative movement in this country is dead, look no further than this kind of folly. It’s a sad waste of people earnestly concerned about their country’s future. Help turn out the vote? Build an organization with lasting political power? Forget it. Sponsored by X Government Trucks and Ryan Plumbing and Heating.

Podcast 235

Walk and Talk. Review of last week’s Ebola and political news, on an evening neighborhood walk, during a perfect fall night in the Upper Midwest. What’s the first thing you thought about when you woke up today? How about the difference in being born during this time, or perhaps 1418? (Editor’s Note: Yes, this is the first thing I thought about when I woke up the day I did this podcast. Who knows where that came from!). The 1400’s? Probably not a great era to be born in no matter what your station in life; Peasant, or Royal. Life expectancy? Between 20 and 35 years. Probably the best place to live? A united China, at the dawn of the Ming Dynasty, in that era. 1400’s was also the peak of the North American Indians. While we can be concerned about the medieval things that happen in our time; Beheadings, the spread of Ebola and the fear associated with both, all other measurements of life these days compared to say, 1418 are much more desirable. Speaking of Ebola. At the suggestion of Republican Senator John McCain, President Obama has appointed an Ebola Czar. Now everyone is upset that the Ebola Czar isn’t a General. Really? How can moderate Republicans like McCain go around talking about ‘smaller government’ when their best suggestion on how to handle Ebola is more government? How did that work out with The Department of Homeland Security after 9/11. The President oversees the Defense Department, NIH, the CDC and has a Surgeon General. What about Obama being the Ebola Czar since he’s responsible. Minnesota’s Republican Senate Candidate Mike McFadden finally hits a home run by advocating a travel ban, while Senator Al Franken wants to think about it some more. Meanwhile, the President tells America not to ‘panic’. Who’s in charge? According to the New York Times, President Obama is privately ‘livid’ that apparently no one is. Message to the President: “Pssst…Sir…uh…You’re in charge!”. Additional thoughts on the President’s no drama process. Maybe he just doesn’t want to do what anyone else wants to do, and uses ‘process’ as an excuse. Philosophically, he doesn’t believe the US is exceptional, blames European Colonialism for the problems of the world, and hews pretty much to the progressive belief in expanding government … particularly the Federal Government, and actually the executive branch of the federal government. Houston, we have a problem. We have a bad president, and if we can make it to January 20th 2017, we’ll have a new one. Hopefully someone who has had executive experience as Governor and not another former Senator, and please no more community organizers! Finally, the political ‘moneyballers’ continue to predict a Republican Wave, for the election on November 4th, 2014 and then take back the prediction. What’s the difference between political scientists, television personalities and writers who know how to use excel? Political scientists concentrate on real voting data, historically, and use poll data sparingly. We won’t know what will happen in this election, until at least November 4th, 2014 — late into the evening. Sponsored by XGovernmentcars