Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: President Obama (page 1 of 3)

Justice Nominations and Senator Ron Johnson

United States Constitution Article II Section 2 Paragraph 2

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. Just over a month later, as is his right and duty granted by the United States Constitution, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. And, our United State Senate voted on the nomination and confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Oh, wait, the United States Senate has NOT confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. It is now the end of August and still, no vote.

Haven’t the American people waited long enough for a replacement for Justice Scalia?

We should be outraged that our duly elected officials are NOT doing their jobs. Unfortunately, our Founding Fathers didn’t anticipate this and put something in the Constitution to say what to do when the Senate refuses to do its job and vote on the President’s nominee. There is a clause about what happens if the Senate is in recess, the President can make the appointment.  But, not one word about the Senate not cooperating.  Not. One. Word.

“It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.” – Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

I’ll bet our Founding Fathers never thought, never even considered that we might have elected officials so obstinate that they wouldn’t vote on the President’s Supreme Court nominee.  I don’t have a problem with them not confirming – it happens.  I don’t have a problem with them holding hearings, we’ve been doing that my whole life and probably longer.  I do take serious issue with our Senate not doing their jobs.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says he approves of this.  He tells his constituents that we don’t nominate and appoint Supreme Court Justices in election years.  Johnson said “It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.”1  (I should mention that in 1992, Joe Biden had the same idea. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.)

This isn’t Senator Johnson’s only refusal to nominate a judge to a Federal Court. The US 7th District Court is still down a couple of judges and we have Ron Johnson to thank for it. He blocked the nomination of Victoria Nourse, who was nominated in 2010, before Johnson was even Senator. He said it wasn’t fair because he hadn’t been consulted. HE. WASN’T. THE. SENATOR.

Ron Johnson is up for reelection. We cannot in good conscience send this man back to Washington for another six years. These are not the only reasons not to reelect Johnson, they’re just my reasons today. I’ll have more as the election draws near.

1.Wisconsin Watchdog article...2/6/2016

Defending Hillary

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Hillary Clinton at the beginning of this election.  I was a Bernie supporter.  Hillary was too far to the right, too moderate for my liking.  Plus, she came with the baggage of more than twenty years in the spotlight.  I saw how the right wing and the press treated her when she was first lady.  They certainly weren’t much better when she was Secretary of State.  Thinking that this would improve when she became President is just foolish.

But, then, I started thinking about why Hillary Clinton was so detested.  She has been portrayed in the media as being scheming, conniving, too ambitious, out for herself, and, in extreme cases, evil.  Why has this woman who has worked in some form of public office most of her life been treated this way?

Because it sells papers.  Here is my Facebook response to someone who repeatedly writes on my posts how evil and abhorrent Hillary is:

Based on what? She’s never been arrested. She’s never been charged with a crime. She isn’t out killing kittens in the middle of the night. She has been branded as an evil woman by a media who wants to sell papers and make ratings since she was first lady. They did the same thing to Nancy Reagan. The difference is that Mrs. Reagan didn’t have any political ambitions beyond being Ronnie’s wife. Secretary Clinton has always had political ambitions and she pays the price for it with constant investigations into everything she does. Quite frankly, I’m tired of the biased and unfounded allegations against her. I agree with her politically 92% of the time. I am going to vote for her. I am not going to tell my grandsons that the country sucks because your Nana cast a vote that allowed in a spoiled, rich,racist,warmongering boy to ascend to the Presidency. I am not going to write in Bernie Sanders, because he has thrown himself behind Secretary Clinton for President. If she is really that evil that she has gotten away with horrible things all these years, frankly, that’s the President I want – someone who can get things done.

Obviously, this didn’t change this person’s mind. Sadly, the perception of Clinton is abhorrent.  In this day and age, you can’t change people’s minds.  Sometimes the opposite is true.  The more you insist that something isn’t true, the more the person making the statement will cling to their belief.

Is this a new phenomenon?  No, we have been making judgement calls on people throughout history.  Mary Todd Lincoln was despised for spending what Americans considered a wasteful amount on refurnishing the White House.  Jackie Kennedy was looked down upon for the same, until she charmed the public and the press.  There have been 9 different First Ladies in my lifetime.  All but Barbara Bush were trounced in the press.  Nancy Reagan was considered out of touch.  Pat Nixon was too quiet, etc.  The nation went nuts when Mrs. Obama put in a garden and bared her arms.  We are a nation of people who do not want our First Ladies to be strong women, which is interesting because the only way a woman could survive being the wife of a President is to be a strong willed woman.  Just like it isn’t easy for a man to walk a step behind his woman, the same can be said for the woman walking a step behind her man.

