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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012 - Morning Headlines

- The crippling heat wave that hit the East Coast and the Midwest will continue through the beginning of the week with no end in sight. Many residents of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia are without power further complicating the situation (CNN):

- The PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) of Mexico won control back of the presidency after 12 years. Many have accused the party of being autocratic and overly powerful (Fox News):

- The chairman of Barclays has resigned after the finance company was involved in a massive interest rate price fixing scandal (ABC News):

- The Eurozone's unemployment rate hit a record 11.1% in May (Yahoo!):


  1. PPl always complain about campaign finance and the possibility of foreign funds funding our campaigns. Is anyone upset at Obama? Probably not:

    1. Apparently, things like this aren’t a problem!

      But, be upset with Obama? To an extent, of course. But focusing on him alone accomplishes as much as being upset with Mitt Romney/Warren Buffet/whoever over paying a low tax rate through perfectly legal means.

      More important should be whether or not people are upset with lawmakers that don't wish to change this/acknowledge whether this is a problem, than the people that continue to take advantage of a broken system. That actually is a step towards accomplishing something.

      As long as things like this are perfectly legal, the true blame and concern should be directed towards lawmakers. This isn’t at all to say Obama gets a free pass for exploiting it, as neither would Romney or anyone else, but it is to say that it is not only wrong but hypocritical to criticize someone for doing what they can within the realms of the law but not calling for lawmakers to change it.

    2. I do think this is a problem, I don't care if you're a democrat or a republican. As I've said, I stand for the Citizen's United ruling on the grounds of protecting free speech. I do believe in the Constitution and its purpose of protecting American's rights. To me, foreign campaign contributions are a different story. The Constitution doesn't protect the rights of foreign citizens. This kind of funding should be scrutinized, sought out, and prevented.

    3. G'day LME.

      This unfortunately is where the CU decision and our political system come into a major grey area though. It's simple to draw a line at foreign citizens, but what about foreign corporations/entities? Is that no less of a problem? If the People's Republic of China decided to put up money towards re-electing Obama, is that not just as bad (if not worse) than the scenario of a random citizen in France deciding the same?

      And, then we go into the problem of deciding what exactly qualifies as foreign (corporations/entities don’t have something as simple as citizenship)? On the basis of origin? Home office location? Revenue streams? Taxes paid?

    4. RKen - Good afternoon! I hope all is well (and cool).

      I tend to be on the same page as you. With regards to foreign entities, I also think they should not be granted the same protections. I also see where you're going of the problem with foreign entities. Would you base it on a home base? A headquarters (different thing)? A simple PO box? Taxes? I'm not sure how that would work since I've never thought about it. Perhaps it could be arranged so that US companies are indeed protected while foreign ones are kept out.

      It's good to have some semblance of agreement here and there. Civil debate is always good :-)

    5. Good afternoon gentlemen.

      I tend to agree with RKen that the line is impossible to draw without excluding everyone and having elections publicly financed (which I am for). The free speech angle that LME raises is quite valid and is a tough one to reconcile. IN a vacuum free of greed our current system is fine. However, with greed being pervasive in our society and politics, the only way to truly have a government of, for, and by the people is to allow the people to finance elections through the tax roles and by no other means. It would decrease public apathy toward the election process and create accountability for our representatives. But, I don't see how it can be regulated. It either needs to be allowed, all in, or not at all!

  2. Perhaps a bit late in the day, but this article was an important catch to me:

    I had to skim through the later parts, but I generally agree with a lot of what was said here. And I've always found it a bit past ridiculous how every politician has to constantly trumpet how great, superior, and fantastic America is or otherwise be labeled as anti-American, unpatriotic, a communist, or whatever else.

    I strongly believe America is a great, if not one of the greatest places to live. But, perfect? Better than everyone else in every way? Absolutely the best? The leader of all that is good and happy? Come on. It should be perfectly fine to acknowledge our flaws and strive to improve them.

    1. RKen - It's never too late to debate the news :-)

      I can totally see your points here. To me, we as Americans should carry ourselves as well-behaved athletes. If you've ever seen the post game interview of a great baseball player or something, the interviewer will often ask "what did you think of that fabulous win and the 4 home runs you hit?" and the superstar (a good, humble one) would typically respond with something like, "yah, they're good, but it's all about the team, and, in all honesty, I gotta keep working. There is plenty more to learn and accomplish... and I'm far from where I want to be."

      That's, in my opinion, how I think we should view ourselves. We are great. This country is great. But in the overall scheme of things, our victories are just home runs in a ballgame. We can improve our play more, we can improve the team's play more (our country), and we can improve our world more (MLB, baseball in general, etc.). It could be a stretch, but I think you're right. We can always be better. We can always introspect into ourselves and our flaws. To live is to always learn, and to learn is to always improve. I'm right there with ya, RKen! Great points, great discussion. Thanks for bringing it up. Though it's later in the day, hopefully some more people come in.

    2. Couldn't agree more LME. That athlete metaphor is perfect as well; I always feel similar when I see politicians on national TV boasting about how great, perfect, and better than everyone else America is. I'm all for loving the country and showing patriotism, but at the same time your metaphor comes perfectly into play here where... the guys that are supposed to be among the best shouldn't have to keep telling themselves it. Nor putting other people (nations) down. And it should be perfectly acceptable to be more humble in our accomplishments, acknowledge our flaws, and always strive to be better rather than do little more than continually trumpet how great we already are or may be.

      Thanks for the discussion LME.

    3. Good morning, RKen!

      What is going on?! The needle has been pointing to agreement a little more recently? :-P Definitely not a bad thing, and who knows... maybe a product of civil debate. If I don't happen to hear from you prior to it, have a great Independence Day, RKen!

    4. Thanks LME, you have a great one too!