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Archive for December, 2019

Senate Trial of Donald J. Trump Could Embarrass the U.S. Supreme Court

Implications for the Role of Chief Justice John Roberts

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money. America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Alexis de Tocqueville, French Diplomat              

Introduction

The U. S. House of Representatives created two articles of impeachment based on 645 pages of solid evidence. Now because of this these articles were passed on December 18, 2019 against Donald J. Trump. A trial is planned to take place in January 2020 before the United States Senate as part of their Constitutional duties and requirement.

Moscow Mitch and Leningrad Lindsay have publicly declared that they are not unbiased and have already made up their mind to acquit the President of wrongdoing by declaring that impeachment is a political process, not a legal process.

It is true that impeachment is primarily a political process. But does that necessarily mean politics reigns supreme over any and all legal issues or concerns? I think not! Legal issues go way beyond the relative importance and whimsical or waggish nature of politics.

The public expects a real trial, not a kangaroo court or quasi- judicial farce. If a jury foreman or other juror in a real trial was to stand up and publicly announce his/her intention to acquit a defendant in advance, before even opening statements, the presiding judge would censor and remove that juror(s).

Politics after all is based, at its root or primary level, on value judgments. But underlying values or ideology is not the same thing as evaluating solid data, or evidence that might support, or not support, allegations made against a President.

Aside from the above statement the United States Constitution calls for the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to preside over an impeachment trial. Why would the Founding Fathers think it important to have a Chief Justice present and oversee an impeachment trial, if they only considered impeachment to be solely a political process? In fact, why call in the Judicial Branch at all if it’s only a political process?

They did so because the Founding Fathers knew that a fledgling democracy could be contaminated and compromised by individuals in any of the branches of government. They knew it wasn’t a perfect system; but they believed that the best way to protect the government from a corrupt branch involve all three branches of government at the same time as a check on each other. This philosophical stance was the basic underlying idea behind wanting three branches of government in the first place. Impeachment was only one of their concerns. The overall operation of a democracy was at the forefront of their fears and concerns. Alexis de Tocqueville is important here to what I’m explaining, but is beyond the scope of this Blog.

The Republicans in the forthcoming trial of Donald J. Trump want to run roughshod over the proceedings and the nation. They want to negate and totally minimize evidence presentations (new or old evidence) and do everything in their power to prevent witnesses from testifying. The role of the Chief Justice in such a process would be reduced and would totally emasculate John Roberts, or at best, have the Chief Justice serve only in a manner that can only be described as “window-dressing.” This would be an embarrassment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But all of this runs counter to what the Founding Fathers really wanted—fair and impartial jurors and the presentation of real evidence. All of this puts the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in an embarrassing and untenable position. He’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t conduct the trial in a serious and legally well-reasoned manner.

Relevant Article

Recently, I found an article from TIME that describes the embarrassment issue and difficulty for John Roberts to serve in such an impeachment trial controlled by the Senate.

 

Why Impeachment Could Be a Nightmare for Chief Justice John Roberts

By Tessa Berenson, October 31, 2019

 

“The impeachment inquiry has so far unfolded largely as a fight between Congress and the White House, with federal courts weighing in occasionally. But if the House moves to impeach President Donald Trump, thus triggering a trial in the Senate, then the chief justice of the United States will be drawn in to oversee the proceedings. That would put John Roberts, a man known for his temperance and modest view of judicial power, in an uncomfortable place: at the direct center of a bitter political battle.

     It’s not a job the reserved judge will likely relish. For Roberts, who famously said Supreme Court justices should merely “call balls and strikes,” overseeing an impeachment trial would force him to engage very publicly in helping determine the fate of the president who has called him an “absolute disaster.” It will also put the Supreme Court’s fragile reputation of being above politics on the line—an issue that’s dear to Roberts and that could have ramifications for the high court for years to come as it fights to preserve public confidence in its work.

     “I can think of no task I think the Chief wants less than to have that thrust upon him,” Megan Brown, partner at Wiley Rein, said at a Federalist Society panel on Oct. 2.

There’s no way for Roberts to get out of it; his role in any impeachment trial is mandated by the Constitution. Article I Section 3 reads, in part: “When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.” The framers named the chief justice to preside over an impeachment trial to highlight the gravity of the process, and the move had a practical component. The Vice President is the leader of the Senate, but in the case of an impeachment trial, he has an extraordinary conflict of interest: he would take over the presidency if the Senate trial results in a conviction. The appointment of the chief justice to oversee the trial eliminates that problem.

The last chief justice to oversee an impeachment trial encountered a stylistic clash between the Supreme Court and the Capitol across the street. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, for whom Roberts once clerked, oversaw the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. “I underwent the sort of culture shock that naturally occurs when one moves from the very structured environment of the Supreme Court to what I shall call, for want of a better phrase, the more freeform environment of the Senate,” he told senators at the time, according to CNN.

That contrast may be particularly pronounced in the case of Roberts, who has been outspoken about his belief that the judiciary should not wade into political matters. During his opening statement in his confirmation hearing in 2005, Roberts extolled the virtues of “humility” and “modesty” in judges. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them,” he said. “The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”

But in an impeachment trial, Roberts would be required to weigh in on questions about evidence and administrative procedures in a process that is both highly broadcast and inherently political. “Roberts has told us that he doesn’t want the court involved in politics and that the court should stay away from divisive 5-4 decisions,” says Josh Blackman, associate law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. But in an impeachment trial, he added, Roberts wouldn’t be able to make decisions alongside eight other justices: “It’s just him.”

While there are risks for the chief in assuming the central role in an impeachment fight, those who know him say there are opportunities, as well. “This will provide a setting in which the chief justice will be able to show the importance of neutrality and impartiality in our judicial system,” says one of Roberts’ former clerks. “Especially in a context in which there might be a lot of turbulence and a lot of politics involved, I suspect that he will present a picture of a judge in the middle of it all, trying to keep the process fair.”

If a House vote does indeed trigger a move to the Senate, Roberts will be presiding over the legislative branch’s trial during a fraught time for both Congress and the Supreme Court. In 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed the rules on Supreme Court confirmations, requiring only a simple majority, rather than the traditional 60 votes, to confirm a justice. The move has had enormous political ramifications. In 2018, Justice Brett Kavanagh was confirmed with just 50 votes, along near party-lines, after he was accused of sexual assault. (Kavanagh denies the allegations.) Perhaps partly as a result of McConnell’s rule change and Kavanagh’s subsequent confirmation, Americans are now viewing the nation’s highest court through an increasingly partisan lens.

In August 2019, there was a 26 percentage point difference between how Republicans and Democrats viewed the court, among the widest it has been over the past two decades, according to Pew Research Center.

     Roberts has also tangled publicly with Trump. After Trump attacked what he called “an Obama judge” who ruled against his administration’s asylum policy in 2018, Roberts issued a rare statement. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” he said. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

     Roberts also faces more mundane logistical challenges. If lawmakers follow the procedures from the last impeachment trial, it would run six days a week—during a time that the Supreme Court’s work may be continuing apace. The Supreme Court has plenty of its own work to do. This term, it agreed to hear its first major abortion case since Kavanagh took the bench, and it will hear arguments about Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, among other high-profile cases. In Roberts’ absence, Justice Clarence Thomas, the most senior associate justice, would fill in for him in the top role at the Supreme Court. “You can imagine it could make Chief Justice Roberts’ life a little busy, if he’s got two full time jobs,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at Judicial Crisis Network, said at the Oct. 2 Federalist Society event.

     Roberts has acknowledged the current pressures facing the court. “We don’t go about our work in a political manner,” Roberts said in New York City in September. “The point is when you live in a politically polarized environment, people tend to see everything in those terms,” Roberts continued. “That is not how we at the court function and the results of our cases do not suggest otherwise.”

     The challenge for Roberts will be to maintain that reputation amidst what promises to be a partisan melee. “We have a very political process that’s about to blow up in his face,” says Blackman, “whether he wants it or not.”

Final Comments

The point of this Blog is to bring attention to the fact that the fine reputation of the United States Supreme Court is at stake in a trial such as that of Donald J. Trump. This is a serious matter for the nation to consider. It may be that the potential squabbling between a democratic House of Representatives and a Republican Senate people will find entertaining. Entertainment may be a side effect, but the proper administration of justice is the real issue at hand. It would be wise for each citizen watching the trial unfold to understand the importance and seriousness of an impeachment trial.

The United States Supreme Court is a distinguished body of judges whose reputations for analyzing legal data with integrity are well known. It is not unprecedented for a judge in a normal everyday trial to vacate the verdict of a jury in the interests of justice if conditions warrant such an action.

In any event Chief Justice John Roberts needs to take command of the Trial. He needs to be in the driver’s seat, not Moscow Mitch.

