Most Of The Big Deals Are Done But The Battles Will Continue In Perpetuity

I was really angry with President Obama about the TPP and so I was very happy when Senator Elizabeth Warren, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Bernie Sanders stepped up and expressed the trepidation that many Americans hold regarding this agreement.  It is hard not to be concerned when such extreme incongruity is involved in the makeshift team that evolved to support passing it.  Although the TPP has been signed into law, it still has hurdles to scale if it is to be effective as the president anticipates that it will.

Although the previously mentioned politicians have backed off and are not applying as much pressure on the president as they were initially, they have signaled that they are in strong support of the everyday American and will stand with them against giving big business free reign and allowing it to run amok.  The president continues to insist that to allow big business to run amok was never his intention, that he has always stood for the people and that what he is attempting to do is in our overall best interest and will increase the size of America’s world trade footprint.

I’m not always sure how to label myself as a Democrat with all of the labels like Liberal, Moderate, Conservative, Progressive, Blue Dog and any of the other new labels that might be available but what I am sure of is that I was real mad at my president for teaming up with the folks that he teamed up with in an effort to pass this deal.  I, for one, think that it would be mighty hard to trust someone who has hated me with a passion for my entire life then all of a sudden they want me to believe that they are madly in love with me.  I would not be able to trust them.  That’s the way that I feel about people like Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner and Representative Paul Ryan.  And with big business in the mix, we all know that they are always about the money; first, last and in between.

Anyway, President Obama has done a lot of good things for all Americans since he was elected and, although I was upset with him about the TPP – I still am, a little bit – he is still my president.  And whenever it comes to circling the wagons and hunkering down against an all-out assault by the adversary and ultimately entering the trenches, I will be in the trenches with him; we can argue about the stuff that we disagree on at another time.  That is the position that I believe that Senator Warren, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senator Brown and Senator Sanders have now taken.  To state the obvious, I support that.

Besides, not only do I believe that he has already done great things for the average American and will continue to make every effort to continue to do so, you have to admit that he has a charming and disarming personality: you can’t stay mad at him for very long.  I will bet that even when the FLOTUS gets mad with him; and I have no doubt that she does, she probably can’t stay mad very long either.

There are still battles going on that the president is faithfully fighting that he needs us to support him on even if at this point it can only be moral support.  I read recently where the Texas Attorney General told county clerks that they can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court’s ruling on this issue.  I also watched media coverage where a number of Republicans, including some who intend to run for President in 2016, are encouraging Americans to break the law by ignoring the ruling.

It is somewhat disconcerting when elected officials even allow it to appear that they are instigating citizens to break the law because they themselves are so defiant and angry because of the decision that was rendered.  Ironically, many of those who are suggesting that people ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling are the same Washington lawmakers who have incessantly and with fervent indignation called President Obama a lawless president.  Of course – under the circumstances, they feel that they are neither lawless nor are they breaking the law but instead they are defending it; because now it is the Supreme Court that is lawless.

There are some decisions that have recently been decided by the Supreme Court that went against the administration, there are still decisions that remain to be decided and there are some cases that the Court has agreed to accept that could have a profound impact on civil and human rights.  All of us must remain vigilant and be prepared to continue to fight for those things that are just and right.  We must continue to monitor all of our politicians, especially those who have become so focused on playing politics that they have lost their way.  And anytime that it is necessary we must spring into action so that our elected officials will know that we have not fallen asleep at the controls.

I have said it before but it is worth repeating here, this is the way that a democracy should be.  We should always allow for discourse on issues and laws that the American people disagree with.  These things should be debated and resolved whenever the need arises.

The important thing is that no matter our political affiliation or which side of these issues that we come down on we should always participate in the democratic process.  We should always work to make our voices heard and always vote.  Remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis

Confederate Battle Flag

The Confederate battle flag, psyche and things of the heart might sound strange when spoken of in the same breath.  And I will probably be roundly criticized for this article by some from both sides of the renewed controversy surrounding this flag, which came about as the result of the deaths of nine South Carolina citizens who were murdered while worshiping in their church.

