64 episodes

Finding Common Battle Grounds is an attempt by two brothers - one conservative, the other progressive - to have civil conversations about politics, with a little help from their friends.

Finding Common Battle Grounds Ryan Cragun

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    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Finding Common Battle Grounds is an attempt by two brothers - one conservative, the other progressive - to have civil conversations about politics, with a little help from their friends.

    S04E02 - Elon Musk's Pay and Hunter Biden's Conviction

    S04E02 - Elon Musk's Pay and Hunter Biden's Conviction

    In this episode of Finding Common Battle Grounds, Ryan and Tom are again joined by Josh who may be more of a permanent fixture on the podcast. We tackle two topics. First, we explore Elon Musk's pay package which was recently approved by Tesla shareholders and would net him tens of billions of dollars. Ryan argues that his opinion isn't worth anything as he is no longer a shareholder, but he does think it's excessive. Tom and Josh argue that Elon delivered so he deserves it. This leads us down many other meandering paths before we get to our second topic - Hunter Biden's gun conviction. Ryan raised this topic because he saw it as extremely hypocritical that Republicans were claiming that Donald Trump's felony convictions for hiding the Stormy Daniels hush money payments were a political witch hunt, Republicans are raving over how corrupt Hunter Biden is and are delighted at his conviction. Ryan makes two points: (1) Trump and Hunter Biden broke the law and no one should be above the law. (2) Both of these trials are political in the sense that they would have been unlikely to have happened if not for the prominent political profiles of these two individuals. Tommy agrees with Ryan on both counts. Josh agrees with the latter point but isn't as convinced that Trump's felony convictions are a real crime.

    • 1 hr 46 min
    S04E01 - COVID lab leak and Iranian Nuclear Weapons

    S04E01 - COVID lab leak and Iranian Nuclear Weapons

    In this episode of Finding Common Battle Grounds, we're joined by a special guest - Josh Cragun is back after a nearly two-year hiatus. (And he has hair!) We cover two topics in this episode. First, we start with the COVID-19 lab leak theory. We read an editorial from the New York Post editorial claiming that it is now definitive that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in China. Tom and Josh are now convinced that it came from a lab. Ryan is not convinced, even though he agrees that there is circumstantial evidence supporting such a claim. We then turn to Iran and their continued enrichment of nuclear material in their pursuit of nuclear weapons. We discuss what has led up to the current situation and talk about whether we think they're going to get a nuclear weapon and, more disturbingly, whether they would use such a weapon. With both stories, we talk about media bias. Tom and Josh argued that the COVID-19 lab leak theory was depicted as a conspiracy theory and that was unfair. Ryan argues that there has been a spate of recent stories blaming Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons on Biden in conservative media outlets, none of which mentioned that it was Trump who pulled the US out of an agreement and re-asserted sanctions. These biases lead Josh to say we can't trust any media, Tom to say we need to examine both sides, and Ryan to continue to say that media can largely be trusted to report basic news, but with a fair dose of skepticism.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    S03E20 - RFK Jr., Declining Homicide Rates, and White Christian Nationalists

    S03E20 - RFK Jr., Declining Homicide Rates, and White Christian Nationalists

    In this episode of Finding Common Battlegrounds, we start the podcast with a discussion of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his candidacy for President. We discuss whether he will be more detrimental to Trump's campaign or Biden's. We also talk briefly about his anti-vaccination views and his advocacy for free speech. Tom concludes he'll vote for him over Biden or Trump but Ryan is discounting him because he's anti-vaccines, so we don't agree there. We then turn to recent news articles suggesting there has been a decline in homicide rates this year and discuss why this may be happening and what it means. We don't perfectly find common ground on this as Tom thinks it's too early to tell if this is a real reversal, but we generally agree about perceptions of violence (and racism) in society. In a bonus topic, Tom raises concerns about the coming persecution of Christians in the US, drawing similarities to how Christians persecuted pagans during the Roman empire. This brings us to a discussion of white Christian nationalism. Ryan strongly disagrees with Tom that Christians in the US are being persecuted for two reasons: (1) they are still a substantial majority and (2) asking for the same privileges as Christians and Christians either having to give up their privileges or share them is not the same things a persecution. Tom agrees with the second item but disagrees with the first. We ultimately bet dinner over whether white Christian nationalists will have to register with the government by April 24, 2029.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    S03E19 - Norwegian JWs Defunded and Trump's Bloodbath

