Posts filed under ‘Politics’

The HotSpot’s Response To Anti-Military Comments

Last week,’s ‘The HotSpot’ podcast had a discussion about the upcoming America’s Army 3 videogame, and some of the comments made drew complaints from some listeners (myself included).  This week, ‘The HotSpot’ crew took the time to respond, with a specific response directed at my email, and I can say that I’m pleased.  I sent them an email about the issue, and though I never asked for a retraction of the statements or a change of the opinions, I did ask for some clarification and the acknowledgment that maybe that particular podcast wasn’t the best way to let these opinions be heard.

Below is the email I sent them in response to this week’s show.


I just wanted to say ‘Thank You’ for Tom McShea’s response to last week’s America’s Army comments.  I asked for clarification, and an acknowledgment that certain political comments shouldn’t be said on ‘The HotSpot‘, and I got that.  I also understand that the America’s Army games are a special case considering its origins, but the comments should be kept relevant to the game and not to personal or political beliefs and opinions.  Anyway, thanks again for responding and for not brushing off this complaint.

February 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

The HotSpot’s Anti-Military Comments

Last week, GameSpot’s “The HotSpot” podcast (episode 1-27-09) made some comments regarding Ubisoft’s America’s Army 3 videogame.  I found some of the comments offensive; not the ones that dealt with the game, but the ones dealing with the U.S. Military.

Basically, one of the members of the podcast said that the game glamourizes Army life, when it’s “the worst place ever”.  Also, he accused the Army of using a game to recruit people into ‘kill squads’, and that only “poor kids who can’t afford college” enlist.

I believe everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I don’t particularly care for America’s Army the game, but what he said (I’m not entirely sure which of them said it) was offensive to me, as I come from a family with a proud history of serving in various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Below is an email I sent to them in response.  I hope that whoever reads this understands where I’m coming from and that I’m not some pro-war gun nut, but that I respect the opinions of others (as long as they’re informed opinions), I just thought that political statements like the ones I mentioned have no place in a video game podcast.


“I would like to comment on something that was said a little over an hour into “The HotSpot” podcast last Tuesday.  I’m not sure which one of podcast members said it, but certain comments were made that particularly offended me.  The subject was the American’s Army 3 game, and how underhanded the marketing of the game is, considering its use as a promotional item by the U.S. military.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, especially when it comes to how the Army recruits..capitalizing on the ignorance of youth, people who are desperate and poor and can’t afford college…” are, to me, way out of line.

It sounds like the opinion of certain members of “The HotSpot” is that the Army is made up of poor kids from ghettos who can’t afford college and don’t understand that videogames aren’t real life.  Not every member of the U.S. Armed Forces is a poor kid who can’t get into college.  Believe it or not, there are members who volunteer by personal choice and actually hold higher education degrees.

Another comment I found particularly offensive, about how the game is glamourizing the “cool action aspects of [army life], without showing you that it is the worst place ever“.  To me, that spits in the face of ever man and woman who ever put on a U.S. military uniform.  I came from a Third World country; I know what some of ‘the worst places ever’ look like.  And on the comment about the ‘cool action aspects’ of the America’s Army game, what about every other game that places you in the boots of a member of the military?  I don’t hear any complaining from the HotSpot about how the Call of Duty games glamourize violence.  Or how Full Spectrum Warrior teaches players Army techniques?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend America’s Army as a game; I’ve played some entries of the series, and I don’t care for them because, to me, they’re just not very good games.

The comments made regarding the U.S. military sound more like politically-charged statements; things that shouldn’t be said on company time with company equipment.  I’m not threatening any kind of action (boycott, petition, etc) only because I may be alone in this and I know that CBS Interactive, CNet, and GameSpot probably don’t care if one person gets upset over something one member of the staff said.  I’m even willing to admit that I may have taken the comments out of context.  The only thing I ask for is a clarification of the statements made in an upcoming podcast (or whatever venue GameSpot feels appropriate), and the assurance that political statements have no place in any GameSpot podcast or media venue (unless GameSpot and its parent companies are willing to adopt these comments as company policy).

I enjoy “The HotSpot” and have been a listener for a few years now.  I listen because I find the podcast entertaining and informative, but anti-military comments like the ones I mentioned above have no place on the show.”

February 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

What Would You Ask the Candidates?

Just watched the first Presidential Debate on CNN.  As someone who’s firmly stuck in the middle (I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet), I was hoping that this first debate would push me to one side or the other.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.  McCain didn’t do so hot in the first thirty or so minutes when the debate, which was supposed to be about foreign policy, shifted gears and went right into economics.  I’m not saying that it was necessarily a bad thing that the debate was sidetracked for a little bit, but you could tell that McCain wasn’t as ‘fired up’ as he usually is.  Obama did fine in this first part, but nothing he said really surprised me (except for the moments when he started to lose his cool).

