Skip to main content

Reviewing the Obama administration

Rouhani and Salehi in Bushehr Nuclear Plant (1).jpg

It has 8 months left to run, but here are some retrospective thoughts on almost-the-whole of it.

1. Gitmo's infamous detention camp remains open. This wouldn't necessarily stick in one's craw except that Obama issued an executive order as early as January 22, 2009, with the confetti from the inaugural parties still incompletely cleared away, that said it would be closed within one year.

2. Another one that goes back a ways. Obama early on pressed for a cash-for-clunkers bill, which he signed on June 26th of that first year, supposedly to revive the auto industry. It was a cheap gimmick that had no good effect at all.

3.  The whole rebellion in Libya thing was horrendously mismanaged.   Absurdly, the administration seems to have thought it was exercising what it called "smart power" in this connection., Nothing smart about it.  Ended with the need to use a random video as a cover for whatever the heck actually happened in Benghazi.

4. Waffling on things like the Keystone pipeline extension, and eventually coming down against. Independence from the crude oil we've been importing from the most war-torn parts of the world is a vital national security necessity, to which the administration periodically pays service of the lips. But when something useful might be done in that line, then waffle and back away. 

5. Related: Obama's public defenses of the sanctions-ending deal with Iran have been lame and have tended to throw the deal into disrepute. The deal is perfectly sensible, but one wishes for a President who was willing to say, "we're doing this to bring Iranian oil back into the world markets in the full light of day, to worsen the competitive position of the Saudis and help undermine the coherence of OPEC."   Obama wasn't and isn't willing to say things that would tick off the Saud family.

There are positive things one might say about Obama's administration too, though. Heck, I hinted broadly at one of them in that fifth comment above, though I wrapped it in a criticism.

Basically the positive things one might say come down to the suspicion things would have been worse under McCain or Romney.

Comments

  1. Regarding #1, I don't think that Obama's offense is in keeping Gitmo open. It is in keeping people imprisoned there for seven and a half years without due process (and torturing them by force-feeding). Obama apparently considered moving them to prisons in the United States, which would have been just as unconstitutional as keeping them at Gitmo.

    By the way, the U.S. Constitution overrides federal statutes. Therefore, Obama cannot blame Congress for preventing him from closing Gitmo and releasing the people he is holding there unconstitutionally. Congress may enact all the laws it wants requiring prisoners to remain in Gitmo, and Obama would be obliged by the Constitution to disobey them. If Congress threatened to impeach him for disobeying the law, he could point out that obeying the Constitution is not a high crime or misdemeanor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. eToro is the ultimate forex broker for newbie and professional traders.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …