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    9/25/23: Democrats Freak Over Trump Plus 10 Poll, WGA Reach Agreement, Biden To Picket with UAW, Nazi Honored In Canadian Parliament, Gaetz Shutdown Politics, Menendez Race Card, Bachelor For Olds, Legalized Bribery, Anti Racist Grift

    enSeptember 25, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Exploring Opportunities for Learning and SavingsOnline university Purdue Global caters to adults, Undercover Tourist offers affordable Disney tickets, Consumer Cellular provides cost-effective wireless coverage, and Breaking Points offers premium political analysis

      No matter what stage of life you're at or what career goals you have, there are opportunities to learn and grow. Purdue Global, an online university backed by Purdue University, is designed for adults who bring real-world experience into the virtual classroom. Meanwhile, for those planning a Walt Disney World vacation, Undercover Tourist offers affordable adult theme park tickets, allowing families to save money and enjoy the magic of Disney. On the topic of savings, Consumer Cellular provides the same reliable wireless coverage as leading carriers but at a lower cost. And finally, for those interested in politics, Breaking Points is offering premium content to help expand their coverage and provide in-depth analysis on current events.

    • Writers' Strike Results in Significant Gains for Hollywood WritersThe writers' strike led to increased compensation for streaming content and protections against AI technology for writers. It demonstrates the power of labor unions to secure gains in the face of technological change and the importance of addressing potential disruptions to workers' livelihoods before they occur.

      The recent writers' strike in Hollywood resulted in significant gains for writers, including increased compensation for streaming content and protections against AI technology encroaching on their credits and compensation. The negotiations were lengthy and contentious, with the studios initially resisting demands for these protections due to the uncertain nature of the technology. However, the writers' union held firm, and eventually reached an agreement after a 150-day strike. This development is significant as it demonstrates the power of labor unions to secure gains for their members in the face of technological change. It also highlights the importance of addressing potential disruptions to workers' livelihoods before they occur, rather than trying to impose protections after the fact. The writers' strike follows similar struggles in other industries, such as the auto industry and acting, all of which center around the future of technology and workers' ability to adapt and thrive in a changing economy. The outcome of the negotiations will now be put to a vote by the writers' union membership. Overall, this is a hopeful sign that labor can secure meaningful gains through collective bargaining and that the future of work may not be entirely defined by concessions from workers.

    • Washington Post Buries Trump's Double-Digit Lead in PollThe Washington Post downplayed Trump's significant lead in a poll, while other polls showed a closer race, emphasizing the need to interpret polling data carefully.

      The Washington Post's reporting of a 10-point lead for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in a poll was unusual, as they buried the headline-grabbing statistic deep in the article. The poll, which showed Trump with a significant lead among registered voters, was criticized for being an outlier and potentially having methodological issues. The Post's decision to focus on other aspects of the poll, such as Biden's approval ratings and criticism on economic and immigration issues, was seen as an attempt to downplay the significance of the Trump lead. However, other polls, such as one by NBC News, showed a much closer race between Biden and Trump, with both candidates receiving roughly equal support. The NBC poll also included data on third-party candidates, which could potentially impact the outcome of the election. Overall, the discussion highlighted the importance of interpreting polling data with caution and considering the methodology and potential biases involved.

    • Third-party candidates drawing significant support despite dissatisfaction with major partiesDespite widespread dissatisfaction with the major parties, third-party candidates continue to draw support, leading to a situation where the winning candidate often receives less than 40% of the popular vote, raising questions about democratic legitimacy.

      The current two-party system in the US presidential elections, featuring the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, is leaving a significant portion of the electorate (around 10%) disenchanted, leading to third-party candidates drawing marginal support from both major candidates. This results in a situation where the winning candidate often receives less than 40% of the popular vote, raising questions about the democratic legitimacy of the electoral process. The current race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is a prime example, with both candidates receiving roughly 36-39% of the votes, and third-party candidates, such as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, taking a disproportionate share. This situation is particularly concerning given the widespread dissatisfaction among Americans for another Biden-Trump rematch. Despite this, it's important to note that the polling data is not without its limitations, and both major parties face significant challenges, including Biden's age, inflation, and the removal of pandemic-era programs. Ultimately, the current state of the race underscores the need for a more inclusive and representative political system.

