Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Health Care Reform Means to the Middle Class (Hint: Jobs)

The potential long term savings of health care reform is far greater then to just simply ignore the situation, hoping for it to resurface at a later point in time. Conservative politics have created a culture of refusal, simply taking the converse of any Democratic position by virtue.

What the Republicans are really doing is performing a refusal much like in horse riding, where a horse does not jump a fence he is presented, resulting in a penalty, and in some instances rider injury. The conservative refusal of presented options will result in the injury of the American public, and instead of presenting an alternative, they seem content with the status quo.

Simply put, a healthy society offers better workers. Not only would health care increase productivity and quality of life for all citizens, but the potential to reduce costs and increase economic activity is great. With 15% of Americans completely uninsured, the burden of medical costs can be tremendous, causing bankruptcy, which in turn negatively effects credit, which greatly reduces the spending power of the uninsured. With local governments and hospitals eating the cost of such unpaid bills, local government, industry, and people suffer.

Insuring those 45 million people not only prevents the loss of income and profit from the health industry and government, but it stands to reduce costs to those who are capable of paying, as well as adding millions of potential consumers, who were previously unable to pay.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What the "birthers" movement really means.

Claims that President Obama is illegal serving as the 44th president of the United States is a ridiculous belief that has shown no merits and has been repeatedly shot down in numerous courts, so why are there still Americans who believe that he is not a citizen of America?

According to some fringe reports, Obama is a British subject because he held Kenyan citizenship (because at the time of Obama's birth, Kenya was a colony of Britain making the children of Barack Obama Sr. citizens of the U.K.). Obama was born in Hawaii to an American mother, so by default, he was a born American citizen but also held citizen ship in the U.K. When Kenya declared it's independance, both Obama Sr. and Obama Jr. were granted Kenyan citizenship, but the Kenyan constitution bars adults from holding dual citizenship, and so on Obama Jr.'s 21st birthday, he lost his dual citizenship, retaining only his American citizenship status.

Other reports go as far as to say that Obama was never born in Hawaii and was an illegal immigrant who had his birth certificate fabricated because it was common practice to do so in 1960s Hawaii.

It seems the "birther" conspiracy has been somewhat renewed because of recent news regarding a soldier who refuses to be deployed because he question's Obama's legitamacy.

Instances like this are damaging to the Republican party. These believers, who supposedly total around 300,000, or .1% of the population of the United States, are pushing their view onto the majority of the party, and opportunistic elected officials are raising these baseless questions. 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, but this fact is overlooked by those who are opposed to Barack Hussein Obama. As with the mistake of selecting Sarah Palin as a vice presidential nominee, and the support of idiotic right-wing Christian ideas (such as creationism and intelligent design), the Republicans are inching out rational moderates that decide elections.

Republicans have not taken an official stance on Obama's citizenship, but several elected GOP officials have questioned his birth certificate, such as Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, or the indirect accusation in the form of legislation requiring the presentation of a valid birth certificate to become president, as co-sponsored by California RepresentativeJohn Campbell.

The intelligent thing to do for the White House is to not say a thing in regards to Obama's citizenship and to dismiss the accusations as baseless conspiracy theories, which will effectively damage the reputation of the wacko conservatives who perpetuate such absurdities. Rational Americans would never elect an official who publicly denounces the moon landing or the holocaust, and to brand the "birther" conspiracy as such nonsense will act to counter any attacks made by the right, even lessening legitimate concerns.

Conservatives need to get a grip on reality and rein in their party, and as for the "birthers" out there, Obama's mother was a citizen of the United States of America, so remember this saying:

"Mother's baby, father's maybe.."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Compromise President: Resting A Legacy On Weak Bridges

What Obama needs is that George W. Bush gumption to get his legislation through. Regardless of how many concessions he makes in the name of bipartisanship, he will constantly be dogged by the media, and in particular Fox News, for passing what they call a liberal agenda.

Creating politically balanced legislation is not effective, because with the current divisive state, Obama will always come up drawing the short straw.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Cigarette Tax and You!

Recently, Obama had signed tobacco legislation, which had raised the federal cigarette tax by 62 cents a pack, while other tobacco products saw a steep increase as well. On the conservative news networks, their commentators had stated that Obama had reneged on his promise not to raise taxes on the poor and middle class. Their logic was that the new federal tax disproportionately affects the poor smokers, equating to a tax hike.

I suppose the Bush tax cuts on the rich could be considered a raise in taxes against the poor because they reduce the amount of taxes the wealthy pay, while not affecting those of lower classes. You could also argue that all sales taxes may disproportionately affect the poor because a tax may disporportionately affect lower income families because the tax is a greater percentage of their disposable income.

