Bringing the "how" to independent media

2016 Presidential Election: Let’s Start From the Very Beginning

It’s a very good place to start.

The Basics

So, why will there be an election for the next president of the United States in 2016? President Barack Obama is at the end of his eight-year term limit, after being re-elected (thank god) in 2012. This means that both a Republican and Democratic candidate will run for president in 2016, since there is no incumbent. Even though the election in November is far away, presidential hopefuls have already been announcing their run. Let’s see who we have so far:


Ted Cruz, Senator of Texas

Lindsey Graham, Senator of South Carolina

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas

George Patake, former governor of New York

Rand Paul, Senator of Kentucky

Rick Perry, former governor of Texas

Marco Rubio, Senator of Florida

Rick Santorum, former senator of Pennsylvania

To sum it up: Lots of Southerners! Lots of rich white guys!


Hilary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State

Bernie Sanders, Senator of Vermont

To sum it up: Diversity! Credential!

Not really sure why there are so many Republican campaigns and only two Democrats? Maybe there’s a reason that I’m not aware of, or maybe there will be more coming in. It seems that Clinton may be the forerunner, and in fact, many people are already talking as if she will be the Democratic Presidential candidate. However, that still needs to be decided at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28.

As it stands now, I would be happy to see both Clinton or Sanders as the candidate. I might be more favorable toward Sanders, though. I’m definitely curious to see who else decides to run (come on, Elizabeth Warren!)

I’m baaack

Decided to try my hand at writing about the 2016 Presidential Election and thought this would be a good place to post. Stay tuned!

-Isabel Braverman

“Journalism is My Church”: A repsonse to a talk by Jose Antonio Vargas

A half hour ago I ate dinner with an alien.

Ok, so the “dinner” was an array of Ithaca College catered food, and the “alien” was undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas.  Vargas was here to give a talk called “Immigration…Beyond Media Myths” as a part of the Park Center for Independent Media speaker series.

The biggest myth that Vargas wanted to bust is that illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes. They do. He said, “I pay so much taxes in this country that I should be a Republican.” His sense of humor in the midst of a quite serious situation was comforting and provocative. After all, it is humor that can get us through the hardest of times.

Vargas also advocated storytelling as the best way to get an issue out in the open. And he is a very good story teller. I especially liked the story of when he had to profile Mark Zuckerberg for the New Yorker. He said this was his “turning point” when he realized that he had to stand up for immigration rights. He was assigned to profile Zuckerberg (for the New Yorker no less, a job he said as a young journalist would be one of his final goals. I agree). He said Zuckerberg talked in compact sentences, “subject, verb, period,” and he needed to get more out of him for the profile. So he convinced him to just take an hour long walk around New York City without any press people around. With the city as the backdrop he got Zuckerberg to talk, and he also realized he had gotten everything he wanted– the New Yorker job and to be a New Yorker (which he wanted to do after seeing Woody Allen’s Manhattan. I agree). Zuckerberg asked Vargas, where are you from? And it was then that he realized he had everything except that one thing– to say he is an American. ( I hope I’m doing this story justice).

But what does it mean to be an American? That’s what Vargas’s project,, strives to do. He talked about American exceptionalism, or the idea that America is inherently different and better than other countries. Vargas agreed with this, saying it is good to be American and so many Americans abuse it.

Besides being an undocumented immigrant, Vargas is first and foremost a journalist, and a good one at that. He told us, a room full of disillusioned journalism majors, that now is the best time to be a journalist. Finally, someone who’s positive about the current state of my future career! It’s a good time to be a journalist, but you have to want to be one, you have to love it. Check.

There are so many issues now to talk about, immigration being a top one, that you have to have the passion to write about them. He said now is the time that journalism is becoming personal, it’s giving a voice to the voiceless through social media and blogs, aka what I am doing right now. He said don’t forget that there is a “me” in media. Even if we’re talking about personal situations or telling stories the “personal becomes political.”

