Tag Archives: President Obama

83. People Now Believe Lies

30 Dec

People who are knowledgeable about current events and politics immediately recognize a blatant lie. On the other hand, less well-informed citizens believe anything said by a politician that they like, or just ignore anything obviously untrue. The bizarre post-election situation we are now facing is not unique in American history.  After WWII we had a similar (but not identical) period of despotic McCarthyism.   Today, we are faced with two problems:

1. Voters believing lies if told by a likable or admired candidate.
2. Ignoring a record of lies told by a candidate you like or believe in.

The first factor is mostly a result of an evolution in information dissemination. In the last few decades, the sources for info have greatly multiplied. If we look back, for example, at about 60 years ago, most people relied on established newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, and on TV/Radio news anchors, such as Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. Major news sources were more clearly defined and were led by trustworthy editors and managers.

Now there are hundreds of TV channels, a disappearing set of newspapers, an Internet with bogus news sites, and social media that can easily promote rumors. If you want to believe your hero, there is usually a source that will confirm his/her statements — right or wrong. So who is to blame for this situation? Individual news people cannot be blamed — it is a natural result of tech advances in a free society.

The second factor is natural for poorly-educated people. It is why we have an Electoral College in the USA. Our early leaders developed a constitution that they hoped would deal with this situation. People electing trusted representatives (Electoral College) probably worked better in earlier times, but is now obsolete.

Solutions: Here are some solutions, most of which will be difficult to implement, but are  well worth the attempt:

1. Abolish the Electoral College so that all U.S. citizens will have an equal vote.

2. All members of the press need to fight lies more aggressively. Many reporters and commentators appear to be afraid of certain politicians and this timid approach promotes them. I watch many news-programs on TV and I am often disappointed by the overly cautious and sometimes incorrect comments.*  Probably the primary reason is a fear that they will not be invited back, or could be some type of pressure by producers or managers.  Also, interviewers must not be too offensive, as the interviewees may not return.

3. We need to develop more unbiased fact-checking sources and results must be more available to all. Managers of social-media, such as Facebook, can try to do more to prevent the influence of bogus news sites. But, all this is difficult because we do not wish to affect our freedom of speech.


Finally, I want to give one example of the feckless press. The moderator of the TV show MTP, stated that Pres. Obama was responsible for the dismal situation in Syria, because he failed to enforce his “red-line” edict about chemical weapons. But the moderator miserably failed to point out what actually happened. After the red-line violation, Pres. Obama went to Congress for approval of an intervention, but approval was not received. His efforts, however, did result in the eventual destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons. In general, Pres. Obama is often blamed for his inactivity in many occasions. But the critics almost never say what the better choice would be. Should we have another war with numerous lives lost and 10 years of occupation? I want a President that is thoughtful and does not act when there is no clear benefit from any U.S. action. Foreign policy is very complicated and cannot be led by amateurs.
*As I am writing this, I see Rachel Maddow aggressively interviewing KellyAnne Conway, bravo!  Trump is afraid to give news conferences.

35. POTUS Proud

13 Jan

After tonights State of the Union Address by President Obama, I have solidified my feeling that he probably is the best U.S. President ever.  And the Republican response by Gov. Nikki Haley was wrong in certain ways, but so much more sensible and rational than most other recent GOP rhetoric.

Obama has some major accomplishments like: saving the auto industry, treaties, Cuban diplomacy, stimulus package, war strategies, immigration executive orders, etc. And he has kept the country stable and productive in the face of some of the worst problems ever faced by a President. But what puts him at the top is that his substantial accomplishments were made despite the extreme negativity and often hatred by his opponents. It used to be that the party not in office showed some respect, and would not interfere with foreign policy. Republicans blocked good legislation just to make him look bad, and would not vote on candidates for government and judicial appointments. Even when he has tried to implement Republican ideas, he has been critisized for this. Obama has succeeded despite the lies, ridicule, and legislation blockages by the GOP.

Obama is often critisized for being “timid”, ignoring serious dangers, or lacking drama in dealing with problems. Personally, I like his style of calm and thoughful decision making, which is the most important thing in running a country.  I don’t need inspiration or drama, I need good decisions — and that is what he provides.

31. ISIS Hysteria

19 Nov

First of all, I want to make clear that ISIS is so horrendous that people inclined to hysteria can be excused for their weakness. But hysteria cannot guide our response to this serious threat.  Our leaders do best when they think clearly and consider all of the consequences of any course of action. Past cavelier and impulsive military offensives have emerged us in an expensive quagmire of problems.  Predominantly Christian troops marching into Muslim countries can sometimes be effective, but the results are usually not permanent, and can lead to conversions of peaceable citizens to terrorists. Many Middle-Eastern countries have political systems that are markedly different from ours. Trying to impose our ways on others can have serious negative consequences.

The recent attack in Paris by ISIS has provoked a lot of unwarranted criticism directed towards President Obama. He has considered all of the factors listed above, consulted with military and governmental experts, and has coolly and carefully followed a safe and effective plan.  Likely, ISIS wants us to do hysterical aggressive things that will be used justify their plan, and aid in recruitment.

Senator Dianne Feinstein just felt she had to criticize the President. She is talking more like a Republican than a Democrat, and just says non-specific and meaningless things. She says they are “growing” and we have to “take them out.” Of course, we would all like to take them out, but what is her plan. Send in the troops and face all the problems listed above?  And after defeating ISIS, how long will our troops have to remain to hold on to our gains. In Afghanistan and Iraq, after many years, when we leave, the terrorists return. Senator Feinstein has the hysterical, unclear, and wrong solution. As far as ISIS “expanding” goes, she has not provided any evidence for this. ISIS threats are not proofs of growth.

When I think about the serious problems that Obama faced when taking office, and the unrelenting, unfair criticism that he has been subjected to; and how he has been thwarted by the Republicans in almost every endeavor, I have to give him the highest rating of all our U.S. presidents. Most everything he has attempted and achieved is right on the mark, and in the worst case, defensible if not perfect.