Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Kieran Reynolds, Gun Control

The NRA is one of the key groups campaigning against stricter gun control in the United States and is widely seen as one of the largest pressure groups in the United States. It claims that it aims to protect Americans constitutional right to bear arms. It has nearly four million members and is therefore very vocal. It also has a key political presence. It is believed that they possibly have influenced political appointments and decision making

The Coalition to control gun violence is a pressure group seeking to reduce gun violence and increase control over firearm ownership. THey plan to do this "though research, strategic involvement and effective policy advocacy. THey claim that it is too easy to purshase firearms and there needs to be strong checks. They are however a far smaller group than the NRA and have less political influence. I however believe their arguement has some weight behind it and this is supported by gun violence statistics in America.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Kieran REynolds, Tea Party video. Glenn Beck

Glen Beck is a key tea party activist working for Fox News. He is idolised by many tea party members and is a key member of their movement. This video is typical of many such rallies he has been involved in throughout the country. He attacks the medias stance on the tea party and the perception that the tea party is an extremist movement. He also focuses on tax rises and what he believes is "out of control government spending. He also claims that it has nothing to do with parties and that both the Democrats and Republicans both "suck" and spending has been out of control and that politicians have been lying to the people it is meant to serve.

This video is typical tea party propaganda and while Beck's performance is strong it must be viewed as that. It is however important and gives an idea that the tea party movement is strong and growing. This video was from 2009 and the tea party has grown a lot since then.

Gun Control

Gun Control

this first link is what i would consider a pro gun control website, this web page essentially picks apart the constitution and its relevance to today and how despite the bill of rights and the constitution being final god given rights, they are infact not absolute rights, the article makes reference to several ways in which freedom of speech is given up when it comes to liability and that all of these right have in someway or another contradictions.

this second article from a news site offers a balanced perspective for bot pro and anti gun control, the site is useful as it does not have a bias agenda it simply serves the perpose of informing people about current gun control measures, issues and particularly the two primary opposing party's positions on gun control at the present moment in time..

Gun Control

This website offers a balanced opinion of both Pro and Anti Gun control activists. At the beginning of the article it tells its audience that Pro gun control activists believe that it is essential as it curbs control on 'criminals, juveniles and "high risk"individuals'. These activists subsequantly realise that the only way that this can happen is by federal law. Within this group lie two different beliefs, the first is that law should be amended so that the prohibition of all firearms for all non police. However the other set of activists are less extreme and believe that their policies would not impede on the ownership of legitimate gun holders

Opposition to gun control argue that control burdens law abiding citizens and also denies them basic rights that are written in the constitution! This of course is the second amendment in which all Americans are guaranteed!

Also Anti gun control activist believe that with the wide spread sale of guns this therefore acts as a deter ant for crime and more importantly ternary, either by gangs of Government!!!!

Gun Control

Pro-Gun Control  

This is a link to a website called 'Brady Campaign Blog' which campaigns to prevent gun violence. Their mission statement is that they are devoted to creating an American free from gun violence, where all americans are safe at home, at school, at work and in our communities. The Brady Campaign works to pass and enforce sensible federal and state gun laws, regulations and public policies through grassroots activism, electing public officials who support common sense gun laws, and increasing public awareness of gun violence. The Brady centre works to reform the gun industry by enacting and enforcing sensible regulations to reduce gun violence, including regulations governing the gun industry. In addition they represent victims of gun violence in the courts, they educate the public about gun violence through litigation, grassroots mobalisation, and outreach to affected communities. They believe it should be made harder for convicted felons, the mentally ill, and others like them to get guns in the first place. They believe this can be done by passing laws such as requiring Brady criminal background checks on all gun sales; banning military-style assault weapons; and strengthening law enforcement efforts to stop the illegal gun market, like limiting the number of guns that can be bought at one time. 

Anti-Gun Control

This is a link to a website called 'Women Against Gun Control' which aims to gather women to join in the fight against gun control, It is a grassroots, volunteer organisation dedicated to preserving gun rights. It supports the statement "Guns SAVE lives. We do NOT support gun control. Gun control does NOT control crime!". The message the website gives is that guns give women a fighting chance and whether a woman is fit or not, a gun is the one thing that can equalise a man's strength.  It encourages and helps promote firearms instruction and gun safety training, with some of its members actually serving as instructors. Members are active in tracking and reporting on legislation at all levels of government which impacts on the right of gun ownership. It stresses how increasingly, the freedom to own, carry or use a gun in self-defense is, itself, under attack. The organisation stresses that women must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and it refers specifically to the second amendment.

