Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Saluting is back in the news

Whether to salute is back in the news.

Donald Trump was recorded saluting a North Korean general in what appears to be an awkward, unscripted moment. The president extended his hand, the general saluted him, the president then returned the salute.

It looked clumsy.

This mini-kerfuffle does bring to mind a discussion that emerges from time to time: Does a president return salutes from military personnel? Should he do so?

Recent presidents have done so. It’s appropriate, given their role as commander in chief. Presidents Obama, Bush (43) and Clinton all did it; so did President Reagan. Bill Clinton, as I recall, needed some schooling on how to salute, given that his initial efforts looked a bit, well, clumsy as well. Active-duty military personnel and veterans picked up on it right away.

Donald Trump’s return of these salutes look just fine to me. He snaps it properly. Perhaps he learned how to salute during his years in military school prior to heading off to college.

I like watching presidents return these salutes, as long as they know what they’re doing when they snap them back at military personnel who initiate them.

As for the current president’s clumsy moment in Singapore, it’s no big deal.

Whether to bow or salute?

Do you remember the time President Barack Obama was criticized/ridiculed/condemned for supposedly bowing before Saudi King Abdullah.

I’ve seen the video of that encounter. Critics said the president of the United States shouldn’t humiliate himself by bowing before a foreign head of state.

Now we have Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, returning an awkward salute from a North Korean general. You’ve seen the video, yes? The president walked down a line of dignitaries. He extended his hand. He did so with the general, who then saluted the president; Trump returned the salute.

Can he do that? Should he do that? I mean, North Korea is an “enemy state” that technically is still at war with the United States and the rest of the world. At least we weren’t at war with Saudi Arabia when Barack Obama greeted that country’s monarch.

Still, the Trump salute probably is not as big a deal as many critics might make of it, any more than the Obama bow before the Saudi king denigrated the nation he was elected to lead.

The bigger problem for Trump is the rhetoric he has used to describe Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator whose policies should qualify him as deserving of standing trial for crimes against humanity. Trump calls this despot “honorable” and a “great negotiator.”

What if Obama had done this?

Barack H. Obama once stated he would be willing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Those on the political right vilified the president for even suggesting such a thing. He’s naive, unprepared, too willing to surrender to the bad guys, they said.

Donald J. Trump came into office. He launched a name-calling campaign against Kim Jong Un. Then he accepted an invitation to meet with him. The president “canceled” the meeting, but then the two sides worked out their differences.

The right’s reaction? The president deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. He’s brilliant! He’s done the impossible!

Hey, I give the president kudos for meeting with Kim, although I concede that my view on that meeting had changed a bit from a year ago, when I said he shouldn’t meet with Kim. Sill, I hope it produces something constructive and, yes, peaceful!

If only the GOP “base” would have recognized what’s good for their guy also might have worked for his immediate predecessor.

Duplicitous.

Obama didn’t ‘allow’ annexation of Crimea

This won’t surprise regular readers of this blog, but I agree with former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice’s assertion that Donald Trump has taken an outrageous position with regard to Russia and its former membership in the Group of Eight nations.

Trump wants the now G-7 nations to bring Russia back into its fold. Susan Rice said the following, according to The Hill: Rice said Trump made “a disgraceful statement” when he said Obama “allowed Russia to take Crimea.”

“Rather than understand Russia is our adversary, Russia had taken on behavior that is absolutely reprehensible… for the president of the United States to suggest all that is forgotten, that we are together, that we are fine with one country annexing another country’s sovereign territory is outrageous,” Rice said.

Russia took another nation’s territory by force. It has done not a damn thing to rectify its aggression against Ukraine. It has continued to prop up a dictatorial regime in Syria. Oh, and it meddled in our 2016 election.

Rice is suggesting that Trump is divorced from any semblance of reality by asking for Russia’s re-inclusion into the G-7 nations comprising the world’s greatest economic powers.

The president’s desire to bring Russia back after the nations kicked it out after annexing Crimea has been met with almost unanimous scorn by the rest of the G-7; only Italy has backed the president’s request.

Moreover, Trump’s continual harping on actions taken by his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, seem to suggest some sort of sick fixation with the 44th president. He keeps singling him out specifically, making preposterous assertions that he “allowed” Russia to take Crimea. It begs the question: What would Donald Trump had done if he had been in the Oval Office, making the tough call? Does anyone actually believe he would have put “boots on the ground” to prevent a Russian takeover? Give me a break, man!

I have stayed away from asserting in this blog that Russia might have the goods on Trump, that it might be holding some deep, dark secrets about the president’s business dealings in Russia.

These continuing assertions from Trump that all is forgiven with regard to Russia are making me wonder about those reports about Russia and possible business connections with the Trump Organization.

Disgraceful.

Dick Cheney … where are you?

Of all the public figures who has shown no reluctance to speak out after leaving public office, the one to whom I refer has grown strangely silent.

Former Vice President Richard B. Cheney has gone dark. At least he has remained out of my earshot.

This is the guy who was quick to lambaste President Barack Obama during Obama’s two terms in office. He once referred to Obama as the “worst president in my lifetime.”

This blog took the former veep to task for declining to follow the lead of the man for whom he worked, President George W. Bush, who has remained quiet during his post-presidential time.

But now, with all this discussion swirling around President Obama’s successor, I keep waiting for some pearls of wisdom from Vice President Cheney.

I know he is able to put forward cogent thoughts. I heard recently he spoke at a college commencement. I cannot recall whether he weighed in on some of the issues of the day.

