Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society

Fighting and Arguing

A presidential press conference that had the look of a Dino De Laurentiis movie. Angry tweets. Arguments about whether the president is a narcissist or psychotic. These days the argument is the thing. Division. Confusion. Anger. Frustration with the fact that everything is political. A friend said recently, “When civil society breaks down everything becomes political”. The more we fight about politics the less we know. Argument and rhetoric have replaced substantive discourse. This idea forms the basis of Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society.

What is Civil Society

People think Civil Society these days is political action groups. Angry protests. Social media rants. Angry calls to talk radio. Everyone wants the silver bullet argument. We want to be the guy on TV that ‘takes it to them’. This is not civil society.  In Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society.

Stop Yelling and Start Building A Community

Civil Society is community. It is distinct from government and business. Civil Society is individuals working together to solve problems, build community and be good citizens. People who have learned from experience to build consensus to get things done. Civil Society is the core of your town, village, city, county and state.

Fighting and Arguing Does Not A Warrior Make

Do you show up to set the chairs up and make the coffee for the community meeting? Help your neighbors? Attend boring public meetings no one else cares about?  Are you one of those people who responds to calls for help in the community regardless of where they come from?. Are you willing to work with people you may not agree with politically? Show genuine concern for others through your actions? You’re the real warrior. Commentators and people who imitate them are not warriors and they are not leaders. We’ll talk about it in Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society

Eroding Civil Society

There are times when political action is called for. When people who have different points of view try to gather people to their cause. These can be bitter contests. Bitter feelings linger after contests that inevitably produce winners and losers. These days people won’t convene with anyone they don’t agree with. Discussions descend into bitter screaming matches on Social Media, Talk Radio, and Cable TV News. The media cultivates and encourages anti social behavior. Friendships are ended. Familial relationships are strained.

Don’t Argue

A true warrior doesn’t yell and scream. A leader is a good citizen people trust. These are people who understand people of like mind have to work to see that their ideas gain support. Protests and rallies serve a purpose but they are just a starting point. You don’t win in the rally. You win because you can work behind the scenes to build support for a concept, idea, or a solution to a problem.

It May Not Be Working Anymore

Recent studies show the stress levels of Americans increasing since the election. Not just the left. People on political right show the same kinds of intensifying stress levels. This kind of stress can’t be sustained. We might be seeing the end of the efficacy of rhetorical argument to fuel a movement. People may have just about had it with all the shouting and arguing regardless of where it is coming from. Maybe rebuilding civil society is a good first step.

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Podcast 359

Spring Dusk. Live from the deck of the Broadcast Bunker on a spring evening. Finally warm enough to eat outside, and podcast from the deck with great coffee and an origami fire in the grill, post steak. A review of a live speaking engagement at SD48’s Freedom Banquet starts and is interrupted because of technology problems. Is technology purchased just four years ago becoming obsolete? After a discussion about methods of public speaking, details about the Freedom Banquet discussion. How the media covers a ‘presidential’ race is too personality driven. What are the announced and unannounced candidates doing right now? What’s their goal. It isn’t the ‘electorate’ per se, but the actives and the major donors. Meanwhile, the public remains starved for coverage about details on issues. The most divisive force in American Politics today isn’t congress — though we are told constantly ‘gridlock’ is a divisive force — it’s media. Specifically, media tailored to a point of view, or ‘tribe’. With people using media tailored to their specific social tribe, we’re not getting the full story, and most of the time we’re getting ‘news’ focused on someone’s personality, what this one said or didn’t say, or the latest scandal. And, with candidates focused on the politically active, this is the time to start the process of organizing at the precinct level. Instead, people are talking about hot button, media driven ‘issues’ like the riot in Baltimore, or Ted Cruz’s statement about liberal fascism and Christians. Part of the mission of the podcasts is to break some of that emotion down with updates on issues. There is a need for people to connect as citizens, and learn to talk to each other without their party and social labels superimposed on their foreheads. Can we do it? Not while Fox News or MSNBC is blaring away in the background. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 334

