Simple Solutions. On the campaign trail, it all sounds so easy. ‘Take the fight to ISIS’, ‘Take from the rich, give to the poor’, ‘Make America Great Again’, ‘Fix the economy!’, and so on. Lots of barnstormers mostly rolling through Iowa hayfields, standing at picnics, throwing out bromides and quick fixes for whatever ails the nation. With so many politicians, suddenly all our problems seem, well solvable. We want our foreign policy ‘problems’ and economic problems solved as quickly as we reorder a latte, or another salad with the right dressing. When things don’t work smoothly, we throw a tantrum and demand fixes right now. In political theater we want sound bite solutions and we want problems solved preferably before the end of the show. There isn’t anything a podium pounding politician or talk show host can’t solve, dammit! Just send in the special forces, give everyone a tax cut, shut down the border, open up the economy, light up the Russians and the Chinese and well, make American Great Again. Right? The latest ‘truth tellers’ don’t really propose any solutions, they propose more rhetoric. Who’s to blame? We are. We don’t want to know how complex our problems might be. We don’t want to know how difficult they are to solve, when it comes to corralling 435 Congressmen, 100 Senators, countless cabinet secretaries, experts, lawyers, Supreme Court Justices, and the media. We just want someone to tell us what we want to hear. Send in a few hundred ‘special forces guys’ to take care of ISIS, or a B-1 Bomber. Fix the economy. Cure the moral character. And shut those liberals up while you’re at it. What this country needs is a businessman! What this country needs is a General! What this country needs is (fill in the blank). What this country needs is a grown up electorate. Given a steady diet of onion rings, Fox News (or CNN), or the Daily Beast and Buzz Feed, what are the chances that will happen? Sponsored by X Government Cars.
The Power Of Negative Thinking. See? Made you look. What’s needed is more positive thinking. Still, negative thinking is everywhere. We’ve talked about the power of turning off all the media long enough to hear internal thoughts. Now its time to talk about how many of those internal thoughts can be negative. Negative thoughts are like a cancer, that invades everything and makes it hard to act positively for yourself. Political people especially need to remember the need to be for something, as opposed to against seemingly everything. In this podcast, some experiences directly related to business, and the changes a radio guy goes through to become a podcaster and independent businessman. It’s not all wine and roses, but in the end, being able to be independent, to navigate deep and shallow water as you wish, is very fulfilling. Fact is, no one ever said it would be easy. One of the things you learn in business for yourself is, it’s always something. Negative thoughts include self doubt, worry, and fear of failure and especially success. So many conversations this fourth of July weekend, and almost none of them were about politics and what’s on the 24 hour news channel. Many of them were about other, deeper subjects; Proof that normal, everyday, regular people are thinking about complex and deep subjects, and doing amazing things. You just don’t see them on Fox and CNN, or hear them on talk radio, because they’re too busy talking about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and in talk radio’s case, running away from the issues. Find out how a simple piece of advice from a friend ended up as Podcast 388. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul.
Conservative Movement RIP. The last podcast in June before a short Hiatus, also announces News Cleanse 2015. The time is ripe. While travel broadens the horizons and raises the energy of the traveler, it seems staying glued to the television 24/7, hyper vigilance with news websites, social media and those email newsletters in everyone’s in boxes is making people more ignorant, as opposed to more informed. At the end of a week that saw two rulings by the Supreme Court go against the right, it’s clear the ‘last resort’ of the courts is not a solution for a ‘movement’ that is increasingly dependent on those same courts, Fox News and Talk Radio because it is too unorganized and ignorant of tactical politics to influence congress. A court that overreached in 2000, has been very sensitive to public opinion ever since and is loathe to do anything that might upset certain groups which are well organized and ready to march. Meanwhile, on the right, there is always another outrage playing on the twenty four hour cable channels and talk radio. You can be sure at the end of the day the right will do nothing…nothing about any of it. Given this reality, these court decisions are a surprise? Even with an open political system in Minnesota, Congressman Eric Paulsen recently suggested the biggest problem with the right is lack of engagement. That is, people to carry the water. What happens? The same people who have stood up to help year after year are the people representatives see, not to mention the lobbyists, operatives and big money donors. The so called grassroots movements that were ignited with the passing of the ACA have failed to mature, failed to organize, and are fading. Meanwhile millennials are entering the adult world and the political process and they have very different ideas than grandma and grandpa. It seems almost academic to ask whether the conservative movement that started with Murry Rothbard and Barry Goldwater, might have peaked with Reagan; The truth? Its bleached bones are visible in the desert, like the opening shot of a Breaking Bad episode. “Conservatives” these days can’t decide what they are and what they believe, much less build an organization and thus a real movement around some over arching theme, because there isn’t one. What’s left is a republican party that gets 38 to 44 percent of the vote in any given year, versus a democrat party that gets 38 to 44 percent of the vote in any given year, slightly different totals and majorities because of gerrymandering congressional districts, and a big fight held in the media — a circus, really — day after day. No wonder there are twenty or more running for president on the republican side. This doesn’t preclude a republican president, but it does mean a continuing drift toward a country where control of all social and economic interaction is in the hands of the state, whether the head of that state is republican or democrat. And that is exactly what we don’t need. It’s a tough message for people on the right to hear, but it’s the cold, hard truth. Sponsored by Baklund R&D.
