Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Republicans afraid to commit to 2012?

Republicans seem to be dragging their feet to declare a 2012 presidency campaign against Barack Obama. Obama formally announced his plans to run for reelection at the beginning of April. However, many of the big names for GOP potentials are still testing the waters.

Obama’s campaign is speculated by The Washington Post to become the first billion dollar presidential campaign in history. As of now, the list of his confirmed opposing candidates is measly: Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico; Fred Karger, political consultant and gay rights activist; Tom Miller, a career flight attendant; and Vern Wuensche, businessman.

Where’s attention mogul Donald Trump? What about 2008 veterans Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney? These so-called GOP stars are among the long list of figures hesitant to officially announce intention to run.

Potentially even more striking is the list of Republicans who have outright turned down the 2012 ballot. Some of these big names include governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour, South Dakota senator John Thune, governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, former governor of Florida Jeb Bush and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.

The New York Times identified several reasons why the response has been so timid. These include financial burdens, the economy status and internal struggles from the Tea Party movement. This powerful position is one that comes with heavy responsibilities and commitments.

One of the factors that may be discouraging candidates is the gaping lack of privacy, which has been prevalent in the Trump stunts to have Obama’s birth certificate publicized, leading to Trump’s agreement to release his tax returns. What’s next, college transcripts? Oh, wait …

It appears that the Republican party is not just shy, it’s in trouble. According to a New York Times/CBS poll, almost 60 percent of surveyed Republicans can name a potential candidate they are enthusiastic about. Out of the top contenders, only Huckabee and Sarah Palin are viewed favorably by more than half of Republican voters.

So, maybe it is the finances and media spotlights that’s keeping the Republicans out of the ring. Or, perhaps it’s because none of them have a strong chance. So far it seems like the American people aren’t too impressed by the potential competitors. That feedback just might be what’s holding these politicians back from devoting their time and money into a campaign.

Kirstin Cook
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2013

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Liberty or Death: The need for FISA

Devoni Novak
It was recently decided that a lawsuit against a Federal Government eavesdropping law will return back to courts. President Bush set the program in motion back in 2008 to allow intelligence agencies the right to wiretap into international communication. The American Civil Liberties Union along with other organizations declared the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional as a violation of the 4th amendment.
I have to disagree with the American Civil Liberties Union. The government established this law to keep American citizens safe from terrorists. If they have nothing to hide then what is the American Civil Liberties Union worried about? Being involved in the war in the Middle East, not to mention the devastation the country faced on 9/11 (which is the event that caused President Bush to declare war) makes stronger national security necessary.
The FISA Amendment Act does not violate the fourth amendment. Enforcement of this act does not compromise that right to America’s citizens. Only those suspected of being associated with plotting a terrorist attack will be subject to communication spying. If one is innocent then they need not be concerned. They should remember the government serves primarily as a protector not a prosecutor.
When the lawsuit was initially filed, it was thrown out. A Manhattan district judge who received the case did so on the grounds that the plaintiff could not prove they had been violated in anyway. There was no substantial proof that the plaintiff had been eavesdropped on. Therefore, the Manhattan judge felt they did not have legal reason to sue. However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals did not agree with that reasoning and decided to allow the case to continue.
Many of those who are opposed to this law are lawyers and journalists who converse with people who resided outside of the country. Because they communicate with foreigners, these groups fear they would be subject to government eavesdropping and accused of being terrorists.
Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union stated, “I have always thought that we had a very strong argument. The new law allows the government to engage in dragnet surveillances of Americas’ communication, and it makes the fourth amendment altogether irrelevant.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Obama plans to cut wasteful spending, starting an unnecessary war

President Obama’s recent decisions have sparked controversy around the world.

He believes that we should continue to cut wasteful spending. However, after a few weeks after making that statement, he decided to intervene in Libya, to prevent a slaughter of civilians that would forever haunt everyone and if we did not intervene, we would “betray who we are.”
But is that who we are? After trying day after day to successfully pull out of the two wars we are already involved in, President Obama decided to create his own; one that was not necessary in the least bit for the United States. What will the taxpayers have to pay this time? How responsible should we be held? How much will our intervention cost?  

We need to be unified as a country and we cannot use our military as a solution to the world’s problems. There will naturally be conflict and I do not think that President Obama had the right to decide to bomb Libya so quickly, without much discussion to the American public or Congress. His constant response is that it was the U.S’s moral obligation and responsibility.

In fact, there had been little to no discussion about it. He did not consult Congress prior to his actions. In 2007, Obama was asked in an interview if the president would have the authority to bomb [Iran] without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress, and his response was “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Then what happened?

He also has no plan to ask Congress to fund his war. Yes, it is technically legal and he can do as he pleases, but the country does not need any more debt. The United States is a democratic country, not an oligarchy to the world.

In a recent speech at the National Defense University, he calls himself the “commander-in-chief” and not just President. Had we been in a better position economically, his decision could have been rationalized, but still needed to be thought out.

