DPS Board At-Large Race Nears Finish Line

Once again as a longtime resident of the city of Denver and the Montbello Green Valley Ranch community, I am compelled to post this article encouraging everyone who is eligible to vote to be sure to do so. Since I live in Montbello I want to especially encourage members of the Montbello community to vote.  In Montbello, we have already witnessed many of our community schools be replaced with charter schools or be forced to share their space with them.  No matter where you stand on the issue of charter schools and neighborhood schools it is extremely important that you exercise your right to vote.  It will make our community better and stronger.

The winner of the School Board At-Large seat race in Denver between Allegra “Happy” Haynes and Robert Speth will be determined this Tuesday, November 3, 2015. According to the information you received that was enclosed with your ballot, the Montbello Recreation Center is a Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC) so you may drop off your completed ballot there.  The dates and operating hours of the VSPC are stated on the “HOW TO RETURN YOUR BALLOT” card that is included with the ballot you received.

Therefore, if you live in Montbello and would like to drop off your ballot rather than mail it, the closest location for that is probably the Montbello Recreation Center, which is located at 15555 E 53rd Ave. Voters can check to determine for sure whether this is the location that is closest to them.  However, the most important thing is that you vote.  Remember that if you intend to mail your ballot mail service can sometimes take longer than one might expect; therefore, you should allow ample time for your ballot to reach its destination in order to be sure that your vote will be received on time and will count.

I mentioned in my post dated 10/24/2015 that many community members are concerned about how Denver schools are run, about testing and test scores, teachers rights, charter schools and more. There are two key drivers behind most of the things that I just mentioned.  One is two federal programs, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Common Core and the other is a conservative agenda versus a liberal agenda.  NCLB and Common Core have been accepted by all parties concerned, although grudgingly by some, and each of these agendas is supported by Democratic and Republican voters.

Just like, as I mentioned in my October 24th post, there is nothing inherently wrong with being a pro-reform school board member, there is nothing inherently wrong with NCLB and Common Core. Neither is there anything wrong with a conservative agenda or a liberal agenda per se; but because the voices of all constituent stakeholders should be heard and acted upon that means that common ground must be sought until a reasonable balance can be reached.

The real problem with NCLB and especially Common Core is that they infringe on teachers’ ability to teach and assure that students learn because of the laser-like focused specific learning demands that they make regarding what and how students learn. At the same time – according to teachers, the standards specified in these programs, if one can call them that, are verbose and unclear.  As regards a conservative agenda versus a liberal agenda, most liberals believe that the conservative agenda is driven more by money than it is by some school districts’ desire to assure that students receive the best education possible.

Unfortunately – whether or not liberals are right in their assessment of these school districts, just as it is with almost everything else that in anyway involves politics, money is in the mix and all one really has to do is follow the money to find the true answer to what is determining as well as who is trying to control the direction that we take in educating our children. This does not mean that our politicians are not concerned with assuring that American children receive a top-quality education.  What it does mean, however, is that politicians can neither just continue to blindly move forward with programs like NCLB and Common Core because powerful people are pushing them nor can they play partisan politics and blindly support their party’s conservative or liberal position.

Although it is a recall effort and not a regular election, what is happening with the Jefferson County School Board runs parallel to what has been going on with the DPS School Board for years now. Therefore, it puts a spotlight on Allegra “Happy” Haynes, who is an incumbent DPS School Board member, and Robert Speth particularly because of each candidates current perspective on charter schools and neighborhood schools; perspectives which do not seem to be that far apart.  In the event that you might be interested, the article on the Jefferson County School Board recall effort is in the New York Times and is entitled “Proxy War Erupts Over a Conservative School Board.”  You can read it in its entirety by typing the title into your browser search box and clicking the search button.

Because Mr. Speth in essence has branded himself as the obvious alternative to Ms. Haynes because he is not supported by big money, because of where he stands on the issues and because of his commitment to listen to community members and incorporate their input into his decision-making, I reached out to him and offered him the opportunity to state his position on those issues in this blog. In addition, in the event that he did not want to speak on that subject, I said that he could address any other subject relevant to the race between he and Ms. Haynes.  I did not receive a response.

