“Arab Spring”

The 2010s: 15 Major Events Which Had An Impact

We are ending a decade in nine days from today, although technically a decade begins with a “1”, not a zero, but to most people, the fact that the number changes from “1” to “2” as the first digit, marks it as a new decade.

So looking back ten years, what are the major events in public affairs that have had an impact?

In no special order, here are the most significant events of the past decade:

The “Arab Spring”, which led to turmoil in the Middle East, and led to civil war and massive bloodshed in the area, but ultimately being overcome by authoritarian leaders and conditions of anarchy and chaos.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), accomplished in the second year of the Obama Presidency.

The death of Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, after avoiding capture for nearly ten years.

The election of Pope Francis by the Catholic Church, having a massive impact on Catholic doctrine, and liberalizing the church’s doctrines and teachings.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, leading to sanctions against Russia by the US and many European nations, and leading to Vladimir Putin working to undermine western democracies for the remainder of the decade.

The rise of the terrorist group ISIS (ISIL), which controlled large portions of Iraq and Syria, and engaged in massive abuses and tortures and executions, eventually mostly overcome by efforts of European nations and the United States.

The candidacy and election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, despite his divisive rhetoric and elements of nativism, racism, and misogyny.

Gay Marriage decision of the Supreme Court, a revolutionary change in American society.

Restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, after five and a half decades of total isolation.

The massive tragedies of gun violence in schools, theaters, churches, synagogues, nightclubs, open air concerts, shopping malls and supermarkets, with no attempt to address the issue due to the power of the National Rifle Association over Congress and President Donald Trump.

Russian intervention in the Presidential Election of 2016, helping to secure the victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College, while losing the popular vote by 2.85 million votes, largest loss of popular vote of an Electoral College winner in American history.

The effects of the “Me Too” movement of women exposing sexual harassment against prominent public figures, causing many to lose their careers and reputations.

The horrendous policy of separating migrant children from their families at the southern border with Mexico and Central America, causing great condemnation of the Trump Administration.

The Robert Mueller investigation of the Trump Presidential campaign, and the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2018, leading to the impeachment of Donald Trump after exposure of the Ukraine Scandal.

The growing reality of climate change and global warming, with the US under Donald Trump refusing to keep the Paris Accord of 2015 on goals for lowering of carbon emissions.

Abandoning Iran Nuclear Deal Would Insure That North Korea Would Never Agree To Any Agreement With United States

Donald Trump is extremely ignorant and clueless about foreign policy, and about how authoritarian dictators think.

He has aspirations to be an authoritarian dictator, but our Constitution, Bill of Rights, News Media, and Judicial System will prevent such an eventuallty.

Trump expects North Korea and its unstable leader, Kim Jong Un, just to give up their nuclear program because of our threats of military force.

He seems not to understand that Kim Jong Un, as crazy as he is, is smarter than Donald Trump, and knows what happened to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, who gave up his nuclear program, but was then overthrown in the “Arab Spring” in 2011.

Kim Jong Un also sees how Trump is ready to break the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, despite it being obeyed by Iran, and the other nations in the agreement (Great Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia) still supporting the agreement.

If Trump follows through on destroying the Iranian Nuclear Agreement without just cause, what kind of message does that send to Kim Jong Un?

It shows that the United States cannot be trusted to keep any agreement, so why should North Korea give up its ultimate weapon?

This is NOT a belief that Kim Jong Un and his nation are not international pariahs, but the Trump abandonment on Iran will most certainly conbince North Korea and Iran to move ahead on their nuclear programs, knowing neither can trust the United States on any agreement.

Donald Trump’s Love Affair With Authoritarian Leaders In Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, China And Rejection Of Democratic Allies

One of the most mystifying aspects of the Trump Presidency is his absolute love affair, his “bromance”, not only with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, but also with the authoritarian leaders of Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and China.

Russia is a growing threat to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland, along with Ukraine, and one wonder what Trump would do if Putin decided to invade those nations.

Turkey’s leader promoted violence against demonstrators at the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC, and Trump has nary a comment to make.

Egypt’s leader has established a hard line dictatorship, after a brief period of an “Arab Spring” four to six years ago.

Saudi Arabia is the most despicable country when it comes to human rights, including involving women, and there are no free elections.

The Philippines leader has caused the mass murder of thousands of suspected drug dealers and users, but many of them totally innocent, and Trump applauds him.

China clearly is not a democracy, and while we must work with them on North Korea’s threat, Trump has become a cozy “friend” of its government, ignoring their violations of human rights, and their assertions of rights to the waterways off of Taiwan and Japan and South Korea.

Trump embraces human rights violators and threats to world stability, while being rude and disrespectful to the leaders of our major allied nations—Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany,Italy and Japan, as well as Australia and Mexico.

What is going on in the head of Donald Trump?

Why does he seem to worship authoritarianism and show contempt for democratic nations?

In so doing, Donald Trump is creating an unstable world, which the United States will pay for in blood and tears, in the long run, even after Donald Trump is finally out of office!

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”!

Death of Moammar Gaddafi Another Foreign Policy Victory For Barack Obama!

The death of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi today in his hometown is a victory for change in the Middle East, another sign of the impact of the “Arab Spring”, and a great moment for President Barack Obama’s image in being effective in executing American foreign policy!

This just adds to the justification of the American intervention through NATO in the Libyan Civil War, and it adds stature to Obama’s ability to be the most effective figure in fighting terrorism and dictatorship in the Arab world!

There is great hope for the future of Libya, and certainly, it is the final removal of a 42 year brutal dictatorship, at the cost of only $2 billion and not one American life lost!

Already, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, soon to be followed by other Republican Presidential candidates, have made an obligatory statement, trying to prove their foreign policy expertise, but it is Barack Obama who will gain the credit for a decision well crafted, and encouraged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice!

This, on top of the death of Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists recently, is another victory for civilization against barbarism!

The Arrogance And Gall Of Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, And Herman Cain Toward The “Occupy Wall Street” Movement!

When the Tea Party Movement, a right wing reactionary group with fascist tendencies, formed in 2009, the Republican Party, conservative talk radio, Fox News Channel, and wealthy people on Wall Street embraced it, and they set out to further harm the middle class and the poor, and are still in the process of doing so on Capitol Hill and in the state governments!

Now that the outraged “99 percent” have decided to march and demonstrate and occupy Wall Street, but also march and demonstrate in dozens of cities all across America, demanding action to make our government deal with the corruption on Wall Street, the mortgage debacle, the unemployment crisis, the health denials to millions of citizens, the pension disaster, the long term student loan mess, and the homelessness and poverty of millions of children, we are being told by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, and Herman Cain that these people are “losers”, or as Cain says, if one is unemployed or not rich, don’t blame anyone, blame yourself!

For an African American candidate to ignore totally the reality of his own race being in worse condition than ever due to the Great Recession and its supposed aftermath, is a total disgrace, and shows how becoming wealthy can totally corrupt a person’s judgment and make him look down on those who are less fortunate, not only of his race, but across the board, despite the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, and caused by Wall Street and the corporations!

These right wing fascists should be warned that if nothing is done to deal with the economic crisis in this country, there is the terrifying danger of real bloodshed and violence breaking out, and that would be a total tragedy!

Just as in the Middle East with the “Arab Spring”, we are now seeing the extension of what began in the state of Wisconsin and elsewhere earlier this year, and the government cannot ignore this, as that is a danger to the future of the nation!

33rd Anniversary Of Camp David Accords Between Egypt And Israel: Greatest Accomplishment Of Jimmy Carter Now In Danger Of Being Lost!

Today marks the 33rd Anniversary of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, brought about by intense negotiations between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, presided over by President Jimmy Carter.

Over ten days at Camp David, President Carter accomplished what is seen as his greatest deed in office in foreign affairs: a peace treaty between two nations who had been in a state of war for 30 years; recognition of the state of Israel by the first Arab nation to do so; and movement toward return of territory gained by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

This was a greater accomplishment than just what has been listed, as realize that President Sadat had warred against Israel less than five years earlier in the Yom Kippur War of October, 1973!

The result was more than thirty years of good relations and peace through difficult times for Israel with its other Arab neighbors and the Palestinians, three years under Sadat until he was tragically assassinated for that treaty on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War in October, 1981; and then for almost thirty years under his successor, Hosni Mubarak, until his overthrow from power earlier this year as part of the Arab Spring revolts against established authority in Arab nations in the Middle East.

Just a week ago, an attack by Egyptians against the Israeli embassy in Cairo led to a call from President Barack Obama to the Egyptian authorities demanding protection of the embassy and safe passage for Israeli diplomats, this done after an appeal from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But the fact of gradual deterioration of Egyptian-Israeli relations is very troubling, and one can wonder IF the Camp David Accords will survive to its 34th anniversary!

A Sobering Labor Day: Bad Times For Labor Unions And Workers!

As Labor Day 2011 comes on tomorrow, it is a sobering time for labor unions and workers, whether in unions or not.

Labor unions have been under sharp and sustained attack across America, continuing a 30 year decline beginning under Ronald Reagan.

Workers’ wages are stagnant or declining in purchasing power, and most employees know they are in a weak state, afraid of antagonizing management in a time of extremely high unemployment, where any problems created with employers can lead to quick unemployment lines.

With 9.1 percent official unemployment in August, and absolutely no job growth at all, for the first time since February 1945, there is great fear among the unemployed, as well as those who have jobs, that the labor situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

African Americans have an unemployment rate nearing 17 percent, and Hispanics and Latinos have over 12 percent, and people without a college degree have about 9.5 percent, while college graduates actually have only about a 4.5 percent unemployment rate.

So race and ethnicity and lack of adequate education are key factors in unemployment. But also, alarmingly, many people between 50-60 years of age are experiencing long term unemployment for the first time in their adult lives, with little opportunity to retrieve an equivalent job and salary anytime, and with Social Security and Medicare still years away from occurring.

