Tag Archives: Barack Obama

For ‘W’ to speak out, you know it’s bad

Two former presidents of the United States have spoken out about the state of contemporary politics.

Both men’s comments were thinly veiled broadsides fired at Donald John Trump, the guy who succeeded one of them. You would expect such criticism of a Republican president to come from Democratic former President Barack H. Obama, who today campaigned on behalf of fellow Democratic candidates.

It’s the criticism that came from a Republican ex-president, George W. Bush, that deserves a brief comment here.

President Bush has been mostly quiet since leaving the White House in January 2009. Today he broke his silence in dramatic fashion.

Speaking at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York, the former president said this, according to the Washington Post:

* “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”

* “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism.”

* “We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. . . . Argument turns too easily into animosity.”

* “It means that bigotry and white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed, and it means the very identity of our nation depends on passing along civic ideals.”

* “Bullying and prejudice in our public life … provides permission for cruelty and bigotry.”

* “The only way to pass along civic values is to live up to them.”

Read the Post article here.

Can there be any question about whom the former president is referring? Can you possibly mistake the references to anyone other than Donald J. Trump?

President Bush spoke out forcefully during his time in the White House against bigotry and hatred. For example, he sought to declare that our war against international radical Islamic terrorists is not a war against Islam.

That is not the message we’re getting from the current president and the 43rd president of the United States is correct to bring these issues to our attention.

Welcome back to the political stage, Mr. President.

Trump trips over himself again

What is it about Donald Trump that prevents him from doing something quietly, gracefully, with empathy and compassion?

He’s walked into yet another controversy, this time over a phone call he made to the wife of a fallen U.S. Army soldier who was among four soldiers killed in Niger.

A Florida congresswoman, Democrat Frederica Wilson, said the president told Myeshia Johnson that her husband, Sgt. David Johnson, “knew what he was getting into.” He added that “it still hurts.”

He said, she said

Trump, quite naturally, has denied saying what Wilson alleges he said. Rep. Wilson said she was overheard the conversation between the president and Mrs. Johnson and is standing by her comment.

I won’t pass any judgment on who’s right, except to note yet again that Trump has shown quite a propensity for prevarication. I have no knowledge of Rep. Wilson’s reputation for veracity.

I guess my point here is that Trump simply is not wired to perform simple — but admittedly tough — tasks without somehow calling attention to himself. It’s always “lights, camera, action!” with this guy.

He said previous presidents didn’t call the loved ones of fallen warriors. Aides to Presidents Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama have denied vehemently what Trump has suggested.

And so … the chaos continues.

Sad.

POTUS scars sacred ground

The president of the United States has zero political instincts when it comes to the decorum of his high office.

Consider what he’s now doing to politicize the deaths of fallen American warriors. Donald John Trump has declared falsely that previous presidents haven’t bothered to send letters to Gold Star families, or to call them, or offer a nation’s gratitude.

His latest epic lie has drawn strong responses from the three men who preceded him immediately in the office: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Aides for all three men have condemned the president’s specious claim that their bosses didn’t do what Trump has said he has done.

Good grief! Can this man ever find a way to conduct himself with a semblance of dignity? Can he ever learn how decorum matters as it involves the presidency of the United States of America?

Trump dishonors military

To make matters worse, if that’s possible, he decided to drag the memory of White House chief of staff John Kelly into this atrocious dispute. The president wondered on Fox News Rado if President Obama ever called Kelly when his son died in battle. According to The Associated Press:

Then Trump stirred things further Tuesday on Fox News Radio, saying, “You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?”
John Kelly, a Marine general under Obama, is Trump’s chief of staff. His son, Marine 2nd Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. John Kelly was not seen at Trump’s public events Tuesday.

John Kelly reportedly sought to keep his son’s memory out of the current political dispute. The president, of course, demonstrated his tin ear and blabbed out loud about Lt. Kelly’s death anyway.

Disgraceful.

Trump tells another lie about Obama

To paraphrase Ronald Wilson Reagan … there he goes again.

Donald J. Trump said a lot of amazing things at that impromptu press conference at the White House. One of the more absurd, ridiculous and specious claims the president made was that his predecessors, namely Barack Obama, didn’t call on the families of fallen warriors.

