Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621

Social Media Rules

More of us get our news from social media these days. Problem is most of the ‘news’ on social media doesn’t adhere to standards. Might feel better informed, but it’s hard to tell the difference between writing to a standard and propaganda. In Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621.

Internet Never Lies

People are in the habit of posting, sharing, liking and commenting on stories that support their point of view. People apparently believe anything published on the Internet that looks credible and comes from a site they visit often. We are floating on a sea of bad information.

Garbage In Garbage Out

News stories not written to standard assert things that turn out to be false. What’s worse, this kind of information poisons the discourse. Thoughts, insights and ideas based on bad information form into concrete assumptions and conclusions. Those conclusions drive people’s ideas about the world.

Propaganda and Manipulation

In Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621 I’ll provide some examples of story-lines that have not been proven. Most of the time these stories reinforce the right versus left thinking that ruins friendships and family ties. It’s what makes social media so angry and vitriolic.

There are standards. When you know the standards you can determine whether a writer lives up to those standards. Without standards we’re susceptible to a steady stream of propaganda and manipulation. It’s up to us to learn the standards and choose what we post, share, like and comment on accordingly.

Context and Perspective

A steady diet of Social Media, 24 Hour Cable News and Talk Radio is like junk food for the mind. This ruins a person’s ability to discern whether assertions are true or just opinion. When all we do is read stuff online, watch You Tube videos and listen to cable news and talk radio we lose the context of major stories. We don’t get the details to be able to master the issues. Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621  explains how to do that.

Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621

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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 329

CPAC 2015. Updates for your weekend. This weekend CPAC kicks off the 2016 Presidential Campaign, at least on the Republican side and at least for the Washington Press Corps which doesn’t seem to have much to do these days, other than haunt appearances by one of the many potential Republican candidates. The latest political story line is about how the media giveth and taketh away from ‘untried’ candidates like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. Walker most recently bristled to what’s referred to as a ‘gotcha’ question regarding the religion of the President. Walker lambasted the media for its coverage of his answer, raised money on the ensuing ‘viral’ stories about that, and wrote a piece in reply which appeared in USA Today. Really? Do you think the average person in this country pays any attention to this kind of high school nonsense? The Washington Press Corps in particular seems to think of itself as some kind of monolithic institution, with the job of ‘vetting’ future presidents. In reality they are a bunch of ninnies who couldn’t vet a lawn service, let alone a potential president. Moreover, Scott Walker has plenty of experience with bruising fights with media, given what’s been going on in Wisconsin in the last few years. Secretary of State John Kerry – with his fake plastic surgery square jaw – made a fool of himself again. Find out how in this podcast. So, terrorism’s cause is the plight of the poor. Poor people have no other choice but to become Jihadists, right? It was revealed this week that so called ‘Jihadi John’, the guy cutting people’s heads off recently, is in fact the son of a well to do family from London, and has a degree in computer science. The fight in Minnesota about state commissioner pay continues, and is brought into perspective with the revelation that over sixteen thousand federal workers made more than two hundred thousand dollars last year. Meanwhile Vice President Joe Biden says the wealth of the top one percent should be ’emancipated’, apparently not realizing he is talking about himself and most of the people who work for our Federal Government. It’s time to emancipate the taxpayer from the burden of perfumed princes who earn a lot more than people in the private sector. Drones have already revolutionized war, now they’re about to revolutionize farming. Soon drone technology may become one of two or three essential tools of the farmer. Whether flown by remote control, or autonomously, farmers of all people are adopting and adapting drones. Find out how. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Podcast 320

