Tag Archives: Donald Trump

What the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You(and Why) Part 4: The Corporate Media in Conflict with Government

It’s been a long time since I have made a segment on this, and there have been a lot of news in the political universe. The major one was the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. The mainstream media has been at fault for its coverage. What isn’t the mainstream media telling you, though?

The Mainstream Media as we all know are corporate owned conglomerates, and there are only six major media companies in the U.S. These are Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, Newscorp, Comcast, and Disney. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which deregulated the industry and allowed for mass mergers to occur easier, creating the current media system.

In an ideal world, the media would be the watchdog of the government and those in power. However, we know that the media is corporate-owned, and thus represent corporate interests.

During the Primary, then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was unhappy with the coverage Hillary Clinton, the choice for the DNC and the Democratic Establishment on several channels, Particularly Morning Joe on MSNBC. She contacted MSNBC President Phil Griffin as Emails shown from the DNC leaks this summer.

A similar story between power and the media has been brewing. Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and top adviser held a meeting with executive VP of Time Warner  Gary Ginsberg where he critiqued CNN’s coverage of Trump.

Disclaimer: Time Warner owns CNN, so Kushner was doing what Wasserman Schultz was doing when she contacted Phil Griffin about alleged negative coverage.

These are just two prime examples of media and government interfering with each other.  In these examples, power is telling the media what to do so they are placed in a favorable light. This is a direct conflict with freedom of the press. Freedom of the press is in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, the United States runs as an oligarchy as a Princeton study found out. The study collected over 20 years of data and found virtually no correlation between public opinion and policy. However, the top 10% saw some significant correlation. The Mainstream Media is, as we have said, six companies and represents the corporate interests. The “Big 3” of Cable News, CNN(owned by Time Warner), Fox News(owned by Newscorp) and MSNBC(owned by GE) are all owned by a major media company, and thus the talking points of the establishment are conveyed. The other large networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC are all part of the “Big 6” of the Media.

Here are some examples of topics covered to stray away from the main issues.

  • Propaganda based on little or no evidence:  An example is Russia. Russia is accused of interfering with the election to help Donald Trump win. The CIA came out and said it was true, and as a result, the media and many figures in government are running with the story. The issue is that there hasn’t been sufficient evidence to prove the claim of the CIA. In conjunction with the CIA, the FBI are in agreement that Russia rigged the election to favor Trump. The Washington Post first reported about the Secret CIA Assessment back in December. While reading through the articles, there was no substantial evidence given. U.S. intelligence has repeatedly stated that Russia had a role in undermining the election, but they need evidence to back it up. To be fair, some of the Russia talks is justified such as calling for an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. That is better that saying something is true without backing it up. That is similar to McCarthyism, which is making accusations or assertions without evidence to back it up. The term coincidentally rose during the Second Red Scare of the Soviet Union.
  • Tweets by Trump: Some tweets by Trump or other figures can be newsworthy, but they are a constant focus, and it seems like a daily affair, if not a few times per week across almost all of the Mainstream Networks.
  •  Debates over wedge topics and/or settled topics: Topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage, or climate science: These topics are non-issues or settled.
  • Identity politics: The two-party system has led to two different sides: Democrat and Republican. The topic of political polarization is one of the most common themes heard from mass media networks, particularly on cable news networks. Votes in Congress such as those on cabinet selections which are largely along party lines are overmagnified.

Independent media is more important than ever. Polls consistently show distrust in mass media, and we can see why. Viewership of television news is down, largely due to the mistrust by the people. Please tune out the mainstream networks and support independent media that is publicly financed, unlike corporate networks. By nature, whoever is funding a project, a politician, or an organization will represent who donates to them.

Breaking Down the Party Platforms: Republicans

7 August 2016

Hello, again Insights.

A couple of weeks ago, the Republican National Convention was held in Cleveland. With the convention also is the release of the party’s platform. This post will break key parts in the six major sections. I’ll also have one for the Democrats and maybe one for the Libertarian and Green parties as well.

Part 1: Restoring the American Dream

Economy: The economy has recovered from the Great Recession, but it can still improve. The party recognizes that economic growth is slow, and policy ideas such as tax reform is a position outlined in the platform. A consistent position of the Republican Party is cutting taxes. They believe that cutting taxes fuels economic growth, which is called supply-side economics. The platform also adds that the tax code is too long and complicated. It is, the Federal tax code is 74,608 pages and growing. Just to note, the RNC is a bit hypocritical considering they are part of the corrupt system that allows for these tax loopholes. The platform has to say that to be with the people.

