The Final Countdown – 9/6/23 – Proud Boys Ex-Leader Gets 22 Years as Freedom Convoy Trials Begin

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss breaking news, such as the sentencing of ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and the Freedom Convoy Trial in Canada. 

Steve Abramowicz – Host, Mill Creek View Podcast 

Dan Kovalik – Human Rights Lawyer 
Larry Ward – President, Constitutional Rights PAC
The show kicks off with the Host of Mill Creek View Podcast Steve Abramowicz discussing the Enrique Tarrio sentencing. Abramowicz and the hosts break down the possibilities of the ex-Proud Boys leader getting a pardon from a Republican administration. 
Then, Human Rights Lawyer Dan Kovalik joins The Final Countdown to discuss Elon Musk’s defamation case against the ADL. He also critiques the organization’s history of attacking the Palestinian rights movement. 
To close the show, President of the Constitutional Rights PAC Larry Ward rails on the trial of the Canadian Freedom Convoy from the perspective of a conservative. 

The Daunting Physics of Bidenomics

Unemployment is low—lower than at any time since the Vietnam War. Real wages are increasing. Inflation, voters’ top concern for the last several years, is slowing. Democrats are confident enough about how things are going that “Bidenomics” is at the center of their case for another four years in the White House.

Yet this is a rosy picture few voters can see. Americans consistently give President Biden low marks for his handling of the economy.

“I’ve never seen this big of a disconnect between how the economy is actually doing and key polling results about what people think is going on,” Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, tells the New York Times.

What gives?

Jason Furman, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama, points to a years-long trend that only ended recently: wages haven’t kept up with inflation, leaving the average worker $2,000 worse off than under Trump’s final year. “The way to think about that is people were in an incredibly deep hole because of inflation and we’re still not all the way out of that hole,” Furman says.

The problem for Biden is, what people would need to have happen in order to feel that inflation was truly behind them would be horrible for the economy, not to mention his prospects for reelection: deflation.

During our lifetimes, ideal economic conditions in a healthy economy feature an annual official inflation rate in the single digits, a policy economists call inflation targeting. Prices rise, but if wages go up even faster employees are happy. Low inflation incentivizes consumers to buy sooner rather than later, when prices will be higher. But, as Furman points out, that hasn’t been the case lately. Airfares went up 28.5% in 2022. Butter rose 31.4%. Eggs a whopping 59.9%. So we’re displeased.

What will it take to convince voters that inflation is no longer a problem? In the short term — i.e., between now and the presidential election—prices would need to fall back to pre-Biden levels. The average US gas price in January 2021 when Biden took office was $2.42 per gallon. Now it’s $3.95.

The Federal Reserve Bank’s efforts to reduce inflation appear to be working. Prices are rising at a slower rate. And that’s the problem for Democrats.

Mechanical physics provides a helpful parallel. Many economists and political analysts seem to think of inflation rate as analogous to velocity. In their view, reducing the inflation rate from 8% to 3% is a victory for inflation-targeting fiscal policy. Indeed, if a 3% inflation rate (coupled with wages that rise faster than 3%) remains in effect indefinitely, people will eventually feel good (or less bad) about the economy. As the economist John Maynard Keynes observed a century ago, however, “In the long run, we will all be dead.” And the Democrats’ calendar is much shorter than that, a mere 14 months.

Before inflation-affected consumers can be persuaded to tap their feet to “Happy Days Are Here Again,” they’ll have to pass through several stages of recovery. First, they’ll feel less bad. Then comes meh. Penultimately, they’ll see themselves paying off credit card and other debts they ran up during the inflationary period. Only after those lingering financial hangovers are past will they be able to achieve what feels like the final stage, prosperity: earning enough to pay one’s bills while setting a surplus aside in the form of savings.

With Americans’ credit card debt hitting the staggering benchmark of $1 trillion and rising, we are currently in the “less bad”/”meh” stage. But it’s hard to see what Biden or the Fed or anyone else can do in order to promote a sunnier view of the economy.

