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Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Patriotism means to stand by the country.  It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.  It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country.  It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.  In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.
  —  Theodore Roosevelt
(A Republican President known as “The Trust Buster” because he championed the breakup of monopolies.)
[This is the problem I have with the modern “Tea-Party” led Republican Party: they profess patriotism, yet are unable to tell the truth.  The judgment of history will be far kinder to President Obama than it will be to a Tea-Party demented (I mean dominated) GOP.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 30 Days To Go
2011 Altering The Course

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JOSH:   “Tell me democracy doesn’t have a sense of humor.  …What do you say about a government that goes out of its way to protect even citizens that try to destroy it?
TOBY:  “God bless America.”
SAM: “God bless America.”
C.J.:  “God bless America.”
DONNA: “God bless America.”
JOSH:  “God bless America.”
From the TV series: “THE WEST WING”
Episode: “THE MIDTERMS”
Season 2, Episode 3, Airdate: 18 Oct 2000
Written by: AARON SORKIN
Directed by: ALEX GRAVES
 
[All views expressed are my own and do NOT represent the official position or opinion of any government agency – local, state or federal.
I am a Federal employee.  Today is the first day of the fiscal year.  I have been furloughed because a small group of political fanatics have commandeered one of the nation’s two main political parties.  As such, this group of fanatics have paralyzed one half (the House of Representatives) of our legislative branch (Congress), which forms one third of our Federal government.
Now, you will frequently hear about how “the people” voted for a majority of the Representatives in the House and that’s why the country is against Obamacare.  In fact, what happened was Republicans took advantage of an off-year election (one where the President isn’t on the ticket) to take control of the House in 2010.  This coincided with a similar dominance in many state legislatures and governorships.  Now, House re-districting occurs every ten years following the national census (last held in 2010).  Re-districting is normally controlled by the powers that be in the individual states.  The result of the state take-overs (Republican) and the census re-districting was the ability to “gerrymander” their House districts so that even if they lost the vote in their statewide elections in 2012, they would retain the majority of House districts in their states.  The practical result of this political maneuver was although Democrats outvoted Republicans for House seats by almost 500,000 votes nationwide, the Republicans retained more seats in the House.  For a clear explanation of how a political party can be out-voted but still retain the majority of House seats in the state , please click on the following link:
The House of Representatives – or how to win when you actually lost –  dtd 8 November 2012; Washington Post article explaining how the Republicans “really” managed to maintain control of the House in 2012.  (For the record, the actual title of this article is: “How redistricting could keep the House red for a decade
I’m also including four links to prior posts of mine related to national politics:
  dtd 2 October 2010 explanation of budget faults.
  dtd  29 November 2010  Republican fear tactics in politics, limited government and the role of government agencies in a “free” marketplace.
  dtd 1 December 2010  Grading President Obama on various policies including health care, the economy and negotiating with Republicans.
  dtd 26 June 2011 Comments on Pat Robertson’s statement that Republicans have committed economic treason.
It is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff when discussing politics these days.  This is all the more true because one side (the Republicans) is willing to tell the big lie repeatedly to promote its political agenda, and the other side (the Democrats) is too polite to just say “that’s a lie!” publicly to their opponents face.  One tool I use for evaluating political positions is to go back and see if what someone had to say about something proved either prophetic or correct (or both).  With the hind-sight of two-to-three years, I hope you (dear readers) will take the time to view some of these earlier posts and let me know if we’ve heard this song before.  And whether we (the American public) are about to sit through another encore…
Regardless of whether or not you agree with me, please contact your Federal representatives (Senate and House, Democrat and Republican) and let them know how you feel about the government shutdown and why.  This is no time to stand on the sidelines!
—  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 More Mature Than I Thought
2011 Outlaw’s Music
Can Do!

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Success may not come quickly or easily.  But if you strive to do what’s right, if you work harder and dream bigger, if you set an example in your own lives and do your part to help meet the challenges of our time, then I’m confident that, together, we will continue the never-ending task of perfecting our union.
  —  President Barack Obama
[I am a Federal employee.  Today is the first day of the fiscal year.  Happy New Year, everybody!  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 More Mature Than I Thought
2011 Outlaw’s Music
Can Do!

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We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
  —   Edward R. Murrow
There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists.  If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists.  But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live.  And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die.  In short, that would not be America.
