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Donald Trump’s Deleterious Effect On Americans’ Physical Health, Mental State, And Sense Of Security

Donald Trump has been President for eight weeks, and it has been more than four months since he was elected the 45th President.

In those 56 days since he was inaugurated, Trump has created more tumult and disarray than any President in American history.

In so doing, he has had a deleterious effect on the physical health, mental state, and sense of security of tens of millions of Americans.

Cardiologists have reported that more of their patients have come in with heart palpitations and worse.

High blood pressure has become more common, and mental depression has worsened dramatically.

And the sense of security has deteriorated for African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, liberals, and the news media, as white supremacy, racism, antisemitism, and nativism have been encouraged by Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and others on the Trump staff.

Foreign nations have become unnerved about Trump’s weird and unstable behavior, and therefore, nations which are our closest allies–Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada, Japan–and other nations as well, have become concerned about the future foreign relations with Trump, as he is a revolutionary ready to destroy the international system.

War seems more likely, particularly with North Korea and Iran, as if we need another war to enrich corporations and the defense industry, and we see Trump promoting attacks on the environment, the safety net, and even the organization of the federal executive branch.

Donald Trump: The Bully In International Affairs, Threatening Wars, And Harming Relationships With Our Long Time Allies

Donald Trump, in less than two weeks, has become the bully in international affairs, threatening wars with Iran, Mexico, China, and ISIL, while harming long term relationships with allies, including Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia.

His foreign policy approach is totally shocking, and he is rapidly becoming the number one international menace, only being close to two “friends”, it seems, to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yes, I said Netanyanu, who has often acted like a bully in his dealings with Barack Obama, and is cozying up to Donald Trump, in a manner that insures probably collaboration in a major war against Iran, as well as the Palestinians, events which will, if they occur, undermine the image of Israel among both non Jews and Jews in America.

The Jewish community has always been divided over the right wing government of Israel, and the fact that extremist right wing evangelicals ally with the government of Israel should be seen as dangerous and a warning sign, as these extremist Christian groups believe in a holy war against 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, when the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, and are not ideologues or terrorists.

When one hears Donald Trump talk about violence and bloodshed of some religious fanatics, which is certainly true, he conveniently forgets the history and the present situation of extremist Christians, who have a very condemnatory history over two millenniums against Jews, Muslims, native Americans, and colonial populations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. One can also point out the mistreatment of women and gays by many extremist Christian religious groups.

Meanwhile, undermining our alliances with NATO and with a great ally such as Australia is a disaster in the making, which will leave us with no friends when a crisis arises.

There is only one answer—the quick, forced removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency, who could start a nuclear war on a whim!

Sixth Anniversary Of ObamaCare, The Third Great Social And Economic Reform, Alongside Social Security And Medicare!

It was six years ago on March 23, 2010, that the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, was signed into law by President Obama, after a year long fight, with only three Republican Senators early on giving any support, and no House members.

The fact that ObamaCare was just like the Heritage Foundation–Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole program of 1993, designed as an alternative to HillaryCare, was ignored.

Also, the fact that Mitt Romney accomplished much the same thing in Massachusetts as RomneyCare was denied, even by Romney himself when he ran for President in 2012!

The hypocrisy and pure obstructionism of Republicans and conservatives was so obvious, and is obvious, to anyone who looks at the subject dispassionately!

Today, six years later, ObamaCare, while having its definite quirks and shortcomings, is a success, in the sense that it covers 20 million people who did not have health care before; has lowered the uninsured from 14 percent to 9 percent of the population; and has saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives of people who, without coverage, would have died in the past six years!

This is the ultimate Pro Life movement, the acceptance of the idea that ALL Americans should be entitled to health care as a basic human right, especially considering that every other modern industrial nation in Europe, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand have it, and all of them way ahead of us!

So this is a time to salute Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, for having accomplished one of the three greatest economic and social reforms of the past century, alongside Franklin D. Roosevelt and Social Security (now 81 years old), and Lyndon B. Johnson and Medicare (now 51 years old)!

