Saturday, June 30, 2012
The Health Care system in the United States is something between 15% and 20% of our economy. I have seen estimates as high as 47% of our private economy is now being controlled by our government that was not less than 4 years ago. Even as low as 33% represents an entire third! In less than 4 years? President Obama is doing EXACTLY what he said that he was going to do: “FUNDAMENTALY CHANGE America”. I have a personal stake in this. My oldest son has autism. As much as I want to see it, he will probably not be able to support himself after my wife and I are gone. This will make him directly dependent upon our government. No way in hell will he do nearly as well if I was ALLOWED to set up enough of an account to take care of his needs. I have enough knowledge about English and Canadian experience with government run health care systems to know that all permanently disabled people will be the first to have cost cutting measures enforced. Only those who are not ill will be better off and even then they will be paying more. The quality of care is bound to take a major hit, although most of the loss will not be felt until after the current crop of caretakers have left the field. It will begin with shortages of drugs, although that will become the choice of many physicians as a cost cutting measure. My son will not be handled as an individual with particular needs and will be drugged whenever he becomes disagreeable. He does not become violent, but think that they will know this? The growth of knowledge in the field regarding autism will dry up as cost cutting measures take hold and no money will be available for research and development. It will be cheaper at first, but it will not be long before than changes along with quality. We need to repeal Health Care so that I can figure out a better way to care for my son after he is gone, and not Nancy. She really does not care about my son more than I despite what she claims.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
The major political event next week will most likely be the Supreme Court ruling on Health Care. The stakes really can’t be much higher. This law or series of laws is estimated to account for more than 15% of the entire GDP of the United States. This is not exactly small potatoes. If it passes, it will be almost impossible to reverse or ignore. Like Social Security, it will become a part of our legal system and I believe that only dictatorial powers would be able to eliminate it. Maybe at first the laws can be stalled or not funded by Conservative majorities in the House and Senate or even the White House. But sooner or later, Democrats would obtain enough power to enable it. The historical pattern is that once the U.S. government obtains power in an area, it does not give it back. Even if Health Care fails the constitution test, President Obama has succeeded. He has fundamentally changed America. The changes that he has enacted without Health Care is already enough permanent change to us to qualify. With Health Care, the CHANGE is much more so. But for President Obama, this is his signature upgrade. The largest political and economic move that President Obama has made was Health Care. His political fortune rides on this. The affordable Health Care bill (Which is not exactly what it is) is a clear demonstration of the ideology that President Obama subscribes to. If it passes entirely (Not a given) our federal government would be enabled to do just about anything that it wanted, “So that YOU can find out” what they are doing. Fundamental CHANGE would be quite accurate. If it fails, the rejection would not necessarily rule out future attempts. It would just push the CHANGE that he wants further into the future, probably past his 2nd term. Second term Presidents typically do not accomplish as much in their second 4 years as they do in the first 4 years. You just never really know. President Obama has been a first in many ways. It would not surprise me to find out that he was different in this matter as well.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Spain’s 10 year bond rate has risen above 7%. This is seen as a benchmark because it drives up the cost of borrowed money for Spain above the level where the GDP can produce enough activity to make the interest payments. The ‘fix’ is another loan that will push back the insolvency date a few months. More band aids on the problem. Financial crisis are happening with alarming frequency today. I remember hearing about them every 5 or 10 years. Now we are hearing about them monthly, even weekly. The spending has been raised exponentially, and yet we have not seen the massive inflation that I have expected. The latest indicator that I have heard about is manufacturing capacity. The U.S. is now approaching the 80% level, a point where inflation pressures will become more pronounced. Another crisis approaches. That economic cliff that President Obama has saved us from is approaching fast. I expect it will hit somewhere else in the world and eventually make it to the United States. We may be able to hold off the next crisis, or the one after that. But sooner or later something will break. I expect that politicians just want to push it off until after the election. More band aids. Well, at least then we can blame President Obama for all of the problems for the next four years.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
I saw on Fox News yesterday how a legal battle is being waged in order for the U.S. to be paid back by China for loans made prior to World War II. The amount could be staggering because of the price in gold and all of the interest on top of penalties. These loans were made after the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. (Japan was already in Manchuria since 1932) We were helping China fight off Japan in much the same way that we had lend lease aid to England to help fight off Germany. We never really expected full payment in both cases. In the case of China, the government changed to communism in 1947. Attempting to get payment from ANY communist government about prior debts is just about impossible. What makes this a little different is that England received such payment prior to the deal to return Hong Kong back to Chinese sovereignty. We have no such offer to make. We must be very desperate to be thinking in this way. We never received full payments from the Soviet Union, nor from England for all of the stuff that we sent them. Winning the war was more important. Besides, getting this money would be like giving an alcoholic a drink just when he is reaching rock bottom. It may hold off the day of reckoning some and will likely only make it more difficult to wean