    • Democratic turnout in special elections fueled by abortion concernsPresidential support for UAW strike marks first for sitting president, while abortion motivates Democratic voters in special elections, raising concerns for Biden team about midterm elections

      The ongoing special elections are seeing heavy Democratic turnout, with abortion being a major motivating factor for voters. This trend is causing concern for the Biden team, who are facing an aging candidate and a potential lack of excitement among voters. Meanwhile, President Biden made history by announcing his intent to join the picket line of the United Auto Workers on strike against the big three automakers, marking the first time a sitting president has done so. This move is seen as a significant show of solidarity and a response to pressure from both within and outside his party. The impact of these events on the upcoming midterm elections remains to be seen.

    • 2023 UAW Strike Shifts Political Dynamics in MichiganThe 2023 UAW strike highlights the shifting political landscape in Michigan, with both parties actively courting union workers, who hold significant voting power.

      The 2023 UAW strike in Michigan marks a significant shift in political dynamics, with both Democratic and Republican candidates actively courting union workers. This is a departure from the Obama era when the divide between the parties on labor issues was stark. The union workers, numbering 66,000 in Michigan alone, hold significant voting power. The importance of this group was evident in the 2012 and 2016 elections, with Mitt Romney's infamous "Let Detroit go bankrupt" comment costing him the state, and Trump's pro-labor rhetoric helping him win it. Despite Trump's poor record on union issues as president, his symbolic gestures towards workers have changed public sentiment. Even the Republican base, traditionally union-skeptical, now shows support for unions. The pandemic and corporations' record profits further fueled this shift. Biden's visible support for the strike, while Trump remains mostly rhetorical, is a smart move for the Democrats, as they aim to secure the union vote and appeal to a broader public that largely sides with the workers.

    • Shift in Republican party towards unionsThe UAW strike against Stellantis and GM showcases a strategic shift in labor negotiations and a changing political climate towards unions, potentially leading to better deals for workers and a turning point for labor movements in the US.

      The political and media landscape towards unions and union strikes has significantly shifted within the Republican party. Union-busting rhetoric and media presence are noticeably absent among conservative influencers and base media, creating an opportunity for labor movements. The UAW strike against Stellantis and GM is a prime example of this, with the union strategically expanding the strike to parts distribution centers to put pressure on the companies and extract better deals at the negotiating table. The union's targeted approach and Ford's more forthcoming stance in negotiations suggest that this strike may not drag on as long as previous ones. This strategic shift in labor negotiations and the changing political climate towards unions could mark a turning point for workers' rights and labor movements in the United States.

    • UAW Strikes Against GM, Stellantis, and Ford: Workers' Power Against Profitability IssuesUAW workers are using targeted strikes against GM, Stellantis, and Ford to pressure companies for better wages and benefits, citing previous inaction and price increases. Despite risks, workers hold leverage due to companies' profitability issues and public pressure.

      The ongoing UAW strikes against GM, Stellantis, and Ford is a significant display of worker power against automakers who have faced profitability issues, including the 2021 chip crisis. The strikes, which began in late 2022, have put pressure on the companies and resulted in concessions from Ford. The UAW workers argue that the companies are responsible for the current situation due to their previous inaction and price increases, and their wages have not kept up with inflation. The workers' strategy of targeted strikes, rather than a mass walkout, aims to stretch their strike fund and maintain solidarity. Despite some risks, the UAW workers currently hold more leverage in this situation, as the companies have faced criticism and pressure from various sources, including former and current presidents of the United States. The auto industry, once a symbol of middle-class stability, has seen worker wages decline significantly since the 2008 recession, leaving many workers underpaid and struggling to keep up with inflation.

