Presidential Performance Review

Presidential Performance Review

A Review of Obama's Presidency
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Recently President Obama made a few statements that I feel need to be addressed. But before I get too far into that, I feel that I first need to state how I feel about Barack Obama’s time in office as President of the United States. As I have state before, I am a huge liberal, but a liberal with common sense unlike many mainstream establishment Democrats (Obama certainly fits into that category). Nevertheless, I feel that Obama has been a pretty mixed bag during his tenure as President.

Lets start with the good. When Barack Obama first ran for President back in 2008, he was believed to be a big progressive. During his 2012 campaign he played the role of the big progressive. But while he was in office did he do anything that was really progressive. The answer is that he did do some things. Examples of progressive things he did while in office are as follows: he released a record breaking amount of nonviolent drug offenders from prison, he extended the overtime rule which allows average Americans to receive overtime pay, the Cuba deal, he revived our economy following the Great Bush Recession, he doubled the stock market under his watch, the rate of incarceration has gone down, he was the first president to openly come out in support of gay marriage, under his watch the Keystone pipeline was rejected, and he pushed for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I’m not here to deny that Obama has done some progressive things while in office and we should give him credit for it.

With that being said, we also have to give him blame for the regressive things he has done. For example: yes, Obama did achieve the Affordable Care Act. But is that really a great accomplishment? The true liberal position is not a mandate to buy private healthcare (which is essentially what Obamacare is and was when it was first proposed by Nixon, a Republican), but free single payer healthcare. That is the true liberal position. Therefore, on the grand political spectrum, Obama was rather regressive when it comes to healthcare for all. Democrats often argue this point by saying that Republicans in the congress would block everything that Obama attempted to pass. While this may be true in Obama’s second term, Democrats had held both the Senate and the House of Representatives during his first term. If Obama was really interested in being progressive, he would have pushed for single payer healthcare and he would have gotten it. But why didn’t he push for the progressive choice? Because in 2008 Barack Obama received a donation of $20 million dollars from the health industry. That is nearly three times the amount that they donated to John McCain. Politicians are only loyal to those who are giving them large amounts of cash. If it is a campaign ran mostly by contributions of the American people (such as Bernie Sanders) then that politician will serve the people. But if big corporations are their source of income, they will serve the big corporations. Because the healthcare industry donated a large amount of money to him and is campaign, and since single payer healthcare would put these companies out of business, it is foolish to believe that they did not have some sort of special interest and Obama didn’t pander to them.

Another example of this is Obama’s continued support for the TPP, which Hillary Clinton once referred to as the “gold standard” in trade deals and has since flipped her position. But this is possibly the most regressive thing Obama could have done. The TPP allows countries such as Malaysia in with open arms despite their support for slavery. This deal allows corporatists like Obama to put his morals aside and support countries with forced labors and cruel dictators. And worse, they attempt to cover it up for them.He also promised to pull us completely out of war and while we are mostly out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the drone strikes statistics have skyrocketed in his tenure resulting in many innocents losing their lives. He has said nothing about decreasing our currently very bloated military industrial system (which currently makes up roughly 57% of our budget) and his foreign policy as a whole still overly aggressive and hawkish. He was supposed to push for legislation that would make it easier for immigrants to become American citizens, but he increased deportations. The crooks on Wall Street got Get Out of Jail Free cards. Rather than regulating Wall Street with Dodd-Frank, Obama’s legislation watered down the bill making many loopholes because he was getting money from Wall Street bankers. This is not progress. With each step forward, Obama and Democrats like him insist that we take another step back.

Obama currently stands starkly against Keith Ellison becoming the new chair of the DNC because he doesn’t want the “Bernie wing” of the Democratic Party taking over despite the fact that Ellison has received endorsements from other establishment Democrats such as Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid. Granted Schumer’s and Reid’s endorsements were purely strategic, they endorsed him nonetheless because they realize that the establishment can’t win this fight and if they continue down their pro-establishment and pro-corporatist path, the Democratic Party will become extinct. He also recently stated that the mainstream media covered the WikiLeaks too much. No, they didn’t cover them nearly enough. He doesn’t get to blame Wiki for Hillary Clinton’s loss. The blame is all on her, the DNC, and sleazy no good corporate sellouts just like him.

Overall, President Obama’s tenure as president has been extremely average at best and there is an argument to be made that it has been slightly below average. While I really want to give him a flat C in performance, I will give him a C+ because I do believe that his heart was in the right place sometimes. Too bad that he did a very mediocre job. Too bad he will only be remembered for being the first black president. He could have really been something special…but ultimately, he failed us.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/obama-offers-words-kudos-caution-nation-n495446

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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.
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They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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The Government Can Do More To Stop Human Trafficking

Are there effective laws to help combat human trafficking in the United States?