Whether Ms. Haynes wins or whether Mr. Speth wins voters should demand that the victorious candidate listen to the voices of students, teachers and community members and not just that of big money. We must insist that the winning candidate place a top-quality education for students ahead of their political ambitions.

Eulus Dennis

DPS Board At-Large Race

The race for the School Board At-Large seat in Denver for all intents and purposes has not been highly publicized. As a matter of fact, I had not heard a lot about it until I received a telephone call from an acquaintance that was making telephone calls on behalf of Mr. Robert Speth who is running against Allegra “Happy” Haynes.

Happy Haynes has been involved in Denver politics for many years and at one time held a seat on the Denver City Council for 13 years. She is currently the president of the Denver Public Schools Board and is also the Director of Denver Parks and Recreation.  Because Ms. Haynes has been a part of the political landscape in Denver for so long she likely has the support of many other establishment political figures both inside and outside of Denver.

In light of how voters feel about incumbent establishment politicians right now, this could actually be a negative for Ms. Haynes. Since this speculation is based on what is happening in politics at the federal level right now and the race for the school board seat is at the local level, many might say that it is a real stretch for me to make such a comparison; and that is a reasonable, and debatable, observation.

But allow me to give this, what might seem like a farfetched speculation at least some degree of credibility. Case in point; it is well known by those who follow politics closely that the Republicans’ REDMAP program was highly successful and that it played a major role in the overwhelming balance of control of statehouses that Republicans currently hold over Democrats.  The point is that although this program was focused on the states it was a national level effort to get Republican candidates elected.  And the purpose of this national effort was to gain control of power from the lowest level of government to the highest level of government.

Without getting into too much detail about how this is relevant to the race for the Denver At-Large school board seat, which would probably do nothing but bore those who do not closely follow politics, I will just say that the REDMAP program was also interested in influencing who would head school districts and who would be elected to those Districts’ school boards.

There have been many community members who have complained for many years about how Denver schools are run, about testing and test scores, teachers’ rights, charter schools and more. The Denver School Board members have long been split along the lines of what has become labeled by many as those that are against reform and those that are pro-reform.  I would place Happy Haynes among the ranks of the latter.

There is nothing inherently wrong with being a pro-reform board member. The problem comes in ones definition of the meaning of reform and the extent to which such reform is carried out.  As things currently stand, there are many Denver community members who still feel that they were betrayed by school board members who supported the dismantling of their neighborhood schools and having those spaces given to charter schools or if they were not dismantled, being forced to share their space with charter schools.  This could present a problem for Happy Haynes because her opponent, Robert Speth, is neither a pro-reform candidate – if its definition entails the kinds of things that these community members are complaining about, nor is he a politician, let alone an establishment politician.

Instead, according to Mr. Speth, he is a man “with a BS degree in Civil Engineering and a MS in The Materials Science Program… who is generally known to all as ‘the science guy’.” I have read articles on Mr. Speth that state his position on various issues but I have found it harder to find any articles or campaign literature from Ms. Haynes that state her position on these issues.

I think that, in light of the mood of voters, it will be extremely important for these candidates to inform voters of precisely where they stand on the issues. As mentioned at the start of this article as regards how voters feel about incumbent establishment politicians at the federal level, they appear to be fed up with politics as usual.  And since all indications are that they blame the politics as usual on establishment incumbents, it is especially important for Ms. Haynes to get her message in front of voters and convince them that the best way forward for the Denver Public Schools is by way of the path that she supports.

The example that I provided of the Republicans’ REDMAP program was meant to show how, under the current circumstances, local level politics can be tied to the mood of voters at the national level. Allegra “Happy” Haynes is a Democrat and my example was not meant to imply that she is a Republican or that she is in any way associated with the Republican Party.