    • The Complex History of Nazi Affiliated Groups in Critical InfrastructureDuring crises, governments save critical industries, but executives and shareholders may profit while workers pay. Historical facts about Nazi affiliated groups in military deserve acknowledgement and learning.

      During the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. government intervened to save the auto industry, which was considered critical infrastructure. However, the industry's executives and shareholders reaped significant profits, while the workforce still owes billions to the government. Moving on to Ukraine, a scandal emerged when a Nazi SS veteran was given a standing ovation by the Canadian parliament during a session honoring Ukrainian veterans. The SS Division Galicia, which this veteran was a part of, was involved in numerous atrocities during World War II. The fact that this was not a bigger scandal in the U.S. and Canada, and that it took a long time for an apology to be issued, is outrageous. This situation raises uncomfortable truths about the complex history of Nazi affiliated groups in the Ukrainian military, and the efforts to whitewash their past. It's important to acknowledge and learn from these historical facts.

    • Ukrainian nationalists and Nazis during WW2During WW2, some Ukrainian nationalists allied with Nazis vs Soviets, complicating modern-day relations and raising moral concerns over Western support

      During World War 2, some Ukrainian nationalists fought alongside the Nazis against the Soviet Union. This is an uncomfortable truth that has been largely ignored or whitewashed in recent times. One former Nazi, honored by Zelensky and Trudeau, serves as a reminder of this complicated history. It's important to acknowledge that many Ukrainians, like people in other Eastern European countries, had a complex relationship with the Nazis during this time. Some cheered them on due to their hatred of the Soviets, and some were involved in anti-Jewish pogroms. While it's understandable that people may not want to acknowledge the Nazi ties of their ancestors, it's crucial to confront this history honestly. The fact that Western-provided weapons have ended up in the hands of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine adds another layer of complexity to this issue. It's essential to acknowledge these moral quandaries and consider who we in the West are supporting.

    • Ukraine's Complex Political LandscapeThe situation in Ukraine demonstrates the intricacies of international politics, where historical context, allegiances, and moral gray areas can coexist in geopolitical conflicts.

      The complexities and nuances of international politics often defy simplistic labels like "democracy" and "autocracy." The situation in Ukraine serves as a reminder that historical context, allegiances, and even moral gray areas can exist in the midst of geopolitical conflicts. One example of this complexity emerged during a discussion about a Canadian parliamentary honor given to a Ukrainian military leader with controversial past ties. Critics argue that his association with Nazi forces is not only a stain on his reputation but also raises uncomfortable questions about the moral compass of Western allies. The lack of condemnation from some media outlets and Jewish groups adds to the controversy. In the midst of a government shutdown debate in the US, some politicians advocate for a multi-pronged approach to addressing various issues, while others call for a singular focus. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine highlights the importance of asking tough questions about allies and understanding the complexities of international relations.

    • Political Standoff Between House and Senate Over Government Funding and Ukraine InvestigationA political power struggle between the House and Senate over government funding and an investigation into Ukraine funding may lead to a government shutdown due to differing approaches and lack of time to pass legislation.

      The ongoing political standoff between the House and the Senate revolves around a continuing resolution to fund the government and the demand for an investigation into Ukraine funding. The House GOP, led by Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy's opponents, want to return to the normal procedure of passing individual appropriations bills, but the Senate and McCarthy prefer a comprehensive continuing resolution. The House GOP is pushing for spending cuts, particularly in discretionary spending, but many of their proposed cuts are seen as unnecessary or misinformed. The Ukraine issue is a significant demand, but it's not the only one. The main issue is the political power struggle and the differing approaches to funding the government and investigating Ukraine. The situation is complicated, and a government shutdown seems imminent due to the lack of time to pass a discharge petition or for McCarthy to bring the Senate's comprehensive continuing resolution to the House floor.