A lower inflation rate—even an ideal one in the low single digits—still means higher prices. We will probably not see $2.42 per gallon gas, the price in early 2021, any time soon, if ever. Gas prices will likely continue to increase, to $4.00 and $4.05 and $4.10 and on and on and on, adding minor injury to gaping wound.

Inflation is really like acceleration—the rate at which speed increases. If you fall off the roof of a tall building, your speed at the beginning of your plunge will be exponentially lower than when you hit the ground. The ground approaches, not at a steady rate, but faster and faster. As your body rushes toward doom, you’d likely welcome a physical intervention to reduce the rate of acceleration. You’d live a smidge longer but it wouldn’t save you. Reducing the acceleration rate to zero might help, assuming your initial rate of descent was low. But what you need in this dire situation is negative acceleration—a force that neutralizes gravity and then some, returning you back up to the roof of the building.

Negative inflation would, in many people’s minds, set things straight. If Biden could return prices to pre-2021 levels, that would look and feel like a return to a period of normalcy.

But negative inflation is deflation, the disaster last experienced in this country to a significant extent during the Great Depression, when prices dropped 7% each year between 1930 and 1933. Knowing that goods and services were becoming cheaper, Americans were incentivized to horde cash. Consumer spending declined, triggering a doom loop in which manufacturers laid off workers and cut salaries, further reducing spending and prices. Given a choice, economists choose inflation over deflation.

From an economics standpoint, Biden’s only option is to hope for a quicker trip through the psychological stages of economic recovery than Americans have seen in their lifetimes.

(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. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)


The Final Countdown – 9/5/23 – Polls Show Biden and Trump are Neck and Neck as 2024 Elections Approach

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss the top news, such as Biden and Trump’s performance in the 2024 polls. 

Ted Harvey – Political Commentator and CEO of

Tyler Nixon – Army Infantry Veteran, Counselor-at-law 
Mark Sleboda – International Relations and Military Analyst 
Thabiso Lehoko – Sputnik Correspondent
The show begins with Political Commentator, Ted Harvey delving into the 2024 electoral landscape and offers perspectives on the poll findings of Trump and Biden’s performances. 
Then, Army Infantry Veteran and Counselor-at-Law Tyler Nixon joins The Final Countdown to discuss the sentencing of Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio. 
The second hour starts with International Relations and Military Analyst Mark Sleboda sharing his expertise on the latest out of Ukraine, including President Zelensky sacking his Defense Minister. 
The show closes with Sputnik Correspondent Thabiso Lehoko discussing Gabon swearing in a new interim president. 

DMZ America Podcast #115: Rudy Giuliani Gets SLAPPed, Don’t Run Joe! & the Tipping Epidemic

Editorial Cartoonists Ted Rall (from the political Left) and Scott Stantis (from the political Right) discuss breaking news and politics. Former New York City mayor and Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, loses his anti-SLAPP motion against Georgia election workers whom he libeled during the 2020 election controversy. Ted and Scott discuss the ramifications on the upcoming Trump RICO trial in Georgia. Plus, we discuss Ted’s recent birthday and his getting closer to Medicare and thus death.

In the second segment, more and more commentators from the left and the right are saying that President Joe Biden should not run for reelection in 2024. Citing the enthusiasm gap, which Biden can’t seem to close, leads many in his own party to hope for a big convention surprise.

The last segment finds Scott and Ted discussing the deep ramifications of the tipping epidemic. Besides being super annoying, are there deeper, more nefarious reasons for this? Ted and Scott dig deep and give you even better reasons to be pissed off the next time you’re asked to add 30% to the barista handing you a latte.

Watch the Video Version of the DMZ America Podcast:

DMZ America Podcast Ep 115 Sec 1: Rudy Giuliani Gets SLAPPed

DMZ America Podcast Ep 115 Sec 2: Don’t Run Joe!

DMZ America Podcast Ep 115 Sec 3: the Tipping Epidemic


The Right To Be Wrong

Many medical experts and journalists believe that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is wrong about vaccines. They say that Kennedy, a candidate for the 2024 Democratic nomination for president, wrongly says that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective and incorrectly validates assertions that childhood vaccinations can cause autism.

