Archive for: April, 2008

The Day in Superdelegates

Apr 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

Today has been a busy day for endorsements of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Here is a brief recap of who endorsed whom. Hillary Clinton picked up two superdelegates today one from Pennsylvania, Bill George, and the other was Democratic vice Chair Luisette Cabañas.

Cabañas said of Clinton, “Today I endorse Hillary Clinton for President because of her strong win in Pennsylvania. She has shown a firm conviction and the character needed to lead the nation. Her proposals for Puerto Rico, particularly those related to healthcare, are the best by far of any candidate in history.”

Barack Obama picked up three superdelegates, who are all members of Congress. Reps. Bruce Braley, Baron Hill, and Lois Capps all endorsed Obama.

“It’s hard not to be excited about Barack Obama. On a cold January night, and again during Saturday’s First District Convention in Iowa, I saw countless people participating in the political process for the very first time because they were so inspired by Senator Obama’s unique ability to transcend the politics of fear and division that have crippled this country for the past eight years,” Braley said.

Rep. Capps talked about the difficulty of her choice, “This wasn’t an easy decision for me. Democrats were blessed this year with many talented and capable candidates, and I believe both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama would make fine presidents. But Sen. Obama’s proven judgment, his hopeful vision for America, and his unmatched ability to motivate millions of Americans eager for change made the choice for me.”

Even on a day when Sen. Clinton rolls out two superdelegate endorsements, Sen. Obama counters with three. Clinton’s momentum has quickly faded after her win in Pennsylvania. I don’t think anything short of running the table will help her look like a credible alternative to Obama, who now only needs 285 delegates to clinch the nomination.

The best thing for the party would if Obama could wrap up the nomination on his own before June. In order for this to happen, there is going to need to be a parade of superdelegates, or Obama is going to have to start piling up huge margins of victory in the remaining contests. Any way you cut it, it looks like the Democratic Party needs to start getting behind Obama, and preparing for John McCain and the general election.

Clinton endorsement:

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=7409

Obama endorsements:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGCnT9

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Pena on Clinton’s Gas Tax Holiday “Gimmick”

Apr 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

Barack Obama supporter, and former Clinton Energy Secretary, Federico Peña released a statement today about what he called Hillary Clinton’s gas tax holiday, “gimmick.”

“Today we’re seeing another example of Washington politics at its worst. Senator Clinton is running TV ads and launching repeated attacks on Barack Obama for not supporting the gas tax holiday she’s supporting, but today her own aides told the Washington Post that they know that this is a questionable plan and that they are using it to make it appear they’re against big oil,” Peña said.

He called the Clinton/McCain plan a pandering insult to people’s intelligence, “The Clinton gas tax gimmick does little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and will actually increase oil prices. It is the kind of pandering that insults people’s intelligence. With energy prices skyrocketing, we’re looking for real solutions—not political posturing to get elected.”

I expected this kind of empty headed pandering from a candidate with no ideas, such as John McCain, but if Hillary Clinton was half the candidate that she claimed to be, she would never stoop this low. Clinton is obviously so desperate now that she is willing to invent issues about debates and gas tax holidays just to try to get ahead of Obama.

I think what everybody forgets when they talk about this issue is that since none of these candidates will be president this summer, so this whole discussion is nothing more than fantasy. We have been down the gas tax holiday road before, and it doesn’t work. Gasoline is not expensive because it is overtaxed, but because the price has been jacked up due to an over speculative market. The reason why the price is so high is because people would rather go bankrupt at the pump, than change their consumption patterns.

Gas tax holidays aren’t the answer, but electing a president that will promote a new energy strategy that will cut consumption and develop alternative fuels is. Neither Clinton nor McCain is interested in finding solutions to the nation’s problems. A gas tax holiday would create more problems than it solves, and this is why it has zero chance of ever happening.

