Archive for Democrats

Special Comment: Olbermann Indefinitely Suspended from MSNBC

Posted in current events with tags , , , , on November 5, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

It’s not often that I can comment on news as it happens, but this one is too frustrating to pass up. It was announced about an hour before this posting that Keith Olbermann, host of the MSNBC show “Countdown” will be indefinitely suspended from MSNBC because he made donations to the campaigns of three Democratic candidates without prior consent from NBC News.

Personally, it’s frustrating to me that Olbermann is being suspended. I’m a huge fan of the show, and look forward to it every day during the week. And it’s not frustrating simply because he was suspended. In doing a little digging into the story, it turns out that NBC News policy states that anyone affiliated with NBC News has to get prior approval before they can contribute to any political campaign, regardless of party affiliation.

No, this is frustrating because I know a lot of news media, and even people that I associate with every day, is going to misinterpret the story.

It seems that today, more than ever, America is a Headline Nation. We get all sorts of news and other information at lightning speed, and because there is so much of it, we feel like we don’t have time to read a whole news story. Instead, we skim headlines, and when we find an exceptionally fascinating title, we skim the first few paragraphs of the article, which we then use to describe it to our friends.

The problem is, with a lot of newspaper articles, the sensational information is located at the top of the article, to get you sucked into reading it, and the pertinent information is located at the end of the article. Which means that when you only skim the first few paragraphs of the article, you get broad statements, and maybe a few quotes. Then at the end of the article you get the numbers, statistics, and the things that actually matter.

Meaning that people reading about Olbermann will get extremely general information: Keith Olbermann donated $2400 to three different Democratic campaigns, and now he is suspended indefinitely from MSNBC without pay.

Initially, this article would have been a diatribe against MSNBC for suspending Olbermann. I would have mentioned that it is simply in poor taste to suspend someone simply because of their political leanings. It’s no surprise that Olbermann is a Democrat; anyone who watches his show should know that that viewpoint is painfully obvious. Olbermann can do what he pleases with his money, because his personal finances are his personal finances, and are not tied to a network.

However, one question can still be asked from my original idea to this idea: If Olbermann is being suspended for not getting prior consent for donating to Democrats, why was Fox News virtually ignored? After all, Fox News’ parent company, News Corp, donated one million dollars to the Republican Governers Association back in August.

“But Rupert Murdoch’s personal finances are his personal finances!” True, and if it was simply Murdoch donating to that organization, this would be a moot point. However, because News Corp itself donated to the organization, it makes everything affiliated with News Corp liable for the donation. That includes Fox News. Instead of being chastised or otherwise punished, it got a clever skewing over on Comedy Central, and then the issue was largely ignored.

I understand what issue is at hand, and I hope that whatever miscommunication happened between Olbermann and NBC News gets resolved quickly. As for the future, I hope that all news entities–anchors, reporters, and networks alike–who engage in similar activity are all held equally accountable. It’s not right that Fox News gets this free pass simply because they are a “force to be reckoned with.”

A Taxing Contradiction

Posted in current events with tags , , , , on August 27, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Taxes are interesting. They come out of our paychecks every day, and no one is really sure where they go. Some complain that there are too many taxes, because their paychecks don’t give them much. Others think that taxes should be gone forever, because they don’t really do anything.

Taxes are only a hot-button issue these days because the tax cuts for the rich from the Bush Presidency are about to expire. Some politicians are saying that it will be crucial that these tax cuts expire, as it will help to stimulate the economy. Others say that it is foolish to introduce more taxes in such an unstable economy.

Even the Tea Party is hopping on the bandwagon, calling for the elimination of taxes. “Taxed Enough Already,” read the signs, in a call to reduce wasteful government spending by reducing the amount of money they can waste.

What everyone seems to be ignoring should be a common sense thing: taxes are crucial to running America, and a lot of America is in shambles because there isn’t enough money to do anything.

Taxes pay for pretty much everything that we take for granted. A short list of things that taxes pay for:

  • Public Schools
  • Road Maintenance
  • Street Lights
  • Medicare
  • Unemployment
  • Emergency Room Care
  • Public Transit
  • Social Security
  • Police
  • Fire Department
  • Ambulances
  • Military
  • Garbage Services
  • Utilities
  • Prisons

And those are things that I came up with off the top of my head. There are probably so many other things that our taxes pay for that we don’t even realize pay for.