off. The United States, like Europe, is addicted to spending. Even if we manage to get control, the austerity will be tough before things become better. Getting money from China in this way, right now would supposedly make austerity easier, but more likely it will only allow us to put off the day when we have to face the music. Can you imagine the Obama administration NOT spending more if this happened? What about the election in November? It may be too late to save President Obama, but you just never know. We Americans have elected the people who have put us in this position in the first place. This spending is not a new trend. It has been going on for decades and is only now reaching a real crisis point. We must be getting desperate. I guess that we are not going after England or Russia because they don’t have the money and China does. Besides, we owe China so much; this would go a long way to ‘level the playing field’. We must be really in trouble if we believe that China is going to act like us. It reminds me of the idea of the gambler who is making a last throw to hit it big to get out of debt.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I define Islamic nationalism as loyalty to the legal and political system of Islam over any other government or national entity. While the Koran has many interpretations, the basic idea of Islam as a national entity that can wage war, defend ‘occupied’ ‘land’ or ‘waters’ to enforce its sovereignty is a common denominator. What makes this so dangerous is the fact that this concept is so widely accepted. Islam was a major form of government for more than 1000 years. This is certainly long enough to entrench itself as a cultural norm. It will not go away easily, or quickly. Islamic nationalism is one, if not the major cause of 9/11 and the war(s). Many argue that Islam is not monolithic, which is true. Many of the areas where Islamic nationalism is strong are modern, both in technology and culture. It was only 70 years ago when the world was engaged in a massive war triggered by governments that ruled over modern societies, both in technology and culture. While these governments were monolithic in a sense, the very fact that the war today is irregular in nature would be a natural expression of this divided force. Islam was founded as a combined religion and government. It is based upon many medieval principals. This was long before the rise of the modern government and the professional army. The armies of the ancient world were irregular. The economies of the world could not maintain a standing army as we know of them today. Even in the Roman army, the soldiers spent a majority of their time doing peaceful economic activity. They were called to arms as needed. The officer corps was professional, at least at the top. And even then, they spent a great deal of time on political and economic matters. The point is that the Islamic army of today resembles that of the medieval period more than anything else. They even chop off heads and perform many other brutal acts that have long since been discarded by modern ideology. The problem is Islamic government and law. A religion that functions as a nation state has no place in the modern world. Imams have the power to declare war, field armies, levy taxes and enforce laws. All of the other religions of the world (That I know of) have long since ended this practice. Islam has yet to do this. Until this is accomplished successfully, the Islamic world will continue to provide violent confrontations.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
The intelligence leaks that have been occurring for the past few months are a classic example. Maybe he is not directly responsible. However, they are happening on his watch. This is extremely sloppy, at the very best. And they have a disturbing pattern of being to his political advantage. These leaks are damaging our relations with our allies and certainly will not buy us any new friends, particularly in the vital Middle East. Is the United States CHANGING sides? (Not exactly how you make allies, but it does make new enemies) Our allies are not going to become openly hostile to us. What is going to happen will be a chilling of the flow of sensitive information simply because we cannot be trusted to keep that information private. At least this is one place where President Obama is fulfilling his promise that his administration was going to be one of the most transparent governments we have seen. Yet these leaks can potentially jeopardize our national security. This is not exactly where I wanted him to be open. This will certainly make domestic enemies, even among those who are firmly in his camp. This is a pattern that is becoming all too familiar. The resistance that is now being seen against his policies has become so great that he cannot get much if anything, done at all. While this is not all that uncommon in politics, what is uncommon is his continuing to double down on his policies when most politicians adjust their positions to become more accommodating. I had been told that this was strength of his. I have yet to see this and we have had more than a year and a half since the 2010 elections. In other words, a year and a half of opportunities to demonstrate President Obama’s famous ability to ‘bring us all together’. This moderation is vital for a representative form of government so that the work of the people can continue. And President Obama claims that he is listening and accommodating while his political opposition is not? The result can only be what we are seeing today: Gridlock. This is an election year, so some of this is expected. Politicians naturally tend to push issues off until after the election, this way they cannot be held accountable until after the following election. But if he is faced with the possibility of losing, he will be forced to act. With his domestic enemies so entrenched, it will leave him with little else except foreign policy. This is where national security enters the picture. While I like to think that our President really wants what is best for our country, President Obama’s past behavior leaves me with little to no confidence that the next six months will be very good for United States interests. (At least what I see as being in our interest.) I hope that this ends here. What concerns me is that this may not be the end of it. We still have almost 5 more months until the election. We already have plenty of enemies. We don’t need any more.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The war is spreading. It makes sense and we can expect more instability throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world. The issues are just too large for the war NOT to spread. In prior posts, I have outlined the reasons why I believe that we are heading for a major conflict. Economics plays a major role although many other reasons are present. Syria in particular is of interest here because of the link with Iran. The fact that the U.S. is for the most part, out of Iraq, is a major help to Iran because we can’t interdict supply and reinforcements. Iraq is a natural road for Iran’s direct influence in Syria. And it all buys Iran time. Time is not on our side. Sooner or later, an Islamic nationalist group will obtain WMD, most likely nuclear weapons, but all are on the table. The instability in Syria can easily work to Iran’s advantage as a distraction toward building up their nuclear capability. I doubt that Iran would start a world war by launching nuclear weapons. I find it much more likely that Iran would allow surrogate organizations to obtain them and let them do the dirty work. If Iran were smart about it, they would not make the mistake our enemy made on 9/11. Iran would wait until their capability was much larger and more of a direct threat to the United States. This would at least make us think twice about going after them. Syria would probably play along no matter whom ends up controlling the country after this current ‘crisis’ is settled. The reason that I say this is because I see two likely outcomes out of Syria: 1) The current regime stays in power. This will only continue the current policies of the Syrian government and I believe that they are in line with Iran on the crucial issue of the war against Israel and the United States. 2) The ‘insurgents’ topple the Syrian government. It is possible that a more moderate government would result, but I find it far more likely that a more extreme form of the current government would be the final product. I believe that this new government would be on Iran’s side even more particularly regarding the war against Israel and the United States. In other words, I believe that Syria is only another of the Middle Eastern governments that will either stay the same or become more firmly in the Islamic camp. This is a core issue in the war and combined with all of the other events in the region, one reason why I say that the war is spreading. P.S. This post is mainly about Syria. Don’t forget about Pakistan, because it is very likely Pakistan will eventually play a major part.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Criticism is tough to take. Nobody likes finding out that they are wrong, nor do we like to have our mistakes or flaws pointed out to us. Many times, we ignore criticism because we assure ourselves that it is mistaken or just plain wrong. But sometimes it is accurate. This is what can make a leader into an exceptional one. The best leaders take criticism and use it to improve themselves. Being able to judge yourself accurately is tough because we are the most prejudiced person in the world when we think about ourselves. Accurately judging criticism about yourself is hard in part because of this prejudice and the emotions that go along with it. President Obama is not very good at accepting criticism. This is apparent with his sensitivity to the many attacks that all public figures endure. Nobody likes that, but his reactions indicate to me that he has a great deal of trouble accepting that others do not see him the way that he sees himself. This trait is connected to his prejudices about other things as well. President Obama does not adjust to changing conditions well. Just look at President Obama’s actions since the elections of 2010. A good leader would adjust to the defeat the Democrats took in 2010. President Clinton changed his strategy and made many rather good changes to his policies after the Democratic defeats in 1994. President Obama has reacted by pushing the same policies, just pushing much harder. He is not bending with the greater resistance that he is running into. He is increasing his pressure in an attempt to offset this greater resistance. This leads me to believe that he is not a graceful loser. Nobody likes to lose. However, it is a part of life. We simply can’t win all the time. Someone who is not very good at taking criticism would be vulnerable to not being a good loser. I had a lot of problems with these issues growing up. I still do today, but am better equipped to handle it as I have developed strategies over the past 35 years to help. Of course, I am not under the pressure that he is. In this case, I am worried about what this man will do if he believes that he will not win re-election. President Obama is not moderate. A moderate would have made adjustments after the elections of 2010. A moderate would not have signed a law so that ‘YOU can find out what is in it’. A moderate would have added input from the opposing side in order to make the law more acceptable, and not signed it into law so that the opposition can find out how good (or bad) that law is. And it is not like this was a minor law about speeding. This was ‘fundamental CHANGE’ the like this country has not seen since the Great Depression. It can be little wonder that the political opposition has dug in its heels and is refusing to cooperate. To be surprised at this is another indicator of President Obama’s lack of ability to see political opposition as having any valid stance. Not exactly a moderate viewpoint. President Obama has also indicated how he is willing to bypass the U.S. Constitution because it prevents him from doing “The right thing”. In his view, the ‘right thing’ to do is for the U.S. public to re-elect him to continue to ‘fundamentally Change” America ‘because it is the right thing to do’ even if we, the American public, disagree. President Obama believes that he can run our economy better than we can. This is certainly not a core American value. This is ‘Fundamental CHANGE’ indeed. It is obvious that America needs a lot more of these CHANGES. To run the risk of the opposing party undoing his CHANGES before they can fully take effect would be dangerous. So the actions to prevent this can easily become much more drastic than in a normal or common situation. This reduces the limits of actions that might be taken because the issue is seen as so important combined with the belief that he really knows better. In other words, drastic action is justified simply because “It is the right thing to do”. This is why I am so worried about this fall and winter. If President Obama believes that he will lose, it just may unleash a flurry of extreme actions that only desperate, extreme situations demand. What few limitations he has left will be gone. It will be far better if he believes that he will win, no matter what the reality is.