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Author Topic: Our (semi-)balanced former POTUS  (Read 3112 times)
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robcat2075

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« Reply #20 on: Jul 08, 2017, 11:50AM »

ABC filed this under "Weird".  No really.  Check the URL.  :D

'Oh my God, it is Obama': Alaska mom, baby meet ex-president


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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #21 on: Aug 18, 2017, 08:44PM »

Obama’s Charlottesville response breaks the record for most-liked tweet ever

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Here’s some news that could potentially hold the key to Donald Trump’s complete and irreversible mental meltdown: According to Twitter, Barack Obama, former President of the United States of America and subject of a bizarre and spiteful obsession for our current president, just broke the record for most-liked tweet of all time. The tweet in question was in response to the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, and quotes Nelson Mandela:


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"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..."



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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #22 on: Aug 23, 2017, 04:27PM »

The Obamas take their first kid to college.

Malia Obama moves in to Harvard, with a little help from mom and dad


My parents were not that into it. My dad dropped me off at the dorm, then left to visit one of his favorite relations and my mom didn't even make the trip.  Yeah, RIGHT.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #23 on: Sep 12, 2017, 08:38PM »

Obama Remembers Gay Rights Hero Edie Windsor: One Of Many ‘Quiet Heroes’

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Former President Barack Obama praised the gay rights activist Edith Windsor shortly after the 88-year-old died Tuesday in New York, saying “few made as big a difference to America.”

Windsor, whose lawsuit against the government led the Supreme Court in 2013 to strike down a key part of the the Defense of Marriage Act, lived to see the court assert that same-sex couples nationwide had the right to marry in 2015.

“I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love,” Obama said in a statement.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #24 on: Sep 30, 2017, 08:35AM »

Hangin' out with Harry at the Invictus games...



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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #25 on: Oct 02, 2017, 01:10PM »

From the looks on their faces I'd say he's cracking a joke about Trump.
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« Reply #26 on: Oct 07, 2017, 03:11PM »

What do you Americans think were President Obama's successes and failures? And how do you assess his time in office overall?
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robcat2075

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« Reply #27 on: Oct 07, 2017, 04:34PM »

What do you Americans think were President Obama's successes and failures? And how do you assess his time in office overall?

-Big Success: Bin Laden bin dead. Somehow it got it done under Obama even though Bush had better opportunities.

-There were no scandals where someone had to be fired for for misusing taxpayer money or being a foreign agent. Obama never had to fire anyone because they were investigating him. Unlike both Bushes he didn't have to pardon any of his staff. Unlike Clinton he didn't have to negotiate a plea deal for himself before leaving office.

-There was the CIA director who resigned after he got caught banging a woman, not his wife.  Not really Obama's fault.

-The biggest incompetence scandal was failure to clean up the Veterans Administration healthcare backlog. Obama appointed a retired general who wasn't up to it.

-Obamacare is a mixed success but still a substantial improvement to the healthcare system.

-The Obamacare debate itself was a big failure. His failure to agressively engage the opposition allowed a lot of insane political notions like "death panels" to get embedded in the debate and persist today. The Obamacare debate was a major reason for the GOP takeover of Congress in 2014. Big Failure there.

-Biggest disappointment: Not prosecuting financial crimes leading to the 2008 collapse.

-Most Obama "failures" I attribute to obstructionism by the Republican political machine. For the last six years he was mostly holding the line against an insane congress.

-Obama only replied with dignity to attacks (or ignored them). Publicly he always afforded opponents the basic respect they were ostensibly due unlike our current President (who doesn't even give his supporters basic respect.)

-Obama never pulled the rug out from under his own staff when they were trying to get things done, they were all on the same team. I bet no one felt they had to stay on in Obama admin just to stop crazy stuff from happening.

-None of the backstabbing West Wing insider leak drama that we have now.

-Excellent dignified behavior in times of national tragedy. He had the right things to say and that's about all he can do with a mass shooting.

-Great performances at WHPC dinners. You don't know how remarkable that is until you watch other public figures try to do 20 minutes of humorous material.

-Too much time spent trying accommodate the other side whose stated goal was to never accept any accommodation. I don't think he completely understood that no one who voted for the first black President ever was voting to just move the needle a little bit.

