Looking on the Bright Side of Life

Bright Side of Life

Photo from Key West by Ribbie

from the political desk of Ribbie’s Weblog. 

Kavanaugh will be seated on the Supreme Court, but he may be unseated if the Democrats win the House and do a proper investigation into his background, following up on leads that Trump instructed the FBI not to explore.

Bright Size Life is one of my favorite records, released at the end of 1975, around the time John Paul Stevens was appointed by President Ford and confirmed by the Senate to serve on the Supreme Court.  He was thought to be conservative but mostly voted with the liberal block on key issues.

Jobim’s classic Wave, one of the greatest records of all time, was recorded in 1967.  And 51 years later, in just a few months, an unstoppable Blue Wave is coming.

The Senate may not turn blue, but it could happen.  Elections matter. All the Dems up for reelection need to keep their seats – if you live in FL, IN, MN, MO, MT, ND, NJ, OH, WI, WV, CA, CT, DE, HI, MA, MD, MI, NM, NY, PA, RI, VA, WA, VT, and especially in the highlighted states, be sure to vote and vote for the incumbent Democrat.  The Dems must maintain all these seats and gain two Republican seats.  Ok, so if you live in AZ, NV, TN and TX, vote Dem. I urge my friends and family who live in TX to please vote against Ted Cruz. And any other Texans out there who might be reading this, I ask you do the same.

I had to lol when the former Iowa farmer Chuck Grassley used the French term resistance, likening the Dems and those who oppose Kavanaugh to the Jacobins during the French Revolution. It was the most radical thing the frightened Republicans could think of to smear the opposition. My educated guess is the reference was not understood by most, and instead simply appealed to rabid Trumpists on a pure xenophobic level.

It should come as some comfort to know that Trump is one of the least popular presidents in modern history some 624 days in – less popular than Obama, the Bushes, Clinton, Carter, Ford, Kennedy, Eisenhower, and even Nixon. Trump, it’s not too late to resign.

Final thought:

The Blues could win the Senate

and the Red Sox

the Pennant.

 

 

 

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Trump is a Chump

from the editorial desk of Ribbie’s weblog

He’s a chump who seems to have no feeling for people who are struggling – ask the people of Puerto Rico, and the dreamers in limbo, and he has utter contempt for immigrants, refugees, journalists, traditional allies of the U.S., and anyone who opposes him including key Republicans like John McCain.  He is not the President of the United States, but rather a cult-like leader of a small group of xenophobes, white nationalists, billionaires, and undereducated right wing zealots who are vulnerable to propaganda.  Many of the 60 or so million who “voted” for him, did so more out of a hatred for Hillary Clinton, a hatred built on the lies of the right wing media (Fox, the Jim Jones conspiracy nut, and Brietbart) with tons of help from the mainstream media who gave Trump a platform early on and here I’m thinking the MSNBC Morning Joe program.  We now know that he got considerable help from his friends in Russia who used Facebook to sow seeds of dissent among Americans who we can now say definitely were duped, had, played.  Jim Comey, former FBI head also played a key role, perhaps unwittingly, in securing Trump’s “victory”. And even with all the help from the outside, from Wikileaks, the Russian back channels, Republican voter suppression tactics and the like, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The thing is, Trump has no mandate.  He barely won the electoral college and lost the popular vote.  He is supposed to be the president of all of the people and so far he has been the president of a small base of people who have extreme views that are undemocratic and based on unfounded, ginned-up fears and real hatred.

Trump is a Chump because he and his “expert” advisors – like Steven Miller who is anti-immigrant and a known race baiter and was the key architect of the Muslim travel ban, are now targeting the most vulnerable people on earth, desperate women and children escaping the dangers of their home countries.  They come as refugees, seeking asylum and they are now either being turned away at the border as never before, or they are crossing and being detained and separated – 2,342 kids so far have been separated from their parents and are being housed in what can only be described as cells and cages and sleeping with mylar blankets.  This policy is inhumane and unacceptable and has never been the policy of previous administrations.  Trump is doing this and then gaslighting the public by saying he isn’t doing this, that the Democrats have done this, that they refused to negotiate, that he had no choice but to enforce the law, that only Congress can fix, when this is patently untrue. He is lying to you and to me everyday, by the New York Times count, as many as 6 lies a day.  Once we accept a lie as truth, we are done for as a nation.

