Day: January 20, 2011

30th Anniversary Of The End Of The Iran Hostage Crisis: Its Long Range Effect!

On this day thirty years ago, Inauguration Day of President Ronald Reagan, the Iran hostage crisis, which destroyed any hope of President Jimmy Carter to win re-election, came to an end.

The nation was kept literally captive for 444 days from November 4, 1979 onward, as we all worried about the safety and survival of the 52 Americans held hostage at US Embassy in Teheran.

We were gripped by this crisis, and it became the constant news story for all of 1980, an obsession we could not overcome.

It created fame for Ted Koppel of ABC News, who originally covered the crisis day by day at 1135PM weekday evenings, and then expanded the news coverage at that odd hour to create Nightline, which he anchored for 26 years!

Iran became the biggest foreign policy headache of the United States, and in many ways, remains that 32 years later!

We basically were unable to resolve the issue satisfactorily as a great power, and yet Iran has continued to tie us in knots, and we still cannot figure out how to deal with the threat of this Islamic terrorist nation which has complicated our lives more than any other nation in the past three decades!

With the Soviet Union, as evil as they were, reason and measured response could work, and the Soviets had their limits.

Unfortunately, with the combination of Islamic extremism and resentment at US support in the past for the Shah of Iran, there is a concern that the Iranians today have no limits and might be ready to sacrifice themselves rather than cave in or concede in any way to the United States or other Western nations.

And by this nation getting deeply involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, ironically, Iran has become emboldened and stronger than ever before, and they clearly have no intention of compromise or concession, while the old Soviet Union was willing over time to make agreements and concession.

So in this second decade of the 21st century, Iran remains the center of strategic planning, intelligence estimates, and sleepless nights for many in the American diplomatic and military community! 🙁

Sarah Palin And Polls: All Time High Unfavorability!

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has reached an all time high unfavorable rating in the USA Today and CNN polls, after her disastrous reaction to the Tucson shootings and her use of the term “blood libel”, which has outraged the Jewish community and intelligent people everywhere.

The USA Today poll puts her negative ratings at 53 percent, and the CNN poll at 56 percent.

Sarah made clear on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News Channel that she would “not sit down and shut up”, and certainly there is no way to make that happen, and no one wants to take away her freedom of speech.

But, effectively, the American public is saying precisely that: Please sit down and shut up!

Since she will just do exactly the opposite, she is a gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats and President Obama, and is a burden on the GOP and the Presidential race!

Eric Cantor’s View Of The Senate: Hypocrisy Personified! :(

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia has expressed frustration about the fact that the US Senate, under Democratic control, will not even take up the Health Care Reform repeal bill passed by the House of Representatives yesterday.

He feels that it is wrong that the Senate becomes the equivalent of the “graveyard” or “dust bin” (my language) of legislation that passes the House of Representatives.

Somehow, this comes across as if Eric Cantor has not been awake and conscious in the past two years, when the Senate minority, the Republicans, bottle necked hundreds of House bills by utilizing the filibuster tactic. That apparently was not a problem to Cantor, and we never heard him protest the blockage of what the majority wanted in the Senate.

But now when the MINORITY in the Senate wants to impose their agenda on the American people and take away the advantages of the Health Care Reform, suddenly Cantor is outraged that the Democrats are finally ready to play the same game, and block any consideration.

The only major difference, and I emphasize MAJOR, is that the Democrats ARE the majority, and have every right to block the attempt of the GOP to destroy a piece of legislation which is of historic proportions!

To say the least, Eric Cantor is a pure HYPOCRITE, par excellence! 🙁

Celebration Of Two Years Of Barack Obama: Public Opinion Ratings Soar! :)

Today marks two years of the Obama Presidency, and an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows his rating with the public has soared from 45 to 53 percent in the past month, the highest it has been since July 2009! 🙂

Why has this happened? Apparently, his handling of the Lame Duck Session, demonstrating willingness to work with the opposition Republicans, is a major factor.

