Monday, December 27, 2010

Can the US get out of a hopeless corner?

Winston Churchill is said to have preached “Blood, Sweat and Tears” though the recorded quote is slightly different then the way it’s remembered. Obama, just as inspiring an orator, preaches “Hope”. Both started out equally successful in inspiring people.

This threat was extremely grim back when Churchill inspired. We have different dangers. Manufacturing jobs are gone. The Internet prefers hiring from the lower or lowest paid parts of the world. On the Internet there are no unions or worker’s protests to make working condition better. Telephoning, bookkeeping, and some secretarial work and many security guards and quality control experts, can be replaced by TV monitors being viewed from across the ocean. The whole developed Western world is in stress, and one of the exceptions is ominous. The Australian economy is booming but with very high unemployment.

Somehow we have to set our sights on economic survival, rather than hope for the prosperous America we once knew returning any time soon. Obama constantly dances and negotiates to stop a steep decline. His input in the begriming slowed the decline considerably, though some thinkers think only delayed it. Recently a two-year tax cut exception for the well off in exchange for an economic stimulus for 13 months, means he is losing ground.

More and more people are wanting and voting for quick fixes, not only the no taxes for the rich crowd that wants the US to boom the way Australia is. Ron Paul says our problems are caused by the Fed. He is important because he is one of the few people talking about the decline seriously, besides those advocating hoarding guns supplies and/or gold. If the Fed is the problem then why are countries without a Federal Reserve System also hurting which doesn’t necessarily mean ending the Federal Reserve System might not be an improvement.

He also says we got to stay out of the world’s problems. An example of what would happen if we did this is to note where this was done. President Bush decided not to attack pirates in Somalia, after Bin Laden threatened suicide-bombs if we did. Piracy got out of hand, Italy finally took charge sending out the gunboats to capture pirates. Then a US ship captain ended up in a lifeboat with pirates, after one of the passengers stabbed a pirate. They phoned in their ransom demands from the lifeboat which weren’t being met. When it seemed they were about to kill him, US special forces shot the pirates. No one would say the US shouldn’t have saved the hostage’s life. But now the US is back in the pirate fighting like we were in the 17th century. In one incident, paratroopers in phone contact with the crew swooped down and arrested the pirates without anyone getting hurt, far more expensive than the Italian method of fighting them. If somehow the US end its involvement in the Afghan War, and let the Afghan Government and the Taliban negotiate or fight as they will, there will similar situations like with the pirates that could easily get us involved again. The financial drain ending if a cut off date is firmly announced is not the end of the story.

The US has almost no involvement since 2004 in stopping al Qaeda in North East Africa sent money or special forces to fight al Qaeda in Northeast Africa in Mali. When French citizens were held for ransom, France decided to attack instead of paying. Bin Laden threatened huge attacks of France, which has yet to happen. Google “France Declares War against al Qaeda”. Even if al Qaeda did succeed at say destroying the Eiffel Tower, or even parliament, France wouldn’t start aiding bin Laden’s effort to bankrupt the West.

Al Qaeda has killed far more Sufi Muslims than they did Americans on 9/11. All the lives of the Awakening Council, those Sunnis that changed sides to fight with the Americans in Iraq, are in grave danger. Somehow we got to figure out the right way to be involved, not how to stop being involved. If we leave in a hurry without a peace treaty some will try to flee including those women in Kabul who took off the burka. Probably far less dead bodies then year after year of war, but the press will be focused on any show trials, not all the lives saved in the long run. And there will be future provocations from al Qaeda such as the rest of the world is experiencing, with many Americans more angry at the President if he didn’t respond to the provocation than if US troops were still there. We need different responses to threats and crises.

I am going to risk going back to President Bush overthrowing Saddam. Vietnam likewise overthrew Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge bloodbath in Cambodia and no one is complaining. Vietnam had no more right to do this than the US with Saddam. But Vietnam didn’t engage in “shock and awe” and nation building. Karzai may be corrupt but not below international standards, so the US has no business acting like we are in charge of him.

I would like to see France or Russia mediate the dispute between the US and the Taliban. Afghan President Karzai already begged the Saudis, Iran and China to do so.

The above is off the subject except those claiming Obama is bought off by the military or part of a plot by the rich not to set a firm cutoff date to withdraw, totally misses the difficulties involved and helps people to fall for such theories as ending taxes will end the economic slump.

People need to get involved more with solving the economic crisis, like ordinary individuals involved with fighting global warming.

The following are suggestions that might get people thinking about getting involved in more ways than stopping the fed, demonstrating, or hoarding.

Since money not circulating is part of the cause of economic stagnation or downturn, one partial solution would be for the rich to be taxed less when they spend their money then when they save it. This is already part of the theory behind tax deductions, but talking about it might improve the process. If some of the rich insist on working toward no taxes for the rich, than rather than tax cut extensions, it would be better for more deduction even 100% deductions for money spent on charity or employee intensive projects. Perhaps Congress could junk the tax compromise bill in favor of real job stimulus tax laws.

