DMZ America Podcast #152: What If a Huge Asteroid Was About to Smash into the Earth? How Would Humans React? Debate Primer, Religion in Politics

Internationally-syndicated Editorial Cartoonists Ted Rall (from the left) and Scott Stantis (from the right) discuss the pressing issues of the day.

First up, there is an asteroid headed for the Earth and will pass the closest to our planet in the history of our species. Happily, the asteroid will miss us but how would humanity react if the next time we weren’t so lucky? Ted and Scott reveal their sense of how our species would respond.

Next, Ted and Scott handicap the upcoming presidential debate. With a combined 80 years of experience observing and commenting on presidential politics they project what each candidate needs to accomplish and what the risks are for both.

Lastly, with the Ten Commandments law enacted in Louisiana, the question of the separation of church and state is more pressing than ever.

The Final Countdown – 6/21/24 – U.S. Redirects Patriot Systems from Client States to Ukraine

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss political developments from around the globe, including the latest out of Ukraine.
The show begins with political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes joining the show to discuss Trump and Biden’s performance in the polls. 
Then, Paul Wright, managing editor at Prison Legal News and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, joins the show to discuss the prevalence of forced prison labor in the U.S. prison system and analyzes an NYT op-ed calling it legalized slavery.
Later, journalist and Host of The Back Story on Radio Sputnik Rachel Blevins weighs in on the rising tensions between Israel and Lebanon.
The show closes with Serbian-American journalist Nebojsa Malic discussing the newly named NATO chief.

Men Are Not Disposable

The American packet ship Poland was traveling from New York to Normandy when, in May 1840, it was struck by lightning. A fire broke out. A Bostonian later recalled that his fellow passenger, a Frenchman, responded to the captain’s call to abandon ship with the suggestion that seats on the lifeboats go to “women and children first.” Everyone agreed to this then-novel idea. This order of priority became known as the Birkenhead drill, after a British naval ship that sank in 1852 and followed the same protocol.

Originating in 19th century notions of chivalry and paternalism, “women and children first” became enshrined in popular culture with the Titanic disaster and (exaggerated) accounts of men disguising themselves as women in order to secure a coveted seat on an escape vessel. Interestingly, international maritime law still does not require men to disembark a sinking ship last—nor for the captain to go down with their ship.

            Gender equality is generally taken for granted in Western culture. As a protected class under U.S. federal law, it is illegal to discriminate against women in housing, the workplace and other public spheres. Though it has not yet achieved equality, the feminist movement—which has fought for women’s rights based on the argument that women are equally capable as their male counterparts—has reduced income disparities based on sex and fought to give us female CEOs, senators and now a vice president.

            Equal rights imply equal social responsibilities. And women are now increasingly expected to share custody and hold a job after a divorce. Women join the military and serve in combat. As the fight for equal rights continues, however, the corresponding burden also remains less than equal. Men are much more likely than women to be arrested by the police; men convicted of the same crimes as women are twice as likely to be jailed and receive sentences that are 63% longer. Even though female soldiers have served with distinction in armed conflicts around the world, American women have never been required to register for the draft. (Transwomen, however, have to register in accordance with their gender identity at birth.)

            “Women and children first” may be seductive to the two-thirds of women who quite understandably do not want to get drafted to fight, kill and die in one of America’s endless stupid wars. Since it relies on the paternalistic argument that women are weak—as weak as the children with whom they are grouped in the aphorism—it’s a trap. Those who are weaker, like the kids to whom society does not grant the vote or the legal right to drink alcohol, are assumed to be unworthy of the same privileges as the dominant class, i.e. men.

            Which is why it’s surprising to hear so many educated people, like journalists, liberals, progressives and even leftists who ought to know better approvingly repeat the idea that “women and children” both are weak, in need of protection and inherently more valuable. Men, by implication, are disposable—made to die, more acceptable as targets, to be mourned less when something happens to them.

            Hardly a day goes by in Israel’s brutal war against the Palestinians in Gaza that “women and children” aren’t carved out for special mention by both the U.S. authorities who fund and arm the IDF as well as the pro-Palestinian protesters who oppose them.