Both websites put across their points confidently and convincingly, however, in terms of websites I would say the pro-gun control website is more convincing and professional and puts across its points in a more formal manner and therefore seems more legitimate. Also, it shows how it is trying to make a difference and the actions they are taking seem to be more rewarding.                

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

US Midterm Elections 2010 - Jack Conway, Kentucky Senate election

This campaign election message was made and authenticated by Jack Conway a democrat that was trying to win the seat in Kentucky. This seat was lost to Republican hands in the way of Rand Paul. Noticalbly in the campaign ad Conway never mentions any policies or promises to his constituants, the ad decideds to decend down the other route Slandering.

However Conway's ad is very unique as in the video it tells the audicance from the offset that Paul is a bad character, because of his counterparts actions at school. Amzingly the whole campaign video focuses souly on on epoint and does not differ from his point. The focus is on Paul's apparent worship in place of christianity in 'aqua budda'. These claims however cannot be backed up and are very irrelevant, this campaign was also one of he reasons Conway lost the election according to oppinion sources.

It is very important however to notice the significance of this campaign ad. Although unsucsesfull Conway drew on a very raw nerve sort of speak in regards to things all (most) Americans hold dear. Ofcourse this is religion, Conway tries to gain votes this way. So for example branding Paul as a minority and claiming that he replaces Christianity with a nonsense religion attempting to persuade traditional christian voters to vote for him. This is evidence as to how religion orriantated America is today.

Tea Party

This is a clip promoting the Tea Party and in particular Sarah Palin and her belief in the Tea Party. As the clip starts, the music comes in, it straight away gives the video that sense of happening and pride. The video consists of footage shot from various Tea Party rallys, along with a voice over of Sarah Palin describing the Tea Party and its beliefs. It shows images of people waving the american flag, standing together and against the two leading political partys and showing support for the Tea Party.  Sarah Palin goes on to say that "the sole of this movement is the people, everyday americans who grow our food and run our small businesses, teach our kids and fight our wars ", showing her support and the Tea Party belief in the real people, true americans that work hard to earn a living. She explains how the Tea Party is all about fighting for those real people that live regular lives and have regular jobs which the nation rely on, like teaching and running a small business as well as fighting our wars.

She goes on to say that "it is so inspiring to see real people, not politicos", the way she comes across is as if she herself is not a woman of politics but just a regular american, that she is the same as those at the Tea Party rally that she is speaking at. As she continues to talk, various images continue to run of Tea Party followers, flying their flags and holding up their signs against the two leading partys( the Democrats and Republicans). These images, along with Sarah Palin's voice over and the inspirational background music, give you that sense of hope, pride and honour. She then starts to talk about the Tea Party's core values, "come out, and stand out for common sense, conservative principles.", she speaks as if there is nothign else worth believing in and that she is proud to see such a turn out and happy to see many others who believe strongly in what the Tea Party stands for.

Finally it talks about government and the people, "who can argue a movement that is about the people, government is supposed to be working for the people, that is what this movement is about". This again emphasises the fact that the Tea Party is all for the people, fighting for their rights and are against the government. Sarah Palin ends the video by saying. "this party that we call the Tea Party is the future of politics and I am proud to get to be here today". This completes the video with that lingering sense of hope and what lies ahead, that the Tea Party can make a difference and stands for the people. It is the future. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Republican Candidate Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is the winning Florida senate candidate for the republican party and a clear member of the tea party. in this video Rubio is addressing the camera directly, the constant eye contact in the video makes it more personal to the viewer and as such more engaging.

Rubio mentions his children to great effect in this video and is clearly trying to present himself as an all American Family man and dad with the perfect nuclear family, the wife and 2.5 children. the video even goes so far as to show Rubio with his children. Using the family and children is a theme which is often played upon in campaign videos as it makes the candidate more relateable to the viewer and makes him seem more normal.

Another significant point to this video is the clear opposition to Barrack Obama without coming across to aggressive Rubio says "we need politicians who will stand up to Obama, not join him" this does two things, firstly it makes it clear that Rubio is firmly opposed to Obama and is prepared to oppose him and secondly it makes Obama appear as a negative character, someone who is manipulating republican candidates into joining him.

Finally Rubio appeals to his tea party voters by making reference to Washington and how "they just don't get it" this is clearly telling his audience that Rubio has not gone Washington yet and still plans to fight for the people in his constituency without being corrupted by Washington.

Christine O'Donnell video

Christine O'Donnell was a highly controversial Republican candidate for Delaware. in the recent midterm elections. She was supported by the tea party, a far right group who support a small state and small public spending. She is appears very personal and that she will go to Washington and represent her people rather than just her own or her parties interests. In the video immediately makes reference to the Witchcraft. She was caught on camera in 1999 admitting that she had dabbled in witchcraft. I think she made a mistake making reference to the incident however as it draws attention to pass controversies rather than her campaign itself. She ultimately lost to the Democrat candidate Chris Coons.

