Greece

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!

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!

The Sober Reality: Half Of America Is Poor, Or “Near Poor”!

The US Census Bureau has revealed that the economic conditions of the American people are far worse than ever recognized before now.

Along with 49 million below the poverty line, there are now 97 million Americans who have low income, defined as a family of four earning under $45,000 , due to loss of a job or a pay cut.

So that means HALF of the country is poor, or “near poor”!

This is serious business, a crisis of massive proportions, and the top one percent sit by and do not give a damn, and the corporations keep on holding onto money, enriching themselves and their stockholders, and claim they cannot hire people after they have been balled out by the government, or have lobbied for preferential treatment!

The country is becoming more plutocratic by the day, and it is dangerous for capitalism that this is going on, as it can turn average Americans against the whole concept of capitalism, as long as only a small percentage can benefit from it!

Under the circumstances, it is quite amazing that there are not more people out in the streets, involved in the “Occupy Wall Street’ movement!

It is also worrisome that as time goes on, and conditions become worse, that we might see mass violence on the part of desperate Americans, who will see no alternative.

The idea of mass demonstrations and demands for change is not being felt only in the Arab world, in Greece and Italy, and in the Russian Federation. It is becoming an issue of fairness and equity being felt in a country that considers itself democratic in nature, and yet allows the uninhibited acquisition of wealth on the back of millions of Americans who just want an equal opportunity for the “American Dream”!

Greece And Italy: The Roots Of Western Civilization, And The End As We Know It?

Europe, the United States, and the entire civilized world is facing a catastrophe that threatens economic and political stability in the 21st century.

Greece, the original western civilization, with its center at Athens; and Italy, the center of the great Roman Empire which dominated much of the then known “world” outside the Far East, are both in what many consider “death throes” of their societies, as both are in a state of near bankruptcy, which threatens the whole foundation of the Western civilized world as we know it!

One wonders how these two nations can cope with the austerity being forced on them, and how this will affect the rest of Europe and the United States, which has its own financial challenges.

Will future generations look back on these times as the moment where the non Western world, led by China, India, Pakistan and Iran, became the centers of world power and influence, to the detriment of the values that brought about the great empires of Spain, France, Great Britain and the United States?

Will the United States, which is looked to as the leader of the “free world”, be able to gather the strength and fortitude to lead the future, or will we look back on these times as the beginning of the end of America as a great power? We have to wonder how the American people will react to the visions of Barack Obama and the opposition Republicans as we enter a crucial, turning point, election year!

Tragic Passing Of Richard Holbrooke, Premier Diplomat And Peace Maker! :(

The death last night of Richard Holbrooke, one of the greatest diplomats in American history, after the occurrence of an aortic tear while visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department last Friday, is a tremendous loss to American diplomacy. πŸ™

A career diplomat since the late 1960s, Holbrooke worked on the problems of Vietnam, Bosnia, Cyprus, Afghanistan and Pakistan.Β Β  He was also Ambassador to Germany, and also was Ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton.

Holbrooke was often considered a potential Secretary of State, and many thought he should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for having negotiated the Dayton Accords in 1995, which brought peace to the Balkans and ended the Serbian war on Bosnia.

Also having prevented a war between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus in 1996, Holbrooke was known as a tough negotiator who would not let anyone intimidate him, and he was known for not suffering fools or villains, staring down Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic.

It will not be easy to replace Holbrooke, so American diplomacy has suffered a major loss hard to measure!

Germany 1945 And Germany 2010: 65 Years After VE Day! What A Difference!

65 years ago today was VE Day, as the remnants of Nazi Germany surrendered, ending World War II in Europe!

Germany lay in ruins, and was then divided by the Allies, into what became a 45 period of division, between Communist East Germany (controlled by the Soviet Union), and the Federal Republic of West Germany (controlled by troops of the United States, Great Britain, France).

East Germany was a totalitarian Communist dictatorship which languished economically, while West Germany flourished as a successful democracy.

The Berlin Wall was built by the Russians in 1961, dividing that city physically from then to 1989. When the Wall fell, the Soviets had already determined to withdraw from Eastern Europe and East Germany, and within a year, not only was the Cold War ended, but the two German nations became united as one, finally, after 45 years of division.

Now Germany, a very successful democracy, is also the economic powerhouse of Europe, and is engaged in the bailing out of Greece, and likely in the future, of other European countries in economic crisis, including Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain!

Who would have ever imagined that the nation that had spawned the worst war in history would, two thirds of a century later, be the savior of nations?

An amazing turn of circumstances, which no one could ever have imagined! πŸ™‚

The Greek Crisis Just The Tip Of The Iceberg! :( Europe In Crisis!

The Greek economic crisis, leading to widespread riots and looting over the past two days, is an alarming development, which is likely to continue and to spread to other European nations which have debt crises and weak economies!

The Greeks are so overextended in debt that if it were not for the assistance of Germany, the strongest economy in Europe, it would go bankrupt and into chaos and anarchy. As it is, with Germany insisting on harsh cutbacks in the Greek economy, including dramatic cuts in pensions and benefits, the Greeks are involved in massive demonstrations that are rapidly getting out of control, with three bank workers killed after a bank building was set on fire.

The problem with Greece and, really, with many other nations, including the United States, is that too many wealthy people have been successful in evading taxes or paying far less than they should be expected to pay, and the middle class is becoming the victim, as well as the underclass, as a result of their selfishness and greed! πŸ™

And in the midst of all this, the Republican party continues to be demagogic and promote lower taxes, acting as if government can exist without proper collection of taxes based on ability to pay. It is that party, under George W. Bush, which had a lot to do with the economic crisis this nation and the world faces! πŸ™

The problem is that the so called PIIGS nations (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) are all in financial crisis, and it is affecting the value of the Euro currency, and now causing a stock market crisis as I write this! πŸ™

The biggest irony of all this is that Germany (once the nation of Frederick the Great, Bismarck, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Adolf Hitler), and the nation that caused two world wars and represented autocratic and dictatorial governments in its past, has become the savior of the nation which represents the emergence of democracy in the Western World in ancient times! Who would ever have imagined such a scenario?

The danger is that this European economic crisis could spread elsewhere, and already, there are hints that Great Britain, having its parliamentary elections today, may face a somewhat similar economic crisis, for the prime minister who is elected to head the House of Commons. It might be a mixed victory, something that might be regretted for the man who faces the future economic crisis in the United Kingdom!

And, ultimately, if this economic crisis goes ballistic, it will affect the economic future of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the fortunes of all Americans! πŸ™