Archive for International

Old and Current U.S. Enemies


Our Congress is chockablock with Boomers. Alas, as one myself, I had anticipated and hoped that my folk would be smarter and more moral, a.k.a. more American, than the WWII crowd that thrust us into stupid, unnecessary wars, and whistled mindless tunes as federal and state governments took away the rights of millions.

Sure hasn’t happened. Boomer bozos like G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were as bad as their parents’ generation.

A surprising constant has been the ever-shifting them in the us vs. them theater. Frankly, the WWI and WWII folk were more simpleminded and thus kept the enemies clearer. We grew up with the commies under the beds (fantastical and irrational) and vestiges of the Yellow Peril (horde of Asians imagined to be massing for invasion, the racist trope).

What could be simpler than ID’ing Soviets and various Asians as the other, each and all intent on destroying our noble and glorious nation? Surely our lives were superior to those of the other, nefarious groups eager to take our stuff and snuff out our lives.

Somehow Boomers’ parents and grandparents could overlook the likes of:

  • Jailing large numbers of Japanese-Americans and small groups of Italian- and German-Americans in concentration (euphemistically internment) camps
  • Draconian voting laws and shameful economic and educational policies for African Americans
  • Endless and meaningless wars in Asia, Africa and even parts of Europe

Having spent much of my young childhood as a bit player in the Occupation Army in Japan, I had a different view of the alleged Yellow Peril. A few native Japanese chums did have their own baggage, slandering Koreans and Chinese folk, but I came to learn that likely was from long-standing nationalistic and perceived racial vestiges.  For some, awareness of military behavior in those countries surely brought deflective criticism.

Binary Simplicity

Boomers did have a now surprisingly binary upbringing. Not only did we inherit the culture of pre-War movies, but we got the new world of TV and of course literature. There were black hats and white hats, villains and heroes, Allies and Axis armies — us vs. them. Many too bought into puerile lit that munged that binary culture with politics, specifically the likes of Ayn Rand’s addlepated novels. She was best at welding oppressive sexuality to economic theory.

Ah, but it was so clean and easy. You could know who the good and the bad guys were…and what behaviors and words showed you were in the former group.

In contrast, nuance is hard. For example, we really can’t plant Thomas Jefferson entirely at one end of the moral spectrum.  How comforting it must be to live as a religious fundamentalist or political camp-follower. Check your brain at the door and you can always know you are a good guy.

The few current dictators, like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin at least simplify diplomacy in their realms. If Donald Trump had the powers he imagines, free of judicial oversight and with a totally compliant Congress, he could quickly turn our nation into a villain state as well.

I think I can well do without the racist Yellow-Peril and other simpleminded excuses to fear and hate.




Elephant Leavings Podcast

Ryan and Mike has a good time recapping the GOP doings in Tampa. Rather, the non-doings, as it was all too plain that the Republicans abjectly failed to provide any reason to vote for Romney/Ryan instead of against Obama/Biden. The speakers, including the candidates, gave no details, not specifics, no proposals and no plans to better the country and its economy.

Moreover, even the Missus could not humanize the not-very-human Mitt. We look forward to the contrast with this week’s Dem speakers who are certain to offer a real path and speak without the lies and pretense we heard this past week.

Ryan suggests that the Dems should take the weak attack the Tampa folk left with, the question that worked in another election, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago.” Unfortunately for the Republicans, the vast majority of Americans can only say yes. They’d like more, faster, but yes.

Alas for the elephant herd, the fringe GOP platform suddenly is obvious and real. In lieu of any plans and proposals, voters can only look to the stated objectives of the party. They would scare all but the most extreme.

Teeing off of one of Mike’s friend’s view, they discussed what happens if Romney loses. Ryan backed the friend in predicting an even worse purge of moderates. Mike figures it would immediately lead to another soul (if you pardon that word here) searching by the party.

Listen in as we talk about what was and was not in the week that kind of was.

icon for podpress  RNC Convention [30:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Liberties Lost Podcast

It was a short, weird show today. Mike held forth on his Baby Boomer upbringing, in relation to expectations of American liberties. He contrasted that with what we are seeing at the airports, from Congress, in Gitmo and more.

Unfortunately, BlogTalkRadio misbehaved. Ryan could not connect to talk.

It was short and only suited to those who like 15-minute rants.

icon for podpress  That Freedom Thing [18:10m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Occupy Wall St. Podcast

In case you had any doubt were we’d fall on the 99% v. 1% struggle, listen in. Ryan and Mike speak about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Click below to activate the player or download the show.

We deal with how it came about, the absurd media reaction, and even how it relates to other real or pretend grassroots movements. We think it has a lot better chance to thrive and force changes than the media and pols do.

icon for podpress  Occupy Wall Street [31:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Murdoch in the Dock Podcast

This was a quick hit today in several ways. Notably, our host had connection problems, dropping one and then both of us a few times. So, the show is about 20 minutes with some dead air near the end, as Mike scrambled to reconnect with a different phone to close.