The Islamic State Threat. What should the United States do about the Islamic State? As attacks, beheadings and burnings become more extreme, the west’s response seems muddled. The public discussion of the issue is emotional and often devoid of facts, lately centering on whether the Islamic State is payback for the Crusades. Last summer President Obama initiated airstrikes on the Islamic State; a group he had referred to as the ‘JV Team’ of terrorists, a remark which will go down as one of the greater mistakes of his administration. Later he called for airstrikes, promising ‘no boots on the ground’, now he is asking Congress for a new force authorization which may or may not give Obama – or the next president – authority to send troops into the region to fight the Islamic State. As the group expands into Libya, Yemen and threatens Europe, it’s time for ordinary Americans to start thinking about what the country’s response should be. Yes, this will be an election issue in 2016 because the threat will get worse before it gets better. Has anyone told you how the Islamic State differs from Al Qaeda? What are the theological underpinnings of the group and how does its theology appeal to Sunni Tribes in the region? Is this a religious conflict, or tribal? What is Iran’s role in the fight? These aren’t questions for foreign policy experts, but for ordinary Americans who are going to be voting for presidential candidates, as the 2016 race begins in less than one year. Do you know what you need to know? Or, are you ok with going into another conflict, where service men and women are going to die, without asking the important questions; Why? What are the stakes? What is the foreign policy of the United States. What should it be? How do we conduct ourselves in the world? What interests are we willing to use deadly force to protect? How might we have caused this conflict. How do we avoid this happening in the future? What have we learned as a people about these kinds of struggles, since the US first invaded Iraq in 2003. Has our Afghanistan experience taught us anything? You can listen to people scream and yell at each other on cable TV news and talk radio, or we can get down to business and discuss as many parameters of the issue as possible (Editor’s Note: Or at least the parameters I have been able to research so far). The Islamic State is a gathering storm. The current state of affairs in the Middle East is becoming a dangerous threat to the region and Europe directly, maybe the United States directly. The old World War 2 and Cold War foreign policy paradigms won’t work. Those who are ignorant of at least the broad contours of the situation are more easily manipulated in the political process. Take some time and get a little more balanced view of the situation. Sponsored by Depot Star

Podcast 315

The Gathering Storm. Updating the big stories, starting with foreign affairs. While people in the Upper Midwest and Boston are slipping and sliding through their commute, so apparently is the foreign policy of the Obama Administration. A president who said in September ‘there will be no boots on the ground’ when he announced a bombing campaign that would ‘degrade and destroy’ the Islamic State, now wants a new authorization from congress to use force in western Iraq. Is this an admission that the policy of airstrikes has not been successful? While the White House version of the force authorization only calls for special forces, and troops for specific purposes and not a general invasion, wait’ll we see what Congress ends up adding. In the Eastern Ukraine, a president who claimed economic sanctions would eventually force the Russians to end their misadventure there, now is reportedly considering arming Ukrainians. Putin has played the economic sanctions, which have hurt the Russian people, to gain public support for his effort in the Donetsk region. Moreover, whether right or wrong, Russians regard Ukraine as Russia. Kiev was the origin of Russia going back to the 10th century. When Ted Cruz, John McCain and Robert Menendez agree, its very possible so called ‘lethal aid’ will be shipped to Ukraine. Is this wise? What was the start of the current stand off. When did the US lose its way in Europe? Now what? Seems like the President may just decide to pull back and run out the clock, leaving all of this to the next President. Meanwhile, the Europeans are in conference with Ukrainian leadership, and Russian diplomats and they don’t want any arms shipments messing up their deal with Putin, in which Putin pretty much gets what he wants; The federalization of Eastern Ukraine, giving him the ability to destabilize a Ukrainian rump state whenever he chooses. Let’s not forget the province in question also has some pretty valuable natural resources and a land bridge to Crimea. Is this a good recipe for world economic growth? What if foreign policy turns out to be the big issue of 2016? Do you know what the Republican and Democrat foreign policy will be? It’s really important people start talking to each other about their values, working to knit those values together into some kind of political idea that can then be worked into concepts that are more than just rhetorical flourish. Don’t expect others to do your work for you. And if people do vote for someone with simply emotionally appealing ideas; they will get the so called leader they deserve. Sponsored by X Government Cars

