Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In Response to Erin's Blog Entry on the Electoral College

I agree with you Erin, eliminating the electoral college needs to be done for a fair democracy. Every person's vote should count and we shouldn't have to depend on the electoral college to make that decision for us. All of us are capable of thinking critically because we are educated. As history has shown, we have made incredible progress in technology, putting the information we need at hand in order to critically think and cast our vote for President.

When we cast our vote on election day, we are not casting our vote in hopes that our chosen candidate is elected but we are essentially casting our votes in hopes that our electoral college votes the same way. Did you know that 48 out of the 50 states give electoral votes to the the candidate who wins the majority in their state? Like Florida, who recieves 28 electoral votes, gives all of their electoral votes to the majority voted candidate, no matter how close the race. Yet, those of the electoral college are in no way required to vote according to what the actual state has voted. Eighty-seven times in the past, electors have voted againt the wishes of the the people who have elected them. Crooked as it seems, the electoral college made sense in the 1700s when information was inaccessible to the ordinary citizen. Because information moved slowly, and our country was so vast, the electors of the electoral college were sent to washington to get the latest information in order to make their vote for the people. Nowadays, technology has given the people information as quickly as a click of a mouse.

We had to depend on the electoral college back when horses were the only way of transportation and useful politically information was invested in our electors of the electoral college. Now, the people have the power of information.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mindful News Media in Political News Bias

As citizens and individuals, it is a privilege to participate in the political process and be aware of what’s going on around us. In order to be involved, we have to know what’s going on. So, where do we get our information from? The media. Thanks to the First Amendment, there is a vast world of information. A world, some question as being politically bias and not stating just the facts. As PBR broadcaster Brooke Gladstone writes in her book, “Sure, the media are beset by biases, but they’re probably not what you think.”

In an interview with Jon Stewart on Fox News, host Chris Wallace confronts John on a statement he had made on his show about the Fox News Network being a “biased organization, relentlessly promoting an ideological agenda…” In counter-argument, Wallace points out other news media such as ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and New York Times should be held responsible for the same accusations. In the argument that the media is a liberal bias holds some truth. In this interview, Jon talks about the existence of a political bias in media. He goes on to explain that because of the medium in which media exists, it’s hard not to reveal a liberal aspect. This holds truth to the liberal wing of news but in the conservative case, they forcibly push their news rather than holding integrity.

Brooke Gladstone, in her book The Influencing Machinedoesn't necessarily defend liberal bias news but rather argues that more important biases should be noted by the people.  For example, a TV news program such as O’Reilly factor will argue that the media has a liberal bias when it comes to reporting issues. For example, in a news interview with Cornell West and Tavis Smiley, O’Reilly argues that Tavis Smiley’s news special on PBS about poverty supports socialism. Bill believes that poverty is not an economic problem but rather a social problem and a personal responsibility. He argues presenting statistics that show that 15% of America is in poverty and 9% of Americans are substance abusers, in which they cannot hold jobs. In his defense, Tavis argues that it’s a political responsibility to take care of our citizens and its uprising before it takes over us. Bill O’Reilly’s argument is a classic example of Gladstone’s Bad News Bias, plaguing a fear of socialism and assuming those that are poor are actually substance abusers. To note, throughout the interview Bill cuts off Tavis before he can answer his question and becomes angry because he heard Tavis say he “lies” when Tavis really said he was “right” about a subject. This is another example of Fairness Bias in Bill O’Reilly’s show in which he failed to present ideas equally.

As individuals, we have a brain, in which consists a mind. In this mind, there is this "element that enables us to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel. It's the faculty of consciousness and thought." Forever in sight of the media, we must be rational for the sake of the information being presented to us by the news. The underlying argument of news being politically bias is inescapable. The media entails free speech and in presenting the "facts" a journalist or reporter cannot help to infiltrate their ideologies in this constitutional right but it is our jobs as citizens to seek out what media is the actual truth of the matter, whatever the issue may be to us.

