Off The Rails. As we head into the long fourth of July weekend, world events aren’t taking the weekend off. On the heels of the British Exit vote, comes the Istanbul attack. Apparently we now live in an upside down world where speech is considered so dangerous, Nigel Farage’s speech to the European Union Parliament – an unelected body – can be considered hate speech, while an actor accepting an award in the United States — where free speech is a constitutional right — considers opinions opposite to his own on race to be so dangerous those who speak them should ‘sit down and shut up’. Then, inexplicably, in the wake of obvious ISIS style terror attacks in Istanbul, Secretary of State Kerry warns people not to rush to judgement on whether ISIS is involved or not. So let me get this straight. Speech is more dangerous than men with AK-47’s wearing suicide vests? Moreover, the Republican standard bearer – so far – is a trade protectionist who wants to double down on the Bush Steel Tariff debacle, republicans including a former president, are endorsing the ‘presumptive’ democratic nominee while Bernie Sanders of all people came off as the most reasonable person in Washington this week when he warned democrats to heed the results of the British Vote for what it might mean to ‘establishment’ politicians like Hillary Clinton. Off The Rails you say? Hell yes. There is a palpable feeling that all this is leading up to a major event; something that cannot be foreseen that changes everything: The stock market crash of 1929, Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9-11. World changing events after which you say, “Remember what things were like back in…? It’s so different now.” Have you ever been lost hiking? At some point you look up and say, “Where the Hell am I?”. Its feels like that kind of a moment in the world right now. How did we get here? What happens now? A late night podcast from the deck, examining these issues, but not too deeply. It is after all the 4th of July weekend, let’s party like it’s 2016. Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End, and X Government Cars.
Summer Starts The Year. Most of this year has been like living on an ice floe, or behind glass, or encased in cotton. Now that summer has started, it feels like things are speeding up. It feels like the year is just starting. If that assessment resonates with you, there are three stories to watch in the next few weeks that may bear fruit as major game changers. Or not. First, Britain votes on June 23rd on whether to exit the European Union. If you read the analysts it’s all gloom and doom. Such an exit will trigger an economic collapse, or worse, plunge Europe into a collection of disagreeable states that triggered two world wars in the 20th century. Yet, if you think about it, there are many states that aren’t in the EU, both in Europe and in the rest of the world and we all seem to get along just fine. The world isn’t going to stop trading with Britain whether it stays in the EU, or not. Second, Movements such as the British Exit movement are characterized by the worldwide media as “Populist” or “Nationalist”, or worse “Xenophobic”. Explanations are offered to suggest this is the effect worldwide of the Trump candidacy. What if that isn’t it at all? What if people are struggling to come to grips politically with overbearing and increasingly incompetent governments, and central banks who seem to be doing more harm than good. The west seems to have a disturbing faith in government as a solution to all that ails. What if governments, politicians, technocrats and elitist ‘leaders’ are the problem? Is it possible we have lost the language to be able to define the problem, since almost every story about the economy leaves one with the impression that there’s only one way to address economic stagnation in the US and the rest of the world and that is to stimulate demand. What if stimulating demand isn’t the issue at all. Since we’re all so steeped in one way of thinking regardless of what ‘side’ of the political divide we’re on, we seem to be struggling with the issue of how to describe the tyranny of government. Our political system doesn’t seem to have the capacity to address it, mainly because we don’t seem to have the language to name the problem. Thus, people get described as ‘populist’, or ‘xenophobic’, and non governmental solutions get described the same way. If we talked about government in terms of Monarchy, perhaps Americans would better understand the increasingly unlimited power of government over our lives, and the unlimited ability of government to fail. Maybe that’s what the British in favor of an exit are saying. Third, republican candidate for the nomination for president Donald Trump may suffer death by a thousand cuts, politically speaking in the next few weeks as more and more issues come to the forefront concerning his campaign effort. Vulnerable Republican Senators are so concerned about losing the Senate they managed to get Marco Rubio to announce he is running for Senate in Florida after all. Moreover, Romney supporters are getting appointed to powerful posts on the rules committee, a ‘conscience clause’ rule change is in the offing, former Bush Administration officials are endorsing Hillary Clinton and it was revealed this week Trump’s campaign only has 1.3 million dollars on hand for a national campaign, and isn’t fully staffed. Get ready, a major challenge to Trump is in the works, with all the usual suspects working behind the scenes. Did someone say Jeb Bush? Romney? Ryan? Rubio? Time will tell. Sponsored by Karow Contracting and Brush Studio in the West End, Saint Louis Park.
Future Shock. As the 24 hour news media and talk radio fixate on gorillas and high school election antics, its hard to get a conversation going about the future. Is the future potential leaders want the future we should have? Is it the future we want? There are developments almost everyday now with autonomous cars, robotics, materials, aviation, and communications; the building blocks of a future wave that will leave nothing untouched and unchanged. A series of stories from today’s headlines shedding a light on one potential future and a question; Planners and government officials are diverting resources to bring about a vision of the city of tomorrow, which is really the city of the early 1900’s. Is this what you want? Will the driverless car, autonomous software and machines, robotics, and other developments make trains, buses and the standard bureaucracy heavy city, state and federal government ‘obsolete’? If so, why is so much time, effort and authority expended to see that we plan for and create a urban spaces, and that suburban villages and towns conform to a vision of a city that probably never existed and never will. Driverless cars will render the amount of space needed for freeways and parking ramps obsolete. Remote technology, robotics and other technologies may mean that people will not have to travel to large office complexes for their work, with increasing freelance employment. What are our so called leaders talking about? Minimum wages, government controlled health insurance and trains. Trains. Why are we planning for 1940’s Chicago when reality could be closer to Jefferson’s vision than Robert Moses? The old world is being torn down and a new one is being built that will be very different from what we know. Do our leaders understand this? Future Shock. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Cars.