Whether or not such criticism is warranted will be determined in the mind of each reader.  However; despite their determination, most reasonable readers who feel that this criticism is warranted will agree to disagree with me while still respecting my right to hold the opinions expressed herein.  That is the way that I hope that it will be with all of us as we move forward on whether or not the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina should be removed from the state capitol grounds.

I have always believed that the Confederate flag should not be displayed in any public setting because it is divisive and the United States is the country of all of its citizens.  Right or wrong I am leery when I am in the presence of someone who prominently displays a Confederate flag on his person, automobile or other personal items while they are in a public setting.  Under the circumstances, I am never quite certain as to whether or not they hold any animus toward me.

The Confederate flag had its beginning when a number of southern states decided to secede from the United States mainly as a result of their resistance to the ongoing effort at the time to abolish slavery.  Since the Civil War, people of all colors have fought for this country and bled, suffered and died for America’s way of life.

Although it seems completely reasonable to me that there should be no place in the public domain for this flag, at the same time when I try to view things from the perspective of southerners who fought for the Confederacy and overall southerners whether or not they fought under the Confederate flag, I can see their perspective and feel their pain.  Obviously, I do not agree with their perspective and although I can feel their pain I know that it cannot begin to approach the depth of theirs; but I can still to some degree empathize with them.

To many of these people the Confederate flag long ago became embedded in their psyche and as such has become a thing of the heart.  It holds all of the sentimentality as does the Roman mythological tale of Jupiter, Cupid and the beautiful young woman (Psyche) that he loved still holds for avid readers of Roman mythology today.

Some of those southerners who are so frustrated and angry, especially those who fought for the south, feel that way as a result of their lack of education regarding the real history of the Confederate flag.  Even if they knew its real history though, they would still be frustrated and angry although that knowledge might mitigate that anger.  However, others who already know the real history of this flag are also frustrated and angry.  To them it is simply an intricate part of the laidback southern tapestry; a part of what makes the south the easygoing place that it is and that it had nothing to do with the catastrophe that resulted in the loss of nine innocent lives.

Most, if not all, of the people that feel this way are white.  But most of them are likely decent people who love this country and believe in fairness and equal justice for all people…despite the fact that they have flaws, which we all do.  They see things from a different perspective.  And we must respect their right to their perspective and opinions while we work to educate them as to our perspective.

I, for one, respect their right to their perspective and opinions but I still feel sad and hurt when I reflect on why, where, when and how those innocent people lost their lives.  This tragic and unfortunate occurrence is now a permanent part of the core of thinking that motivates me to support the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol’s grounds.  Accordingly, I sincerely hope that those who support keeping the status quo will lose the political battle to keep this divisive symbol, in any form, in the public domain.  It obviously has its place in American history but that place should reside in history books, museums, and their private domains.

Black lives do matter but there are polls that suggest that many Americans already believe that all Americans are treated equally.  I do not believe this because I have lived a different experience and witnessed how many other people of color have been treated differently than their white counterparts in various venues.

I have no doubt that there are people on both sides of this issue who could tell stories that would either support or detract from the unequal treatment that people of color profess to be burdened with simply because of the color of their skin.  What this means is that we as people of color still have much work to do.

As we do it; however, we must do it while respecting the rights of others to their perspectives and opinions.  And we must also realize and acknowledge the fact that there are myriads of white people who are standing arm-in-arm with us and working hand-in-hand with us to assure that there is fair and equal treatment for all people.

Virtually all politicians are tough to stomach because they have fallen victim to the nature of America’s political system and, unfortunately, feel that they must do the same thing that other politicians do in order to effectively compete and have a successful political career.  Even if this is the case it is not an acceptable excuse.  Should it be acceptable for all college students to cheat in order to effectively compete with fellow students?  Should it be acceptable for all businesses to cheat in order to effectively compete with their competitors?  No!  It happens but this does not make it acceptable.

The renewed controversy over the Confederate flag has many politicians scrambling to be on the right side of the issue when a final decision is made.  Of course they are scrambling due to political prudence rather than their burning desire to make America the best that it can be.  Since despite the ugliness and loud and messiness of our democracy I refuse to give up on my country by refusing to participate in its political process, I will continue to do my civic duty and vote in my effort to contribute to making America an even better place to live.

