I’m back…. Again. But not just about politics this time!

Hi all,

Although I know for a fact that not many people read my blog, I would still like to let you all know that, after taking a sudden and unforeseen break from blogging, the theme of this blog will change to something more general and all-encompassing.  Here’s why:

After immersing myself in the world of politics (mostly American politics) for a while, I had grown tired and cynical, to the point where I no longer was interested in the political issues of the day.  The kind of stalemate the come about as a result of pure power struggles while both the Republican and the Democratic party claim to be acting in the interests of the people have become unbearable.

In fact, my taking a break from reading up on politics has added to my admiration for those who dive into it everyday; all the cable news hosts, political pundits, not to mention the politicians.  I don’t know how they do it.  Perhaps it’s their passion for politics that keeps them going.

Yes, the Democrats will have to fight.  Yes, the Obama campaign is being out-raised in the past few months. But I’m not quite convinced that the wealth folks on the liberal side are willing to risk losing this election because of the issue of money.  Individuals such as George Soros will keep on stepping it up, and go toe to toe with the Koch brothers.

So yea, that’s enough politics for today.  What I wanted to say is, from now on, in addition to the political talks and movie reviews that I’ll still be doing, I will also be writing on numerous topics, such as my life experiences, philosophy (yes! fascinating subject), and others.

Writing is still my passion.  I will never give it up.  Unfortunately, over the past month or so, various things have kept me from firing away at the keyboard.  But now that things have calmed down, I will return to being a… uh… blogger!


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 #16 – The Wisconsin Recall Debate: Tom Barrett vs. Scott Walker

The first of two gubernatorial debates between Tom Barrett (D) and Scott Walker (R) took place last night, as Barrett aggressively went after Walker on a wide range of issues, including his out-of-state fundraising, the incendiary bill that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public workers, and his efforts to appeal to the far-right on the national level.

For a more detailed account about the debate, check out the Huffpost report here.

Mr. Barrett said during the debate that Wisconsin has lost “more jobs than any other state in the entire country in 2011,” and that Walker’s policies were polarizing to the point where it was impossible in some instances for neighbors to talk to neighbors, for relatives to talk to relatives, for workers to talk to co-workers.

And then there’s Walker, sticking to his talking points and talking about creating jobs.

It never ceases to boggle my mind that so many Republican politicians such as Walker keeps on talking about creating jobs while slashing spending.  My understanding of how government works is that it needs revenue in order to pay its employed workers.  As much as so many Republicans / conservatives / Ron Paul supporters want to turn the United States into an almost-government-free libertarian state, America is far from that.  Government jobs still encompass a large portion of the workforce as a whole.

So common sense should dictate that the less money government has, the weaker its ability to hire people.

On the other hand, Republicans have never stopped declaring their belief that the private sector is where most jobs are created, and we have heard too often that wealth will trickle down from top to bottom. This notion has all but proven to be untrue, as for example, the fat cats at Wall Street are back to business as usual with almost no new regulation imposed on them while the working class in America continue to struggle.

Soon-to-be-ex Governor Walker lit the fuse that blew up in his face when he wanted to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights, rights that represent entrenched values of working society and the relationship between the worker and the owner.  A landslide defeat could be depicted as a small-scale version of the defeat of Nicholas Sarkozy in France, as a rejection of borderline-outrageous fiscal conservatism.

Check out this article for a list of reasons why Scott Walker should be recalled.

Politics Daily #15 – Obama Administration’s ‘War’ on the Press

The latest Huffington Post headline reads: “WAR ON THE PRESS: Obama Administration Attacks Basic Reporting Right.”

A lawyer representing the Department of Justice is arguing that New York Times reporter  James Risen should be forced to testify in the trial of former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with leaking classified information to Risen about a botched plot against the Iranian government.

While it has somewhat become a struggle between the ‘reporters’ privilege’ and the Espionage Act – a World War I-era law intended to prohibit the aiding of enemies -, some, such as Lucy Dalglish from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, are arguing that it is not even necessary to force Risen to testify, as the DOJ has the power to obtain all the evidence it needs to make a case (airline tickets, hotel receipts, etc.)

I wouldn’t pretend to know much about the inner workings of D.C., or Federal politics, or the correlation between the methods with which reports obtain classified information from government departments such as the Department of Justice, the C.I.A., or the N.S.A.  I do think though, that it would be a shame if this issue with the press winds up becoming an election issue that comes back and bites Obama during the election.

