Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama's Comeback?

This last two and a half weeks have been, to say the least, very exciting from political wonks like myself.

First, seemingly out of nowhere, President Obama announced he and the GOP leadership had worked out a compromise over how to solve the expiring Bush Tax Cuts issue. This compromise included extending the Tax levels established by President Bush for two years, lowering the payroll tax for virtually all Americans, and extend unemployment benefits. This compromise came as a shock to Conservatives and Liberals alike in both how sudden it came about and what was included in the deal. How each side saw the deal however is much different.

Liberals, not shockingly, were shocked and down right angry that this deal had been struck without their participation. They believed (and still do) that this "compromise" was more like capitulation. In other words, they believe this deal gave too much to Republicans than was necessary. Liberals were of the belief that if they couldn't get middle class tax cuts passed and have the upper class tax cuts expire, they should just let all the tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Why? Because they believed that if they let all the tax cuts expire, they could blame the Republicans for not "doing the right thing" and the American people would blame the GOP for their suddenly higher taxes....Does that really make sense to any sane person?

Democrats, who the vast majority of Americans associate with higher taxes, believed that somehow their letting the tax cuts all expire and trying to blame it on the GOP would actually get them points with the American people...With beliefs like these it's no real wonder why the Democratic Party has had such a rough time the last 2 years.

Conservatives on the hand were fairly cautious of this compromise because this bill was not "paid for", meaning there were no corresponding cuts elsewhere to pay for at least some of this compromise. Nevertheless, they largely supported this move by the President they have loved to hate for the last two years and likely enjoyed seeing how angry Liberals were at the President for the next two weeks.

And boy were they mad..Geez. I will freely admit that when it comes to which major cable news channel I watch (FOX or MSNBC), I normally watch MSNBC, but these last few weeks have really bothered me. Now, it would be fairly understandable for the political commentators on MSNBC to be furious over this compromise since none of them hide their Liberal views, but the more non-political regular news broadcast during the daytime was so politically charged. All they could talk about was how much Obama had sold out the left wing of his party for the last two years and how he is always 'scolding' them about how ungrateful they are. They even suggested that there could be a Democratic primary challenge to Obama in 2012! It was so much anger and whining, I actually turned the TV over to FoxNews to get my regular news broadcast (though I still avoid the commentary shows)...

More or less, if you only watched MSNBC for the last two weeks, you would think the President had just committed some high crime in the Liberal world and had become a member of the GOP (a point hit hard by Keith Olbermann). Of course, this whole compromise was terribly overblown. While Liberals preached out evil this bill was and how they would never let it get out of the House of Representatives (which Liberals have much more power than in the Senate), when the time came for the vote, most caved and voted for the compromise. There was a fair amount of defection from both parties when it came to the House vote, but the Senate's vote of 81 to 19 was so decisive it made the vote in the House almost a formality. Why did the Liberal part of the Democratic party much such a fuss and then fold like a house of cards? I think Charles Krauthammer summed it up best in his recent article of Obama's impressive post-Midterm comeback:

"Despite this, some on the right are gloating that Obama had been maneuvered into forfeiting his liberal base. Nonsense. He will never lose his base. Where do they go? Liberals will never have a president as ideologically kindred - and they know it. For the left, Obama is as good as it gets in a country that is barely 20 percent liberal. "
The second big political master stroke of President Obama as of late is the passage of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the United States Armed Forces. Many had written off this repeal effort weeks ago because of the drag out political fight that was going on over the Bush tax cuts expiring and the so-to-be battle of the New START treaty. Some speculated that there would be some kind of trade off between the DADT repeal and some kind of deal with the Republicans on the tax cut issue. Regardless, most commentators considered the effort a bust.
But that all changed several days ago. All the sudden, there were reports the Democrats were rallying support among their party members in the Senate for a vote on DADT repeal and were actively lobbying some Republicans for the vote as well. These efforts were effective enough that the night before the final vote, it was all by certian the DADT repeal would pass. And when the final vote came down, there 57 Democrats and 8 Republicans voting to repeal DADT.
Two arguably Bipartisan votes in less than two weeks on such public policy issues should not be taken lightly. These votes are even more impressive considering they were accomplished during a so-called "lame duck" session of Congress. But these would not be the only bipartisan bills to pass into Law before the 111th Congress went home for the last time.
The last major piece of legislative success to be achieved by President Obama was the passage of the New START treaty. In my last post, I pointed out that while Democrats were claiming this treaty to be more important than othe domestic issues, I disagreed and believed that the treaty should wait until the Tax cut issue was resolved, even if that meant it would next year before it was voted on. However to my own shock, the tax compromise removed that roadblock and weakened the GOP's argument that the New START treaty could wait til next year. This was further pushed by the fact the President Obama announced he would stay in Washington until it was passed (even though his family had already left for the holidays). With all this pressure, it was not really much of a shock how the final vote came down. The final tally was 71 to 26, with 13 Republicans crossing the party line and voting with the Democrats.
With all these successes and shockingly bipartisan votes, where does this leave President Obama? As Mr. Krauthammer suggests in his recent article, President Obama has trully become the "New Comeback Kid". He was had managed to achieve something even the 'great' Bill Clinton could not achieve: Rebound with a major political compromise personally negoated between himself and the opposing GOP and pass several major pieces of legislation is a "lame-duck" session of Congress..All just a little under two months after his party's massive losses in the mid-term elections. Quite impressive indeed..
My kudos Mr. President

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Hate to admit it...But.

While it is probably clear to most readers that I am not a big fan of the GOP generally, lately some of the actions of the Democrats in Congress have annoyed me much more.

For example, the debate over whether the New START treaty should be voted on before the next Congress comes into session next year has been all over the news in the last few weeks. Now as a rule, I have no problem with such treaties simply because nuclear arms reduction is always a good thing in my book, especially considering how large the stockpile of the United States and Russia still are now 20 years after the Cold War has ended. My problem with this treaty has been timing.

This treaty was signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev on April 8, 2010. Since that ceremonial signing, little has progressed with the treaty here in the United States and this uncertainty of whether it will passed has caused the Russians to become cautious of the treaty as well. So why has it taken so long for the treaty to come to a vote? Many actually predicted the treaty would be passed with little delay since it was backed from the start by Senator Lugar who is seen as one of the most influencial Republicans (and Senators in general) on matters such as these. But support from Republicans has been much less than forthcoming.

The main issues brought up by Republicans is that the treaty is more oriented in reduction and maintaince than modernization. The Obama administration denies this but the Republicans, led by Senator Kyl, have not been convinced and want more time to debate this treaty. In the same thought, others have made the point that debating the new START treaty is not as high of priority as other matters, mainly the continuation or the Bush Tax Cuts.

Another problem some see with the New START treaty has been made by conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer. He contends that while as a whole the treaty does not restrict U.S. efforts to build a real ballistic missile defense system, the pre-amble does suggest that such efforts may be restricted and contends that during the talks before the signing of this treaty there may have been some verbal deal between the American representatives and their Russian counterparts that if Russian agrees to the reductions the US will reduce its efforts to build a complete "missile shield" in return. The Obama administration denies this but Krauthammer and others contend that this should be investigated properly to make sure there were no miscommunication between the American and Russian representatives....And I agree.

While I do agree such a treaty is very important and Democrats points that there have been no inspectors in Russian to observe nuclear arsenal for over a year are quite valid, these are things that can be handled next year. Why? Because for the moment, I believe the American economy is a more important matter for the 'Lame duck' session to worry about. The New START treaty will still be there in two months and I believe thorough debate is a must on such treaties and once all is clear what the treaty will and will not do, then a vote on it can be had.

The issue of whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended or not, is in my mind more important for the 'lame duck' session to worry about right now. These tax cuts expire in a little over a month and still neither part has a concesus on what should be done. More or less, the GOP is unified in their belief that at the very least, all the tax cuts should be extended at least til next year and preferably the GOP would like to see them permanently extended. The Democrats on the other hand are all over the place with ideas of compromises but no one has a majority of support it seems. Some, like the President, believe that at the very least tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 should extended, possibly permanently while tax cuts for upper class Americans should return to their pre-Bush levels. Some have recently suggested the bar be raised to $1 million dollars instead to try and appeal to Republicans. The reasonings behind these ranging opinions from both parties is too lengthy to cover in this blog entry but there are at some solid reasoning for both sides arguments.