It’s time for us to come around and judge Hillary on her own basis.  She isn’t an ignorant woman.  She went to law school.  She grew up, as I did, in a Middle Class Household.  That doesn’t make her out of touch with the rest of us.  Are there things in pop culture she might not know?  Absolutely, it’s the same for me.  She was a successful Senator and, then, the Secretary of State.  If you want to agree with her politically, that’s one thing, but this perception that she’s somehow evil is ridiculous.  I wouldn’t even say that about Donald Trump.  Evil is Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and their irk.

Judge her on the statements she actually makes and the actions she has or does take – don’t rely on an inaccurate media telling you how to feel.   As I mentioned yesterday, the media has it’s own bias.

Blessings

Starbucks, College, and Interest

I’ve seen the various articles regarding Starbucks announcement that they are going to fund their employees’ college tuition at Arizona State University.  I’ve seen the articles that are pro and con (more con than pro, I should mention).  I’m not sure how I feel, because I need to understand it better and to see what’s going on.  I was researching the subject when I came across an article on Market Watch called “Why Starbucks is right, and Obama is wrong, on Tuition“.   The article is interesting and we do need to figure out how to lower tuition costs, but the article, also, makes a wrong point about college loans and interest rates.

According to the article, the average college student leaves college with $29,400 of debt.  The argument is that a payment of $375.14 a month isn’t that much of an economic problem.  It’s merely a car payment.  See the quote below.

Numbers don’t lie. That $29,400 borrower would pay $375.14 a month for 10 years at Sallie Mae’s highest current rate of 9.17%. But if that loan commanded 0.01% interest, the payment would still be $245.12. The real average is somewhere in between and covered by the spread between a college grad’s income and a high-school grad’s. It’s a car payment, and not really the economic problem many posit.

Except the author is missing a bigger point, that $130.02 a month savings adds up to a difference of $1,560.24 over a 12 month period or $15,602.40 over a ten year life of the loan.  Perhaps, that’s not a lot of money for the author, but it is for most people.

Realistically, the average student isn’t going to pay an interest rate of less than 1% and President Obama and Senator Warren haven’t suggested one that low.  Their plan calls for an interest rate on a refinanced loan of 3.8%.  Even at that amount, the total cost of the loan works out to $35,384.90 – $9,631.54 less than $45,016.45. That’s half a car.

One more item I’d like to point out.  He mentions spending $150,000 on an education for a $42,000 position.  In his opinion, this is way too much money.  He doesn’t really say if this was tuition or the cost of a loan, but I’m assuming he means tuition.  Here’s where the 3.8% interest rate comes in handy.  At this interest rate, the total cost of the education works out to  $180,535.21 .  It makes his argument look even stronger, doesn’t it?

Except, the $42,000 isn’t going to hold as the yearly salary for the rest of the student’s working life.  They, if they’re any good, should get some raises over the next forty years (assuming they start at age 25 and work until age 65).  But, let’s say they don’t receive any raises over the next forty years.  The student will have earned $1,680,000.00 minus the education cost, that’s a profit of $1,499,464.79. That’s not such a bad return on investment.

(The author, also, set me off by knocking people who scored a 20 on their ACT. I scored a 19 – not only have I graduated from college, but I’m at the top of my field, proving that test scores mean diddly squat. But, I digress, as that is off my subject.)

My whole point is this:  tuition needs to be controlled in some manner.  However; distorting facts and not telling the whole story isn’t going to help the overall debate.

Republicans Sue the IRS

Below is the email I received from the Republicans this morning. I love the part where they refer to the IRS as Obama’s IRS. Who do they think they’re fooling? Oh, right, their ill-informed followers.

There isn’t an IRS scandal. They were doing their jobs. Apparently, the Republican National Committee doesn’t like the IRS to do its job.

Now, they want to waste our tax dollars to find nothing.

Oh, and it’s President Obama, Reince.

(Someone thought it would be funny to sign me up for Republican emails. I reply back and tell them how wrong they are, but I think I’ve found a better outlet. I’ll post them here.)

Julie,

We are suing the IRS.

Obama’s IRS targeted, harassed and discriminated against tea party and conservative groups because of their values and beliefs.

This is an outrage and an unprecedented abuse of power. Principled conservatives should not be the victims of an administration that allows the IRS to go after its perceived political enemies.

