This is Trump. This is your country on Trump. Any questions?

It’s final—Donald Trump will become the president of the United States of America in a couple of months. So it’s now relevant to contemplate what the USA will be like under his administration. First off, it’s clear that he will not enter the Oval Office with a mandate of the American people. While Trump is sure to be elected by a strong majority of the Electoral College next month, Hillary Clinton will probably win the popular vote for president. Trump will lead a country in which a majority of American voters do not want him to be their president.

He will also have to forge foreign relations in a world where he is very unpopular. While it is not a globally unanimous sentiment, Europe hates Trump and according to Pew Research, much of the world has no confidence that Trump will do the right thing regarding world affairs. So it’s likely that all of the wounds that President Obama has healed in international relations with the USA after President Bush so badly damaged them will be reopened if you trust Trump’s words.

But neither foreigners nor Americans who have been paying attention to Trump will be able to trust the president’s word after he takes office. I’ve already written about how much of a liar Trump is. I realize that everyone lies, including Hillary Clinton, so it’s not that he lies that bothers me. It’s the extraordinary scale of his lying that concerns me. FactCheck.org dubbed Trump the “King of Whoppers” and PolitiFact awarded Trump’s campaign misstatements “Lie of the Year” in 2015. He even lies about his lies by switching his positions on issues from one side to the opposite and back at a dumbfounding rate and regularity. That’s why the world feels so much uncertainty about Trump’s presidency and Americans will be unable to rely on anything he will say as president.

In terms of the homeland itself, your country on Trump will be wet…and dry. Miami won’t be flooded by the Pacific Ocean during his administration but Trump has pledged to cancel last year’s Paris Climate Change accord and dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s a miracle that the world could reach an agreement that 193 countries would sign on to, so it’s likely to unravel with the world’s second leading emitter of carbon dioxide leaving the accord. That means you can expect Global Warming to continue and the seas to rise over the USA’s coastal cities after Trump has done his damage and left the White House. And without an EPA, Flint, Michigan won’t be the only place where you won’t be able to drink the water.

Americans will also have less access to health care on Trump. I continue to be a critic of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but it’s preferable to no Obamacare at all. I know Trump has promised to replace the ACA after he repeals it but he has told you nothing about what he would replace it with. And it’s completely unrealistic to think that your Republican-dominated congress will pass any health care reform law, so you will be back to the way things were before the ACA: more than 15-million Americans who gained health insurance under the ACA will again have to go without it while the cost for health care will return to its pre-ACA levels of skyrocketing increases.

On Trump, ethnic relations among Americans will be rent to pieces. Between calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and countless other xenophobic comments, Trump has made America hate again. Because Trump is setting an example that it is acceptable, many Americans will be more willing to publicly express racism and prejudice of people who don’t look or act like a WASP. And the American targets of that bigotry will suffer from it and fear showing their diversity in public, thereby creating divides between “us” and “them” in whatever forms we and they take.

But perhaps the greatest damage the USA will sustain on Trump is the erosion of your freedoms and civil rights. Trump has repeatedly exhibited extensive disregard for the USA’s constitution. And by calling for “taking out” (he did not mean on a date) the families of members of ISIS and torturing terrorists with waterboarding, he has shown that he’s also willing to commit international war crimes. Trump threatened to throw Hillary Clinton in jail, if he were president, for charges that FBI director James Comey said “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring and has called for new libel laws to quash any journalists who publicly disagree with him. These are the actions dictators, including King George III of England, have historically taken to suppress any political opposition and wrest power from their people in totalitarian states.

The harmful side effects of Trump are many and I could go on at much more length about what your country will be like on Trump. But if, after fifteen months of Trump’s campaigning, you still support him, you already know everything about him that will damage your country but have chosen not to acknowledge it. It won’t change your denial to read about it here. And everyone else already knows the repercussions of the USA being on Trump. So I’ve said my peace and I’ll leave the next four years on Trump to history. Any questions?

Bullshit hater

I find myself regularly defending President Barack Obama against Republicans and other conservatives. So it comes as no surprise that I’m sometimes accused of being an Obama-lover. I’m told that I drink the Kool-Aid served up by the “liberal media.”