And finally – whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent – do not discount the value of your vote and decide that it is not worth the time that it takes you to cast it. It is long past time for voters to get more seriously involved in politics.  We need to realize how important these – what may seem to some of us to be low-level, meaningless positions with little or no power, really are.   Then, we must get informed on the issues and ascertain the positions that the candidates who are seeking to be elected hold on them.

It is just as important to always remember that your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it! So be sure to vote by Tuesday, November 3rd.  According to the ‘HOW TO RETURN YOUR BALLOT’ instructions enclosed with the ballot that you received by mail, “Ballots must be received at a Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC), at a 24-hour ballot drop-off box, or by mail by 7 pm on Election Day, November 3, 2015.  A ballot postmarked by 7 pm on Election Day, but not received, will be rejected.”

Eulus Dennis

Government Shutdowns And Other Political Stuff

I’m tired of all of the political indignation by Washington Republican Party members of congress that leaves them with no choice but to shut down the government! Ouch, that hurts…everyone except members of congress and other high-level government officials and employees!  All of the rest of us (aka The Pawns) are left to grin and bear it until congress decides that it is okay for us to resume our lives again.

Here is a novel idea, why doesn’t congress pass a law that says whenever the government is shut down that – along with all of the other Americans who are not being paid, falling behind on their mortgage payments and other bills and are having their lives ruined, they too will not get paid until the government resumes normal operation? I would like to see something like this become a permanent law but even if they just gave it a trial run first by making it a sunset law I would bet that we would have fewer shutdowns or perhaps, none at all.

And even if congress did pass a law that would force them to forego their pay along with the rest of struggling Americans whenever there is a government shutdown, who on God’s green earth would want to place a Party in control of the US government whose solution to every problem is to shut it down? Obviously, the question is rhetorical because currently there are those who are willing to do this.  One can only hope that there are more voters who would not be willing to do it and that they will show up and vote in the 2016 general election.

And while I am venting my frustration, here is another thing that is still a constant irritant to me; have you ever thought when you hear the name US Chamber of Commerce that this organization is in some way affiliated with the federal government? Maybe you haven’t but I certainly have; albeit a very long time ago.  I know better now but I wonder how many people out there still think that the US Chamber of Commerce is somehow connected to the federal government?  I’m sure that I am not the only person in America who at one time or another thought that this was the case; and maybe there are still those who think so today.

Here is yet another novel idea, why don’t they rename the US Chamber of Commerce? Perhaps they could call it the ‘Chamber of Commerce in America’, ‘American’s Chamber of Commerce, ‘America’s states Chamber of Commerce’ or some other name that is much better than the ones mentioned here?  Then, if the state Chambers of Commerce also needed to change their names for the same or related reasons as those of the US Chamber of Commerce, they could.

For example, maybe instead of calling Colorado’s Chamber of Commerce the Colorado Chamber of Commerce they could rename it the ‘Chamber of Commerce of Colorado’, ‘Chamber of Commerce – Colorado or something of that nature. They could do this same thing in the other states.

Just don’t call it the US Chamber of Commerce or, as mentioned in the preceding example, the Colorado Chamber of Commerce. Why?  Because whether or not there are Americans who still believe that these Chambers of Commerce are affiliated with the federal or state government, the names imply that they are.  And many times when these organizations line up against certain candidates for public office, especially the office of US President, that implication can have an impact on the way that one will vote especially if they believe that it is an affiliate of the federal or state government that is recommending one candidate over another.

But right now, my concerns about potential government shutdowns and name changes pale in light of the current situation in the Republican Party, which is threatening our two Party system and has the potential to destroy it. At this point it looks a lot like the Republican Party has inadvertently initiated a countdown to assisted suicide.  I say ‘assisted’ suicide because it was high-level congressional Republican leaders who were instrumental in bringing many of those who are now a part of the rebellious Freedom Caucus into congress.