What’s really sad about this whole thing is that many politicians feel that it’s some big insult that people who make more should pay more in taxes. It makes me wonder if anyone is thinking any more.

The “American Dream” might be to make a bunch of money and have that be your measure of success, but if it is at the expense of my fellow American, then I’m done chasing the dream.

People who make more money should be expected to help out more than those who are hovering around the poverty line. It’s idiotic thinking to assume that by having a lot of money you’re just free to keep all of that. If I had that much money to spare, I would donate whole, multi-million dollar paychecks toward taxes.

There are roads around the country that are being unpaved because there isn’t enough money for upkeep. Street lights are being turned off because the city can’t afford to keep them on all night.

The lower and middle class can’t do it alone. The Bush tax cuts need to expire, and the rich need to quit whining. A lot of rich people think that making a big show of giving a lot of money to charity should be enough to get them off the hook. “Hey, look! I’m doing something great! Look how awesome I am!”

But giving to charity doesn’t stop a lot of public schools and police stations closing. Giving to charity doesn’t fix the roads. Giving to charity doesn’t provide for better health care. The rich should have to pay their fair share, and maybe even more. It’ll help us improve our economy, and it’ll definitely help to improve America.

Why the Tea Party is Ruining America

Posted in current events, opinion, politics with tags , , , on May 3, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

I’d like to begin this post by saying that I have no problem with protest movements. If you feel that you are suffering an injustice, by all means speak up. If you are opposed to war, hold a rally. If you are opposed to abortion, start a picket line.

However, what I have a problem with is ignorance and “unintelligence.” And from what I’ve seen from the Tea Party Movement, it is made up of nothing but.

In the 16 April 2010 edition of the Des Moines Register, there is a fantastic article on the Tax Day Tea Party Rallies. In the article there are several Tea Party protesters interviewed, and while Fox News and other conservatives want you to think that this movement is revolutionary and all of that, the quotes that are offered in the article are very telling:

… Ina Breeden, a 70-year-old great-grandmother… [said] that Obama wrote in “Dreams from My Father” that everyone he’s been surrounded by in politics is a Marxist…. Breeden said she hadn’t read the book, but had heard others talking about it.

… “Everything he’s done,” [Diana Clancy] said of Obama, “he’s followed the same orders as Hitler.”

The only problem with these sorts of statements is that they are blatantly wrong. Nowhere in “Dreams from My Father” does it say that he was surrounded by Marxists. Even Mrs. Clancy’s statement is followed by an immediate retraction from her: “Don’t put that. He’s going to come after me.”

The conservative pundits are up in arms about how the Liberals–with their unGodly, baby-killing, pot-smoking, gay-marrying, socialist, fascist, Communist ways–are wrongly portraying the “Tea-baggers” as racist and violent, because they are making sweeping generalizations about a few (which ironically enough, is what they’re doing to Liberals).

And I’ll concede to the fact that there might only be a few racists in the Tea Party movement. And maybe only a few people are throwing rocks in the windows of Congresspeople and are calling for the outright murder of those who voted for the health care bill. But what simply can’t be ignored is the obvious fact that most Tea Party protesters are stupid and ignorant.

Tea Party protesters and Conservatives didn’t want the health care bill “shoved down the throats of the American people.” Never mind that health care reform had been talked about for 50 years. Never mind that there was only a real push for change in the last year. Never mind that there were plenty of opportunities to engage in healthy and meaningful debate of the bill. And never mind that, despite having both HR 3200 and HR 3962 posted online, no one even bothered to read it. It was all too fast and not the change we wanted.

Maybe it’s not the fact that the Tea Party protesters are stupid. Maybe every once in a while a reporter finds a very articulate and knowledgeable protester who knows what he’s talking about, and that screws up whatever narrative that particular news source was going for. The biggest problem is that these people are misinformed about everything.

And what news source is the biggest supporter of the Tea Party movement? Fox News.

It’s amazing how Fox News and Conservative pundits so easily defend the violent actions of this movement, and yet somehow get offended when people call them out on it. It’s also been pointed out on several occasions that Fox News will even tamper with video to make it appear that these protests are bigger than they really are.

Misinformation combined with fear-mongering, combined with impressionable people who will loudly relay any information no matter how wrong it is, equals a dangerous creature that no one can control. The Tea Party movement is promoting ignorance and violence, all without a coherent message. And also their costumes are pretty dumb.

