Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marines!

Today ... November 10, 2012 ... is the 237th birthday of the United States Marines The Marines' Hymn

(I almost missed it!)

Congratulations, Marines! For longer than the United States has BEEN a country, you have helped keep our country strong. We salute the brave men and women who have done so much, sacrificed their numbers greatly, and for so long have held your banners high.

Even though it may be presumptuous for a mere dog-soldier to say ...

Semper Fidelis!

In a personal note: I was attending a USPSA match today and one of the people I was talking to looked up and observed that the host club had not hoisted the colors. He commented, and I agreed, that the oversight was not appropriate to the occasion. But then, the match director wasn't quite old enough, nor experienced enough, to have an appreciation for the date.

And as I looked around, I noticed that the speaker was wearing a cap which denoted he was an ex-Navy Submariner. And I remembered that someone in the sign-up line had noticed (and commented to his daughter, who was also at the match) that the belt buckle I was wearing was a replica of the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Perhaps we don't always perform the MAJOR observations which our serving and past members of the military deserve. Still, there are enough people around who notice, and comment, and in at least this small way we recognize the contributions of our Citizen Soldiers (and Gyrenes, Dogs, Squids, etc.)

Incidentally, one of the stills in the video is the iconic image of the Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the conquest of Iwo Jima   ("Garlic Island"). This was in celebration of their conquest over incredible resistant of the embedded Japanese forces. It is an important day for me; it was the day I was born.)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Hell in a Handbasket

We've done it to ourselves.

Remember the Richard Pryor movie, "Brewster's Millions"?  This guy was the heir to $300 dollars, but he had to prove that he knew how to handle money.  The test was, he had to spend 30 million dollars in 30 days, but at the end of that time he had to have spent it ALL and have no tangible assets to show for it.

Our Hero managed to do it, but his most successful 'waste of money' was to sponsor a political campaign.  The crux of his campaign was to espouse the slogan:  "Vote for 'None Of The Above'!"
The result of that vote would have cancelled out one vote each for ALL of the candidates; it was a vote against all of them! The candidate who had the largest number of resulting votes "FOR" would win ... if any of them had any votes FOR them.  If nobody was left ... screw it, maybe we don't even need that office any more.

We could have used that ballot option this week.  As I have said here before: "IF God had intended us to vote, he would have given us Candidates".

Maybe we don't need a President any more.

Nobody really liked "Der Mitt", but those of us who were Conservative were forced to vote for him, if only because the only legal alternative was "Mister Fourteen Trillion Dollars" ... the greatest raid on the American Economy in the history of the United States.

Nothing really new here.

We've had "Zero-Sum" candidates before.  In fact, we've had a LOT of them.  Some of them were more obviously of 'presidential timber' than others ... most were not at all.

Let's take a capsule look at the options we've been forced to endure.  Because I was born during WWII ("The Really Big One!"), and it's My blog, I think that's a good place to start.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (DEMOCRAT) 1933-1945

Twelve years.  TWELVE YEARS?  Conservatives (Capitalists) called him "That Man" and "A Traitor To His Class".  In a strong and decisive attempt to recover his country from The Great Depression, he instituted many social programs devised to improve the economy.  Call it "Social Reform", call it "Socialism", he set the stage for generations to come.  He also orchestrated international  coordination to beat the Nazi's and "The Yellow Peril".  Dust Bowl, "Grapes Of Wrath", etc.  He had a lot on his agenda, and I personally didn't like many of his social reforms ... but the man was a leader.  He knew what he had to do and he done it.  Also, we began to think that perhaps a Three-Term President was just a little too much.

Harry S. Truman  (Democrat) 1945-1953

As Frank's VP, Harry took over from Frank, when Frank died.  Decided to nuke the Japs. Saved hundreds of thousands of American troops, who were facing the invasion of Japan against an entrenched army and a nation prepared to fight to the last Geisha. No Shit, Man, This Really Happened.  Was elected for a "Second Term".   The man had a foul mouth, and he relieved General Douglas McArthur (one of the few Five Star Generals) when Mac decided he was The American Geisha and could do no wrong.  No apologies to "Dugout Doug"; the U.S. Military Commander IS the President.  Set better precedents than Frank; one of which was identifying the Soviet Union as a threat to American .. and world-wide .. security.

