Some Brief Saturday Afternoon Comments

October 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dan Carlin, Cent Ugar and TYT

For several years I have enjoyed a series of podcasts from a web site entitled “Dan Carlin’s Hard Core History”.  Before my legs developed neuropathy that made it impossible, I was a runner (when I was much younger), then a jogger (for years after that), then a walker (in my 70’s).  To amuse myself during the hour or so while engaged in those exercises, I listened to podcasts.  My favorites were Carlin’s and Ira Glass’s “This American Life”.

Recently I discovered that Dan Carlin has a new podcast series, “Common Sense”, a weekly commentary on various issues and occasional interviews.  Carlin is not an ideologue but, because he bases his opinions on facts and research, he usually, but not always, arrives at liberal conclusions.  His disdain for both Fox News and CNN is constant, not because of their political biases but because he finds them intellectually barren.

I mention Carlin because, on one of his “Common Sense” episodes, he interviewed Cenk Ugar, the head of an online group of news and entertainment channels called “TYT”, an abbreviation for The Young Turks.  Here is a link to that episode:  Common Sense

This is an hour-long show.  It requires some patience.  The first 8 or 9 minutes consist of Dan Carlin’s monologue about himself and his approach to his job.  It was interesting to me because, as stated, I have respect for him and I enjoy his ideas.  If you don’t want to bother with that, just move the cursor over to about 9 and you will hear a conversation between him and Cenk Ugar.  For me, this conversation was a treat.  Two intelligent guys talked about several issues that interest me and did so in an intelligent way.

In case you are too busy to invest an hour, please Google TYT Network and sample some of the episodes you find there.  Ugar and two or three others discuss politics every week day on a TYT channel called “The Young Turks”.  You can click on recent shows from a column along the right side of the screen.

BTW, the TYT network has almost twice as many daily average viewers as CNN and significantly more than Fox.  Two billion people have signed up as “members”.  You guys are probably already aware of it and are regarding as quaint the fact that I have just awakened to discover it.  I hope that is true but, if it isn’t, you should try it.  I have found it more interesting than either CNN or MSNBC.

One more thing – and this is important, so listen up – Ugar and his crew are trying to use Article 5 of the Constitution to force a state legislature-compelled convention to add an amendment to the Constitution that will prohibit corporations from making political contributions and declaring that corporations are not people and, hence do not have enforceable First Amendment rights.  The state legislatures of Vermont and California have already joined this effort.  Recent polling reflects that 80% of Americans are in favor of this idea and opposed to the present money domination of our political system.  Both Democrats and Republicans agree on this issue.

The effort is called Wolf-Pak.  Please Google it and sign up.

Gary Webb, The Contras and Cocaine

There is a new movie out, Kill the Messenger.   It is about Gary Webb, an Oakland California newspaper reporter who, in 1996, wrote a three-part series of articles entitled “Dark Alliance”.  He described an alliance between the CIA, the Contras and Central America drug smugglers to finance the ouster of Nicaragua’s government.  The Reagan Administration was opposed to that government because its president was Daniel Ortega, the leader of the Sandinistas, was resisting the influence of the neo-colonial policies of conservative political faction backing the Contras.  This cocaine connection was an added piece to the Iran-Contra scandal that  exposed the lawlessness of Ronald Reagan and led to the imprisonment of Ollie North, one of the wack-a-doos commissioned by Reagan and his neo-cons to trash the “rule of law”, a idea much admired in public but ignored in private when it hampers the current goals of government leaders.

There are two long stories that describe this tawdry episode in our history.  One is this recent article in The Nation.  Another is a long account of how John Kerry, when he was a freshman Senator, risked his political career by sponsoring an investigation into the Contra-Cocine-CIA connection.  This story appeared in Salon.

Waiting for Turkey and Sanity About a Travel Ban

Finally, I am still waiting for some media attention to a couple of facts that are still bothering me.

First, I don’t know why, despite all the pursed lips and head shaking about why Turkey is being so obdurate about doing something about the impending fall of Kobani to the forces of ISIL, no one ever mentions that maybe it might have something to do with the oil deal between Turkey and ISIL  Yeah, yeah I know about the PIK issue and Turkey’s complaint about reluctance to join the opposition to Bashar al-Assad.  But shouldn’t the oil deal at least be mentioned?

Second, when the GOP ignorami bray about travel bans from Ebola infected West African nations, why doesn’t someone ask them how it would work, given the fact that there are no direct commercial flights from any of those countries to the U.S..  Do they really want a travel ban from Belgium or the UK or other European nations from which travelers from West Africa change planes on their way to New York.

These are the matters that evoke conversations between me and a TV set for a few seconds until I realize I am talking to a machine.  So, who’s the crazy one?


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