Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks and Freedom of Speech

Well, this is a bit awkward. Seems a guy slipped hundreds of thousands of documents from U.S. Embassies all over the world onto the WikiLeaks website, which is now posting them for all the world to see openly (unless their stopped). Most regular news sources have called this a breach of security even though the documents date back to the 1960's and are really mostly filled with cheap shots at foreign leaders and the like. Wiki Leaks has stated over and over that it believes in a truly transparent Democracy where documents such as these are available to everyone.

Many people, as I said, have called this a dangerous ploy for Wiki Leaks to perform. People who read these articles are apt to think that the content will compromise our national security, which it does not. By definition, the documents pertain solely to foreign powers and policy. Furthermore, people are likely to hear that these documents are highly sensitive and top secret, which they are not.

The big question on my mind, though, is whether this is truly the way to exress one's free speech? You could argue and believe both ways, but here is my argument.

Imagine if a place like Wiki Leaks did not exist. Imagine if all information was dealt with primarily in the channels in which it is relevent and was never distributed to the people but through sanctioned media and information outlets. Does that in any way sound like freedom? Of any kind? At all? Not to me.

I feel that places like Wiki Leaks are important, though at this stage they still carry the label of rebellious dissidents in our society. I feel they are making important progress toward the future in an age where information, but more importantly disinformation, is moving at light speed and people are incredibly susceptible to rational ignorance and simply accepting filtered information in order to simplify their existence.

The natural progression for Wiki Leaks, in my opinion, is to continue with their commitment to bringing us unfiltered, uncut, and formerly unknown information so that we may make informed choices about our world. I hope that more people in the future will follow this example so that, one day, all information is free, available, and accessible to everyone. While some informaiton, some documents, should remain classified or whatnot, the vast majority should be made publicly available.

Some may argue that people do not demand this information and so it does not need to be disclosed. A child may not demand love from a parent, but a parent shows them love because it's the right thing to do. People must be shown what information is out there, and where it is coming from and what it means, before they can be expected to see the value in it. We must allow people the chance to see the truth of what goes on in the world so that they can value what our country has and be aware of what it needs.

UPDATE: Keep an eye on the NYT!!! They've posted a brief discussion in which they say they will be posting several articles about the leaks, including abridged and full versions of some of the cables that have been reviewed and approved by D.C. This is HUGE!! This is the beginning of a credible news source standing up and taking what I hope is an objective approach to the information that has been placed in our reach. Here's the link to the full archive of stories.

A review of Special Interests

An interesting editorial from the NYT discusses the issue of the corporate takeover of Washington in a very well-written piece. The essential gist, as you can probably guess, centers around the recent decision from the Supreme Court that allows private companies to make anonymous donations of any amount to any candidate they wish. According to the polls and studies done since this was passed, the vast majority of this newly-freed money is going to GOP candidates and their affiliates, particularly the Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber, according to a poll cited by the article, received $86 Million from large insurance companies to block Health Care Reform. This money, like funds during the campaign cycle, will likely be used to lobby Washington support, buy ads on T.V., radio, and in print, and run "objective studies" into the negative effects of the new health care system. I'm sure I can guess, as you can, the outcome of these studies.

The problem is that this recent ruling is just the tip of the iceberg, and is only the most recent and direct assault on individual liberty and equality in our country. It has been years, decades really, since individual citizens were on equal footing with corporations. Our country may recognize corporations as individuals, but that does not mean they should have the same (and in many cases, more) rights as individual flesh-and-blood citizens.

What we need in this country are some strong legal walls to separate the political sphere from the rest of the spheres of influence. This is a problem that has many symptoms all over the place.

Firstly, it is apparent in the fact that a person now has to be a multi-millionaire just to run a significant campaign for office, even at the state level. This keeps out most of the middle-class and everyone below, despite whether these people may have good ideas on how to solve issues. It also means that those who are elected have a vested interest in lowering taxes on the upper class because they are all considered in the upper class. The fact that it takes so much money just to run a successful campaign means that those who run are more likely to depend on contributions, particularly those who give large amounts of money such as corporations and private interest groups.

