Whether you support Hillary Clinton or not, you are aware of the scandals that have accompanied her political career; including unethical trading of cattle stock, campaign finance fraud, and, more recent misconduct, the inaction surrounding the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. There is another undeniable issue that we should pay attention to: the 2016 Presidential run.
A few key issues have been strategically discussed by Hillary Clinton more recently and this may be establishing her foundational step toward winning votes. The Hill mentioned Hillary’s statement, “that the next election will set the stage for ‘a lot of what can and should be done’.” Agreeably, what can and should be done is parallel to what Clinton has been making an effort to support. She is speaking to women on their empowerment and strength, pointing out that “women are the world’s most untapped resource” and that the media works with a “double standard” when reporting on women versus men. Clinton mentioned, also at the fifth annual Women in the World Summit, that political parties are driving a wedge between our country’s progress and it is causing America to fall further behind. The former Secretary of State left voters wondering of her presidential race intent when she proclaimed, “some of what hasn’t been finished may go on to be finished.” Clinton has also aggressively made clear, after seeing American’s disapproval of the way Obama has handled the situation in Ukraine, that she believes Putin’s actions need to be addressed with stricter consequences. Let’s not forget to mention the super PAC, Ready for Hillary, which has already raised millions of dollars in case Clinton decides to run. Every recent action taken by Hillary has been a strategic set up toward the upcoming presidential run. She has somewhat pulled away from the mainstream media, most of her recent comments have been carefully spoken with a bipartisan view, and Hillary has publicly disagreed with Obama’s foreign policy decisions.
I would be more surprised, at this point, if Hillary Clinton decided against running for president in 2016 than if she announces to pursue the Oval Office.
Recently, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal. His writings criticized the Obama administration's response to foreign affairs, specifically Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As mentioned by Politico, Romney made a significant point in this op-ed when he said that globally, America does not hold more respect from a “single country” than from before Obama became president. Romney stated publicly what Americans have witnessed with the inaction of both President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying, “Their failure has been painfully evident.” Romney urged the president and Secretary of State John Kerry to take action before it is too late.
My true interest in Mitt Romney’s op-ed comes from the official responses it received. According to Politico, the President’s administration, Former National Security Council spokesman, and White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, all accused Romney of simple belligerence without providing any solutions. NSC’s spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said via Twitter, “Lots of blaming America for the world’s problems. Zero ideas for how to solve them. Typical.” Interesting statement considering Romney is not blaming America, the people; he is referring to the mangled foreign affairs the current administration has allowed by inaction and weak foreign policy. I would like to point out that it is not, in fact, Mitt Romney’s job to provide the solutions and solve the problems of this administration. How can the President and his political supporters openly blame unsolved problems on someone whom has absolutely nothing to do with the implemented policies? Mark Halperin, a journalist, “. . . suggested to Pfeiffer that Romney was saying there were solutions previously, and that Obama needed better timing.” It is, in fact, the Obama administration’s responsibility to create solutions and to establish peaceful, workable, foreign policy. Yet, these politicians respond to comments of their failures by stating that the plaintiff is not presenting solutions. Welcome to America: home of the free... to blame mistakes on the brave. Furthermore, even Hillary Clinton, whose failures as Secretary of State were also mentioned in Romney’s op-ed, said she is “worried that allowing Putin to get away with the annexation of Crimea could have repercussion in the region” and that action must be taken or the surrounding countries will be demoralized and could submit to Putin based on fear. Clinton's comments do not provide anymore of a foreign policy strategy than Mitt Romney's. Both Romney and Clinton are suggesting the obvious - America's foreign policy needs to change under this administration.