We all have biases (including myself) based on the value judgments we all make. Value judgments are an almost inescapable aspect of life when one grows up in any culture. Breaking out of culture over time is most often done by progressives who have a vision of the future. Breaking out of culture norms goes by another name—social change.

Besides a future vision cultural dissatisfaction may play a role for progressives as well as conservatives. Historically conservatives almost always fight against change in all its forms. But it is a temporary fight because eventually yesterday soon becomes today and today soon becomes tomorrow. Said another way, change is inevitable.

It is ironic to notice that 90 years ago conservatives fought tooth and nail to prevent that crazy idea and belief that the country needed to protect the citizenry against calamities like the Great Depression of the 1930s. That crazy idea eventually became the Social Security Act of 1935. Conservatives lost that war with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 2020, just try to rescind the Social Security Act of 1935. Socially conservative individuals would have a fit now if anyone tried to touch this long standing social program. Once it was a fear of social change; now Social Security has become the normative nature of “all things” today.

The truth is conservatives have, and always will be, on the short end of the stick where social change is concerned. They react; they are not proactive in their thinking. They are always behind the curve of social change.

It must be noted that social change by itself is neither good nor bad. It is simply change reinforced by changing values. How values change over time is complicated and deserves its own Blog to explain its complexity. Because human behavior is influenced by changing values and its complexity just consider for yourself one topical area for your mind to question or mull over. That question is—how has technology itself and social media impacted social behavior and changing social values? That ought to keep you thinking for a month as to how to answer it!

It will be entertaining to observe the trial of Donald J. Trump. The “Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Charles Manson” cult nature of the current Republican Party has caused a Constitutional crisis. The “Brown shirt” mentality of strict obedience to just one man by the Republican Party (like the Brown shirts and Adolf Hitler) gives the widespread impression that the goose-stepping Republican Party is very odd and very strange indeed, bordering on criminogenic behavior.

Is it possible the Donald J. Trump trial will be devoid of political histrionics? I’m generally an optimistic person by nature. But I think the televised trial is too great an opportunity for the Republican Party to miss creating (to be polite) much mischief as the cameras begin to roll.

The Republicans want to “Rubber Stamp” his innocence before the trial even begins. Party Republicans aren’t the only ones who want to rush to judgment in the trial. Trump supporters nationwide can also be branded as the contingency of voters that “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil” where Donald Trump is concerned (All Trump supporters share this characteristic).

It is true that all Trump supporters are not alike. In this author’s opinion they tend to form two distinct groups: (1) those who are ideological in nature who identify with Trump personally. These people may be very similar to Trump in terms of personality traits like The Authoritarian Personality or have become “True Believers” who will follow him anywhere, even to the dark side, and (2) a more pragmatic group of Trump supporters who want something from Trump in return for their vote. These people tend to want Trump to improve the economy and jobs, the bread and butter issues.

Because of these self-interests, pragmatic Trump supporters are willing to overlook Trump inadequacies such as his overall lack of a moral compass, ambivalence towards deviant groups in society, his incessant tweets or vulgarity, his proclivity for lying, nepotism, unsavory friends (like Jeffery Epstein or Paul Manafort), and his philandering ways. Ironically, the Economy is great today because of Obama policies that were put into place to deal with the Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009. Interest rates have been dropping ever since. The economy’s success today has nothing to do with Donald Trump whose trade policy wars are hurting America’s farmer’s all over the country.

If Donald J. Trump survives the Impeachment Trial in January 2020, I predict his political value as a leader of the Republican Party will continue to decline anyway. Not being thrown out of Office will hardly be viewed as a victory by his supporters. If the Democrats resurrect the Mueller Report with all the evidence already established (and any new impeachment charges) they will pass additional charges for impeachment right up to Election Day, 2020. Donald J. Trump faces criminal charges once he leaves the presidency. If he is not re-elected in November 2020, he will be indicted in New York the very next day.

There is a reason Donald J. Trump doesn’t want his tax returns released to the public. He declared bankruptcy 3 times and after that, no banks in the United States were willing to give him a loan. Do you know who did come around and finally fund Donald J. Trump? Can you guess? It was the Russian Oligarchs with Vladimir Putin’s support. Like the late conservative American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say at the end of each broadcast news report, “And now you know— the rest of the story.”

 

 

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Citizen’s Guide to Evaluating Donald J. Trump’s Fitness for Office of the Presidency

Introduction

     As everyone knows by now the House of Representatives are about to charge the President of the United States with several articles of impeachment. Monday, December 9th is going to be a significant step forward as the House Intelligence Committee presents the actual evidence for impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee.

