Take another look at our marvelous leader

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Just occurred to me lately that we have all been guilty of mislabeling our marvelous leader.

He is not really a politician because during his time in legislative bodies he neither generated or passed any significant legislation, and his main reaction to the work of others was a neutral “present” in response.

He is not really a leader because he makes it a point not to sully his days by meeting with those who don’t wholeheartedly agree with him to draft workable compromises.

He is most definitely not a military person since he never wore the uniform and has made it clear that one of his goals is to diminish the strength of that sector.

So what exactly is he?

When things get hectic in D. C. he jets off into the wild blue and makes speeches in a variety of venues. The last lecture he gave in Missouri was more than one hour in length. Have pity on those poor (paid?) backgrounders who had to appear interested through that kind of an ordeal and applaud on cue.

We have to conclude that our main man is at heart a professor. He delights in reading his Teleprompter message to groups of people. Maybe not quite as entertaining as a grandpa reading fairy tales to the grandkids, but possibly as soporific.

As a prof he is not expected to accomplish anything besides telling other people what they should be doing. His speeches are highly idealistic so no one can criticize their content. We have learned from him that if everyone was making exactly the same amount of money, greed would go away, hugs would abound and happiness would reign supreme.

And perhaps the best part of the whole arrangement is that when he has finished teaching us what he knows and we don’t, there will be no test. How can it get any better than that?

Tom Baker

Waitsburg

Comments

paco1234 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm impress with your "bening" sarcasm, never pushing the knife deep enough, though. Although not really a diatribe, your tap dancing ritual remains in the periphery, never commiting to specifics that could be reasonably debatable with factual information...so no one can criticize your postures? Cute!

By reading your letter the image that comes to mind is that of a hunter who enjoys the stalking part more than the actual hunting, the target always escaping, as a "black gacel" does with gracious and elegant prancings, right in in front of your incredulous eyes.

The simile above is obviusly in reference to your "main man". Obama has intelligence, incredible education, elocuence and statemanship gravitas reason for which he is highly respected all ove the world. Could this assertions be atributed to Mr. Bush junior? Certanly not!

Lincoln was not a military man but won the Civil War. Likewise Obama is not a military man. He nevertheless cought Osama bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq. Bush junior was a delinquent military person who concocted the gratest military blunder in the history of mankind.

The best part of the whole enchilada is that, inspite of Conservatives vigils and prayers across the Nation, Obama won the elections, not once but twice...and by the votes of all those "soporific" Americans. God knew better, thanks God! That is, in fact, the best test and don't you ever forget it. The next test is for Hillary to tackle. You see... it just cannot get any better than that, my friend!

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paco1234 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Oops! I apologize for misspelling what should read "impressed", "benign", "obviously"...

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bj84711 8 months, 2 weeks ago

You must live in a different world!

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paco1234 8 months, 2 weeks ago

We liberals live in the present and in the future world. We are beyond Jim Crow, bank dysregulation, unfair health care system, unnecessary wars, etc. We ambition clean air and cheap power. We ambition reasonable background cheks for gun purchases to protect our children. And you, in which world do you live?

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PearlY 8 months ago

Yes, they live in a world without Spell-check.

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paco1234 8 months ago

I knew it...you really are a teacher, aren't you? Now, professor Pearl, do you agree with me that the new Conservativism is a retrograde way of political thinking, out of touch with the new, modern America?

Please forgive my spelling! After all I have to do it in 4 languages, and I'm getting old...but I still do fairly good in all of them, enough to be able to teach you in 3 of them!

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PearlY 8 months ago

Paco, you're not going to be teaching me spelling in English, Spanish, Italian or Russian. I'm not sure I'd trust your lessons in any other language. And no, I'm really not a teacher.

Study history long enough and there's not really any "new" anything, and plenty of old ('retrograde') ideas stand the test of time. Modern progressivism strikes me as retrograde of the variety that does NOT stand the test of time, but keeps rearing its head up anyway.

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VinoTinto 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Tom, quit whining like an infant who just crapped his pants and needs his diaper changed.

