Tutor profile: Benjamin A.
Subject: US Government and Politics
What are some ways in which political and governmental actors can shape or influence the direction of public debate and policy?
There are numerous tools that can be used by various political and governmental actors to shape or influence public debate and the implementation of policy. Let us consider a few of these below: First are institutional powers. This is the power given to an actor by virtue of the institution they control or position they hold. For example, the President can exercise veto power over legislation, which may be in itself sufficient to keep a doomed bill from getting passed by Congress or at least may be used to gain concessions that are more favorable to the President such that s/he will not veto the bill if certain aspects are included, excluded, or modified in the bill by Congress before it reaches the President. Another example may be agenda-setting power, such as exercised by and within Congress. The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate control their chamber's legislative calendar, and may choose to call up certain bills for a vote and keep other bills from ever being debated or voted upon. Committee chairs in both the House and Senate exercise a similar power within their committees, which may be very powerful and have great control to affect way may or may not be done in Congress, such as the power House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Budget Committee. But soft power should also not be overlooked. Often, this the power of an actor to rally other actors or the public at large behind an agenda or cause. Within Congress, there are even elected positions in both parties whose job it is to ensure their party members vote the way leadership wants them to, known as the Whip. Party whips have dedicated staff and usually appoint other members as deputy or assistant whips to help them run their whip operation to keep track of the needs and voting preferences of each member to ensure important bills pass or not depending on the needs of their party leadership. In more modern times, some congressional caucuses outside the party caucuses, which are made up of members of the House or Senate or both, often work on their own separate congressional agendas which may or may not be in concert with formal leadership, and these more informal caucuses, such as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Problem Solvers' Caucus, or the Freedom Caucus, propose their own bills and run their own whip operations. Outside of Congress, controlling the public debate is also a significant source of power. The President has the largest base and amount of attention on their office and therefore has more direct opportunity to speak to the public and convince them to support their agenda and call on other actors, usually Congress, to do so as well. This is sometimes known as the bully pulpit. But others, such as prominent Senators or the Speaker of the House, also have considerable public profiles and national constituencies that they can call upon to support their proposals independent of their caucuses, party leadership, or the President. All of these are just some of the ways political actors can move, shift, and change the public debate and shape the policy process.
Subject: US History
How did the United States support Europe, specifically the Allied Powers, before entering and after the end of World War II?
Prior to Pearl Harbor the US' formal entrance into the Second World War, the United States supported the UK and the Allied Powers through various economic and trade supports, most importantly through the passage of the Lend-Lease Act, signed by FDR, which allowed the US to lend and lease military supplies and equipment to the Allies in the war against the Axis Powers. After the war, the United States implemented the Marshall Plan, which pumped billions of dollars into recovery, rebuilding, and reinvestment into the European economy and infrastructure that had been decimated during the war, particularly through the heavy bombing of cities and civilian supply chains. The great success of the Marshall Plan, contrasted with the relative difficulty of the Soviet Union's Comecon, was one of the contributing factors of the Cold War.
What are the three types of appeals from ancient Greek rhetoric?
The three types of appeals from Greek rhetoric are logos, ethos, and pathos. Logos, meaning "words" or "dialogue" is the appeal to reason. It is an argument based on logic (which is itself derived from the word "logos") to persuade the rational mind of the interlocutor. Ethos, meaning "character", is appeal to the authority or good character/reputation of the speaker. Establishing ethos is based on the speaker being seen as a subject-matter expert, a reliable eyewitness, or a trustworthy and respectable person. Pathos, meaning "passion" or "emotion", is the appeal to emotions. A speaker using pathos establishes an emotional connection with their audience or appeals to their emotional reactions, using their anger or sadness or sympathy or some other emotion to encourage persuasion or action.
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