-The Iran deal was probably the best we could get when we had few levers to pull that really affected them.

-Very little progress on social justice, but again I attribute that to the obstructionist right-wing.

-North Korea still a problem.



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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #28 on: Oct 07, 2017, 05:56PM »

I like Rob's assessment.

I think a part of why he won was that people were afraid with old John McCain as President we'd have a woman within a heartbeat of the Oval Office.  Same attitude that sunk Hillary.  Chauvinists are chauvinists.

On the other hand, Obama was a terrific pol.  I think if he were a White man he might have gotten an aura like Kennedy.  A model citizen to be our first Black President, despite the fact that a lot (but not a majority) of the country was really anxious to see him fail.

We managed to follow a remarkable President with a laughable one. :(
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« Reply #29 on: Oct 07, 2017, 06:41PM »

The drone war is a troubling thing. Obama ordered the death of American citizen Anwar Al-Alaki who hadn't been convicted of anything yet.

Yeah, it was in a far-away middle east place and, yeah, it was terrorist enabler Anwar al-Awlaki but still, a line has been crossed.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #30 on: Oct 08, 2017, 07:26AM »

And again on the failure to prosecute financial crimes... this is where the "deep state" is a problem.  The US attorneys responsible for New York City and the financial district seem to be more interested in catching politicians than corporate criminals.

This is the group that spent inordinate amounts of time promoting preposterous conspiracy allegations about Hillary Clinton to the main office in Washington trying to get her prosecuted. The political leanings of that group didn't seem to accommodate the mission of pursuing financial crimes.

That may be why, while the financial industry was being scammed off a cliff by the bankers, federal law enforcement was wiretapping the NY governor to catch him talking to a hooker.

Maybe Obama should have appointed a special prosecutor who could take the investigation off the NY office's hands? I don't know if that was possible. 
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« Reply #31 on: Oct 08, 2017, 04:48PM »

Can we add failure to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay? Like the drone strikes, there is some dubious legality there.

I'm not sure it's fair to chalk up North Korea as a failure for President Obama. That's been going on for decades with no solution in sight. Likewise with financial irregularities/crimes. Oscillating between regulation and deregulation with their commensurate effects is a regular theme in politics.


-Very little progress on social justice

Well... if by social justice you mean the government penalising or favouring Americans based on the demographic group they belong to, then this isn't a failure. It wouldn't be progress either, at least not progress towards anything positive in a society that calls itself a liberal democracy. Of course, it's not compulsory to believe in equality of opportunity. There are other societies that categorise people and restrict their life choices, like India and its caste system. Marxist societies also put people into groups and favoured or disfavoured them, but it didn't work very well and there aren't many left.

I thought Americans were supposed to be judged not by the colour of their skin (or other protected characteristic) but by the content of their character.
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« Reply #32 on: Oct 08, 2017, 05:30PM »

Well... if by social justice you mean the government penalising or favouring Americans based on the demographic group they belong to...

No, that's not what I mean, that's the right-wing, strawman critique of social justice.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #33 on: Oct 08, 2017, 05:51PM »

No, that's not what I mean, that's the right-wing, strawman critique of social justice.

What do you mean then? Deploying resources to create equality of opportunity and removing barriers to opportunity? But not seeking to enforce equality of outcome?

That's good American stuff. I like that.
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« Reply #34 on: Oct 09, 2017, 10:37AM »

What do you Americans think were President Obama's successes and failures? And how do you assess his time in office overall?

Good Lord! Where to even start? He took over an economy that was in a nose dive like the bomber in one of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. The stock market was in free fall, we were hemorhaging 800,000 jobs a month. The auto industry was imploding, Bin Laden was still out there directing Al Qaddafi, the American health insurance markets were a disaster, and we were mired in two seemingly endless wars. He forced through as large a stimulus package as was possible over the obstruction of a disloyal minotirymparty that wanted nothing more than to see him fail, but was afraid the American economy was not going to survive. The stimulus was not nearly as large as it needed to be affect a recovery, but it was large enough to leevel off the nose dive and get it moving in a positive direction again. The auto bailout was actually originated by W during his lame duck period, but Obama oversaw it's implementation and management that brought the American auto industry back to the top. He did the best he could to renegotiate the withdrawal from Iraq, but W had screwed that's pooch so royally that all they wanted was us gone, with the door not hitting us in th butt on our way out. He got the Lily Ledbetter law passed. He got the ACA passed. His economic policies, despite unending, unparalleled obstruction, DID turn the economy around and issue in the  longest period of positive job growth in history and a tripling of the stock market. He stopped the Iran nuclear program and got the chemical weapons out of Syria. He instigated the Paris Accord on climate change, the first to ever gain majority buy in around the world. Etc., etc., etc.

