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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

To Vote or Not To Vote

With election right around the corner, we thought we would give you a little primer on your options come November 4. Since this is Massachusetts, and most of you that can vote are probably voting for Barrack Obama, we thought the best reader service we could provide would be to show you who else is out there. We gathered up four authors, some more anonymous than others, three trying to convince you to vote for their underdog candidate in the election (McCain is only an underdog in this state) and one questioning whether you should vote at all. Keep in mind when reading these that the Mass Media does not officially endorse any candidate in particular, and to avoid bias, none of the authors arguing for candidates are employees of the Mass Media. It’s all just food for thought, so chow down!

??? To Vote or Not To Vote ???This November when you vote you have two choices: Obama or McCain. Or so they want you to believe. In actuality you have two additional choices: voting for a third party candidate or abstaining from voting. Now let’s face it, voting for a third party candidate is throwing your vote away; none of the third party candidates are viable or even on the ballot nationwide. On the other hand not voting at all does not affect the outcome of the national election. How you may be wondering? Well it’s all thanks to the Electoral College.

The Electoral College for those not familiar with it are a group of electors made up of representatives from each state equal to the number of representatives that state has in congress, or to put it in plainer terms, the number of representatives the state has in the House of Representatives plus two for the Senate. Each elector has one vote, which they cast for the presidential candidate of their choice, and in most cases the electors have already pledged their vote before or when they were chosen. It is the votes cast by the Electoral College that select the next president, not the popular vote.

The popular vote is used by news stations to try and guess the outcome of the election before the Electoral College has cast their votes, meaning that while the popular vote shows who the country wants it does not dictate who the country gets. Essentially in the greater scheme your vote counts for diddly. Your vote may influence how the electors in your state vote, but most likely wont. Now some states are beginning to use a proportional system where the electors would be selected in proportion to the number of votes their party received (i.e. if the Democrats received 70% of the vote and the Republicans received 30% then 70% of the electors for the state would be from the Democratic Party and 30% from the Republican Party) this does give parties a chance in states where they are not a majority, such as the Republicans in Mass, where originally the party that received the majority of votes received all the electoral votes.

Remember just because you vote in the popular vote and your candidate wins, it doesn’t mean they’ll win the Electoral College. Let’s look at all the presidents who didn’t win a majority of the popular vote: John Quincy Adams, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland (Twice), Benjamin Harrison, Woodrow Wilson (Twice), Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton (Twice), and of course George W. Bush in 2000. Everyone just listed either did not win an absolute majority (they did not receive more then half the vote) or their opponent won either a plurality or an absolute majority of the popular vote. To put it simply if elections were decided by the popular vote rather then the Electoral College none of those people ever would have been president.

So before you vote in the presidential election this November, if you want your vote to count, join the Electoral College. Otherwise perhaps it’s time to overhaul the Presidential Elections so our votes count. Until that time, why vote?

Voting GreenBy The French ConnectionDo you think we can trust the greedy, myopic financiers who made this mess to do the right thing if we reinflate their banks with a trillion newly minted $US? Me neither and neither does Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate for president. Former Congresswoman McKinney is calling instead for a wholly new, socially managed financial system that would be owned by all of us as a public trust. She believes the purpose of credit is to not to generate billions in profits for speculators who produce absolutely nothing for the real economy, but to allow small business owners and ordinary citizens to live their lives and pursue their dreams. By comparison the tepid reforms of the two-faced Party in Power (I call them Repugnocrats) are just putting band-aids on a hemorrhaging wound.

Compare her approach to that of the Democrats-the ones who repealed Glass-Steagall in 1999 and helped bring on the deluge-and Barack Obama, who wants to get his wealthy Wall Street backers up and running as fast as possible. Sure, he’s a whole lot smarter and maybe more honest than the moron-in-chief, but is that enough? Do you hear him calling for any significant structural change?

