Thursday, June 28, 2012

Analysis of the Supreme Court Upholding "ObamaCare."

Surely most of you have already heard that the Supreme Court ruled "ObamaCare" to be constitutional. What I found interesting was that conservative  Chief Justice John Roberts was in the majority that upheld President Obama's health care reform. I think Roberts's ruling makes it hard for conservative politicians like Mitt Romney to say that the health care law is a "socialist" policy. Unless they are prepared to call Chief Justice John Roberts a socialist, which seems highly unlikely since he is a conservative nominated by President George W. Bush who no one would mistake for a liberal!!

If Republicans want to continue fighting "ObamaCare" then they will have to be prepared to go against a conservative U.S. Supreme Court. As well as the U.S. Constitution. That would be foolish since the U.S. Supreme Court is highly respected by most Americans. In addition, I think most Americans are ready to move on. The last four years was spent arguing about health care and now that the Supreme Court has ruled "ObamaCare" to be constitutional, I think most Americans want to focus on the economy.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mitt Romney: Outsourcer-in-Chief.

During Mitt Romney's leadership, Bain Capital had a record of forcing layoffs within companies they owned, and outsourcing those jobs overseas to places like China and India.

The Romney campaign must think we're stupid because their defense is that there's a difference between "outsourcing" jobs and "off-shoring" jobs. As President Obama said, the workers who lost their job because of Bain Capital didn't understand the difference. In an era when jobs are scarce, Romney's record at Bain Capital of shipping jobs overseas is the exact antithesis of what American needs!!

President Obama has a better plan. He would give tax breaks to companies that bring jobs back to America, but Republicans in Congress are blocking it to prevent an, "Obama victory":
Washington (CNN) – Senate Republicans successfully blocked a bill from coming to the Senate floor. The Democratic bill would have ended certain tax breaks for companies expanding overseas while giving new tax incentives to businesses bringing jobs home. Tuesday that Democrats claim would help keep American jobs from going overseas.
The Republicans are so blinded by their political hatred for President Obama that they don't seem to mind America losing out on good jobs returning home from China!! I'm not saying that Republicans can't disagree with the president or oppose him on certain bills and proposals, but how can they oppose giving tax breaks to companies that don't ship jobs to China and India? Especially at a time in America when we need all the jobs we can find!! And, so, this presents a stark choice for you, dear voter. Do you want jobs to continue being shipped to Chinese workers and Indian workers? If yes, Mitt Romney is your candidate. If, however, you agree with President Obama that those jobs should be here in America, then you should vote for him.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mitt Romney is a Job Creator...for China and India.

We already know that Mitt Romney's business experience at Bain Capital consisted of buying distressed companies, extracting money from those companies and selling off the rest, which often left employees without a job. But, did you know that Romney was a pioneer in shipping jobs overseas to increase the profit margin at Bain Capital?

That's not the kind of business experience that would improve upon what President Obama is currently doing to further fuel an economic recovery. Mitt Romney does have business experience, but it's not in creating jobs. It is experience creating wealth for his investors. I don't begrudge people for being rich or successful at capitalism, but I do criticize someone who made their millions from lay-offs and selling out American jobs to China and India. 

Mitt Romney may not be cheering for the economic recovery to slow, but it makes you suspicious when he tells Republican Governor Rick Scott to downplay good economic news in the swing state of Florida. "The Romney campaign has asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to tone 'down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message.'" And Florida isn't the only state touting economic improvements under the Obama administration. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Iowa have recently praised the growing economic recoveries in their states. These are states that have been hit hardest by the Great Recession, so if they are recovering then things look positive for the future. 

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Arizona Immigration Ruling Will Hurt Mitt Romney and Republicans.

