Kicking off the second round of our industry roundtable on the upcoming United States presidential election, we’re gonna get into some of the more meatier issues now. In case you missed yesterday’s discussion with five voices from our community, click here to read Round 1 of The Hundreds presents POLITIXXX.
People have been asking why there isn’t enough diversity in the viewpoints, particularly why there aren’t any Romney supporters in the mix. You have to remember that the vast majority of people in our scene are on the left, so finding a Republican is a challenging task, let alone one who will publicize his opinion here on the blog (I really tried). But if you read the answers, you’ll see how all five differ (as you’ve already seen, they’re not all Obama diehards) – no two are of the like mind across the board.
That goes to show you the best part about being an American – to be able to have your own subjective opinion on political issues big and small, and to be able to express them without fear. Without further ado…
4. Speaking of which, Time Magazine recently published a cover story on how regularly and casually both candidates are lying throughout their campaigns. Subsequently, it seems as if the public has little care for fact-checking. Do the facts matter anymore? Or is it just about how persuasive a candidate’s image is mediated?
Alyasha: It is absolutely due to how the candidates’ images are mediated. Facts completely matter, but most folks just want to follow. Fact-checking takes too much work for these lazy fucks. Largely, they are too busy looking for cheap shit on Plndr and trying to be “Cool” or worrying about who is sleeping with Kim Kardashian now. (Watch MSNBC or America’s got Talent… You chose.)
Donny: Facts do matter but people do not vote based on what politicians do, vote on or against, or keep the promise they made before they took office, which is to do everything in their power to uphold the constitution. Most people have no clue about candidates’ voting track records.
Mear One: Well, of course facts matter to people who care. The problem is that most people don’t care and they just take what they’re fed. And so, I think that the bigger issue is, how do we get people to become more critical of the media? How do we get the media to end their commercial sponsorships and be the media that they’re supposed to be? We’re caught up in a much bigger problem. Capitalism has somehow replaced the pursuit of happiness with the acceptance of greed, and that’s the bigger problem here. We have a series of issues that are contingent upon each other, and no one can ever get to the bottom issue because all these issues are overwhelming.
Mike: The facts and a candidate’s past record on the issues are the only things that matter. A candidate’s record is the most reliable information you can rely on to predict their future behavior. I don’t trust someone who lies. I am a member of the American public. The American public is not very aware. We need to be more aware of what is going on and we aren’t. Talk to someone from another country, travel, educate yourself, be aware. Until we become aware, someone’s image will be more important than the facts.
Graham: This goes back to attention, rationalism and time. Only about 45% of our public goes beyond a debate to fact-check. Most people do not have the time to pour over multiple editorials, and follow cited sources to read the full context that a statement or fact might have come from. I’ve read statements from politicians and commentators that include quotes from studies, or laws, or even other peoples’ quotes, and found the context to be completely different than how it was used. Even fact-checking sites are not immune to partisanship and misconstrued perspectives. It’s all about context.
5. One glaring issue that seems to escape most of the political dialogue is Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act 2012. Authorizing $662 billion in funding for America’s defense, the “Counter-Terrorism” provisions drew controversy for the indefinite detention of individuals “suspected of terrorism.” Without trial. Until the end of the hostilities. I personally have problems with this section of the NDAA because of past wrongs surrounding Japanese-Americans and internment camps during World War II. Where do you stand on the NDAA? Is it constitutional?
Alyasha: Completely UNCONSTITUTIONAL! We don’t need another Manzanar or Guantanamo Bay for that matter. Please do not forget that many of those Japanese-Americans’, land, homes, businesses and livelihoods were taken from them by the U.S. Government. When they returned from internment, many were left with nothing. These were generations-deep American citizens.
Donny: I oppose it 100% along with the Patriot Act that George Bush signed. They are both very similar, in many ways basically stripping the American people of all of their rights in one way, shape, or form. These laws are now on the books but dare just not being enforced yet. They are there for the day when people start rebelling against the current political system and actually threaten it.
Mear One: No. I mean it’s taking away our constitutional rights, and that right there… We should have a revolution over that. I don’t understand how people have just sat around and talked either fearfully about it or have been oblivious to it, but that’s grounds for a revolution. If this were France, we would’ve burnt the country down already.
Mike: In this day and age there are people that want you and I to die because of what country we are from. They don’t operate by the same rules that we are governed by. I believe the NDAA is necessary. It is probably not constitutional, but there are many things that occur in this country that aren’t constitutional. There is an amendment in the constitution that calls for a clear separation of church and state; who is enforcing that one?
Graham: The whole idea of the definition of “Enemy Combatant” and how it relates to a citizen’s civil rights has always drawn conflict. One could always argue that in war, if you’re fighting for the “other side”, you are essentially forfeiting your citizenship and therefore are not subject to the same rights. So, I can see why certain people would be ok with this type of action. HOWEVER, I think it’s bullshit. It allows too many loopholes for abuse and puts too much power in the hands of one or two departments of the government to strip the rights away from us that they don’t have the right to do. Obama’s admin has even gone so far as to justify the execution (kill or capture) of an American Citizen without trial if they are found to be aiding an “Enemy of the State” such as Al Qaeda. The problem is that, again, it allows for too much discretion on the part of a tiny group of people to make a life or death decision without public trial, and it could be construed to apply to anyone causing problems for the government if so desired.