            The Gaza Health Ministry separates its daily death and injury count for women and children from those of men, whose numbers do not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Since Hamas is an Islamist militant group, that’s to be expected.

But what of Joe Biden? During his 2024 State of the Union address the President decried the Israelis’ killing of “thousands and thousands of innocentswomen and children.” Under Biden’s definition, men cannot be “innocent.”

Reuters, the UK wire service, uses the linguistic construction that has become standard throughout the conflict: “Israel’s military conduct has come under increasing scrutiny as its forces killed 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza…many of them women and children.” We’re supposed to care about women and children.

Men, not so much.

“Attacking a camp sheltering civilians including women and children is a complete breach of the rules of proportionality and distinction between combatants and civilians,” the United Nations said in a statement after an IDF attack. Got a camp sheltering dudes? Fire away!

This not the 19th century. Men are not disposable.

Even if you’re a misandrist, you still have to care about guys. We’re your brothers, your fathers and hopefully your friends.

Aren’t we?

(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 – 6/14/24 – Trump Visits Capitol Hill, G7 Wrap Up

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss an array of topics, including Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill and the G7 wrapping up.

Steve Gill – Attorney 
Craig “Pasta” Jardula – Political analyst, Host of ‘Pasta2Go’ and Co-Host of ‘The Convo Couch’
Jeremy Kuzmarov – Managing Editor, Covert Action Magazine 
Dr. George Szamuely – Senior Research Fellow at The Global Policy Institute 
The show begins with attorney Steve Gill sharing his perspective on Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill since Jan. 6. 
Then, Craig “Pasta” Jardula, political analyst and podcast host, weighs in on Elon Musk winning a Tesla pay deal from shareholders. 

The second hour starts with the Managing Editor at Covert Action Magazine Jeremy Kuzmarov weighing in on Zelensky’s upcoming peace conference and its exclusion of Russia. 

The show wraps up with Senior Research Fellow at The Global Policy Institute Dr. George Szamuely talking about the France National Rally’s plan to form a coalition government. 

How Hamas Defeated Israel

            When residents of the Middle East woke up on the morning of October 7, 2023, the Palestinian cause was in a sorry state.

700,000 radical Israeli settler-colonists and sealed-off “military zones” occupied 60% of the occupied West Bank, which was blockaded by a Berlin-style border wall, so much that the United Nations human rights chief no longer believed that Palestinian sovereignty was even theoretically possible. The occupied Gaza Strip was subject to an Israeli blockade that destroyed the economy and drove the unemployment rate to 80%. President Donald Trump had moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem—a strong signal to Palestinians that the world would never allow them their own State—and Joe Biden had let it stay there. Muslim nations that had previously supported the Palestinian struggle (Bahrain, the UAE, Morocco and Sudan) normalized diplomatic relations with the hard-right government of Israel; Oman, Indonesia, Somalia and Saudi Arabia were expected to follow.

            The world, including numerous Arab governments, had forgotten the Palestinians.

            By the end of the day, everyone remembered them.

            It had been necessary, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’s top leadership told The New York Times two weeks after the attack, to “change the entire equation and not just have a clash. We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm.”

            Whether you call it terrorism, asymmetric warfare, guerrilla warfare or resistance, an action like the October 7th raid on an Israeli music festival and nearby kibbutzim is a disadvantaged, underarmed and poorly-situated group’s attempt to flip the game table, catch an adversary by surprise and scramble the positions of the players in order to create a different situation.

            It’s also a test of their adversary. More about that below.

            Hamas has accomplished its objectives. Israel’s saturation bombing and starvation campaign launched after October 7th, which military analysts call the most brutal and systemic assault against a civilian population since World War II, shocked Muslims (and many other people) around the world. Under pressure from their subjects, the Saudis now say they will only consider a normalization deal that explicitly guarantees Palestinian statehood—something that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to consider. Biden, a self-declared Zionist and faithful supporter of the Jewish state throughout his career, now says he wants a two-state solution. He has also threatened to withhold arms, though using weasel words to justify redefining his “red line.” 61% of voters in the United States, to which Israel owes its creation and its closest military ally by far, now say the U.S. should stop supplying all weapons to Israel.