LGBT rights in the USA

While the USA is as a whole become far more Liberal to the idea of LGBT rights there is still plenty of opposition and homophobia. Therefore I have chosen the LGBT community as a group that could be described as "other". Some states have still not legalised gay marriage and there is still a strong lobby to increase the rights of Gay individuals and improve their lives. I looked at a website called the LGBT USA network. The website gives many news items displaying homophobia in the USA and offers support to those who need it. There is also plenty of positive news items about LGBT people. However sadly LGBT people are yet to be fully accepted into the mainstream in the USA.

Jim Rutledge Campaign 2010

I have chosen to look at Jim Rutledge, he was a candidate for the 2010 mid-term Senate elections, he ran as a Republican nomination to represent the state of Maryland. Although he did not win the election this November, I chose to look at his campaign video in particular because I thought his stance was the most interesting. His video starts off by saying that he grew up on a farm in Maryland, already representing that idea of the American Dream and making your own life for yourself. Then he goes on to say that he "persued his dream' of becoming an attorney and that he has his own law practice in a small 'cow town' which shows that he has made something of himself but he still lives in a small town in his home county. He also mentions that he has been married for twenty six years and has two children, this is the perfect image for a candidate, showing that he is dedicated to his family and family values, having been married for so long.

Already in the first forty seconds he has listed everything that he thinks makes him the perfect candidate, all the aspects of his life he feels the public can relate to. He then goes on to talk about why he is running, by briefly listing the issues he views most important at this time. For example, he lists about the expansion of federal government power, the nation's debt, unemployment and the threat to individual liberties. At this point the style of his campaign interview has remained the same, a simple outreach to the people, showing what he stands for and the issues he is most interested in looking at. However, the style of the interview changes when he suddenly talks about his competitor Barbara Mikulski, who has been senator of Maryland for thirty four years. He believes that is "too long for anyone" and goes on to say that he believes "the career politicians are ruining what has made American great and are going to destroy opportunities for regular folks all across the state of Maryland. That is why I'm running". By relating himself to what he calls 'the regular folks' he is perceiving himself as one of them, just a regular guy and not a politician. He believes that it is Barbara Mikulski that has created all the problems he lists over the last thirty four years and believes he can help fix the problem for the state of Maryland. He talks about how he has gone all over the state and spoken to the people asking about their concerns and listened to them, then he goes on to say how he proposes to fix these problems.

The campaign interview is very formal yet relaxed, the interviewer allows him to say why he is a suitable candidate and what he can do for the people of the state of Maryland. However, the interviewer does mention proposals made by another candidate and asks Jim Rutledge to show his views on the issue and what he proposes to do instead.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Please note that because we have had to juggle the weeks in the module schedule, week 7's task is as follows:

Find, post and comment on any recent US campaign video made by a candidate in the 2008 or 2010 elections. Your first choice should not be Obama or McCain - try to find a campaign video in support of a Senator or a Congressman. They do not have to be the winner, but make sure you know what the result was. Also make sure you comment both on its content and on its style.

If you don't know how to embed Youtube videos, now is the time to learn. If you look under any video you will see a bar which includes the word "Embed". Click on it and it will highlight a code which you can then copy and paste into your blog post. The video should then appear directly in your post - no link required. Try it.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Whites As Other?

The group i have chosen to research and blog about for people considered as 'other' in moder America is the idea that white people are now or soon to be a minority in America. With the ever increasing Hispanic population in America along with a steady increase of middle eastern immigration it is predicted that in the very near future white people will not be the majority in America.

The site i have chosen to analyse which discusses this issue is

This site for a magazine 'The Atlantic' goes into great detail about the rise of non white population in America and also makes reference to De Crevecoeur's 'What is an American' quoting "The Election of Barack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend: the gradual erosion of “whiteness” as the touchstone of what it means to be American. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, what will the new mainstream look like—and how will white Americans fit into it? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? And will a post-white America be less racially divided—or more so?"

This quotation fortunately placed at the head of the article sums up the ideas and beliefs the author and presumably this site has about the "End of White America." this site whilst expressing valid concerns and stating genuine statistics does have an element of racism incorporated into it, for example stating that the election of Obama marks the erosion of white dominance in America. the site also states that books such as 'The Rise of the Colored Empires' as essential reading and should be mandatory in schools, there are also quotations int he article such as “Colored migration is a universal peril, menacing every part of the white world.”

despite the racist overtones of the article genuine facts and statistics are stated and discussed for example the following is described as a genuine concern to white America, but the information discussed how in several years predominantly white cities and even states will be within 50 years majority Hispanic providing the Hispanic migration to the states continues. the source also states cities which already have no majority race. the article does try to balance the racist overtones with a positive view of immigration in the final sentence of the following quotation.

