Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Are you satisfied with President Obama?

Before I begin, let me say that I voted for Barack Obama for both of his terms.  I believed his message of hope and change.  And he started off really well, with the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the initial pullout of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bailout of the automobile industry with the requirement of fiull payback before the executives could get their bonuses. 

The Affordable Care Act was at first a good start, but came to represent a sellout to the insurance industry rather than a real reform of American health care. Yes, it has it's good points, like the end of pre-existing condition clauses in insurance policies for example, and the millions more people who can get insurance.  But it's not enough, and will never be enough as long as corporate interests are served before the needs of We the People.  He missed the boat on this, which should have been single payer like the rest of the civilized world.  But that can be written off as the need to compromise with the Republicans in Congress in order to get anything passed on that issue.

In all honesty, I bagan wondering about his commitment to that hope and change when, after his first year in office he kept seeking compromise in spite of the fact that Congress kept refusing.  And of course there was his turnaround of the commitment to get our troops out of the Middle East as well as the expansion of actions that have proven counterproductive to peace and stability in the region, like Syria and Libya, pushed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  That expansion has had the effect of increasing the role and influence of ISIS/ISIL by creating power vacuums that the terrorist organisation has been only too willing to fill:

Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall

How ISIS Spread in the Middle East

  Yet I still supported him through most of his two terms.

What started the change in my thinking was when, against all legal precedent, he ordered the assassination of an American citizen by drone a couple years ago.  No arrest, no filing of charges, no conviction or sentence in any court of law.  Then I began looking back at his record, but in spite of his courting corporate support over the people in general, I still supported him. 

That support was enhanced a bit by his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline for the reasons he stated:
Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Then came his relative silence on DAPL.  He said next to nothing about the peaceful protesters of that pipeline being abused by law enforcement and private (corporate) security forces, and did absolutely nothing.  True, the Army Corps of Engineers rescinded (temporarily!) consent for the construction, but it's unclear whether this was at President Obama's direction or if the Corps did this on their own in response to the validity of the reasons for the protest.
And nothing is being done about Energy Transfer Partners' refusal to accept changes in the pipeline's route in order to protect the environment from catastrophic damage.  In fact they have a record of causing such damage:

Iowa's pipeline safety record spotty

And let's not forget the lackluster economic "improvements" which, although generally better than the depression we were headed for, is still in a rececssion, with many people who used to earn a decent, even upper middle class level, paycheck, who are now stuck in lower-wage, and even minimum wage, jobs, and more low=paying jobs being created to replace the higher-paying ones that have been lost:

Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones

All of that being said, if we were to do it all over again, I would still have supported Obama's candidacies, but I would also have urged people to hold his feet to the fire on his campaign promises.  He was, in fact, the best person for the job in comparison to his campaign opponents in both 2008 and 2012.

© 2016 by Don Rice Jr.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Think Critically

"The Washington Post published a report that cites officials who say they have identified individuals connected to the Russian government..."

Let's break this down, shall we?

Un-named "officials".  Suspicious right form the outset.

"... who say they have identified..."  But only on their say-so?

"... connected to the Russian government..." Connected in what way?  Career bureaucrats? Aides? Spies?  Again, no indication of how they're connected.

Let's look further, shalL we?

"By acknowledging and digging into the increasing evidence..." What evidence?  None has been released, at least not to the general public, that I'm aware of.

And the statement that those unknown Russian government people "...gave WikiLeaks emails..." is nothing more than allegation and innuendo until, if and when, it's proven to be true.  At present there is no reason to take the word of government officials or mainstream media that gave every appearance of being in the bag for Hillary Clinton even prior to her securing the Democratic nomination.

It must also be noted that nobody has released the original emails to verify that the tampering or changing alleged to have been done by the Russians actually happened.  If they were tampered with or changed in any way, the originals would prove it.  But they haven't been released.  Why might that be?

I really don't care who leaked the emails. If the only thing up for dispute is who leaked them, and nobody is addressing whether their accurate copies of the originals, then that's really all that matters. And if they are, in fact, accurate representations, then something is very wrong within the DNC.

Critical thinking isn't really all that difficult.

 ©2016 by Don Rice Jr.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Just stop it!

Reportedly the Dakota Access Pipe Line is being rerouted around, not through, Souix lands.  This is a good start, but doesn't really address the issue of polution form broken pipelines, which are all too common, especially with the company running the show.  But important an issue as that is, it's not what I'm writing about today.

You may or may not know that this would be the second change in the pipeline route.  It was originally routed through a wealthier area before it was moved over to the tribal lands.

Bismark, North Dakota residents protested the pipeline coming through their town out of fear of damage to their water supply.  It didn't take months and months of protests during which they were arrested by the scores and by the hundreds and locked in kennel-like cages.  There were no dogs sicked on them.  They didn't have water cannons turned on them.  They weren't turned away from buying supplies in local stores.  They weren't shot in the heads with hard rubber bullets or gassed or assaulted by militarized police and private security forces.  And they didn't need lawyers or retired military veterans to come to their defense.

None of that happened to the residents of Bismark, N.D.  All they had to do was register their concerns, and the pipeline was re-routed away from them.  And the residents of Bismark have the nerve to complain about the Native American people who have been protesting for months the very same issue for their lands and water supplies?   GTFOOHWTBS.

To the people of Bismark who are doing that complaining: Take your white racist crocodile tears somewhere else.  We the People of these supposedly United States, who come in all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions and whatever else, don't need your fake patriotism or your bigoted attitudes.  Those things won't help our country.

 ©2016 by Don Rice Jr.