Ultimately, considering how little time there is left to figure this out, I think it is prudent for Democrats to quite bickering among themselves and find some compromise with the Republicans. Personally, I am not a big fan of continuing the tax cuts permanently simply because of how much they are projected to add to the deficit over the next decade (enough to make the Stimulus and TARP look like child's play). However considering the shape the economy is in right now, it is more prudent to not raise taxes on anyone at least until the economy escapes this recession. But I do believe I know why Democrats are seemingly stalling on this issue. They likely fear that if they agree to extend all the tax cuts for a few years that when the time comes to decide what to do with them again the Congress could be held completely by Republicans and they may choose to extend them permanently, and this is a valid fear but for right now they are just going to have to take that risk for the good of the economy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Deficit Reduction Plans..There are many!

Recently, the Co-Chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Reform published a proposed plan for reducing our deficit through a rather long list of pretty specific changes ranging from a gradual gas tax to reducing the Defense budget. Within just hours of being published, Democrats and Republicans alike showed their disdain for the proposal though Democrats have been FAR more critical of it (Soon to be EX speaker Pelosi called it "unacceptable").

Regardless of how valid or likely the proposal is, it turns out there are already several proposed such plans to reduce our deficit and bring spending under control which can make looking at just one a bit confusing and tricky. In order to clarify all such plans, the good people at have compiled a list of the many proposal. I encourage everyone to read these proposal so that they at least know what is on the table and who is behind them.

Many thanks to PolitiFact!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

On today, the day set aside to honor those who put their lives on the line for all Americans, I look to the man who proclaimed this holiday 91 years ago...President Woodrow Wilson:

‎"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and... justice in the councils of the nations."

Originally a national holiday honoring those who fought in World War I, it was expanded decades later by Congress to include all veterans not just those from WWI, a change sparked not by a politican but by a shoe maker from Kansas by the name of Alfred King. And as history would have it, this change was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower.

Finally, I leave you with these words..

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them"- John F. Kennedy

Happy Veterans Day

Friday, November 5, 2010

Leave it to Charles to Sum it up best..

The results of Tuesday's election results are still not entirely final but one thing is clear: Democrats got their 'asses' handed to them. To best sum up the results of the election results and real meaning behind them, I give the floor to Mr. Krauthammer...Take it away Charles!

"For all the turmoil, the spectacle, the churning - for all the old bulls slain and fuzzy-cheeked freshmen born - the great Republican wave of 2010 is simply a return to the norm. The tide had gone out; the tide came back. A center-right country restores the normal congressional map: a sea of interior red, bordered by blue coasts and dotted by blue islands of ethnic/urban density.

Or to put it numerically, the Republican wave of 2010 did little more than undo the two-stage Democratic wave of 2006-2008 in which the Democrats gained 54 House seats combined (precisely the size of the anti-Democratic wave of 1994). In 2010 the Democrats gave it all back, plus about an extra 10 seats or so for good - chastening - measure.
The conventional wisdom is that these sweeps represent something novel, exotic and very modern - the new media, faster news cycles, Internet frenzy and a public with a short attention span and even less patience with government. Or alternatively, that these violent swings reflect reduced party loyalty and more independent voters.
Nonsense. In 1946, for example, when party loyalty was much stronger and even television was largely unknown, the Republicans gained 56 seats and then lost 75 in the very next election. Waves come. Waves go. The republic endures.
Our two most recent swing cycles were triggered by unusually jarring historical events. The 2006 Republican "thumpin'" (to quote George W. Bush) was largely a reflection of the disillusionment and near-despair of a wearying war that appeared to be lost. And 2008 occurred just weeks after the worst financial collapse in eight decades.

Similarly, the massive Republican swing of 2010 was a reaction to another rather unprecedented development - a ruling party spectacularly misjudging its mandate and taking an unwilling country through a two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism.

A massive government restructuring of the health-care system. An $800 billion-plus stimulus that did not halt the rise in unemployment. And a cap-and-trade regime reviled outside the bicoastal liberal enclaves that luxuriate in environmental righteousness - so reviled that the Democratic senatorial candidate in West Virginia literally put a bullet through the bill in his own TV ad. He won. Handily.

Opposition to the policies was compounded by the breathtaking arrogance with which they were imposed. Ignored was the unmistakable message from the 2009-10 off-year elections culminating in Scott Brown's anti-Obamacare victory in bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. Moreover, Obamacare and the stimulus were passed on near-total party-line votes - legal, of course, but deeply offensive to the people's sense of democratic legitimacy. Never before had anything of this size and scope been passed on a purely partisan basis. (Social Security commanded 81 House Republicans; the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 136; Medicare, 70.)

Tuesday was the electorate's first opportunity to render a national verdict on this manner of governance. The rejection was stunning. As a result, President Obama's agenda is dead. And not just now. No future Democratic president will try to revive it - and if he does, no Congress will follow him, in view of the carnage visited upon Democrats on Tuesday.

This is not, however, a rejection of Democrats as a party. The center-left party as represented by Bill Clinton remains competitive in every cycle. (Which is why he was the most popular, sought-after Democrat in the current cycle.) The lesson of Tuesday is that the American game is played between the 40-yard lines. So long as Democrats don't repeat Obama's drive for the red zone, Democrats will cyclically prevail, just as Republicans do.

Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people's proxy in saying no to Obama's overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn't an election so much as a restraining order.
The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant.

The president, however, remains clueless. In his next-day news conference, he had the right demeanor - subdued, his closest approximation of humility - but was uncomprehending about what just happened. The "folks" are apparently just "frustrated" that "progress" is just too slow. Asked three times whether popular rejection of his policy agenda might have had something to do with the shellacking he took, he looked as if he'd been asked whether the sun had risen in the West. Why, no, he said. "

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Joe Scarborough Talks Some Sense...

Recently, Joe Scarborough, a former House Republican and host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe", published an opinion piece on POLITICO discussing his view about how important or earth-shaking this years mid-terms elections will actually be. In short, he makes the point that both parties are equally guilty of having terrible records when it comes to fiscal responsibility and that the end-of-the-world like rhetoric we hear from both Democrats and Republicans is all just that...Rhetoric. Whether there will be any real change this November remains to be seen and though I am not as skeptical or cynical as Mr. Scarborough, I am not holding my breath that the Republicans will be any better than the Democrats in terms of Fiscal Responsibility should they come to power.

As an interesting sidenote, this opinion piece by Scarborough has cause a good bit of reactions from readers of POLITICO. There have been alot of comments on the piece ranging from Liberals claiming Joe is just another dumb conservative and doesn't belong on MSNBC, to Conservatives accusing him of sucking up to Liberals and not being a real conservative. Such a wide range of comments suggests to me...that Mr. Scarborough must have said something right to irritate both ends of the political spectrum so kudos to you Mr. Scarborough for being bipartisan in your ability to piss off both Liberals and Conservatives!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

19 Days til....

In just 19 days, millions of Americans will go the polls in what is sure to be a memorable mid-term election. How memorable of an election all depends on who you ask of course. Many Republicans would try to convince you (and themselves) that this year's elections will be something close "tsunami" if 1994. Some Democrats (including the Vice President) actually try to convince people that the Democrats have a real chance at maintaining their majorities in Congress. What is the truth? Well, even though we still have 19 days til the election, thanks to polling data all over the nation and the good people at the New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog we can make a pretty good educated guess.

As of their latest projections, this is the outcome FiveThirtyEight is predicting according to the latest available polling data (October 8-12):

House of Representatives
  • Republicans- 226.5 seats

  • Democrats-208.5 seats

  • Independents-0.0 seats


  • Republicans- 47.9 seats

  • Democrats- 52.0 seats

  • Independents- 0.1 seats

Now, assuming the math behind these projections is correct, the results we will see this Novemember will hardly be a "tsunami" but it will radicially change the dynamics of Washington D.C. The Republicans would have a fairly strong majority in the House of Representatives though not as great as the Democrats now and likewise the Democrats will still have a pretty strong presence compared to the current Republican minority. However, the real difference will be in how each party conducts themselves while the majority.

Democrats in their short rule of the House have passed several major pieces of legislation but have also had problems with party unity and keeping promise made before they came into the majority in 2006 (especially in the area of ethics). Republicans on the other hand don't traditionally have alot of internal problems and often more united in the political positions. Even with the election of so-called Tea Party candidates, this isnt likely going to change as long as President Obama is in office.

The Senate is another story entirely. If these projections hold true, the Democrats will retain their majority but just barely. This will present a rather interesting situation in the Senate. The threat of Filibuster by Republicans will only be more real and could result in a deadlocked Senate. Its even possible Republicans could draw in several more conservative Democrats on important votes and therefore not even need to filibuster. No matter what though, its likely the Senate will not be a very active body after the election (which is a sad statement to begin with).

