By Senators Request

I always encourage constituents to contact their representatives. In an editorial by State Senator Brandon Shaffer, he asked for his constituents to “engage in a dialog” with him on issues in the upcoming legislative session. Here’s one, don’t waste time playing games with the Electoral College (EC). It was attempted in 2004 with a ballot initiative that would split up the EC votes by statewide popular vote, and lost. It’s been tried behind voter’s backs in the Senate, throwing all of our EC votes behind the national popular vote, and lost. Senator Shaffer co-sponsored this and even voted to keep it off the ballot.

Are his constituents clamoring for this change? Or does he give more of his considerations to Majority Leader Ken Gordon, who usually spearheads this pointless, and yearly, exercise?

California is considering changing how their EC votes are split up, in this case by congressional district. To be consistent, Senators Gordon and Shaffer should throw all of their support behind this, why do I get the feeling they wont? Does it not benefit them or their party? What’s good for the goose and all that, right?

It doesn’t matter if California’s idea isn’t the same as what’s been tried here. Two other states, Nebraska and Maine, already apportion their EC votes by congressional district, how many do it the way our Senates tried? (Answer zero). We should all do it the same way, whether that’s abolishing the Electoral College, or some other idea. Cherry picking states for political gain, no matter who’s doing it, is not acceptable. But more to the point, why does Senator Shaffer continually beat this drum and who’s asking for it? Who does he really represent?

Senator Shaffer said he hopes he’s proven he’s “always ready and willing to listen to constituents.” I know, I’m nobody, but this is an important issue, all that’s been proven to me is that he has staffers who can throw out talking points. I know everyone has staffers and they are required, but we didn’t vote for them. If their words are representative of his words, and if his votes on the tough issues, not the feel-good issues he often raises in his editorials, kowtow more to the senior leaders in his party instead of his constituents, then he shouldn’t get any of our future votes.

Backstabbing or Bandwagoning, Pt 1

I like making predictions. I don’t much care if I’m wrong, it’s not as if my life or livelihood (in this context) depends on it. I look at past words and actions, current trends, and make opinions and predictions on possible future strategies and outcomes. Unless I predict candy-filled skies and rivers of chocolate, half of you are not going to like these opinions. As always, I don’t care about, or need, anyone’s approval or high rating. If you have a constructive disagreement, great, have at it. But if you’re just another hater and this doesn’t fit your worldview, pound sand and go scream in your own blog.

I don’t pay or subscribe to any commentator or personality. I didn’t go to one of those websites that bends news or transcripts to fit their (or their readers) political leanings. Much of what I comment on is bumped into accidentally, something that catches my attention. I don’t need someone else’s talking points, I have enough of my own. Today it’s the political fallout of the Iraq War.

For months now we’ve been hearing about the September Iraq report from General Petraeus. It appears that the report will be positive on the situation over there. By many accounts, including anti-war correspondents, things, while not perfect, are trending in the right direction. The reaction from our leaders sure could be interesting.

On the one side you have the “stay the course” people, and while some have been swaying, they should be content with the report. I expect some “We told you so’s” and the historical context of the number of casualties. On the other side, it’s all over the map and it could go a couple of different ways.

Let’s start with the negative approach: Total character assassination of Petraeus including lack of credibility, he’s a liar, he’s a Bush hack, not telling the whole story, etc. This should come from the same quarter that calls our soldiers criminals, thugs, mercenaries, baby killers, runners of gulags, and the comparisons to Nazi Germany. You know, the same ones who are against the war yet support the troops? (No one’s buying that line anymore, by the way)

Speaking of which brings up a local angle on this, State Senator Brandon Shaffers votes on the war. He not only voted twice for SJM07-002 “Memorializing Congress and the president to stop the escalation of the war in Iraq”, he was also a co-sponsor. He then voted for, and co-sponsored SJR07-022 Concerning an expression of support for the United States military personnel in Iraq.” Guess the winds (from Ken Gordon’s office) were blowing differently that day. Re-election time is November ’08 for him, watch carefully how this “tow the party line” type of representative zigzags.

