Opinion Articles

Does the Obama Administration Have a Case Against the AP?

Below is an article that I originally wrote for the site Independent Voter News.

As of late the Obama administration has come under increasing pressure from journalists to justify its handling of national security leaks.  Alongside these concerns is a broader debate on whether or not press leaks endanger national security, and if so, how can it be proven?

The Obama administration has indicted more whistle-blowers than any other presidency in history – six to be exact.  Recently, there has been significant press coverage of the AP leaks scandal; many opinions have been stated in the past few weeks, but there are some things to keep in mind before diving into any conclusions.  First, allow me to give a brief overview of what exactly happened.

On May 7, 2012, the Associated Press (AP) released a story that the CIA had broken up a plot to bomb a US-bound airliner in Yemen about one week prior.  The AP had known about the operation around the same time that it had occurred, but was asked by government officials to hold the release of the story until the plot was officially undermined.

Once seizure of the bomb and the suspect had occurred, the AP released the story without regard to the Obama administration’s requests to publish the story a day later once the White House had made an official announcement.

Later in the day on May 7, John Brennan (who at the time was the White House counter-terrorism adviser) conducted a conference with the press.  In that conference he had stated that the plot was never dangerously close to being carried out and that the U.S. government had “inside control” within the plot.

Once Brennan had given the conference, speculation among the media led to the conclusion that there was an inside informant within the ranks of an al Qaeda branch in the Arabian Peninsula.  This speculation eventually led to the exposure of almost the entire CIA operation and made the future use of the informant impossible.

In reaction to all of this, the Justice Department has seized phone records from 20 lines at multiple AP offices.  Now the question that must be answered is did this story released by the AP damage national security?

In order to answer this question, one must understand the great complexities of the matter and realize that measuring the impact of a news leak is an imperfect science that is bound to be stretched and manipulated by each party to prove ones point.  In the case of the Associated Press, the U.S. government made their case much weaker when John Brennan announced that there was “inside control,” and on top of that there is no available proof that the informant was giving security officials any additional leads regarding al Qaeda leadership.

As it will be difficult for the government to prove the Associated Press damaged national security, it is unlikely this will hold up in court.  In order to prove this, they would more than likely have to give up current clandestine operations in order to verify that they were damaged by the report.

The Obama administration went through the District of Columbia’s federal court to obtain the subpoena for the AP case, a court that has a history of being rather hard on leak cases.  Even though this may be the case, I believe that the AP will still come out on top of the administration if they decide to go along and press charges against the Associated Press.

The AP will argue that they did not report that there was a CIA source within the al Qaeda branch and that it was Brennan who broke that news.  The administration will claim that they had Brennan come forth with this information because they knew their cover would be blown by the press regardless if he did or not.  When it comes down to it, the speculation on the part of the Obama team is not definite and will not hold up in any court.

I don’t see any surprise evidence being brought forth by prosecutors and by weighing all the evidence in the case, there is simply not enough to convict anybody in the AP for this case.

So as of right now, I would have to come to the conclusion that the AP did not damage national security for reasons of it being immeasurable with the current information provided to the public.  Unless the government can bring brand new claims against them, there is no base to further prosecute anyone involved.

As a Democrat, I Would Vote for Chris Christie

The more that is reported about Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the more I find myself admiring his leadership style.  Christie initially gained my attention when he praised President Obama for his help with Hurricane Sandy relief just prior to the Presidential election.  So, I looked more deeply at his record in an attempt to find a major trait that I dislike.  It hasn’t happened yet.

One characteristic that sets Christie apart from the GOP establishment is his belief that climate change is real and is man made.  In 2011 he was quoted as saying “When you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who study this stating that climate change is occurring and humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”  His emphasis in the existence of global warming isn’t just a punchy statement, it is mirrored in his energy policy.

