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Mixed Messages: Scuttling The Iran Deal, But Cozying Up To North Korea, Meanwhile Alienating Our Traditional Allies In Foreign Policy

Donald Trump is schizophrenic in so many ways.

And in foreign policy, that is particularly dangerous.

Trump has scuttled the Iran deal, and made eventual war against that nation more likely.

At the same time, despite his cancellation of the summit with North Korea, already Donald Trump is changing his mind, and it now seems that the summit with Kim Jong Un might take place, but with unreasonable, irrational expectations.

To believe that North Korea will give up its nuclear program entirely is to believe in fantasy, as Kim Jong Un has now seen how unstable Donald Trump is. If Trump is ready to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran and threaten them, what would make North Korea comfortable and confident enough that their regime would be left alone if they gave up their nuclear weapons?

Instead of saying can North Korea be trusted, how about whether the United States government under Donald Trump can be trusted to keep any agreement?

And in the meantime, Donald Trump has alienated our traditional allies in foreign policy, the NATO nations (and particularly Great Britain, France and Germany), and also South Korea and Japan, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Why should South Korea feel safe with an unstable, mercurial American leader who is fighting with their government over trade policy at a time when that nation could be decimated by a nuclear or conventional war with its neighbor?

One could say that American foreign policy in 2018 is the most unstable, unpredictable policy ever seen in American history since the end of World War II, and no sign of the return of any stability anytime in the near or long term future, as long as Donald Trump is President.

The Urgency Of Gun Control Legislation To Stop “War Zone” Syndrome, And Save Multitude Of Lives, While Preserving Reasonable Gun Rights

The shock of the Las Vegas Massacre, following the Orlando Pulse Massacre, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre, and so many others, demands the attention of Congress, as the urgency of gun control legislation presents itself.

We must stop the “War Zone” Syndrome that has led to more deaths by domestic terrorists than on September 11, if one counts all the death since 2001.

No one is saying that the Second Amendment should be destroyed, although it is clear that the Founding Fathers did not intend for all citizens to have firearms, as the amendment discusses a “well regulated militia”, and not the concept of everyone carrying firearms, even those who are mentally ill or have had criminal convictions.

But to demand a return of the Brady Bill, named after Ronald Reagan’s Press Secretary, James Brady, permanently disabled by the Assassination attempt against Reagan in 1981, but not renewed under George W. Bush in 2004, is not to ask too much.

To demand that background checks be done on gun purchasers; that loopholes that allow people to buy weapons online and at Walmarts and at gun shows without any search about their backgrounds be ended; that mentally disturbed people not be allowed to purchase weapons; and that the concept of allowing the expansion of gun silencers legislation, allowing gun owners to be able to fire at will without any sound being made for the potential victims to be aware of the sounds so they could duck or evade; or other reasonable measures, should be seen as sensible.

We have the highest gun violence rate of any Western civilized nation, comparing to Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and we must work to lower the death rate from suicide as well as violence against innocent civilians.

This should not be a partisan issue, as the Republicans, as well as the Democrats, need to see the issue of public safety as their major responsibility, and the National Rifle Association and its despicable leadership including Wayne La Pierre, who only are concerned with profits, must be defeated in their effect on our government policies.

All kinds of activities are licensed in our society, and guns need to be regulated in a responsible manner.

The Republican Party Agenda In 2017: Destroy Obama Legacy And New Deal And Great Society, And Ignore Trump Abuse Of Power

The Republican Party of 2017 is hellbent on destroying entirely the Barack Obama legacy, and all political, social, and economic reforms of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, along with other reforms even by Republican Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, and Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

They are willing to cope with the insanity of Donald Trump, willing to ignore the abuse of power by the 45th President, and in the process, undermine civil liberties, civil rights, labor rights, women’s rights, consumer rights, protection of the environment, and the rights and protection of the disabled, elderly, and poor among our population.

In the past, the Republican Party was the conservative mainstream in American politics, but now the most mean spirited, nasty, uncaring elements have held sway over the party apparatus, and no longer care what public opinion polls indicate, that there is strong, vehement opposition to going back to the America of the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and in so doing, destroy all progress, and put America further behind more advanced nations in Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand worldwide.

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!

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!

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!

Poverty Level In US Higher Than Any “Developed” Nation

After nearly thirty years of the “Reagan Revolution”, the triumph of the conservative movement,. America ends up, in published data, as the worst nation on its poverty level of any “developed” nation.

The Economic Policy Institute has published data that show the following:

22 nations in Europe, plus Canada, and Australia and New Zealand and Japan, have a lower poverty rate, with the US having a 17.3 percent rate.

25 nations have a lower child poverty rate, with the US having a 17.1 percent rate.

America has a more stratified class system than any of the other democracies, and we always hear that we do not wish to be like Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Certainly, we have a lot to be proud of in our history, but we also have to recognize that the standard of living has declined under the “Reagan Revolution”, and now we are trying to dig ourselves out, and to refuse to recognize the high poverty rate, and particularly its effect on children, we are harming the future of our nation!