Then we got to foreign policy.  Here’s where most people were expecting some kind of knockout blow from McCain, a chance to prove once and for all who has the most foreign policy experience.  While, to me, he proved that he did have more experience, McCain didn’t deliver that knockout punch.  Obama, while proving that he can at least hold his own, didn’t show to me that he had the credentials to back up anything he said.  A lot of the things coming from Obama seemed, to me, to come from hindsight; it’s easy to point out mistakes once the mistakes have been made, but what about in-the-moment?  When McCain, Leiberman, and Gen. Patraeus were pushing for the surge, what was Obama doing?  He’s never mentioned at all what he would’ve done instead.  If the surge was such a bad idea (which, in hindsight, it wasn’t), what plan would he have suggested?

There are some questions, though, that I was assuming the moderator, Jim Lehrer, or the candidates were going to ask.  Questions that I have and have yet to hear an answer from either side.  To be honest, if I could really ask a question to the candidates, I’d pick something like UFOs, but I figure that aliens (at least the extraterrestrial kind) aren’t exactly high on the issues people want the candidates to discuss.

To Obama:

Bill Ayers.  Respected professor and former domestic terrorist.  I say ‘former’ because he doesn’t do any of the stuff he used to do anymore.  He also admitted to, though was never convicted of, several bombings of government buildings, including the Pentagon, in the 60’s.  Obama has met the man, and apparently befriended him, yet in all the televised events in which someone asks Obama about Ayers, he dodges the question.

This isn’t the same situation as Jeremiah Wright.  I personally don’t think that Obama believes in any of the negative stuff that Rev. Wright has said, so to me, I didn’t really pay much attention to the whole Wright controversy.  Ayers, on the other hand, did physical damage to buildings, and although no one was killed or injured, Ayers has stated that he wish he could’ve done more.  In a statement published, oddly enough on 9/11, Ayers said that he didn’t regret setting those bombs.  In my opinion, that says he isn’t repentant of what he did.  If those bombs did hurt or kill someone, would he feel different?

I want to know, truthfully, what Obama thinks of all this. I understand that it’s not like Ayers and Obama are best friends, but it’s also not like Obama didn’t know about Ayers’ past before he accepted a very small political donation (about $200 I think).  I know that, in politics, people will do anything to get ahead, but I’d like to think that if I were in the same position, I would not accept a donation from someone that had willingly, and without remorse decades later, committed a violent act of domestic terrorism.  Why should I vote for someone who did? And can Obama address the issue of terrorism, foreign and domestic, should the need arise?  He said in the debate that he would, but how can he convince me?

To McCain:

Iraq vs Iran.  It’s a popular theory to suggest that Iran was kept in check by it’s neighbor, and enemy, Iraq.  But it’s a fact that the governments of either nation don’t like the U.S. or any other Western nation.  Now, I’m assuming that dealing with one rogue nation is better than dealing with two, but what I would ask McCain is, would it be too far-fetched to suggest that turning Iraq into a pro-Western democracy actually gives more opportunity for Iran to become a major Mideast player? Right now, Iran is funding and supplying insurgency groups in Iraq, even if Ahmedinejad denies this.  But, would they still be doing this if Iraq was still controlled by Hussein?

I believe that Saddam Hussein, his sons, and many of the Baath party loyalists did not deserve to be in power in Iraq.  In my opinion, the U.S. should’ve removed them from power in the Gulf War, back when there were anti-Hussein groups inside Iraq ready to help the U.S., before Hussein cracked down on them and either killed or imprisoned many of the members.  But, is a democratic and pro-West Iraq a better thing to have versus a possibly nuclear-armed Iran? I know both candidates do not want to see Iran with the Bomb, but I think it would complicate matters more for Iran if Iraq were still ruled by Hussein.  Under Hussein, it wouldn’t be completely out of the question to suggest that Iraq and Iran could renew their war, but now, Iran knows that the U.S. is spread far too thin to deal militarily with them should the need arise.

Can the U.S. still use force of arms to protect herself, properly, with our forces tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, if an extreme situation with Iran, or possibly North Korea, arises?

September 26, 2008 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Gov. Sarah Palin Is McCain’s VP Pick

I’ve been pushing for her to be McCain’s running mate since the beginning.  I kinda dismissed her when she said, in an interview, that she’d say ‘No’ if asked to be VP.

This is gonna be one hell of an election.

August 29, 2008 at 9:25 am Leave a comment

George Washington Was Right

With the Democratic National Convention wrapping up tonight, the entire Democratic party is hoping that the four-night love-fest will get this one point across to the entire nation . . .  no, the world: The Democratic party is united.

But is it?

Sure, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Pres. Bill Clinton verbally announced their support behind Barack Obama, to thunderous applause.  Still, there are Hillary fans out there that still are not convinced that Obama was a better choice than Hillary.  Most damaging to the left-wingers is that some people don’t believe that Obama is a better candidate than McCain.

With all the crap that gets thrown at the Republican party, one thing remains certain, and has remained certain for the past 15 years: the Republican party is ready to back any of their candidates.  Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani all now throw their weight behind McCain, despite an at-times heated campaign for the Republican nomination.  Doing so, and doing so early gave the Republicans the time needed to solidify their base, and watch as the Dems tore at each others’ throats for another few months.