This happened by way of what I will refer to as a mini Trojan Horse scheme instigated by disgruntled conservative Republicans. Incumbent congressmen like Speaker John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy pulled these mini Trojan Horses inside the gates and once the imposters were elected the real candidates emerged from their hiding place and began to wreak havoc.  They have already brought about the demise of the two men who pulled them inside the gates, Speaker Boehner – who has agreed to remain in office until they can find someone to accept the speaker job, and Kevin McCarthy who was in line to replace Speaker Boehner but withdrew as a candidate as a result of pressure applied by these same rebels that pushed Speaker Boehner out of office.  Now they are baiting Paul Ryan to take the speaker job so that they can completely rid themselves of Speaker Boehner.  And then – if they do not get their way on every issue under Paul Ryan’s leadership, they will likely try to oust him.

Paul Ryan has made some demands as a condition of accepting the speaker job but he had better be very careful no matter what promises this so-called Freedom Caucus group might make to him. Would you ever have imagined before now that any politician would be running away from a job where the person in that position is third in the United States presidential line of succession?  This means that if something were to happen to the President, Vice President Joe Biden would be first in line to take his place and the next person would be the Speaker of the House.  Nonetheless, the fact is that no politician of consequence really wants the job.

I read an article in Vox recently where the author said that “the GOP might be in chaos, but Democrats are in a torpor.” He went on to talk about how the Democrats were not in any way preparing for or strategizing on how to support down-ballot candidates in 2016, which is where they really need to focus.  This author has a point but with all of the gerrymandering by Republican controlled statehouses that took place based on the 2010 census data it will be hard for Democrats to gain any ground in those states until the next time that districts are redrawn no matter how much preparing and strategizing they do now.  And even then things will not be easy.

But until then, Democrats will have to work hard to educate voters and sell them their message, which they believe is the best way for America to move forward. It will then be up to voters to get informed, reflect on what has happened and how our government has been run – especially over the past five years when a lot of new faces entered congress, and vote for candidates based on their voting record and what they have accomplished for their constituents and America instead of on sleek sound bites.

Eulus Dennis

Listen up, Democrats!

Elected Democrats at local, state and federal levels would be wise to pay close attention to what is happening to the Republican Party. It is coming apart at the seams and imploding on itself because voters are not just angry but they are completely fed up with politicians and politics as usual.

They are fed up and they are doing something about it. What they are doing about it might not be the right thing to do – personally, I find what they are doing to be quite scary – but politicians have forced them into action.  They have forced them into action because they have continued year-after-year and election cycle-after-election cycle with the same old worn out, run-of-the mill politics; smiling at both the everyday American voter and big money constituents but only listening to the voices of the latter and acting on their wishes while ignoring the voices and wishes of the former.

This is a phenomenon that has already caught up with the Republican Party and is in the process of destroying it, and it will succeed if the Republicans do not immediately take intervention measures, but it is lurking at the doorstep of the Democratic Party. One would think that elected Democrats would learn from the Republican Party’s dilemma and begin to make any required changes now.  However, not only is there no guarantee that this will happen but because most politicians seem to have become so brainwashed from practicing boilerplate politics, the odds would suggest that it is more likely that it will not happen.

Under these circumstances the odds would suggest that elected Democrats will eschew the opportunity to learn by way of a vicarious lesson and be forced to learn by personal experience. They will likely be unable to come up with a workable balance between their big money constituents and the everyday American voter so they will opt for their big money constituents.  They will then count on their charisma and the sleek ads that they purchase with the money that they receive from their big money constituents to charm everyday American voters and get their votes.

They will be unable to accept that this does not work until they experience what the Republican Party is now experiencing. Is this a cynical way to think?  Maybe.  Is it an unreasonable way to think?  No.  As a matter of fact, I hope that this will not occur and that Democrats will take the vicarious route to learning this particular lesson.

To be fair, it is hard to blame politicians for choosing this route with the way that our election system is set up. This system can only be changed with the insistence by voters that it be changed and with their help to assure that it is changed.  As I have mentioned many times before – and will continue to mention for as long as it takes to get the attention of voters and move them to act on this issue, we need to stop assigning such a small value to our collective power as voters.  We have been subliminally trained to do this by those rich and powerful constituents who do not want us to recognize and exercise that power.

