About Nate

Nate is a contributor and past co-host on the “Arsenal For Democracy” show. He was previously the co-founder of the Starboard Broadside political blog with Bill in 2008.

February 11, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 116

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Topics: Mike Pence’s failed state media outlet, Nigeria elections postponement, UK elections early predictions. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: February 10th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– Is Indiana’s short-lived state media outlet a harbinger of even more challenges for local journalism?
– What does the postponement of Nigeria’s elections mean for the country’s democracy?
– UK: What could a Labour-SNP coalition mean for Britain? What effect will the centrality of UKIP’s talking points have on the campaign?

Episode 116 (52 min)
AFD 116

Related links
Segment 1

AFD: Pence’s Pravda
Indianapolis Star: Pence starts state-run news outlet to compete with media
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: Indiana Governor Mike Pence scraps plan for state-run news website

Segment 2

AFD: Nigeria military forces elections to be postponed
BBC: Nigeria election: Five questions about delay

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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

January 28, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 115

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Topics: Big Ideas – Zero-Tuition Public College; Greek elections. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: January 26th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– Big Ideas for Reforming American Governance: Should the federal government offer a zero-tuition 4-year public college system? Is this feasible?
– How will Syriza’s win in the Greek elections affect Greece and the EU?

Episode 115 (46 min)
AFD 115

Related links
Segment 1

ThinkProgress: How Obama Could Make College Free For Everyone Without Spending A Dime
EdWeek: Some Higher Education Advocates Wary of President’s Free Community College Plan
The Atlantic: Is There a Better Way to Deal With Student-Loan Debt?

Segment 2

AFD: The Questions Posed by World’s 2015 Elections
AFD: Syriza-Independent Greeks coalition takes office

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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

January 21, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 114

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Topics: Republican State Attorneys General, the NYPD mutiny, US-Russian relations. People: Bill, Nate, Sasha. Produced: January 19th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– How are Republican Attorneys General helping corporations fight common sense regulation?
– Is the NYPD beyond the control of the people of New York City and Mayor De Blasio?
– The end of nuclear partnership: When should the US view Russian actions as threatening versus posturing?

Episode 114 (52 min)
AFD 114

Related links
Segment 1

AFD, by Sasha: State Attorneys General are ruining the Earth. Literally.
NYT: Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General

Segment 2

AFD: NYC: Overwhelming opposition to the NYPD mutiny
The Globalist, by Bill: New York: De Blasio Vs. a Renegade Police Department
AFD: The NYPD: America’s Secret Police
AFD, by De Ana: #BlackLivesMatter means just that, not that police lives don’t
Reuters: Off duty, black cops in New York feel threat from fellow police

Segment 3

Boston Globe: Russia ends US nuclear security alliance
The Globalist: Kaliningrad: Achilles’ Heel for the West

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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

January 14, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 113

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Topics: Boko Haram massacre in northeastern Nigeria, the French historical and political contexts of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: January 12th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– Why is Western media doing such a bad job of covering the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria?
– Charlie Hebdo attacks: What is the big picture historical and political context of France’s relations with immigrants and Muslims?

Episode 113 (55 min)
AFD 113

Related links
Segment 1

AFD: 2000 “feared dead” in raids by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria
France24: Child used as suicide bomber in Kano market
The Atlantic: Charlie Hebdo: Why Nigeria’s Boko Haram Violence Gets Less Attention
BBC: Boko Haram crisis: Why it is hard to know the truth in Nigeria

Segment 2

Hooded Utilitarian: In the Wake of Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech Does Not Mean Freedom From Criticism
The Globe and Mail: In the Mideast, as in France, satire is a weapon against extremists
The Atlantic: Who Was Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim Police Officer Killed by the Charlie Hebdo Massacre?
Buzzfeed: This Muslim Man Saved Several Hostages During The Paris Kosher Market Siege

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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

January 7, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 112

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Topics: Rep. Steve Scalise, US policy on Cuba and North Korea, Islamophobia in Sweden and Germany. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: January 5th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– Why House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is at least a White supremacist sympathizer, despite his sketchy denials — and what that means for the Republican Party now.
– What does the US policy change on Cuba mean for both countries? Should the US also adjust policies on North Korea?
– Why are Germany and Sweden witnessing a surge of anti-Muslim public actions?