Work Cited

Gladstone, Brooke. The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media. W. W. Norton & Complany Inc., 2011.

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Look Back As Our Troops Come Home

As Amelia has written, it is great news that our troops are coming home.  It’s not only great news for our troops and their families but for our economy. As she has stated, the government has spent trillions of dollars on this war but she wonders why. She also states that the Middle-East is “all about power” and questions the reasons behind our foreign affairs. Looking into how the Iraq war began and the objectives behind it, we can begin to understand Amelia’s questions.

First, in order to understand why we spent so much on the war, we must address the origins of the Iraq war in relation to foreign policy.  We can agree that the 9/11 attacks spurred governmental action to find the “bad guys,” but what started off as capturing the enemy in Afghanistan, spun action into another country based on a “hunch” that weapons of mass destruction were a threat and Al-Qaeda had ties with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.  It turned out that the Bush Administration failed to provide evidence and the war regimen changed.  No more incentive for WMD but establishing a democracy in Iraq became the new plan. As the United States treaded the thin line occupying Iraq, we ended up putting ourselves against a graver danger erupting a civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites and an insurgency against U.S. military. Only breaking out violence, the once objective to establish a democracy collapsed so the U.S. motive was to restore peace and security in a country complex with religious conflict. In Amelia’s statement claiming the Middle-East is “all about power” seems a bit rash. In dealing with this war and it’s specific region of Iraq, the government’s position to create democracy would seem to give Iraq “more power” but since this objective failed, the Middle-East, as a whole, will not sustain economically with its continued civil war with religion.

Now that we understand why we went to war, let’s talk numbers. The beginning proposal for our defense budget was advised to be around $100-200 billion. The Defense Secretary at the time believed it to be only $50 billion but as our debt shows, we have spent over trillions of dollars funding a war with not much to show. Did you know that for every brave soldier killed in Iraq, the family received a check of $500,000? What frustrates me is that the cost of this war will never compensate for the lives taken because of this war. My brother is a U.S. Marine and he came back safely from his tour in Afghanistan but some of his fellow soldiers did not. Even arriving back alive from this war, the mental effects of this war on our soldiers is not healthy.

Eliminating this full-fledged war presence in countries, considering different approaches to stopping terrorism, and restoring peace is necessary for not only the U.S. economy but the welfare and safety of other countries. By President Obama announcing our troops coming home, Obama’s administration platform on foreign policy seems tactful rather than tacky.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Loopholes That Stimulate the Economy?

As I have written in my last blog entry, Occupy Wall Street stands behind the corruption of the Federal Reserve and as recent news has shown, the General Electric bailout has exposed Federal Reserve loopholes. Although reports uncover this “corruption,” the bailouts administered, while behind-the-scenes, are fundamental in our economy but problematic in accordance to what’s "fair."
According to the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, initially Congress was in charge of minting money and regulating its value. In 1913, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, giving their power to a system which, according to some protesters, has failed us. In this Act, the purpose was to resolve inelastic currency yet the Federal Reserves’ nepotic practices has put our money into the hands of private sectors.

For example, General Electric has recently been bailed out of a financial crisis with the help of the Federal Reserve.  At first, the company did not qualify to receive a loan but by owning two small banks in Utah, was administered the emergency loan. By this, GE was able to commerce and  receive help through their banks. Not only that, the CEO of GE happened to be on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before resigning in April. 

With loopholes aside, I argue that the General Electric Company is an asset to our nation and the bailout, although sneaky, is necessary to stimulate our economy. It is in fact, one of the largest industrial companies out there. Not only that, they have many ties around the world, they create jobs, and provide innovations to better our lives. From the light bulb to home appliances, we have General Electric to thank.

