Sunday, October 30, 2011

...smoking is not "cool"

Herman Cain insisted Sunday that his now-viral campaign video featuring chief of staff Mark Block dragging on a cigarette was not meant to send a message that smoking is cool.

The GOP presidential candidate, appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, was chided by host Bob Schieffer for the Web video, which now has been viewed about 1.3 million times on YouTube.

I really love this video on youtube. The guy is hilarious and brings up great, valid points.

"One of the themes within this campaign is let Herman be Herman," Cain said. "Mark Block is a smoker and we say let Mark be Mark. Let people be people."

But Schieffer, who battled bladder cancer, pushed back on Cain's assertion that there was no subliminal message behind the Web video. The TV journalist called on the former pizza executive -- who is also a cancer survivor -- to come out and say he's not endorsing smoking. Schieffer has blamed his cancer on smoking.

"Young people of America, all people, do not smoke. It is hazardous and it's dangerous to your health. Don't smoke," Cain said. At Schieffer's behest he added: "It is not a cool thing to do."

"Let people be who they are...rather than try to restrict who they are." Cute, very cute. Unless you're gay, or atheist, or a liberal, or pro choice...

the campaign ad

Media and sustained movements

People are actually in motion now, and not only in occupy wall street.
The mainstream media is giving attention to those movements. There is a wide array of movements and groups that reflect a great diversity in this country.

What role does media play in politics?

Social media has clearly become about more than keeping up with high school friends, following celebrity gossip or emailing jokes. Candidates and elected leaders at national, state and local levels are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even blogging to connect with potential voters and current constituents.

Gone are the days when the only way to find information about a local election or politician was through lawn signs, public access TV, local newspapers or snail mail — now a candidate without a social media presence will likely be at a disadvantage.

Though the last Presidential Election wasn’t that long ago, social media has come a long way since 2008. How so? Well, while the two political parties were doing some of their most intense campaigning, MySpace was still the number one social networking site on the web. Oh how times have changed. Today, Facebook reigns supreme and according to the rumor mill, MySpace is on life support and struggling to survive. The point is that social media has evolved tremendously, so it would not be surprising to see candidates utilizing tools like Twitter and even LinkedIn, in addition to Facebook to help drive their campaigns for the upcoming Presidential Election.

Of course nothing is for certain, but from the looks of it, the battle for the next U.S. President could very well be decided on the digital playground. President Obama’s campaign has sparked a trend future hopefuls are sure to follow all because it was so successful. This will essentially level the playing field and make for some very competitive political showdowns. The next big election should definitely be interesting to watch from the sidelines.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The latest developments in the 2012 presidential campaign, including fundraising, advertising campaigns, policy issues and the primary calendar.

interesting to sort of compare some of the views from republicans and democrats. (i.e. abortion)

This is a prime video example of platforms of Democrats and Republicans.The Republicans do not want to raise taxes and the Democrats do not want to hurt entitlement programs and instead want to raise taxes especially for the wealthy who have loopholes and have not had to pay a lot of their taxes.

2-party system we are living under

The panel discussed the U.S. political system, its historical development, its current state, and its future. Mr. Raskin gave a historical overview of the development of political parties and their platforms during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He noted that platforms have often not been followed and many times contain internal contradiction. He discussed the Democratic and Republican parties' platforms during the current election, and noted that in spite of many complaints that the two parties are too similar, there are significant differences in their platforms.

Ms. Anderson spoke about some of the similarities between the 2004 platforms,

(not embed-able) but start from 3:00 point..

troops out of Iraq!

There’s little question that between the Arab Spring, the killing of bin Laden, the death of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and now the news of the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq that this has been a momentous year in American foreign policy. And yet, the a recent Gallup poll showed just 2 percent of people thought terrorism was the most important issue facing the country, while anounce 2 percent said war was the most important. By contrast, the economy and unemployment were each above 30 percent.

While those numbers make clear that foreign policy will be on the backburner heading into 2012, it doesn’t mean that Obama’s successes internationally don’t matter. They do. Or at least might. They play into the idea of Obama as leader — as someone who can stand on the world stage and effectively represent the United States’ interests.

