Thursday, February 28, 2008

Immigrant Problems

More innocent people killed by illegal immigrants, this time is was four kids on a school bus. How many more news stories like this one need to come up before something is done to curb this problem. Since this person was illegal, she was invisible to our system. Being a citizen and knowing who is here allows illegals to become driver certified, makes them pay taxes into a system from which they already mooch benefits, and allows us to know who and what people are doing things. Here's what I propose:
First, we need to make it easier to become a legal citizen in this country, but not too easy. The process must be quickened for people who are willing to pass all the citizenship tests and whatnot. It shouldn't take 11 or more years for honest people to get into this country who are willing to do those things. These exams are important, because America has certain beliefs and traditions that are kept whole by exposing immigrants to this country to those ideals and how our country operates. If we can expediate the people through the system that are willing to become legal citizens and come out in the open to do these exams, then we can focus more on those who are not willing to go through the system.
Second, we need to enforce our deportation policies with regards to illegal immigrants. If they are caught for doing something illegal, deport them. If they are willing to break the law to come here, in what other ways are they willing to break the law?
Third, we need to have very serious talks with Mexico about reforms to that country, whether it be with the United States, United Nations, or otherwise. Mexico has one of the most corrupted, bureuacratic, aristocratic, and repressive countries in the world. The justice system is in shambles, and the leaders are determined by who can pay off who. A huge amount of the population consists of landless, dependent people; essentially 21st century serfdom. Mexico is the country that needs change, and it needs it badly. They could be a first-world country, but that won't happen with third-world attitudes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Question of the Week: Does Negative Campaigning Work?

Yes and no.
First, it really depends on the mood of the election. As we talked about in class, if people are sick of that kind of stuff, voters will really be turned off by negative campaigning. On the other hand, criticisms can be important in an election to point out inconsistencies and problems with opposing candidates.

Something dubbed a negative campaign may not always necessarily be a negative campaign. There are several different genres of campaigns. A campaign ad may just flat-out smear and rip into a candidate with falsehoods, name-calling, and half-truths. In my opinion, this is the worst kind of negative campaigning as it intentionally misleads and does not even reference the candidate who is paying for the ad--it just rips into the other person.

A second type, one I like to call "two truths and a lie", states some things about the opposing candidate, sometimes true and sometimes false, but then compares those things to the candidate's positions the ad is purporting.

The third type is like the last one, but the ad is actually honest and points out very concerning things an opposing candidate supports, and this is a very important part of politics in that it points out real concerns to voters. It casts a candidate in a light that says "I do not support these positions" and draws clear differences between candidates so voters can decide.

Unfortunately, campaigns are rarely honest, so we are not often exposed to the truth or the whole truth, but pointing out differences between candidates, which I would not call "negative campaigning" is much better than flat out smearing a candidate with falsehoods and lies.

I think negative ads might be more beneficial to candidates who are running against an incumbent. Controversial things will get more free air time for the candidate and more name recognition for the person who is trying to make a name for themselves. Also, campaigns against an incumbent are often dubbed "negative campaigns" because the candidate has political ammunition in the sense that he can point out inconsistencies between policies the incumbent pursued previously and what they are saying on the current campaign trail.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Question of the Week: What is the Impact of Corporate News Media Have on American Culture?

Corporate news affects our culture greatly. Most of what people talk about is some thing they saw on TV: a quote from some show, drama from another, or the biggest news story of the day. Since the media is profit-driven, they try to give us, the consumers, what we want and like. Let's get this straight: I have no problem with this, in and of itself. The problem for me is how do they know what I like? Polling and rating rule what the bosses of different companies decide is newsworthy, what the next hit show is, etc. My problem is that I've never been asked to give my input. If these polls are so scientific, and apparently the programming on TV is what everybody wants, why do I feel like 9 out of 10 things on my TV is a bunch of crap? Where do I sign up to be in these "scientific studies?" Corporate media would work, if only we the consumers gave our input more often, in a more detailed manner and if the media would keep an ear closer to the ground to hear what we actually want in media broadcasting.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama: A Rockstar That Has Never Produced One Song

The blind support that Barack Obama gets from so many people really scares me. He is a very eliquent speaker and is an extremely nice guy. I don't agree with him on virtually anything, but I'd love to be friends with him. Even so, a person who makes a good friend and can talk really well does not necessarily make a good president. For all his awesome talk, I have yet to hear a solid, detailed plan for anything if he is elected president. The only thing I ever hear from him and his campaign is change, which translates into "I'm not George Bush and I'm just playing on popular public opinion of Bush-hatred to get elected." What details I have heard don't fly well with me: nationalized healthcare (which doesn't decrease the cost of healthcare and only makes us pay for it with taxes), raising taxes (just the thing to help a shoddy economy), massive new government programs that includes expensive healthcare (which, even with huge tax increases will be unaffordable), and additional minimum wage increases (which sounds great, but in reality just increases the unemployment rate because businesses can't afford to hire people). So here's how I see it. People hear these great ideas: healthcare for everyone, programs to fix your every need, and a higher minimum wage. They sound great, but the Obama disciples don't stop to reason how these things will work! People will throw themselves at his feet for his empty promises and rhetoric, but they really need to realize what is going on. Following someone blindly without thinking can only get you hurt.

