Podcast 461

All About Iowa. Do you want the Iowa Caucuses to determine which presidential candidates are ‘viable’? In a state of slightly more than three million people, party leaders expect one hundred fifty thousand to show up to caucus, slightly more than in the 2012 cycle. Over the last year Iowans have been sliced and diced by pollsters, pundits, political psychologists, and sociologists. Anyone who attends political events – and there have been hundreds of them since last year – will see famous candidates, film stars, and national TV stars. It’s a spectacle, a circus, and a show being put on for one state. As the hours are counting down to the caucus Monday, February 1st, the Bob Davis Podcasts attends a Marco Rubio rally. One side of the room is reserved for the stage, the other for media. In between, are the Iowans, ready to comment when reporters approach them. Of course reporters will approach, like fish feeding at the water’s surface. ‘Who will you caucus for?’, ‘What do you think of Donald Trump?’. The answers to these and many other scintillating questions will be filed, dissected, and added to the national story line. All About Iowa. Fasten your seat belts. A rural backwater, albiet a very nice one with very nice people, is about to decide which candidates are the most viable. At least that’s how they see this process. After Monday’s caucus, the story lines will change, predictions will be adjusted, and some campaigns will never recover. Is this how we want to elect a president? While there is much to celebrate in the American political system, as I attend events and cover the caucus and the events leading up to it, what comes through louder and clearer is the dark and potentially dangerous relationship between big government, big media, politicians, pollsters and the population of a single state that has insinuated itself into the political process in an unprecedented way. All about Iowa? Indeed. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 371

The Islamic State. Now What? Just recently the perfumed princes in Washington were thrilled about a Delta Force Operation that killed one of the Islamic State’s top leaders and included the arrest of his wife. It was the kind of adventure story the American Media loves, and they gleefully turned the raid into a cartoon complete with reports of casualty free hand-to-hand combat and lurid reports of the freeing of a slave held by the couple. It was a good story and served as a narrative the White House used to prove the President’s strategy was indeed ‘degrading’ the ISIS military capabilities. I decided to wait to talk about this story, because I knew another shoe would drop. Sure enough, within a few days we were greeted with grim reports of the rout of the Iraqi Army defending Ramadi, in the Anbar province, less than 70 miles from Baghdad. Even worse, as the Iraqis ran, they left lots of shiny new military equipment from the United States, which will now be employed against Iraqis and ultimately Americans. Within a few days it has become clear President Obama’s strategy isn’t working. Now what? The problem is, this country’s media, its politicians, and its leaders have no idea what to do about this problem. We need to have a conversation that starts with what the Foreign Policy of the United States is, and what it should be, rather than fifty reporters chasing a 68 year old woman around Iowa, while she has breakfast with ten or eleven people at a time, or demanding a former governor and head of a super pac tell the country what he would have done in 2003. Don’t hold your breath. Given the fast food nature of America’s media and political environment, I am surprised anyone even knows where Anbar province is, unless they had the honor of serving there. Yet the question remains. Do you want to invade Iraq again to stop ISIS? Should we stop ISIS, since they’re fighting Iran? What are we doing, when our allies don’t understand or trust our President, and 38 people are running for President? Are we in favor of early interventions in problem areas? Does it work? A new world is being birthed, and whole sections of the planet are slipping back in time, rather than progressing. When economies in the West, and in Asia start growing in earnest again we’re going to move very quickly forward. Some places are going to be left behind. When that happens, we’re going to see some bad things happening. Are we prepared? Are you prepared? Do you know what to advocate? Do you have an opinion about what’s best for the United States? Is there a politician that can articulate and execute that idea, after 2017. Because chances are, the next black swan event that changes the world will either be economic, or foreign related, or both. As ISIS beheads, burns, cages, kills children and adds to the chaos that is the Middle East these days, the US political clown show, including the one in the White House, doesn’t give me much faith. What about you? Sponsored by X Government Cars. (Photo from the New York Post) 

Podcast 366

Build The Pipeline! As another oil train owned by Warren Buffett derails and sends flames into the air, Minneapolis and Saint Paul media can’t bring itself to mention this would not be necessary if President Obama had followed bipartisan legislation, and built the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Star Tribune licks its chops whenever there is a chance to print a story which shows North Dakota in a negative light, and nothing says passive-aggressive like a burning oil train. Just another reason why Minnesotans are so ill served by this parochial and paranoid newspaper’s editorial staff. Wasn’t a new owner supposed to fix that? Along the same lines we are told a ‘new study’ shows traffic congestion in the Twin Cities is getting worse! The cities now ranks 35th in traffic congestion nationwide. Forget there are 50 states, and that Minneapolis and Saint Paul is generally considered the 15th or 16th largest market, looks like it is punching below its weight, traffic congestion wise. Oh yeah, the studies were done by MNDOT, and by the Met Council, two agencies with a big stake in whether the draconian increase in the state gas tax passes. Meanwhile, MNDOT seems to be causing most of the congestion by insisting on doing things like changing signs on the Mendota bridge in the middle of rush hour, which recently caused a massive traffic jam, or taking out the bridge over highway 100 on Minnetonka, turning traffic in the west metro into a parking lot. What causes congestion? Incompetence and idiocy in our much vaunted state government agencies, and the politicians responsible for them. God Help Us! The worst days? Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon, as state workers put in their usual 3 day work weeks and head to the lake. Meanwhile the LRT boosters are at it again. Forget about the fact that the Southwest Light Rail Project engineering work was bungled, that it is hundreds of millions over budget, we need it because suddenly the jobs are in Eden Prairie and people from downtown have to get there to work. The nature of work is changing. After a Bob Davis podcast about freelance work in LA, the New York Times published a piece on whether freelance work LA style is going to be the future model for how work gets done. Emphatically yes! Meanwhile, at nearly 2 decades into the 21st century, these fools in government keep insisting on rebuilding the early 20th century city. Is America moving left? Polls say it is. But, what influences polls? Events. And events can change politics. Still, we don’t hear Republicans saying much these days about what they would actually do, to get people to vote for them. One thing they could do is something about a government that no longer protects our rights but tramples them. Over a thousand IRS employees were apparently promoted for cheating on their taxes. The Federal government says New York City has to take the lighted signs down from Times Square (New York says No Friggin Way!). And ‘Draw Muhammed’ event creator Pamela Gellar hasn’t heard from homeland security despite the fact that her life has been threatened by ISIS. Did we forget the DEA agent orgies paid for by the drug cartels, and the fact that the agents who admitted attending can’t be fired because of government regulations? Sponsored by Baklund R&D. (Photo from BNSF.com