To be clear, Republicans are not likely to be swayed into supporting Obama by these successes. But independents who tend to vote less on a single issue — or issues — than on a general feel toward the individuals running for president may be.

Republican reaction?: In the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s withdrawal announcement there was broad silence among the 2012 Republican contenders.

It seems likely that Republicans will seek to acknowledge the end of the war, offer as little public credit to Obama as possible and then return to talking about the economy.

But, politics is unpredictable. If Republican candidates — or the Republican base — decide to take issue with the pull-out then the issue could take a far different course in the primary fight to come.

Republican debate

Perry’s attack on Romney employing illegal immigrant lawn service workers was decidedly personal and aggressive, and, for the first time in these debates, Romney got visibly angry. The extended “let me finish, no let me talk” exchange over immigration rapidly escalated to the point where it was very uncomfortable (and yet strangely alluring) to watch.

The ill will between the men seems to set the stage for a very nasty next few months as the two best-funded candidates in the race (not to mention their super PACs) will soon take to the television airwaves to continue the argument begun last night.
Cain  really showed the gaps in his knowledge when the conversation moved off of the economy. He was shaky on immigration and his answer on negotiating with terrorists directly contradicted a position he had taken only a few hours earlier.

Issue Republican PartyDemocratic PartyLibertarian Party
Social Security
Social security should be privatized (not to be confused with private savings accounts, but rather, private investments).
 Social security should remain a government sponsored insurance plan for retirees. Believe in an "opt out" policy in which one can choose to privately invest (they believe this to be the better option) or go with a government sponsored social security plan.
 Jobs Pro small business. Supports giving small businesses tax incentives so that more jobs can be created. Encourage businesses to keep jobs here and not outsource them overseas. Supports unions and advocates for the rights of low income workers. Free market should dictate the job market.
 Economy Supports free market competition and entrepreneurship, corporate deregulation and cutting entitlement spending. Increase taxes to cut deficit. Believes large deficit negatively affects government services and that low deficits stimulate the economy. 100% Free Market.
 Security/Defense Believe in a proactive military and defense. Supports building weapons and technology that serve to protect our nation. Believe that peace is achieved through strong defense. Increase defense and research budget. Believe in a limited missile defense. Oppose nuclear buildup in the U.S. Believe that peace is achieved through worldwide relationship building. Believe in reducing nuclear arms in the U.S. Military should be used to protect people's livery and property only.
 Legal/Tort Reform Supports tort reform and limiting victims compensation, especially for frivolous lawsuits. Oppose tort reform and oppose limiting liability of doctors and/or businesses. Generally does not support tort reform.
 Tax Reform Supports tax cuts, low interest rates and the repeal of the death tax penalty in effort to stimulate the economy. Generally supports raising taxes on the wealthy, lowering taxes for the middle class. Stridently opposes all government imposed taxes and employer withdrawal of employees money for tax purposes.
 Immigration Generally supports closed or tight borders and tracking system for foreign travelers. Support illegal alien's ability and right to become citizens and giving them more protections under the law. Support open borders.
 Faith Religion strongly associated with Republican party. Advocate free exercise of religion. Strict adherence between the separation between church and state. Promote secular issues and a more secular nation. Strong belief in separation of church and state and by contrast, Libertarians hold a strong belief in freedom of religion.
 Education Promote school choice/vouchers and homeschooling. Supports voluntary student supported prayer in school. Opposes gender and race quotes in colleges. Oppose vouchers. Increase NCLB federal funding. Enact new taxes to decrease class size and hire new teachers. End government financial support of public schools, believe that all public schools should be privatized with tax credit for tuition.
 Abortion Generally pro-life with emphasis on promoting alternatives to abortion. Generally pro-choice owning the mantra, "Safe, legal, rare." Adamantly pro-choice but oppose any government financial aid to subsidize abortions.
 Energy Oppose Kyoto treaty. Support tax incentives for energy production. Wish to find environmentally friendly energy sources and solutions. Oppose increased drilling, especially in the U.S. Supports deregulation and believes all government energy resources should be turned over to private ownership. Opposes government conservation of energy.
 Heathcare Keep healthcare private. Would like to impose caps on malpractice suits. Supports reformed medicare to give seniors more choices. Supports more federally funded healthcare programs. Strongly supports a complete separation of healthcare and state. Supports the deregulation of the healthcare industry.
 Foreign Policy Spread Democracy. Supports UN reform. Wants to stop WMD proliferation countries. Believe that nations who support terrorist are just as bad as the terrorist themselves.Strongly supports worldwide coalitions and multi-national programs. Supports aid for disadvantaged countries. Supports the UN. End all foreign aid because it's the same as welfare for nations. Believes that aid perpetuates independence on your government.
 Campaign Finance Reform Generally support soft money contributions from individuals but supports limiting it from corporations. Also supports full disclosure. Favor more regulation with spending limits on individuals and corporations. No restrictions on contributions form any legal resident. Believe that politicians holding an office should not be able to run for another seat until term is over.
 Environment Supports privatizing federal land. Believe in cap and trade market based air pollution reductions and that the market should regulate itself. Generally puts the interest of the environment over business. Wants to maintain federal land under government control. Believes that land and animals should be sold to private organizations or ranchers and taken out of the hands of the government because private citizens will care for it better.
 GunsLimited gun control.Strict gun control. No control whatsoever.
 Gay RightsOppose gay marriage. Supports constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Generally supports gay marriage although Democrats remain largely divided on the issue, as some only support civil unions.Pro private choice and equality including marriage.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is there a better way to pick a vice president?

