Oh, how history repeats itself. I just read an article that stated President Obama suggested a deal to eliminate the proposed missile shield deployment in the Czech republic and Poland for help with Iran’s nuclear program. WHAT! Why would one do such a thing? Actually, I think I know why but that is not the point. The key here is judgement.
So the new administration has decided to make a deal with the devil… I mean the former Soviet Socialist Republic. As we know, the best indication of future behavior is past behavior, so what can we expect? Well the last time we had a significant relationship with this government was prior to the second Iraq war. Remember the whole “Oil for Food” program scandal? That’s the one where both Russia and France set up intricate webs of companies and individuals stretching from Europe to Asia in order get money from Saddam. Going back a little in history, one might recall the fact that we spent a significant part of the twentith century in a nuclear standoff with this communist nation. From the 60s through the early 80s, Americans were inclined to build bomb shelters because of this new “partner”. During the cold war, the missile shield was the one thing that got a reaction out of the Soviet regime. Have they changed? They still sell lethal weapons to many of our enemies as well as nuclear secrets to Iran. Russia has had a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran since mid to late 2002, allegedly for a civilian reactor. Do you trust either of these two parties?
Let’s look at Iran for a moment. A country who’s government absolutely hates the U.S. and would seize any opportunity to get the upper hand on Israel. Now that the U.S. is making deals with Iran through Russia to reduce our influence in Europe. Such a deal proposed by the Obama administration would be perfect! Isolate Israel, reduce influence in Europe, and reduce influence in the Middle East.
One field of engineering involves controls and control networks. We seek to design systems that require single degrees of control or Single Input Single Output (SISO) control networks to reduce the complexity of the control network. One thing you always try to avoid are control problems with two or more degrees of freedom that cannot be decoupled. A U.S. deal with Russia to control Iran is exactly that, an impossible control problem. Decoupling a relationship between Iran and Russia when money and nuclear materials are involved sounds nearly impossible to me. Additionally, like the appeasement deals of the past between the free world and Stalin, a single deal with a regime like the current one in Russia or Iran alone is ill advised. With two degrees of America hating, we are guaranteed to loose!
Posted in Past, Politics
Tagged Appeasement, cold war, Control, Iran, Isolation, Israel, Missile, networks, Nuclear, Obama, Oil for Food, reactor, Russia, Shield, Stallin, Weapons
In order to determine how well we are doing under President Obama we must have a reference of where we were on 19 January. We were at roughly 7.2% unemployment, oil was selling at about $40, interest rates are in the 5s, and we have been relatively safe from terrorism for the last 4 years (duration chosen to coincide with presidential term).
The pic is a snapshot of the dow over a period around the inauguration. The DJIA was around 8275 or so just before the opening bell on the 20th of January. There is no time to mention every metric one could find to mark the state of the union but you get the picture. We must know where we are in order to determine if we are doing better or worse in the future.
Just out of curiosity, do you know anything about the first actions of our new executive? You can read a little about two of them here. When you actually drill down into each of the orders and memorandum he signed, it does not appear they actually direct immediate change but do signal to others, both in and outside our boarders, where he would like to go with respect to Guantanamo Bay and abortion. He also instituted new limits on lobbyists and froze the salaries of some aides and attempted to improve transparency in government. More words than anything with real teeth at this point.
Has any past president used the phrase “Office of the President Elect?” Why would one have a podium made with such a title? Initially, I thought that is was because major change was coming and the Obama campaign intended to use his new self-made title help prepare us for this major change. I don’t think that is the case. Lets take a look at some of his major cabinet picks. We don’t have to talk about Joe Biden. I understand, he represents the foreign policy experience, using that term loosely. Lets look as some of the others: Secetery of State – Hillary Clinton: What a surprise! Change… maybe not. Attorney-General: Eric Holder – Deputy AG under the Clinton administration. HHS – Tom Daschle: Democrat that lost Senate majority during the Clinton admin turned lobbyist with his wife (I thought he said he would not use lobbyist). Commerce – Bill Richardson: a UN ambassador and Energy secretary under Clinton. Chief of Staff – Rahm Emanuel: Bill Clinton’s political and policy aid. Special Counsel – Greg Craig: Assistant and special council to Bill Clinton… This “Change” sure looks familiar. I guess when you lack DC experience, you go with what you have.