Dwight David Eisenhower (Republican) 1953-1961

"I Like Ike!"  Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) and Commander of the European Theater of Operations (ETO), Ike was the first military man to command his country for a long time.  Well, U.S. Grant showed him how not to do it. Ike got a little cozy with his lady driver in London, but he still kicked ass when it came to D-Day.   After election, he was uncomfortable when the Soviets successfully launched a satellite in orbit first.  Joke of the day:  "Why can't Ike ride his horse after dark?  Because he doesn't have a Saddle-Light!"  (I guess you had to be there.)  Mamma was a Quaker .. Ike didn't take to it.  As President, he made Jimmy Stewart a star when he instigated the Strategic Air Command;  don't want no Russian bombers attacking America over the Great Circle Route.   See:  "Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb".    Initiated the Interstate Highway System as an alternative landing system for returning American bombers.   Did a little this and that for Civil rights, including the end of segregation of Southern Schools.  See Governer Orval Faubus.  Established the Social Security System (how's THAT working out?)   Korea and Lebanon also were battlegrounds during his administration.  See also the US Incident,  and a bit of attention to an incidental country called "Viet Nam".

John F. Kennedy (Democrat) 1961-1963)

First Roman Catholic President .. and believe me, that WAS an issue!  Bay of Pigs,  Vietnam, "Ich Bin Ein Berliner", Marlyn Monroe, Jackie.  Youngest person to be elected president to date.  Rich, powerful family.    Civil Rights.  "Ask not what your country can do for you; rather, ask what you can do for your country:.  Charismatic, popular, with almost everybody except for the nut on the fourth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Repository.  Caroline and Jon Boy, Ari and Jackie.  The man was a movie star.  He was also assassinated ... A Dynasty nipped in the bud.   Did I mention the Bay of Pigs and the CIA?  Bobby as Attorney General?   "Military Advisers" in Vietnam?  Starlets in the Oval Office?

Lyndon Baines Johnson (Democrat) 1963 - 1969)

Kennedy's VP, he took over for Kennedy (after his death) as Truman had after FDR's Death.  But he was neither as competent nor as colorful as Truman ... nor, for that matter, as successful.  Well, he did share the singular trait of having a dirty mouth.  But Truman could still kiss Bess with that mouth; I'm not sure that anybody could kiss Lady Bird ... you know, the alcohol breath and all.  At least Lady Bird cleaned up junk yards across America, and went to Rehab.  Johnson's personal problems?  FUBAR.

Accelerated the War in Viet Nam (Thanks, Lyndon ... You Drafted My Ass!  Where were YOU when the green tracers were coming into the lager?) Initiated "The Great Society"  ... great!   As if FDR didn't do enough to encourage Socialism.    Along with his coterie of "Whiz Kids", he micro-managed the VN War right into the ground.  The first president to be a non-diagnosed victim of  Traumatic Stress Syndrome,  rather than to run for a second term he just quit.  One good thing about Lyndon; he did NOT migrate to Canada to avoid the draft ... as did thousands of young American men.  See: Jimmy Carter (Below)

Johnson was selected as Kennedy's running mate because he could bring in the votes from the Deep South.  
Lyndon was one of the most successful politicians of all time, but one of the least effective presidents.  History my prove that our current Supreme Leader may beat him out of that claim to fame .. or notoriety.

