Friday, August 5, 2011

Russia, Syria's Killing Fields & Winning the American Future

This is BIG. It is rare for Russia to side with the U.S. on international issues, or at the UN.

But Russia is now doing so on Syria -- where "President" Assad is, as you read this, murdering thousands of unarmed civilians with tanks and machine guns. Bashir Assad is son of former dictator Hafez Assad, who murdered over 10,000 in Hama in 1982. ("Like father like son" --you get the picture?). I was in Syria on an international kidnapping case in the late 90's. It has gotten worse since then.

Mr. Assad should be either in International Criminal Court in the Hague -- or on the receiving end of a Predator missile (if I were President it would be one or the other, his choice). Homes and public buildings in the southern Syrian city of Hama have been shelled into rubble. On Friday, people coming out of Mosques who shouted "Assad Resign" were shot with heavy caliber weapons. No 1st Amendment free speech allowed in Syria. Assad, like Saddam, is good at murdering unarmed civilians by the thousands.

Killing unarmed civilians by a leader is a criminal act that violates American values and international law --or should.

The surprise? That came when Russian President Medvedev said: “Assad needs to urgently launch reforms, make peace with the opposition, restore civil order and create a modern state. If he cannot do that, a sad fate awaits him..."

A sad fate? Wow, strong words from the Russians. But fitting for a killer.

If America and the world turns a blind eye to mass murder -- then why have a UN? What good are all the American speeches about "freedom" or "justice" or "patriotism" and "American Exceptionalism" for that matter?

They are shallow words if we sit by watching serial murders of unarmed citizens with heavy weapons and do nothing about it. That does NOT make us exceptional in my opinion. It makes us not look worthy of our forefathers values. While we are being self obsessed, killers don't have to worry about us do they? No one in the tea party seems to know where Syria is, or care. And the looney lefties like Dennis Kunich just visited Bashir Assad. He looked like an idiot. Both extremes left and right know practically nothing about the world they claim to lead.

My definition of "Exceptional" would be America working with the world to stop Mr. Assad's 'slaughtering people like sheep' while focusing on getting Americans back to work.

We need to practice real American values. We need to practice what we preach. We need good old fashioned ACTION. We need to focus on real issues, global opportunities and threats, instead of phony ones that distract our government from focusing on our own people and their needs. Don't you think that would be important?

Failure to act, both here and overseas, makes us the opposite of Good Samaritans.

While Congress is at it, they need to get out of Frog Jump USA to see enough of the world (like Syria and China) so they can realize that we have to play a smart global high tech game to win the 21st century. China has come from a backward poor country I first visited in 1982 to the second largest economy in the world which has more math and science pros then we do. It's your kids' future on the line.

We can't win the 21st Century with Congress representatives who call their new government Blackberry a "Blueberry." They wouldn't even know Blackberry is in trouble due to the IPhone, etc., so how are these clueless characters going to guide us in a high tech century? Have they been to China and India to see what we are up against?

We can't win the present or the future when intolerant, inflexible people demand months of hell to vote on a routine debt law that was easily approved 7 times under President Bush. The debt vote should have taken less than an hour of their time. It was for a budget they had already approved!

The sad truth is that they haven't spent that kind of time on the JOBS issue.

We can't win the future when Congress doesn't know the lesson of 1937 where premature cuts FDR crashed the economy coming out of the Great Depression--unless that is what they want - to bring down the economy and the President. If that's the case then they care more about power then the economic pain of millions of ordinary American people.

Instead of offering any job plan since taking majority of the House, the GOP has repeatedly shot down every plan proposed by the President to improve American education and training to fill the high tech jobs of the future.

This tea bagger Congress even held up the routine approval of a FAA bill, causing the lay off of 70,000 Construction workers for over two weeks while they paraded down the halls of Congress raising hell about the debt vote for a budget they had already approved! They didn't seem to notice 70,000 ordinary Americans forced to sit home and not get a check to feed their families or pay their mortgage while Congress got its checks. They didn't care that their dispute over $13 million was costing taxpayers $1 billion in lost revenue and delayed airport construction. When it hit the news, they called in their approval from their vacation spots! No missed checks for them! They need to be laid off for not doing their (Congressional) work.

