Trumps Double-Speak

Donald Trump railed against Hillary Clinton’s close relationship with Goldman Sachs saying, she was in bed with them. He then turns around and appoints current and former executives of Goldman Sachs to be part of his Cabinet.

Donald Trump said he opposed the Iraq War and was going to make America Great Again beginning at home. However his appointment of General Michael Flynn as his White House National Security Advisor, a man who has stated that Militant Islam is a cancer that needs to be eradicated and that Sharia Law is spreading in the United States, should make Americans very nervous about his real intentions.

 Add to this that he also appointed Retired Marine Corps General  James  Mattis to be Secretary of Defense knowing that (Mad Dog) Mattis , “Sometimes it’s fun to shoot people,” has shown he is  strongly opposed to Iran and believes it’s a danger to Middle East stability, should again  have Americans wondering what he real plans are for America’s continued involvement in the Middle East.

He also appointed Steven Bannon, as White House Chief strategist.  Prior to this Bannon had been running Breitbart news. Breitbart, started by Andrew Breitbart , a staunch supporter of Israel who favored the Right Wing Likud Party is the newspaper favored by the Alt-Right. The Likud Party was extremely opposed to the United States-Iran Nuclear Treaty.  These three appointments do not create confidence in Trumps, Make America Great Again, beginning at home theme.

With his proposed tax cuts where does the money come from to engage further in the Middle East with perhaps another war taking place, this time with Iran while still making America Great Again, beginning at home.

Trump has also stated that as President he will protect the rights of all Americans. However his tweets about protesters, the press, Hamilton, and Saturday Night Live which are all covered under the First Amendment should have all Americans concerned. The fact that he does not tweet at three in the morning about White supremacists screaming Heil Trump, while giving the Nazi salute should frighten us all.

The Truth be Damned

The Truth no longer matters. What do you mean the truth no longer matters? Just what I said, “The truth no longer matters. Today the truth is what people think it is and that’s all that matters.” To prove my point here is and exchange between Newt Gingrich and a reporter on CNN after Trump’s nomination.

The CNN reporter suggested Trump was overselling fear. “Violent crime across the country is down,” she said. “We’re not under siege.”

Gingrich waved that off: “The average American, I will bet you this morning, does not think crime is down; does not think they are safer.

Reporter: “But we are safer and it is down.”

Gingrich: “No, that’s your view.”

Reporter: “It’s a fact.”

Gingrich: “The current view is that liberals have a whole set of statistics which theoretically may be right, but it’s not where human beings are. People are frightened.”

The reporter noted figures from the FBI — no liberal bastion — say crime is down.

Gingrich: “No, but what I said is equally true. People feel it.”

Reporter: “They feel it, yes, but the facts don’t support it.”

Gingrich: “As a political candidate, I’ll go with how people feel and I’ll let you go with the theoreticians.”

Gingrich is right. People do not want the truth today. They want their feelings to be validated. Don’t tell me I’m safer today than ever before, I am afraid, tell me I have a reason to be afraid and the politician that validates those voters’ feelings gets his vote.

If I asked people, how many of you know someone who has died of cancer almost everyone would tell me they do. If I asked them how many of you know someone who has died as a result of drug or alcohol addiction or from a car accident most would tell me they do.

If I asked the same group, how many of you know someone who has been killed by a terrorist, been murdered, been robbed not many would know someone. But they would tell me out of all of those things they fear the terrorist the most. Why? Because the people who want their vote are tapping into their fears, as irrational as those fears are to them they are real and that’s all that matters. The truth be damned!

 

The Perfect Storm

Many Democrats were completely unprepared and stunned by the outcome of the Presidential election and rightly so. They had listened and believed the mainstream media telling them the Republican Party was finished and it was finished due to the Far Right Wing Christian Evangelicals. Fast forward to after the election and it’s exactly the opposite. The Democratic Party is finished at least for now and the Far Right Christian Evangelicals of the Republican Party have taken control with a Republican Congress they hope will do their bidding. So where does this go from here?