Episode 112 (55 min)
AFD 112

Related links
Segment 1

Cen Lamar: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was reportedly an honored guest at 2002 international white supremacist convention
Washington Post: House Majority Whip Scalise confirms he spoke to white nationalists in 2002
NYT: Much of David Duke’s ’91 Campaign Is Now in Louisiana Mainstream

Segment 2

NYT: Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Relations
AFD: Hip-Hop Invasion! (and other stupid covert Cuba projects)

Segment 3

The Globalist: Political Courage: Merkel Vs. Cameron
BBC: Anti-Islam ‘Pegida’ rally in Dresden sees record turnout
BBC: Three mosque fires in one week (Sweden)
AFD: Sweden’s budget deal is American-style extortion

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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

December 17, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 111

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Topics: Torture Report, CRomnibus spending package, video game review – This War of Mine. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: December 15th, 2014.

Discussion Points:

– Torture Report: Why US actions after 9/11 are symptomatic of a wider unresolved White Supremacy in American policymaking and society — and why torture and drones are the logical extension of daily police brutality and accidental shootings.
– CRomnibus Spending Package: Should Democrats and President Obama have stood more firmly on principle against the new funding measure even at the cost of a shutdown?
– Political Pop Culture: Nate reviews “This War of Mine,” a survival game set in the Siege of Sarajevo

Episode 111 (53 min)
AFD 111

Related links
Segment 1

Boston Globe: 20 key findings of Senate’s CIA torture report
Arsenal For Democracy coverage of the 2014 Torture Report
Arsenal For Democracy archive coverage of the 2009 Torture Memos

Segment 2

AFD: The Terrible CRomnibus
NYT Dealbook: Wall Street Seeks to Tuck Dodd-Frank Changes in Budget Bill
Huffington Post:The Levee Breaks: Democrats Rage Against Obama Over Wall Street Giveaway
AFD: US prepares to give sacred Native land to Australian mining firm
AP: Federal budget would raise limits on big donors in campaign finance

Segment 3

AFD Review by Nate: My War
Steam: “This War of Mine”

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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

My War

New video game review: “This War of Mine”

Scavenging in the ruins of a bombed-out school, Pavle was able to locate wood, water, scrap parts, tobacco and vital medicine for his compatriots. Icy temperatures had led to an outbreak of sickness in the ruined building that Pavle and three other survivors were squatting in to avoid snipers. I had neglected to build a vital furnace in the early days of the game. Pavle’s nighttime excursions, which often meant dodging armed patrols and hostile civilians, were critical for gathering the food and supplies necessary for the daily struggle for survival in “This War of Mine.”

An image from one of the trailer videos for "This War of Mine."

An image from one of the trailer videos for “This War of Mine.”

Released last month on Steam for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux by the Polish company 11-Bit studios, “This War of Mine” is a gritty, haunting simulation of life during the Siege of Sarajevo in the war in Bosnia. By day, you race to construct everything from armchairs to moonshine stills. By night, you must risk everything to find the supplies vital to survival. The game is reminiscent of Minecraft in both its addictiveness and the depth of its crafting system. I played for hours straight, angrily restarting when I felt I had done a poor job of gathering resources (or when my characters started starving). Before long, you are anxiously cooking food and carefully apportioning supplies, lest any of the characters you’ve become invested in die from wounds, sickness, starvation, or suicide.

The game forces you to make complex moral decisions that could potentially affect your group’s morale. If you aid the various neighbors who come calling for your assistance, you will lose a player for the night but increase the happiness of your group. Steal from from a family and, despite the necessities of survival, your group might get angry. Sometimes it pays to do both — I once traded medicine to a sick old man and then cleaned out his basement of rare supplies and weapons, darting out the back exit when the old man’s son came to check on the noise downstairs. In another incident, Zlata raided a supply crate with a neighbor and I was later offered food and cigarettes by soldiers if we ratted out our neighbors as supply crate thieves (I refused). Cigarettes and books can also increase the group’s happiness.

Smart players will find ways to survive through the barter system. Moonshine and homemade cigarettes can be traded for food and medicine with a traveling salesman, soldiers or friendly civilians. Trade for and cook with vegetables to double food yield.

Although not an impossibly difficult or complex game, “This War of Mine” is appropriately unforgiving for beginners — only after several runs though were my citizens comfortable after a week. My really only complaint is the limited space in some characters backpacks — only a few characters had anything beyond 10 spaces. While frustrating, this really forces the player to make tough choices about supplies. Perhaps the controls for guns could be a bit better, as my scavenger is often killed by bandits before I can fire. That’s probably on me, however, and not my civilians.

While not one of the flashy, cinematic shooters that dominate game shelves these days, “This War of Mine” is a more compelling and realistic war game than any “Call of Duty” released recently. Highly addictive and challenging, “This War of Mine” is a must-own on Steam.