During the recent Democratic debate, Senator Bernie Sanders asked the question as to whether or not we want to be a nation run by the people or one run by an oligarchy consisting of the rich and powerful. It is obvious that we are not an oligarchy but a democracy.  But in order to assure that we do not operate like an oligarchy we should always exercise our right to vote.

It is important to note that not all of those who are rich and powerful are trying to suppress the power and input of those who are not among their ranks. And it is just as important to note that the large majority of those who are not rich and powerful are not opposed to the rich and powerful.  The fact is that many of us would someday like to be counted among their ranks.  The point is that we all should have an equal voice in our democracy and that the majority should prevail.

Regardless of the actual outcome of the interesting occurrences that are taking place during the current Democratic and Republican debates, whether we are Democrats, Republicans or Independents we must continue the march forward as everyday American voters to assure that big money constituents do not have an outsized influence on our elected officials; we can do that by way of voting. And always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis

Democrats First Debate

The Democrats held their first debate on October 13, 2015. As you probably know, it was hosted by CNN and the moderator was Anderson Cooper.  I must admit that before I tuned in to the debate I anticipated that it would be boring but I had long ago decided that I would watch it anyway.  Not only had I decided that I would watch it but I had also determined that I would somehow endure the full two-and-a-half hours.

Boy am I glad that I decided to watch it! More than 15 million other Americans apparently decided to watch it as well.  It was worth every bit of my time and I believe that the rest of the 15 million plus people who watched it likely felt that it was worth it for them too.

Initially, I had become less than enthusiastic about watching it because I had watched the full long-and-drawn-out Republican debates where very few issues that we Americans are concerned about were addressed. And those issues that were addressed, if you will permit me to use the word ‘addressed’ without insulting your intelligence because the subject issues were in effect ignored, were addressed quickly and superficially so that the candidates could get back to insulting one another, immigrants, sitting lawmakers and – in general – the American people.

The Democratic debate was just the opposite of the Republican debates. It was very informative and it allowed one the opportunity to gain important insight into where each candidate stands on the issues that are currently at the forefront with Americans whether they are Democrat, Republican or Independent.

It was a major win for the two front-runners, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. I have said before in a number of articles in my blog that I like Senator Sanders as a candidate.  I like him even more after witnessing how he comported himself during the debate when he had the opportunity to really hammer Secretary Clinton on her email problems and on her relationship with Wall Street but instead, chose to take the high road.

Senator Sanders made it clear during that particular exchange about Secretary Clinton’s email problems that what he was about to say was not a gaffe. So I believe that his decision not to take full advantage of her comment regarding her efforts to reign in the Wall Street crowd was not a mistake and a missed opportunity either but a realistic glimpse of who Senator Bernie Sanders really is.  He is a true statesman.

Senator Sanders has some weaknesses with Democrats, especially the base, when it comes to guns issues and the support of African Americans. He has had a clash or two with the Black Lives Matter group on issues that impact in particular on African Americans and other people of color.  This has obviously had an impact on how he is viewed as a candidate by African Americans.

I believe that Senator Sanders is a sincere and fair-minded politician who stands on principle and who wants all Americans to be treated equally and allowed the opportunity to prosper based on their ability and willingness to work hard to achieve their dreams. I hope that this is how all African Americans, despite our differences of opinion with him, will view him.  Differences of opinion can be worked out or adversaries can respectfully agree to disagree.  Differences of opinion notwithstanding, Senator Bernie Sanders has proven by way of his record as a politician that he is not an enemy of African Americans; therefore, he should be viewed and treated as the statesman that he is.

Having said that, I do not believe that Senator Sanders is electable. Polls show that a Socialist, which Senator Sanders openly admits that he is, cannot be elected to the highest office in America.  Even if he could be, given that Hillary Clinton is running to be the 2016 Democratic nominee I would not vote for him; I would vote for her.