Try to imagine America in 2016 without Social Security and Medicare, and yet, if left up to the right wing Republican Party, they would not only repeal ObamaCare without any replacement for the 20 million Americans who have gained health care coverage, but also would repeal both Social Security and Medicare, “privatizing” both of them, and giving useless “vouchers” to millions of elderly, poor, and disabled people!

This is why the Republican Party, as it now is constituted, is doomed to be in the dustbin of history!

Diplomatic Relations With Unfriendly Governments: Soviet Union, People’s Republic Of China, Vietnam, Cuba, And Now Issue Of Iran

When it comes to the issue of foreign policy and international relations, the controversy over whether the United States should have diplomatic relations and embassies in nations that are our rivals, our opponents, is a constant debating point.

Clearly, when the United States is at war with a foreign government, diplomatic relations cease.

Also, if a foreign government chooses to break off diplomatic relations on its own, then clearly there will be no diplomatic relations.

But other than these situations, the idea that, somehow, refusing to deal with an unfriendly government is beneficial does not ring true!

There are always good reasons to have a diplomatic channel, a way to relate to and deal with a hostile foreign government, if for no other reason, to allow discussion of contentious issues that may arise, including hostages, military and naval challenges, and providing for humanitarian interventions when there are natural disasters.

After all, even if governments do not get along, the people of the United States need not see other nations’ people as enemies!

And failure to recognize changes of government never works in our behalf, as witness our long diplomatic isolation of the Soviet Union from 1917-1933; of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1979 (although Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 and started trade, cultural and tourism contacts); of Vietnam (from 1975 when the Vietnam War finally ended until 1995); and now of Cuba from 1961 to this month.

It turns out the diplomatic isolation of Cuba lasted 54 years, way beyond the 16 years of the Soviet Union; the 30 years of China; and the 20 years of Vietnam.

Nothing was accomplished by the diplomatic isolation of Cuba, and while the government of that nation is a dictatorship, as with Russia, China, and Vietnam, we cannot decide that a dictatorship, as reprehensible as it is, can be, somehow, made to change by ignoring them and refusing to deal with them.

If we were to use that as a guide, that a nation was run as a dictatorship and therefore we would not deal with that nation, then we would have to suspend diplomatic relations with most of the world’s 193 nations.

But we have dealt with brutal dictatorships regularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as Eastern Europe.

We could wish the world was like us; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Western European nations; Japan; and selected nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, but we must deal with the world as it is, not the way we wish it was!

So, the issue of Iran, a hostile nation engaged in trouble making in the Middle East; calling for the extermination of Israel; calling the United States “the devil”; and gaining nuclear energy information rapidly, cannot be ignored.

It is better to deal with Iran, as much as they are willing, as the people of the nation are clearly not in support of their theocratic Islamic regime, and we are not going to gain by a war with Iran, a large nation with large population, which, if we went to war, the effect would be to unite the nation in nationalistic fervor to defend the homeland.

The answer is, if possible, not only to get the nuclear deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry to be ratified, but also to attempt to ameliorate the danger and threat of Iran through further diplomatic engagement!

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill Of Rights (January 11, 1944) Not Yet Achieved In 2014!

Now that THE ROOSEVELTS series on PBS, the seven part series presented to the nation by the great documentarian Ken Burns, is over, many thoughts and emotions cross one’s mind.

FDR offered so much to the nation in his New Deal, and in his leadership of the struggle against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in World War II.

But what struck this author more than any of this, while watching this 14 hour series over the past week, is an often forgotten speech, the State of the Union speech of January 11, 1944, delivered by FDR in a joint session of Congress.

The speech dealt with the issue of a “Second Bill Of Rights”.

FDR knew that the Bill Of Rights had made America the beacon of the civilized world, with the basic civil liberties it granted to all Americans.

But FDR was looking ahead to the end of World War II, and envisioned a nation that would extend the concept of a bill of rights to other issues that affected all Americans.

So FDR called for a future guarantee of everyone having a decent job with a living wage; a guarantee of decent housing for all Americans; a guarantee of a decent supply of food, clothing, and leisure for all; a guarantee of a decent education providing opportunity for all to advance; an expansion of Social Security beyond the beginning of the concept nine years earlier in 1935; and  provision for a decent health care system for all Americans.

