Sunday, October 30, 2011

Videos on Media and Politics

This is about how the media is covering Wall St. It makes me think- every generation thinks that that their time will bring the end of the world. The people of the 50s saw elvis and thought OH NO, and Adbusters (the magazine that organized Occupy Wall st) prints articles that also have that "oh my god what is the world coming to" tone. It seems like things are getting bad, more bad then usual now though, right? Or is it because we have more media outlets and people vocalizing their worry, that makes it seem worse than usual?

This is a video about the Arab Spring and United States supporting the countries that were going through change. The Arab Spring, it my mind atleast, was so incredible because of the intense use of media for revolution.

A question is asked about people in Iran having access to internet, and supposedly the U.S. is trying to help using programs for people, "to help escape oppression".

Corruption in the GOP (and everywhere)

So this is a mix of two thoughts...

The New York Times Blog section reads:

"Bill Clinton, in his budget for fiscal year 1997, which was released in early 1996, projected a federal budget surplus by 2001. It turned out that the tax increases initiated by George H.W. Bush in 1990 and by Mr. Clinton in 1993, which were strenuously opposed by virtually all Republicans, did exactly what they were supposed to do and sharply reduced federal budget deficits."

Jobs creation and tax cuts have been central issues concerning G.O.P candidates this election.

On Tuesday the New York Times released an article on an interview with Rick Perry titled "Perry Plan Would Grant Big Tax Break to Wealthiest".

During last week's debate Herman Cain was accused of the very same thing with his 999 deal. He defended it over and over again but somehow people did not seem to really buy it.

Republicans accuse Democrats for wanting tax increases so that they may spend more money instead of cutting it but the fact is, tax increases aren't harmful and are used to increase revenue.

So if tax cuts just don't work then why is the idea still around? I feel like I rant about this GOP tax issue all the time because it does not make sense and I really think that this issue really shows the sort of people they are protecting.

There is always talk about politicians being puppets for one group or another. I quietly agree with it but this idea has the same sort of vulgar stench as a conspiracy movie and I do not like hearing accusations without proof.

One topic that makes me believe it with full heart however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What does GOP ideology have to do with supporting Israel? Are they all Jewish? To support tax-cuts to 'businesses can have a safe environment to grow' makes sense, but their stand on conflict in the region just does not make sense.

During the debate Ron Paul said he would stop funding because Israel was becoming too dependent and that they needed to start financing their own military. All the other candidates said the opposite.

One said that Israel was the only ally they had in that region, the others said they were in support of Israel and the 3 billion dollar U.S. funding of it (and they want cut out from programs like medicare?!?!).

Gingrich said he was also in opposition of Palestine becoming an observable state because the process by which it was becoming one was incorrect and that it should be just between Israel and Palestine.

Look Newt, the two live side by side in war so obviously the two cannot be trusted to solve this issue. If it was as simple as the two negotiating, this problem would have been solved 60 years ago.

Secondly, what incentive do they all have to stand by Israel? None. The only reason I can see is that they probably have many lobbyists or people with pro-Israel agenda backing up their campaign.

I sound like it is a horrible thing to be in support of Israel, I am not saying there are no reasons, there are plenty. The GOP candidates do not seem genuinely in line with them. They say cut spending over and over again but somehow they send billions of dollars over there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Brief History of Democrats and Republicans

Alright so I keep complaining about not knowing the differences between the parties. But not the differences themselves, but how they emerged.

Tackling this topic is tricky because it requires me to look all the way back in history. So, that is what I want to do right now is work backwards.

So from what I can see, what we know as Democrat actually used to be called republican. And what is republican used to called democrat.

As I read the time line there are three eras that stand out to me. The first is the very beginning, because the beginning is always important. In the beginning the Democrats, back then known as the Republican party, believed in limited central government. The face of this party at that point was Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

The party that is now known as the republicans was known as the Federalist Party. They believed in strong central government. Washington and Hamilton were the representatives of this party.

Ok, the next era that caught by attention was during the 1860s when Abraham Lincoln was abolishing slavery. The Democrats wanted to keep slavery, and the republicans wanted to get rid of it. You would think it was the other way around, but not so!