Mike Pence stated the person he would most emulate as Vice-President is Dick Cheney. This is frightening because President Elect-Trump has informed Mike Pence that he will be the one running Foreign and Domestic Policy. The most likely reason for this is, Trump has no understanding of politics nor does he have any real interest in learning about it. He is in this for the business end of it and the profits it brings to the Trump Brand.

It’s also worth noting that Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater an American Private Military Company and Security Firm that was contracted by the U.S. government during the war in Iraq, donated money to the Pence Campaign. A number of Blackwater employees were accused of murdering civilians in Iraq and convicted.

What does a Far Right Christian Evangelical Republican Party want? If you are paying attention you already know. They want to roll back Roe v Wade, Gay Rights, Civil Rights, voting rights, Separation of Church and State, severely limit immigration, outlaw Islam, and go to war with Iran and that’s just for starters.

There will be attacks on Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion, Right to Privacy, along with attacks on who is covered or not covered under due process.

Trumps picks for his cabinet should be a real warning to all those blue collar workers who voted for him. Many of these picks bring on board former Goldman Sachs Executives; the very same executives Trump told his supporters Clinton was in bed with. This is how he has “Drained the Swamp” If those blue collar workers who voted for Trump believe these executives have their best interests in mind, then they have been fooled for a second time.  Many of these men are the same ones that helped bring on the Great Recession.

In the 2000 Presidential Election Al Gore won the popular vote and lost the election to George Bush a political novice. He became the puppet for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Poindexter and the policies they wanted. The election of Trump is almost an exact parallel including losing the popular vote. He is a political novice who is surrounding himself with people who will easily convince Trump of what needs to be done.

The people he is surrounding himself with are also staunch Zionist who support the Likud Party in Israel. The Likud party was adamantly opposed to the United States Treaty with Iran and will do anything to undermine it. Trump has also named Retired Marine Corp General, James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and who also favors a hard line with Iran. Throw in General Michael Flynn who will be Trumps Defense Advisor in the White House and who has said of Islam that it’s like a cancer that needs to be eradicated and you have all the earmarks for another war.

The picture should be getting very clear here and it’s creating the Perfect Storm. With the Bush Administration it was Iraq with the Trump Administration it will be Iran. If it plays out the same way we are looking at another long war with no way of paying for it and a major recession before it’s over.

How Nineteen men brought down an Empire

There are those in our society who are so afraid of change, so afraid of others who are different; not only different in their features but also in how they think that they would give up their own freedoms in order to feel protected from them.

Anyone who does not believe as they do is a potential threat and therefore a potential enemy; not to be trusted. This is how the Trump Presidency was allowed and it’s how it begins. Of course if you are a Trump supporter you will think this is all a lot of crying from a liberal who has helped to destroy this country with his beliefs.

But it was not liberals who destroyed this country nor was it conservatives, independents or anyone else. It was fear that destroyed this country. It was nineteen men with box cutters on September 11, 2001 that brought this nation to where it now finds itself; polarized and frightened.

This is not the first time this has happened. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 Americans feared and attack on the West Coast by the Japanese. Because of this American Citizens of Japanese Ancestry were stripped of their Constitutional Rights, their homes, possessions and freedoms and put into camps. This was done to them for two reasons; fear and they could be recognized as different. They could be recognized as the enemy.

America was at war with Germany too but few Germans were put into camps. The reason; they were American Citizens with German Ancestry therefore their skin was white, their features the same as all other Euro-American Citizens. Therefore they could not be recognized as the enemy.

In American history it hasn’t always been an act of war that has caused Americans to fear those different from themselves. From 1882 to 1943 the United States Government severely curtailed immigration from China to the United States. This Federal policy resulted from fear over the large numbers of Chinese who had come to the United States in response to the need for inexpensive labor, especially for construction of the transcontinental railroad. Competition with American workers and a growing nativism brought pressure for restrictive action.

These same Chinese immigrants died by the hundreds building the Trans-Continental railroad that would connect the United States from coast to coast. But after the Civil War and with the economy in decline and many Chinese immigrants employed in low wage jobs the Chinese were blamed for declining wages. Many were beaten to death in the street or lynched.

With the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 Americans are once again responding in the same old way they have in the past and they are responding for the same reason and that reason is an unreasonable fear of those who are different.

