Tag Archives: USA

Of Wars, Budget Deficits, Predatory College Loans: from Germany to USA and Saudi Arabia……

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The budget shows a deficit for all those countries listed below. With the exception of Germany, which had a healthy surplus.

Germany also has an extensive public healthcare system and a generous social safety net system. In addition, Germany has tuition-free education at universities and colleges. It does not saddle its younger generation with heavy education loans for the benefit of predatory banking corporations. Many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, also provide free university education. Germany also, unlike the USA and Saudi Arabia, is not engaged in major expensive stupid unwinnable foreign wars.

Spectator Index:
Govt budget balance as share of GDP, 2017.

Germany: +1.2%

Greece: -0.6%
Russia: -1.5%
Turkey: -1.5%
Australia: -1.5%
Canada: -1.6%
Italy: -2.3%
Indonesia: -2.8%
France: -2.9%
UK: -2.9%
India: -3.5%
US: -3.5%
China: -3.7%
Japan: -4.4%
Brazil: -8%
Saudi: -8.9%
Venezuela: -19%

 

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Economics of Spanking: Forbes Magazine Allegedly Edified in a Stormy Style……..

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Stormy Daniels Reportedly Spanked Trump With A Copy of Forbes Magazine. In the wake of a Wall Street Journal article that alleges Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter with now-president Donald Trump, several other stories about Daniels’ rendezvous with Trump have surfaced – including one account that she spanked Trump with a copy of Forbes…… “She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.”……..”

Talk about mixing ‘business’ with pleasure…..
I can see Steve Forbes’ famous lopsided smile/grin that some think lost him the Republican nomination so many years ago (he had no chance anyway). His magazine has been edified with the rump of a future (now current) President Trump.

The suddenly-wittier-than-usual Bill Kristol (of Weekly Standard) tweeted that it was a Supply-Side spanking: thus introducing a risky mix of dismal economics with kinky sex.
Which probably (hopefully) tells us what he really thinks of the theoretical underpinnings of the economic policies of Ronald Reagan, Steve Forbes, and possibly Trump (not clear if the latter focuses beyond self-interest). 

Yet I have some doubts about this Stormy story, until I see, hear, read more. No savvy politician or prominent businessman (even some not-so-prominent ones) would engage such services in a hotel room. Probably not even a New York businessman-about-town who is steeped in the culture surrounding beauty pageants and reality shows. There is always the possibility, nay the probability, of electronic recording and taping and blackmail. So all this spank-gate can be fake news as well, even in the case of someone as impulsive as Donald Trump. Maybe, maybe not.

On the other hand: this that allegedly happened, if it happened, was a completely private matter. Besides, there are so many houses of glass around, on both sides.

Either way: way to go, Stormy….

Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

America in the Twilight Zone of Trump: Which Countries Qualify as Genuine Shitholes?………

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In the Beginning:
There were the Axis of Evil countries none of whose citizens were involved in the September 2011 terrorist attacks on the USA (I thought that was a stupid term at the time)….
Then the Coalition of the Willing (the war on Iraq)…..
Then the Muslim Ban list against “potential” terrorists that included only countries whose citizens have never committed terrorism in America…
Then the Muslim-Arab-American Summit i Riyadh Against… everybody else….
Then….

Now America is in a twilight zone she had never been in before in the modern era. Nothing, no term, is taboo now. Now we have a new term, rather a new use of an old privately used American term:
People who immigrate from Haiti, Africa, other Central American and Latin and Arab countries came out of Sh*tholes….. and should not be allowed…

A country has the right to decide whom to allow in and whom to keep out. Other countries do it as a matter of routine, and America has been quite generous towards aspiring immigrants. But the leaders of these other countries, their heads of state, never ever use the term shithole for another country. No Arab or Muslim or African or Latin leader ever called another country a shithole. Not publicly and not in a quotable setting. The Saudi rulers, for example, never call their rivals in Qatar or Iran by such an epithet. The Arabs, even Hezbollah, never call Israel a shithole, and vice versa….

In the Middle East, leaders, dictators, kings, and potentates are now pouring over memos from their advisers. All trying to answer the newest most important Trumpian question of the week: Are We Among the Select Shithole Countries? (I expect Mr. Netanyahu will be the usual exception: he will probably tweet a line of strong support for Mr. Trump, as he has done with the Mexican Wall and other issues).

Remember, as someone on a big News Network said just an hour ago: talking of immigrants, with all respect, the homeland of the First lady Melania, Slovenia, is not exactly the “Jewel of Europe”…

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Party of Personal Choice: From Syria’s War Missing to America’s Homeless…….

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Senator John McCain tweeted today that this article in the Wall Street Journal is “important”. It is about the estimated 100,000 people missing in Syria. It is of course important…

Then this hardly-noticed news item was published today about a study on homelessness in the USA:
“More than 500,000 people – a quarter of them children – were homeless in the United States this year amid scarce affordable housing across much of the nation, according to a study released on Thursday……Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Hawaii have all recently declared emergencies over the rise of homelessness, and on Thursday Seattle’s mayor toured a new encampment for his city’s dispossessed…….”

