Afghanistan War

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!

Donald Trump Is Not A “Miracle Man”: Disillusionment Among Followers Will Erupt Soon, Before End of 2017!

Donald Trump is guaranteed to alienate many of his followers, once they realize he is NOT a “Miracle Man”, that we are going to end up with many events that no one bargained for, including:

The most corrupt Presidency since Richard Nixon, and possibly surpassing the level and depth of Nixon scandals.

The strong likelihood of a major war, with major commitment of troops, and loss of life closer to Vietnam over a period of years, than to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Manufacturing and Mining jobs will NOT return, as it will be clear that Trump’s pledge to the white uneducated working class will not be fulfilled.

A massive cut is likely in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, and poverty will rise, and not just among minorities, but among poor whites, sick people, and the elderly.

Environmental damage that will harm the health of all Americans will be likely, the greatest since the disastrous environmental record of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The conditions of labor will get worse, with no concern about minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, or basic benefits.

Racism will increase with backing of the Trump Presidency,

Mistreatment of women and of gays and lesbians is insured to multiply, with the support of extreme right wing social conservative Vice President Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court, unless both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer stay healthy, will move dramatically to the extreme right, long term damage.

Basic civil liberties and civil rights will go by the wayside, with curbs on freedom of expression, as through speech, press, and assembly.

One can project that over time, a year or so, great disillusionment will set in, and possibly lead to open confrontations with law enforcement authorities, who try to quell public dissent with the approval of an authoritarian President and executive branch, and an unsympathetic Republican party controlled Congress.

Expect a strong reaction to occur, something such as happened under Richard Nixon during his continuation of the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.

Empathy Important Trait For Any Political Leader, Particularly A President Of The United States, Missing In The GOP And Donald Trump!

Empathy is one of the most important traits that any political leader needs to govern effectively.

Sadly, the Republican Party and most of its leadership totally lacks empathy, and instead is very harsh and judgmental toward those who are not fortunate enough to be born wealthy.

They fail to have concern for poverty stricken people, blaming them for their own plight.

They fail to have concern for those who are sick and or disabled, and wish to cut benefits, including ObamaCare, which has given millions of Americans their first health care.

They fail to care about the tragedy of veterans who often have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from their experiences fighting in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the basic stresses of being in the military.

They fail to care about discrimination, racism, nativism, and misogyny, and often encourage rhetoric and actions, which further alienate large sections of population within America.

They allow religion to be utilized in a way to promote hate and division, and look the other way as they endorse hypocrisy.

The candidacy of Donald Trump only emphasizes ever more these terrible traits, as Trump is totally clueless and uncaring about the American people, often insulting, denigrating, demeaning, ridiculing, bullying, and showing total disdain for anyone who dares to challenge his disgraceful behavior and rhetoric.

Instead of taking responsibility for his own shortcomings, Trump lashes out at the news media for exposing his actions and words, thereby attempting to turn the American people against the news media and the concept of Freedom of the Press.

The Republican Party has been complicit in this kind of attack, even before Donald Trump emerged as a significant political force, and they represent a threat to our Bill Of Rights.

The last time this happened, the Federalist Party attack on the Bill of Rights under John Adams, with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1801, resulted in the demise of the party over the next generation.

18 Weeks Until The Election Of Hillary Clinton As The 45th President Of The United States!

The news today that the FBI has cleared Hillary Clinton of any illegal, criminal activity, regarding her Email controversy, is the clincher of the election 18 weeks from today!

Sure, the GOP will jump on the FBI’s statement that Hillary Clinton showed very poor judgment on the security matters of her email usage, but that can be seen as simply human error, as all leaders make mistakes, but not on the level of George W. Bush and the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession of 2008!

No one is saying that Hillary Clinton is perfect but then Donald Trump is much more imperfect in an extreme fashion.

We are not electing God, or a perfect human being, as no such person has ever existed.

But we know President Hillary Clinton will shape the future of the Supreme Court and promote progressive reforms, building on Barack Obama’s path breaking changes in domestic affairs.

And we know that Hillary Clinton has the foreign policy expertise, and connections and respect from foreign governments, including friends and foes.