Trump is a chump because he has manufactured this border crisis to have a bargaining chip to get ungodly amounts of money for a ridiculous, unnecessary Trump wall.  It’s part of his branding fantasy. He wants you to think, look at all these people coming, see, we need a wall.  Wrong.  This strategy was ill-conceived, morally reprehensible and destined to fail.  If anything, people who once feared immigrants are seeing the images of desperate refugees at the border and the deplorable Trump policy of family separation and having a change of heart.  These are the people Trump wants you to believe are rapists, criminals, and gang members.  This is the flood of humanity that Trump claims that these countries are sending us – “their not sending their best”. They are not sending anyone – these refugees are in fact escaping violence and life-threatening poverty.  These are the very people America should help.  And lest you think immigrants (legal and “illegal”) are prone to committing crime once in the U.S., think again.  Statistics show that immigrants are significantly less likely to be incarcerated as a percentage than people born in the U.S.  And they are not taking jobs away from Americans – in fact, employers are desperate for workers in some sectors such as the hospitality and agriculture industries.  Rather than keep them out, we should be letting them in with open arms.  That’s who were are as people.  We have empathy for the plight of other people, and always have.  We are not a narcissistic psychopathic nation.  We are not a nation all about me, me, me, or the Trump brand.  We are a nation of immigrants and Trump is a chump.

 

Trump’s enduring friendship with Putin

 

2014-04-11 19.22.19.jpgThe journalists and political commentators seem confused or mystified as to why Donald Trump continues to act as a close personal friend to Putin and Russia. It’s not too complicated, in my view. I don’t know whether Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, but it seems obvious that Trump and his campaign knew Russia was trying to help. During the campaign Trump asked Russia to find Hillary’s emails and praised Wikileaks for all the “surprises.” Of course, Trump denies that Russian meddling had anything to do with his victory even though he surely knows better. For Trump to admit that he got help would make him look weak and illegitimate.  Insecure bullies like Trump want to look strong to mask their fears and insecurities. Trump looks up to Putin as a model dictator who has absolute authority and power. Trump has no patience for checks and balances which he thinks are meddlesome roadblocks.  He refers to any opposition as the enemy and to critics as being part of a witchhunt.  He seems to have no understanding of how a democracy works and no experience or respect for it; rather all he knows is how to run a family business that is accountable only to himself. And he is trying to run the country as if it were a Trump enterprise.

Another explanation for Trump’s bromance with Putin is that Putin may have something on Trump; the idea that Trump is compromised. This is not an original thought and many have wondered the same. It is not entirely clear what Putin has on Trump, but it may be that both are trying to cover up a money laundering scheme or other illegal financial activity which could explain why Trump refuses to release his taxes. Who knows, Putin may even have a tape that proves collusion or some other compromising evidence that has been out there for a while now. Or Trump may simply fear being poisoned like some of Putin’s opponents have been – there have been reports that Trump only eats fast food purchased by anonymous aides and brought to him secretly because he thinks these meals are poison free. It is just as likely that Trump has been promised a Trump Tower in Moscow, something I’ve read he’s wanted, in exchange for a friendly stance toward Russia – a quid pro quo so to speak. Whatever it is, Trump appears to be a lackey to Putin based on his behavior and actions since he’s been in office. Here is what Trump has seemingly delivered to Putin so far: delayed the sanctions that Congress passed for as long as possible; took a meeting with key Russian officials in the White House with no Western reporters allowed; berated NATO to demand they pay their fair share; hung out with Putin at the G-7 – shunning the leaders considered to be America’s closest allies; pulled out of the Paris Climate agreement; insulted Mexico; lied to Trudeau about trade deficits with Canada and has not rubuked Russia for its unleashing of nerve agents in England. He has also fired Secretary of State Tillerson, who Russia lobbied to have Trump hire initially, and then later soured on when he took a hard line on Russia. Don’t forget that Trump fired Comey and McCabe who he felt weren’t loyal to him (even though loyalty to Trump was not part of their jobs) and thought they didn’t do enough to stop the Russia investigation. And he has never publically rebuked Putin by name for his hand in meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Instead, he congratulated Putin for his “victory” as Trump himself contemplates the dream of being in the league of dictators – a  “president” for life, accountable only to Vladimir Putin.