In fact many Republicans, including prominent members like Senator Jim DeMint have called for a deadlock should they not get their way. The idea of a standstill in the Senate and the whole of Congress will remind many of a similar event after the 1994 mid-terms over the budget. The idea of a similar event is not likely to win any votes considering how ineffective and lazy most Americans already think Congress is..Just imagine how they will feel when one of the major parties has the equivalent of a hissy fit and causes the entire government to grind to a hault. Now whether such a standstill is going to happen we can only guess, but it's just one of many possibilities of what the Congress will look like after the mid-terms.

Sadly though, I think anyone who thinks these elections are going to be some radical change or some great improvement are going to be disappointed. I myself am a rather cynical political wonk who sees both parties are being dysfunctional and self-centered in their own ways and don't hold much hope either party is ready or willing to create any real political change in America. In my mind, should Republicans come to power in the House, it is going to just be politics as usual and they will be more focused on the elections in 2012 than getting something accomplished or showing any real national leadership. This is just politics as usual in America and I haven't seen any reason to believe any different..But of course I could be wrong and perhaps the Republicans will really take charge and focus on the deficit as they have promised and not focus too much on partisan politics but I'm not going to hold my breath...

Regardless, I really want to give kudos to the people behind the FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times for their impressive set of information, polling data, and great articles on this years elections. We need more sites like these out there to better educate the American voter..Many thanks!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Write-In Contenders..Rebels against the Tea Partiers?

This political season has so far shown that the Tea Party movement does have some sway at least with Republican and even many independent voters with the nominations of several so-called, "political outsiders". The most recent addition to this club has been Christine O'Donnell who defeated Republican moderate Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate Primary. Mr. Castle had the backing of not only the party establishment but also political veterans like Karl Rove. O'Donnell's victory cause many in the establishment to publically vent their frustration with the Tea Party movement that had propelled O'Donnell to win the nomination. Mr. Rove stated it best in that with O'Donnell as the Republican Candidate it made it unlikely that she would be able to defeat her Democratic candidate largely thanks to her conservative beliefs that aren't nearly as effective in the Democratic-leaning state of Delaware. This belief has been reinforced by the latest polls that show Ms. O'Donnell far behind her Democratic opponent.

As such, some have suggested that Mr. Castle could mount a Write-In campaign as Ms. Murkowski has in Alaska after being defeated by a more conservative tea-party backed candidate. However, many venerable political analyists don't see that as very likely. Write-In campaigns are tricky to pull off in the best conditions but they are seen as the only option for non-Tea Party Republicans who believe they can still win in general elections.

This year has really shown the threat the Tea Party poses to the Republican Party as a whole. While the Tea Party movement has helped motivate many new voters towards the Republican party, it has also shown that it can derail some of their efforts to win traditional Democratic states (like Delaware). This tension between the Tea Partiers and the Republican establishment could pose an even greater danger to the GOP should they gain control of Congress because it could infighting not just this year but in the next election cycle, in which the Democrats could take advantage of the chaos. For the moment though, the Democratic voters are not nearly as motivated and for the moment have been unable to trully captialize on the tension between the GOP and the Tea Party.

This November is shaping to still be very exciting, with most experts agreeing that Democrats will lose control of the House of Representative but thanks to recent events it looks that the Senate will likely remain in Democratic hands which will make the aftermath of the Mid-Terms all that more confusing and exciting (for political wonks anyway).

Which brings me to a new link I have added to the my blog. The New York Times has this year set up a Political page/blog called the FiveThirtyEight which includes a vast array of information on races all over America including poll numbers, local statistics, voting records etc. The site also makes their own educated guesses for the likelihood of the outcomes of these races and the likelihood of who will control Congress after the Mid-terms. I highly recommend it to those who want to see the big picture this year politically.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I know it sounds crazy...But

Much has been made in the last few years over all the President's "Czars". Many a political ignoramus claimed these Czars were proof of President Obama's socialist tendencies (totally ignoring the fact that most of the existing Czars already existing before President Obama took office). Others questioned that whether these Czars were really going to eliminate the government waste at all, which is a very good question. The problem is, we don't know for certain so perhaps the President should do something that many have said comes so naturally to him, hire another Czar. I know its sounds crazy, but hear Liz Peek of the Fiscal Times out..

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th..We will not forget

On the 9th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, I can't find the words to properly honor those who died that terrible day..So I look to the man who, for better or worse, held Americans together that day, President George W. Bush:

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “- President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2010 the new 1982? Maybe..

There has been some talk as of late about how the current political and economical situations of this year is comparable to those of 1982 during President Reagan. On the surface, the comparison is definitely interesting and seems quite convincing but is it really a good comparision? The people at PolitiFact has done so checking for themselves, and found the comparison to be "Mostly True" on their 'truth-o-meter'. I am inclined to agree based on these facts:

1. New President- Both Obama and Reagan succeeded unpopular Presidents (Bush and Carter), and we quite popular in the first year or so of their presidencies because of this. However, Reagan like Obama, saw their popularity among the American people drop half-way through their first terms.

2. Economy- Both Presidents came in at the beginning of recessions and experience high umemployment rates going into the fall midterms, which had reprecussions on their popularity and their party's success in the fall.

3. Midterms- Both Presidents experienced losses of their party's standing in Congress, though in Reagan's case the Republicans were in the minority and still lost seats in the fall whereas Obama's Democratic Party is in control of both houses of Congress and is likely to lose control of at least one house.

That is where the comparison ends, because while not set in stone, its likely the Democrats will lose control of the House of Representatives this fall and possibly even the Senate (though that is far from certain). Reagan came into office with Democrats controlling the House so he was already an "opposition" President, whereas Obama should have been in a more controlling position. While President Obama has had some legislative success, Republicans (especially in the Senate) have been fairly effective is causing Democrats problems.

Another part of the comparison is that even though Reagan's popularity was diminished in 1982 and his party lost seats, he was still able to win re-election (rather easily) in 1984 and Obama supporters believe that such success could be duplicated by President Obama in 2012. Whether this is true or not I don't know but I do agree the comparison is definitely relevant.

Here is the original Fact-Check by PolitiFact, read it and judge for yourself..

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Sign of American Voter Ignorance..

I hate to sound rude about this, but there seems to just be an endless amount of evidence that the average American voter is just plain stupid. As I have said many times, you don't have to have an interest in politics to stay informed. Staying informed is something that should be required of all voters because ignorance causing more problems than any corrupt politican will ever accomplish...

Here is what I am talking about. The good people at the Pew Research Center have discovered that more Americans incorrectly believe President Obama signed the TARP legislation into law and not his predecessor President Bush. Read it and weep...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Palin..Your Pants are on Fire!

The recent debate over the possible expiration of the Bush Tax cuts has brought out of misinformation from politicans all over the spectrum. And now Sarah has added her 2 cents on the topic and as usual, she has no idea what she is talking about lol..Courtesy PolitiFact:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So let me get this straight...

So, many in the Republican Party are going out and saying letting the Bush Tax Cuts (enacted in 2001/2003) expire in December of this year will undermine any progress made in economic recovery in America. They say this because those who would be affected the most by the expired tax cuts, upper-high income Americans, are one of the big keys to improving the economy..While sounding like a valid point, allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to continue (and possibly be made permanent) strongly contradicts a major GOP battle cry this election year: The Deficit.

First off, indeed many Small Businesses in American do classify themselves as individuals when it comes to tax time and they will experience a tax increase if the Bush Tax Cuts are allowed to expire. Also true is that many economists agree that Small Businesses are a major factor in any possible economic recovery. So logically, allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire would possibly hurt or slow down such a recovery...

Second, Democrats have blamed these Tax Cuts for far too much as of late. Yes they are a large component of the current Federal Deficit but they are hardly the only major factor. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, TARP, the Stimulus all have affected and greatly increased to the Federal Deficit and to bash the Bush Tax Cuts are being the most destructive of these is short-sighted and hypocritical.

However, there is something the Republicans don't really want to talk about when one discusses the Bush Tax Cuts..the Deficit.

Most economists estimate the Bush Tax Cuts have cost the Federal Government well over $1 Trillion in lost revenue (not taking into account side-effects on other sections of the economy) already. Even more frightening, the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts in May of this year estimated that if the Bush Tax Cuts were made permanent for all taxpayers, they would add $3.2 trillion in the next decade...3.2 Trillion Dollars..Thats more than twice the current Federal Deficit. That alone should make any supposed Fiscally conservative person shutter..but it gets better! In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that if the Bush Tax Cuts were allowed to expired, they would reduce the annual Federal deficit by $200-300 billion..ANNUALLY.