And now, today, Hillary Clinton can finally campaign without a cloud over her head, and arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina on Air Force One with President Obama, and later this week speaking in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Vice President Joe Biden!

So the future is bright, and there is no way, other than millions stupidly staying home and not voting, to prevent our first woman President of the United States!

Bernie Sanders On The Road To Being The Ralph Nader Of 2000! He May Bring Us Donald Trump And A Right Wing Supreme Court!

It looks as if Bernie Sanders is on the road to being the Ralph Nader of 2000.

In so doing, he may bring us Donald Trump in the White House, which would condemn him in history, as Nader brought us George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina!

Sanders has failed to win more than a few primaries, mostly winning unrepresentative caucuses; is more than three million popular votes behind Hillary Clinton; and will not have more pledged delegates than Clinton, but he now says he will fight to change “super delegates”, who have pledged to Hillary Clinton, to switch loyalties to him, which will not happen. He is not lifelong Democrat, but rather a Socialist who was allowed to join the Democratic Party, and now is, seemingly, out to harm them for his own ambitions!

But what it means is that we will have division, dissension, and turmoil at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, rather than unity. Already, Sanders has demanded, which will not happen, to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman from Florida as the DNC Chair, and also to replace former Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut as leaders of the Platform Committee at the convention.

Bernie now comes across as a bitter, nasty, crotchety old man who seems not to care about whether the progressive agenda wins, but only whether his own ego is satiated!

99 Years Since America Entered World Affairs In A True Sense, And The Future!

99 years ago, on April 6,1917, the United States Congress declared war on Germany, and America entered “The Great War”, World War I.

Woodrow Wilson, by asking for a war declaration on April 2, took a fateful step that put America on the world stage, and committed us to sending American troops overseas.

It began a century in which America would be engaged in seven wars, and face the headaches and responsibilities of world leadership.

Now, we are hearing candidates, including Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who wish for us to retreat from that commitment to world affairs, as there is total disillusionment with our foreign policy under both Democrats and Republicans.

The world is a dangerous place, and trying to figure out what is best for America’s future in a world of nuclear weapons being spread, and of terrorism a threat all over the globe , is daunting!

We tried a return to isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s, and it was an utter failure and a disaster.

But at the same time, we were drawn into wars that could not be won, including Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

So we are in a quandary, with no easy or simple solution as to what our future relationship with the world should be!

The “Dynasties” Under Attack: The Bushes Done, The Clintons?

This morning, it is clear that the Bush Dynasty is history, with Jeb Bush’s poor performance in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, and his announcement of his withdrawal from the Presidential race.

A year ago, it seemed obvious that he would likely be the GOP Presidential candidate, but the entrance of Donald Trump eight months ago destroyed that possibility, and once Trump called Jeb “low energy”, Jeb was befuddled what to do in response.  It took him a long time to mount a serious attack, and it was too late.

Jeb was supposed to be the Republican nominee in 2000, the favored younger son, smarter and more knowledgeable than his brother George W, and Jeb had avoided being the “black sheep” of the family with the alcoholism and drug use of George W making his parents very unhappy with him.

But Jeb lost the 1994 Florida gubernatorial election by 60,000 votes, most of the margin for Governor Lawton Chiles being in South Florida, while George W,  despite a pitiful debate performance against Texas Governor Ann Richards, was able to win the Texas Governorship in the same year, 1994.

One will always have to wonder whether Jeb would have been able to be elected as George W was in 2000; whether he would have won on his own power in his home state, instead of having a Supreme Court case to win the Sunshine State and the election; and whether he would have acted differently around September 11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina.

Jeb was a lost opportunity, one of many who wanted the Presidency; were considered serious contenders; and yet lost the chance, while lesser candidates won.

In this category, we could, in the past half century, put Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968; Ted Kennedy in 1980; Al Gore in 2000; John McCain in 2000; and Hillary Clinton in 2008, along with Jeb Bush in 2000 and now in 2016.

And now, the question is whether Hillary Clinton can overcome Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Presidential nomination, after failing to overcome Barack Obama eight years ago.  Or will she, like Jeb, expected to win, end up failing, as Jeb has done?