Target Layoffs. While there’s a lot of news — or is that noise — about Hillary Clinton’s email, the iWatch from Apple and more nonsense than you can stand about the 2016 election cycle, some real news hits home in the Twin Cities as the crown jewel of Minneapolis Downtown, Target Corporation lays off 3100 people, mostly from the downtown headquarters. Target says the jobs will not be coming back. Of course the rah rah Minneapolis-Saint Paul media goes for the emotional angle; the human cost of layoffs and so forth, complete with soothing public relations from Governor Mark Dayton and the Target CEO. These people get 15 weeks of severance, we’re renewing our commitment to Minnesota and so on. Just last week General Mills, another Twin Cities mainstay let hundreds of middle managers go. When you look at these two big companies, you have to wonder if there’s something going on, despite rosy scenarios about the US Economic ‘recovery’. Over the years there’s been a lot of cheerleading and downtown boosterism from the biggest booster of them all, The Star Tribune. The ‘Trib’ is constantly promoting the Minnesota Miracle of Public-Private Partnerships and the wonders of what government can do for people. Is it a miracle?  Or becoming a bloated, bureaucratic, crony-capitalist cartel benefitting the rich sports team owners and companies big enough to benefit from the tax breaks? Is it too soon to start asking whether the template – the whole philosophy – of development in the urban centers of this state, is really an outdated, early twentieth century vision? The boosters say Millennials will move in to these downtown areas in droves, you’ll see. This week a new study shows that while some millennials are moving into dense urban centers with hipster apartments, bike trails and light rail, built and subsidized at enormous expense to taxpayers, not enough of them are moving into those downtown areas to be significant, when considering metro areas as a whole. Meanwhile, the tax bill in close ring suburbs goes higher and higher, as does a hamburger and a beer in downtown or uptown. And the same vision is pushed for the first ring suburbs like Saint Louis Park, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Bloomington, and Richfield, to name a few. More and more big companies are using new technology to downsize and eliminate jobs in the vast middle level management job categories, especially in their ritzy downtown headquarters. 50 years ago Moore’s law established the integrated circuit as one of the most explosive forces in history. Today Moore’s law is back with a vengeance as we pass 25 billion transistors on one chip, we’re seeing exponential redoubling of capabilities, and the arrival of a very disruptive new age. Autonomous machines, robotics, drones, advanced communications, the Internet of things, and more, suggest the future imagined by the central planners in Saint Paul, The Met Council, the Capitol and at Minneapolis’ City Hall might be a dystopia after all. Live from the deck on the first Spring night 

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Podcast 333

Licensing Yoga Instructors? Updates to start the week out right. This is the day Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will sign the state’s Right To Work law, making Wisconsin the 26th state to do so. Is Wisconsin so different from Minnesota? A University Professor says they didn’t used to be, but now that they advocate laws like ACT 10 and Right To Work they are. Fact is, Wisconsin has always been more industrial than Minnesota and was settled by people from different parts of Europe. Moreover, Wisconsin’s industrial base is a little older than Minnesota’s. Is it possible Wisconsin is facing the fall out from too much regulation and choking demands from unions in the public and private sector a decade or so sooner than Minnesota? With Target, and now General Mills laying off people, and businesses considering the Badger state’s friendlier attitude toward business, things might not be as rosy in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes as some think. While Wisconsin’s Assembly and Governor address these kinds of problems, Minnesota’s legislature is playing small ball, trying to break up the Minneapolis School District and brokering peace between warring DFL leaders. Is Minnesota too passive-aggressive to actually have the discussion about what is best for the future of the state, between progressives and conservatives? And in Colorado, the state legislature is considering requiring yoga instructors to be licensed, introducing higher costs and more regulation. The sponsors? A publicly traded company with lots of studios called ‘CorePowerYoga’. Suddenly crony capitalism wears Yoga Pants. In Minneapolis are you ready to pay for yet another Stadium. Rich Guy Bill McGuire and his rich friends including the Pohlads and Glen Taylor want the hard working tax payers of the state of Minnesota to foot the bill for a professional soccer team. And the artist responsible for all that triumphal Red Guard Propaganda in China during the Cultural Revolution, a man who flourished while others were being oppressed, will be painting the official portrait of Pope Francis. Wonder if the Pope will be wearing a green hat with a red star on it? He should. Sponsored by Complete Basement Systems

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