Historically, Republicans will tell you tax cuts can fix practically any economic woes...And they are sometimes a fairly good tactic, but many economists will also tell you tax cuts rarely if ever pay for themselves (something Republicans demand any spending bill should do). And while it's possible allowing these tax cuts to expire may affect the speed of a prospective economic recovery, I personally believe the obvious possible reduction of the Federal Deficit outweighs this and Republicans need to decide whether they are really worried about the deficit and allow the Tax cuts to expire or at least modify them, or just using it for political gain. I strongly suspect the later, especially when one studies their track record with the economy in the last few decades. They claim they have changed and are ready to make cuts and reduce the deficit by almost all means necessary..but is 4 years really enough time for the GOP to change its fiscal stripes? We shall see...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back...With a Vengence!

I have taken a small break from blogging as of late...but a recent story in the news has moved me to return and rip a few people a new one!

As many of you may have heard..Yesterday a video posted on a website owned by Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart claimed to shows an African-American USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, telling a story about how she denied full help to a white farmer who was facing the possibility of losing his farm at a NAACP event. Not surprising to anyone who doesn't watch FauxNews only..they quickly picked up the story and presented it as a current USDA official actively practicing racial discrimination. As usual with FauxNews, they discussed the story practically 24/7 for the next day and shortly thereafter word got out that Ms. Sherrod had resigned her position in the USDA, and this was confirmed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (native of my home state). Also not long after, the NAACP also denounced her and her supposed actions..Sounds open and shut right? Wrong..

Just one big problem with this case..Andrew Breitbart is involved. This man has a record of creating his own "truths" and shouldn't ever been considered a good source of anything other than Right-Wing propaganda. And shock of all shocks, the video has been heavily edited and leaves out several huge details that will become clear in a moment..

The main part of this story, is Ms. Sherrod telling a story of her being asked by a white farmer for help and believing he was acting 'superior' and he considering how many blacks have lost their farms in the area and she states that she wasn't going to give him her "full force" to help him. What the chopped version of the video on Breitbart website doesn't show is the full story. Here are the 2 big points that are not mentioned in the edited video or in FoxNews' early reports on this story:

1. FoxNews initially claimed that this story Ms. Sherrod was discussing happened while she was employed by the Federal Government. This is incorrect as Ms. Sherrod states in the video, this incident occured right after the Federal government extended Chapter 12 Bankruptacy to family farms..which happened in 1986. That is 23 years before Ms. Sherrod ever worked for the Federal government. Ms. Sherrod was at the time working for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund in Georgia.

2. If you listen to her entire story, she is trying to make a point. When she was first approached by this white farmer (a Mr. Spooner), she said this:

“The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm, he took a long time talking but he was trying to show me he was superior to me,” Sherrod said in the video. “I know what he was doing. But he had come to me for help. What he didn’t know while he was taking all that time, trying to show me that he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people lost their farmlands, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn’t give him the full force of what I can do.”

And that's all you heard if you only watched FauxNews' coverage of this story..But they missed to real story. Contrary to what Mr. Breitbart and FauxNews initially tried to tell you, she didn't actually withhold any help to Mr. Spooner. In fact the story was about how this incident taught her that she should help all poor in Georgia, not just blacks. In fact, the Spooner family came to Ms. Sherrod's defense today and stated that without her help they would have lost their family farm.

Today the NAACP came out apologizing for their condemnation of Ms. Sherrod and accused FauxNews and Andrew Breitbart of "snookering" them. As of now, Secretary Vilsack hasn't apologized to Ms. Sherrod, though I strongly suggest he should. And that's the real sad part and surprising part of this story..How quickly and stupidly Mr. Vilsack, the NAACP, and possibly the Obama administration fell for it. How much influence President Obama had in this situation is currently unknown but many do believe they may have pressured both Ms. Sherrod and Mr. Vilsack into their actions. Why Mr. Vilsack and the NAACP acted without even talking to Ms. Sherrod or looking into this chopped video I don't know..but they should both be ashamed of themselves...And speaking of being ashamed of themselves..I have a few words of FauxNews and Mr. Breitbart..

First to FauxNews..I am not at all shocked by how you failed to do any follow-up on this video and its full content. You are a sorry excuse for a reputable News organization and have proven time and time again to be just as biased, if not more so, than any other major news source in America. While not shocked, I do think you as an organization owe Ms. Sherrod an apologee, not that I expect you will do so. Regardless, the people at FauxNews should be ashamed of themselves..

Secondly, to Mr. Breitbart. I will give him credit for normally being a man who never backs down and fully expressing his Right to Free Speech. However, it was his website that started all this by posted this edited video and he has a responsibility to actually look into the content of his websites. He has stated since the truth was revealed that he doesn't have the original video, just the version his people posted. However, Mr. Breitbart makes a habit of claiming others edit videos of him or conservatives and take things out of context so I find it terribly ironic that he/his people have allowed an edited video on their website. Since it was a NAACP function she was speaking at, couldn't Mr. Breitbart or his people ask them for the full video so as to verify what the video depicted? They certainly could have but they must have seen the video as political gold and didn't even both to look into the video. And for that Mr. Breitbart, you are at fault.

Finally, the NAACP. This organization has been having a public fight with the Tea Party movement over its supposedly tolerance of Racists in their midsts. As such, this public fight may have caused the NAACP to be overly worried about possible cases of so-called 'reverse-racism' by people associated with the NAACP. As such, when this story first broke the NAACP over-reacted and condemned Ms. Sherrod without even talking to her or looking into the story further. More importantly, as Mr. Breitbart's website BigGovernment pointed out, the NAACP should have known better, since she was speaking at a NAACP event which means the organization had the original video! As such, they first should have looked up the video, watched it and then should have defended Ms. Sherrod not stupidity rush into condemning her on Mr. Breitbart and FauxNews' word for it. However, unlike the other two previously discussed, the NAACP has at least apologized to Ms. Sherrod, though the NAACP is still blaming Mr. Breitbart and FoxNews mostly for their error.

Long story short, there is alot of blame and shame to go around, with FoxNews, Mr. Breitbart, and the NAACP each had a hand in ending Ms. Sherrod employment. As such, they all need to admit such and apologize to Ms. Sherrod sooner rather than later..Though I have a feeling the NAACP will be the only one to do so..

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wow...I Don't Even Know..

A theme here as of late is the concept that to put it mildly, Many Americans are just stupid when it comes to How our government works and even basics of American History. Sadly, we have even more proof of this..Just today a Marist Survey Poll published some sad and shocking results..The polls asked respondents Which Nation did the United States declare its independence from on July 4, 1776? Sounds really easy right? Apparently not for everyone..

ONLY 74% of respondents correctly responded "Great Britain". Which means 26% of Respondents either didn't know or said a different country. The majority of these, lets say, IDIOTS, honestly said they didn't know while 6% said some other country...To be honest I can't really think which is worse! On this 4th of July weekend, please keep in mind the very reason we celebrate this holiday and who we have to thank for it..God Bless America! (even the idiots)...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Big Whig News!

Well it is official, the American Centrist Party has merged with the Modern Whig Party. This merger, in the works for a little while now, unifies two of the largest moderate American political parties and shows that interest in this movement is continuing to rise which is amazing when considering how polarized our political environment it is in America today. Some 16,000 new members have now joined the Modern Whig Party giving the MWP some 46,000 members and hopefully the newly merged leadership will guide the MWP to greater scope in American politics and I wish the MWP congrats, Cheers!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oy Vey...

I hate to say it..but I told you so..Several posts back I discussed the relative stupidity of American Voters on how our very political system works and its history. Some of you may have read it and thought, "surely the American voter can't be that dumb" or something along those lines..but now we have more proof of our own stupidity...Two websites, and the American Revolution Center have recented published polls that should make all Americans shudder and think.

Firstly, the website FindLaw discovered that roughly 2/3 of those who participated in their poll couldn't name a single U.S. Supreme Court Justice..which while understandable considering how relatively little we see of the Supreme Court is still a saddening fact that all Americans should pay attention to..

Secondly, the American Revolution Center sponsored a national survey with 1001 participants to determine how well we Americans understand basic Civics and facts about our very Revolutionary War and the results are..well, Pathetic. As such I will let you read the results for yourself..

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today In Iowa Politics..

I rarely discuss the politics of my home state of Iowa but today I feel moved to do so...The big race for most of us Iowans this year is the Governors race. Chet Culver (Democrat) has certainly not impressed many Iowans with his performance the last 4 years and as you might expect there are many who challenging him this fall, but before that happens we have to get through the Republican Primary first. The two main contendors for the Republican nod are Terry Brandstad and Bob Vander Plaats. Brandstad is a former governor who served 4 full terms in the 80's and 90's here in Iowa (a total of 16 years) and is very well liked by most Iowans because he came in during a rough economic patch in Iowa and left office with a historic budget surplus (which has long evaporated)...Bob Vander Plaats has tried to run a few times now and lost the Republican nod in 2006 and settled for being a Lt. Governor candidate instead and still lost to Chet Culver. Regardless of who wins, most polls in Iowa show Culver losing. So what are the big issues here in the middle of nowhere? Funny enough they are issues that are big issues across the nation. Gay Marriage is one of the key issues for the Republicans this year. To those who didnt watch the news much last year, Iowa became on of the few states in the US that allows gay marriage after the Iowa Supreme Court threw out Iowa's traditional marriage law and authorized gay couples to marry. This caused a big uproar in the state but the Democratic governor and legislature largely ignored it which means by Iowa law the gay marriages can't be legally stopped until likely 2012 or later.

