Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - September 11, 2019 - Filling in for Jeff Angelo
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.
Breaking news to watch
Segment 1: (11 min)
BUT FIRST: The opening essay
It has now been a generation since 9/11. Pew defines Gen X as those born from 1965 to 1980, and the Millennials as those born from 1980 to 1996. So if a generation is around 15 years long, then we are now a generation's length of time past 9/11.
Moreover, now that the memories of 9/11 are 18 years old, then starting today, children will be born to adults who were not yet born when the Twin Towers came down.
What does it mean for a memory to reach adulthood?
- 18 years after the John F. Kennedy assassination, Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded outside the Washington Hilton.
- 18 years after the Pearl Harbor attacks, Dwight Eisenhower was in his second term in office.
- 18 years after the (1929) stock-market crash that marked the start of the Great Depression, the United States had won WWII, the Baby Boom was getting started, and the economy was getting set for takeoff.
So it is fair to ask: Do we treat the memory of 9/11 like an adult? What does it mean?
- Are we making the same kinds of mistakes that we made before, just as in the cases of Reagan and Kennedy?
- Are we putting experienced leaders to work, like putting Eisenhower in the Oval Office?
- Are we more resilient, more influential, and more optimistic, like we were 18 years after the Great Depression began?
Commemoration and solemnity are good and proper. But it's also good and proper to ask whether we're merely coping or whether we've grown from the experience.
In a lot of ways, I fear we are still merely coping -- we've never really left our war footing from that day. I think it's unhealthy when it means we subject ourselves to unchecked scrutiny, whether that's in the security line at the airport or out in the wider world. It's not a sign of growth that we're still fighting over whether cybersecurity is all that important (remember that part of what made 9/11 so shocking was that it was a novel attack vector -- hijackers had never crashed airplanes into US buildings like that before); if we're fixated on yesterday's weapons, we aren't going to be systemically safer.
But an even bigger and probably more dangerous shortcoming of our coping is that we've never really come to terms with what this commitment requires of us militarily. We smacked a label on it and called it the "Global War on Terror", as though that was adequate.
The problem is that terrorism is just a tactic. It's not a territory to be captured, not an ideology to be overrun, not a defined enemy of any sort. It's a tactic that has been around for millennia, and probably will remain for more. You can't win a war against a tactic.
What we have is more like a chronic health condition, and it's one we mostly throw military force at trying to overcome. Its very persistence robs us of a sense of "winning", and that makes it too easy to forget. Yet the deployments continue, and in some form or another they're practically certain to continue indefinitely. [personal reference]
In some ways, it's no more likely that we'll "win" a GWOT any more than someone "wins" a battle with Type I diabetes. But it's possible we will successfully contain, mitigate, and reduce the harm done by terrorist groups, and that requires a different mindset and different expectations than thinking we're going to have some denouement like storming the beaches of Normandy. And we're going to do much of it on the backs now of fighting forces born after the conflict came to our soil. 9/11 now really is pre-history to the people studying it in school.
Part of adulthood is learning to face facts as they are. 9/11 will always be with us. But we also owe it to the post-9/11 generation now taking a seat at the adults' table to have a frank national accounting for what is our place in the world today, and what we ought to expect for outcomes and what sacrifices ought to be made to get there.
The moral of the story:
Segment 2: (8 min)
Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day
The moral of the story:
Segment 3: John Bolton departure | Kathryn Waldron, R Street Institute
Kathryn Waldron is a Fellow in National Security and Cybersecurity at the R Street Institute
- Any early impressions of the consequences of John Bolton's departure? Are you surprised or was it pretty clear that the writing was on the wall?
- What should Americans expect out of a National Security Adviser anyway? Is it a job for a "steady hand", a place for bold and innovative thinking, a place where the President needs his/her own alter ego, or a role where it's best if someone *doesn't* think quite like the President so that they help address each other's blind spots?
- If you were to survey the experts on national security, would there be any kind of consensus about what the biggest risks and threats are right now? (And, if you're comfortable going there, is the administration doing enough about them?)
