Politics Daily #17 – Sam Brownback Signs Bill Banning Islamic Law in Kansas

Actually, technically, no he didn’t.

But such was the title of the Huffpost article.  In reality, governor Brownback is signing into law a measure that prohibits courts and government agencies from basing their decisions on foreign legal codes, namely the Islamic Shariah law.  The intention of this bill was to ensure that legal cases in Kansas are only decided by American laws and constitutions.

Sounds kind of patriotic, doesn’t it? It was probably Brownback’s intention to make it appear so, as well.

When I saw the headline, I somewhat interpreted, my previous impression of Brownback as a staunch conservative, especially on social issues, the headline as ‘Sam Brownback hates Islam.’  While that might be entirely possible at a personal level, the signing of this bill, or even the contents of the bill, do not really support the notion that Brownback is targeting Islam specifically with this bill.  Hence I found the article title somewhat misleading.

Politics Daily #14 – The Two Things some Europeans are ‘Anti-ing’

A substantial number of Europeans, all over Europe, fervently dissatisfied with the political status quo, are electing politicians with radical beliefs and agendas to lead their country.

And it turns out, a portion of these folks are mixing another ‘anti’ with the ‘anti-austerity’ storm that has swept the continent.

For a detailed report on which peoples are voting for whom where, check out CNN’s report here.  The article highlights the notion that the number of people who voted for political parties with rather extreme views in recent elections in Greece, Austria, Belgium, the Scandinavian countries, Hungary, and others, is large enough to take note, the majority of them enraged at the failed austerity economic measures.

However, the article aptly points out that, although many are turning to extremist political parties for change, the main force that is driving the incumbent governments out of power has more to do with their failure to revive the economy and their seeming disregard for the lower and middle classes rather than support for the extremist parties’ policies.  As the recent election in France demonstrates, the Socialist Party, led by Francois Hollande, does not hold extreme radical views.  He won partly because of the public’s discontent with the austerity measures implemented by Nicholas Sarkozy.

That was the first ‘anti’, anti-austerity as a significant number of Europeans have deemed fiscal conservatism a failure. The second ‘anti’ has somewhat caught on with the first one, for vaguely linked reasons.

As the far-right gained more support in recent elections, so did their ongoing anti-Muslim sentiments.  Many Europeans, such as those who voted for the ultra-nationalist, anti-immigration Golden Dawn party in Greece, are merging their anger at austerity measures together with their distrust towards foreigners.  It’s a strange mix, and these parties face the difficulty of being convoluted in their messages between nationalism and anti-austerity while channeling the public’s anger into supporting them.

The supporting of far-right groups for either anti-Muslim or anti-Austerity reasons might result in more chaos for Europe.  But once the economy recovers, albeit which might take many years, support for these groups is likely to wane.  As Dr. Matthew Feldman said in the article, “it’s clear that a large minority across Europe isn’t comfortable with these things — demographic change and multiculturalism… But what the far right offers is not something that many can accept.”

Politics Daily #13 – Gay Donor Pulls Support From Mitt Romney Over Gay Marriage

Bill White, head of a consulting firm in New York and openly gay, has decided to pull his support from the Romney campaign and instead support President Obama’s reelection bid.  He has also asked for his money back.

Read the Huffpost report here.

The article’s highlight:

“While he clarified to CNN that he does not agree with the president on fiscal issues, White said that Romney’s speech during Liberty University’s commencement on Saturday led him to believe that Romney would press for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — a position that White simply cannot support.”

This incident is proof that, in an election dominated by concerns over the economy, social issues such as same sex marriage bear a strong enough influence to change which candidate a voter supports.  In this case, Mr. White was willing to support Mr. Obama because of his support for gay marriage and despite disagreeing with him over fiscal issues.

Now that someone has taken the first step in switching their support, it’s likely that a lot more gay supporters of Republican candidates, including the Senate and the House, will support a Democrat instead.

And it just might illustrate the potential brilliance in Obama’s calculated move to finally declare his support for gay marriage, as not only will he draw votes from gay conservatives, he can also garner up support from more homosexuals who will vote for the first time because of this issue.

Politics Daily #10 – The John Edwards Trial: Trying the Conscience-Free Criminal

New testimonies emerging from the John Edwards trial reveal that he had a remarkable display of not showing any remorse for what he did, having fathered a child with a mistress and using his donors’ contribution to his presidential campaign to help raise the child.