Many people, all of whom are pro-Biden Democrats, say that RFK Jr.’s opinions are so dangerous as to automatically preempt anything else he has to say about any other issue. They say that society would benefit if he were to shut up. They say that he should not be given a public platform, that he should be silenced, that we should not hear him because we might believe him and that could cause terrible harm.

Even his family is telling him to STFU.

As a long-time non-epidemiologist with no medical education, I don’t know who is right. However, I do know this: anyone who thinks they have the right to decide what information I get to hear or who I get to hear it from can go to hell.

Let us stipulate, for the sake of argument, that these journalists and doctors, none of whom I have met or know anything about, have no bias and no axe to grind, that they care about the well-being of all humans, especially me. Let us further stipulate that they are 100% right and that RFK Jr. is 100% wrong. Let’s even pretend that these folks have never “debunked” “conspiracies” that turned out to be true or promoted conspiracies as though they weren’t lies.

Even so: I demand the right to hear from him if I so choose. RFK Jr. has the right to be terribly, dangerously wrong, l have the right to listen to his stupid incorrect rants in which he gets absolutely nothing right, and I have the right to be deceived into believing things that are stupid, false and even dangerous if I so choose.

My brain, my choice.

Not according to the elites, however. They think they’re smarter than you and me. That we should listen to them. That those who disagree with them should be shut down.

The Biden Administration came under fire in 2022 when its Department of Homeland Security, a government entity with a fascist name, rolled out its Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board whose stated goal was to “coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security.”

The DGB was killed, but censorship efforts with a Father Knows Best spin have proliferated in recent years, mostly from Democratic-leaning institutions. Newspapers and other media outlets rolled out fact-checking websites and chronicled lists of the president’s purported lies, the latter beginning and ending when the president was named Trump. The FBI and other three-letter agencies told social media companies which posts to throttle or kill and handed them lists of accounts that should be shut down. At least one company, with deep ties to covert intelligence agencies, purports to tell you which news outlets you can trust. The war between Russia and Ukraine prompted the Apple and Google app stores to deplatform Russian state media outlets.

The push to characterize news and opinions that deviate from a “mainstream,” i.e. corporatist, narrative hit full steam during the pandemic. Government and media partnered against what they called misinformation and disinformation (others’, never their own). Their obsessive efforts to marginalize and hobble RFK Jr.’s candidacy and access to the information space is a continuation of the COVID information war.

Mis- and disinformation are real and they have real-world impacts that ought not to be minimized. The bizarre QAnon conspiracy game/cult has contributed to or caused, among other events, the hammer attack against Paul Pelosi, a coup attempt against the German government, death threats and mass shootings, not to mention January 6th. Lies can be dangerous, whether they originate from the podium at the United Nations or an wacky underground cell.
            Censorship is an understandable impulse. As a cure, however, it’s worse than the disease. Citizens forced to navigate a world where they know that many things are not as they seem on their face learn to hone the critical thinking skills that tell them not to click on the link in a phishing email and to question whether an especially ridiculous political attack may be a deep fake. No matter how benevolent and adept a government can be—and ours is neither—the collective BS detector of 330 million Americans is likelier to identify and debunk the cleverest act of disinformation than an agency of bureaucrats. If the government and its media allies get their way, we’ll trust them to suss out what’s true and what’s false and, of course, set the stage for them abusing our gullibility. And they’ll do it on a far grander scale than QAnon.

Besides, taboo and forbidden material is inherently more attractive than stuff that’s freely available. From pornography to Cuban cigars to the dark web, nothing is more enticing than something that’s hard to access. If the powers that be don’t want us to hear from RFK Jr., many voters are thinking, then I really want to find out what he’s about. The DNC and the New York Times have no business telling me I’m too dumb to assess his statements about COVID, Israel or anything else.

My brain, right or wrong!