I’m only speculating but the charges put forth most likely will be Bribery, Abuse of Power, Obstruction of Congress, Obstruction of Justice, and possibly Witness Intimidation (just like a Mafia Boss). The overriding question is this: Is Donald J. Trump fit for the Office of the Presidency? The next question to follow should be if convicted, should he be removed from Office?

As citizens we are not involved with this process. We are principally just bystanders via our TV sets. I think we should nonetheless form an opinion based on many factors alongside the formal impeachable process and evaluation. What do I mean by this? There are at least two categories of concern we should be thinking about as we try to form an opinion. One category are other offenses and the other category is a more broader widespread criteria of evaluation, that is, any evidence of high moral character and any evidence of good citizenship.

I personally think that the other offenses that should be applied to Donald J. Trump, among the public’s evaluation, are treason, incompetence in foreign policy such as failure to stand by the Kurds in Syria.

In addition, all the evidence obtained from the Mueller investigation on Obstruction of Justice needs to be included. Also, all Trump’s violations of the Emolument Clause (so to prevent him from personally enriching himself in the future at the expense of unwitting taxpayers) needs to be included as well as evidence showing his penchant for human rights violations (putting kids in cages), and his general wanton disregard of all our laws including the United States Constitution.

Aside from this, House and Senate Republicans have shown very little respect for Trump supporters by telling them how to think, and not think, for themselves. Trump supporters are an easy mark for Republican propaganda since Trump supporters fit very nicely into the mold of gullibility and The True Believer/Identity Fusion paradigm.

More Comprehensive Evaluation Criteria

If you believe that no one is above the law, would you also believe that everyone for public office needs to be evaluated with the same criteria as the average citizen? And like a job interview, do you believe everyone in society needs to be treated equally and fairly in the process of evaluating someone for a job? And that includes presidents as well as the average citizen. I certainly do. Giving deference to anyone just because of their social status is sending society the wrong message. It is antithetical to our inherent values of fairness and democracy.

The President needs to be evaluated just as John Doe does in a job interview. You want someone to be able to do the job, and have a record of competence, experience and an absence of morally corrupt behavior such as a criminal conduct for fraud, or stealing from employers among other offenses; you want someone who is a good citizen and of high moral character. That’s what the public expects as part of normal everyday job hiring. The employer in this analogy is the voting public. The job seeker in this analogy is Donald J. Trump.

I make use of this analogy not to minimize or lighten the tone of the impeachment inquiry, but simply to help readers of this blog understand how the impeachment inquiry and a job interview are very similar in nature. It’s all about fitness for a job.

Think of impeachment as a way to evaluate the fitness and moral character of Donald J. Trump. Think of Donald J. Trump’s tenure as President as his probationary period of evaluation. With that concept in mind—read on!

If the public fails to keep an eye on the performance of any president, or job applicant, they are not being good Stewarts of proper citizenship. Just because you have the right to vote does not make you a good citizen. And, the impeachment process is a very important part of any evaluation of a President as laid down in the United States Constitution by the Founding Fathers. This is particularly true since probable cause is so intuitively obvious with this particular impeachment. The case, as Jerry Nadler says, is rock solid. There is a plethora of evidence developed during the impeachment inquiry, testimony given, and documentary data.

Impeachment (in my opinion) is not just about Treason, Bribery or High Crimes and Misdemeanors. It’s a political process rather than a legal one, although legal and constitutional issues this time are inextricably interwoven with the looming impeachment of Donald, J. Trump. And if you’re going to impeach a president, shouldn’t the criteria of evaluation be as comprehensive as possible? I argue that the answer is “yes” to all of the above questions. Congress may disagree with my assessment of what is needed but then, that is their prerogative. I just think Trump’s behavior before his election, as well as the various patterns of his behavior overall (like 10,000 lies or more) should be relevant to the question of his fitness for Office of the Presidency.

I believe a President should be evaluated based on the total package, that is, what he/she has done in terms of both past and present behavior. Impeachment by itself only looks at what a president has done during his tenure in office. In a job interview one’s past is just as important as present behavior. His/her fitness for the Office of the Presidency, the highest office in the land, requires nothing less than a thorough examination of the facts—not alternative facts, fake facts or no facts at all—but real facts. As Sergeant Joe Friday said many times on the 1950s TV show Dragnet, “Just give me the facts mam.”

As a political process, elements of good moral character and principles of good citizenship should apply. Why? It’s because our values as a nation are at stake now as well as the moral turpitude of a struggling nation to remove the abject chaos in the White House, and put our democracy back in order.

If one fails to properly evaluate a President’s behavior, past and present, one is unworthy of calling themselves an American in a democratic society. To be brutally honest many core Trump supporters act and think as if they had recently been kicked in the head by a horse. Perhaps instead of wearing a baseball shaped cap that says “Make America Great Again” maybe they should instead wear a black and white T-shirt that says, “Look out, recently I’ve been kicked in the head by a horse.” That horse, of course, is Donald J. Trump.

As soon as the evidence is presented by the Intelligence Committee the impeachment trial should  soon follow. If Moscow Mitch is unwilling to settle on a fair compromise with Chuck Schumer over the rules to be followed during the impeachment trial, there  is no guarantee that a trial will be conducted in the U.S. Senate at all.

If the Republicans try to structure the trial to only their advantage of stonewalling for an acquittal of Donald J. Trump, the repercussions of such actions will send the country into a tailspin causing the electorate to wonder if America is still a democracy.  Under this scenario the Republican Party will soon cease to exist.

We want all our presidents to be both fit for Office and good citizens. And the underlying elements of fitness should involve more than what someone does wrong or is illegal. Equally important factors of fitness should be the extent a president shows good citizenship and high moral character. Between good citizenship and high moral character I think high moral character is the more important criterion.

What is high moral character?

High moral character is composed of five critical traits: honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, and courage. Anything less than this is to load up the presidency with mediocre near-do-wells, or worse yet someone who will do actual harm to the country and its people, and simultaneously dishonor the Office of the Presidency.

Behavior before being elected

Has Donald J. Trump acted with high moral character prior to his being sworn into office on January 20, 2017. There are at least 12 areas (and many others exist) of prior behavior the public can use to evaluate whether Donald J. Trump was a man of high moral character prior to his becoming President.

     These areas include:

His case with the Federal Government on racial discrimination in the 1970s

His lifetime of misogynistic behavior with women and unwanted touching

His cheating on his wife Melania all during their marriage and when she was pregnant

His alleged rape and beating of a 13 year old prostitute supported by his friend Jeffery Epstein

His predatory behavior with a woman on a plane

His alleged rape of a woman in the backroom of a New York store

His close (buddy-buddy) relationship with Jeffery Epstein, a registered sex offender

His discrimination against the Central Park Five

His hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and others

His fraudulent creation of Trump University

His fraudulent behavior and cheating as a businessman

His misrepresenting who actually wrote, “Art of the Deal.” It was not Donald J. Trump

Behavior since being elected

If I were to list in detail all the things Donald J. Trump has done wrong as President of the United States, I would fill up a Blog or report of at least 4,000 pages (almost 10 times the size of the Mueller report). I’ll whittle it down to just four words: Gross incompetence and Treason.

Final Comments

Based on the total picture and behavior of Donald J. Trump, he deserves to be removed from Office of the Presidency. Standards of morality evidently must have been very low in 2016, at least for a portion of the population.

The data showed that there were 250,056,000 people who were eligible to vote in 2016. But only 61.4 percent of eligible voters actually voted in 2016. Of the total eligible only (24.7%) actually voted for Donald J. Trump. These voters basically supported a person of low moral character and with little evidence that he showed any good citizenship. But their voting for him at all is not that puzzling.

Let us not forget the underlying sociological reason that they supported Trump in the first place. A predominantly  white population favored Donald J. Trump in 2016. It was based on racism, plain and simple. Both his racist views and his personal degenerate hall of fame status were known by the voting public prior to the election. Yet, 61, 943,670 (out of a possible 250,056,000 eligible voters)  voted for him anyway knowing who and what he was. There is no mystery here. White Fright/White Flight is the subliminal, and at times, not so subliminal, cause of why people voted for him.

The other factors involved were interference by the Russians and the legally insidious cheating through gerrymandering. Before or after he leaves office, the Congress needs to remove his conspirators as well. They include Moscow Mitch, Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Pompeo. Others of great concern are Leningrad Lindsay, the three amigos (Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry), and the bagman Rudy Giuliani. Want to convict these people? Follow the money!

It’s time now that all these actors of deceit get their legal and moral comeuppance. It’s time for the disposal companies around the country to pick up the garbage. First stop—Washington, D.C.

