Posted tagged ‘Obama’

What’s Up with the Marines?

December 15, 2010

So you know how Facebook brings the whole clan of your past together – all the people who knew the really ignorant you from years ago and the ones who know the ostensibly less ignorant you of today? I’ve always kind of liked that about Facebook, even (especially?) when it brings opposing views together. Considering the jacked up tone of discourse in other parts of our national conversation, I prefer to hear civil talk among non-strangers about important issues.

Last week I posted a frustrated status update about how I didn’t understand why Republicans were so dead set on blocking the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell when a majority of Americans, the Pentagon, and enlisted folks think doing so would have a net positive effect. I put things like that out there on Facebook in part because I have a big mouth and need an outlet to express myself, but also because I know it will invite responses that keep me honest and show me other perspectives. My friend Karen pointed out that Obama and the Democrats don’t have clean fingers when it comes to this mess either, and she’s right. At present, I’m not convinced Obama wants the repeal of DADT.

I was honored to have one of my childhood friends who serves in the military say he didn’t think now was the time for a repeal. In a later message, this is what he wrote:

Ok, the survey is and was bogus if you looked at it. I had to fill it out, as well as my wife. They questions were in a very vague format, which would have been very easy to direct either way, but that isn’t the real problem with the survey…the big deal is that thw services were made to fill this out like any other survey that soldiers are made to do. On the other note, I lived with a gay dude for 4 years, so I am not a homophobe. This issue with DADT is about 4 different issues…when I have a computer instead of a blackberry, I can talk about the other issues: housing, living quarters in a wartime environment, awareness training that soldiers will have to go under, issues of legal spouses and marriage and benefits, and the list goes on…

My response is below:

I will look forward to when you have a computer because I would like to hear more about your perspective.

I’m sure you don’t think spouses of gay soldiers are entitled to fewer benefits than those of straight soldiers (anymore than my family should be entitled to fewer rights and privileges than yours), so I’m trying to imagine what the issue would be there and can’t come up with anything.

And I’m also curious about the difference between housing and living quarters in a wartime environment. I would assume a wartime environment would mean closer quarters, but as you’ve said, you already serve with gay soldiers, and I assume as long as everyone is professional enough to avoid unwanted advances that would not be a problem (if not, harassment charges would be in order). Personally, as a gay man who has showered and slept in the same bed with many straight men with no issues, I have a hard time imagining what the big deal is. Is it so different in the field?

As for awareness training, I can see how timing would be an issue here. I see it as necessary, but at the same time I realize we are a nation with combat priorities right now. My understanding is that repealing DADT would not mean that full implementation would have to happen immediately. Am I wrong about that? Honestly, at this point I would just be happy if they stopped discharging innocent people and robbing them of their pensions until they can figure out how to implement the repeal.

As for the survey, I’m actually surprised that the troops were surveyed at all, let alone their spouses. As far as I know, personnel decisions are not democratically decided in any large organization, and especially not ones charged with defending the values of equality and freedom for all.

I realize this is personal for you as an armed serviceman, and please understand that I do appreciate your service. But I hope you understand that this is personal for me, too. I’m trying to raise a son to believe all people in this country are created equally, and that the wars we support are for the sake of defending ideals such as this. DADT goes against those values as far as I am concerned.

So, when you get access to a computer and you have some time, let me know where you’re coming from on this.

Thanks and be safe,


So far I haven’t heard back from him. I checked out the survey myself to see it was as confusing as my friends suggested. It seemed pretty straight forward to me, but any readers who may understand where he’s coming from can fill me in. I’m cutting him some slack in getting back to me since he is fighting a war!

While most of the military commanders recommend repeal, I keep hearing the Marine Commandant, General Jim Amos talk about how a repeal would disrupt “unit cohesion” and “cost lives” (??!!!), but he doesn’t seem to be able to provide examples of how.

My dad was a Marine. My impression has always been that when Marines are told to do something by a superior they do it or suffer the consequences. NOT following commands is what costs lives. Has the military changed that philosophy and moved to a more consensus building approach when it comes to personnel issues? It’s very confusing to me.

Prepare to hear more comparisons (fair or not) between Truman and Obama on how the repeal is handled. There were certainly no surveys distributed to find out if our troops were comfortable with racial integration of our forces back in the late 1940’s.


Happy Election Day!

November 4, 2008

Well, today’s the big day. I’ve hung the colors on the front porch and put the flags out. John and I voted a couple of weeks ago, so that’s done.