This is where the two main Republican candidates differ. Bob Vander Plaats claims that if elected he will issue an executive order putting a stay on same-sex marriages. He claims the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and "created" law instead of interpretting it and therefore that legitimizes his possible actions. However for those of us with at least a basic understand on how our legal system works can tell you such an executive order is unconstitutional and illegal. The courts would more than likely throw it out and cause a constitutional crisis here in Iowa. Such an executive order would be like President Obama saying he didn't like the Supreme Court's ruling on something and issuing an executive order to block the ruling...It's ridiculus and the fact that Vander Plaats continues to claim this to me just makes me dislike him the point that if he wins the Republican primary for governor I will vote instead of Chet Culver who while a crappy governor overall at least he knows his constitutional limits...His main opponent Terry Brandstad has stated that while he doesn't approve of the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling he also thinks we should overturn the law the right way (via the legislature and state-wide referendum). And for that Mr. Brandstad, I will vote for you and wish you the best..and for Mr. Vander Plaats, you sir are a Dumbass...Cheers

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Catching Up..

Sadly I've been busy with work as of late and hadn't had any inspiration for writing..But considering the recent events in the last few weeks I think some catching up is in order...

Firstly, I'd like to discuss the controversial Anti-Immigration bill signed into law in Arizona. The law has been applauded by the Right and decried by the Left. There have been large and sometimes violent protests against this new law and there have been calls for boycotting business with Arizona (including a traveling warning from the Mexican government). On the Right it has been hailed as a state's effort to do what the Federal government has failed to do. From my studying of this bill, I find that both sides have flaws in their argument.

Flaws with the Left's Arguments:
1. Most of this law mirrors Federal statutes on illegal immigration including have proper identification if you are an immigrant (visa or green card for example) and if you are here illegally you are breaking the law and will be treated as such.
2. The protests have been more like controlled riots and have been treated different by the so-called "Main Stream Media"..which seems to compared them equally with Tea Party protests which while filed with stupid signs and angry words were lacking in the same kind of violence seen in these Anti-Arizona protests.

Flaws with the Right's Arguments:
1. You has to wonder about a law that Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police didn't want passed and for good reasons. As police chiefs and sheriffs here in my home state of Iowa have said, such a law is inherently expensive and hard to enforce. In all likelihood most independent observers believe such a law will be expensive for Arizona so don't be surprised if Arizona's taxes go up in the next few years..
2. The Right claims Arizona is doing what the Federal Government has failed to do (and in turn something President Obama has failed to do) in securing the borders..But considering how much the President has had to deal with since taking office I don't believe Immigration Reform could have been explored properly anyway but regardless I have one big question for those on the Right..Where was this outrage of finger-wagging when President Bush was in office? For 8 years under his presidency nothing really changed on the border in terms of reform. I do give Bush credit for setting into motion the enlargement of Border Patrol agents, building better barriers and overall improved border security but such actions are only attacking the symptom and not the true problem. More importantly Immigration Reform was brought up during his Presidency but the Feds wimped out (both Republicans and Democrats) of doing any real reform because they didn't want to risk their political careers.

So while both sides make some good points they also both have major flaws in their reasoning. So how do I see this controversy? Firstly, considering how the Federal government has floundered in Immigration Reform, I understand what Arizona is trying to do with this bill. But having local police try to enforce such a law is tricky. The likelihood of racial profiling and discrimination is high no matter how specific this law may be simple because of human nature. Border Patrol and ICE agents are trained on how to better determine illegal from legal residents for which state police are not as well trained for. Could such training be improved? Of course but that takes time and the bill is now law so the possible of profiling and discrimination remains, hence why such laws are always so tricky. The cost of such a law is also likely going to be a problem and the idea that someone can sue the police/law enforcement because they dont think they are doing a good enough job is a terrible idea. Because such an ability will likely lead to abuses and make Police departments focus too much on illegals and less on other areas of crime in fear they are going to get sued if they don't. If it were not for that provision I would likely support such a bill...

Long story short, a largely O.K. bill but leaves a lot of loose ends and we will have to wait and see how they are tied up..

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ron Paul, You're logic is flawed.

For anyone who trully wants to understand the appeal of Libertarianism that drives many of the Tea Partiers, you should read what Ron Paul has to say Ron Paul, while technically a Republican, freely admits he is trully a Libertarian politically, so what does that mean? Put simply, true Libertarians believe the Federal Government is far too large and should be a much smaller and weaker entity than it currently is today. They as a whole normally back the dissolving of the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve for being examples of too much government. True Libertarians also believe the Government shouldn't legislate morality and as such don't support the idea of a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. This isn't because they support gay marriage, they just don't see how it's any of the federal government's business. That's actually the best way to describe Libertarians, they live the philosophy of "None of Your Business" towards the government and for many in America that kind of philosophy makes sense and I would have to agree...but not entirely.

Dr. Paul is a believer it a "True Free-Market" in which there are few government regulations and the economy and businesses are allowed run their own course whether it be successful or disasterous. Such a system sounds very good on paper but I find many faults with it. For example, there is nothing in Dr. Paul's Free Market that keeps Monopolies from forming and controlling the economy but yet he rails against Monopolies at the same time....Dr. Paul also denounces Keynesian economics, which is the system most if not all Western nations economies have used since the early 20th century. What is Keynesianism? Basically its an economic policy advocating a "Mixed" economy, in which the economy is in private hands and government influence plays a major factor in the economy as a whole. Is Keynesianism a perfect economic policy? Of course not, and there is no such perfect economic system. A True Free-Market system as advocated by Ron Paul is also far from perfect because with no government oversight we would have to rely on American corporations and businessmen to be honest and not exploit both the economy and the people...And who honestly believes that? Even with regulations and government oversight American businesses are still filled with corruption and purposely exploit the system to their own benefit no matter what the cost to average Americans. Do you think they would behave any better without supervision? A "True" Free-Market, while being more free from government interference is also liable to become corrupt and overbearing in its own right. So which is better? That is a question I cannot answer simply because I am not an economist, but to completely denounce Keynesianiam is to ignore one the major factors that shaped America's Post-War economic boom in the 20th century. And for this, I find Ron Paul's logic towards it flawed..

Monday, April 19, 2010

Could the Whigs Learn something from the Liberal Democrats of the U.K. ?

Believe it or not, we Americans could learn something from our allies across the Atlantic. Just last week, the U.K. witness something they had never seen before, a televised/live political candidate debate. We Americans are rather used to such things as they've been going on since the 1960 Presidential Election and as such many in the U.K. tuned in. What was the result of this debate? Well for those who know little of foreign politics, current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not exactly popular and most observers in Britain have predicted his party, Labour, will lose the next Parliamentary elections on May 6. Before the debate it was widely predicted (and even accepted) that the Conservative Party led by David Cameron would defeat Brown but there was some certainly on whether either major party would win a true majority. How could that be? Well unlike the USA, Britain has a major third party influence. The Liberal Democrats has since the late 80's won roughly 20% of the vote in UK elections and have played a small but largely unimportant part in UK politics. That has all changed this year. Even before the debate it was believe the Liberal Democrats could play "Kingmaker" this May for which ever party offers them the best partnership. The Debate changed all that. The leader of the Liberal Deomcrats, Nick Clegg, was able to not only charm the viewers and audience, but also mock the bickering of the two major parties. "The more they attack each other, the more they sound the same," Clegg rightfully pointed out. Now doesn't that sound familiar? Clegg also pointed out that politics as usual is what caused the UK's financial problems and political scandals and that a different path was needed. Since that debate, two new polls have put the Liberal Democrats ahead of Labour and even ahead of the Conservatives in one poll.

But because the UK's somewhat dysfunctional electoral system, even though Labour is third in most polls, they could come out with the most seats (though still not enough for a majority)...We American can relate to such confusion. The UK has a electoral system similar to our "Winner Takes All" system called "First Past the Post" which limits the ability for third parties to win a great deal of seats. Most in the UK predict if the Liberal Democrats do well, they could form a Alliance government with Labour and in return they will likely demand election reform to move the UK closer to a proportional voting system (which favors smaller parties like the Liberal Dems). So what can the Modern Whig Party learn from this? Plenty.