Arizona has long been a state that was unfavorable to Democrats but that is changing with a steady increase in Latino/Hispanic voters who tend to vote for the Democrats. This has made Arizona competitive in the 2012 presidential election. A recent Merrill/Morrison Institute poll showed that 42% of Arizonans favor Mitt Romney while 40 percent favor President Obama. Adjust for the margin of error and the match-up in Arizona is essentially a tie. The tie breaker might have just emerged with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that racial profiling is legal in Arizona's controversial SB-1070, "paper's please" law.

This makes it lawful for a police officer to stop anyone who might "look" like an undocumented immigrant. This means anyone that looks Latino/Hispanic can be stopped and harassed since that is the ethnicity most seen among Arizona immigrants. Latino/Hispanic voters were already enthusiastic about supporting President Obama before this ruling, thanks to the president's executive order supporting DREAM Act youth. However, they will likely be even more supportive of President Obama after this Supreme Court decision. And, more likely to get out and vote in November.

The rest of the law was struck down by the Supreme Court but the most controversial provision about racial profiling remains. This is important in remembering that Mitt Romney said the Arizona immigration law should be a "model" for national immigration policy. So, vote for Mitt Romney and we'll be racially profiling anyone of Latino or Hispanic origin, nation-wide. Anyone who stands against racial bias must vote for President Obama as he and the Democrats appear to be the only ones opposing institutionalized discrimination against Latino/Hispanic Americans.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mitt Romney Tells Latino Group, NALEO that His Father Was an Immigrant.

(CARTOON NOTE: Some might not know, but the elephant is the mascot of the U.S. Republican Party).

Mitt Romney spoke before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) today, but he sounded less like a friend and more like a panderer. He went so far as to insinuate that his father was an immigrant since he grew up in Mexico to American born citizens before the family moved back to the U.S.!! Romney's family wasn't in Mexico to become Mexican citizens. They were hiding out from the law in America because Romney's grandfather was a polygamist who fled the United States due to a polygamy ban!!

Then he had the guts to say President Obama wasn't a friend to Latinos/Hispanics since he didn't reform immigration laws in the first few years of his presidency. Yeah, do you know why, Mitt? He has tried to pass the DREAM Act but your allies in the Congress keep blocking it!! This criticism is coming from the man who opposes the DREAM Act and tells immigrants to "self-deport." He criticizes Obama on immigration but what has he and the Republicans done lately to help Latinos/Hispanics?

His "self-deportation" plans would make it so hard for immigrants to find work that they are forced to leave out of extreme poverty. That's about as dehumanizing as comparing them to animals who will go away after awhile, if you stop feeding them. It's true that Latino-Americans care just as much about the economy as any other American, but if elected president, Romney would oppose the DREAM Act, which could see their child, grandchild and niece or nephew deported. Voting for Romney would be like voting to have those family members deported!! Oh, and he supports the harsh immigration policy in Arizona called SB-1070.

I know that President Obama didn't do all that he could have done to improve the lives of immigrants, but he is pushing the DREAM Act and waiting for Republicans to help him put together a better, permanent, immigration plan. Unfortunately, Republicans just block any discussion on the matter. Obama also made that recent executive order allowing young immigrants (DREAMers) to apply for two-year work permits until the DREAM Act is passed. Unfortunately, they have to re-apply ever two-years, but that's better than being deported to a country that many don't even remember anymore.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Republican Congress Focuses on Scapegoating Attorney General Eric Holder Instead of Jobs.

Even though things have improved in the economy, President Obama keeps on pushing for greater economic growth. Republicans, however, don't seem to want to help the president on any thing -- even if it means jobs for Americans. Republicans won't pass anything, so long as Obama might get a hint of credit for it. So, instead of focusing on jobs, Republicans are using their time and power in Congress for political attacks against Obama's administration. As I type this out, a Republican led committee is seeking to penalize the U.S. Attorney General under President Obama. The committee claims they haven't received enough documents from the justice department relating to a justice department program called, "Operation Fast and Furious." This despite the justice department granting access to over 7,000 documents!!

