The Tonic Accord

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Every source of news comes with a spin that takes you to the left or the right, the Tonic Accord wants to take you to the center. read less
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Episódios

Chaos in Cuba & Mob Violence in South Africa
23-07-2021
Chaos in Cuba & Mob Violence in South Africa
In this short episode, Drew and Alex give their thoughts on the protests, violence and political crackdowns that are taking place in both Cuba and in South Africa.  Cuba is in a very dire situation. The perfect storm of sanctions reinstated by the Trump administration, electricity shortages, empty grocery shops, a failing economy, a repressive government, and an increasingly bad situation regarding COVID-19, seems to have put the Cuban people over the edge. Over the last few weeks, there have been vast protests around Cuba that started via internet mobilization. Now the government has sent police into the streets to crackdown on the unrest, but many officials think these protests may be different. The Cuba government is in a tough place, in the past they had been able to provide security and stability, in place of open democratic values, but now that contract has been broken. Drew and Alex wonder if this will bring change, will the government respond with compromise or bringing down the hammer?    In South Africa, the Constitutional Court sentenced Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s corrupt ex-president, to 15 months in prison for refusing to appear before an investigation into corruption while he was in office. On July 7th, Mr Zuma was taken into custody. His allies then spread misinformation about the basis for his arrest and encouraged unrest. This led to some of the worst violence since the Apartheid era; trucks were burned, telecommunication towers were destroyed, the largest oil refinery was shut down, and hundreds of people were killed. Drew and Alex discuss how this was fueled by mob violence created by political division and lies. They also talk about how this will just hurt South Africans as many businesses will leave the country.
What Makes a Great Political Schism?
15-07-2021
What Makes a Great Political Schism?
A schism is a division that usually occurs between a group of people that belong to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. In this episode, Drew and Alex discuss what a political schism is, why they may happen, and then they discuss some that have occurred in history. They cover a range of schisms that go back centuries, these include - The Great Schism of 1054 (or the East-West Schism) which was the break between the western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This highlighted the cultural and ethnic tensions between the Western and Eastern Roman Empire. It also paved the way for other religious schisms like the Protestant Reformation.    The 1970’s ideological shift in the GOP in which the libertarian, anti-government/anti-regulation views from people like Frederich Hayek hijacked certain segments of the Republican Party. During this time, the GOP went from a moderate, center right party that believed in the efficacy of government programs, to a “don’t tread on me” based movement that felt all government regulation led to tyranny and that government was destined to fail. This paved the way for neoliberal economic values and a growing cultural conservatism that felt at odds with secular politics. Eventually this led to Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz who turned politics into a “forever war” with no legislation, just new scapegoats.    The Spanish Civil War which seemed to symbolize the growing clash in Europe between rising nationalism and rising socialism. The war heated up fast, pitting neighbors and families against one another. The wealthier, religious class, supported right-wing nationalism with fascist tendencies, while the peasants and working class aligned more with the socialist republicans. To this day, there are still ghosts that remain in Spain from this bloody time.
Fast & Furiously, China is Censoring Hollywood!
02-07-2021
Fast & Furiously, China is Censoring Hollywood!
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has turned 100 and it has been wildly successful in ways that the Soviet Union would have envied. When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, many pundits thought that China would be next. Instead, the CCP has been flexible, agile, and ruthless; embracing capitalism but locking down freedom of speech and expression. After the G7 summit, President Biden worried that democracies would even be able to compete and keep up with China. In this episode, Drew and Alex focus on Hollywood and China’s growing pressure on Hollywood studios to censor “ideas and themes” that the CCP deems “offensive.” They talk about the recent story where John Cena mentioned that Taiwan was a country and had to relentlessly apologize to China because his new “Fast & Furious” movie was filmed and opening in China. This illustrates a growing trend where China has the size and clout to basically control what Hollywood studios can release. This is because China is now the second biggest consumer of Hollywood films in the world and has kept theaters open, while many in the west were closed due to COVID-19. Not only have critical characters and themes in Hollywood movies been changed to appease the CCP, but Drew and Alex worry that younger kids in the west will grow up with a flawed view of China. Cinema is about entertaining, but it is also about criticism and symbolism; if themes are censored, Hollywood will lose its magic. What can be done? Can Hollywood push back? Or is it too late?