Today, largely because of immigration, there is no majority race in Hawaii or Houston or New York City. Within five years, there will be no majority race in our largest state, California. In a little more than 50 years, there will be no majority race in the United States. No other nation in history has gone through demographic change of this magnitude in so short a time ... [These immigrants] are energizing our culture and broadening our vision of the world. They are renewing our most basic values and reminding us all of what it truly means to be American.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Apprentice USA

For this section I have decided to cover The Apprentice USA as a WEbsite/Television show that is 'typically' American. The basic point to the show if for Donald Trump the Entrapenuer and Billionaire to hire an apprentice that will recieve a lucrutive job with a six figure salary at one of Trumps many multibillion establishments. The Apprentice is picked for 20 usually yound hungry candidates that have already been sucsessful in business, running or working in them. Usually all the candidates are confident, aggressive and most importantly cut throat, in regards to having no feelings towards any of their counterparts.

For me this is typical America. This show really typifies the ideology of American 'Capitalism'. Also all candidates must almost battle easch other almost go to war with the other hopefulls. This could be almost a reference for De Crevcouers 2nd letter where he claims " Here individuals are a new race of men, whos labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world" This can link woth modern day America in many ways, for example this statement is very accurate in a sense that America as a race of men has changed the world as we know it. For example the biggest business' in the world are all American run, the Richest people are predominantly American. And with with regards to the television show, all candidates show thier labour and prosperity by completing tasks set by Trump on a weekly basis to show their worth.

American Idol!

I have chosen the popular US television programme America Idol and its website as a contemporary example of something exceptional and typical within American culture. i have chosen American Idol as my example for 2 specific reason, the first being that the programme promotes the idea that anyone, from any background can become a pop star providing they have the talent and drive. i believe this to be significant as American Idol is a perfect example of what the modern American dream is and how reality TV shows are able to provide the American dream. The second reason i merely because of the shows title; American idol with particular reference to the idol part as through this TV show you can become an idol to Americans through spectacle.

i believe this show is directly to De Crevecoeur's letters as the show offers any man the opportunity to success in the same way De Crevecoeur felt simply being an American could. the quotation i have chosen which i feel is directly relevant to this example is "What a train of pleasing ideas this fair spectacle must suggest! it is a prospect which must inspire a good citizen with the most heartfelt pleasure. The difficulty consists in the manner of viewing so extensive a scene." i feel this quotation help express the relevance of American idol to De Crevecoeur's letter as a programme such as American idol does have the intention to inspire through the sheer spectacle of what the audience is seeing in the same way De Crevecoeur talks about seeing the new world.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Amish

Amish, also known as Amish Mennonite, church fellowships are christian religious dominations that form a very traditional subgrouping of Mennonite churches. The Amish are well known for their simple, back to basics lifestyle and reluctance to adopt modern convience. Their lifestyle is governed by order, however you cannot give a simple outline of their lives as each group is different.

Current active Amish groups are the Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches, split off from the old Order Amish in Pennsylvania. They are the most liberal Amish group, they meet in churches, use automobiles, tractors and electricity. There was reported to be 8,399 adult memebers in one hundred and thirty eight congregations, in 1996. Next is the Conservative Mennonite Conference, they use meeting houses, Sunday schools and english language services, they are loacted mainly in the mid west. Also there is the Evangelical Mennonite Church, originally known as the Egly Amish, they stress "regeneration, seperation and nonconformity to the world". In 1997, they were reported to have 4,348 adult members in thirty churches. Finally there is the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church, their congregations are very conservative. Transportation is by horse and buggy, men are required to grow beards, but mustaches are not allowed. Marraige outside the faith is forbidden, they meet in each other's homes every other sunday for worship. In 1995, there were around 30,000 adult members in the U.S and 900 in Canada. 

Approximatley, the current total of adult members of all Amish groups is about 180,000 across twenty two states. Their choice to be excluded from the rest of the society is that they are "god's own people", and not being "conformed to this world". As time has passed, pressure has been felt to conform to the ever growing society, however Amish are nonresistant and rarely defend themselves physically or in court. Some groups do get involved with society, for example by choosing to vote, however they are still outside the ideological  'norm' of mainstream America. They do not represent the modern, twenty first century view of America, they conform to a different, more old style set of values and beliefs. However, they do not harm anyone or American society, they simply choose to live their lives their own way and not conform to the "normal" view of America.