In his defense, he did push for Kennedy's Tax Cut (Kennedy having been perhaps the last American Democratic President who understood economics).  Surprisingly, he was also successful in establish Civil Rights as a societal priority.  Then he got into the "Great Society" thingie, and we may never survive THAT little bagatelle.  (See: Barak Obama, below)

Richard M. Nixon (Republican) 1969-1974

"Tricky Dick" was the first American President I got to vote against.  I turned 21 in 1966, was drafted in 1968, and voted against Mr. Milhouse as a serving member of the U.S. Army while I was in Basic Training at Fort Lewis, Washington.  I had to report my company commander and explain why I needed his signature on my absentee ballot.  The CO was not pleased ... he actually asked me who I had voted for, and when I replied "Sir, I voted against Richard M. Nixon"  (I couldn't remember the name of the doofus I had actually voted FOR!)   He asked me why, and I stated (disingenuously):  "Sir, I would never vote for a man that I wouldn't buy a used car from.  Sir!"

Strangely, I had made the right decision.  I was a Registered Democrat then, as all young people should be, and had just graduated from college and had been six days married when I reported for duty.  Young, responsible, naive.   That is a VERY dangerous combination!

Dick (were his parents channeling future MSM reporters when they named him?) was later forced to resign the presidency when it became obvious that he had instigated the (illegal) burglary of the Democratic National Party Election Headquarters by the "Watergate Plumbers).  No, I'm getting tired of doing the google searches and providing the links.  If you're interested .. you do it!.  Fearing the impending impeachment, Dick just ... bailed out.  He must have learned something about "Sell Date" from Johnson.  Later, he acted as an emmisary to China, and actually may have done some temporary good for Sino-American relations there.  It's kind of a shame: he might have been a decent Secretary of State, but he should never have gone for the Presidency.  Perhaps he was channeling Hillary Rodham Clinton?  Do you suppose she learned something from him?  (Nawwww!)  Perhaps Dick's purpose in life was to serve as a good example of a bad example?

Oh, yes;  Kennedy won the presidency in the narrowest margin in U.S. History when running against Nixon.  Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned here.
  1. Thirty years ago, the Democrat Party espoused values which the Republican Party now includes in their platform .. but the Democrat Party now pays only lip-service to .. if that.  Witness Kennedy's Economic Policies.
  2. Thirty Years ago, we first refused to elect Mr. Shifty; then we elected him; then we regretted it; then in this century, we elected another Mr. Shifty and we haven't learned a damn thing about Presidential Politics since then!  See "Obama" (Below)
Gerald R. Ford (Republican) 1974 - 1977

The best thing we can say about Jerry Ford is that he has a kewl first name.

Okay, if you're all finished laughing .... okay, go ahead.  I'll wait.



The purpose of Ford is that he makes Eisenhower look DYNAMIC!  Good!  S$EXY!

Hell, if I ever get elected president, he would make ME look sexy.    Don't laugh .. if Ford can get elected, I can!

Well, actually, he never did get elected.  He was Nixon's VP after Spiro Agnew  (Nixon's first VP) was indicted for income-tax evasion.

But we won't go there, okay?  Because it's far too rich for this megalo-mento blog.  Spiro deserves his own time, except to say that three are congress-critters who have done the same thing in recent years and STILL have managed to retain their seats.  I will not name names.

Anyway, Jerry was famous for playing golf even less adroitly than Eisenhower; for being a stand-in for a real president (yet to be named), and for liking to watch football on TV.  In fact, while Nixon at least officially ended the war in Viet Nam ... I think he did that just for spite, so that Jerry couldn't.  Jerry wasn't castigate as Richard "Eighteen Minute Gap" Nixon was.  In fact, he never distinguished himself at all, politically.

He was a book-end.   That's all.

Nothing to see here, folks, it's just another train wreck .. move on.
Also for being the only President of the United States (POTUS) who was NEVER elected to the office.

Even as VP. Well, Spiro having left the building ... Jerry was affable, but none to bright.    He did, however, up the ratings for  Monday Night Football.  The best thing he did was not to start a war.

Jimmy (James Earl) Carter (Democrat) 1977 -1981

Jimmy Carter was grateful to his brother, Billy Bob, because Billy made Jimmy look GOOD by comparison!

Jimmy .. author of "The Great American Electric Power Blackout", and "The Rescue Of The Iranian Embassy (not!)" was probably a great peanut farmer.

