Friday, August 7, 2015

Last Call For Hill's College Plan

Hillary Clinton is pushing student loan debt relief, a major point with many folks my age and younger, as well as making college more affordable with Preisdent Obama's community college plan.

Hillary Rodham Clinton will propose an expanded government program Monday to address what she calls the crisis of student debt, her campaign said Friday.

A revised plan to make college more affordable and relieve the crushing debt students often accrue is a major plank of her policy platform and a key demand of young voters as well as the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Clinton is not expected to go as far as some on the left want by calling for “debt-free” college. She is instead expected to present a detailed, and expensive, plan to increase funding for public colleges and universities.

Clinton’s campaign press secretary Brian Fallon said the policy proposals will come in a speech in New Hampshire on Monday. Fallon did not provide details of the plan.

But sources familiar with the plan who were not authorized to speak publicly said the proposal centers on an incentive system for states to expand investments in higher education. With grants from the federal government, participating states would be able to lower the cost of attendance at public colleges and universities.

Clinton is also expected to include President Obama’s proposal for free community college as a part of her platform. That $60 billion proposal calls for states to cover a quarter of the cost for more than 10 years.

As I keep saying, all of these really great plans from Democrats about college and debt relief and higher education will never, ever, ever pass a Republican Congress.  Until we get rid of the GOP, these proposals are dead on arrival.

Perhaps we as voters should fix that.

Church Meets State In Head-On Collision

Meanwhile, back home in my old neck of the woods in Lincolnton, North Carolina, it seems the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners suddenly have a real problem with religion in local government.

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners had always opened government meetings with Christian prayer. About two months ago, officials decided that in order to avoid legal trouble, they’d have to let everyone participate. 
That didn’t last long. 
On Monday, commission chairman Carrol Mitchem, who had previously announced he wouldn’t “bow to minorities” and that he “ain’t gonna have no new religion or pray to Allah” at board meetings, held true to his word and walked out on the first person to address the North Carolina government meeting with a Muslim prayer, the Lincoln Times-News reports
“That was very upsetting. It was upsetting,” Dustin Barto of the Foothills Interfaith Assembly, who had led the Muslim prayer, told WSOC-TV
By the end of the meeting, all prayer was banned at board meetings and will be replaced with a moment of silence. Commissioner Alex Patton initiated the motion which was easily voted into effect. 
“To me, the final straw was when our chairman got up and walked out,” Patton told WSCOTV, adding that the commission needs to focus on pressing matters like the economy and education. 
The issue of prayer at the meetings had generated months of controversy, the station reported. 
Previously, Mitchem had vowed to keep Christian-only prayers at the meetings.
“I don’t believe we need to be bowing to the minorities,” Mitchem had told WBTV. “The U.S. and the Constitution were founded on Christianity. This is what the majority of people believe in, and it’s what I’m standing up for.”

This is what freedom of religion really means in America: the freedom to inflict Christianity by law upon the rest of the people, but any other religion (or distinct lack of one) is not tolerated.  I'm glad that Lincoln County finally got rid of the prayer sessions, but the journey to get there was spiteful, ignorant, and discriminatory to say the least.

The sad part is I don't see the Supreme Court stepping in to stop this nonsense anytime soon, and in fact I'm pretty sure there's at least four justices who will make it worse whenever possible.

The Noise Machine Is Drowning The Iran Deal

Weeks of ridiculous Republican rhetoric on Iran, ranging from Lindsey Graham's Neville Chamberlain idiocy to Mike Huckabee's statement that President Obama was "leading Jews to the ovens" has turned the public decidedly against the proposition.

A majority of Americans opposes a recently reached international accord lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for new limits on its nuclear program, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Nearly six in 10 Americans, or 57 percent, oppose the nuclear deal, while 28 percent voice support for it in the national poll released Monday, in a 2-to-1 margin against the deal
Republicans strongly oppose the deal brokered by the Obama administration, 86 to 3 percent, while Democrats support the top second-term foreign policy agenda item for President Obama, 52 to 32 percent. 
A majority of Americans disapprove the way Obama is handling the situation in Iran (56 percent), compared with 35 percent who approve. A majority (58 percent) also thinks the deal makes the world less safe.

It's a good thing polls don't make foreign policy, but Republicans have, at least in the short term, turned this major win with Iran into a real problem for President Obama and the Democrats.  Several other polling outlets have reported similar numbers, and in every case Americans are very skeptical of the nuclear deal.  President Obama took to the airwaves yesterday to once again make the case for the deal.

President Obama took on critics of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers in an aggressive speech on Wednesday, saying they were the same people who created the “drumbeat of war” and played on public fears to push the United States into the Iraq war more than a decade ago.

Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” Mr. Obama told about 200 people in a speech at American University. “How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?

Mr. Obama, opening a new, more overtly political phase of his public campaign for the accord, portrayed the coming vote in Congress to approve or reject the deal as the most consequential foreign policy decision for lawmakers since Congress voted in 2003 to authorize the invasion of Iraq. He implored them to “shut out the noise” and back the deal.

Delivered in stark terms that surprised some foreign policy analysts and left no room for questioning whether the agreement is good for American security — “It’s not even close,” Mr. Obama declared at one point — the president’s speech was a striking display of certitude about a diplomatic deal that has split the American public and presented a dilemma for lawmakers, including many in his own party.

Mr. Obama criticized Republicans who are pressing forward with legislation to block the accord, which is on track for a vote in September. Opposition to the agreement, he said, stems from “knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar, rhetoric that renders every decision made to be a disaster, a surrender.”

He said hard-liners in Iran who chant “Death to America” were “making common cause with the Republican caucus.”

Republicans went berserk over that last statement, accusing the President of calling them, and the majority of Americans against the deal, traitors to the country. In reponse to the president,   Republicans now say they will pass a bill implementing more sanctions on Iran after the 60 days is up, almost certainly collapsing the deal by default.

We'll see how this goes, as Sen. Chuck Schumer is the highest ranking Democrat yet to abandon the deal but you'd better believe that Republicans are going to do everything they can to wreck this deal and start a war with Iran.


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