The third era that really sets the foundation for our modern Democrat and Republican begins in 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt was elected. Around this time, or just before that was the Populist movement and following it the Progressives emerged.

"Populists rallied against large-scale commercial agriculture that would put them out of work, and they supported federally regulated communication, transportation, and banking systems." That sounds more the style of what we know as a Democrat, right?

Then Theodore Roosevelt started the progressive party which stood for women's rights, 8 hour work days, minimum wage, registered lobbyists, "direct democracy", essentially things that really worked to protect the working class people.

The next Democratic President was Franklin Roosevelt who in 1932 implemented the New Deal which saved the country from the Great Depression by putting workers to work. You could easily compare this to Obama's Job Act.

From the timeline that I looked at ( these are the eras that really stood out to me when mapping the history of parties.

It is so strange that the last time Americans were united completely was during the revolution, and they weren't completely then. Some people still wanted to stay loyal to England.

It surprises me that we have made it this far with our differences. The differences it seems lies in geography, our incentives, class, religion, etc.

From where we left during the progressive era is when it becomes clear to me the distinction between the two parties based on economic standing or position.

From then on Republican candidates stood to be pro-business.

Despite knowing a little more about these parties now, it seems even stranger to me. No matter what there is always a split, from slavery to policy, to how to run the market and neither party ever really seemed to maintain a common theme and often switched places.

The only theme I see, and one that I see only because I am a bias Democrat, is the theme of Democrats being behind workers, minorities, and women since the early 1900s. Republicans seem to believe that the less government the better, but how do you explain then things like telephone tapping and operation swift, war, and them trying to tell me what to do with my reproductive system? They say 'no no big government' when it comes to government run programs that help people and don't hesitate to step in when it comes to my body and who I marry?

I just don't understand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Videos for political party platforms

Herman Cain's campaigning and plan for the economy

Senator Glassley on deficit reduction. Here he explains what the committee is looking for when it looks at where it can reduce spending. They follow a specific theme. They want to increase faith in the market and create business friendly environments.

This is McCain discussing Obama's bill. He explains the Democratic viewpoint versus the G.O.P viewpoint. He compares approaches which i think better outlines the "platforms" that each stand on when it comes to jobs and the economy.

Obama, and why people are Democrats

Throughout watching this campaign, i began to worry that Obama is really in trouble. He is, he really is. His Jobs plans isn't passing and his lack of progress is even beginning to scare the people behind him (me).

I do worry about him. But i don't doubt his abilities, its really other things holding him back. He only has so much power. It seems like he has tried to put forth so many different things but they just can't make it passed the Republicans. People forget that a president is not King and there criticize him for not doing enough like the G.O.P is doing.

During the last election, it seemed really obvious that Obama was going to win. The old Mcain did not stand a chance the young strong looking Obama.

Also for once, it didn't seem like choosing Obama was choosing the lest worst out of the caidates. People actually liked him.

When i think about the kind of chance he stands this election, i get scared but at the same time, Obama has a loyalty like no other behind him.

I was thinking about the people that are Republican and the people the are Democrat. I might be completely wrong about this but, i feel like each are what they are for different reasons.

Republicans seem more often to be republican because of tradition, morality, religion, lifestyle, and geography, all rather uncontrollable things because it's based on where you are born. They sort of follow in the parents footsteps or keep to what everyone around them believes.

I feel like if someone is really Democrat it is because of them actively choosing so. Also more of the educated population i would assume is democratic, for example, i have never met a Republican professor, ever. I don't credit what i am saying to be completely true, it is just something i was thinking about.

And also, out of all of the wealthiest americans, what percetage of those of G.O.P?

After looking up educated americans vs educated democrats, no real statistics come up however, on those public ASK blog cites, the general concesuses is that 'education breeds liberalism'.

Here are the numbers it provides

TOTAL Democrat Republican
No High School (3%) 64% 35%
H.S. Graduate (21%) 55% 44%
Some College (31%) 51% 47%
College Graduate (27%) 49% 49%
Postgraduate (18%) 58% 41%

But then again, it may just be that our schools are getting more liberal. Another thing to point out though is when you look at a map of where the red and blue voters are, Democratic voters are usually in urban areas. New York and San Francisco for example.