This seems totally political considering the "Fast and Furious" program was started under Republican President George W. Bush's administration (click here for source). Yet, despite that reality, not one member of Bush's justice department has been called to testify in these "witch hunt" hearings (click here for source):
Rep. Gerald Connolly, D–Va., who also serves on the government reform committee [said], “The Republican majority led by (committee chair) Darrell Issa (R–Calif.) and his staff have blocked efforts to call any former Bush officials to testify about what they did. The report noted that committee Democrats have asked to call Bush–era Attorney General Michael Mukasey to testify on the three gunwalking operations that occurred on his watch, but committee Republicans have refused.
If the Republicans thought the "Fast and Furious" operation was worthy of this kind of public investigation then why didn't they begin these hearings under President Bush? That combined with the fact that Republicans refuse to call any Bush officials involved tells me that this is all about politics for the Republicans. It's about trying to embarrass the president during an election year but the American people are smarter than Congress. They want Congress to work with the president on helping him improve the economy. We want jobs, not political "witch hunts."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mitt Romney's Views on Immigration.

So far, Mitt Romney has dodged questions about his opinion of President Obama's executive order to stop the deportation of young, undocumented immigrants (children and teens) who were brought to America by their parents. President Obama refuses to punish young people who had no say in their parents choice to enter the United States as undocumented immigrants. And, since the Republicans in Congress have opposed the DREAM Act (including Mitt Romney) and left these "dreamers" in legal limbo, Obama took action to help these young people gain work permits. That, is how a leader leads. It's not the DREAM Act, but as close as the president can get given his limited powers.

Why doesn't Romney want to say whether he agrees or not with President Obama's action to stop deporting young undocumented immigrants? Because Mitt Romney coldly told them to "self-deport" during the Republican's primary campaign to choose a nominee for president. He doesn't want to talk about immigration because he doesn't want the Latino and Hispanic communities to know about his xenophobic views. Romney doesn't want them to know that he supports a national version of Arizona's racist, SB-1070 law. It allows police in Arizona to detain someone just for seeming to be an undocumented immigrant, which means they can detain anyone that visibly appears to be of Hispanic descent.

Instead of answer for his harsh opinions toward Latinos and Hispanic Americans, Romney is trying to deflect criticism by saying Obama didn't act soon enough for the "dreamers!!" He forgets, of course, to tell you that the reason it's taken Obama so long is that Republicans have long been blocking the DREAM Act in Congress!! Speaking of Congress, they are criticizing President Obama's executive order saying it will make the DREAM Act harder to accomplish, which is bullshit since they've never been for any form of DREAM Act!! As for Romney, he absurdly wants us to believe that now he's a friend to Hispanic and Latino Americans? After vehemently opposing the DREAM Act and supporting the Arizona, "papers please" law? Romney may think Latino/Hispanic voters won't notice, but they have been paying very close attention, and campaigning with Senator Marco Rubio isn't going to help him. In fact, it's insulting. It's like Romney is saying, "Hey, Latinos and Hispanics, vote for me!! I have a Puerto Rican friend!!"

The Republican Party is an aging party of old, white men that could soon be irrelevant after opposing an American public that is rapidly diversifying. Soon, America will no longer be a predominately "white" country. And the Republican Party has hardly done much to reach out to African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, gays and lesbians, young people or even women in general!! The country is no longer in the 1950s and they better realize it soon or they will just be another antiquated political party confined to the dustbin of American history.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

President Obama Taking Action to Help Young Latinos.

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration responded to years of pressure from immigrants rights groups on Friday with an announcement that it will stop deportations and begin granting work permits for some Dream Act-eligible students. "They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper," President Barack Obama said of those young people in a press conference announcing the policy change. 
Some 800,000 people are expected to come forward to receive deferred action from deportation, as first reported by the Associated Press on Friday morning. The policy change will apply to young undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, along the same lines as the Dream Act, a decade-old bill that passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate in 2010.
TPJ: These are children and young adults who were brought here to America illegally by their parents, but grew up as Americans in everything but citizenship status. They speak perfect English, were educated in our schools and hold down jobs or military service. They have been deported to the countries where they were born despite often not knowing the language of their ancestral home or having any family there. It is unfair to these young people to leave them stuck in between countries. Congress has failed to act to help these kids, so today President Obama did act. Even though these work permits are only good for two years before having to reapply, it's a start and shows that the president is doing his best to solve problems despite a Congress that refuses to work with him on anything.

