Sunday, March 19, 2017

It Could be Worse (Or It Could Be Better)

It seems each day we find ourselves wondering again how we put such a cringe-worthy, dangerously sociopathic person as our current president in power. Each day he marches us further along the path toward the dismantling of the democracy which we have enjoyed for so many years. We know the answer: he fooled many of the poor, disenfranchised voters with his wild promises. The ones he didn't fool who supported him are the top 1% of the wealthiest in our country as well as the major corporations looking for more benefits from the government in the way of additional tax relief and fewer regulations. The combination of these two segments of our society has, by voting him into office, placed us in grave danger. We are fast approaching a society the likes of which in history created hell on earth for all but a few of the richest and most privileged.

Franklin Roosevelt: “People who are hungry, people who are out of a job, are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

Family friend has her own opinion:

Cliffie S.: "Incompetence won over perceived corruption. Wait, no it didn't. The majority of America voted for Clinton. We wanted Clinton for president. And, while I don't think Clinton is a crook, I would darn sure rather have a competent crook running the show, than a crooked dunce."

Until the President presented his proposed budget this past week, the biggest issue causing much of the furor in the news is the supposedly improved health care plan presented by the GOP. Even with Obamacare in place, which provides millions more people with health insurance, Americans fall behind our neighbor Canada, who has a universal health care system. I found the following article very interesting in the comparison of the two:

Reuters CF Patients Live Longer In Canada (March 13, 2017):
“'We used insurance status as a surrogate marker for the U.S. health care system compared to the universal health care system in Canada,' Dr. Anne Stephenson said by email. 'We found that U.S. patients with private health insurance had similar survival to Canadians, however, insurance status in the U.S. is a complex construct and may reflect a combination of other unmeasured factors such as socioeconomic status.' 

Image result for Canadian images

Overall, the risk for death was 34 percent lower in Canada than in the U.S., researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Compared to U.S. patients continuously insured by Medicaid or Medicare, which are (U.S.) government health programs for the poor and disabled, Canadians had a 44 percent lower risk of death, the study found.

And, relative to American patients without any insurance, Canadians had a 77 percent lower risk of death."

My oldest grandson, Cameron, visited me one day this past week. We had a spirited conversation covering his January trip to India; his future plans to attend seminary (he is currently Director of Lifespan Religious Education at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth, Texas); and his recent participation in protests at a rally in Fort Worth held by Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Jr. He talked of supporting the Dakota Pipeline protests with a "water" service. And of course, our conversation turned to politics.

Cameron rather offhandedly mentioned that when he becomes ordained, he will like to serve churches in the Austin/San Antonio area -- or Canada. I was a little surprised when he said that. Their universal health care was not the issue, as Cameron has excellent insurance with the Unitarian association.

INC 2009 Justin Trudeau.jpgAt my quizzical look, he said, "What do you think of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?" I answered that I was very impressed with him, and embarassed by our President's performance when he visited. As some have said, Trudeau is almost a polar opposite from the President. He certainly shows more class. I must admit I know little about Canadian politics, but it's obvious that they are in alignment with Cameron's, who was a big Senator Bernie Sanders supporter. To me this was indicative of how the current administration will affect the young people in our country who were enchanted with Sanders, and so disappointed when he lost the nomination.
Not enough jobs or affordable health care in the United States is a scary problem for many of our population. However, even our poorest have clean water available, food stamps and organizations which furnish food to the poorest, free lunches for school children, and even limited healthcare at ERs everywhere. At least these are available for now. They may suffer massive cuts under the current administration. However, millions of people in East Africa are facing famine and death from the conditions there. Limited or no food, clean water, or medical help of any kind in some places.

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres traveled to Somalia this past week due to the drought and cholera which is threatening famine to this nation. $825 million is needed to help the population survive for only 6 months.

From the New York Times, March 7th:  People Are Dying

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 file photo, malnourished baby Ali Hassan, 9-months-old, left, is held by his mother Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim, who fled the drought in southern Somalia, at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. Somalia's prime minister said Saturday, March 4, 2017 that 110 people have died from hunger in the past 48 hours in a single region as a severe drought threatens millions of people. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)"..Mr. Guterres recited a litany of statistics: Some 330,000 acutely malnourished children, a number that could rise to a million; 3.3 million people in need of medical care to deal with diseases in a country that lacks health infrastructure; and 7,731 cases of cholera — 183 fatal — in the past two months.

'Just last week, 1,352 cases of cholera and 38 people dying — it’s a process in acceleration,' he warned.

The country has already had two consecutive years of drought, and meteorologists expect crops to fail again this year. Famine was last declared in Somalia in July 2011, after an estimated 260,000 people died, most during a two-month period."
Please open your hearts and your pocketbooks and help these starving people by giving to your favorite charity. International Rescue Committee, Doctors Without Borders, Action Against Hunger, and Save the Children are some already providing aid.


Oh God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough to help by word and deed; those who cry out for what we take for granted.

In spite of the problems we are currently undergoing, America is still among the wealthiest nations in the world. We are blessed, and we are thankful. Let us share the good.

Peace and Love,

UPDATE: Due to ongoing war and famine, South Sudan is in worse shape than Somalia. Tonight 60 Minutes had a segment about the conditions there. Charitable donations are needed for both areas, as well as other East African countries. If you choose to help, the charities all have online websites. One that was highlighted on the CBS show tonight was the International Rescue Committee, which has one of the highest ratings. You may indicate the area you wish your donation to assist. A site to check on a charity's rating and type of assistance can be invaluable. One I like is Charity Navigator.

It has been pointed out that it is very difficult for aid to reach the people. Much is stolen by warring factions or in some cases, even the government.