We’ve had a campaign volunteer named Tim from Chicago staying with us for the last few days. We put him back on the road this morning though. He has tickets to the Obama rally in Chicago. Jealous.

Now I’m getting cleaned up to go work election protection at the polls with my friend Carol. I wish I looked more intimidating.

My friend Dave is getting someone he knows an Election Day present. I’m not going to say who or what in case the person he’s shopping for is reading my blog even though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.

So, here’s the question of the day, if you were going to give someone an election day present, who would it be and what would you get them?

Finally, thoughts and prayers are with Obama’s family for the loss of his grandmother. Makes me sad.

Obama Back in Indiana Where His Stock Appears to Be Rising

October 24, 2008

Here is a link to some awesome photos of Obama’s rally in Indianapolis today. 35,000 people showed up. A friend of mine got to shake his hand.

I volunteered at the last rally, and I can tell you, anything that involves tens of thousands of people is kind of crazy. But he picked a good day to drop in. Fall in Indiana is a joy, and this day sparkled. John and I decided to take advantage of the probability that most Obama supporters were rallying. We voted.

It was the easiest time I’ve ever had getting into the city county building. No security lines – none. But you can only enter through the Delaware Street entrance if you are going to vote early. It took no time, but like I said, Obama was speaking up the street. Just bring your state issued photo ID, and that’s all you need.

There are more reasons for Indiana Democrats to rally. New polls came out today showing that Obama is up here. Polls are polls, so they only provide a snapshot of the landscape. Still, just the fact that we might not be the first to report returns favoring the Republican candidate for a change has Obama supporters in Indiana looking forward to election night.

I’m praying for the Obama family as they go to visit his grandmother who is in a bad way right now.

A Peek Behind the Curtain of Republican Smears

October 4, 2008

Ever wonder why the lies about Obama being a Muslim terrorist pedophile-loving pledge hater are still ending up in your e-mail in-box? The short answer is that lying smears work, but here’s a more complete answer.

We talk about Karl Rove’s playbook, but Rove’s playbook is Lee Atwater’s playbook. The man is dead, but his hatchet politics are alive and well at this very moment and the subject of a new movie by Stefan Forbes, from Entertainment Weekly.

Stefan Forbes is the director of a new documentary called Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, a fascinating, funny, and deeply disturbing portrait of the controversial Republican operative who perfected the art of politics as blood sport. The film arrives in theaters this weekend riding a wave of critical praise.

Here are some snippets from an interview with Forbes about Atwater, and whether you are a Dem or Repub, if they don’t make you shudder, I don’t know what will.

In the film, the 1970s are described as “the decade that the Democrats slept.” This line really struck me.

Southern Democrats like Fritz Hollings and Lloyd Bentsen understood politics as a blood sport. They could have prevented their party from losing the flag, God, and working people to strategists like Atwater. It’s kind of hard to become President of the United States when people think you’re against God and the flag—you might be able to do it in Sweden. But guys like Hollings and Bentsen were marginalized by Inside-The-Beltway Democratic leaders who stood by as Atwater turned the party of FDR and Kennedy into the party of arugula. Atwater was so skillful, he even turned vegetables against the Democrats!

Atwater then worked on Ronald Reagan’s campaign.

I was amazed to learn how close Reagan came to getting beaten in the 1980 primary. South Carolina was a must-win state, and the smart money had John Connally—who’d spent heavily and had Strom [Thurmond] on his side—whupping him there. But Atwater saved Reagan by planting rumors that Connally was bribing black preachers. Connally spent $10 million and only got one delegate. It’s stunning to imagine American history if Reagan had lost that primary.

What would Lee Atwater do if he were advising John McCain today?

He is advising McCain today! They’ve taken Atwater’s playbook farther than he ever would have. You can see the Atwater influence at work in Tucker Eskew, Lee’s former intern who ran W’s war room in the 2000 election and was Global Communications Director for the White House during the selling of the Iraq war. He’s absolutely brilliant, and he’s now a senior adviser to the McCain/Palin campaign, traveling with Sarah Palin.

Next time someone sends YOU an e-mail lie they’ve been convinced is the truth, you might want to refer them to the full interview here (it’s totally enlightening), or the film which will be in wide release this month.

For the record, I think Obama’s campaign managers, The Davids, Axelrod and Plouffe, will be studied in years to come the way Atwater is now, thankfully, with much less depressing cynicism.

Elite Off 2008! McCain Vs. Obama- Sunday, Sunday!, Sunday!!