Let’s see. How can I say this? Trump is flat wrong — yet again!

Trump draws fire for comment

President Obama made quite a statement many times during his two terms about how difficult it was for him to meet with the families of men and women who died in battle. Indeed, his military staff challenged Trump’s assertion almost immediately.

According to NBC News: “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls — a lot of them didn’t make calls — I like to make calls when it’s appropriate,” Trump said at a press conference in the Rose Garden when asked about why he had not addressed the recent deaths of American troops in Niger.
However, a former senior Obama administration disputed Trump’s claim.

“President Trump’s claim is wrong,” the ex-official said. “President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country.” 

And yet, this president continues to get away with lying.

Reagan delivered the “There you go again” line when challenging a statement President Carter made during a 1980 presidential debate. It proved to be a devastating moment. Donald Trump appears immune to such put-downs.

Astonishing.

Bergdahl admits it: He’s a deserter

We no longer need to attach the word “alleged” in front of Bowe Bergdahl’s crime.

The U.S. Army sergeant has entered a guilty plea to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He had been captured by the Taliban in 2009 and was held for five years somewhere in Afghanistan.

The desertion charge carries a five-year prison sentence; the misbehavior charge is something quite a bit more severe and Bergdahl faces a potential life term in prison.

What should the military court decide? He needs to serve a significant prison term. A lifetime? I’m not sure about that.

Deserter fesses up

He did expression contrition. He knows he did wrong. He has paid quite a price being held captive by a terrorist organization.

Speaking of which, I was critical at the time of Bergdahl’s release that the Obama administration declined to call the Taliban what they are: a terrorist outfit. That gave the administration license to negotiate with the Taliban to secure Bergdahl’s release.

Should he have remained in Taliban custody? No. The Obama team said its mission to ensure that no American gets left on the “battlefield.” I get that.

However, he now has admitted to deserting his Ranger unit. And, no, he doesn’t deserve to be executed, as Donald J. Trump bellowed before he became the commander in chief.

Prison time? Yes.

POTUS uses executive authority … but wait!

I normally wouldn’t complain about Donald Trump’s use of executive authority, given that he’s doing what the Constitution allows him to do.

But you see, the president has been a royal pain in the posterior over his gripes about the executive orders signed by the man he succeeded, Barack H. Obama.

Now he has set a sort of dubious record. Trump has just signed his 49th executive order, the most orders signed at this stage of the presidency since President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The LBJ standard stood for the past 50 years.

CNN reports: Why does it matter? Because Trump was a vociferous critic of then-President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders — casting them as a purposeful end-run of the legislative branch.

I happen to believe strongly in presidential prerogative. Trump is using the authority granted to him by the U.S. Constitution.

But the president doesn’t respect that the same authority also has been bestowed on others who came before him. President Obama’s use of that authority often came amid strong criticism by those who were hell bent on opposing everything he sought to do.

Trump was among those critics.

Trump signs ’em quickly

Given that the president has been unable to push any significant legislation through Congress in the nine months he’s been in office, it stands to reason he would rely on the executive authority he has been handed.

Except that he launched a ridiculous tirade against Barack Obama for doing the very thing that he, too, had the power to do.

Oh, by the way, President Obama signed 26 executive orders at the same point in his presidency … a little more than half of what Trump has signed. I won’t say that Trump is abusing his authority.

But still …

Trump continues his rampage

Donald J. Trump is having a busy week, indeed.

The president has taken direct aim at (a) the Affordable Care Act, (b) the Iran nuclear deal and (c) the United Nations. To what end? To show the world he’s putting “America first” and that he doesn’t care what the rest of the nation that didn’t vote for him thinks about the policies he is dismantling.

* Trump this week declared his intention to discontinue the subsidies the government pays to reduce health insurance premiums for Americans who need them to purchase insurance under the ACA. He’s seeking to destroy former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, no matter how many millions of Americans he hurts along the way.

* The president has decided against recertifying the Iran nuclear pact that Obama’s foreign policy team negotiated with five other nations. It seeks to demand that Iran quit developing nuclear weapons. International analysts say Iran is complying with the deal; Trump says the Iranians aren’t complying. Hmm. Who do you believe, the experts or a pathological liar?

