Energy Crisis

The Farewell Address Of Barack Obama: Likely To Be One Of Best And Most Influential In American History

Barack Obama will give the 35th Farewell Address this evening in Chicago, where his career began.

All Presidents, except the eight Presidents who died in office, have given farewell addresses, although Richard Nixon’s final speech was awkward, and not really a Farewell Address.

Grover Cleveland had the chance to do it twice due to two nonconsecutive terms of office.

Most Farewell Addresses have been unmemorable, and one has to wonder what Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy might have said had they lived to retire from the Presidency.

But three Farewell Addresses in particular stand out.

George Washington (speaking out against political parties, and support of avoiding foreign entanglements).

Dwight D. Eisenhower (warning against the Military Industrial Complex dominating).

Jimmy Carter (speaking of the need to deal with the energy crisis, warning of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and calling for continued pursuit of human rights around the world).

No one would ever say that Washington, Eisenhower, and Carter were great public speakers, but they all spoke words that have reverberated ever since.

Expect tonight that Barack Obama, who is a great public speaker, and has uttered many great speeches, will give a Farewell Address memorable for the ages, as he moves toward being part of history in ten days!

White House Solar Panels As A Symbol–Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, And Barack Obama

During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, a much maligned President, unappreciated then and now, we had the oil embargo brought on by the Arabs in the Middle East, and Carter decided to promote the concept of solar panels as a better form of long term energy supply than oil, natural gas and coal, seeing the need for a change in US energy policy. This included the establishment of the Energy Department as a new cabinet position.

So Carter arranged in 1979 for installation of solar panels on the White House, a great symbol of our need to change our energy policies.

But seven years later, after much ridicule by the administration of his successor, Ronald Reagan, the solar panels were taken off the White House, as Reagan made clear that he was going to be captive to the oil and coal industries, and concern himself only with their profits, and ignore conservation and the environment, thus helping to accelerate the global warming and climate change crisis, which even now, the Republican Party refuses to accept as reality!

But now, 27 years later, President Barack Obama has reinstalled solar panels, repudiating Reagan and backing Carter in his vision of the energy and environmental future of solar power.

This is to be commended, although the powerful oil, natural gas, and coal industries will continue their lobbying, as their only goal is profit, not concern over the future of the planet.

So the battle over future energy supplies and climate change continues unabated, as the GOP proves yet again, their lack of concern for the long term future, only concerned about capitalistic profit in the present! It is as if they have their heads in the sand, and live in a world of illusion!

The 87th Birthday of Jimmy Carter: A Look Back At His Much Maligned Presidency!

Today is the 87th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter, and it is proper to send good wishes to him!

By reaching the age of 87, and in good health, Carter becomes the seventh President to reach that advanced age, with former President George H. W. Bush having reached that pinnacle on June 12 of this year.

Other than the first Bush, only Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan (both 93), John Adams and Herbert Hoover (both 90) and Harry Truman (88) have lived longer.

Jimmy Carter has also had a longer retirement after his Presidency than anyone except Herbert Hoover, and will pass him in longevity in retirement in less than a year, on September 8, 2012.

Jimmy Carter has been much ridiculed, lambasted, and condemned by his critics, and this post is not an attempt to deny the weaknesses and mistakes of his Presidency. Carter has learned how to accept the reality that he is shown little respect for his virtues and accomplishments, with a lot of it due to his defeat for reelection in 1980 by the charismatic Ronald Reagan, who is often now seen as a deity in many circles. There is the reality that IF a President loses reelection, his reputation in history suffers dramatically, no matter what he had achieved in office.

But while there is much controversy over Carter’s Presidency, on his birthday, it is worth it to point out his major successes in office.

1. Carter was able to negotiate the impossible–an agreement between Egypt and Israel, the Camp David Accords, which brought peace, recognition, and security for Israel for the past third of a century.

2. Carter also negotiated the Panama Canal Treaty, much berated at the time, and causing loss of seats for the Democrats and assisting the conservative takeover, but in retrospect, one realizes that the treaty was not harmful and against our national security, but actually helped to improve relations with Latin America, and is now seen as non controversial a third of a century later.

3. Carter’s promotion of human rights as a major foreign policy goal was ridiculed by conservatives and Ronald Reagan, but later it turned out that future Presidents, all of them, utilized the concept in some form as part of their foreign policy goals.

4. Carter made us aware of the energy crisis, and the need to expand energy resources beyond oil, and while it has not been pursued as he emphasized by later Presidents, it is clear that Carter was correct in his emphasis on alternative sources of energy being essential for America’s future.

5. Jimmy Carter had the best one term environmental record of any President, greatly expanding national parks and forest land, and focusing on the environment as an issue in a very admirable manner.

6. Carter appointed more minorities to appointed positions than any President before him, and fully backed affirmative action, which became a controversy during his Presidency due to the Bakke case.

7. Three new cabinet agencies were started during his Presidency, although now under attack by conservatives in 2011–Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Energy.

8. Carter presided over the smallest increase in the national debt during his administration, attempting to have very tightly negotiated budgets, although all were with deficits.

9. Carter issued an executive order on his first day in office, granting amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders, which however caused a rift with military supporters who opposed this courageous act.

10. Carter negotiated the SALT 2 (Strategic Arms Limitation) Treaty with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, which was never ratified by the US Senate because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but its details were obeyed by both sides despite the rejection of the agreement in the Senate.

It would be easy to list the faults and shortcomings of Jimmy Carter, and as the years go by, and eventually Carter passes from the scene, there will be much more research done on him and his Presidency. When that happens, it is likely that a reassessment of Carter in a much more sympathetic manner, will occur.

For now, Mr. President, Happy Birthday and many more!

George McGovern’s Advice To President Obama: Worth Considering And Pursuing!

Former Senator and 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern, now 89, has just published a “Letter To President Obama” in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, and what he wrote deserves our and the President’s attention.

McGovern, much loved by those who supported him 40 years ago, including this author, said that President Obama has faced greater economic challenge but also greater attacks from the opposing party than anyone since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

McGovern said Obama should pursue the following ideas:

1. Withdraw from Afghanistan over the next year, as no one has ever been able to overcome that nation in war, and it would save a trillion dollars or more over time.

2. Withdraw most of our troops from overseas commitments, as it is no longer necessary in the modern world to have so many troops overseas, and it would save trillions of dollars.

3. Withdraw our troops from the Islamic nations, as they see our military presence as a sign of American and Christian imperialism over their holy lands and territories.

4. Find ways to cut the defense budget over time, by getting rid of unnecessary missile systems and the returning of troops to America, with the amount on defense being cut from the present $700 billion to $500 billion and eventually to $200 billion through the use of intelligence utilized by the Department of Homeland Security.

5. Tax the wealthy the way they used to be assessed, bringing in large amounts of additional revenue to the nation.

6. Spend money on health care through nationalizing Medicare for all; providing government supported educational opportunity for all at the college level; and building high speed rail systems that will lower the energy drain and the power of oil over our lives.

While it might be argued that there is no way to pursue all of these goals in the short run, it certainly is worth consideration, although in reality the accomplishment of much of this is hard to conceive in the present political climate.

However, there is a growing feeling in this country, and even in the Republican Party, that our overseas commitments MUST be cut as we can no longer afford the kind of financial burden that we are dealing with at this time in our history.

Much of our focus must be on improving our own country which is in dire need of domestic investment at this time, and cutting of foreign commitments as long as we have good intelligence gathering, excellent military special forces, and the ability to use drones and other technology to fight the enemies we have in this world!