There, I’ve said it and feel better now.

The Post: A film review

unnamedI saw The Post last night at a packed theatre near Boston.  I don’t go to the cinema for a picture show very often given my schedule, but when I do, I try to be as selective as possible. I really couldn’t pass up a film about the Washington Post and the Pentagon Papers.  I’m old enough to remember the Vietnam War and nightly news coverage.  And like most of the other baby boomers in the audience, I have fond memories of reading the newspaper.  In my hometown, there were two major newspapers; one delivered in the morning and the other in the evening; my family subscribed to both.  As a youth, I was even a paperboy for a few years with my own route in the neighborhood where I lived. I delivered the newspaper on my bicycle and in a convertible MG midget when I was old enough to drive.  I remember there always being someone reading the newspaper in the house and there being pages strewn on the couch and coffee table as kind of permanent fixtures.

The film plot was fairly straightforward.  The New York Times had just published a series of articles from a leaked classified study commissioned by the U.S. government on the U.S. role in Indochina from World War II to the late ’60s. I believe Bob McNamara was its principal author.  Stunningly, the study concluded that the chances of winning the Vietnam War were next to nothing. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the document to the Times happened to be a friend of a Post employee played by Bob Odenkirk, of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad fame.  He obtained the documents from Ellsberg after the Times had been hit with a court injunction on national security grounds to stop publishing the leaks from the study.  The Post, then owned by Cathyrn Graham, played by Meryl Streep, had to decide whether to publish portions of the papers they had obtained from Ellsberg, during this injunction period knowing it would be in violation of the law.  I won’t tell you whether they did or not – you’ll have to see the film to find out, but I will say there was a lot of drama around what to do, complicated by the fact that the Washington Post was in the process of becoming a publically traded entity, to try to become a nationally viable newspaper.

The acting was serviceable in all respects; even understated.  No character dominated the action or stood out as the star.  Meryl Streep probably captured Cathyrn Graham exactly as she was, somewhat overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking over a newspaper that had been in her husband’s family for years, but courageous particularly in the face of the male-dominated newspaper business. Though she was depicted as more of a socialite, by the end of the movie, she had evolved into a significant feminist influence. Tom Hanks, who played the editor Ben Bradlee, was an important force and one who Graham clearly trusted.  Their on-screen chemistry was not magical, but appropriate for an editor-owner relationship.

My quibble with the film was the shots of protests and other street scenes.  I did not get the feeling of the ’70s which seemed inauthentic and staged.  The hippies were too clean.  The smokers looked like they had not yet learned how to smoke.  The cars were not representative of what one might have seen on the streets at that time – like the hippies, too clean; straight out of central casting.

What makes the film compelling is not the acting or the cinematography but the subject matter.  Just as then, freedom of speech is under assault by an authoritarian President who is not fit for office.  Trump’s endless attacks on the press are concerning.  He has been trying to bring down the press because he believes it provides too many checks on his power.  He fears reporters and authors, not to mention the special prosecutor, have gotten too close to exposing his misdeeds and possible crimes during the campaign and as President.  He lashes out with the phrase “fake news” anytime something is published about him that he doesn’t like.  He has repeatedly called reporters awful people; he has called the Times the “failing” New York Times even though it is thriving; he just threatened lawsuits against an author and publisher for an unflattering book about himself and his presidency.  And his threat to strengthen libel laws is clearly an attempt to silence his critics.  His dictatorial style cannot be tolerated, and our free press must continue to call him out and not be intimidated.  He may have bullied his way into the presidency, but now he must function within a constitutional democracy with checks and balances. The Supreme Court upheld the power of the first amendment, ruling in favor of the press publishing the Pentagon Papers which ultimately led to the end of the Vietnam War and the Nixon presidency.  Trump, are you listening?