We have educated these young people and benefited from their talents yet by denying them citizenship we loose that potential for them to invest back into America with the education they received. So, essentially we are wasting money by educating them before deporting them for an action they didn't voluntarily commit!! How can you punish a child for being brought here illegally by their parents? What were they supposed to do? Run away from their parents at age 4 or 5?!! Absurd. I support the president for trying to act where Congress will not. We must address the immigration issue head-on instead of keeping them in limbo. We want their work, but won't give them citizenship or even work status visas. That's not fair to them. We can't treat them as indentured servants. That's what President Obama is trying to change and that's why so many Latinos and Hispanics support him. Romney's answer to the immigrant issue is to encourage undocumented immigrants to "self-deport" which is laughable.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Consequences of Mitt Romney's Neglect of Fire Fighters.

PHOTO: The High Park fire currently burning in the mountains on the edge of Fort Collins, Colorado. Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University. This 9news photo shows the massive size and scale of the fire. 

Mitt Romney, the U.S. Republican Party's candidate for president gleefully criticized President Obama for wanting to hire more fire fighters despite an early and explosive wildfire season out West. Romney must not want votes in the Western United States then because where I live in Colorado, we are fighting the largest wildfire we've seen in our county. It's a very aggressive fire that is currently growing at 20 to 40 feet a minute and has scorched nearly 40,000 acres!! High winds and drought conditions have exacerbated the speeding inferno and it has already claimed numerous structures/homes. At least one person is missing and this blaze is doubling in size nearly every hour!! 

I have friends who live in the path of this monstrous fire, and other friends who are fire fighters battling it, so this fire fighter comment from Romney is a bit personal. Hey, Romney!! Go, ask the people who live in the Western United States if they think fire fighters are a wasteful government program!! Wait till a fire is blazing toward your California mansion, Mr. Romney and then tell rest of us we have to cut back on fire fighters.

It's disgusting that Republicans like Mitt Romney would rather fire fighters be cut before asking the mega-rich to pay one extra dollar in taxes. It use to be that we looked up for to our fire fighters as our heroes, and I for one still do!! Kids have wanted to grow up to be these essential workers for generations. Yet, Mitt Romney thinks it's acceptable to mock the hiring of these brave public servants? That's not the America I knew as a kid, nor is it the one I fight for today. I support President Obama's efforts to rebuild the numbers in our emergency services because a president's main duty is to protect this great country. And I'll take the protection of an American fire fighter over Mitt Romney's "DIY" approach to emergency services, any day!!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Citizen United, Money and Free Speech.

As we know, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the "Citizens United" case that corporations and people can give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. It has seen American politics nearly dominated by a handful of wealthy billionaires whose millions flood local elections and heavily tilt the playing field in their direction. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled foolishly ruled that unlimited donations are legal because they represent a form of exercising free speech.

The problem is that the traditional free speech granted by the U.S. Constitution is guaranteed to all regardless of one's financial situation. It is not quantifiable monetarily. It is an unalienable right, meaning it is a basic human right granted to all equally. This means that every citizen has an equal voice. "Citizens United," however, ensures that a few of billionaires have greater "free speech" than millions of average Americans. There is nothing fair or balanced about this outcome because it strips away the equality behind the true intention of the freedom of speech. 

Americans do not have an inherent and equal right to wealth, so given that reality, "Citizens United" ensures that a few have more freedom of speech than the bottom 99% of the country. It is hard for me to imagine, as a university trained historian, that the founders meant for freedom of speech to be extended to grant unlimited financial influence of public elections. 

