General Non-Fiction posted September 11, 2010

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Obama's Presidency

by Donald O. Cassidy

Obama's Presidency

Frequently a public figure is not properly evaluated during the initial term of office. This is especially so with United States presidents, with Jimmy Carter as a notable example. He was the most moral resident of the White House. Though flawed, he stood by principles and possessed progressive ideas. But circumstances mired his chances, mainly the American hostages in Iran. After leaving office many journalists noted that he applied himself in noble causes he had not fulfilled while in the White House. The Carter Center has been the base of much of this work for years.

Similar circumstances complicate a promising tenure of Barack Obama in his outstanding prospect and progressive outlook. During his presidential campaign, some pundits thought he was promising too much; that he was too visionary and too ambitious. Some critics said he was too inexperienced to be president. Current critics have reiterated that fault.

Note that this essay is limited in scope as to a biography of the President, and chooses what the writer considers high points deserving of emphasis. To ignore these revolutionary strides in human decency is to easily forget civil courtesy.

In that effort, we should give him a fair shake. Judgments of his abilities and his performance should consider the gross imbalance of the national economy, divisive issues in subcultures, and the clash of ideologies. His inauguration coincided with the Wall Street meltdown and the banking crisis. Hovering over his launched administration was the ultra-conservative prejudice against methods of contraception, especially the abortion issue. In keeping with a major campaign promise, Obama confronted this prejudice and reversed the Mexico City Policy that refused tax-payer funds allegedly supporting abortions. (Emotional rhetoric and warped facts ignored that improper abortions were far exceeded by the millions of Third-World women dying in childbirth or with such inadequate prenatal care that their born children never lived beyond an average of five years. Planned Parenthood and health care for women were severely set back by the 1984 policy initiated under former president Ronald Reagan.
George W. Bush adamantly rejected all counsel against that policy, choosing the political and religious correctness of the Pro-Life propaganda.)

Early on, Obama released the $34 million held in escrow and denied the United Nations Fund for Population Awareness (UNFPA) expressly written to disallow any abortions funded by tax-payers. Investigations by the Bush administration itself proved the facts of the UNFPA. Bush remained intransigent.

Another wedge issue capitalized on by Republicans was parts of the Obama stimulus package. Ignoring their own pro-corporate and pro-industry reasoning that tax-payer subsidies were justified because industry provided jobs, they viciously attacked Democrats for their wild spending. Democratic reasoning was that some major banks were "too big to fail." (Personally this writer rejected that rationale because it sabotaged the Democratic ideology alternative to the fallacy of a free marketplace rhetoric,)

Just the same, this part of the stimulus package shows some wisdom in a delayed result. Journalists report that General Motors (GM) has repaid a major part of their federal loans, and sparing the five major banks was more conducive to economic recovery than a passive stance or a penalty negative..

Neither can Republicans boast of fiscal concern in a near-total partisan opposition to national health care reform. One statesperson among Republicans, a woman, joined Democrats in this phenomenal event.

Granted that Obama has exhibited flaws of administration tracing to inexperience, in one major area he has shown statesmanship. Though a valid criticism by syndicated columnist Bonnie Erbe correctly notes his wavering and equivocation of some brave stands, he nevertheless deserved applause for his staunch sanity regarding nuclear weapons.

Lou Dubose with the Public Concern Foundation, Inc. as usual documents magnificent facts about President Obama's initiative, cooperation with military chiefs of staff and Pentagon officials in downplaying a nuclear posture.

Joseph Cirincione, formerly with Plough Shares Fund and a veteran of nine years on a committee for progress on Capitol Hill, is cited at length by Dubose.
"'The Obama posture says we would be safer with zero nuclear weapons and we want to reduce the chance that anyone anywhere would use a nuclear weapon,' Cirincione said." (The Washington Spectator, June 1, 2010).
He stressed that the Obama stance transformed a massive retaliation against a Soviet nuclear threat to one that deals with a smaller target. This defense would still be an adequate weapon against current threats and any potential terrorist state.