In any case, George H. W.  and Barbara Bush may, very well, live to the next inauguration and beyond, at age 92 and 91 respectively in January 2017, but they will NOT see the inauguration of a second son to the Presidency.

The other question that arises is whether Bill Clinton, age 70 by the time of the inauguration in 2017, see his wife, on her second try, now 16 years, not 8, since he left the Oval Office, become President, or have the ultimate failure, despite all evidence that she would become the first woman President?

We shall see soon enough over the next number of months!

48 Hours That Transformed History—January 22-23, 1973!

Forty three years ago today and tomorrow marks one of the most significant 48 hour periods in American history!

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson passed away at age 64 and the Supreme Court declared the right of women to have abortions in Roe V. Wade on January 22, 1973.

The next day, January 23, 1973, the announcement of an agreement to end the Vietnam War was made.

So we lost our most creative, reform oriented President since Franklin D. Roosevelt; and women gained the right to control their own reproductive lives,;and the war that divided the nation like no other since the Civil War finally was ending.

Today, 43 years later, we have seen attempts to cut back on the Great Society accomplishments by Republicans in Congress, only stopped by the veto of Barack Obama!

We have seen constant attempts to ban abortion, and restrictions put on women’s reproductive rights, a major social issue that will not go away!

And the effects of the Vietnam War still reverberate today, and more recent wars in Iraq and ongoing in Afghanistan continue to cause emotional political debate about commitment of American troops to fight overseas, including against ISIL (ISIS) in the Middle East!

A book about those two days is appropriate by some scholar who can remind us of the tremendous significance that 48 hours of events can have on American history!

 

Inauguration Day Plus Seven Years: Imagine The Alternative Of President John McCain And Vice President Sarah Palin!

Seven years ago, Barack Obama became the 44th President, and history was transformed in a positive manner!

Not everything has worked out, and not everything he promised has occurred, but when one thinks about the alternative of President John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin, one must thank God that he gave us Barack Obama!

McCain, even though he is less extreme than most Republicans, would most certainly have taken us into war more than we were under George W. Bush.

We would have massive involvement still in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and would have engaged in a major war against Iran.

Much of the social change that has occurred would not have had Presidential backing, including gay rights and gay marriage; climate change; criminal justice reform; attention to civil rights controversies; and a national health care system for more Americans.  We also would not have Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court!

We would have had Sarah Palin as Vice President, and have to be constantly thankful that John McCain is still alive and healthy.

 

Modern Presidents Who Were Peace Oriented Or Anti Military Engagement In Their Time In Office

Modern American Presidents who have taken us to war or promoted American intervention or expansion gain a lot more attention, and are more looked upon as role models, than those who attempt to avoid war, oppose expansion and promote peace where possible.

As one examines our 19  Presidents since 1901, the following six stand out as either peace oriented or anti military engagement as a major motivation:

Warren G. Harding—promoted the Washington Naval Agreement of 1921-1922.

Calvin Coolidge—promoted the Kellogg Briand Pact of 1928

Herbert Hoover—promoted the Stimson Doctrine of 1932

Jimmy Carter—promoted diplomacy over war, and refused to use force, except an attempt to rescue hostages in Iran in 1980

Bill Clinton—promoted diplomacy over war, and avoided commitment of troops in the Balkans in 1995 and 1998

Barack Obama—ended war in Iraq and dramatically cut military forces in Afghanistan, and avoided commitment of troops to fight terrorism in the Middle East.

For these standards and principles, the three Republican Presidents of the 1920s have been portrayed as weak and ineffective, but not only for foreign and military policy, but also domestic policy.

Many critics have portrayed Carter and Obama as weak and ineffective in foreign and military policy, as much as Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, but Bill Clinton has managed to survive some criticisms of his foreign and military policies, although now his wife Hillary Clinton is being bitterly attacked in that regard in the present competition for the Presidential Election of 2016, and some of those criticisms have started to cause a reassessment of Bill Clinton’s Presidency.

However, in the long run, the image of  the three Democratic Presidents—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama— as Commanders In Chief, will be likely to rise as time goes by and passions cool!