Do I expect it to be widely abused? Not really, but the simple fact that it exists in such language is a blatant disregard for our rights, just as the Patriot Act is. The fact that people think Democrats don’t engage in this type of lawmaking is funny. When it comes to national security tactics (i.e., CIA, FBI, NSA), there is little to no difference. Sure, they might outcry waterboarding, because it plays to peoples sympathies, but then they can justify execution? Both parties disregard the Constitution like it doesn’t even exist.
6. I know there are a few people in here who have a decided opinion on former candidate, Ron Paul. One of Paul’s most notable legs was his foreign policy stance of nonintervention. Meaning the United States shouldn’t meddle with problems overseas, and instead focus on our own affairs right here at home. Is this ideal a feasible reality? Would it better America or make our situation worse?
Alyasha: Non-Interventionsim is largely the way. Unfortunately it is almost impossible at this point. I believe it would totally make the U.S. situation better. However, I feel there should be some exceptions. For example, if an ally is in dire need and asks us to come to their aid. A tough call to turn a blind eye if you see your friend getting their ass kicked. Many gung-ho Americans fail to realize that the U.S. had a largely Non-Interventionst stance prior to WWI and WWII.
Donny: Ron Paul is completely correct . Michael Scheuer is ex-head of CIA who worked in the Middle East for many years and says the reason for Extreme Islamists is “Blowback.” They don’t like us because the U.S. is occupying their countries. He also said recently that, “Electing anyone but Ron Paul will further increase the already strong chances of widespread Islamist-conducted violence inside the United States.”
Mear One: Well, the foreign policy that we have portrayed for the past 30 to 40 years has ruined our international respect. America once was a country that everyone else in this world strived to be like and accumulate the social status and the freedoms that we have in this country. We’ve been super inspirational to the entire world for the past 100-and-something years, and now we’re becoming like a terrorist country. Someone in England told me that Americans reminded them of a man driving an old ‘50s Cadillac with the top down, down the highway of life, with a brassiere over his eyes, a bottle of beer in the one hand, a joint in the other hand, a girl in a bikini in the backseat laughing, the radio’s turned up so loud [that] no one can hear what’s going on, and they’re just partying down the road, flooring it… Meanwhile, there’s people crossing the street, there’s other cars on the road… There’s a whole other world out there and America’s just oblivious to it. And it’s become like obesity – it’s overwhelming. Americans need to wake up and see that they’re setting a bad example for the future generations of Americans, and they’re setting a bad example for the rest of the world right now as [for] what democracy and freedom is all about.
Mike: I’m guessing there is quite a bit of information that we don’t have access to that would make non-intervention not feasible. It is a great idea, but I think all countries would have to agree to it to make it more feasible. It would probably make America better in the opinion of the world but it would also probably increase the probability of terrorist attacks here and around the world.
Graham: Is the idea of non-intervention something that sounds great? Yes. Will America ever become isolationist? Absolutely not. Would it actually benefit us? Not likely… the world is far too complex and connected now for it to work and would probably be detrimental to us. Regardless, this doesn’t mean we need to be meddling in so many other country’s affairs. The reality though, is that there is too much entrenched interests in our foreign policy endeavors that have little interest in the ethical reasons to be involved.
We haven’t been Isolationist in over 200 years. Non-intervention and isolationism aren’t exactly the same, but, regardless of any honorable or honest reason that we might get involved in a conflict, there will always be a financial interest trying to find a way to benefit from the conflict, and those financial interests unfortunately have strong influence on our elected officials. Altruistic actions are a myth.
Governments and society in general depend on revenue, regardless of whether or not it is self-generated and disseminated (communism), or collected through a taxed free market (Western Capitalism). The interest of maintaining revenue will always push the interests of a powerful nation into imperialism to strengthen the bottom line of the companies that support the economy most and in turn, generate revenue for the Government. Some of our worst transgressions barely even get spoken about… Look up the history of the United Fruit Company (Now known as Chiquita) and our government’s complicity in meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations in Central America at the benefit of “El Pulpo.” Dig into the contracts to rebuild Iraq.
So long as there is money to be made that benefits American financial interests, our government’s neo-colonialism will remain.
7. “Socialism” is the word of the decade. Socialism essentially means that the government owns all means of production, distribution of the product, as well as the distribution of wealth to the people. With Barack’s tenure and his propagation of Obamacare, critics have called upon his policies as socialist. Yet, we also live in a society where schools and libraries (both operated by the government) are philosophically socialist. Is Obama a socialist? And hey, is socialism really that bad?
Alyasha: The concept of socialism is great, but impossible due to Human Nature. People inherently / instinctively, want their own things. (And unfortunately in this generation, American youth don’t want to work for themselves, let alone work together for a common goal, unless, it’s for a brand or a record label.)
I feel that the right-wing media has take the word socialism / socialist and twisted it with semantics to try to make Obama out a socialist, something he is not. No Obama is NOT a socialist. I wonder how many people called Franklin D. Roosevelt a “socialist” when he passed the Social Security Act in 1935?