I suppose, when it comes down to it, the people are ultimately questioning what’s “fair.” By allowing GE to slip under regulation, where does that put other commercial companies? Obama has stepped in and has proposed a regulatory system, separating bank and commerce. In the beginning, Congress was in charge before the Federal Reserve Act was established. With the White House intervention,  maybe a “fair” deal will come out of this but, for me, I hope Americans can take in the whole picture, our economy, and the ways we must survive together.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Occupies Our Concern

According to Gina Miller’s blog article in the Free Republic, Wall Street Protesters are mainly young “spoiled brats.” To her, their message is “incoherent” protesting issues such as the war on poverty, unemployment, the wealth gap, and our nation’s debt. The Occupy Wall Street slogan is “we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” Clearly, protesters are unhappy with the economy and are, ultimately, questioning what’s going on. There’s an answer to redistribute wealth by taxing the rich but to the writer, America is what it is today without the “socialistic, central-planning government, and redistribution of wealth.” Choosing to be a part of the 99%, in the eyes of the writer, is a communist move that will destroy our country. To confront the issues, the writer believes that we are going to destroy a work ethic that America was built on by giving “free-passes” to the poor and unemployed. The fundamental concern is if we help, will the ethic of hard work be diminished? I wish I knew the answer but an answer can be developed with the right motivation and selection of politicians. I see protesters practicing a healthy democracy and challenging not only other citizens to be concerned about national issues but the politicians themselves. Gina Miller’s attack on the protesters clearly has sparked her. With Occupy protests spreading throughout the United States, let’s hope a spark will ignite the country and we’ll voice our concerns not only in practicing free speech but with our vote.

Friday, September 30, 2011

"The Lovable Rick Perry"

There is a hint of bantering in Richard Cohen's Washington Post commentary over Rick Perry. Nonetheless, the author argues over feeling sympathy towards Rick Perry in the recent Republican debates. A sympathy well deserved only in the heated objectives over immigration and teenage sexual health in America. In the arena of conservatives, the author argues that Perry has become the odd man out, by supporting immigration and advocating the HPV vaccination in young women. Whether that deserves Perry a sympathy vote, it does deserve a second-look towards conservative concerns.

The author makes a point as Perry provides illegal immigrant children an opportunity towards a higher education in Texas. Of course, the majority rules in the conservative stance towards illegal immigrants but no conservative takes in the legal rights the children of the undocumented have. Yes, there’s a loophole given that they were illegal in the first place, but a fence will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. Rather than spend tax payer dollars on building a fence, let’s educate the minds of these students that are, according to the constitution, U.S. citizens.

The author continued to build a soft-spot for Perry in the debate when Ron Paul attacked Perry for “forcing 12-year-old girls to taking an inoculation to prevent [HPV]…” Of course, the 2007 executive order was overturned by Texas legislature due to conservative opposition but the author heart went out when Perry's defense acknowledged his hatred towards cancer and his failure to trust the state legislature. Indubitably so, cancer causes the sudden death of our loved ones and the process of checks and balances should be trusted, but the conservative corner failed to recognize the options the nation should take in regards to teenage sexual health. There should be no argument, maybe denial, but teenagers are sexual active and are at risk. Although the vaccine is recommended to be issued to 11-14 year old girls, this is a proper precautionary for our upcoming youth.

There’s no doubt, people are on edge with Rick Perry serving as president. Honestly, who would want a president who was responsible for 234 executions? At the end of the commentary, the author writes, “The big lug may not have much of a brain, but he sure has a heart.” And because of Perry’s heart, conservative viewpoints deserve a second look.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Filtering Supercommittee Actions

A congressional supercommittee has formed and it consists of six Democrats and six Republicans. Their mission: seeking up to $1.5 trillion in a deficit-reduction measure for the course of ten years. As this supercommittee forms, meets, and discusses options, the flow of money reaching these members can affect the final decision of the deficit-reduction.

Some may argue the ethical problems of lobbying but for these twelve senators, the money contributed to them affects not only their decisions but their campaigns in future re-elections. Because of this, senators remain divided as the amount of fundraising they will actually do; some keeping their schedule while some put theirs on hold to focus on committee responsibilities. Yet the question remains as to how much money is being contributed to them and by whom. Attempting to filter lobby activity, a Deficit Committee Transparency Act was introduced but the supercommittee has not answered.