Chile

The Negative Side Of The Presidency Of George H. W. Bush

As George H. W. Bush lies in state before his funeral on Wednesday and his burial on Thursday, praise and plaudits have been visited on the 41st President.

But as with all Presidents and all government leaders worldwide and historically, there is a negative side.

Among the shortcomings of the 41st President are the following in no particular order:

Bush ignored the AIDS Epidemic crisis, much like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, allowing the Religious Right Wing to set the agenda on a hate campaign against gays and lesbians.

Bush switched his pro choice views on abortion by picking up the Reagan viewpoint on women, and sacrificing his beliefs, while his own wife Barbara quietly continued to support abortion rights.

Bush ran a nasty, dirty, and despicable campaign for President in 1988 against the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, allowing falsehoods and distortions to be promoted, without any consideration of the damage his campaign manager Lee Atwater was engaged in.

Bush pursued a Mideast policy that led to long term disaster, and placing troops on a permanent basis in the Middle East led to September 11 and the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Bush as CIA head backed dictatorships in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Argentina.

Bush promoted a tough war on drugs, as Ronald Reagan had done, and it victimized people of color much more than whites, and caused prison terms that are now seen as a failed policy, that did not really get to the issue of how to treat those addicted to drugs.

Bush was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal under President Reagan, never fully explored, and ended up giving pardons to many who were part of that scandal, right before he left office in 1993.

Bush made a horrible appointment to the Supreme Court when he nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the nation has been burdened with his influence for the past 27 years, including many potential future Supreme Court nominees who worked for Thomas, and are now being put on the Circuit Courts under President Donald Trump, setting up a future Court with even greater Thomas impact than just himself.

Bush also gave us the most ill qualified, incompetent Vice President in modern history, Dan Quayle, and when Bush had medical issues in office, it made the nation worry at the thought of a President Quayle.

These nine points mentioned above make an assessment of the ultimate historical significance of George H. W. Bush much more complicated than the fulsome praise now being promoted at the time of his passing.

Twenty Nine “Developed” Nations Have Universal Health Care Coverage, But America Refuses To Come Into The 21st Century On Health Care!

Twenty nine “developed” nations in the world have Universal Health Care Coverage, including the following:

In Europe, 21 nations, including:

Great Britain
France
Germany
Italy
Spain
Portugal
Netherlands
Belgium
Luxembourg
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Denmark
Iceland
Switzerland
Austria
Hungary
Poland
Czech Republic
Greece
Slovenia

Also, Turkey and Israel in the Middle East have Universal Health Coverage.

Additionally, in Asia and the Pacific, there are 4 nations which have such coverage.

Japan
South Korea
Australia
New Zealand

Also, Canada in North America and Chile in South America have such coverage.

So why does the United States NOT have it?

The power of the health insurance companies lobby is one factor, and the refusal of the Republican Party and the conservative movement to be willing to accept that health care coverage and the protection of life beyond the pregnancy stage should be a guaranteed part of government policy, through a national health care program that covers all Americans, including even undocumented immigrants, are the reasons.

It is time for America to come into the 21st century, and decide that health care is not a privilege, but a basic human right!

Donald Trump And North Korea

The latest reports about Donald Trump indicate plans to resolve the North Korean problem in an extreme way that could lead to nuclear war.

One plan is to send nuclear missiles to South Korea, upping the ante of possible nuclear war directly on the population of North Korea, but 25 million South Koreans within range of the North Korean army, the fourth largest military in the world.

Another plan is to remove Kim Jon Un from power altogether.

But while the latter possibility sounds good on the surface, and is comparative to the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 under President Barack Obama’s administration, it is really NOT a similar scenario.

Osama bin Laden was not the leader of a government, an organized state.

Kim Jong Un, as crazy and dangerous as he is, IS the leader of a government, and the possibility of a massive invasion of South Korea, as in the Korean War of 1950-1953 is alarming.

Let us not forget that 33,000 Americans died in the Korean War, and a hundred thousand were wounded, and the war dragged on for three years and one month.