Secondly, it is apparent in the laws and regulations, or lack thereof, that have recently been passed through our Congress. These laws and deregulation have been toted as significant steps forward in reining in uncontrollable and wasteful spending as well as corrupt business practice, but all their solutions are presented in the realm of the current problems. They do not work to correct the underlying illness, merely help alleviate the symptoms a little while longer.

Finally, it is apparent in how we view these corporations and their role in our society. Conservatives would have us believe that the free market of Capitalism is the absolute best solution for everyone, even those in the lower classes. This idea that companies and bigger-is-better economics has led our leaders to adopting laws and regulations that help these companies thrive and grow larger, engage in riskier and potentially more profitable practices, and work with impunity. The longer this goes on, and the more control and independence we give large corporations, the more clandestine their practices become, and the more the American people see and feel the negative effects of a deregulated private sector. Our view of corporations as private and independent entities has moved beyond Capitalism, however, because this independence and privacy has reached a point where there is no oversight, no trickle-down of funds, and no mass competition. It has all been fazed out and conglomerated.

The road to correcting these problems will be long and difficult, and will challenge many people's perceptions of what Capitalism and Freedom really mean. The fact is, Freedom does not mean doing whatever a person wants. In this country, freedom means acting freely within the realm of what is legal and moral. Corporations have not acted in a legal, ethical, or moral way in a long time, and this is the first thing that must be re-established. How do we do this? We regulate. In the past, lawmakers have argued that regulations hinder profits by requiring companies to go through needless red tape. That "red tape" includes oversight of finances and business practices, inspections of facilities, and reviews of appropriate employee benefits. We have seen what happens when these things are removed: companies work in a less ethical way to maximize profits. Regulation is necessary to effect positive change. Regulation does not kill profits, it reduces a companies ability to engage in clandestine practices and forces them to work under the scrutiny of the People.

The next thing we have to do is separate corporate interests from Washington, and turn Congress into a group that will work for the benefit of the people and not their financial backers. We do this by reinstating limits on corporate donations and actually keeping track of these donations. Require all candidates to disclose the source of all donations, public and private, and only allow a certain amount of corporate money to be given to a candidate. The only thing that keeps an individual from having the same representation as a company in Washington is money. Therefore, we must allow these two things the same footing. Unfortunately, as I've said before, it is difficult to run a solid campaign, especially nationally, without millions of dollars in assets. However, the DNC and RNC have millions of dollars from their own fund raising that they can give to campaigns, and this money is already well-documented.

Finally, we need to redefine the Corporation. This means doing away with laws that require businesses to think primarily about their own bottom lines, and focus instead on consumers. We need laws that prevent corporate malpractice, encourage competition between small and large businesses, and that promote the welfare of the individual in the practices of the corporation. This is not how we have seen businesses being run in America in decades, but is how they are supposed to be. A CEO should not be in a high-rise office, making careless decisions with a golden pen that can cut the livelihood of his employees and defraud investors and consumers. A CEO should be on the ground floor, understanding the people and seeing their impact. There is nothing wrong with profits, personal or professional, but there must be limits placed on the disparity between the top and bottom earners in a company. That a CEO makes millions a year while low-level employees work twice as long for pennies an hour is a contradiction in the fundamental philosophy of the Capitalist corporation.

It is imperative that we address these issues before they consume our economy. If there are no solutions, or the wrong kind of solutions, our economy will simply falter and collapse, and our nation will soon follow. We live in the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world, and yet we are slipping in education, finances, trade, and economics the world over. We can come back, but we must make hard, objective decisions that will benefit us all in the long run. We must end the corporate takeover of Washington by doing the things that corporate-sponsored lawmakers have warned us against: regulating the markets and investment practices, limiting corporate interests in politics, and redefining corporations and private businesses under the law. When these changes happen, if they do, I believe we will see a large shift, not only in the private sector and its practices as a whole, but the actual mentality of our economic backbone: the private business owner.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The New History of Thanksgiving

This article from the Huffington Post is rather interesting, not for its news content, but for the views that it presents from Mr. Limbaugh.

