Tag Archives: President Obama

Noxious numbers: Inauguration anniversary edition

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, three noxious numbers reflect some of the reasons why the majority of U.S. citizens disapprove of his work.

2,810

The estimated number of lobbyists in Washington that helped weaken the Waxman-Markey environmental bill in the U.S. Congress.

President Obama campaigned against the influence of lobbyists, but this bill and health care reform show that tenants of The Hill only try to push the other party off it.

595

The number of inmates being held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

President Obama campaigned against unlawful detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but not only does that blight still operate (albeit with a much diminished population), there is now another base taking its place.

181

The number of days without a White House news conference.

President Obama campaigned against the veil of secrecy in the previous administration, but while he gives many eloquent addresses and comments, he resembles President Bush in the number of times he goes before the press corps to answer tough question.

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Coveted Cove

Dear President Obama,

The revealing documentary “The Cove” exposed the Taiji, Japan dolphin massacres and should receive the ultimate prize for such great investigative journalism — meaningful social change.

The documentations revealed the animal rights violations in the secretive and bloody slaughter that is clandestinely approved by the Japanese government.

These vicious harvests are part of an estimated 23,000 dolphins killed in Japan each year without acknowledgement of the U.S., U.N., or its sanctioned committee on the subject, the International Whaling Commission.

Ric O’Barry, the former trainer of Flipper, saw how organizations such as Sea World were paying fishermen in Taiji, Japan up to $150,000 for one show dolphin that is plucked from the pack prior to slaughter.

O’Barry became an activist and recruited a team to expose the slaughter from different angles and senses. As Louie Psihoyosa of the Oceanic Preservation Society said “we wanted to catch something that would make people change.”

With suffocatingly brutal imagery, the documentary showed how hundreds of dolphins are corralled in nets, speared and left to bleed to death. Then, their mercury-laced meat is fed to ignorant school children in Japan.

This must change.

The documentary quotes Margaret Mead as saying, “Never ever depend on any governments or institutions to solve any problems. All social change comes from the passion of individuals.”

Mr. President, show that institutions that you lead can provoke social change. This is necessary for our ecosystem and as reward for stunning investigative journalism.

Sincerely,

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[Send a letter to President Obama like I did. Be the change. Text “dolphin” to 44144.]

‘Law’ isn’t justice

Yesterday’s “unlawful enemy combatant” is today’s “law of war” detainee.

Yesterday was Bush; today is Obama.

President Obama has addressed many crucial  and negative aspects of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison camp — such as beginning to bring some prisoners to trial and deporting others — but “several dozen” prisoners will still not have charges filed against them when the prison soon relocates to Illinois.

Like Bush’s “unlawful enemy combatant”  name for prisoners, Obama’s “law of war” detainee is simply repackaging. In both cases, the powers that be believe the detainees are ineligible for prosecution and too dangerous for release.

One question: If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed can be tried in a U.S. court, why can’t the guys that didn’t plan the 9/11 terrorist acts be tried in a court of law?

Apparently, just because it says “law” in the title, that doesn’t make it a justice.

“The only thing that President Obama is doing with this announcement [of Gitmo closing] is changing the ZIP code of Guantanamo,” Thom Parker, Amnesty International USA policy director, told the New York Times.

These Gitmo actions are another example of Obama being just a better — not great — president.

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Noxious Numbers: ‘Merica!

Last Wednesday’s message was awful enough — 30,000 more U.S. troops destined for a quagmire in Afghanistan, but somehow, another number struck deeper.

31

The tally of times President Obama said “America,” “American” or “Americans.” 

Searching for that number probably seems strange because that word is one of the country’s proper names, but the Tank couldn’t help but think about how that name must be perceived in both Kabul and Kansas.

To people in Kabul, a troop surge probably comes with feelings of trepidation and fear after what America has done in the last eight years there.

To people in Kansas, a troop surge probably comes with feelings of pride and conceit with what ‘Merica can do in the next eight years there.

Everytime, Obama said “America” with conviction, but the Tank couldn’t get past the underlying concept. Using America, somehow, seems like marketing ploy and a coy use of persuasive speech. (Get the public behind the surge.) 

One of my English business professors in London asked my class this question, “How can you call yourself ‘America?’ ”

His meaning: It’s egotistical to use “America” when many countries in two continents can lay claim to the place that word represents. In essence, he was saying, “What does this imply to Mexico, Honduras, Chile and others?”

I thought of the professor’s message from five years ago as I listened to Obama’s oration to West Point cadets Wednesday. After the speech, I then thought of my friend’s distant reply to the professor’s message.

“How does [the professor] get off?” said my friend from Konnecticut. “He’s from a country that calls itself ‘The United Kingdom’ and ‘Great Britain.’ We’ll stop calling ourselves ‘America’ when he stops calling himself ‘Great.’ ”

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Don’t fall into the booby trap! … Doh!

As The Tank predicted last week, wacko conservatives ate the bait and attacked President Obama instead of the Nobel committee on the issue of him winning the Peace Prize.

Liz Cheney, daughter of you know who, called it a “farce” and said Obama should snub the committee. The new “red state rock star” then suggested that Obama “send the mother of a fallen American soldier to accept the prize on the behalf of the U.S. military.”

I’m not even going to begin to dissect the obviously warped logic of that, and therefore, I’m a step ahead of the quick-to-meddle White House.

President Obama’s subordinates — Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, among others — are directing the media to ignore Fox News in following them into coverage of certain stories, with Acorn as example No. 1.

Everyone knows Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Co., will cry foul. On his radio show today, Hannity said it was an assault on free speech and watchdog journalism. Although I think that’s extreme — Hannity provides nothing of the latter. But his next point was spot on.

He said, and The Tank paraphrases, the criticism of Fox comes 50-some days after General Stanley McCrystal requested more troops in Afghanistan, meaning there are much more important and unresolved matters than finagling over what one of the cable news channels covers.

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Obama also bowls and shops for dogs!

Oh no! President Obama revealed an improved bowling game Thursday on the “Tonight Show.”

After critics took shots at Obama for filling out an NCAA basketball bracket and for appearing on Jay Leno’s show, the fact that the president took time amid the economic crisis to improve his horrendous bowling game will also likely  get strikes against it.

Some critics — Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner and others — will prop up any of his actions as negative or a unnecessary distractions, but cut the guy some slack.

obama-on-leno

Obama went on the “Tonight Show” to talk about the economy because he holds the purse strings and the American people deserve answers. He filled out the bracket because he is a basketball fan. He acknowledged on the show that a family dog is on its way because he is a father. 

His predecessors had — gasp! — hobbies, too. They played the saxophone or watched the Texas Rangers. (When those hobbies, however, turn into blow jobs in the Oval Office and cutting brush in Crawford, Texas every other weekend, THEN we have a problem. Not before.)

Presidents have hobbies because they are humans that deserve a reprieve. Obama can pick North Carolina to win it all AND turn around and deal with problems with AIG and Afghanistan.

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