Whereas the Bush-Cheney presidency had never released a Nuclear Policy Review (NPR) , the Obama administration chose a transparent or open view.
Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists Projection Government Security, noted the exclusive declassification currently. This involved renewal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)with Russia that expired in December, 2009. Another effort involves the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that will follow START.

The Obama administration firmly declares that the US. will not conduct nuclear testing and pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

In contrast to the previous maintenance of nuclear aggression and development of new warheads, the Obama administration stands by NPR as unequivocal.

"'The United States will not deploy new nuclear warheads ...and will not support new nuclear missions or provide for new nuclear capabilities.'" (Ibid)

This entails not using nuclear weapons against nations that do not possess or are not pursuing nuclear weapons. But to no surprise, right-wing radio talk shows blasted off in condemning Obama's policy.

A chief critic of Obama policy is John Bolton, the antagonist of the United Nations (UN) that George W. Bush appointed to represent the United States at the UN. He claimed that nonproliferation was no proof of national security. He would prefer reviews to be secret and hold to closed-door sessions. This small group, working behind closed doors, dictates to the public.
Clearly the negative press appears in National Review, the Weekly Standard, and The Wall Street Journal.

Rest assured, Obama's NPR is not a pacifist argument. In reality paperwork and on the ground ,nuclear missiles remain on alert as part of the mission to consider the risk of critical Russian military, political and economic sector threat.
Bombers stay armed, nuclear laboratories continue their research, and START is modest in reduction compared to the budget of $80 billion over 10 years for modernizing operational weapons.

But this current approach to nuclear strategy is definitely a departure from the past.

"'The other secret about this,' said cirincione, 'is that the military cares less and less about nuclear weapons. What drove the Bushites was ideology, not military requirements. This is more in line with what the military thinks they need.
"'The president has not just laid out a transformative (sic) posture, but one that brings the military leaders along with him,' said Cirincione. 'One of the big achievements of this posture is that he now has the secretary of defense and all the military leaders with him and the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs of staff solidly on board for the ratification of the Test Ban Treaty. This is a posture review that laid down a future for U.S. nuclear weapons in which there is no testing, no nuclear weapons, and no new missions.'" (same)
--From Lou Dubose, "Obama Drops the Bomb,", The Washington Spectator, June 1, 2010, published by The Public Concern Foundation.

It seems to this writer that this noble leadership and Chief Executive advocacy for progress refutes the critics who classify him as a pitiful excuse for a president.

An update must concede specifics of flaws in Obama's Pr3sidency. A first major one is his surrender to the oil industry. He too readily indulged in contradictions of platform by cooperating with fossil fuels, namely Tar Sands XL, as well as drilling for oil in arctic zones.
Also, President Obama violates a major plank of democrats platform for governmental regulation of industry. Obama is not alone as blameworthy for endorsing so-called
free-trade agreements. Former president Bill Clinton involved the United States in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Along with Obama, these presidents stressed advantages both for more American jobs and a better economy. They ignored a converse result, namely a major loss of jobs and a diminished economy. They were naive to currency manipulation, a slight-of-hand trick by foreign exporters .

In currency manipulation, major trading nations under price what they want to import, and over price what they import. for the U.S. exporting trade, this means thee US. pays more for what they import, and receive less income from what they export. [For details on this subject, see an editorial in The Washington SPECTATOR editorial by Robert Scott, "Why 'Free Trade' Treaties Destroy American Jobs" page 2 in the June i, 2015 issue.]

Another flaw with President Obama is his strong support for the Trans Pacific Partnership(TPP). Such trade deals smack more of ideological capitalism than genuine free economy with federal governmental regulations of capital.


Editing and revisions performed June 11, 2015
Update, 12/18/19 : As expressed in the earlier document, this document was limited scope. It did not set out to be an over all biography. In the two-party system, Obama was not disloyal to major democratic platforms. In a pragmatic fashion, he reached across the isle to cooperate on occasion. He avoided divisive government.

However, in a particular move, he betrayed Democrat ideology in siding with the philosophy of "banks too big to [let] fail," and thus supported bailouts to banks and the automobile industry. These were stimulus packages.
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