Since the policy positions of Democrats more often express my point of view on issues than do those of Republicans, I normally support Democrats during elections.  Notwithstanding, there are many Republican elected officials in the south who deserve to be given credit for the positions they have taken with respect to the removal of the Confederate flag.  These officials are following the lead of Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who was the first to call for removal of this flag from the state grounds in her state.  Since then, many of the surrounding states have also called for its removal.  Alabama has already removed it from their state grounds.

Although there are many officials who support removing the flag from public places there are a few like State Representative William Chumley, Republican of South Carolina, who believe that it should not be removed.  Representative Chumley even went so far as to lay the blame for the deaths of the nine people that were murdered at the victims’ feet by implying that the group should have defended itself especially since there was only one perpetrator.

People are always going to disagree on issues and on how the country should be run.  My hope is that at the very least what we will get out of the tragedy that took place in South Carolina is that politicians at all levels of government will begin to debate these tough issues and work to resolve them rather than dodging them by playing politics and indulging in constant pandering.  If they refuse to debate the issues then to bring about this much needed change will be an even more daunting task for the American people.

Eulus Dennis

Change worth fighting for…beyond our last breath

The stench of racism, hatred, death, fear and weak-kneed politicians is in the air.  We must breathe and so we do.  But when we do breathe, we breathe in all of this rancid stuff and so must determine whether we will retain all or some of these shameful elements.

But it does us no good to determine whether we will retain all, none, or some of them if we have no filter under our control with which to separate and segregate each one.  Once we have done that, we can open the drain valve to those chambers that we want to empty and keep the valves closed on those chambers that contain the things that we want to hold on to or that we simply find too hard to let go of.

Then – when our democratic duty demands it, we can recycle those things that, for whatever reason, we have retained and have reasonable discourse with those who have a different perspective of them and are not likeminded cohorts of the rationale and/or ideals that they embody for us.  This is the way that a democratic society, with all of its flaws, functions; or, at least, it should function this way.

In order for it to even stand a reasonable chance of functioning as it should it must be led by its elected officials.  Herein lies the problem: instead of having strong leaders in place in Washington, we have far too many weak-kneed politicians to whom the word lead is more like kryptonite to their bodies rather than a fire burning in their gut to fulfill their oath and make America the best that she can possibly be.

When challenges arise, they run to the nearest corner seeking a place to hide until things calm down politically.  Then when things do calm down, they slowly and cautiously emerge while making sure that when they do they are in full pander mode.  Just because they say that “this is the way that this town (Washington) is” does not mean that we as voters have to accept this cowardly approach to how they serve their constituencies.

I would not go so far as to say that we are just as much to blame as they are but without doubt we share the blame because we have the ability to do something about how these politicians conduct themselves and yet too many of us do nothing.  We do nothing by way of our failure to register and vote.  If we get registered and regularly vote we can apply pressure to those politicians who we elected to represent us but who instead have become no more than professional panderers.

It is likely that all of us harbor some or all of those things that I mentioned at the opening of this article.  And as members of this democracy we must be willing to hold reasonable discussions about them and make an effort to fix what is broken.  Our elected officials in Washington and at the local and state levels should be initiating and leading these discussions.  We must demand that they do this and hold them accountable if they refuse to step up to the challenge.

The slaughter of the nine innocent people that recently took place while they worshiped in a church in Charleston, South Carolina is completely unacceptable in a civilized society.  This same kind of thing has happened far too many times before and each time, we have simply winked at them.  Although there has been a great outcry from a large majority of Americans regarding these incidents, politicians have played politics, sidestepped the challenge and fallen back on the same old worn out “that’s the way this town is” excuse.  And, as always, we buy into it and allow them to shirk their responsibility.

Enough already!  No excuse exists for politicians and the rest of America to refuse to act now to address this problem.  The sad and unfortunate thing is that this is not going to happen…at least not now.  There will probably be a lot of publicity for a long time about what happened in South Carolina and legislation to begin to correct the problem will be introduced but it will be defeated and we will go right back to what too many of us have come to accept as normal.

