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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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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