Part 2: A Rebirth of Constitutional Government

If there’s one thing that you hear about from Republicans, it’s that care about the Constitution, and they want a “strict interpretation” of it. I’ll extract some of the key parts of the section.

Here’s the misleading part: We heard about the First Amendment, specifically about religious liberty. However, it doesn’t appear to be for everyone based on past actions. The “religious freedom” part entails primarily to Christians and it allows for discrimination, particularly on the LGBT community on the basis of religious grounds. For example, Republicans favor “anti-terror” programs that often target Muslims because of 9/11 among other things.

The Second Amendment and gun rights are sacred to Republicans. The right to keep and bear arms is an “inalienable” right.  They also imply that with the death of Antonin Scalia, Obama’s new pick for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland would institute a new liberal majority that would ” eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections.”Over 30,000 people die from guns in the U.S. each year. Most of them are suicides, but around 11,000 are homicides. However, the platform fails to mention it.

The Fourth Amendment’s section talks about the increasing privacy protections and(surprise) how terrorists can go around it to harm us. They also add the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act(FATCA) and for its repeal. FATCA is a law passed in 2010 that targets non-compliance by American taxpayers who use foreign accounts. The platform says this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment because it claims to search foreign accounts without warrants.

Honest Elections: The first line of this segment reads, “Honest elections are the foundation of representative government.” The second line says “We pledge to protect the voting rights of every citizen,…”. Ironically, Republicans push and pass laws that make it harder to vote, particularly for minorities. Seventeen states have new laws coming into effect this year. Wisconsin Representative Glenn Grothman(R) stated Wisconsin’s law gives an advantage to Republicans. History shows that Republicans tend to win when voter turnout is low. In 2013, the Supreme Court overturned Section 4 of 1965’s Voting Rights Act in the case Shelby County v. Holder.

Part 3: America’s Natural Resources: Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment.

Energy and the Environment have been a concern for the Republican Party. First of all, they are the only major party in the advanced world to deny climate change. The money in the system allows for big oil companies to flood their campaigns with donations, and in return, Republicans often listen to them and call for more oil a the expense of the environment.

Even though fossil fuel resources are dwindling and are non-renewable, the platform doesn’t say to increase the use of renewable energy. Instead, the RNC states that we use more coal from the ground and increase domestic production. They take aim at the Democrats stating that “they do not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.” Some of those claims are debatable. A case study by the Union of Concerned Scientists outlays how coal plants are harmful to the environment. Examples include sulfur dioxide, which is a leading cause of acid rain, as well as the well known CO2 emissions.

Part 4: Government Reform

The Republican Party is known for its fiscal conservatism, and one policy proposal is to balance the budget. The budget deficit will be around $534 billion by the end of FY 2016 according to the Congressional Budget Office(CBO) and according to them, it is expected to rise. A constitutional amendment has been proposed by Republicans for years now to balance the budget, but it can be difficult in some years such as a recession.

Saving Social Security and Medicare:

A priority for both major parties is to preserve Social Security and Medicare. A few years ago, the Social Security trust fund began running deficits. If that trend were to continue, the funds would eventually dry up. Republicans claim that it’s effectively insolvent, but that is untrue. Contrary to that, Social Security is solvent until 2037, and Medicare is solvent until 2028. It’s 12 years until Medicare’s funds dry up, which means that there needs to be a solution addressed. The section states that “As Republicans, we oppose tax increases and believe in the power of markets to create wealth and to help secure the future of our Social Security system.” Some solutions are to raise taxes and lift the cap on taxable income. If you can’t raise taxes, then you’ll have to cut it, which is what many Republicans and even some Democrats are trying to do.

Immigration:  Immigration, especially illegal Immigration has spent some time in the forefront over the past year. Donald Trump’s comments early on in the primary called for things like building a wall along the Southern border. As Trump is the Republican nominee, his positions will be influenced in the platform. The platform explicitly calls for building a wall along the southern border.

Regulation: The GOP platform calls it the quite tyranny. It quotes “It hamstrings American business and hobbles economic growth.” The platform specifically mentions the EPA, Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the Dept. of Labor to name a few. It also says “The Environmental Protection Agency has rewritten laws to advance the Democrats’ climate change agenda.”