But there are too many Americans who have been heartbroken by all of the previously mentioned catastrophes; and each time that these issues have been winked at and efforts to address and correct them have been ignored, the foundation of those who are determined to address and correct them has become larger and stronger.

Although change will not come soon, it will come!  And as Americans we must continue to fight for it.  We must resolve ourselves to realize and accept that we might not live to see the change.  But we must also always continue to be motivated by the fact that it will be our combined efforts down through the generations that will ultimately help to bring it about.  Without us, this change will not happen.  So to assure that it does happen, let’s make sure that we fight for it…beyond our last breath.

Eulus Dennis

Politics Congress And Prosecutors

PCP: Politics, Congress and Prosecutors are not the well-known drug PCP, which makes people crazy when they indulge in it but they can make you just as crazy.  Just watching them function from the sideline as a regular citizen can give you a contact high!  They can prove to be the everyday American citizens’ Angel Dust; they drive you c-r-a-z-y!

Politicians, in particular the U.S. Congress, constantly complain about lazy people and welfare queens who don’t want to work and are seeking a free hand out from the government.  They say that these people should get a j-o-b because it would improve their self-esteem and help them to become contributing members to their communities and to American society overall.  They would become givers rather than takers, they say!

All the while that they are saying this they are busy shirking their responsibility and not doing their job.  A perfect example of this is their refusal to debate and hold a vote on the ISIS situation.  They want to pick and choose the parts of their responsibilities that they will fulfill.  They are like a bunch of children who want to do all of the easy and fun stuff but leave the hard and not-so-fun stuff to someone else.  And when that someone else does the not-so-fun stuff and the adults (constituents) complain because they do not like how it was done, the children are quick to point fingers and lay blame.

What a great example they are setting when it comes to work ethic; what a shining example of leadership they are to those who they are condemning!  What good does it do one to have a job if they refuse to do it?  The only difference between them and us, their political pawns, is that – if we had a job and conducted ourselves as they are conducting themselves, we would be fired immediately.

These politicians want to dictate the terms of their employment to the boss (their constituents/pawns) and whether the boss accepts them or not they still demand to be paid.  And since they are elected officials who cannot be fired until the next time that they are up for election, during the interim, what should we call their paychecks?  A payment for work that one does not earn, by any other name, is still a free hand out.

As for Prosecutors, they are politicians too.  And although they are not constantly calling out those who for reasons that likely are not under their control and therefore do not have a job so require help until they can get one, they also too often choose to shirk their responsibilities.  They hide behind grand juries unnecessarily so that they do not have to make the tough decisions.  Decisions like those related to Erick Garner, Michael Brown – and as it stands at this point, potentially Tamir Rice.  There are many other cases around the country where Prosecutors have elected to shirk there responsibility and allow grand juries to make decisions, many times manipulated (legally) by them to help assure the desired outcomes, because it was politically expedient for them to do so.

They dump these decisions on someone else (e.g. grand juries) but manipulate them into making the decisions that they want them to make.  They do this for political reasons just like Congress does.  Most of the time Prosecutors can get away with this because grand jury proceedings are always shrouded in secrecy and there is no real oversight of how grand juries are handled.  In other words, it seems reasonable to cast all politicians no matter their stripe into the same category.

Even if you have the anti-typical politician vaccine on hand – which consists of a mixture of knowing the kind of politician that you are dealing with, being on top of the political issues, knowing that politicians will be politicians and being wary that smoke and mirrors may surround every single word that they say, and you get immunized right away, that is no guarantee that this will save you and prevent you from being felled by political chicanery.

Most politicians are at least as smooth, if not more so, as the most personable criminal con-artist.  And if the anti-typical politician vaccine is successful in helping you to survive so that if you choose to do so you can continue to participate in politics, you now have latent schmoozer virus cells in your blood and so are more susceptible to contracting schmoozer disease of which typical politicians are hosts.  This means that even when politicians do all of the negative stuff mentioned above and more between their elections cycles, when it comes time for them to be reelected you will be more vulnerable than many other constituents so they will more likely be able to schmooze you.

