Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Trump and his team are getting it … finally!

I want to hope that Donald J. Trump has turned the corner on this coronavirus matter, that he’s now taking it as seriously as it deserves to be taken.

I also want to believe the president when he says we’re in a war with an invisible enemy, a war he vows to “win.”

However, the turnabout has been so dramatic, so profound that I cannot stop listening to the nonsense he spouted not so long ago while the rest of the world was becoming rattled by the onset of the pandemic.

He went in just a matter of two weeks from proclaiming the pandemic to be a “Democrat hoax” to declaring war on this “enemy.”

How, too, can we forget what we have learned about how he dismantled the pandemic office set up during the Obama administration as part of the National Security Council? Trump took the office down, reportedly only because President Obama thought it was worthwhile.

Now we’re paying the price for such reckless petulance? Is that the deal? Consider what has been reported about how the Obama team sought to counsel the Trump team during the transition from one administration to another.

The Obama folks sought to brief the Trump folks about the potential dangers of pandemics, according to Business Insider. The Trump team, though, were disinterested in what they were hearing. BI reports that the new commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, actually dozed off more than once during the briefings he and others were getting.

As BI reported: “There were people who were there who said, ‘This is really stupid and why do we need to be here,'” the senior Obama administration told Politico.

OK, so it appears now that the Trump administration is starting — finally! — to understand the scope of the crisis that has erupted. I will remain hopeful that’s the case.

Why, though, did we have to endure the idiocy that came from our nation’s top government echelon?

POTUS exhibits extreme envy of a former POTUS

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Critics of this blog are going to accuse me of engaging in psychobabble, but I am going to post these brief thoughts anyway.

Donald John Trump, to my way of thinking, is exhibiting extreme envy of his immediate predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama.

That seems to me to be the only reason he keeps trying to run down the former president’s accomplishments. For instance, Trump threw this little gem out today on Twitter: Gallup just gave us the highest rating ever for the way we are handling the CoronaVirus situation. The April 2009-10 Swine Flu, where nearly 13,000 people died in the U.S. was poorly handled. Ask MSDNC & lightweight Washington failure @RonaldKlain, who was the President then?

See? There you go. He keeps trying to suggest that President Obama’s two terms — to which he was elected both times with healthy majorities — just didn’t cut it.

Well, Trump is lying … which is no surprise to anyone with half a brain.

Why, though, does he keep insisting that Barack Obama was such a failure? Let me take a brief stab at it.

I believe he envies Obama. He looks at the way President Obama handled himself in public. He is jealous of the way the public responded to Obama’s grace, his calm, his class, his dignity. Can you imagine Donald Trump ever leading a grief-stricken church congregation in the wake of a massacre in South Carolina in a rendition of “Amazing Grace”? Try picturing Trump shedding a tear when talking about children and their teachers being murdered in a school as Obama did when mourning the shooting deaths in Newtown, Conn.

The public still yearns for that kind of presidential compassion and empathy. It finds none of it in No. 45.

And so when his Twitter fingers get itchy, he lashes out with nonsense. He directs his anger and his envy at the man he succeeded as president, at the man who continues to engender more admiration and outright love from a public that for the most part disdains Donald Trump.

The current president simply sickens me.

Missing this kind of PDA from POTUS and FLOTUS

I just know I am going to catch grief from critics of this blog … but, what the heck. I am going to say this anyway.

I miss seeing this kind of funny display of affection from the first couple of the United States.

These pictures showed up on my Facebook news feed. I figure they were snapped in January, when Michelle Obama celebrated her 56th birthday. She and her husband were goofing off, exhibiting a good natured public display of affection.

I vaguely recall the occasional stuffed-shirt criticism that came at them when Barack Obama was president and Michelle Obama was first lady.

Their White House successors haven’t shown this kind of public affection for each other that I can remember.

Pictures such as these demonstrate a level of humanity in our elected leader and his spouse. It’s a refreshing sight to see, even from a former POTUS and FLOTUS.

Hey, Blago … you aren’t a ‘political prisoner’

I have to weigh in briefly on a ridiculous assertion by the former Illinois governor who contends he was a “political prisoner” sent to prison for eight years by “corrupt prosecutors.”

Rod Blagojevich had his sentence commuted by Donald Trump. He’s now out and is telling the world that he was imprisoned because of, um, pure politics.