Come on everyone join me! We are like a family riding a car with bald tires with most of the family trying not to think about it. One wanting to switch to bicycles, another to stop and stay where they are, but the rest of the family resigned to continue the drive without anyone managing to get new tires.

Now for some more suggestions to fight the drift toward collapse. Iceland is being bailed out by Europe, but it has the lowest business taxes in the world, therefore many companies make their corporate headquarters there. Raising the business tax could made be a condition for more aid. Then the US and Europe together raise the business tax to stop capital flight to where the taxes are lowest. Next the US and Europe could get together to end the loophole of offshore banking.

There were efforts with some state governments to get prescriptions filled in Canada and elsewhere. This can save a lot of money on medical costs, perhaps even individuals can get 5% kick back from insurance, or medicare if they get refills on the Internet. Maybe everyone’s second and future monthly repeated prescription purchases could be bought on the Internet and mailed to patients, by their insurance company, medicare, and perhaps even welfare officials. This, providing there is a way of making sure what they get is quality medicine. Of course that is a big if.

The US embargo on Cuba is hurting the US economically and the more it succeeds the more Cubans in this country send foreign aid back to their relatives in Cuba. Some Americans took their Social Security check to Mexico where everything is cheaper and the US saved money on medicare and medicaid, but crime is getting in the way of new arrivals. Crime-free Cuba would be a perfect place to retire and no more medicare costs and if red tape is cut close enough for easy visits back to the US.

If the US would grant 10% of Medicare, Medicaid, SSI and welfare benefits to those going overseas, Americans in Cuba would make money from the US whenever they got sick until Cuba changed its laws to charge that amount to foreigners seeking medical care in otherwise free health care Cuba. Then the 10% adjusted up and down to the lowest point Americans would seek and get medical care overseas. Some hospitals in the US, on an experimental effort, are trying to get robots to give bedridden patients baths and to feed them, with alarms temporarily to call a human nurse if the patient starts to resist or argue with each other. It would be far more humane for sick persons to seek medical nursing care where it’s cheap rather than a future in the US where machines, not people, treat the convalescent. One way or another, a lot of money is being saved by having medical procedures done in other countries of the world, see “medical tourism” also “online pharmacies Wikipedia”, and,

Perhaps others could join me in suggestions to have a campaign against economic depression, like the campaign against global warming. As with picking up litter, many citizens and many employers could agree to hire, one new neighbor or employee to do one hour’s more worth of work for them, with an ad campaign similar to the pick up litter campaign. If it wasn’t for the spirit generated by the ecology movement, picking up liter or planting a tree for a healthy environment might seem ridiculous. If we get in the spirit of hiring a friend for one hour more of work will start us feeling we are doing something. And if it gets in the way of people jumping at the straw that tax cuts, for the well off, will save the economy it will at least stop things from getting worse in a hurry. Let’s get together to save our economic world. Post your own suggestions here or post this to sites those making other suggestions.

By Richard Kane

Maybe off the subject, I for one was really mad at what I saw as the conniving ruthlessness of the first George Bush and President Reagan, and felt that the son’s bugling around gave progressive change some breathing room. In my mind we were far closer to a dictatorship under Reagan than since. The last President Bush reached out to Muslims to join his faith-based initiatives, and constantly praised the King of Jordan and the Saudis. Anyway I have trouble seeing a scenario where Obama would be replaced by someone better, and think it more likely, if replaced, it will be by someone far worse than the second George Bush. I for one supported Obama, but far from worshiped him, expecting him to fail, by being sabotaged the way Jimmy Carter was.

But Obama’s term isn’t over. I expect him at some point to salvage some of the situation by calling for blood, sweat and tears. If Obama is replaced will likely be replaced by someone who plays on hatred of immigrants and other polarizing trends.

1 comment:

  1. I double checked on the Internet and discovered that getting medicine and surgery on the Internet relates to organ transplants and surrogate motherhood where there are some horror stories mixed in,

    And a world where one tends to get the pain medicine one wants, more than one needs. Of course the most self-defeating way of saving money is to destroy the education system, public transit and utility infrastructure. Cracking down on the rich makes sense except they have the ability to sabotage by getting Hispanics and non-Hispanics to fight and when Obama is gone, blacks and whites could be induced to fight with each other as well. They can harass any rich person who goes along with change like George Soros.

    The truth is we might not make it. Not to admit it, and not to prepare for failure, means the worse possible result, a few gun tooting, big guard dog owners with a huge amount of fancy food, keping it away from everyone else until they die trying. With potatoes, sprouts, and as much water bottles as we can fill and store, we will at least prepare for the worst without helping make it happen, and we will get in the way of those who want the very worst being a soap box of what supposedly needs to be done.