While it's not likely a major third party prescence will appear here in American this year or even 2 years from now, we do now know that it is possible for such to occur even with our Winner Take All voting system. In fact, on the Semi-Official Modern Whig Party Facebook group I and several other members debated possible election reform that increase fairness and allow our voice as citizens to be better heard in our government. Such talk of reform, while likely a long way off, nevertheless gives some of us hope that we could one day see such success for our party in the future. Something else to learn from the Liberal Democrats is Message. The Liberal Democrats have the right platform for the UK right now. They are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. For this reason the Modern Whig has something in common with the Liberal Dems, both have platforms that reflect how alot of their citizens feel about issues that are important to them. So if I was the MWP leadership, I'd be watching this election in the UK very closely..Cheers!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss..

"The best argument against democracry is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill

A sad but very true statement, and this past year has only proven that point. Many of us know the truth, but you will never hear the major News Media ever talk about it..Not FOX, not MSNBC, and definitely not CNN...Our politicans will never say it...All because they fear the truth will either upset, offend, or anger the people of the United States of America..but someone has to say it, and it might as well be me...

The Average American voter is...STUPID. Period.

No one likes to say it and the average voter will either nod their heads in agreement or go into a rage but if everyone knew this our political landscape would be so much less dysfunctional..but then if everyone knew we wouldn't be so stupid now would we? You may laugh at this but it is the sad truth here in America...

Historian Rick Shenkman wrote a book several years ago that was largely ignored by the Average American (huge shock) but should be a pre-requisite for all American students. He gave the book a fairly controversial title but for good reason, because if he hadn't no one would have probably read it! Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter was published in 2008 and in our current heated political climate its words ring more true than when they were published..

In his book, Shenkman describes how easy to is for Americans to access information about events around the world or how our government works using the Internet, especially compared to just a few decades ago..but he also points out a stark and troubling fact..Even though Americans have this great access to knowledge, the majority choice not to use it and instead either relay on News Media to give them the facts or simple don't care. The ignorace of American voters in the area of civics is especially worrisome. A 2007 study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute found that on average American college students scored under 55 out of 100 on a test over basic American Civics. Sadly I can atest this truth from my experiences in college. And I can also sum it up rather easily..

Most Americans care very little about politics unless it comes to affect them personally. They see it as someone else's job to know such things so they don't have to research every issue being debating in Washington D.C....To be honest I can understand such a stance, because in these hard times Americans often have too much on their plate to know what's going on in Washington these days and instead rely on News Medias like FoxNews and MSNBC to provide them with the "facts", and there lies the average American voters greatest mistake. To trust the News Media to truthfully and objectively report the news in today's world of Partisanship is foolish but understandable. It has gotten so bad today that many believe most Americans actually prefer partisan News Media which they use to explain why CNN's ratings are tanking but FoxNews and MSNBC are the top Cable News outlets. I don't busy this myself, I think it has more to do with CNN's inability to actually debate the issues as opposed to just taking a middle road path like they are now.

The Truth is News Media discovered the average American's ignorance long ago and now exploit it...Whether it be with good-looking hosts and anchors or having controversial personalities, they are looking to get as many viewers as possible, simple as that. That sad thing is these News Media companies still try to pretend as though they are not biased politically when anyone who actually watches them all of them and does their own research and quickly find that they are not..but there again lies the problem...that's simply too much work for most Americans. They are content with trusting TV personalities to give them the "facts" instead of looking into such things themselves.

There are some who say we shouldn't be hard on our uninformed fellow citizens..but there is distinct line to draw. There are those are for whatever reason ignorant of the world around them (whether foreign, domestic, or political) not because they wish to be but because they find their own lives and problems more important and I have no problem with those people. My problem is with those who seemingly embrace such ignorance or allow others to do the thinking for them..because such people are indeed a danger to any Republic and allow the few to heavily influence the many and allow for the spread of not-so "facts" and only further deepens the partisan divide in our political system...

So I call on my fellow Americans, Don't allow others to do the Fact-checking for you, whether it be Liberals or Conservatives. For those of you who have the time, take 10 minutes a day to actually research the issues for yourselves and then see how the News reports it and see if they are telling you the truth...And for those of you out there who don't even know how our government works; if you are unsure about something, don't be afraid or ashamed to look it up. But don't be ignorant, because of all the problems our nation faces today, ignorance is possibly the most dangerous. Remember, Knowledge IS power!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Very Confusing Political Landscape...

Well, the Senate's Healthcare bill is now the Law of the Land for better or worse..And now Senate Democrats are working on a "Fixer" bill to work out those compromises that made the House vote possible, which will likely last a least a week or so before the Senate votes on it, and since it is a Reconciliation vote they only need 51 which Majority Leader Harry Reid has very easily..

As I said in my previous post, this is hardly the last we'd heard this healthcare debate..13 State Attorney Generals are now suing the Federal Gov't over the new law claiming the "Individual Mandate" is unconstitutional. This claim has been made for some time and whether it is unconstitutional is debatable to most legal scholars and constitutional lawyers..I don't agree with most Democratic strategists that this is simply a stall tactic...Such a challenge I believe is necessary to convince many Americans of how good/bad this law is no matter what the courts say. Regardless, Republicans have made it clear that they will campaign on this Healthcare issue this November but many strategists on both sides of the political spectrum agree that this strategy may blow up in their faces..How?

Since Obama and the Democrats came into office, they have been seen as a seemingly disorganized, weak and unable to rule..But with the passage first of the Jobs bill (the first of several hopefully) and the Healthcare bill the other night have proven the Democrats can indeed rule and have finally achieved something important...Which presents the Republicans with a bit of a problem..Should they choose to make this the main issue this fall, they will have to confront the fact that the first effects of the new Law will take into fact by then and will likely be seen by a majority of Americans as positive..So when the Republicans yell and scream that they will repeal this Healthcare reform, there will be a great deal of Americans who will be upset by such talk...

Because according to various polls including the brand new polls out by the Pew Research Center, show that Americans understand that something must be done about our dysfunctional healthcare system..For example:

When asked how Americans think their health costs would change if the bill was passed they responded:
  • 51% believed their costs would Increase
  • 17% believed their costs would Decrease
  • 22% believed their costs would stay the same
  • 10% Didn't know

When asked how their health costs would change if no bill was passed they responded:

  • 63% believed their costs would Increase
  • 6% believed their costs would Decrease
  • 25% believed their costs would stay the same
  • 6% Didn't know

So when Democrats say that any bill is better than no bill there is some truth to that..But Pew also showed that most Americans also didn't like the bills being worked on by Congress but now that the bill is passed that doesn't matter so much anymore..

But Republicans don't seem to be giving up just yet..Even if the "Fixes" bill passes the Senate they are still going to campaign on repeal this supposed "Takeover of the Healthcare system"...but there are so problems with that idea..Firstly, even IF Republicans were able to gain control of both houses of Congress this fall and repealed the Healthcare Reform law, it would be vetoed by Obama and to be able to overide his veto would required 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress which would require the GOP to gain 110 House seats and 16 Senate seats...Such a landslide this November is incredibly unlikely unless the Democrats make some equally stupid political mood..But Republicans are claiming that this Healthcare battle end the same way at the polls as it did in '93/94..Except there's just one little problem with that theory..Unlike in '93/94, the Democrats actually passed the bill into Law! Therefore doing something Bill Clinton and Democratic Congressmen couldn't do..Whether people like the bill or not, this proves the Democrats can get at least some of their agenda accomplished while all the Republicans have accomplished is vote No and look like sticks in the mud..

But repealing the bill isn't the only tactic Republicans are trying..14 State Attorney Generals (including 1 Democrat) have now sued the Federal Gov't over this new law..Claiming the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Indeed there is definitely some logic behind such a belieft, the Federal gov't has never told its citizens they have to buy something or else pay a fine. But after some thought and research I have discovered there is a major flaw in this claim..But first some Context, the Individual Mandate stipulates that if someone makes enough a year to be able to afford health insurance but chooses not to they will be fined. How will they be fined? The IRS is being put in charge of enforcing this new law, and they will actually add the "fine" to your tax return..Now how does that support the Fed's position? Since the IRS is enforcing this mandate in the way it does, the Fine is actually more of a Tax and therefore is within the Federal Government's realm of authority. However, it is very unprecedented and still a little grey legally but most Legal scholars agree that the Courts will likely uphold the Individual Mandate in the end..