He sees everything as a competition for America. Sure, it would be great if we were number one in everything, but the truth is that we fell behind and we need to get back on track. He needs to better our economy because he wants to, not solely to up our status as a country. We can’t plan the future without fixing the present.

Obama came in to office two years ago, with an annual deficit of $1.3 trillion and a projected deficit of more than $8 trillion. It costs $40,000 a day for every American soldier fighting in Libya.  His budget is even more alarming.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzes presidents’ budgets and compares them to numbers to what the statistics actually turn out to be. The CBO found that the proposed White House budget, if enacted, will add $9.5 trillion to the national debt, not Obama’s stated $7.2 trillion.

Obama’s optimistic façade to invest in our future should not be overlooked. We can’t keep cutting programs to “save” money, only to see an increase and not a decrease in our national debt. We’ll end up reluctantly dragging ourselves into the future, in economic shambles.

On day one of the Libya air strikes, the launch of 100 tomahawk missiles totaled somewhere from $112-168 million.  The national debt continues to rise with no end in sight.

Amanda Leonard
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2013

Burkean Alalysis: Obama’s Speech on Education-Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, VA

On March 14, 2011 President Obama visited Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Virginia to deliver a speech on education, budgetary constraints and the refinement of the No Child Left Behind policy.  He delivered the speech in the gymnasium of Kenmore Middle School.  In the audience were students of the school, seated directly to the side of the stage, along with school board members, teachers and administrators at Kenmore.

The act was motivated by the talks of budget cuts.  President Obama wanted to ensure the nation that while he is working to freeze spending and help decrease the deficit, that education is a top priority and should not be cut.  President Obama used descriptive and active language throughout the speech while naming some examples of improvements that are being made in the nation’s schools and some of the direct results from these changes.             

The scene for President Obama’s speech was very appropriate because it was consistent with the message being delivered.  Because the President was speaking on education, he delivered the remarks in a public school.  The setting added authenticity and credibility to the speech and showed that President Obama took the opportunity to spend time in the classroom and see first-hand America’s students in action. 

As President of the United States, Obama’s opinion is respected and the country looks to him for guidance and as an ultimate leader.  To have this strong agent deliver this particular speech was very effective.  It is encouraging to know that the President of the country values education.  It is promising to hear his plans for the improvement of the education system that will ultimately benefit our society as a whole.
There must be a connection between the message and its effect.  In this speech there was an immediate effect on the audience in the gymnasium at Kenmore Middle School.  Judging from the audience’s applause at certain intervals, they approved of President Obama’s statements.  They most likely felt encouraged and uplifted directly following the speech.
President Obama strived to make it clear that education is extremely valuable and needs more attention paid to it, not more money taken away from it. 

The agent acted to call attention to the refinement of the No Child Left Behind Policy and the overall issue of education in the United States.  He used the speech as a pep rally to encourage teachers and administrators to strive for greatness and work each and every day to help students improve and reach their goals.  It was important that he again used the reference “nation builders” to describe teachers.

The act had an influence on the scene.  Because the topic of the speech was education, the speech was delivered in a school.  Also, the agent had a direct impact on the agency.  President Obama is a strong agent so it certainly shaped the way the speech was delivered and the effect it had on the audience present and the audience listening.  Those are two main connections that can me made with Kenneth Burke’s pentad.  Overall, the speech was effective and President Obama continues to act as a strong agent.  He worked to make the speech relatable not only to citizens of the country, but students of all ages.

Lindsay Behrenshausen
Wilkes University 2011
Communication Studies

Sunday, April 3, 2011

King of Comb-Over runs for President of U.S.?

          The Republican Party is a little worried. So far, there doesn’t appear to be any solid candidate or power duo set up for the campaign trail. With the country split in two and the Democratic Party suffering from severe popularity issues, America needs a hero. And that hero is (drum roll, please) … Donald Trump! Wait a second; am I missing something here?

          Trump, a.k.a. the prototypical old, rich, white man, has considered giving his enormously successful reign as a realty mogul a break to run in the 2012 Presidential Elections. As farfetched as it may seem, Facebook pages and other internet fan pages are already popping up in support of Trump. Many are arguing that a man such as Trump, with his extensive business history and ability to dig himself out of financial holes, could be exactly the man America needs to figure out this financial crisis.

          Trump himself argues the same point. He has also spoken on live television shows demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate, and hinting that it may say that he is a Muslim. Whether Trump is being serious or trying to get media attention isn’t known. Needless to say, extreme statements get extreme attention, which may be Trump’s underlying motive.

          Trump pulled similar stunts in the 1988 and 2000 Presidential Elections. In both of those cases, he released books around the same time that he announced he was considering candidacy. Both books sold very well. More recently, Trump’s show “Celebrity Apprentice” has done exceptionally well in the ratings, leaving some to wonder if this whole “president” game of his isn’t just an attempt at shameless self-promotion.

          So, will Trump be running for President? Will he be the man to dig our country out of this deep financial hole? Will “Wear Your Hair like Trump Day” be a national holiday in years to come? Chances are – no, but then again, the world is supposed to end in 2012…