Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Farewell, Mr. and Mrs. Obama

16130178_10212089417493411_113502149_oI am surprised at myself today. I find myself reflecting on the 8 years of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. What is surprising is that I am doing it at all and that I have some positive thoughts about their time in the White House.

That I am willing to publish some sort of affirmation of Mr. and Mrs. Obama is unusual in that I have a huge disagreement with a lot of their political views. Normally, these differing beliefs and values would keep me from writing anything. After all, there is a wise proverb our parents gave us which says that if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.

It’s not that I am 100 percent opposed to their politics. I hold at least a nugget of agreement on a lot of things with the Obamas. Some of my disdain for them politically has to do with what I see as the poor implementation of their policies.

But that’s all behind us now. Today on the eve of their departure as leaders of the free world, I would prefer to separate the man and woman from the issues and look at how I feel about them now.

That’s a difficult task, as it is not easy to look at a political leader and compartmentalize them. For example, most people don’t think about Hitler and say,”Well you know, he was a monster and murdered millions, but he was a nice friend to many.”

And puh-lease, I am not comparing my views of Mr. and Mrs. Obama with that of Der Führer! But they have supported some ways of thinking that run contrary to my own and in my view have definitely resulted in harm to many. Let me just say, though, that if I think long and hard about it I can understand why they think the way they do. Resolving such conflict in my mind is complicated.

Like most Americans and others I really don’t know Barack and Michelle. I can only construct my opinion of them by what the media feeds me. When it comes to politics it of course depends on which media outlet I am listening to as to which Mr. and Mrs. O I get fed. For example, CNN mostly gives me adulation while Fox News provides me  with a lot of criticism of them.

But what HAS filtered through all the bias is this: I think at root that the Obamas are decent people. They appear to be good parents. In addition, it is to their credit that they have a nuclear family at all in our society today, and what seems to be a loving one. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors as well, but their marriage has an air of solidity about it.

Both Barack and Michelle also carry with them an aspect of their personalities that is important to the American people. They are nice, at least publicly, which is of course all I get to observe of them. We US folks hold niceness dear. We would rather buy from and work with nice people than not, and probably will choose who we do business with based on that quality, not competence.

So I might not have been particularly happy with a lot of the things Mr. and Mrs. Obama said and did during their two terms. But I was never ashamed of the way they carried themselves. For the most part, they did so with class.

Farewell, Mr. President and First Lady. Thank you for your service. My prayers are with you.

 

 

 

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Bibi makes his case in biblical fashion

Moses

The sculpture Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to in the House chamber during his speech.

The greeting Benjamin Netanyahu received in the US Congress chambers today reminded us of how strong a relationship America and Israel have with each other, regardless of who is in power in either country.

Despite boycott threats from Democrats, their leadership joined with Republicans in heartedly welcoming the Israeli prime minister to the podium. For the most part, they also cheered mightily during his remarks.

Yes, Bibi came hat in hand to just about the only nation on Earth that considers Israel a friend. That’s what you do when a bully on your block is threatening you. You find a big, strong friend to protect you.

Netanyahu was gracious in his opening comments. Even though the American president did not welcome this speech, Israel’s conservative leader thanked Barack Obama for the things he had done for Israel.  Bibi even made a point of welcoming Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Utah) back after an injury.

Bibi made his case concerning the acceptance of what he calls a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program.  Israel is surrounded by neighbors that desire its destruction.

These countries don’t even try to hide it. First and foremost among them is Iran, who as Netanyahu made clear, has been unambiguous about its plan to annihilate Israel.

Lest the US leadership think that Iran only means to destroy the nation and leave the Jews alone, he reminded them that Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Iranian proxy Hezbollah, has commented that “if all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.”

Bibi’s spoke of the present nuclear negotiations with Iran by the Obama administration as similar to attempts by a  parent to deal with a rebellious child. Further, he described Tehran’s present behavior as a kind that threatens the entire Middle East.

“In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations,” sad Netanyahu.

Perhaps Bibi’s best argument did not concern the protection of Israel from destruction, but  how a nuclear armed Iran would result in nuclear proliferation around the entire region. Nations such as Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia would not stand idly by while its Shiite enemy gathered atomic weapons,

Netanyahu indicated this would risk nuclear war and threaten not only the peace of the Middle East, but of the entire world.

“This deal won’t be a farewell to arms,” he said. “It would be a farewell to arms control.”

And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.”

Netanyahu did not rule out making a deal with Iran concerning its nukes, but he wants Iran to change its present behavior.

“If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country,” he said.

Bibi finished his speech with a comment which at first sounded like a threat, one that could have suddenly turned the harmonious atmosphere in the House chamber into ice.

Netanyahu noted,”For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”

When that statement came from Bibi’s lips, my first thought was,”Uh-oh.” But he finished his thought with this:

“But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

I know that you stand with Israel.”

One again, Bibi offered a gracious olive branch to the Obama administration.

Netanyahu knows America and Israel share a biblical heritage, a connection that Republicans have accused Barack Obama of replacing with Islamic influences. He made allusions to this truth in his remarks.

