Trump’s Comey Con 2017-Podcast 629

President Trump fires FBI director Comey. The advocacy media goes crazy. Everything Trump does is wrong. Whatever Trump does is right. Everyone wants to hear what they want to hear. Republicans are good/bad. Democrats are bad/good. My team is better than your team. This is not an informed populace. This is the Roman Chariot races. In Trump’s Comey Con 2017-Podcast 629.

Media At Its Best

A blizzard of reaction, meetings in the bushes, comments at press conferences, tweets and opinions about what happened makes it impossible to advance the story. The President can fire the FBI director if he wants. No it isn’t unprecedented. Yes it is unusual. Bill Clinton was the last president to do it. Yes a President should have the people he wants in his administration.

That’s My Story and I’m sticking To It. Or not.

Believe what you want. Trump wanted to fire Comey from the get go. Or, Trump decided quickly he’d had it with Comey’s showboating and decided to fire him. Or, Trump fired Comey because the FBI director wanted more money for continuing the FBI probe of the allegations Russia tampered with the 2016 election. Pick and choose your truth.

Good Luck

If your two sources of information are the local talk radio station and a cable show in the evening you won’t know much. If you read all the columns and commentary from pundits trying to persuade people the red team is right, or the blue team is right you’ll be more confused. The commentary masquerading as news goes many layers deep. Actual reporting is scarce. Facts are dear.

What Do You Actually Know

Partisan reaction obscures a very important question. What is the truth regarding allegations of attempts by the Russians to influence the US Election? Is it true Trump campaign officials colluded with the Russians in an alleged effort to influence the US Election? Did the Russians work on behalf of the Trump campaign? Was then candidate Donald Trump aware? Did Trump collude with the Russians?

Firing the FBI director has done nothing but open a festering wound. Do you know whether there was collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign? Your congressmen and senators do not know either. We will eventually have to have a special prosecutor to settle the question. As this process works itself out, you and I will know even less.

Who’s Minding The Store?

Meanwhile not much is getting done, despite the first 100 days ballyhoo. The so called ‘ObamaCare repeal’ bill languishes in the Senate. Courts have tied up the most significant of the Trump executive orders, while others merely direct studies to take place or involve the normal process of running the executive branch. Congress passed and the president signed a budget that looks like a holdover from the Obama administration. This is draining the swamp? This is a new day?

Advice From Talk Show Hosts

Right wing talk show hosts are suddenly talking about how Trump can’t be Trump, or why we need a constitutional convention that mysteriously would only include ‘conservatives’. And yet, Trump appears to be doing quite well at being himself in spite of all the advice from those knowledgeable talk show hosts. Just look at his tweets.

Well. At least we’re not talking about a crisis in the middle east or North Korea.

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Trump’s Comey Con 2017-Podcast 629

 

 

 

Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620

Foreign Policy Based On Cable News and Twitter

Wars. Rumors of wars. In Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620 Trump breaks another promise. Remember 2013? That’s when Trump said Obama should forget about Syria. Save his powder for something more important. In the debates, then candidate Trump said the same thing. Leave Syria alone. We’ll get nothing out of attacking Assad.

Trump Fine With Assad Until…

At the end of March Senators McCain and Graham were pleading to attack Assad. However as late as last week Nikki Haley was telling her UN Counterparts and the world Assad could stay. Then came the chemical attack on Syrian civilians. Children. Pictures on cable news. President Trump saw the pictures and got mad.

Cable News Made President Mad

As Trump and his team met with the Chinese at his resort in Florida, he ordered a counterstrike. 59 missiles. 70 million dollars. The runway where the planes took off is still intact. Syrian military aviation continues to fly sorties from that runway. On a dime this president has changed US foreign policy. Changed one of the cornerstones of his campaign. Another major promise broken.

North Korea Too

Over the weekend the USS Carl Vinson Strike Force was detailed to the Western Pacific. Off the Korean Peninsula. Suddenly Donald Trump has become George W. Bush. If you voted for Trump is this what you voted for? We’re a long way from building the wall and getting China to send all those jobs back now, Toto.

Alt Right Deeply Misinformed

Then there are the rumors. The bad reporting. The discourse on social media. One hundred fifty thousand US troops to Syria? Says so right here. China deploying another one hundred fifty thousand of their troops to the Yalu river, China’s border with North Korea. Russia and Iran say they’ll respond if there are any more US attacks. Word is the Russian Navy is very busy in Europe. More activity than the cold war.

How About Those Twins?

Voters who didn’t want to talk about foreign policy because it was too complicated might want to bone up. TV producers and Radio Program directors and talk show hosts may want to drop the banter about sports and the weather. Republicans should take a look at the bargain they made with this president and ask themselves just what they bought and must now defend.

