Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - November 4, 2017
Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.
Segment 1: (11 min)
BUT FIRST: The opening essay
Buried in the non-stop avalanche of news with which we all live these days was the...not "non-story", but more "anti-story" that Kid Rock says he really isn't running for the United States Senate.
That's despite eager speculation, early polling, and even a website (KidRockforSenate.com).
Should celebrities have political opinions? Absolutely. So should we all.
The part-time job of any citizen is to take an interest in politics.
For politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. Politics must be the concern of every citizen who wants to see our national well-being increased and our international leadership strengthened. In that combined sense, politics is the noblest of professions. In the ranks of that kind of politics, every American should be enrolled.
But the weight of a celebrity opinion should be equal to that of any plumber, farmer, insurance agent, or college professor.
If we're disengaged, it's our own fault. If we're uninformed, it's our own fault. If we think the government is underperforming, it's our own fault.
Kid Rock isn't running for Senate, but should he be capable of doing the job?
Entertainers turned politicians: Al Franken, Fred Grandy, Sonny Bono. Obviously, Ronald Reagan.
A legislature selected at random should be inferior to one composed of people experienced in and dedicated to the practice -- but it shouldn't be *very* inferior. If you think it would be, then you have a fundamental problem of self-government.
Jimmy Kimmel encountered some pushback, just for instance, when he publicly opposed ACA repeal. He's far from being the only celebrity to express a political opinion in strong public terms.
There's an abbreviation widely known among people who are called upon to help other people use technical tools of every type -- from computer programs to heavy machinery. It's "RTFM", for "Read the [blanking] manual."
It turns out that we all need to RTFM when it comes to our political system, too.
Nothing in life comes without an overhead cost. You buy a house, you have to pay property taxes and utilities, insurance and upkeep -- even beyond a mortgage payment. You get a car, and you have to get gas and rotate tires and have the oil changed. There's always an overhead cost.
In business, the baseline figure for these things is often known as "SGA" -- selling, general, and administrative expenses. It's not unusual for SGA expenses to represent 10% to 20% of a company's sales revenues -- and in some sectors, it's often much more.
That 10% to 20% benchmark might be a little high for the "SGA expenses" on living in a decent, advanced, functional republican democracy. But, at the very least, in addition to whatever we're assessed in taxes, we also need to devote at least some time to becoming at least moderately informed about the issues of the day and how to address them. It's an unavoidable expense, though it's measured mostly in time.
The task is to approach the time we spend on politics, policy, and issues just like we might expect government itself to approach the actual doing of those things we ask of it: To be efficient, mostly by cutting out any waste discovered along the way.
But we all have to do it. It's not someone else's job -- it's everyone's job. Just like Eisenhower said, it "ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen".
Segment 2: What you meant to say was...
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
You meant to say, "I am committed to the process of swift and fair justice, and will tolerate no hint of unethical conduct among my team". https://t.co/mTCsuFLSEE— Brian Gongol (@briangongol) October 30, 2017
No hint. Not one hint. Not a whiff. That's the standard to which a White House ought to be held accountable.
Not: But what about...? Not: It's a witch hunt! Not: Look over there at something else!
Not one hint.
Warren Buffett, upon taking over Salomon Brothers after a scandal:
Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding; lose a shread of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.
Only if you think that you have no reputation to protect do you deflect to the shortcomings of others.
"Pardoning the bad, is injuring the good." - Benjamin Franklin
If there's a bad apple in the bunch, you obliterate it immediately. No hesitation. No delay. No excuses. No deflection. No misdirection.
"What we need in appointive positions is men of knowledge and experience who have sufficient character to resist temptations. If that standard is maintained, we need not be concerned about their former activities." - Calvin Coolidge
The week in technology: And then his account went away for 11 minutes
Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017
Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day. We are conducting a full internal review. https://t.co/mlarOgiaRF— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) November 3, 2017
Twitter wasn't prepared to contain even one rogue employee?— Brian Gongol (@briangongol) November 3, 2017
Checks and balances: They're not just for constitutional government anymore! https://t.co/ah5Ly1gEIy
Does tend to illustrate just how fragile the social-media systems are. There really are no backstops, emergency brakes, or dead-man switches like there ought to be.
No wonder they're fast asleep while influence campaigns run amok, dredging up the worst sludge and piling it up in front of us.
If you believe the utter falsehood that this is to be solved with "more transparency" about who's buying ads, you're too naive to be engaged in making policy. A necessary condition? Maybe. But not even close to sufficient.
Segment 3: (14 min)
Segment 4: (5 min)
Segment 5: (11 min)
Segment 6: (8 min)
Segment 7: (14 min)
Segment 8: (5 min)
Unsorted and leftovers:
By the numbers
Clean up after yourself
Mind your business
Quote of the Week
The week in technology
Your role in cyberwar
Contrary to popular opinion
Hyperbole is going to kill us all
21st Century conservatism
Curiosity, competence, and humility
Have a little empathy
Stop the deliberate ignorance
Tin Foil Hat Award
Yay Capitalism Prize
Capitalist solution of the week
Calendar events to highlight
- Podcast of this episode (forthcoming)
- Official station page for this episode (forthcoming)