Let’s cut to the chase—Donald J. Trump needs to be removed from office followed by standing trial for felonies he had committed in New York as well as  for when he was in Office. His conspirators need to be brought to justice as well. No country club prison for this Cagle of misfits. They need to do hard time at Leavenworth Prison for treasonous un-American activity and conduct. They have disgraced this country as well as themselves. And, they have no one else to blame but themselves!

If I was calling the shots, I’d put the entire Trump Administration in our one remaining Supermax prison. It is reserved for those that are a serious threat to both national and global security. This is the United States federal system, ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado.

Republicans always whine about the need for a “law and order” society. That is, a “get tough stance on crime.” I don’t know about order. But, I do know they are about to get a good dose of the law. Turn on your televisions tomorrow morning. Get your cup of hot coffee and sit in that comfortable sofa or chair of yours. Now, let the entertainment begin!!!

 

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Protecting Your Longevity against Heart Disease and Cancer:

Emphasis on Diet and Exercise

 

Introduction

     There are no guarantees in life as we all know. But a good path to increase one’s longevity is to follow a prudent plan of healthy choices in the areas of diet (what to eat) and how best to exercise (what to do, activity wise).

Now most adults already are aware of these general statements, but often are not sure of exactly what healthy choices are, or how best to exercise. The purpose of this Blog is to more narrowly get specific as to answers needed, at least based on current research.

But there are three main obstacles to one’s desire to live a long life. Genetics is one, that is, what we inherit in our genes. The second biggest obstacle to a long life is disease. Many diseases can affect our lives but the two primary ones are Heart Disease and Cancer. A third obstacle to our success lies with the advertising industry. This later obstacle will be taken up in the final comments section of this Blog.

The following data sheds light on these diseases and comes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

 

Heart Disease in the United States

  • About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.
  • Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.

These statistics relate to a barrage of specific ailments under the heading of heart disease. They include:

Americans at Risk for Heart Disease

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors. As an aside, the risk factor of smoking is something people can absolutely control, if they want to. Here are some sobering statistics related to smoking:

Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year. Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following.

 

  • More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 278,544 deaths annually among men (including deaths from secondhand smoke) 201,773 deaths annually among women (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

 

Statistics at a Glance: The Burden of Cancer in the United States

  • In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease.
  • The most common cancers (listed in descending order according to estimated new cases in 2018) are breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, colon and rectum cancer, melanoma of the skin, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, endometrial cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, and liver cancer.
  • The number of new cases of cancer (cancer incidence) is 439.2 per 100,000 men and women per year (based on 2011–2015 cases).
  • The number of cancer deaths (cancer mortality) is 163.5 per 100,000 men and women per year (based on 2011–2015 deaths).
  • Cancer mortality is higher among men than women (196.8 per 100,000 men and 139.6 per 100,000 women). When comparing groups based on race/ethnicity and sex, cancer mortality is highest in African American men (239.9 per 100,000) and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander women (88.3 per 100,000).
  • In 2016, there were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. The number of cancer survivors is expected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026.
  • Approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes (based on 2013–2015 data).
  • In 2017, an estimated 15,270 children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 were diagnosed with cancer and 1,790 died of the disease.
  • Estimated national expenditures for cancer care in the United States in 2017 were $147.3 billion. In future years, costs are likely to increase as the population ages and cancer prevalence increases. Costs are also likely to increase as new, and often more expensive, treatments are adopted as standards of care.

Statistics at a Glance: The Burden of Cancer Worldwide

  • Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. In 2012, there were 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.
  • 57% of new cancer cases in 2012 occurred in less developed regions of the world that include Central America and parts of Africa and Asia; 65% of cancer deaths also occurred in these regions.
  • The number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030.

 

Healthy Food Choices

I’m not here to describe different types of recipes that would make use of the kinds of foods I’m about to suggest for a healthy diet. Instead I’ve chosen to describe the best foods to do three things: (1) help to prevent heart disease, (2) cancer, and (3) promote healthy living in general.