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, once said, "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." It is therefore difficult to imagine Thomas Jefferson siding with the billionaire corporate titans on the "Citizens United" case. Father of the Consitution, James Madison also warned against the influence of money in our governement, "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." I'll leave you with the powerful words of one of my most revered American presidents, President Abraham Lincoln:
The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.
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Friday, June 01, 2012

Corporations Not Helping Economic Recovery.

The jobs report for May is poor, but American corporations aren't doing much to help. They having been hoarding $2 trillion in cash for years now refusing to invest it in new products or acquisitions, which would spur job growth. One of their explanations for this bottle-neck of investment cash is that they need to have that much money on hand in case taxes increase. 

First of all, the higher tax rates under President Clinton certainly didn't stifle corporate growth. The Clinton years were some of the most economically successful ones since post-World War II!! During the booming 1950s, under President Eisenhower, taxes on the rich were around 90%!! And Nixon was between 77%-70% -- Both Eisenhower and Nixon were Republicans, which shows how far the Republican Party has changed. Besides, taxes for these wealthy corporate elites have remained the same since 2001!! The Bush tax cuts for the rich have been in place all these years, and they did absolutely nothing to prevent the Great Recession, nor have they boosted growth since. So, I'm not convinced tax cuts for the rich create jobs anyway, except maybe on the margins.

Everything President Obama has done has been to encourage companies to invest in new products or acquisitions which creates demand and growth. That in turn spurs employment. However, the truth is that they don't want to hire--and it has little to nothing to do with economic uncertainty. During the Great Recession, corporations found that high unemployment gave them an advantage. It allowed them to slash jobs but make existing employees worker harder, which employees have been doing for fear of losing their jobs!! And, when they burn out from all the extra work, they just hire the next person in line. A constant demand for jobs means they have a pool of cheap labor to exploit. 

It's a vicious cycle, and frankly I'm getting really angry with business people whining so much. If you even hint at higher taxes, or dare criticize their business practices their feelings get hurt and they bitch that people are being too critical of them. You'd think that such powerful and wealthy people wouldn't be so emotionally delicate. Then again they aren't use to people being able to criticism them to their faces. They are usually the ones hurling the criticism at their employees, the government and competitors. These corporate bosses are use to "yes men and women" telling them whatever they want to hear for fear of losing their job if heard too critical of their bosses and companies. The other big factor stifling growth that the Republicans won't tell you is economic fears in Europe, and no president has much control over what happens over there.

I also find it infuriating that these corporations go around saying the government isn't good at helping the economy. Yet at the same time, these businesses claim to be so dependent upon the government's actions on taxes that they are paralyzed from investing or expanding!! I have a suspicion that some of this holding back is due to opposing the president politically. Businesses traditionally prefer Republicans, and the Republicans in Congress know that if they stall and obstruct long enough they can make the voter so impatient with inaction that they'll vote for the Republican out of frustration. Since these corporations have all this cash on hand, they can afford to wait too, which means they'll get a better deal. But, as usual the American people lose. This isn't so far fetched when you consider the Republican leader in the Senate said his highest priority while President Obama was in office is to defeat him. He didn't say it was to lead America out of this recession. It is to paralyze this president on all fronts so that he'll be blamed. It's cynical and I hope Americans won't fall for it. 

Of course we want the unemployment rate to be lower than 8% but when Obama became president, America was shedding 700,000 jobs a month and unemployment hit a high of 10% during his first year. I don't know many people who would expect the president to have stopped the unemployment rate from rising in his first year. If you are judging your vote this year on a lower unemployment rate then Obama should be elected. Is it where we want it to be? Of course not, but 8% is better than 10%. Especially when Europe (our closest peers) are doing worse. England, which has pursued conservative policies of austerity has slipped back into recession, so it could be a lot worse.

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