And so, how we can strive to solve issues such as immigration is by talking about it. But, as Vargas said, we can only begin to see it move forward when we stop talking about the problem and start talking about the solution. So get out there and talk.

On Camping

There’s been a lot of camping lately, and not the kind you do in the woods. Although it’s already been pointed out, I like the juxtaposition of camping for Occupy Wall Street and camping for things like Black Friday or the premiere of Twilight.

Of course, being America, the Occupy protestors have been dubbed dirty hippies who are committing illegal acts for camping out at Zuccotti Park, and the Twilight fans go unscathed for decking out their tents with pictures of Twilight stars and camping out in public places waiting for the premiere. hmmm, I wonder which one people think is more “American”.

On a different note, Alaskan congressman Don Young says, “Don’t camp, camping’s elitist.” Young made the remarks during a hearing with Douglas Brinkley when they had quite the tiff. Watch the camping remarks here, at around 4:30 min. And watch Young, a puppet for the gas industry, being a jerk here.

A photo representation:

Camping for Occupy Wall Street

Camping for Twilight

Camping for Black Friday

The New Yorker Listened to my Plea

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t solely due to my efforts to bring fracking to the New Yorker (see previous post) but nonetheless it has arrived!

Albeit short, read the article here.

Some quotes:

“In the 2005 energy bill, largely crafted by Vice-President Dick Cheney, fracking was explicitly exempted from federal review under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result of this dispensation, which has been dubbed the Halliburton Loophole, drilling companies are under no obligation to make public which chemicals they use.” (just so everyone knows)

“There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and there is not one—not one—reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated,” Rex Tillerson, the chairman and C.E.O. of ExxonMobil, declared at a congressional hearing last year.” (well, that’s just a straight up lie)

“At some point, either we will outgrow our infatuation or we will burn our way to a very dark place.”

I also like the term “shaleionaires” for those who are making a fortune (or supposedly will) from leasing their land. Never heard that one before, especially since fracking provides so many punny terms. Some favorites are– fracktivist, frack is wack, all fracked up etc…



Miley Cyrus Supports Occupy Wall Street?

Renowned political activist Miley Cyrus made a music video for her song Liberty Walks using footage from the Occupy Movement and other similar movements around the world. Now that’s American.

How Occupy Wall Street Got Occupied: The Zuccotti Park Eviction and Recent Events

Last Tuesday the “home” of the Occupy movement, Zuccotti Park, was evicted under direct orders from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. He said the reason for the eviction was because the park posed health and safety violations.

He went on to add, in a press conference at City Hall seven hours after the raid, that “New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself. What was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.”

Right. Because exercising your First Amendment rights and using peaceful protest, media and a general assembly is not “expressing yourself.”

The New York Times article mentions a few NYC residents who were happy to see the park evicted, including a dad pushing his son in his stroller who gave the police emptying the park a thumbs up.

But, from a few first hand accounts that I’ve read, it seems the police are not acting peacefully. Like in this story, which gives a wonderfully written report on the chaos that occurred during the eviction.

Reports like this are crucial, since journalists were blocked from covering the eviction, in a clear violation of First Amendment rights. This shows the power of citizen journalists.

Two days after the eviction was the OWS Day of Action as more than 30,000 people showed up to march on the Brooklyn Bridge and Foley Sqaure. An ironic photo captures former Police Captain Ray Lewis clad in full police uniform being arrested. He later went on Chris Haye’s show to talk about some of the concerns surrounding the Occupy movement and its relationship with the police (he is even against fracking and Fox News!). This video has a very interesting conversation on the matter with Hayes, Lewis and Laura Flanders.

They bring up the point that I have been thinking about—the Occupy movement is straying too far from its original message, the grievances of the 99%, and becoming too much about the protestors versus the police. It is an important point to bring up, but there needs to be a resurgence back to its roots.



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