Apparently, Mr. Limbaugh is of the impression that Thanksgiving did not rise from the settlers being thankful that the Native Americans helped them after their first hard winter, but actually celebrates the settlers defeat of socialism and adoption of capitalism. Mr. Limbaugh also believes that, when the settlers adopted capitalism, there was suddenly such an abundance of food that they shared with the Native Americans instead of the other way around.

I really hope people don't buy into this. For one thing, it's very blatantly incorrect. Secondly, it ruins the history and tradition of a truly American holiday. There are no other Holidays we celebrate, aside from the 4th of July , that were created in America. The story of how it came to be is as important to pass on as the family turkey recipe.

The day we stop demanding historical accuracy and truth is the day we lose it, and that will truly be a sad day. When my children come home from school, I want to know they have been taught the truth about our national heritage, the good as well as the bad. I don't want them to think they are superior, or that America has always been the good guys. It is vastly more important to preserve the truth of our heritage so we do not make the same mistakes we have made before.

Keep history alive!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cycle of Fear and Hate

Recently, a judge ordered that a Mosque to be built in Tennessee did not violate any laws or ordinances. The article claims that opponents to the mosque argued in court that Islam, being in their opinion a militant political ideology as well as a religion, should not be granted the same protections under the Constitution as other religions.

This is an interesting belief, considering the number of self-proclaimed Christians in our own government compared to other religions. Christianity in this country has turned into a political ideology, and in many cases has ignited militant-like behavior (bombing of abortion clinics, demonstrations at funerals, protests and physical assaults in the name of anti-gay beliefs).

The cycle of hate of fear that this court case represents is one of the reasons I feel worried about being open about my own faith: I don't want people thinking that I am a bigoted, arrogant conservative Christian who thinks that a person in a mosque is a terrorist.

Islam is a major world religion, whether people like it or not. It is not a religion that promotes terrorism any more than other religions do. It is a part of our nation, just as much as other religions, and must be extended the same protections.

What would happen if we allowed Islam to be cut from the Constitutions protective bubble? Soon, other things "we" as Americans don't like would fall as well. It would no longer be constitutionally protected to speak in defense of Islam or any other organized group that is not in line with American Imperialist Policy. People would not be able to speak out against U.S. foreign policy, the President, Congress, or any other government body because it promotes dissent and anti-American beliefs. We would not be able to peaceably assemble in support of free religion because it could be seen as support for Islam, which by this point has been demonized to a terrorist organization.

Exceptions to rules are like holes in a dam. One will create another, and pretty soon the whole thing collapses.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Plug for Noam Chomsky

I just have to say that Noam Chomsky must be one of the most supremely gifted and well-spoken activists in our world today. This is a man of such incredible persuasion of mind and morality that he cannot be refuted. His works, dating back to the 60's, have laid much of the work for today's movement for true Democracy.

When reading his papers, which are all posted here, you come away with the sense that Chomsky must have been able to predict the future. The things he discusses, even decades ago now, are still so relevant and instructive. His work could easily be a college course by itself (and I certainly would have taken it!).

One of his earliest papers is called The Responsibility of Intellectuals, written in 1967, and discusses the role of those who have the gift of a) a higher-than-normal intelligence, and b) the ability to receive and understand information. This is, of course, before the Information Age of computers and long before the Internet where anyone can find just about anything. It's also before major media corporations such as News Corp. came to dominate our media outlets. And yet, the arguments he puts forth are still very relevant. The examples he gives are equally important because they give us a definite timeline, and show us that the things we see now are merely extensions of actions and mentalities that our elected and non-elected leaders have taken for decades (some might argue centuries).

I don't know if this has come across yet, but I am full of respect for Mr. Chomsky. I feel that, despite his being in the latter years of life, he is still a powerful and intuitive thinker and activist, one we should be listening to and following, even if only in our own little way.

Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy

In a wonderful paper written by Robert McChesney, the author talks about the modernization of media, and how it has become a puppet of corporate interests. The idea is that, since media is largely subsidized by large corporations, those media outlets are therefore more inclined to present information that advances the interests of their financiers.