    S03E19 - Norwegian JWs Defunded and Trump's Bloodbath

    In this episode of Finding Common Battle Grounds, we start with a discussion about a recent court case decided in Norway that resulted in the federal defunding of Jehovah's Witnesses because of their ostracism practices. We both agree that the Norwegian government is well within its rights not to give JWs money if they engage in practices that are deemed to be coercive. We then turn to a recent incident in which Donald Trump suggested that there would be a "bloodbath" for the American automotive industry if he isn't elected, which was deceptively framed by the mainstream media as Trump claiming there would be violence if he isn't elected. We don't fight over this at all - Tommy's point that this was deceptive is accurate. Then, as a bonus, we discuss the SPAC that recently incorporated Truth Social and became DJT. Ryan was interested in possibly shorting it and asked Tommy, who does a lot of investing, how that would work. We discuss it at length and ultimately decide that puts and calls are better options (pun intended).

    • 1 hr 9 min
    S03E18 - A Solution for Israel & Palestine(?) and a Crusader Against Big Tech Consciousness Hacking

    S03E18 - A Solution for Israel & Palestine(?) and a Crusader Against Big Tech Consciousness Hacking

    In this episode of Finding Common Battle Grounds, we are joined by a new guest, Sean Patrick Tario, who now runs https://mark37.com/ and advocates for security and privacy from "big tech." But before we discuss big tech, Tom wanted to discuss efforts by the US to get Israel to accept a ceasefire agreement with Gaza/Hamas. In the process, we find common ground that there is no "good" solution for the Israel/Palestine situation, including Ryan's suggestion of massive bribes to relocate Palestinians which he suggests would be marginally better than the genocide we're observing but admits is unlikely to happen. We then turn to big tech and discuss the efforts of large corporations like Google, Meta, X, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft to invade our privacy and influence our behaviors, which some governments have recently started to regulate. Sean refers to this as "consciousness hacking." While the conversation swings awfully close to conspiracy theories at times (okay, there are conspiracy theories in this episode), we all agree that these large companies do manipulate software and services in sometimes subtle and sometimes more transparent ways. Where we disagree is on the motivations. Sean is convinced there is a small cabal of wealthy elites - that includes military, government, and corporate leaders - who are trying to wipe out billions of people and enslave the masses. Ryan and Tom aren't convinced that an Illuminati-like cabal exists, but do agree that there is likely some collusion and manipulation going on behind the scenes. In a surprising twist, Ryan and Sean geek out on their shared love for all things Linux, though how they arrived at Linux differs pretty substantially.

    • 1 hr 35 min
    S03E17 - Bail Bonds, a Texas Lawyer, and Google Glitches

    S03E17 - Bail Bonds, a Texas Lawyer, and Google Glitches

    In this episode of Finding Common Battle Grounds, we have another guest: Ken W. Good, an attorney who specializes in bail bonds. We take advantage of Ken's expertise to discuss a movement spreading across the US to end bail bonds under the premise that bail bonds can result in poor people being imprisoned because they cannot afford even low bail amounts. We discussed a Politifact article that investigated (and rated mostly true) a claim by Governor Gavin Newsom that only the US and the Philippines use for-profit or corporate bail bond systems. We used this as a launching point to discuss the consequences of changes to the bail system and whether they contribute to higher crime rates. Conveniently, we all agree that we don't want more crime and that crime has gotten out of control in some locations, but don't agree that we should retain bail for everyone or that our prisons are punitive and too full. We then turn to Google's Gemini glitch that ended up creating inaccurate historical images that reflect a diversity bias over accuracy. We agreed that historical accuracy is important and that Google needed to fix it's AI. We did not end up agreeing that truth is always more important than diversity, with Ryan arguing that truth is complicated and, while it is should always be pursued, it's not always clear what truth is. Ken disagreed and argued that there are capital-T "Truths" and they will always be more important than diversity.

    • 1 hr 26 min

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