The Failure of the Super Committee


By Isis Win

Here we are again facing another failed budget negotiation between the two parties. Another tremendous failure – even if a measure is passed. No party will claim a win, which seems that is the number one agenda. That instead of acting in favor of the country, the American people and the electors that put the Super Committee in power. The question the press has been pounding now, over and over is: should the members of the Super Committee be reelected? The logical, sensible and sensitive answer is a plain NO! But what party are we talking about? Right hands will answer get out the democrats! But on the opposite end, the answer will be, send the republicans back home.

Once again, I don’t care of believe what flag one party or the other one wears. Whether moderate, left or right, republican or democrat, all of them flip – flop with their claimed mentality or ideology and much more when it comes to vote for a bill. Issues and the answers that fix them is my train of thought. However, in this case, as many of the recent ones, I find that republicans are throwing a fit for the sake of insuring reelection. No taxes is their ticket, they think . . . but only an idiot will believe that such is what is needed to address all the complex issues we are facing. The irony of the case is that every single person against any increase in taxes, will state that such will counter work hiring. Hello? If I am a business owner (which I was and am not any longer and guess why?) All I will have to do to compensate for having higher taxes, is to make absolutely sure that my goods or services, will be competitive to the fierce market. A market that is eager, willing and capable of sacrificing something for the sake of staying in business. Even if my taxes are increased (nope, I don’t even make 250K), which I hate the idea, will be totally acceptable because I know well, we are in dire need of fixing many things, among them our deficit and debt. If I would be a million plus earner would be the same. After all, the worse it could do, is to slightly change my lifestyle but just for a time being. Once the country finds a balanced sheet, businesses will go as they were previous to the Bush administration when just about everything was booming quite well. So, yes to taxes! Unless people want to have the cake and eat it. In order to get all we need and want, we have no other choice but to pay for it’s cost. Frankly, I believe a strong and healthy nation offers much better possibilities, even if I am not having the greatest income I wish. The way our country is, there is no true winner. Perhaps only those that have hefty accounts overseas are winners regardless of higher taxes or not. They will remain as rich as they are today.

Cutting benefits to those who are retired and depend on those social services, services that they pay for and work their ass for them; simply is unacceptable. And cutting The Defense Department budget? On who’s mind can that be a positive move? Today when the political and social unrest in the world threatens all nations of the world? If you need a new prescription for your glasses today, don’t wait any longer because the known threats around the world are far worse than they were when the cold war. Perhaps the main difference is that there is no super power threatening us, but what about several nations together? Something that can happen at any moment since the Arab world is much more than unhappy with the US and such will not change while having a strong presence in the region. Soooo is the alternative to move out of the region for the sake of saving tons of dollars and allow the Arabs to become happy? No! Having arm forces that cost multi billion dollars every year is not my wish at all. But the US has taken a role that cannot be withdrawn just like that. Therefore we have no choice but to keep balance, as much as we can – around the world. Perhaps awaken the world to realize that for as long as we remain focused on the “well being” of other nations, instead of their own, we’ll remain screwed. Perhaps Aldous Huxley was much more than a visionary and what we need to do is to have a single country with a single government to rule the entire world. Forgive me for this fantasy but frankly I believe there are much more important issues and agendas on sight. Such as we must watch more closely what our planet is telling us before it is too late.

The worse of this failure is the fact that people’s confidence has been undermined once again and now for more than a decade! And if we don’t change this soon, who knows where we are going to land. No wonder crime has been growing across the planet in disproportional numbers and no country has a good hand to control it. Basically between the people’s division that we see in almost every country in the world for one reason or the other one and the political struggles, are destroying the order that almost every single person wishes to keep. But not many are doing something about it but to complain that they are suffering and also have needs. So is the rest of the world! But we, the US still are in a privileged place that at some point will no longer be and then, what are we going to do? Blame Obama? Or the Republican party or the Democrats?

Perhaps the only people worth any consideration today are our troops overseas and every single person that is Occupying a place to demand a the dialog that politicians are refusing to withhold. Even between their own selves. What a shame!

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Where is the US in the world today?