  —    Senator (former) Russ Feingold
The only “NO” vote against the original version of the Patriot Act
[And yet, this is the very America we have lived in for almost half a generation.
Almost two years ago, in May of 2011, President Obama signed a four year extension of the Patriot Act.  Let us hope that between now and 2015, Congress comes to its senses and repeals large portions of this Act.
  —    KMAB]
On This Day In:
2012 Five Lost Wars
2011 Worth Fighting For
2010 Still Learnin’ Hard…
4th of July 2010

 

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Having been chosen the leader of my party, I feel it my duty to lead.
  —  President Woodrow Wilson
[A message to President Obama:  You were not elected to manage the country.  You were elected to lead it.  Now, get (and get us) going!  —  KMAB]
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How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?  Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.
  —  Abraham Lincoln
[Congress passed a law (The National Defense Authorization Act), which President Obama signed, that allows the U.S. Government to detain and hold – indefinitely – any American citizen without trial, simply by declaring the citizen a “terrorist”.
I now have a new understanding of Janis Joplin: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…
Oh, but don’t worry.  We have a promise from the President that his administration will never exercise this authority.  I feel sooooo much better.  Don’t you?  —  KMAB]
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We have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.
 —   President Obama
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In the wake of Desert Storm, the Pentagon became convinced that that kind of warfare would soon be an anachronism: no one would be foolish enough to challenge the United States head-to-head in pure military combat.  Conflict in the future would be diffuse.  It would take place in cities as often as on battlefields, be fueled by ideas as much as by weapons, and engage cultures and economies as much as armies.  As one JFCOM analyst puts it: “The next war is not just going to be military on military.  The deciding factor is not going to be how many tanks you kill, how many ships you sink, and how many planes you shoot down.  The decisive factor is how you take apart your adversary’s system.  Instead of going after war-fighting capability, we have to go after war-making capability.  The military is connected to the economic system, which is connected to their cultural system, to their personal relationships.  We have to understand the links between all those systems.”
 [And later…]
Van Riper didn’t believe you could lift the fog of war.  His library on the second floor of his house in Virginia is lined with rows upon rows of works on complexity theory and military strategy.  From his own experience in Vietnam and his reading of the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, Van Riper became convinced that war was inherently unpredictable and messy and non-linear.
 —  Malcom Gladwell
From his book: “Blink“, describing modern warfare and Paul Van Riper
[You cannot predict the course of a war based on economics or superior firepower.  Rober McNamarra couldn’t do it for President Johnson and a much lesser man (Donald Rumsfeld) couldn’t do it for “W”.
Ultimately, this is why America’s policy pre-emptive attacks and over-throwing (“replacing”) governments in most parts of the world (particularly Muslim countries) and trying to do nation-building “in our own image” will NEVER work.
When (if) you fight an enemy who is willing to fight on your terms, you may defeat them if you are a superior force.  If you are not superior, it can go either way – even when you are fighting on your terms.  If you are unable to fight on your terms, you must be vastly superior to ensure even modest victory.
If you ultimately are intending to form a new government, the populace must be one which historically is willing to bend to the will of their own government / “superiors” (either through cultural tradition, divine right or extreme force, Germany and Japan after WWII, for example) and not tribal and culturally / economically independent (like Iraq and Afghanistan, for example).
Saddam was in power over twenty years and slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people and still many tribes resisted his rule.  Why would any but the most naïve amongst us believe ALL of his people would welcome us with flowers and kisses, instead of treat us as an invading power – which we were.  The same is true with Afghanistan.  They were not so much governed by the Taliban as loosely confederated under a set of religious beliefs.
Think about this: the United States is spending about $1 BILLION dollars EACH day to keep our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have over 120,000 of the best trained and equipped soldiers in the world in Afghanistan to fight what is probably an Al Qaeda force of not more than 500 in an area the size of Texas.
That we have killed Bin Laden only means he will not live to see his ultimate economic and cultural victory over us.  Not a military victory, which was never possible, but a victory over us as a world economic super-power because he was able to kick our political system into hyper-militarism – individually spending more as a single country than all of the other countries in the world.  This is the warning President Eisenhower gave us in his famous “military-industrial complex” speech.