Not a good wartime president .. witness the Russian incursion in Afghanistan.  He had TWO chances (Afghanistan, Iran), and he blew them both.  As he also blew the Energy Crisis.  Remember the long lines at the gas station?  Well .. he did inherit that from Jerry.  Not that he actually FIXED anything!

Oh, did I mention that he was a one-term president?  And that he is arguably the worst president in the history of American Politics?  It's not enough that he was a "Do-Nothing" president ... Ford had that one pretty well wrapped up.  But even when he tried to do something ... he failed.  Miserable.

Famously quoted by Playboy Magazine at a doorstep-interview as saying: "I have sinned in my heart" .. he still played the Baptist Minister on TV.  My personal memory is that Carter was once the commander of a Nuclear Submarine .. and I gave him a lot of credit for that responsibility.  Unfortunately, I haven't found any supporting evidence of that.  I guess the bad things are reported more reliably than the good things.

What I DO remember was dancing in a disco club (yes, to my shame, I admit to having done that ONCE ... but the gurl was hot!) and sweating like a pig because Carter's Energy Program forbade them to run the air conditioners.  But then, this might be in the same category as his being a submarine commander.

Apparently, we ALL just .. .want ... to ... forget .. the Carter Years.

Ronald W. Reagan (Republican) 1981 - 1989

The thing about Ronnie Ray-Gun was .. Star Wars!

Yeah!  The Star Wars Initiative was going to protect America from Russian sneak missile attacks.  (This is something that 2012 military technology can still not deliver .. but they're still trying!)

Out of respect for the late president, please allow me to express this in the most gentle terms possible:

Ronnie was as dumb as a stump, and his wife Nancy was a harridan.

This didn't bode well for their public image, and it certainly was a disaster for international relations .. especially with The Soviet Union!

On the other hand, Ronnie was "The Great Communicator .. and I love to go back and watch him on YouTube.    I also liked him on Death Valley Days (Co-starring with .. well, the 'other' wife'). I wasn't so big on "Bedtime for Bonzo, and the entire franchise, where he was consistantly upstaged by a chimpanzee.

The funny thing is, though, that his economic policies revitalized America.  And he so frightened the Soviet Union that they BANKRUPTED their country trying to keep up with the measures that Ronnie established to close the "Window of Opportunity".

You see .. Ronnie had a vision.  He understood the problem, knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and then he did it.

My personal problem is that, even having read a couple of Reagan biographies (eg:  DUTCH) I still don't understand what that vision was.

It doesn't  much matter, though .. does it?  Gorbie of the gruesome forhead-raspberry capitualted (as did the entire Soviet Union) in 1991 as a consequence of Reagan's political/international relations policies .. and Military overspending!  ... and now we are all good friends of Russia (which is NO LONGER the Soviet Union, because those other folks?  Won't even talk to them nice!)

"Voodoo Economics" aside ... Reagan managed to balance domestic economic policies, international relationships, and "democratic obstructionism" counter-tactics to constitute what may be described as The American Springtime.   Nobody was trying to attack us .. certainly nobody thought it was "safe" or "A Good Idea" to blow up buildings in NYC  (Well, they were still hijacking cruise ships and airplanes, but nobody's perfect), and the American Economy experienced a resurge which had not been matched in decades.  Who says that the President can't influence the Economy?

Yup .. the guy was an ACTOR ... and at one time the head of the Screen Actors Guild.  He liked FDR. He was a Democrat until he turned 50.  ("Any man under 50 who is not a Democrat is not listening to his heart; any man who is not a Republican when he is over 50 is no listening to his head"   ... anonymous, probably misquoted in detail)

He supported a 'smaller' federal government, and the military.  For his reward, he was shot in the head by a would-be assassin in 1981.  He famously said to his doctors "I hope you are all Republicans".

In my own personal opinion, any man with so much moxie that he challenges the political bent of surgeons just before he undergoes brain surgery at their hands ... deserves the lead the most free nation in the world.

