Vacation Time

President Obama and his staff, along with the Congress and their respective staffs had left Washington, D.C for a well-deserved vacation (the president has since returned). Much to their credit a great deal has been accomplished by them on behalf of all Americans. For example:

On the topic of Immigration Reform, all 11 million illegal immigrants residing across the U.S may now call America their home and our borders are safe and secure - it has taken awhile to get to this point but there were a lot of them to have to deal with and it took a bit longer than had been expected.

Every American can now go to bed at night (except for the millions of homeless persons) knowing that they have in place a wonderful, thoughtful and carefully crafted health insurance plan. It is a plan they can afford and fully understand. Whether or not those who will be administering the plan understand what is contained within the law is not relevant.

What had been on most Americans minds has been the economy and jobs - not a problem anymore. The Congress and the White House have been focused on the middle class and all is well with this large segment of Americans.

As far as the upper class was concerned our Washington leaders, concluded they could take care of themselves. With regards to the lower class, well not much attention has been paid to them by either the Congress or the Obama Administration. For the time being they just have to fend for themselves and will have to wait until the fall to see if there will be approval of the food stamp bill.

In the August, 2013 Chronicle of Philanthropy, Professor Pablo Eisenberg, of Georgetown University observed -

"One hopes he (Darren Walker head of the Ford Foundation) and other leaders across the nonprofit world will find the courage to lead a campaign to put poverty back on the agendas of nonprofits."

Something that was quite troubling to most Americans was the fact that our government was tapping into all of our texts, emails, phone calls and other communication (I often wondered why not first class mail?). But just before our government leaders had left town we were informed that the nationwide surveillance had come to a halt - at least for the time being- that is reassuring and we are grateful for it.

The so-called scandal within the Internal Revenue Service has been "put to bed" by the Administration and the Congress. What was more encouraging were the promotions handed out to those in the IRS's Cincinnati Regional Center. The selective reviews of certain nonprofit applicants by the center was so effective that the Small Business Division of the IRS recently sent out over 20,000 notices for information to America's small business owners.

On the overseas front, the Administration and the Congress must be quite satisfied on how relations and issues have developed. For sure, Egypt's ousted President, Mohamed Morsi's successor, President General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was thoroughly pleased that the Congress and the Administration will not pull the $1.5 billion in aid his country receives. Under existing law it could have been stopped when a military coup had taken place - according to Mr. Obama and the Congress, a coup was never in evidence.

Iran's newly installed president, Hassan Rouhani was most pleased when he received word that the U.S. Congress and President Obama had left town for vacation. Their absence enabled him to provide additional help to his close friend; Syria's besieged dictator, Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Furthermore with no one watching, his country's nuclear program can stay on schedule as well as his continuing efforts to destabilize Iraq.

President Obama had decided to make a hallmark of his presidency the establishing of close and friendly relations with foreign leaders.

He was going to end the hostility that he felt his predecessor had created. Basking in the sun on Martha's Vineyard the president must be quite pleased with his close ties with Russia's Vladimir Putin, North Korea's Kim Jong Un, the Castro brothers as well as Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro.

Of course the president believes that relationships with our E.U. leaders were never as close and cordial, as they are today, even though Edward Snowden of NSA fame, informed our allies, the U.S. has been listening in on them for years.

For most of us it is comforting that we can take a few weeks off from our job, to relax and recharge. Those in Congress and the Administration believe in this also - their steering the Ship of State has gone well and they can leave town and not worry - the American people will continue to do the worrying.

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington.


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