Apr 282017
 

The First 100 Days

As President Trump approaches the first 100 days in office benchmark, here is a brief overview of his effectiveness from a liberal perspective.

The accomplishments: Well… there are just four, really. 1/ The nomination and confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court which ensures its conservative majority. (The process wasn’t smooth and the President had to rely on the so called “nuclear option” to get his nominee through Congress, but he did achieve his goal.) 2/ Setting a record for the most issued and signed executive orders in the last 72 years. 3/ Setting a record for the most taxpayers’ money spent on a President’s weekend recreation, in history. 4/ Setting a record for the lowest popularity after the first 100 days in office since the standard was introduced in 1945.

The not-so-good: with the exception of nominating and confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump was unable to keep any other of the promises he made during his run for office. He failed to establish the travel ban (twice); he failed to secure funding for his border wall; he failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and most recently, he failed in his attempt to withhold funds from sanctuary cities.

The good: in spite of the unexpected attack on Syria, we are not actively involved in any war. There are no immediate plans to launch an attack on North Korea. In spite of the negative changes introduced and promoted by President Trump, the Earth is still here and we are not cooked to death, yet. Science is suffering, but still surviving. There are still national monuments. The Obamacare is going strong. The prospect of the Wall seems to be fading. Travelers of all faith are still allowed to enter the United States. Sanctuary cities stand strong in their commitment to immigrants.

The great: After 90 days in office, President Trump stated for the record: “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.” We can safely assume that in spite of his statement “I thought it would be easier.” he is still satisfied with his performance after the first 100 days and continues to bask in his greatness.

The hope: God willing, President Trump will continue being as ineffective as he’s been in the first 100 days in office for the remainder of his presidency. Perhaps this way, the Earth, air, drinking water, the United States’ budget and America will still be salvageable once his presidency is over. Hopefully then we’ll be able to repair the damage and rebuild our Country on a foundation of renewed citizen awareness and renewed appreciation of the values that made America great long before President Trump took office.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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Mar 252017
 

Obamacare Remains The Law

Common sense along with pressure from constituents prevailed and the Affordable Care Act was NOT repealed. All Democrats and at least 10 Republicans (the latter figure varies from 10-15 according to reports) were ready to vote the new and not improved Republican healthcare bill down. To avoid the embarrassment of defeat, the bill was withdrawn from the House floor even before votes were cast.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said: “Obamacare is the law of the land. It’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced.” Or not. A sigh of bipartisan relief was heard throughout the land….

The proposed Republican bill would have left 24 million Americans uninsured. The costs of health insurance would have risen sharply for all and for senior citizens in particular. It would have hurt badly women, families, those with chronic conditions and those who depend for their healthcare on Medicaid. The list goes on and on. Obamacare may use some improvement, but as President Trump has proven, a program that took years to develop can’t be “repealed and replaced” quickly and his proposed substitute was rejected by Americans who know that the job of any head of household is to provide for ALL household members, putting the most vulnerable, FIRST.

Hopefully, the President is learning from his latest failure: a country isn’t a corporation. The CEO of a corporation generates as much profit as possible for its shareholders at ANY cost. The responsibility of a president – in contrast – is to provide for all citizens, including the most vulnerable. Governing a country isn’t “The Art Of The Deal”, it involves conscience, compassion and some respect for the wisdom of the nation.

So far, the President isn’t making friends or influencing people. Our ally nations are confused about the intentions (and direction) of the United States. The President’s approval ratings are at a historic low. His legislative efforts (like the infamous travel ban or Obamacare “repeal and replace”) are failing. The President’s ignorance (NATO!) and predatory approach to economy (the Dakota Pipeline construction which is moving forward against so many protests) are on full display. His lavish spending of tax-payers money is raising eyebrows. His lack of fiscal foresight is shocking: between the unprecedented cost of the President’s weekends and security for his large family, his excessive spending on defense and the cost of building the wall – it is estimated to run into hundreds of billions of dollars! – has anyone familiar with the concept of a budget, terrified. His plans to cut programs for youth, the poor and the elderly outrage us all. His exaggerations, “alternative facts” and unsubstantiated allegations are making Americans nervous.

Let’s NOT make America great, again. Let’s preserve what we had just a few months ago. It seems not only better but wiser than the President Trump’s vision of the future. Definitions of ”greatness” vary. Our America won’t be great without education, with starving seniors, sick people without healthcare, with environmental destruction, hate crime, isolationism, increase in armament or without civil rights. This isn’t making America great again. The America we all know and love is threatened and disappearing in front of our eyes. Thanks God, Obamacare survived, for now….