The group that is anti any war should be consistent: no matter how things are going, we shouldn’t have gone there in the first place and need to get out. A stand on principal, I can accept that, but they usually can’t help themselves and delve into the same shrill nuttiness. I have noticed our local 3 marchers have taken down from their website the slanderous remarks toward some alleged troop misdeeds. I’m not sure if these are the same troops that were recently cleared of these charges, but it is telling how quickly this group will attack the military. Then again, not all military members are of one party affiliation, now are they?

In Part 2, we’ll look at the implications of this on “Election ’08”. Speaking of predictions, in addition to calling every state but one (damn you Wisconsin!) in the ’04 election, prior to the ’06 midterm elections I predicted if one party controls both houses of Congress between ’06 and ’08, whichever party it is, that party will lose the presidential election of ’08. Did I expect Congress’s poll numbers below the President’s this soon, or ever? No. Did I expect a possible positive Iraq report? No. Could I still be wrong? Sure, but these things don’t point that way.

Memorial Day

I exercise my Freedom of Speech at least as much as the next guy. We’re lucky given the many ways we can express it, whether it be spoken or written, in print or electronically. I also advocate for it, sometimes for opinions I disagree with. Memorial Day is a good time to remember how we got this freedom, among others, and how we continue to on an ongoing basis.

Simply put, Memorial Day commemorates those who have given their lives in military service to their country. It runs the gamut all the way back to the Civil War; from Arlington Cemetery, to burials at sea, to our local cemetery, to those never found. Our fallen military members – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. That’s it. But it’s become something else.

I’m not talking about the kickoff to barbeque season or the Indy 500. I’m talking about those who want to score cheap political points at the expense of those people above. We’ll have our usual marchers and politicians using this holiday to make their point, which I guess is an improvement over burning flags and soldiers in effigy that’s occurred in other places. Or that detestable so-called church that celebrates every troop’s demise by their ridiculous signs telling us what “God hates” at funeral services. Just different levels of hate, that’s all.

Need the proof for yourself? Watch the television coverage of marches around the country, or attend a march or demonstration right here in Longmont. Take note of the signs, slogans, and demeanor of the marchers. It shouldn’t be hard to find the negativity and exploitation in what’s supposed to be a memorial. Freedom of speech is pretty selective in this circle, so expect to be shouted down if you don’t agree. You’d hope that at least one weekend, this holiday, they’d show a little respect, but don’t count on it. I’d love to be wrong about this.

What’s ridiculous is the assumption that every military member is of one party or affiliation. Or that every one of them believes in and wants to fight this or that war. Imagine the Vietnam vet who was drafted and dragged off to war, totally against it, yet comes home only to be spat upon by the earlier version of today’s marchers. With the extreme examples I’ve given above, does anyone honestly believe today’s military member buys the “against the war, but I support the troops” line? Just a guess, but probably less than half of those that say it really mean it anyway, and probably less than half that hear it actually believe it. At the state level, Longmont’s representatives (Pommer & Shaffer) don’t help the situation with their co-sponsoring of SJM07-002, which despite its clever language was seen as a lack of support for the troops and their mission. Politics above all else, right?

So, my thanks go out to those that have fought for our freedoms. Not just this weekend or holiday, but every day, without conditions. The above is sure to tick off half of the people out there, but I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. It’s just this one guys opinion, and not really up for debate. Don’t like it? Well, to borrow a term from the Battle of the Bulge, “NUTS”!

CO & U.S. Constitutional attack by Longmont Representatives FAILS!

CO & U.S. CONSTITUTION ATTACK BY
LONGMONT REPRESENTATIVES FAILS! 

March 8, 2007, SB07-46, the bill to amend how Colorado handles its Electoral College votes, died in committee on a 10-1 vote, essentially killing it for this year.  You can read more about it here.  

A shout out goes to my friend Chuck who brought it to my attention as it was a topic on the Mike Rosen show on 850 KOA.  If you are still unclear what this all meant, this show can be listened to (after you sign up, which is free) at this link (Select Rosen Replay for 3/12/07 Hours 2 and 3)  It’s well worth a listen for educational purposes no matter what side you sit on this issue. Continue reading…