Obama’s bureaucrats tried to silence our voices and deny us our constitutional rights—but we won’t let them. That’s why we’ve been fighting to expose the truth.

We just filed a lawsuit against the IRS, demanding they turn over the documents we legally requested.

Over 226 days ago, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the IRS to uncover the truth, but they are illegally stonewalling our legal requests for information.

We’ve had enough of the Obama administration’s denials, delays and deceptions. And we won’t stop fighting until we get to the bottom of this unprecedented targeting scandal.

But to ensure our voice is heard, we need you to speak up. Join us, and thousands of conservatives, in the fight to hold them accountable.

We will not stand for this abuse and we will fight until we get the truth.

Add your name in support of our lawsuit against the IRS.

Thanks,

Reince

Fact Check and Insurance Rebates

I’m going to start this by saying that I trust FactCheck.org.  It is at the top of my list of places to check when I receive emails where I’m not believing or I doubt what I’m seeing.  What I like about Fact Check is that I don’t always agree with them.  I am human and I don’t like it when facts mean I have to reconfigure my beliefs.  You can make this statement about a lot of humans – you know who you are.  People do not like to be proven wrong and they especially don’t like being proven wrong with numbers and facts.  Anyway, if they agreed with me 100% of the time, I would think they are biased and if they disagreed with me 100% of the time, I would believe that they were biased.

Anyway, Fact Check recently wrote an article about President Obama’s July 18th speech touting the savings of the Affordable Care Act (which is more commonly known as Obamacare).  Fact Check called the article “Obama Overhypes Health Savings“.  I’m not going to disagree with Fact Check that President Obama made the health savings sound wonderful, he did.  Unfortunately, his hype is needed to overshadow the hype on the other side, which claims no savings and total financial ruin for all if we continue on the Affordable Care Act path.  I just think Fact Check is overhyping the overhyping.

Case in point the following quote from President Obama

Last year, millions of Americans opened letters from their insurance companies — but instead of the usual dread that comes from getting a bill — (laughter) — they were pleasantly surprised with a check. In 2012, 13 million rebates went out, in all 50 states. Another 8.5 [million] rebates are being sent out this summer, averaging around 100 bucks each.

Fact Check takes issue with this because ” The average rebate is about $100 per family — not per person. It’s not 8.5 million rebates “averaging around 100 bucks each,” as the president said. Instead, it’s 8.5 million consumers who will benefit, with an average rebate of $100 per family.”

I’m not really sure what the issue is here.  Fact Check admits that the rebates average $100 each.  When millions of Americans open the letters, I’m sure that the letter opener most likely be either the male or female head of a family.  I’m sure that the rebates for single people will be less than the rebates for families.  No, President Obama didn’t say millions of American families opened letters, but I don’t think what he did say was too much hype.  — This is a matter of opinion, not an actual fact.

The fact is that millions of rebates will be sent out this summer and that the average of these rebates is around $100.

But wait…there’s more!

Fact Check, also, takes issue with the fact that President Obama didn’t mention that a lot of these rebates are going to businesses.  In fact they say just that:  “But the more glaring omission is an acknowledgment that a lot of this money goes to businesses, not individuals.”  I don’t see the problem in this, either.  Even if the employer gets the rebate, it has to be used to benefit the employee.  In fact, Fact Check even quotes the  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as saying such, ” if you bought your insurance through your employer, your employer must use the rebate for your benefit.”  I don’t really understand their problem with the hype in this case.

I think the main point in all of this is that the Affordable Care Act is to some extent causing people and businesses to save money on their health care insurance premiums.  Second to this is that it didn’t cause premiums to go up, as the opposition claimed it would.

 

Obamacare and unAmerican Companies

Here’s a quick, yet truthful thought.  Every large company that is announcing cutting employees’ hours to avoid paying healthcare for them isn’t a company that should be held up in esteem.  It is a company who should be avoided as much as possible and derided for being unAmerican.

It is time the profit hogging corporate types and Wall Street bozos start taking care of business and the American Worker.  You break your back for forty years, do you get a pension?  Hell no, you probably don’t even get a watch.  You get a 401K that isn’t worth shit if the banks and Wall Street screw with the economoy, like they did in the run up to the crash of 2008.

Our health care system needs  a lot of changes.  We spend more than nearly every other developed country and, yet, we’re sicker than ever.  Part of this is that we don’t take care of ourselves and part of it is that companies don’t take care of employees.