Boehner and McConnell are the obstructionist, and McConnell is struggling in the polls. The good people of Kentucky are demanding that he get something done and quit obstructing all of Obama's legislation like he promised as part of his campaign platform. Do something McConnell or pack up your 5 chins and go home!

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namvet60 8 months, 1 week ago

Excellent letter Tom - stated in brilliant 3-D!

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paco1234 8 months, 1 week ago

Brilliancy requires serious, in-depth analysis of a political endeavor, not a superficial, cheap political diatribe! The 3-Ds are: Dishonest. Diceiving. Diatribe...well, almost!

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paco1234 8 months, 1 week ago

Deceiving...plese substitude!

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carcrazy 8 months, 1 week ago

.............says the drunk man who can't spell.

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paco1234 8 months, 1 week ago

Says the brain dead who never contributes a word worth a penny, always looking for a chance to spill your disgusting way of thinking!

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carcrazy 8 months, 1 week ago

See, you weren't drunk when you wrote that reply, unlike your previous comments that ramble incoherently.

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paco1234 8 months, 1 week ago

Wow...are you ( carcrazy) really conceding to what I just posted above, comming from a "sober" man? You said it, you own it!

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carcrazy 8 months ago

My post was commenting on your delivery, not the content thereof. So much better to appreciate the words of a wise man when they are written intelligently.

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Igor 8 months, 1 week ago

Instead of name calling, why don't you advance some arguments to counter the writer. Then I might be more inclined to consider your position

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downhillracer 8 months, 1 week ago

In spite of the obstructionism by congress, he has accomplished a great deal. He is not perfect, and no one is. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous and fraudulent.

http://whattheheckhasobamadonesofar.com/

What is most offensive is the writer continues the "TelePrompTer" charade, when this is a tool used by all orators. I've seen the President also speak with passion, extemporaneously and with clarity and vision.

To listen to the hateful crowd bash the President for the “excess of vacation time” is also repulsive, and does not bear truth when the comparison is drawn to his predecessors. Nor when you compare the increase of value in the stock market, or the decrease – albeit too slow – in the unemployment rate, which would be greatly addressed by taking on large infrastructure projects that are sorely needed.

In otherwords, the author of this letter would be better served by sittin' on his front porch and continuing to shout: Get Off My Lawn. Willful ignorance abounds.

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fatherof5 8 months, 1 week ago

I'll just add a couple of links to your well-articulated post, downhillracer. Here is an almost-funny-if-people-didn't-actually-believe-this-stuff breakdown of roughly 50 Obama conspiracy theories. The hyperlinks help you research the origins and fallacies of these theories.

And here is the New York Times endorsement of Obama last year, which I think best articulates what he has accomplished.

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NewInWW 8 months, 1 week ago

There are legitimate criticisms to be made of Obama and his administration, for example: the lack of the openness he promised, his failure to close Guantanamo, his failure to work more effectively with an admittedly obstructionist Congress, his continuing the massive and unconstitutional NSA domestic spying programs, fumbling the Snowden disclosure of those programs and his condemnation of Snowden. Unfortunately for whatever point the author of the Letter to the Editor was trying to make, instead of being substantive, he chose instead to repeat easily refuted talking points from conservative media outlets.

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fatherof5 8 months, 1 week ago

I would defend Obama on Guantanamo, where he has run into some stiff opposition, and also on the obstructionist Congress, which is of historic proportions and utterly unwilling to work with him or see him succeed, but I do agree with you on the degree to which he has continued and even expanded some of the Patriot Act powers first used by his predecessor. While probably - and regrettably - legal, the NSA stuff is disturbing to say the least. As a progressive, I'm also not entirely pleased with many of the old-guard, pro-corporate conserva-dems with which he surrounded himself during his first term. Though his conservative critics wrongly accuse him of being a radical leftist/socialist (because they apparently don't know what that looks like), I would much rather see more people like Elizabeth Warren and less like Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner. But that hasn't really been the case.

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NewInWW 8 months, 1 week ago

On your "conserva-dems" point, I'd also add his utter failure to bring any of the parties that caused the fiscal melt-down of 2008 to justice. We've gotten a series of almost meaningless civil case settlement hand-slaps and little else. I have to believe the failure to pursue criminal cases and meaningful civil remedies was in part because so many in his administration had close ties to Wall Street.

