I know judging a two-term presidency with 36 months to go is a dodgy proposition, but what is the point of writing a blog if not to make these brilliant observations?
I had great hopes because the very first thing he tackled was wage discrimination. He was stuck with a horrendous economy in freefall, and the stimulus, despite spending that ought to have been better targeted, had overall good effect. GM and Chrysler were saved from almost certain death, which would have had a huge ripple effect on other parts of the economy.
The Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, was not what I wanted, as I think his team took the single-payer option off the table WAY too early. Still, the fact that it doesn’t doom persons with pre-existing conditions to, likely, no insurance is a plus, and I appreciate the provision of keeping young adults on their parents’ policies.
Every year, I hear, especially since the 10th anniversary, “Remember 9/11! Never forget!” If we somehow forgot, we’d cease to be ‘vigilant’. I remember September 11, 2001 amazingly well, thank you. Just this summer, I was at highway rest stop on I-87, the Northway, not far from Albany, when I saw a memorial for three people who worked for the Department of Transportation, one of whom I knew not very well, who died on that day.
Amy, the lovely singer/poet from Sharp Little Pencil, asked a few questions, only one of which I will address presently:
Do you think we should pull out of Afghanistan immediately to avoid engaging Iran if/when Israel sends the bombs flying?
Here’s the conundrum: one can appreciate the sacrifice that US military personnel make every day, and still have no idea what we’re fighting for in Afghanistan.
Joe Conason explains: What keeps the United States engaged is a plausible concern that our departure will permit the Taliban to claim victory, and that our troops are making progress, slow but measurable, in recapturing territory from the enemy. There is no longer any illusion among Pentagon leaders or in the White House Continue reading Peace, Peace, When There Is No Peace→
About three weeks after September 11, 2001, I told my wife, “We’ve got to go SOMEWHERE.” She countered that we could have a vacation right there at home. With all due respect, that was a terrible idea; my wife, I knew even then, was/is absolutely no good at what’s come to be called the ‘staycation’. She always finds something in the house that needs to be fixed or cleaned. We absolutely needed a different venue.
My great disappointment with the Obama administration is not merely the fact that he has maintained indefinite detention of terrorists, rendition, and [so-called] Patriot Act surveillance. It is that, by his previous statements, the public had reason to believe that his actions would end those practices. Except for waterboarding, I’m not seeing the CHANGE I expected.
While the Iraq war is seemingly winding down, the Afghanistan war is ramping up. I must say, I’m not sure to what end.
It’s halfway through Barack Obama’s first term as President, and I’m filled with a lot of mixed feelings. On one hand, I think his rhetoric far outstrips his ability to govern. In other words, he promised much more than he could deliver. On the other hand, if Bill Clinton was hampered by a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” that was nothing compared with what Obama has been faced with.
What initially struck me about the President-elect back in December 2008 is that he was already acting as though he were already in charge. The bad news about the economy was becoming more fully released, and he appeared fully involved in trying to fix it. My wife noted at the time that he seemed more visible than the 43rd President.
So his inaugural speech was less inspirational than I might have wanted; still we were promised the audacity of hope. Thus, it seems that a lot of people saw Barack Obama the way they WANTED to see him. Surely, he’ll get rid of the onerous secret human right violations that many were distressed about under his predecessor. That did not prove to be the case.
The American participation in the war in Iraq had greatly diminished, as he said would happen, but he was never allowed any credit for that in some circles because he had opposed the war in the first place, and moreover opposed the surge that most analysts suggested allowed for the withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan has expanded, with the end point pushed back later (2011) and later (2014).
I’ve discovered that there seems to be some confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. That fact confuses me, frankly, though their previous designations would be much more unclear. Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.