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Dec 252016
 
President Obama’s Legacy

President Barack Obama listens while meeting with Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman and Jeffrey Zients, National Economic Council Director, in the doorway of the Oval Office, Jan. 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Obama era is coming to an end, President Elect Trump will be sworn in the office in a few short weeks. Nearly half of Americans look forward with anticipation and hope to his inauguration and his turn at the wheel.

It is a tradition however to look back before closing a chapter. President Obama is considered one of the least popular presidents in the U.S. history, right now. What is President Obama’s legacy?

President Obama is being blamed for his policies, decisions and actions whether they were right, wrong or beyond his control, as if no one noticed that the unpopular today President has in fact… saved America.

A few examples of things the President is scrutinized for:

  • his economic policies
  • his internal policies
  • his international policies
  • his policies on climate change
  • and – of course! – Obamacare

When President Obama took over the White House, he inherited many liabilities. To name just a few: a growing recession, high unemployment rate (7.8%) and the costly war in Iraq. These inherited liabilities were a growing threat to the Country as he was taking the oath of the office, way before he was able to make – leave alone, implement – any decisions.

Bottom line, President Obama took over a sinking ship – we’ve come dangerously close to sinking! – and not only restored it back onto an even keel but corrected some of the crisis’ causes AND moved us as a nation forward.

President Obama stopped American economy from collapsing

  • Confronted with the greatest recession since the Great Depression, President Obama signed the 2009 $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to stimulate hiring. His strategy was a success and produced desperately needed jobs.
  • His HAMP and HARP programs helped save millions of American homes from foreclosure.
  • He repeatedly extended unemployment benefits to protect the jobless until they find employment.
  • To prevent future predatory lending, President Obama created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • To make sure that Wall Street doesn’t continue its questionable business and trading practices, he enforced stricter regulations of the financial industry.
  • President Obama bailed out the American automotive industry and he was right. The bailout helped turn the industry around and created over 100,000 jobs.
  • By attracting private investment into the nation’s largest banks, he orchestrated a privately-funded bailout of the banking system.
  • The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act protects consumers from exploitation by credit card companies.
  • To end wasteful spending, President Obama eliminated banks from the Federal Student Loan Program and expanded Pell Grant for students from low-income families.

President Obama worked with other nations to prevent global recession
He played an important role in securing over 500 billion dollars from the G-20 countries for the International Monetary Fund to ensure financial liquidity of emerging markets. The President’s participation helped prevent global recession.

President Obama ended the war in Iraq and improved national security

  • He’s ended the war in Iraq.
  • In a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces, the head of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Ladin, was executed.
  • President Obama eliminated the use of interrogation techniques which violated the Geneva Conventions. (These techniques were approved for use and used by his predecessor’s administration.)

President Obama advanced civil rights

  • Because of President Obama, members of the LGBT community can now openly serve in the American military. There is no “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” anymore.
  • Obama expanded the definition of Hate Crimes in the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The definition now includes – in addition to religion, color, race and national origin – also disability, gender and sexual orientation.
  • To ensure that progressive values are represented in the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama nominated Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Both were confirmed and are serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama protected environment

  • He laid the groundwork for closing old, coal-powered power plants that release the most carbon monoxide emissions. Once implemented, it will curb global warming and protect human health.
  • Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act which expanded areas eligible for protection including wilderness, rivers and historic as well as hiking trails.
  • The President was responsible for the speedy reparations paid by British Petroleum to the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill.
  • He invested more than any other U.S. President in research in the area of renewable energy from biofuels and cleaner coal to electric cars and other forms of efficient energy use and production.

President Obama created THE FIRST healthcare system for all Americans

His historic Health Care Reform is the first universal health insurance in the United States. It is intended to provide health security to all, including patients with preexisting conditions, adult children still living with their parents, etc. (As we all know by now, Obamacare is costly and imperfect. It can be modified, improved and made cost-effective. Its concept however is sound.)

***

President Obama has accomplished all of these and a lot more (the items listed above are merely a few highlights) while improving the image of America in the world.

The most recent act of our “unpopular” President? He’s working on making a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in areas of the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard a law.