It has been suggested by many activists and learned individuals (Chomsky and McChesney being two examples) that our current media environment is more a launch pad for corporate viewpoints and entertainment than an environment for real, actual news. Most information we get is "soft" journalism: the stories are selected and presented in such a way that the person viewing it is given minimal information while feeling as though they've been informed.

An example of "soft" journalism is in the recent earmark debate. Most stories about earmarks recently have shown a strongly divided Congress, with the GOP on one side and the Left on the other. The stories rehash the same information over and over, giving people specific lines that are often rewritten word-for-word, which gives the impression that it is a neutral source (if ten different media outlets say the same thing about an issue, it must be true, right?). Furthermore, the story is overly simplified by the media system, making it a Right vs. Left issue when it is not nearly so clear-cut. Earmarks in general are made a simple thing: pork spending that is unnecessary waste in our budget. In fact, earmarks are relatively small compared to the overall budget and they are the promised funds that many congressmen said they would bring into the state they're representing. But we don't hear about that; earmarks are bad overspending, the Right wants to ban them, the Left wants to keep them. That's all anyone knows.

Another great example is the difference between a basic understanding of "taxes" and an educated understanding of "taxes". In the basic understanding, taxes are money the government takes from you to give to other people. In this view, taxes are bad. In the more educated view, taxes are used to pave roads, support schools and hospitals, and help those most in need with living expenses. In this view, taxes aren't all that bad. We don't usually hear about "good" taxes, just "bad" taxes, and how they'll ruin the economy and our lives.

The strategy of media systems using "soft" journalism is to, simultaneously, make politics and social discourse incomprehensible and accessible. It must be made complicated so that people are more likely to choose the course of "rational ignorance": justified stupidity and unwillingness to seek information. Once they have made it difficult to understand, they present simple, easy-to-follow information and stories that make people feel as though they've had everything explained. If you watch any major network news show, you can pick up on it. They will continually reference talks, debates, arguments, and investigations that are going on that make it appear complicated, but then will not discuss those; they'll go off on something else, interviewing a person here or there that will present a very simple opinion on the subject.

The other kind of journalism is "hard" journalism. This is when the media outlet is not basing it's stories and information based on outside interest. They are not going to give only certain information, but real, objective information. This is very hard to find. Our media is either polarized to the Left or the Right. With the rise of the Internet as a mass form of communication and media, there has been an increase in objective "hard" journalism, but it hasn't been very widely received; the people at the Left think it's conservative, the people at the Right think it's liberal, and the people in the middle think it's unimportant.

What we need is a return to basic, un-subsidized journalism. We need a media system that is independent of corporate interests and funding. The problem with this is that the only funding sources after corporations are public donations (NPR style), and government subsidies. There are those (in my view, they always seem to be conservatives) who shout about government-controlled media and how it also tailors to the interests of an elitist group (in this case, Washington). The funny thing about that view is that they spout about it only when there's a Dem President or majority in Congress. So, this is the major problem with journalism: how do media outlets function without the money from advertising or the government that could hinder objectivity.

The solution that comes immediately to my mind is that we need to return to the "local paper." News should become less nationally widespread, and more local. Papers like the NYT that have national and international reach struggle to make ends meet with just their subscription fees and costs for their paper, so maybe they should cut their distribution to only a single locality. Same with the LAT, Post, Globe, USA Today, etc. Local papers do not have to worry about mass distribution costs, can survive on subscriber dues, and would create a greater environment of localized competition (the backbone of capitalism). News already travels at the speed of light on the internet, and it's fairly easy to follow up on national stories about elections and whatnot. A locally-based media outlet can keep money in the community, support and reflect local mood and stories, and can keep objectivity better than a national paper.

I know this is unlikely ever to happen, but it can be helped. Support your local media by buying local rather than national rags; watch local news; check local news websites.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nukes and hypocrisy don't mix

Here's a post written on Politicalirony.com describing a recent push to renew the START treaty and the opposition that has risen against it. The ironic and truly horrific thing about this is that the person who is leading the opposition, Jon Kyl of Arizona, was the leading GOP representative that was helping the negotiation.

