Category: acts


There are defining moments in each president’s term of office. The death of

President Obama

Osama bin Laden may become the most important incident that President Obama has done as the leader of America. This successful mission has given Americans the opportunity to be patriotic and believe in the president.

There will always be a debate on what happened to the body and why was it buried at sea? There will always be the non-believers who don’t believe that Osama bin Laden was a real person, and news of his death was a fabrication of facts and information.

Mitt Romney

But for the millions of Americans who feel they have been vindicated by Bin Laden’s death are able to celebrate with other citizens. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney called it “a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere, and praised our intelligence community, and military, and the president.”

President Obama’s poll numbers have increased by 10%, and he is being congratulated by many of his enemies. This is a great time for his presidency and he has changed the national narrative into a positive discourse about our strengths as a nation. The president is now thought of as a powerful commander-in-chief, who is under control and can fulfill his promises.

In 2008 during the presidential campaign, Obama promised to bring the troops home from Iraq, and

Al Queda

pledged to pursue Bin Laden until he was caught. “We will kill Bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority,” said Obama in an October 2008 debate during the campaign.

The president’s track record has been based on transparency, integrity, and credibility, and with the killing of Bin Laden, it is hard not to trust the president. Even Al Qaeda has publicly issued a statement that Bin Laden is dead. They have confirmed the information from President Obama that he is dead.

President Obama could not have better timing with his announcement on last Sunday. The president will benefit from a new wave of patriotic sentiment, as he begins to campaign for his re-election for 2012. President Obama was able to accomplish the mission of the death of Bin Laden in 2 ½ years, when President Bush had tried to complete it, in 8 years, but was unsuccessful.

Rush Limbaugh

Even Rush Limbaugh said, “Thank God for President Obama,” and he was always condemning everything the president proposed. Many in the opposition party, who are diehard Republicans are acknowledging a job well done. They are being forced to concede that the president is not weak, and he has the ability to protect American citizens.

As the entire country celebrates the death of Bin Laden, it is necessary for our leaders to re-evaluate our foreign policy. For the past 10 years, our country spent $400 billion dollars to track down and kill someone, who at one time was a friend and ally. There is some thing fundamentally wrong with our foreign policy when our enemy is living in a country that claims to be our friend.

The killing of Bin Laden closes a chapter on the war of terror, but it does not end the insanity of global killing and war. Our president was able to get the job done with 2 helicopters, 40 navy seals, and great intelligence. But our president is spending trillions of dollars around the world, and we are not sure who we are fighting.

Life at this moment is good in the White House, and many citizens are proud to be Americans. But America needs a foreign policy, where there is less violence and less of an over-use of military power.

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Gaddafi speaking

 

Muammar Gaddafi has been the president and leader of the African nation of Libya for 41 years. His country is the third largest oil producer in Africa, and he is the African Union President and a member of the Group of Eight, (G8). Strategically, his country is a very powerful force in global politics, and his oil is very important to countries all around the world.

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi said, “I am not going to leave this land. I will die here as a martyr. All of you who love Muammar Gaddafi go out on the streets, secure the streets, and don’t be afraid of the rebels. Chase them, arrest them, and hand them over.”

Gaddafi is determined to win this political upheaval from anti-government protesters

Libya protesters in the streets

and armed rebels, who he calls “rats and mercenaries” who he says “deserves to die”. Gaddafi’s power is entrenched in every element of the society and he is not going down without a fight. In order to remain the leader of the country for 41 years, he has survived through opposition and bloodshed.

The majority of the Arab and African countries are ruled by dictators, kings and royal families. These royal families and dictators control every element of its residents’ lives and they are extremely rich and wealthy. They believe that they have a divine right to rule with an iron fist.

The price of gas in the United States continues to increase with the instability of this region in the world, and Muammar Gaddafi has ordered his security forces to sabotage the country’s oil facilities.  The sabotage is meant to serve as a message to Libya’s rebellious tribes: “It’s either me or chaos.”

