The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Putin’

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After I read a Huff Post article on the rising tensions in Ukraine I browsed through the comments that readers had left.

I wish I could take credit for the following but I can’t.  And I can’t even credit the author properly as when I tried to post my brief response, “Bravo!” I received an unexpected message (appropriately in a red border):

“There was a problem posting your comment.  (Host comment deleted).”

And here I thought it was just me.  Now I don’t even feel that important – not that I ever did.

 

Much has been said about what Obama should do to hurt the Russian economy.  To me the plan is simple:

1) Ban the use of coal.

2) Mandate that Russia goes on Obamacare.

3) Don’t allow any drilling on Russian public land.

4) Have the EPA pass rulings on Russian business.

5) Re-define the full time Russian work week to 30 hrs.

6) Raise the Russian minimum wage.

7) Mandate overtime pay for gov’t employees.

8) Demand the Russian Government pay Welfare benefits to un-qualified Citizens and Illegal immigrants.

I could go on but I guarantee these measures would bring the Russian economy to its knees; it has been working in the U. S. since 2009.

Enough said.  And my condolences to my fellow deletee on “The Huffington Post.”

SCREWING THE POOR – AND PUTIN

There is a fundamental truth to budgets – whether those are individual or governmental.  If you spend more than you take in you’re going to run in the red.  Individuals have figured a short-term work around to this problem by deferring their desire to purchase something today and pay for it tomorrow.  This is why we have burgeoning balances on consumer credit cards.  The government has figured out the same work around which we call the National Debt – which the present administration has nearly been able to double in five short years.

Obama and his cohorts have talked a great deal about “income inequality.”  That there are some Americans who are billionaires and  a great many more who barely survive until the next refill of the government handouts arrives is certainly true.  But as with all liberal governments at all times, they concern themselves only with the income aspect of the equation, disregarding the issue of how those funds are spent.

In any economic downturn, it would probably be safe to say that most people except the wealthiest, look at ways that they conserve what they have and cut some spending corners.  Unfortunately, those who are the poorest have most of their budgets dedicated to things that are necessities; food, rent, clothing, utilities and what little they might have earmarked as discretionary represents a very small part of their budgets.  Increases in the price of the necessities, as we are now seeing in food staples, puts even the most frugal of these people in the position of not being able to make ends meet.

An increase in the price of gasoline at the pump may annoy the millionaire as he drives his Maserati to work at his six figure job.  The increase in the price of gas has a much greater effect on the person who is driving his clunker to his minimum wage position – perhaps meaning that he has to skip a meal or substitute cat food for tuna fish in his lunch box.

What is remarkable in all of this is that America clearly has the opportunity to be energy independent within a decade.  All we have to do is utilize the natural resources which we are fortunate to have.  One would think that an administration that is concerned about “poor Americans” would have had a Eureka moment by now and set the wheels in motion to do just that.  But that is not this administration.

America is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world.  We have the potential to become, once again, the largest producer of oil in the world.  Besides the impact that being energy self-sufficient would have on bringing down the price of these commodities at home, that price reduction would have a profound impact on those in other countries who can exploit the current high prices to achieve their own political advantages – Vladimir Putin being one of the first to come to mind.

After years of foot dragging, the administration finally allowed one LNG facility to be permitted.  Construction will be completed next year and the facility will be operational.  Seven other such projects have been in limbo for five years – waiting approval from the EPA.

Aside from the obvious benefits of having cheaper energy here at home, the jobs that would be created to build and maintain these facilities is certainly another reason these projects should have been allowed to move forward.  And if Putin were to see that the basis of the Russian economy which is heavily dependent on energy to provide it with its revenues might be threatened by this American abundance, perhaps he would not have been so willing to embark on his escapade in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Similarly, the Keystone Pipeline has been on hold for as long as Obama has been in office.  This would create ten thousand jobs and would facilitate the wider and cheaper distribution of energy.  Now that the Department of State has cleared the project as having “no environmental impact,” there is no reason that Obama cannot grab his famous pen and allow that project to proceed.