If you take into consideration the medical costs associated with smoking, as well as the percentage of lower income families that lack insurance, then it would seem apparent that the benefits of such a tax would outweigh the consequences of smoking. An estimated 440,000 Americans die of smoking related illnesses each year, with 20 percent of Americans smoking, and chronic illnesses such as emphysema not only take a toll on the patient and the medical system, but also the family. While studies have shown that the percentage of smokers decreases with the increase of income, calling a federal tax on cigarettes a raise in taxes for the poor is highly innaccurate.

If the tax does disproportionately affect lower income people who choose to smoke, then those same people can choose not to smoke, saving them money (both short term and long term results), so maybe they can raise a couple tax brackets and join their rich smoker friends who are not affected by such a liberal evil.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ADN Confirms: Palin's Story Doesn't Hold Up

This is typical for Sarah Palin. If you look at Palin's response after the State Personnel Board investigation found her guilty of abusing her power in the "troopergate" scandal, as well as the second probe, it shows that she has a propensity for stretching the truth.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

After the July 4 Tea Parties, What Do They Mean?

I like the idea of a "tea party" as a show of patriotism and symbolic reverence to our forefathers. What I dislike is that a minority of a political party is pushing through an agenda at a national level. These tea parties are propagating divisive and false rumors (Obama being a Muslim, Obama not being a natural citizen). In the previous census, 52% of Americans identified themselves as Christian. The idea that America is a "Christian" nation is insulting to the roughly 148 million non-Christians or those with no preference. To even define Christianity is a task unto itself.

Out of those who associate themselves as Christian, you still have further divisions between various groups such as Protestants, Mormons, and Catholics, where there is still tension between the groups. I have known people to refer to Catholicism as a cult or saint worshipers. Are those religions that deviate with the majority of Christian Americans non-American or second class citizens because they do not conform with the definition of Christian presented by the right-wing bigots?

These hypocritical Tea Parties will focus on numerous hot button issues that follow an anti-big government pro constitution platform. Majority of these ardent supporters of the constitution are also those same who want to ban homosexual marriage, even though that is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution. Their solution is to add the Federal Marriage Amendment...
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

O'Reilly: Why Are Black Americans So Interested In Michael Jackson? His Kids And Face Were White!

I find it odd that Bill O'Reilly is discussing race with two white, blond women. It surprises me that O'Reilly is somewhat taking a defensive role for Jackson. If he wants to get an accurate portrayal of race, he should have a couple black Americans on his show to offer a counterpoint. This is why Fox news and the most other conservative pundits are continually disassociating themselves from various segments of the population.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

From Palin to Failin'

Sarah Palin rose to prominence in the national arena last year when John McCain had selected her to run as vice president. Since then, Palin has been a polarizing figure in the political scene making headlines in both newspapers and tabloids (for her and her family's exploits). I personally did not understand the appeal that she had or why McCain had picked such a character to run beside him, and I feel that her selection illustrates the growing rifts of the Republican party that had started to form in the wake of September 11th.

As a Republican, I had voted for George Bush in 2000, being seduced by the message of compassionate conservatism (although I was a fan of McCain at the time). I was also sold on the GOP brand, and being the first presidential election that I had participated in, I had basically voted by my naive idealism, since my fomenting politics were in their infancy stage. I had also found that Al Gore did not market himself effectively, although at the time I believed Gore to be disingenuous. Those same feelings led me to make the same choice in the 2004 elections.

I was again excited to see that McCain was in the elections, although this cycle I was somewhat partial to Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney. When McCain won the primary, I believed two things. First, McCain was going to run a campaign contrary of typical conservative philosophies and move the party back towards a center-right position and secondly, he was going to make a wise choice in selecting a vice-presidential candidate.

I was grossly mistaken on both accounts, but I don't necessarily blame McCain for what transpired.

I had heard numerous complaints from numerous pundits, friends, and co-workers that complained about the liberal-biased George Soros run media, which propagated falsehoods and communist indoctrination. I had always thought of myself as a "conservative", but I found these arguments to be ignorant and insulting to me. In the past 8 years, I had felt my voice to be continually marginalized by the jingo bohunk zealots and religious right. The straw that broke the camels back was the selection of Palin.

My initial response was shock and interest. I was almost certain that he would have selected a better known candidate like Romney or Florida's governor Charlie Crist. I would have even considered Mike Huckabee or Bobby Jindall. After some research on the little known Alaskan, I figured to wait until I reached a conclusion.

Regardless of such complaints as to whether the media is part of a left wing conspiracy, Sarah Palin's responses to interview questions with Katie Couric foreshadow the inevitable power struggle to take place in the GOP ranks.