There must be a better way.

Americans are ill-served by this closed-door, autocratic custom — arguably the most anti-democratic aberration in an otherwise sound electoral system. Given the clout of the modern vice president, and with the 2012 Republican National Convention still more than 10 months away, perhaps now is the time to reexamine how America’s major parties choose a vice presidential nominee, that No. 2 who is always but a tragedy away from being the One.

Far from it. Rather, it’s one of the most consequential questions a presidential contender can entertain. For all the debates and primaries we hold while selecting a presidential nominee, it is remarkable how comparatively little time is devoted to vetting the bottom of the ticket. Yet eight sitting vice presidents have risen to the Oval Office after the deaths of presidents, and a ninth did so after Richard Nixon’s resignation. And since 1945, eight vice presidents have gone on to become their party’s nominee for president. A vice president is essentially a president-in-waiting, but Americans use greater scrutiny in selecting federal judges and Cabinet department undersecretaries — all subject to rigorous confirmation processes — than in picking a veep.

Instead, we engage in an odd ritual, a sort of Soviet Party Congress meets the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes: A presidential nominee alone makes the selection, assisted by a few advisers and subject to the festive rubber-stamping of ardent supporters. The gratitude of a newly handpicked veep candidate resembles that of a starry-eyed lottery winner — the selection cloaked in mystery, good fortune and a touch of randomness. The announcement, on the eve of the convention, neatly precludes prolonged deliberation.

It is the national interest that most strongly argues for rethinking the veep nomination process. As the vice presidencies of Al Gore and Cheney keenly demonstrated, America’s No. 2 is more powerful than ever, with an independent power base and agenda. We’re past the point where we can be complacent with a selection process as lax as it is monarchical, a system dangerously vulnerable to saddling us with the unwanted or the unqualified.
-Washington Post

Labor Action Plan

On September 8, President Barack Obama called for movement on the Colombia free trade agreement. In late August, a delegation that included U.S. Representative James McGovern visited Colombia where we met with trade unionists, labor activists and workers from the ports, oil palm, oil and auto sectors. We asked them if the labor rights situation in Colombia had improved since the April 15 launch of the Labor Action Plan between the U.S. and Colombia to merit passage of the FTA.

We were informed that while the Labor Action Plan (LAP) is a good step forward, it has so far only led to formal rather than real changes in labor conditions and protection of trade unionists. Twenty-two trade unionists have been murdered so far in 2011, with ten of them killed after the April 15 announcement of the LAP. Death threats and efforts to discredit labor activists also continue. The rate of impunity in cases of murdered trade unionists remains extremely high at 94 percent. The Protection Program noted in the LAP is very slow in responding to the needs of those it is designed to protect. While a decree to contract the 100 labor inspectors promised in the LAP was expedited, no public information is available on their progress.