By Isis Win

Arguing the political and social scenes in the US can not be done without taking a deep peek into the money matters. Politics and people affect the economy and the economy affects both too. But most people rather discuss the political aspects of the rhetorical debates between parties, like if that addresses what truly matter for the country, people and their personal preferences. Up to a grand extent, people prefer to indulge into the political talks from a place mostly loaded with ignorance. Mostly focusing on the issues that they judge are a defying measure of the well-being and future of the country. Such as abortion that should have nothing to do with politics. Abortion is a constitutional (Roe v. Wade -1973) and legal issue and the irony of the case is that, although there is a separation between government and church, people bring their religiously based ideas into the political world. Like if that will have anything to do with the country. But as well, advocating against the right to abortion will not deliver the believed intent: to halt the indiscriminately use of abortion and to protect the right to birth. I’ll tackle this fascinating topic in an upcoming blog. However, I want to deliver some facts about politics and social stats, directly related to the economy.

Ask people you don’t know, preferably an American about what triggers their love and respect for the their nation. You’ll find that the top answers fall one way or another one in the supremacy the US has exhibited in many fields, such as economy, military, research in science and technological fields. Most Americans love the fact that their nation is the #1 in the world. Something that is rather easy to understand.
The US had achieved its predominant place in the world thanks to several financial factors, starting by the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product). GDP creates the PPP (Purchasing parity power) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power_parity), same the defines how a currency will pair to other currencies. We all know the Dollar, is the dominating world’s currency.

Early this year the reported GDP – PPP of the ten top richest nations presents this order

#1 USA        GDP – PPP = $14.66 trillion. Unemployment = 9.6 %
#2 China      GDP – PPP = $10.09 trillion. Unemployment = 4.3 %
#3 Japan      GDP – PPP = $4.31 trillion. Unemployment = 5 %
#4 India        GDP – PPP = $4.06 trillion. Unemployment = 10.8 %
#5 Germany GDP – PPP = $2.940 trillion. Unemployment = 7.1 %
#6 Russia     GDP – PPP = $2.223 trillion. Unemployment = 7.6 %
#7 UK           GDP – PPP = $2.173 trillion. Unemployment = 7.8 %
#8 Brazil       GDP – PPP = $2.172 trillion. Unemployment = 6.7 %
#9 France    GDP – PPP = $2.145 trillion. Unemployment = 9.3 %
#10 Italy       GDP – PPP = $1.774 trillion. Unemployment = 8.4 %

These are the reported numbers from CIA World FactBook

Next to these numbers there are other factors to be considered but the list would be to large for this blog. For example: Population, source of revenue, natural resources, industrial, scientific and manufacturing resources, etc. I suppose you get the point. But as well, there is one major consideration to be accounted for: The national debt.

The point I am trying to make is to entice your attention in all the elements that can put a nation in peril. And the reason, my only reason, is to point out that these are not times to engulf into rhetorical arguments, accusations, false promises, etc. And that is what has been fed to the American voters for far too long. I feel it is imperative to mention that I don’t lean in any direction when it comes to my political thought. But I am not a libertarian neither. My thoughts are based on what’s on the agenda, the issues that need attention, what our politicians offer and truly deliver and the realization of policies that will lead the country and the American people towards safety, stability, a sound sense of well-being, opportunities, all rights provided by the Constitution for every single individual, freedom of expression and will, among many others. When I see these aspects, although I consider my personal well-being, my thinking doesn’t go in that direction but in favor of the general population. The reason is quite obvious: The more people is well, the better chances everyone will have to enjoy all those goodies that make a nation a perfectly functional one and always devising towards progress. Everyone is contemplated in my thoughts and wishes. Primarily, the young generations, including my two daughters and my granddaughter.

As I’ve made clear here, the future of a nation and their people will always be based on the level of productivity that brings that wealth that can make possible such functional society. But sadly, we’ve been moving far and farther away from that place, because political platforms and bases are not tacking the true principles of what our representatives should working out. Politicians are focused on gaining votes at the cost of our future. If you look most campaigns from the actual politicians, you’ll see that although a few had delivered some of what they promised, the boldest promises of their campaign, not only they’ve never been delivered, but they had been flip – flopping with them for the sake of remaining in office. Why is that? I wonder. The life of a politician is such, that we can compare it to the top rock stars. Fame, power, admiration and lots of goodies. Even if many of those goodies are a counter value to what their political role suppose to be. It can even be illegal. Holes and loops manipulated the very same way they manipulate the voters. But this problem is not solely responsibility of the politicians. We, the people are perhaps more responsible for this, because after all, we elect those that lie, exaggerate and make empty promises.
When Sarah Palin became the republican candidate to the vice-presidency, I was quite excited about her. McCain didn’t do (or promise) anything in favor my aspirations for the bettering of the country. And not just because his political trajectory, through the many years I covered the Congress, Senate and White House, I was able to directly witness a few, perhaps no so important characteristics of his. I knew then, I can’t rely on this guy. But Palin? Wow! Such a fresh, bold. clear and outspoken woman! Huh! I admit; as well, I found her being soooo attractive! A plus in my view. But once I saw her trying to con her way out from the typical questions a candidate usually gets , questions that suppose to deliver an answer that will define her view and base. But instead, she tried to outsmart . . .  who, the interviewer or the voters? After a few of those major flops of her I realized: she is not politically mature, she’s as ignorant as an elementary student, she is willing to do whatever necessary to win those needed votes, but more importantly: She is so poisoned and cannibal! Big disappointment for me but what about all those people who still are behind her? More valid, what about McCain? What was he thinking? Thank goodness they lost the election.

Therefore, Obama became our 44th president. Hope raised all known bars in the midst of worse terrorist threat in history, two ongoing wars with thousands of lost lives and severely injured soldiers and the country being at the bring of a financial collapse. Not the presidential income, all the presidential goodies, fame and power can compensate for this to an against all odds position. But he came through and although right wingers had chosen to believe and broadcast, he’s not done anything to honor his role, the facts speak for themselves. In fact, he has been handling well issues that like most people, I have no true clue as what it involves. But I’ve been educating myself in those matters. And there is no better way to do so, than learning from the masters. I’ve watched unbiased interviews with former republican and democrat secretaries of state, sitting together and in both accounts, they’ve explain what is involved and admitted that president Obama has done the very best possible to avoid what looked as an impeding tragedy to the country and each of us in it. Poor, rich, left, right, educated, illiterate, you name it. But republicans, as they always do, take all credit away from him and as well blame him for anything that is happening. On top, every single step he takes, republicans accuse him of making a drastic mistake. On top of that list of accusers: M. Bachman, who like Palin, is an ignorant and lacks all preparation for the highest role in the country, but as well, she must believe that her enchanting fake smile, will gain the sympathy of the American voters. How scary that she’s gain quite a few followers that on the long run, will damage the future of the country since what they have in sight, has nothing to do with pulling the nation forward.

Last but no least, the vitriolic  attitude in the American people, particularly those that their number one agenda are the denial of civil rights that ridiculously had been denied for so long and these times, have no room for fundamentalist views, nor discrimination, segregation, hate, etc. Issues that have nothing to do with a negative future of the country, nor against the well-being of anyone, but their particular views were born under the shade of ignorance and fear. Two elements that as well, I am attempting to point out here. Their elements to select the best possible president of the USA are based on items such as: same-sex marriage, the freedom and entitlement for gay people  to serve in the arm forces, granting the same civil rights protected under the Constitution to LGBT people, the right to abortion, the eviction and imprisonment of undocumented workers that had served our country for many decades, etc.

Sadly I know, whatever I write about or say, is not going to change anything a bit. But I will not cease to advocate for the truth and what truly matters, for as long as I am alive. And all that only in the hope of finding others like myself and who knows? Perhaps if we make a larger chunk of conscious people, we may push the boundaries of fragmentation, to eradicate it at once. Here, you can see that the US has all it takes to continue being the number one nation in the world, but what no one knows is: for how long can that la as is?. We have many serious impeding threats, like world domination from the Chinese. massive genocide in our own territory in the hands of extremist, a fragile financial system that the Europeans are trying to their best to save (Hmm . . . think about the Euro union and the place it may put to the dollar which BTW, is the #1 GDP – PPP in the world). ignorant and unscrupulous candidates to office, second largest unemployment in the world, a fast growing number of families under the poverty level, homeless people, the large and growing number of severely injured troops – as well those suffering from post traumatic trauma, etc, etc but more importantly. the lack of faith and confidence of the American people. This one, being the true reason our economy is not moving forward as needed and wished. Oh! We can’t ignore the fact that we are seeing the largest and costliest natural disasters in history. Will they last?