Let us also not forget that officially it is against international law to assassinate foreign leaders, although the United States has done that before, either directly or indirectly, as for instance in Chile in 1973, under Richard Nixon, as just one example.

The thought of the US using nuclear weapons, when the only time it occurred, was against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, is horrifying.

But there is no question of the complexity of the North Korean threat, which experts say within a few years could target Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the state of Hawaii, along with the threat to Japan and South Korea.

The question is whether we have a sane, balanced President to deal with this issue, and there is much doubt and trepidation about that.

A Woman As German Chancellor; A Woman As British Prime Minister; A Woman As President Of The United States; Why Not?

The world is reaching a moment to celebrate!

We have had a woman as German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, since November 2005.

We will now have a woman as British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in two days.

And in November, four months from now, we are very likely to have a woman President elected, Hillary Clinton.

And why not?

It is long overdue that this has happened!

We have seen several nations in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile) and two in Europe (Norway, Poland), and two in Asia (South Korea, Taiwan) with female leaders, along with past woman leaders in India, Pakistan, Israel, and Great Britain, among others.

It is time to put women into power, as so many men have done so much damage over time, and there is no special talent to govern held by men, so this development is wonderful and laudatory!

Reelected Presidents And Foreign Policy

An interesting trend of reelected American Presidents is their tendency to become deeply involved in foreign policy matters. This is true since the dawn of America as a world leader in the time of Theodore Roosevelt.

The question is whether this is a planned strategy, or a simple reaction to events, or both.

After Theodore Roosevelt won his full term, having succeeded William McKinley after his assassination, TR became involved in aggressive policy making, criticizing Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany over Morocco at the Algeciras Conference of 1906, and taking leadership of relations with Japan.

Woodrow Wilson, after keeping us out of war in Europe, called for our entrance into World War I a month after his second inauguration, and then went to the Versailles Peace Conference after the war, and worked, unsuccessfully, to convince the US Senate to ratify the Versailles Treaty and membership in the League of Nations. He also committed troops, along with Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, to attempt an overthrow of the Soviet Union regime under Nikolai Lenin.

Calvin Coolidge, elected after succeeding Warren G. Harding in 1923, became involved in the promotion of the Kellogg Briand Pact in 1928, an attempt to outlaw war as an instrument of international policy.

Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the nation closer to dealing with the German Nazi, Italian Fascist, and the Imperial Japanese threat before and during the early part of the Second World War, and then took us into the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in his third term, and pushed for an alliance with the British and the Soviet Union during the war, and advocated the formation of the United Nations as the war was ending.

Harry Truman, after succeeding FDR upon his death in 1945, and winning his own election in 1948, helped to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, took America into the Korean War, and gave aid to the French in the Indochinese War.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his second term, engaged in diplomacy with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at Camp David in 1959 and secretly planned to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Lyndon B. Johnson, after succeeding the assassinated John F, Kennedy in 1963, in his full term, escalated American involvement in Vietnam to a full scale war that divided the country, and invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965.

Richard Nixon, after being reelected, became engaged in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, saving the possibility of a Soviet intervention in the Middle East, and also arranged the overthrow of the Chilean President, Salvador Allende.

Ronald Reagan, in his second term, engaged in arms agreements with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; bombed Libya over its claim of a 200 mile territorial limit; and supported overthrow of dictatorial regimes in Haiti and the Phillippines.

Bill Clinton, in his second term, brought about peace in Northern Ireland; became engaged in war against Serbia over Kosovo; and engaged in counter terrorism actions against Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists.

George W. Bush, in his second term, conducted a “surge” in Iraq, and promoted action against the HIV-AIDS epidemic in Africa.

The question is what Barack Obama will end up doing in the field of foreign policy, and whether he will initiate it, or react to events he cannot control.

The Centennial Of Richard Nixon

Today marks a century since Richard Nixon’s birth, and without any question, he is the most controversial American President of the 43 men who have held that office.