This time their fear is directed at American Citizens with West Asian ancestry; Muslims whose religion for many of them is Islam; Muslims whose features are distinctly different from those who fear them; white Euro-Americans. In their eyes Muslims represent what the Japanese did too many Americans in 1941 and if we as a nation stand by the same thing can and will happen again.

In the year 2016 in American history a man showed up who told them he would protect them from these terrible, dangerous people. He would send back the immigrants who are stealing their jobs and causing wages to stay stagnant. He told them he would create a registry for these people they feared. He would make their country “Great Again” never spelling out the time period that America was Great.

When was America Great? Was that when we were conquering the United States in the 1800’s or when slave labor was used to build cities, and run the American economy. Was it during the Civil War or was it during the advance into the Pacific theatre where the U.S. colonized other nations and restricted their freedoms for its economic gain and to increase its military power.

During all the time when women and minorities had few or no rights; is this the America that Americans want to go back to? Is this the period where America was great? Was it during WWI or WWII that Trump is talking about? Is that when America was great, do we as a nation want to go back to fighting world wars so as a nation we can feel proud.

Was it during the 1950’s when the fear of Communism led to the Korean War and McCarthyism? Was it during the sixties with the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement? When was the time period that the United States was great?

If American citizens look back into their history with a critical eye they will find that it all came at a cost. A cost in lives taken, cultures destroyed, opportunities wasted, and they would see that at no point is there a time where you could say America was great without finding others who would say at what cost?

There are those supporters of Trump who only want one thing, and that is what they deem a Christian White America! They want to overturn Roe v Wade, Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, and Civil Rights. They want an America that makes the world in balance with their beliefs. They do not care about anyone else’s beliefs.

The recent letters sent to Mosques in California stating that President Trump is going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews is not making America Great. The fact that President-Elect Trump has yet to call a Press Conference and openly denounce this type of hate being carried out in his name does not make America great. For those who are not white it must make their own country horribly frightening.

Many other supporters of Trump voted for him because they were tired of politics as usual. They may find that they are going to get from Trump a politics that is much more repressive than usual and will bring down on them even more restrictions, more hardships, and fewer rights. It seems that most Americans do not really know or at least they do not really want to know their nations history. If they did they would not want to make “America Great Again” they would want to make America Great.

Trump would limit our rights quickly! He believes his truths should be our collective truths! I believe he is constitutionally incapable of seeing any side but his own! He has shown himself to be a weak-minded man and history has shown us that a weak-minded man is very dangerous when he has power! We must stand Vigilant!

America cannot be great on the back of all the things past American Governments have done. In order to be great current Americans must acknowledge the failure and the harm of past U.S. Administrations and right those things where they can be righted and openly acknowledge America’s role in those that can’t be righted.

Having done this future Americans and their leaders can move to create an America that looks out for the welfare of the many at home and abroad for the purpose of bettering their lives, not for economic gain and to increase its military reach.

Late Term Abortions

Donald Trump told the American people that in late term abortions the fetus is ripped from the womb sometimes a day before the baby is due. What Trump was really trying to tell us is there are people who simply decide in the last month that they don’t want to have their child and just abort it.

This is not true. Late term abortions account for 1 percent of all abortions. Most abortions take place in the first 12 weeks. Also late term abortions can be very expensive and many simply cannot afford them.

Late term abortions in the vast majority of cases are due to the limited chance of survival for the child or the risk of death for the mother.

Limited chance of survival for the child; what does that mean? Modern medicine has accomplished some wonderful things. Antibiotics now save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year that less than a hundred years ago would have died. At the beginning of the twentieth century life expectancy in the United States was around 40 today it’s 77.

However modern medicine has also caused us to have to look at situations that as a nation, as a culture and as individuals, we would not have had to struggle with in the not so distant past. Today we confront these situations with terms such as ethical treatment, moral dilemma, or even inhuman behavior.

Today modern medicine can and does inform prospective parents that the child developing in the mother’s womb has major deformities such as an unformed brain, or skull, Spina Bifida, or a number of other deformities that are traumatic to the parents. Some children are born that will remain as helpless as babies as long as they live.

There are those, generally for religious reasons who believe that was Gods will and the parents of that child should and must take care of it for the rest of their lives.