Final Thoughts From The Road. With a tragedy in South Carolina, and more nonsense coming out of Washington DC, the chattering class will be busy chattering this weekend. They’ll be telling us the country is falling apart, sowing the seeds of discontent, depression, confusion, envy, and anxiety. The thing is, if you travel the country state by state, you don’t see discontent, depression, confusion, envy and anxiety. You see people coping; in fact thriving. In the middle one of the most dense population centers in the world — the US eastern seaboard — you’ll find Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a rural paradise. Then there’s Ocean City Maryland, which actually is hot and sweaty, but everyone seems to be having a good time. Fifty states, with fifty different histories, cultures, many of them thriving. Yes, thriving. How can this be? The America you see and hear about on Fox News and MSNBC, or you hear about on scratchy dying AM Talk Radio stations is burning; falling apart, splitting at the seams. The pounders and the screamers polarize us into right and left, and tell us our country is a place where people hate each other, members of different ‘castes’ seethe, where the rich get super rich and everyone else gets nothing. The only thing is, that’s not what is going on in the real America. If you travel it, you’ll see what I mean. Are there injustices? Is there crime? Poverty? Yes. But, somehow in this place, painted as the seventh level of Dante’s Inferno, people raise families, go to work, do what they can for each other, start businesses and vacation together. I saw people of all colors, cultures and languages working together, eating together, living together. Meanwhile, the truck stops are chock full of trucks, RV’s and travelers twenty four hours a day. The restaurants are busy, as are the Targets and Home Depots and Food Lions, even small town grocery stores. It used to be said that the media in America is a mirror, to show society what it is. Well, I am here to tell you, Houston we have a problem. The media isn’t showing us what we are, or what is going on, because the images just don’t match. The Media and the politicians in Washington are lying to us, and using the outrage machine to their political advantage. I’ve seen about three quarters of this country in the last 4 months, at the most basic level; Interstates, two lanes, and dirt roads. I’ve driven through the big towns, and the small towns, meeting and talking to regular people. I just don’t see the strife and struggle we’re being told ‘we’ are experiencing. There are challenges in every time. Our challenge is turning off these idiots on television, and in Washington DC. America not only has a future, it has a great future and it’s time we had leadership that recognizes and encourages our innovation and energy, rather than scares, and divides us, lies to us and tells us what we have to do. Let’s start making it happen, regardless of what the chattering chatterers have to say this weekend. Sponsored by X Government Cars.
Memorial Day Weekend 2015. A midnight walk in the park, as we head into Memorial Day Weekend, 2015. As the country slows its roll for the big three-day weekend, it feels like the pace of the news is also slowing down. In the Upper Midwest, the big thing is opening the cabin, getting the RV ready to roll, and heading up to the lake. This is a weekend for putting in the dock, and establishing a ‘beach head’ for the summer. Some will be heading to state parks, others will be working, or hanging around the house. With a sense that people are slowing down for the weekend, the flow of news events also seems to be a bit stale. More stories about ‘candidates’ for presidential office, over a year away. More stories about things happening thousands of miles from the Upper Midwest. More blather about ‘Obama’, or ‘Clinton’, or ‘Jeb Bush’. In this podcast some observations from a day spent driving around the metro in gridlock traffic in search of parts – or a truck wash – for Mobile Podcast Command, visiting the ambulance supply warehouse, RV centers, and friends at various businesses around town. This driving around town thing is exhausting! After reading a thatch of news stories, taking a nap and dinner, time for coffee and a midnight walk through a deserted suburban town. Stories about summer’s and memorial day weekend’s past … the cold ones, and the hot ones. It is better to put the dock in when it is warm and sunny than it is to put it in when there is still ice floating on the lake. This year, the Upper Midwest has been lucky so far. It’s been a warm spring, and the forecast for the weekend is pretty good. Is it a good thing that there’s so much focus on Iowa for both political parties, this early? Events in other parts of the world continue, but things still don’t seem to have reached a point that requires decisions, or provokes new actions to debate. As summer comes on, it still feels like resolution on so many different news fronts will take a little longer. Maybe its a good time to pick out that summer novel. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.