I reiterate that I have long been and still am an avid supporter of Secretary Clinton. I believe that she should be the next person to take the helm of the Democratic Party as President of the United States of America.  It is my opinion that she was the overall winner of the debate and her performance went a long way to regain the confidence of those who had begun to doubt her as a result of the email server and emails problems that continue to cloud her campaign efforts.

The fact that Representative Kevin McCarthy all but admitted that the Benghazi Committee was established to pull down her poll numbers and other Republicans are beginning to speak up with regard to the questionable purpose of this committee should further boost her chances to regain the loss of supporters that she has experienced.

Let’s all get behind the Democrat of our choice for President and move forward with the primary process. And when the 2016 general election time arrives, let’s come together and put the Democratic nominee – whomever that may be, in office.

Eulus Dennis

Congress Has a New Job

What’s up with the US congress nowadays? It seems that they have a new job. That job is establishing committees; what a great idea! I guess one can’t blame them for revisiting this facet of their job, sort of reinventing it, elevating its importance and looking at it as a new job… sort of. After all, they have spent the last few years doing nothing and everybody gets tired of that, don’t they?

They have grown weary of battling this public image of being a ‘do nothing’ congress. So fortunately, one day out of the clear blue someone came up with a brilliant idea. Let’s put an end to this crazy perception by the public of us being a do nothing congress and establish committees one of them must have suggested. Other members in the group must have thought it was a good idea too because that is what they are doing now.

Yeah, that group that was swept into office in 2010 and 2014 is really making things happen. It’s hard to keep track of how many committees they have established, how many investigations they have conducted, what those investigations were conducted on and how long they lasted. I think that it was Rachel Maddow who suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that maybe they should establish a select committee to investigate select committees. I hope that none of these congressmen were watching her show that day because a light bulb might have flashed on inside their heads and we might soon see a select committee to investigate select committees. If that happens, blame Rachel.

On the serious side, I am really tired of hearing about all of these committees that are investigating some group or someone. There are plenty of more serious problems that America is faced with that would keep congress busy for a long time to come if they would start governing instead of trying to figure out what committee they should establish next.

Think about this. Since President Obama was elected Republican leaders have cast doubt on whether he was born in the US and is a ‘legitimate’ President, we have had an elected member of congress yell out ‘you lie’ during the President’s State Of The Union address, had 47 US senators write and sign an open letter to the leaders of Iran warning them not to negotiate with the US President because he might not be able to follow through on his commitments to them, invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – against President Obama’s wishes – to speak before a joint session of congress to contradict a foreign policy decision that President Obama made, publicly label President Obama as a weakling compared to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his great strength as a leader, label him time-and-again as a lawless President and threaten to sue him for decisions that he has made and the list goes on. Surely no other US president has endured such disrespect of himself and the office.

Unfortunately, since those who were elected to office in the 2010 and 2014 elections entered congress, it appears that congress’s ability to actually govern has become worse. It also seems that some Republicans have come up with their own definition of the word ‘lawless.’ It seems that their definition is that it is anyone who disagrees with them on any issue.

For example, President Obama has been labeled as lawless for implementing Executive Orders that he has every right to implement as President and the Supreme Court Justices who supported same sex marriage have been labeled as lawless for rendering that majority decision. Some Republican leaders have even encouraged Americans to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling.

What is happening to us? Why are our lawmakers acting this way instead of working with one another to solve this problem and all of the other pressing problems that we are faced with? What has caused them to decide that they would rather waste America’s time and money establishing politically motivated committees that spend years and large amounts of money on investigations that lead to nowhere? Why do they refuse to govern? Could it be that they just do not know how? That is a scary thought but it appears that this could actually be the case.

If things continue to go the way that they are currently going I hope that voters will come to their senses and begin to clean up this terrible mistake that they made in 2010 and 2014. I hope that after witnessing how this gang of inexperienced, young uninformed politicians have come in and been instrumental in bringing about the demise of top Republican leaders in the House and perhaps focusing on trying to do the same thing to top Republican leaders in the Senate, that voters will put a stop to this nonsense.

