Friday, February 29, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama

I voted for Barack Obama in yesterday's primary here in Texas. Here's why.

1. It's time for the youth in the country to take the controls on the ship of state. Do we Boomers still have something to offer? Of course. We're smart, energetic, have great ideas and can get things done. However, this election should be about the future, and the future belongs to the young. Obama is the first candidate running for president that is younger than me. The youth of this country are energized and enthusiastic about this man. It's a refreshing thing to see. I believe that he can keep that optimism and spirit alive through the general election process. The compare and contrast between Obama and McCain are plain. McCain represents the old way, Obama the new.

2. The man has experience where it counts. Obama left Harvard and moved to Chicago as a community organizer. This is someone who works with local communities to support a particular interest, whether it's civil rights, economic justice, the right to collective bargaining or another issue where groups must get together to be heard. Rather than go to a corporate job, or go into some other field, Obama chose to help people who needed assistance in the most basic things like housing. Obama also became a teacher. His subject? Constitutional Law. Wow, wouldn't it be nice for a change for someone to be president who actually knows what the Constitution is and will abide by it?

3. He's a better bet than McCain. If you believe as I believe, If you think like I think, that there's something terribly wrong with the way the country operates, then I think you will agree that change is necessary. John McCain has been part of the problem. Oh yes, you'll say. He's a "maverick". True enough, McCain has danced around the edges of the establishment and taken on some sticky issues. Campaign Finance Reform anyone? He did a good job with that. However, I believe he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. His behavior since the 2000 election has become more and more of a panderer to special interests than an independent thinking conservative. The last straw for me was his recent roll-over voting against the ban on water-boarding after making speeches, entreaties and demands that we outlaw and decry torture. This was done in an effort to shore up conservative base votes who seem to think water-boarding is just fine. Shame on you John. You, of all people should understand the insidiousness of torture.

4. Obama's own words. This is an excerpt from his keynote speech in the 2004 Democratic convention. I believe it says all we need to hear:

"The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."

Here's hoping he stays true to his words.

Tell me what you think

Regards,

Dennis

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's Time


Barack Obama made it 10 in a row last night with Primary wins in Hawaii and Wisconsin. His candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president is appearing to be a juggernaut that will plow ahead racking up delegates and primary wins. While he will likely not accrue enough delegates to claim the nomination outright, he certainly has the momentum now. As of last night, Obama has 1301 delegates to Senator Clintons 1239 when including the Super Delegates. 2025 are needed to claim the nomination and it looks like neither will achieve this number.
So, what to do? The Clinton candidacy is fading by all evidence to date. Super Delegates are now saying they'll support the candidate that achieves the most votes which is code for switching support from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama. Even still, should Mrs. Clinton choose to battle on to the convention, she could sway people to her camp. It's highly unlikely at this point, but should she claim large victories in Ohio and Texas then it is possible for her to achieve the nomination.
From my perspective, if she does succeed in this effort, it is a Pyrrhic victory. She'll do more damage than good and I think it guarantees a McCain presidency.
So, in my view it is time for Mrs. Clinton to take a break, think about it and then concede. She'll do much more good than harm, and a Democrat will likely be sent back to the White House.
Tell Me What You Think,
Regards,
Dennis