Pena statement:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/stateupdates/gGCnkF

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New Legislation Aims to Protect U.S. Troops from Soft Porn

Apr 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

With the U.S. armed forces stretched to their limits fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the debate in the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the funding of these operations has stalled. Although the Democrats took control of the House in January 2007, efforts to cut off funding remain mired in intra-party disagreements. Meanwhile, one Republican Congressman has introduced legislation of grave importance to our troops deployed overseas – if passed, the “Military Honor and Decency Act” will ban the sale of Playboy and Penthouse on military bases.

It’s currently illegal under the 1997 Defense Authorization Act to sell “sexually explicit” material on military bases. Magazines like Playboy and Penthouse have thus far been permitted because they contain substantial non-sexual content. Intent on closing this so-called loophole, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-GA) announced his bill in this April 17 press release:

“As a Marine, I am deeply concerned for the welfare of our troops and their mission,” said Broun. “Allowing the sale of pornography on military bases has harmed military men and women by: escalating the number of violent, sexual crimes; feeding a base addiction; eroding the family as the primary building block of society; and denigrating the moral standing of our troops both here and abroad. Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit. The ‘Military Honor and Decency Act’ will right a bureaucratic–and moral–wrong.”

Broun is a medical doctor by profession, serving his first term in the House after being elected in a district where the previous Congressman died. One would be hard-pressed to question a former Marine’s dedication to the welfare of the troops, but Broun’s claim that pornography is responsible for sexual violence is highly dubious. Living in 2008, most Americans have had easy access to internet pornography for about a decade. There is no evidence of a correlating increase in sex crimes over that period. Even noted feminist Naomi Wolf has observed that widely-available porn has not transformed men into sexual predators – if anything, it’s turned off men’s interest in real, live women.

But judging from Rep. Broun’s official congressional web site, he’s not so much interested in the welfare of the troops as he is in enforcing morality. Broun proclaims to have a four-point test that he applies to any legislation that comes before him: 1) Is it Moral/Right? 2) Is it Constitutional? 3) Is it Necessary? 4) Is it Affordable? Broun is certainly entitled to establish any criteria he chooses for voting on a bill, but it doesn’t inspire confidence that the constitutionality of proposed legislation isn’t his primary concern.

According to Newsweek, Broun drafted the “Military Honor and Decency Act” after receiving a complaint from a constituent who saw an officer buying a dirty magazine at a military exchange store in front of her children. Moved by this woman’s anguish, Broun immediately set about ensuring no child would ever again be subjected to this horrible vision – an adult man in uniform purchasing a magazine featuring photos of women without uniforms.

Broun’s spokesman, John Kennedy, tried to spin the bill as a matter of concern over taxpayer dollars, which are “used to pay military salaries, so taxpayer money is, in effect, being used to buy these materials.” Taxpayer dollars are frequently disbursed to private citizens in the form of unemployment benefits, disaster assistance, and student loans. If Broun truly intends to regulate individual expenditures of such funds, he’s going to have his hands full.

The main issue is whether or not U.S. troops, including those deployed overseas, should be able to purchase nudie mags on base with their own money. Obviously, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are basically celibate – their spouses aren’t deployed with them in war zones, and their dating options are severely limited. It’s worth noting that Broun, like most Republicans, is a reliable supporter of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and believes we need to complete both missions. In other words, Broun is willing to continue funding two controversial wars, but he draws the line at allowing soldiers to buy soft porn magazines. That’s a very peculiar theory of fiscal conservatism.

But is it moral/right? According to Broun it is, and that’s the most important thing.

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Indiana Congressman Endorses Barack Obama

Apr 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

Rep. Baron Hill, another superdelegate, has announced his support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama today.

Hill said, “Some have advised me to be cautious, to wait and see which way the electoral winds may blow. I confess that I have listened to those voices and been tempted by their reasoning. But, the stakes are just too high. We cannot continue to pursue the same politics of personal destruction we have engaged in for a generation, some never-ending “groundhog day” endlessly playing out the cultural wars of forty years ago.”

