On 21 January 2009, newly inaugurated President Barack H. Obama penned a memorandum to the Executive Branch department Heads. It was full of symbolic gestures to ensure a different type of administration. History has proven it decidedly lacking in substance. I have excerpted the opening:
“Transparency and Open Government
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”
The Symbolism of a clean and open administration
To Mr. Obama’s credit, he ACTUALLY had this published to The Federal Register.
In his next paragraph, Mr. Obama acknowledges that “transparency promotes accountability” and that he will ensure the rapid and clear dissemination of information “consistent with law and policy”. An informed citizenry seemed to be the goal. He challenged his Department Heads to create a participatory process whereby we would assist in governance and policy. In short, The President inferred that he wanted the government of, by and for the people.
What we got was nothing like the hyperbole.
The build ups and the letdowns
Time after time promises, pledges and parameters were broken, modified or ignored. From being a uniting force for not only our Nation but the World, owing to a new type of leader in the Office…one who was not mired in the paradigms of the old guard…one who had firsthand knowledge of life in the Third World…one who did not come from priviledge. Though his life story was different, the convergence from new, hip and understanding shifted into the same-o, same-o:
Mr. Obama’s education
Harvard Law School (1988–1991)
Columbia University (1981–1983)
Occidental College (1979–1981)
Punahou School (1971–1979)
State Elementary School Menteng 01 (1970–1971)
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School (1968–1970)
Noelani Elementary School (1966–1967)
Excepted from Politifact:
“Here is Obama’s full work history, as detailed by Politifact:
1975 or 1976 – ice cream scooper, Baskin-Robbins – Honolulu – Obama claims to have lost his taste for ice cream during this, his first job, the duration of which is not publicly known.
Date unknown – deli counter clerk, business name unknown – Honolulu – Obama had a summer job at a deli counter in Hawaii, making sandwiches, his spokesman said during the presidential campaign.
1980 – gift shop sales clerk, business name unknown – Honolulu – Obama worked at a gift shop in Hawaii selling island souvenirs the summer after his freshman year at Occidental College in California.
Sometime between 1981-1983 – construction worker, business name unknown – New York – Obama cleared a construction site for a summer on Manhattan’s Upper West Side while attending Columbia University, the Associated Press reported. Obama referred to this job in Dreams From My Father .
Sometime between 1981-1983 – position unknown, company unknown – New York – During his years at Columbia University, Obama worked one summer for a private company processing health records of either police or firefighters, his spokesman said during the presidential campaign.
Sometime between 1981-1983 – telemarketer, company unknown – New York – During one school year at Columbia, Obama was a telemarketer in midtown Manhattan selling New York Times subscriptions over the phone, his spokesman said during the presidential campaign.
1983-84 – research assistant, Business International Corporation – New York – At this firm that helped American companies do business abroad, Obama was a researcher and writer for a reference service called Financing Foreign Operations; among his duties was writing a newsletter called Business International Money Report.
1985 – project coordinator, New York Public Interest Research Group – New York – Obama mobilized student volunteers at City College in Harlem for NYPIRG, a nonprofit organization that promotes consumer, environmental and government reform. He promoted activism around issues such as mass transit, higher education, tuition, financial aid and recycling.
1985-1988 – community organizer, Developing Communities Project – Chicago – Obama advocated for asbestos removal, job training and public-works services at this community organization on Chicago’s South Side.
1988 – research assistant, Lawrence Tribe – student assistant to this Harvard Law School professor and renowned constitutional scholar.
1989 – summer associate, Hopkins & Sutter – Obama held this job the summer between his first and second years of law school.
1990 – summer associate, Sidley & Austin – After his second year of law school Obama was a summer associate for one of the world’s oldest and largest law firms, where he met Michelle Robinson, his future wife.
1990-1991 – president, Harvard Law Review – Obama was the first African-American to hold this prestigious position.
1991-1992 – executive director, Project Vote – Ran a campaign that registered nearly 150,000 black voters for the 1992 elections.
1993-2004 – associate and partner (starting 1996), Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland – Chicago – defended clients ranging from landlords to a securities trader, and handled employment-discrimination and voting-rights cases at this Chicago law firm.
1993-2004 – part-time lecturer, University of Chicago Law School – Chicago – lectured on constitutional law.
1995 – author, Times Books – published memoir, Dreams From My Father.
1997-2004 – state senator, Illinois – senator from Illinois’ 13th District on Chicago’s South Side.
2005-2008 – U.S. Senator – represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate.
2006 — Author, Random House – published The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.
2009 – President, United States – Washington – In his current position, Obama is the head of state of the most powerful country in the world. He runs the executive branch and serves as commander in chief of the armed forces.”
There are a lot of “unknowns” in that listing. Mostly summer employment and “unskilled” labor. I do not fault a person for their career choices. Mine have been varied as well. I fault them for seemingly never having formed the moral character needed to make and keep promises. I fault them for never living up to committments. For never practicing what they preach….and there has been an AWFUL lot of preaching going on. The term “nanny state” seems to fit: Always knowing what is best for us, whether or not they will need to abide by their own decisions.
I was reading about Secretary of State Kerry’s trip to the Middle East at a time when the FAA banned air operations into and out of Israel.
Air ban to/from Israel
With the reported thousands of missiles fired at Israel, ONE landing within earshot of the airport, though an obvious cause for concern, does not a crisis make. Imbedded reporters are much closer to the action and they are STILL imbedded. This seems nothing more than a veiled attempt to “persuade” Israel to curtail her justified self defense.
As an aside, while on active duty I trained with the Israel Defense Force and found them to be just as fine and honorable a military as others I have been privileged to serve with. I bet there are MANY among you who were told as young’uns never to START a fight but you always FINISH a fight. Walking away is a viable option WHEN YOU CAN. There are times, and see our RECENT past, when you cannot turn the other cheek. You keep at it til you are done, or the other side sues for peace rather than face the prospect of an unconditional surrender.
Now the House of Representatives is maneuvering to sue Mr. Obama for various actions or INactions. The thought, though tempting, is no more than a distraction from the real issues at hand. Moreover, this will act as a rallying cry for the Democrats to beef up their base. Talking about the President is one thing, “attacking” the Chief Executive is another and with the Midterms being so close, both in timing and in potential party shift….a bad move.
A symbolic gesture by the GOP led House of Representatives
With all deference to my High School music teacher, Egidio (“Gene”) Morra (his pet phrase when we were not meeting expectations), this is how the House of Representatives is behaving. After all the rhetoric about President Obama not meeting the obligations of his office, what do they do? The same! They chose to abdicate their responsibilty to perform their job to the best of their abilities for the American people and scoot off on a 5-week vacation. They plan to let the President have at it. Does anyone deny that when he acts, it will be met with harsh criticism and dismay? “Oh, if ONLY….” they will cry.
Fact of the matter, per the article when they were running for the door and were “reminded” that they could still vote—there were “boos” from the floor. I should have been out of here an hour ago (not counting blogging time) but I am still here because there is work to be done. See why I say that NONE of them is any good and they should ALL be replaced with true working stiffs. And why in Hades do they get a 5-week summer recess? Oh, yeah…all is well…border is good, immigration handled, Affordable Care Act has no more surprises, the middle east stabilized…all is right with the world. Go, lads and lasses, enjoy your “time off”. WE will be here waiting for you and eager to see your family pix! Give us a moment, though…WE are WORKING!
Oh, Mr. President? Congress is in recess! Do your thing, Monsieur. Any of them squawk? Give them a raspberry and tell ’em to pound sand.
Loussy bastardes! (thank you, Mr. Morra)