The administration gave Kyl everything he wanted, including huge increases in budget to update our nuclear program (this coming from the fiscally-conservative GOP, mind you). They essentially gave Kyl the keys to the castle, with the understanding that he would help them secure votes for the treaty renewal.

Just to be clear, the START treaty between the U.S. and Russia allows both countries to check the others nuclear program, limits the number of nuclear weapons each country can have, and has done a great job of repairing ties with Russia since the Cold War. Oh, and it was put in place by Reagan, the poster-child of modern conservatism.

With that in mind, it would seem shocking to think that a Republican would step in the way and block the passage of this treaty, even when all the specifics are worked out. But that's what Kyl is doing. He has said that he doesn't feel there's enough time to pass the treaty through Congress during the lame-duck session when there are other things that have to be done. This is after almost a year of negotiation and planning.

So, instead of being fiscally responsible, security-oriented, and non-partisan, we have a GOP that is funneling billions of dollars into nuclear programs, pushing to end a nuclear arms treaty with our greatest competitor in nuclear arms (that we've only barely become friends with), and disregarding the will of the people, the safety of our nation, and their political counterparts on the Left. Something is wrong with this.

Of course, it's all political. It's all about trying to disrupt everything and anything that Obama wants to do in order to secure a better a foothold for 2012. Surely, that's worth all the broken promises, dead treaties, and renewed arms races, isn't it? It's so short-sighted that it's sickening.

My prediction is that we'll be hearing about this in the news: Obama and his administration are not focusing on what's important, and are instead trying to do a little work with Russia (I'll bet Limbaugh will call Obama a Commie or some such nonsense). Then, when the treaty doesn't pass in time, this same group will then berate the President for failing to secure our nation and maintain ties with a global superpower (Limbaugh will then call Obama a destroyer of our national security, and say he has endangered the lives of every American). It's all about political disruption and factual distortion. It's a mind game, and the GOP is using the lives and safety of the American people to win. Disgusting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

5 truths we ought to know

Not the real title of the article, but it sort of fits. Thought this was interesting and worth passing on. None of it is revolutionary, but it's nice to have the truth laid out so nice.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-shachtman/five-truths-your-newly-el_b_780196.html

The end of the filibuster

Perhaps not, but Dan Coats, an incoming GOP Senator from Indiana, has stated that he is for reforming the filibuster. What does this mean for our political process?

Well, for one thing, it could mean the end of the 60-seat "super-majority" that has become a requirement to get a piece of legislation to even be discussed in the Senate. From 2008 to 2010, Republicans used their 41 seats in the Senate to filibuster like never before, killing bill after bill. What this means is that the bills were not even debated and discussed, never compromised on, and never voted on. They simply died.

Sen-elect Coats is quoted as saying "It's been too much gathering everything at the end and throwing it into one big package." This has been the response to repeated filibusters: roll up all the bills into one big package and vote on the entire thing, making it a bigger political blunder to quit the whole thing than vote on it.

Specifically, Coats wants to remove the ability to filibuster a "motion to proceed." If this were to happen, it would mean that every bill coming to the Senate would make it at least to the floor to be discussed, which is how it is supposed to work in the first place. It's kind of a cop-out for a minority to filibuster before even trying to compromise or discuss a bill.

Here's to hoping that Dan Coats gets the message out and is able to drum up support for his reform ideas. I certainly hope he doesn't face a Republican filibuster in the process. That would certainly be ironic.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So it begins...

A recent article in the New York Times confirms that Texas Conservatives are considering dropping out of Federal Medicaid and CHIP programs entirely to help cut costs in their state. the Republicans say they are considering the drop because it would balance their budget in the coming year and may not have financial consequences for individuals.

At the end of the article, Jane Nelson, a State Senator from Flower Mound, said that she wanted to see if citizens might do better on a state-based program rather than a federal one.