Hill said Obama comments on Rev. Wright yesterday revealed strength of character, “His comments regarding statements made by Reverend Wright showed me another aspect of Senator Obama’s leadership – strength of character and commitment to our nation that transcends the personal. One of the tests of a true leader is his ability and willingness to come to a new conclusion based on new events. Senator Obama did just that yesterday.”

His also mentioned his belief that Obama can bring about change, “I believe Senator Obama has the capability to change the tone and tenor of politics in Washington. I believe that he can and will work with both parties and elevate the level of public discourse. Hoosiers are independent people who want to see civility and common-sense solutions implemented in Washington. Like us, Senator Obama strives to put the good of the country before the good of a particular political party.”

There are a couple of interesting points to be made about Rep. Hill’s endorsement. First, it seems that many superdelegates watched how Obama dealt with the Rev. Wright flare up. Wright has served one useful purpose. His comments provided Obama with a tough personal decision. Secondly, Hill is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, which is a group of 47 moderate to conservative Democrats who are focused on finding the middle ground on issues.

Hill, and Rep. Chandler, who endorsed him yesterday, is not a liberal Democrat. They are Democrats who are interested in bi-partisanship, and issues like the budget deficit. These are the kind of endorsements that Hillary Clinton hoped to get, but are going to Obama because they believe that he can work better with Republicans. Hill is Obama’s 246th superdelegate, and the campaign is now 288 delegates short of the nomination.

Read the full endorsement:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGCn2r

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PA Superdelegate Endorses Clinton but Will Support Obama in the fall

Apr 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

Pennsylvania superdelegate, Bill George, who is also president of the PA AFL-CIO has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

George said that he is supporting Clinton because of the way she won working class voters in the state, “By winning Pennsylvania by a majority of 55 percent to 45 percent and by an even larger margin 59 percent to 41 percent among working families it would be disingenuous for me not to commit my vote for Senator Clinton.”

George said that working families can’t survive another four years of Republican rule, “Working families cannot survive four more years of George Bush economic and foreign policies under a John McCain presidency. Senator Clinton is the best equipped to beat Senator John McCain in a general election and deliver real solutions to the challenges facing the working families of Pennsylvania and the nation.”

The little nugget that you won’t find in the Clinton press release on this endorsement is that George promised today to support Barack Obama when he is the nominee, “At the conclusion of this primary process if Senator Obama is the candidate and not Senator Clinton, I will dedicate my energies to electing him.”

This endorsement isn’t really about Hillary Clinton being the best Democratic candidate, but a superdelegate carrying out the wish of the voters in his state. This is certainly a less than ringing vote of support. The race seems to be getting back to where it was before PA. The air is certainly out of the Clinton balloon. I think that even her supporters know that her campaignis surviving on a state by state basis now.

If Clinton loses Indiana and North Carolina, no matter what the numbers say, it is over. Since Pennsylvania Obama has picked up 7 superdelegates, with one more coming today, and Clinton has picked up 5. The only thing her win in Pennsylvania has done is to prolong a process that most people feel should have ended long ago.

George’s Endorsement:

http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?beat=BEAT_GOVERNMENT&view=LATEST&resourceid=3722206

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Kentucky Superdelegate Rep. Chandler Endorses Obama

Apr 29 2008 Published by under Featured News

Congressman Ben Chandler announced his endorsement of Barack Obama today.

The superdelegate said of Obama, “Today I am pleased to announce my support and to offer my endorsement to Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States. I have listened to this man, I have met with him and like many of you, I am inspired by his message of change and of hope for our future. But more importantly, I am convinced Barack Obama will provide the steady hand and leadership we need to chart a new path for our nation.”

Chandler continued, “In these tough economic times, when many in our nation and right here in Kentucky are struggling to make ends meet and to provide for their families, too much is at stake for us to do nothing. I hope all Kentuckians and citizens throughout the nation will join with me in firmly supporting Barack Obama to lead our nation to a better future and to a place of respect for our country around the world.”

Obama complimented Chandler’s work fighting to pass Meagan’s Law, “When he served as Kentucky Attorney General, he fought to pass Megan’s Law and protect women and children, and he took action to protect the elderly from patient abuse and neglect. I look forward to working with Ben to strengthen our middle class and to keep our sacred trust with our past and present servicemen and women.”