Since they are hosts they can easily recognize this disease so you must be aware and fight the temptation to succumb to their B.S.  Then, when the time comes, make things right with your vote.  And always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis

Up Next, 2016 Presidential Election

As a registered voter, it is not too early to begin preparing for the 2016 Presidential election. We should already be familiar with how those politicians that are in Washington to represent us have been and are currently conducting themselves.  Have they been and are they still ignoring our collective voice while cozying up to big money in what has become our disgraceful money-based political system?  And have they suddenly now become or will they soon become shameless schmoozers who will dupe those of us who are not on top of political issues into reelecting them?

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We have a responsibility as American Citizens and registered voters to make our democracy as perfect as a democracy can possibly be.  We may be thoroughly disgusted with the system and how it works but we must continue to participate in it in order to make it better.  We cannot and will not make it better by burying our heads in the sand!  Besides, that is exactly what some billionaires and millionaires and others who favor an oligarchy want us to do.  That way, our government which is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people can be run by them while the rest of us watch from the sideline.

Many times ambitious politicians get all the way down into the mud in their efforts to achieve their political goals.  They themselves will say and do almost anything and will also stir up their constituents – who, as a result, sometimes say and do hateful things, to win votes.  In her 2015 commencement speech to the students of Oberlin College First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Michelle Obama encouraged those students to, despite its ugliness, not run away from the noise but to run to it because the noise is the place where they would be able to make the most meaningful difference.  While encouraging them, she spoke of others who in the past refused to be deterred and instead had run to the noise.

According to this quote from 3chicspolitico the FLOTUS said “But these folks didn’t let the ugliness and the obstacles deter them. They didn’t just give up and retreat to the comfortable company of like-minded folks, because they understood that this is how democracy operates. It is loud and messy, and it’s not particularly warm and fuzzy. And believe me, I know this from personal experience. (Laughter.) Over the years, I’ve occasionally run into the noise myself. But I’ve come to realize that most of that clamor is really coming from just a handful of very loud folks out on the fringes.”

In Denver, we just completed voting in a runoff election to select a City Councilman to represent the District in which I live; District 11. Although this was a local election, democracy got a bit loud and messy as each side leveled negative allegations against the other. Ultimately, however, we elected a City Councilman to represent us.

My point is that we must either ignore the noise and do our civic duty by voting anyway or we must run to it and have reasonable discourse with those who disagree with us in an effort to get them to see things from our perspective. But whether or not we win them over to our side, we still must vote and so must they. The thing that we absolutely must refuse to do is quit out of pure frustration with the system and hand our government over to a few billionaires and millionaires.

When I hear all of the talk by those who say that ‘we need to take back our government’, I take that to mean that we need to take it back and clean it up, not destroy it. We must take it back from those politicians who are abusing it by violating their oath and abusing their power. We must not become so cynical and battle-weary that we give up on our country by becoming quitters. Even though democracy may many times become loud and messy – depending on our level of interest in politics, let us either run to the noise and try to make things better or ignore it and vote anyway.

Eulus Dennis

What will happen to Obamacare? Ask America’s top 5 guys

Updated The Rachael Maddow Show video link information in this article on 6/10/2015

From the time that Americans let our politicians know that we want affordable healthcare and Congress passed the Affordable Care Act so that average Americans can afford to purchase healthcare insurance, the Republican Party has been working to repeal or destroy it.  Now it is likely that 5 guys – who for all intents and purposes could likely fit into the category of quasi politician – will decide its fate.  The uncanny thing is that this case even managed to reach the Supreme Court.

Yes, this month, it will have been a little more than five years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., Obamacare) was passed and although Congress has accomplished very little else since then they have voted at least 54 times to cripple or repeal it.  In conjunction with voting to repeal Obamacare they continue to do everything that they possibly can to destroy it even though they have no substantive plan with which to replace it.

The 5 top guys who will likely decide its fate will likely be the same guys that decided who would become America’s president as a result of the Bush versus Gore debacle in Florida in 2000.  The real problem is not whether it is these same five guys.  The problem is that 5 people decided for all of America in 2000 who our president would be and now they likely will decide whether or not America will provide its citizens with affordable healthcare so that they can purchase healthcare insurance.