He liked FDR, he liked Goldwater.  I'm not convinced that Politics was his forte ... he just liked leaders who inspired him, so he tried to be an "Inspiring Leader".  He generally managed that, perhaps not least because of his wide experience as an actor.  No American could tell a yarn, a story, an anecdote or a quip without twirling a rope as he talked.  He was the iconic American Speaker of his time .. and he could probably have bested Mark Twain and Will Rogers as the best loved speaker of his time.

"Tax Cuts and Spending Cuts" were his theme, along with "Trickle-down Economy".  This meant that if you didn't position taxing philosophy to discourage entrepreneurs, the economy would prosper.  Critics titled this "Voodoo Economics" or "Reaganomics", although it isn't far removed from the economic policy of John Kennedy.

His VP was George Herbert Walker Bush (see below).  See also "Iran-Contra"  where he took profits from South American "Contra" fighters to support NIcaraguan Freedom Fighters during the South AmericanWars), and when his actions were investigated he famously said, frequently:  "I misremember" .. a lot.
  Well, Mr. Clinton (see below) seems to have learned a lot from Ronald Reagan about how to manage aggressive congress.

George Herbert Walker Bush (Republican) 1989-1993


Vice president to Ronald Reagan (and father of George "W" Bush), this presidential candidate was famous for saying:

"Read My Lips:  No New Taxes"!

... and then turning around and imposing new taxes on the American public when he later realized that as President, his control over the economy wasn't quite as tight as he had expected.

Are we beginning to learn that "It's The Economy, Stupid!" isn't entirely a catch-phrase of the Democratic party?

"HW" is probably most frequently regarded as the father of late-20th-century-Republican Politics .. being the father of two governors ... one of which was later to be elected President of the United States (See: George W. Bush  ..... below).

That is, besides being so demonstrably unable to live up to his "no new taxes' campaign promise,.  That wasn't very popular, in the end result.

Bush tried to continue Reagan's economic policies, but wasn't very successful.  He had been Ambassador to the United Nations before Reagan selected him as his VP Co-runner.  This was probably the pinacle of the political career of GWH Bush  ("Bush 41)

William ("Bill") Jefferson Clinton (Democrat)  1993 - 2001

Bill Clinton felt our pain.

We know this, because he told us so.  Frequently.   In fact, so frequently that it soon lost its "impact" on the American Public ... except for that portion who wanted to believe any politician who wanted to tell them what the wanted to hear.

Bill successfully negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is probably the high-light of his political career.  This agreement removed restrictions in trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

in other words, if Mexico or Canada can produce 'widgets' less expensively than those produced by American labor ..  these cheaper widgets may be imported to the U.S. without needing to bear the imposition of import duties or taxes.

Which means .. if America can't make quality widgets for a dollar a pound, we'll find someone who will.

Depending on whether or not you're a member of an American Labor Union, you may or may not see this as A Good Thing.

Of course, if you're an American Consumer, you may be biased in your evaluation.

W.J. Clinton had several other political and economic influences on America during his Presidency.

Among the influences (and accomplishments) are ...
  1. he survived multiple political, fiscal and sexual scandals
  2. turned a huge national deficit into a surplus
  3. stopped "Ethnic Cleansing" in Bosnia and Kosovo
  4. Presided over the greatest prosperity since  the early 1960's
Well, considering the source some readers may consider that Point #1 is the only non-controversial claim.

Especially the  part about Bosnia.  But also parts (2) and (4) .. which are also subject to interpretation.  We won't quibble here, take it as read.  He feels our pain, and we feel his ... although not all of us would have gone into the Oval Office with the same agenda as Monica Lewinski.  (Yes, I do still hold that against him, but from a safe distance.)

However, it's worth mentioning  that he attempted to sponsor "Hillary Care"  .. a national Health Care bill which would provide free medical care to ALL US Citizens regardless of almost anything, and would be paid for by a fifty-cent-per-pax Federal tax on cigarettes.  Note that at the time, cigarettes (which had  previously been selling at $1/pack) were selling at $4.00/pack  They now cost $5.50/pack because of .. you guessed it .. higher taxes, not higher costs of production OR inflation.