The Yang Gang Lost its Thang & John McAfee's Strange Life and Death
30-06-2021
The Yang Gang Lost its Thang & John McAfee's Strange Life and Death
In this episode, Drew and Alex give their analysis on the New York City Primary, as well as the bizarre life and death of John McAfee, the man who innovated antivirus software, yet died living like Joe Exotic.  The New York City primary has so far been a rebuttal on the progressive agenda. Eric Adams, an ex-Republican (now current centrist democrat) and former NYC police officer, is currently in first place; while Andrew Yang, the social media god of the 2020 presidential election, already dropped out. Drew and Alex go into why this may be. They also look into “Ranked Choice Voting” or RCV, which in theory forces discussion and moderation, over voting for a fringe candidate. In RCV, voters rank their top choices for candidates — first through fifth — rather than selecting just one candidate. If there isn’t a majority, “the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as their first choice will have their second choice votes count. This process continues until there is a majority winner.” Drew and Alex spar over whether this is a better alternative to the current system. They also discuss why Andrew Yang did so poorly, and why Eric Adams’ success could serve as a strong message to the Democratic Party.   Later in the episode, Drew and Alex talk about John McAfee. He launched the world's first commercial anti-virus software in 1987, yet turned out to be a controversial figure. His growing paranoia caused him to run from US authorities in Belize, where he allegedly killed one of his neighbors, set up curfews, and patrolled the beaches with his own security force. He also got interested in cryptocurrencies to the point where the US government was pursuing him for illegal transactions. McAfee eventually ended up in a Spanish jail where he died last week due to what Spanish authorities called “suicide.” Several months ago, McAfee was quoted saying “Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine…” Inevitably, Drew and Alex entertain some of the conspiracies around his death, as well as criticize his paranoid yet extravagant lifestyle.
Changes in an NCAA Ban & Growing Problems in Iran!
25-06-2021
Changes in an NCAA Ban & Growing Problems in Iran!
In this end of the week short episode -  Drew and Alex talk about the recent Supreme Court decision involving the NCAA. The Court unanimously sided with former college players in a dispute with the NCAA over compensation issues. According to ESPN, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court's opinion, which "upheld a district court judge's decision that the NCAA was violating antitrust law by placing limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide to athletes.” This doesn’t give the green light for college athletes to be paid, but it does recognize that the NCAA cannot continue with their current practices. Justice Brett Kavanaugh also wrote a concurring opinion that pushed a harder line which said this is only the beginning.    Drew and Alex also talk about recent reports from Iranian state TV that said that Iran’s sole nuclear power plant, Bushehr, had undergone an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown. Russia helped get this plant up and running, and Bushehr is fueled by uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. This comes at an interesting time as President Joe Biden wants to renegotiate an entrance into the Nuclear Deal and a low turnout national election just produced a hardliner named Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s new president. He is listed by many western countries as an extremist and he may prove to be a roadblock in any attempts to revitalize the Nuclear Deal.
Why is Critical Race Theory Causing Commotion?
23-06-2021
Why is Critical Race Theory Causing Commotion?