When it comes to health care, state-based programs are often cheaper but have less coverage than most other programs. The federal government has the clout and financial stability to keep the program afloat, especially nationwide. State-based care is too easily manipulated by private interest groups. Take, for example, a "rumor" that doctors are being paid by specific pharmaceutical companies to push their medications on patients, regardless of whether that medication is the best option. If a pharmaceutical company were to lobby a state government, or even a few key representatives, they could push state-run health care programs to only cover their products, etc. This would probably not be as big a problem at the federal level because of how medicare works. It doesn't deny coverage of medications as much as state programs, covers more procedures, and allows for more flexibility of patients to choose their medications.

If this were to pass in Texas, it will serve as a great test of a state trying to run off of medicare. I wonder if they'll eventually scrap their state-based health care, which is sure to cost quite a bit too, and force everyone to take on private insurance, regardless of whether they can afford it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The cutting of costs in Washington

With the recent takeover of the House by the GOP, the plans have started coming forth as to what the new majority plans to do to cut costs and reduce the deficit. The problem is that many experts are wondering just how their new plan will be of any help at all.

In a recent article posted on the Washington Post website, there seems to be a lot of questions about the consequences of the drastic action Republicans say we need. The first warning sign that there may be a problem is that Cantor, the GOP #2, talks about rejecting President Obama's plan to extend tax cuts to businesses to spur hiring, and a proposal to help businesses deduct expenses faster. According to Cantor "Trying to prod business to do what Washington wants is not what is needed. We need to rein in this desire of Washington to tell business how to grow." So, the GOP is okay with cutting taxes to business, but will reject the same plan when it's proposed by the Dems, and will call it government intrusion into the private sector. Um...okay...

But that's not all that is a little strange. The GOP also says they want to cut the budget by 20% for most domestic agency budgets and an additional $160 Billion following that. The total cut would be about $260 billion from the $1.1 Trillion budget we have now. However, these cuts will come exclusively from domestic programs and specifically exclude....you guessed it, DEFENSE! That means that the majority of money will be coming from education, health care, national parks, and programs to promote infrastructure. Oh, and Homeland Security won't be touched by these cuts either, so we'll have secure border to protect our failing schools and dying citizens.

If there's a silver lining to the GOP plan, it's that they don't seem to agree on just how much they should cut. Unfortunately, the scenario above is the one that calls for the least amount to cut. Conservative analyst for the Heritage Foundation Brian Riedl, calls for $343 Billion to be cut. His explanation is that "Government has expanded by $727 billion over the last three years. Congress should be able to cut at least half of it." That's a fairly reasonable assumption, until you realize that the government has grown to help support the economy and bulk up a private sector that has been bleeding jobs until a few months ago (job growth in October far exceeded analyst estimates, with over 150,000 private sector jobs created). Again, these cuts would likely come out of education and healthcare, whose budgets did not see increases relative to overall increases in government spending.

At the end of the article, Cantor explains that we need to look at "entitlements" - AKA Medicare and Social Security - as a way to trim up the budget. However, if you look at this chart, which shows the budget breakdown from 2009, it's obvious that these programs being cut and reduced really won't have that much of an effect.

The only major program that could reasonably be cut and "reformed" is military (listed on the pie chart as "pentagon"). This one program takes up more than 55% of the country's annual budget. If we were to cut military spending by just 15% (see the pie chart for the suggested cut), we could easily provide funds for every other program we have, including medicare, Social Security, education, and infrastructure. Imagine what Social Security and health care alone would be like with that extra influx in money! We would have programs that are actually fully funded! We wouldn't have to see drastic cuts in spending that result in people losing coverage for medical expenses or a reduction in retirement checks! It would be a huge help to just about everyone!

Of course, no politician who wants to see a second term is going to suggest such a cut to military. The media and every political opponent within a thousand miles would have a field day, claiming the guy wants to sacrifice our security and safety in order to....well, make our country a better place.

I can dream...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sometimes we need a reminder

Read and realize that there really has been progress made. Don't give in to the fear and slander. Things have gotten better, and a lot has gotten done.