One major law that Democrats were proud of was the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall St. Reform Act. The GOP called it a “legislative Godzilla” that crushes small and community banks. The platform states that “Predictably, central planning of our financial sector has not created jobs, it has killed them.” Also, it states that there are more risks for the financial sector. Additionally, they state that “Republicans believe that no financial institution is too big to fail.” The problem is that major financial institutions are too big to fail RIGHT NOW and have been that way since before the Great Recession. A surprising thing in the platform is the explicit call for the reinstation of the Glass-Steagall. Glass-Steagall is a bill prohibiting banks from engaging in high-risk investments with depositor money. Republicans in the late 199os pushed for its repeal, which makes the call to reinstate Glass-Steagall so surprising.

Part 5: Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice

The GOP platform is noted for its sometimes extreme conservatism on social issues. Examples include explicitly stating that marriage is between a man and a woman. They also call for the reversal of Obergefell v. Hodges which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Education: In the platform, it states that everyone has the chance to receive a quality education. The platform calls on for a choice in education(vouchers) which has been supported by the party for a long time. Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt by about $400 billion. The platform states that the federal government shouldn’t be in the student loan business, although costs are lower under this system. Student loan services, as well as lobbying firms supporting these services, have given donations to Congress. Those donations affect how politicians legislate. In October, two Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte(NH) and Shelley Moore(WV) introduced the Student Loan Relief Act of 2015. The bill had language that would lower interest rates, but would be more beneficial to private loan companies. Ayotte noted that the CBO stated that the federal government would make about $50 billion in profit from student loans over the next decade, but is OK with private companies increasing profits.

Healthcare: Healthcare has been a big topic under the Obama Administration. The Affordable Care Act passed Congress in 2009 and was signed into law the following year. Republicans have pushed to repeal it dozens of times. They have stated that premiums are too high, and prescription drug prices are too high. However, the solution that is outlined by the platform committee is very similar to the system that we have now. Additionally, there has been no action by Republicans to lower the costs of prescription drugs since many of them receive donations from the pharmaceutical industry.

One government-run healthcare system is Medicaid, for low-income households. In the platform, it calls to “block grant Medicaid and other payments and to assist all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, to obtain coverage in a robust consumer market.”

Criminal Justice: Over 2 million people are currently incarcerated in either jails or prisons. The “War on Drugs” has locked of millions for mainly nonviolent offenses. The platform brushes on it, mentioning first-time nonviolent offenders of the law in general.

Part 6: America Resurgent

The Republican Party calls for confronting dangers, supporting troops and veterans, as well as standing by our allies. Another thing that the GOP is known for is high defense spending. Their rhetoric implies that our military is small is easily pushed over. However, our defense spending is far ahead of any other nation. Republicans claim that Obama is massively cutting defense spending which he is not. A subsection is titled “Honoring and Supporting Our Veterans: A Sacred Obligation”. The Department of Veterans Affairs, according to them need to be held accountable more often. Additionally, they complain about the mistreatment of veterans, but they have blocked several pro-veteran bills in Congress.

Israel: The Republican Party stands up for Israel as the United States ally in the Middle East region. In the platform, it states that similar values to America and is the only country in the region to have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Additionally, it states that America will continue to assist Israel to enhance its security against enemies in the Middle East. The Republican Party, as well as Israel, believe that Iran will try to bomb them and that the recent Iran Deal is a surefire way for that to happen. One alarming but not surprising thing is that the GOP denies is that Israel is an occupier of Palestine. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions(BDS) is a position that they, therefore oppose. They claim that it is anti-Semitic and “seeks to destroy Israel.” The thing is, it is a known fact that Israel is an occupier, and it is quite harsh.

Advancing Human Rights: The platform states that America is an exit for those living under tyrannical regimes. Again, it states that Radical Islamic Terrorism is an “existential threat to personal freedom and peace around the world.” The concern here is that Republicans(and to an extent, the Democrats) have long supported foreign policy initiatives that are catastrophic to the most vulnerable, thus violating human rights. The Human Rights Watch acknowledges that the U.S. has enacted national security measures such as mass surveillance programs that restrict the freedom of the press, assembly, and expression. A UN report in 2014 criticized the National Security Agency(NSA) for its mass surveillance and the United States’ overseas actions that violated human rights.

That is my Republican Party Platform breakdown. For the full Republican Party Platform, click here.

 

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

26 July 2016

Hello, again Insights.

A few days ago, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton named Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate. He was considered for a bid for Clinton’s VP selection and is less of a surprise than Trump’s selection of Mike Pence. Many still don’t know much about Kaine and what it means. Let’s break it down.