To defeat western-civilization (quasi-benign capitalism) at it’s core, Bin Laden only had to accelerate “corporate” capitalism.  With the help of a willing Republican “neo-conservative” government in the White House, controlling both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, who were all willing to wage a war off budget (read that as “with no public debate over the actual costs or the real lost opportunity costs“) and without raising taxes to pay for the war, the Bush Administration virtually guaranteed an eventual collapse of the American economy.   The miracle is that we have not already had a complete collapse.  We narrowly avoided complete economic collapse in Nov ’08 to Mar ’09.
Bin Laden truly learned the primary lesson of Afghanistan in defeating the Russians:  you need not defeat a superior force in battle; you can bleed the home country to death by fighting their force with fewer (120,000 to 500) and less expensive (does anyone believe it costs a million dollars a year to keep a single Al Qaeda foot-soldier in battle?) ground forces.  (Before anyone starts thinking this was an incredibly brilliant discovery by Bin Laden, please recall this is EXACTLY the same tactic used by General George Washington against the British monarchy in the American Revolutionary War.)
To see if I have any idea what I’m talking about, please refer to my two earlier posts:  “Obama’s Wars” and “View From Under The Bus“.
Please Mr. President – Give Peace A Chance!!!  Get out of these pointless, hopeless and impossible to win wars now!!!  Not in 2012, 2014 or 20-whatever…  NOW!!!  (Yes, I know it will take six months to draw down if we begin withdrawing tomorrow…  So start tomorrow!!!)
It is still NOT too late to save America and Western Civilization…
Signed,
A Democrat (Still Under The Bus)
 —  KMAB]
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Okay.  After yesterday’s rant about what’s going wrong with the Obama Administration, let’s take a deep breath and remember some of what’s gone right (maybe not perfect, but better than anything we could have imagined under Dubya).
I can spend all evening listing the many things President Obama has worked on and gotten correct.  But rather than do that, I’ll quote the words of Bill Press from his WorldNetDaily blog http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=185313  dated 30 July 2010:
You’ve heard of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight?  Barack Obama’s the man who can’t shoot straight.  His first 20 months have zipped by with nothing to show for them.  He’s broken every promise he made.  He’s achieved not one major legislative accomplishment.  It even took him three months to plug an oil leak.
That’s the rap on President Obama, from commentators on both the right and the left.  It’s ubiquitous, it’s loud, it’s earnest – and it’s dead wrong.
I say that not as an Obama apologist.  Indeed, I’ve been as critical of Obama as many conservative commentators, although for different reasons.  In my opinion, he’s spent too much time sucking up to Republicans and too little time paying attention to his political base.  He settled for too weak a bill on both health-care reform and Wall Street reform.  He’s dragged his heels on getting rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  And he escalated the war in Afghanistan when he should have pulled the plug on it.
Still, when you examine the record, whether you agree with everything he’s done or not, you must conclude that Obama inherited the worst problems and has already taken bolder actions than any president since FDR.  The facts speak for themselves.
On the economy.  With America on the brink of economic collapse, Obama’s first act was to push through a $787 billion stimulus package – already credited with saving or creating more than 3 million new jobs, with almost $200 billion still unspent.  Obama also propped up banks large and small with the second round of TARP money, of which $194 billion has been repaid, with interest.  And he saved GM and Chrysler from bankruptcy with an $86 billion bailout, of which taxpayers are expected to recoup at least $74 billion, if not actually make money on the deal.
On jobs.  With unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent, it’s hard to celebrate job growth.  Yet the fact remains: In January 2009, according to Department of Labor records, America lost 598,000 jobs.  In January-June 2010, employers added 982,000 new jobs.  Too many Americans are still out of work, but we’ve turned the corner from monthly job losses to monthly job gains.
On health care.  Without a public-plan option, private insurance companies still rule the roost.  But they must now operate within tough new guidelines.  Thanks to federal subsidies, 32 million Americans who couldn’t afford health insurance before can now do so.  That means 95 percent of Americans are covered, which is the closest we’ve ever come to universal health care.
On Wall Street.  Obama recently signed into law the toughest regulations on banks and financial institutions since the Great Depression.  That bill also creates the first-ever consumer-protection agency for financial transactions.
Oh, and, along the way, Obama also dealt with an H1N1 epidemic, started bringing troops home from Iraq, expanded the war in Afghanistan, named two Supreme Court justices, took 13 foreign trips to 22 countries, met with 93 foreign leaders, signed a nuclear-arms treaty with Russia, hosted 47 nations in a nuclear-proliferation summit in Washington and marshaled federal forces to deal with the worst oil spill in history.