I have not seen any comment or tweet on this from McCain or other Republican politicians yet. Nor do I expect to see any comment from the “Party of Choice”. They usually ascribe any misfortune or sickness (including children’s sickness) or other tragedy to “a matter of personal choice”. That was the case even before this new Wild West era of MAGA.

FYI: Democrats did only marginally better when they were in power….

Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

Jesus Comes to America: On Christmas and the Economic Miracle of MAGA…….

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MAGA Economics: Rich people elected mainly by poor people taking money from the poor and giving it to the very rich, in the hope of somehow making the poor richer

I once responded to a poll posted on social media about whether Jesus would be allowed into America. That was a couple of years ago. Here is my modified updated version for this unusual year of 2017:

  • He, Jesus Son of Maryam as we call him, wants to come to America. He has heard that this new land is the last bastion of his true followers, those who truly adhere to his sect of Judaism, or so he thinks. He knows they call themselves Christians. He wants to come visit his true believers in what was and is called the Old Confederacy and the Bible Belt West, once called fly-over land. As well as some inland pockets of the two coasts. 
  • He, Jesus Christ, would probably not be allowed on a connecting flight from Europe (back in the Middle East there are many who look like him). Eventually, After some agitation, he might be put on a no-fly list.
  • If not, or if he manages to sneak through the controls, he will face the next obstacle. Some other passenger (almost certainly an American) would complain that he feels uncomfortable with someone dressed in a robe, a hairy man mumbling some strange language, on the same airplane. So, Jesus would likely be bounced off the flight anyway (maybe he’ll be handed a check for $200 as compensation).
  • Let’s assume that he manages to make it after all, perhaps walking across from Mexico or Canada. He will not be allowed into any church because his attire (robe & sandals) is deemed un-Christian. The first Mega-Buck Church would throw him out because he does not fit the image of a member.
  • Besides, he wouldn’t know what a church is. Jesus would look for a synagogue upon arrival. Lucky for him, like I did in my teens, he’d most likely land in New York City.
  • He wouldn’t be any more welcome in a synagogue than in a church. Memories of the Diaspora and pogroms and massacres and the Holocaust perpetrated by his alleged followers do not fade easily. Besides he has no money to pay the very high New York annual fees.
  • He, as Son of Maryam and fruit of Immaculate Conception, might be allowed into a mosque (no fees usually needed there), but only with the hope of converting him to the teachings of the Arab shepherd who came after him. But it wouldn’t last long.
  • He would also wonder who this blue-eyed blond namesake of his was, whose alleged birthday is celebrated by corporate America so eagerly every year. From September to January of each year. And he would wonder what he has to do with a fat jolly Germanic man who likes to wear red and white tights, and jingle his bells.
  • Once enlightened he would wonder what do Amazon and Apple and Macy’s and gas prices and NASDAQ have to do with him.
  • Most of all, he is intrigued about this new noisy Roman governor of America who is pushing a vague new creed that he calls MAGA. He knows it involves some kind of new miracle: Rich people elected mainly by poor people taking money from the poor and giving it to the very rich, in the hope of somehow making the poor richer“. Makes sense?

Cheers & Have a Merry One……
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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After JCPOA and UNESCO: Will the USA and Israel Join the Arab League?…….

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President Donald Trump has taken the USA out of a whole bunch of international institutions, agreements, and deals. From the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the Paris Climate Accord, to the United Nation’s UNESCO organization (Mr. Trump and Israel both withdrew this week).

He is on the verge of breaking and violating the JCPOA (the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran). He is also threatening the NAFTA deal with Canada and Mexico. Early in his term he threatened US ties with NATO, the bedrock of the Western Alliance since after the last world war.

For most of the rest of the world Mr. Trump is not the usual credible American president. He has very little credibility. He is not liked (to put it politely) anywhere in the world, with the exception of Israel and some Arab royal palaces (and maybe in Manila). Predictably Netanyahu made a short speech welcoming Trump’s non-withdrawal from JCPOA, while the controlled Saudi media cheered on.

So here is a suggestion: why not declare the United States, and Israel, as members of the Arab League. They can start as observer-members. It is all an incredible fantastic circus anyway……….

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Strategic OCD? America’s Obsessive, Compulsive, Endless Muslim Wars on Cruise Control…..

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“Veteran Given Hero’s Welcome Back To Afghanistan….. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—Waving flags and breaking into cheers the moment they spotted the veteran, dozens of joyous citizens gave Marine Pfc. Victor Rosas, 23, a hero’s welcome back to Afghanistan, sources reported Tuesday. “I’ve been counting down the hours until Victor came back, and here he is at last!” said local food vendor Anwar Ahmadzai, one of the many familiar faces the young soldier had not seen for the 14 months he was overseas in the U.S………”

This piece by the Onion is almost funny, until you look at a map of the Old World. From Asia through the Middle East to Africa.
American wars, weird wars, endless wars, stupid wars, absurd wars, almost-automatic wars on cruise control. Easy to trigger, easy to slide into. And what you can’t trigger, you can provoke, or the willful regional allies can provoke. Almost impossible to get out of (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, North Africa, Sahel, East Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc etc)……

With more very likely to come, possibly deliberately provoked by the Trump Administration or by local Trump-allied Arab princes and potentates, in the Persian Gulf, possibly Lebanon, and in other Muslim places….

It is almost as if the country has an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) related to Muslim lands and Muslim wars…

As I have suggested more than once: why not bomb some other part of the world for a change?  Become an equal opportunity bomber…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Jeff Beauregard Sessions III Visits Mexican Border, Refrains from Mooning Neighbors…….

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“Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the US-Mexico border Tuesday and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump. The nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as “filth” brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations. The tour included visiting a port of entry, where Sessions exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area……..”

Jeff Beauregard Sessions (The Third) is the Attorney General of the United States. He was named after a good Southern gentleman: Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. That earlier Beauregard was a man of many talents, but he is best known for starting the American Civil War at Fort Sumter (where he won a Pyrrhic victory), and he went on to fight other battles for the Confederacy.

Now, back to the current border.
On another border of another country, at another time, the following happened. A very high security official went on an inspection visit of the tense border between his country and a neighboring country. He ended up making a speech facing the border. At one point he got carried away, turned his back on the neighboring country, pulled down his pants and mooned the befuddled neighbors on the other side.

Some of the soldiers among the neighbors across the border were offended, and aimed their rifles at his rear end. But alas, they decided not to create an international crisis by shooting his arse.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

American Illusions: From ‘No More War’ to ‘One More Muslim War’…….

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“One Two Three Four
We Don’t Want Your F–king War…”

I remember this old refrain fondly now. I used to hear it almost on a daily basis during my undergraduate university days. It is about time to dust it up and hear it again.

That replaced what it should have been:
“One, two, three, four
Tell me that you love me more”

This time it is not just the political classes, not just Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex that own the politicians, it is also the corporate media that is daily pushing one Muslim war or another. Much of it is also funded by foreign lobbyists, their loyal think-tanks, and other interests.

The old mantra “No More War” has been co-opted. During the George Bush (fils) and Obama eras, the United States gradually got engaged in several Middle East civil and uncivil wars. September 11, which had its genesis in the old Afghan War against the Soviets: American weapons and Saudi money and Wahhabi ideology created Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Opened the door to the second (or third) Afghanistan War that is still going on, sixteen years later. Then the Iraq war came with much fanfare (and eventually much embarrassment).

Soon other wars snuck in by stealth: Islamic State, Somalia, Libya, African Sahel countries, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. The United States is now involved in wars in some 10 Muslim or Muslim-majority countries. And the American political classes and the hungry media seem eager for more war. They castigated Obama for not getting into just one more war in Syria, and now they are glorifying Trump for putting one foot into a potentially disastrous Syrian war.
The sights were set on Syria early on, not for the benefit of the Syrian people, but for strategic regional reasons. Before the Arab Uprisings of 2011. For a while the sights were set on Iran, a truly foolish idea. Lebanon is not far from their thoughts, not with Netanyahu, the Guru of the American right and assorted chickenhawks, egging them on. On the other hand, the Jihadis get some mileage by talking about the “new crusades”.

Nowadays, it is always “One More Muslim War”: one more Muslim war to end all Muslim wars. That old illusion of the 20th century. Except that it doesn’t end all Muslim wars, just sets the stage for the next one…….

I really long for “No More War“. I find myself longingly humming the old refrain: One Two Three Four…. and I wish I could end it differently, with the clean version, with no four-letter word. Fat chance……

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

American Economic and Political Dilemma: Robots Replace Workers, Idiots Replace Political Leaders……..

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“U.S. workers face higher risk of being replaced by robots. Millions of workers around the world are at risk of losing their jobs to robots — but Americans should be particularly worried. Thirty-eight percent of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years, according to a new report by PwC. Meanwhile, only 30% of jobs in the U.K. are similarly endangered. The same level of risk applies to only 21% of positions in Japan. The U.S. and U.K. labor markets are both dominated by services jobs, and roughly the same share of workers are employed in key sectors including finance, transportation, education, manufacturing and food services……..”

No real surprise here, and not only robots. If you have not been living on a faraway planet in another galaxy, you’d notice something happening, a trend, for several years. It is not only an issue of robots replacing workers.

Some of the most important jobs in the United States, the most important jobs, all the way to the top, have been taken over by idiots and fools, especially in Washington DC. Most of the political jobs and especially the jobs of their leaders in both the U.S. Congress and the White House have now been taken over, almost completely, by utter idiots. Or so it seems.

Thanks to its new generation of leaders and their backers and their owners, America may well be on its way to rejoin the Third World. In Congress, each side has been engaging in self-gratifying political ideological masturbation. Partner-less of course by definition. Class distinctions are already sharpening, ethnic and religious distinctions are being encouraged, and self-serving Think Tanks of Hate are rolling in dark money.

All this is probably a bit of an exaggeration: no country in the world, or in its history, has been or is as resilient as the United States of America. This shall pass. There is always hope, as long as there are free and “unfettered” elections coming. As long as the people remain educated. Politics is a series of experiments, an exercise in trial and error.

More on this later, stay tuned.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum