Western Europe

Donald Trump Goes Bonkers, Unleashes Twitter Storm Against Three Nuclear Powers (North Korea, Iran, Pakistan) And Palestinians

Since the New Year of 2018 began, Donald Trump has gone totally bonkers, unleashing a Twitter storm against three nuclear powers–North Korea, Iran, Pakistan–and also further caused massive disarray in the Middle East by attacking the Palestinian Authority.

He has threatened cutoff of aid to Pakistan and the Palestinians, not understanding what damage that will do in the fight against terrorism.

Trump has demonstrated his willingness to threaten nuclear war against Kim Jong Un of North Korea, while also making clear he will destroy the Iran Nuclear Agreement, not realizing that North Korea will have no desire to negotiate when they see that the US is ready to rip up an agreement that five other nations still wish to enforce with Iran.

Why would any nation take the US seriously on negotiations, when Trump is so inconsistent?

And for Trump to talk about the size of his nuclear “button” as compared to that of North Korea, is to make Trump look like a bully on a school playground making himself look like a total jerk!

And declaring Jerusalem to be the Israeli capital, and taking that issue off the table with the Palestinians, and then threatening cutoff of aid for the people who are living under such horrible circumstances in the Palestinian held territories, only convinces the Palestinians that no negotiations with Israel are possible, insuring further bloodshed and violence in the Middle East.

Starting to antagonize Pakistan only insures further troubles as America continues a war in Afghanistan with no end game, and makes for tilting too far toward India, and the India-Pakistan tensions, as both are nuclear powers, is only encouraged by Trump threatening cut off of aid to Pakistan.

Trump is destroying American foreign policy in a manner which will take decades to recover, and our once strong allies in Western Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan and South Korea are exasperated over what Donald Trump has wrought.

The Urgent, Required Need To Rebuild Puerto Rico And The US Virgin Islands As A “Marshall Plan”

America has a major challenge that it has no choice but to meet in a committed and responsible manner.

That is, we MUST spend whatever it takes in public funds to rebuild two of our territories–the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands– both decimated by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria within the last two weeks.

The population of these two island nation territories are US citizens, nearly 3.7 million and a bit over 100,000 respectively.

There has been total destruction, and what is now needed is a “Marshall Plan”, similar to what the Unites States invested in the rebuilding of Western Europe after World War II.

There is no way to evade this responsibility, but we also must realize that the likelihood of a mass migration to the US mainland is likely, as it will take years to rebuild.

And many who migrate will decide to remain permanently in North America, and that is their right as US Citizens, as they are NOT immigrants.

Expect Florida in particular to be dramatically affected by growth in Puerto Rican migration, which has been rapidly increasing in recent years, particularly in the Orlando area of Central Florida.

We must greet and welcome these citizens as they come to the mainland, and do whatever we can, as individuals, to smooth the transition of people, who in many cases, are shell shocked by the horrible experiences they have had in these past two weeks.

We cannot allow the Republican Congress to ignore this plight, and for Donald Trump to bully these newcomers as a group of mostly Hispanic immigrants, and more important than tax cuts for the wealthy, is to impose tax increases on those best able to afford it, and who have had such massive tax breaks by legislation passed under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Trump Undermining Of NATO A Danger To Europe And The World: A Crisis Of Massive Proportions!

In 1949, as the Soviet Union exploded the atomic bomb, and the Cold War between the Russians and the West was in full swing, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, with President Harry Truman committing American power to the defense of Western Europe, to keep it free from the spread of Communism.

After that, under Republican Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush; and under Democratic Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, the NATO alliance was our major priority.

But now, after the NATO summit, it is well understood that Donald Trump refuses to commit America to enforcement of Article 5, which states that if any of the nations in NATO are attacked, it is considered an attack on all of the nations in NATO, as the allies followed through on after September 11, with all of them committed to military engagement in Afghanistan.

The Trump love affair, or “bromance” with Vladimir Putin of Russia is alarming, and it is grounds for the impeachment of Donald Trump as a traitor to the United States and its national security and safety.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel can say that Europe can no longer count on US backing, that is an alarm bell in the middle of the night, and is a shocking turn of events.

The leaders of the European nations—and particularly Great Britain, France, and Germany—realize they are dealing with a mentally unstable American President, who is totally unpredictable, and could, very easily, start a nuclear war. rather than engage in diplomacy.

They know that Donald Trump is, as the German media leader Der Spiegel has said, the most dangerous person in the world, because of his ignorance, lack of intelligence and knowledge, and reckless rhetoric and behavior.

It is time for action to be taken to remove Donald Trump from the Presidency as a danger to the nation and the world!

Paris Terror Attack Makes Clear Growing Threat To President And Presidential Candidates!

My new book on Presidential assassinations and threats has pointed out the constant and growing danger of assassination threats to our Presidents, including Barack Obama, and my recent op-ed in THE HILL on October 22 drew attention to the growing threat to Presidential candidates, with Donald Trump and Dr. Benjamin Carson now, after much delay, receiving Secret Service protection.  Hillary Clinton, as former First Lady, automatically receives such protection.

As I have pointed out, all Presidential candidates deserve at least some protection, with those doing better in attracting crowds and gaining in public opinion polls having more protection, which would now include Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush at the least.

The idea that the French President, Francois Hollande, was in danger at the soccer stadium at the time of the Paris terror attack last night, and had to be whisked out is alarming, and all Western European leaders, as well as those from Canada, Australia and the US are going to need  heightened protection in this age of terrorism gone overseas from the Middle East to the rest of the civilized world.

