DMZ America Podcast #151: Canada Fears US Civil War, Many Elderly Will Die Homeless, Cartoonist Jailed in Iran

The DMZ America podcast is where you’ll hear civilized, spirited debate and discussion about the politics and issues of the day. Editorial cartoonists Ted Rall (Left) and Scott Stantis (Right) deliver a fast-paced look at some stories others are missing this week.

First up, a Canadian government assessment of threats to Canadian national security worries aloud about instability on their southern border: us. The worry: “U.S. ideological divisions, democratic erosion, and domestic unrest escalate, plunging the country into civil war.”

Second: People over 50 face a radically increased danger of becoming homeless and dying on the streets. What does the fact that younger generations don’t seem to care about the elderly say about American society?

Third: Cartoonist Atena Farghadani, who is on trial at Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, was charged with “insulting sacred values” and “propagating against the state” for attempting to post her cartoon on the wall outside the home of the Supreme Leader. The court sentenced the cartoonist to six years in prison. 

Watch the Video Version: here.

The Final Countdown – 6/12/24 – GOP Rivals Face Off in House Primaries

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss the latest political developments abroad and at home, including Republican candidates battling in the House primaries. 

Craig “Pasta” Jardula – Political Analyst, Podcast Host 
Scottie Nell Hughes – Veteran political commentator, Host of Perspective 
Jeremy Kuzmarov – Editor at Covert Action Magazine 
Political analyst Craig “Pasta” Jardula discusses the moment CBS’ Face the Nation anchor was ‘stunned’ by a poll revealing that 62 percent of Americans support deportations of undocumented migrants. 
Then, political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes joins The Final Countdown to weigh in on the GOP candidates battling in the U.S. House primaries. 
The show closes with Editor at Covert Action Magazine Jeremy Kuzmarov breaking down the proposed ceasefire and hostage deal. 

The Final Countdown – 6/11/24 – Biden’s Support Dwindles Ahead of Election

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss various current events, including Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict. 

Steve Abramowicz – Heartland Journal CEO 
Mark Krikorian – Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies 
Mark Sleboda – International relations and security expert 
Nebojsa Malic – Serbian American journalist 
The show begins with Heartland Journal CEO Steve Abramowicz joining to break down the Hunter Biden gun trial. Ted and Angie later discuss breaking news on the guilty verdict. 
Then, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies and immigration expert Mark Krikorian discusses how Biden is losing support amongst Latino voters amid his migration policy. 
The second hour starts with international relations and security expert Mark Sleboda discussing the upcoming Ukraine peace conference, and the country’s proposed plans to store F-16s. 
The show closes with Serbian American journalist Nebojsa Malic weighing in on the EU election results. 

The Final Countdown – 6/10/24 – Hunter Biden’s Criminal Trial Nears Conclusion

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss various current events, including Hunter Biden’s gun trial. 

Steve Gill – Attorney and CEO of Gill Media 
Scott Stantis – Cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune
Dan Kovalik – Human Rights Lawyer 
Jamarl Thomas – Cohost of Fault Lines 
The show begins with attorney and CEO of Gill Media, Steve Gill, sharing his perspective on the latest out of U.S. presidential elections including Trump and Biden’s popularity.
Then, cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune Scott Stantis weighs in on the defense resting in Hunter Biden’s gun trial. 
The second hour starts with human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik sharing his perspective on the latest out of Gaza, including the IDF killing 300 Palestinians to recapture four Israeli hostages and Benny Gantz leaving Israel’s war cabinet. 
The show closes with co-host of Fault Lines Jamarl Thomas joining from Vienna, Austria to discuss the results of the EU elections.

The Final Countdown – 6/7/24 – Trump Shortens List of VP Candidates as Election Approaches

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss a range of topics, including Trump’s potential VP pick. 

Scott Stantis – Cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune 
Robert Hornack – Political consultant 
Jeremy Kuzmarov – Managing Editor of Covert Action Magazine 
Mark Sleboda – International Relations Analyst
The show begins with Cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune Scott Stantis discussing the latest out of the Hunter Biden gun trial. 
Then, political analyst Robert Hornack weighs in on Trump’s possible VP pick. 
The second hour starts with the managing editor of Covert Action Magazine Jeremy Kuzmarov joining the show to discuss the latest out of Rafah and escalations between Israel and Lebanon.
The show closes with International relations analyst Mark Sleboda analyzing Biden’s visit to France for the anniversary of D-Day. 