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Slavery hides within many places in the modern world, including developed countries. Many adults and children are victims of human trafficking in the United States, but just how much is the government involved with extinguishing the issue? Mark P. Lagon and Laila Mickelwait wrote, "The U.S. Government Turns a Blind Eye to Policies That Fuel Sex Trafficking," to convey how they believe that there are currently ineffective laws to combat human trafficking in the United States. On the other hand, Alex Trouteaud wrote, "Anti-human Trafficking Laws Have Made Great Progress," in order to express his views on how he believes that there are enough effective laws in the United States to combat human trafficking. Although their views may differ when it comes to the amount of effective legislation in America in combatting against human trafficking, they reach common ground through one aspect: human trafficking grows with the demand for commercial sex.

To begin, Mark P. Lagon and Laila Mickelwait contend that the government's legislation is not effective in combatting human trafficking. Lagon and Mickelwait express that "year after year, the department sidesteps the most critical aspect" (Langon and Mickelwait 1) of setting sustainable efforts in eliminating the trafficking issue. They claim that although there are laws in place for the purpose of abolishing the issue, "it seems the department doesn't want to ruffle feathers by turning words into action" (Langon and Mickelwait 1).

The authors analyze the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and express that their law is outdated in their methods of reducing sex trafficking crimes because they do not assess sex consuming laws. They argue that "it is high time to stop saying "boys will be boys" and recognize that abolishing sex trafficking requires placing the stigma on the purchaser rather than the commodified women and girls they buy" (Langon and Mickelwait 1).

In other words, they believe that even when the government recognizes the problem, they are not taking enough action to help prevent sex trafficking culture from growing because the negative connotation has been placed on the victims, rather than the traffickers. Their argument in this context appeals to government and legislation because it gives insight over how some people may feel over current human trafficking legislation.

In contrast to Lagon and Mickelwait's article, Alex Trouteaud stands in disagreement with the claim that human trafficking legislation in the United States is not effective. Trouteaud, as a "Director of Policy and Research for Demand Abolition, an organization that fights to combat the illegal commercial sex industry in the U.S.," (Trouteaud 2) notices that the government is taking the necessary action to improve human trafficking legislation. Thus, throughout his argument, he says that "members of Congress… are writing smarter laws that address the problem at its roots" (Trouteaud 1). Traditional laws have not effectively addressed the human trafficking issue because they have not targeted the root of the problem. But, because Congress identified the source, they have since updated their policy. According to Trouteaud, the government established The Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act to help fund operations that seize traffickers. In addition, he claims that they have implemented the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prevent the demand for sex from women and children from rising. To Trouteaud, he believes that only when Congress had updated their policies by holding commercial sex buyers accountable for their actions, have the human trafficking laws been most effective. Therefore, in this context, his argument gives insight to those who feel as if human trafficking laws are ineffective.

Despite the differing views between Lagon and Mickelwait's claim, and Trouteau's views on whether or not human trafficking laws are effective, there is common ground. Both sides have identified the main source of the growing sex trafficking culture, which is due to the high demand for commercial sex. Lagon and Mickelwait use an economic theory of supply and demand by stating that "when a country allows for the legal purchase of sex, demand increases, as does the supply of women and girls needed to meet that demand" (Lagon and Mickelwait 1). Lagon and Mickelwait have been appalled by the results, and state a call to action for the government to recognize the root of the problem. Furthermore, Trouteaud stated that "high frequency buyers, who purchase sex dozens of times each year, are responsible for three of every four transactions in the illegal sex trade" (Trouteaud 1). Trouteaud has identified that the government has found the root of the human trafficking problem, similar to what Lagon and Mickelwait have identified. By both authors holding the same supply and demand theory, and attitude over the identification of the root of the problem, a common ground is reached.

Although Lagon and Mickelwait's views and Trousseau's claim prove to be opposing ends of the human trafficking legislation argument, a compromise can be reached. Since the concerns between both sides address the effectiveness of the human trafficking legislation and are within the same vicinity, which is over the concern of the effectiveness of the law, a solution can be made. The concerns between both sides may be addressed if they are willing to listen to the opposing point of view. In that way, they may find that because both sides agree in the common root of the sex trafficking issue, people in the United States can continue to push for more effective legislation that targets the problem of the high demand for commercial sex.

Thus, the government can pass more effective bills to create better laws for combatting human trafficking and ultimately, protect those who are most vulnerable as victims.

Works Cited

Lagon, Mark P., and Laila Mickelwait. "The U.S. Government Turns a Blind Eye to Policies

That Fuel Sex Trafficking." The Washington Post, WP Company, 1 Feb. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-government-.... Accessed 15 Mar. 2019

Trouteaud, Alex. "Anti-Trafficking Laws Have Made Great Progress." TheHill, 17 Aug. 2017,

thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/crime/346642-anti-trafficking-laws-have-made-great-progress. Accessed 13 Mar. 2019

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