Israel and Hamas’ war in Gaza spilled over into most of January starting Dec 27th with the expiration of a peace treaty meant to work towards a political solution. International condemnation and opinion rose against Israel as Hamas got nearly a free pass for poking Israel in the eye with continued military strikes against the Israeli military and civilians alike with rockets and bombs. The situation kept deteriorating until Israel got tired of beating a dead horse and Hamas leaders were too well hidden to inflict any more damage against. What was the outcome? Hamas declared victory by surviving, Israel looks like a bully and we are right back at where we were in the region before the military actions happened. This broken record (or should I say scratched CD?) cycle has been going on for decades now and until both parties are forced into a real compromise situation nothing will ever happen to achieve a lasting and viable peace. Neither side is flexible enough to reach a middle ground due to civilization norms of the region. Compromise is seen as weakness and if you are weak you are a target and then you are destroyed. Some have stated this was a proxy war between the US and Iran. If so it accomplished nothing, except for the death of hundreds and the destruction, and devastation of tens of thousands of people’s homes and livelihoods. For what? Do the Palestinians really want to live in peace with Israel? Do the Israelis really want to see a 2 state solution implemented splitting Jerusalem and other sacred sites? Without Egypt, Syria, Iran, and others weighing in and pushing and accepting concessions then nothing will ever happen. The situation will not change until it is forced to by some major catalyst. Terrorism needs to stop, on both sides, and peace is not in either of their vocabularies at this time.
The Democrats promised us change and a New Way during their campaign for president. Change was the mantra chanted feverously by the media and supporters as if they were devoted Buddhist monks during a ritual. Well here we are. Obama’s beginnings are more contentious then any President’s in my memory, and that goes back to President Ford, 6 presidents past. From the goings on over who would fill his vacant Senate seat, eventually filled by the order of a corrupt governor recently impeached, to the withdrawal of a key Cabinet post by New Mexico governor Bill Richardson for a pay-for-play scandal all of this was just the beginning to what has led into a slew of follies over his much touted litmus test and vetting process to ensure we had a bi-partisan and respectable government to replace the evil Bush years. Treasurer and now Health and Human Services Secretaries failure to disclose their not paying taxes and seemingly free ride by Congress and the press into office. Secretary of State’s confirmation had only 2 opposition votes despite her husband’s organization receiving monies and access to the former president Bill Clinton by enemies of the state and rivals in many different aspects to America’s interests abroad. A NASA selection who the space community states knows little to nothing about space exploration. Closed door private meetings over the largest government bailout and financial offering in national history that has led to a massive pork laden and crippling $825 billion package. Well, you get my drift? Where is the transparency, the accountability, the signal of a new way of doing politics and new government we can be proud of? The only change we have seen is from a Bush administration to a rehashed Clinton one with stark contrasts to accountability and honesty everywhere you look. Obama has strutted green energies and global impact climate change initiatives while caught on film working in a 74 degree White House with his sleeves rolled up because he likes to work in a warm office. Contrast this against his first media interview as president, with an Arab television network, and the only Change I can see is going from the frying pan straight into the fire! I am seeing lots of change but little hope in all of this and all I can do is shake my head and say I told you so.
Home foreclosure is up 81% or 1 in 54 homes in America according to USA Today. That is 2.3 million homes sitting vacant because the people who mortgaged them owed more then they were worth and got too far behind on payments for the banks to keep the farce alive. How is pumping $350 billion back into the banking system going to reverse this trend when the first $350 billion didn’t thaw the frozen credit situation? Oh, because Obama is doing it and not Bush and because Obama will attach more strings to the money… I will believe it when I see it. The cold hard reality is we, the American people, will have to pay for it with tax dollars and loss of services in other programs. Oh, wait no, because Obama brokered a deal to pump in an additional $825 billion in stimulus while not raising taxes and giving money to people who don’t pay taxes in the first place and inflating our already bloated national debt to double its war time levels. Trillion dollar deficits are only going to work if foreign countries continue to buy our bonds and fund our governmental spending spree… oh wait, the rest of the planet is in a recession now and all the currencies are falling against the dollar which is falling as well. Keep printing money and we will end up like Mexico and Zimbabwe, with currencies so inflated it has to keep issuing higher denominations to keep up with prices. Home properties values have to fall, tax assessments on those properties have to fall, people have to have jobs to afford homes again. ACORN and HUD need to stop pushing people with unstable lifestyles into homes just as people need to trim their lifestyles and live within their means and paychecks. Homes are not ATM machines and flipping a property should not be a way to generate income. The real problem needs addressing, not money thrown its way. Our credit and business sector is sick, let the decaying flesh fall off and rot. You can’t right a top heavy ship if capsized until all the weight on the top is cut loose or breaks away naturally else the entire ship is lost. This stimulus package is a huge mistake and acting just to act is shortsighted and ludicrous and we will be funding this for generations to come, all because of political vision and ambition.
China is now the #3 economy in the world. 2008 was a HUGE year for China. Started out a little rocky and had a few bumps mid way but finished strong and resounding. With a strong 8% growth resulting in $3.38 trillion GDP China grew $5 billion in 2008 and surpassed the receding Germany by 13% points and is poised to take over #2 Japan if they slip further into negative territory. Japan has seen 2008 go with a $4.38 trillion GDP that shrank 1.3% and on the verge of losing more as their production falls with everyone else’s. Even the EU receded with a combined GDP down 0.6%, thanks to a fuel crisis and economic stagnation fed by decades of socialists policies and population unproductively (Please, please, please Obama, Pelosi, and Reid see this and wake up!!!!). China is still far from producing the US $13.8 trillion GDP, but with a 2.8% loss over the past year and continued recession of our economy China will be much closer. Of course China has shed 20 million factory jobs and hundreds of thousands of factories and the 8% growth is the lowest and first single digit growth China has seen in over a decade compare that to everyone else who saw GDP shrink over the past year and you will see China is closing ground FAST. At #3 China commands much more power and respect on the world economic stage and believe me, they will use it. Like it or not China is the future and the key to economic survival in this new world. The only real concern, domestic issues caused by inflation, real-estate bubbles, unemployment, rapid changes all threaten China’s internal stability and if that cracks, well the ball game is over folks. Per capita spending in China is only $2,500 per year, compared to Germany at $40,400 so you can see the potential for problems and exploitation if the China card is played correctly and intelligently with long term goals built in.
Thank goodness the inauguration is over. Wall to wall coverage must have been as nauseating as CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage. Glad I am in communists China where they protect their citizens from such pronography in all the media outlets (yes they did censor Obama’s speech and cut out the parts they did not like). Sure history was made and yes it is important to cover but just one last tidbit of perspective before I go. Does anyone else get an whiff of Germany in the 1930’s, Korea in the 1050’s China in the 1940’s or Russia in the 1910’s over all the hubbub we had to witness since November? I am just checking because when a leader is lauded and fawned over so much as Obama has been and is touted as the savior and answer to all our ills in such a fashion I see tinges of a false profit or despot on the rise in the same ways as happened in all the examples above. America was built off of debate, conflict, strife, and compromise. Not one party majority or defacto acceptance of a single clear path to salvation. I am a skeptic by nature, educated by years of hard work, and conservative by choice. I am not implying anything beyond an eerie trend running in parallel between peoples wanting to believe in something so much they made a historic mistake that change the world we live in forever and the the pushing of a direction onto us all by those who want to run things their way after a decade of having to abide by an opposite philosphy. Death and oppression have one thing in common, they both come to us like a thief in the night, unexpected and unplanned for and without vigilance and foresight we can not expect to escape.