Most of the negatives have already been pointed out. I would add not prosecuting anyone for war crimes over torture as a major failure. Not explains the benefits of the ACA better and letting thenRepublicans control the dialogue was a huge failure.

He restored America's prestige, so damaged by the cowboy aggressiveness of the W regime, in the eyes of the world. Sadly, that is all being undone by the DOTARD now holding the office..
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« Reply #35 on: Oct 09, 2017, 04:47PM »

You mean the DOTUS?
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« Reply #36 on: Oct 09, 2017, 08:28PM »

What do you mean then? Deploying resources to create equality of opportunity and removing barriers to opportunity? But not seeking to enforce equality of outcome?

I think the government can do much more to untilt the playing field from rewarding the already rich to rewarding the people who actually do things. A government that just stands on the sidelines watching things happen will not get that done.

For years conservatives have been fooling people with the idea that the founding fathers believed in some sort of minimal government... "The government that governs best, governs least." That is their excuse for the government to do nothing in the face of growing problems

But no founding father ever said such a thing.

This is the real statement of purpose of our government...

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

A national government with the power to do things.  Form, establish, insure, provide, promote, secure.

Especially "promote the general welfare". It doesn't say "average" welfare. The US is a rich country on average but the typical citizen is worth nearly zero while only 10% of the population owns 75% of the wealth.






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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #37 on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:59AM »

I think the government can do much more to untilt the playing field from rewarding the already rich to rewarding the people who actually do things.

****Caveat, disclaimer, commenting as a non-American disinterested outside observer etc...****

Only last night, I had a conversation with an American resident and I was stunned by his précis of the tax a middle class person pays. The rich have their accountancy tricks, the poor might have "grey" or "black" income or not much to tax at all. But the middle class have large and visible incomes and get whacked for everything. It doesn't seem in line with the idea of American free market enterprise economics, which is an important theme of the country from even before it was a country!

I live in a European country with a well-developed welfare state and am middle class. I pay roughly 25% tax and receive comprehensive on demand healthcare, heavily subsidised public transport, free education from kindergarten upwards and university costs only €350 per year. Yes, 350. There are government departments to help and advise me with everything on demand, although bureaucracy can be a pain. My tax insures me - generously - against periods of unfitness to work or unemployment. Urban environments are well kept and about the biggest crime worry is someone bumping into me and not saying sorry. There is an issue with how sustainable this is, particularly pensions and ageing population, but it compares well with the corresponding deal my American acquaintance described.

Both right and left wing politicians in the western world agree that the free market is generally the best tool for correcting and regulating society's issues. They also agree that sometimes a little poke is needed here and there. They disagree on how much, how often and where to poke.

Healthcare is a very good example. Private insurance can't offer a complete solution because it's not profitable for insurers to cover high risk people, so some are excluded. I think President Obama genuinely tried to make an improvement and was somewhat successful. He seems like a decent guy, although let's be honest, he's a politician so... I agree that he did a good job averting economic catastrophe, although I'm sure he was well advised rather than thinking up a masterplan by himself. Turning a huge disaster into a small one seems like damning Obama with faint praise, but it's actually a big success for his time in office, and probably the most important one.

I think Obama's successor is somewhat unfairly criticised. He's a private citizen who ran for office and was elected because people liked what he said he would do. In principle, that's a good result for democracy. However, President Trump has no political or public administrative experience (and I don't think he really expected to win, he was just doing it for self promotion or some kind of personal project). I think he naively expected that he could simply start doing the things he said, that people voted for, y'know like that democracy stuff? No doubt his advisors have been explaining to him how his policies, while popular, are bad public administration for various reasons. Or can't be done for practical or legal reasons. Or won't be done because the state organs responsible for delivering the policy don't want to do it. He seems to be slowly realising that he is not the Grand Hetman, and that policy has to be delivered through the mechanism of public administration, not by Twitter diktat.
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« Reply #38 on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:04PM »

You mean the DOTUS?