Trust Me. It’s Gonna Be Great

Welcome to Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620. Tax Reform, a trillion dollar stimulus program and another run at repealing ObamaCare loom. The US is twenty trillion dollars in debt. On top of that, perhaps a war in Syria he campaigned against and a crisis in North Korea. Don’t worry though. The president will tweet about it. Foreign Affairs crisis? Bah. More tweets. In Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620.

(Editor’s Note: Late Tuesday the President told the New York Post, “We are not going into Syria”, and blamed the confusion on his ‘aides’. Which would be his ambassador to the UN among other fairly senior administration personnel. Oddly enough regime change remains a new goal. He also said, “We’re sending an armada” to North Korea. Rhetorical Presidency indeed.)

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

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 569-Final State by State Round Up

Podcast 569-Final State by State Round Up. Where the state polls stand for presidential candidates right before election day 2016. This podcast does not endorse a candidate. I will not make you feel good or bad about your vote, or non vote. I will not attach ‘indexes’ and ‘percentage probabilities’ to potential wins or losses for the candidates. In Podcast 569-Final State by State Round Up, how candidates fare in each of the states according to existing polls. Partisan and advocacy journalists don’t provide insight on survey research. I do. What you’re getting from the cable news channels and advocacy news ‘websites’ are charlatans pushing their point of view. Fact is, no one knows how the election will play out in any of the so called battleground states. That’s because despite all the best effort, even the best political researchers are challenged to determine who is actually going to show up to vote especially when the polls show a close vote, within the margins of error. Elections are made on who votes. Not the number of signs. Not the number of people who show up at rallies. Not who ran the best TV spots. It’s all about getting the vote out. Once the vote is in, it’s all about counting. Is the election rigged? In a sense, yes. The United States is a representative republic which elects its executive not by the popular vote but through an institution known as the Electoral College. Some states’ electoral slates are proportionally chosen. Some states select electoral slates by party. The electors themselves have already been chosen. They will actually select the President of the United States on December 15th, 2016. In some states the popular vote determines how the electors are ‘supposed’ to vote. In some states it depends on which party’s candidate wins the overall vote. No so called ‘rogue elector‘ has ever been prosecuted for voting outside the state statute guidelines. In the event of an electoral tie, the election will be decided by the US House of Representatives. One thing is true, the republicans are the ones talking about ‘rigged’ elections right now, but if Donald Trump wins the presidency they’ll stop talking about that immediately and the democrats will start talking about things being ‘rigged’. The only thing coverage of these kinds of conspiracies do is reduce the faith Americans and the rest of the world has in the electoral process. In reality, ‘rigging’ a national election is a difficult task, despite what movies and conspiracy theorists say. If you are concerned about your candidate winning the election, the best thing you can do is turn off the TV and get out and help them win by driving people to the polls or making last minute calls, poll watching, or if you’re qualified, volunteering as an election judge. Thankfully we’ll be looking at election night results in the next podcast. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance and Brush Studio, in the West End, Saint Louis Park.

Podcast 529

First Night at EAA. Sunday nights are load in nights for exhibitors, fly-ins, and media at the EAA AirVenture Air Show at Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. I always celebrate with a regular podcast, live from just under the control tower as we start a new week, on the First Night at EAA. It’s late. Everyone is asleep, but I am getting in the last few thoughts on the coming show, and new developments in the political world this weekend. Having just come from the RNC at Cleveland and witnessing the divisions in the Republican party firsthand, it’s a little weird to see the same kinds of fissures developing with the democrats at Philadelphia with the specter of the democrat establishment killing the grassroots too. Throughout this hot and stormy Sunday I’ve been thinking about a recent email exchange with a Trump supporter that says so much about American politics today. A gentleman who normally sends me great jokes via email suddenly swerved into politics exhorting me and a few score others on his email list to ‘vote Trump’. Why? Because Trump is going to get rid of NAFTA and the TPP and bring all the jobs back to the United States. I decided to press him to find out exactly why he thinks what he thinks and why he would take the unusual step of pushing his friends to vote Trump. It took several emails to learn he just ‘feels’ Trump is the best guy, Trump is like Lincoln, Trump knows what to do and he’ll do it, and don’t make me explain this stuff, google it. Then he asks me what I think of the questions I asked him! That serves as a debate in the land of Trump. A place where everyone gets what he wants, when he wants it, because Trump said so. A place where one bright morning a box will arrive from China and everyone will open it up and find a note that reads, “Sorry about taking your job at the bucket factory way back in 1997 but we needed it. Here it is back, slightly used but we hope you’ll forgive us”. There it is people. Donald J. Trump is going to get Uncle Joe his job back at Bethlehem Steel so he and Martha can buy back the 1993 Buick Regal, which the GM plant in Flint will be making again thanks to old ‘I’ll make the trains run on time’ Trump. I realized, while ordering coffee at the concessions stand next to the beautiful B-25 out here on the airfield, that there are a lot of 50+ children out there. Thinking is just too hard. Researching facts takes too much time. Actually learning the contours of an issue is a job no one wants. Lots of final thoughts — for the time being — on the convention, the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the DNC chair, and the impending Trump presidency. Or not. Thank God I can talk about airplanes for the next few days! Sponsored by Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 327