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Legacy


President Bush travels to Africa today on a six-day, five-country tour to promote the administration's 15 billion dollar foreign-aid package designed to combat the spread of HIV-AIDs in the impoverished continent. Indeed, one of the president's harshest critics, Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) has said: "It may be the greatest legacy this president leaves or any president could leave.”
It is a good thing when we can bring the power and wealth of this country towards working on a non-political, clearly necessary issue. Combatting the spread of AIDs is most certainly a noble goal. Mr. Bush must be applauded for supporting this program.
However, I believe George W. Bush's legacy doesn't lie in the African sub-continent. Regardless of the amount of money the president promotes towards this cause, it will not remove the blood that is on his hands from Iraq. Whether it's combat fatalities or injuries incurre on the ground by our troops, or the by-product of sending young men continually into harms way, or civilians killed because they simply happen to be born in one tribe or the other, the thousands of people who have died in Iraq since the invasion and subsequent occupation have done so primarily as a result of his decision to go to war.
I'd like to introduce you to a young man who when described by his superiors is talked about in lofty terms such as someone with "an intense desire to excel", and "unbridled enthusiasm" and an "unswerving devotion to duty". This young man won the Bronze Star for valor during a 55 hour battle with the Mahdi militia in Najaf. His name: James Jenkins, and his rank: Lance Corporal, United States Marine. The best of the best. The ones always put in the front lines. Corporal Jenkins is a veteran of two combat tours in Iraq and saw some of the most brutal hand to hand combat of any soldier in the field.
I'd like to introduce Corporal Jenkins to you but I can't. He's dead. No, he wasn't killed in combat in Iraq. He was killed in combat in his head. Corporal Jenkins committed suicide in 2005 after spiraling out of control and getting addicted to gambling, and writing bad checks to support his habit got him busted, thrown in the brig and scheduled for a court-martial. After he was released, pending his trial, he ran. On September 28, 2005, Corporal Jenkins was hiding out in his fiancee's apartment when a local deputy sheriff and US Marshal came to get him and take him back to jail. Rather than go back to jail, he shot himself in the temple.
Corporal Jenkins is not counted among the combat fatalities we see in the press. However, his death is as much a combat fatality as those men who were killed in the field. Corporal Jenkins' death led the United States Marine Corps to attempt to deny death benefits to Jenkins' family. They claimed he had died as a deserter. A Deserter.
This claim was refuted by an investigator from the Naval Criminal Investigation Service who described Jenkins as a "salvagable marine", who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PSTD. The investigator described Jenkins as a "bonafide war hero" and said that the military had failed him when he needed help most.
Thousands of soldiers suffer from PSTD, a condition which keeps soldiers from re-assimilating into society and often drives them away from their families, jobs and in some cases their lives. It is a affliction not new to soldiers in Iraq. Many veterans of combat in Viet Nam have been diagnosed with PSTD. It is a lasting nightmare for many veterans and their families.
Corporal Jenkins received no honor guard for his funeral. His remains are not interred in one of the many national cemetaries across this country. He is buried in a cemetary local to his community and close enough for his mother to visit his grave. Corporal Jenkins was 23 when he took his life.
No, Mr. Bush's legacy will not be in Africa. It is buried in the dirt along side Corporal James Jenkins, who, if still alive would be 26 years old.
Tell me what you think,
regards
Dennis

Thursday, February 14, 2008

340 Days



Okay ladies and gentlemen, we are less than a year away from Liberation Day! 340 days, 14 hours and 5 minutes from now (as I write this post), the books will close on arguably the worst presidency in the history of the United States. We'll be able to wish George and Laura "Bon Voyage" and watch them step on Air Force One for that final ride back to where ever the hell they will go.

I'm very hopeful about this. I have wanted nothing more for the last eight years than to see this man off the national stage and cease embarrassing this country. The damage he's done to the country internally and externally is almost incalculable. Inauguration day on January 20, 2009 will be a day when we will all be able to take a deep breath and utter those famous words of Gerald R. Ford: "Our Long National Nightmare is Over".

Won't it be a terrific day?

Regards,

Dennis

More Evidence John McCain is George Bush in a Hero Suit

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.' - Winston Smith in George Orwell's "1984".

Ok, so now we see the real John McCain. He has decided perhaps that the election is more important than principle, and is voting against the Intelligence Authorization bill which contains a provision describe a "standard for interrogation" that supports the use of the instructions in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding. The bill passed in the Senate 51-45, but is expected to be vetoed by the president.

John McCain isn't traveling on the "Straight Talk Express", He is traveling on the "Double Speak" Express. The man who surely is the most well known victim of torture as a Prisoner of War, has effectively endorsed the use of it against "our enemies".

This is the man the Republicans want to be president. This is George Bush redux. "America does not torture" - George W. Bush.


What a noble thought.


Tell me what you think,

Regards,
Dennis

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How Hillary Can Make History and Save the Democratic Party

Today is the "Potomac Primary", with delgate contests in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. By no means is the race for the delegates for the nomination of the Democrats to be the Presidential candidate in November over, but it's become increasingly evident that a clear winner in delegates may not emerge. Even if it does, there's a strong likelihood that the "super-delegates" will carry the day relative to who wins the nomination.

Senator Clinton's campaign lost 4 caucuses and primaries over last weekend. She will likely lose all three contests today. The momentum in the campaign has swung towards Senator Obama and unless Senator Clinton wins handily in Texas and Ohio, this contest may be effectively over.