While Fox News is the ultimate voice of American conservatism and Republican rhetoric, most other television news outlets are fairly centrists or liberal-leaning.  As such, it would be very unwise for Obama to anger the part of the media that has largely been standing on his side (you really only need to adhere to the facts to be on his side).  As Jake Tapper of ABC questions the inconsistency (bordering hypocrisy) as the Obama administration’s applauding of aggressive journalism abroad as highlighted by the recent passings of Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin and its crackdown of aggressive journalism at home, it seems like the administration is struggling to find the right tone to approach the issue.

Or perhaps it is more clear-cut than that; somebody inside the administration is controlling which direction they would take with regards to cracking down on leaks.  And that person, whom I doubt very much would be the President himself, is putting the notion that ‘there’s a reason classified documents are classified’ before ‘people have the right to know what the government is doing’.

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.

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.

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 #3 – A Quick Thought on Rush, Sandra, and Birth Control

Numerous conservative figures ranging from talk-radio to Congress have, in one way or another, attacked the Obama administration for having a provision in the health care law requiring all health institutions, secular or religious, to provide contraception to their employees.  For example, the foul-mouthed Rush Limbaugh has chosen to sink to a new low with his latest comments, calling Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’, amongst other derogatory terms.

In addition, a few members of congress have essentially made claims that women are having too much sex, or thinks, for some reason, that they are not allowed to use birth control.

Rachel Maddow demonstrated on her show how poor Rush actually does not understand how birth control, or more specifically, the pill (apparently he isn’t aware of the fact that the purchase of the pill has nothing to do with how many times the woman has sex, because the woman has to take the pill every day regardless of whether or not she will have sex), works.  Bill O’Reilly, on the other hand, defended Rush by saying he doesn’t want his government money paying for someone to have (safe)sex.

As I read more and more ridiculous comments that paint the picture of women being sex-addicts and allowing women to have birth control would have detrimental effects towards society, I started to think:

The men saying these things do not remember how sex works.

See, in order for hetero-sex to happen, there needs to be a woman and – gasp! – a man.  For every woman that wants sex, there is a man that wants it just as much, or more.  And I’d say, at least on the surface, men are more obvious in their desire for sex than women.  To prevent women from having birth control would only mean that they won’t be able to have sex without the risk of getting pregnant or contracting sexually-transmitted diseases.  So unless the men of the world suddenly want to become responsible for tons of unwanted pregnancies, they better support birth control.

Which brings us back to an age-old question: a woman can be called a ‘slut’ for loving sex, but what do we call a man who loves sex?

A man.

States Are So Broke They Are Threatening The U.S. Economy

The HuffPost ran an article about the budget crisis various states are experiencing. Many governors, such as Chris Christie of New Jersey, are resorting to severely slashing funds for state programs in order to grab a hold on the deficit.

Read the article here

It seems like the bottom line is that the states and municipali­ties are broke. In fact, they’re beyond broke, because as things currently stand, they will only be broke-er, borrowing more and more money and making future generation­s pay.

Okay okay. So, let’s see. Where does government get its money from? The people. What is that called? Usually, taxes. So if the government desperatel­y needs more money, what should it do? Um, raise taxes? And I’m not talking immediatel­y start digging big chunks of money out of everyone’s pockets, but how about just enough so that we actually have enough money to keep the states at a bare functionin­g minimum?

And on that note, why don’t we start by getting rid of the Bush tax cuts to the rich? Another year of this just means another year of hardship for the next generation­.

Hello? Anybody home? Apparently not, because they’re Tea-Partyi­ng.

Sarah Palin ‘blindsided’ by ‘lamestream’ media.

Read the HuffPost Article here

So she’s on a book tour to make money, but is dodging the media… So she wants money but not the publicity.­.. well, not the ‘lamestrea­m’ publicity.

Ms. Palin, that’s just lame.

Meanwhile, Jon Stewart mocks Palin on his show, about the media’s fascination of her frequent posts on Twitter, or Tweets.

Read the article / watch the video here

Maybe instead of writing books or tweeting, Palin can show us her actual writing skills by submitting more Op-Ed columns to newspapers. Books are edited by experts, as are short essays but we would get a better sense of Palin’s writing skills because of the immediate nature of Op-Ed columns.