Juneteenth is a new federal holiday in the United States that sheds light on the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also known for celebrating African-American culture. Last week, the Senate Bill 475, called the "Juneteenth National Independence Day Act," was passed with a 415-14 vote. However, some Republican elected officials voted against the act, citing a worry that two “Independence Day” holidays within a month could distract or divide. In reality, it seems like another unnecessary fight in the culture war.    In this episode, Drew and Alex use the debate over Juneteenth to discuss “Critical Race Theory.” CRT is a decades-old academic concept that studies racism through the lens of it being a social construct. This is opposed to something tied solely to an individual, and the lingering effects it has within society. In many ways, this method of study looks at the idea that racism isn’t a universal construct, but instead created by systems, policies, and institutions. Proponents of this theory would argue that to create a better future we need to be able to have a comprehensive discussion about our past. While this theory is mainly involved in academic research in universities, Republicans, led by Donald Trump, decided it would be the next fight in the culture war. Now, many states including Idaho, Texas, Florida, and Arkansas, have banned the teaching of CRT in the classroom. It seems like Republicans like Ron DeSantis are fear mongering about CRT mainly to appeal to a fear of national pride and lost patriotism. Drew and Alex discuss and debate whether this method of study is as toxic as some claim, whether it should be taught in schools, and why this lens of study could be important for moving forward.
A Deepdive into Deepfakes & Apple v. China
23-06-2021
A Deepdive into Deepfakes & Apple v. China
Deepfakes are a phenomenon in which an existing image or likeness of a person is replaced with someone else’s image. This technology used to only linked with Snapchat or Instagram, but now it is becoming more nefarious. Last month, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Dutch Parliament had an online call with Leonid Volkov, Alexi Navalny's chief of staff. This man turned out to be a deepfake video of Volkov, meaning it wasn’t really him. To make matters worse, only 30% of companies surveyed by tech experts say they are prepared for deepfake threats.   In this episode, Drew and Alex worry about what is next. While this technology used to be funny and meaningless, it could be the next threat to democracy and the truth. According to “Venture Beat,” the number of deepfakes on the web increased 330% from October 2019 to June 2020, impacting close to 60,000 people. Drew and Alex imagine what could happen if a deepfake of Donald Trump called for violence, or the fear of deepfake technology could stop citizens from listening to their leaders.   Later in the episode, they turn their attention to Apple in China. Two decades ago, Apple thought it could change China by bringing their American values to China, instead many experts worry that China is managing to change American companies. Now Apple, a company considered to be at the forefront of protecting consumer privacy, has opened their market to China and the backlash could be coming. User data, including iCloud, is currently stored in Chinese data facilities. In the past, Chinese officials couldn’t access the data due to encryption keys that Apple was assumed to possess. Unfortunately, Chinese firms want to open this data up for state organizations and let them use these same systems. This would mean that many Apple users' information could be vulnerable to the Chinese government. Drew and Alex worry that Apple has become one company with two distinct markets and policies. Should western companies put profits ahead of their pure standards?
Peru Just Elected its FIFTH President in FIVE Years
17-06-2021
Peru Just Elected its FIFTH President in FIVE Years
Peru was something of a success story in Latin America. According to the Economist’s tracking, from 2001 to 2016, the poverty rate fell from 60% to 21% and the economy also grew at an average annual rate of 5.6%. The government also used a healthy mix of free market policies and export led growth, which was different from the protectionism seen in other countries in the region. Unfortunately, as of late, the country has become politically divided and has produced four presidents and eight finance ministers in five years. This instability has made long term change impossible and the pandemic only made it worse. As of June 2021, COVID-19 killed over 190,000 people and 3 million fell into poverty once again. Now Peru has a new left wing president named Pedro Castillo. He won just 50.2% of the vote, which is only around 70,000 more votes out of 17.5m cast. Castillo barely beat Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, the autocrat and corrupt leader who ruled in the 1990s. People believe Castillo has a weak mandate and will preside over a bitterly divided country. He also has applauded socialists like Evo Morales in Bolivia and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, and he seems to sympathize with Communist Cuba. Now Keiko Fujimori is saying that the election was fraudulent and this likely won’t help the bitter division between urban and rural Peruvians.    In this episode, Drew and Alex try to make sense of how a leftist and a right-wing candidate were the only options left, when there were eighteen candidates in the election. They also discuss what is next for Peru and whether the country can succeed, while also fending off the leftist policies that brought down Venezuela.