Politics Daily #11 – Republicans Shying away from Losing the Student Loan Debate

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would have frozen student loan interest rates before they are set to double on July 1.

Read more on the Huffington Post here.

Republicans claim that while they are also keen on keeping the student loan interest rates low, the disagree with the Democrats on how to pay for it, opposing the Democrats’ proposal of raising Social and Medical payroll taxes on certain high income earners while suggesting to cut a preventive health fund.

This speaks to a larger issue relating to the upcoming general election.  I can’t help but guess that the Republicans, knowing that the younger voting demographic have never been big supporters of their party, is trying to put the student loan issue to the wayside, minimizing its power to galvanize young voters to vote for President Obama.

Republicans are seen as being in an uphill battle as polls have shown that Mitt Romney has a clear edge on Obama in only one demographic, the old-wealthy-white-men, and is either behind or in a statistical tie with the President in all other groups.  They are trying to downplay the student loan issue by blaming Democrats, as usual, even though it blows my mind when Republicans say that raising taxes on the wealthy ‘job-creators’ will cause them to create less jobs (if they were creating any in the first place).

 The young needs to come out and vote if they would like President Obama to have a decisive win, and the President needs to put the student loan issue on the forefront in order to get out the vote.

Movie Review: The Road We’ve Travelled (Obama Documentary)

“The Road We’ve Traveled” is a 17-minute documentary film directed by David Guggenheim, who also directed “An Inconvenient Truth”, and narrated by Tom Hanks.  It is a film produced for the Obama re-election campaign that outlines President Obama’s most prominent achievements.

It is a well-made film that does its job, the job being leading viewers to believe that the President deserves to be unequivocally given an A for his first term as President, and that he should be re-elected for a second term.

Given the circumstances around the 2008 election, particularly the opponents he was up against, I continue to believe that the country would have been in shambles, and more cynical than ever, had McCain/Palin been elected.  It never ceases to amaze me that Obama’s margin of victory over McCain wasn’t larger.

As for the achievements themselves, the top four that Guggenheim points out are: bailing out the auto industry when the majority was against it; Obamacare; killing Osama Bin Laden, and; The Recovery Act.  Excluding his less salient successes, these four points alone should provide him with plenty of material to convince voters on the campaign trail to re-elect him.

Sadly, Americans by in large don’t vote according to the records or what the official has actually achieved.  They voted according to what they believe the officials have done, gullible to rhetoric without ever bothering to fact check the validity of claims.

Thus, it is sad, cynical, but true, that the Obama re-election campaign isn’t going up against an opponent of a different ideology or policy, per se.  It is going up against the party of non-true, non-facts.  Of people making claims about the President that are flat out not true.

What’s even more sad is the sheer number of voters who actually believe these false statements and vote according to them.  Such as when Karl Rove quoted a line said by Bill Clinton completely out of context.

As for “The Road We’ve Traveled”, it is a well-made documentary for its intents and purposes.  And it’s available on youtube.  So why not give it a watch?

And… here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2POembdArVo

Politics Daily #2 – “I Will Repeal Obamacare”

“If I were elected President, I will cut spending and eliminate our debt [Crowd Cheers].  I will repeal Obamacare [Crowd Cheers].” – Mitt Romney.

In a way, I want to compare this little piece political rhetoric to when Newt Gingrich called John King’s question regarding him asking his second wife about having an open marriage ‘despicable’.  They both were examples of ways to get the crowd on their side, but when one actually give those statements some thought, they would notice that the people who cheered after those comments have no idea what they are cheering about other than a rousing sound bite.

I won’t talk about the Gingrich comment here, as anyone reading this probably knows the incident I am referring to.  Suffice to say that upon another look, CNN’s John King had every reason to ask Gingrich that question because it puts the presidential nominee’s personal character and morality into question.

What I want to focus on is the statement “I will repeal Obamacare.”  Romney often makes this claim during this campaign stump speeches as well as his victory and pretend-victory) speeches after primaries and caucuses.  But what does that even mean? Even if one were to assume that Obamacare is doing more harm than good (which a majority of Americans as well as economists and academics do not), the ultimate question then becomes: what if it helps just one person in America to get the care he needs, but that care will be taken away if Obamacare is repealed?

Furthermore, even if we suppose that the Romney health care plan is better (which many claim that it isn’t), what if it the same person falls through the cracks and does not provide the care that Obamacare have been giving? Should a utilitarian principle apply whereby more people would benefit from the new Romneycare but some people who are benefiting from Obamacare are abandoned?

My point is, Romney isn’t really aware of the implications of repealing Obamacare.  And, while it certainly sounds invigorating on the campaign trail, he’s going to have to face some tough questions from many Americans if he were to follow through with this promise.

Plus, repealing something like the Affordable Care Act isn’t as easy as Romney seems to imply; unless the Republican gain or regain control of the House, the Senate, as well as him (or another candidate) becoming President, it’s never going to happen.

Health Care Repeal Vote Fails In Senate

Read the HuffPost & AP report here

Are the Republican­s making the same mistake that Obama did when taking power, focusing on (repealing­) health care instead of the economy? What were they expecting to get out of this, that hopefully some conservati­ve Democrats would by a small chance vote with them? All they did was take up more time in Congress when they could get other stuff done.

The article points out that Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell wants to force the Senate Democrats to vote along party lines, which potentially gives them leverage in the upcoming 2012 election.

GOP Threatens Hindering Of Food Safety Overhaul… Why?

Check out the HuffPost Article Here

So the Republican­s fought hard (actually, not even that hard) to extend all the Bush tax cuts, which would cost the country billions of dollars in tax revenue. But they’re opposing a proposal to better ensure the safety of our food and the bill costs 1.5 billion dollars over five years?

The Tea Partiers and some Republican­s aren’t even looking at the effects of the legislatio­n before deciding whether to support or oppose it, which is somewhat pathetic. What’s worse is that most of the American electorate­, or most conservati­ve Americans, either are not aware of this notion or choose to ignore it.

Rachel Maddow schools Fox News in light of Olbermann’s Suspension

Rachel schools Fox News again, this time in light of Keith Olbermann’s suspension following the news that he made donations to Democratic candidates in the past election, pointing out that several of Fox’s hosts, but mainly Sean Hannity, have openly made political contributions to Republican candidates, and have endorsed Republicans on the air.

Watch Rachel’s segment here:
Maddow: Keith Olbermann Suspension Proves Difference Between MSNBC & Fox News (VIDEO)

In my opinion, this has got to be something personal between Keith Olbermann and his boss Phil Griffin, something Keith did that ticked off Griffin to the point where he had to dig up an unnecessary company rule to ‘punish’ Keith.

Only a personal vendetta can explain Keith’s suspension because we all know that MSNBC is liberal-leaning news organization. But as Rachel says in her segment, the hosts at MSNBC mostly (or none) never come out to support a democratic candidate outright on air. They do, however, say everything short of endorsing a Democrat by making it clear not to vote for the Republicans.

This also reflects a laziness on the side of Fox News, whose hosts don’t even bother to try to persuade their audience to vote Republican in ways other than supporting them outright, on air.

Is net-neutrality a facade?

House Representative Henry Waxman abandoned an effort to sort of enforcing net neutrality facing Republican opposition.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Has there ever been net neutrality? I am not entire sure if the internet has always been as ‘fair’ as people claim it is. The free-ness of the internet is essentially an anarchic arena for anyone to do anything. What Rep. Waxman is proposing is basically to apply minimal containment to an uncontainable force. I’m doubtful if it’s even possible to regulate these companies a few years down the road.

A Little Faith in Obama’s Vision, Please?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
It’s really sad to see the President of the United States having to defend himself against Tea Party / Birther / Exotic / Socialist allegations while he has to deal with things such as world peace (e.g. facilitating the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, containing an unpredictable Iran, etc.), eliminating poverty (in the world as well as in the United States), saving the middle class, providing all Americans with health care, bettering the education system, etc. The man has a vision and wants to get on with materializing it, but he’s being bogged down by petty politics.

What Obama needs to say to the apathetic voters, democrats included, is that the biggest reason why they need to vote for the Dems in the coming elections is to prevent the Republicans from taking power.

America cannot afford to let the GOP take back any part of Congress, or else every single piece of legislation would be stuck and beat until it’s dead, and government would get nothing done. America also cannot let the Republicans win because they are a party whose platform makes almost no sense at all, and would do the country much more harm than good. Finally, the Democrats need to vote to keep the GOP out because the Republicans would lead the country backwards, to more of what we had with the Bush administration.

Memo to the White House

The Shirley Sherrod case has shown the wrath of the conservative media and the meekness of the White House. It’s time for President Obama and his team to get fired up.

Dear the White House, the Democrats, the left-leaning side of the media, and anybody who indulged in the lies of Andrew Breitbart and the subsequent venomous propagation by Fox News:

Stand up for yourselves, start pointing fingers and hold liars accountable.

The Shirley Sherrod controversy is just the latest installment of a long line of incidences whereby the administration did nothing wrong to begin with, and then, to react to media hype, screws up.  This has happened before, more than a few times.  Somebody somewhere (in this case, a right-wing blogger) would make damning allegations against someone or some policy in the administration, and the White House would react as if these allegations were true and get into ‘damage control mode’, as if it is always their fault.

When one thinks of examples, the Van Jones case comes to mind.  But there are others, such as the debates on health care, cap-and-trade, and the stimulus, where the White House has been confronted with all sorts of slandering, ridiculous, and flat out insulting claims, and they would act totally apologetic, and, without any trace of flare, issue some kind of lame guesture of rebuttal.

Look no further than the myth about the ‘death panels’ during the health care debate.  The Tea Partiers and the far right started spreading this claim that seniors will essentially be told whether their lives should be ended, and this was subsequently adopted into the rhetoric of some prominent Republicans (Sarah Palin, for example).

Also, during the lead up to the signing of the stimulus bill, many in the far right have claimed that the Recovery Act is a ‘government takeover’, with others going as far as saying we’ve turned into a socialist state.

Time and again, no one in the White House stood up to blast away these lies.

Remember though, I am not asking for anyone in the administration to literally stand up and start yelling at people.  But I would very much like to see guys like David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, and even President Obama himself, use more direct and forceful language to put these lies to rest.

The liberal media has taken notice of this for quite some time.  Many have expressed their frustration with the administration’s inability to condemn the lies propagated by the right.  Various commentators have also grew tired of the administration’s rhetoric of bipartisanship, and has called on the President to reinforce the liberal base and get bills passed without Republican help.

Here is Ed Schultz blasting both Fox News and The White House about the Shirley Sherrod debacle:


“The White House just can’t stand up to Fox News has to say, don’t they?”

No, they can’t.

I don’t necessarily think that the White House is afraid of Fox News like Ed says, but the administration does have a habit of going on the defensive when something like this happens.  Instead of fact checking the claims and attacking the lies and those who perpetrate them, the White House just assumed that the other side is right and starts PR damage control for something they didn’t do wrong (ie employing Ms. Sherrod).

You can tell that Schultz is fed up with the White House’s constant bowing down to Fox News.  The White House staff probably knows that Fox News has high ratings and therefore high viewership.  And they interpret this as political leverage, which means that anything Fox News has to say is of significance.

Watch what Bill Maher says a few months ago, right after the passage of health care reform (starting watching at 2:58 for the final New Rule):

Maher has asked numerous times why President Obama hasn’t acted like President Bush when it came to getting bills passed in Congress.  When Bush wanted something done, he got it done; most of those things may not have been the wisest of ideas, but that’s not the point.  The point is, Bush did not waste a second even pretending that he intended to please the liberal populations during his tenure.

Finally, in a chapter titled “How Democrats can lose the upcoming elections” in Michael Moore’s book Mike’s Election Guide 08′, Moore alerted the reader of what the consequences would be if the Democratic presidential candidate abandons his liberal base to please the right.

Moore argues that America is becoming more liberal as a country.  True or not, this liberal populace is being ignored right now in favor of often-radical conservative sensationalism.

Alas, it seems like Obama’s bipartisan rhetoric has gotten the best of him.  It’s not from him not trying.  He has demonstrated willingness to reach across the isle for compromises.  But when the opposition is so adamant that they will not change their minds no matter what he says, then it becomes a waste of time to try to jump start any meaningful discussions.


Obama can blame the media all he wants, but he has to look himself in the mirror and really think about what Fox News has done to his presidency, and whether if they should be allowed to get away with it.

“I’ve told my team and I told my agencies that we have to make sure that we’re focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and, and think these issues through.”

Yes, of course you say that now.

While everyone is engulfed in fury about Breitbart and Fox News over the Shirley Sherrod case, let us not forget this was a horrible embarrassment on the part of Tom Vilsack and the White House.  They fired someone because of an edited blog video posted by a right wing ideologue, pure and simple.

“If there’s a lesson to be drawn from this episode,” the President continued, it’s to avoid “jumping to conclusions and pointing fingers at each other.”

Yes, Mr. President.  We’ve been doing this since we were teens.  But the adults who are running the country aren’t.