Wednesday, May 27, 2020

It Is A Small World After All

Most of you have heard about the Butterfly Effect. The butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico can cause a hurricane in China. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. It’s how the world works today. Except with modern communications, it happens at warp speed. Coronavirus and terrorism are just two of many examples

Even for those that try and eschew globalization, the protest is futile. The world, its peoples, its governments and yes its companies are deeply interwoven and interconnected. It why we do ourselves such a disservice as citizens and as a nation if
we don’t truly understand the world and our place in it.

Few understand this as well as Richard Haass who takes us through it in The World: A Brief Introduction

My conversation with Richard Haass:


Sunday, May 24, 2020

A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt

Who knew that 17th-century pirates were both the original terrorists and the original globalists. We mark seminal events that we are living through and decide which ones are important and which re not. Yet often time and history tell a different story. Sometimes it’s the small events, tiny inflection, or hinge points in history that seep into all the tentacles going out into the future.

Steven Johnson, in his new book Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt finds one of those points and gives us the recipes of how it’s become part of today’s global and cultural diet.

My conversation with Steven Johnson:



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Where Did 24/7 News Come From?

When we say, almost without much thought today, that we live in an era of 24/7 news and information, we don’t often think about the attribution of this state of affairs. No, it didn’t come from Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, or Jack Dorsey and Twitter. In fact, it wasn’t the internet at all. It was Ted Turner, a guy who in the 1970s was hustling billboards and promoting a UHF TV station in Atlanta. Until he went ahead with the crazy idea of launching a 24/7 news channel in the form of CNN and that, as they say, changed everything.

What he created not only impacted television and network news, and gave rise to the likes of MSNBC and Fox, but it changed the entire landscape of the delivery of news. It changed everything from the small-town newspaper to the N.Y. Times and the Washi
ngton Post. It was one of those seminal moments, a hinge point in the history. of television, of news and media as we know it.

It’s the subject of the new book by author and journalist Lisa Napoli, Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN, and the Birth of 24-Hour News

My conversation with Lisa Napoli:


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Truth About America's "Deep State"

Ever since the post-war years both fear and complexity have increased. Fear of the bomb, of communists, war, political assassination, and 9/11. Fear of technology, of the growth and concentration of business, and the growing increase in the size and power of government. Ideas that are often impossible to get one’s head around and to fully understand.

Much of our division today is about how we have navigated those fears and traumas. What has emerged it seems is two central narratives that have their origins early in the mid 20th century and are still evolving today. One that the blame lies with the military-industrial complex. With shadowy generals and CIA agents and covert operatives.

On the other side, the blame goes to governments. To faceless nameless bureaucrats. Educated elites who think they know better than what Nixon called the silent majority. The group t
hat Reagan wanted to shrink small enough to go down a bathtub drain. This became known as the “deep state.”

The battle between these two world views, one on the left today and one on the right provides much of fuel for our partisanship.

How we got here, and what the deep state really is, or even if there is one, is at the core of two time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rhode's In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America's "Deep State"



Tuesday, May 5, 2020

China and Its Ongoing Industrial Espionage

There are so many stories today about the economic competition between China and the US. Competition in technology, in 5G in AI, and every other trendy high tech endeavor. However, the same competition exists in many other areas of industry, including the staid world of agriculture.

In fact, it is this world of genetically modified agriculture that may, more than the trendy tech, shape the future of the peoples of both China and the US.

It’s no wonder then that industrial espionage is rampant in this area and its national security implications go way behind missiles and planes and communication.

That’s the world that Mara Hvistendahl takes us into in her latest book The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage

My conversation with Mara Hvistendahl: