Date Published: 11/23/09
PRESIDENTS OBAMA AND YAR’ADUA IN THE EYES OF THE STORM By Temple Chima Ubochi
There is no respect for others without humility in one's self. (Henri Frederic Amiel)
Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners. (Laurence Sterne)
The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become. (Harold Taylor)
Respect commands itself and it can neither be given nor withheld when it is due. (Eldridge Cleaver)
The difference between one man and another is not mere ability... it is energy. (Thomas Arnold)
Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness. (Napoleon Hill)
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it. (Thomas Jefferson)
When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom. (John Gray)
We must build a new world, a far better world - one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected. (Harry S. Truman)
Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen. (Peter Marshall)
Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. (Lou Holtz)
Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. (John Wooden)
Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat. Rather achievement can be all the more satisfying because of obstacles surmounted. (William Hastie)
Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest. (Georgia O'Keeffe)
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Men who are resolved to find a way for themselves will always find opportunities enough; and if they do not find them, they will make them. (Samuel Smiles)
Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. (Vincent Lombardi)
Americans can be funny at times. They are criticising President Obama for bowing in reciprocation to the Japanese emperor and empress. Respect would never diminish an American President’s status as the most powerful man in the world, rather it would increase it. It shows humility even with the enormous powers at his disposal and that’s a plus for the president. His election ushered in a new world order away from the reckless arrogance and pomposity of some of his predecessors which helped in putting America/Americans at risk all the time.
Obama knows what he’s doing; he might be more intelligent than those criticising his every move, his action in Japan might be tactful and diplomacy at its best.
His election brought with it a new dawn and a different way of doing things for the most powerful office in the world and its occupant. Obama is working very hard to restore what Americans lost during the disastrous outing of George W Bush.
Afterall, our own Yar’Adua visited George Bush’s White House and came out to say that “that day was the best day of his life” (If I put it correctly as he ignominiously did), and still nobody crucified him for that.
To show it’s not business as usual and with the African blood running through his veins, Obama is showing that respect, instead of being a sign of weakness, is a sign of strength. Someone wrote: I believe that Obama is deliberately raising the blood pressure of the ultra-conservatives of this country by some of these his cultured acts overseas, so as to show their viciousness up. I cannot imagine that he did not discuss this issue of protocol with his advisors before going over to Japan, and must have said "Let them go to hell if I bow down!" The picture also showed the Emperor and his wife bowing down too to Obama. Which one these conservatives dey sef? After all, Obama was visiting Japan. Another wrote: All the noise about Obama bowing to the Japanese Emperor is just that, noise. One area Africans differ most significantly with the West is because we are deeply rooted in culture, and we instinctively respect the culture of others. Bowing is a major element of respect and appreciation in oriental culture.
I believe Obama´s bowing to the Japanese emperor is out of his instinctive African make up and in no way represents submission. President Obama did the same when he visited the Queen of England. If you look at the photo of President Obama and the emperor, you notice that the Emperor also bowed toward Obama, although that is not as obvious because he is significantly shorter than Obama.
Last night, (November 16, 2009), Keith Olbermann of MSNBC showed videos of President Nixon bowing to Emperor Hirohito, father of the current emperor and Reagan to the former French president. President George W. Bush kissed the Saudi King when he visited. Foreign Policy blog puts it this way, "following cultural convention is not submission".
I would return to Obama at the concluding part of this article.
Yar’Adua should be praised for pulling a fast one in the name of amnesty for the Niger Delta militants, making it possible in just four months, for the daily crude oil production to increase from 1, 2 million to 2, 4 million barrels. That might have been his only major achievement since taking office. But the question is: What forced him to take that decision? He sent the Joint Task Force to flush out or kill the militants, but, the militants became overarching and ubiquitous and were able to outsmart the JTF due to the dangerous terrains alien to the JTF and home to the militants. Yar’Adua hadn’t any other choice than to capitulate, because he and his co-travellers in looting, have depleted the foreign reserve he was handed over to by his predecessor, the excess crude oil account he also inherited has gone down from 27 billion dollars to 7 billion dollars, the government was almost broke and on the brink of collapse. So Yar’Adua had no other choice than to grant amnesty to those not convicted of any crime. If there’s sincerity of purpose here, why did he had to wait for almost two years in office before initiating the amnesty programme, afterall, the Niger Delta problem preceded his presidency?
Now the oil production has increased, it means more money for them to loot. Do any of us think that the increased production in oil and more money for the government and its cronies would trickle down to the poor masses in any way? Would the Niger Delta people, other than the warlords, gain anything from the increase in oil production and sales? Now the politicians in Abuja and other places would have more money to steal, the presidency officials, national assembly members, state governors, states house of assembly members, local government chairmen, councillors and some senior government officials in all tiers of government would then increase their salary/allowances/recompense rather than use the more money from the increased oil production to make life better for all. Now, the politicians can afford to buy more exotic and bullet-proof automobiles, the elections are soon coming, the would have enough cash to throw around, but, the poor people suffering because of the oil exploration/drilling that’s devastating their environment, would get nothing from it. The “locusts”, similar to those of Shagari’s years, came in with this government and have “devoured” our commonwealth ferociously. Nigeria is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in the annual “corruption index” released Tuesday, November 17, 2009, from Transparency International. It means Nigeria is now the 44th most corrupt Nation on earth.
