Talking to political adversaries: Tips on reaching across the aisle

Reaching Across or Reaching Around?

With corrupted campaign finance and limited oversight and regulation over the intersections among government agencies (e.g., The White House and The Pentagon) and between government and private industry, big finance and media, one could easily argue that genuine ideological debate in America has taken a backseat to public-to-private reach-arounds masquerading as Republican-Democratic reaches across the aisle.

If the Republican and Democratic parties were mixed drinks, they would be glasses of corporatism with small shots of ideology.

Of course, whether the bartender was George Bush, Barack Obama, John Boehner, or Harry Reid, the patron would be led to believe that they had just bought a straight triple of their ideology of choice; likewise, they would be told that the reason that the other drink tastes so bad is because it is a straight triple of that other, yucky ideology. And almost none of the Senators, Congressmen and women and members of the mainstream media who would be the alcohol regulators at the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) in this metaphor would call any of these bartenders out on this, as they’ve been at the bar drinking for free since lunch time. They are typically too drunk and too hooked on the free drinks to do anything but uphold the lie. This often leads to the trusting patrons of The Establishment being unnecessarily divided. While Republican drinkers and Democratic drinkers do have different palates, they are often mislead into believing that the corporatist solvent in the other Party’s drink is the ideological shot, or solute.

Often times, it would appear that members of each drinking group don’t mind the qualities of the other group’s shot as much as they think; they’re just confusing it with the flat, tainted corporate coke that it has been deeply diluted in.

How do we get past this? Just drink shots. Continue reading

Cenk Uygur Vs. Fareed Zakaria on Progressive Dissatisfaction With Obama

In this clip from The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur responds to CNN‘s Fareed Zakaria. Zakaria criticize’s American liberals for their strong dissatisfaction with President Obama, saying among other things that they need to grow up, that they need to learn to appreciate compromise, and the like. Uygur responds by going on the offense and staying there, driving home strong points which, in my opinion, are hard to mount much of a rebuttal to.

What do you think?

Why Obama and Democrats are Less Trustworthy than Bush and Republicans

It might seem hyperbolic or facetious that a left-leaning blogger would argue that Obama and the Democrats are less trustworthy than Bush and the Republicans. Part of this impression can be done away by me immediately disabusing you of what your first impression may quite reasonably be: I am not saying that Bush or Republicans make better, more desirable leaders than Obama or the Dems. What I am arguing is that Republicans can generally be trusted more than Democrats to do what they say they are going to do. In a nutshell, the reason is that interests of the stakeholders and influencers of the Republican Party (i.e., voters, donors, lobbyists, and party elites) are far more aligned than those of the Democratic Party. As a result, it is far easier for Republicans to walk their talk than it is for Democrats. Continue reading

Is YouTube censoring comments about its advertisers? (UPDATED)

I made an alarming potential discovery today while watching The Young Turks on YouTube. Preceding the video I wished to view was an ad by a company called “Reputation.Com“, which specializes in polishing people and organization’s online footprint. If there is information on the web about you or your company that are embarrassing or that, for whatever reason, you wish not to be accessible to those who may look you up online, they will work to remove it from the Net, possibly replacing it with more favourable information. It’s online information and impression management. While this service can definitely offer many morally upstanding results, it can also offer the opposite. Hence, I attempted to post the following comment in the video comments section:

“Regarding the “Reputation.Com” ad preceding the video: that service will SO be used for dishonest, cynical purposes.”

I tried several times to post this comment, each time receiving the following message:Error, try again. Wanting to test whether there was a problem with YouTube commenting in general or with this particular type of comment, I attempted to post a few comments unrelated to the advertiser (e.g., “Testing” and “Romney is not to be trusted. Ever.”) Both went through without a hitch. I then tried my initial comment regarding Reputation.Com again two more times. Again, it was “Error, try again“.

Here is a screenshot of my efforts (my YouTube name is uoftron):

It would appear that YouTube is censoring comments about its advertisers.

How fitting it is that this discovery is made with regard to a company whose very service is about determining what sorts of views and information can be shared online about people and organizations in its trust.

But don’t trust me. Try it yourself. Go to YouTube and try posting comments on advertisements that immediately precede videos that you are trying to watch. Also try leaving comments unrelated to the ads. Do you get different results for the two types of comments?

Leave a comment below on your results. Don’t worry – I won’t pull a YouTube and censor your comments*.

* Privacy-invading comments excepted.

Here is the video in which I discovered this situation:


Some readers offered some potential alternative explanations, e.g., that YouTube has anti-spam comment blockers that block all comments containing weblinks. Consequently, I attempted to post comments containing various links or link-like features, including:

* Nike.Com


* .Com

All of these posts were completed successfully, while Reputation.Com continues to be blocked.

Is YouTube censoring comments about its advertisers? Sure looks like it.

The Conservative Party of Canada is like Nickelback…

YouTuber Laverty318 left the following comment in response to The Young Turks‘ video (below) on the Conservative Party’s majority win in this week’s Canadian Federal Election:

The Conservative Party is like Nickelback. I don’t know anybody who likes them, but they seem to be doing pretty well

Quite clever if you ask me.

On a tangential note, a few years ago I was surprised to discover that Nickelback apparently receives derision in the US in much the same way it receives it in Canada. I formerly thought that Canadians ripped on Nickelback primarily because Nickelback was so overplayed on the radio and MuchMusic, which I attributed in good part to CRTC (the Canadian Radio and Television Council) regulations requiring our major media outlets to carry a certain amount of Canadian content. Apparently there is more to disliking Nickelback than than just that, though I personally have never really had a problem with them and have liked a few of their songs.

As promised, here is The Young Turks on the recent Canadian election results. You may notice that host Cenk Uygur gets some of the numbers slightly off. Aside from that, his commentary is interesting. He discusses how the Conservatives continue to win elections not because a Canadian majority supports them, but because conservatives largely all vote for the Conservative Party, whereas Canadians to the left of the Conservative Party (who collectively form a majority) split their vote across four other parties: the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Green Party. He also explains why, despite its obvious imperfections, he ultimately prefers America’s 2-party system to 3+ party parliamentary systems.

Do you agree/disagree with Cenk’s opinions?

Huge Slant On The Young Turks

For a few years I have been a HUGE fan of The Young Turks, a progressive online news commentary program. However, in recent months my enthusiasm has abated significantly. The leading reason is a perceived one-sidedness in the show’s coverage of certain issues, most notably tax cuts for the wealthy. Continue reading

Bush’s Book: A Book on True Crimes

In the video below, Dave Koller talks about a new movement that he has taken part in, wherein participants take it upon themselves to move copies of George W. Bush’s new book on his presidency to the True Crimes section of the bookstore.

This brings to mind a practice of some “militant” atheists of moving copies of religious texts such as the Bible to the library or bookstore’s Fiction section…

I don’t care if he’s the President. He can use Skype.

There’s been much ado about the President Obama’s trip to India. Apparently some have been reporting that this trip is costing the US taxpayer $200 million a day. Well, I’m gonna go and assume that that is a grotesque exaggeration. In this video (below) of The Young Turks, guest host Ben Mankiewitz reports that a 5-country trip by Bill Clinton in 2000 cost about $37 million. Using this total cost as a comparison, the supposed $200M/day definitely sounds ludicrous. So this blog post definitely isn’t about complaining that Obama’s trip is costing hundreds of millions a day. This post is about saying that if this trip costs anymore than a few hundred thousand dollars – and it will – then the President – who ever it is at the time – should put down his suitcase and get on Skype like everyone else. Yes, I know that there are benefits to meeting in person rather than over the phone or video conferencing, but is that difference really worth millions of dollars? Cannot public leaders just acknowledge that they all have responsibilities to be prudent with their tax-paid dollars?

Absolutely ridiculous. So much could have been done with that money. Orrrr, it could have been returned to tax payers. . The US government has become far too untouchable to the people. This is absolute pigs-at-the-trough insanity.

Great Young Turks Segment On Democratic Party

In response to the Democrats taking a beating in the Midterm Elections, Cenk gave a great call to action against the Democratic Party establishment.

The Young Turks’ popularity and viewership just keeps growing. Yesterday they announced that Cenk will be hosting on MSNBC every weekday for at least an hour for the grand majority of November. Today they announced that in the month of October, TYT YouTube videos were viewed over 20 million times – a new monthly record. I hope he brings his A-game on MSNBC. He’s done great a bunch of times since the summer, but I think he came off more as a Big Media TV news commentator than as Cenk “Keep It Real” Uygur in his recent guest host appearance on Countdown, with Keith Olbermann away.