LOVE IT! Look for it in my column.
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« Reply #39 on: Oct 10, 2017, 06:07PM »

Only last night, I had a conversation with an American resident...

An American living in Europe? Probably not a good way to get a sense of most Americans


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and I was stunned by his précis of the tax a middle class person pays.
And yet if we could honestly tally up all the things he thinks the government should do there would be a ubstantial bill to pay, I suspect



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The rich have their accountancy tricks, the poor might have "grey" or "black" income or not much to tax at all. But the middle class have large and visible incomes and get whacked for everything. It doesn't seem in line with the idea of American free market enterprise economics, which is an important theme of the country from even before it was a country!

The US had a long stretch of free-market economy in the 19th century. A few fabulously rich robber barons, but large numbers of grindingly poor and a middle class that was always getting wiped by the frequent economic crashes. It wasn't until the government began to clip industry's powers to manipulate markets, monopolize resources and treat the labor force as a disposable goods that we began to get stability and the growing middle class.

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I live in a European country with a well-developed welfare state and am middle class. I pay roughly 25% tax and receive comprehensive on demand healthcare, heavily subsidised public transport, free education from kindergarten upwards and university costs only €350 per year. Yes, 350. There are government departments to help and advise me with everything on demand, although bureaucracy can be a pain. My tax insures me - generously - against periods of unfitness to work or unemployment. Urban environments are well kept and about the biggest crime worry is someone bumping into me and not saying sorry. There is an issue with how sustainable this is, particularly pensions and ageing population, but it compares well with the corresponding deal my American acquaintance described.

The biggest reason for the US tax burden is the cost of the US military which provides security not just to US territory but is also an essential factor in European and our Asian allies' security. On paper, everyone in these alliances pays their fair share, but if you deleted the US's participation, all the other fair shares wouldn't be enough to do what needs to be done.

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Both right and left wing politicians in the western world agree that the free market is generally the best tool for correcting and regulating society's issues. They also agree that sometimes a little poke is needed here and there. They disagree on how much, how often and where to poke.

Right wing politicians in the US do not admit this. They can not get nominated if they admit the government has a role in anything beyond banning abortion and gay marriage.

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Healthcare is a very good example. Private insurance can't offer a complete solution because it's not profitable for insurers to cover high risk people, so some are excluded. I think President Obama genuinely tried to make an improvement and was somewhat successful. He seems like a decent guy, although let's be honest, he's a politician so... I agree that he did a good job averting economic catastrophe, although I'm sure he was well advised rather than thinking up a masterplan by himself. Turning a huge disaster into a small one seems like damning Obama with faint praise, but it's actually a big success for his time in office, and probably the most important one.

Obamacare is really the proposals put forward by Republican and conservative think tanks in the 90's as a retort to the more sweeping nationalized healthcare plan of the Clinton years ("Hillarycare") These ideas were proposed to make Hillarycare look unneccessary and over large and to defeat it.

Obama (thought he) was calling their bluff by offering up the very plan they said they honestly wanted and would pass if given the chance. Of course, they immediately pretended they had nothing to do with it, even though their Presidential nominee in 2012 has enacted exactly this plan when he was governor of Massachusetts.

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I think Obama's successor is somewhat unfairly criticised.

I once heard a criticism of Trump that I thought was unfair.  Can't recall it now.

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He's a private citizen

A "private" citizen who has spent 40 years crying for public attention, plastering his name on buildings, paying ghost writers to pen his self-glorifying autobiographies, starring in reality shows and making his name as a politician with the preposterous "birther" theory.

Yes, Mr. Private Citizen.



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who ran for office and was elected because people liked what he said he would do.

Remember, he didn't get most of the votes and didn't even get the most votes.

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He seems to be slowly realising that he is not the Grand Hetman, and that policy has to be delivered through the mechanism of public administration, not by Twitter diktat.

He could be impeached, removed from office and exiled to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and he will still imagine that things should happen just because he says so.
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