And Hillary Care never made it past the starting gate, because not everybody believed that National Health Care could be supported by cigarette taxes, which would be funded entirely by cigarette smokers, who (if Clinton Mania could be believed) would be all dead in the next ten years because Cigarettes are Chillers.

"Ethnic Cleansing"?  Still going on, in an increasing number of countries .. although that has famously shifted its focus south from Bosnia to Africa.

"Greatest Prosperity"?  See "Obama" (below) .. also a Democratic president.

Bill was  the second president (see "Nixon", above) to be almost-impeached for malfeasance in office, but Bill assured us that ... "I did not have sex with That Woman ...".  (Depending on what your definition of "Sex" is; Hillary was reportedly livid with Bill, and threw a lamp at him.  Not because he was catching BJs in the Oval Office, but because he handled the resultant 'bad press' so inadroitly.)

On the positive side, he defeated both George H.W. Bush (see above) and Ross Perot to win the election.  It would have been petty of me to suggest that I could have beat those two Major-League Losers as well, but then I never actually submitted my name for inclusion on the ballot.  In retrospect, I may have let my country down.

The National Budget was the next hurdle.  Congress refused to accept a budget which was not supported by either budget cuts or increased taxation.  Bill refused either alternative, and threatened to shut down the government.  Rather than accept the default of both social and military programs by facing down an intransigent President, Congress backed down and Bill called it a WIN/WIN situation.  In the Clinton Administration, this is defined by Bill saying "Nya Nya Nya .. I'm the President and you're not" and Congress allowing him to get away with it.

Also see "Whitewater",   Re: pre-election scandals; Bill enhanced the Presidential Stature by facing down Ireland, Haiti, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia.  Major powers, all.  He also responded to Terrorist Attacks by firing a Tomahawk missile with the net benefit of killing one camel, an aspirin factory, and two canvas tents.  Good shooting, Bill!  I bet Monica was very proud of you!

(Of course, Hillary hasn't talked to you since 1999 ... which is another benefit of a presidency well spent.  Frankly?  If I was the President, and I had to choose between Monica in my under my desk and Hillary in my bed, I would be hard pressed to choose the lesser of two evils.  But apparently these difficult decisions are the stuff that being Presidential are made of.  Thanks for showing us what it takes to being "An Effective President", Bill!)

George W. Bush (Republican) 2001 - 2009

George Walker Bush was president when the Islaamic Terrorists drove civilian passenger airplanes into the Twin Towers in NYC; the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and into an empty field in Ohio (thanks to the selfless sacrifice of passengers who knew they were going to die anyway); during those few trying days early in his presidency,  he kept his nation together and demonstrated leadership by NOT giving into the panic which was endemic across the nation during that horrific day.

For this, "W" has been labelled as indecisive, ineffective, and cowardly by his detractors ... most of which are either Democratic politicians, or members of the Main Stream Media.  (But I repeat myself.)

George W. Bush ("Bush 43", as oppose to "Bush 41" .. his father, see above) has never been accused of being an intellectual.  Intellectuals may be defined as those politicians who are similar to Al Gore (2000) and John Kerry (2004), both of whom were defeated by "W" in national elections.  Gore was defeated because he is a lying elitist ass-hat.  Kerry, on the other hand, is a smug elitist ass-hat.  Both were defeated because of (a) the supreme court rulings, which upheld the election rules which were in effect at the time (and still are!), and (b) because they are both very smart, but are still fucking idiots, and the voting public cannot ignore their idiocy.  Good for you, good for me.  Do I need to mention that all three candidates have a lot of money?  Two of them inherited it from their families.  Kerry did it 'the hard way'; he married an ugly woman.  (Clinton, to his credit, also married an ugly woman even though she didn't come from a particularly wealthy family; perhaps this had something to do with his decision to boink the fat intern?)