Early on, Bibi referred to the current threat to Israel by relating it the ancient biblical story of Queen Esther. A Jew, she saved her people from a Persian enemy, an event celebrated on March 4 by Purim.

Further, at the end of his talk Netanyahu pointed to a sculpture of Moses in the House chamber. He quoted the biblical patriarch to the Congressional membership,first in Hebrew, then in English.

“Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

Netanyahu whetted my own appetite for Bible reading today with these remarks. I have decided that after I finish this piece I am going back and read the book of Esther for my own edification, not for any geopolitical purposes.

During his speech Bibi showed why the people of Israel elected him. He is a strong leader in dangerous times.

The Israeli prime minister is also a gracious one. I have much more hope for Israeli-American relations after this appearance before my country’s leaders.

Some of them appeared to view  Bibi as government leaders did the aliens in the film “Mars Attack”. Looking at their faces it seemed to me that Netanyahu’s world view was completely strange. But for the most part, as noted above, his comments were warmly received by members of both parties.

Israel is not guiltless in the world, but what nation is? It certainly doesn’t deserve to have its fate left in the hands of religious fanatics, people who run a government which has made it crystal clear that it seeks to obliterate the Jews from the face of the Earth.

I hope after Bibi’s talk that our president understands that. If he doesn’t, may the Congressional leaders who gave him a standing ovation take up Israel’s defense instead.

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Bibi makes his case in biblical fashion

Moses

The sculpture of Moses referred to today by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The greeting Benjamin Netanyahu received in the US Congress chambers today reminded us of how strong a relationship America and Israel have with each other, regardless of who is in power in either country.

Despite boycott threats from Democrats, their leadership joined with Republicans in heartedly welcoming the Israeli prime minister to the podium. For the most part, they also cheered mightily during his remarks.

Yes, Bibi came hat in hand to just about the only nation on Earth that considers Israel a friend. That’s what you do when a bully on your block is threatening you. You find a big, strong friend to protect you.

Netanyahu was gracious in his opening comments. Even though the American president did not welcome this speech, Israel’s conservative leader thanked Barack Obama for the things he had done for Israel.  Bibi even made a point of welcoming Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Utah) back after an injury.

Bibi made his case concerning the acceptance of what he calls a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program.  Israel is surrounded by neighbors that desire its destruction.

These countries don’t even try to hide it. First and foremost among them is Iran, who as Netanyahu made clear, has been unambiguous about its plan to annihilate Israel.

Lest the US leadership think that Iran only means to destroy the nation and leave the Jews alone, he reminded them that Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Iranian proxy Hezbollah, has commented that “if all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.”

Bibi’s spoke of the present nuclear negotiations with Iran by the Obama administration as similar to attempts by a  parent to deal with a rebellious child. Further, he described Tehran’s present behavior as a kind that threatens the entire Middle East.

“In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations,” sad Netanyahu.

Perhaps Bibi’s best argument did not concern the protection of Israel from destruction, but  how a nuclear armed Iran would result in nuclear proliferation around the entire region. Nations such as Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia would not stand idly by while its Shiite enemy gathered atomic weapons,

Netanyahu indicated this would risk nuclear war and threaten not only the peace of the Middle East, but of the entire world.

“This deal won’t be a farewell to arms,” he said. “It would be a farewell to arms control.”

And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.”

Netanyahu did not rule out making a deal with Iran concerning its nukes, but he wants Iran to change its present behavior.

“If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country,” he said.

Bibi finished his speech with a comment which at first sounded like a threat, one that could have suddenly turned the harmonious atmosphere in the House chamber into ice.

Netanyahu noted,”For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”

When that statement came from Bibi’s lips, my first thought was,”Uh-oh.” But he finished his thought with this:

“But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

I know that you stand with Israel.”

One again, Bibi offered a gracious olive branch to the Obama administration.

Netanyahu knows America and Israel share a biblical heritage, a connection that Republicans have accused Barack Obama of replacing with Islamic influences. He made allusions to this truth in his remarks.

Early on, Bibi referred to the current threat to Israel by relating it the ancient biblical story of Queen Esther. A Jew, she saved her people from a Persian enemy, an event celebrated on March 4 by Purim.

Further, at the end of his talk Netanyahu pointed to a sculpture of Moses in the House chamber. He quoted the biblical patriarch to the Congressional membership,first in Hebrew, then in English.

“Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

Netanyahu whetted my own appetite for Bible reading today with these remarks. I have decided that after I finish this piece I am going back and read the book of Esther for my own edification, not for any geopolitical purposes.

During his speech Bibi showed why the people of Israel elected him. He is a strong leader in dangerous times.

The Israeli prime minister is also a gracious one. I have much more hope for Israeli-American relations after this appearance before my country’s leaders.

Some of them appeared to view  Bibi as government leaders did the aliens in the film “Mars Attack”. Looking at their faces it seemed to me that Netanyahu’s world view was completely strange. But for the most part, as noted above, his comments were warmly received by members of both parties.