Elderly Bridge Denied Health Coverage

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A bridge badly in need of medical care recently received news that given its preexisting condition, it would no longer be covered under Trumpcare.  Distraught, the bridge called the Trumpcare hotline for help.  A transcript of the conversation has been obtained by the investigative unit of Ribbie’s Weblog and reads as follow:

Trumpcare: You’ve reached the Trumpcare hotline, how can I hurt help you?

Mr. Bridgey: Yes, I received a letter indicating that my preexisting condition will not be covered under Trumpcare.  That CAN’T be true.  Trump promised preexisting conditions would be covered.

Trumpcare: I’m awfully sorry, what he meant was that you would have access to health care in a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: But I can’t swim.

Trumpcare:  That’s why it’s a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: How much will my premium be?  It’s currently $1,700 a year.

Trumpcare: Well, that depends on your age, condition and salary.

Mr. Bridgey:  I’m 64 and earn $27,000 a year and I suffer from crumbling infrastructure.

Trumpcare: Let’s see, just a minute – ok, that would be $13,000 a year, assuming your state does not request a waiver of rules under Obamacare.  In some states, the rehabilitation services you may need will no longer be available.

Mr. Bridgey: That’s crazy, I can’t pay that and you are saying that even if I could, rehabilitation services might not be available at all.

Trumpcare: That’s right. However, if you live in Alaska, and you are a bridge to nowhere, you might just be in luck.

Mr. Bridgey: But I don’t understand.  I paid into medicare and social security dutifully my whole life. I have helped millions of commuters get to work over the span of my lifetime.  Whatever happened to the social contract?

Trumpcare: Sir, I’m afraid that’s been renegotiated.

Mr Bridgey: So this is it.  A death panel.

Trumpcare: Is there anything else I can hurt help you with?

Top 10 Reasons For Comey Firing

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Rod Rosenstein must be wondering how he got on the sinking ship, as did both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  Being forced to write a memo to justify Comey’s firing would not have been a pleasurable task for the career bureaucrat, that is unless he had chosen to have some fun with it.  And if he had chosen the later, he might have offered this top 10 list of the best reasons to can Comey.

10) As a Chemistry major, Comey believes in Science.

9) He’s friendly with former Univ. of Chicago classmate Dem. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

8) He promised to be truthful rather than loyal.

7) But her emails!

6) Comey called you “crazy” and “outside the realm of normal”; he may not even like steak well-done with ketchup – talk about crazy!

5) He likely wire tapped all the microwave ovens in the White House.

4) He’s said to be the most promising athlete to come out of the Yonkers/Queens area. But as you know Mr. President, YOU are the best baseball player ever to come out of New York.

3) No longer a registered Republican, he could be your chief presidential rival in 2020.

2) At 6’8″, Comey grandstands everyday.

And the NUMBER ONE reason to fire Director Comey:  He asked for a second scoop of vanilla ice-cream at your dinner meeting!

Trump as King Richard III and Don Quixote

 

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Dali’s Don Quixote from Rio exhibit

 

After reading Richard III, Shakespeare’s tragedy/history about a power hungry manipulative sociopath who plots his way to the throne of England, I cannot help but think of Donald Trump.  It’s as if Shakespeare modeled Richard Gloucester after Trump.  And while Trump has not actually murdered his adversaries as did Richard, he did destroy his political rivals on the campaign trail and as president has gone after his opponents and critics with a vengeance.  In the following post, I’ll explore the physical, personality, and historical similarities between President Trump (not my President) and King Richard III, the illigimate and brief ruler of England.

Physically, Richard Gloucester, later King Richard, aka Richard III, and Donald Trump share some attributes.  Both are unattractive.  The tall and portly Trump sports synthetic, free flowing, drug induced orange hair.  Richard had a withered arm and hunch back. Both are sensitive and testy about their physical flaws and Trump goes to great length to prove that his hands are above average and that his hair is real.

