Help Us Bernie-Wan, You're Our Only Hope... by Jonathan Fiero

Let us be clear, Donald Trump is the problem, he has stated this himself during that circus, gameshow debate that Fox News put on. He can't even be honest with us with the fact that he's bald! I was taught that America was a fair and equal country for everyone, and that the immigrant life was one of hardship that we should all support. I am a white 32 year old male, and I only mention this so you as readers don't mistakenly assume this is coming from someone who feels oppressed. Quite honestly, I feel the opposite and very lucky for it, but I am aware of my fellow human's struggles and it has become clear that there is something each individual, each of us, can do about it. And just like any problem, the first step is admitting we have one. More and more citizens are recognizing our problems and so we must move on to step two, even if everyone isn't on board yet, and that is bringing issues to light in the way YOU feel YOU would be most successful in reaching others.  

The term 'melting pot' seems to have disappeared from the American peoples' vocabulary completely. Our communities have become fragmented into neighborhoods that don't welcome outsiders because we've all become so fearful of each others' beliefs. These beliefs are pandered to us by our archaic two party system leaders while they shove chemicals into our food and water, and tell our children that they all must learn the same things the same way. Then they continue to separate us with two-sided questions, are you pro or anti-abortion, are you for or against guns, do you think climate change is real or not, etc... And nearly all of these issues are presented through a polarizing split between the two parties.

This is where Independent politics comes in, because regardless of what you may think, we do need the government, it just needs to be returned to its rightful owners, us, the people. The idea that we don't need government is just as absurd as the idea that we need government controlling every aspect of our lives. If we had no government who would build and repair our roads, who would oversee that our food isn't contaminated with poisons or feces, who would ensure that you're not fired from work for a discriminatory reason? This list could go on and on... Our current issue is that our political system has become corrupt with greed and it no longer listens to the people. Our roads aren't being repaired and our food DOES have feces in it. This isn't caused by government, it's a lack of real government oversight, created by so many societal needs being auctioned out to the highest bidding private company. Our health and safety should not be cast out to the highest bidder. This is not an issue about the existence of government, it's an issue of outside corporate interests influencing the policies of our government. We constantly hear the opposing argument that corporations provide jobs, but what good is a job if it doesn't pay you enough to provide for your family? It is appalling that the CEOs of many companies make more in an hour than their employees make in a year. This lack of equality continues even in a time staggering profits, all while they poison you with products of greed and the chemicals in your food, then they have the audacity to try and sell you healthcare like it's a product. We must not allow them to proceed with this any further!

The thing is, everything isn't black and white, there are grey areas to these issues we face, as a country, and as a planet. It's not up to the United States to decide if climate change is real, just as it's not up to us if the Iran deal goes through. (If you don't understand why Iran hates the U.S., try reading a history book, or Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, Anthony Bourdain and Rick Steves also have excellent insight with their Iran specials so find and watch those.) Sure our warmongering, oil loving leaders can throw some wrenches into our collective progress, but progress is inevitable. It is up to us how long this progress takes. If we all stand idly by and say the system is corrupt and there is nothing we can do then the progress will be excruciatingly slow. But if we all take a stand together, against our two party system, change will come swiftly.

Listen, I am not saying Bernie Sanders is definitely the answer, he very well could be a sheep in wolves' clothing, but his track record surely suggests otherwise. I am not going to list off his policies, as I feel it would be a waste of time, when you can just go to his website and research his policies and his history in full detail. https://berniesanders.com/issues/ One simple fact alone should tell everyone to consider this man and give him their support, or at the very least, their attention. His campaign funds have averaged $31.30 per donation with a total of $15.2 million. That is a lot of people, with obviously not much to give, that are supporting Senator Sanders. I keep hearing the corporate media bring his age into question, saying he is too old. He would be 75 when he takes the White House. Hilary would be 69, The Donald will be 70,  and for the sake of all the corporate media talk now, Joe Biden will be 74. So yes, he'd be the oldest, but not by very much. And if anything, his age should give you more reason to believe in what he says. He's old, what could he have to personally gain by taking on one of the most stressful jobs in the world. And further, his age might solidify a new election cycle for 2020, as he probably would not continue as the incumbent at 79. Fixing this country is simply #1 on Bernie's bucket list.

One thing we all need to remember is that Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat, and he certainly is not a Republican. He sits in the Senate as an Independent. His decision to run as a Democrat is purely political strategy because the two party system has monopolized and polarized our countries citizens and government. He isn't saying he can fix everything himself, he is saying WE need to fix this. So go on and continue blaming the immigrants for stealing your jobs, and the government for taking your freedom, but progress will win, and we need a political revolution for that to take hold now. A President Bernie Sanders may very well be the start we need for this revolution. True leaders don't tell people to follow them, they simply turn to find that others have followed.

Cable TV must die... by Jonathan Fiero

Cable television has made the majority of us complacent with our daily, mundane lives. We live vicariously through strangers that don't even exist. Or even worse, they do exist, such as with "reality" TV, and are harming our society tenfold from traditional programming. There are educational shows available every so often, though even these are becoming rare, or they've turned to essentially mocking education for the sake of ratings. Take for example, the beloved "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel, where they now fill half the time with Sci-Fi like stories of giant ancient sea creatures, or they air re-runs and regurgitated footage from years past. Why do viewers care so much about what the Hiltons or Kardashians are doing with their lives, why watch a bunch of fools fight on a fake island setting, or several dozen men vie for the attention of one women?

