Truth, Justice, and the American way. TRUTH: Helping to correct people's misconceptions about history, science, and the state of the world. JUSTICE: Meant in the biblical sense. Fair treatment of other people, rational laws, and assisting the disadvantaged. THE AMERICAN WAY: A classless society where everybody has an opportunity to meet their potential and for economic advancement, regardless of race, ancestry, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Balanced Look at Recent US Presidents - part 1

I got the idea for this blog entry while watching the independent film "Hating Obama".

44. President Barack Obama (Barack Hussein Obama II)
Moderate Democrat

  • The least effective president since Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge.
  • Did not achieve enough during his first two years. The best presidents submit bills to accomplish their most important goals during their first four to six months in office. Historically, the opposition party usually gains seats in the house and senate during midterm elections, so the beginning of a presidency is the time to push legislation.
  • Could not find ways to push compromise legislation through congress and the senate. Presidents like Reagan are beloved because they used the "Bully Pulpit" of the presidency to rouse ordinary people and force legislation through.
  • Did not manage to get judges and cabinet members approved in the senate in a reasonable time (30 days maximum for a cabinet member, 60 days maximum for a supreme court justice).
  • Did not reverse his predecessor's mistakes quickly enough. Even the changes that allowed the "Great Recession" (the depression of 2008) have not all been addressed.
  • Racism became more public and louder than it had been since the 1970's.
  • Will leave office with a ruthless invasion in Iraq and Syria (the Kaliphate, also known as DEASH, ISIL, ISIS, or the Islamic Nation).
  •  A concerted lobbying campaign to block all nominees and legislation by the Republican Party leadership, funded by huge political contributions.
  • Traditionally, after the election and 100 days after the oath of office, there is a honeymoon period between the new president and the opposition, so that both parties can learn more about the new president. President Obama suffered severe criticism and even investigations regarding his constitutional qualification to be president during this period. In the past, all such personal attacks stopped on election day.
    • People argue whether this is because of racial prejudice, the more aggressive corporate driven news media, his policies, extortion of legislators, or the fact that President Obama was the first president in 24 years who was not a conservative.
  • Twice during his presidency, the congress did not pass budget legislation soon enough to keep the government funded and operating.
  • Inherited major wars in Asia Minor. A guerrilla force replaced the regular armies after the US withdrew.
  • Although the Democratic party controlled the House of Representatives during his first half term, the Democratic majority in the Senate was not large enough for cloture (closing debate and filibusters on a bill) which requires 60 votes. The modern senate rule allowing a filibuster to continue, even when the person is not in the senate chamber makes infinite filibusters possible. The old rule required that a filibustering senator continually speak while the senate was in session.
  • Took office with the worst US economy since the 1930's and brought the economy back to stability, if not health.
  • Pushed through halfhearted national health care laws that allowed most of the middle class who could not obtain health insurance to obtain such insurance.
  • Increased the minimum wage.
  • Withdrew the US from the wars in Persia (Iraq and Afghanistan),
  • Fought for sexual equality (gender and sexual orientation), especially in the military.
  • Began reducing the US reliance on fossil fuels, especially foreign fossil fuels.
  • Increased the US military use of technology to replace soldiers on the ground.
  • Decreased the US military's use of mercenaries.
43: President George W Bush (George Walker Bush) Highly Conservative Republican
  • Abused executive power hundreds of times.
  • Was personal friends with the Saudi Arabian royal family, who fund terrorism (and one of whom led a terrorist organization).
  • The worst foreign invasion since World War II occurred on September 11, 2001 in his first year as president. The invasion was funded by Saudi Arabia and the soldiers were trained in Afghanistan and the US.
  • Lied to Congress about the origins of the attack.
  • Embroiled the US in a hopeless war against religious backed revolutionaries in Afghanistan.
  • Lied to Congress about the existence of nuclear weapons in Iraq, embroiling the US in a war that toppled a corrupt regime, but left the country in chaos that the US could not control.
  • Increased the US military reliance on for-profit corporations and mercenaries.
  • Increased the US reliance on imported fossil fuels.
  • Authored and or signed bills to cut necessary support for the poor, military veterans, and other social programs.
  • More than tripled the US government debt by funding foreign US military fighting and peacekeeping outside the official US budget. Lied to congress about actual costs. 
  • Forced service extension of soldiers beyond their contracted service.
  • Authored legislation and regulations that cut severely into individual rights (4th through 6th amendments).
  • Pushed surprise "corporate gift" legislation through congress when less than half of the legislature was in town.
  • Responsible for most of the government errors that led to the Great Recession (Depression of 2008).
    • Suppressed responsible government oversight of corporations. Building on presidential failures since 1981.
    • Encouraged "sub-prime" lending to allow the poor to buy homes that they could not afford.
    • Blocked Justice Department attempts to prosecute irresponsible corporate management.
  • The "No Child Left Behind" program was supposed to improve public education and reduce drop-out rates. It had the opposite effect.
  • Because Bush appointed unqualified cronies to head some departments, emergency response after Hurricane Katrina was delayed and inappropriate. The Mississippi delta region is still recovering. The problems were made much worse because necessary domestic infrastructure improvements (such as reinforcing levees) were skipped (most of the Army Corps of Engineers was in Iraq and Afghanistan).
  • Unexpected terrorist style military attacks.
  • The Great Recession
  •  Better integration of government data collection between agencies.
42: President Bill Clinton  (William Jefferson Clinton) Conservative Democrat

  • Lied to congress about his sexual relations with federal employees. Was indited by the House of Representatives, but the Senate never took up the Impeachment debate. A special prosecutor was appointed. President Clinton pled no contest on the charge of lying to congress in return for probation plus temporary disbarment. The constitution prohibits criminal charges against a sitting president (except by the impeachment process), so the official date of the plea was the day after he left office. This was not his first womanizing scandal.
  • Set up a task force to define comprehensive health care and implement a "Health Care for All" program. The task force was led by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The bill failed to obtain any traction in Congress.
  • Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act. This act prohibited banks (insured by the FDIC) from merging with corporations that made risky investments. This eventually led to the Great Recession (the Depression of 2008).
  • Signed the NAFTA treaty and pushed it through the senate. This treaty was the template for future trade agreements. This treaty eliminated almost all tariffs between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.. The result was corporations moving manufacturing and engineering jobs out of the US. Job export has led to widespread unemployment and underemployment in the US.
  • Entered office during a recession.
  • The laws implementing the illogical economic theories of President Ronald Reagan.
  • The longest era of  peacetime economic expansion in US history.
  • Restructuring the federal government to eliminate waste and moving people where they were needed (a special project of V.P. Gore). 
  • Negotiated a federal budget with annual surpluses each of his last three years.
  • Welfare reform that provided more support for people returning to work.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Canoga Park, California, United States
Software Engineer with Ph.D. in Computer Science. I have a deep background in the sciences and in computer-human interaction. I was a college professor for 11 years, followed by over a decade of work in industry.