"Excellent" Reporting Once Again

Once again, the glorious New York Times has forgone actual reporting and mucked around in smear politics. I say this, because there is no evidence that McCain and this female lobbyist had any extra-marital relationship with each other. She's a big time lobbyist, and it only makes sense that she would be hanging around a lawmaker as much as possible. The Times is inferring and hinting that there was something going on, without so much as a shred of evidence to support it other than extensive time on the road the two had together. The New York Times should definitely reconsider reporting the hypotheticals and get back to real reporting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Question of the Week: Is Continuation of the Democratic Primaries Hurting Them or Helping Their Chances in November?

I would say continuation of the Democratic primaries, where no clear front runner has emerged, hurts their chances of winning in the November general election.
First, there can only be so much mud and insults thrown around before people become turned off and look at the alternative candidates.
Second, we all know the key to winning an election is money. Each day the Democratic primaries are drawn out, that's more dollars spent by the candidates. Sure, they keep getting contributions, but will people necessarily contribute a second time in the general election? A long primary process drains Democratic financial resources in just the nomination process.
Less time is given for national campaigning as well. John McCain is already working on his national campaign strategy while Clinton and Obama try to make the other look as bad as possible so they can get their party's nomination. I think the Republicans will have an advantage going into the general election.

Fickle America and Momentum

I think it's very funny how candidates "gain momentum" from one state before the next state's primary. How can that many people change who they support that quickly? I think the primary system really shows how fickle the American people are when it comes to voting. Just because someone wins a state the week before your primary, you completely switch candidates? I wish more people were more in tune to what they believe and paid more attention, rather than succumbing to the momentum theory.

State by State Primaries vs. A National, One-Day Primary

I think state-by-state primaries are the best for our country. It allows a schedule for candidates, so they are able to go to each of the states, because each is important at some point. It stretches out the process so candidates don't have to worry about being everywhere at once. Campaigns are also started later, because candidates can focus on certain areas at certain times. With a national primary, candidacies would be announced much sooner, and campaigns would start much sooner because candidates would work very hard for several months to make sure they adequately woo all the individual states.
I think it should be randomized where each state falls in the process. Excitement would move around the country, and the focus wouldn't just be in Iowa at the beginning of each primary process. Many different states would have the priviledge of going first.
Also, I think we have a great mix of national primary and state-by-state primaries, because of Super Tuesday. Because half the country votes on one day for their candidates and the rest are spread out, I think we get a happy medium between the two theories.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

President Bush's CPAC Speech

I thought I should talk about this article because I was there for this speech President Bush gave at the CPAC convention. The speech was very exciting. The President reinforced conservative principles, and he talked about several of the goals he succeeded in meeting in the past eight years of his presidency, including decreasing drug use in America by 24 percent (something I had never heard before). It was a very articulate and well-spoken speech, and the President was very light-hearted, cracking several jokes at his own expense, which is something I really admire about people.

I was also one of the people that the article mentioned who pulled an all-nighter to get in line to listen to the President speak. It was worth it, as sitting 50 feet away from the President of the United States is quite exhilarating!

Inaction Is Political Suicide

The stimulus package that was passed by Congress and awaiting the signature of the President has received support from both parties and is seen as a "jump start" to our economy. As an economics minor, this will work; but only in the short run. "Solutions" like this do not help the economy in the long run. The problem is that in times of economic downturn, Americans today have a feeling that the government must do something to fix it. The economy has ups and downs, and it will correct itself. Demand goes up, businesses make more, hire more, eventually make too much supply, demand goes down, economy recedes, products get cheaper, demand goes up's cyclical. This cycle will always be there, but the economy always recovers, and comes back better than ever. Government actions such as this stimulus package just make the ups and downs more sporadic and severe, more herky-jerky, if you will. The economy corrects itself, and intervention often messes things up and adds to the national debt, which also makes bigger long term complications.

Unfortunately, inaction in regards to the economy is nearly impossible in our political atmosphere. People expect the government to fix it, and both parties feel they have to do something, lest people get mad at your party for doing nothing...even though that, in reality, it is most likely the best solution.