DMZ America Podcast #150: Lawfare v. Hunter Biden, Age v. Joe Biden, EU Elections

Political artists Ted Rall (on the Left) and Scott Stantis (on the Right) aren’t just smart prescient analysts of news and current events. They are also best friends. So they’re not going to yell each other and try to talk over each other. They discuss and debate with courage and respect, making for easy-to-listen-to political discussion.

This week, the Wall Street Journal reports that Democratic and Republican White House insiders are all worried about the mental and physical fitness of the President of the United States. Biden nods off during meetings, doesn’t seem to know how to read the room, doesn’t seem to understand much about what’s going on. What can and should be done about this terrifying situation?

Also, Hunter Biden becomes the latest political figure targeted by a “gotcha lawsuit,” in which a relatively trivial offense is blown up into a major legal problem not because society must be protected from a villain but because it might score a few political points. Scott and Ted compare and contrast this trial over gun charges in Delaware with the conviction of former President Donald Trump in his hush money trial in New York.

Finally, elections in the European Union seem to indicate that the right wing parties are more likely to pick up seats than their rivals. Ted is authorized to vote in French elections and has received a bunch of propaganda from a myriad of political parties running candidates. Why can’t the United States have as much choice as France? Part of the answer lies in our stupid constitution.

Watch the Video Version: here.

The Final Countdown – 6/6/24 – Biden Blunders Time Interview, Dems in State of Panic

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss various current events, including Biden’s blundering of his Time interview.

Steve Abramowicz – CEO of Heartland Journal 
Craig Pasta Jardula – Political analyst, Host of ‘Pasta2Go’ and Co-Host of ‘The Convo Couch’
Mark Sleboda – International relations and security analyst 
George Szamuely –  Senior Research Fellow at the Global Policy Institute
The show begins with Steve Abramowicz weighing in on the Democratic party’s panic over President Joe Biden following the blunder of his Time interview. 
Then, Craig “Pasta” Jardula joins the show to weigh in on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest controversy. 
The second hour starts with International Relations and Security Analyst Mark Sleboda joining the show to discuss the latest out of Ukraine and Putin’s warning to the West. 
The show closes with Senior Research Fellow George Szamuely sharing his analysis of the EU elections. 

In Court, We’re All Abused Like Donald Trump

            At any given time, millions of Americans are involved in either a criminal case or civil lawsuit at some level of the local, state or federal court system. Very few people get to the end of their lives without coming into contact with judges and juries charged with determining the fate of their freedom and savings accounts.

            For most people, the legal system feels like a meatgrinder. Cops and officials, paid by you the taxpayer, treat you like dirt. Court fees and lawyers bleed you dry. Your reputation is at risk. So is your sanity. Nothing makes sense.

The courts impose a series of annoying and painful experiences that belie the fundamental constitutional guarantees they teach us in school and cast doubt on the assertion that we all enjoy equal justice under the law. Like a surgical procedure, time spent in an American courtroom is best gotten through as fast as possible and quickly forgotten. Never mind full-fledged reform; even incremental improvement of the legal system is usually unthinkable.

            High-profile trials open a rare window into countless indignities suffered by everyday litigants and defendants. If change is possible, it can only result from the bright spotlight of a full-fledged media circus like Donald Trump’s legal travails, and especially his recently-concluded New York hush-money trial at which he was convicted on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. If we pay attention, this is an excellent chance to take notice of outrages that affect everyone, not just the former president.

            Movie location scouts gravitate toward ornate 19th century and austere wood-paneled courtrooms for legal dramas. Trump, on the other hand, got the same bleak experience most New Yorkers suffer through when stuck in court: windowless, well-worn and poorly climatized.

            Courtrooms are tiny fiefs where there is basically no recourse to counter the word of the feudal lord—the judge—who may or may not be intelligent, well-intentioned or kind. As judges go, Justice Juan Merchan of New York State Supreme showed moments of decency, like when he ruled in favor of Trump’s request to attend his son’s high school graduation ceremony. Really, though, making allowances for life’s landmarks—births, funerals, a loved one’s medical emergency, an important business meeting—shouldn’t be up to the whim of a jurist. Continuances—legalese for delays—ought to be automatically granted with rare exceptions, like a credible threat to public safety. No matter what you think of Trump, he never should have had to worry that he might not be able to see his kid’s commencement because he was on trial. No parent, Democrat or Republican, should.