* Trump has decided to pull the United States out of UNESCO, a UN-affiliated organization dedicated to developing world peace through collaborative educational, scientific and cultural reforms. That sound pretty nefarious, right? He cites an alleged “anti-Israel bias” in the UN. So, he’ll just pull us out of UNESCO. That’ll teach ’em.

The president just cannot stop doing things that make many of us angry. Sure, he pleases a lot of folks around the country with this so-called “no-nonsense” approach to domestic and international policy.

In my own view, though, he is forsaking policies only because they were crafted by his predecessor, the fellow Trump defamed by suggesting for years he wasn’t qualified constitutionally to serve as president; it’s that “birther” thing.

As for the UNESCO pullout, Trump is managing to anger allied nations who do not view the world through the same distorted prism the president uses.

But, by golly, he’s telling it like it is.

Labor market loses jobs; no big deal … maybe

Donald J. Trump was all too quick while running for president to denigrate the nation’s stellar job growth during the final months of Barack H. Obama’s administration.

A couple hundred thousand jobs added to non-farm private payrolls during a given month? The number are phony, Trump would proclaim. The Labor Department is cooking the books, he would allege with no proof. The “real jobless rate” is something like 40 percent, he’d bellow.

OK. Today, the Labor Department came out with some dismal jobs numbers: employers shed 33,000 jobs in September. Yes, the jobless rate fell to 4.2 percent, which is pretty darn low!

But, but …

Still, the job losses aren’t the president’s fault. Really. They aren’t. Economists blame the job loss on business shuttering in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The hospitality industry was particularly hard hit along the Texas coast and throughout Florida, they said.

The good news is that the jobs are likely to rebound in the weeks ahead as Texas and Florida continue to recover, albeit slowly, from the savage beatings delivered by Harvey and Irma.

There’s no particular moral to this item, other than the jobs report issued today is no more “cooked” or “made up” than they were when they were reporting much happier economic news.

Let’s also remember that not even this president — the self-proclaimed “very smart person” who surrounds himself with “the best people” — can prevent nature’s wrath from damaging the nation’s business structure.

Why, precisely, does POTUS oppose the Iran nuke deal?

One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington, D.C., is out: Donald J. Trump plans to decertify the agreement hammered out by the Obama administration to curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons.

The president calls it the “worst deal ever negotiated” in the history of Planet Earth. He said he’d never strike such a deal. He has called it an “embarrassment” to the United States of America. He says it is not in our national interest.

Forgive me if I’ve missed something, although I don’t believe that’s the case, but has the president ever offered a single detail over precisely why he hates this deal with such a passion?

I haven’t heard him articulate a single policy dispute he has with it. He has spoken completely, totally and utterly in platitudes and clichés about why he hates this deal.

I cannot help but wonder whether his opposition stems largely — if not entirely — from the fact that President Obama’s national security team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, negotiated this deal. Sure, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu hates the deal, too, but he hates any effort to make peace with his nation’s mortal enemies; in a way, I kind of understand Netanyahu’s suspicion, even if it’s a bit overheated.

Details of the Iran nuke deal

However, the president of the United States owes his constituents — you and me — a much more detailed explanation into why he opposes an agreement in which U.S. analysts say is being honored by the Iranians. Trump, though, says otherwise.

We’re supposed to take the president at his word? Is that the deal?

Uh … no thank you.

Ex-presidents look so, so relaxed

This picture makes me happy.

It shows the three most immediate past presidents of the United States of America: Barack H. Obama, George W. Bush and William J. Clinton.

Look at those men. Don’t they look happy? Relaxed? Chummy?

They opened the President’s Cup golf tournament today in Jersey City, N.J., the first time three ex-presidents have opened the event that pits American golfers against an international team.

It’s a big deal.

For some time after he left office, I was left pining for former President Obama. I missed him terribly. At one or two levels, I still do. But seeing this picture reminds me of how much he and Presidents Bush and Clinton have earned the right to look so damn relaxed.

The same can be said of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. They weren’t there. President Bush is in poor health. President Carter is likely building a house somewhere for Habitat for Humanity; indeed, President Carter hasn’t stopped working since he left office … in 1981!

And, oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall as these three former heads of state talk about the guy who holds the office these days.