The Governor is a staunch supporter of renewable energy and spent much emphasis on expanding New Jersey’s clean energy capacity in his first term in office.  In 2011 he finalized his energy master plan which outlines all of his energy goals and proposals.  The plan contains a large portion dedicated to outlining renewable energy goals such as making renewable energy sources 22.5% of New Jersey’s overall power supply by 2021 through mandating the private electricity suppliers of the state.  If the electricity companies fail to meet the plan’s obligation then they are subject to state fines varying in cost depending on how far they fell short of the mandate.  The plan also states that the building of new coal power plants in the state of New Jersey is prohibited and the state will also work to shut down existing high polluting coal plants. His energy master plan is widely regarded as one of the most aggressive in the United States but also believed to be attainable.  His plan’s definition of renewable energy is broad, which allows energy companies to creatively craft an efficient and cost effective strategy of balancing all sources invested by the company.  With the renewable energy market being essentially untapped, Christie states this plan will open pathways for electric companies to bring cheaper energy to their customers and at the same time explore affordable ways to bring renewable energy into the power grid.

When it comes to gun control, Christie again tries to find a middle ground between both parties.  As governor, Christie has supported New Jersey’s assault weapons ban and also stresses the expansion of the gun control conversation into violence control.  His approach to the issue is much more dynamic than either party.  In a climate where Democrats are only willing to talk gun control and Republicans have classified the entire gun control conversation as taboo, it’s nice to see a politician lead the way on the conversation.  He breaks through both party lines and emerges as the true leader in the gun control debate when both sides are dug in too deep.

On the topic of same-sex marriage, Christie again finds some middle ground.  In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan, he proclaimed that “I’ve always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual,” a statement  that not only comes  at odds with many Republicans but also with his religion’s beliefs on homosexuality.

One common ground that he finds with most Republicans is the fact that he does not believe in the allowance of same-sex marriage.  He reasons that marriage should be between a man and woman for the purpose of procreation but is also a very strong supporter of civil unions for same-sex couples.  He believes that same-sex couples should be viewed equally in the eyes of the law and given the same legal benefits that opposite-sex partners enjoy.

What I see in Governor Christie is a breath of fresh air that hasn’t been matched in the American political climate for quite sometime.  His record as Governor of New Jersey is nothing less than impressive, especially with a 74 percent approval rating according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.  And his strategy is quite simple, which is combine common sense politics with core family and religious values.

But the thing that is most impressive about him is his ability to break from the Republican party as he feels necessary.  He brings realism to the GOP ,which hasn’t been seen in some time. This characteristic will prove to benefit him in a possible 2016 run as he will appeal to moderate Democrats, minority groups, and Independents that strayed away from the Republican party.  Hopefully the example that Christie sets is a trend that the GOP can follow, as in recent years his party has moved so far away from  common sense and has sped toward a delusional counter-intuitive ideology.

No Legal Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage, Still Illegal…

Written by David Buchanan

President Obama gave an inaugural speech on Monday that will certainly go down in the history books as he is the first President in history to refer to homosexuals, particularly gays, as an accepted (yet in many societies, only considered as tolerated)  sexual orientation or preference. In addition to this, he also declared that gays and lesbians struggling for equality were on par with the civil rights movements of the past.

The President’s view regarding gay marriage has certainly changed from when he was first elected.  He started out as being openly opposed to gay marriage, and then in 2008 said that his position was “constantly evolving.”  Last May 2012, he became the first President who had publicly stated that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married.

And when it comes right down to it, why not?  Washington politics continues to push to define marriage as between a man and a woman but where does that notion actually come from?  Religion.  When it boils right down to it, the notion that marriage should be between a man and a woman comes from the biblical notion that man should not lie with man.

However, when looking at the law, what practical purpose does it serve to define marriage as opposite sex couples?  If you listed to Republican arguments about “preserving marriage”, many of those arguments center around societal concerns and concerns about children being raised without a father or a mother.

These concerns mostly surround the traditional roles of mothers and fathers.  Studies have shown that children without fathers in their lives are less likely to be successful than those who did not have a traditional two parent home.

The problem with this argument is that it assumes that having opposite sex parents is the only viable solution to the problem.  What benefit does the child get from having a father or mother that does not want to be around, or worse still, is a detriment to the development of the child.