I’d like to point out what I discovered while doing research for this blog. I learned early on that some of the recommended foods in one area were identical to other areas as well. Here are the results of my research:

 

To Prevent Heart Disease

 

Leafy Green Vegetables

Whole Grains

Berries

Avocados

Fatty Fish and Fish Oil

Walnuts

Beans

Dark Chocolate

Tomatoes

Almonds

Seeds

Garlic

Olive Oil

Edamame

Green Tea

 

To Prevent Cancer

 

Spinach

Turmeric

Tomatoes

Onions and Leeks

Garlic

Watercress

Green Tea

Salmon

Water or a once in a while beer

Brazil Nuts

Walnuts

Beans

Dark Chocolate

 

Foods for a Healthy Life

 

Brightly colored fruit and vegetables

Dark Chocolate

Oily Fish

Green Tea

Olive oil

Garlic

Cranberries

The Coffee Bean

 

Best Foods for Longevity

 

All of the Above

 

Exercise

The following article was published in the Business Insider by Erin Brodwin, September 8, 2018. It’s my opinion that this article will cover the best plan of exercise for most people. I’ve been employing both cardio and weight training for some time now. Detective Hunter (played by Fred Dyer) used to say on the TV show Hunter in the 1990s—“Works for me.”

“2 forms of exercise are the best way to stave off the effects of aging — here’s how to incorporate them into your life Sep 8, 2018, 8:19 PM

If you’re searching for an all-natural way to lift your mood, preserve muscle tone, and protect your brain against the decline that comes with aging, look no further than the closest mirror.

One of the most powerful means of reaping these benefits is exercise — and in many cases, you already have everything you need to get it: a body.

As we age, two forms of exercise are the most important to focus on: aerobic exercise, or cardio, which gets your heart pumping and sweat flowing, and strength training, which helps keep aging muscles from dwindling over time.

And most of the time, they don’t require any fancy equipment or expensive classes.

Read on to find out how to incorporate both forms of fitness into your life.

Aerobic exercises like jogging may help reverse some heart damage from normal aging.

Many of us become less active as we age. Over time, this can lead some muscles in the heart to stiffen.

One of those at-risk muscles is in the left chamber of the heart, a section that plays a key role in supplying the body with freshly oxygenated blood.

A recent study split 53 adults into two groups, one of which did two years of supervised exercise four to five days a week while the other did yoga and balance exercises.

At the end of the study, published in January in the journal Circulation, the higher-intensity exercisers had seen significant improvements in their heart’s performance, suggesting that some stiffening in the heart can be prevented or even reversed with regular cardio.

“Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past 5 years, this ‘dose’ of exercise has become my prescription for life,” Benjamin Levine, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern who wrote the study, said in a statement.

Walking, another form of cardio, could help reduce the risk of heart failure — a key contributor to heart disease.

Intense cardio activities like running or jogging aren’t the only types of movement that may have protective benefits for the heart as we age.

In a study published in September in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers took a look at the physical activity levels of nearly 140,000 women aged 50 to 79 and found surprisingly salient links between walking and a reduced risk of heart failure, a condition when the heart stops pumping blood as it should. Heart failure is a key contributor to heart disease, the US’ leading cause of death.

For their work, the researchers looked at data from a 14-year women’s health study that documented heart failure and exercise levels.

When the researchers dove deeper, they found that the women who walked regularly were 25% less likely to experience heart failure than their peers who didn’t exercise. In fact, for every extra 30-45 minutes a woman walked, her risk of a failed heart dropped an average of 9%, the scientists concluded.

This is pretty important from a public health standpoint, given the poor prognosis this type of heart failure has once it’s present,” Michael La Monte, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of epidemiology at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health, said in a statement.”

 

Strength-training moves like tai chi are best for preserving muscles from age-related decline.

Strength or resistance training can take many forms, but it typically involves a series of movements geared toward building or preserving muscle.

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art that combines a series of flowing movements, is one form of strength training. The exercise is performed slowly and gently, with a high degree of focus and attention paid to breathing deeply.

Since practitioners go at their own pace, tai chi is accessible for a wide variety of people, regardless of age or fitness level.

Tai chi “is particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a recent health report called “Starting to Exercise.”

There may be a powerful link between regular cardio, like swimming and walking, and a lower risk of dementia.

A study published in March in the journal Neurology suggested that women who were physically fit in middle age were roughly 88% less likely to develop dementia — defined as a decline in memory severe enough to interfere with daily life — than their peers who were only moderately fit.

Starting in 1968, neuroscientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied 191 women whose average age was 50. First, they assessed their cardiovascular health using a cycling test and grouped them into three categories: fit, moderately fit, or unfit.

Over the next four decades, the researchers regularly screened the women for dementia. In that time, 32% of the unfit women and a quarter of the moderately fit women were diagnosed with the condition, while the rate was only 5% among the fit women.

However, the research showed only a link between fitness and decreased dementia risk — it did not prove that one caused the other. Still, it builds on several other studies that suggest a powerful tie between exercise and brain health.