It’s not just about financial reform. We’ve wasted two decades since the first warnings of climate change were sounded, and the disaster is approaching the point of no return. Barack and the Dems want to explore some alternative energy sources-and that’s an improvement over Drill, baby, drill or Nuke, baby, nuke-but who do you hear calling for a complete overhaul of our energy systems? The Greens, that’s who. That’s why they are Greens. But the Greens understand that it’s not a question of painfully reforming the depradations of the capitalist system one issue at a time. They know we don’t have time for that. And they understand the linkage between housing policies that leave people on the street, fiscal policies that erode their security, and energy practices that threaten the actual future of our species. These problems are signals that we need to reorient our whole political system to center it on the needs of ordinary human beings, here and around the world, and take it away from the power elites who have so egregiously abused the powers they have seized.

Underlying all the planks in the Green platform is one essential idea: transparent, participatory democracy. Greens operate through local committees open to all. They work by consensus, and they create no openings whatsoever for monied interests to buy their way in. In stark contrast to the faux populism of the major parties, which actually float, both of them, on a sea of special interest dollars, Greens are ordinary people, citizen politicians, working together to build a sustainable society.

Allow me to close on a personal note. I voted proudly for Ralph Nader in 2000. He made clear the destructive relationship between Big Money and major party politics, and was very clear at that time on the dangers of our speculative financial system. His running mate, Winona Laduke, spoke more movingly than any politician I ever heard about our essential relationship to our natural environment. For years afterwards I listened to the angry scapegoaters who claimed that Nader ‘lost’ the election for Gore, but that was nonsense. First of all, the election wasn’t lost, it was stolen. Second, it was close enough for Rove & Co. to steal it because Gore refused to tell the ‘inconvenient truths’ he knew as well an anyone, because his handlers insisted on a hug-the-center, don’t-rock-the-boat campaign. I like many things about Barack Obama, but those same handlers have turned his campaign into a weasly business of not alarming the complacent center. Our physical environment, our financial systems, our social fabric are in full-blooded crisis. It’s an emergency. McKinney and the Greens know this. The others don’t, or are afraid to say so. “Change” has been the mantra of both major parties in this campaign ever since their focus groups said it was a winner. But there is only one candidate in this race who is calling for the sorts of whole-hearted, ground-up, people-centered, damn-the-power-brokers change that will actually allow us to rebuild our collapsing social world, and that candidate is Cynthia McKinney.

Why You Should Vote Third Party On November 4thThis November when you vote you have two choices: Obama or McCain. Or so they want you to believe. In actuality you have two additional choices: voting for a third party candidate or abstaining from voting. Now let’s face it, voting for a third party candidate is throwing your vote away; none of the third party candidates are viable or even on the ballot nationwide. On the other hand not voting at all does not affect the outcome of the national election. How you may be wondering? Well it’s all thanks to the Electoral College.

The Electoral College for those not familiar with it are a group of electors made up of representatives from each state equal to the number of representatives that state has in congress, or to put it in plainer terms, the number of representatives the state has in the House of Representatives plus two for the Senate. Each elector has one vote, which they cast for the presidential candidate of their choice, and in most cases the electors have already pledged their vote before or when they were chosen. It is the votes cast by the Electoral College that select the next president, not the popular vote.

The popular vote is used by news stations to try and guess the outcome of the election before the Electoral College has cast their votes, meaning that while the popular vote shows who the country wants it does not dictate who the country gets. Essentially in the greater scheme your vote counts for diddly. Your vote may influence how the electors in your state vote, but most likely wont. Now some states are beginning to use a proportional system where the electors would be selected in proportion to the number of votes their party received (i.e. if the Democrats received 70% of the vote and the Republicans received 30% then 70% of the electors for the state would be from the Democratic Party and 30% from the Republican Party) this does give parties a chance in states where they are not a majority, such as the Republicans in Mass, where originally the party that received the majority of votes received all the electoral votes.

Remember just because you vote in the popular vote and your candidate wins, it doesn’t mean they’ll win the Electoral College. Let’s look at all the presidents who didn’t win a majority of the popular vote: John Quincy Adams, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland (Twice), Benjamin Harrison, Woodrow Wilson (Twice), Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton (Twice), and of course George W. Bush in 2000. Everyone just listed either did not win an absolute majority (they did not receive more then half the vote) or their opponent won either a plurality or an absolute majority of the popular vote. To put it simply if elections were decided by the popular vote rather then the Electoral College none of those people ever would have been president.

So before you vote in the presidential election this November, if you want your vote to count, join the Electoral College. Otherwise perhaps it’s time to overhaul the Presidential Elections so our votes count. Until that time, why vote?

