Please VOTE TODAY!

While I would MUCH RATHER you vote for President Obama  (OR Gary Johnson or Jill Stein), I believe everyone who is eligible to vote and believes they can make an informed decision should vote. I actually agree with the Republican Party that there is a clear choice, though I would phrase as a choice between the President’s policies that have been inching us towards a better United States versus the Romney/Ryan’s ticket determination to repeat the same failed policies of George W. Bush that led us into the Iraq War and the 2008 bank crash.

If you haven’t voted yet and live in Alaska, see http://www.elections.alaska.gov/vi_w_polls.php for your voting place. If you haven’t registered yet, you CAN still vote for President. See http://www.elections.alaska.gov/vi_hv_vote_pres.php for details. Then grab your unregistered friends who HAVE NOT VOTED ABSENTEE in another state and head for the polls.

Don’t live in Alaska? Check out these voting resources:

  • Vote411. Plug in your address and find out where your polling station is and information about your registration.
  • An interactive map with hundreds of links to state-by-state election websites, including voter guides, provisional voting information and polling place hours and locations.
  • Republican Party Vote Help Page – No 800 number located
  • 1-800-311-8683 Voter Help Line set up by the Democratic Party
  • 1-866-MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831)
  • 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
  • 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

 

Next Tuesday, I’m Voting to Reelect President Obama

Starting several months ago, I explained that I moved away from my early 2012 search for a different candidate and decided I’d be donating to the Obama campaign as well as voting for him. If there’s even one undecided voter reading this blog, I’d like to explain again why I’m voting for President Obama, despite a number of serious policy differences with him.

Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan does an excellent job of laying out rationale I agree with in a post called “The Moral Case for Obama.” The short version is:

  • President Obama is working towards Universal Health Care. Sullivan wants to see a Massachusetts model, I want single payer. But the President is going in a direction both of us want. Governor Romney and the Republicans want to repeal what little progress has been made. They talk about “Repeal and Replace”, but haven’t been specific about what would be replaced or how they would pay for it.
  • President Obama has publicly renounced waterboarding and tactics generally considered torture. Governor Romney wants to bring these tactics back AND the Bush security team that created them in the first place. I’m not embracing anyone who will bring back torture.
  • While both President Obama and Governor Romney have unacceptably low bars for a “pre-emptive” invasion against Iran, President Obama’s is higher than Romney’s. Also, not only are 17 of 24 of Romney’s foreign policy advisers holdovers from the GWB administration that brought us Iraq, but Romney has called Cheney a “person of wisdom and judgment.” The man who moved heaven and earth to attack a country with no role in 9/11. A country that not only did not have nuclear weapons as he claimed, but no nuclear program at all. The man who more anyone, stained our country with officially sanctioned torture – “person of wisdom and judgment.” Embracing the Cheney legacy ought to be disqualification enough.

To these reasons I add the President’s support for equal rights for gays and lesbians. He followed through on working with Congress to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell. His administration dropped its defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), an act so obviously unconstitutional and anti-states rights that even deeply conservative judges rule against it. While the President has no legislative role, he has come to embrace marriage equality in a convincing way. Governor Romney and Congressional Republicans not only want to insert the Federal government against marriage equality, they want to return to the days when we wasted military resources attempting to purge the services of gay and lesbian members.

If you agree with the above but are considering voting for Romney because he’ll create more jobs than Obama, consider this: Romney’s publicly disclosed plans of less regulation and lower taxes for the wealthy is exactly what George W. Bush promised in 2001 and 2005. Congress went along, we implemented his program. The program that is basically Romney’s program – compare Bush 2004 to Romney 2012 if you don’t believe me. We implemented the main points of Romney’s plan and got the crash of 2008 for our trouble. Please, please, don’t take us down that road again! Vote for President Obama.

Gov. Romney – I’m better off and so is the country

For a number of days now, I’ve been hearing people talk about whether they’re better off than four years ago. At first I wasn’t sure what started this Reaganesque conversation. Then I learned it was from Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech:

That is why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction: “you are better off today than you were four years ago.”
Except Jimmy Carter. And except this president.

[Daniel – He forgot President George HW Bush aka Bush Senior, who was President during a recession and lost his bid for a second term.]

This president can ask us to be patient.

This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault.

This president can tell us that the next four years he’ll get it right.

But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office.

I could spend a whole blog post questions the odd conditions that Romney placed on “Are you better off than four years ago?” Why should we start with the Great Depression? Why would only second termers ask this question? If your wealth rose but your sons were killed in Vietnam, were you really better off? Is an endless upward economic path a realistic expectation for any country? And so on. But instead I choose to answer the Governor’s question.

For my wife and I, we are better off. We’re both gainfully employed, able to fund our various hobbies and have full health coverage. For the first time in two decades, our wages slightly outpaced inflation. We have more savings now than we did four years ago.

In the country as a whole, children can no longer be denied health insurance for preexisting conditions. They can stay on their parents insurance until age 26, allowing them more savings for an independent life.