In the past the child would have been born without this knowledge and then the parents would have been faced with questions that medicine had no answers for. The child after suffering for days, months or perhaps, years, with no quality of life would have died.

Today modern medicine can save or prolong the life of a child with many deformities but how do they determine what the quality of life will be in many of those cases. The same can be said of soldiers wounded on today’s battlefields but at what cost to the soldier and their family.

Each of these things is a personal decision, not a decision that should be made for people by the government or religious institution.

In early hunter gatherer societies the decision was simply a matter of survival for the group. The child could not be cared for and could not contribute to the society and therefore was killed or left to die.

I could have used the word euthanized but that sanitizes it and I don’t want to sanitize it. I don’t want to sanitize it because it’s not an easy thing, it’s difficult and it’s personal and because it’s personal whose decision should it be? Why should people who don’t know another person or couples situation get to decide what decision they make?

In previous societies without modern medicine they didn’t have the liberty of deciding if something was moral or ethical, right or wrong, because it was about survival. They didn’t harvest the deer herd, they killed and butchered animals so they could eat, they killed their enemies they didn’t have collateral damage.

Hunter gather societies could not accommodate babies that were born with many of the deformities we see today and the child would not have lived.  As I stated above the group could not afford the time or resources for this child nor could the child contribute, therefore the answer was one of necessity. The child would be killed or left to die. The same thing happened in many of these societies when a person became old and feeble. They would be left to die just as they had left others to die. It was the natural course of life.

In today’s society we have created an industry that makes huge profits off the care of the old and enfeebled; people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other brain injuries. These people who no longer are capable of taking care of themselves or have any quality of life are often kept alive to the point where their family has spent all their monetary resources or even have gone into debt to care for a loved one who no longer knows them.

This is ludicrous! People who would never do this to their beloved pets are horrified at the idea of ending the life of a loved one who has long ago ceased to be the person they knew and is eating up their resources.

Many people will be aghast at what I have just written yet if this were me I would not want to exist; to breathe air, just so someone could say I am alive! There are hundreds of thousands of people dealing with this very thing today.

I know I would not want to live like that and have made it clear to my family. I know many people who feel the same way that I do. Life is sacred, but when for all practical purposes it has ended then there should be no sadness in that either. It is the natural course of life.

In the end this is a family’s decision and their decision alone.  Whether it is an abortion or an end of life decision; it’s not a decision for Donald Trump, members of Congress, or the Religious Right. Whether abortion or an end of life decision, it belongs solely to the woman, the individual and the family it is going to effect and to no one else. This is in keeping with our humanity.

Inside our Public Schools

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There is a lot of talk about how to improve Public School Education these days. The Common Core, consolidation, raising test scores, and the lack of or the abundance of technology, just to name a few. However, the one thing I never hear addressed is how the atmosphere inside a school or the school environment itself has perhaps the most profound effect on learning.

This is true for the whole school; K-12. There will be those that read this and say you have to shift with the times, it’s the new culture, it doesn’t mean anything and has no effect on the school’s atmosphere, environment or culture.  This seems to be the attitude inside today’s public schools.

If as a parent, grandparent, public school taxpayer you have not visited a public school during the day then perhaps you should drop in. Walk the hallways in between classes while students are rushing  from one class to the next; pop in for a lunch hour and sit and listen to the conversations taking place. I suspect you will be appalled at what you hear. You may think you were on a navy ship in the middle of the ocean listening to sailors go about their day.

However as a former sailor I am often embarrassed by the language I hear coming out of the mouths of students in the public school today. They speak this way with no fear that their language will be called into question. Rather they will often look at the closest adult, almost challenging them to intervene. Only on a rare occasion will this happen. I have been told by many teachers that they just ignore it. Others have told me if we send them to the office nothing will be done anyway.

I have spoken to students who have casually dropped the F-bomb in front of me only to hear, “Speak to my parents, that’s how they talk at home.” This is not an occasional slip, this is now the common language used by students in our public schools. In one placement I had first graders telling me to F-off, first grade. They learned this language at home.

In the navy the F-word was used frequently at sea, yet in port around mixed company or people in public we knew it wasn’t appropriate and did not use it. There is a time and place for everything; the public school is not the place for this and it should not be tolerated. It poisons the atmosphere.

When this language is tolerated…and it is tolerated, it serves to exacerbate other poor behaviors. Students are smart. They realize if they are allowed to determine the language that is allowed in the school environment, then they also realize that they will be allowed to set the parameters for other behaviors that will be tolerated as well.

 There are many students in the school environment who do not want to listen to this language, do not like the atmosphere it creates and yet they have to reside in it every day.  These students realize if they speak out and ask their peers to stop; that they are offended by their language, they will be ostracized. They should not be put in this position, it is not their job, it’s  the job of the teachers and administrators in the building to stop it.

Teachers come to school every day knowing they will hear this language and knowing they will ignore it. It has an effect on their psyche, their desire to teach, their concentration. Not all students use this language but there are enough that it permeates throughout the school environment.

I had lunch duty one day in school and a male student sitting with female students was dropping the F-bomb repeatedly when I spoke to him. I heard him turn to his friends and say, “I didn’t even realize I was saying it.” Often the females are worse than their male peers.

As adults we can blame it on the music of the times and say children today begin hearing this in music by the time they are in fourth grade and probably before. As a result students will tell me the F-word means nothing.  I tell them; if it means nothing, why use it.

In the program I teach in I might hear that word once a month, and there are consequences for it. When I first started teaching there I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t hear this foul language and I asked the teachers why I wasn’t hearing it, they replied, “We don’t allow it.” What a revelation…we don’t allow it…neither should any other schools.

I am not signaling out any one school. I have been in many schools in Vermont and I have talked to students from Carolina to California and they have told me that the same language, the same atmosphere exists in their schools.

Before we worry about what new policy works best to increase student learning, we must create an atmosphere inside our schools where students and teachers can feel safe and comfortable teaching and learning  in. At this moment in time, that atmosphere does not exist.

American people are victims of their own apathy

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There are so many things taking place in the United States that require the attention of its leaders. Leaders that are committed to getting America on the right path in creating jobs, in building the economy, in transforming the infrastructure, in transforming America’s foreign policy, and in transforming America’s political system.

If the leadership of this country became committed to these things then many of the other things that we see as problems might possibly take care of themselves. Things such as crime, education, and healthcare. But without a strong dedicated, invested leadership, none of this is going to happen.

The major problem in this country isn’t that hard to understand. It’s simple really; either raise wages or lower the costs of consumer goods. One of those two things have to change. Prices cannot continue to rise while wages remain stagnate. We are told that inflation in the United States is almost non-existent. This is at the very least misleading and at most a blatant lie. Inflation has been rising in the United States since the early 1990’s.

So where is the current leadership? Where are the men and women of Congress; those who are paid well by the American people to solve these problems?

They are not in Washington. They are out on the campaign trail, getting themselves reelected while the United States stumbles blindly into another war, while the income inequality widens ever further creating hardships for so many Americans struggling just to keep their heads above water. They are out on the campaign trail asking the people they are working for to reelect them to another term; they are fiddling while Rome burns.

The sad truth is most of them will be reelected. The American people are prisoners of a system that gives them just enough freedom to hang themselves with. That freedom is the belief that they are electing their own leaders. It would be better if the leaders of this country stripped Americans of their right to vote altogether. This may be the only thing that would make Americans pay attention enough to realize what is being done to them in the name of freedom and democracy.

However the current leadership of this country is far to smart to endanger their position of power by doing this. They understand that by allowing the people to believe they are in control of electing their leaders, effectively nullifies any power they might otherwise weld.

For left to our own devices, the American people have proven that we will reelect the same old tired leadership over and over again, and will do so unto their own destruction.

Choosing Suicide v Not Choosing Suicide

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If we are beyond the age of 18 and honest with ourselves, we have all probably thought of checking out at some point. By “checking out” of course, I mean suicide. Who has not stood on a high cliff and thought of stepping off?

How many people who have access to guns have not thought of putting a bullet into the chamber and sticking the barrel under their chin or putting it in their mouth or if it’s a handgun putting it to their head and checking out. So easy; no more responsibilities, no more emotional trauma, no more bad relationship, no more financial worries, and no more anything; peace, it’s over. Given all that it is a wonder more people don’t do it.

In Greenland 108 people per every 100,000, end their lives this way. In some towns there, it is the leading cause of death. The majority of those checking out in Greenland are between the ages of 15-24. In most countries, the suicide rate climbs, as people get older, in Greenland oddly enough it decreases with age.

In the United States the rate of suicide is around 12 for every 100,000, thousand people.

Alaska currently ranks number one in the number of suicides with 21.8 per 100,000. This is not a statistic that Alaska advertises in their tourism brochures.  Vermont’s tied with Utah for fifteenth place with a suicide rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 and Maine comes in a fourteenth with a rate of 14.5. If you are thinking the answer is the cold, you’re wrong, because Arizona and Nevada come in eight and fifth respectively with rates of 16 and 18.4 per 100,000.

I know prior to getting sober I thought of suicide on many an occasion. During my 20 plus years of drinking, I took some extremely crazy chances with my life and the lives of those who were with me. On the last night I ever drank the police had picked me up and were giving me a ride home. One police officer asked me what I was going to do when I got there. Without considering the consequences of my statement because I was drunk, I told him I had a .38 in my bottom drawer that I was going to take out stick it in my mouth and get this show over with.

Needless to say he did not take me home and I have not had another drink since that night twenty-five years ago. Would I have acted on what I had said, I will never know but I had been considering that option for a long time and knew exactly where I was going to do it and about where I would fall when I hit. I have to believe I would have more than likely followed through on what I had said.

My life has changed much since then. I have two wonderful children that would have never been born, I have run the Boston Marathon, gone scuba diving, skydiving and written a book. Many who would have grieved due to my selfishness did not have to do that.

There still have been times in my life since then when suicide has crossed my mind. In no way have I ever seriously considered acting on it. Nevertheless, the thoughts still occasionally invade my mind. I do not personally think that this is abnormal. I think if most people were honest with themselves, they would also say it has emerged as a thought in their minds. It is not possible to control every thought that crosses out minds; we can however control what we do with those thoughts.

This is perhaps the biggest difference between those few who do check out verses the vast majority of us who do not. The difference between the thought and the action because no matter how dark our world seems, how hopeless a situation looks like…especially alone in the dark of night, it’s not as bad as we imagine it to be and that within a few days in all likelihood that problem we think is insurmountable will get better.

American Dictators since 1945

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Since 1945 the United States has backed many dictators in order to protect what it considered its National Interests. It did this without any regard for the citizens of those countries.

Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice said about the Middle East, “For 60 years my country has pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region…by trying to purchase stability at the price of liberty, we achieved neither and we saw the result of that on a fine September morning.”

It was a courageous statement and a step in the right direction. Unfortunately America’s National Interests are more important than America’s words and actions.

In 1953 Allen Dulles was a busy man. Even as he readied the CIA for a coup in Guatemala his agents were toppling the liberal left government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq and paving the way for the Shah of Iran.

With Dulles’ encouragement, the Shah made the Iranian people an offer they couldn’t refuse – join his party or go to jail. Thousands who refused to yield were imprisoned or murdered. During regional elections in 1954, the Shah’s agents raided a religious school and hurled hundreds of students to their deaths from the roof.

His regime received one hundred percent of the vote that year, in an election which registered more votes than there were voters. In 1979 the Shah was overthrown. The fallout from that still effects American foreign policy today.

In Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem oppressed his people so badly that many of them turned to the communists for protection from his ruthless rule. Even President Eisenhower admitted that “had elections been held, possibly eighty percent of the population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh [the communist leader].” Yet Diem, who had once lived in the U.S., had connections in Washington who liked his anti-communism.

Ultimately, he angered his own military officers because he promoted on the basis of loyalty – not merit. In an effort to keep Diem in power, the U.S. tried to persuade him to make political reforms. He refused, so they persuaded him to make “military reforms.”

But when Diem was finally overthrown and assassinated in 1963, none of his generals rose to defend him. Nor did the U.S., which, after 8 years, had finally realized that Diem wasn’t popular.