    • Republican Hardliners Threaten to Derail Budget ProcessExtreme Republican factions demand drastic cuts to social safety net programs and dismantle them, causing a deep divide between hardliners and moderates, potentially leading to a dysfunctional budget process and harming the democratic process.

      The ongoing debate in the House of Representatives over raising the debt ceiling and passing the budget has reached an impasse, with extreme ideological demands from some Republicans threatening to derail the process. The use of discharge petitions, which don't require a speaker to bring something to the floor, may be employed to bypass the speaker, but there's no guarantee of success. The demands from this faction, led by figures like Matt Gaetz, are not only extreme on Ukraine and other issues but also seek to dismantle social safety net programs that have already been significantly cut during the COVID era. The divide between these hardliners and more moderate Republicans and Democrats is deep, and the situation has become increasingly ugly and divisive. The ideal solution, from an entertainment perspective, would be for Republicans and Democrats to team up and pass the budget, leading to McCarthy losing his speakership. However, this may not be feasible as the hardliners lack a unifying alternative. The current process of passing giant CRs, which are packed with junk and undemocratically decided by a few leaders, is harmful to individual citizens and the democratic process. Unfortunately, this dysfunctional state of affairs has persisted for over a decade, making genuine, bipartisan lawmaking a distant memory.

    • The Importance of Bipartisan Cooperation and Ethical Standards in PoliticsThe Kennedy tax bill and Menendez scandal highlight the need for bipartisan cooperation and ethical standards in politics, emphasizing accountability and integrity in government.

      The tax bill passed by John F. Kennedy and the subsequent debates around income tax and corporate prosperity in the 1960s serve as a reminder of the importance of bipartisan cooperation and good order in American politics. However, the current ideological divergence between the two major parties makes such cooperation difficult, if not impossible. A recent scandal involving Senator Menendez of New Jersey, who was indicted on corruption charges, further highlights the dysfunction in Washington. Despite the allegations, Menendez has refused to resign, sparking criticism from fellow Democrats and raising concerns about the ethical standards in politics. This incident underscores the need for accountability and integrity in government, as well as the importance of bipartisan efforts to address the challenges facing our country.

    • Democratic senators divided over Menendez resignationSome Dem senators stand by Menendez amid bribery charges, while others call for his resignation, raising questions about party unity and 2024 election implications.

      Despite Senator Bob Menendez facing federal bribery charges, the majority of Democratic senators, including Schumer and Durbin, have not called for his resignation. Menendez, who is the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, has been accused of trading power and influence for favors from a foreign government, but many in his party continue to support him during the ongoing primary process. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Andy Kim are among those who have called for Menendez to step down, but their voices have been largely drowned out by the lack of action from other Democratic senators. The situation raises questions about the consistency and integrity of the Democratic Party and the political implications for the 2024 election.

    • New Jersey Senate race could be tough for Democrats with Menendez as nomineeDespite past victory, Menendez's corruption allegations and controversial actions pose a challenge for Democrats in the New Jersey Senate race, as older viewers remain the only consistent demographic for network television.

      The New Jersey Senate race could be an uphill battle for the Democrats if Menendez ends up being their nominee, despite his past victory and the party's willingness to take the risk. Menendez faces allegations of corruption and has a history of controversial actions, including a mistrial in a previous indictment. In the age of streaming services, traditional television networks are now targeting an older audience to keep viewership, with shows like "The Golden Bachelor" and revivals of classic series like "Law and Order" and "Magnum PI." This trend is significant because older viewers are the only demographic consistently tuning in to network television.

    • The decline of mass-market, serialized TV showsTraditional TV shows like 'Law and Order' and 'The West Wing' are fading due to the demise of advertising model, rise of niche content, and increasing cost for consumers.