But these are only the only the material gains and I strongly believe that cannot be the only measure. I feel the country is better off because:

  • We finally got out of the endless stalemate that was Iraq.
  • We finally have a plan in place to leave Afghanistan, the other quagmire. It’s taking us longer than the Soviets, but that’s the price of a democracy.
  • Gays and Lesbians can serve openly in our armed forces, increasing the pool of talent and ending the waste of resources in ending don’t ask don’t tell.
  • We stopped torture as an official policy.
  • We have placed some modest regulations on the banks who brought us the 2008 meltdown. I don’t think there enough, but there is more protection than there was in 2008.

Romney’s reference to the 1980 campaign as relevant to today is part of why I’d never vote for him. The former governor is stuck looking backwards. His economic plans are identical to what George W. Bush offered us. Plans that raised the debt and contributed to the 2008 crash. His foreign policy of obsessing on Russia is pure 1980s, except where he has Bush’s failed yet unrepentant foreign policy team. I haven’t seen anything in his campaign that appears to address today’s problems. Even if I thought I was worse off than I was four years ago, I wouldn’t opt for the same failed policies drove us to the brink of economic and moral bankruptcy.

Let’s go forward. Vote to re-elect President Obama. We can fix his shortcomings after the election.

President Obama, I’m in

The Supreme Court’s affirmation of the Affordable Care Act, and the subsequent reaction to the rule by Mitt Romney and the Congressional Republicans has finally given me the enthusiasm for President Obama’s reelection that I had been lacking. I can now vote FOR Obama rather than simply AGAINST Romney (which in my view would have required marking the ballot for Obama).

The choice is made very clear. If you support these measures:

List of benefits under the Affordable Care Act

then you need to vote for President Obama, in part because his veto of repeal may be needed.

If you want repeal and go back to having children rejected coverage for preexisting conditions, reopen the donut hole for seniors and other conditions the Affordable Care Act has or is scheduled to remedy, then vote for Mitt Romney.

I’m personally for single payer and don’t think the Affordable Care Act goes far enough. But it is a good start on making sure more people have health coverage and that they’re not chained to a specific job to maintain coverage. That deserves protection and that’s why I’ve set up a monthly recurring donation to the Obama campaign now through November.

We are not a people who fear the future


Happy 4th of July everyone! Earlier this week I started sketching out a blog posting about today about all the people we need to thank for our freedom and independence we first earned 233 years ago.

But I’m currently joining about 650,000 of my fellow Alaskans in processing the puzzling news of our Governor’s resignation and don’t have extra writing capacity at the moment.

Fortunately, President Obama’s Independence Day greeting celebrates many of the qualities of America I intended to highlight today. My favorite line from this speech was:

“We are not a people who fear the future. We are a people who make it.”

Speeches like this remind me of why I voted for President Obama. The proclamations that we should be fearful and rely on the government’s power have been replace with acknowledgment that our “can-do” spirit can overcome serious problems. And that the solutions to our problems will be a group effort with meaningful citizen participation.

Although I have posted the video, I encourage you to read the full transcript.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Reason 18 to Vote Obama: Eight is Enough!

Today is November 3, 2008. Tomorrow is Election Day in these United States of America. Eighteen weeks ago I dedicated myself to giving you a reason a week to vote for Barack Obama for our next President. Today is my last post on this subject.

All of the 17 reason I’m listing at the end of this post are important reasons for voting for Senator Obama. I hope you’ll consider them and if they speak to you, then vote to put Obama in the White House. But if you believe as I do that this country has run off the rails since 2001 under the leadership of President Bush, then you need to vote for Barack Obama. Senator McCain has been promising change. He has been promising reform.

But what change and what reform? What specific things will he do differently from President Bush? I’ve asked that question in this space and other places for almost a year now. And none of my McCain supporting friends (yes, I have some) can give me an answer. Challenges on blogs go unanswered. It seems reasonable to assume McCain is offering us more of the same. Especially when you consider:

  • Senator McCain has voted with President Bush’s positions more than 90% of the time in the past several years.
  • Tucker Eskew, the man that destroyed McCain in South Carolina in 2000 for the Bush campaign, has been a trusted McCain campaign aid since Labor Day.
  • Karl Rove is an active adviser to the McCain campaign.

Same policies, same divisive politics. A Bush third term. Perhaps run more competently, but the same path. If you’ve enjoyed the last eight years and think the country needs nothing more than a few minor tweaks, then please vote for Senator McCain with my full respect. You’ve analyzed what you want and believe that McCain will be faithful to whatever positive aspects of the Bush administration you believe in. I don’t agree with you, but I respect your position.

If the last eight years have left you in dismay; if you believe that the Bush Administration has trashed our military and our reputation on ruinous, optional wars, secret prisons and secret torture; if you believe our liberties have been compromised without increasing our security; if you’re tired of politics that brands dissent as treason, then for all that’s self consistent, vote for Barack Obama as our next President. He has told us how he will be different and change our county’s policies. John McCain has not. If you honestly believe that Eight is Enough, then join me on the path out of our national nightmare and vote Barack Obama for President!

