Monthly Archives: April 2012

Obama and Romney Both Clamber for the High Ground on the Student Loans Issue

The 2012 presidential election is on the horizon with Republican candidate Mitt Romney all but set to contest with incumbent Barack Obama. One of the first serious topics turns out to be student loans from the federal government.  CNN news explains Congress’s intent to double federally subsidized loans rates on July 1st. This dire issue greatly impacts men and women 18-29 years old, a major voting demographic.

From the democratic front, President Obama is appealing to the young adults that are critically affected by earning and paying off student loans. While he evidently aims to fight the issue and is actively pushing Congress to maintain current rates, the hopeful incumbent is utilizing the specific issue to gain favor with the same age group that strongly supported him throughout the 2008 election through highly publicized speeches. Therefore, President Obama has spent time traveling through North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa to visit university campuses and urge students to take a stand for themselves and vote after reaffirming his plan to keep loan rates from increasing. The president also made a televised appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where the host interviewed him at the University of North Dakota about the issue.

On the other hand, Governor Romney has openly declared support for the effort to freeze current subsidized loan rates, taking some of the wind out of Obama’s sails and assuring that his own platform can’t be unfairly accused of supporting the action.

In the end, neither man has a true advantage over the other concerning this policy because their views are identical. However, they both clearly want to earn a favorable view for the public eye.

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In an opinion piece about whether the courts can make terrorism rulings based on a person’s speech and thoughts, political scientist Andrew F. March asserts that prosecutors should not be able to have a man sentenced based solely on “independent advocacy of a terrorist group.” March sites a case from Boston, MA in which he had testified for the defense and defendant Tarek Mehanna was ultimately sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison. In the case that transpired for 35 days,  Mehanna was tried for, “material support for terrorism, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to kill in a foreign country.” The pronounced jihadi advocate was tried on specific pieces of evidence: An attempt to join jihadi training camp in Yemen, speeches that advocated jihadi activity (verbal, online, through messaging, and written), taking credit for authoring messages and text that promotes Jihad cause and his act of translating a text titled “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad”, a text that elaborates on Muslim law but includes only some explanation of the Mujaheddin military forces. Ultimately, the defendant was found guilty because he exposed himself to these texts and, as a result, chose to advocate the religious and political causes.

As March explains, this case can very well be a central argument pertaining to the rights of freedom of expression in the first amendment.  He mainly plants this idea on the court’s judicial view that Mehanna was guilty because his thoughts and opinions were reformed by the texts he read, which may have influenced the content in his online messages. The associate professor of political science clearly opposes the court’s rulings that connect Mehanna’s personal habits with media with terrorism, and he is not alone. It is unclear whether the defendant will continue to appeal, but this trial opens an argument about free speech and expression within the United States.

Protesters wait outside the Massachusetts courthouse in support of Tarek Mehanna


Your Rebuttal, in 140 Characters or Less

Twitter is immutably becoming a contest ground for the current republican primaries and the 2012 presidential election. I still find it strange that the messaging service actually serves as a credible medium for political messages, but it certainly has shown a difference in how potential voters respond to the campaign. After all, Twitter is quick, readily available, free for any American to purchase, and provides easy access to certain influential individual’s feed. Campaign teams also like to take advantage of Twitter’s well-establish services and easy access, so the most beneficial step for these individuals is to set up an account and capture some much-needed attention. The Vancouver Sun‘s Samuel P. Jacobs reveals that Republican Candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, opened a Twitter account to support her husband on the campaign trail.

Republican Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann Romney

Her action is clearly in response to the attention that President Obama garners from his Twitter account and his Facebook account (which played a part in his 2008 election as it attracted attention from young voters).  Romney’s staff hopes this will make an impact in the Republican Campaign while it can also help in the Presidential campaign thereafter. Twitter has certainly been working its magic already, as the story itself has spread on Twitter’s own pages and on Online and broadcast news. Ann Romney’s simple yet bold move will undoubtedly produce results throughout the election season.


Battle of Wages

President Barack Obama is responding to new tax plans, as he is clearly prompted by the high tension that Occupy Wall Street introduced to the wage issues in America. James K. Galbraith, an Economist special to CNN, explains that Obama’s recent “Buffett Rule” proposal will raise tax revenue from the rich while reserving concessions for  banks, venture capitalists and insurance companies. The professor connects this issue to various reports regarding attempts to raise state or federal minimum wages. Under these plans, many American’s would receive higher income, especially in Southern states.

Professor James K. Albraith

Galbraith claims that the Buffett Rule and the proposed minimum wage increases aim to address the, “issue of income inequality.” In the current climate of wealth-based tension, the media plays a huge role in these measures as unrest can prompt dramatic calls for action from the president, and apparently from individual state legislatures that hope to change the economic climate.


From this Point on, the “Right” is in Romneyland

On April 10, 2012, Rick Santorum officially announced that he is not a Republican candidate for the presidential election any longer. CNN news released a report iterating that apparently, the former Pennsylvanian Governor, “spent the holiday weekend evaluating the race with his family,” especially his, “[hospitalized] 3-year-old daughter Bella.” Per usual, Santorum’s public announcement allows analysts, other candidates and potential voters to speculate what will come during the remainder of the Presidential Race.

Clearly, one reason for the immediate attention by the media is to inform voters (especially Santorum supporters) that Rick Santorum is no longer a viable option for president, and so the republican primaries are shifting dramatically. As the same CNN article explains, “Santorum’s departure leaves rival Mitt Romney with a firm grasp on the nomination,” because the two candidates have held commanding leads above the next strongest candidate, Newt Gingrich. Supporters of Santorum will likely rally with frontrunner Mitt Romney for conservative values, and the support will only grow if the former candidate endorses Romney.

Americans can likely turn to media coverage for future information on the Republican primaries, especially while news outlets will attempt to report on stories as sson as possible within the next few weeks.