We need to put aside our agendas or political views and instead, demand sound plans with facts and statistics from the office seekers. We must do whatever it takes to push every single individual in the US to seek for national prosperity and everyone to be entitled to enjoy the rights they deserve and they’ve consistently worked for them. It is time to remove from our lexicon the word “no” and instead to include “yes” to opportunity and fairness to all law-abiding citizens and residents. It is time to put our past in the past, seek for the future in the making of a positive present and do every single bit of what it takes to make educated decisions and contribute to the best of our capabilities. We need to make sure our GDP and PPP continues its growth and we at some point become a clear, transparent and ideal example of what a nation can be.
May God bless America!

When isn’t a choice? . . .

By Isis Win

We all watched the Presidential address before Congress. Well, I mean . . . grown-up, responsible, concerned, contributors to the well-being of the US did. No pun intended.  We all learned the President has a plan called “The Employment Act”, a plan that he will be presenting to the House.  In his speech, Obama urged the Congress to pass it with no delay. He said, it is enough of political circus and it’s time to address the problem that America faces: a stagnant economy.

Analysts, economists, journalists, and politicians had expressed in the recent weeks that we are sinking into a double-digit recession. The numbers don’t lie and the question remains; How to stop the downfall?  But many other questions grow because of the financial crisis started during the second part of 2007: What happened all this time? Why has the crisis not been halted cold?  Why have the numbers that create growth not started to move steadily forward, giving us at least signs of recuperation? Most people blame the White House. Among those, a little more than half, directly point to Obama. The rest, express some confidence in the president. But speculating will neither stop nor fix the problem.  It is not foreign to anyone to acknowledge that when financial doom hits at home, there is no other choice but to address it with drastic measures and repair it as promptly as is possible, doing all that can be done. But fixing a financial downturn for an entire nation is another matter compare to a personal financial crisis.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, thousands and thousands of people lost every single penny they had. Most banks folded, taking their users with them. Industries failed because no money in the hands of the buyers meant no sales. No sales meant no production, and no production meant factories closing their doors. Factories closed, meant no jobs. No jobs meant no income to be taxed, and no income taxes meant no government revenue. A vicious domino effect that seemed endless. However, although it took a long of time of no revenue, we recovered, regardless of other tougher issues that showed up not so long after, such as the Second World War. About a decade post war, the U.S. was flourishing, making it a “model nation” that was to be followed and respected, and as if that did not suffice, clearly we had become the most powerful nation in the world. So what’s happening this time? Why is the crisis so persistent? Well, for starters, we can’t compare the Great Depression to our actual crisis. Similar yes, but a different breed, a different animal.

Our current financial melt down wasn’t exclusive. The rest of the world has rolled down the hill with us. Perhaps they were able to manage somehow “better”, but no nation is out of the fire yet. In fact, the entire world is balancing on a thin wire and hoping something comes up and helps them to keep in balance.

Is that possible? How can that be done? Is there anything else that needs to be done besides of what the White House can do? Oh yes, and in fact, the President spoke, to appeal to everyone for that purpose. Not just those that already lost their jobs, their houses and a large portion of their monies earned through years. The President was clear asking those that still have more than the rest of the population to bite the bullet and contribute their part. This is something that the Republicans hate and will fight until the end, according to several Senators and Congressmen and women. Is is something that, in time, will become a political battle of all sorts. Undoubtedly, the Tea Party has risen from the very same place as the Republicans: They represent the interests of the rich and powerful people of the nation, who refuse to take further loses. This, even after all those that had substantial investments in the housing and mortgage industries made billions and billions of dollars, previously to the burst of the bubble, the very reason for this failure.

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of this crisis is the sound fact that it was self-created. It was created by the hands of unscrupulous people who negotiated mortgages. Even when many should not take place. I remember well, during 2006 I was offered by a mortgage specialist, the purchase of a home, in the SFO bay area. That purchase was far from my possibilities. I was promised my application would pass and I’d get at least three-quarters of a million dollars. And it required almost no money down. This proposal sounded like a dream come true. But reality set in right away even though the loaner insisted, I was way wrong. I was unemployed, recently moved to the area, I had a modest amount of money in savings and I had a business prospect that I needed to get started before I would commit into a mortgage. Still, my friend insisted I will qualify. I turned down the offer, based on my consciousness and common sense. A year later, my business never took off, I moved out of the bay area, was unemployed and all my money, including retirement were gone. And I didn’t purchase that house! Nevertheless, many of those buyers not only lost all their money, but as well now are homeless. I am not, thank goodness!