With the third largest oil producer in Africa unable to produce oil, the price of oil will continue to increase, and many of the worlds most powerful countries have started to impose sanctions on Libya. The United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 to freeze the foreign assets of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and four aides, and banned them from traveling. The goal of the sanctions is to isolate Gaddafi and force him to step down.

It has been suggested that Libya has $130 billion in reserves in the treasury in the country. It also has $70 billion in foreign assets around the world and $32 billion just in England. There are $500 million in many different banks in the United States.  

President Obama

President Obama has condemned the “outrageous” crackdown by the Libyan security forces on protesters. “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and unacceptable. So are the threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters,” said Obama. There have been pictures by the media where Libyan warplanes and helicopters have dropped bombs and fired on protestors and civilians.

The United States has closed its embassy in Libya, and supports unilateral sanctions against the country, freezing billions in government assets. President Obama and his administration have taken a harder position on Libya, once it was able to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from the country.

There are other military options being discussed behind closed doors, but at this time they are not being released to the media. Since 2008, the United States has worked to develop a friendlier relationship with Libya. There has been limited military cooperation; therefore the United States is not in a hurry to develop a confrontational strategy with Libya.

Gaddafi’s son says that ¾ of the country is under control and only certain parts of the country are controlled by armed rebels. As the Libyan protest continues and evolves, it will be interesting to see what happens.

President Obama wants the violence to end and can suggest to Gaddafi to step down. With hundreds of billions at stake, there is no way that Gaddafi will go away. For generations he has been considered a rebel leader and the entire world is waiting to see if he will win again.

Uproar in Egypt

As the drama unfolds in Egypt, it becomes increasingly clear that the United States government will have to make a decision on what side they support. The script is very similar around the world, where certain regimes have been in power for thirty years. There is an unfolding of a grassroots uprising, and democracy and human rights is at the core of the fundamental problem.

In Egypt, there is a call for a Democratic movement and President Obama finds himself in the middle of the conflict. In one breath, the United States is saying we want an immediate change in Egypt with free and fair elections. “Now means now,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said of Egypt’s transition, repeating

 that continued aid to Egypt would be influenced by the government’s responses to the crisis.

On the other hand, Egypt has been an ally to the United States and a close friend to Israel. President Mubarak’s regime has been good for Israel, because it preserved peace on the southern border. Since it was an autocratic regime, it did not have to be responsive to public opinion, and it could take a soft line on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

As long as Egypt took a soft line on what happened to the Palestinians, the Israeli

President-Barack-Obama with Muburak

 government can maintain its current policies. But if the Egypt government became a responsive democracy, it would have to address public opinion and human rights.

President Obama has denounced the Egyptian government’s acts of “suppression and violence” during the protest, and called for “an orderly transition process right now.” Our president has stopped short of demanding that President Mubarak leave office immediately.

At this point, President Obama is doing a juggling act, because there are concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood is highly organized and they will play a role in the new democratic government. This group is a threat to the stability of Israel and rejects much of the United States’ agenda in the region.

President Mubarak has agreed not to run for office in September, but the hundreds of thousands protestors have indicated that’s not good enough. There have been clashes between the pro-Mubarak supporters and the protesters, and it appears that violence will accelerate. Some experts believe that the pro-Mubarak supporters are gangs that are being paid to create more violence and bloodshed.

Nevertheless, their army will be forced to bring order back to the country eventually, and the Egyptian army will be given a wide scope to detain people. The United States finds itself in a precarious situation, because the world is watching and waiting.

The United States has always been a leader for legitimate democracies around the world. Even though these are the values we project, for thirty years Egypt was not a genuine democratic country. President Obama knows that the decisions that our country makes in Egypt will determine what happens to our country in the rest of the region.

As the drama plays out, eventually there will be fair and impartial elections. The Muslim Brotherhood will play a vital role in the transition of power. Political Islam is a reality of doing business and politics in this region of the world and America can not discriminate against the Muslim Brotherhood.