What makes the situation even worse is that they have no idea of who they will replace these lost leaders with and how those that replace them will perform in their new positions. Kevin McCarthy is projected to be the new Speaker; have you heard him speak? If you have, what do ya think? If you haven’t, oh well…

Wait; newsflash! In the event that you have not already heard the news, based on an article by The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis entitled ‘Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of race for House speaker’, Kevin McCarthy is no longer a candidate to replace Speaker John Boehner. As of Thursday, 10/8, every well-known news show and likely most of those that are not so well-known have verified this. Wow! The situation is even worse than I thought; it’s back to square one.

Eulus Dennis

More Noise About Gun Violence

It is hard to believe that all of this noise about doing something about gun violence as the result of the latest mass shooting is anything more than just that; noise. If all of those elementary school children could die at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Americans could become angry and raise the decibels about confronting the issue of gun violence and yet nothing happened as a result of it, it is hard to envision a situation that could occur that would make something actually happen aside from a lot of noise.

I realize that adults also lost their lives in this tragedy and my intension is not to marginalize those lost lives by placing emphasis on the children whose lives were lost. But, instead, my intension is to emphasize how numb we must have become to this kind of thing in America to know that all of these children died such a violent and unwarranted death and yet do absolutely nothing about it. Perhaps some of these deaths could have been prevented if when previous tragedies like Sandy Hook occurred we had put reasonable gun laws in place.

But we will never know because every attempt to establish such laws has been successfully apposed. The opposition to these laws has usually been led by the NRA even while polls show that many of its members are not opposed to them. This leads some to wonder why the NRA is opposed to reasonable gun laws and why they continue to always hammer home their ‘slippery slope’ mantra.

I read an article in the New York Times by Alan Berlow entitled ‘Who the N.R.A. Really Speaks For.’ Mr. Berlow opened that article with the following words:

An angry and exasperated President Obama, speaking to the nation last Thursday after the slaughter in Roseburg, Ore., made one oblique reference to the National Rifle Association, asking gun owners to question whether their “views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you.”

According to that article, a 2012 poll found that “87 percent of gun owners supported criminal background or ‘Brady’ checks for all gun purchases.” It further stated that by December of that same year “92 percent of Americans supported background checks for all buyers, including those buying on the Internet and at gun shows.”

Although the decibels were raised, the NRA once again simply circled the wagons and waited for them to die down, which they did, before it launched its own devastating – and once again extremely effective – counterattack. Those politicians controlled by the NRA licked the NRA’s boots, we American voters soon became frustrated and lost interest and things returned to what we have come to accept as normal in our country. No reasonable deterrents were put into place in an effort to mitigate the proliferation of gun violence and the NRA once again faded into the shadows and is, in all likelihood, lurking there while watching and waiting for their next opportunity to pounce on a helpless hapless public.

Chalk up another victory for the NRA under the relentless and effective leadership of its president, Wayne LaPierre. And chalk up another devastating loss to the American people and especially to all of those people who have lost loved ones to gun violence. American voters must accept the fact that the longstanding effectiveness of the NRA is due in no small part to the failure of too many American voters who fail – for whatever reason – to exercise their right to vote.

Those Americans who advocate for the implementation of reasonable gun control laws must also accept the fact that the NRA will continue to dictate the agenda on issues surrounding guns as long as American voters allow them to do so. We have the power to change the NRA’s dominance on this issue if we vote. Our votes can decide how long we continue to have bootlicking politicians who constantly ignore our voices and listen to those of the rich and powerful people and organizations that line their coffers during election cycles.

I recommend that you read Alan Berlow’s article ‘Who the N.R.A. Really Speaks For.’ It will give you a shocking overview of the kind of power that the NRA wields. While I do not agree with the blanket statement in Mr. Berlow’s article, which states that “…the N.R.A. [is] no longer the voice of law-abiding gun owners, but rather a voice for criminals” I found it to be highly informative. Therefore, for your convenience, I have provided a link to it. You can read the article in its entirety simply by clicking on the link.

Eulus Dennis

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper For President?