I knew, since the days real state prices ballooned out of proportion, that the bubble would at some will burst. But I admit, I never envisioned another depression. Now, like the rest of the people in the nation, I am paying for the mistake from people’s greed that caused to the entire world to shake as never before. I am not complaining, I don’t blame anyone directly, I don’t expect anyone to come to my rescue. Although I was laid off from my employment in 2007 and have the right to Unemployment Insurance, I never collected it. My conscience tells me there are many families that need those monies more than I do and at some point, those monies can fade out. It is happening and that is the reason Obama urged the Congress to pass his proposed Employment Act with no delay.  Besides balancing the nation’s financial sheet, we need to update and repair our infrastructures, and none of this can occur without revenue.The country has no revenue simply because the only revenue the government can get comes from tax payers. In order to pay taxes, the people must become employed, have income and people must start spending their money. There is no choice there.

Most people I know are from low middle class to upper middle class. A few of them are liberals or democrats. Most, are not only conservative republicans, they are radical, extremist republicans. I can call them “fundamentalist”. I’ve been watching them. They still own their homes, and though their businesses are not making as much revenue as prior to the crisis, they are surviving well. But they refuse to contribute their part to move the country forward.
Let me share one particular example. A couple I’ve known for several years. Both used to bring home an average of $350,000 yearly. They worked really hard from scratch to get there. Their business was doing fine although still was much more room for growth. In fact, he invested $250K previous to the crisis in new, high-tech equipment. Everyone who knows them consider them a “perfect couple”. They enjoy several common things together all the time. Such as golf, dancing, eating out, drinking, socializing. They have a nice family. Kids and grand kids and although not as perfect as they are, they don’t differ much. My friends’ lifestyle has changed very little. They claim that they are helping the country to move forward by showing confidence and supporting several business. Perhaps they are right.
When the health bill was at the table of negotiation, they both not only showed their antagonism, but they’ve lobbied among their multiple friends about it. I asked him why? He simply stated that he can’t afford it. I told him healthy, secured and happy employees produce much better than average. We both know his employees are not as productive as they are supposed to.  He said: rubbish! What about their employers? What about me? Do I have the same right? I responded yes! But you can take it as an investment. I’ve never seeing him as pissed ever before. End of the conversation.
A year later, we were chatting about trivial things but somehow he expressed his interest in some of my political views. BTW, he’s a politician in office, so I gave the inquiry a green light. After covering assorted political businesses, it was clear his invitation was to lecture me in conservative/republican ideas. All against Obama’s. I wanted to pull out of the conversation but he didn’t allow me to. Then, he brought up Obama’s tax hike for earners of $250K and up. I said I agree with that. He became almost as outraged as the first time we exchanged views a few months before. Both remained calm, but he said will do whatever is necessary to get Obama out of the White House. At that point I asked him if he disliked Obama. He responded  YES. In It was clear without any explanation not only because Obama’s policies, or being a democrat. Go figure! I knew that much beforehand, although he’d managed before to avoid expressing his real sentiment post-elections.  He has been politically correct letting others know that Obama in the White House is an opportunity that the people of the US deserved and wanted. I know, that he never felt that way. As well, today I know, that his level of patriotism is almost none. He wouldn’t join or let his children join the arm forces in ANY situation, even if we were invaded, for instance. Well, his children are the same. Perhaps more self-centered than them.

For Obama’s personal career, his timing in office couldn’t be any worse. But undoubtedly, I am happier and more confident seeing him at the White House, instead of McCain and Palin. I have no doubts that they wouldn’t be able to pull off the nation forward. After their campaign, I was left with a sense of two empty shells. I believe likely they would create more problems than Obama. Obama became a politician because his beliefs and not as consequence of his ambition. Although we can say the rest of the politicians are equally patriotic, all it takes is to see it is their record, so we know the truth. McCain has not supported any of the White House proposals to get the country out this jam. He, like the rest of the republicans, has opposed Obama on just about everything that has come out of the White House. However, McCain and Palin, never clearly and decisively opposed Bush’s policies and initiatives. Bush was their “leader of the gang” regardless of any possible mistake that was in sight. Why not Obama? He is the actual president!  