In cities people are more exposed to ideas. They are centers of exchange and exposure. People come to cities and are immediately exposed to a more politically aware atmosphere. Or is it the opposite?

I know when i first moved to New York, the first 6 months i never watched the news just because the world of New York sucked me right in.

The Pizza Man

Based on recent polls, Herman Cain is next to Romney in the race. This blows my mind, he's a pizza man! I am not trying to mean about this but he has absolutely no executive experience.

Also, his 9-9-9 or technically, 9.1-9.1-9.1 plan sounds more the a large pizza and free drink special then it does an economic plan.

The reason why Cain, I believe came up with this plan is not because it truly believes it works but to give his campaign focus, to prove he has a solid strategy. It does sound catchy and it makes him a brand. I admit this is good campaigning.

The 9-9-9 plans stands for the percentage of 3 kinds of taxes. A 9% individual income tax, a 9% corporate tax, and a 9% national sales tax.

His intention was to completely toss out our current tax codes that is disabling businesses from growing and holding back out economy.

To release the plan right before the debate was a very bad idea. Everyone during the October 18th debate was targeting the 9-9-9 plan.

Surprisingly enough, people are behind him. I think what may be appealing about him is also his problem. He is not a politician. On one hand that is bad because it shows he is not experienced. I am not sure if he even has a clue as to how to run things.

On the other hand, politicians are constantly scrutinized for being how they are, sneaky, and unable to get things done because they are caught up in politics. Maybe the reason why Cain is so popular is because he seems to be an outsider to that whole cat fight.

I remember in a debate weeks ago, there was a question he was answering about his qualifications, and he said something like "I'll tell you how government works, it doesn't work". He said it in context of how he was never a part of it, as in he was never part of a dysfunctional system.

Every candidate if they are running a good campaign get through by having a really strong central message and defines their image. During Obama's campaign it was about change. He was completely different from all the other candidates and the current president which made him stand out.

He was not part of the posse that got us into our economic troubles. He was a newcomer with a fresh perspective, and one that was not clouded by dirt and corruption that politics brings with it often times.

This is what made him so appealing and somehow it seems Herman Cain is using the same strategy but in a different way. He wants to seems different in the he is not in politics, but in problem solving, business problem solving and growth.

Mitt Romney also has a similar central message except, he is a political figure. Romney central messages is that he is a business man and using that viewpoint, he has the best approach at solving our economic problems.

I hope Herman Cain get nominated though, not because he is good, but because he would stand no chance again Obama.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Videos related to Conventions

This is talking about the Republican convention that will be held in Florida. It is like the Olympics, a political Superbowl. The best line in this is when he says that Republicans will work out disputes about the convention and he says about republicans: "We're all a family". I just thought it was funny.

This is the House Minority Leader John Boehner talking about swing voters- the middle class women and why Palin is appealing to them.

This one is incredible. It is about Feminists and why some women should or should not go for Sarah Palin. Some women support her just because she is a woman, others do not.

Candidates and the Economy

So every time I listen to a debate all i hear are those charming southern patriotic phrases about americanism and criticism that just bashes without providing any alternatives. All they say is that they want to cut spending and lower taxes, how will it help? I WANT SPECIFICS and finally I am getting some but a clear cut plan does not necessarily mean it will work.

I will credit Romney Paul and Cain for providing the most specific concrete plans

Right now i want to summarize what each proposes about the economy. All of them tie together in that they was to reduce spending and not raise taxes.

They do not want to raise taxes on corporations because they want to create a business friendly environment and if companies are not spending more money on taxes, they will hire workers. This is called Reaganomics, or the trickle down theory.

By this view, all believe that the government is not responsible for literally creating jobs, rather, they want to create an environment that will create jobs. This is the complete opposite of Obama's jobs bill that actually puts worker to work under federal funded projects.

The following information I received from the G.O.P. candidates website.

Bachman- She proposes... well what I said before is all she really specified... lowering taxes and cutting spending and a lot of go America jargon.

Herman Cain (and i want to write about this later so I won't be too specific) proposes a 9-9-9 plan.