As for Gitmo, I know he was frustrated by Congress, but I'm not sure he did all he could do to try to bring public opinion around.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't vote for anyone who identified himself or herself as a Republican for any office, anywhere, at least until they regain their sanity; but there are lots of legitimate criticisms of Obama that have been buried by birthers, Benghazi, the IRS, Obamacare and the other "hot" topics in the conservative bathersphere.

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namvet60 8 months, 1 week ago

For you Obama bots did you forget that the Democrats held all 3 Houses for 2 years and what was accomplished? Nothing! With exception of Obamacare the worst piece of legislation ever passed.

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downhillracer 8 months, 1 week ago

Your shear ignorance is shining through! Are you still repeating the fabrication Romney tried when running for office? Don't forget: the president could use a supermajority because of the Republicans' unprecedented use of the filibuster as an obstruction tactic -- they've used it more than 400 times.

But your little myth has been thoroughly debunked, should actually seek out facts for yourself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-m-granholm/debunking-the-myth-obamas_b_1929869.html

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namvet60 8 months, 1 week ago

Your link is about as pathetic as your post. If you ever cited anything other than Socialist websites you might make some sense.

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downhillracer 8 months ago

That's rich, a "socialist" web site. A little simple research will present many, many credible sources. Frankly, you wouldn't know a "socialist" if one came up and shook your hand.

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fatherof5 8 months, 1 week ago

As for the myth that the Dems held both (not "all 3") houses of Congress, one must remember a few things about 2009-2010, particularly in the Senate. There were, indeed, 60 senators who caucused with the Dems, but...

Sixty votes were needed to do almost anything, due to the Senate Republicans unprecedented use of the filibuster.

Two of the 60 "Dems" were actually independents, most notably Joe Lieberman, who actively campaigned for John McCain.

Sen. Ted Kennedy died in August of 2009 and Republican Scott Brown was sworn into office in February of 2010, giving the Republicans their 41st senator. As the so-called 60th Democratic senator, Kennedy was unable to participate in most of the votes before his death.

Pro-gun, anti-choice "Blue Dog Democrats" like Ben Nelson from Nebraska, held the Affordable Care Act hostage (and made a mockery of it), while Joe Lieberman actually joined the Republican filibuster against it.

So, it is impressive that Obama accomplished what he did in 2009-2010 before the Republicans finally shut down Congress altogether.

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PearlY 8 months ago

Does it bother any of the Obama defenders that his administration has just announced that charging decisions for federal criminal law enforcement will now depend on whether he and AG Holder agree with the sentences that Congress has decided on for the charges? In other words, the violator of a federal crime will only be charged with the crime he/she actually committed if Obama and Holder think the sentence for that crime, as Congress set it, is appropriate. If they decide otherwise, anyone who commits that crime will be charged with some lesser offense, at the whim of the Justice Department.

Is this going to be applied to non-violent criminals like Martha Stewart? Of course not. It is expressly designed to apply to supposedly non-violent drug criminals. Ironically, the greatest injustices of federal drug law enforcement are the stiffer sentences sometimes handed out to low-level traffickers while higher-level traffickers are allowed to skate BY PROSECUTORS making deals. So AG Holder's solution to the problem within his own department is to flout Congressional enactments and take the law into his own hands.

Do you progressives consider this the "faithful execution" of the laws enacted by Congress? Or is it only wrong to act as a dictator when the dictator is not of your party?

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NewInWW 8 months ago

The short answer to your question is "no," it doesn't bother me in the slightest, and I'd applaud a president of either party who took this step.

Our "war on drugs" has long since been lost: we have filled our prisons to overflowing with low level drug offenders, we have built a huge for-profit prison industry, we have put billions of dollars in the hands of drug gangs, we have seen our law enforcement agencies corrupted by drug money, and in the meantime nothing has gotten better on the drug front. Frankly, I'd prefer to see all drugs (save perhaps meth) legalized, sold through government channels and taxed, thus taking the money out of the criminals' hands and perhaps allowing us to redirect some of the money that goes to building prisons and housing prisoners to treatment and maintenance programs.