- What role does Congress have to play in all this? Jobs like the NSA didn't appear anywhere in the Constitution, but the Constitution and Federalist Papers did make it crystal-clear that the Senate especially was supposed to play an extremely active role in our foreign affairs and our national security. Does the apparent tilt toward making it such an Executive Branch function help or hurt us? Or is it just a necessary evil?
- How important is any one person in the natsec machinery? The President has been extremely comfortable with leaving lots of roles unfilled for long periods of time...does it matter if this one remains empty for a long time?
- Is the National Security Adviser supposed to be more like a COO, or more like the chair of the board? In other words, is it a job for a tactician, or one for a strategist? Or is it both?
- Say you've been tasked with finding a new NSA. Where would you start looking? Would you have any litmus tests in mind?
- The oil market appeared to respond instantly to the news of Bolton's departure, probably because he was known as such a hawk on Iran. Are there any other real-world consequences to his departure that people might notice? Did he appear to be influencing the President at all toward the end of his tenure?
- How important is a good NSA to a President? Is there anyone who gets held up on a pedestal as a sort of ideal NSA?
- If you could pick the new NSA, or at least make them an overnight expert in something, what kind of expertise do you think would do us the most good right now? (Could be a region of the world, could be an issue like cybersecurity, could be a temperament or a personality characteristic...)
The moral of the story:
Segment 4: (5 min)
Sure, it's got a better camera, a faster processor and a clearer screen. But probably the most attractive feature of the new iPhone is its price.
Unveiled Tuesday, Apple's iPhone 11 starts at $699 -- which is $50 less than the phone it's replacing. The new model has a faster, more energy-efficient A13 bionic chip and a bunch of camera improvements, like "Pet Portrait Mode."
Apple also debuted the two higher-end models, the iPhone 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max. Among the differences between the Pro versions and the standard 11 is the screen; the 11 has an LCD, while the other two have an OLED, which provides sharper contrast and higher resolution. The Pros also have three camera lenses, whereas the 11 has two. The Pro starts at $999 and the Pro Max starts at $1099.
Customers can pre-order the new iPhone starting at 5 a.m. PST on Friday. They ship September 20th.
Segment 5: (11 min)
Above all, it's our job as good Americans to recognize that most of our fellow citizens are free to move about if they wish -- because that implies that most of us have, consciously or not, made a choice to live where we do.
Segment 6: (8 min)
The California Assembly passed a bill 66-0 on Monday that would allow college athletes to hire agents and get paid for endorsements. The bill also stops the NCAA and universities from banning athletes who take the money, according to Sports Illustrated. This could be a big showdown for California and the NCAA. Several universities and the NCAA oppose the bill. The NCAA has already warned that California could lose some national championship games if the bill is passed in a final vote this Friday.
The moral of the story:
Segment 7: Boys and Girls Club | Jodie Warth, Kendra Allen
Jodie Warth | Chief Executive Officer, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa
Kendra Allen | Unit Director at Drake
Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Club
2500 Forest Ave.
Segment 8: (5 min)
John Bercow goes out in style as the Speaker of the Commons. It still doesn't make sense how they squeeze 650 MPs into that room at Westminster, but the insults are par excellence.
Someone should ceremonially slam the door on the President when he or she shows up to deliver the State of the Union Address. The pathetic theater into which the SOTU has evolved makes it look like a regal declaration, when it should be an annual performance review with a highly critical audience.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most important issue is how the Irish border is going to be handled. And that means the Irish media may be best-positioned to report on what's really happening in the UK.
Unsorted and leftovers:
She promises "independent investigations of police shootings" as a campaign plank. From a civil-libertarian point of view, an independent body for investigating shootings that involve law enforcement is a sound idea. Model it on the NTSB.
You can vilify automation if you want, but there are places where the alternative means no service at all.
Ex-Hurricane Dorian left 80,000 customers without power in New Brunswick and more than 112,000 in the dark in Nova Scotia.
But that's actually an unusual circumstance across American history. Whether we're "more religious" or "less religious" depends on which cohort of predecessors you choose to count.
Yonhap News Agency: "About 3,600 properties have been confirmed to be damaged due to the fifth-strongest winds ever recorded among the typhoons that have hit the peninsula."
Surely an unwelcome development in the eyes of Iowa Pork.
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