Israel is not guiltless in the world, but what nation is? It certainly doesn’t deserve to have its fate left in the hands of religious fanatics, people who run a government which has made it crystal clear that it seeks to obliterate the Jews from the face of the Earth.

I hope after Bibi’s talk that our president understands that. If he doesn’t, may the Congressional leaders who gave him a standing ovation take up Israel’s defense instead.

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Film Review: D’Souza’s “America” Promises Alternate History But Doesn’t Deliver

WashingtonAN ACTOR PORTRAYS GEORGE WASHINGTON AT THE BEGINNING OF “AMERICA” 

I’m a big fan of the fantasy genre known as “alternative history”. The premise of this category of literature is to ask the question “What if.” For example, author Harry Turtledove, known as “The Wizard of If”, has books about what would have happened if the Confederate States of America had won the Civil War.

Thus, when Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film “America” opened with a “what if” scenario during the American Revolution, I was thrilled. There was pageantry on celluloid at that point as well-dressed (not historical really) American soldiers went up against the Redcoats and the unthinkable happened.

Unfortunately, the beginning  of “America” was its high point for me, along with an effective conclusion, as we shall see. With what comes between, D’Souza, who narrates the movie, did not fulfill his promise to answer the question “What if America never existed?”

Instead, his documentary goes on to present propaganda defending America from criticisms from the political left. D’Souza synthesizes the arguments of both sides.

He does this well, especially when he interviews prominent leftists such as academic Ward Churchill and historian Howard Zinn, who D’Souza says is the most prominent historian of the last half century. He calls the attacks from the left “indictments”.

D’Souza himself is a conservative. He presents counterarguments to the left’s view that America got to its place in the world through theft. Popular Tea Party notable Senator Ted Cruz, for example, is interviewed.

He defends the conquering of half of Mexico (now California and the American Southwest) as a just war.  The war, says Cruz, was Mexico’s fault since their dictator Santa Ana was seeking to put down a revolt of Texans, who had joined the U.S.

The film’s best historical support for the traditional view of America is the historical account of Alexis de Tocqueville, the French aristocrat who came to the U.S. in 1831 and wrote of the entrepreneurial and religious spirit and behavior of Americans. The actor who portrays de Tocqueville does an excellent job of displaying the French value of “egalite'” and the American one of liberty.

After responding to the left’s charges, D’Souza notes how they have sought power in America by shaming the middle class into believing what he says are its deceptions and lies.

Activist Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals” is portrayed as a thug who learned his trade from Al Capone associate Frank Nitti.  Alinsky, says D’Souza, was the original community activist who sought to turn America into a socialist state by expanding such activism all over the country.

The political savvy viewer will know of Alinsky. What makes this segment of “America” documentary noteworthy is how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have taken his ideas into government, turning the feds into an intimidating force.

For me, the most poignant moment of the documentary was when quoted Ronald Reagan, a man for whom he had worked as a policy analyst. Reagan once said, , “Our national anthem is the only one in the world that ends with a question: ‘Oh say does that Star Spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?’ ” D’Souza  points out that  the president also noted that each generation would have to answer that question for themselves.

Reagan’s remarks are presented in a part of the film in which the overbearing use of surveillance and intimidation by the American government is highlighted. As a result, it’s use was quite moving to me.  I agree with Becky Gerritson, whose testimony before Congress is featured.  Gerritson, a Tea Party official from Alabama, told the lawmakers that the abuses of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against her party were the result of a government which has little respect for its citizens.

In an emotional conclusion, she went on to say,“Many of the agents and agencies of the federal government do not understand that they are servants of the people. They think they are our masters. And they are mistaken.

“I’m not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and preserve the America that I grew up in. The America that people crossed oceans and risked their lives to become a part of. And I’m terrified it is slipping away.”

If D’Souza does nothing else, his “America” offers a view of the current political and culture wars that really does make it seem that alternate history has become reality. The current state of affairs in the U.S. do seem as if they come from a Turtedove novel.

However, I left feeling I could have learned most of what the documentary had to say by watching Fox News.

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Blessed are the peacemakers, even when they are Democrats!

Despite the long term effects of  his cozying up to what my father used to call a “tinhorn dictator”, what former Democratic president Bill Clinton did in rescuing the two American journalists in Korea is admirable.  A person would have to have a pretty hard heart to not be moved by the arrival of these two women at Bob Hope International Airport in Burbank, California this week.

Democrat Barack Obama also quieted a storm he caused when he said the Cambridge, Massachusetts police “acted stupidly” when they arrested a black Harvard professor after a caller to the local emergency call center reported a possible break in.  It turns out the professor was breaking into his own home.  While the facts of the case are somewhat in dispute and the case was dropped, Mr. Obama did not have the facts when he made his statement.   As a result he impugned the reputation of the arresting white police officer, who it turns out is a leader in training other officers to avoid racial profiling.  Mr. Obama arranged for the police officer and the professor to meet over a beer with him at the White House.  This turned an event which could have led to racial disharmony into one that actually promoted racial healing.  I agree with Pat Buchanan, who called it  a class act.  I normally am not a big fan of   Democratic politcians, but kudos should be given to these two gentlemen.

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