Friday, September 24, 2010

Stephen Colbert Lays Down The Truthiness To Congress

The Solution to Everything

So, I was getting my fix of Jon Stewart online and I saw this extended interview with Bill Clinton from last week. Not only does the man know what we need to do to fix the economy, he knows how to explain it in common sense terms. He explains the Democrats case to voters far better than any other Democrat has been able to so far in this election cycle. Bill, can we vote you back in for a third term? Please?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DADT: Where Do We Go From Here?

On Tuesday America witnessed a crushing blow for human dignity. On Tuesday the Senate blocked the National Defense Authorization Act, which would open discussion on the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” one of the military’s most shameful policies. Most of the senators who voted against the bill, including Senator John McCain, claim the rejection was in reaction to questionable political maneuvering by Democrats, not a reflection of their personal feelings regarding DADT. Is that supposed to make it okay? I’m sure the thousands of soldiers censoring their letters and emotions feel a lot better knowing it’s not actually because they’re gay.

The thing is, DADT makes no sense, and most of America realizes this. A recent CNN poll found that 78% of Americans, including 64% of Republicans, support the repeal of DADT, yet Republicans unanimously voted against it, as did two Democrats. Why? I don’t understand how any “political maneuvering” could be worth the loss in votes for Republicans. This is a tough primary season, and no one wants to alienate voters by standing on the wrong side of a civil-rights debate.

Senate Republicans defended themselves, arguing that Democrats are using the bill to tack on election-year issues, such as immigration reform. They also claim they were ‘deferring to the military,’ saying only the military should determine whether the repeal is safe for troop morale and security. Well it appears that these senators didn’t bother reading the Defense Authorization Act. The language of the act allows the repeal of DADT ONLY IF the military determines that the policy can be removed safely. The bill puts the entire question of repeal into the military’s hands.

Democrats aren’t blameless, and the President isn’t blameless. Obama, as Commander-in-Chief can, at any time, suspend discharges of soldiers dismissed under DADT until the military completes their survey, and yet he hasn’t. So shame on you, Washington, for once again letting bipartisan politics get in the way of civil rights, for using old prejudices to tramp on the people you serve. And wake up. The country doesn’t support you on this one, Senators John McCain, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Richard Lugar. Wake up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trickle Down Economics: The Great Lie

So in light of the expiring Bush tax cuts, the Republicans are back at it again with the “trickle down” theory of economics. If you’re an advocate for big business and the rich, well it’s a pretty good theory, but does it really work for the poor man at the bottom? Take a look at the graph above, courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office. It looks to me like even as the rich get richer, everyone else is still waiting on the promised "trickle down". Now, let's use just a little logic and common sense to formally deconstruct this great Republican economic myth.

Overall, the Bush tax cuts are estimated to have cost our government $1.3 trillion. Admittedly not all of this cost is on the tax cuts to the wealthy, but they got enough of it, for us to ask, what have they done with their extra money? The Republicans would have you believe that they have used this money to invest in our economy and create jobs in America. If they did, I must say I haven’t noticed. However, when checking US Census Bureau, there is some shocking data, that might explain where this money has really gone. Between 2000 and 2008, the investment abroad has grown from $1.3 trillion to $3.1 trillion. That means that the rich have spent their Bush tax cuts; everywhere but in America. That stream is trickling down not to the poor, but instead to other countries around the world.

What could be wrong with the Republicans’ assumptions that the wealthy would put their money back into America? Two words: Tax deductions. When you pay higher taxes, you think more about deductible spending, which tends to be domestic and not foreign. When taxes are lower, the net worth of deductibles isn’t as big, and therefore it gets ignored in comparison to the large profit available when saving up or investing in overseas ventures. So we cut taxes, the rich save more and spend more abroad, there’s less domestic investment, and the economy stagnates. And this is good how?

Conversely, every dollar put back in the hands of a poor man is immediately returned to the economy. Living by necessity dictates, that they can’t save or invest abroad. They spend their money quickly, which inevitably translates into more profit for those rich guys at the top. In actuality, “trickle up” may in fact be a far more effective economic theory than “trickle down” ever could be. So if we really want to reduce the deficit, and improve the economy, letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, while preserving the cuts for the lower and middle class, should simply be a no-brainer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The American DREAM

Reaching a consensus when immigration policy is the conflict, is never easy. Many politicians have struggled to create an effective and smart immigration policy. In the early years of America, immigration laws were fairly simple. The only people denied entry into America were criminals and prostitutes. This didn’t last long. Now entry into America is either a complex bureaucratic process or a dangerous sojourn through Mother Nature’s fiercest elements.

Today’s immigration arguments are mostly concerned with the illegal immigration that occurs at the southern border. Since 2007, three-hundred thousand undocumented immigrants enter the United States yearly. The current undocumented populations is estimated around 11 million. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, around 65,000 will graduate from high school this school year. Many of these youths were brought to the United States at a young age. They had no choice as to where they would grow up or where they would receive their education. A good amount of these children are hardworking students who are competitive enough to enter the country’s most competitive universities. But their legal status hinders them from pursuing higher education.

Two senators, one Democrat and one Republic, have created the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act, to fix this unfair situation. The proposed legislation allows for students who have arrived in the United States before the age of 16, lived in America for five consecutive years, have completed high school, and have “good moral character” ( to obtain a six-year term of conditional permanent legal status. During these six years, one is expected to work toward earning a degree or serve two years in the US military. During this time and under this status, an immigrant would be eligible for federal grants. This would provide the finances needed to attend a higher education institution. This piece of legislation aims to assist undocumented youths that aspire to better their lives with higher education or military enlistment. Once the six years are up, and the requirements are met, the person can apply for citizenship.

This piece of legislation has struggled on Capitol Hill for years. Many are opposed to the DREAM Act. Some see it as a step toward amnesty for all undocumented immigrants. Others see the DREAM Act as a reward for illegal behavior. Some are unhappy that illegal immigrants will receive a tax-funded education. And others assume that it will encourage youth immigration to the US. This isn’t so. A person who will apply must be 12 – 35 years of age during the passage of the law. And those who support immigration reform see it as a cleverly disguise draft of immigrants. Those opposed are missing the most important element. Those who would be affected by the DREAM Act are American youths who will apply for status in hopes of becoming a college-educated, working, contributing American citizen. This legislation is not about securing or closing our borders. This legislation is about providing a minor with their right to education. This legislation is about investing in America's future.

This week, the US Senate will vote on the Defense Appropriations Bill. In a sneaky move, Senator Henry Reid has added the DREAM Act as an amendment to the defense bill. Because the defense bill is unlikely to meet a plethora of nays, there is a good chance that the DREAM Act will receive the sixty votes needed to pass. If this occurs, America will take a small step towards fixing a multifarious immigration problem. And most importantly many undocumented immigrants who have spent most of their childhood in the US will have a better chance at achieve the American DREAM.

For more information on the DREAM Act: