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You Call That A Debate?

Dana Siegel

Editor-in-Chief By the time you read this the debate will be history. As I write this on October 18th, we’re all looking forward to the third and final Presidential debate next Monday. I know we will all be watching because we recognize our civic responsibility to be informed, we’re fascinated and intellectually captivated by the national political process, and our history teachers have assigned it as homework and threatened “there will be a test”! This debate is being hyped as though it was a heavyweight championship fight: “The Thrilla in Manila” or “The Rumble in the Jungle”. How about, “Let’s get it on in Boca Raton”! The truth is, this fiasco should probably be called the “The Joker in Boca”! There are lots of cliches affirming that things don’t change much, i.e., a leopard doesn’t change its spots, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, there’s nothing new

under the sun, and plus ca change, plus ca meme chose ( I threw that last one in just in case a college admissions director is reading this editorial). Okay, back to the debate. We’ve learned that the moderator is a key figure in this process. Last week we had Candy Crowley. To begin with, Candy is not a name for a serious news person. The name Candy conjures up the image of a Vegas pole dancer and Candy Crowley is no Candy. Names are important in maintaining a certain gravitas necessary for certain situations. Don’t believe it? Try to imagine Secretary of State Trixie Clinton or CNN News Anchor Skippy Blitzer. The moderator Monday will be Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Typical of today’s media, Bob will be a model of impartiality except for the occasional minor slip when he leaps to his feet screaming “RIGHT ON! MY MAN! after Obama’s responses or when he mutters “BULL$%&#” with a head-shaking dismissive wave of his hand to

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Romney’s answers. We may get another window into Schiffer’s political leanings as he refers to Obama as Mr. President and to Governor Romney as the Fat Cat Businessman. One thing is certain, nothing of any substance will be debated or discussed. If immigration comes up as a security issue, both men will tiptoe diplomatically around the controversy in order to avoid offending Latino voters. It will sound as though the serious problem is Canadians smuggling

hockey pucks across Lake Superior. One positive outcome of the evening will be that for the first time in two hundred years more than ten Americans will be aware of the existence of a place called Benghazi. Obama and Romney will not agree about a single detail of the tragedy that occurred at the Consulate, including the spelling and pronunciation of the city’s name. Each will accuse the other of lying and we viewers will be treated to an exhibition of more finger pointing


Dana Siegel

You Call That A Debate? Continued

Editor-in-Chief Honey Boo-Boo’s mama in a doughnut shop (or a cheesecake factory or a fried pie store, take your pick). The debate will end with three time honored rituals: first, a few inane questions from the specially selected members of the live audience. An unkempt, inarticulate, disheveled, whiney-voiced young woman will be led to the microphone to ask what each candidate will do to assure the availability of a good job when she graduates. Obviously, this gal should be making these inquiries at a charm school not a presidential conference but Mitt and Barak will each drone some serious platitudes. Next some older guy will raise his hand and ask a question regarding Israel. He will have no interest in the answer, but merely wants to demonstrate his perfect pronunciation of the names Bibi Netanyahu and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Second,come the focus groups. Each network and cable news outlet will have their uniquely qualified demographic sample. CNN, for example, might have a blue-room filled with Armenian women who can’t cook. NBC might counter with their own troop of Italian-Americans who have recently quit smoking. And FOX relies on an auditorium filled with DAR members flaunting their high school equivalency diplomas. Third (and my favorite part of the evening) is the network talking heads who explain to us, as though we are imbeciles, exactly what we’ve been watching for ninty minutes. You get the idea, it will be an evening filled with worthless insights, guaranteed to increase our cynicism about American politics, and our free press. So, did I get it right?

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Link To view the complete and official Pro Voice, go to http://socal.jsa. org/pro-voice Since The Pro Voice is formated as a WordPress publication, I consolidated some of my articles; highlighting my writing as well as my digital media and design skill. Or click right to continue


Dana Siegel

Honest Journalism Is Dead and Gone

Editor-in-Chief Have you been watching the news this election season? Not just the cable news, but the network programing as well. It really isn’t news anymore. There is a new name for it, infotainment. Under the guise of offering the public “news” and “data”, we’re being entertained by these “news services”. A few years ago, the news divisions of the major broadcasters prided themselves on their impartiality and integrity. Today, for the most part, there isn’t even a pretense of being neutral in this hotly contested presidential election season. If you’re watching CNBC, apparently a demigod is running for president, Barack Obama, a wonderful man without a discernable fault. To hear them tell it, America’s savior is up for reelection this November on the Democratic ticket and the satanic, demonic, half-crazed Republicans are trying to keep this knight in shining armor out of his rightful

office.

