If You’re Looking For Truth You’re Getting Conned-Podcast 639

Coverage of former FBI director Comey testifying forces a political podcast. As a result, a velvet summer midnight in Western Virginia is the backdrop for  If You’re Looking For Truth You’re Getting Conned-Podcast 639.

People Actually Watch This Crap?

Out here the Internet is slow. With no movie packages we’re stuck with reality shows, local news and lots of commercials. I’ve seen a lot of drug commercials. I’m getting a lot of screen time on my ‘device’ because of the long commercial breaks. You know, the device get-off-my-lawn types complain about. Time to blow off some steam In If You’re Looking For Truth You’re Getting Conned-Podcast 639.

The Mighty Wurlitzer

Do I have to say it again? Everyone is selling a point of view. Like a thickener for soup. Depending on who owns or funds one of these partisan ‘news’ websites, it’s their point of view sold through shares on social media. And why not? If you agree with something, share it. Right? Truth is those shares aren’t aren’t news. Not ‘fake news’. Propaganda. In If You’re Looking For Truth You’re Getting Conned-Podcast 639.

Believe Whatever You Want But It’s Not The Truth

For example. the ‘biased mainstream media’ reported the FBI was investigating Trump, right? Are the Hillary Clinton emails and the Russia hack question one and the same? Does the now famous Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch conversation in the tarmac have anything to do with the Trump administration? Are you sure? How do you know?

Join Us As We Con America!

When you can’t tell the difference between the good stuff and formaldehyde and rubbing alcohol you take your life in your hands. Or so the story went in the 1920’s. As a result, we don’t know the difference between snake oil and snake oil.  Most of all, readers don’t fact check. We don’t know who funds these outlets. Eyeballs don’t google the author. Clicks. Shares. Numbers reached. Get your propaganda on twitter and Facebook. A majority of Americans get their news from social media. Especially relevant is the fact that Americans are being conned as never before. In If You’re Looking For Truth You’re Getting Conned-Podcast 639.

The End Of Politics In The United States?

Seems like we live on opposite shores of an ocean of opinion. Due to storms raging shore to shore, driven by outside forces seemingly beyond our control. As much as this may seem true the antidote is talking to each other. Especially relevant is the question, when was the last time you had coffee with someone to talk about solutions? Do we have discussions anymore about what actually works? Seems like our conversations are all about whether ‘we think’ this is or that is true. Furthermore, we live under brands and act as if our brand is the best. Are Republicans going make an already dangerous government less powerful. Moreover, who pays for minimum incomes and free health insurance, and free education Democrats promise? Meanwhile, a ‘conservative’ president pushes to borrow another trillion dollar stimulus for roads and bridges we don’t need.

Getting Nothing Done

Any analysis of the day’s news I might do inevitably leads to the conclusion very little coverage sheds much light on anything. On the contrary, it is designed to convince us to support a person or point of view. The bottom line is, while republicans have large majorities at most states and the federal level, they’re not getting much done while Democrats move further left every day.

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If You’re Looking For Truth You’re Getting Conned-Podcast 639

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

 

 

 

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.

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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.