Don't get me wrong, I think television can be healthy and is needed. It provides us with information from the world, or at least it used to. The 24 hour news cycle of Cable has completely bastardized the news industry and has shaken the core of honest journalism. We also need to relax and unwind, and perhaps not think about our lives for a moment and instead get lost in someone else's story. At this level it really isn't much different than reading a fictional novel. But it's 2015, we have ways of watching our TV shows and movies through companies like Netflix and Hulu for $8 a month each, YouTube has grown from cat videos and teenagers doing stupid things into a virtual library of real individuals' thoughts and documentaries that span any topic of your interest, just search for it! And there are plenty of cheap platforms we can use to watch TV without having to pay a renters and insurance fee on some archaic piece of equipment.

Sports are certainly an issue when deciding to abandon Cable, but does watching someone else win something really enrich your life to the point that it's worth spending around $100 a month just to watch. Most of the sports we want are simulcasted online already through these Cable companies or directly through the professional leagues anyway, but to keep feeding the Cable monopolies our home teams are only available for us to view through direct Cable television. This is wrong, we are being asked to subscribe to minimal programming of interest, for a large sum of money, just to watch our home teams; teams that we as citizens and tax payers support through merchandise purchasing, game attendance, and funding new stadiums. Yet for all the money we put in to these corporations, all we mostly get is better luck next year. 

I'm writing this because I recently pulled my minimal cable box from the wall once I really thought about the fact I was paying $700 a year incase something of interest might be on. And this was the cheapest plan available. If the majority decides what I have, that these boxes are frivolous, outdated, and a MAJOR ripoff, we might see a real change in the industry. I understand the industry is changing, many things are available for us to watch without Cable, but it's changing slowly because we all feel we have no choice. With many things in life we don't have a much of a choice. Our internet and cell phone service has become near necessity for modern life, we need food and water to live, gas for our cars to get to work, taxes must be paid so the government can attempt to better our roads and schools, and all of these things are becoming increasingly more expensive as well. But we need them. Cable, we do not.

It's a Beautiful Game... by Jonathan Fiero

But here it's just soccer.

futbolvictorthevampirekitty--wallpaper-estadios-de-futbol-q77hflno.jpg

With the World Cup coming to an end, I felt I should begin my blog discussing "the beautiful game" and why Americans will (probably) never fully accept it as a first tier sport. Arguably the biggest stigma for this game in the good ol' USA is our name for it, soccer. It still amazes me with all the technology and information at our fingertips, that the general public (other countries included) are clueless about the origins of the term soccer. The "best" of these people are those from the U.K. (because they created the name) and the obnoxious Americans that call soccer, football, because they are "real fans of the game". Most people assume it to be a second rate name created by Americans because we already had Football. However that is simply incorrect, it is a slang term that originated with the game in England.

soccer (n)

1889, socca, later socker (1891), soccer (1895), originally university slang (with jocular formation -er (3)), from a shortened form of Assoc., abbreviation of association in Football Association (as opposed to Rugby football); compare rugger. An unusual method of formation, but those who did it perhaps shied away from making a name out of the first three letters of Assoc.

While this now explains the origin of the use of the word soccer, why is this term used and why do Americans call a game played mostly with the hands football? Basically, rugby and soccer are just nicknames for two separate forms of football. Rugby happened to be more popular in the US and while the British took to calling "soccer", football, in America the same was done with rugby; along with some rule changes that make it a far more interesting and technical game than rugby itself. So there you have it, soccer is a nickname for football created by the Brits and football is the American evolution of rugby. 

With the history lesson out of the way, the question still lingers, why does no one seem to care about soccer in America? (Aside for when the World Cup is taking place of course). The past few World Cups have seen drastic rises in American interest in the sport, as every four years it seems more and more people are ditching their responsibilities to watch. (Ratings Information) I believe the reasoning for this, regardless of the conspiracy theory thoughts of Keith Ablow(See here and here - Thank You Stephen Colbert), is quite simple, soccer moms.                                                                                                              

What I mean by this is that the younger generations have been raised playing soccer and have come to truly enjoy this game. The top tier European leagues are all being broadcasted in America, including NBC Sports providing access to every BPL game played last season. So why with the astronomical growth of interest in this sport, especially in regards to the World Cup and the US men's team, does soccer still sit in the shadows of the four major sports of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. The answer, American's like winners, and further we want, or rather need, to be the best at everything. The most coveted trophy in league soccer is found in Europe, the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately for Americans, and the North American based MLS teams, UEFA is the Union of European Football Associations, European being the key word. So until MLS teams are allowed to compete in this prestigious tournament, American interest in soccer will remain with the World Cup, or waking up at 5am to watch the European leagues. 

 

References

http://www.mlssoccer.com/worldcup/2014/news/article/2014/07/02/usmnt-belgium-highest-rated-soccer-match-ever-cable

http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=soccer&allowed_in_frame=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_American_football