Read an in-depth report, including highlights of key testimonies from previous Edwards staffers Christina Reynolds and Josh Brumberger, on the Huffpost here.

There were two highlights from the testimonies, the first was John Edwards’ blatant disregard when confronted by Elizabeth Edwards, hysterical from her rage, even as she bared her chest in front of him and other staffers.  Reynolds said that Edwards “didn’t have much of a reaction.”

What kind of person does that? Even if he has lost all love for his wife, shouldn’t he, as a politician, at least try to comfort her? Can he possibly be viewed in a positive light by his staffers, or anyone else for that matter, for standing idly by while his wife is confronting him with affair allegations? Behaviours like these come from a man who is drunk on power and is devoid of all of his moral conscience.

The other highlight is the claim made by Brumberger that Edwards tried basically every trick in the bag to keep his mistress close to him and to give her the best care possible, including providing her with health insurance paid by the PAC that she works for.  It was also evident that Hunter, the mistress, was incompetent as a film maker, or even a camera-woman.  So it was somewhat shocking to see Edwards completely lose his temper when he confronted Brumberger after Brumberger had discussed Edwards’ affair with other staffers.

It would be somewhat comforting to know, for example, that Edwards fell under some kind of spell by Rielle Hunter that caused him to throw his political career away and face possible jail time, but that wasn’t the case.  I used to like John Edwards; he was a charismatic politician who was adept at connecting with the working class (other than the $600 haircut issue), and it makes me sick to know that he is such an amoral creature.

Donald Trump Not Running For President In 2012

A delayed post. I’m sure you all already know by now, but you can check out the HuffPost report here.

As if he ever was serious about running for President.

I wonder what this will do to his reputation, or if he even cares. Essentially, he took the GOP base on a ride that acted as a distraction to slow down that the already weak Republican cause to take back the White House. And as soon as the White House published the President’s full birth certificate, Trump’s antics were over.

It was pretty obvious that Trump was never going to run because he was basing the crux of his campaign on a lie: that President Obama was not born in the United States. That is not the trait of someone who actually intends to help America.

On top of that, he just didn’t have the money or the financial support to run for President. That, and he is contractually tied with his television shows. All this adds to the fact that there was no way Trump was ever going to run for President.

Mike Huckabee Not Running For President In 2012

Read the HuffPost report here.

One down, 250 potential GOP candidate­s to go.

This further narrows down an already paper-thin field. As Lawrence O’Donnell has said on his show that it is all but certain that Sarah Palin will not be running, either.

Costly Gasoline Clouds Obama Reelection Prospects

Read the HuffPost article here

Even though there seems to be some sort of precedent with regards to the relationsh­ip between gas price fluctuatio­n and voting tendencies­, I doubt that it will play a pivotal role on the minds of voters when they head to the voting booth next year. This is partly due to the fact that in the United States, voters get to vote for the person they like, and not necessaril­y for the party (as supposed to Canada, where the Prime Minister is the head of the winning party).

So ultimately­, the race will still come down to whether voters prefer Obama or whichever Republican candidate he will face. And in that regards, I think Obama can convincing­ly win his reelection any of the current potential candidates­.

Desperately Seeking Their Own Rove: Democrats Try Catching GOP In Outside Money Chase

The Democrats are finding their ‘Karl Rove’, the famous Bush-era Republican strategist and fund-raising machine.

Read the HuffPost article here. In essence it talks about how the Republicans have gotten a head start in raising money for the upcoming election in 2012 and are taking full advantage of the new laws allowing unlimited amounts of campaign contributions from any one donor.

Somebody get Mark Zuckerberg to donate a tenth of his 13.5 billion net worth… oh wait, the FCC and the Obama administra­tion are already doing everything he prefers.

Gabrielle Giffords Brain Injury: Doctors Work To Help Giffords’ Brain Rewire Itself

Read the Huffpost report here

It will be the most inspiring story if Ms. Giffords can return to Congress. But, judging from what the article says, she probably shouldn’t, for her own sake.

And it’s not like she won’t be able to help others if she retires from public office. She can work on her own pace if she joins a non-govern­mental organizati­on or in the private sector.

Patriot Act Extensions Rejected By House In Bipartisan Vote

Read the HuffPost report here

A little internal GOP conflict between the Realist Republican­s and Tea Party Republican­s. Good stuff. Now will the Democrats please stand together to take down the Patriot Act, brick by brick?