Sunday, April 7, 2013
How often do you stop to wonder how history will remember the 44th president of the United States?
Now that you’ve returned from the Middle East, knowing that the hostility will not be resolved in your lifetime, now that you know that the number of murders in the US will remain the highest in the developed world, nearly 100 times higher than the next country on the list, now that it’s clear that American debt will not stop accelerating, and that America’s position in the world will not stop deteriorating, that you have ticked the Nobel Prize and was elected for a second period, maybe now it’s the time to stop acting as if you were on a never-ending election campaign, and start acting – not only talking – like a president.
Nixon will always be remembered for his Watergate scandal. Economist will remember him as the one that cancelled the gold standard – an act that started contemporary economic instability. He will also be remembered as the president who has turned America’s health care system – until then a model for rest of the world – unaffordable.
Ford … sorry Ford I can’t think of anything you will be remembered for.
Jimmy Carter is the one who led the peace process between Israel and Egypt. In my mind, he will be always linked to nuclear submarines, and peanuts.
Ronald Regan will be forever associated with the falling of the communist bloc. We must not forget the regonomics, a good idea at first glance, which now has been proven to be a slow poison for the very middle class that built America, syphoning, drop by drop, their wealth into the hands of an ever shrinking class of super-wealthy, turning them into super-wealthier.
George Bush the father will be remembered for the first Iraq war, and for his son.
Bill Clinton for Monica … and charm.
George Bush the son is the president that we all hope to forget.
And now let me guess what history will tell about you, Mr. Obama. I believe that you will be the one whose presidency will become the proof that America has lost its greatness: that it is bankrupt, not only financially, but politically, morally and spiritually. You, with high intelligence, rhetoric and good intentions, have proven that greed has become the cancer of America, and it’s gnawing through whatever is left of the body – not so long ago the envy of the entire world.
In your time, a massacre of primary school kids was not enough to increase gun control. After all, scores of politicians paid by the NRA will not push away the hand that feeds them, even if it’s a hand of a leper.
You failed to penalize those who stole the pension of tens of millions of middle class American. The best you achieved was to take more from the victims and feed it to the robbers – this time under the protection of the law. After all, a politician needs over 30,000 middle class pensioners to donate as much as single banker.
You have recognized that the health system is rotten: the US’ public health system, notorious for its third-world standard, is paid by more tax money than in nearly any other country. But it’s not an easy decision for a politician to demand taking the money from the insurers’ shareholders back into medical care. How moral can we expect a politician to be, when turning down sponsorship from insurance companies can result in losing an election?
And this is only the tip of the iceberg of big companies changing the very laws we live by to ensure the syphoning of money – from individuals and small companies – will never cease.
Mr. Obama, my guess is that you will be remembered as the president under which those who are looking at the world with eyes open will not be able to ignore any more, that America’s upward mobility is worse than in most of the free world, that total taxes are higher, that services are lower, and that from the country of the free America is turning into a scary place.
It does not have to be like this. In most developed countries elections are not sponsored by donations, and paying politicians is considered a bribe for which both the giver and the receiver will face the harsh penalties.
But Mr. Obama, it might not be too late. Now that you are not dependent on donations any longer, you have a chance to win the front battle for American freedom: separating American politics from private money.
You should call the American people to demand accountability from their politicians, forcing them to disclose who has paid them, and what laws they supported in return. You should fight for the system to change the very way it’s financed.
This is stepping away from the slope that can lead only to enslavement to ‘big money.’ If this is the only thing you achieved during your presidency, history will remember you as the president who has put America back on the path of freedom.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I like our local paper. Mostly it’s harmless; sometimes it’s funny; but occasionally it captures things just the way they are. This was the case last week.
Whether it was carelessness, a blunt political statement, or a dark sense of humor that made the editor put the two articles side by side, the result is sinister: those who give money get regulation bent in their favor. This is true in our local town, in the state, and no doubt in Washington. There it is much worse.
While it might seem natural to those educated in a system whose education policy makers will not dare upset those whose money help them become policy makers in the first place, in most countries this behavior is unlawful. In China it warrants the capital punishment.
There are many moral and sociological reasons why the rich should not be allowed to bend laws in their favor – at least not bluntly and directly. This is an unstoppable slope that leads to a society where the rich are above the law and the poor are slaves – a typical third world country.
As we have seen here in recent years, once a law favors a group, it become easier for group to ensure that future laws will favor them as well, making them richer and even more powerful in their ability to have laws bent in their favor. The number of rich decreases, yet they become more powerful. The poor become poorer, their numbers increase but they are stripped of power. Haven’t we seen it here already?
This was Europe in the 1700s, the place that the father of America escaped from to build a better society. It took 300 years, but now, at last, it seems that the ills of 1700 Europe are catching up. With eyes wide shut we are stepping towards what we escaped from. Will it be too late when we wake up?
Monday, March 18, 2013
For three days I was buried, not sure if I’ll ever emerge. Three days of energy drinks and stress reducers during the day and sleeping pills for the nightmare-infested nights. Three days of digging through piles of papers and spreadsheets, striving to reach the ‘send’ button on the other side and watch my 2012 tax forms rolling away into the temples of those whom I pay for their right to enslave me.
Eighty pages in total. The USA is the 6th country I have had the displeasure to file tax in, and in no other country I have filed more than twenty pages. What does it say about the USA?
Does it say that we are more detailed than anyone else, or that we deeply appreciate subtlety? Or maybe it’s the opposite, and we just don’t see the beach for the sand?
But most likely, this is just another manifestation of a dysfunctional system that believes that strong economies are built on bad manufacturing of broken machines that require the employment of hoards of repairmen – accountants in this case.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012
"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."
Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968