During his presidency, "W" accomplished the following goals:
  • he didn't bring charges against the office workers of the previous administration, who in a fit of jealous rage at losing their political office, trashed their physical office';
  • established a tax cut, with the intention of increasing net federal funding by 'growing' the economy; this worked;
  • Signed the largest (economically) education bill in the history of the country.  For this he was excoriated by Ted "Let God Sort 'Em Out" Kennedy because it wasn't as big a bill as he wanted;
  • not deliberately attempting to emulate his father's "Thousand Points Of Light", nevertheless established a national government which was EXTREMELY aware of Democratic agendas, and in fact risked offending main-stream Republicans because his policy decisions were more 'liberal' than theirs;
  • Took charge immediately after the Terrorist attack on America, inventing "on the fly" Security Measures which were hopefully designed to identify, track and apprehend individuals whose actions were obviously aimed at bringing pain and suffering to American citizens (see "Patriot Act", below)
  • Responded to reports of 'international' terrorist support, and attempted to curb the support of terrorist by "rogue nations" by publicly announcing that nations which encouraged or supported terrorist acts would be punished by America to the same degree and effect as the individual terrorsts;
  •  Effected these policies by attacking rogue regimes, and non-governmental groups (eg: "Al Queda") whenever they might be identified and found.  The results of this policy included the attack on the terrorist government of Iraq, and Taliban elements of Afghanistan;
  • Responded effectively (which is defined as "something more likely to change the behavior of terrorists than hurling a Tomahawk missile at a camel") in terrorist strongholds in other nations ... usually with the agreement of host nations such as Pakistan;
Patriot Act:
One of "W"s earliest efforts at combating terrorism in American was his definition and establishment of "The Patriot Act".  (HR3162)

This bill, later being enacted by congress, included the expansion of wiretap laws, research into personal information accesses (library searches, etc.), regulates financial transactions, allows for deportation of emigrants suspected of supporting terrorism, and enlarges the definition of "terrorism"  (including especially "Domestic Terrorism".

A highly controversial bill/act/law, this was immediately seen as either one of two effects on American freedoms:
  • curtailing the freedom of law-abiding citizens, or;
  • allowing the federal government to insure the safety and lives of law-abiding citizens
It rather depended on the individual perspective of the affected law-abiding citizens.  And yes, it did erroneously affect the freedom and liberty of some citizens, and also some non-citizen residents of America.

Ultimately, though, other than establishing means to better protect the security of America as a nation (against attacks aimed at both the citizenry and the infrastructure of the nation), the Patriot Act is secondary to the increased economic prosperity of the country.  Those effects were not as immediate as the Patriot Act .. which saw some residents arrested and later found innocent of crimes or intent to perform criminal and/or terrorist acts ... but the economic benefits were more generally wide-spread in that they established the "Trickle Down" effect.

Essentially, when "job creators" (including corporations, small businesses, and other entrepreneurial enterprises) are taxed LESS, and when businesses can be assured that the taxation and other restrictions on businesses are LESS likely to change dramatically and with little or no advance notice ... employers can make long-term plans with some assurance that their business plan will not be arbitrarily interrupted by changes in governmental regulation.  Also, tax incentives are available which encourage the growth of business, and consequently management may be inclined to hire new workers with some assurance that they will be able to maintain a larger staff to support a healthier business environment.

At the same time, he initiated the "No Child Left Behind" plan, which turned out to be a total bummer as his plan included a "standard testing" regime which left teachers teaching "the test" rather than "the material' because failure of a school's students to pass "the test" resulted in ceasement of federal funding assistance and closure of 'inadequate' schools.

Also, both his original election win and his re-election bid were perceived as 'flawed' because of inconsistencies and errors during balloting.  This led to a wide-spread feeling that the elections were being defined by (conservative) Supreme Court Members rather than by the electorate.  More, the Electoral Vote plan came under wide attack when it was seen that the majority of votes did not always agree with the Electoral votes.

The war in Iraq, in the meantime, dragged on and on and on ... first the military effort was seen as a boondogle, then as a "Quagmire" when Liberals charged that the national leadership had no "Exit Plan" ... which can only be defined as: "When will it end, and/or when will we admit that we have been defeated?"