So where does that leave our poor and overpaid Congressman? Democrats have finally accomplished something but have vigorously divided the nation and its very likely that some are going to lose their jobs this they must choose whether they want to parade their victory around or not talk about it..Republicans are in a bit of a pickle..Once the first wave of benefits hits Americans this year their constant chanting of Repeal Repeal is only going to alienate them from Indepedents and low-income Americans, but it will reinforce their support among the Conservative core the GOP and Tea Partiers..but their hopes of Repeal are very unlikely at this point so its a bit of a hallow campaign promise (but aren't they all?)..Not only that some moderate Republicans are also going to have to worry about Tea Party-backed candidates as well as their Democratic counterparts. This all makes for a very complicated and hard to predict Mid-term season..

Ain't American Politics grand?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

History have been made...One way or Another.

Tonight as I watch C-SPAN, I find myself wondering if someday I will look back of this day with pride or with disgust...These votes the House of Representatives (1st for the Senate Healthcare bill and than on the "Fixes") take tonight will be remember no matter who good or bad the bills turns out to be..

This bill, as my home state's biggest paper referred to it, is "OK"..and most definitely not perfect..and I strongly believe this bill should have waited until the American economy was stronger and could better handle the likely increased burden it will place on various elements of our economy..And more simply because we Americans have proved several times in our history that we are more open to social programs when our lives are more peaceful and times are good..But regardless the bill is up for a vote now and it appears all but certain it will pass (with several votes to spare) and we will soon see where it goes from here..There are several State Attorney Generals who claim they will immediately challenge this program as Unconstitutional and most Democrats are largely ignoring such a threat and how such an action will look to the American people is uncertain for now...One thing that is undeniable is this legislation will likely be the biggest policy issue this November and it will be a double-edged sword for the Democratic Party..

Why you ask? On the positive side, Democratic-leaning/Liberal voters will more likely to vote for their party because of it's success with this major piece of legislation...

On the Negative side, those who opposed this bill will be unified in their anger against Democrats..

Ultimately however, its the Independents who will decide those elections this November and their support for this bill is pretty mixed at the moment and this vote tonight will either convince them that the Democrats can govern (though a bit on the slow side) or they will see the Democrats are shoving unwanted burdens are them and will vote for those who stand against the Democrats...

How do I think it will all end? Even I'm not foolish enough to predict that..but mark my words, This is not the last we have heard of this "Reform"...From either side!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Senator Bunning...Further Proof Senate needs Reform

For the last few days, the United States Senate has been nearly brought to a grinding one man...Senator Bunning of Kentucky...The Senate was moving to further extend unemployment benefits to those millions in America who are in need of them and had something very rare in Washington these days, Bipartisanship...but that wasn't enough for Senator Bunning...He used his power as a Senator to hold the legislation...Why? Because it's a matter of principle, because this legislation isn't paid for and adds to the deficit...which sounds like a great thing for a Senator to do these days of over-spending and rising deficits...just one little problem with Sen. Bunning's "principles"...he just now seems to have found them.

Senator Bunning has had no problem voting for entitlements, war spending, and huge taxcuts in the past few years that were also not paid for...and not only that he actually touted them as some of his best why did he suddenly change his mind and find his "principles"? Could it be because he isn't running for re-election? Is it because he is seen by members of his own party as an embarassment/liability? We may never know..but what we do know is the Senator Bunning is a Hypocrite and for keeping unemployment benefits from millions of Americans he should be laughed out of the Senate Chamber...But he is just another example of why the United States Senate desperately needs Reform..

Senator Bunning was able to reek all this havoc because of an unwritten Senate rule allowing a single senator the power to hold legislation for any or no reason all for as long as he wants...Can you believe that? These overpaid, overrated and corrupt Bastards can bring the Senate to a grinding halt for no reason at all...How arrogant are these people? They talk about how much greater the President's power has grown in the last 50 years but few trully understand how powerful INDIVIDUAL senators are today...They have no term limits...they can increase their pay every year if they want (and they almost always do these days), they get Federally funded Healthcare insurance, and they can halt legislation simply because they feel like it and don't need any justification...If there was ever a time for people to wake up and see how corrupt the United States Senate is today this Moronic Senator from Kentucky's actions are it...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...if Americans think that the Senate is ever going to simply wake up and Reform themselves for the good of the country they are dreaming!

Monday, February 22, 2010

And the Winner is...Ron Paul?

The big CPAC conference was this last weekend and as usual the news media channels were talking all about it today...CPAC has been seen for many years as a stepping stone for those who wish to win the Republican Presidential Nomination but this year CPAC was just a little different...

Firstly, Sarah Palin was strangely absent from CPAC unlike most other Presidential wanna-bes. This cause a high ranking member at CPAC to remark that she might as well forget running for President in 2012. And while many have claimed Palin as the leader of the Tea Party movement she has made statements as of late that suggests she still doesn't see the need for a third party just yet...but her absence from CPAC does make one wonder...

Secondly, as per every CPAC, they hold a vote to whom the members believe should face Barack Obama in 2012 and al the usual suspects were on the list with a few oddballs including: Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, and Ron Paul. As per her absence one could guess fairly easily that Palin did not do well in the poll and you would be right. Mrs. Palin got a mere 7% of the vote, doing a little better than Huckabee at 4% and Tim Pawlenty at 4%..but who was the winner? Ron Paul!....Now let that soak in for a second...the winner of CPAC's big poll was none other than the Libertarian Anti-Tax King Ron Paul at 31%, beating Romney by 9%!

Now many of MSNBC's TV personalities have used Ron Paul's win (and the boos that ensued after he was annouced the winner) to show the Republicans are a scattered and confused bunch...and perhaps they are right but there is something that bothers me about how MSNBC reported this story...What's so wrong with Ron Paul? Most Liberals still treat Ron Paul like some crazy man because he thinks the IRS and Federal Reserve should be done away with and more fair and efficient tax system should be created...Radical ideas? Perhaps but I can't say that I blame him for the way he feels because we now see today how corrupt and dysfunctional our tax system really is...and more imporantly, I think Ron Paul should be remembered not for his radical ideas but for something very few members of Congress have today...integrity.

Ron Paul is one of the few members of Congress that actually votes how he believes and stands up for his beliefs instead of giving in to lobbyists and partisan fighting...and is one of the most consistent members of Congress. I have always considered Ron Paul to be a great American and while I may not agree with all of his ideas at least he doesn't just scream and hallow at the opposition and blatantly lie to the American people...he speaks his mind and he backs it up on the House floor and for that we should give him a freaking award!

Ron Paul, I salute you!

So Let me get this straight...

Can someone explain to me that when the Dems want to pass a much needed Jobs Bill that should have been passed LAST YEAR they have no problem with several smaller bills that are targeted at helping to drive down unemployment...but when it comes to Healthcare reform they just have to make it one HUGE bill whose cost makes most Americans either fait or swear loudly?.....The Moronic logic of politicans these days just fascinates me...though it doesn't shock me.

Also not shocking today was that when the Jobs Bill was voted on for debate (the procedure that allows debate on the bill before it can be passed) the vast majority of Republicans attempted to filibuster it...a Jobs Bill for God's sake!...but there was a silver lining to this vote today..Bipartisanship! I know its hard to believe but 5 Republicans voted to allow the Bill to be debated..and among those Republicans was the now famous Mass. Senator Brown who supposely represents the first wave of a GOP revival...and for that I salute you Sen. Brown, because you looked beyond partisan politics and saw what you Republican collegues apparently do not..that American desperately needs a Jobs Bill to help the economy rebound.

Nevertheless today President Obama unveiled yet another Healthcare Reform plan....I give him kudos for his persistence but even he must know that the Healthcare Reform effort is dead and should just be forgotten and move on to better things (like the Jobs Bill!)....hopefully some day soon Mr. Obama will fully grasp this or else he and his party will pay the price this November...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tom Tancredo...Ignoramus in Chief

Over the last few days I have watched segments of the speakers from the Tea Party National Convention..and while everyone knows Sarah Palin spoke during that Convention, I wonder how many people know what one of Colorado's worst, Tom Tancredo, also spoke at the convention. As usual Mr. Tancredo talked on and on how immigrants are killing this country's culture and the usual racist ignorance that we are used to hearing from this political moron...

But he went a little further at the convention...he acutally stated that We should reinstate Literacy tests in America...oy vey..Literacy tests as most students of politics and history know were used to keep African American from voting in the South for nearly a century after the Civil War and leading up to the Civil Rights movement in the '60's...Tancredo wants to reinstate these because he believes too many people who can't speak or read English are voting apparently...
Tancredo is a joke at best..