Also, his handling of the Tucson tragedy was overwhelmingly popular, as he showed empathy and ability to speak to the country in a soothing manner in the midst of a major crisis and depressing moment for the nation.

Also, there is growing optimism long term and short term about the economy, and Obama comes across as a reasonable person, rather than as an extremist, as so many Republicans present themselves.

The pressure is not on the President, as many thought after the midterm losses in Congress, but rather with the Republicans to show reasonableness and desire to work with the President for the good of the country.

But don’t hold your breath on such cooperation, as every evidence is just the opposite.

Speaker John Boehner failed to attend the State Dinner for the Chinese President, something totally inappropriate, considering that Boehner is second in line for the Presidency, and yet has no interest in interacting with the leader of the second largest economy.

Almost no Republicans attended the State Dinner, with the major exception of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who seemed somewhat embarrassed, when asked about it, that he was the rare Republican to be at the banquet.

The Republican party, with the battle beginning among probably more than a dozen individuals to be the GOP nominee for President in 2012, and with their ties to the Right Wing talk show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, among others, gives the advantage clearly to the camp of Barack Obama! 🙂

Congratulations, President Obama, on an outstanding first two years of your administration, and the growing likelihood that you will have the great advantage for a second term as President, because of your accomplishments and principles, and the growing image of the GOP as out of step with the American people, as evidenced by the Health Care repeal vote yesterday in the House of Representatives!

January 20: Historic Day Over And Over Again! :)

Today is January 20, which has been Inauguration Day for the President of the United States every fourth year since 1937, due to the 20th Amendment which was added to the Constitution in 1933 in record time, after the horrors of waiting four months until March 4, 1933, to see the transition between defeated President Herbert Hoover to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the worst days of the Great Depression.

So every President since then has been inaugurated on January 20, with the exception of Harry Truman in 1945 (upon the death of FDR), Lyndon Johnson in 1963 (upon the death of John F. Kennedy), and Gerald Ford ni 1974 (upon the resignation of Richard Nixon). But Truman and Johnson were later inaugurated for a full term on January 20, with only Gerald Ford never experiencing the pomp and circumstance of Presidential Inauguration Day, as a result of his defeat for a full term of office in the 1976 Presidential Election to Jimmy Carter.

Round numbers tend to carry more weight, somehow, so today it is 50 years since John F. Kennedy took the oath and 30 years since Ronald Reagan uttered the oath.

It is also 30 years since Jimmy Carter left the White House, and 10 years since Bill Clinton left the Oval Office.

Kennedy and Reagan have become the favorite Presidents of the poorly informed general public, based on public opinion polls every year to commemorate President’s Day every February.

But it is worth some consideration to think about the contributions of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton AFTER they left the White House!

Carter has already had the second longest retirement of any President, and in mid September 2012, he will surpass Herbert Hoover as the longest retired President ever, and since he is seemingly in tip top shape physically and mentally at age 86, it seems likely he will beat the Hoover record.

Often called the best former President in American history, while far from the best President in office, Carter has stirred some outrage and animosity for some of his views and statements in the past thirty years, particularly regarding Israel and the Arabs.

But despite this, he has been engaged in many good deeds, including Habitat for Humanity and promotion of democracy and free and fair monitored elections all over the world through the Carter Center in Atlanta, and he has great acceptance as an outstanding man promoting peace and diplomacy and the fight against poverty and hunger in the world community.

His stature has risen, and he is the author of about ten books, the most prolific author ever, even surpassing Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton in ten years time has pursued a similar commitment to peace, diplomacy, and the fighting of hunger and poverty through the Clinton Initiative. He has a great international image and is seen, much like Carter, as a man of wisdom and principle. He has written his memoirs and has given advice to President Obama, and has stood by very proudly as his wife has become an exceptional Secretary of State after being a Senator from New York for eight years.

Both men have their definite faults and shortcomings, as all of us do, but both have gone the extra mile and done the office of the Presidency proud, setting a distinct image and imprint on the potential of a former President to have a major impact even beyond his years in the Oval Office!

So there is a lot to celebrate on January 20 this year!