I just don’t get how people can still believe something that has been shown to be wrong over and over again. Is it that common sense is dead, or is it more that in today’s American society, free-thinking and intelligence isn’t in vogue?

Politics and the Playground: Democrats are Geeks and Republicans are Bullies

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Normally, I don’t let my political views sway what I write about. I believe I mentioned earlier–perhaps a couple of times–that my views are strictly my views, and I rarely, if ever, push them on people.

That being said: Republicans are bullies.

And also: Democrats are geeks.

And further still: Politicians are children.

And one more for good measure: Americans are just as childish.

If anyone watched any part of the health care vote on any news outlet last night, they were treated to probably one of the most immature demonstrations of American governmental procedure of all time. Everything you expected (Tea Party protesters shouting racial slurs at House Democrats), and some that you didn’t (A Republican calling Rep. Bart Stupak a “baby killer”), and some that are just so completely off the wall you’d think it was a surrealist play or something (Bricks being through through Democratic Party office windows).

The House was rarely, if ever, in order. Though the Representatives were formal in there procedures (yielding time, “Mr. Speaker,” etc.), there was an obvious hatred and disdain for the other party.

Absolutely no Republicans at all supported anything about the health care reform bill. At all. At times I wondered if it was because they truly thought the bill needed some work. But looking at the campaigning against the bill, the hateful propoganda against the bill, and the constant references to the bill as “ObamaCare,” I realized that it was only apposed because of it’s Islamo-socio-fascist tendancies.

If we’re to believe the gross exaggerations the most vocal Republicans were throwing out, you’d think that the Health Care Bill required that all American citizens were to become Muslims, be euthanized at 65, and have a manditory abortion twice a month, regardless of gender. You’d think that all of your money is going toward illegal immigrants getting cosmetic surgery, and that if you so much as thought about speaking ill of the bill, you were to be shot on sight.

That’s not to say that Democrats are perfect. Far from it: if they had been more vocal about what was actually in the bill, and would actually take a stand against Tea Party protesters who simply attended hearings to down down the Senators and Representatives, something more might have been done with the bill. Maybe there would have been a more productive discussion. Maybe there would have been changes made, and an actual compromise to the bill, rather than, and I’m quoting every Fox News “journalist” here, “shoving it down the American people’s throats.”

The whole debacle reminded me of my days as a child, playing on the playground, and watching the bullies and the geeks abuse and be abused.

Play this scenario out with me: Republicans are bullies, Democrats are geeks, the American people are the rest of the playground, and the health care bill is tag:

A friendly game of tag is being played, when one of the geeks realizes that the game is kind of becoming unfair, so he proposes a new game of tag. Maybe they were playing normal tag, and this geek would like to play freeze tag.

One of the bullies says, “You just want to change the game because you’re sick of losing all the time!”

The geek says, “Actually, I just don’t like how this game works, and I want to play a version that works for everyone.”

And the bully says, “The game is working fine as it is. We don’t need to change it.”

And other geeks start saying, “Actually, I’m not really having fun with it. And neither are other people on the playground.”

And the rest of the playground says, “Yeah, let’s change the game.”

And the bullies say, “You guys are just wussies. You’re just bringing up a change in the game because you want to avoid the fact that you’re losing!”

And the geeks say, “Well, everyone is losing right now. Let’s just play freeze tag.”

And the bullies say, “Look around you! Nobody else wants to play freeze tag!”

And the rest of the playground says, “Actually, I don’t mind changing the game.” But a few say, “Actually, yeah, I don’t want to play freeze tag.”

So the bullies start shouting. And the geeks can’t handle the shouting. They try to reason with the bullies, to get a compromise, maybe just tweak the rules, but they end up getting beat up after school.

Finally, the time comes when they want to change the game once and for all. The geeks gathered a lot of support for freeze tag, but the bullies know that it’ll never get changed, and they hope to play one last game of tag before the bell rings, signaling the end of recess.

They take a vote, the way all kids do when they want to be fair about changing the game. None of the bullies want to change the game. More geeks than bullies want to change it. The motion passes.

Then the bullies start calling the geeks names, evil names, and threaten to beat them up again unless they change their mind. But the game has been changed, and there’s nothing the bullies can do about it except whine and moan some more and pout because they didn’t get their way.

This is an important, 100-years-in-the-making decision that could mean better health care for everyone in America, and the Republicans don’t like it, only because it is Islamo-socio-fascist-ObamaCare.

