Posts tagged as:

obama

Barack Obama broke his silence that he’s mostly maintained since Trump took office, by speaking out in defence of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or “DREAM” act:

Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.

It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.

Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.

Somewhere, there’s an alternate universe in which Obama is still POTUS. No mass deportations of immigrants, travel bans, transgender military bans, Nazis marching in the streets, “fake news” diatribes, or being one tweet away from nuclear war. Just a president who could speak in eloquent, complete sentences and do his job like a goddamn statesman.

Nostalgia. It almost physically hurts.

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Barack Obama gave a widely-anticipated speech in Montreal today.

I watched online and, for most of it, Obama was in fine form: Eloquent, respectful, inspiring. But then there was an odd section, late in the speech, about gender equality and advancing the cause of women. Which included this line:

“I did conclude at a certain point that if you just put women in charge of every country for just about two years, the world would make a huge leap forward and just be better off generally. And that’s why I do think you guys (women) are a little better.”

With all due respect to Barack Obama — and he deserves a lot of respect — that statement goes way too far.

It’s one thing to encourage more gender parity, and better representation for women and minorities in politics at all levels. On this we agree entirely.

It’s another thing to assign false stereotypes to female politicians and assume that because of them, women would automatically make better leaders than men.

Marine Le Pen. Theresa May. Sarah Palin. Indira Gandhi. Imelda Marcos. Eva Peron. Dilma Rousseff. Margaret Thatcher. Kellie Leitch. Pauline Marois. I could go on here.

Women aren’t automatically more compassionate, wise, nurturing, caring, insightful, or resistant to corruption. I suspect that we have these qualities in roughly the same proportion as men do.

And politics inherently elevates the ruthless, the corrupt, the power-hungry and the populist, while chewing up and spitting out the idealistic, the competent and the well-intentioned. Most of the corrupt, terrible leaders have been men, but that’s just because most leaders in history have been men, period.

If and when the glass ceilings disappear, I suspect we’ll have just as many terrible female leaders as we do male ones. We may be hoping for a Michelle Obama, and end up instead with an Ivanka Trump. Or, for that matter, a Claire Underwood.

That’s not to say those glass ceilings oughtn’t be shattered. Of course they must. But we must demand better from ALL our leaders — male, female or otherwise.

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Sanity prevails in the USA

11.07.2012

Months and years of campaigning, more than$2.2 billion in election spending, over 100 million votes cast… and Americans in their wisdom decided to essentially maintain the status quo. President Obama returns to the White House for a second mandate. The Senate stays blue; the House stays red. But lest anyone was thinking that this whole […]

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4 more years

11.07.2012
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Media bias exemplified

11.05.2012

With less than 24 hours to go until voting day in the US, it’s a classic case study in media bias to see what the various big news outlets have as their posted headlines. Here’s CNN, reporting a statistical tie in the popular vote but an edge to Obama in the electoral college: Here’s Yahoo […]

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Bibi addresses US Congress

05.25.2011

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to US Congress yesterday. Among other things, he spoke about Iran, Bin Laden, Obama’s ill-advised comments on the ’67 borders, and Israel’s desires for – and obstacles to – a lasting peace with the Palestinians. The full speech is available to watch on video here. Or, you can […]

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Two impressive Obama speeches

05.02.2011

Barack Obama gave two very impressive speeches this weekend: one funny, and one deadly serious. First, there was his speech at the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner, where Obama held the floor like a seasoned comedian and managed to get his digs in at Donald Trump while he was at it: Does he have the […]

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Bin Laden is dead

05.01.2011

Ten years later. Dozens of terrorist attacks, including Istanbul, Madrid, London, and last week in Marrakech, later. 2,340 coalition casualties in Afghanistan, including 155 Canadians, later. Thousands of Afghan civilian casualties – too many for any body or organization to properly count – later. Osama bin Laden is dead, says the President. It’s been almost […]

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Midterm madness

11.02.2010

Despite the best efforts of the likes of Stewart and Colbert to restore sanity and/or fear, the predictions of big gains for the Republican party in today’s US midterm elections are, sadly, pretty likely, with exit polls showing that the Democrats have lost ground with key groups of voters. But before Obama panics too much, […]

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Obama’s education policy

09.27.2010

Barack Obama called for longer school years and getting rid of poorly performing teachers, in a speech about education that had me wondering where I’d heard that before. Oh yeah. Here. Let’s compare the two. Here’s Obama: “That month makes a difference,” the president said. “It means that kids are losing a lot of what […]

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