Media coverage denies many the right to fair trial
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that 24/7 news coverage of criminal cases is problematic.
Broadcasters like Nancy Grace are attorney, judge and jury. The same can be said of Jane Velez-Mitchell and a lot of others who want to try court cases before a jury pool is even selected.
There is an entire industry built around these cases and those working for these networks are hungry for work, fame and air time.
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I am not questioning their intelligence. I am merely asking the age-old question: Does this entity make the world better or worse? I think the answer is, while it is important to share what is newsworthy, it is unnecessary to beat these criminal cases into the ground to the point an impartial jury cannot be found.
Many felt that the Los Angeles riots would not have happened had not the beating of Rodney King been shown over and over.
The American Bar Association or somebody needs to start figuring out steps that should be taken before these high-profile cases begin showing up ad nauseam or else there will be cases tried and people convicted by the TV news media and a fair trial will be impossible because millions of people watch these programs.
Don't repeat untruths
Opinion is one thing, but why do you print columns containing statements easily verified as false, such as from those decrying Eugene Robinson's column calling Paul Ryan a liar and using lies to criticize Robinson?
On Feb. 13, 2008, President Barack Obama said "I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years."
On Dec. 23, 2008 — before the president took office — the plant was closed (OK, "it laid off the majority of workers" and some remnants were finished in April 2009). But it is a lie that the president "promised" anything to this plant.
Ryan's numerous lies against the president are all easy to fact-check. Ryan even shows his lack of integrity and character when he boasts of running "marathons" in the 2:50s. He stated three times that he ran marathons in the 2:50s when in truth he ran one in over 4 hours.
And Republicans continue to defend lies like the president wasn't born in the United States; that Obama is a secret Muslim and a socialist; death panels, etc., ad nauseum. Do they really want another person in the White House to lie us into another war?
Rich do work the system
It is often said low-income folks "work the system" and we need to cut entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, Head Start, etc. Do not raise taxes, but cut these programs to balance the budget and pay down the debt.
What's not talked about is the extent to which upper-income folks "work the system." These folks begin by developing a full-court press for legislation most beneficial to those with higher incomes.
Top earners at hedge funds claim to pay some 13 percent of their income in federal taxes. If the fees were taxed as ordinary income the recipients would pay at the 35 percent tax rate. The technique is to have the fees received treated as "carried interest." This permits fee income to be treated as capital gains rather than ordinary income. The savings for the hedge fund folks are in the billions of dollars every year. All is quite legal.
Likewise, upper-income folks can deduct 35 percent of expenditures for charitable contributions, medical expenses and home mortgage interest. Lower incomes get a 10 to 15 percent deduction.
Every system is subject to being "worked." The major difference between those at the low end and those at the highest end of the scale is the top group both writes the rules and receives a disproportionate amount of benefits.
Sorting through rhetoric
We are bombarded relentlessly with shameless distortions and falsehoods in political advertising from anonymously funded political action organizations.
I ask people to remember why this is happening. The United States Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations (unions also) have the same rights as individuals. I contend an individual can be imprisoned, a corporation or union cannot.
As we are assailed with political rhetoric, partisan propaganda and pointless diatribes before elections, please consider the following:
The most vocal group is not necessarily the majority.
Democracy does not represent the will of the people if they do not vote.
If at all possible, vote based on informed and unbiased input.
Opinions are just that, opinions. We all have them.
Unsubstantiated claims are not the same as facts.
Comments and statements taken out of context are usually intended to mislead.
Do not allow politicians or their supporters to interpret data and information for you.
The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, protect all United States citizens equally; regardless of race/ethnicity/national origin, religious beliefs, gender, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or political philosophies.
I doubt any of us will agree about the one true path.
You are unlikely to convince zealots they are wrong. Don't waste time trying. They have already drunk the Kool-Aid.
Health care, Social Security, Medicare —WWJD?
GOP obstruction tactic
The mantra of the GOP should be "Obstruct and Exploit."
A year ago, President Barack Obama proposed the American Jobs Act. Independent analysts estimated it would add 1.3 million jobs by the end of 2012. Sounded like a good idea, but it was blocked by the Republicans in Congress.
Now, those Republicans point to disappointing job numbers and declare the president's policies have failed. First, they obstruct any and all efforts to strengthen the economy and then exploit the economy's weakness for political gain.
In these times how can anyone oppose a stimulus package? But Sen. Mitch McConnell told his party to make sure Obama can never claim a clear victory.
Mitt Romney has an advertising blitz attacking Obama for possible cuts in spending, cuts mandated by an agreement forced upon the president by House Republicans last year.
The stimulus debate established the pattern. Republicans opposed the entire Obama agenda — a health care plan based on Romney's, a cap-and-trade program supported by Sen. John McCain and a jobs stimulus plan.
Obama hasn't failed. Republicans in Congress have failed him.
When McConnell narrowly defeated Dee Huddleston for his Senate seat, part of his platform was that Huddleston had been in office far too long (12 years).
After 27 years, McConnell has proved his point. He has been there too long. Let's make him a poster child for the "party of no more"