Election Night 2010

I already posted on my favorite part of the night with the Couric/Cantor discussion, but I wanted to break down how the rest of it seemed to go.

First of all, at this point, my state does not currently have a new Governor. The race is still too close to call, with neither candidate hitting 50% and still having about 5% of the votes left to count. Most seats in the local house and senate stayed the same, meaning there is still a strong Democrat majority. The one Tea Party-backed candidate was ousted, for which I am very grateful. So far, it's looking like it will be a fairly diverse group, with a Republican nominated to Lt. Governor and the Dem. candidate for the top currently in the lead. It'll be interesting to see how that dynamic works out.

On the national level, the representatives from my state were re-elected, though their competition was fairly minimal. They have both done great things for our state, have been in Washington for a long time, and have a lot of support from many different groups of people.

Greater national trends make this situation an exception rather than the rule, however. The Republicans have taken the House and even stole a few seats in the Senate, though not enough for a majority (this was, according to some analysts, due to the Tea Party candidates). Many Tea Partiers were elected to the House, including Rand Paul, but many others were not, such as Christine O'Donnell. Harry Reid held his spot in Nevada, and many other top Dems kept their spots. The new leaders of the House will certainly have a new direction to drive us in, and only time will tell if it is the right one. I have hope that the GOP will not run us into the ground, though it remains to be seen if they will truly work in the best interest of the American People.

So, it was exactly as many people suspected: a GOP takeover of the House, a cry against incumbents, and exit polling showing a strong dissatisfaction with Washington at the same time that a majority acknowledges that our current crises are not the fault of this administration. I wonder why people would vote against a group they know has done nothing to worsen the country, and reelect members of the group that are at fault. It doesn't make sense to me, but then again, there seems to be a lack of sanity and memory in America of late.

UPDATE: As of 9:47 AM, Republican candidate for VT governor Brian Dubie conceded the race to Democrat Peter Shumlin! Shumlin ended up with approximately 50% of the vote, with Dubie receiving 48%.

Eric Cantor on the "majority"

Last night during the congressional elections, Katie Couric spoke to GOP whip Eric Cantor regarding Health Care reform and the Republican's plan for it. Here's a link to a brief discussion of the conversation.

Katie Couric cited that, while 48% of Americans in exit polls said they wanted health care reform repealed, 47% wanted to keep it as is or expand it. Couric asked what Eric Cantor had to say about numbers that indicated that there wasn't a vast majority of people in America that supported repealing health care.

Cantor then went and cited completely different data, which was breaking down health care support along party lines that showed that a huge majority of Republicans and barely half of independents, but very few Dems, supported repeal. Cantor suggested that these numbers showed that a huge majority of "the American People" supported a repeal of health care.

Really? It really only shows what people know already, which is that the GOP is against health care reform, and Dems are for it. The disregard for a logical argument to promote a position makes me a little worried about where the new House of Reps will be going.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Corporate Lobbies in Immigration Law

A recent article put out by NPR and their News Investigation division shed light on the Corporate push in the Arizona Immigration Law. This is a little late in coming, but it took NPR several months to compile all the information presented. The article asserts, from its investigations, that the privately owned corrections companies lobbied for and essentially wrote the bill to rake in massive profits from detaining illegals.

I'm not sure, but I think that, by detaining illegals in the U.S. prisons, taxpayers are still paying for them and putting money into keeping them in this country rather than sending them back. At least if they're working here they are contributing, but if they are in prison they are merely sucking that money out of the country for nothing. How does this solve the problem? People are screaming about the cost of maintaining prisons in this country, but what's going to happen when we start detaining illegals as well? We're going to see the cost of detention facilities going up even higher, we won't be sending people back but keeping them here filling cells, and we'll be paying to have them sitting in a prison cell.

I'm all for upholding our current laws, but those laws say that we deport illegals, not detain them in prisons for an undetermined amount of time.

I guess the thing that bothers me most is that this is not widely known and that people probably wouldn't care even if it was. There is no investigation of long-term consequences and of who is going to benefit, socially and financially, because of this legislation.


For more NPR investigative news reports, click here.