Luckily, keeping things “fair” and “balanced”, Fox News is able to clear things up for us. Turns out, Sir Barack is not a courageous paladin after all, but verges on being a hard-core commie, determined to redistribute America’s wealth at the expense of a successful business and financial community. He’s just one law away from turning this great nation into the USSR or Red China. Fortunately, FOX informs us that the Republican contender, Mitt Romney, the reincarnation of all of our founding fathers combined, is luckily available to step in and save the day. There is no disputing it; the media is biased. Whether you’re watching CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, or FOX, reading the New York or Los Angeles Times, or listening to Rush Limbaugh and his fellow radio gurus; you’re going to get a slanted and sometimes corrupted version of the news. Of course as humans we all have opinions and preferences, but a reporter or journalist has a duty to report the facts and

only the facts, unless they are writing what is clearly designated as an opinion piece. Giving a skewed and manipulated account of an event directly influences viewers’ opinions. The news media must be more responsible than to slant the news to fit their personal beliefs. In the 1950s and 1960s the journalists, correspondents, and news anchors sublimated their own opinions in the greater interest of keeping the public informed with facts and straightforward news. It’s a necessary element of good reporting. It’s not the job of an informant to display his or her own, or their employer’s, ideological and political agenda. Beginning in the 2008 presidential election and continuing into the 2012 race, the media’s beliefs have been blatantly obvious. Obama has been portrayed as the messiah. In fact, he’s almost always shown in some religiously heroic pose with a halo around his head, looking up towards the heavens. Romney has few cheerleaders. The news outlets love to point out horrible mis-

takes he’s made, his robotic nature, and his inability to relate to the average American. There is no place for cheerleading in news reporting. It’s so pervasive that it’s not clear how it will change in the future. So how can America change this negative, unproductive practice? Our best hope might be a public backlash against this irresponsible journalism. It’s time the American media took some notes from BBC. With the exception of their opinions of the war in Iraq, they’ve remained neutral and informative on an international level. The Associated Press also releases unbiased reports to those that want unfiltered truths in their news briefs. Even Al-Jazeera, an Arabic news network, makes an attempt to report the news with some objectivity, in spite of their self-professed pro-Islamic leanings. Traditionally, networks separated their news and entertainment divisions, it was a good policy and it’s time to reinstate it. News should be informative not entertaining at the expense of objectivity and truth.


2012: The Year of The Lemming and The Fiscal Cliff Dana Siegel

Editor-in-Chief As the end of the year approaches, the mysterious fiscal cliff looms large. You know, the fiscal cliff, that one political thing which if not solved by the end of the year will plummet our nation into economic turmoil. Fiscal cliff sounds innocent, but in fact it’s the popular term describing the problems the US government will face at midnight December 31st, 2012. Taxes will automatically go up on businesses and individuals and deep spending cuts will go into effect. Over one thousand government programs including the defense budget and Medicare will be subject to automatic slashing. What are our brilliant Congress and intrepid President doing about it? They are playing a stubborn and childish game of chicken and the victim will be the economy of the United States. Our government is marching to the edge of the financial abyss. It may be time to

change America’s national symbol from the fierce bald eagle to the submissive, suicidal lemming. In spite of warnings, danger signals, and blaring alarms Congress continues its intransigent behavior and the White House digs in its heels, avoiding any serious negotiations regarding the vital issues of taxes and entitlements. As we draw closer and closer to zero hour with no solutions in sight, it seems likely that America will, at least briefly, go over “the fiscal cliff ”. In time, reality and political pressures may force a solution but there is a real risk that even a brief fall over the

cliff could frighten financial markets, sap business and consumer confidence, and boomerang the economy back into recession. There’s plenty of blame to go around for Republicans and Democrats alike, but the general wisdom is that Republicans will be blamed in a worstcase scenario. Avoiding this financial collapse is in everyone’s best interest and there is an obvious compromise which will get us to a solution. It involves increasing revenues (taxes, mostly on higher income earners) and decreasing spending across all aspects of the federal budget. Both sides will

have to give some ground. There probably will never be an easier and more practical time to reach an agreement than right now. Our nation needs a leader who’s a pragmatist. A man or woman who can put forth the framework of a workable deal; someone who can put aside and cut through the baloney and hot air that’s flowing between President Obama and Congress. Sensible voices have to make themselves heard, insisting our government shape a compromise that is a “win” for both sides and for the country. C’mon Mr. Boehner, stop listening to those right-wing reactionaries and be reasonable or you’ll really have something to cry about. C’mon Mr. President, this is no time for b-ball and home-made brewki. You and the congressional leaders have to lock yourselves in that Oval Office, get down to some serious, practical, and result-driven negotiation and do the work the tax payers are paying you for.