Why Do I Do What I Do? A question from a drunk friend proves surprisingly difficult to answer. Why do I do podcasts? The pat answer isn’t good enough. Part of the reason is to prove podcasting is a viable medium for listeners and advertisers. In fact, far superior to radio in many ways. Another reason I podcast is because I do not want to contribute to the scream and outrage orgy that has become talk radio in this country, and what now passes for broadcast and cable ‘news’. Still, it’s a hard question to answer when there are so many ways to answer it. I am sure I’ll be talking about this in future podcasts. In fact, as I write this, and in retrospect I think I should have talked longer about this question, “Why do you do what you do?”. Have you ever thought about that? Why do you do what you do? Whatever it is. When you actually consider a question like that, its kind of a hard question to answer. Yes, there are updates for the beginning of the week (in podcast time). 3 more candidates will join the three hundred and fifty nine other people in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. GOP strategists claim all of these candidates show the Republicans have more diversity. On the other hand, if the Republicans have twenty candidates on stage in early debates, again, the chances the party is going to look ridiculous are good, or maybe it will make Jeb Bush look presidential. This week Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Doctor Ben Carson. Will it be a repeat of 2008 and 2012? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley may – may – throw his hat into the ring on the Democrat side, saying we haven’t had a plan for our cities since, uh Jimmy Carter. It was revealed this week the Clinton Global Initiative took money from the US Taxpayer, and other governments. Talk about crony capitalism! Finally, driverless car tech is here, and here ahead of the law (shock!), and all sorts of scientific news, reversing aging, editing DNA, Robots for small business and more. Happy Monday from the Deck, in the velvet full moon lit night. It’s officially Tiki Torch Weather. Sponsored by X Government Cars!
Bored With The News? I rarely write these ‘liner notes’ in the first person, but this is one of those times. In the midst of a ‘soul killing’ April snow storm, we’re back by the fire in the Broadcast Bunker. Certainly not as soul killing as the constant snow on the east coast. The Upper Midwest has escaped some of the more distasteful elements of the winter of 2014-15, but now that it’s spring we thought were through it and that’s when April surprises. I was all ready to do news updates for this week, but it’s the same old crap. Talked to a lot of friends and family this weekend who are also just tired of the same goop pumping out of the TV and talk radio over and over. So, I decided to expand on the theme in podcast 338. Actually, this subject picked me, this time. Its seems as though people keep having the same conversations in various groups about the same things over and over, or the same complaints and conversations with each other, that don’t seem to go anywhere. If we are at the end of era, and approaching some catalyst event — and I am increasingly convinced we are — the things people are talking about, and concerned about, may change completely. It may happen before the big election in 2016, or not. How do other pivotal eras compare. My own fascination with the Interwar Period 1919 through 1939 figures prominently in this podcast. Did the people who lived during another era of tumultuous change and development know they were hurtling at top speed into World War 2? What kind of world are we building today? What are we unaware of, as we hurtle at top speed toward … something. I think it’s time to devote a little more time to this discussion. It seems to me the news, politicians and the things they say and do; it all seems well, stale. This only reinforces the idea that some catalyst will move us forward into a new time, with new concerns, and new things to think and talk about, new things to be passionate about. We don’t know what that event may be, but many people I have talked to recently feel very strongly we’re getting close to it. When uncertainty seems to be the order of the day, its hard to take action, or to hold on to old ideas and associations, since you don’t know what is around the next corner. Sure, its always that way, but this time feels different. Sponsored by Xgovernment Cars.
Podcast Consciousness. Live from the Kitchen! After a string of podcasts discussing intense topics, from economics through to participation in politics translating to political power, it’s time for a podcast consciousness podcast. How I do what I do, and how it drives me crazy sometimes. Well, maybe all the time. In searching for podcast topics, I spent some time tonight cleaning out my ‘stacks’ of news stories on foreign affairs, business, politics, local and all kinds of other topics, and found a lot of stories that never made it to ‘air’. Part of the reason for that is the effort to winnow all this day to day news writing down to some key points people can use to understand what I think is going on in the world, but the podcaster can miss the opportunity to just talk about stories that are interesting (to him). Maybe it’s winter. Maybe its cabin fever. Something’s going on below the surface though … perhaps a quest for adventure … maybe a road trip coming up … There is a restlessness rising up from the depths right now. Good time to talk about it. Plus the latest economic fairytales from the financial media, and what to look for down the road on that front. Sponsored by Baklund R &D.