The US was victimized not by Obama. In fact, not even Bush, the president that moved all strings that one way or another one, are responsible of the actual status of the US. What’s going on in the country is the result of years of neglect during which time PAC’s and lobbying “engines” pushed an agenda that, indeed, help them to become richer. However, their fortunes stayed among them and did not enrich or help the country. Yes, this is a capitalist country, and all is about commerce and revenue, but when the goose that lays the golden eggs dies, there are no more golden eggs, period.

Obama’s initiatives are far from perfect. However, considering that the negotiating process with republicans has been tough, if not impossible, he had done as much as the vitriolic political world of the US permitted him. Some people tend to believe: since his the president, he can enforce his policies and the country would move forward. But politics in a democratic nation and formed by a Congress and a House of Representatives, simply doesn’t work like that. There is very little compromise and there is more party struggle and for the sake of seeking power and control – and take the proper credit for it. So, Obama has been mostly dispossessed of having any kind of credit. Like if that is one of the tickets the nation needs badly. Instead, everyone is concerned, unhappy and heavily divided. Those are not items that can possibly help the country.

On the other hand, we have an upcoming election and republicans are doing as much as their power permits, to be the winner of the next election, a sad and pathetic reality because no republican candidate has shown a clear vision and experience to tack the problems we are facing. Like Palin, all they do is put words in the mouths of their followers and the press. The press as well, simply is resonating all is being said and without consideration of the damage that such may do to the political process and the nation. It is the equivalent of spreading poison between republicans, the White House and the voters, which is NOT what the country needs, by any means. Therefore, President Obama has come to the voters and nation, stating “he has a plan that can deliver and it can be carried out, even considering the times and situation. There were no specifics but it was clear, the republican end of the House did not support his speech. I don’t know enough about legislative law to know if the President possibly has “a card up his sleeve” that will enable him to implement his Employment Act and prove to the nation that he knows how to run the country. Perhaps he can win the upcoming election. But it takes no science to figure out that having a new face in the White House will delay any possible solution, if simply because the winner will need to receive all the necessary briefings about the true situation and what is legally possible and not. Then, they will know what is needed to implement any policy that can bring the country and world back. Read = a bad timing we can’t afford now. However, having a second term president at the White House, during this crisis, points as the best possible scenario, regardless of whether we are conservative or democrats.
After all, this situation of ours, is not about our individual situation or political belief, although we may feel like it. This situation is about the nation and the rest of the world. If we fail, many other nations will, as well. If that happens, a situation without any precedent in our history clearly will overburden even an experienced president. And timing today, is vital to insure we don’t step the wrong way. If we do, the result will be much more than the financial collapsed world’s economies. It will become the same vitriolic status we see among our politicians but between countries. And have no doubt, it may represent as well, wars between countries. Real wars to insure the survival of each nation. Therefore, today, we are out of choices. Keeping Obama in power offers the only possibility. Enforcing agendas that are disliked by a sector of the population, offers better possibilities, such as tax increases and the removal of corporate loop holes. Large corporations must bite the bullet and contribute in any possible fashion for the well-being of the country. That offers possibilities. In other words, we have no other choice than leaving things as they are  setting aside our differences, and keeping Obama in the Presidency, supporting his policies. If the nation fails, we all go down with it.

We have no other choice. Perhaps if there is one, the only one is, to watch the NFL battle. lol

HELLO: Austerity you said?

Austerity you said?
By Isis Win
I’ve lived through times in which the government was forced to austerity. I did in Mexico City after the peso devaluation in the ’70s, and again in Guatemala almost a decade after. Programs suffered the most and with the “excuse” of shortness of cash, many institutions suffered to a point where they were no longer able to provide support to their tax payers. Ironically, tax payers pay taxes to guarantee that they are provided for their services when they need them.
Currently, due to the financial status in the world, the heavy cost of running government and the increased debt, the U.S. is in need of activating all measures to save money. Continue reading