If you listen at the core of most arguments against a same-sex union, it all revolves around religion and morality or social concerns that are more concerns revolving around principles established over 200 years ago and not in line with modern principles.  The problem with this sort of thinking is that America is supposed to be a land that embraces freedom of religion and diversity.  Part of that is accepting other belief systems even if they differ than yours.

Same-sex marriage isn’t about destroying the institution of marriage, it is about couples having the same rights regardless of whether they are gay or straight.  Looking past the moral implications surrounding the issues, marriage is a contract between two people and same-sex couples who want to have the same rights to execute their contract.

When the Supreme Court looks at this matter later this year, they need to look past the moral objections and focus on the legality of banning same-sex marriages.  If there is a legitimate reason to declare marriage as a union between a man and a woman, then that needs to be clearly defined.  If instead the banning of same-sex marriage is based on morality, then it is time to allow same-sex marriage in this country.

How Republicans Are Misunderstanding Latinos

For quite a long time now, Republicans have tried to find ways to bring in more Latino voters into its base, but with limited success.  Republican leaders stress that Latinos fit in perfectly with the base of the party for multiple reasons, however 67% of Latinos are registered Democrat.  Let us look at Republican claims as to why Latinos are a perfect fit for the party and ways that they are misunderstood.

Many people assess the Latino population in the United States as a socially conservative group with deep, predominantly Catholic, values.  The GOP for decades have tried to use this to their advantage due to the fact that the Republican base has similar core values.  From afar it does seem like a perfect fit, but Latinos are not as socially conservative as Republicans give them credit for.  In order to explain this claim I will break down the different demographics within the United States Latino community.

Breaking down the U.S. Latino community into generations (first generation Latino- American, second generation Latino-American, etc…) is, at least I find, the best way to explain the political matches and mismatches between Latinos and Republicans.  Let us start with first generation Latinos in the United States and their political profile.

Out of all the Latino generations, first generation and foreign-born Latinos tend to be the most conservative.  According to the Pew Research Center, 35% of foreign-born Latinos consider themselves conservative in their political beliefs as opposed to 28% of Latinos born in the United States, which is likely because of the greater influence that religion has in Latin American countries.  They also tend to have a more conservative stance than other generations on issues such as abortion and the acceptance of homosexuality.

Second and third generation Latino-Americans tend to be more liberal on many issues as opposed to earlier generations.  Later generation Latinos are slightly more accepting of homosexuals and are much more in favor of legal abortion rights for women.  They are also more likely to describe themselves as liberals.  One may argue that the reason for the increase in liberal ideology among younger generations of Latino-Americans is their exposure to a more secular society in the United States, as opposed to their parents or grandparents who were grew up in a less secular, Latin American nation.

From the information above, one would think that first generation Latino-Americans would be a perfect match for Republicans, right?  They have many of the same core beliefs when it comes to abortion, the importance of religion, and many other issues, but still the GOP sees Latinos vote consistently Democrat.  One major reason for this mismatch between the GOP and first generation Latino-Americans is the harsh, seemingly anti-immigrant, language that modern Republicans use.  For this particular demographic, immigration is at the top of their list because they went through the immigration process and know the difficulties and struggles they went through to become citizens of the United States.  They may still have family or friends living in their native Latin American country that are going through the immigration process, and it is through first-hand exposure to this process that makes it one of their top issues.

They key to appealing to the first generation would primarily be to propose and promote a passable, yet realistic, immigration reform bill.  Doing this is key to bringing in new first generation voters, and along with that will come second and third generation Latino-Americans.  With the consistent growth of the Latino population in the United States, it is essential that the GOP capitalize on this demographic, exploit the similarities, and bury the differences.

These are just my observations about the Latino vote, let’s start a conversation, what are your opinions on Republicans attracting new Latino voters?

Storming the White House: Environmental Policy and Election Fever

Before I begin my idealistic musings that I am known to do, I feel a

brief introduction is due. Admittedly, I am new to the blogging
community. The founder and administrator of this
particular blog extended the offer to me several months ago to
occasionally contribute an opinion piece or article, and I felt
obliged to accept the offer (graciously, of course). Also
admittedly, I come from a slightly “left-of-center” American
ideology, but by no means do I feel any particular fondness to
political parties or factions. My studies focused on politics and
history, and are now moving into the realm of law and international
affairs. Until recently, most of my writing has been dry “here are
the statistics” articles due to constraints, but I am looking forward
to an outlet for editorial writing. So if you will indulge me, I will
be glad to try to weave my brand of cynical, sarcastic, and dry humor
into comprehensible editorials for the readers to (hopefully) enjoy.