Assuming I'm right, I see that there are basically three ways this could go:

1. Senator Obama wins the pledged delegates and the Super Delegates support him as the candidate to run against John McCain in November.
2. Senator Clinton stays close to Obama in terms of pledged delegates and sways the Super Delegates to support her to become the nominee.
3. This goes to the convention and there is a floor fight until someone comes out on top.

In my opinion, Senator Clinton doesn't win in any case described above. Oh, She might sway the super delegates to her side for the nomination, but the downstream impact of that would likely keep her from winning the general election. If she doesn't do anything and Senator Obama wins on his own, then she's essentially a non-player in future discussions regarding the ticket, policy or influence relative to the 2008 election.

My view is that Senator Clinton should continue through the March primaries, and if she doesn't win very big in Texas and Ohio, she should suspend her candidacy and throw her support to Obama.

Here's what could happen if she does.

1. She immediately gains credibility relative to her desire to see the Democrats win in November.
2. She immediately gains the gratitude and admiration of the Obama supporters (youth) and avoids them not staying home during the general election if she presses on to win the nomination.
3. She makes history in that she, she would have been the single most influential person to see Obama gain the nomination.
4. If Obama puts her on the ticket (he should), then she makes history again as the first woman in the 2nd highest office of the land.
5. She allows for the Democratic national committee to immediately organize around competing with John McCain.
6. She puts the relatively strong campaigning capabilities of Bill Clinton at Obama's disposal.
7. She is considered one of the top 2-3 Democrats relative to power in the party.

There is a whole lot of good that happens in my opinion should she choose to go that way. It gives us a great ticket and puts the Democrats in position to achieve a historic milestone: An African American President and a Female Vice-President.

We'll have to wait and see.

Tell me what you think,

Regards,
Dennis

You Decide

Much talk recently has been given to the matter of candidates "Flip-Flopping" on issues or statements they've made. In 2004, remember, John Kerry was eviscerated because he "Flip-Flopped" on the war. John McCain made much of Mitt Romney's "flippyness" during the primary season.

Please take a look at this video clip of St. John discussing the war in Iraq. Is he also a "Flip-Flopper"? You decide. Please click on the link below for the clip.

McCain’s Double Talk Express: A Day at the Beach

Monday, February 11, 2008

Barack Cleans Up

Another weekend, and another set of primaries and caucuses. It's a very interesting season for those of us who are political junkies. Barack Obama won all four contests over the weekend, picking up a healthy set of delegates. He won 69 more delegates for Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington, and has potential for picking up another 8-10 from Maine when all the votes are counted. Three caucuses (Maine, Nebraska, Washington) and one primary (Louisiana) have all gone Obama's way.

Mike Huckabee made a strong showing over the weekend, winning in Kansas and Louisiana. While important wins for Huckabee, he is still far behind the prohibitive front runner, Senator John McCain. McCain can't have liked seeing the populist evangelical former governor take Louisiana and Kansas, but seemingly doesn't have much to worry about at this point.

The Democratic race on the other hand is a complete toss-up. Obama is surging in the popular vote and racking up pledged delegates at a faster clip than Senator Clinton. The delegate count has swung his way as result of this past weekend's victories (943 for Obama and 895 for Clinton). Remember however, there are a significant number of 'Super-Delegates' slanted towards Hillary's way and that the total mentioned above doesn't include the votes from Michigan or Florida, who had their delegates stripped as a consequence of moving their primaries up. Clinton has been making noise about how the delegates/votes in Michigan and Florida should now count, and I think it's unlikely that the party leadership will allow this.

Obama has momentum. It's going to be very interesting over the next 20 primaries to see how this shapes out. Howard Dean, former governor from Vermont, and now head of the Democratic National Committee has said he believes there will be a nominee sometime in April. With big contests coming up in March in Ohio and Texas, the numbers could tighten up further as these are generally favorable toward Senator Clinton. It's going to be close, and some level of discussion among the candidates may ensue and one may withdraw in favor of the other. I see a ticket perhaps of Clinton/Obama. I don't see a Obama/Clinton ticket. I don't think Hillary would take the 2nd chair, although I could be wrong. If Obama is nominated I think he wins the general election. I don't think Hillary has another chance if that's the case, and it wouldn't be a bad thing for Hillary to be the first woman Vice President in US History.