I have healthcare.  I happen to have a skill set that will remain in demand probably until the day I die and beyond.  I am blessed because of this.  Many people – in fact, the majority of people – are not blest as I am.  I will not have to worry about health care, because I’ll never have to work for a company that doesn’t offer it.  Even when I worked as a contractor, because of my earning power and salary, I was offered health care paid for by the company – that doesn’t happen often in contracting jobs.

Don’t blame President Obama for forcing companies to do what they should’ve been doing all along.  The CEO has health care.  The President of the company has health care.  So should the workers on the floor who actually perform the duties that keep the company going.

The Republicans don’t understand this.

Fox News doesn’t understand this.

The people in the red states don’t understand this.

We do the work, we should reap the benefits.  The guy on top – he didn’t dig that ditch, put that car together, bake that pizza – the guy on top is receiving the big salary made possible by YOUR hard work.

Don’t forget that.

A Little Truth Goes A Long Way.

Who tells the truth the most often?  Who gets it right?  Check out the image below.

Obama Sues to Protect Voting Rights in Ohio

A cousin of mine posted a link to an article on breitbart.com that claimed President Obama was suing in Ohio to restrict Military voting rights.  The truth is that Ohio passed a law that restricted non-military voting rights and Obama for American, the Democratic National Committee and Ohio Democratic Party are suing to have it overturned.  Ohio’s general Assembly passed into law three bills:  “Amended Substitute House Bill Number 194 (“HB194”), Amended Substitute House Bill Number 224 (“HB 224”) and SubstituteSenate Bill Number 295 (“SB 295”)”1“Prior to the enactment of these laws,there was a single uniform deadline of the Monday before Election Day for in- person early voting.”2

Now, only the military has until the Monday before Election Day for in-person early voting. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that in the eyes of the law, all citizens are treated equally (which means the same). When it comes to voting, the Military and the citizens it protects should be treated equally.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment

Obviously, the Breitbart site and the other right-wing websites want to make an argument that Obama hates the Military and wants to restrict Military voting rights. In truth, the President just wants everyone to be treated equally.

Here’s the full compliant.

OFA Complaint as Filed

Youth Unemployment

This is an actual quote from Mitt Romney from Mitt Romney.com:

“I think this is a time when young people are questioning the support they gave to President Obama three and a half years ago. He promised bringing the country together; that sure hasn’t happened. He promised a future with good jobs and good opportunity; that hasn’t happened. And the pathway that he pursued is one which has not worked. Young people recognize that and I think that’s why they’re going to increasingly look for a different approach.” –Mitt Romney

Below the quote, there are links to the “facts” that support his data.  Two links to the same Time Magazine article written by Josh Sanburn (which I haven’t read) from February of this year,  there’s a couple of links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and some more links to articles .

Here’s the thing:  Mitt Romney is hoping that you won’t research any farther than that.  He’s hoping that he can convince you that President Obama hasn’t done enough and he’s handing you little tidbits that support his claim.

So, I did the research myself.  Below is a chart.  This is the annual unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) from 1948 until 2011. I’ve broken the data down by age: 16 – 24 and over 25.  The third line is the combined annual unemployment rate.  I obtained the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.  (Side note: If you love data, like I love data, you could spend hours on this site running queries!)

Here’s the thing:  Romney is trying to make you think that somehow our youth have it so much worse than the rest of us and President Obama is responsible for it.  However; the truth is that the unemployment rate for 16 – 24 year olds has always been higher than the unemployment rate for the rest of the population.

 

Annual Unemployment 1948 - 2011

Rick Santorum is a Horse’s Ass

Here is his quote:

President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard everyday and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor that (tries) to indoctrinate them.

Don’t we all want our children to go to college? Haven’t we learned that the majority of people who are unemployed are those with less than a college education? Our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and they’re not coming back.

And, there’s a quote I want you to read:

“The unemployment rate among (the) non-college-educated is well into the double digits in America. It’s 4 percent or 5 percent for people who have college degrees.”

Who said that? Rick Santorum – the horse’s ass of the Republican Party. Surprised? I’m not. He can’t even keep his own quotes straight. In case you’re wondering, here are the breakdowns of the unemployment rates for January, 2012 by education:

Education Level Unemployment Rate
Less than High School 13.1%
High School/No College 8.4%
Some College / Associate Degree 7.2%
Bachelor’s and Higher 7.2%

How can you think anyone that wanting all of America to be college educated is a bad thing?

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