In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos began his career with a bang: At age 21, convicted of gunning down Julio Nalundasan, his father’s victorious opponent in the Philippines’ first national elections, he went to prison. He was later released by a Supreme Court Justice who, like Marcos and his father, was a Nazi collaborator. Despite Marco’s record as murderer, fake WW II hero, and Nazi agent, he was elected Philippines President in 1965.
Under Marcos, the Philippines’ national debt grew from $2 billion to $30 billion (and his wife Imelda’s shoe collection grew along with it to over 1,000 pairs), but U.S. corporations in the Philippines prospered, perhaps explaining why the U.S. didn’t protest Marcos’ imposition of martial law in 1972.

The Carter Administration engineered an $88 million World Bank loan to Marcos, increased military aid to him by three hundred percent and called him a “soft dictator”. But a 1976 Amnesty International report identified eighty-eight government torturers and stated that alleged subversives had their heads slammed into walls, their genitals and pubic hair torched, and were beaten with clubs, fists, bottles and rifle butts.

The history of America’s relations with Saddam is one of the sorrier tales in American foreign policy. Time and again, America turned a blind eye to Saddam’s predations, saw him as the lesser evil. Donald Rumsfeld, the once and future Defense secretary, at the time a private citizen, was sent by President Ronald Reagan to Baghdad as a special envoy.

Like most foreign-policy insiders, Rumsfeld was aware that Saddam was a murderous thug who supported terrorists and was trying to build a nuclear weapon. But at the time, America’s big worry was Iran, not Iraq.

The Reagan administration feared that the Iranian revolutionaries who had overthrown the shah (and taken hostage American diplomats for 444 days in 1979-81) would overrun the Middle East and its vital oilfields. Top officials in the Reagan administration saw Saddam as a useful surrogate.

During the Reagan era, Manuel Noriega of Panama. collaborated with Oliver North on covert actions against Nicaragua, training contras and providing a trans-shipment point for CIA supported operations that flew weapons to the contras and cocaine into the U.S. In 1987, a Miami grand jury indicted him for drug-trafficking and the CIA tried to destabilize his regime.

Noriega warned Bush that he had information which could change the course of the 1988 U.S. elections and the CIA backed off, but when Noriega “annulled” Panama’s 1989 elections, citing CIA interference, Bush renewed attempts to unseat his one-time ally.

Critics called Bush’s failure to support an abortive 1989 coup “indecisive,” but his response to that criticism, the December 1989 invasion of Panama, led to world condemnation.

 Noriega eventually surrendered to face U.S. drug charges, but under the guise of apprehending one drug dealer, the invasion led to over 1,000 Panamanian deaths and installed a regime with similar close links to drugs, plus a willingness to alter Panama Canal treaties to suit U.S. interests.

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak is now facing tens of thousands of angry citizens. These citizens are angry with the United States. They see Mubarak’s control over them as directly related to Washington’s support of Mubarak’s corrupt regime.

 Washington has a difficult choice to make. They have provided Mubarak’s government with billions of dollars in aid over the years. The Egyptian military has American fighter jets, Apache helicopters, and mechanized vehicles. If Mubarak’s government falls the one that replaces it is likely to resemble that of Iran.

Washington does not want a hardline Islamic regime in Egypt. Especially one that is anti-American, anti- Israel and well armed. If old patterns prevail Washington will wait until the last minute to see what way the wind blows before deciding to support or turn its back on Mubarak.

 In 1979 in Iran, The Shah was not willing to turn the military loose on his people and chose instead to flee the country. In Egypt today the world is waiting to see if Mubarak will flee or turn his military loose on his people. The Shah was sick and in failing health. Mubarak is grooming his son to continue his rule. He has more to lose. Soon the world will have Mubarak’s response.

If he chooses force over exile how will the United States respond? When it comes to dictators Washington always blows with the prevailing winds. The following dictatorships are still supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. These two countries will be closely watching events in Egypt.

If the unrest that began in Tunisia spreads to Saudi Arabia the price of oil will skyrocket and the American economy will face a crisis that it may be unable to recover from. Washington has yet to learn that in the long run backing corrupt regimes exacts a high price in both lives and how America is viewed in the world.