If President Obama and the United States believe in transparency and inclusion in Egypt, the will and human rights of the people must be protected. With hundreds of thousands protesters demonstrating against the government, there is something fundamentally wrong with the present administration.

The United States is in a difficult position, but it should side with the will of the people. The values of democracy, freedom, and transparency are what we hold dear as the cornerstone of country. If we believe in these values, we should want the same in Egypt.

The leaders of the 111th session of Congress are working at a feverish pace to complete unfinished business and bills. Many of the lawmakers are well aware that they will not be back, so they are leaving their legacy: be it bad or good. The Democrats have from the beginning had an agenda and a strategy, and time is running out.

Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Majority leader

Senator Harry Reid has threatened the Republicans that he is willing to work until December 30, and get the work completed. Many Republicans and Democrats know that is not realistic, but Reid knows that the tables will be switched in 2011. With the Republicans with more power in the Senate and a majority in the House, Reid wants major bills passed now and not later.

Reid wants to complete an approval of ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, legislation to repeal the military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, a “package of land, water, and wildlife” bill, the passage of the Dream Act, as well as the confirmation of several presidential nominees. It is obvious that Reid will not get all this done in the next 10 days.

Usually the main reason that the lame duck sessions are so important is to complete its work on the spending or appropriation bills that form the basis of the annual federal budget. President Obama was personally involved in this lame duck session, because if the Bush tax cuts deal was not finalized, all Americans taxes would have increased by at least $2,500.

2010 bill signing ceremony

President Obama at a bill signing ceremony

The Senate passed the Bush tax cuts on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by a vote of 81-19, and the House approved the measure by a vote of 277-148 on Thursday, December 16, 2010. Without the president getting involved the tax cut bill, it would not have passed so rapidly.

President Obama and congressional Democrats agreed to compromise in their opposition to extending the lower tax rates to the wealthy Americans, and also agreed to a lower estate tax than had been scheduled to take effect. In return, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits with payroll tax cuts and other tax breaks, which conservatives generally opposed as government stimulus measures.

Many political experts believe that this is an indicator of how President Obama will operate with a split Congress, during 112th session. Instead of change, President Obama is talking about compromise, and he is ready to make deals to initiate a bi-partisan conversation and a sharing of power.

At President Obama’s 29th bill signing ceremony for the Bush tax cut legislature, there were representatives from both parties at the event. At the signing ceremony President Obama said, “The final product proves when we can put aside the partisanship and political gains, we can get a lot done. If we can keep doing it, if we can keep that spirit, I’m hopeful that we won’t just reinvigorate this economy and restore the American dream, I’m also hopeful that we might refresh the American people’s faith in the capability of their leaders to govern in challenging times.”

Obama with Dems at bill signing ceremony

Obama signs at another 2010 bill signing ceremony

The president has acknowledged that he was not completely satisfied with the tax cut deal, but his goal was to get the work done before the deadline. It is obvious that the “to do list” for the 111th Congress will not be completed this year.
With 29 bill signing ceremonies completed, there was unprecedented work done, and the implementation of the groundbreaking legislatures will take years. But now there is a different Congressional session getting ready to start, with different representatives, and with a different set of priorities.

The work of the 111th Congress will never be completed, because one session carries to the next session and it takes months and years to get new bills operating and implemented.

Check out Roger’s other blogs on PRESIDENT OBAMA WATCH at http://www.presidentobamawatch.wordpress.com

As Congress concludes its business for the 111th session, the “Bush Tax Cuts” will determine if taxes are raised, and hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by the loss of unemployment insurance. The Republicans and President Obama have made a deal that the Obama administration can work with, and they believe it is good for the country and our depressed economy.

President Obama is aware that the new Congress will have a majority of Republicans in the House, and it will be necessary to negotiate and compromise. As a pragmatic statesman, President Obama is reaching out an olive branch to let the Republicans know that he is listening, and he is their friend.