So now, here is my first blog entry:

Storming the White House: Environmental Policy and Election Fever

The direction of American politics within the past few years has left
a particularly unattractive stain on the country’s image, leaving
countless young observers (such as myself) feeling disconnected from
their leadership. In an age where mentioning global warming can sink
a political campaign, is there any reason to hold faith in the two
party system? Bi-partisanship has been abandoned, the political mood
is schizophrenic as ever, and the American public continues to vote
along the same path as a pendulum. In the past few days, the “super
storm” that raged through the east coast exposed the inconsistencies
in right-wing rhetoric on environmental policy, and perhaps shaped
the political careers of several men.
In the face of Hurricane Sandy, climate change has been brought into
the spotlight once again. While it is absurd to say the hurricane
was caused by global warming (these things have been happening longer
than humans could even put a physical foot print on Earth), it is
hard to deny that global warming did not intensify the storm. Scientists
and journalists have been debating the issue for the past few days, and
the verdict was relatively unanimous – climate change is impacting the
severity of tropical storms.

The idea environmental protection and global warming as a partisan
issue is, in fact, relatively new to the political field. Until Al Gore’s
infamous film, it was indeed the Republican Party that took the greatest
measures towards protecting the environment.

This leads me to wonder – what happened to the “Grand” Old Party?

Republican president Theodore Roosevelt was perhaps one of the
greatest conservationists of all time. It was under his leadership
that the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902 was passed, along with
creating the United States Forest Service, and coining the slogan
“Conservation as a National Duty.”

As much pain as it causes me to praise this man, it was President
Nixon that first proposed the creation of the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), which went into effect in 1970. It is worth
noting that recent Republic rhetoric has called for the dissolution
of the EPA. It is also worth noting that since the creation of this
agency, we have stopped catching rivers on fire. I have very little
expertise in chemistry, but I am fairly certain water is not
inherently flammable.

What may come as a shock to many is that Ronald Reagan, the
conservative icon, acknowledged the existence of climate change. In
fact, he created a board on the NSA for the purpose of researching
ways of dealing with a potential climate change. However, he also
made it a point to distance himself from the environmental policies
of Jimmy Carter by slashing the EPA’s budget, and removing the White
House’s solar panels in a silly symbolic gesture.

With Hurricane Sandy’s effects on the next administration in mind, it
may be noted that the true victor was Chris Christie. In a
controversial move to back President Obama’s response to the storm,
Governor Christie has emerged as a symbol of bi-partisanship, a
national hero, and possibly the future of the Republican Party. It
may very well be that Christie is the genuine article, responding
decisively to a crisis, but the Machiavellian in me leads me to
believe there may be more to the story. As American voters are known
to operate like a pendulum, it is likely President Obama will be in
office for another four years (apologies, Mr. Romney), and the
American public will swing back to the right for a 2016 Republican
president. However, if President Romney is elected, Governor Christie
will have to wait likely another eight years, by which time Americans
may swing to the left yet again. Whether he intended to harm the
Romney campaign by supporting President Obama in a time of crisis or
not, it should be interesting to see how this man’s career will play
out.

In an era where bi-partisanship is scorned and environmental
protection is seen as un-American, it is difficult to have faith in
our elected leaders. This is usually the point in an article where
the writer urges the reader to “get out there and vote,” leaving the
reader with a warm, wrapped in an American flag blanket feeling, but
I cannot write that without a laugh. If the past few decades have
been any indication, politics will continue at a lackluster pace, and
any change made will be incremental and insufficient. Most changes
are purely symbolic. The most significant environmental move made by
the Obama administration was to re-install the solar panels on the
roof of the White House. The election, only a few days away, will
show whether or not the panels will remain for four more years.

This article has been written by My Spin on Things newest writer, Logan Holmes.