Please note: Bill Press’ blog is copyrighted material and I am quoting it without his or WorldNetDaily’s specific permission.  Again, I am not trying to make any profit from my own blog and I am fully acknowledging both the writer and the content provider.  If either learn of this citation and object to it, I will happily remove it and / or paraphrase it (still citing the source) at their choice.
I would also like to point any readers to another source of information about the accomplishments of the Obama Administration:  http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/
This website is useful because it has both the accomplishment and the link to further reading so you (the person seeking to become a better informed American voter) can get some background facts.
I follow Bill Press on his weekday radio show.  While I don’t always agree with him, at least he is normally rational and thoughtful.  If you are up and awake before 6AM (or want to subscribe to his podcasts), I highly recommend you give him a listen.
Finally, I would rather have President Obama representing me 40% of the time, than have ANY modern day Republican never represent me.  The last GREAT Republican President was Theodore Roosevelt.  The last moderately useful Republican President was Eisenhower (who warned us about the dangers of a military-industrial complex).  Since then, Republican Presidents have been a criminal/resigned in disgrace (Nixon), incompetent and probably criminal (quid pro quo – Nixon pardon for the Ford Presidency), a criminal or a liar or both (Reagan – Iran/Contra-gate), tolerably incompetent (one-term Bush, Sr.) and a self-confessed war criminal (Dubya Bush).  With a batting average like that, it’s a wonder the United States survived the last half of the 20th century.
Okay!  Two days, two rants.  I better take a few deep breaths and go watch Jon Stewart for a while…
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Short version: Read the book.  It’s interesting and well written.  I believe Woodward will end up being considered one of the great historical journalist / authors of the last 40 years (and probably then next 10 or so, too).  The book highlights the reasons for our eventual political and military failure in Afghanistan.  It is inevitable…
Long version: Today I completed Bob Woodward’s latest book: “Obama’s Wars“.  The book is an insiders look at the Obama Administration, the US Military and the on-going prosecution (mishandling) of the war in Afghanistan.  By insider, I mean it is quite obvious Woodward is being fed information by a host of characters to get their view of history in his story.
The book makes several things clear – the “war” in Afghanistan is un-winnable by any normal use of the term “win”.  The current Karzai government is corrupt and not supported by the Afghan people.  The fall is inevitable.  The only question is how much money and how many lives will we waste before we wake up, smell the coffee and get out?
The best we can hope for is to kill a bunch of Al Qaeda, avoid a complete government breakdown in Pakistan (and consequent loss of up to 100 nuclear weapons to terrorists) and not completely bankrupt the United States.
Every account of every review of the situation says we can’t “possibly” stem the tide in Afghanistan unless we commit far more troops than we currently have for far longer than we can possibly afford.
The author is clearly trying to kill a political run for the presidency by General Petraeus (a potential Republican nominee) in 2012 by making him out to be a fairly self-centered and self-serving man.  He (the General) clearly states (repeatedly) that this war will take generations, yet repeatedly asks for troops while promising to be able to move us closer to victory (with numbers far less than he knows can achieve this).  A “victory” he knows will not come in anyone’s lifetime.  General Petraeus is a student of history and knows full well a Democracy cannot sustain a prolonged active conflict – either politically or economically.
The same is true for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is also made out as a scapegoat (one of many) in this tragedy of failure in leadership.  Gates is made to appear to be regretful the US abandoned Afghanistan and Pakistan after the end of the Cold War and the continuation of US involvement in this region is his way of somehow assuaging his conscience.  How this will happen or why he feels the need is not fully explained, but he promises the Afghans we will never leave the area!!
The military leadership, the Pentagon, the CIA and the other “war fighting” agencies in the government do not fare well in this book.  They are apparently only efficient at getting their way in the press.  They can’t “honestly” assess a situation and provide options.  In fact, they are insubordinate and plot to refuse to provide any realistic options to the plan they feel will provide some continuation of the war effort – not victory, just continuation.
Those in the military (active and retired) who try to argue against the single option are systematically marginalized and / or derided.
The White House staff does not escape the broad brush of criticism by the author.  General Jones is used to characterize them (WH Staff) as “water-bugs” and they certainly come across that way in the narration.