Psychologically, both men are extraordinarily needy and quite unaccustomed to hearing the word no.  They seem to have not been deeply loved as children and consequently developed inferiority complexes. At one point, Richard admits to hating himself. Trump on the other hand can admit no wrongs. One could argue that both are narcissistic, and incapable of feeling empathy or sympathy for others.  They personalize all events and interactions and value loyality above all else, and become paranoid and suspicious of their closest allies.

Both rose to power by deceit, threat, bluster, and the brutal takedown of opponents. Richard had them all killed while Trump cut them down with viscious verbal attacks. Like Richard, Trump is spectacularly unfit and unqualfied to govern and has surrounded himself with loyal but incompetent and enabling men and women.  And it is yet to be seen who among his loyalists will become suspect and driven out.  Will it be KellyAnne Conway or Sean Spicer who draws the figurative fate of Buckingham? Could Steve Bannon be secretly plotting with the Russians to use Trump and then claim the throne for himself as did Richmond through Lord Stanley?  Will Trump’s reign of terror end as abrubtly as did Richard’s brief tenure on the throne?  The writing may already be on the wall.  Toward the end, Richard became positively unhinged, to the point of flailing wildly with a sword on the battlefield after being unhorsed, not unlike Trump’s incoherent tantrums on Twitter lashing out recklessly in ALL CAPS at ALL critics real or imagined like Don Quixote.

Top 10 Plurals for Goldman Sachs

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Rachel Maddow issued a challenge for viewers to come up with an appropriate plural designation when speaking of Trump’s Goldman Sachs (GS) hires.  You know, like a group of Sachs or a bag of Goldman Sachs or a school of Sachs and so on.  You will recall that Trump has named, hired, or appointed something like 6 from the Wall Street firm.  Interestingly, and some would say hypocritically so, he brutally criticized Hillary Clinton for being “totally controlled by Goldman Sachs.” Well, it looks like he was secretly winking at her when saying this because it appears that it is he, not she who will be controlled by Goldman Sachs.  So how do we refer to a group of GS Trump advisers? Here is my list of top ten possibilities with brief explanations:

  1. A coalition of GS, as in a coalition of cheetah, or perhaps even more appropriate, a coalition of GS Cheetos.
  2. A tribe of GS, as in a tribe of goats.  Maybe they will say things Trump doesn’t like and in doing so get his goat.
  3. A bloat of GS, as in a bloat of hippos. Hippos, as one knows, are potentially dangerous to people and so too might a bloat of GS be if financial regulations are relaxed.
  4. A romp of GS, as in a romp of otters who are slick to the touch and like to playfully romp around in rough waters. Let’s just hope the romp of GS advisers doesn’t romp around with our investments.
  5. A wake of GS, as in a wake of buzzards. Now, this sounds bleak and terrifying, to be honest.
  6. A wreck of GS, as in a wreck of seabirds is not much better. An unregulated Wall Street could wreck the economy again and your retirement account along with it.
  7. A murmuration of GS, as in a murmuration of starlings. Can’t you see them all flying in formation? What a spectacle it would be.
  8. A descent of GS, like a descent of woodpeckers pecking away at your life savings until there is nothing left.
  9. A plague of GS, like a plague of insects I think speaks for itself.
  10. A scourge of GS like a scourge of blood sucking mosquitoes – not a pretty image.

In all fairness, I am not against Goldman Sachs or any other investment firm or big bank as long as they play by the rules and behave responsibly.  It just seems so hypocritical for Trump to have derided Clinton for her connections to Wall Street when it is clear that his administration is going to BE Wall Street.  Well, he did say he was going to buld a wall, I just didn’t expect it to be made of Goldman Sachs.

Trump’s Terrible 21 SCOTUS Picks

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I’m still having a hard time accepting and digesting that Donald J. Trump is the president-elect of these United States.  What makes it painful is knowing that Clinton won the popular by more than 2 million votes and that but for voting irregularities including Russian tampering – breaking into DNC computers and the Wiki-Leaks, all apparently with the knowledge and encouragement of the Trump campaign – and GOP voter suppression in key battleground states, she would have won the electoral college and the election as well.  Donald Trump was right – the election was rigged – he and the GOP made sure of it. Now I am in the camp that argues Clinton should demand a recount and mount a challenge where irregularities were found. Unfortunately, she has indicated that she would not and has already conceded and what’s more, President Obama has already, for all intents and purposes, handed him the keys.  I still cling to the possibility that some bombshell will drop that disqualifies both Trump and Pence or that the electors will come to their senses and nominate Clinton instead and then the House follow suit.  I know I am dreaming.  Which brings me to the topic of this post.  The Supreme Court.