We hope Yar’Adua would tackle some of our numerous problems with the same zeal he applied to the amnesty issue. But the problem is that time is of the essence, there isn’t much time on his side. His tenure is fast coming to an end, although he has started planning seriously for his second term already, when there isn’t much to show for his first term uptill now. We just learned that Yar’Adua’s second term bid kicked off in Abuja on November 16, 2009, with the announcement of the names of members of the board of trustees and state coordinators of his campaign team. We thought he should have “slept through” (always at his best when it comes to sleeping on duty) his first term and then hand over to another person so as to have enough time to take care of his health, which is supposed to be the most important thing for him.
His attitude here is just like a case of a drowning man crying for help and still adding that if he’s rescued, that he would go swimming again. His ill-health has made more headlines than any policy he initiated and implemented. His ill-health has taken a huge toll on the business of governance. We cannot afford many more years of a sick president for a sick country. There are numerous problems which demand seriousness on the part of a healthy leader and Yar’Adua is not that kind of a person.
The northerners know how to play the southerners to get what they want, so anybody rejoicing because of the amnesty, need to think again. Afterall, some of the militants who were granted amnesty, have started regretting laying down their arms, because, it seems they were fooled into it as all they were promised, are not forth coming. The whole amnesty of a thing might as well be a poisoned chalice in disguise, who knows? Only time will tell whether Yar’Adua’s aim is genuine or a deceit to keep the oil flowing for those who think they are the owners of Nigeria. So let’s not be carried away for now, until we start seeing positive changes because of the relative peace, more oil production and sales, courtesy of the amnesty.
Finally, some people might claim of seeing the difference between Obama as a candidate, and Obama as an administrator, but, I have something here to show that President Obama has achieved more than many of his predecessors in his first 6 months in office.
Obama Has Done This!
If you listen to the media all you hear is negativity. Here's what Obama has done. This is refreshing.
While we may or may not agree with the actions of some things on the list, there are significant deeds here which we may not be aware of and may need to weigh before making a personal assessment.
The author is Professor Robert Watson of Lynn University who was once a writer for the New York Times.
Professor Watson writes:
I am always being asked to grade Obama´s presidency. In place of offering him a grade, I put together a list of his accomplishments thus far. I think you would agree that it is very impressive. His first six months have been even more active than FDRs or LBJs the two standards for such assessments. Yet, there is little media attention given to much of what he has done. Of late, the media is focusing almost exclusively on Obama´s critics, without holding them responsible for the uncivil, unconstructive tone of their disagreements or without holding the previous administration responsible for getting us in such a deep hole. The misinformation and venom that now passes for political reporting and civic debate is beyond description.
As such, there is a need to set the record straight. What most impresses me is the fact that Obama has accomplished so much not from a heavy-handed or top-down approach but from a style that has institutionalized efforts to reach across the aisle, encourage vigorous debate, and utilize town halls and panels of experts in the policy-making process. Beyond the accomplishments, the process is good for democracy and our democratic processes have been battered and bruised in recent years.
Let me know if I missed anything in the list (surely I did).
1. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending
2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices
3. Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women
4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB
6. Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information
7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier's family
8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act
9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible
10. Limits on lobbyist's access to the White House
11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren't even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan
14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
16. New federal funding for science and research labs
17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect
19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools
20. New funds for school construction
21. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out
22. US Auto industry rescue plan
23. Housing rescue plan
24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan
25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying
26. US financial and banking rescue plan
27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards
29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops
30. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
31. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/ protocols
32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
35. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job
36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast
37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales
39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
41. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program
42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba , allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones
43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labelling carbon dioxide emissions
44. Expanding vaccination programs
45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
46. Closed offshore tax safe havens
47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
49. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry's predatory practices
50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
51. Lower drug costs for seniors
52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings
53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
54. Improved housing for military personnel
55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses
56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals
57. Increasing student loans
58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program
59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
60. Established a new cyber security office61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.
62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts
63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness
64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient
65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced
66. Improving benefits for veterans
67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration
68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud
69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco
70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules
71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports
72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons
73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen . Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive
74. Making more loans available to small businesses
75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare
76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court
77. Authorized construction/ opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000
79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan
81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan
82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans
83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production
84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters
85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket
86. Held first Seder in White House
87. Attempting to reform the nation's healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more under insured
88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform
89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform
90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform
Oh, and he built a swing set for the girls outside the Oval Office!
Robert P. Watson, Ph.D. Coordinator of American Studies
Treat each other with the greatest respect. Nurture one another at every opportunity, and play well together.
PLEASE CAN SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT’S WRONG WHEN A LEADER RESPECTS FOTREIGN CULTURE?
US President Barack Obama and Japanese Emperor Akihito bow to each other as they shake hands and the Empress watches
FRENCH PRESIDENT SARKOZY WEARING A JEWISH SKULL CAP
THIS IS HILARY CLINTON WEARING ISLAMIC HEAD COVER IN CAIRO
PRESIDENTS GEORGE W. BUSH, PUTIN AND OTHERS IN JAPANESE ATTIRE AT THE G8 IN 2006
PUTIN AS RUSSIAN PRESIDENT IN JEWISH SKULL CAP
THE THANXS IS ALL YOURS!!!
Temple Chima Ubochi writes from Bonn, Germany through firstname.lastname@example.org