            The long-ignored Palestinian issue is so “back on the table” that Democrats worry that they might lose the battleground state of Michigan and the presidency due to the state’s substantial Arab population.

            Many Israelis and their supporters fail to grasp the reality of the current situation. How can Hamas be winning? they ask. Israelis support the war effort and the IDF has only lost a few hundred troops, a fifth of them to friendly fire and accidents. Gaza, on the other hand, has been flattened. The IDF has killed at least 37,000 Palestinians, though Ralph Nader is surely closer to the truth when he estimates the total number, including the bodies buried under tens of millions of tons of rubble, at 200,000. Israel’s obvious objective, the expulsion of the surviving population and annexation of Gaza into Israel, appears tantalizingly close.

            Yet, the Hamas leader Yehiya Sinwar was right when he told his close associates recently: “We have the Israelis right where we want them.”

            The Israelis have committed the cardinal error of warfare: underestimating the intelligence of your enemy. Of course Hamas’ leaders knew exactly what Israel would do in response to October 7th. They have studied Israel’s behavior repeatedly over decades: when attacked, Israel always responds with overpowering force, much of it directed against civilians. And they don’t care how it looks. “Hamas knew Israel would strike back hard. That was the point,” Rita Katz of the SITE Intelligence Group told The Washington Post. “To Hamas, Palestinian suffering is a critical component in bringing about the instability and global outrage it seeks to exploit.”

The IDF always tortures civilians and demolishes homes and other infrastructure at an extravagant scale. So, like a chess player, Hamas goaded its aggressive adversary into a fierce attack because it was willing to make sacrifices—Hamas fighters, Palestinian civilians, Gazan infrastructure—in order to obtain something even more valuable.

            As we’ve seen recently in northern Gaza, Hamas remains a potent military force able to engage the IDF in street combat. But survival isn’t Hamas’ primary objective. Making Israel look evil is—and Israel has fallen into their trap.

            The test Israel faced on October 7th was: can we exercise restraint? Like the United States, which faced a similar test on 9/11, Israel failed miserably. Israel’s over-the-top craziness has fulfilled Hamas’ main goal, which was to expose the Israeli government as bloodthirsty, oppressive monsters unworthy of the support of the world upon which it depends.

            As a result, most of the world now recognizes Palestinian sovereignty. The International Criminal Court has ordered Israel to stop its military actions in southern Gaza. The International Court of Justice is preparing an arrest warrant for Netanyahu. And the United Nations expressly states that Israel is morally and ethically the same as Hamas, a terrorist organization guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Never mind the two-state solution—it’s dead, and not only because of Netanyahu. The globe is moving toward a new consensus: an end to the Israeli ethnostate from a bygone colonial era, replaced by a one person-one vote post-apartheid democracy.

            Looking back to October, the only way Israel could have won at war with Hamas was to learn the lesson of the classic 1980s movie “War Games”: don’t play. Imagine, if you can, how Hamas’ leadership would have felt had Israel refused to take the bait on October 7th, responding only with pinpoint raids to try to rescue hostages, or negotiating for them, while playing the weeping victim for the cameras. It would have been a devastating moral and political defeat and the beginning of the end for the cause of Palestinian liberation.

            Israel wanted Gaza. They may not even keep Israel.

(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 – 6/13/24 – Bidenomics Struggles to Ignite U.S. Economy as 2024 Election Looms

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Ted Rall and Angie Wong discuss  current events domestically and abroad, including the state of the U.S. economy. 

Scott Stantis – Political Cartoonist 
Todd “Bubba” Horwitz – Chief Marketing Strategist of Bubba Trading 
Dan Kovalik – Human rights lawyer 
Dr. George Szamuely – Senior Research Fellow at the Global Policy Institute 
The show begins with political cartoonist Scott Stantis joining to discuss the latest developments out of Hunter Biden’s guilty conviction and a variety of U.S. political news. 
Then, Todd “Bubba” Horwitz shares his expertise on the current state of the U.S. economy and the latest inflation numbers. 
The second hour starts with human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik sharing his perspective on the proposed Gaza ceasefire deal. 
The show closes with Dr. George Szamuely sharing his analysis of the G7 summit in Italy amid EU plans to use frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine.  

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.