After barely losing in 1960, with the belief that his opponent, John F. Kennedy, had stolen the election in Chicago and in Texas, Nixon came back miraculously eight years later, and won a very close election over Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace. He proceeded to win a massive victory over George McGovern in 1972, the greatest landslide in electoral votes since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, winning all but Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. A year and a half later, he was the only President who, due to the Watergate scandal, resigned from office, with the certainty of an impeachment in the House of Representatives and conviction in the US Senate had he not resigned.

Nixon knew the peaks and the valleys of the Presidency like no one ever has to the same extent before or since. He is a great Shakespearean type character, a human tragedy, a man with great intellect, but also great personal demons; a man of great accomplishments in many ways, but also great hates, resentments, insecurities and a large level of paranoia; a man who in many ways was the last “progressive” Republican President, but also catered to the right wing narrow mindedness and mean spiritedness; a man who had many controversial moments in his public career, but was consulted by future Presidents over the next twenty years due to his knowledge and expertise in foreign affairs; and a man, who, while hated more than any President since Abraham Lincoln, and only surpassed in level of hate by Barack Obama since, stands out as, without a doubt, the most significant President in his impact in the half century from his coming to Congress in 1947 until his death in 1994 at age 81.

This author grew up with intense feelings against Richard Nixon and started his career in the time of the Watergate scandal. Only after Nixon’s death and a semester sabbatical devoted to the study of all aspects of Nixon’s life, did this author start to see Nixon in a different light. As often told to students, this author no longer despises Nixon, but rather sees him as a tragic figure, who did a lot of good, but had his demons overtake him and destroy him. So this author now has respect for the good side of Nixon, while still condemning his evil side and illegal actions in office.

Richard Nixon will always be remembered positively for:

Opening up to mainland China
Negotiating the beginning of “detente”—the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the Soviet Union
Preventing Soviet military intervention in the Middle East during the Yom Kippur War
The ending of the military draft
The Environmental Protection Agency
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Affirmative Action
Wage and Price Controls

Nixon will be condemned for:

Dragging out the Vietnam War for four more years
Taking sides with Pakistan in the War Against India and Bangladesh
Supporting the overthrow of Chilean democracy by Augusto Pinochet
Supporting the Greek dictatorship of George Papadoupoulous
Bugging, Wire Tapping, and Break Ins under Presidential Order
The Watergate Scandal

This is just a brief summary of Nixon’s Presidency, and there already has been a lot of research conducted, but there is plenty of room for further scholarly investigation and debate, but suffice it to say that Richard Nixon had an impact on America still being felt a century after his birth and nineteen years after his death!

Bill Clinton Reveals Something Not Generally Known: Only Chile And Mexico Among OECD Nations Taxes Capital Gains Lower Than US!

OECD, the Organization For Economic Cooperation And Development, consists of 34 nations, that promote democracy and the market economy, and consists of nations in Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Canada and Australia and New Zealand.

Their goal is to promote economic growth, and they hold regular meetings of delegations to accomplish that goal.

But former President Bill Clinton, arguing today at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, made the point in interviews, that wealthy people in America are indeed very privileged, and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also made that point in a speech.

The reason for both Clintons stating this is the statistic on Capital Gains on the wealthy, and the stunning reality that our 15 percent Capital Gains tax on investments in this nation, brought about by Republican action in Congress in the past decade, and helping to cause the budget crisis we face now, is the THIRD lowest of all the 34 nations in OECD, with only Chile and Mexico being lower!

So wealthy people are getting a real advantage on capital gains, as for instance Mitt Romney has had in the past decade, but also with income tax cuts for the wealthy in the past ten years, one could say that the wealthy are “making out like bandits”, as the saying goes, which is much too accurate!

Is It “Good” Politics And “Good” Diplomacy” For Mitt Romney To Be So Outspoken Publicly Overseas? NO!

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is making controversy and creating turmoil as he continues on his foreign policy trip to convince Americans and the world that he is ready for the Presidency.

After his flubs in Great Britain, antagonizing our closest ally, he has now gone “off the bridge” in his speeches and comments in Israel.

While trying to demonstrate his strong support of Israel, and hope to wean away many Jewish voters in America from Barack Obama, Romney has managed to make things worse by his actions.