Also, while the unemployment rate remains stagnant at 9.1 percent, the REAL unemployment rate of those with only part time hours added to those who have no work, is closer to 18 percent, an unacceptable and dangerous number!

We must not forget that it is young people, plus discontented older people, who have led for change in the “Arab Spring”, and also now are demanding major change in government policies in our Mideast ally, Israel.

How much longer can labor conditions continue the way they are going without a reaction which might include radical action, some of it violent or incendiary?

So the urgency of a serious jobs program by Barack Obama, and cooperation by Congress is needed, but not likely due to the divided Congress, and the power of the Tea Party Movement, which wants no government involvement in creating jobs!

So crisis conditions and divisions are bound to get worse very soon, a troubling scenario!

The Growing Danger Of Social Media, Social Networking: Growing Discontent Among Young People Who Are Unemployed Leads To Potential Violence And Revolution!

Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter have brought people together in all kinds of great causes and crusades, including the “Arab Spring” in many Middle East nations that are autocracies.

At the same time, social networking has also been leading to the ability of crime gangs to promote chaos and anarchy, as has been occurring recently in Philadelphia; to demonstrations interfering with freedom of movement in the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system in San Francisco; and to authorities attempting to shut down social media and cell phones to prevent such confrontations and violence, but in the process interfering with civil liberties, and the ability to communicate for law abiding citizens.

When one realizes that a lot of what has happened in the “Arab Spring” is not just based on politics, but also on the inability of many young people in the Middle East to find work or make an adequate living even with those who have educational attainment, one must also realize that millions of young Americans, who would never be ordinarily considering being lawless, MIGHT with growing unemployment and frustration help to cause some firebrands to incite people to rise up in violence and bloodshed in opposition to the lack of federal and state governments doing what they can to promote job creation. Whether with business assistance or through public works projects, as during the Great Depression, when millions of people contributed to the growth of infrastructure through the Works Projects Administration and other agencies, giving them faith in the future and a steady paycheck, it is ESSENTIAL that actions be taken immediately to prevent such an occurrence!

The fact that the US government under Republican House leadership has done NOTHING to promote job growth, and that state governments are cutting employment at the same time, means that unemployment is likely to grow, apparently part of the plan of the GOP to make Barack Obama look bad. But in the process, it is likely to provoke eventual violence and bloodshed, which can be fueled on the internet through Facebook and Twitter and other social media!

The potential for trouble is alarming, and the events in the Middle East, Philadelphia and San Francisco should ring alarm bells in our government at all levels, that we CANNOT allow widespread unemployment to grow and claim there is nothing that government can do, as they indeed did a GREAT DEAL during the New Deal years of Franklin D. Roosevelt and saved the country from revolution!

It is time for Congress and the states to stop the politics, and start promoting job opportunity, whether privately inspired or publicly created, and not later, but NOW!

Barack Obama And Israel: Is He Abandoning Israel? NO!

Listening to Republicans and Fox News Channel today, one would think that Barack Obama is ready to destroy Israel in his quest for good relations with the Islamic world.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Obama, in his speech at the State Department yesterday, and in his meeting with right wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today at the White House, made it clear that the United States does not expect Israel to negotiate with Palestinian leadership which refuses to recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Obama also said that the Palestinian leadership cannot expect Israel to accept their dealing with and uniting with Hamas, the terrorist government in charge of the Gaza Strip.

Also, Obama said that the United States would back up Israel in the United Nations against any move to delegitimize or isolate it by vote in that body.

Also, Israel cannot be expected to endanger its own national security and safe borders, and that America would back its steadfast ally in its desire to remain a secular, democratic nation.

The controversial part of the Obama speech yesterday dealt with the proposal to return to pre 1967 borders with some mutually agreeable land swaps to stabilize the territorial boundaries of Israel and a Palestinian state. This is, Obama said, a beginning point for negotiations. Notice, the words are BEGINNING point for NEGOTIATIONS! It is NOT settling the final boundaries and terms of a settlement.

This idea of promoting negotiations and making concessions on both sides is nothing new! It was promoted by all of our Presidents since Israel was created in 1948, but always with the guarantee of protection of the security interests of Israel, our traditional ally!

To believe that President Obama is abandoning Israel is simply wrong thinking, and it must be recalled that earlier Israeli governments under other Prime Ministers were willing to make concessions for peace, but without handing over the security and sovereignty of Israel to Palestinians and terrorists.

The main point here is to help promote negotiations at a time of the so called “Arab Spring”, when so much turmoil and possible democratization is occurring in an area that has seen such harsh dictatorial regimes for so long.

It turns out that President George W. Bush had called for return to pre 1949 boundary lines when Israel was first created, as recently as a speech in 2008, while Obama referred to pre 1967, which in most respects is the same statement, but when Bush suggested it, his party endorsed it, but when Obama suggests it, he is bitterly condemned by Republicans.

What it comes down to is that the Republican party, as always, will simply come out against anything Obama says or does, even if it follows earlier Republican principles or stands.

So an appropriate term for this might be that the Republican Party has a disease–Obama Derangement Syndrome!