      The era of mass-market, serialized network TV shows, which once dominated American television and kept audiences engaged, has largely collapsed due to the rise of streaming services and the Internet. Shows like "Law and Order" and "The West Wing," which were once the bedrock of television and generated significant revenue through advertising, are now a relic of the past. The advertising model that supported these shows has largely disappeared, with ads on streaming services being much shorter and less lucrative. Shows that appeal to niche audiences, such as the senior women's golf tour, now have a chance to represent older demographics in a more authentic way. However, the decline of the traditional cable bundle and the rise of streaming services have led to consumers paying more for less content. The future of television is uncertain, but it's clear that the mass-market, serialized TV shows that once defined American television are a thing of the past.

    • Television viewing habits of baby boomers pose a challenge for networksBaby boomers' family-oriented viewing habits contrast with younger generations' adaptation to changing media landscape, while networks heavily rely on the 25-54 demographic group, making the aging audience problematic. Recent corruption cases involving powerful elites raise concerns about ethics and public trust.

      The television viewing habits of baby boomers continue to be a challenge for networks due to their long-standing tradition of watching prime time shows as a family. Meanwhile, younger generations have easily adapted to the changing media landscape. Additionally, the business model for networks relies heavily on the demographic group between 25-54 years old, making the aging audience problematic. On a different note, recent instances of corruption among powerful elites, such as Senator Bob Menendez and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, highlight the troubling trend of blatant disregard for public trust and ethics laws. Both cases have significant implications on policy-making at the highest levels, with Menendez's influence on foreign policy and Thomas's impact on the Supreme Court's stance on regulations. Both stories underscore the dangerous normalization and legalization of corruption, particularly within the Supreme Court.

    • Culture of silence among elites enables corruptionElites involved in corruption often avoid accountability, perpetuating the cycle with a culture of silence and inaction.

      The protection of corruption among elites, including politicians and justices, is pervasive due to a mutual understanding of their own involvement in unethical practices. This culture of silence and inaction enables the continuation of corruption, as seen in the cases of Sen. Menendez and Justice Thomas, and even extends to the promotion and funding of questionable initiatives, such as the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. Despite the damaging consequences, those involved often avoid accountability and continue to enrich themselves, perpetuating the cycle.

    • Commercialization of Social Justice MovementsWealthy individuals and corporations can misuse resources in social justice movements, leading to a diversion from genuine progress. Be discerning and avoid being part of the grift.

      The commercialization and co-option of social justice movements, such as the anti-racism movement, by wealthy individuals and corporations can lead to a misuse of resources and a diversion from genuine progress. The example of Ibram Kendi and his work, which received significant corporate funding and media attention, is used to illustrate this point. Critics argue that this focus on profit rather than meaningful change has resulted in a waste of resources and even exacerbated racial issues. The billionaire class is accused of using anti-racism as a tool to distract and divide the populace. The only solution, it is suggested, is for individuals to be more discerning and not buy into the grift next time. The book club anecdote highlights the disconnect between those in positions of power and those who are critical of the status quo. The intertwining of race and class concerns is acknowledged, but the solutions offered by figures like Kendi are seen as at odds with the beliefs of those who advocate for systemic change.

    • The Transformation of Noble OrganizationsNoble organizations can evolve into businesses or rackets, emphasizing the importance of maintaining integrity. Save on Walt Disney World tickets through Undercover Tourist and prioritize mental health support with BetterHelp's online therapy services. Gainbridge's Parity Flex Annuity caters to women's retirement needs.

      Every organization or movement, no matter how noble its origins, can eventually turn into a business or a racket. This was a sentiment expressed during a podcast discussion, drawing parallels to a specific think tank or center. Eric Hoffer's quote was referenced to highlight this inevitable transformation. Meanwhile, the podcast also shared practical advice for saving money on Walt Disney World vacation tickets through Undercover Tourist. They emphasized the importance of mental health support, promoting BetterHelp's online therapy services. Lastly, Gainbridge's Parity Flex Annuity was introduced as a retirement solution tailored to women's unique needs.

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    #170 - Paul Krishnamurty

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    http://www.grimerica.ca/ray/ Episode with Terry Ray
     
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