Activities like cycling may also protect your immune system from some age-related decline.

For a small study published in March in the journal Aging Cell, researchers looked at 125 amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79, comparing them with 75 people of a similar age who rarely or never exercised.

The cyclists were found to have more muscle mass and strength and lower levels of body fat and cholesterol than the sedentary adults.

The athletic adults also appeared to have healthier and younger-looking immune systems, at least when it came to an organ called the thymus that’s responsible for generating key immune cells called T cells.

In healthy people, the thymus begins to shrink and T-cell production starts to drop off at around age 20.

The study found that the thymus glands of the older cyclists looked as if they belonged to younger people — their bodies were producing just as many T cells as would be expected for a young person.

“We now have strong evidence that encouraging people to commit to regular exercise throughout their lives is a viable solution to the problem that we are living longer but not healthier,” Janet Lord, the director of the Institute of Inflammation and Aging at the University of Birmingham in the UK, said in a statement.

Other types of strength training can include moves like planks and squats.

At its most basic, strength training involves using weight to create resistance against the pull of gravity. That weight can be your own body, elastic bands, free weights like barbells or dumbbells, or weighted ankle cuffs.

Research suggests you can use heavy weights for fewer reps or lighter weights for more reps to build stronger, more sturdy muscles.

Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the viral seven-minute workout — officially called the Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout — told Business Insider that healthy adults should incorporate resistance training on two or three of the four or five days a week they work out.

Cardio workouts may also improve the look and feel of your skin.

A study from researchers at McMaster University found that people over 40 who regularly did cardio tended to have healthier skin than their sedentary peers. The overall composition of the regular exercisers’ skin was more comparable to that of 20- to 30-year-olds.

It’s not yet clear why our workouts appear to play a role in skin health, but the researchers found elevated levels of a substance critical to cell health called IL-15 in skin samples of participants after exercise — perhaps shedding light on why cardio can improve the look of our skin.

Aerobic workouts may guard against age-related decline because of reduced brain connectivity.

As we age, the brain — like any other organ — begins to work less efficiently, so signs of decline start to surface. Our memory might not be quite as sharp as it once was, for example.

But older people who develop Alzheimer’s disease often first enter a stage known as mild cognitive impairment, which involves more serious problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment.

A study published in May looked at adults with MCI between the ages of 60 and 88 and had them walk for 30 minutes four days a week for 12 weeks.

The researchers found strengthened connectivity in a region of the brain where weakened connections have been linked with memory loss. That development, they said, “may possibly increase cognitive reserve” — but more studies are needed.

Cardio may also be tied to increases in the size of brain areas linked to memory, but more research is needed.

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A study of older women with MCI found a tie between aerobic exercise and an increase in the size of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory.

For the study, 86 women between 70 and 80 years old with MCI were randomly assigned to do one of three types of training twice a week for six months: aerobic (like walking and swimming), resistance (like weight lifting), or balance.

Only the women in the aerobic group were found to have significant increases in hippocampal volume, but more studies are needed to determine what effect this has on cognitive performance.”

 

Final Comments

 

Most people know what is needed to promote the probability of living a long life. However, it takes a real commitment and motivation to make it happen. But even people who have the best of intentions fall off the health wagon from time to time. That’s normal human behavior. Most people blame themselves for failure to be perfect in diet and exercise. However, don’t beat yourself up too much over occasionally being less than perfect. I say this because you and everyone else trying to improve their health have an enemy out there. As I mentioned at the beginning of my Blog there are many obstacles to your success beyond your own occasional lapses in motivation.

One significant obstacle relates to the business and advertising industry. It appears that the constant onslaught of advertisers and commercial entities, whose motives are to sell products and make money, try to promote to consumers that their products are good for them no matter how fattening or injurious to our health they might actually be.

Commercials on TV have a choke hold over all of us. As a defense mechanism, I make regular use of my TV remote to pass over commercials. Try taping your programs in advance so you can later run through the commercials without listening to them. Granted, some commercials can be very entertaining but most don’t deserve any attention at all since most advertisers are just “bullshit” artists. Like a thief they just want to remove that wad of cash from your wallet or bank account. Your health and well-being at best would be lucky to be a tertiary concern to the advertising industry. In reality, it’s not even an afterthought!

Culture and society often works at cross purposes. That is the reality for now. This only makes it even harder for you to succeed in living a long life. I say best of luck to you in overcoming obstacles in your efforts to live a healthy life and, indeed, a long life.

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