Right To Work. As Wisconsin’s Assembly considers Right To Work legislation amid controversy, Minnesota conservatives wonder what’s wrong with Republicans in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. The Washington Post this week ran a piece decrying the decay of the organizational power of unions in the Badger state since ACT10 was passed in 2011. The reader is left with the idea this isn’t such a bad thing for local and state budgets, or the employees of counties, towns and the state either. Was this the intent? 24 states have passed right to work legislation, and Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker made history with legislation limiting the power of government unions. A brief history of collective bargaining for government workers suggests why the democrats and the left are terrified by Walker. At least two of the landmark government acts establishing unions in the public sector were executive orders. Given President Obama’s precedent setting use of executive orders and executive memoranda, think what a President Walker might do with the existing executive orders dating back to Nixon, regarding Federal workers and collective bargaining arrangements. Wisconsin is the home of AFSCME, and was the first state to pass a law allowing its public workers to unionize. How things have changed. The reality is collective bargaining in state and local governments created a gordian knot that must be cut, if authorities want to be able to get control of their budgets. The state cannot offshore its work, or move to a right to work state in the south, to cut costs. As the media tries to cover right to work laws negatively it is inadvertently showing how governors in democrat and republican states are able to cut that knot and get control of their budgets. Now, Minnesotans want to know why what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t happening in Minnesota. Minnesota Republicans seem content to play small ball; Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt is thrilled to act a peacemaker between warring democrat Governor Dayton and Senate Majority leader Bakk, and in the Senate, minority leader Nienow is thrilled to announce more spending for education than the Governor wants, which is saying something. Small Ball, indeed. Some might characterize it as small balls in fact. What should be advocated? What’s working in other states? Why are Minnesota’s Republicans unable to take a lesson from Wisconsin’s Republicans, who are having a better time of it. Sponsored by X Government Cars

Podcast 321

Updating The Big Stories. Live from the wood stove at the broadcast bunker. On the heels of Podcast 320, concentrating on the Islamic State issue in US foreign policy, some updates on this and other stories. Jeb Bush gives a major foreign policy speech in Chicago, with little more than rhetoric featured except for the announcement that a number of old Reagan and Bush 1 and 2 hands will be assisting ‘The Future President’, Jeb Bush. Is old Cold War and Neo Conservative/Interventionist policy what the United States needs? Or do we need something a little more updated? For Bush this is the safe (and smart) bet for Republicans, but he still did not map out a plan. Meanwhile in Brownsville, Texas a District Court judge has put a hold on President Obama’s plans to ‘reform’ immigration with executive orders. Some people think the lower court ruling is the Supreme Court. The suit was brought by a score of states that claim they are irreparably harmed by the President’s orders, and the President plans to appeal. Some believe the White House has a better chance in higher courts. Others believe this will go all the way to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, chances are the ruling will hold while the states continue with their suit. The scolds are at it again, this time saying the technology revolution had produced no productivity change. Scolds say the tech comparison to the invention of the Light Bulb, or the automobile and their impact on society is poppycock. Why is it Scolds always cite Facebook and Hacking, or the NSA and Ed Snowden as examples of ‘tech’ when they want to suggest ‘tech’ hasn’t really amounted to much? It depends on how you measure productivity, and what years you compare. Moreover, the technology revolution is just getting started. The smart phone is really only a few years old. Flexibility offered in almost every industry with IT has changed how we do business, where we do business, and where workers are when they work. Still greater developments are only starting to be researched. For example, drug companies and silicon valley are teaming up to research reverse aging. If people can live substantially longer lives, without aging, or reverse aging, that will probably have a pretty big impact on how productive our economy is. Would you volunteer to take a trip to Mars? Before you respond, there’s one catch. It’s a one way trip. 100 people have already volunteered for the Mars 1 mission, 24 will be chosen. They will spend the rest of their lives on the angry red planet. If you have issues with so called millennials, you might want to hear what some of the volunteers – in their twenties – said about why they want to take a trip, from which they will never return. Their commitment to the bigger picture is sobering. Sponsored by X Government Cars