What this showed me was Founding Father George Washington was right.  Political parties are a bad idea.

“All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

What I believe, in regards to political parties, is that they force voters to side with one group or the other, based on popular beliefs.  For example, I’m a twenty-something minority currently living in a heavily democratic state.  I’m also a long-time Republican, having grown up in a traditionally Republican state and brought up with traditionally conservative beliefs.  But, I’ve never always voted Republican, and the only political campaign I’ve ever volunteered for was for a Democrat.  Given my current situation, does that mean I should vote for Obama, because everyone else in my state, my school, and my circle of friends will do so?  Or, should I vote for McCain, out of some political party loyalty?

The answer is a resounding NO on both accounts.

Why should I vote for Obama?  Because it’s the ‘cool thing’?  Because he’s a minority just like me?  Or is it because I think he’s the best man for the job?  But, in doing so, does that automatically make me a Democrat?  Absolutely not.

I may be a registered Republican, but I support gay rights, strong anti-nuclear proliferation, a draw-down in troops in Iraq, and, though I consider myself pro-life, I’d never overturn Roe v. Wade.  All these things I came to on my own, not because the member of some political party told me to.  What I hope for all Americans that are able to vote this November is to vote with their head.  If you’re embarrassed to say who you’re going to vote for, you don’t have to tell others.  It’s none of their business anyway.  There will be plenty of Democrats and Independents that will be voting for McCain, and they’re proud to do so.  Likewise, there are lots of disillusioned Republicans that will vote for Obama, so either way, you won’t be alone in whoever you vote for.

If I had my way, there wouldn’t be political parties, for all the obvious reasons.  But, I guess it’s human nature that we shoehorn ourselves into groups.  Obama is only half-Black, but he’s considered African American.  McCain is known as a maverick with an independent streak, but he’s a Republican.  I believe that the things these two men do and vote for are because of what they think, not because of what their party thinks.  If Americans can continue to vote for what they believe in, regardless of who says it or what party it came from, then we can still proudly say we are a Democratic Republic.  We make our own destiny, we steer our own ship.

(quote from

August 28, 2008 at 9:38 am 1 comment

Soviets Aren’t Fans of Indy

OK, the last comment in the excerpt below says it’s ‘anti-Soviet’ propaganda…well, duh. The Soviets are the bad guys, there’s nothing redeeming about them, so yes, you could say it’s anti-Soviet propaganda. The full article says that the Communist Party in Russia claims it’s anti-Russian, which the movie is not. These people just want something to complain about because they aren’t in control of their own country anymore (and good thing, too). Maybe next time, they should win a cold war and then they can make whatever movies they want to.
clipped from

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) –
Russian Communist Party
condemned the new “Indiana Jones” film on Friday as
crude, anti-Soviet propaganda that distorts history and called
for it to be banned from Russian screens.
“What galls is how together with America we defeated
Hitler, and how we sympathized when Bin Laden hit them. But
they go ahead and scare kids with Communists. These people have
no shame,” said Viktor Perov, a Communist Party member in
Russia‘s second city of St. Petersburg.
Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett (are) second-rate actors,
serving as the running dogs of the CIA. We need to deprive
these people of the right of entering the country,” said
another party member, Andrei Gindos.
Vladimir Mukhin, another member of the local Communist
Party, said in comments posted on the Internet site that he
would ask Russia’s Culture Ministry to ban the film for its
“anti-Soviet propaganda.”
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May 24, 2008 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

Oliver Stone’s “W” Casting Nearly Complete

Regardless of what your political leanings are, or what you may think of Oliver Stone, this should be one very interesting movie.

I, for one, can’t wait to see this. Stone doesn’t make any secret of his opinions on the Iraq War or this administration, which makes me wonder whether he can actually “draw a fair-minded portrait”. However, I was fairly impressed with his handling of “World Trade Center” and how he didn’t politicize it at all, he focused on the characters and the events of the moment and not what caused them or what happened afterward. Doing otherwise would, in my opinion, do a disservice to the true story.

So, based on that, I’m willing to give Stone the benefit of the doubt and will most likely be in the theatre on opening day.

clipped from

Oliver Stone has found the actress to play Condoleezza Rice
in “W,” his upcoming movie about President George W. Bush.
Thandie Newton is in final negotiations to star as the National
Security Advisor-turned-Secretary of State.
Stone has said he wants to draw a fair-minded portrait of
the polarizing figure. Sources familiar with the script say
Bush is depicted as an easily distracted figure predisposed to
personal agendas, though they say the script occasionally shows
a more sympathetic side.

Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks and Ellen Burstyn
had previously been cast as George W., George Sr., Laura and
Barbara Bush
, respectively.

Meanwhile, Ioan Gruffudd is in final talks to play former
British prime minister Tony Blair
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April 6, 2008 at 11:38 pm Leave a comment

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