 

 

Are You a 1-Year Man or a 10-Year Man?

During the second presidential debate, President Obama repeatedly brought up the idea that you need to be looking ten years into the future for a strong energy policy. Contrarily, Romney believes that Obama has been putting the kibosh on domestic oil development, preventing America from becoming energy independent, a pipe dream according to the Scientific American blog. So when you’re at the polls, you’ve got to ask yourself: are you a 10-year man, or a 1-year man? Here’s the breakdown.

 

THE 10-YEAR MAN

 

The 10-year man’s fundamental beliefs lie in the fact that renewable and environmentally friendly energy resources are the way of the future. Despite the fact that world oil reserves are continually growing, the 10-year man knows that oil is a finite resource. Plus, the adoption of free technologies worldwide paves the way for environmentally friendly living while also enjoying the amenities of a technologically and industrially rich planet. To the 10 year man, this is just good economics.

 

However, the 10-year man is bereft in the short term. Because he does not want to open up more, if not all, domestic oil reserves, the 10-year man cannot have a noteworthy impact on domestic oil prices. He is afraid of investing in more infrastructures that relies on an oil-rich planet, because one day the oil will run out, and then we’ll really be in trouble. So for the short-term, the 10-year man must deal with energy prices dictated by a global bull market, paying more for oil than he necessarily has to. He must also deal with the cumbersome transition from crude oil dependence towards renewable energies as technology catches up to an inconvenient oil market.

 

THE 1-YEAR MAN

 

The 1-year man believes that American oil prices can be brought down. (Some folks have stated that $2/gallon oil is a real possibility.) Our oil prices are at the mercy of a global market of supply and demand. Right now, demand is high and supply is throttled, so the 1 year man wants to do as much as he can in the short term to alleviate oil shortages and put America in control of it’s own domestic energy. This means that we drill and open up lands that are currently guarded under EPA regulations and build pipelines. The 1-year man knows that this will reduce oil prices and create jobs and we expand our oil production infrastructure. The 1-year man knows that this is great politics as well. People want oil prices down now.

 

But the 1-year man lacks foresight. It’s no secret that there’s a limited amount of oil on the planet. The 1 year man may very well be able to bring down oil prices and eliminate dependency on other countries, but what will the 1 year man do when he runs out of crude. As of 2011, there was just over 30 billion gallons of oil in domestic reserves. That year, America consumed 6.87 billion barrels of petroleum products and biofuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Without newer, more efficient, cheaper technologies, domestic oil will last us about 5 years. The 1-year man believes that energy independence is a possibility. He also believes that domestic production can put America on the oil-producing map.

 

So, are you a 1-year man or a 10-year man?

 

This post was provided by Chris Galis, web marketer for Drill Map, an oil mapping software company.

Second Presidential Debate Analysis

The second Presidential debate has just come to a conclusion with both candidates having good debate performances.  The President had a much improved debate performance, coming out aggressively and assertive.  Governor Romney was sharp and much aware of the domestic issues that the country faces.  So who won on specific topics?  Let us break down the debate.

The one thing that irks me the most is the assumption that the President has moderate control over gas prices.  The President has almost no control over gas prices and Romney tried to use high gas prices as a case against the President.  You may ask “Well then who controls the price of gas?”  It is the market, the continuous rise in gas prices is largely due to increased demand in emerging countries like China, Brasil, and India.  Other big contributing factors are unrest in the Middle East and oil speculation on Wall Street.  The President made a great point tonight by acknowledging these facts and dealing with them by increasing gas efficiency standards by car companies to double fuel economy in the next decade.  Romney’s plan is rather vague, like most of his campaign promises.  When it comes to energy policy I think it is clear the President has the advantage, he has an aggressive energy policy that does not simply rely on what we can bring out of the ground, but focuses on how we can create renewable energy for future generations.