The western world is faced with a crisis that Pope Francis has called World War III, but without organized governments engaged in the terrorism, presenting a massive challenge as these terrorists are willing to commit suicide to achieve their goals, unlike the former Soviet Union, which was a constant threat during the Cold War, but also had leadership that wished to win, rather than sacrifice their lives.

So as a result, it was possible over time to overcome the Soviet threat, but in this age of terrorism, it is hard to see a resolution of this crisis no matter what the strategy is that is adopted.

We live in the most crucial time since World War II, and we need statesmanship and courage to meet the challenge!

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!

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!

Religious Right Wing Christians Join Russia, Uganda, Saudi Arabia And Other Nations In Advocating Persecution Of Gays And Lesbians!

As Gay Rights advance in 13 states and nationally in America, and also in much of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and parts of Latin America, we also witness the horrible persecution going on in Uganda and other African nations; Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations; in much of Asia; and sadly, in Russia, which will be hosting the Winter Olympics in February 2014, threatening athletes, journalists, coaches, visitors, as well as victimizing Russian citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation.

This reality brings back memories of gays and lesbians being the second largest group of victims in the Holocaust during World War II, with only Jews surpassing the number of victims of the Nazis under Adolf Hitler.

As terrible as this persecution and discrimination is, the fact that the right wing Christian conservatives in the United States are very willing to endorse this persecution, and claiming to follow the teachings of their Jewish icon, Jesus Christ, is infuriating, and makes one wonder how anyone who studies the teachings of Jesus could possibly be for persecution, and even worse for gays and lesbians in America and world wide. Their ability to promote such hate and to use poisonous invective against gays and lesbians is mind boggling.

What hypocrisy, what immorality, what lack of ethics, what sick minds would advocate violence and mistreatment of people based on their sexuality!

Vladimir Putin’s War On Gays A Threat That Requires Olympic Boycott On Basis Of Human Rights Violations!

The Russian government under former KGB head Vladimir Putin has taken a step which, regrettably, requires an Olympic boycott by the United States and other Western nations on the basis of human rights violations that are unconscionable!

Putin has declared war on gays and lesbians in the following ways:

Russian born children cannot be adopted by gay couples or by any couple or single person living in any country that promotes gay rights, including gay marriage.

Russian police can arrest any tourist or foreign national they suspect of being gay, lesbian, or having pro gay sympathies, and detain them for 14 days for questioning.

Any Olympic athlete, trainer, family member, reporter or fan who is gay, suspected of being gay, or accused of being gay, can be sent to jail.

Any teacher, parent or anyone who makes pro gay statements, or argues that being gay is normal behavior, and any lawmaker, lawyer, or judge who has an open mind on the subject of homosexuality, is subject to arrest and fines.

Any couple accused or suspected of being gay could have their children taken from them by the state, whether adoptive or biological parents, as unfit to be parents.

This set of laws and restrictions are a gross violation of human rights, and totally unacceptable, no matter what a person’s viewpoint on homosexuality, as gays and lesbians are human beings who are entitled to the same treatment under the law as straight people are!

This situation reminds one of the campaign against gays and lesbians by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, and the mass murder of this group on a level only second to Jews!

Just as Western Europe and Canada and even the United States and portions of Latin America are moving ahead on gay rights and gay marriage, we see Russia moving in the direction of much of Africa and Asia and the Middle East in demonizing gays!

And joining with them in this regard, sadly, are the Catholic Church and many evangelical Christians and Mormons, who are not teaching the vision and tolerance of Jesus Christ, and are now “bedfellows” of oppressive governments, including Russia!

The United States and Western European countries should make it clear that unless these anti gay laws and restrictions are repealed, that they will boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia!

This would be a sad event for the athletes of these nations, but this is a question of basic human rights that cannot be overlooked by any decent government or any tolerant, open minded people! And remember that Olympic participants could become victims under these Russian laws, as well! So there is no choice but to boycott if nothing is done to repeal these laws!

Democracies Which Emerged Out Of Dictatorships And Became Success Stories

As we see the breakdown of law and order in Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere, all seeking the development of democracy in nations that have not been paragons of promoting justice and equality, we must not forget that there have been cases of nations that have become successful, stable democracies without massive violence and bloodshed in the past few decades. The partial list below does not include those nations in North America, Western Europe, Japan, Israel, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Costa Rica which have had longer term stable democracies

These would include, as a few major examples the following:

Spain since 1975
Chile since 1989
Poland since 1989
Hungary since 1989
The Czech Republic since 1993
South Africa since 1994
Northern Ireland since 1998
South Korea since the 1990s
Taiwan since the 1990s

If only such could be the same in the Middle East, Africa, much of Asia, and much of Latin America, but we are a long way from that reality!

Presidential Election Day Should Be A National Holiday To Encourage More Voting!

America’s Presidential elections are a very important time, occurring once every four years.

It is important enough that there is a need to have the once in four years event become a national holiday, so that as many citizens as possible may participate, while still permitting early voting as well!

Since it is only one day in four years, its economic effect would be minimal, and those who would have to work on that day would be granted time off, either to be able to vote during early election vote days, or three hours off on the actual Election Day, so that everyone would have time to vote.

This would be a major step toward raising the percentage of American voting from what has been normally only a little more than 50 percent, although the percentage reached closer to 60 percent the last two national elections.

As the leader of the free world, the United States should have a participation rate matching that of Western Europe and Japan, more like 75-85 percent!