The only person who survives the ridicule is President Obama, who is portrayed as thoughtful, caring, conscientious and (at times) forceful.  The author appears to be making the case that President Obama cannot simply withdraw US forces from Afghanistan.  He must allow the military sufficient rope to hang itself so he can later justify a decision (an already made decision) to withdraw from Afghanistan.  It appears this decision will come shortly after the Dec 2010 review.  (Just after the Congressional elections – what a coincidence!)
The bottom line for this book – and war – is that President Bush did exactly what he campaigned against – nation building.  He tried to topple a government he didn’t like (Taliban) and then install one he did (Karzai).  When there was initial success: the Taliban were driven from power, Bush installed a corrupt leader who would never be able to unite and lead his country independently.  Bush then lost interest and went on to illegally attack another country (Iraq) to do the same thing.  Now Karzai will fall in Afghanistan and despite the present appearance of progress in Iraq, it will also collapse before the political situation in that area stabilizes.  And no amount of propping up by the US military will make a damned bit of difference…
The remainder of this blog is my personal opinion and not really part of the book review…
Bush failed miserably in both efforts at nation building – although he was clearly a success in initially overthrowing both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.
Bush has left President Obama to clean up his (Bush’s) utter failures and, unfortunately, President Obama has followed bad advice and is choosing to slowly extract us from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
I personally do NOT believe leaving 30,000 to 50,000 troops (and a similar number of contractors) in Iraq is “withdrawing“.  I want every single post closed and every last soldier brought home.  I feel the same way about Afghanistan!!  Out NOW!!
As un-liberal, un-Democratic and un-Christian as this sounds, we do not need to be there to kill people over there – lots and lots of people.  Yes, many innocents will also be hurt and killed, but the bottom line is their leaders don’t care about them (the average person).  Their leaders only care about themselves.  If we have to blow up a few thousand innocent civilians to get to their leaders, so be it.  It won’t take many “examples” before the rest of the world realizes we are serious and mean business – and don’t mess with us.
The flip side to this is we should also stop propping up the governments of other countries and we should bring all of our soldiers home – from Europe, Asia and Africa.  If a foreign government nationalizes some part of an American company – tough!  You should have kept your capital here where it was safe or you should have invested it in such a way the government didn’t feel they had to seize your assets.  Other than American citizens overseas, we have NO national interests in other countries!!  Read George Washington’s farewell address…  Avoid foreign entanglements!
Self-governing is difficult enough for Americans here in the United States.  Let’s leave other governments to their own people for a change.
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Last night Hil was watching Larry King interview Bob Woodward about his new book: “Obama’s Wars“.  Even though I don’t normally watch “puff-piece” quasi-journalistic interviews, I sat down, because I’ve read several of Woodward’s books.
The most interesting (damning) thing I heard during the hour was the claim that President Obama attended a meeting with his Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs expecting to get several options for Afghanistan and was only given one.  The President stated having only one option was unacceptable and Secretary Gates replied (something to the effect): “Yeah, we owe you one there.”
The option provided – to increase troops – was ultimately adopted.
What I have to ask is – why was Gates not asked immediately for his resignation and the head of the Joint Chiefs given one week to formally (and personally) present at least two additional options?
Basically, we are talking about insubordination by the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs.
They knew what was requested and they appear to have chosen NOT to perform their duties.  There is nothing at all wrong with disagreeing with policy, but when you are in command and you honestly feel you cannot fulfill or comply with the orders you have been given, the only honorable course of action is for you tender your resignation.
In the United States of America, the elected government (the President) is the superior command authority of the military.  The Joint Chiefs willful attempt to corner the President in the decision making process of an active conflict is the grossest form of misconduct and they should be ashamed of themselves.
If this story is true, this book will be a future case study at the military academies (and at civilian universities) as to how senior officers can fail in their service to a democratic society.
Needless to say, it staggers me to think of this group of men who have “dedicated” their lives to the service of their country can so fundamentally misunderstand the nature and role of the military in the history of the United States.
I put this on a par with the insubordination shown Lincoln (by McClellan) during the Civil War and MacArthur’s actions towards Truman during the Korean Conflict.
My mind has drifted back to this topic several times today…
When I got home from work, I went into the bedroom to change and there was a bag on my pillow.  Inside was a present…  A book!
Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s War“, with a note from my Hil saying,
Dear Kev,
Thought you would like spending time reading this book.  So I got if for you.
Love Always,
Hil”
Small, frequent acts of personal thoughtfulness and kindness… towards me (and others).  That’s why I love her!
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