Now 70 years later, none of these have been accomplished, although Social Security has improved tremendously for the elderly, and for women who are widowed and children who lose a parent or are orphaned: Medicare has done so much to help the elderly and disabled; and ObamaCare, under great duress, has provided health care for millions of Americans who never had health coverage before.

But yet, conservatives and Republicans are out to make Social Security and Medicare privatized, and want to destroy ObamaCare!

But we have too many people who cannot find work, due to the Great Recession of George W. Bush and cannot even gain extension of the New Deal concept of unemployment compensation; many Americans live in substandard housing; many people go hungry and live in dire poverty; many have to work multiple jobs and cannot have time for leisure, with most Americans not able to have vacation time, less than any European democracy, or Canada or Australia;  and many children are denied a good education system and can only gain minimum wage employment as adults.

The right wing extremists are trying to destroy the New Deal and Great Society reforms, and return American to a century ago before there was social justice and economic opportunity and political reform offered, starting with the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

How can any decent American not rise up in protest and anger at the selfishness and greed of the elite one percent and their propagandists, who do not care what happens to anyone other than their own class?  Why is acquisition of obscene wealth and power so important that these right wingers have no humanity, no common decency, no desire to see their fellow Americans have a chance to succeed as they were given?  Why is the hatred of taxes so vehement, as if one can take his or her wealth to the grave, or give it in obscene amounts to offspring who will never know responsibility or the virtue of accomplishing on their own?  What is wrong with this nation, that 70 years after the “Second Bill of Rights” speech of FDR, we have made very little progress on the goals of the speech, and have even backtracked on them, and we have evil forces wanting to destroy the most significant programs of the New Deal and Great Society?

Central Intelligence Agency Spies On All But Four Nations!

The news has come out that the Central Intelligence Agency, created in 1947, and often under attack for its actions, and its illegal doings much of the time, often without knowledge of the President of the United States, has seen its leader in Germany expelled for spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, including her cell phone.

This action to expel the CIA leader came about without the knowledge of President Barack Obama, and it has caused an embarrassing incident between a friendly nation and the United States.

But it is nothing new for the CIA to go around Presidential control or awareness, and it has been a constant problem, much of it exposed by the Church Committee (headed by Idaho Senator Frank Church) in the mid 1970s!

The CIA is often seen as a shadow government within our government, not accountable to the White House or Congress or the Supreme Court, all in the name of national security.

Thus the National Security Agency and 15 other spy agencies have a budget that is not public knowledge, and we have learned that they are eavesdropping on ordinary Americans in the quest to keep our nation secure, but worrying civil liberties advocates tremendously.

The most interesting revelation coming out of the expose of the German situation is that only four nations, all English speaking, do not have CIA spying going on in their nations–Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand!

So even such allies as Israel, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, among others, are being spied upon regularly!

Fathers Day And Dads’ Responsibilities To The Family Unit

The role of dads in their children’s lives has dramatically changed in the past half century!

Today, more than one out of five families with children under five years of age with a working mother has his or her dad as the primary caregiver, many of whom also work.

In the last 25 years, the number of stay at home dads with a working mother has doubled.

In the past 30 years, the number of father only families have more than tripled, and almost all are working dads.

Seven percent of families with children are father only families.

Dads are doing nearly an hour more childcare and housework a day than fifty years ago.

62 percent help with housework; 65 percent read to their children; and 95 percent bathe and diaper their children.

Yet, 30 percent of both moms and dads do not have access to either paid or unpaid leave for the birth of a child, and suffer negative career outcomes, due to family responsibilities.

It is time for updating the attitude toward families, on the part of companies and employers, way behind other advanced industrial nations in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand!

29 Americans Killed In Afghanistan This Year, And 30 Killed In America By Firearms Every Day!

It is depressing to know that 29 Americans have died in Afghanistan this year, as our troop involvement winds down, and with a total of over 2,300 killed over the 13 years of the Afghanistan War.

But 29 Americans killed in a war zone over six months, while disturbing, is nothing when compared to the reality that on the average day in America, 30 people of all ages, many of them children and teenagers, are murdered by firearms.

This means about 900 victims per month, or 11,000 per year, and that is only the deaths, not the injuries suffered by other victims.