He is aware that there are ideological and core differences in their philosophies, but the goal is to make America better for all Americans. The president is ready to make concessions to move forward the committee meetings and debates. There are going to be intense discussions on the direction the new Congress will take, and the Republicans in the House possess the votes to have their policies accepted.

Nevertheless this week in closed-door meetings, the Democrats made it clear to President Obama that they are not in support of the tax deal he made with Republicans. The words “Just say no” were the new mantra being espoused by many of the Democrats. They felt that President Obama was changing boats in the middle of the stream, and they were angry and upset.

Many Democrats believe that the wealthy are in a position to pay higher taxes to help improve the economy. If the tax cuts are extended for two years, it will cost the economy $120 billion that it will be missing in tax revenue, and over 10 years it will impact tax revenue by $800 billion.

I have no idea how the Joint Tax Committee comes up with its numbers, but it was my understanding that extending the tax cuts were only for two years. President Obama’s plan according to most economists, is supposed to boost the economy. At the end of the two years, the administration and the Congress would sit down again and make an assessment of the economy and determine what direction to take.

At this point by extending the tax cuts, the administration would increase the money supply, reduce consumer uncertainty about raising taxes, and continue keeping the consumers spending money. In order for the economy to grow, it is necessary for the consumer to spend more money, and help put more Americans back to work.

President Obama understands that in politics, there are no permanent friends and there are no permanent enemies. In order to arrive at a compromise, everyone must be willing to give up something. Everyone has a wish list, but they understand at the end of the day they will only get a portion of their demands and wishes.

The tax cuts end on December 31, 2010, and the Democrats can be stubborn and refuse to compromise, or allow the wealthiest two percent of Americans keep their tax breaks. By letting the wealthy have their tax breaks, millions of Americans will continue to have unemployment insurance, and millions of Americans will not have to worry about their taxes increasing.

The Democrats need to get on board and support the “Obama Tax Cut Deal.” The Senate Democrats are on board but the House Democrats are angry and grand-standing. Many of these Democrats will not be back in the new session of Congress, because they lost their election.

It is my hope that the House Democrats support President Obama’s Tax Cut Deal, so everyone can go home and have a wonderful and healthy holiday.

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During the Thanksgiving holiday, President Obama was playing basketball and received a swollen lip which required 12 stitches. The media is digging and trying to find out who gave the president a swollen lip and on the other side of the world, South Korea and the United States are implementing military exercises with the 70,000 ton aircraft carrier, USS George Washington accompanied by 10 other smaller warships.

This operation is a direct response of North Korea shelling the small island of Yeonpyeong, on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, which killed four people and destroyed dozens of houses. The North said it was responding to live fire from the South into its waters.

“The situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war due to the reckless plan of those trigger-happy elements to stage again war exercises targeted against the North,” said North Korea’s news agency. “The army and people of North Korea are greatly enraged at the provocation of the puppet group of South Korea, if they dare encroach again upon North Korea’s dignity and sovereignty even in the least.”

President Obama and the United Stated have aligned itself with South Korea, and China has aligned itself with North Korea. There are 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, and the Pentagon is quick to point out the naval exercises are “defensive in nature.” The Pentagon also acknowledged that this joint exercise is a reminder of U.S. military strength and American’s allegiance with South Korea.

The Korean peninsula is a very complicated region, and the Yellow Sea impacts the borders of the country of China. China has been low-key with its response to North Korea’s shelling of the island, and there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Chinese diplomats.

President Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao have a scheduled meeting in January 2011 in Washington DC, and a war between North Korea and South Korea would make the meeting extremely awkward. As a result, both countries are asking for restraint, and the world and the citizens of the United States are waiting for an official statement from President Obama.