Gingrich proposes an economic policy based on Reaganomics. He wants get rid of the National Relations Board, regulations, and financial institutions. He wants to also call for a tax 'moratorium' meaning he wants to suspend taxes for one year.

Lastly, he wants to lower the corporate tax rate to 12.5% and cap unemployment benefits to only be received for four weeks. Doesn't that last part just sound mean? It reminds me of a article i read a few days ago about how some states are beginning to require a urine sample if a person is wants to collect food stamps.

Huntsman's plan involves a 3 level tax system- 8, 12, 25 similar to that of Cain's except with different numbers.

“That means economically inefficient tax carve outs for mortgage interest, municipal bonds, child credits and green energy subsidies would at last be closed… The double tax on capital gains and dividends would be expunged as would the Alternative Minimum Tax. The corporate tax rate falls to 25 percent from 35 percent, and American businesses would be taxed on a territorial system to encourage firms to return capital parked in overseas operations… Mr. Huntsman says he’d also bring to heel the hyper-regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and the National Labor Relations Board, all of which are suppressing job-creation…"

Ron Paul's views are similar to the other candidates but the one thing that stands out to me is his view on the federal reserve, or the elimination of it. The government does this thing called 'quantitative easing' where the united states borrows money from the federal reserve and prints more money which brings the inflation rate up because more money in circulation brings the worth of the dollar down.. which is bad.

Now, the United States owes money to the Federal reserve. Ron Paul points out that the Federal Reserve produces money out of thing air so why should the United States pay it back? But i figured that if it does not pay it back, then people will think we just produced money and our currency's worth will suffer.

But he brings up a really really really interesting question. Where does the money from the Federal Reserve come from? Where is it? and if we pay it back, who does it go to? because i am pretty sure the money would go to people that didn't have any money in the first place.

Perry is being credited from his performance in Texas in job creation. However, it must be noted that taxes has the 4th highest deficit in the country. Also it has an incredibly high rate in people making minimum wage. Also since his tax cuts, Texas's annual revenue has taken an extreme decline.

Again, he believes in creating a job friendly environment my cutting corporate taxes.

And lastly to be discussed in Mitt Romney 59 point plan. He outlines it pretty clearly. I don't really understand why he names it the 59 point plan though, the plan involves 5 executive orders, and 5 bills that he would put into work the first day he would be in office- bringing corporate taxes down, free trade with other countries, energy reviews, spending cuts in non security sections, cutting regulations and limitations Obama passed, and many other things.

All of the candidates are criticized for coming up with plans that harm the lower and middle classes. And i end with that comment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Democrats Try Wary Embrace of Protests

For the past weeks I have been following the Occupy Wall Street Protest. I am surprised it has not come sooner.

Many issues take of my interest not because they are necessarily important, but because of what they reveal about government processes. Lately my fascination has been with the links between media and government, how they operate together to provide the public with information and how people edit what is going on in order to get the proper response.

As I read about Democrat's support, and the Republican's criticism of the protest I was reminded of the Kennedy/Romney speeches: how both tried to respond in the least offensive way possible.

I was actually surprised by Democrat's support of the protest because i thought the party would be too scared to support an extreme, one that has been compared the the Tea Party in that it sways moderates away from the origin party because of it's extremity.

And just to be clear, i don't think the main purpose of the protest is 'extreme', its just that the drumming, nudity, and other crazy protesting stories have lead to people having that impression.

The Occupy Wall Street Protest is about nothing extreme. It is about citizen's frustration with how the financial crisis and institutions are handled by the government; they aren't handled and the protests want them to be.

The financial crisis happened due to the abuse of securitization. American's had to pay for the bail out with their tax money.

Securitization is the turning of a debt into a bond and selling it to an investor. Wall Street sold low quality CDOs (collateral debt obligations, mortgage backed securities, mortgage debts belonging to people who could not repay them because banks began to get greedy and approving everyone) which it then paid rating agencies such as AIG to rate and higher than they actually were. They then bet against the very transactions that were made. This is called 'shorting' or derivatives.