As I’ve said before, the best indication of future performance is past performance and that goes for his cabinet as well. Do you really think that these career politicians are capable of change? Maybe he realizes that the country can’t afford the change he originally planned. I would rather have Clinton experience, be it good or bad, in the White House over crooked Chicago politics any day. It’s amazing how mum the media is with the IL governor’s arrest. President-elect Barack Obama’s ties to Blagojevich run primarily through felon associate Tony Rezko. Rezko served as a political mentor and financier for both Blagojevich and Obama, helping both to rise in Chicago and Illinois politics. Obama himself has credited Rezko with helping to his political career.
Instead of looking at the links between people associated with the selling of a US Senate seat we will focus on labeling Blagojevich as “insane” in order to discredit any incrimination that would follow. This is starting to look like change alright, change for the worse and he doesn’t even have a title with teeth yet.
Well its done. This next four years is probably going to remind me of a line out of Top Gun, “your mouth is writing checks your body cant cash.” I guess in this case it might be more like the Treasury can’t cash. I have accepted the fact and ready to make adjustments in long term planning. For example, investing in indexed mutual funds might be a good idea. Its looking like you will be able to buy low in the immediate future. There are a couple of promises that I will be keeping a close eye on. The first is my next promised tax cut. BO said it would be better than the year before; we shall see. The second is his promise to pull out of Iraq, as that will have a direct impact on my family.
Now that the Dems are in charge of the executive and legislative branches, there should be no reason they cannot get anything done. Regardless of what many want, they know better. Lets see how responsible they are with our money.
In the next 4 weeks Obama will get an unimaginably sobering intelligence briefing. If he is smart he will surround himself with experienced level-headed wise men to help him make the right decisions and adjust some of his less educated positions. I love my country and wish for the best. Pray for our new leaders. They are going to need it.
In talking with many about the upcoming presidential election, I have found that most don’t really have a system to make such decisions. I like to ask folks what issues are the important to them and what their candidate has done in the past that makes them feel they are the best candidate (the best indication of future performance is past performance). I don’t think many look at the “how to select a candidate” piece but simply let emotion, charisma, single issues or the “What are they gonna do for me” principle govern their decisions. For example, construction workers vote for the president they think best understands construction workers (e.g. pro union), Venture capitalists vote for the president they think best serves venture capital (e.g. low taxes), and those that receive from government programs vote for those vowing to maintain or increase such programs regardless of overall social contribution. This is how we have been voting since G. H. W. Bush. But how can it make sense for everyone to vote solely on what suits themselves best? It’s not a United States of Me. Sure self interest is a major consideration in a vote, but it has to be weighed against others.
We are easily distracted away from better presidential measures: namely performance, or our estimation of potential for performance. Some new tools (my favorite was this one by american public media) are availible that can quickly help one size up the candidate by the issues in stead of trying to wade through the rhetoric or media slant. What does the media do to help us? Not much. When listening to anything political in nature (campaign adds, news coverage / commentary, people talking, etc.) one should ask: What does this have to do with their ability to do the job? Pundits have failed to help viewers evaluate the merits of the candidates. They are supposed to help us dissect the hidden meaning, a vague promise, or a mistake of fact.
I have seen a number of studies that indicate what some feel are the most important qualities of a president. They usually center around being articulate, organizational capacity, political skill, and style. However, I feel that the most important characteristic is vision and how that vision is shaped. That vision should be shaped by the founding documents (constitution, bill of rights and amendments). After a closer look at what our founding fathers wrote, it appears that we have strayed from the path over the last 15 – 20 years. The most significant shifts have been away from individual accountability and toward redistribution of wealth. We are seeing the latest effects of this in the world markets. Bailing these white collar crooks out is the worst thing we could do, teaching the irresponsible borrowers, lenders, and those legislators that originally pushed the misguided ideas of risky loans that they do not have to be accountable for their decisions. Both of the candidates support massive government intervention because it appeals to the “what are they going to do for me” majority. As the number of folks contributing to the treasury dwindle and those taking from it increase, that small percentage paying the majority of the taxes that congress is to eager to spend will give up on our current system. I believe the vision of the founding fathers was that the individual impact of the federal government should be minimal and the local governments would be used to tailor local law that met the needs of those living locally. Yet today we live in a system where two federal candidates spend over a Billion dollars running campaigns over a two year period to get elected. There has got to be a better way. It’s time to reflect and respond.
Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
Peace through strength. Ronald Reagan
Posted in Election, Random Thoughts
Tagged accountibility, campaign, candidate, federal, government, history, how to choose a president, local, McCain, Media, Obama, performance, politics, taxes