Actually, he wasn’t sent to the slammer for those reasons. A jury of his peers convicted him of trying to “sell” a U.S. Senate that had been vacated by Barack Obama, who had been elected president of the United States. He was caught in a recording offering the seat to the highest bidder. I believe that fits the description of, dare I say it, a “quid pro quo.” It was an illegal act that stunk to high heaven.

Blago wasn’t a political prisoner. He got caught participating in an unseemly, corrupt political act. He was told to pay a price of a 14-year prison sentence.

Then along came Donald Trump, the former “Celebrity Apprentice” TV host. Blago had been a contestant on his show. So the former TV celebrity-turned-president thought he’d do his good friend a favor.

He set him free.

A political prisoner? Hah! Give me a break!

CNN’s Anderson Cooper challenged Blago’s assertion. Check it out here.

Gov. Blagojevich is off his rocker.

Just like that, Bloomberg becomes a factor

What in the world is happening to the Democratic Party’s presidential primary race?

Joe Biden has gone from proverbial hero to zero in the span of one calendar week. Pete Buttigieg has become one of arguably three co-leaders in the Democratic race for president. The “democratic socialist” who lost to Hillary in 2016’s race for the nomination, Bernie Sanders, is in the lead these days. Amy Klobuchar, fresh off her stellar performance in the nationally televised Iowa joint appearance, also is in the hunt.

And then we have Michael Bloomberg, the zillionaire who is skipping the early primaries in preparation for the March 3 Super Tuesday lineup of mega-state primaries, which include Texas and California. He has spent a couple hundred million of his own dollars (which will hardly make a tiny dent in his personal fortune) on TV ads and is now emerging as a legitimate factor in this primary contest.

What’s more — and this is my favorite part — he is getting under Donald John Trump’s skin. He is annoying the living daylights out of the current U.S. president. So much so that Trump is now tweeting his snark aimed directly at Bloomberg.

Sitting out here in Trump Country — that would be the Dallas/Fort Worth suburbs of North Texas — we are being fed a steady diet of Bloomberg TV ads. I think my favorite ad is the one featuring former President Obama touting how “Mike Bloomberg is a leader” who “gets things done.” The ads don’t constitute an endorsement by Obama of Bloomberg; they happen to be part of the public domain and Bloomberg’s campaign has appropriated the video of the 44th president saying those nice things about the former New York mayor. However, you have to believe the ads are infuriating the former Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Biden, who is seeking to trade on his status as Obama’s wing man for the eight years preceding Donald Trump’s election as president.

Is Bloomberg going to emerge as the man to beat for the Democratic nomination? If the alternative is Bernie Sanders, I damn sure hope so. The party is courting disaster if it nominates the socialist-leaning Sanders as its standard bearer.

How many other twists and turns along this trail await us?

Trump’s belittling of brass simply stinks beyond belief

The history of Donald Trump’s pre-business history is well-known.

He sought to avoid service in the military during the height of the Vietnam War. He received dubious medical deferments citing bone spurs or some such ailment that kept him out of being eligible for military service.

He went into business. Made a lot of money. Lost a lot of money. Had mixed success as a business mogul. Then he went into politics. He ran for president of the United States. He won!

So for this current president to dress down men who have served their country honorably, in combat, thrust themselves into harm’s way is insulting, degrading and astonishingly unpatriotic.

Two reporters for the Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, have written a book that tells just how disgraceful Trump’s conduct has gotten with regard to the military high command. An excerpt from that book tells of a meeting in a Pentagon room called The Tank. The brass sought to explain the nuts and bolts of military matters to the commander in chief. He was having none of it.

He called the generals “babies and dopes.” He has told them they are “losers” and said he wouldn’t “go into battle” with them.

I am trying imagine, were I one of those decorated combat veterans, hearing such denigration coming from the commander in chief. The entire world knows this man’s history. We all know that, when he had the opportunity to serve his country, he chose another path.

Don’t misunderstand me on this score. I do not begrudge a president who’s never worn the nation’s military uniform. Two recent presidents did not serve: Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. Neither did Franklin Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson, both of whom led this country through two world wars.

What is so objectionable is the snarky attitude this president demonstrates to individuals who have done what he sought to avoid doing. That he would speak to these patriots in such a manner is disgraceful on its face.

McConnell exhibits stunning lack of self-awareness

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Of all the statements, assertions, pronouncements and declarations I keep hearing while we watch this impeachment drama unfold, I keep circling back to what keeps coming out of the mouth of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican keeps hurling “partisan political” accusations at his Democratic colleagues in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. When I hear him accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of acting as a purely partisan politician, I find myself thinking: Dude, do you not remember your own political history? 