The whole alchemy conundrum went bust and the guilty firms were bailed out. The last time this happened in the 1980s, hundreds went to jail. What they did was not illegal which is the problem. There were no regulations prohibiting these loopholes because so many laws had been passed in administration that allowed for this sort of business to take place. This is what the protest is about.

Obama stands in support of the protesters. The Democratic Congressional Committee is circulating a petition that seeks 100,000 signatures supporting the protesters.

The Center for American progress "credits the protest with tapping into pent up anger over a political system that it says reward the rich over the working class - a populist theme now being emphasized by the white house and the party."

Some people in the party however, find it uneasy that it is getting support. They find that showing support for such an 'eclectic mix of protesters' is pushing the image of the Democratic Party further to the left.

Democrat Matt Bennett, president of Third Way, said the the protest should be more centered so that moderates will not be turned off it leaning to the left's agenda

Others say that is drawing more clear differences between the two parties, differences that are crucial in this upcoming election. Also to make note - Much of the Democratic Campaign financing comes from Wall Street, that is again why i was surprised to hear their support.

Lastly, Herman Cain criticized the Occupy Wall Street protesters for being jealous of successful capitalists.

I don't know if the protesters are jealous, or just not predatorial enough to screw weak people out of their money.

And lastly, with the financial crisis thing, I thought of a metaphor that kind of makes sense of what happened during it.

People used to kill by hand, and with guns and bombs we make it not only easier, but more impersonal, we don't ever have to look our enemy in the eye. Can the evolution of how we do business be compared to that? We used to look at the person, and sell them our best product, everything was done in person. Now it is digitized and our only interest is to see the numbers go up and we can't care if we screw people over because we don't even see them.

Just fruit for thought...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reaction to a movie and an article

So after watching about the Clinton campaign and reading about Romney's current campaign strategist, I am ever more skeptical of politicians and the election process.

It seems to me that sculpting strategy is not about perfecting the plan of what a president is going to do, rather the job is to sculpt the argument. I hate that.

The Article i read was called "An Unconventional Strategist Reshaping Romney". It talked about Stuart Stevens, his lead consultant.

It begins by describing Romney's new image, "this time around Mr. Romney is crisper more relaxed and almost always without a tie."

Stevens, its says, is trying to focus on the big picture and establishing a strong central message. This message is that Romney's work in the public sector gives him the knowledge and experience to solve the economic crisis and lack of jobs.

A central message is the opposite of what Romney had last time around where he was seen as a candidate that was flopping between ideas and 'unable to connect with voters'.

It then goes on to describe Stevens as competitive and unconcerned with others' opinions of him. It says he loves the competitive aspect of the campaigning. The article ends with his quote saying that his life as a political consultant "served as an outlet for my violent tendencies".

Ok, there are many aspects of this that i want to discuss.

First of all, the whole laid back candidate with the no tie thing is smart and fresh. I think it works. I feel like part of the Obama campaign was something similar to this with the 'change' thing and just the fact that he connected with audiences so well.

He also feels like the people's president when he gives live talks and works to include people. It sort of how Princess Diana was the people princess in that she appeared to be away from all royal old farts who just so happened to get there.

Obama even now seems like one of us, and that his appeal and Romney no tie strategy reminds me of that.

Secondly, and this has to do with the movie also, is how weird it is to devise argument and create word play. It just seems no immature and not the point of the election.

The point of the election is to figure out who is the best candidate, not who is the best at arguing.

Videos for Voter Turnouts

During a the governor's race republican/democrat, independents, and non voters are welcomed to call in and say what they think about the turn-out and election. A woman who is 46 calls in and explains why she does not vote. She agrees with the two voters before her in that she is skeptical that any change can be made.

Analysis of African American turn-out. More African-Americans tend to vote for Democratic Party.

This is talking about the total number of people that are eligible to vote and out of all those people, which percentage end up voting. Supposedly, we're at the higher end at 60%, which is where we were in the beggining of the century and the 50s. during the 70s 80s till 1996 we were lower. the lowest was in 1996 at 55%. Its strange though. You'd think with explosion of media it would soar meaning it would go up after the 50s with television advertising and would go up even further with the past decade. It has but not by much.