Tag Archive: Obama



Four years have passed, and I can’t say I’m disappointed with Obama, as I’ve heard many people proclaim; however, I admit that he didn’t turn out to be the president that I expected when he took office. I really did expect him to be someone who was going to fight tooth and nail for his positions; I was really surprised to find out that he was such a great compromiser.

Yet, I do understand why this happened. The entire Republican Party revolted against him, and he needed to make a great effort to allay their fears and anger in order to get anything done. Could I have done better myself? Of course not! That’s definitely not what I’m insinuating. I’m insinuating that I thought Obama could have done better. But, this is just idle speculation. I am appreciative of his achievements while in office thus far.

But now is his second term. If the Republicans are still not happy with him, then they have a serious problem. He has been a puppy dog in comparison to their quarrelsome behavior. It’s time for Obama to become a junk yard dog.

He’s shown glimmers of it in the past when talking to reporters and when teasing Donald Trump’s birther conspiracy theory activism, now he needs to focus this energy against the immaturity coming from the Republicans, in a relentless fashion. He’s been elected to a second term: he’s earned this right.

Republicans are still unwilling to compromise on issues such as taxation and gun control, among others. So be it. Obama must be just as unwilling to budge on his positions. Further, Obama should be seriously critical of the behavior of Republicans. We have seen that Obama clearly has enough intelligence to embarrass people who act foolishly. Now is the time to employ this superpower and let everyone know just how foolish the Republicans are being every time they disagree for disagreement’s sake.

Of course, it is not only Obama, I understand, that must make this choice: his fellow Democrats must also be willing to stand united with their leader, just as the Republicans have decided to do against Obama for the past four years.

Perhaps this is too audacious of a hope, but I can dream 🙂


93967746-us-gun-control

In America, there always seems to be a problem with discussing gun control. So much so that terrible events like school shootings don’t generally generate a discussion about the need to limit access to guns and rifles. Why is this? There are many tactics used by gun-lovers, and I will go through them one by one below.

1. “This is not the time to be talking about gun control”

Whenever a terrible act of gun violence occurs, we will always hear the same response: This is not the time to be talking about gun control. However, the reason that people say this is because this is exactly the time to be talking about gun control: this is the time when people are paying attention to this issue. Why is this a problem? On a smaller scale this doesn’t make sense. If I punch you in the face while walking down the street near a police officer and the officer does nothing, aren’t you going to ask the officer, “Why don’t you do something?” Is it fair for me to then retort: “This is no time to discuss police inaction”? On a larger scale this doesn’t make sense. If suddenly the glaciers covering Greenland sheath off into the sea and someone says, “We need to reduce our carbon emissions!” is it fair to respond: “This is hardly the time to discuss carbon emissions”?

Of course it is better to discuss issues before they become a problem, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot discuss issues after a problem has occurred. This is just not logical.

2. “It’s our second amendment right to bear arms. If we don’t have weapons, we will be allowing tyranny to take over our country!”

Two problems here. First, at the time of the second amendment, concealable automatic weapons did not exist, assault weapons did not exist and even handguns did not exist. The fact that the word amendment is part of this argument should demonstrate something. The Constitution is a remarkable document, and it admits that it cannot foresee societal and technological developments that might change how society must be structured — amendments allow this document to be updated. The second amendment is a modification to the Constitution. Likewise, it can be amended again when new developments occur. Few people use muskets anymore and I doubt any spree killer has ever, would ever or could ever try to use this technology to kill multiple people. Spree killing was simply not possible when the second amendment was written. Accordingly, there is nothing wrong with making another amendment to update the second amendment to prevent spree killers from killing many people.