A Vote for McCainBy Mike FarragamoBefore I explain why I am voting for McCain this November, I ask you to get educated about the candidates. Ignorance seizes the thought process of Americans before Presidential voting, so before you allow anyone to sway your opinion, form your own. Learn about each candidate, and make a thoughtful decision.

My friends, when I was asked to write a column with a pro-McCain stance, I figured it would be easy. It wasn’t. I disliked his affiliation with the Gang of 14, wherein seven Republicans compromised with seven Democrats over the Senate voting process for judicial appointments. I disliked the McCain-Feingold bill, which is a campaign finance law aimed at reducing “soft money” in American politics, which suppresses free speech. And McCain-Kennedy, which would have provided amnesty for illegal immigrants by dodging legal ways of becoming a naturalized citizen, disregarding millions of people that became citizens properly. McCain-Lieberman attempted to create a cap and trade system addressing “global warming” that would curtail the country’s economy. Although I was not satisfied with McCain winning the nomination, he is the nominee, so I’ll do what I can to support him.

Regarding health care, McCain wants to provide a $5000 tax credit per family, $2500 per individual, to offset health insurance costs. This allows people to choose their coverage without government imposition. He also advocates health insurance that can travel though the labor market. No switching doctors and plans if you switch jobs. He supports interstate competition in the health care market.

In education, McCain supports school choice, because families should be able to send their children to better schools in other districts or private and charter schools. Vouchers to offset the costs of these schools to families that cannot afford tuition is a great tool. He wants merit-based pay to provide bonuses to teachers that are successful in helping their students. He supports providing preschool to all children. He supports making changes to No Child Left Behind by having the school districts and principals direct the funding, instead of politicians. I am a supporter of school choice, and using vouchers to help people achieve that choice.

Regarding energy, McCain has changed his position from opposing offshore drilling to supporting it, though he still opposes drilling in the lifeless region of ANWR. He supports clean energy: nuclear, solar, and wind. He supports a cap and trade system on carbon (which I find ridiculous), and proposes funding firms to create new energy ideas. I agree with using clean energy to supplement our domestic energy policy.

With immigration, McCain will provide border security by funding more agents and barriers. I suggest prosecuting employers that exploit illegal immigrants for labor. He will see that immigrants with advanced skills are allowed to live and work here; we should protect immigrants that are properly trying to obtain their green cards by having undocumented immigrants wait their turn. America can be home to anybody in the world, but it must be done the right way. My family had to go through the proper channels, along with millions of others.

Judicially, I agree with McCain’s decision to appoint prudent judges that abide by the law. He promises to appoint judges like John Roberts and Sam Alito, to ensure conservative support. He supports Second Amendment rights and background checks for firearms.

McCain’s foreign policy expertise is vast. As we know, he served in the Navy and on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He understands the threat posed by nuclear Iran and North Korea. He stands against Russia’s attack of Georgia and advocates kicking Russia out of the G-8 and having Georgia and Ukraine become members of NATO. I believe we cannot afford to have a President learning the ropes regarding foreign affairs.

Regarding the housing crisis, McCain supported the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which would have addressed the current problems of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by regulating their holdings and structure. McCain has a plan called HOME, whereby the government would have purchased mortgages in trouble,

hen refinanced them at their current value, which would have reduced payments for homeowners. I despise this plan, because it is a second bailout.

As regards taxes and the economy, I believe in McCain’s intentions to preserve the Bush tax cuts. In tough economies, raising taxes will only hurt us. Small companies, like mine, need investors to provide financial capital for operation. Taxes on the higher income and capital gains takes investor money and gives it to the government, while small businesses are left struggling looking for funding. History has shown rebates and windfall taxes do not work in stimulating the economy. McCain will lower the corporate tax rate and attract investments in America. Our 35% corporate tax rate has led companies to relocate elsewhere, because it allows them to reinvest their income in the company. He will negotiate trade agreements with countries that open their markets to our products without huge tariffs. Finally, reducing wasteful spending will make government more efficient; McCain is known for avoiding pork barrel spending and earmarking.

My priorities and beliefs are more comparable to McCain’s than Obama’s. I plan to vote for Senator McCain because I believe he will do a better job as President.