If these 5 guys decide against the Administration on this case it will be up to Congress to correct the problem, which normally would be quite easy.  But with this Congress and their record; and based on the record and accomplishments of the Congresses over the past few years, good luck!  Based on this Congress’ ability to work together and get things done it would take all but an act of God for them to come together and fix the Obamacare problem even though that fix would only require them to change a few words in the law.

It seems that most of those in the Republican Party want to repeal or destroy Obamacare so despite the fact that right now they are fighting among themselves (e.g. their inability to pass their own bills although they control Congress); because they are in harmony when it comes to their hatred of Obamacare, they would likely circle the wagons and…do nothing.

The top 5 guys are probably good people who, hopefully, always interpret the law honestly and to the best of their ability.  But just like the rest of Americans, they have their political persuasions and though they may work hard not to allow those persuasions to influence their ultimate decisions; just like the rest of us, they are human.

The bottom line is that to the greatest extent possible, the majority of Americans should be making these determinations through our elected officials and they should not be made by 5 guys who have the same flaws that all Americans have.  What about the do-nothing Congress, you might ask?  My answer; we can easily fix that and keep it fixed by stepping up to our responsibility as American citizens: we can get registered and get out and vote.  And that means that we need to vote in more than just presidential elections: we need to vote in local, state, and federal elections.

I can’t guarantee you that all of us will then be happy and content with the outcomes; instead, I can guarantee you that one side will likely prevail more often than the other and some of us will always be disgruntled with those outcomes.  But it will be a lot better than letting 5 guys determine our destiny.  And besides, we should not necessarily be looking for an equal share of those outcomes to be favorable for us but rather an equal opportunity to have input into what those outcomes will be.

Our elected officials should be working to make the system as fair as possible, encouraging citizens to vote and making it as easy as legally possible for us to do so.  Unfortunately, that is not the case and some of them are instead putting up barriers to obstruct or prevent some of us from voting.

African-Americans who had to endure events like Bloody Sunday on the journey to the right to vote, and women – who were not allowed to vote until 1920, should be especially focused and determined to vote as a result of these hard-won victories: victories, some of which by the way, have been greatly eroded by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Voting Rights decision.

After the Court’s ruling, the state of Texas immediately enacted new and onerous voter ID laws that have had an adverse impact on many Texans’ ability to vote.  These new laws have mainly impacted on the poor, people of color and young people.  Many of those in these groups normally vote for Democrats.  Unfortunately, Texas is not the only state that has enacted new and unfair voter ID laws.  There may be as many as 20 other states that have enacted or are making an effort to enact such laws.  All of these states are headed by Republicans or have legislatures that are dominated by Republicans.  How does this approach to governance fit into the definition of democracy and the spirit and intent of the United States’ Constitution?  It doesn’t!

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Department of Justice was able to block the passage of such laws unless the lawmakers that wanted them implemented could prove in advance of passing them that they would not have a disparate impact on any group of voters.

This is not the case now and many Texas voters who had been voting since the time that they became eligible to vote can no longer do so.  The reasons for denying these American citizens their right to vote have been, at best, flimsy and the most obvious reason for implementing these laws appears to be to make it harder or prevent those who do not vote for Republicans from voting.  This must change; and we can change it through our vote!  So whatever your Party affiliation might be, make a determination right now that no matter what roadblocks are placed in your way that you will somehow get beyond them, get registered and vote.

The reduction in the number of polling places, days that are available for one to vote, not allowing those who are already in line to vote before the polls close – no matter how long the line and the long lines that have been created in the past and will continue to be created as a result of these reductions are obstacles that may prove to be a major challenge to meet: but we must continue to fight and try until we meet and ultimately surmount them!

Finally, if you are interested, you can click on the following link (click the link then type ‘Clinton slams GOP for war on voting, calls for universal registration’) into the search box to watch a video on The Rachael Maddow Show on how bad things have actually become with regards to some lawmakers around the country who are making it harder for their constituents to vote.

Eulus Dennis

Last Day To Vote







Eulus Dennis

Two days And Counting Down







Eulus Dennis