Second, although it’s nice to imagine a group of well-intentioned and well-armed civilians taking back the American government from a tyrannical leadership,  it’s simply not feasible and, unfortunately, this dream must be abandoned. Consider what this scenario would actually look like. Let’s say this hypothetical rebel group is deciding to attack the White House. First, the group would need to be sufficiently large to begin with — something difficult to achieve because you’d need some charismatic leader to inspire people to go to battle and probably give up their lives. I say probably because there are many levels of government protection that this rebel group would be facing. If the rebels attacked the White House, the first groups to respond would be the Secret Service and the Washington Metropolitan police force. Combined, a somewhat formidable force, employing handguns, kevlar vests, helicopters and some assault weapons. Fine, let’s say the rebels take down the secret service and the local police and take over the White House. Now what? The president is either held hostage or dead. Is this the end of America? No. The government will not suddenly collapse. The remaining government will react quickly to this insurrection with full scale military force. Now you have the US Army, Air Force, and Marines attacking you from all sides. Unless you can convince a massive number of Americans that this insurrection is a good idea (with little or no media access, by the way), you’re doomed. Fine. Let’s assume that you convince millions of Americans that this is a good idea. What about the other Americans? Now you have a civil war. You don’t need a degree in mathematics to realise that the probability of overcoming all of these problems is infinitesimally small. Sorry, you and your brother Bobby aren’t going to topple the American government, regardless of how many AK-47s you’ve stockpiled.

Am I saying that you should just give up if your government slips into tyranny? No. However, with modern weaponry, such as jet aircraft, drones, and nuclear technology, it’s no longer as simple as gathering a group and attacking the government. It requires a much more well thought-out campaign using various media (old and new) as best you can to sway public opinion, holding mass demonstrations (non-violent and violent, depending on the need), and possibly, guerrilla warfare.

3. “This was the act of a crazy person and this couldn’t have been prevented.” (AKA “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”)

On the same day as the Newtown massacre, a crazed man in China attacked a school with a knife and stabbed over 20 people. None died. Is this not a clear enough comparison? Although we cannot stop people from having mental breakdowns perfectly, we can limit their ability to kill people.

4. “I don’t want the government getting into my business and controlling my life.”

The government does this all the time and we accept it. Now, I will admit, there is a line, and I do consider myself to be a bit of a libertarian in many respects; however, government interference is not always tyranny. Most government interference in the States is done for the safety of Americans. I know this will irk many libertarians, but think deeply about it. There may be many things that you don’t want the government controlling (drug use, prostitution, marriage, etc), but there are many that you do want them to control. Any law is an example of government getting into your business and controlling your life. Organizations like the FDA ensure that the foods and drinks we consume are not poisonous or dangerous: this is also a form of controlling your life. So, unless you want to live in a state of anarchy where anyone can kill you at any moment, you can’t actually believe this statement genuinely.

5. “Banning guns will only take guns away from law-abiding citizens. Criminals will be the only ones left with guns.”

First, this argument assumes that there are certain people considered “criminals” and certain people considered “law-abiding citizens.” This is not true. We are all capable of being either criminals or law-abiding citizens given the right circumstances. Just because you have never committed a crime before doesn’t mean you will never do so in the future. So how can you be justified in having a gun? Just because someone has committed a crime, doesn’t negate the possibility that they only want a gun for self-protection.

Of course, there are life-long criminals in society. This leads to my second point: banning guns does not empower criminals over law-abiding citizens. If criminals need a gun on a regular basis, they will be more subject to being arrested and more concerned about hiding their weapons.  In countries where handguns or automatic weapons are illegal, it is quite shocking for people to see one of these weapons lying around a house. A society that does not accept the prevalence of guns is a society that is more likely to talk about people who do own these guns and therefore, more pressure is placed on these people to not carry or to hide  these weapons very well.

What is the overall solution? That is where individual beliefs come into play and I think that there is a lot of reasonable sway here. I can accept the right to protect your family, if you think that owning a handgun will do that. I can accept even stockpiling short clip rifles if you’re worried about doomsday or something like that. I cannot accept owning an assault weapon for any reason. There’s no purpose other than killing people and/or feeling cool. Not good enough for me. I would be fine with simply a ban on automatic weapon sales, but I would prefer that the government went a little further because concealing handguns can cause many deaths as well. So, while there may be a gray area as to how much the government controls guns, America is definitely in the black extreme right now and needs to shift towards the white.