We touch on the Murdoch family, managers and editors of News Corporation — the UK scandals, the hearings, and the business effects to date. Then we speculated a bit on what it may all mean in the U.S., particularly with the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.

Together, those highly conservative media have long had outsized influence here. While not as powerful as Murdoch’s papers and broadcast in England, the effects are deep and wide. We see some diminishment soon and more later. That will be particularly true if our FBI finds criminal behavior, if our prosecutors invoke the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for the bribes apparently paid, and if civil suits keep the sins of News Corp., well, news.

Reduced Murdoch influence for the 2012 U.S. elections could be a big factor in the outcome.

icon for podpress  News Corp. [19:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Rupert Mordor Murdoch in the Dock

notmordor.pngThe hugely powerful generally skate and the aged Rupert Murdoch apparently expects to do so. That’s not likely.

Join us Tuesday, 7/26 at 2:30 PM Eastern as we look beyond recent events. Sure, his corporation lost a lot of paper value. Sure, he felt he had to back out of a big media deal. Sure, he tried to distance himself by firing a bunch of key managers and executives. That won’t be enough.

His U.S.-based empire brings him under some far heavier laws than British public and parliamentary opinions. We have racketeering and bribery laws that go far deeper than disgust at hacking cellphone of the dead to get good tabloid stories. Moreover, what this mess means for tabloid and other journalism is another matter entirely.

If you can catch us live then, listen in here. Otherwise, come back for an on-demand play.


DeFranco Path from Grassroots to Senate

A competent, confident candidate with a wide and deep platform joined us today to talk about her replacing U.S. Sen. Scott Brown next year. Marisa DeFranco explains how she’s the real thing and he a flash in the pan and abject survival-of-the-fittest pol.

She is an immigration attorney and best known the related circles. Listen in though as she explains her economic policies and plans for job creation. She also describes her accomplishments and goals in women’s rights including equal pay. Also, for a living, she has long fought the federal government and details how she understands its workings.

DeFranco is proud of being a progressive, a union supporter, a Democrat, and more. She figures to resonate with such voters in a grassroots campaign. Listen in as she describes how she’ll go after the seat.

Be sure to catch the end where she says she’ll put up her debating skills against the incumbent’s. She’s looking forward to the campaign.

icon for podpress  Marisa DeFranco [31:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Post bin Laden Opportunities Podcast

Flippancy aside (this show was billed Zombie bin Laden), we ended talking about this huge moment, including but far beyond Osama bin Laden’s take-down. We ended up calling for progressive sorts to think about what they want our government to do and let the Administration and Congress know.

Sure, Al Qaeda is still there and it or similar terrorists will hit small and maybe big short- and mid-term. Yet, in this democratic spring of aspiring nations trying to throw off their oppressive governments throughout North Africa and the Middle East, we have a greater opportunity to create partners and allies. Properly handled, we could stifle terrorists and create a more peaceful larger world. This is a moment like none other since the end of WWII.

In today’s show, Ryan and Mike spoke of some of the things we need to change, and chances for us to tell our President and Congressional delegations to do. There’s the hundreds of billions annually thrown away on Cold War defenses against non-existent enemies (Rep. Barney Frank is on that and will need support). There’s the craziness that torturing people and massively spying on Americans keeps us safe. In fact, those are what bin Laden wanted to drive us to all along.

Listen in as we kick around what we see as the opportunities available. We want to see time, effort and money spent more on expanding a democratic world, rather than pretending we can build and hide in a Fortress U.S.A.

icon for podpress  Zombie bin Laden [27:35m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Bye-bye bin Laden. Now What?

Joining the mobs speaking of the death of Osama bin Laden —rather what we figure it means — we’ll noodle immediate, mid-term, and farther out effects. If you’re around Tuesday 5/3 at 2:30 PM Eastern, listen live here. If you also have keen insights to share, do so at 718-664-6966.

Only hours after the death, we’re hearing justification for Gitmo, total disruption of terrorism, no change in terrorism, certain 2012 Obama reelection, only an ephemeral bump in his ratings and much, much more. We’ll be in the fray with our own SWAG.

If you can’t catch the show live, return and feel free to listen on demand. Then tell us how brilliant or asinine we were.


Cops of the World Podcast

How delightful when friends surprise you. Ryan and Mike called into today’s show not sure how the other came down on the U.S. involvement in military action in Libya.

Yet with all of President Obama’s dithering and as Mike would have it holding up false hopes to the Libyan rebels, the true coalition effort seems necessary to both of us. The Congressional posturing of joining the UN Security Council effort (providing the bulk of the firepower if being clear on not leading) will wait. They’re off on a 10-day recess being self-important.

Listen in to hear our take on what this will mean short term and beyond. We can even hope of a re-evaluation for our outsized, outrageous defense budget in this horrific recession period.

icon for podpress  Cops of the World [29:46m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download