We are the most violent society in the civilized world of Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and it could be said the true war is here at home, not in Afghanistan!

74 school shootings have occurred since the Sandy Hook Massacre in December 2012, and yet no action of any kind, totally unconscionable!

We are witnessing mass murder before our eyes, and we are desensitized totally, a disgraceful situation!

America’s Defense Budget More Than 13 Other Nations Combined!

America’s defense budget is over $600 billion per year, more than the next 13 nations combined, and one can be sure that the intelligence agencies, all 16 of them, are not included in this total, as their budgets, and in many cases their actual existence, are a deep dark secret!

China, by comparison spends one sixth of our defense budget annually, about $100 billion, for a nation with four times the population of the United States.

The other countries on the list include Russia, Great Britain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, India, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Iran, and Italy.

The military budget is far higher than it was during the Cold War, and too much is being spent on nuclear weapons, and weapons systems that will never, in reality, be used.

But the Pentagon budget has long been one of massive cost overruns, and corruption by corporations that produce our war goods, and meanwhile the one half of one percent spent on “welfare” is being targeted for massive cuts by the Paul Ryan GOP Budget!

It is time for smart spending on defense, not massive waste at the cost of basic decency for our poorest citizens in a country that likes to think it is the most advanced in the world, but yet is too ready to sacrifice “social spending” in the name of mindless defense spending!

The Most Significant Long Range Events Of 2013

Now that we are in the last day of 2013, it is time to reflect on what the most significant long range events of 2013 are, events that will affect us in the future, and are signs of progress, which can never be reversed.

They include in no special order:

The accomplishment of national health care, a dream since Theodore Roosevelt first mentioned the concept in his Progressive Party campaign in 1912, later suggested by Harry Truman, partially enacted by Lyndon B. Johnson, attempted by Bill and Hillary Clinton unsuccessfully, promoted by Senator Ted Kennedy, and finally becoming law under Barack Obama. Even with all of the kinks and quirks now and in the future, national health care is here to stay, finally making America reach the stage of all other democracies in the world, but as usual the last to adopt social and economic reform, as compared to Europe, Canada, and Australia.

The acceptance by the Supreme Court of the concept of gay marriage, and the expansion from nine to eighteen states of acceptance of same sex marriage, and nothing will ever reverse what has happened, and eventually, the Supreme Court will mandate its legality throughout America, just as they did for interracial marriage in 1967. Many may not like it, but just as with interracial marriage, one does not have to engage in either interracial or same sex marriage, but it is nobody’s business to tell someone else who he or she is to love and to have the benefits of marriage, and no religious institution needs to accept it, as civil marriage will always be available.

The civil war raging in the Republican Party, which will determine if the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike will survive or go into the dustbin of history, which Is certain, if the right wing Tea Party Movement is allowed to take over the party apparatus, and control the House and Senate Republican caucuses, and control major state governments around the nation. An extreme right wing Republican Party will not survive, and will give the Democrats such dominance that a moderate centrist party, maybe on the pattern of the Whig Party of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century, will then emerge as a valid alternative to the more leftist Democratic Party by comparison.

The rise of a permanent Democratic majority in the Electoral College, as Georgia, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina will turn “blue” over the rest of the second decade of the 21st century, due to the growth in the Hispanic-Latino population, and the alienation of women from the Republican Party, which is working to control the reproductive lives of women. Both groups will swing these Sun Belt States to the Democrats, and with the Atlantic Coast from New England down to Virginia, and the Pacific Coast and the Upper Midwest more “blue” all of the time, there will be no way that Democrats will lose the White House over the next couple of decades, whether they nominate Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or someone else, for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond.

The Supreme Court will turn more liberal, as over the remaining years of this decade, the likelihood of new Supreme Court appointments, as well as circuit and district courts, will fall to Democratic Presidents, who no longer have to worry about a filibuster proof majority of 60 votes. The need for only 51 votes or 50 with the Vice President breaking the tie, insures that the courts, and eventually the high Court, will take a different view over time on same sex marriage, abortion rights, civil rights, and civil liberties, reminding one over the next two decades (due to lifetime appointments) of the history of the Warren Court.

A happy 2014 to all my readers and contributors!