And, just in case you missed any of my other reasons to vote for Obama, here they are. PLEASE READ THEM before voting:

18 Reasons to Vote Obama / 1 – Respect for Others

Reason 2 to Vote Obama: Support Disabled

Reason 3 to Vote Obama: Transparency!

Reason 4 to Vote Obama: He is Pro-Family

Reason 5 to Vote Obama: Better Health Care

Reason 6 to Vote Obama: Better Energy Plans

Reason 7 to Vote Obama: It’s Fiscally Responsible

Reason 8 to Vote Obama: For Hillary Supporters

Reason 9 to Vote Obama: Empathy

Reason 10 to Vote Obama: Better Care for Vets

Reason 11 to Vote Obama: Engage the Country

Reason 12 to Vote Obama: Help Rural America

Reason 13 to Vote Obama: He Understands Technology!

Reason 14 to Vote Obama: Meaningful Homeland Security

Reason 15 to Vote Obama: Ending the Occupation

Reason 16 to Vote Obama: More Effective Military

Reason 17 to Vote Obama: Restore Foreign Policy

Reason 17 to Vote Obama: Restore Foreign Policy

Ideally, I’d like to see American foreign policy mostly conformed to what Fareed Zakaria outlined in his book the Post-American World, which envisioned a strong United States successfully managing the “rise of the rest” to remain a leading power and center of innovation and ideals.

Because of this I am voting for Barack Obama for President. While I don’t agree with everything he lays out at http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/, I believe he lays out a number of ways for us to restore our influence and prestige, including:

  • Talk to our Foes and Friends: Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe. He will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table, and that he is willing to lead. And if America is willing to come to the table, the world will be more willing to rally behind American leadership to deal with challenges like terrorism, and Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs.
  • Expand our Diplomatic Presence: To make diplomacy a priority, Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world – particularly in Africa. He will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.
  • Fight Global Poverty: Obama will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and he will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. He will help the world’s weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth.
  • Seek New Partnerships in Asia: Obama will forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements, such as the six-party talks on North Korea. He will maintain strong ties with allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia; work to build an infrastructure with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity; and work to ensure that China plays by international rules.
  • Consultative Group: Obama will convene a bipartisan Consultative Group of leading members of Congress to foster better executive-legislative relations and bipartisan unity on foreign policy. This group will be comprised of the congressional leadership of both political parties, and the chair and ranking members of the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Appropriations Committees. This group will meet with the president once a month to review foreign policy priorities, and will be consulted in advance of military action.
  • Promote Democracy in Cuba and Throughout the Hemisphere: Barack Obama will support democracy that is strong and sustainable in the day to day lives of the people of the Americas. In the case of Cuba, he will empower our best ambassadors of freedom by allowing unlimited Cuban-American family travel and remittances to the island. Using aggressive and principled bilateral diplomacy he will also send an important message: if a post-Fidel government takes significant steps toward democracy, beginning with freeing all political prisoners, the U.S. is prepared to take steps to normalize relations and ease the embargo that has governed relations between our countries for the last five decades. Throughout the hemisphere, Obama will increase support for the building blocks of durable democracies—strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, and the rule of law.

Despite the end of the cold war, nuclear weapons remain an issue. This issue has added urgency when you consider that states like Russia and Pakistan have unsecured nuclear weapons. These are the places where terrorists are likelist to find a weapon for sale — not in countries that are years away from prototypes. Senator Obama understands this, as can be seen on this section of his foreign policy page:

Nuclear Weapons

  • A Record of Results: The gravest danger to the American people is the threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon and the spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes. Obama has taken bipartisan action to secure nuclear weapons and materials:
    1. He joined Senator Dick Lugar in passing a law to help the United States and our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world.
    2. He joined Senator Chuck Hagel to introduce a bill that seeks to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
    3. And while other candidates have insisted that we should threaten to drop nuclear bombs on terrorist training camps, Obama believes that we must talk openly about nuclear weapons – because the best way to keep America safe is not to threaten terrorists with nuclear weapons, it’s to keep nuclear weapons away from terrorists.
  • Secure Loose Nuclear Materials from Terrorists: Obama will secure all loose nuclear materials in the world within four years. While we work to secure existing stockpiles of nuclear material, Obama will negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material. This will deny terrorists the ability to steal or buy loose nuclear materials.
  • Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Obama will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions.
  • Toward a Nuclear Free World: Obama will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But he will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. He will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global.

There are many challenges in American foreign policy and so there is much more available on Obama’s foreign policy page. Look it over and come back and tell me what you think. If you disagree, great. But tell me why and what you (or your candidate) would do differently. It isn’t enough to be against something, we must be FOR something.

Obama was right when he stated:

This must be the moment when we answer the call of history. For eight years, we have paid the price for a foreign policy that lectures without listening; that divides us from one another – and from the world – instead of calling us to a common purpose; that focuses on our tactics in fighting a war without end in Iraq instead of forging a new strategy to face down the true threats that we face. We cannot afford four more years of a strategy that is out of balance and out of step with this defining moment.”

— Barack Obama, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2008

He has the ideas and energy to do something both different and positive. For this reason alone Barack Obama deserves your vote on November 4, 2008. Or before then if your state has early voting!