Seriously, the man who exhibited a rhetorical hair-trigger when it involved one president would seem willing to fire away with public comments regarding another one. Isn’t that right?

Hey, I’m no fan of Vice President Cheney. I just believe he has something of value to add to the cacophony of noise that’s pouring out of the halls of power.

Jobs report: once cooked up, now legit?

Donald John Trump has this maddening capacity for talking out of both sides of his mouth and for avoiding accountability for it.

The U.S. Labor Department’s jobs report this week is an example of it. The bean counters at the Labor Department reported that 223,000 jobs were added to non-farm payrolls in May. Unemployment fell to 3.8 percent.

Good news? Of course it is! The president should take a victory lap on this one. He hailed the report so much that he actually sort of spilled the beans an hour before the data were released, breaking with longstanding presidential protocol. Some critics are concerned that he might have manipulated stock markets around the world by offering that hint of the good news that was about to be revealed.

But wait! He once derided those same bureaucrats’ findings when they delivered stellar jobs report numbers during the Barack Obama administration. He called them phony, cooked up. He said the actual jobless rate during President Obama’s time in office was many times greater than what the Labor Department said it was.

So, which is it? Were they cooked up then and have gained validity just because Trump is in office?

This is the kind of duplicity that Trump gets away with. It simply is astonishing in the extreme that the man’s “base” continues to cheer him on, giving him more incentive to keep lying to the nation.

Weird.

POTUS keeps this story burning

A two-day story has been given more life by none other than the president of the United States.

Yep, Donald J. Trump has weighed in on ABC-TV’s decision to cancel “Roseanne” because of a stupid and blatantly racist tweet by the star of the show, Roseanne Barr.

She compared former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to an “ape.” Oh, yes. Jarrett is African-American. Barr’s tweet also had a touch of Islamophobia, too, referring to the “Muslim Brotherhood.”

ABC canceled “Roseanne” on the spot.

Trump’s response was to fire off a tweet of his own wondering why ABC didn’t react to all the negative things that have been said about him on the network.

Good grief, Mr. President.

Your plate should be overflowing with important matters. You know, things like that on-off-again summit with Kim Jong Un, trade wars with China, keeping the Middle East from exploding in flames.

Instead, this tweet tyrant in chief brings more attention to Roseanne Barr, a noted fan of the president.

Should this story be on millions of Americans’ minds right now? No. It should be set aside. The head of state has bigger fish to fry. If only the president of the United States would butt the hell out.

‘Roseanne’ not too big to … cancel

Roseanne Barr now has managed to offend both ends of the wide political spectrum.

Years ago, she took the field at the start of an athletic event to offer a horrendous rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Many of us have heard her “singing” of the anthem. We weren’t pleased. It wasn’t funny. Conservatives were outraged.

Ahh, but the comic wasn’t done. Today she posted a tweet in which she offered a racist reference to Valerie Jarrett, a former senior policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

She wrote: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Funny, huh? Nope. It isn’t. ABC Television promptly canceled the return of “Roseanne.”

Barr apologized. She took her tweet down. She deleted her Twitter account. Too late, Roseanne. The damage is done.

As for ABC’s decision to cancel the show, well, I don’t much care one way or the other. I didn’t watch the show 30 years ago; I didn’t watch its return. I had heard about Roseanne Barr’s pro-Donald Trump tilt and about her TV character’s similar leanings. Honest to goodness, that didn’t bother me in the least.

Racist rants from public figures? They bother me. A lot.

Good riddance, Roseanne.

Another Trump allegation proving false?

I am not a betting man, but if I were I might be willing to wager some real American money that Donald John Trump’s allegation of spying within his 2016 presidential campaign is going to go the way of earlier allegations that flew out of his guy’s mouth.

You know … that Barack Obama wiretapped his office; that millions of undocumented immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton; that thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s murder; that Obama was born in Africa and not in Hawaii and, thus, was ineligible to run for president in 2008.

It’s all crap. Now the latest.

He accuses the FBI of planting a “spy” in his campaign. He says the deed was done for “political purposes.” He has produced as much actual evidence of this latest assertion as he did for all the others.

None. Zilch.

Even some congressional Republicans are backing the FBI in the face of these allegations from Trump.

The president is reaching deep into his bag of tricks to discredit the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, who the Justice Department appointed in 2017 to look into the “Russia thing,” meaning whether Trump might have worked with Russians who meddled in our election.

The FBI has become one of Trump’s preferred bogeymen. He fired the former FBI director, James Comey, because of the Russia investigation. He is calling Comey a liar; he is disparaging the reputation of former CIA boss John Brennan, former director of national intelligence James Clapper and, yes, also Robert Mueller.

Where, though, is the evidence to back up the allegation of “spying” within his campaign? No one has seen it.

If I were inclined to place a bet on this one, my hunch is that there is no evidence to be found. Why? Because it didn’t happen.

Which brings me to the question: How in the name of political sanity does this guy, the president, get away with lying at this level?

Longing for a return of this kind of collegiality

I believe I have shared this video already, but I want you to look at it again.

It speaks to a “kinder, gentler” time in Washington, D.C. A president of one political party welcomed back his immediate predecessor, a president of another party.

They unveiled official White House portraits of President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spoke of the “seamless transition” from one administration to another. They spoke of warmth and hospitality, of cooperation and collegiality.

That kind of mood is missing these days. I want it to return. Perhaps one day it will.

Enjoy this video. It tells me that political opponents need not be enemies. That love of country transcends the partisan divide.

Honest. It does.