Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Obama v. Romney

Here is my attempt to compare the policies and records of President Obama and former Governor Romney.

Part 1, their record.
Obama, his successes and failures in comparison to his claims

  • Fulfilled the following promises, and successes:
    • The United States left Iraq
    • The United States has an exit plan for Afghanistan's war.
    • We have not invaded Iran.
    • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
    • Repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell
    • Rescued the American car industry, instead of paying unemployment insurance to Detroit.
    • Rescued the American banking industry, instead of paying several trillion dollars in FDIC insurance to the four major banks.
    • Osama bin Laden was killed under his administration.
    • Unemployment has decreased since the Stimulus package kicked in.  It is functioning like a normal economy, despite being higher than is preferable. http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000
    • Reformed health care, so that college students can stay on their parent's health care insurance and people cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. For me, a college student with cerebral palsy these are two main reasons to vote for Obama, and why my Dad can enter the private sector to get paid more money.
    • Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.
  • Missed the following promises, and failures:
    • Closing Guantanamo Bay
    • Signing the NDAA of 2010, instead of vetoing it and sending it back to Congress, remember the cost of which would have been deadlock and probably more pork.
    • Has advocated for the Buffett Tax, which Congress has blocked.
  • Dissapointed a lot of Democrats and should have overjoyed a lot of Republicans on the following:
    • Signing Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea (a note I wish to make is these are bilateral and our exports to these countries, yes, the United States has exports, now have no tariff from these countries)
    • We are giving more money to Israel than under any previous administration.  http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf
I have heard a lot of Republicans claim that Obama has been blaming the Republicans for blocking him and that he should own up to his own mistakes... but they are making fun of the intelligence of every single American because they are leaving out that in the United States of America there is a Separation of Powers and the President is not our monarch and cannot do anything large without Congressional support. The only exception is declaring war because in 2002 Congress (which was controlled by Republicans) retroactively gave the President the power to declare war without Congressional approval which was practically retroactively giving support to every military action the President declares. This is basically calling Americans stupid. Why do we put up with this?

Mitt Romney's plan is more or less the following: (From his website)
  • Decrease tax rates for the wealthy.
  • Reduce government spending on Social Security and privatize Social Security.
  • Outlaw abortion
  • Outlaw same-sex marriage
  • Invade Iran
  • Increase aid to Israel beyond Obama levels.
  • Decrease regulations on guns
  • Make it so people like me, college students and people with pre-existing conditions, will lose our health insurance.
  • Opposes unions
  • Increase oil drilling, increasing Exxon Mobil's profits.
  • Smaller government.
Who will benefit from Obama's plan (if implemented fully)? The middle class will directly benefit through lower taxes and lower costs to health care and education, along the lower economic class. Equal rights for gays and lesbians and legal recourse if employers are ripping off female employees.

Who will benefit from Romney's plan (again, if implemented fully)? Loan sharks through fewer regulations, oil companies through less stringent regulation and drilling in America's most pristine places, and owners of factories that employee unioned workers. The middle class will not benefit, and the poor will slide backward faster than ever before through increased costs to education and health care. Who will benefit from invading Iran? Oil companies because Iran has 5.1% of the world's oil production. Romney does not serve regular Americans, he serves the oil companies.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why the US Government needs to change course on Wikileaks

Over the past few years Wikileaks has received what seems like almost constant criticism over the publication of secret documents. I just read an article on Al Jazeera on this topic: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/08/20128149956867756.html and the Obama administration is making a major mistake.

Here's why. A transparent government should not have to hide anything from their people. Speaking out on wikileaks should only give the opponents more firepower. The most stable governments in the long-term are the ones that are the most open to investigation, look at Nazi Germany, where speech was heavily censored and it lasted only 12 years, compared to the United States which has lasted over 200 years with the same Constitution and without a major revolution in-between, the civil war doesn't count.

The difference between the free nations of the world and the tyrannical nations of the world are their freedoms. Free nations have freedom of speech, tyrannies don't. Over the past 12 years the United States has been moving further from the status as a free nation and closer towards the policies of tyrannical nations. As soon as the United States Congress passed the PATRIOT ACT (which I think of as the UnPATRIOTic Act) the status as a free nation has been in question. There has been very little debate about the PATRIOT ACT over the past four years, and President Obama has been foolish to not address this issue. President Obama needs to reverse course on his comments on Assange and pressure our allies to rethink our policies regarding free speech. It is critical to our survival.

I think the European Union is a marvelous institution, but with flaws. While the free travel, lack of customs, and easy dialogue between nations has worked well over the past 57 years to keep relations cool between its member states, I have growing concerns that their economic policies are not in the best interests of the people of Europe. Starting with their copyright policies which I think are often extreme, and then their issuing of an arrest warrant on Julian Assange makes me question whether the benefits outweigh the costs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19289649

The European Union, United States, and the rest of the free world needs to do some major thinking about what being a free nation really entails. You cannot have free speech if everytime someone publishes something about your government that was a secret because that is an enfringement on the freedom of the press, a right sacred to all free peoples, or at least the founding fathers of America thought so.

The policies against Julian Assange are unwarranted, illegal, and the governments of the world need to realize that as soon as the American government released the internet it was just a matter of time before someone founded a website to publish these sorts of important secrets we have a right to know. Julian Assange has done more to make the inequities of our systems more apparent, and for this he is a great man. I also cannot find, except perhaps for "computer-related crime" a crime that warrants a European Arrest Warrant. Espionage is not a crime for which a European Arrest Warrant can be issued. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Arrest_Warrant

This has implications far beyond Wikileaks to every freedom loving person in the world, and everyone who has ever written anything that is not in agreement with our government, without which Democracy can not function. I urge President Obama and the Heads of State of Europe to remember this.

Let freedom ring.