Since 2001, we have a structural deficit of 40% - even our military expenses are 40% covered by money borrowed from China. Why? Because of the 2001 unpaid for Bush tax cuts (that favored the rich), the unpaid for 2004 Bush Plan D prescription drug plan for Medicare, which is a good thing except it was never covered by new revenues, and two unpaid for Bush wars --which left us 40% short in yearly revenues. Hence the need to keep raising the debt limit.

Remember the facts. Bush inherited a $250 SURPLUS from Pres. Clinton. Obama inherited a lump of coal from Bush in the form of a $1.2 Trillion DEFICIT his first day on the job, with an economy going into the abyss. Bush had piled nearly $6 trillion in borrowing to our national debt. He basically DOUBLED our national debt in 8 years, before the bottom fell out.

Now, as the economy wobbles (along with Europe's etc) and some 13 million people are looking for work, a tiny band of nutters in Congress threatened to default on our never-broken AAA credit rating, while ignoring 70,000 construction workers laid off for weeks, and millions in revenues lost, because these Congress reps would not pass a routine bill. Some leadership!

As an American with its ordinary people as my No. 1 priority, I've noticed that since the GOP took control of Congress in 2010 they have not issued a single jobs bill. Not one.

Isn't employment and jobs our No. 1 priority? The corporations are sitting on $2.5 trillion in cash so they certainly are not a priority. Banks are sitting on trillions, so they are not a priority. How about focusing on ways to get 14 million Americans back into jobs for the 21st century? Shouldn't that be what Congress is focused on, like a laser beam?

Instead of offering ideas, Ive seen the GOP shoot down every one of President Obama's plans, then claiming he has no plans! Make up your minds guys.

They even gave a thumbs down to the President's plan to train Americans for the millions of skilled jobs that are unfilled because there are not enough Americans with the special skills to do them! How does that help America? Without the training the jobs will have to go offshore or to foreigners who do have those skills.

I have yet to see the GOP offer a real plan how to get Americans into those high-tech jobs that not enough Americans are qualified to fill. Corporations won't do the training because they fear the employee will go elsewhere for a better offer once they pay for it. And they are probably right!

So who does that leave to help create the next generation of Americans with the advanced skills we'll need in the 21st century? That leaves either the government or the individual, right? And its unlikely a broke unemployed person could do it. With what?

By training these people we help ourselves, because their employment in higher paying jobs will help ripple through the economy, make mortgage payments and pay our social security benefits as the hordes of baby boomers retire in mass the next 20 years. We can't get there with a 50% high school drop out rate and cuts in education.

The only keys we have to success in the high tech, space age future are high-tech skills fueled by education. The Chinese and Europeans have Moon landings and other space ventures in motion. The 21st century will not be won by those who can flip the most burgers.

Do you think we can win really a space race with 30 year old machines? Can a Model T win at the Indy 500? Can someone with only a high school or less education run a computerized milling machine for making aircraft or spacecraft? Not without training.

Until we upgrade the skills of the American workforce, our future is in jeopardy. We must avoid self inflicted disasters like the Titanic.

Our debt issues are easily solvable. Tax reform and ending loopholes alone could generate over $1 trillion a year in new revenues to meet the services Americans want. These are self inflicted wounds because people believed in voodoo economics and our leadership squandered our financial stability on wars never paid for.

But we can fix that (by getting off voodoo bookkeeping and quit giving special interests special tax deals ordinary citizens don't get).

What we can't fix in the future is a present failure to prepare our citizens for the 21st century skills they, and we, will need to succeed as a people. That failure jeopardizes the very leadership our country has attained on a global scale. Don't let small minded people throw it away.

Congress should make Priority No. 1 spending every waking hour working on a non-partisan plan to create American jobs and upgrading our nation's skills to maintain our technology leadership in the 21st century. We do not want to go down the same path as the Romans.

It would be an entirely unnecessary self-inflicted failure of a country. Remember Proverbs 29: 18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

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