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Critiques of various Pro-Obama sites

whatheheckhasobamadonesodar.com

Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009
This was needed legislation, and it is good that Obama signed it, but the summary makes it sounds like some huge overhaul. If Obama supporters want to be taken seriously, they should avoid overstating matters. The legislation is very short, and all it does is define when the statute of limitations begins to run on a claim. Instead of beginning to run from the date of the first discriminatory paycheck as the Supreme Court had ruled, the clock is essentially reset with each paycheck, though one can only recover for unfair pay in the two years prior to filing the claim. This is obviously very important to those who seek to make a claim -- being time barred would really suck. But be realistic, this is a tweak to an existing law, not the groundbreaking legislation the headline seems to suggest.

Provided travel expenses to families of fallen soldiers to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/pentagon-will-help-families/
I'll take you at your word on this, but wouldn't it have been better if the soldiers simply hadn't been killed at all in Obama's extension and expansion of the Bush wars? Or another way to think about it -- who cares in comparison to due process free execution, detention, wiretapping, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, is that all you got?

Reversed the policy of barring media coverage during the return of fallen soldiers to Dover Air Force Base
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7986203.stm
Truthy, but not accurate. The policy is that photos are allowed providing the families agree. Besides, not to be repetitive, but wouldn't the more progressive thing to do have been to make sure the soldiers didn't die by ending Bush's wars rather than extending them?

Launched recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, providing transparency and allowing the public to report fraud, waste, or abuse
http://recovery.gov
OK, but did his website break the news about the 7.7 TRILLION in SECRET loans up through March 2009, that the Fed gave banks and failed to notify Congress about? This at the time the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was being debated and castrated? Granted, Obama had just taken office and maybe his website didn't exist. So what about after March 2009? Turns out the Fed Audit mandated by Dodd-Frank turned up 16 trillion in secret loans. Here's the whole GAO report, note the table on page 131 (PDF page 144) showing 16,000 billion (16 trillion) in lending between 12-1-2007 and 7-21-2010. Obama was president more than half that time period.

Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America's Veterans
http://www4.va.gov/budget/products.asp
Maybe so, but follow the link -- nowhere is this $1.4B discussed. There were budget increases much greater than $1.4B, but what would you expect with the continuation of wars under Obama? Maybe it's dental benefits? Those were expected to be $1.4B in 2011. See page 2A-4 (PDF page 28) of the 2011 Budget, choose the FY 2011 Vol 1 Summary Volume. Who knows really -- there's probably a thousand pages of sublinks on the cited page, but no direct link to this $1.4B, so it really is hard to know what exactly this Obama achievement was.

Signed the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health care to 11 million kids -- 4 million of whom were previously uninsured
http://themiddleclass.org/bill/children039s-health-insurance-program-reauthorization-act-2009
Finally, we get one that is true! Bush had been vetoing SCHIP legislation.

Issued executive order to repeal Bush era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/09/obama-administration-stem-cell-funding
This is true and a good policy, although one may rightfully question whether the President actually can make his own laws, but we'll leave constitutional issues aside. Taking the Executive Order at face value, it was quite nearly a disaster leading to heightened restrictions through unintended consequences exactly BECAUSE Obama has done nothing to encourage Congress to overturn Dickey-Wicker. This is a Federal law enacted in 1996 which prohibits the NIH from funding "(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 C.F.R. 46.204(b) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b))."

That's still the law. If Obama was serious about stem cell research, he'd use the bully pulpit and the majority he once had, and twist arms in Congress to get the law amended. Until Dickey-Wicker is dead, stem cell research will sway at the whim of judicial opinion. This time, the Court of Appeals got it right, what about the next time? Nobody knows. The advantage to working within the Constitution and creating law the legal way, is that it makes everything much more certain.

Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis
http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.ddJFKRNoFiG/b.4506337/apps/s/content.asp?ct=6866203
Nice -- honestly -- but the bill was a bi-partisan effort with BigD and GOP supporters in both the House and the Senate. This is certainly not a reason why Obama is better than any other candidate -- practically everyone supported this bill so Obama's support is in no way distinguishing. Check the votes: House: 394 for, 13 against, 24 absent; Senate: 77 for, 20 against, 2 present/not voting.

Developed stimulus package, which includes approx. $18 billion for nondefense scientific research and development
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/science/18sfstimulus.html
OK, true. But it uses the Big Number Effect to make this sound like a huge accomplishment, when in fact, this was part of a $787 billion package, and as such amounts to a mere 2.3% of the total. Where did the other 97.7% go? In fact, if you look at this on a chart, the science stimulus money, with exception of tuition tax credits, was the smallest crumb of all. Most of the money just went to tax cuts, but as can be expected with a president as militant as Obama, $78B went to Military and V.A. construction. So the military is 4x more important to Obama than basic science, and 8x more important than education. Pardon me if I'm unimpressed.

Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapon_Systems_Acquisition_Reform_Act_of_2009
Yes he did sign this. After it passed unanimously in the House (411-0) and the Senate (93-0), at least amongst those who voted. It doesn't take much courage to sign off on something everybody, and I mean absolutely everybody, agrees on. What would have taken courage, would have been ending war and cutting military spending, prosecuting torturers and wiretappers, or prosecuting banking criminals as was done during the S&L Crisis. Signing a bill that not a single soul opposes? Not so much.

Issued executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/22/guantanamo.order/index.html
You've got to be _______ Joking!? So, yeah, he did sign the executive order. He may as well signed an executive order granting every American a million dollars -- I'm still waiting for my check and Gitmo is rolling along just fine. Nice follow through. Oh, and nice follow through in Federal Court where Obama has argued that innocent people tortured by the US at Gitmo and elsewhere aren't even allowed to sue about it based on the state secrets doctrine. Glenn Greenwald brings it all together in his article Rules of American Justice: A Tale of Three Cases.

Ended Bush administration's CIA program of 'enhanced interrogation methods' by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terrorism interrogations
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/22/guantanamo.order/index.html
And excused all the torture that went on, increased the rate of drone bombings of innocent people, tried to get international ban on cluster munitions weakened to allow cluster munitions so children playing in fields could have sudden amputations even years after wars end, tortured Bradley Manning, farmed out the torture to other countries. A big "whatever" for this "achievement".

Increased funding for national parks and forests by 10%
http://www.npca.org/media_center/press_releases/2009/park_funding_102909.html
It's worth noting that in 2008, Bush increased park funding 14.8%. So it is considered some great accomplishment that Obama increased park funding 2/3 as much as Bush did? Going on the premise that Bush was the worst president until Obama took office, what does this mean? Bush was 1/3 better than Obama, at least with respect to parks. Quite the anti-achievement to come in worse than Bush, but Obama is nothing if not consistent, even on non-controversial issues. Really -- who hates parks?

Extended Benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-extension-benefits-same-sex-domestic-partners-federal-emplo
The devil is in the details of course, and the use of the word "benefits" calls to mind "health insurance" and "survivor benefits", something that is very misleading. For the most part, the benefits are relocation assistance and the like, although select groups of Federal employees can get certain kind of medical treatments if out of the country. As usual with Obama supporters, it's all just mostly deceptive advertising.

More to come as I get time to debunk ...


Comments, corrections, or additions: obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org

Updated Jan 24, 2012