As much as I find myself defending President Obama, what is surprising is that I’ve actually criticized him about many serious issues over the years:

  • I’ve been critical of the Affordable Care Act—better known as Obamacare—since it became law because I see it as a government handout to health insurance companies.
  • I opposed Obama’s approach to recovering the housing market when he presented his homeowner affordability and stability plan shortly after taking office.
  • I consider the fact that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is still in operation to be a failed promise by Obama to close it down as soon as he became president.
  • I believe Obama continues to violate Americans’ right to privacy by authorizing the NSA to gather information about our communiques en masse as they are transmitted over public communications networks.
  • I strongly oppose the assassinations by drone strikes of people, including American citizens, in countries that are not at war against the USA without allowing the person assassinated due process.

The list could go on but that’s not the point of this article. I think there are plenty of legitimate criticisms that can be levied against President Obama and there is also no lack of grounds and reasoning to defend those criticisms. That’s why it disturbs me to see the endless string of criticisms of Obama coming from the Right that have no validity whatsoever.

A recent example was the speech President Obama gave after the mass shooting at Umpqua College last week. Conservatives quickly denounced the president for opportunistically politicizing the incident to press a gun control agenda. I think a reasonable case can be made that the incident should not be used by the president to advance his agenda. But in almost the same breath, conservatives deride the president for not calling for religious tolerance, as he would have if the shooter had been a Muslim, and instead demands gun control—never mind that he publicly stated no one in the USA should ever be targeted by a shooter because of how they worship. But conservatives can’t have both. If the president uses the incident to call for religious tolerance, he’s politicizing it.

The completely groundless criticism we probably hear most frequently from the Right is that the economy is worse off now than it was when President Obama took office. Do these people not remember that the USA’s economy was teetering on the brink of a total collapse at the end of 2008? The American economy lost 2.6-million jobs that year but has gained almost 8-million of them in the intervening years. The unemployment rate was 7.6% then but is now 5.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 7,000 when Obama took office but now it’s almost 17,000 and the S&P 500 has increased 157% since then. The Consumer Confidence Index was around 25 when Obama took office and is now over 100. Of course, the most telling statistic is GDP because it’s the basic indicator of a recession. It was contracting before Obama took office and has grown every year since then. By almost every major metric used for the health of the economy, it is in far better shape than it was when George W. Bush handed it off to Obama.

Although it has nothing to do with issues that impact everyday American lives, conservatives often deride President Obama for using the pronouns “I” and “me” excessively in his speeches. The implication is that Obama is narcissistic and self-serving in the presidency. But an objective count paints a very different picture. Just 2.5% of the total words Obama has used in news conferences were first-person singular pronouns—only Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt used them less often since 1929.

Although it’s an older example, conservatives also criticized President Obama for withdrawing from Iraq prematurely. They should have been pointing the finger at George W. Bush instead. It was the Bush administration that established the agreement with Iraq to complete a full withdrawal by the end of 2011 before Obama was elected president.

There will probably be criticisms of President Obama’s patriotism, faith, and birthright citizenship ‘til the day he leaves the Oval Office. Republicans have outright accused him of not loving America and intentionally harming the country. To this day, 43% of Republicans still believe Obama is Muslim. Of course, only Obama himself knows the truth on his patriotism and faith but publicly he has always proclaimed his love for his country and professes to be Christian. He has also released his long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii (PDF).

The list of invalid or outright false criticisms of President Obama could also go on. They are everywhere in the media and when I see groundless attacks in social media, I find it difficult to resist defending Obama against them. But it’s not because I’m an Obama-lover—it’s because I’m a bullshit hater. Make a legitimate criticism of Barack Obama and I’ll join you in the criticism.

Health care still still needs reform

Yes, I know president Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law five years ago and the Supreme Court recently firmly solidified it in our health care system. But Obamacare was not health care reform, it was just health care change. Sure, more Americans are covered with health insurance because of it but the health care system is otherwise business as usual.

That includes continuing skyrocketing costs. Health insurance providers from around the country are planning to raise their premiums twenty- to forty-percent in 2016—some even more. The ACA was supposed to drive down the cost of health care. But it should come as no surprise that it’s not happening. Even before the law was passed, Dr. Marcia Angell from Harvard University Medical School said “we’re going to deliver the private insurance companies a captive market.” What did anyone seriously think would happen when you give for-profit insurance companies a captive market?

I’ve been saying since the beginning of president Obama’s term that real health care reform means a single-payer system. It’s as true today as it was then. Thanks to the ACA, health insurance companies are more entrenched in our health care system than ever. Unfortunately, they are the problem not the solution.