Issues

Obama worked to build an America to last—a country and an economy where we reward hard work, value fairness, and where everyone is held accountable for what they do. Obama met challenges we still face today as a nation with a bold, comprehensive plan, and he reimagined the government to be more open, transparent, and accountable.

In the era of Trump, I list the following, and submit for public forum:

America’s Challenges

  • Accessibility & Disabilities
  • Civil Rights
  • Climate Change
  • Defense
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Energy & the Environment
  • Equal Pay
  • Ethics
  • Family
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Foreign Policy
  • Gun Violence
  • Health Care
  • Homeland Security
  • Immigration
  • The Middle East Deals
  • Poverty
  • Race
  • Rural America
  • Seniors & Social Security
  • Service
  • Taxes
  • Technology
  • Trade
  • Socioeconomics & Urban Mobility
  • Veterans
  • Violence Prevention
  • Women’s & Children’s Issues

Accessibility & Disabilities

Accessible America

The Center for Disease Control reports 1 in 4 US adults live with a disability (Aug 2018), and that cognitive disability most common in younger adults while mobility disability is most common for others.

One in 4 U.S. adults – 61 million Americans – have a disability that impacts major life activities, according to a report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults.

With age, disability becomes more common, affecting about 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older.

“At some point in their lives, most people will either have a disability or know someone who has a one,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

“Learning more about people with disabilities in the United States can help us better understand and meet their health needs.”

Using data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), this is the first CDC report of the percentage of adults across six disability types:

  1. Mobility—serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  2. Cognition—serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  3. Hearing—serious difficulty hearing
  4. Vision—serious difficulty seeing
  5. Independent living—difficulty doing errands alone
  6. Self-care—difficulty dressing or bathing

These data show that disability is more common among women, non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives, adults with lower income, and adults living in the South Census region of the United States.

The report also shows that:

  • After mobility disability, the next most common disability type is cognition, followed by independent living, hearing, vision, and self-care.
  • The percentage of adults with disability increased as income decreased. In fact, mobility disability is nearly five times as common among middle-aged (45- to 64-year old) adults living below the poverty level compared to those whose income is twice the poverty level.
  • It is more common for adults 65 years and older with disabilities to have health insurance coverage, a primary doctor, and receive a routine health checkup during the previous 12 months, compared to middle-aged and younger adults with disabilities.
  • Disability-specific differences in the ability to access health care are common, particularly among adults 18- to 44-years old and middle-aged adults. Generally, adults with vision disability report the least access to health care, while adults with self-care disability report the most access to care.

“People with disabilities will benefit from care coordination and better access to health care and the health services they need, so that they adopt healthy behaviors and have better health,” said Georgina Peacock, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Division of Human Development and Disability.

“Research showing how many people have a disability and differences in their access to health care can guide efforts by health care providers and public health practitioners to improve access to care for people with disabilities.”

According to CBS News,

The researchers found women and non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives are more likely to have disabilities.

They also observed geographic and socioeconomic differences. Adults living in the South Census region of the United States are more likely to have a disability, the report found.

Additionally, the percentage of adults with disability increased as income decreased. In fact, mobility disability is nearly five times as common for 45- to 64-year olds living below the poverty level compared to those whose income is twice the poverty level.

The report also highlight the importance of access to health care is to people with disabilities. In general, the researchers note that adults 65 years and older with disabilities are more likely to have health insurance coverage, a primary doctor, and receive a routine health checkup during the previous 12 months, compared to middle-aged and younger adults with disabilities.

Adults with vision disability reported the least access to health care, while those with self-care disability reported the most access to care.

1 in 4 U.S. adults has a disability, CDC says — CBS News

CDC is committed to protecting the health and well-being of people with disabilities throughout their lives. Through its State Disability and Health Programs and national collaborations, CDC will continue to work to lower health differences faced by people with disabilities. To advance this goal, CDC provides information and resources for public health practitioners, doctors, and those who care for people with disabilities.

For more information about CDC’s work to support inclusive settings for people with disabilities, go to http://www.cdc.gov/disabilities.

References

CDC. “Home | Disability and Health | NCBDDD | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 3, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/index.html.

“CDC: 1 in 4 US Adults Live with a Disability | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC,” August 16, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0816-disability.html. October 16, Rachel Layne MoneyWatch, 2017, and 5:45 Am.

“The Hidden Cost of Disability Discrimination.” Accessed November 27, 2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-hidden-cost-of-disability-discrimination/. Okoro, Catherine A.

“Prevalence of Disabilities and Health Care Access by Disability Status and Type Among Adults — United States, 2016.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 67 (2018). https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6732a3.

Civil Rights

Civil rights are rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and certain Congressional acts, especially as applied to an individual or a minority group.

According to Human Rights Watch (US Report) across a range of issues the United States moved backward on human rights at home and abroad in 2017.

  1. Harsh Criminal Sentencing
  2. Racial Disparities, Drug Policy, and Policing
  3. Youth in the Criminal Justice System
  4. Poverty and Criminal Justice
  5. Rights of Non-Citizens
  6. Right to Health
  7. Rights of People with Disabilities
  8. Women’s and Girls’ Rights
  9. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  10. National Security
  11. Surveillance
  12. Freedom of Expression and Assembly
  13. Foreign Policy

“Trump a Disaster for Human Rights in First Year.” Human Rights Watch, 19 Jan. 2018, www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/united-states#.

Climate Change

“When the climate science is brought into the courtroom it will result in the judge finding that the government is committing constitutional violations.”

Phil Gregory

The Juliana v. United States plaintiffs “seek nothing less than a complete transformation of the American energy system — including the abandonment of fossil fuels — ordered by a single district court at the behest of ‘twenty-one children and youth,’ ” Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco wrote in a brief to the Supreme Court. They demand that the courts compel the government to “cease their violation of plaintiffs’ rights, prepare an accounting of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare and implement an enforceable national remedial plan to cease the constitutional violations by phasing out fossil fuel emissions and drawing down atmospheric CO2.”

Meanwhile on June 1, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation. Trump stated that “The Paris accord will undermine economy,” and “puts at a permanent disadvantage.” Wikipedia

Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.  This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune… Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in… As President, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people.  The Paris Accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world.  It is time to exit the Paris Accord — (applause) — and time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country.

Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord — Trump, 1 June 2017

Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord

Jun 1, 2017 – Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord … Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the … Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and …. In 2015, the United Nation’s departing top climate officials reportedly described the …

New York Magazine’s The Intelligencer reports regarding the Paris Climate Agreement, “Trump Deals New Blow to Paris Climate Accord Ahead of Conference“, 

 Business Standard has revealed that U.S. negotiators sought to undermine climate financing further still, at an October meeting in Bonn, Germany. Specifically, the U.S. — which has declared its intention to exit the Paris Agreement, but cannot formally do so until 2020 — raised objections to the very concepts of “developed” and “developing” countries:

The US, at first, demanded that the [2018 Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows] be approved only after inserting a caveat that there was no agreement on the meaning and definition of the phrases ‘developed and developing countries’. This meant, it said, one could not map which country belongs to which category when measuring fund flow. By implication, it would have meant that there was no credible way to measure how much funds developed countries are providing to developing countries.
 
When developing countries’ representatives vehemently argued against this, the US instead asked for scrubbing out all references to ‘flows from developed countries’. It asked that the term ‘climate finance providers’ be used — which could imply both developed and developing countries. In other places in the report it insisted that the report cite only hyper-technical terms to classify countries. These terms, such as ‘Countries that are not members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’, developing country representatives at the meeting warned, would render the report unreadable.
 
But as the report had to be approved by consensus, developing countries were wary of a US veto and settled for what they considered lesser of the two evils: not explicitly opening the classification of ‘developing and developed countries’ to review.
 
“That would have meant leaving the door open for countries such as the US to wreck parts of the Paris Agreement from the inside out at a later stage. Given the options, it was better to be hyper-technical, avoid opening the phrases to definitional challenge and pay the relatively much smaller price of the report being less reader-friendly,” said a developing country negotiator aware of the arguments.

The U.S.-mandated revisions will, ostensibly, have little concrete impact on the Paris Agreement. But the fact that the world’s most powerful nation has chosen to signal its hostility to climate finance could embolden other developed countries to shirk their commitments to the global South, while eroding the latter’s commitment to a rapid transition off of fossil fuels.

Which is to say: The deal-maker-in-chief is doing his level best to save the U.S. a few billion dollars in foreign aid in 2020, at a cost of several trillion dollars (and the risk of sending human civilization to a premature death) by century’s end.

Trump Deals New Blow to Paris Climate Accord Ahead of Conference — The Intelligencer

“Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows | UNFCCC.” Accessed November 27, 2018. https://unfccc.int/topics/climate-finance/resources/biennial-assessment-of-climate-finance. Levitz, Eric.

“Trump Deals New Blow to Paris Climate Accord Ahead of Conference.” Intelligencer, November 26, 2018. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/trump-deals-new-blow-to-paris-agreement-ahead-of-conference.html.

“Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord.” The White House. Accessed November 27, 2018. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-trump-paris-climate-accord/.

Gun Violence

Gun deaths in US rise to highest level in 20 years, data shows

The Guardian (13 Dec 2018)

Columbine. Blacksburg. Newtown. Aurora. Tucson. Oak Creek. Charleston. San Bernardino.

Too many communities across the country are still suffering from the heartbreaking consequences of a gun in the wrong hands. In the past decade, more than 100,000 people have died as a result of gun violence. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place. 

Sympathy is not enough to stop gun violence. Congress has repeatedly failed to take action, blocking commonsense reforms supported by the vast majority of the American people – including gun owners themselves.

What the President is Doing to Keep Guns Out of the Wrong Hands, Obama Whitehouse

A steady rise in suicides involving firearms has pushed the rate of gun deaths in the US to its highest rate in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings in 2017, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s Wonder database shows that in 2017, 39,773 people in the US lost their lives at the point of a gun, marking the onward march of firearm fatalities in a country renowned for its lax approach to gun controls. When adjusted for age fluctuations, that represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate since 1996.

Underlying Cause of Death, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sources

Pilkington, Ed. “Gun Deaths in US Rise to Highest Level in 20 Years, Data Shows.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Dec. 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/13/us-gun-deaths-levels-cdc-2017.

“Live Updates: What the President Is Doing to Keep Guns Out of the Wrong Hands.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/01/04/live-updates-what-president-doing-keep-guns-out-wrong-hands.

“Underlying Cause of Death, 1999-2017, D48F344.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wonder.cdc.gov/controller/saved/D76/D48F344.