Dry Cycle. The update turns into a discussion of the fallibility of media, even your favorite cable news channel. This weekend, Fox News had to correct itself and apologize profusely for reporting there are ‘no go’ zones in Europe, where non muslims fear to tread, and the police won’t enter. Everyone was talking about it all weekend after Fox anchors and guests apparently got it wrong. These are neighborhoods in England and suburbs in France that are about as forbidding as LA’s Compton, or Chicago’s South Side. While Europe has been more lenient allowing Sharia Law, it does not mean muslim ‘enclaves’ have sprouted, even though allowing a separate law for Muslims in a modern, western democracy is not a good idea. That said, the President and the Pope continue to support limits on free speech. President Obama even went so far as to say he doesn’t consider terrorism a existential threat, which it most certainly is, then said Europe has to do a better job ‘integrating’ its Muslims. Maybe he fell for the No Go story too. This provokes a whole conversation about how to wean yourself from cable news and talk radio, develop multiple sources of information, deal in facts, avoid the emotion spewing out of talk radio and fox news, and use your tools to find and develop deeper knowledge on key subjects. The need to fill the airwaves, pushes under financed and poorly managed outlets to spew out incorrect information, relying on ping ponging viewers back and forth between the latest outrage and the latest breaking news. The good news? That kind of media’s glory days are behind it, as it gives way to on demand audio (podcasts), You Tube, NetFlix and future on demand video services. A recent survey reports that most millennials don’t ever watch broadcast television, seldom watch cable news channels, and download virtually all their entertainment and information. In an on demand world, the daily outrage may not work as well, as people seek out information, rather than people screaming at each other. The latest example? NASA says 2014 was the hottest year on record? Do you know by how much? Do you know what the margin of error is in that estimate? The answer might surprise you. Finally, Arizona and other states are passing laws which require high school seniors to pass citizenship exams in order to graduate. Good idea? Sponsored by Baklund R&D.
Cooking and Talking. Updating you on some key stories for midweek, while cooking dinner. Pan fried steak, broccoli and salad. One of the things cable news and talk radio does is talk about things over and over again, in an effort to gin up emotional response and viewership. They seem to get ‘stuck’ on stories and can’t move on until the next ‘big’ story. In our ongoing discussion about media and its pitfalls, one of the things podcasting allows is for more varied content. We don’t have to keep talking about the same subjects, because podcasts about those subjects are up to be listened to whenever subscribers desire. So podcasters can add to stories when its appropriate and begin talking about new stories that will be top topics in a few days or weeks. In this podcast, updates to the bias story on Rolling Stone magazine’s coverage of the ‘rape’ story at UVA, and how narrative journalism ill serves the people. The next big narrative story? The Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of the report on the CIA’s interrogation methods. At first blush it looks pretty bad, and it is reported may even spur terror attacks across the world, and on US citizens. On second thought, it looks like the last shot by democrats at the Bush Administration’s policies. And whether deserved or not, former CIA directors and employees are pretty upset at what they see as a biased report. Dad always said, “There are two sides to every story”. As people react to the emotional and lurid nature of yet another ‘narrative’ story, will the ‘rest of the story’ get covered with equal intensity? On the terror front; word is ISIL has yellow cake which it procured from a University in Mosul Iraq, and used to make at least one radioactive explosive device which has been spirited into Europe. Let’s wait and see how this one develops. On the political front: With all the talk about the Republican Brand being ‘dead’ it turns out the GOP is in the best position it has been in since the 1920′s, especially in individual states. 2014 turned out to be a great year for Republicans, but Minnesota republicans missed out. Why? Is it time for a change of state party leadership as in a house cleaning? Finally, the pundits saying lower gas prices act as a ‘tax cut’, a position which should be questioned. It has been reported this week that lower fuel prices also mean lower commodity prices, since farm cost inputs will be cheaper. But, lower oil prices also means big oil companies may reduce their capital investments, which hurts manufacturing and employment. Are oil price reductions due to the price war, or to more supply and less demand because of economic slow downs in China, Europe and Latin America. Will the effect be positive? Not so fast, say some. Sponsored by X Government Cars, and by Depotstar.