Politics & Pop culture

perspectives on current issues in politics, pop culture etc.

Posts Tagged ‘politics

Out of Hand

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Take a look at this: 

Latest News
These are the “headline” news titles on a major news network website. Which one? CNN. The original title of “Will Biden/Palin Debate Get Nasty?” morphed within the last hour, when it began as something like “What will Biden/Palin Debate Be Like?” CNN is one of the biggest offenders in the political news business. In a 24/7 market, where they have allocated so much money and personnel to covering the news during the day, they completely destroy the purpose of news reporting. Their job should be to inform the public, not sway them. From the headlines to the way most of their regular news stories are presented via online or on live television, exemplify what is utterly wrong with the news media. 
Someone said it before, but we seriously need to consider how our news is delivered, who owns these news sources, and how we can remove the political biases that make their way into our living rooms and onto our laptops on a daily basis. 
This is not the best political news team on television, its competing with Fox for ratings and has thus morphed into one of the most sensational. I can never watch any coverage on their network, because most of it is talking over the speeches that people are actually tuning into see or blowing a simple story out of proportion. 

Written by Veena

September 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Posted in media, News, real news

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Divided We Fall

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All Americans recognize that partisan politics are part of a Presidential election, but the head first dive that speakers at the Republican Convention took into divisive politics that sought to deepen existing fissions along cultural lines in this country was considered reprehensible by many. 

I’m talking about how the speakers at the Republican convention relentlessly evoked images of service, patriotism, duty and tried to associate them as Republican values. The language of patriotism is usually delivered under the guise of supporting the troops, as if Democrats are somehow incapable of this. 

I’m talking about how they disparaged Democrats for being wasteful and reliant on the government, perpetuating the sentiment that only Republicans strive for efficiency in government.  Starting on Tuesday evening and culminating with John McCain on Thursday, every speech at the Republican convention was interspersed with words like; service, fight, defend, honor, legacy, protection and so on. I sat by and watched as George Bush used these same tactics in the last two elections, by demonizing ordinary Americans and accusing those who disagreed with him as being unpatriotic. I watched in 2004 as incumbent President Bush promised Americans in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan that he would take care of them, as he cooly stood by and let them dishonor John Kerry’s honorable service. (Had the opposite have been true in this election, Democrats would have been denigrated to the status of heretics by the other party).  Unfortunately, eight years have passed and no significant domestic policy changes have occurred except for the Patriot Act, which largely curbed our civil liberties and No Child Left Behind, which was severely underfunded, otherwise those folks in Ohio and elsewhere were very much forgotten. 

So now the United States has sixty days to choose between two men, who both claim to hold the key to our progress. While many John McCain supporters claim that he is not George Bush in sheep’s clothing, many remain unconvinced.  When you look at the direction President Bush has taken the country, and understand that John McCain has been in line with the large majority of his policies, its hard to believe that he’s the maverick that is going to “shake up the Washington establishment.” 

John McCain’s speech focused a great deal on his military service, for which he should be honored. His speech also touched on the economy and how he seeks to change America’s course, because he recognizes that the country is moving in the wrong direction. This is striking because for 6 of the last 8 years, the Republican party who claims to represent true American values, have held power in the legislative and executive branches and have not been able to make the changes to the Washington. It is this party, who seems to have forgotten the core principles our founding fathers took great pains to create. America’s founding fathers wrote that “all men are created equal and are endowed with unalienable rights including Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Their speeches throughout the week, and policies that exclude all groups, reflect their rejection of the very creed that freed our nation.

Instead, their policies have helped to increase the inequality in this country, with tax cuts for the rich and severe under-investment in education, healthcare, science and technology. While McCain showed promise, he has reversed his positions on energy and immigration, helping him to fall back in line with his party’s base.  

When Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani ridiculed the “others” for freeloading off the government, and explained that Republicans know the difference between good and evil, he was saying, “you are either with us or against us.” Their hypocrisy could be the topic of several other articles, but what was even more compelling was the large audience cheering them on with rhythmic and regular chants of “USA” and “Country First,” laughing along with their fairly crude humor. The Republican party fails to recognize that every American is the grandson or granddaughter of generations of immigrants who came to the United States for religious freedom and economic opportunities. As someone who is a daughter of South Asian immigrants, who learned about the American dream, by watching her parents work hard to send their children to the best schools and raised them with strong values and instilled great patriotism and commitment to our communities, these images of the “other America” were eerie and saddening. John McCain might claim to understand the world, but the RNC convention made sure that anyone who was not on the Republican side, felt extremely alienated and bewildered.

