Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt Deal?


With only 48 hours before the "deadline" (I'll explain why that is in quotations in a minute), the media hype is all focused on the possibility of a debt deal between House GOP, also read 'the Tea Party', and Senate Democrats/the President, also read 'Centrist Democrats'.

If you want to know the importance I place on a balanced budget, under-control debt, and a lack of wasteful spending feel free to read some of my past posts. This post is more about the subtle things that are happening behind the scenes that have gone under the radar with the Mainstream Media.

1. Why the "deadline"?
As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has asked, how much money (cash) does the Treasury really have? That is a question that has gone unanswered and purposefully so to apply even more pressure on lawmakers to reach a deal.

2. What if the "deadline" passes?
If there is no deal the United States and her government will continue existing the real question comes down to two things: what will our limited funds be spent on? and how does this affect markets, domestic and foreign?

The first question is answered the same way a government shutdown would be handled, by prioritizing our needs and monies until we don't have anymore money. Comments like those made by Adm. Mullen in which he states he is unsure if the military would be paid if the debt ceiling is not raised are perposterous, irresponsible, and false. Pretty much everyone in the federal government would have to be furloughed before anyone even mentioned cutting wages to active military personnel.

The second question's answer is easy, "pretty badly." I don't know about 'disasterous' or 'depression' or any of these other doom and gloom predictions but let's just say if you knew someone had just declared bankrupcy it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in you lending that person any money soon. The problem for our foreign creditors, China and Japan, is that there aren't a whole of other good options right now.

3. Did I read right, Obama is a "Centrist Democrat" now?
Yup, Presidents always move towards the center of the political spectrum with time and I would argue democrats more than republicans. The President is almost the most right-leaning democrat right now! President Obama gave up on tax increases early which could have been used as leverage late in the game (now). Basically in desperation for a deal the President has limited his options and so far it seems he would only use his veto pen on a bill with a balanced budget amendment or cuts that he couldn't spin on certain social programs.

4. Impressions of the majority of each House of Congress?

House of Representatives: Republicans and the Tea Party

At this point there are two majorities, each with its own interests at heart. Republicans are willing to play ball to compromise to a deal as almost all polls say that this crisis is affecting Republican numbers negatively as they are seen as holding up progress.

The Tea Party is playing the "no compromise" card which is hugely popular within their own constituencies but is not in the best interests of the country, which correct me if I'm wrong here but I think that is their JOB. If you think you send a newly-minted member of Congress to DC and s/he doesn't have to compromise once then you must be living in lala land. The Tea Party is hurting their image deeply here, transforming themselves from principled patriots to infantile and stuborn fools who are acting on their own self interests instead of the nation's future. (House GOP 1994, anyone?)

Senate: Harry Reid and Centrist Democrats

For the first month and a half there was a generally open and yielding position for this group, "whatever the President says!" was their call. Now in the 11th hour they are getting a little fiesty, hoping to empower the President with the ability to use the Constitutional option to raise the debt ceiling. While that takes away from their own power and makes them look a little like last-minute objectors, it does bolster their ability to spend while a Democratic President is in office.

Anything I missed? Feel free to comment!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is Vicky Hartzler the Most Anti-Gay Candidate in America? Nope!

Is Vicky Hartzler the Most Anti-Gay Candidate in America? | Mother Jones: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

I was perusing the internet for stories on interesting candidates that aren't shining bright in the media spotlight (for positive or negative reasons) and I came upon this story of Vicky Harzler. Ms. Harzler is running for congress in Missouri's 4th Congressional District against Democrat Rep. Ike Skelton. You may have heard of Rep. Skelton... he fought against He-Man during the years of my youth... wait that's not right! Ah... he was one of the creators of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy our military used/uses/used/uses or something.

This article on Mother Jones, admittedly a more liberal publication, painted Harzler as the "most anti-gay candidate" in an election this year. She is one of the creators of first gay-marriage bans that passed a state election and led to a handful of others in 2004. Does that make her anti-gay? I don't think so. Anti-gay marriage? Yes.

The whole problem with defining a person by their campaign is that in almost all cases they are simply dichotomies. Democrat vs. Republican. Incumbent vs. Newcomer. Veteran vs. New blood. The story is the same. That story for each campaign has to be all about widening the gap between themselves and the opposition.

In this case, Candidate A is running against a founder of DADT at a time where that policy is in the news and is controversial. I don't think it matters who it is, that Candidate A is going to be anti-DADT! So to call her the MOST Anti-Gay is simply ridiculous. She used the avaliable political environment, first in 2004 and now in 2010 to achieve full political potential.

When you go to the polls in a couple weeks keep that in mind. Vote for the person based on their greater record not just the two or three things the candidate or their opposition highlights. Do a little research if you feel it matters. Remember on the Congressional level you have a MAX of THREE races with up to SEVEN people to research (Yeah... Florida messes things up, but more on that another time). Think of this like an investment, piece of furniture, or an appliance you want to buy. It's going to be around for the long haul... so you do more than just read the bullet points! The same goes for Elections:

THINK, then VOTE!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

No Oversight for U.S. Soldiers Accused of Murder - The Daily Beast

No Oversight for U.S. Soldiers Accused of Murder - The Daily Beast

Another sad chapter for our Armed Forces. Without a proper chain of command and a clear mission these soldiers have debased everything our military stands for. Instead of protecting the innocent and defending freedom they commit murder, intimidate the righteous, and embarrass their uniforms. Thank goodness for whistle blowers!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Addicted to Drones - By Micah Zenko | Foreign Policy

Addicted to Drones - By Micah Zenko | Foreign Policy

Read This! It's a great look at how dependent we are on UCAVs - Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles - and what that really means for our military power. With drone strike rising sharply (see posts above) isn't it time we take a serious look at just how effective this form of violence is?

SM

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Message to Muslims - I’m Sorry - NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Columnist - Message to Muslims - I’m Sorry - NYTimes.com: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Just a quick article I found particularly poignant while surfing the web today. Read it and feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

America: Struggles of Freedom


Today marks a very important anniversary in United States history. April 19th was the day which the battles of Lexington and Concord between American revolutionaries and British troops. That makes today, April 20th, the first full day which America was at war.

Reflect on that for a moment. Revolutions are usually marked with months and years of unease and anticipation then in a single crucial moment those who are brave step forward and declare that they are ready to hold fast no matter the consequences.

Revolutions, as we know, are not always violent. Look at the many democratic revolutions which took place in Eastern and Central Europe at the conclusion of the Cold War, while many died their revolutions were peaceful as they bravely stared down their oppressors. In the American colony Jefferson's logic, Paine's law, and Franklin's social commentaries were not enough - they needed Washington's military bravery before freedom was won.


April 20th of 1775 was not the day of the "shot heard 'round the world" but it was the critical day after. The day the American people committed themselves to the promise of freedom. The promise of freedom that may not have reached all people at once but in its promise has freed the peoples of the United States and many others around the world.

What does that promise mean to you? How are you reviving that promise everyday? What can be done to keep the flame of hope alive for those whose freedoms are mere memories and dreams?

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