Chandler is Obama’s 244th superdelegate. This means that Obama is only 288 delegates away from locking up the Democratic nomination. Every day, it seems like another superdelegate goes Obama’s way.

I think the writing is clearly on the wall that barring some sort of strange events, every day more superdelegates are ready to make Barack Obama the 2008 standard bearer for the Democratic Party. No matter what kind of math Hillary Clinton uses, this race looks over.

Read the endorsement:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGCJpb

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Obama Moves Closer to Fully Denouncing Rev. Wright

Apr 29 2008 Published by under Featured News

Today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama used his strongest language yet to denounce his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

During a news conference Obama was asked about Wright’s speech yesterday at the National Press Club.”I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” Obama said. He said that after watching the tape, “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago… What became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for.”

Obama then moved even closer to flat out denouncing Wright, “I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he’s done enormous good. … But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. … There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced.”

For Obama, this isn’t about his opponents doing damage to him because of his relationship with Wright. It can be argued that neither Clinton nor McCain have been able to do as much damage to Obama as Wright has over the past few days. It is starting to look like either Barack didn’t pay much attention in church, or he never anticipated that his former pastor would someday want to be a celebrity.

It isn’t even Wright’s extreme views on the U.S. government that cause as many problems for Obama as the fact that Wright seems determined to paint Obama as just another politician. I thought Obama was more understanding than he had to be towards Wright in his Philadelphia speech, and Wright has repaid this kindness by trying to cut Obama off at the knees.

Judging by today’s comments it looks like Obama is moving closer to a full denouncement of Wright. The only way to end Wright’s 15 minutes of fame is for Obama to completely break his association with him in the most direct terms imaginable.

Obama quotes came from:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/29/AR2008042901505.html?hpid=topnews

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The McCain Healthcare Plan: Tax Credits

Apr 29 2008 Published by under Featured News

Today, John McCain trotted out the same old “healthcare reform” that Republicans have been pushing for years. How would McCain help the 48 million people who currently lack health insurance? Once again, tax credits are his answer for everything.

McCain’s plan would not provide coverage for the uninsured, but would also destroy the employer based healthcare system, by making the employer insurance tax credit voluntary and replacing it with an individual tax credit.

“Every year, they would receive a tax credit directly, with the same cash value of the credits for employees in big companies, in a small business, or self-employed. You simply choose the insurance provider that suits you best. By mail or online, you would then inform the government of your selection. And the money to help pay for your health care would be sent straight to that insurance provider. The health plan you chose would be as good as any that an employer could choose for you. It would be yours and your family’s health-care plan, and yours to keep,” McCain said.

McCain continued, “The value of that credit — 2,500 dollars for individuals, 5,000 dollars for families — would also be enhanced by the greater competition this reform would help create among insurance companies. Millions of Americans would be making their own health-care choices again. Insurance companies could no longer take your business for granted, offering narrow plans with escalating costs. It would help change the whole dynamic of the current system, putting individuals and families back in charge, and forcing companies to respond with better service at lower cost.”

Here is the major problem with McCain’s plan. In order to qualify for the tax credit a person would first have to buy an insurance policy. If you can’t afford an insurance policy, then you get no credit. This plan in essence does nothing to help the people who can’t afford health insurance. In fact, his plan would make the healthcare crisis worse, by taking away the employer incentive to provide healthcare. McCain’s idea is to pass the burden on to individuals.

After McCain’s speech, Hillary Clinton said, “John McCain is proposing a radical plan that would mean millions of Americans would lose their job-based coverage: The McCain plan eliminates the policies that hold the employer-based health insurance system together, so while people might have a ‘choice’ of getting such coverage , employers would have no incentive to provide it. This means 158 million Americans with job-based coverage today could be at risk of losing the insurance they have come to depend upon.”