Tim Kaine Fast Facts:

Born: February 26, 1958 Age: 58

U.S. Senator from Virginia since 2013

Governor of Virginia from 2006-2010

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 2002-2006

Served on Richmond City Council from 1994-2001; Mayor from 1998-2001

Former Catholic Missionary

Full Kaine timeline.

In June, Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsed Hillary Clinton, upsetting many progressives. She and Bernie Sanders have very similar policy positions. However, if Clinton teamed up with Warren, she could court more of the progressive voters to vote for her. Unfortunately for them, Clinton chose a moderate Democrat in Tim Kaine. Let’s break down his stances on some of the issues.

Supports TPP and other free trade agreements plus fast track of TPP(conservative)

Supports Right-to-work measures (conservative)

Favors Gun Control(liberal)

Favors Women’s Reproductive Rights, during public service career. (liberal) Personally pro-life however.

Favors financial deregulation (conservative)

Pro-Immigration stance(liberal)

Kaine is liberal on some positions and conservative on others, equaling a moderate.

Warren is known for her career as a law professor and focused on bankruptcy and personal finance. She favors strong regulation on the banks and was instrumental in establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and was a special adviser. This position conflicts with Clinton because many of her  top campaign donors are major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase. As this is one of Warren’s strongest policy positions, the Clinton campaign felt that there would be a conflict between her and Warren and preferred a more moderate candidate who agrees more with her on the issues.

The 2016 election has been the year of the anti-establishment, and that’s why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump did so well. Democratic primary voters who backed Sanders recognized Hillary Clinton’s corruption, but many would vote for Clinton in the General Election vs. Trump, in which many of them are votes against him. The ideology difference between Clinton and Sanders is very wide, despite running for the same party’s nomination. Voters who are more progressive feel isolated without Sanders and a progressive like Warren had the possibility to bring more “party unity.” Many Sanders supporters, however, are Independents. The Clinton camp often says that she is entitled to Sanders voters and they’ll eventually “fall in line” to defeat Trump. Despite these remarks, Clinton actions don’t appear to be trying to court more progressive voters. Instead, Clinton has made attempts to get Jeb Bush donors to her side, and a SuperPAC called “Republicans For Hillary” was formed by a GOP donor named Craig Snyder. Trump’s unpredictability has disillusioned many establishment donors since they don’t know if he can be controlled or not.

An additional reason that Clinton chose Kaine is that he has numerous pro-establishment positions such as on free trade and financial deregulation. Clinton(and now) Kaine have come out in opposition to the latest free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) even though it was as recent as last week that Kaine spoke out in favor of the TPP. When Clinton was Secretary of State, she helped to start negotiations for TPP, and publicly came out 45 times in support.

There it is. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. I will have a similar post up soon detailing Trump and Mike Pence. My question for you is this: Does Kaine help or hurt Clinton?

What the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You(and why) Part 2

In my inaugural post, I talked about what the mainstream media won’t tell you. Since they’re all corporate owned, they’ll report on behalf of corporate interests. Today’s post will focus on fear-mongering by the MSM.

Part 1: The MSM’s fear-mongering agenda

The mainstream media frequently fearmongers, especially after terrorist attacks. Now that we’re in a presidential election, they’ll turn to them and their responses. They’ll be several guests who have experience in U.S. national security and attempt to make terrorism a bigger deal than it actually is. The thing is that terrorism is focused primarily on Islamic terrorism, specifically ISIL.

The Islamophobic Fearmongering Rhetoric

Part 2: What the MSM Won’t Tell You

The MSM has an obvious establishment bias. You hear the stories from them about ISIL attacks and how we need to get tough on terrorism. This is because defense contractors are part of the establishment. What they won’t tell you is the work that the U.S. military does. An example being, U.S. drone forces bomb in Syria, killing a top ISIL official. The background and gruesomeness and corruption did by the U.S. aren’t covered. It’s always they’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys. The media has to have sides and labels.

Take for example the Iraq war. The MSM beat the war drums trying to get the people on board with the war. As the media is corporate owned and works for interests, there are tie-ins with defense contractors who profit when there are wars. We seem to be at war constantly, and our defense spending is No. 1 in the world by a long shot. It’s no accident that this happens. The corporations work together to get what they want, not what ordinary citizens want.

Read More: American Weapons-Makers Profiting From War

Part 1

Part 3