Kids these days and their running the country. Whatever shall we do with them?

Your Children Are Not Being Indoctrinated

Posted in pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Normally, I don’t have a problem with Glenn Beck. In all honesty, I’m a huge fan of the show. Occasionally, he makes some great points, and he tries his best to be in the middle ground, calling out Republicans along with Democrats. Normally, I don’t have a problem with him. But every once in a while, Beck says something, or has a topic, that is absolutely ridiculous, and it frustrates me to the point where I can no longer think straight.

It’s rare for me to be writing a blog topic at the same time that the topic at hand is still in process. Yet here I sit, watching Glenn Beck rant and rave over something that isn’t a big deal, because it’s not a deal at all. Apparently, the “progressives” are indoctrinating your children by telling them that they are just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, than you. It’s an abomination, and it’s all the progressive Democrats’ fault. “Aren’t you shocked that people are using your children this way?” he just asked.

There’s one problem: your children aren’t being indoctrinated. Beck used an Al Gore quote–“There are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know”–as proof that progressives are taking over your child’s mind. But really, all this quote (which, by the way, is taken extremely out of context) says is that, in changing times, the younger generation has a better idea of the world than older folks. It’s common sense.

In the speech, Gore uses the Civil Rights Movement as an analogy of changing times. The quote, in context…

When I was your age and the Civil Rights Revolution was unfolding, and we kids asked our parents and their generation, ‘Explain to me again why it’s okay for the law to discriminate against people for the color of their skin color? And when our parents’ generation couldn’t answer that question, that’s when the law started to change. There are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know.Why would that be? Well, in a time of rapid change, the old assumptions sometimes just don’t work anymore because they’re out of date.

… is not a huge deal. Not only is this common sense in a changing world, it’s also a clever ploy to build up a child’s self-esteem. If a child feels that his or her efforts are worthwhile, he or she will be more inclined to make a difference in the world.

But Glenn Beck doesn’t seem to see this. He seems to see any sort of push to support children–future leaders of the world, mind you–as some Islamo-fascist-socialist-communism ploy to destroy America. This whole show just seems to be a distraction from some other humongous  problem; he says in the rant before the commercial break, “I can’t teach God in school, but I can make kids pledge allegiance to the Earth? The Earth is God now! The Earth is greater than human beings!”

I understand Glenn Beck is a proud American, and I can kind of see how pledging allegiance to the Earth goes completely against that. But, really, the Earth is greater than the people who live on it. Any slight change in the natural world can completely wipe out the human race. And my religious upbringing tells me that God not only created everything, but is also in everything. God created the Earth, and God is the Earth. I would gladly pledge allegiance to the Earth, because I am pledging allegiance to God in this way.

If anyone is watching the show, you know how awkward this suddenly has become. He spoke directly to “progressive bloggers,” and quoted Malachai 4:6–“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” He says that this verse says that indoctrinating our children is evil. And he also recommended that I spell EVIL in capital letters. Just for kicks, I’ll go a step further: EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!1

But again, Beck is quoting out of context. Chapter 4 of Malachai, in its entirety:

1 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty.4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.

5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Looking at the passage as a whole, it actually says that the EVIL!!!!!! world will be destroyed unless the hearts of the fathers are turned to the hearts of the children, and vice versa. God himself is saying that unless children and fathers learn from each other, the world is going to be struck down.

But I digress. The real reason this episode of Glenn Beck is bothering me so much that I felt like I had to blog as the show is in progress is because throughout the whole show, Beck has been talking down to my generation. The whole episode has been a “Get Off My Lawn, You Crazy Kids!” episode, with Grampa Beck telling us kids that our generation is out of control, just like, I’m sure, his grandparents told him when he was young. He was born in 1964, after all.

I’m not a fan of people being condescending to me. But that’s all this was. It was Glenn Beck Knows Best, and because I am younger than he is, I am an idiot.

Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Beck. The fact is that the world is changing. My generation has a greater access to knowledge than your generation did. And in fact, I may go out and buy “Eric’s Book” (Generation-We by Eric Greenberg, in case anyone was wondering), just because. I appreciate you trying to protect me, but everything in this show had no evidence. I was always taught that to have an effective argument, I need claims and evidence. Sadly, this show only had the former.

To my generation: This show should be incentive for us to get out there and change the world even more. Don’t even think about politics, don’t think about being “too progressive”. We have a higher calling, and we need to do everything in our power to change our world before our world changes us.