China is protesting the United States and South Korea’s joint exercises following North Korea’s artillery attacks on Tuesday. China opposes any military operations near its territorial waters. “The Korean peninsula situation is highly complicated and sensitive, and all parties concerned should stay calm and exercise restraint,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei in a statement.

As this tense situation continues, President Obama must walk on a tight rope, because China and the United States have common interest with the economic factor being the most important. The United States has a trade deficit with China of $226 billion and Chinese businesses are heavily invested in American markets. China needs American businesses and American businesses need the Chinese population to grow their business markets. The difference in ideological and government systems explains why the two countries do not trust each other and are neither friends nor partners.

The war exercises in the Yellow Sea started on November 28, 2010, and will last for four days. There are six South Korean War Ships and four other U.S. vessels: the USS Cowpens, USS Lassen, USS Stethen, and USS Fitzgerald. The participating forces will carry out firing and bombing drills, and these exercises will involve thousands of service personnel in the four-day drill.

No one can predict the outcome of this drill; however it is not helping to resolve the crisis and problems between South Korea and North Korea. Playing war games during a tense explosive situation can turn into an all out war where no one wins and everyone loses.

Check out Roger’s other columns at presidentobamawatch.blogspot.com

In Lisbon, Portugal during the third week of November 2010, there was a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). At this summit, the leaders of 48 countries decided that there would be no pullout in Afghanistan in July 2011. There are 150,000 troops deployed in this U.S.-led war, and the United States has 115,000 to 120,000 troops in the country.

At this NATO summit, it was decided that the target date for the end of this war would be at the end of 2014. In 2011, it would be the beginning of a transitional period where the Afghan troops would begin to take a more active role in the security of their country.

Presently President Obama, U.S. officials, and NATO leadership has decided to remain vague about their departure from Afghanistan. The U.S. has decided that NATO will play a larger role in the conflict, but the bigger question becomes, “Who are the U.S. and NATO really fighting?”

The U.S. has decided to partner with the Afghan forces; the majority of the Afghan soldiers are either new or they are paid Taliban soldiers who have decided to join forces with Americans, where they know they will be getting paid. Many experts believe in the entire country, there are only 200 to 250 Taliban soldiers fighting in the country.

Since 2001, there have been 1.6 million U.S. military personnel that have been deployed in the Afghan War, with the cost in the trillions of dollars. Some American soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan three or four times; after nine years, it is not stopping.

Many thought that the purpose of NATO Summit was to decrease the size of the troops, but instead they have decided to become more entrenched. President Hamid Karzai who is increasingly upset by the Western Troops presence will continue to get rich along with his family by remaining in power.

There has always been an allegation that the Karzai family is involved in selling drugs, but it has never been substantiated. Nevertheless, with other illegal charges surrounding the president, the U.S. remains one of the president’s prime supporters.

The Afghan country has no air force and navy, but the U.S. and the NATO forces have decided to remain in Afghanistan and train the police and troops, even though there is a trust factor. These Afghan troops and police can decide at any time they are going to quit and walk off their post. They can slip back in to their village and never be heard of again.

The U.S. and NATO can call this a war, but when there is no definitive enemy, it is hard to define if your strategy is winning or losing. For President Obama to tell the country that he is keeping our country safe by fighting the Afghanistan war is fraudulent and ridiculous.

The real reason for the NATO summit is for the countries to get on the same page and develop a strategic partnership. The world is changing and it is important that the alliance is internally cohesive, and strengthen the security and prosperity for all the member countries. By enhancing the cooperation of Europe and other Western countries, the United States does not have to stand alone, and can extend the Afghan War into 2014.

At the summit meeting in Lisbon, NATO leaders adopted a new “Strategic Concept” that will serve as a roadmap for the next ten years. The new “Strategic Concept” offers partner countries around the globe more opportunities for dialogue, and commit NATO to reinforce cooperation with Russia.

We all thought the Afghan War would end in July 2011. Maybe you can figure out why our president needs three more years to end the Afghan War, because I sure can’t.

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