            Like countless defendants before him, Trump was forced to sit through day after day for weeks of mind-numbing tedium: jury selection, motions and countermotions and, of course, testimony. Like the rest of us, Trump could have made much better use of his time—in his case, campaigning for president, fundraising and managing his businesses, with the option to attend the proceedings if and when he desired. Since Trump didn’t testify, there should have been no requirement that he attend every stultifying moment—nor should there be for you and me. Let the lawyers handle it, as many do in traffic court.

            This goes double because the courts are so slowwwww. Attorneys, who are paid by the hour to the tune of hundreds of dollars each, love it. But there has to be a better way. Court supervisors in every state should figure out how to speed things up, beginning by hiring more judges. Which would also unclog the courts. Given the relatively straightforward facts of Trump’s case, there was no reason for his trial to drag on for a month or for closing arguments to run all day.

            Everyone should enjoy a reasonable expectation of impartiality in court. Reality is different. Justice Merchan donated money to Biden’s campaign and has a daughter who worked as a Democratic Party fundraiser. Maybe he was fair, maybe not, and the donation amount was tiny. Still, this behavior is the very definition of a conflict of interest. It demands recusal. When I was suing the Los Angeles Times—which was partly owned by the union of the LAPD, the police agency that had ordered the Times to fire me—two of the judges who considered my case were former prosecutors. They both ruled against me. No one will ever convince me that they were or could have been fair to me or to anyone else on the wrong side of the cops. Democrats should not brush aside Republicans’ complaints about Merchan’s biases.

Is it really so hard to find a judge who isn’t ethically compromised in such a direct way?

Trump’s case highlights the widespread phenomenon of prosecutorial overcharging, in which multiple counts are larded over one another in crimes that really boil down to a single discrete act and where relatively minor offenses are turbocharged into serious felonies using tortured interpretations of legal codes. Trump may have falsified 34 business records in the Stormy Daniels case but this is one crime, not 34. Mislabeling a campaign expense as a legal expense is sleazy, arguably a misdemeanor, but hardly a heinous offense calling for a maximum of four years in state prison. These tactics are used to coerce guilty pleas from defendants who are terrorized into compliance rather than faced with the justifiable consequences of their actions.

Sadly, it seems unlikely that Republican supporters of Trump, or even Trump himself, who push “tough on crime” legislation, would learn from the inherent unfairness of the legal system that abused and insulted the presumptive Republican nominee and work to improve it. But one can hope. After all, we all go through this crap at one point or another.

“If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” Trump commented after his conviction. And they do.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. His latest book, brand-new right now, is the graphic novel 2024: Revisited.)

The Final Countdown – 6/5/24 – Hunter Biden’s Ex-Wife Testifies, New Boeing Whistleblowers, Indian Elections, NATO War Plan

On this episode of The Final Countdown hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss various current events including the latest out of Hunter Biden’s gun trial. 

Mitch Roschelle – Media commentator
Scott Stantis – Cartoonist 
Sourabh Gupta – Sr. Asia Pacific International Policy Expert 
Nebojsa Malic – RT Journalist 
The show begins with media commentator Mitch Roschelle analyzing the latest out of Hunter Biden’s gun trial. 
Then, cartoonist Scott Stantis weighs in on new Boeing whistleblowers coming forward. 
Later, senior Asia Pacific Int’l policy expert Sourabh Gupta joins the show to share his perspective on the results of the Indian elections. 
The show closes with RT journalist Nebojsa Malic joining the show to talk about NATO preparing its armies for what they believe will be a potential war. 

The Final Countdown – 6/3/24 – New Polls Show GOP is Standing Behind Trump Despite Guilty Verdict

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss a wide array of topics, including Trump’s conviction. 

Ryan Cristian – Founder and Editor of The Last American Vagabond 
Robert Hornack – Political consultant 
Michael Maloof – Former Pentagon Official 
Mindia Gavasheli – Bureau Chief for Sputnik U.S. 
The show begins with Ryan Cristian sharing his perspective on Biden’s framework for a permanent ceasefire and what it entails. 
Then, political consultant Robert Hornack weighs in on Trump’s post-conviction speech and United States Senator Joe Manchin’s change in party affiliation. 
The second hour starts with former Pentagon official Michael Maloof sharing his analysis on the latest out of Ukraine. 
The show closes with Bureau Chief for Sputnik U.S. Mindia Gavasheli reporting from Mexico on the country’s presidential elections.