Of course he does!

I harken back to the Mother of All Partisan Acts when in early 2016 he declared that President Obama would not be able to select someone to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly that year; Obama sought to nominate Merrick Garland to succeed him; McConnell put the brakes on it, declaring that the president’s nominee would not get a Senate hearing in an election year.

Democrats were rightfully outraged. It was an act of supreme partisanship, just as he has continued to exhibit his partisan bona fides during the run-up to the Senate impeachment trial that has commenced.

Speaking of that … for the Senate majority leader to accuse anyone else of partisan game-playing is akin to getting a lecture on marital fidelity from, oh, you know who.

What? Trump now accepts climate change as a serious threat?

This story has gone largely unnoticed by damn near all of us.

Donald Trump, the fellow who has called climate change a “hoax” concocted by China, which wants to undermine the U.S. manufacturing sector and our fossil fuel industry, has changed his tune … allegedly.

This past Thursday, Trump announced an initiative to make it easier to build natural gas pipelines. A reporter asked him if he still thinks climate change is a hoax. His answer is potentially jaw-dropping.

The Week.com reported: Trump said, “No, no. Not at all. Nothing’s a hoax … It’s a very serious subject. The environment is important to me. I’m a big believer in that word, the environment … I want clean air. I want clean water. I also want jobs, though.”

Oh, I want to believe him on this. I would except for a couple of factors. One is that is speaks in those sophomoric platitudes. He’s a “believer in that word, the environment”? He says he wants clean air and water. B … F … D, Mr. President. How do you intend to achieve it?

His newfound acceptance of climate change’s existential threat to Earth sounds to me as sincere as the time he said that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen. That sounded in the moment like a throwaway line. His acceptance of Obama’s U.S. citizenship was offered with far less vigor or outward sincerity than the “birther” lie he kept fomenting. Now the president says the “environment is important to me.”

The second reason that makes me skeptical is the president’s penchant for prevarication. He lies all the time. About all things. He and the truth have never met face to face.

I guess perhaps that explains why this story has been so grossly underreported. Whatever, my hope is that someone, somehow will be able to hold the president accountable for this alleged reversal.

Such wisdom from a past president

Social media is chock full of instant reference material … such as YouTube videos that ricochet around in cyberspace.

So, I found such a video of President Obama’s press conference as president. He took a question from a reporter he knew from his days as a state senior in Illinois. The question dealt with the lessons the Obamas’ daughters, Malia and Sasha, learned during their eight years living in the White House and the lessons they learned from the 2016 presidential election.

The president’s response was quite stunning. He talked about how he believes his daughters will seek to do good work, to make a difference; he said he doesn’t anticipate they will enter politics.

He then said he believes the world is full of many more good people than bad people. The good-over-bad ratio, said the president, gives him hope for the future that his daughter’s will inherit.

It’s a lesson worth heeding. Barack Obama turned over the presidency to a man, Donald Trump, who has sought to appeal to many Americans’ baser instincts. The national mood, in my mind, clearly has deteriorated during Trump’s tenure in office.

Still, his immediate predecessor — the fellow Trump cannot stop criticizing — expressed hope that Americans’ basic goodness will help shepherd us all through this difficult time.

Here is the video of the president’s final news conference. It’s lengthy. The operative question comes at around the 52-minute mark. Take a look.

This man, Barack Obama, speaks with tremendous wisdom and, yes, I miss hearing this kind of rhetoric coming from the president of the United States.

 

Now it’s the ‘Obama-Biden administration’

Did anyone other than me notice something a bit different coming from the Donald Trump administration’s criticism of policies put forward by the Obama administration?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the Sunday morning news/talk show circuit to explain Trump’s decision to kill Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Solemaini with an air strike in Baghdad, Iraq.

He kept referring — get ready for it! — the mistakes made by the “Obama-Biden administration.” Do you get it? Pompeo is now trying to link former Vice President Joe Biden to former President Barack Obama. Why is that? Well, it appears to me that the Trump team believes the former VP is going to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee later this year.

It’s a subtle tactic to demonize a political foe. Do I think the demonization is valid? No. I do not. I do not believe Iran’s standing as a terrorist state is the result of mistakes made during the Obama administration.

That won’t preclude Donald Trump’s key administration and campaign aides from employing this little game of rhetorical mumbo-jumbo. It has begun already.