By the way, the executive branch, in the guise of the Justice Department, has always had discretion in how they charge accused citizens. Moreover, it's called the JUSTICE Department, not the GO FOR THE MAXIMUM PENALTY Department.

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PearlY 8 months ago

So you ARE OK with a dictator as long as he does what you like. No doubt you'd be thrilled if Obama announced the Justice Department would henceforth only charge people of the opposing political party, too.

I agree with you (mostly) on the "war on drugs" albeit on libertarian grounds rather than on pragmatic ones. But Congress, as the elected law-makers, don't, and in a democracy, they're supposed to be the final word on what penalties should be for different crimes, and the Supreme Court the final authority on whether their enacted laws are unconstitutional. For a President to decide he simply won't enforce those laws he doesn't like should bother anybody who believes in democracy or the rule of law. Obviously, that's not you.

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NewInWW 8 months ago

Your conclusion that Obama's Justice Department using discretion in how drug crimes are charged makes Obama a "dictator" is not shared by me or, I suspect, by anyone with a dictionary.

Your hysterical and utterly unfounded statement that I would support the use of political affiliation in deciding which criminal prosecutions are pursued is simply an attempt to attack me, rather than my ideas. As you well know, I suggested nothing of the sort.

Your selective respect for the laws of Congress seems odd, given that you support the Tea Party Republicans' refusal to raise the debt ceiling for expenditures already approved by Congress, while feigning horror at the thought that the Justice Department might not go for the maximum charge in each and every case.

And if you think any President's Justice Department goes for the maximum charge in each and every case, you will be very disappointed with reality.

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PearlY 8 months ago

To the best of my recollection, I have never stated support for refusing to raise the debt ceiling. I consider it a gimmick not worth either supporting or opposing. However, even if I supported refusing to raise it, it would still be respect for the law, since the law is exactly what is being debated.

There is a huge difference between exercising discretion on whether to charge any one individual for any one crime based on factors unique to the individual and to the circumstances of the particular crime, i.e., prosecutorial discretion, and deciding simply not to charge anyone with a particular crime because you don't like the sentence it carries.

I'm glad to hear you don't favor prosecuting only your political opponents. But in supporting what Obama and Holder propose, you are acknowledging that, as far as you're concerned, they have the moral and legal authority to do exactly that - that their charging discretion need not respect any bounds, including Congressional enactments.

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NewInWW 8 months ago

Perhaps I misstated your position. Let me understand. Do you think Congress has an obligation to allow the federal government to pay for programs Congress has itself authorized, or does Congress (i.e, the Tea Party House Republicans) have the right to ignore prior approval of programs and attempt to force a defunding of those previously approved programs?

Prosecutors ignore criminal statutes all the time. Surely you've seen those "It's the Law" sorts of articles that (hypothetically) tell you it's illegal to sell ice cream in St. Louis on a Wednesday. Ignoring those laws simply means that society has moved on, but that the legislators who are responsible for repealing the law have failed to act. In this case, Holder and Obama are recognizing that our criminalization approach to drug addiction simply isn't working, and is costing us huge amounts of tax money supporting an utterly broken system. As I said, I don't care about the political affiliation of anyone who makes a practical and pragmatic decision intended to improve our approach to a national problem.

LOL, you're glad to hear I don't support something I never suggested supporting, which existed only in your ad hominem argument? Thanks, I think. And yes, I think a public prosecutor first serves justice, then serves the untempered letter of the law. What Holder has announced, in my opinion, serves justice.

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PearlY 8 months ago

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but I believe that Congress does not have the legal obligation under the Constitution to raise the debt ceiling. It has sovereign immunity to deal with its debts as it wishes, including non-payment. Granted that would have huge consequences in the financial markets, but it would not be "illegal" for Congress to fail to raise the debt ceiling. After all, it;s a law that Congress must vote to raise it, and the requirement to vote obviously implies the ability to vote "No."