Seeing Tancredo at the Convention doesn't really surprise me...Tancredo is a racist and an idiot plain and simple and sadly thats been the face of the Tea Party Movement...although funny enough if you ever take a close look at Tea Partier signs there isn't alot of good English in those signs!...the Tea Party's biggest problem to me is their lack of credibility, all their supposedly spokesmen; Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Michelle Bachmann, and Tom Tancredo, they're all self-serving political losers who are seen by some Americans as everyday folk when clearly they are not...Sarah Palin has no original thoughts, Dick Armey is a political Dinosaur, Bachmann is a loud mouth who makes Palin look like a genius, and Tancredo is a ignorant racist who is desperate for political attention after his dismal (a charitable term) attempt to win the Republican nomination in 2008

If these are the best spokespersons the Tea Party movement can get then they will never win majory political office..Sarah Palin is their only real asset (as sad as that is to say)and without her the movement wouldn't have any credibility all...

Tom Tancredo is not only a political loser...he's not only a racist...he's not only an ignoramus...he's not only a draft-dodger...He is a waste of oxygen and for him I have just one do you sleep at night you little prick?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another Great Proposal for Healthcare Reform

While I've been saying for a while that Congress should abandon the Healthcare Reform effort for now and focus on the economy, should someone try Reform after the economy recovers they should read this proposal and go with it...

This was made by the Virginia Whig Party and explores the idea of State/Local Level Health/Entitlement Co-Ops to replace Federal programs and therefore help allievate the burden on the Federal Budget..its a great read and makes alot of sense....

Super Bowl Sunday DEBRIEF

I've decided this Super Bowl Sunday to take time between plays (and commericals) to break down this week in politcs and believe me it's been an interesting one..

Firstly, yesterday was the Tea Party Convention in Nashville and as expected it was a media circus and made big headlines as its keynote speaker former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin proved that she can still thrill people with her words. This convention also proves that the Tea Party Movement isn't a unified political movement as many of the most prominet Tea Party organizations actually boycotted the event because the man ultimately behind is possibly hosting it to make a buck as opposed to a "patriotic" need...which also just proves that the Tea Party movement has corruption in it just like the GOP and Dems (big shocker)...In Fact, my home state paper the Des Moines Register today had a frontline story that 33% of Iowans supported the Tea Party Movement while 45% Don't support it and the rest are unsure. I can tell you that Iowa is historically a somewhat conservative state and these numbers don't surprise me at all..Iowa's current Governor is a Democrat and isn't very popular and Iowans are a fickle bunch when it comes to politics, whoever treats them the best gets their vote (Nothing wrong with that mind you!) and this should wake up some Democrats who think states Obama won in 2008 are going to come through for them this fall because while Iowans may still like Obama I can tell you for a fact they HATE Congress right now, both parties!

Secondly, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has seen they light...if not for intelligence then simply to save his own you ask? Today he actually came out and put his support for a Budget Commission to help weed out political waste and be a first step towards a more fiscally solvent Federal Government and for that I will give him a little bit of credit. Such a commission already has some bipartisan support and could be just the thing for the President to boost is position and agenda even in this tough political year...

Finally, Democrats have continued their spinelessness since their loss of the Super Majority and have done nothing since and seem scared to do anything because they fear they will lose their asses in November...and such an attitude is just going to make sure they LOSE this November...if they can't pick themselves up and move on then they don't deserve to govern...I've said it a million times it seems...Just drop Healthcare Reform and Cap & Trade and get a good Jobs Bill started and passed because this will show that at least Democrats acknowledge the plight many Americans are still in...instead of seemingly overlooking it and become obsessed with Healthcare Reform...don't get me wrong, the United States of American DESPERATELY needs some kind of reform or else it will just help expand our already huge deficit even worse...even Obama has suggested that Healthcare Reform could fail and he seems to have already accepted it (as he rightly should) and moved on to Jobs but it seems Congress is still locked into their politically suicidal quest for Universial Healthcare instead of helping everyday very sad indeed..

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Now That's What I'm Talking About!

Yesterday for those with Cable, we observed a very rare sight in American politics...a Direct back and forth between the President of the United States and Republican members of the House of Representatives...trully amazing!

Being a history and political science major, it reminded me a session of "Question Time" in Great Britain (in which members of the House of Commons direct question the Prime Minister) and is something we just don't see in America these days..we're used to the President saying something...the Republicans making a statement later denouncing it and then the President will counter later and so on and so forth...but this usually takes all day and isn't very exciting...what happened yesterday on the other hand was very interesting...The President was invited to the Republicans getaway in Baltimore and shocked everyone not only by showing up but by letting Cable news broadcast it Live!

As we watched..the President made his case for many of his political programs and ask the Republicans why they didn't support them..asking them point blank why they would challenge the Stimulus but at the same time appear at public project openings in their states that were paid for by the Stimulus?...He then did something that Republican House members were still talking about today..he stated that he had read Republican proposals and acknowledged them and even admitted many of them had a lot of potential..

Overall after watching this event..I wondered..why don't they do this more often? While not exciting to many in the average public..for those of us who pay attention to politics this kind of close quarters political combat Live on television is very refreshing and (like Presidential debates) helps voters better understand the interaction between our President and members of think if they did this on a regular basis, politically biased pundits could be put out of a job! Ok maybe not but isn't that a nice thought?

Such events make our political system seem a bit more transparent and should be do more often (maybe not as often as Question Time in the U.K. but still) and lets hope it does!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lesson Learned: JUST KILL IT!

This tuesday we Americans watched as Washington Political Logic came crashing down on the Democratic party as a Republican won the special election for Mass. Senate (previously held by the "Liberal Lion" Ted Kennedy) and has sent shockwaves throughout the political landscape...

Many in the media and most certainly the Republicans are claiming a big victory and claiming this is a sign of what will come to pass this November....Too bad it isn't

As POLITICO pointed out in a article the other day, the Republicans still have alot to worry about before this Novemeber...Polls from many organizations found that Mass. voters didn't move to the right, they moved against Washington..these polls found that Healthcare was a huge factor in the results of the election...and while Mass. has a state-wide universial healthcare system that includes an individual mandate, voters believe that their system isn't for the entire Nation and the current efforts by Pres. Obama and Senate Democrats aren't going to make the situation better..

Case in point, according to Rasmussen Polls from Election Nite tuesday, 56% of Mass. voters thought Healthcare was the most important issue, and the Democratic candidate Coakley got a slim majority of these voters..
The Next important issue for Mass. voters was the economy at 25% for which the Republican Brown picked up a slim majority of...

So what is the lesson to take from Tuesday's election? There are several lessons but possibly the most telling is that while Americans do see Healthcare as a major issue, it is such a divisive issue that it muddies the political waters and therefore a not-so-reliable rallying cry for the Democratic Party...Another lessons was for the Republicans, in which they took advantage of the divisivenesss of the healthcare debate and use it against the Democrats and they will likely mold as many of November's races after their victory in Mass.
But the big lesson to learn from the Night is for the Democrats...that if they don't show some confidence and leadership they will fail badly this November...

But enough of Tuesday's election...I believe this election is a sign of a greater sentiment held by millions of Americans...that the Democrats need to abandon the healthcare reform effort or it will slowly but surely drag them into defeat...a Rasmussen polls proves just that...According to Rasmussen 61% of Americans believe Congress should end the healthcare reform effort and move on to more pressing things like the economy and the deficit..59% say that considering the current economic situation Obama should wait to reform the system til after the economy improves...which is something I've been saying for several months now but nobody listens to Common Sense these days..If Democrats had spent all this time on trying to improve the economy instead of this worthless healthcare debate the economy would likely be improving by now and would boast their chances of winning this November and then Obama could have used his political capital to reform our disfunctional Healthcare system..and now what do they have for all their effort? Unemployment hit 10%...the Reform effort has hijacked by special interests till there wasn't much reform left in the bills...and now Democrats look as if they are ignoring the wishes of the American people and therefore arrogant...and there's few things that anger Americans more than arrogance..

So what if anything can the Democrats do the save their butts this November? Firstly, their doom isn't exactly certain because while people are angry with Dems, they don't think much more of Republicans and the Tea Party Movement could be a stumbling block for the Republicans and save the Democrats..but ultimately the Democrats have to do one thing to survive for sure this November...ABANDON HEALTHCARE REFORM...and then focus much more on the economy and fiscal reform (as Obama finally seems to be doing)...such efforts will make voters happy and would give the Republicans less to yell and scream about and if they try to derail those efforts they will look like obstructionists and the people will make them pay this November...but the Democrats need to understand that ending the debate now and moving on won't be a deathblow..this election was a wake-up call for them to move on to what Americans care about right now and reform our dysfunctional system when they have more political strength...

Because I trully understand why they tried so hard to push reform now...they had the seats, they had their President, and they believed they had the people's support...but instead they found that the Country isn't sure what to do with the healthcare system and in this time of huge deficits they just saw reform as another government program that will supposedly save money but will eventually become a burden as most government programs do and rejected such an effort and Democrats need to learn that NOW...of forever hold their peace..