Podcast 244

Halloween 2. The second of 2 Halloween podcasts. This one is a final, relaxed analysis of the political landscape before we head into Election Day next week. Now the election ‘moneyballers’; so called analysts who have been predicting a ‘republican wave’, or not predicting a ‘republican wave’ have begun to hedge their bets as the polls and races tighten. This is a continuing disservice to Americans, because we are being set up to believe the polls show a specific outcome. The 2014 election cycle is 435 local congressional districts, one third of the Senate in statewide races, scores of state legislature races (for example the Minnesota House, but not the Senate.) and races for the Governor’s mansion. The idea that any poll or any number of polls can be predictive of this disparate election terrain is and always has been ridiculous. Did you know, for example, that Colorado’s entire election this year is being conducted with mail in ballots, almost 2 million of which have not yet been received. Meanwhile opinion polls are too close to call across the country, and races that were republican ‘locks’ have flipped, and races that were democrat locks have flipped. And here come the sandbaggers. People who are still sour grapes because they predicted Romney would win in 2012, and have never lived it down. (Editor’s Note: I said all along Romney would lose, and the polls never showed he would win.) Republicans are criticized for talking about ‘momentum’ which seems like a pretty harmless thing to claim, less than a week before election. And then there is Tom Steyer, the turn-coat fossil fuel hedge fund gazillionaire who has put over 50 million dollars into various midterm campaigns and is now the largest contributor to candidates in this cycle. Hey! What about the Koch Brothers? Nope. Steyer and the Unions, pulling a Ben Bernanke, dropping money from helicopters at the last minute in an attempt to win tough senate and house races, and beat people like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. Finally, a general discussion of how the podcasts intend to cover election night, and the next podcast on the polls. Waiting now for the last spate of polls in the pipeline to be released before election day, and we’ll see if there are any hard and fast ‘predictions’ that can be made. The media continues to set people up emotionally on both sides of the political spectrum to believe predictions that you can’t factually make, and the result is a sense of futility, frustration and disenfranchisement when the expected scenario does not materialize. Elections throughout American history have always been unpredictable, even before 24/7 cable news coverage, screaming roundtables, table pounding talk show hosts and polls. Before the election, a prediction about what democrats will suggest to President Obama after the election, whether the Republicans win the senate or not. Finally a few words about the state of Minnesota Politics, after a visit to the Eastern side of the Saint Croix River, in Wisconsin. Sponsored by Baklund R&D

 

Podcast 155

The release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was supposed to be a story of a hero’s rescue from captivity in Afghanistan. Since the story broke Sunday afternoon, June 1st 2014 that scenario has been breaking down. Is Bergdahl a deserter? Did the President break the law in making the deal with Taliban through the Government of Qatar? Why did the White House make the deal against the advice of the Senate, and Special Forces? Why was the announcement of Bergdahl’s recovery to troops in theater, by Defense Secretary Hagel, greeted with stony silence? Did the story draw attention away from the Veterans Administration Scandal as well as other problems Obama seems to be struggling with these days? How do you answer these questions? What are the important take-aways from this developing story? Sponsored by Sedation and Implant Dentistry

Podcast 116

I’m getting an ominous feeling about the next couple of weeks. MH370 is still a mystery. Russia is massing troops at the Eastern gate of the Ukraine and the White House seems confused. What does the US intend to DO about this, if anything. SHOULD the United States do anything? With winter over, the story line is now it was the worst winter ever in the upper Midwest, which feeds the story line that our slow economy is the result of … bad weather. Now the Met Council is fighting with the City of Minneapolis, the new Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges, the residents of Kenwood and Lake of Isles Neighborhoods, environmentalists, and bike nazis. It doesn’t get any better than this! Plus, court protection for pets in distress, NASA studying the fall of Rome, Brad Pitt’s modernist ghetto in New Orleans and much more! Sponsored by XGovernmentCars … now with Mustangs!