The McCain plan is just another Republican shell game to reward business at the expense of the individual. McCain wants to say that he is different from Bush, but in this case, he is offering average Americans the exact same screw job that they have been getting for the past 7+ years.

I don’t care which Democrat you support, McCain’s healthcare plan is further evidence of why he must be stopped in November.

McCain’s Speech:

http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/News/Speeches/2c3cfa3a-748e-4121-84db-28995cf367da.htm

Hillary Clinton Statement:

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=7373

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Why Drilling in ANWR Won’t Help the Price of Oil

Apr 29 2008 Published by under Featured News

At his news conference this morning in the White House Rose Garden, President Bush passed off the blame for the bad economy to the Democratic Congress, and advocated drilling in ANWR to solve our energy problems.

“It’s a tough time for our economy. Across our country, many Americans are understandably anxious about issues affecting their pocketbook, from gas and food prices to mortgage and tuition bills. They’re looking to their elected leaders in Congress for action. Unfortunately, on many of these issues, all they’re getting is delay, Bush said.

His answer to the gas prices issue doesn’t seem to be 18 cent a gallon federal gas tax holiday as advocated by Clinton and McCain, but an even worse idea, which is drilling in ANWR.

Bush and supporters of drilling treat it like a cure all, but a 2004 Energy Department study found that even if drilling started today, to would take 9 years for it to have any economy benefit and 20 years for it to reach peak production. Once it does reach peak production, the benefit would be a 50 cent drop in the price of a barrel of oil, and that benefit would last for 3 years. Drilling for more oil is not the answer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) laid out three steps the president could take to improve the economy, “The President can take three actions today to help our economy: lower gas prices by halting deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; save 116,000 green jobs and create hundreds of thousands more by dropping his veto threat from House legislation creating tax credits for renewable energy; and come to the table to help pass major reforms to our home lending industry which allow Americans at risk of foreclosure to affordably refinance, and to stabilize neighborhoods in foreclosure crisis.”

I think playing the blame game does no good here. President Bush doesn’t want to do anything about the economy, or gas prices. To an old oil man like himself, this is the free market in action.

He is immune to the pain of the American people. When Bush speaks like this, it is easy to see why the American people feel ignored. Bush is once again promoting an ideological solution over practical ones that would help Americans keep their homes, jobs, and if they are lucky enough to still have a job or home, gas to get to and from each.

Bush’s Press Conference:

www.whitehouse.gov

Pelosi Statement:

http://speaker.house.gov/newsroom/pressreleases?id=0632

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Sen. Jeff Bingaman Endorses Barack Obama

Apr 28 2008 Published by under Featured News

Obama picked up another superdelegate, this time in a critical swing state. Today Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) announced his endorsement of Barack Obama.

Bingaman said, “Our nation faces a daunting number of critical challenges: reasserting America’s leadership in the world, meeting our needs for energy independence, addressing global warming, making healthcare accessible and affordable, positioning our economy to effectively compete globally, and extricating ourselves from the war in Iraq, to name a few.”

The New Mexico Senator continued, “To make progress, we must rise above the partisanship and the issues that divide us to find common ground. We must move the country in a dramatically new direction. I strongly believe Barack Obama is best positioned to lead the nation in that new direction.”

Obama thanked Bingaman for his support, and praised his work on environmental and energy policy, “I’m grateful today to have Senator Bingaman’s support. Senator Bingaman has been speaking out in the United States Senate on some of the most pressing issues of our time – saving our environment, fighting global warming, and making America energy independent. Senator Bingaman has been an important advocate in the energy debate, and has served the people of New Mexico for decades, giving voice to the issues that matter to families across the state. We are proud to have his support as we fight to bring about real change for families in New Mexico and across the country.”

Bingaman isn’t a high profile senator, in fact he is the longest serving junior senator, but he has been a strong advocate for a new energy policy, cutting subsidies to big oil, and he has been a real leader and shaper of the Democratic Senate’s environmental positions. Not only is he a popular senator in a swing state, but he is someone whose support Obama will find valuable in the fall against John McCain.

Bingaman’s Endorsement:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGCpYk

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