Saturday, July 25, 2009

A not so excellent letter to the President

A response to this email, Read here …

First, Kathleen Lyday is not the author. The author apparently is Franklin T. Bell

Second, the critical points made in this letter are not factual:

1.President Obama did not apologize for the United States, nor did he tell Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care about their status in the world.

He was telling them that as President of the United States that he was seeking a new kind of relationship with the world, a relationship that has been broken over the last eight years.

2.In a speech given in Turkey, Obama said, one of the great strengths of the United States" is that it does not consider itself "a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

Apparently Mr. Bell is not familiar with America’s First Amendment to the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Through the free exercise clause, it protects the individual's right to freedom of conscience and free expression of religious beliefs.

3.The Whitehouse explained that the president was shaking hands [supposedly, by some critiques, holding hands] with someone much shorter than him. In the past Presidents have been known to follow protocol offering gestures of respect to foreign dignitaries. In 2005, the Saudi King visited George W. Bush at the Crawford ranch where he was greeted by former President [George W. Bush] with a kiss.

4.Evidently, the author does not keep up with current events. If he had, he would have known of our President’s visit to the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer where the a graveyard, a symbol of America's sacrifice for Europe's freedom, is located, and would have read or listened to his D-Day at Normandy speech.

5.The bonuses and automatic pay increases were given last year in 2008, on G.W.B’s watch: Lawmakers Gave Out $9.1M Taxpayer Dollars in Bonuses to Their Staffs in 2008

6.The bonus situation with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came into existence and approved by the Bush’s administration.

Fannie's and Freddie's regulator, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James B. Lockhart, established a retention program when the companies were taken over by the government last fall.

President Obama did express outrage and concern over these bonuses, he said:.

But in order to restore our financial system, we’ve got to restore trust. And in order to restore trust, we’ve got to make certain that taxpayer funds are not subsidizing excessive compensation packages on Wall Street.

We all need to take responsibility. And this includes executives at major financial firms who turned to the American people, hat in hand, when they were in trouble, even as they paid themselves their customary lavish bonuses. As I said last week, that’s the height of irresponsibility. That’s shameful. And that’s exactly the kind of disregard for the costs and consequences of their actions that brought about this crisis: a culture of narrow self-interest and short-term gain at the expense of everything else.

This is America. We don’t disparage wealth. We don’t begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded. But what gets people upset – and rightfully so – are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste – it’s a bad strategy – and I will not tolerate it as President. We’re going to be demanding some restraint in exchange for federal aid – so that when firms seek new federal dollars, we won’t find them up to the same old tricks.

And last but not least, George W. Bush was well on his way to destroying our beautiful country. Read: The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

The economic quagmire we are now in is a result of a Republican congress negligence and of the Bush Administration’s lack of vigilance over the last eight years. Bush and his administration repeatedly said that the economy was strong and that we were not in a recession, when in fact, it was announced in the fall of 2008 that we have been in a recession since December 2007.

President Obama was handed a responsibility for the United States that was in foreign relations and economics quite a mess. We should honestly and unbiasedly critique his decisions, of course, but not unfairly, and certainly not through a personally biased interpretation, obfuscation, or being disingenuous about facts.