I recently read an article in The Denver Post by John Frank in which Governor John Hickenlooper commented on Hillary Clinton’s e-mail dilemma. I was especially drawn to it because the title of the article was ‘Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper expresses doubt about Hillary Clinton amid e-mail controversy.’ After I read the article and contemplated its title, I did not think that the title was fair based on what was in the article.

But it was a great ‘hook’ and I must admit that as a relatively new blogger, I don’t know a whole lot about these kind of things – but I am learning – so who am I to judge. Basically, while saying that Secretary Clinton was qualified to do the job, what Governor Hickenlooper said was that her e-mail server problem had the potential to present pitfalls that could cost her the nomination. He did not express any doubt about her or her ability to do the job.

In this article someone made a remark, which seemed as if it were in passing based on the amount of attention afforded to it, which suggested that Governor Hickenlooper should run for President. Although this remark sounds like, and likely is, a farfetched idea I have some thoughts about it.

Back in January 2011 when Mr. Hickenlooper was first sworn in as governor, my thoughts were that he was almost indiscernible as a Democrat. This quirky man appeared to be more of a hybrid between Democrat and Republican. At the time, I did not understand this and thought more along the line of him being someone that would readily sell out the Democrats. In my mind he was, and I will use the term created as an analogous to the acronym RINO, a DINO; Democrat In Name Only.

At the time that I first began having these thoughts, Mr. Hickenlooper was the incumbent mayor and as mayor all of the Republicans seemed to love him. I don’t think that the independents were far behind the Republicans in this love fest. But as I continued to follow the governor’s political career I began to have a clearer understanding of who he really is: he is his own man.

As much as I hated to admit it because of my long-held feelings that he was a sellout mayor who was really a Republican disguised as a Democrat so that he could play both sides and reap the political benefits, this mayor was just the governor that Colorado needed. With this being Colorado and with the direction in which the political winds were blowing, we needed someone who could assess various situations, seek the advice of those around him, assimilate that advice and still make his own decisions based on that advice.

We did not need someone who would give in to the strongest voices among his advisors, whether those voices were coming from hardliners whose persuasions were skewed to the left or to the right, but someone who would be his own man. We needed someone who would be his own man and yet be someone who was credible to Democrats, Republicans and independents. That man was John Hickenlooper.

To say those five words – ‘that man was John Hickenlooper’ – would have been too much of a mouthful for me when Mr. Hickenlooper first became mayor but I have since evolved. I have learned that this is the kind of person that is built for reasonable political discourse and compromise and who is among the least likely to sell out; it seems that he is rock solid when it comes to standing on principle.

Before I begin to sound more like Governor Hickenlooper’s PR man than a blogger who is simply trying to share some meaningful information with voters I will refer you to an article that I wrote on him back in November 2014. The article is entitled ‘Still, Governor John Hickenlooper’ and you can click on the title link to read it in its entirety.

As far as the farfetched suggestion that Governor Hickenlooper should run for President is concerned, even if he did decide to run for President the earliest that he could do it and remain in good standing with his fellow Democrats would be in 2024 if the 2016 Democratic nominee wins the general election. However, as previously mentioned, Governor Hickenlooper seems to be built for the kind of responsibility that the President of the United States would have and he seems to have the ability to assimilate and responsibly use the advice of his advisors.

Is it reasonable to believe that he could become President? I think so; if Michael Bennet, Governor Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff when the Governor was mayor became a US senator from Colorado, why can’t the governor become President?

Although, as far as I am aware, he has never exhibited any desire to run for President he is, after all, a politician. And since politicians are cut from a special bolt of cloth and they are all driven by their political ambitions, as farfetched as the idea of a run for president might sound, do not be surprised if it comes to fruition.

The downside of a run for President in 2024 for Governor Hickenlooper would be that he would be 72 years old and that would put him right around the age that Senator Bernie Sanders is now. Is that too old? I don’t know but I did hear somewhere that to get old is inevitable but to age is a choice. So like I said, do not be surprised if a run for President by Governor Hickenlooper comes to fruition.

Eulus Dennis