The LAP, while flawed and insufficient, attempts to get at changing problematic and systematic labor practices that have been in place in Colombia for the past twenty years. While this is a formal step towards turning around Colombia’s labor rights situation, it is clearly insufficient. The Obama Administration and U.S. Congress should not assume that radical changes in conduct will take place overnight. Nor should they make the mistake of thinking that new laws, decrees and plans translate to immediate protections and safeguards for workers. Rather they should closely monitor the LAP’s implementation and determine whether or not progress has been made by actually tracking the realities faced by workers on the ground. They must also insist that beyond the LAP, broader justice issues that generate violence and impunity in Colombia are addressed. Moving forward on the U.S.-Colombia FTA before the latter takes place would only be an injustice to workers in Colombia.

Battleground states

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry discussed key battleground states in the 2012 presidential election.

Curry answers questions from both democrats and republicans

Presidential Conventions

A United States presidential nominating convention is a political convention held every four years in the United States by most of the political parties who will be fielding nominees in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The formal purpose of such a convention is to select the party's nominee for President, as well as to adopt a statement of party principles and goals known as the platform and adopt the rules for the party's activities, including the presidential nominating process for the next election cycle. Due to changes in election laws and the manner in which political campaigns are run, conventions since the later half of the 20th century have virtually abdicated their original roles, and are today mostly ceremonial affairs.
Generally, usage of “presidential nominating convention” refer to the two major parties’ quadrennial events: the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

Sites of the 2012 party convention 

- June 20–22, 2011: Prohibition Party National Convention in Cullman, Alabama Jack Fellure won the nomination.
- October 14–16, 2011: 2011 Socialist Party USA National Convention to be held in Los Angeles, California
- April 18–21, 2012: 2012 Constitution Party National Convention to be held in Nashville, Tennessee
- May 4–6, 2012: 2012 Libertarian National Convention to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada
- June 2012: Americans Elect National Convention held over the internet
- August 27–30, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention to be held in Tampa, Florida
- September 3–6, 2012: 2012 Democratic National Convention to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina

Monday, October 10, 2011

small doners/big doners and caucus states

what are primaries and caucuses?

Presidential election primaries and caucuses are two very different methods of accomplishing the same basic thing. Simply put, they are both a means for each political party to let vote­rs nationwide select their party's presidential nominee. More specifically, primaries and caucuses are means of selecting delegates (representatives of party members in each state) to send to the party's national convention.

­ At each party's national convention (held the summer before the presidential election), the party selects a presidential nominee based on how party delegates at the convention vote. The Republican and Democratic parties in each state select delegates based on either caucuses or a primary vote in that state -- the delegates are sent to represent voters in the state.

­At the Democratic convention, the number of state delegates is proportional to the number of votes received in the state primary or caucus. The Republican Party uses a winner-take-all system in which the delegate or candidate with the most votes in a state's primary or caucus wins the right to be represented by all of the party's delegates at the national convention. The total number of delegates each party can send to the national convention is again dictated by party rules. Usually the party determines the number of delegates through a formula factoring in state population, the number of elected officials in office, and that state's past support of party candidates.

Federal law doesn't dictate how states choose their delegates, so individual states decide what system to use. Most states use the primary system -- where voters statewide simply cast a vote for the candidate they support -- but some use the older caucus system.

The term caucus apparently comes from an Algonquin word meaning "gathering of tribal chiefs," and the main crux of the caucus system today is indeed a series of meetings. To see how this works, let's look at the Iowa caucuses -- the first "voting event" of the presidential election year.

Monday, October 3, 2011

won, by only 1 electoral vote... won, by only 1 electoral vote...The Disputed Presidential Election of 1876

Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes won the 1876 presidential election over Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York by a single electoral vote in one of the most disputed American presidential elections ever. Their contest produced the highest voter turnout in U.S. history.