Next is the issue of immigration and Governor Romney did a great job in exploiting the President’s record on this topic.  The President did promise that within his first year of him being in office there would an immigration bill presented to Congress that he supports.  President Obama broke this promise and Romney made him pay for it tonight by exploiting his statement made prior to getting elected.  In June, President Obama made an announcement stating his administration will allow the children of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States legally under his new plan.  The move was 100% political in an attempt to shore up the Latino vote in the November elections.  But when it comes to immigration there is not a good alternative, Mitt Romney’s immigration plan will certainly not benefit illegal immigrants and does not specify his exact plans to bring upon comprehensive immigration reform.  When it comes to the immigration I will give the win to Governor Romney simply because of Obama’s broken promises on immigration.

Once again the candidates were asked to explain and defend their tax plans.  Romney pointed out his intention of eliminating the estate tax, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and capital gains tax on taxpayers making less than $200,000 per year.  Other than these main points he still has not elaborated on his tax plan, making it impossible for experts to predict the impact of these tax cuts.  The President was quick to point out that his tax plan could not be imposed and cut the federal deficit at the same time.  Although Obama’s tax plan is popular, it does little to reduce the federal deficit unless a steady economic recovery occurs.  On the issue of taxes, the winner is easily President Obama because his tax plan is much more specific than Governor Romney’s plan.  I would consider changing my mind under the condition that the Governor would specify the loop holes that will be closed under a Romney administration.

The candidates also touched upon several foreign policy topics in which I will briefly address.  The death of Ambassador Chris Stevens became a hotly debated topic tonight.  The President assumed responsibility because it happened under his watch, but it is still unclear exactly who in the administration is to blame for not only the ignored calls for extra security, but also for the delayed response by the administration. On the issue of the Chinese government manipulating currency, Romney came down hard on the President for not doing enough to stop the Chinese from keeping the value of their currency artificially low.  Romney claims that he will label China a currency manipulator his first day in office and most experts claim that this will only escalate tensions between the U.S. and China, possibly ending in a trade war.  Recently the Obama administration has been in private negotiations with Chinese officials regarding their currency manipulation, but with little success.  The path the Obama administration has taken is seemingly the best option as opposed to Romney’s plan, but produces only limited gains.  When it comes to foreign policy topics covered in the debate tonight I will give neither candidate the win because much of the information on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya is still not reported and both candidates don’t seem to have credible plans on how to handle China’s currency manipulation.

I do not feel that tonight’s debate will decide the election, more than likely it will all come down to Monday night’s debate.  Monday night’s debate is the most crucial debate between the two candidates to leave a lasting impression on voters before they hit the polls November 6, be sure to tune in.

 

Vice Presidential Debate Analysis

The first and final Vice Presidential debate has just wrapped up and both candidates lived up to expectations.  They touched base on a number of issues ranging from government spending to Iran, and neither of the candidates held any punches.

The first topic that was brought upon the candidates tonight was the issue of the September 11 attack on the United States consulate in Libya.  Ryan of course was quick to politicize the attack by trying to put the blame on the administration for no added security on the consulate despite requests for added security.  The fact of the matter is that not all the exact details of the attack are out, regardless of what the media tells you.  The intelligence community is still continuing to gather information on the attack and it is not exactly known who in the State Department made the call not to send additional security forces to Benghazi.

The candidates were also asked about their tax plans and who would benefit the most under their plans.  Ryan was on stage defending Romney’s tax proposal of a 20% across the board cut on taxes.  They claim the tax cut will be paid for by closing tax loopholes mainly for wealthy contributors but have refused to give specifics.  The election is roughly one month away, maybe it’s just me, but I would love to know what loopholes are getting cut to pay for this tax cut.  The Bush tax cuts are a huge reason why the Federal Debt is at $16 trillion and if they can’t specify which loopholes will be closed to pay for this than why even put forth a tax plan.  This I found completely outrageous, this is a government run by the people for the people, and if voters want a specific tax policy before the election than that is what we should receive.  Are they still working on the plan?  I doubt this, they are almost certainly withholding the tax plan for political gain.   Biden of course has had the luxury of using the last four years as a platform to showcase the Obama tax plan which most Americans are familiar with.  I would love for the Romney-Ryan ticket to release their exact tax plan so the two can be compared.