Keystone is a two thousand mile long pipeline.  In America today, we have oil and gas pipelines that run in excess of one hundred seventy thousand miles.  There are more stories in the news in which fuel transported either by truck or ship or train have incidents than from all of these pipelines combined.  Pandering to extreme environmental groups in which the science does not back up their claims is pure politics and ignores positive policy.

The administration’s energy “policy” has two significant effects.  It helps make sure that the poor stay in that condition.  And it gives encouragement to autocrats like Putin to throw their weight around, realizing that a once proud and important country has chosen Puff The Magic Dragon to be its leader.

PUTIN’S NEBBISH

Growing up in New York City it was inevitable that I was  exposed to hearing a variety of Yiddish words and phrases.  Some of those stuck with me and while I seldom have an opportunity to use them there are certain situations when they very succinctly describe a person or situation.  One of those gems is the word “nebbish.”

Nebbish – A pitifully weak, ineffectual person.

Several commentators have described the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama as a game in which the former is playing chess and the latter playing marbles.  That description might understate Putin’s gamesmanship and abilities and Obama’s inadequacies.

Putin is not a nice guy.  He is cruel, ruthless and determined.  He also has a game plan and is not afraid to implement it.  The recent events in Crimea illustrate his ability to take advantage of his assets having analyzed his opponent’s weaknesses.  He has had five years to observe Obama and has a clear vision that he is a far more skilled tactician than the current president of the United States.

By all accounts, Obama comes across to those who know him as a nice guy.  Sadly, while we need more nice people in the world we don’t need them at the helm of the country.  We need someone who is determined, has a plan of action and most of all is forceful and consistent.  It would be difficult even for the supporters of President Obama to argue that he has those qualities or, if he does, employs them.

If I didn’t have a higher opinion of Obama I could concoct a conspiracy theory that would suggest that the United States’ loss of faith and standing in the world community is not a matter of mere incompetence but the result of willful design.  Starting with virtually his first act as president, Obama went on an “Apology Tour,” lamenting  all the “misdeeds” this nation has committed.  His wife joined the chorus saying that as a result of his election, “This is the first time that I am not ashamed to be an American.”

The theory might pursue one line of thinking that suggests that the president is merely an incompetent bumbler.  Whether it is the question of his failure to address the lack of economic recovery while he gave away billions, dallying in the world of green “science”; the fact that more Americans than at any time in our history are now receiving government assistance to keep them out of abject poverty; the unsustainable increases in our national debt; the strains he has placed on the relations with our closest global allies; and, of course, the multitude of changes that he has made to his disastrous signature law, Obamacare which the majority of Americans oppose, all of these suggest that while the president may, “To the best of his ability” be upholding the Constitution of the United States, that ability seems to be short of what is necessary to effectuate positive results.

Or to return to the theory, one could ask, “Could any person who is as bright as the president is reputed to be so consistently concoct plans that result in abysmal failure?  How is it possible to be so wrong on virtually every subject and issue?”

For someone who is as shrewd as Vladimir Putin or the mullahs in the Middle East, being on center stage of the world’s theater provides ample opportunity to analyze, dissect and defeat such a person and the nation which he heads..  And it is hard to believe that someone as canny as the Russian president will not take full opportunity of the chance for aggrandizement that has been so callously handed to him by the voters in this country.

Perhaps when history is written, we will look back at this time and realize that the most lethal WMD’s were neither controlled by the fanatic government in North Korea or by Assad and his chemical weapons in Syria.  Lethal weapons are, after all, only lethal if we allow them to be deployed.  The mere threat of a strong military response directed by a strong leader can be persuasive in convincing an irrational foe that using his armaments would be a tragic mistake.  But today there is no George Washington in the White House and it may turn out that the greatest danger to world peace happens to be its current resident.

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