In a move of extreme dereliction of duty and disrespect to the President and the Constitution, the GOP has refused to even allow hearings on President Obama’s supreme court pick after Justice Scalia’s death in February.  They argued that the people should decide when choosing the next president.  It was a risky strategy that worked. Ted Cruz and others no doubt argued that 8 justices were all we needed suggesting that even if Clinton were elected, they would not allow any of her picks to move forward. So I say now to the Democrats, game on. Chuck Schumer has indicated that the Dems would use the filibuster if Trump nominates an extreme candidate and there is every indication that he will.

The National Review, a right wing rag, is positively giddy at the prospect of Trump naming William Pryor or Diane Sykes, the later considered an “originalist” that is, she and others being considered view the constitution as a fixed and dead document that the rich, white and privileged male framers might have recognized.  These two and 9 others comprised Trump’s orignal 11 picks.  He has since added 10 more to the list. Talk about turning the clock back.  Both Pryor and Sykes, indubitably, would overturn Roe v. Wade, and specifically Sykes has made statements and rulings that are hostile to LGBTQ rights.  Sykes, the more likely pick is even to the right of Scalia on the ideological spectrum; Pryor ever so slightly to the left of him. See Wapo chart.   I am reminded of the song, “Stuck in the Middle with You.”

Trump’s list of 21 including the aforementioned joker and clown consists of people who want to turn the clock back to a time when women had no reproductive rights and LGBTQ members could not openly and safely even come out.  On this list, you will find judges and even the most ideologically extreme Senator on the Hill, whose views are hostile to immigrants, women, blacks, the middle class, the LGBTQ community, the environment, and unions.  Many are candidates who do not resepct the separation of church and state, and do not favor gun safety measures. You can bet that they would protect the Citizens United ruling, to ensure that American elections can be bought by the highest bidders for generations to come. And if Trump is lucky, and God help us all if he is, he might get as many as three picks during his tenure.  People, Dems, if we don’t apply pressure on our elected officals to block these nominations, we are doomed!

Are there any on the list who would be acceptable?  No.  But if you look at the ideological spectrum chart from the Washington Post article above, those who are the farthest to the left of Scalia would be better than ones closer to his views and preferable to those extreme ideologues to his right. Unfortunately, the article only examined candidates from the federal bench, which I think only includes 9 of the 21. The most dangerous ones, the so-called “originalists” are Gorsuch, Kethledge, Sykes and the Lee brothers.

About all I can conclude here is that Trump’s picks are pretty bad.  There isn’t one that I feel the least bit comfortable with as a progressive.  I like the idea of diversity and ideally, I would like to see another Hispanic or Black or the first Asian or Native American on the court. But as we know, diversity of background does not always make the court more ideologically diverse.  If only the President would make a lame duck appointment and install Merrick Garland.  But that’s not likely to happen.  Best case is for Dems to filibuster the most extreme of the 21.  And if that means blocking all his picks, so be it.  In the words of the GOP, slightly paraphrased, Americans should have the right to say who their next SCOTUS justice will be. I agree. Americans elected Barak Obama and are still waiting for the Senate to hold hearings on his pick.  And don’t forget that Clinton won the popular by more than 2 million votes.  Americans have spoken twice now and deserve to be heard.

Thank You President Obama

Whether you supported President Obama or not, you should be thankful to him for his service.  And while it has been a tumultuous 8 years in which the GOP did all they could to to derail his presidency, unsuccessfully I might add, his accomplishments are many and all the more impressive.  As you evaluate the next presidency, keep President Obama’s achievements in mind.   Then decide if you and the country are better off in 4 years.

