Tag Archives | Politics

Political Polarization & Media Habits

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Do you listen to NPR or watch the Colbert Report? You may be more liberal than the folks who watch MSNBC. Do you read “The Blaze”? You may be more conservative than those who watch Fox News.

via Pew Research:

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The project – part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America – looks at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. In all three areas, the study finds that those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other.

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What do Occupy and the Tea Party have in Common? More than you Might Think.

In an article entitled “The Six Principles of the New Populism (and the Establishment’s Nightmare)” Robert Reich outlines six points of agreement between “Occupy” leftists and the “Tea Party” right:

[Editor's note: We only took the first few sentences of each point, follow the link to read the entire article.]

1. Cut the biggest Wall Street banks down to a size where they’re no longer too big to fail. Left populists have been advocating this since the Street’s bailout now they’re being joined by populists on the right.

2. Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, separating investment from commercial banking and thereby preventing companies from gambling with their depositors’ money. Elizabeth Warren has introduced such legislation, and John McCain co-sponsored it. Tea Partiers are strongly supportive, and critical of establishment Republicans for not getting behind it.

3. End corporate welfare – including subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, big pharma, Wall Street, and the Ex-Im Bank.… Read the rest

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How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties

Anthony Kennedy official SCOTUS portrait crop.jpg

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ opinion.

Pay 2 Play politics has been the name of the electoral game in America since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Jim Rutenberg has a great essay in the New York Times Magazine showing just how bad things have become:

…Before 2002, parties could accept unlimited donations from individuals or groups (corporations, labor unions, etc.) so long as they devoted the funds — so-called “soft money” — to the amorphous act of “party building.” The McCain-Feingold law, as it came to be known, banned soft-money contributions, and it also prohibited political groups that operate outside the regulated system and its donation limits — like the Wylys and their Republicans for Clean Air — from running “issue ads” that appear to help or hurt a candidate close to an election. It implemented tough fines and even prison terms for those who illegally coordinated with the official campaigns.

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Pursuing Justice Through Filmmaking, Why we Create Beauty, Hot Dog Related Altercations

Via Midwest Real

Filmmakers Spencer Chumbley and Erik Ljung have shot for organizations like VICE and Al Jazeera. I caught up with the guys just before they debuted their film, The Death of Cory Stingley a the Milwaukee Film Festival. 

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Humans make things, we always have. But, we don’t just make, we create beauty. We pay attention to symmetry, form and detail. Why is that? Darwinian theory says it’s simply a form of “peacocking.” More specifically, our creative predispositions are merely “fitness signals.” For example, if you write a novel, create a moving peace of art, or compose a great song, it’s just a uniquely human way of showing off your intellect in hopes of attracting a mate, like a peacock with it’s innately douchey bouquet of feathers.

I fucking hate this idea.  

But, let’s be fair. It’s totally undeniable that ego and social elevation are often intertwined with creative accomplishments.Read the rest

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An Open Letter to My Democratic Spammer

Campaign signs, Santa Ana, 1926 by Orange County Archives via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

Campaign signs, Santa Ana, 1926 by Orange County Archives via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

Writing and covering politics, I pretty much end up on everyone’s campaign fundraising list during election season. No one ever asks, one day I simply get a new email that sounds similar to every other email screaming about how if no one donates money now the Koch brothers will own us forever or just a little more dough will make a huge difference to the campaign and “don’t you want to see real change in (insert city/state/country)?”

Sorry guys, just because I covered the time you showed up to a march somewhere or said something mildly interesting that had more substance than a 20 second talking point once doesn’t mean I want to open my barren wallet and give you the dust, lint and crumpled business cards inside. Forget about money, I’d much rather eat tonight and your fundraising dinner with the bag boiled vegetables and bland chicken is worth less than the frozen pizza in the back of the ice cabinet at the liquor store I’m surviving on.… Read the rest

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The Pay 2 Play Board Game, More Realistic Than Monopoly!

pay2play_DVD_CASE smallIn order to face any of our mounting problems, we need leaders who will listen to We The People, not just We The Wealthiest People. I set out to make a documentary about the obstacles to elected office, in hopes of encouraging reform and inspiring future candidates. I also wanted to present this in a way that could be fun, rather than depress the living crap out of folks.

Something about the game Monopoly seemed like the right metaphor for our priced-out political process–perhaps because the player with the most money wins, just like in almost all elections. But upon discovering its true origins as an educational folk game taken over by a corporation, I realized how appropriate Monopoly really is as a symbol for the corporate takeover of our democracy.

The original idea was to show all the hoops a candidate would have to go through running for office, like pointers for campaign reform.… Read the rest

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Politics of Social Media: Where You’re Likely to Find Conservatives and Liberals

via Mediaite:

Politically inactive conservatives generally populate Pinterest, while politically inactive liberals tend to use Instagram. Them’s the facts, according to new data revealed by audience measurement service Quantcast this month.

As the helpful chart below demonstrates, Facebook is the most politically balanced platform (likely because it has so many users), while the majority of social media “skew Democrat and [politically] inactive”:

Comparing-Social-Platforms1

A few other noticeable details:

1) Pinterest is the most conservative social media outlet, thus confirming existing stereotypes about the site being used by older, wealthy women from the midwest states.

2) Disqus is the most politically active social media outlet. Anyone surprised? It also skews conservative, which explains a lot. (But that’s also somewhat surprising, as we’ve noticed at Mediaite that articles about conservatives doing silly things tend to have lots of liberal comments, and vice versa.)

3) Twitter apparently leans the furthest left among all social media.

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Google Ditches ALEC

If you haven’t heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, generally referred to as ALEC, it’s a conservative group of American lawmakers who are trying to institute extreme right wing legislation throughout the states.

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They’ve been remarkably successful in persuading large corporations to back them, but first Micrsoft and now Google are distancing themselves, reports the Chicago Tribune:

Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and wind power, the company’s chairman said Monday.

The decision marks a major victory for a campaign by environmentalists, union activists and other liberal groups that have pushed companies to drop support for ALEC. Microsoft ended its ties to the group a few weeks ago.

“The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, referring to the initial decision to support ALEC.

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The Rise of the Barbarians and Why the United States Has Lost All Credibility

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.  Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

– Hermann Goering

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.Read the rest

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People Are Attracted to the Body Odor of Others with Similar Political Beliefs

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other’s body odor.

During the study, 146 participants rated the attractiveness of the body odor of unknown strong liberals and strong conservatives, without ever seeing the individuals whose smells they were evaluating.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” said Dr. Rose McDermott, lead author of the American Journal of Political Science study.

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