September 23, 2008

So this pearl-clutching waspy woman, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild (actual name), jet setting wife of an English banking scion and one time Hillary Clinton supporter, has decided that since Hillary didn’t win the nomination she’ll go on the campaign trail for McCain. Why, you ask, when Obama’s positions were closer to Clinton’s? According to the Lady de Rothschild,

“I don’t like him,” she said. “I feel like he is an elitist.”

Elitist. Huh. Let’s take a look at that accusation shall we? Here’s a visual aid to help us out.

(Click on the photo, then on “all sizes” to see a larger image.)

I love this insider Democrat’s response to the news of the Lady’s McCain endorsement.

“The Duke of York already had plans, so Lady de Rothschild was the next most important endorsement to reassure working Americans during the economic crisis,” the Democrat told the Huffington Post, jabbing Rothschild’s complaint that Obama strikes too “elitist” a tone for average Americans.

Privatized Profit / Socialized Debt: They Play, We Pay

September 19, 2008

In light of recent economic craziness, I called a Republican friend of mine the other day to ask him if he had put an Obama sign in his yard yet. He hadn’t, and for effect he asked, “I pay enough taxes. Why are you such a Socialist?”

I, of course, am not a Socialist, as a record of my extremely self-serving personal purchases easily proves. But whenever I get the “they’ll raise my taxes” speech from my Democrat fearing friends, the first thing I want to say is “have you checked out Obama’s economic plan?” And then I want to say snarky things like, “I don’t hear you complaining about the national interstate road system or the Internet.” Love them or hate them, both were tax-funded innovations that our economy now depends on, and ironically enough, both were defense initiatives. So, way to go Department of Defense!

I feel my uber-capitalist friend’s pain though. I understand why holding on to our hard-earned money is a logical impulse, though I tend to spend mine (G. Bush should love me!).

Here is what I don’t understand. How is it that the CEOs and heads of Lehman Brothers, AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and every other Tom, Dick and Harry bank that’s getting ready to fold walk away richer than Croesus while I get stuck paying their companies’ bad debts?

If Republicans are so vehemently opposed to socialism, why are they so ready to socialize the debt of private companies that took such ridiculous risks? The Democrat in me is willing to pitch in to keep the U.S. from going belly up, but FIRST I want to see the Ferragamo-wearing suits who got us into trouble forking over giant piles of their own cash. If they had as much pride in this country as they say they do, they would make a significant donation of their outlandish holdings to the national coffers. Only then would I be okay with whipping out the national checkbook to bail them out.

I’m tired of hearing we don’t have enough money to fund No Child Left Behind or fix Social Security or take care of the veterans coming home from Iraq, when all it took was a ONE-DAY turnaround for a Lehman Brothers bailout. Where did they find THAT money? Tucked into an Oval Office sofa? Honey, please.

Maybe my complaint is simplistic. My mom is a banker and my dad is a CPA, and I tell them frequently they got all of the finance genes out of the gene pool before I was born. But it seems to me like the little guy is left holding the bag for the rich way too often these days.

Palin Insults Americans Who Work Very Hard for Little Pay

September 4, 2008

I think I’m going to have to take back my earlier compliment about Palin’s personal style thanks to her speech at the Republican Convention last night:

Before becoming governor, Mrs Palin served as mayor of Wasilla, she recounted, adding: “And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

That was a clear jab at Mr. Obama, who as a young man worked as a community organizer in Chicago, an experience he speaks about frequently on the campaign trail. That remark brought a loud outburst of laughter and applause.

What a politically immature slap in the face for tens of thousands of incredibly intelligent and hardworking Americans who often take crappy salaries in order to pull their communities, rural and urban, up by their boot straps.

I live and work in a redeveloping community. I’m not a professional community organizer, but I work closely with people who are, and they have a profound understanding of the complexities of working class and struggling economies. And they know how to help people take personal responsibility for their success. They marshall non-paid stakeholders into making profound social change, something I would expect so-called maverick Republicans to value. In short, they have many responsibilities. And unlike Palin, they don’t end up beholdin’ to lobbyists and big oil and can focus on who they represent.

Bad move, Palin. You’re the governor of a state with a population half the size of Indianapolis. You were the mayor of a town that wouldn’t fill a 12th of our football stadium. You were a journalism major at Idaho. And from what I can tell your success appears to be a product of highly focused opportunism, imbecilic opponents and windfall profit payoffs to Alaskans. So why am I not surprised that with all of that “executive” experience you haven’t learned not to insult voters on national television?

(Quote from UK Telegraph)