Image

I recently saw this picture of a dead child on a site with a caption of, “Is this dead enough for you?” and I thought, is this an acceptable form of political attack? Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you’re on, using the image of a dead child to make a political statement seems like a low-blow, to say the least. The fact is, there is no evidence that America tries to kill children with drone strikes — this is childish, unnecessary demonizing of the Obama administration and America in general. So, what is this image really showing? That war is bad? I think we all know that.

But, of course, we all know that this isn’t the point of the picture and the caption. The point goes something like this:

1) See dead child

2) Be horrified

3) Wonder why the child died

4) Be told that Obama did this

5) Hate Obama

I hope people can think a little more deeply than this.

I have also seen similar pictures used for the Palestinian cause recently. I hope that these kinds of pictures and this form of reasoning doesn’t really affect people as much as I suspect it does, but I do know that the image of a dead child is something that is hard to push out of your mind. As a result, I presume that many people will allow their emotional reaction to overcome their logical thinking, unfortunately.


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I honestly watch John Boehner every time he defends not taxing the richest Americans to see if I can find a valid reason why this is so. I have yet to hear it. The only argument I hear is that taxing the richest people will kill jobs created by the “job-creators.” This is nonsense.

First this is because there is one thing that humans do that is logical but doesn’t help the economy: we save money.

It doesn’t take an economics degree to know that the circulation of money stimulates the economy.

So, unless all CEOs are constantly on the brink of bankruptcy because they are perfectly hiring the maximum number of workers to maintain a maximal production level, taxing them will not affect the economy, it will simply reduce the money that goes into their savings accounts.

Further, what do you think would happen in the conundrum of a large company being taxed at a rate that made them choose between going into the red temporarily and growing the company by hiring the number of workers required or staying in the black and letting the company stagnate because it doesn’t have enough workers? If you have any sense, you would take the hit and go into the red because the competition, which is dealing with the same taxes, might try to grow their company larger than yours. Therefore, intelligent CEOs would still take a hit to grow their company, so long as the increased taxes were reasonable (which Obama’s suggestions are).

I admit that this argument that taxation reduces hiring does actually apply to small- and medium-sized companies because many of these companies are actually often in jeopardy of going bankrupt with or without additional taxation. However, we rarely see a company the size of Walmart go bankrupt by minor disruptions in its business.

So, in short, since a CEO is always going to try to maximize their company’s growth, this argument that taxation on the wealthiest Americans will kill jobs doesn’t hold water.

Fewer horses and bayonets


Romney: Our navy has fewer ships now than it did in 1916.

Obama: Yes, the military has changed. Our military also has fewer horses and bayonets, too.

Of course, this raises the question: how will we defend against suicide-horses? 🙂

So, obviously that was a pretty funny zinger by Obama, but I’m curious, what else does the American military lack, in comparison to 1916?

There must be many, but I can think of a couple:

– fewer cases of trench foot and dysentery

– fewer trench shovels and latrines

Any other ideas?


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I will state it upfront: I am not a pacifist; nor do I beat the drums of war.

Killing in our personal lives is almost never necessary; however, things are different on the global scale. The difference lies in the fact that most of us (that is, people likely to spend their time reading a blog, and not just trying to survive) live in democratic societies, or at least societies with the rule of law.

This is not the case for many of the 7 billion of us. What is the result when you have groups of humans, often guided by ancient texts which they cannot read, living in isolated societies lacking the rule of law? In a word: racism. Often, extreme racism. It is a sad fact that there is a vestigial quality of our human mind that wants to create an us-them dichotomy, with “us” being good and “them” being evil. I say vestigial because, of course, at one time this would have been extremely useful. Encountering a random group of humans in prehistoric times was a dangerous endeavor.

However, nowadays, the desire to segregate your in-group from others is very harmful for two reasons. First, it prevents trade and therefore stymies development of the isolated group. Second, and more importantly for this discussion, it creates racist beliefs that are continuously reinforced by the other members within the in-group. Not interacting in any way (aside from war) with an out-group will never allow the in-group members to question their beliefs, and in fact, the interaction through war will only confirm many of their beliefs.