Bush couldn't find Osama Bin Laden, who taunted America frequently by public broadcasts  of the "Nani Nani Boo Boo ... I'm still alive!" variety.

The rationale for attacking Iraq was cited as ".. British Intelligence tells us that IRAQ has Weapons of Mass Destruction, and is actively seeking materials for the construction of nuclear weapons".  When American troops searched the country, only small amounts of Chemical materials (or their precursors) were found, and no evidence of a nuclear program were found.  An 'independent' American agent went to Nigeria, talked to two people, and publically reported that Iraq had NOT been seeking nuclear materials.  The Liberal press made popular the expression "Bush Lied; People Died", which replaced the previous Liberal mantra: "No Blood for Oil!"  (Incidentally, Sadaam Hussein fired foreign Mid-eastern oil fields in '91, murdered thousands of Iraqi citizens .. mostly Kurds .. using chemical WMDs; but because no facilities or materials were found after American troops entered Iraq, those confirmed and proven actions were largely ignored by the Main Stream Media.)

Barack Husein Obama (Democrat) 2009 - Present

After "W"'s lame-duck presidency allowed him to improve the economic health of the nation, albeit accompanied by a 'security plan' which was highly controversial,  The Junior Senator from Illinois was elected President when he completely overwhelmed the Republican Senator from Arizona, John Mccain.

Although McCain was very much more experientially more qualified, Obama was seen as a refreshing change, and the hope for a new approach to politics; this was emphasized in his campaign slogan:   "Hope and Change".
The first-term senator Obama is charismatic, well-spoken (in front of a teleprompter) and most importantly NOT of the "old guard" and NOT GEORGE BUSH!  (This didn't work well for Al Gore, or John Kerry; but against McCain .. who was widely perceived as establishmentarianistic,, not well spoken, stodgy, and 'old' ... well, it's a younger country today than it was 8 years ago, and almost every one was HOPING for a CHANGE!)

During his first term in Office, Obama has accomplished:
  • Introduction of a National Health Plan bill, which the leader of a Democratic Congress has said that "We have to pass the bill before we can understand it";
  • Escalation of the National Debt by 14 TRILLION Dollars .. the largest increase during a single term of office in the history of the nation;
  • "We Got Obama!" ... referring to the killing of the leader of Al Queda, the group universally acknowledged to be responsible for the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on America; this was accomplished by a team of Navy Seals which were part of the world-wide search for Obama which had been ongoing for over ten years and was originally initiated by ... "W";
  • Has been seen, and photographed, BOWING before foreign persons (not always national leaders) in apparent subjugation to their majesty;
  • Recently refused to renew the economic stimulus plans of "W", despite its proven benefit to the national economy;
  • Obama has been described as having "no experience in business or economics, and little experience in national politics'.  Still, he has now won TWO national elections as President of the most powerful nation in the world ... and he still doesn't look very presidential to many Americans.

If you have read this far .. and I certainly wouldn't blame you if you haven't, since I've just spend 8 hours on research and writing the article and I know *_I_* am sick and tired of it ... you may have received the impression that I don't have hi regard for almost anyone we've elected President of the United States (POTUS) in the past 60 years.

And you would be right.

Based on their records, as War Presidents I think that FDR, TRUMAN, and W have come across looking pretty good.  On the other hand, if we win ... or we have confidence in their efforts to win ... almost any president can be a good War President.

Economically?  Reagan did swell, W did pretty good (because he used Reagan's model)

Socially?  Johnson and Kennedy and Eisenhower were in position to work on civil rights, and they did what they needed to do.  Frankly, Eisenhower started it all, and without doing much damage to the country in 'other' areas.  I've always liked Ike!

Presidents I actively don't like?  Nixon, Ford, Carter, Clinton, Obama.   Why?  They all went crazy, to one extreme or the other; either in the chase for personal power, or for ineffective leadership.  A couple of the take heavy hits in both categories.

"If God had meant for us to vote, he would have given us candidates;."