This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 10, 2010 7:59 PM. The previous post in this blog was Rainy day ride in the Gorge. The next post in this blog is The continuing death rattle. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm so glad I'm livin' in the USA

Despite our problems, we are blessed in many ways.

Comments (11)

We are fantastically blessed to be living in the USA at this time. I am amused by those who reserve their harshest criticisms for our nation's imperfections, yet have little or nothing to say about exponentially worse conditions in other countries around the world.

Every dollar spent on Chinese goods is a vote for their form of government.

My younger brother was a big-time TV journalist back in the day. He's since retired to Minnesota - thank goodness - but for a while there he would get in real trouble on the job. I can still remember the time my Mom called and said, "Billy, make sure you watch the NBC Evening News. Your brother's on it." I asked her what he was doing this time, and she said in this really sweet voice, "He's running from the police in South Africa and they're trying to trip him." He made it to the safety of a crowd that time but it was so scary that it was used in a CNN Special as part of a promo for a show called, "Dying to Tell the Story."
He did have a lot of wonderful stories like sitting in a garden with Nelson Mandela the day after Nelson's release from prison, but as his kids got older he wanted them to settle down as the research showed kids in certain age groups suffer from too much upheaval. He had 4 kids and they were born in Cairo, South Africa, London and Manilla. There was a lot of moving around.
Towards the end, he was working in China, and though it didn't even make the top ten list of his close calls, he was detained for covering a protest and happened to miss his daughter's graduation from her school there. This was a turning point and he left with his family after the hand-over of Hong Kong.
Police states suck. We must never forget that. We also should come down hard on our own leaders who brag about their national security concerns while selling our economy out to China and others. And we really should go off at any signs - and there are many - that we are drifting towards a police state here.
One other note: Environmentalists take a lot of ridicule here for their greening ways, but try and breath in the air in Beijing where the citizens are powerless to protect themselves. Police states suck.

I'm not sure our buying Chinese goods necessarily helps the government there in the long run. As Chinese workers' lives get slowly better, they'll be asking more and more questions.

Darn, I meant "breathe" not breath. Oh, and the reason the shot of my brother running from police in South Africa was so vivid is that he was carrying a television camera.

From Graceland;
Yup, thought the same thing.
Elvis lives! through no less than at least 10 large "merchandising opportunities" on site.
I wonder if the Chinese workers who make all this stuff wonder where it all goes?

China, former apartheid South Africa, North Korea, Iran, the Netherlands(tsk tsk, finger wag wag, hiss, hiss)....

The Netherlands??

Yes, folks, Holland-that bastion of tolerant, liberal democracy is currently prosecuting a right-wing politician under a penal code which states(excerpted from yesterday’s WSJ):

"[anyone]who publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in anyway insulting of a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief . . . will be punished with a prison sentence of at the most one year or a fine of third category."

It’s a (not very)long and slippery slope, folks!

And, now in Iran, journalists covering the story and the son of the woman who may be stoned to death have been arrested.

The Chinese government thinks buying Chinese helps them (not that you can really avoid it). Last week's "New Yorker" featured an article (not online) titled "Boom Doctor" about Justin Yifu Lin, the Chinese chief economist for the World Bank, and how he and others have attempted to steer China through modernization without riling too much of the population.

Much of the large industrial development in China is still owned or controlled by the Communist Party and its members, if not directly government-owned. Here's a snippet from the article about how they handled things in the '90s after Tianamen and the fall of the Soviet Union:

Instead of selling off state-run companies, the government retained ownership but carved the companies into pieces, which fostered competition, and then appointed board directors. In order to spur performance without private ownership, it tied salaries to a system of report cards--with grades from A to E--delivered to companies and their bosses: managers who scored A's received a bonus of as much as three times their salary; managers who got E's received no bonus. The Party, for all its intrigue and waste, was skilled at punishment and surveillance of itself, and the system thrived.

A friend of mine who just opened a factory outside Shanghai explains the ruling government as a cowboy on a bucking bronco. They're just trying to hold on. The surging, emerging "middle class", the huge jump in automobile sales and the rising expectations of the populace is going to have the government shaking.
It's not the leaders of China who we should dread but the groundswell of the common people. As their lot improves, they will insist on more: More freedoms, more possessions, etc. That, will be change they can believe in.

The above comment by the other steve sounds like the prevalent but somewhat arrogant and increasingly discredited notion that China, as it becomes more capitalistic, market-orientated, richer, will gradually become “more like us”, which has been propagated since the days of Henry R. Luce-a son of a China missionary-and his American Century.

My feeling is that the Chinese model of capitalism-with its heavy state involvement and without the added messy inconveniences of liberal democracy-will unfortunately prevail just as the U.S. continues to decline.

Yeah, some Chinese will demand more freedoms-and end up like its dissidents, Uighurs, and Tibetans.

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