Another vestigial aspect of the human mind is the susceptibility of children to incorrect or even immoral beliefs. It seems that there is something in our minds as children that says, “Believe older people, and keep those beliefs for the rest of your life. Further, hate people who question those beliefs.”

We are products of evolution and evolution is an imperfect process. We can always be better. Unfortunately, it seems, we are stuck with the mildly barbaric minds that we are born with. Of course, reason allows us to overcome these shortfalls. People living in the mountains of Afghanistan, unfortunately for us and them, will never have access to such an advanced education that will allow them to question their in-group beliefs. Many of them will be lucky if they learn to read.

So, considering this, we come to a sad result. Some peoples’ minds are so polluted with dangerous ideas that they need to be killed. It’s a shocking statement, but it’s true. You will never convince a Taliban foot-soldier that his beliefs are misguided and that you have a better way to live. If you think you can do this, you are deluding yourself. This is especially sad because these people did not choose to be born in the mountains of Afghanistan, but their beliefs, alas, are still dangerous to the rest of us.

Imprisoning these people is a possibility, too. I’ll admit this. However, in many areas where these people live, civilization has not effectively created safe-havens from which to launch police raids. Because of this, it would be impractical and extremely costly to catch each of these people one by one.

Therefore, the only option available is what President Obama has been using on an unprecedented scale: drone strikes.

To drone or not to drone? Definitely, drone.


When we thought it couldn’t get any worse than a failed shoe bomb, the incompetency of terrorists proves us all wrong.

It seems that the Taliban have downgraded their prior terror of explosives, suicide bombings and ambushes of military targets to shooting unarmed young girls.

Malala Yousufzai, a truly brave young feminist, has become the victim of what can only be called a cowardly act. Usually, the use of an adjective like “cowardly” is a highly biased term; however, in this case, all but the most extreme viewpoints would consider shooting an unarmed 14-year-old girl anything but cowardly.

On top of this, they failed. She didn’t die, and is now recovering in hospital. Perhaps the Taliban needs to set its sights a little lower: killing an unarmed girl is a little too difficult for them.

Of course, this raises the question: why are the Taliban resorting to such ridiculous and atrocious behavior? The answer is that Malala Yousufzai is working to promote progress in her country while the Taliban are fighting for a return to the good old days of the Caliphate — a time when, not coincidentally, the Islamic world started to fall behind the rest of the world intellectually.

Apparently, according to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan — the perpetrators of the attack — the young girl Malala Yousufzai provoked this attack by being pro-West and admiring Barack Obama. Both qualities, I would argue, are good things, not bad things.

First, people often confuse being “pro-West” with being “anti-East.” This is a false dichotomy. Being pro-West means being proud of the institutions that the West has provided to allow Western countries, and countries that have followed the lead of these Western countries, to become prosperous and fair. In this case, the institutions of the rule of law, sexual equality and the separation of the church (or mosque) and state seem most critical.

Second, the major reasons that the Taliban are anti-Obama, is because he is the leader of America and is working to promote human rights across the Islamic world. As the leader of America, Obama must be evil, otherwise, their conspiracy theory driven narratives would collapse like a house of cards. Needless to say, this is not a genuine reason to be anti-Obama. As for promoting human rights, this is again, an affront to the attempt to regress to the time of the Caliphate, as has already been discussed.

Unfortunately, deeper critical thinking about their own ideology is nearly impossible for members of organizations such as the Taliban, partly because the vast majority of them are illiterate and don’t have access to better information.

Further, they are not fighting to promote life in this world, but rather, the hereafter. Herein lies the largest problem. It is true that they love death more than we love life. No person who isn’t part of a death cult ideology would ever consider shooting a 14-year-old for expressing her opinion.

We can only hope that this shooting will draw attention to the barbarism of the Taliban and hopefully more Muslims will reject, rather than be inspired by, the tenets of Taliban ideology.

In short, the Taliban has not only failed to kill this young girl, but may have set in motion the death of its own organization.

If you found this interesting, check out this article I found from a slightly different perspective.

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