(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. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)


The Final Countdown – 8/25/23 – Trump Interview Trounces Viewership of Republican Debate

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Manila Chan and Ted Rall discuss hot topics, including the Trump interview viewership superseding the GOP debates. 
Steve Gill-Attorney and CEO of Gill Media 
Elijah Mangier-Veteran War Correspondent and Political Analyst 
Kevin Kamps-Radioactive Waste Specialist at Beyond Nuclear 
The show kicks off with Steve Gill, attorney and CEO of Gill Media, sharing his perspective on Trump’s notorious mugshot and the fiery GOP debate. 
Then, Political Analyst Elijah Mangier breaks down the meeting between Biden and Zelensky over F-16s, and Putin’s condolences to Prigozhin’s family amid accusations from the West. 
The show closes with Radioactive Waste Specialist at Beyond Nuclear Kevin Kamps sharing his insights on Japan’s decision to release the water from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.

DMZ America Podcast #113: GOP Debate Kills DeSantis’ Candidacy, Trump Surrenders at Georgia Jail

Editorial cartoonists Ted Rall (from the political Left) and Scott Stantis (from the political Right) discuss the week in politics.

In the first of two segments, an analysis of the first Republican primary debate for 2024. Who were the winners, who are the losers? Where does this leave the state of the race? Was Donald Trump smart to skip the festivities? Ron DeSantis only had a fourth chance to make a good first impression; looks like his candidacy is dead.

In the second of two segments, former President Donald J. Trump surrenders and submits to a mugshot at the Atlanta jail in the charges filed by Fulton county Georgia district attorney, Fani Willis. Half the country celebrates with glee, while the other half seethes. Can this end well?

Watch the Video Version of the DMZ America Podcast:

DMZ America Podcast Ep 114 Sec 1: GOP Debate Kills DeSantis’ Candidacy

DMZ America Podcast Ep 114 Sec 2: Trump Surrenders at Georgia Jail

The Final Countdown – 8/24/23 – BRICS Announces Expansion, Invites New Members

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Manila Chan and Ted Rall discuss breaking news, including the GOP debate.  
Angie Wong-Journalist 
Sourabh Gupta-Senior Asia-Pacific International Relations Policy Specialist 
Mark Sleboda-International Relations and Security Analyst 
The show begins with journalist Angie Wong joining The Final Countdown from Milwaukee to break down the winners and losers of the GOP debate and also to discuss Trump preparing to surrender at the Fulton County Jail. 
The second hour kicks off with Senior Asia-Pacific International Relations Policy Specialist Sourabh Gupta who joins to share his perspective on the potential new members of BRICS. 
The show closes with International relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda speaking to The Final Countdown about Prigozhin and the ongoing battles in the Donbass region. 

The Final Countdown – 8/22/23 – Biden Arrives in Maui, Trump Saga Continues

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Manila Chan and Ted Rall discuss hot topics, including Biden’s visit to Maui. 
Ted Harvey – Former State Senator Colorado 
Mark Sleboda-International Relations and Military Analyst
Esteban Carrillo-Ecuadorean Journalist 
Scott Stantis-Political Cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune 
The show kicks off with Former State Senator in Colorado Ted Harvey joins The Final Countdown to share his perspective on Media tycoon and billionaire Rupert Murdoch eyeing Virginia’s governor as a potential GOP candidate against Trump. 
Then, International Relations and Military Analyst Mark Sleboda shares his perspective on the latest out of Ukraine, and the BRICS summit. 
The second hour begins with Ecuadorean journalist Esteban Carrillo breaking down the latest out of Ecuador’s presidential race, October’s run-off elections between Luisa Gonzalez and Daniel Noboa. 
The show closes with Political Cartoonist Scott Stantis who shares his perspective on the president’s controversial visit to Maui and the federal government’s response to the disaster. 

After Impeachment, Clinton Paved the Way for Trump

            The laws of political physics, it seemed, had been reversed.

            The president had been exposed as a pathological liar and a serial cheater. The butt of relentless jokes on television comedy shows and online, his reputation and legacy in tatters, he endured the ultimate opprobrium a federal official can face under the American constitutional system, impeachment, as well as the worst indignity possible for a lawyer, disbarment.