The Heritage Foundation recently published an article that discusses the inefficiencies of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to hike taxes on those earning more than $1 million in order to “use the tax revenue to let debt-ridden students refinance their college loans.” In other words, Senator Warren claims that raising the taxes on those with higher incomes will lower the interest rate for students. Brittany Corona, an assistant researcher for Heritage, made an excellent point when she observed that this approach will only hinder universities from making their tuition affordable. Instead it will “enable universities to raise prices, knowing students can return to the federal trough for more financing.” Not only does the senator’s proposal affect the outrageous cost of tuition but this approach to fund federal subsidized student loans will also raise the interest rates; logically, if the price goes up so will the interest. More specifically, as a former student with expanding debt in college loans, it seems absurd for one to borrow from the federal government who then makes a show that students cannot afford to pay back loans with the interest rates they have established. The government, through Senator Warren, is now demanding that someone whom most likely already had to pay off their own student loans and whom is working hard for their own money, should now be responsible for paying for your and my interest rates. Why should it become someone else’s responsibility to pay the government for you or I to acquire a higher education? The Huffington post wrote, “ We took a big step toward making student loans more affordable in 2010, cutting banks out of the equation and dispersing student loans directly from the federal government”. Please do not misunderstand me, I am an advocate of lower interest rates on student loans. However, if the Feds had left student loans alone and kept the loans in the private market (banks) where one could take out a personal loan, the price and the interest rate would be much lower; the market would have to be competitive in order to entice students to borrow. Thus, the interest rate would have stayed regulated through simple supply and demand – Economics 101.
According to an article by CNSNews.com, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, speaking on immigration reform, said, "Comprehensive immigration reform . . . . should include an earned path to citizenship for the approximately 11-and-a-half-million undocumented immigrants present in this country. . ." He continued by saying, " It is also . . . a matter of who we are as Americans to offer the opportunity to those who want to be citizens, who've earned the right to be citizens, who are present in this country – many of whom who came here as children – to have the opportunity that we all have to try to become American citizens.” My question is simple: how has an illegal immigrant earned the right to citizenship? Simply because one has come into this country, maybe gotten a job, or has maybe grown up in the states, does not earn one citizenship. It is incorrect of Johnson to say that merely giving citizenship to an undocumented immigrant is the same as giving the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen. The effect of immigration reform on allowing illegal immigrants citizenship is showing that breaking the law and successfully hiding from authority is acceptable and we will reward you for it. Handing out citizenship affords an underlying consequence of the government leading immigrants to believe they do not have to work or follow regulations to get what they want - they solely need be a minority. Being present in this country does not give you the right to be an American citizen. In comparison, it is completely unfair (and "fairness" seems to be a key topic in every current mainstream "reform") to immigrants who have legally entered this country and who have saved and patiently waited to go through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. I am not, by any means, stating that the current process is a success; I do believe that immigration reform is needed. However, giving citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants because they have made it into this country is hardly immigration reform. Interestingly enough Johnson pointed out, in the same speech, how significant border control is to homeland security and how it must be implemented in immigration reform. As one would guess, it's not good policy for Johnson to make exceptions and then state that changes will be made so that the exceptions no longer have to be implemented.
On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, Michigan's state legislature voted in favor of a bill which prohibited insurance providers to be held responsible for covering abortions. If a woman wants her abortions covered by her insurance, she must pay an extra fee unless the woman's life is in danger. Contrary to popular opinion, I find this to be an extremely fair bill. Now, before I am haggled for not being an advocate of women's rights, let me explain. This is not a matter of whether the woman has rights to her own body or the fact that this bill is being decided by a predominantly male legislature. This is about using personal freedom as an excuse to rid an inconvenience. Opponents to this legislation yell that it is absurd because the bill requires women to plan on being raped; Meghan Groen, a Planned Parenthood representative, commented that this is unfair because women don't plan on being raped. Also Gretchen Whitmer, a seat holder in the Michigan Senate said, "(the bill) tells women who are raped ... that they should have thought ahead and bought special insurance for it." In response: without this bill, insurance carriers are telling pro-life men and women that they automatically must pay for and plan on having abortions. Furthermore, Gretchen Whitmer reflected on her experience from being raped and how, if she had become pregnant, this bill would have forced her to fully fund her own abortion. She was not impregnated and in response, abortion is an unnatural, proven unhealthy choice which is not the responsibility of anyone else's monetary funds. According to The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, only 1% of all abortions are recorded as a product of rape - that leaves 99% of abortions resulting from non-victim. Pro-choice advocates are no longer satisfied with legalized abortions - they want others to fully fund the abortion procedures. Remember, this bill does not restrict women from having abortions, it simply does not require insurance companies to fully cover them. Personally, I know what it feels like to be taken advantage of and it cannot be an umbrella excuse to destroy an innocent, beautiful life.
