Saturday, February 07, 2009

What Is Your Price?

In most parts of the Arab world (including the Middle East) and throughout Asia, the term is "baksheesh" (aka bakshish). It's not considered unethical over there. It's simply a way of doing business in most parts.

What does that have to do with us?

Bear with me. I'm getting to it...

...starting with the many eyes and ears that are trained on the progress of the "Stimulus Spending Bill" being rammed through the Senate that, from what I hear, is about to be passed on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

After it passes, the American public will know what price each of their respective Reps have. Their price will be written into the Bill. It will be pretty easy to see how much an American politician costs in today's dollars.

For example, the price tag for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), appears to be $3.2 Million... although maybe it's a wee bit higher than that since I haven't read the entire Bill. Maybe he has other little goodies in there to sweeten the pot even more.

To be fair, that $3.2 Million will supposedly create 20 new jobs.

At a cost of $160,000 per job created, I've heard that's on the low side of what other supposed jobs will be created by the "Stimulus Spending Bill".

In case you haven't heard, this is the largest Government Spending Bill ever in the history of the WORLD, not just the history of the USA.

Now... I'm wondering... since most jobs are created by small business owners in this country, what would happen if the Feds simply gave each profitable small business $1 million dollars? Would that create far more jobs, far faster and at a far cheaper price tag?

Doesn't matter.

As some on the Hill have now admitted (including BO in his speech to Dems at their retreat last week), this isn't about creating jobs.

To paraphrase BO, "This is about spending money."

This is more about the Government saying they can spend our money far better than we can. Most of it won't be paid for by us. We'll be paying the interest payments... if we can afford it... before our dollar falls off a cliff.

Many of the youth who voted for BO will be paying for it.

Their kids will also be paying for it.

Perhaps even their kids' kids' kids will be paying for it.

Who knows how many generations it will take?

But I digress.

Back to the main theme, here's another quote for 'ya.

The 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881), once said, " is a great mistake to suppose that bribery and corruption are means by which power can either be obtained or retained."

Well, it seems that Russia doesn't believe the quote above. They've bought (dare I say bribed?) away from the USA... a valuable, highly strategic piece of real estate in the "war on terror." What was the price?
In a setback to the escalating U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan , the president of Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday that his government will shut down the American air base in his country.

U.S. officials say that the Manas Air Base is vital to plans to send an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan , a linchpin of President Barack Obama's efforts to pacify the country.

The announcement by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev came in Moscow , not in his own capital, and shortly after the Russian government reportedly agreed to lend Kyrgyzstan $2 billion, write off $180 million in debt and add another $150 million in aid. Although the Russian government didn't release a statement about the decision, the timing and place of the announcement indicated that the Kremlin had been involved. [link]

The USA was only paying Kyrgyzstan a paltry $63 million per year to lease the Air Base in addition to employing more than 320 Kyrgyz citizens at the base. (Hmmmm, I wonder if those jobs are lost now?) [link]

In fact, if you haven't noticed, Russia is sitting back right now playing a carefully thought out chess game with BO. Not sure if you heard their little ship movements, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, if you think that chess game is taking some unusual twists, here's another game playing out.

In another region of the world, BO is being told exactly what he must do in order to retain the "special relationship" that exists between Saudi Arabia and the USA:
...condemn Israel's atrocities against the Palestinians and support a UN resolution to that effect; condemn the Israeli actions that led to this conflict, from settlement building in the West Bank to the blockade of Gaza and the targeted killings and arbitrary arrests of Palestinians; declare America's intention to work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, with a security umbrella for countries that sign up and sanctions for those that do not; call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Shab‘ah Farms in Lebanon; encourage Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace; and support a UN resolution guaranteeing Iraq's territorial integrity. Mr Obama should strongly promote the Abdullah peace initiative. [link]

Not to worry on that one though, since according to many journalists, rumor has it that the speaker of the above quote (namely His Royal Highness Prince Turki al-Faisal) is not too highly regarded these days.

Even so, it makes me wonder why the charges have been dropped against the alleged mastermind of the U.S. Cole bombing...

As many living in Asia and the Middle East already know, baksheesh isn't always in the form of money. It also comes in the form of favors. And it's not considered unethical over there. In fact, it's considered the standard way of doing business.

But lets move on and peep at yet another chess game just beginning.

History has taught us (most of us) how "protectionist actions" can quickly lead to trade wars. In fact, some believe such a position entrenched the USA deeper into the Big Depression.

For those of you who do not know, Canada and Mexico are now our largest trading partners. (Once upon a time, it used to be Europe.)

Canada has already cried out against the protectionist language embedded within the "Stimulus Spending Bill". But, by BO's actions, I'm guessing he doesn't know much about Canadians -- yet.

Here's a little tip 'fer 'ya, big guy.

Just like Alaska, you've gotta be pretty tough to survive in certain parts of Canada. Don't mistake congeniality for stupidity. You'll lose that chess game.

But which chess game does BO choose to put his focus on? Based on his actions, speeches and current travel plans to Elkhart, Indiana, he's decided to play chess with the American taxpayer instead, going out to campaign with the public for support of his "Stimulus Spending Bill" ...a Bill that several prominent economists (and many Americans) believe will do little (if anything) in the short term, and looks more like a free-for-all-spending plan to help BO get through his fourth year in the Oval Office, since the bulk of the spending seems to hit the street in that year.

Is he, per chance, merely campaigning for the next Presidential election?

As he and his cohorts in the House keep reminding us -- he won.

But for some reason, he just can't seem to stop campaigning long enough to actually lead, IMHO. He'd best start doing the job he was hired to do soon, paramount of which in his job description is to keep this nation safe.

But I digress (again)...

While BO hits a new campaign trail to convince all of us that he can spend our money better than we can, I wonder -- what is your price? What does he have to put into the package (or the speeches) that will make you swallow it?

Or what kind of fear-peppered doctrine can he intertwine into his rhetoric that will make you dance to the waters edge and gleefully wade into its depths drowning in the tsunami of Government debt about to wash over us all?

My apologies to the Pied Piper.

Maybe this is the "change you can believe in" that's heading our way.

Maybe it's not "socialism" as the far right (and even many moderates) are now crying out against. Maybe it's actually dictatorship.


George Washington once stated, "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."

I wonder what that particular GW would be saying now?

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