Sunday, March 20, 2016

Open to Cuba! Remember Germany and the collapse of the iron curtain

What the German experience could mean for the American-Cuban relationship

President Reagan's public appeal ito Gorbatsov while at the wall in Berlin to "tear down that wall" - probably has not done much. What truly changed the mood in East Germany was the increasing knowledge about everyday life in Western Europe. Easterners became aware of the higher standard of living, they realized that pretty much everybody in Western Germany had a car that looked nice and ran fast (unlike the East German Trabbi), a video recorder (a hot item back then) and a few more staples of life that were highly desired in the East, yet not available for purchase - not even for Western cash.
Easterners simply wanted some basic freedoms, such as the freedom to travel, to visit relatives in the West, and just to even visit the West to see what it looked like.
So knowledge about life in the non-communistic West with its material benefits and freedoms got through to the Easterners, spread created unrest. It led the the simple question: we do we not live as well and why do we not haver the same freedoms? And this questions created unrest ultimately leading to public protests for opening the walland having freedom to travel. And after a while, the military and police commanders in Berlin simply did not dare anymore to violently disperse the protesters - and the political leaders had to open the wall. And just like that it was over for the East.

How does this transfer to the Cuba situation? That the best things for the people of Cuba, for freedom and democracy will be a million American tourists simply visiting Cuba. Every single one will carry a smartphone, an iPad or some similar device. On that device they will have hundreds of photos and the Cubans will discover that the "Capitalist Imperialism" does not enslave people, that people in the US are not suppressed, suffering, miserable or on the other hand ill meaning, communist haters, but simply - very simply - human beings. Human beings with the same desires, wishes dreams and daily troubles as the Cubans. And it will dawn on them that the difference is just the political and economical system. And then they will want to change it.

So, the best path to freedom in Cuba is simply to open relationships and to travel to Cuba, to visit, to talk, to enjoy life there, eat out, hang out on the beach and on the Havana promenade. Human nature will do the rest.
No political changes needed. No big treaties, no negotiations, no this or that.....The worst thing for the people in Cuba would be to keep up the insulation. Insulation protects the present government. It does not hurt the members of the government, the communist elite is always privileged, they have always had what they needed and wanted. The common people feel it the most.

So, enjoy the opening, travel to Cuba and talk to Cubans.

The German history supports it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trump speech in Chicago cancelled

Yes, Trump stimulated rough behavior during his speeches, and yes, protests are fine.

But calling for boycott of a candidate's rally and publicly calling for a boycott and encouraging thousands of people to disrupt a candidates event is wrong. It is not demoractic, it is influence by mob - pretty much what these organizations supposedly are oh so opposed to. Politics by mob is plain and simply wrong, no matter how much you dislike the message of a candidate.

What would those protesters say if Trump or Cruz or Rubio supports showed up at Bernie Sanders rallies chanting and screaming and calling him a communist and whatever else you may come up with?

And, Bernie Sanders should at least tell his supporters to stop mobbing events of other candidates, and I am saying this because quite a few protesters cheered "feel the bern". That is wrong, very simply wrong. You do not try to muzzle another candidate by mobbing. Bernie correctly pointed out that Trump is in part responsible for the violent disruption, but I am really msising his clear call to his followers to stop this nonsense. Protest all you want, but peacefully and outside.

the presidential race

One of the most important issues for me: national debt.
Presently around 18 trillion, yes 18 million Dollars times a million!
It has increased dramatically under republican president GW Bush and dramatically under present democratic president Obama.
Why? I suspect that politicians get elected and stay in power if they promise and give things to people. Nobody gets elected for telling voters to be more frugal, spend less, save more and pay more taxes.
Elected officials seem addicted to spending more money than they have, more money than the government takes in. It should be standard not to spend more than what they have and also to pay back what the federal government owes. Because you have to pay interest, and for the US that has risen to hudnreds of billions of dollars every year - yes, more money you can imagine, just for interest. Paying large amounts of interest means having less money to do what you want. Simple. Would you personally like to be settled with credit card debt that is 4-5 times your annual budget? How would you feel? Would you just keep borrowing with the attitude "well, we'll live it up today and my children can put up with what I cannot handle?" Is that responsible? Is that good economical behavior? Is that ethical?
And why does not a single candidate address this issue seriously? Have you seen clear promises for balanced budgets and plan for debt repayment?

In my personal opinion the best place to start to save would be the military. Over 1 trillion dollars a year. Is that truly all necessary? Do we need it to defend our shores? Is Isis about to send their Navy over? Hardly. I am no expert, but I am sure the military could do with less bang and more diplomacy. Starting with letting the wealthy gulf states handle their own mess, instead of relying on us - while charging us for the gas to do it. And we do not need to be the policeman for the whole world, especially not if the outcomes are usually not that great - the typical scenario being: The US moves in, a drawn out battle with some success follows, and consequently country destabilizes and things get a lot worse - so the US has to stay longer, see more Americans die, spend more money, in the range of billions every month - only to ultimately be blamed and hated even more by the locals. Really? Do we deserve that?

Do we truly need the most powerful military in the world? With a budget larger than then next 10 nations? Follow the money - who benefits? The military complex, exclusively. Everybody else loses.

But our national debt is so enormous that even if we dismanteled the military completely, it would take us over 10 years to pay back our debt. Hard to imagine, but true.