President Obama made a statement on Saturday, December 7th, that ". . . a comprehensive diplomatic deal to end Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon is as likely to fail as succeed." Well, that doesn't necessarily sound like good foreign policy as much as a political move. To a political extreme, Obama may actually mean, "Let's try to cut a deal with Iran so when inevitable war breaks out we can just blame it on the war mongering Republican party who was not in favor of the deal since its origins." If Iran happens to abide by the deal, the Democratic party will look like they accomplished something in favor of Israel and foreign diplomacy. Reports came in that the deal would freeze Iran's nuclear program; the deal doesn't even completely end Iran's uranium activity, it simply puts a cap on what they are "allowed" to enrich. In the past, Iran has not typically been willing to abide by a Western deal in favor of Israel and the United States. Let's not look past the fact that the only reason Iran has "agreed" to this deal is because of its promised sanctions relief - a legal, political bribe. How long can the United Nations keep paying out Iran until the Iranian government decides they want more money than the U.N will be willing to hand out? Also, with the obvious condemnation from Israel, is it acceptable for the United Nations to pay sanctions to a country with only approval from six nations, none of which will be most significantly effected by the deal as Israel? This deal is being made with the face of the United States but, with President Obama's support, it is ultimately being decided through the United Nations. This deal has seemingly left the public with more questions than answers and more doubt on the competence of our foreign relations and diplomacy.
U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, stated, "At it's core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it's about compromise and moderation." I completely agree with the VP - unfortunately, he doesn't seem to stand inline with his own comment, which was made in 2005. Both President Obama and Joe Biden vocalized their support for the Filibuster Reform, in which Obama commented, " enough is enough." The President's argument backed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments that change is needed and that is what the American people want. The Democrats have turned to the appeal of emotions and insisted the American people want what their party wants: change. Perhaps there should be consideration that the people may want change in a good way - not just in any way. For the Senate to adjust the filibuster law simply in the name of change with the excuse that it's progress because it's change is a political ploy. The argument the Democrats used, specifically Reid and Obama, was that nothing is being accomplished and the Senate was at a stand still because of politics that the Republicans were playing. It is frustrating to think that a political party, no matter which side it might be, would turn around and argue that they need to change a rule simply because said rule is serving its purpose. The point of the filibuster is to put a lock on the vote. Yes, that means that their (the Democrat's) "progress" will not occur, but that is exactly the intention. The minority party is to have a voice and find a way to stop a vote if they are so convicted, otherwise there is essentially just an endless power being held by one party. Also, a filibuster may be forced off of the floor with enough votes, meaning there is a way for the parties to compromise and come to agreement.
The biggest issue with this reform is the underlying (lack of) principle: A party changes the rules with biased intent in order to gain enough power to obtain what they want. Whether Republican or Democrat I find this an outrageous move. Even though this filibuster reform applies only to nominations, what is stopping the majority party from changing various other rules to pass more biased legislation?
One cannot truly be American without taking the time to stop and thank our Veterans, along with our current military personnel, for their ultimate sacrifice. Never has a country been so blessed, and yet seemingly so ungrateful, by the lives freely given for us and selfishly taken from us, so that we might go about our daily lives. There is nothing I can give to veterans except my deepest respect and sincerest regards.
There was a video posted recently in which a veteran of the United States' military addressed The Safe Act and gives us an accurate description of what courage truly means. It is powerfully effective when we allow veterans to be politically involved and to speak out. Most veterans have seen and been exposed to things that we, in our safe, private, lives could never comprehend. Our soldiers die for us. As a nation that our military is proud to defend, we must proudly remember those that have sacrificed their lives.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts; your opinions and feedback are appreciated.