It is not up to Obama and Holder to "recognize that . . . criminalization . . . isn't working." That's a job for Congress, which is clearly not fully on-board with that idea. This isn't like some Wednesday ice-cream law that nobody realized was on the books; these are laws that Congress knows are there and intended to have enforced.

How do you think this rule is going to work? Since the triggering factor for most drug offense mandatory sentences is the type or quantity of drugs involved, prosecutors will have to fudge (lie about) the type of drug found or the quantity found, when they write up their charging papers.

This President has appointed five out of the seven voting members of the Congressionally established US Sentencing Commission. If he wanted to do this with due respect to the authority of the respective branches of government, he would task them to re-write the sentencing standards or he would propose legislative changes to Congress, not simply direct all US Attorneys to ignore some of the nation's laws.

Look, I think there's a lot wrong with our federal sentencing structure. On the other hand, there's no arguing with success, and harsh sentences have clearly had a major impact in bringing down the crime rate. For every hapless victim of over-sentencing languishing in prison for no useful reason, there are probably two or three people walking around today who would have been crime fatalities if sentencing overall were lighter and crime rates had continued as they were prior to the "tough on crime" era starting in the 1980s. Unlike the hapless prisoner, we can't put a name or face to the people whose lives were saved, but they are just as much human beings and deserve our consideration.

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NewInWW 8 months ago

Given your response, I can agree that you're not a constitutional lawyer.

You were asserting that Obama was somehow not following the "rule of law" by refusing to charge drug crimes at levels that would trigger heavy mandatory sentences; I asked if the Tea Party Republicans in Congress were similarly not following the "rule of law" by refusing to fund previously approved programs rather than taking on the programs themselves. You completely sidestepped that question and instead decided to answer a question you and I both know I didn't ask - what obligation Congress had under the Constitution to approve an increase to the debt limit (none).

Back to the actual topic. If the President can grant pardons for federal crimes, why doesn't he also have the power to decide what charges to bring against person charged with a federal crime? It seems anomalous that the President has the power to pardon people actually convicted of crime, but doesn't have the power, as head of the executive branch, to exercise discretion in what charges to bring.

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PearlY 8 months ago

I didn't say he didn't have the power. Of course he has the power. He's commander-in-chief and the one who has the biggest guns has the power to do whatever he wants.

This discussion is pointless. You answered my question: It doesn't bother you. I can't say that really surprises me.

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NewInWW 8 months ago

I'm not clear, then, why you started this "pointless" discussion, when you concede that Obama has the right under the Constitution to do exactly that which appears to have you so upset. If, as you concede, the Constitution grants him the power to do what he's doing, how does the exercise of that power make him, in your words, a "dictator?"

I simply don't understand what the issue is with a president exercising powers granted him under the Constitution. Can you explain?

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PearlY 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You seriously don't understand the difference between having the power because you have the guns, and having the authority because the Constitution grants it? Let me simplify: He has the power not because the Constitution says so, but because, in the final analysis, "might makes right" if you have the might. Any unprincipled dictator has exactly the same power and it doesn't come from the Constitution. American Presidents generally have refrained from using that power. President Obama, on the other hand, is "transformative," as he'd say it.

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NewInWW 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm confused.

I make an argument that Obama has the power under the Constitution to decide what charges to bring, because he if he can pardon those convicted of crimes, he can surely decide what crimes they might be convicted of in the first instance. You reply, "Of course he has the power," and now 4 and a half days later, say, "Just kidding, I never meant that he had power under the Constitution, I meant guns."

Moreover, what evidence do you have that the only thing allowing Obama to exercise this power is "guns"? Where and when has he threatened the use of force to allow his reduced drug charges program to go forward?

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PearlY 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You seem literate enough to have been able to read the sentence immediately after the one you quote. I was right when I said this discussion is pointless; let's see if I can resist being baited again to continue it.

But we do agree on one thing: You are confused.

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NewInWW 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Bait or not, you completely ignored the question of what evidence you have for your - now central - position that Obama is carrying out his reduced charging for drug offences only through threat of force. I'll wait, or you can decline to respond because you feel "baited" by a request that you defend your claim with cogent evidence.

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