The two also exchanged words over how to deal with Iran and its nuclear ambitions.  Ryan went on the attack immediately accusing the Obama administration of being too soft on the Iranian government.  He claimed that they hesitated on sanctions with Iran and to some degree he is right.  Congress should not have been the driving force behind sanctioning Iran’s central bank, the President should have done this much sooner.  The sanctions are working and there is no disputing that, the Iranian rial has suffered greatly and inflation has skyrocketed in the past few months.  Obama certainly hesitated on full-blown sanctions on Iran, but at the same time he also got the support of the international community, even Iran’s close allies.  The administration took time, valuable time, to gather international support for these sanctions and there is no guarantee that these sanctions will work.

Overall, both Biden and Ryan had excellent debate performances.  They were both intensely prepared and aware of the numbers, often times fact checking each others statements.  This debate certainly will not make or break this election for either candidate and for a good reason, they are the Vice Presidential candidates.

Debate Analysis

With the first Presidential Debate just wrapping up, I must say I was very surprised to see how well Mitt Romney did in the debate.  Not saying Obama did a terrible job but his debating skills certainly were challenged by Romney.

The entire Presidential campaign I have waited to see any sign of a backbone from Mitt Romney and tonight was the first time that I seen one from Romney.  Romney came out swinging at the President and was clearly the more prepared out of the two.  The debate covered topics such as taxes, the economy, education, the federal debt, and healthcare.  Here is what I took from the debate:

1. Taxes: Obama was quick to accuse Romney that his tax plan would benefit only rich Americans, in which Romney responded with a fiery rebuttal.  Romney pointed out that his proposed tax plan would cut taxes for all Americans, 20% cut across the board, not only for rich Americans but for all Americans.  The two seemed to agree upon cutting the corporate tax rate, Romney proposes a reduction of 10% and Obama proposes a 7% reduction.  When it came to taxes in the debate I will give Romney the win, not because his tax plan is a better tax plan but because Obama was completely unprepared to debate the issue of taxes.

2. The Economy: The President was of course on the defensive when the issue of the economy was brought up and rightfully so.  Romney criticized the unemployment rate and the continued failure of the economy to create jobs.  Obama countered by stating that the American auto industry is booming because of his auto bailout and that manufacturing is coming back to the United States (which is absolutely true).  Still the numbers are not there, unemployment is still above 8% and the economy is by no means recovering at the rate that any of us would like to see it.  When it comes to the topic of the economy in the debate I will not give either candidate a win because Romney’s economic plan is still vague and the Obama economic plan seems to be working but at a very slow pace.

3. Education: When it came to education it was clear to everyone that watched the debate, that neither candidate has a decent plan to better the education system in the country.  Romney at one point had the highly intelligent comment “I love great schools,”  of course you do Mitt, there isn’t a person in the country who doesn’t like great schools.  Doesn’t that statement itself speak for how much Romney knows about how to improve education?  Don’t get me wrong, Obama has not brought any ground breaking education reform to our schools either but does anyone expect Romney doing any better in the area of education?  I give a loss to both candidates when it comes to education.  Both showed incompetence when it came down to education and both seemed to lack any willingness to change the failing public school system.

4. The Federal Debt: When it comes to the Federal Debt, I will just come out and say it now, neither candidate has a stellar plan to solve the crisis.  Romney plan includes cutting taxes in a time when Federal tax receipts are at historic lows and the Federal Government is in over $16 trillion in debt but somehow expects to decrease the Federal Debt at the same time.  The Bush tax cuts are a very big reason why our federal debt is over $16 trillion and renewing and expanding the Bush tax cuts are not the answer to lower the debt.  Romney criticizes the President for not keeping his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.  But let us be honest, did any of us believe that Obama would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression?  The answer is “no” and it is a promise the President knew he could not keep.  But when it comes to reducing the Federal Debt I believe the Obama plan has a better chance at success than the Romney plan.  Tax cuts are a great thing, especially during a time of economic hardship, but $16 trillion is a lot of money and the time to start trimming away at it is now.  I give President Obama the win when it comes to the debt because Romney’s plan to cut it does not add up.  He may claim that he will close certain tax loop holes to make up for some of the loss but it is very unlikely that the plan will work as smooth as Romney proposes.

