Let The Games begin!

The president-elect is not a dove - he is just a much smarter hawk - Steve Bell cartoon
Well, we did it. Barack Obama got elected. Now the fun begins.

The stench of George Bush – America’s worst president ever – will linger for years and years. It’s hard to even begin to count the ways George Bush has screwed up the United States and the world.

Where do you begin? Our economy is in ruins, and the whole country is falling apart at the seams, with the world economy trailing behind us like a drunken sailor, bobbing and weaving, about to pass out. Then we’ve got wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a trillion dollar debt, the loss of many of our civil liberties in the name of freedom – and that’s just the beginning.

After eight years of a Bush republican, Neo-Con feeding frenzy – where Bush’s buddies spent day and night gorging themselves on the spoils of our labor, things are kind of rough. Bush and his buddies have raped and pillaged their way through much of our children’s inheritance. All that’s left are the smoking ruins.

I really don’t envy Obama – he’s coming into a pretty hopeless situation.

But at least I am heartened by the fact that I believe Obama is better qualified to turn the situation around than anyone else I can think of. To the extent anyone can, Obama has the best chance.

And more importantly, we’re not continuing to dig ourselves any deeper.
If John McCain had been elected, it just would have been a third term for Bush – no difference at all. That would have been a fate worse than death.

By electing Obama, we’ve prevented that – prevented further damage from being done.

I was really blown away by the election itself. Here where I live, the voter turnout was around a staggering 84% – unheard of, as far as I can remember. There were long, long lines at my polling place. I ended up having to stand out in windy, cold 40F weather for almost an hour before the line made it inside the polling place. I have never, ever had to wait an hour to vote before. Never.

That’s a very graphic demonstration of how upset people are with the way Bush took the country – the way he took the country down into the sewer.
So, like I said, here we are, at the crossroads.

Where we go next, I do not know.

I think we can assume that things will continue to get worse for at least the short-term future – as Obama has predicted. The US and world economies have a tremendous amount of inertia. Just like a mile-long freight train running out of control, you don’t put the brakes on the world economy and expect anything to happen anytime soon.
And it is the world economy that’s sick, not just the United States.

Everything is interrelated these days. It might take a while for the ripples to propagate, from Detroit to Beijing, or from Omaha to Novosibirsk, but they do. Just like waves in a pond.

So fixing the US economy by itself isn’t practical or even possible. The whole world has to get well before any of the parts can truly get well by themselves.
And that’s one helluva complex project.

So if we can dig ourselves out of this recession anytime in Obamas’s first term, I’ll be real surprised.

We shall see. Like I said, at least we’ve turned the corner.

What else? I’ve got a wish list for the President-Elect.

Here are some concrete things I’d like to see Obama do in his first term (besides solve the economic mess):

  • Pull all US troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. The Iraqi’s don’t want us there; we don’t belong there, so let’s get our troops out and stop spilling American blood for Bush’s unjust war. This has gotta be the number one priority.
  • Catch Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush basically let bin Laden go when he pulled the troops out of Afghanistan to go to Iraq (and it was certainly in Bush’s best interests to have bin Laden loose – that fueled the “War on Terror.” Without Osama bin Laden, Bush would have been a one-term wonder). If bin Laden is captured, then the “War on Terror” can finally be concluded and we can get on with our business.

As an aside, I believe this “War” will go down in infamy, just like the McCarthy period communist inquisitions of the late 50’s. George W. Bush’s presidency is an ugly, horrendous blot on the otherwise grand history if the United States of America. He has shamed us all.

  • Modify the Wall Street bailout package to punish the executives who, because of their unbridled greed, were responsible for creating the mess. Right now, some of these guys – like the execs from Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns, who drove their companies into the ground with their greed and gluttony, are still collecting their multi-million dollar compensation packages. I heard of one company, I forget which, whose CEO collected a $500,000 salary, then a bonus of $131 million – all based on commissions from bad mortgages which we the taxpayers, had to buy to save the company, for pennies on the dollar.

That’s just dead wrong. Any compensation based on sales of bad mortgages ought to be recovered from them – otherwise we’re just encouraging them to go do it again. We should seize their assets, sue them, do whatever it takes. Limit their total compensation to say $200,000 a year for the life of the bailout loans.
That they should walk away fat and happy without any bad effects at all is just a travesty. This must be corrected. Hell, they really should be in jail!

  • Bring the US into parity with Japan and Korea in the area of Broadband Internet. This is my own pet peeve. In Japan and Korea (and other places, like Hong Kong and Finland), they have Internet connections several orders of magnitude faster than what we have here – and it’s cheaper. In Korea, you can get a 100 mb/s fiber connection (FTTH) for around $35 US per month. With no bandwidth caps.

Here in the US, you can’t even hardly find a 100 mb/s connection. Comcast’s best (with the new DOCSIS 3.0 rollout) is a 50 mb/s connection for $129 per month, and that’s with a 250 GB per month cap!

That’s ridiculous!

Bandwidth costs ISP’s the same here as it does in Seoul or Tokyo. Why should US citizens pay 10 times more for a product that’s vastly inferior to what you can get in Tokyo or Seoul?

One reason: greed – that good ol’ George W. Bush motivator. They do it because they can. Because we put up with it.

We’re being forced into becoming a Third World Country because of greed.

This has got to change. The internet is fast on its way to becoming an indispensable utility, like water or power. If the United States is going to compete in the world market, we need to have internet service comparable to the best – and have it available to all Americans at a price they can afford.

I’ve heard mentions that Obama has plans along these lines – bringing us into parity with Japan and Korea – and which also includes legislation for net neutrality, which is an essential.

Let’s make it so!