            The president, of course, was Bill Clinton. The year was 1998. But just when it seemed that he was doomed to slink off into the humiliation of single-digit approval ratings and Richard Nixon-esque oblivion, the opposite happened. Despite Monica Lewinsky and “it depends on the meaning of is” and impeachment, Democrats didn’t abandon him. To the contrary, they came to his defense.

Senate Democrats refused to ratify impeachment with a formal conviction. Liberal voters, including many whose support for Clinton had been tepid at best, rallied around a president they thought had been unfairly and excessively targeted by a partisan independent counsel, Ken Starr. They didn’t care that Clinton, an attorney, had lied under oath in a legal proceeding over a credible sexual harassment allegation. Republicans, they believed, had weaponized the legal system and the constitutional process over a minor personal matter in order to kneecap the leader of their party and, by extension, discredit liberalism as a whole.

            As the impeachment process dragged on, Clinton’s team deployed political jujitsu embodied by Hillary’s description of the crisis as having been caused not by her husband’s affair with Lewinsky or his lying about it under oath, but by vicious Republicans and their “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Clinton’s approval ratings soared to 70%, an all-time high. “Clinton’s resilient popularity presents a puzzle,” Pew Research’s Molly Sonner and Clyde Wilcox of Georgetown University wrote in 1999. “Why, in the midst of a tawdry scandal, were his approval ratings so high?”

            Now Democrats are asking themselves similar questions about Donald Trump, whose approval ratings among Republicans have increased following each round of criminal indictments, like a Hydra that grows several heads to replace each one you cut off. Republicans aren’t ditching Trump. They love him more than ever. To the New York Times, “These series of falling dominoes—call it the indictment effect—can be measured in ways that reveal much about the state of the Republican Party.”

            “The rally around the flag is not a new phenomenon in American politics, but Donald Trump has certainly taken it to a new level,” Tony Fabrizio, a GOP pollster who works for Trump’s super PAC, told the Times.

            Perhaps. But it was Bill Clinton, who socialized with Trump for decades, who first demonstrated that a clever politician, no matter how beleaguered or which party he leads, can frame specific charges against his person as a partisan attack against all his supporters. For Democrats in 1999, Clinton may have been a jerk—but he was their jerk, and they would be damned before they let the Republicans, whom they despised, destroy him.

Republicans in 2023 are playing out a similar dynamic.

Unlike Trump, who never admits fault, Clinton issued half-hearted apologies of the “I’m sorry you’re upset” variety. “I take my responsibility for my part in all of this,” he said after conceding that, after having declared that he had not had sex with “that woman, Monica Lewinsky,” in fact, he had had oral sex. “That is all I can do. Now is the time—in fact, it is past time—to move on,” he argued. To Republicans’ disgust, Clinton’s plea resonated with Democrats., the liberal policy group and PAC, began as an email petition group that asked Congress to “Censure President Clinton and Move On to Pressing Issues Facing the Nation.” It was one of the first political viral sensations on the Internet.

            By any objective standard, the Republicans’ impeachment effort backfired, beginning with the 1998 midterms. “The Republicans were all full of themselves going into the election,” then–Democratic Representative Martin Frost of Texas, who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Atlantic. “They expected to pick up 20 or 30 seats.” They got clobbered.

Most analysts cite 2000 Democratic nominee Al Gore’s reluctance to embrace Clinton and understand that he had been rehabilitated as one of the vice president’s major campaign mistakes; indeed, Clinton might have won a third term had he been allowed to run again. In 2001 Clinton left office with the joint-highest approval rating of any modern president, along with FDR and Ronald Reagan. He became a sought-after speaker and eminence grise within his party. A recent YouGov poll finds that 49% of respondents like him, compared to 32% dislikes.

            There are numerous differences between Clinton’s sex-tinged scandal and Trump’s legal challenges. But the reactions of their respective partisans—circle the wagons, stand by their man, ignore the facts, screw the other party—are strikingly analogous.

(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. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)