Stating that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel by the United States, when both Republican and Democratic Presidents without fail from Lyndon B. Johnson to Barack Obama have felt it unwise to do so, creates a new problem for Middle East negotiations, which should not have been brought up at all.

It is not an issue of whether the US should recognize Jerusalem as the capital, but since both parties and all Presidents have steered clear of it up to now, for a total of 45 years, a campaign trip is the wrong place to bring it up.

Also, Romney compared Israeli and Jewish achievements to the failures of the Palestinians, which are indeed true, but should have been left unsaid, as all it does is antagonize the Arabs, which still have to be dealt with if there is to be any chance of Middle East peace at any point in the future.

And comparing israel and the Palestinians to the US and Mexico or Chile and Ecuador as examples also, unnecessarily, can make those nations angry, and serves no purpose!

Mitt Romney is demonstrating his recklessness in speech, so one wonders about his potential recklessness in action, were he to become President of the United States in 2013!

Chilean Miners And First Responders On September 11: A World Of Difference!

A year after the Chilean Copper Mine disaster, leading to the ultimate miraculous recovery of 33 miners, we have known that the miners have suffered from physical and psychological harm, what is considered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But now, the most wonderful possible event has occurred, as the government (meaning its taxpayers in effect), have decided that all of the miners should receive a pension for life, after what they went through, which will scar them for the rest of their lives! This is a wonderful gesture, making the lives of the miners a bit more pleasant and secure!

Why bring this up?

Because this is precisely the proper thing that our government at all levels should do, in response to the sacrifice of the First Responders on September 11 in New York City and Washington, DC!

Many have developed cancer, and many have other physical ills. Many have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well. But the reaction has been to deny a connection between these physical and mental ills and September 11!

This is morally wrong, and despicable, as again the priorities are messed up! Those who protect us, defend us, sacrifice for us, are pushed aside as just “public servants”!

Meanwhile, others who have gotten away with low taxation on their profits and fortunes are made out to be untouchable, to have no sacrifice needed, as America faces massive economic problems caused to a great extent by the refusal of the Bush Administration to make taxpayers pay for two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the only time in history that our taxes have not gone up in time of war! This is another long range impact of September 11.

And to top it off, the decision of the Bush Administration to LOWER taxes on the wealthy is truly IMMORAL to the extreme, and only promotes more selfishness and greed!

It is time that we honor those who sacrificed on September 11, and stop coddling wealthy people and corporations, who enriched themselves in many cases on September 11 and its aftermath!

Time to do for FIrst Responders, what Chile proudly has done for the copper miners who went through so much in the mine disaster a year ago!

The Copiapo Copper Mine Rescue In Chile: A Repudiation Of Rand Paul’s Libertarian, Anti Government Lunacy!

The whole world is gripped by the rescue that has begun of the 33 copper miners who have been stranded underground for ten weeks in Chile, and the realization that Chile has no regulation of the conditions of its miners! This crisis is a call on Chile, an advanced country compared to most in Latin America and the world at large, to accept the responsibility of its government to change its attitude on this matter!

But it is also a repudiation of Tea Party favorite and Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul of Kentucky, with his assertion that the federal and state governments should not be meddling in the conditions of coal miners, whether in Kentucky, where they are not unionized, or elsewhere, where some mining operations are unionized. Paul is upset that, in all cases, there is federal oversight of mines!

We have seen so many accidents and tragedies in coal mining and other mining operations in the recent past, as well as in the long run of American history!

For someone running for the Senate to assert that federal oversight is unnecessary, and that unionization is interference with the free market, makes one wonder what kind of lunatic Rand Paul is!

A man with such anarchistic views, who does not give a damn about the lives and safety of coal miners and other miners, and wants to leave their condition in the hands of mine operators alone, should be denounced!

If Kentucky elects Rand Paul to the Senate in three weeks, with such outrageous views on his part, it can be said that the state will gain the reputation of being one of the most backward states of the Union! The proper reaction would be to say “Shame on you!” πŸ™