Tell me what you think.

regards,
Dennis

Friday, February 08, 2008

Predictable? - No Way!

Well, so much for my prognostication capabilities. See this excerpt from my post on
Tuesday, October 30, 2007, (full post is below).
Prediction: Clinton vs. Giuliani in the general with Rudy winning by a small margin. Why? Beats the hell out of me.
Posted by Dennis at
6:44 AM 0 comments Links to this post
--------------------
I had "America's Mayor" winning the general election over Hillary. Turns out I was way off. Rudy's history, and it looks like Hillary is getting Obamacized.

We still don't know who will get the Democratic nomination. It will involve some deal making as both Obama and Clinton have effectively split the delegates to the point, the "super-delegates" will come into play in order to make a choice. I make no predictions on that.


John McCain is the prohibitive nominee for the Republicans. Barring some unforeseen 3rd party entrant (Bloomberg?), the contest this November will be against the Arizona Republican and either an African American Senator or a Female Senator. For the first time since John Kennedy was elected, America will vote to put a sitting Senator in the White House. It's a historic race, and one that at least according to the primaries is causing record turn-out among the voters. So why do I feel so depressed about this?

Tell me what you think,

Regards,
Dennis

Thursday, February 07, 2008

McCain & Romney Go Over The Line

Mitt Romney, one-time governor of Massachusetts, one-time presidential candidate, bowed out of the race for the Republican nomination for President today. In his speech explaining his reasoning, he as almost every other candidate who has left the contest, came up with another reason for withdrawing than the obvious one: He was getting beat senseless, spending his own money and couldn't win. He said that he was withdrawing now because a long, protracted fight for the nomination might allow Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to win the presidency and he couldn't support this because it would lead to surrender to terrorists if either Clinton or Obama won.

Yes, he really said this. Ok, Mitt go "Cheney Yourself".

Now for John McCain. I used to somewhat respect this man . I thought his "maverick" streak was a sign of principled standing on issues that were counter to conventional wisdom or party dogma. I was wrong. Turns out, McCain is just a contrary old bastard. He's not independent, he's not even principled. He's turned his back on almost every statement he made before in order to win the nomination and maybe the presidency. Why? Because the egomaniac wants desparately to be president and get over the humiliation of losing to George W. Bush in 2000. Yeah John, that's a memory I would want to get over as well.

Well, Mr. McCain, you too came out today and accused the Democrats of being appeasers and surrender-monkeys. Shame on you. You know damn well that neither Obama nor Clinton nor anyone in this country who is against this amazing cluster-fuck in Iraq are appeasers or in favor of surrender. What Obama and Clinton are supporting is what the country is supporting: Getting out of this quagmire and not allowing another US soldier to die for George Bush's folly.



You should be ashamed of yourself. You, who suffered imprisonment and torture at the hands of an autocratic regime should know that War is not the answer to our problems. Certainly, this war in Iraq is not the answer. You say we have to stay, even if it is for 100 years. You say we have to stay until we have "victory". What is "victory"? No one has been able to explain that. You sir, have signed on to a foolish attempt to change the thoughts, hearts and minds of a people who wanted none of it. You have signed on to the deaths of almost 4000 US military, the maiming of over 30 thousand US military and God knows how many Iraqi civilians who have died as a result of our invasion. So what we got rid of Saddam? All we have done by removing him is change the name and faces of the killers. The killing continues. The country is in tatters. There is no functioning government. The unemployment rate is over 50%. The infrastructure of the country (water, power, roads) are demolished. Oil production is STILL belo pre-war levels. Is this progress? Is this intelligent?

You sir have sacrificed any credibility you may have had by signing on to the Bush view of the world that you are simply a caricature of your former "hero" self. Maverick? Independent? Principled? No fucking way.

I am so tired of you, Romney and all conservatives who think the only answer is an American answer and if you don't like that, "we'll ruin you financially (through sanction), kill you through dropping cluster bombs, then invade you until you see things our way. " It's high time for your sad, immoral and idiotic ilk to get out of Washington and let someone else have a crack at this. They certainly couldn't do worse than you morons.



Respectfully,

Dennis Sherrard

ps: 2/8 update - This picture really sums up the depths that John McCain will go to get "in" with the uber-conservative neocons. It's pretty disgusting that someone wants a job so bad he'll degrade himself to the point of embracing this walking pile of refuse.