Peasants & Emperors is a podcast presenting topics related to democracy, science, culture, women’s issues, current events and critical thinking. A new podcast is produced and available for listening/download approximately every two weeks.
In episode 16, the Hooligans welcome their first guest speaker (Lane S. who is a statistician based in Kansas) to the podcast. Rick and Jess hoped Lane might be able to shed some light on why so many people support Trump. Lane argues Trump’s candidacy is more or less a reaction of Middle-America to decades of graft and corruption in Washington, D.C. Whatever side of the political spectrum you reside on, you’ll find some of the things Lane has to say revealing to say the least.
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Notes & Clarifications
1). In the podcast, Lane asserted 94 million Americans are currently not looking for work. This would be an extraordinary number of unemployed people considering the population of the United States is approximately 320 million. The figure above (94 million unemployed) is used by Donald Trump. According to the Bureau of Labor, approximately 92 to 93 million Americans aged 16 to infinity were not participating in the labor force as of July 2015. This number needs to be unpacked, i.e. it includes a number of people not actively looking for work (17.5 million retired Americans 65 or older). The number likewise includes high school, graduate and professional school students. Also, it includes people with disabilities, stay at home parents, and every adult attending school full-time. The official number of unemployed Americans is 8.3 million (but according to Political Fact, a watch-dog website, depending upon the criteria you use the number of unemployed could be as high as 21 million). So a more realistic number might well be somewhere between 8.3 to 21 million unemployed.
2). Lane observed 68,000 crimes had been perpetrated in Texas alone by illegal immigrants in Texas since Obama was elected in 2008. According to Political Fact figure is accurate (and depending upon how you interpret some of the statistics) and might be more or less an understatement of the problem facing the American judicial system by illegals.
3). Rick claimed that 7 out of every 10 jobs created in any modern economy are technology related. He was unable to find the source where he came across this information. He did recall learning this statistic while completing his education degree back in the 1990s. Nonetheless, listeners are counselled to take this stat with a grain of salt until a source can be found affirming it.
4). Lane observed he had some problems with free trade but no problems really with “fair” trade. This led to a discussion of some examples of “unfair” trade which has resulted from free trade agreements. Specifically, the topic of Apple Corporation’s exploitation of cheap Chinese labor in Shang-hai came up. Follow this link to a discussion on Apple’s problematic alliance with the Chinese government. Ultimately, when you purchase Apple products you are directly contributing to the misery of tens of thousands of workers in China.
5). During the podcast, Rick couldn’t remember the name of the legal instrument used by corporations to sue national governments. This tool is called an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Every major free trade agreement, e.g. NAFTA, etc. has an ISDS clause empowering corporations to sue national governments whenever a government’s policies or laws might threaten shareholder profits. Critics of ISDS have raised concerns about its unpredictability, how it contributes to a lack of transparency, and the apparent lack of impartiality on the part of arbitrators; that is, the same lawyers who craft the agreements also preside as judges (arbitrators) during conflict resolution.
6). Lane referred to an apocryphal story of Donald Trump helping a married couple out by paying hospital bills, mortgage, etc. for helping him with some car troubles. The story is fictional and has made the rounds in different forms with different celebrities helping the couple. A similar story has circulated about stars like Vin Diesel or Will Ferrell moving to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to escape the hurly-burly of Los Angeles. Click here to see the Snope’s fact check page on this story.
7). Rick mis-spoke when he said nuclear deterrence has worked for six years. He meant to say six decades.
8). Rick couldn’t remember the location of one Al Qaida led terror attack on an American embassy from a country starting with the letter “t” (that country was Tanzania and it took place in 1998).
9). Lane mentioned an attack on the American embassy in Iran in 1973. He meant to say an attack came during the 1979 Iranian uprising.
Part 1: Donald Trump: The Problem of Relying on Men Instead of Principles
Part 2: Donald Trump: Why Reasonable People Vote for Him
Part 3: Donald Trump: Where’s It All Heading
Trump Makes Promises He Can’t Keep
Podcast (audio): Why You Should Vote for Trump