Terrorism: No ISIS or Al-Queda terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The attacks in San Bernadino, Orlando and the Boston Marathon bombings were perpetrated by lone actors.

Unemployment: 4.9% as of October 2016. President Obama took office after the finanical markets crashed and a recession set in.  He injected a stimulus plan, bailed out the U.S. auto industry, and stabilized the economy. As a result, he’s presided over 6 straight years of declining unemployment.  Since 1920, only the Clinton adminstration can boast a better record of straight years of unemployment decline, at 7.

Gas Prices: I just filled my tank for $20 at $2.11 a gallon.  Yes, I have a small car with a small gas tank but still, 20 bucks! In 2012, Trump said that because of a deal the President made with the Saudis, that after the 2012 election, gas and oil prices would “go through the roof, like never before…” Wrong. Gas prices actually fell through the roof since Trump’s comment and are at their lowest levels, factoring in adjutments for inflation, since 2003 when gas prices begin to sharply increase during W’s adminsitration.

Immigration: For the record, I’d like a more welcoming policy.  That said, more undocumented immigrants settled in the U.S. during the W. Bush adminstration than during the Obama administration.  And among those, more overstayed a visa, than crossed the border, which calls into question the need for an expensive wall that U.S. taxpayers would be required to purchase.  Mexico isn’t paying for a wall and even Newt Gingrich confessed that Trump’s promise was nothing more than a rhetorical device a/k/a a blustering lie.

The Markets: If you have a 401k plan, thank Obama for your gains.  The markets respond favorably to calm and stability.  The Dow Jones has increased steadily and reached historic highs since the market crash of 2008.

Health Care: Say what you want about the Affordable Health Care Act, but more than 20 million previously uninsured citizens now have health care coverage. And while health insurance premiums are on the rise, fewer people are dying for lack of care. Were Obama care repealed and not replaced, (and the GOP does not have a detailed workable replacement plan) an estimated 15 million people would lose their insurance.  Folks, guaranteed heath care should be a human right in a wealthy country and part of our social contract. Actually, one of the main reasons premiums are going up is because not enough of the uninsured have enrolled in Obamacare.  Some people are willfully and defiantly paying the penalty to avoid having to buy health insurance at all, some, admittedly for financial reasons, but some purely on principle.  Nothwithstanding the reasons, the  insured are forced to absorb the costs through increased premiums.  And were those who have opted out to get seriously sick or have a costly medical emergency, who do you think would foot the bill if they can’t?

LGBTQ protections:  Human rights matter, including support for marriage equality, and anti-discriminatory laws to protect federal workers and students.

DACA: Immigrant rights matter. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival protects the children of undocumented immimgrants  who meet certain conditions from being deported.  Also, he supported the Dream Act which would have allowed certain undocumented youth who were pursuing education or were in the military and had been in the country for a certain length of time the possibility to earn citizenship.  Though it unfortunately did not pass Congress, the Dreamers’ plight could be addressed in an immigration reform bill which the President had hoped would be taken up before the end of his term in office.

The Supreme Court:  Diversity matters.  President Obama nominated two women to the high court and the first Latina in Sonia Sotomayor. Prior to Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, there had only been 2 other women ever to serve on the court.  He also nominated 171 women for federal judicial vacancies, more than any other President.

Diplomacy:  Just that, as a starting point.  I happen to think the Iran nuclear deal is in the best interest of humanity. They stop tying to weaponize their nuclear program and the world becomes a safer place.  Additionally, we’ve normalized our relations with Cuba after many years of failed sanctions that only hurt the Cuban people and did nothing to bring about political change there. I’ve always thought that the minute we lifted sanctions, the Castro regime would weaken. And it has in some ways such that soon, for better or worse, Havana will become the world’s playground again and hopefully, the Cuban people will benefit from the economic boom.

Climate change:  Our President believes in science and has joined with the rest of the world to try to do something about it.  As a father, he cares about what kind of planet his daughters inherit.

This is not an exhaustive list.  And I could publish a part II.  And while I disagree with some of Obama’s policies, it must be said that he was an exceedingly thoughtful and effective President who was graceful under fire and took the high road when gratuitously attacked.  I will miss him.