Michael Holt talked about why this election was so close and what were the areas of dispute and compares the elections of 1876 and 2000

Program not embeddable :(
but this is the frame I would have liked to post 10:50 - 16:30

Florida (with 4 electoral votes), Louisiana (with 8), and South Carolina (with 7), reported returns favored Tilden, but election results in each state were marked by fraud and threats of violence against Republican voters.
One of the points of contention revolved around the design of ballots. At the time, parties would print ballots or "tickets" to enable voters to support them in the open ballots. To aid illiterate voters the parties would print symbols on the tickets. In this election, however, many Democratic ballots were printed with the Republican symbol, Abraham Lincoln, on them. The Republican-dominated state electoral commissions subsequently disallowed a sufficient number of Democratic votes to award their electoral votes to Hayes.

the hispanic vote in campaign 2010

Herman Cain made headlines when he said on CNN that black voters have been "brainwashed" into voting for Democrats. That was condescending, to say the least. But he went on to say that 30 to 50 percent of African American voters are "open minded" and could be persuaded to vote Republican. Despite his unfortunate wording, Cain makes a good point: the Democratic Party shouldn't take the black vote for granted in 2012.

Nor should it take the Hispanic vote for granted, either. The new Univision bipartisan poll of 1,500 likely Latino voters shows a "substantial" Hispanic swing vote is coming into play, according to Politico. A whopping 43 percent of Latino likely voters call themselves conservatives; even 32 percent of Hispanic Democrats polled identified themselves as conservative. Among "swing" Latino voters, their top concern was this statement: "The federal government in D.C. is wasting too much of our tax money." Not immigration, not jobs, not other so-called Hispanic issues. Like the rest of us, Hispanic voters are deeply concerned about the size and scope of government. That says to me that Hispanic voters might be very open to voting for a fiscal conservative in 2012.

Hispanic Voters and Campaign 2010
Oct 26, 2010

C-SPAN | Washington Journal
Brent Wilkes talked about the role of Hispanic voters in 2010 midterm elections and civic group efforts to increase Hispanic voter participation, and he responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Other topics .. Read More
Brent Wilkes talked about the role of Hispanic voters in 2010 midterm elections and civic group efforts to increase Hispanic voter participation, and he responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Other topics issues of importance to the Hispanic community and allegations that some groups are trying to discourage Hispanic turnout in 2010.

Cain's 9-9-9 Plan gains traction!

Republican GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is now being taken seriously. No, not because he won the Florida GOP Straw Poll, but because the elite of the Elite Media has decided his 9-9-9 tax reform plan is worthy of gracing its pages.

I think he is a compelling and refreshing alternative to the Establishment GOP which gave us John McCain. And we believe his tax reform plan should be vigorously debated and if nobody can come up a better idea we think his 9-9-9 might just be better than what we have now.

Not only is the current tax code excessively complicated, but it is inequitable. It is riddled with special interest loopholes designed to insure the re-election of incumbents. The simple fact of the matter is exactly what Barack Obama complains about: "everybody should (but does not now) pay their fair share." When 40% of the taxpayers pay NO Federal income tax something is dreadfully wrong. The fundamental problem with the mess we now have is that we have reached the point where those who pay nothing in Federal income tax elect politicians—of both parties—who are hell-bound to continue to give those tax breaks in order to get re-elected.

Cain scolds Obama, calls Perry "very insensitive"

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain scolded President Barack Obama on Sunday for making "insulting" remarks to the Congressional Black Caucus and called fellow Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry's handling of a race matter "very insensitive."
Cain - who has risen in opinion polls in the last week after a surprise win over leaders Perry and Mitt Romney in a Florida straw poll -- has challenged rivals over their attitudes toward black voters.

He accused Democrats last week of taking the black vote for granted and offended some black leaders by saying many black supporters of Obama were "brainwashed."

The center will never vote for Paul he’s too fiscally crazy, but what does he have to do with Rick Perry’s thoughtless and insensitive hunting lease in the middle of nowhere?

Glenn Beck asked Herman Cain why President Obama continually throws Texas "under the bus" when the state created 38% of all jobs in America last year. Cain said, "The president, unfortunately, has no clue, with all due respect, of what creates jobs. Right to work states, lower taxes, lower regulations, no government mandates..."