When discussing the campaign and the economy, Couric had asked Palin why we should be looking forward to McCain when poll numbers favor Obama.

Palin's response:

"I'm not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it?"

My simplistic view on this matter is that as someone running for office, polls play an important part in helping shape public policy because it shows what policy the public wants. Although I viewed her response as arrogant, I did not really think much of it at the time.

Another question asked was about a moratorium on foreclosures. Palin responded that she and McCain had discussed that. For a political party that had been making accusations that the Democrats are communists or socialists, I would view a suspension on events caused by the direct effects of a capitalist system to be contradictory to their own platform.

Palin was lambasted for her comments in which she described the proximity of Russia as a contributing factor in her foreign relations experience, and rightly so. When she had made those comments my jaw had dropped to the floor.

Palin had gone on to say the following:

"It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state."

For a nation involved in two foreign wars, corroding international support, especially in the wake of Russia's foray into Georgia, I felt that her statement was a veiled renewal of Cold War diplomacy.

Even the debate with Joe Biden yielded an interesting peak into the mind of the right. When discussing the role of the vice president, she asserted that the constitution allowed "a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are." In reality, the Constitution prescribes the functions of presidential succession and to preside over the senate. Although contested amongst scholars, Palin would continue to exert the increased executive influence that Cheney brought to the position.

There is a blatant disregard for reality that surrounds the GOP and it's core. Considering the Alaskan probes of corruption, based on Palin's improper firing of her former brother-in-law, and then her response to the findings, where she stated she had been vindicated.

In the past election, partisanship had reached a new high. It was laughable when WFTV's Barbara West cited Carl Marx and proceeded to ask Biden if he was a Marxist. It was shameful on November 4th when Fox News' Shepard Smith called Ralph Nader irrelevant because of Nader's previous comment stating Obama could be either an "Uncle Sam" or an "Uncle Tom". Even after the election and in the beginning of 2009, it appears that it is all a matter of party lines, but the majority of the attacks seem to come from the conservatives (it surprised me that considering the economic situations, the so-called biased liberal media did not jump on McCain's association with the Keating Five).

It appears that the GOP it throwing a tantrum, imploding from within, as the core of supporters want to direct the party further right believing that that is where the majority of Americans want to take this nation. President Obama has increasingly showed a willingness to play with the conservatives, appointing several Republicans to cabinet posts and working to broker a deal to help repair this nation but there has been the constant bellows from the right: "My way or the highway"... and that highway is bumper to bumper in gas guzzling monoliths. Remember the chants during the campaign where Palin affectionately rallied the crowd to "Drill baby drill!"

Surprisingly, there is still talk of Sarah Palin running for president in 2012. With the party shifting directions, prominent figures have supported the so-called "liberals", such as Colin Powell throwing support behind Obama, and even Arlen Specter, Senator of Pennslyvania, changinig parties becoming a Democrat in April 2009. When confronted with the reality that America wants a centrist form of government, prominent Republicans label the Powells and Specters as sheep in wolves clothing, finally showing their true form.

I fear that the GOP will view any wins that they may make (no matter how big or small) in the mid-term elections as a rebuttal to Obama's presidency and policy, and a mandate for more conservative reigns on government. Although I am not one hundred percent pleased with the actions taken since the election, I am overall pleased with the results and feel that America is heading in a newer, better direction.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The First of Many

I would like to explore many subjects in the life of this blog... everything ranging from politics and business analysis to the creation of music and movies.

I have read numerous blogs over the past couple of months and have been surprised by the both the content of some blogs and the comments left behind and felt that I could benefit by such dialogue. I am tired of the confines of traditional communication methods and feel that I should move into the new global scene.

In 2005 I was introduced to MySpace and found some of it's features intriguing, especially the music profile portion. I was amazed that I could post a song of my own creation and reach a fan base in France or Greece.

Before then, I had only used the internet to make one dimensional websites, where I posted content but had limited interaction with those who viewed my pages. Now I can grow with the thoughts and philosophies of those who I come into digital contact with.

I had used chat rooms back in high school and bulletin board systems prior to the internet but had never fully realized the potential. Chat rooms lacked stimulating intellectual discussion and the bulletin board systems were slow, and the amount of time invested in dialing a board in hopes of a response was great (barring no interruptions from incoming calls). I suppose I gave up on technology and became a partial Luddite, but have been slowly growing out of that phase.

I am still angered when my college had begun paperless assignments and online discussions, but I now see that I was not angry with the technology, but with the poor transition.

So now I look to the future and hope to have interesting things to write about and explore.