If the United States is to heal after The horrendous 9/11 attacks, The agonizing and underrepresented wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The racial profiling against Americans at the behest of feds that were in hot pursuit of terrorists, The resurgence of race and class wars and vast inequality, The diminished standing of the United States and our lack of forward vision, then we need someone who has the strength of character and conviction and a strong devotion to all Americans, not just those who fit an ideal, defined by the Republican party. This is not an opinion shared by one, but by many, as evidenced by the ten million dollars raised by the Obama campaign, the day after the RNC went on the attack. 

America needs a President who will lead them into the future, one who has lived the American dream, who has an informed world view and can bring innovation, creativity and integrity to the role and who has a definition of American, that encompasses all, not only the few, this is why Barack Obama will make a great President.

Questioning John McCain

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Well, it seems that the national media has finally caught on to some inconsistencies in McCain’s profile. While many people (including myself) had a very favorable opinion of him as a Senator, upon closer investigation, aside from talking a lot about campaign finance and energy reform, it doesn’t look like McCain has done all that much. Just because he is a decorated war hero, does not mean he is going to be a great leader.

These are three articles that point to a lot of information that has been overlooked about McCain.

 Frank Rich’s op-ed from Sunday: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/opinion/17rich.html?em

Marketwatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/story.aspx?guid=%7B4914192B%2D12AF%2D4623%2DAB18%2D5EFE91204B04%7D&siteid=rss  …

Even Jack Cafferty: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/18/cafferty.mccain/index.html

Be an informed voter … think critically about your candidates.

Written by Veena

August 19, 2008 at 7:35 pm


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I just saw this article on CNN which discusses how President Bush attended the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on Saturday night. It is amazing to me, that while we know this man’s lapse in judgment has had catastrophic implications all over the world, we still afford him and others in his administration (Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice etc.) the opportunities and forums to look like they aren’t responsible for a catastrophic war that has caused the deaths of thousands of people.

How come the President gets to celebrate with the likes of Jennifer Garner and Claire Danes, like he’s just another actor, out on the red carpet, en route to the Oscars? President Bush gets to go all over the country and pretend or masquerade, while a war without an end rages. It might seem like I am spouting stereotypical “bleeding heart liberalism” and that I don’t understand the threat of terrorism. However, I have been researching this topic for months. In fact, I am currently drafting a policy paper on the implications of a withdrawal from Iraq.

As I have learned over the last semester, this war is perhaps one of the most challenging military and political problems the United States has ever faced. It is also one of the (if not the most) significant foreign policy mistakes of our time. The worst part of the situation is that we did not go into the Iraq war with a plan, a political outcome, or even a clear picture of what Iraq should look like after we invaded. Ironically, George Bush had Colin Powell, who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and had espoused the importance of having broad support and a clear military and political objectives before ever going to war in a country. This was later coined the Powell Doctrine, by a reporter and required that the following questions to be answered in the affirmative:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?[1]

I recall learning the Powell Doctrine in high school, in my history class, almost a decade ago. However, the weight of the Powell Doctrine has not hit me until very recently. There are so many considerations to make:

  • 2 million refugees (and counting)
  • 2 million internally displaced peoples (IDPs)
  • Sectarian violence (Sunni insurgency, Shiite extremist militias and Al Qaeda in Iraq or “AQI”)
  • Potential for a wider war (where neighboring countries could lend support to related religious groups)
  • Thousands of children out of school
  • Many widowed women
  • The general dire humanitarian conditions and lack of basic services like water, garbage pick-up and the state of hospital

War has crippled the country, and despite that, the US contractors still have access to McDonalds and KFC. Is this going to be our legacy?

I am going to elaborate on these points and will continue to bring updates, as I complete my policy paper. However, for now I wanted to say that it is not acceptable to me, that the President is treated like a hero at a posh dinner, can nostalgic about the past eight years, and and everyone for a few hours forgets, that his cloudy judgment, his masquerading, has led us in a dangerous direction. The United States is not not safer, nor more secure, instead we are more vulnerable and more hated. As an American I am affronted that he has treaded on freedoms, our dignity and the principles this country was founded on, for a war without a meaning. I suppose we will continue to watch as President Bush dances like a clown until the end of his term.

Written by Veena

April 28, 2008 at 4:11 am