No ID? No Problem! Come In and Vote Anyway

Dana Siegel

Editor-in-Chief Why is the issue of voter identification so controversial? You can’t go to the movies without showing the box office your driver’s license. You can’t take the SAT or ACT without two forms of matching identification. You can’t board a plane without taking out your passport. You can’t attend school concerts or sporting events without ID. You can’t even enter one of our school dances without your photo identification card. Considering how we have to show proof of identity for these activities, some of them obviously trivial, how can so much controversy and argument swirl around the simple requirement that every voter show verification of identity before exercising his or her constitutional right to vote? It has become one of this election season’s political footballs, argued as a two sided issue. However, it seems like common sense to have to show proof of citizenship to be able to

vote. Only twenty-seven out of fifty states require ID, and out of those twenty-seven only four require that that ID contain a picture. California requires neither photo nor non-photo identification. Our state, which has the most Electoral College votes, 20 more than the next highest state, does not carefully monitor who is voting in elections. Mighty California, the most populous and arguably the most influential state in the union has almost no oversight and little control at the ballot box. What could possibly be wrong with that? Ah, yes, the potential

for numerous variations of voter fraud. Fraudulent voting is a long-standing, time honored, American tradition. It’s well known that it occurred with regularity during the Tammany Hall controlled 19th century. It has been suspected in the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 Presidential Election where there was a suspicion that the ballot boxes were stuffed in Illinois at the direction of the mob controlled union interest groups. Illegal voting may well have won Kennedy the Presidential votes he needed in that remarkably close election.

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Everything from casting votes of deceased citizens and voting under the age of eighteen to non-citizens participating in elections and multiple voting by individuals takes place as a result of little monitoring and regulation. Another problem with voter fraud is the difficulty in tracking it. If done right, it’s undetectable and as a result the statistics for fraudulent voting are inaccurately low. All of this occurs as a result of the lax voting ID requirements. Americans should proudly carry photo identification as a symbol of the right to vote in an honest and fair election process. There should be a federal law mandating photo voter ID and as a result, the government could make proper identification easily accessible and available to anyone who enters the voting booth for local, state, and federal elections. It’s one thing to sneak into an R-rated movie, it’s an entirely different and much more serious offense to slip your way into illegal participation in an election.


Chapter of The Issue: Santiago HS in Corona, CA Dana Siegel

Editor-in-Chief Santiago’s JSA is passionate and powerful. It started in 2009 with just seven students and has grown to a membership of one hundred and eighty. With one of the largest and most active groups in our region, this chapter inspires its members to take a more active role in the political world. Santiago prides itself on its balance of hosting classic debates and its integration into our new-age cyber world, taking advantage of YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to connect with its members and JSAers across the country. President Anthony McKelroy, Vice President Shaun Flood, and their cabinet members (in either the debate, fundraising, expansion, media production, or fun department) have turned their chapter into a vibrant, engaging magnet for their school’s intellectuals. Even since McKelroy was “bitten by the debate bug and caught

From the left: Francis Juloya, Miranda Vargas, Anthony McKelroy, Shaun Flood, Melissa Vargas, Udaibir Virk

JSA fever” he has been determined to make others as enthusiastic and interested in the Junior State as he is. Santiago debates everything from gun control to steroid use in sports, featuring thought-provoking topics to keep students coming back for more debating. There is never a dull moment during one of their meetings. Everyone’s hands are up waiting to be called on and there is an excited buzz while students exchange persuasive arguments. Flood noted that they “get worried if less than fifty students show up”. A year ago, McKelroy had a brilliant idea for showcasing the talented minds of his fellow JSAers. He created a Youtube

channel (TheSantiagoJSA) and began filming his club’s debates, editing the footage, posting it on YouTube, and sharing the link with everyone at his school. He brought his chapter into the 21st century without compromising the customary elements of JSA debate. Since the implementation of videotaping and video sharing, other chapters have adopted this style of publicity for their clubs. Santiago JSAers are always active members at conferences. They are reliable and articulate moderators and speakers, always crowd-pleasers. Flood loves the wonderful “characters” and the witty cleverness of his chapter. He’s proud to be one of the few public

schools participating in JSA and is pleased that they contribute “viewpoints and ideologies that are seldom represented”. McKelroy was the Deputy Director of Debate and Thought Talks last year on the Southern California State Cabinet and now Flood is the current Director of Debate. JSAers can look forward to exciting and varied debates at conferences this year. The wonderful, spirited enthusiasm that the Santiago JSA has created is something that should be used a model for all other chapters. The Southern Empire Region should be proud of these exceptional representatives of our organization.

The Pro Voice  

A condensation of some of my articles in my publication, The Pro Voice