5. Healthcare: One of the most hotly debated topics tonight was, no surprise, healthcare.  Romney immediately started out attacking Obamacare, of course.  Romney must underestimate the American peoples intellectual ability to think to themselves “Didn’t Mitt create universal healthcare as Governor of Massachusetts?”  The fact of the matter is that both plans are incredibly similar, the major difference being the Affordable Care Act is on a national level and not a state level.  How does Governor Romney justify his implementation of universal healthcare in Massachusetts?  States rights of course, this a recurring justification for the Republican Party’s agenda (another example for this excuse is gay rights).  Romney also continued on with his belief that the Medicare system should be a combination of both private and government insurance.  From my knowledge on this topic, it would be a disaster to the taxpayer funded Medicare system.  Not to mention it will NOT keep medical costs down.  Medicare on average pays doctors 40% less than private insurance does.  Romney has no good explanation as to how this system would affect healthcare costs, so I will in a very simple way, costs will increase.  When it comes to healthcare I will give the President the win easily over Mitt Romney.

President Obama has much to prove going into the next debate, which I foresee him doing much better in.  Obama was very ill-prepared for this debate and Romney capitalized off of this.  Romney showed much passion and had a good debate style, often citing facts which is crucial for a candidate to do.  Romney had a great knowledge of the issues but he simply does not have good plans to address the issues that face this country.  Who do you feel won the debate and why?  Post your opinion below and let’s start a debate.

“2016: Obama’s America” Movie Review

Earlier this week I decided to go see “2016: Obama’s America,” a film created by a conservative author named Dinesh D’Souza.  D’Souza tries to explain Barack Obama’s actions by claiming that he is an anti-colonialist and explains his argument by attempting to connect his political views to the views of his father.

D’Souza creates an interesting and well thought out theory about Obama inheriting anti-colonialist beliefs from his father.  The only problem with his logic is that Barack Obama met his father one time, when he was 10 years old.  It’s a bit hard to imagine that the visit between the two really shaped his political views, so D’Souza brings in a psychologist who explains that if a mother chooses so, an absent father’s beliefs are upheld in the household and this is how Obama inherited his political beliefs.  He uses this theory to explain certain decisions that D’Souza feels are anti-American and sympathetic to other third world nations.  The examples he uses are not credible and are mostly opinion, such as the assertion that Obama wants to return control of the Falkland Islands to Argentina from the United Kingdom (he doesn’t, he is neutral).

He also seems to play to the belief that Obama is a Muslim, which is a belief that is shared by a shocking amount of Americans by claiming that he is sympathetic to Middle Eastern countries.  Does this make much sense?  I was under the assumption that he ordered the Osama bin Laden raid without the knowledge of the Pakistani government.  That he has used drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen to kill Muslim jihadists and has lost popularity in both of those countries because of this.  This assertion is false no matter how you look at it.

The only claim that D’Souza made that can gain any traction is Obama’s shady connections to people such as Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Roberto Unger, and most interestingly Frank Marshall Davis.  Frank Marshall Davis was Barack Obama’s mentor from his boyhood and into his teen years.  Davis was a card-carrying member of the Communist party and a Soviet sympathizer.  Many accounts seem to point that Davis was a father like figure to Obama and that the two were very close.  If I were D’Souza I would have made this claim and ran with it, instead he did not focus on the impact that Frank Marshall Davis had on Barack Obama nearly as much as he should have.

D’Souza either did not do his homework or decided to essentially lie to his audience about most of his claims, many of them being baseless and greatly exaggerated.  A lot can be said about Barack Obama but it D’Souza missed almost all the right points to touch upon.  If he wants to get his pass his political agenda to any critical thinking human being he is going to want to refurbish his assertions and focus more on the figures that actually influenced him, not the beliefs of an absent father.  Anyone can make a theory about why things are the way they are and most are dead wrong, D’Souza should have called it quits once he found himself lying and stretching the truth to his audience.  The only way a plausible theory should be published is if all the facts and assertions line up in near perfect alignment.  My advice to D’Souza is to go back to the drawing board because your theory is clearly wrong.