Donny: Is it bad compared to what? Communist countries with less freedom than Americans? No . But compared to the way our country was founded I say, “Yes.” Limited Government is better. It is bad because we are losing more freedom and liberties every day. Our last few presidents have signed socialist policies into law. I can’t say if they are socialist. Having limited government controlled by the state is not socialist to me.
Mear One: I’ve been to Europe, and Europe is a much friendlier, happier, more economically sound place than America. People are not addicted to consumerism out there – they actually have culture and lives. And so, yeah, I think that socialism makes way more sense than capitalism. Capitalism spawns bottom-line factors. It inspires people to be greedy at any costs. Capitalism shows you that you can have whatever you want as long as you can afford it, and there’s no redeeming value to it other than self-gratification. And that just goes to build a bigger ego, and more attitude, and more ignorant thinking. Socialism sponsors family. Socialism sponsors the betterment of everyone in your society around you. And it also allows for the individual to coexist simultaneously. And so, really, the best things about America are our socialist values that we’ve already pioneered and developed here. It’s a question that doesn’t understand where it’s coming from for Americans to think, “Is this socialist?” No, this is American.
Mike: By your definition in your question Obama is not a socialist. I believe in the American dream, I want to call my own shots and build my own shit. Socialism would not allow me to do that. By your definition in your question, socialism is bad.
Graham: *Sorry, this one can’t be more succinct without losing the point, its kind of a complex and misunderstood situation and i feel it needs all the details i put in here.*
I would say Socialism has been the word of the past 65 years. It’s connection to the Cold War and it’s extreme cousin, Communism, continues to leave a strong distaste in many people’s mouths and as such is a powerful tool to instill fear and grow opposition to certain social programs. Socialism, if you are to break it down to the simplest explaination, is simply a reference to a system that is “Not for Profit”. As you stated, in the question, it can be applied to industry and distribution of goods where profit is not the motive. It can also mean the control of an economy with the idea that everyone will live a better life if they are provided an equal set of responsibilities and compensation, which is what Communism was born from. The problem is that pure Socialism in the form of Communism cannot work on a national scale due to human nature, and violates inherent human rights, just the same as far right forms of Capitalism.
Our government instead relies on taxation to manage it’s operations. Opponents of taxation equate taxation to socialism because it is essentially redistribution of wealth for public use. This is not altogether an unfair perspective. However, there is something to be said for the fact that having a purely libertarian and laissez-faire society is somewhat of an impossibility outside of a very rural society, which we simply do not have anymore. Being an Ethical Capitalist myself, I don’t agree with a system that does not allow for increased reward for ingenuity and hard work, ie: reaping what you sow. However, I do not feel that regulations are evil if they serve a valid purpose and keep capitalistic systems and markets from transforming into Imperialism and Monopolies that do not take the humans they effect into account.
Social programs, as they have existed in this country, served as a public service to better the lives of the populace as a whole. They are part of an agreed upon social contract- that the benefit of those programs outweigh the shared financial cost it takes to fund them. Other Social Programs most people generally don’t take into consideration when discussing such things are Fire and Police Departments, and our Military (although, increasingly and alarmingly there is more outsourcing being done by our military, ie. Blackwater). These are both tax revenue funded, not for profit services that exist to serve a benefit to our society. I find it ironic that people who decry the idea of taxation to pay for basic health care can turn around and call for the maintaining of funding of the military through the same system.
I don’t have a problem with social programs, if they provide a benefit that is worth what it takes to pay for it. Public schools, libraries, fire, police and military, for all the arguments on how much should be spent on them, are established examples of socialism (social programs, government funded, not for profit) that work. I personally wouldn’t be opposed to a health program that would allow for all citizens to at the very least get check ups and routine tests. If someone wants to have chiropractor visits and physical therapy paid for, they can purchase more comprehensive insurance to fullfil their needs.
So looking at “Obamacare”, what exactly is it? It makes requirements of insurance companies to insure certain high health risk people (chronic illness, etc), it requires adult children to be covered further through college, and further regulates the pharmaceutical industry. But essentially it’s a mandate eliminating your choice of whether to purchase a service or not. A forced purchase of health care plans by people who would normally be uninsured. It operates under the principle, that in order for an insurance company to be able to afford to insure more young, or sick or low income people, it needs healthy people to pay their monthly bill that do not end up needing alot of medical attention. This averages out to allow the company to take a loss on some patients, and still maintain a profit (which is funny, because its a capitalistic business model based on voluntary group socialism).
Obamacare is not Socialism, but an Authoritarian requirement by our government to purchase a service in order to provide more care to certain people. It is not a state run and funded set of health care companies like the NHS in England, which is an actual social program. Medicare, is government funded. Welfare is goverment funded. Obamacare is nothing like either one of those even though it ends up with the same result. This admin basically just tried to be sneaky and avoid being called socialist by forcing people to buy from the public sector, when in reality its will end up affecting the less well off due to the ratio of insurance premiums to their income versus someone who is more well off.
The third and final round of The Hundreds presents POLITIXXX will go live tomorrow morning.