Tuesday, December 28, 2010

United States is Officially India

I use to "joke" that the U.S. has turned into India. After all, just walking around the Bay Area, you cannot help but notice the plethora of foreign accents marveling how CHEAP everything in the U.S. is. Most seem to come from Europe brandishing their Euro bills. Just in case you're still in denial about the realities of the U.S. as a declined/declining world economic power, try international travel. The almighty dollar is no longer the standard at hotels and restaurants for conversions, it's the Euro.

The India comparison has now been taken to the next level with the recent announcement of Sir Elton John and David Furnish's newborn son from a surrogate in California. Nothing says poverty like sex trafficking and "affordable" surrogacy. And California of all places! We have always been in the top ten largest economy in the world and we're only a freakin' state. Oh, how times have changed.

Congrats the world, including the rapidly developing India. For some nations to rise, others must fall. Our time has gone and went and now how to climb back up.



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry X-mas Y'all

Merry X-mas everyone. Thinking about going out to dim sum this morning. Just realized it's another thing Jewish families and mine have in common, we eat Asian food on X-mas day. Except I don't stop at Chinese restaurants. I also go to Asian grocery stores on Christ's b-day. Thought Asians were just money grubbin' capatalist, immigrant workaholics before. Now I realize, yes, maybe that explains them working on this holiday; but, it's also because our BIG holiday has yet to come -- LUNAR NEW YEAR! Many work on that day too, BTW.

Anyway, I digress. I once again wish everyone a really joyous time. I realize there's not much joy in a dying economy and so many of us in a bad way financially. But, the one bright spot is, it forces us to find other ways to enjoy this season (aside from spending money), say something as novel as spending quality time with our loved ones.

Please stay safe and merry.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Obama Haters

This post is probably quite overdue. It seems for months there, it was only the Republicans and I who were unhappy with Obama, for entirely different reasons of course. Now even those from his camp are turning into Obama haters. Let's just start off by saying a few things before beginning my tirade against Mr. Obama.

Firstly, yes, we all know Obama could not fix a truly broken economy in two short years. Sure, he's a newbie to Washington politics and is probably more busy "paying back" his supporters than making new and powerful alliances in the capital. To his credit, he has made some accomplishments: environmentally, in unemployment compensation, in passing a weak healthcare bill, curbing lobbyist, and my favorite, holding credit card companies accountable for hidden costs... All that said, I will simply attack Obama on his broken campaign promises.

1. Getting out of Iraq in 16 months.
Let's just say nothing of the sort is happening here. There is no withdrawal date set. I'm not surprise considering there is too much profit to be made with reconstruction and oil. No, the government and American people are not profiting, but then again, you know this. Disappointing but not shocked.

2. Universal Healthcare.
Yes, Obama passed a healthcare bill, but it does not serve everyone. Insurance companies, pharmaceuticals along with others in the private medical industry are protected. There is NO universal healthcare and NO public insurance option. This is a bastardized bill that serves no more than at slow trickle towards any real healthcare change. VERY disappointed here.

3. Dismantling of Guantanamo Prison Camps.
Gosh, here's a total failure in the "war against terrorism." There has not been ONE case of interrogation of prisoners in this camp that has lead to any real information about terrorism. Instead, people have been wrongly imprisoned, do not have proper legal rights, and separated from their families for years, causing another generation of anguish. Other countries don't want these "detainees" hence we should step up because we got them into this mess. Totally disappointed here.

4. Tax breaks for the middle class and ending of tax break on the very rich.
As today's news show, Obama supposedly "compromised" with the minority Republican House and Senate to allow for the Bush tax breaks to continue for another two years in order to get more unemployment funds. Tears and jeers.

5. Starting a war in Afghanistan.
Technically he did not say he wouldn't start a war in Afghanistan but damn! In the heals of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama increases U.S. presence in Afghanistan. No news of effectiveness of this foreign relations decision other than it's a money pit that has only fueled corruption. As an intellectual, you would think Obama could have read a little regional history. Afghanistan is made up of hundreds of smaller tribes. There is no way to win the hearts and minds off all these tribal leaders and their followers. The region is so tretcherous that a land attack will only end badly, ask the Russians. Air attacks leads to extensive destruction of a country and will end in the massacring of innocent civilians, think Viet Nam. Billions upon billions of dollars is going into this campaign while the U.S. is in dire economic depression. Does not make sense.

So, how did we get here? Did Obama not have the numbers in the House or Senate? No, democrats were in the majority for the first two years of the Obama administration. Did the public that voted Obama into office want a centrist president? No, I think they wanted a hell raising progressive/radical to make dramatic and sweeping changes across the board. So, what gives?

Hell, I don't know the ins and outs of "agreements" made behind doors that ultimately result in policy change. I do know that it appears the Obama leadership has failed in the two short years he's been in office. Let's say hypothetically he's been "compromising" with the Right to have a peaceful four years that will ultimately get him some change. That is a huge assumption considering the Republicans have said they would stop ANY and ALL Obama initiatives. If Obama thinks they are immovable now, wait until 2011 when they have the House. Just recall the Bush years.

Obama's rookie mistakes includes the blind belief that the opposition are willing and able to cross the divides and support an Obama agenda (whatever that is). Playing the nice guy is not getting anything done. Wonder if that's why Ralm Emanuel bailed as Obama's Chief of Staff for a mayoral bid in Chicago. I'm waiting and waiting and WAITING for a more assertive and purposeful president to emerge.

I don't expect Obama to save us all; I never did. But, I don't expect him to cave into to obvious uncooperative opposition. I don't expect him to end wars overnight but I don't wish him to start a dead end, costly war either. I don't expect him to give us healthcare in two years, but I don't hope for a bogus plan that ultimately does not demolish a corrupt medical (insurance) industry but rather allow them to continue to hurt the American people. I don't expect my taxes to decrease, but I don't want to pay for any more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans either. Apparently, all this is too much to ask for.

Let's not even get into other glaring issues. Banks have been bailed but bonuses run like champaign on New Years Eve and families are losing their home in the thousands. Not to mention billions of bailout money sits in banks while few new loans are giving out to hopeful new home owners. What about not holding more oil companies accountable for the destruction of the environment, including what happened in New Orleans. Or more aggressively moving towards a "green" America by regulating more energy efficient products and subsidizing alternative fuel cars. Oh, Lordy, and how about not repealing the Don't Ask Don't Tell military policy, even though all reports point to the positive nature of such an repeal? How can I even begin this list when Obama is so far for keeping his regular campaign promises?

What do you think?