The Worship of Sports in America

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How The Middle-Class Got Screwed (Video)

A most simplistic explanation of how the economic problems of the middle-class has become an actual threat to their well-being.

Why I'm Not A Democrat...Or A Republican!

There is a whole lot not to like about either of the 2 major political parties.

Whatever Happened To Saturday Morning Cartoons?

Whatever happened to the Saturday morning cartoons we grew up with? A brief look into how they have become a thing of the past.

ADHD, ODD, And Other Assorted Bull****!

A look into the questionable way we as a nation over-diagnose behavioral "afflictions."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Big Money + “Free Speech” = Less Democracy

One of the great ironies in an otherwise unfathomable universe is that events often occur in a way that serendipitously substantiates truth. Take for example yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision. In a 5-4 ruling, the high court in all but perspective rewrote campaign finance law, striking down a federal law that prohibited Big Money contribution to political candidates either directly or by [the] financial backing of campaign ads.
In the equating of such practices by the high court in terms free speech, proponents cheered the decision, hailing it as a victory which promotes the free exchange of opposing thoughts in the free market of ideas. The funny thing though is that most times, political partisans are rarely ever interested in anything in the way of “opposing ideas,” unless such ideas give them a Boogey Man to oppose during election cycles.
However, such “free speech” is yet another stab in the heart of the democratic process as we, the unconnected citizens, are forced to sit back and watch as Big Money contributions influence public policy through the innuendo of [the] reciprocity for donations to, and support of candidates for public office.
In yesterday’s posting (“Why the Republican Party is Better than the Democratic Party”), I lauded the Republicans for their ability to ostensibly take the moral high ground in politics by defining and framing political arguments—especially in political campaigns—which is why they are so successful in winning elections (but they are only as good at governing as the Democrats). If yesterday’s ruling has done anything, it has proven this point in spades. Without batting an eye, the conservative wing of the high court eloquently stated the logic of its position, totally ignoring the fact that they engaged in the same “judicial activism”—making law from the bench—they often accuse liberals of engaging in whenever one is nominated for a potential position, especially within the federal judiciary. And predictably, the ideologically impotent Democrats have failed to shine a light on this double-standard.
Outside of political partisanship, it’s a little difficult to understand the math behind the high court’s thinking; the everyday average citizen is supposed to benefit from giving Big Money donors more of a “say” in the political process? You’ll pardon me if I get up from my desk and walk out of class right about now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why The Republican Party Is Better Than The Democratic Party (...or, "My BS Is Better Than Yours.")

Republican Scott Brown’s Senatorial victory in yesterday’s special election in Massachusetts—a state that can arguably be called the most reliably Democratic-leaning out of the 50—is a testament to why the Republicans are better than the Democrats. Not in the ideological sense or as a governing entity, but as winners of elections; in terms of governing they are every bit as prone to corruption, excess, and incompetence as the Democrats…with a little more in the way self-righteousness. Simply put, the Republican Party in America is far better at packaging and selling their “product” than the Democrats.

Republican Senator-Elect Scott Brown

Take the for example a chief issue that Brown rode into the Senate on, that of government spending…or rather overspending. A simple fact of electoral politics is if you say something often enough, people will begin to believe it. To this effect, since the election of President Obama last year, Republicans (and/or other conservatives) have been exemplary in shaping and mobilizing public opinion against Obama’s stated centerpiece policy of health care reform, a policy that Americans knew full-well that they were voting for when they unanimously elected him and a majority of Democrats to office last election. Somewhere, Republican strategists got the brainchild to focus on the costly amount needed to cover a majority of Americans with affordable health care. And just like that, one of them got a flash of inspiration; Eureka! Since our policies were not appealing enough to win power, let’s slander their policy proposals by focusing on how much it will the American people!
So, Republicans successfully managed to mobilize enough conservative activists in the form of the “regular every day Americans” who made up the crowds of Tea-Partiers, tax-protestors, and other anti-Democratic ideologues who shouted “overspending” to the heavens so often that many other Americans seized on the phrase and started to actuallybelieve it (in much the same way that Republicans actually believe that these "protesters" represented all Americans). And these individuals have been quite convincing with their babies, grandmothers, and dogs in-tow at high-profile anti-government spending allies. They have managed to convince the population at large that their view was a consensus shared by most. Take note though that the government spending on the war in Iraq—a war that should have never been fought to begin with and which has run up a tab of about $400 billion—was never mentioned during these protests. Nor did anyone grill these individuals on whether or not it was all “government overspending” that was at issue, or spending that they didn’t agree with? When Republicans and other associated activists “complain” that “the government is spending too much of my tax dollars,” do they mean just potential spending on the health care revamp proposals and government-sponsored bailouts, or do they include the tax dollars that their representatives bring back to their home districts in the form of pet pork barrel projects? Yes, there is the remote possibility that they managed to tap into some underlying discontent within the American electorate on this issue, but such “discontent” was hardly present during the elections of last year when the intentions of the Democrats were clearly telegraphed.
Now, ignoring the fact that when (not “if”) the Republicans re-take Congress (or a large chunk of it), are we to believe that irresponsible government spending will piously and suddenly come to a screeching halt? If the cycle of history is any indication, Republicans will behave themselves for a brief period of time once they retake power, “returning to their core values” of frugality with regards to government spending. After a time, when the ever-present trait of short-term memory of the American people comes into play, they will be off to the races, matching the Democrats’ penchant for power-tripping, corruption, and ignoring the will of the American people…just what they are saying that the Democrats’ rise to power in the last year has resulted in.
But such success should come as no surprise to the Republican Party, which is quite adept at turning a phrase of a policy aim to either make it seem more appealing and fair, or to paint it in the most negative of lights. For every instance of labeling an unpopular policy such as the federal estate tax a “death tax,” there is the successful promotion (and belief) in “death panels” as “proposed” by their opponents.
In a consumer-driven economy such as America, the Republican Party is the political party that is best able to successfully brand, package, and market both itself and those running for public office under its banner as what Americans want. But such a delusion is nothing more than a means and illustration for how some groups are able to perpetuate the regime of the ruling political class over those who allow their interests to be defined and manipulated by the ideologically-bound.