With President Barack Obama at the helm, we’ve made significant progress in:

  • Achieving economic balance at home
  • Ensuring balance in the world economy
  • Creating financial consumer protection
  • Financial protection of students
  • Advancement of civil rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Providing – FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY! – health insurance coverage for all
  • (this is a very incomplete list of President Obama’s accomplishments. It doesn’t include also Michelle Obama’s advocacy for military families, children, education or healthy nutrition.)

We are reading plenty of criticism of the President, lately. I wonder why?

  • Imagine the outcome of the last recession without Barack Obama in the Oval Office. We’d all be likely citizens of… China, today.
  • Imagine the outcome of the unemployment crisis without Barack Obama as President. There’d be soup kitchens on street corners and millions of people lining up for a bowl.
  • Imagine the outcome of the foreclosure crisis without Barack Obama as President. There’d be more homeless people than housed…
  • Imagine the auto industry collapse without Barack Obama in the Oval Office. For the first time in history of the automobile, there’d be no American-made cars.
  • Imagine the banking system collapse without Barack Obama in the Office. We’d experience another Great Depression!
  • Imagine consumers’ exploitation by the mortgage industry without Obama’s intervention. We all know that not all homes were foreclosed on for their owners’ fault. Many were cheated out of their homes. President Obama closed the “free-for-all” flood gates.
  • Imagine civil rights without Barack Obama. Tolerance is the mark of a civilized society. Thanks to President Obama civil rights in the United States have been expanded to include special protections for the disabled as well as for members of the LGBT community.
  • Imagine environmental protection without Barack Obama. Actually, you don’t have to imagine: you’ll see it soon after the President Elect takes office. Start saving for oxygen masks for yourself and your loved ones: that’s what the Chinese use to survive.
  • Imagine sick people in need of medical care without Obamacare……

It seems that nearly half of the population either didn’t realize the seriousness of the crisis Obama took on and didn’t consider the potential case scenarios we would have faced if it wasn’t for President Obama….

Anyone with some basic understanding of politics can appreciate the fact that even the President’s powers have limits and are set in context. Barack Obama is a democratically elected President of a Country that is a part of the international community, not a king or a dictator in the only country on Earth. His decisions were moderated by many factors. In some cases they reflected his personal values, but in most they were the best compromises available. He didn’t support senseless violence, didn’t gamble American lives to settle personal grievances, respected human rights, managed relationships with lenders the U.S. is beholden to the best way possible. He tried to do the most good for the greatest number and succeeded.

The results frustrated many. Those most frustrated chose to believe that presidential power has no limits and that electing a Republican political novice will make all their dreams come true. The most disappointed segment of population voted for – and elected – Donald Trump. Bad news: there is no job (even in the government of the United States!) and no person with an absolute or super power. Your dreams won’t come true under the incoming President, either.

It’s quite simple really, there is a moment every month when you have a “choice” to pay your mortgage / rent or take the money for your mortgage / rent payment and blow it on something you really want or need. Why don’t you follow your heart? Because the “choice” to pay for housing or blow the money foolishly isn’t really a choice. The same applies to the decisions a president gets to make: damn if he does and damn if he doesn’t. Of course, we are all “dumb” to be paying for housing as opposed to a dream vacation and we know it. So, why do we?….

To me personally – my opinion may not reflect the opinion of Anything L.A. Magazine – Barack Obama is a Hero, in more ways than one. The job of a President is to consider the welfare of all citizens and to ensure safe future of the Country. Barack Obama has done an extra-ordinary job and we were blessed to have him as a President especially at a time of a major crisis. He’s done right by our Country and by fellow Americans. He cares about our economy, safety, health, education, finances, civil rights, environment and the progressive direction of the United States. He – and his family – brought honor and grace to the White House, again. He restored America’s authority and image internationally.

President Obama’s legacy is a testament to his wisdom, courage and foresight. He may not have gotten everything right. We may not “love” the final outcome. But there is no denying that the unpopular President Obama saved America. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Time and history will do him justice.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Good work Anything LA

★★★★★
5 5 1
Any moron can criticize, it takes someone with a brain to distinguish facts from fiction.

I don’t leave comments Online

★★★★★
5 5 1
I’m making an exception to say thank you to the President. My house was in foreclosure, I still own it. I lived on unemployment benefits for a while. I’m no expert on global warming, but my family and I survived because of Obama’s policies. Thank you Mr. Obama. You had my back.

About time to put things in perspective!

★★★★★
5 5 1
SIX STARS: Excellent piece. The much berated President deserves credit!