Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Thanks, Yanks

The re-election of Obama is good news, I suppose.

Personally, I think he seems like a decent man, and it’s good to have a black man in the White House. But, wider than that, I don’t care what America votes for itself. If you want god mentioned all the time in politics as well as in churches, that’s up to you. If you like to pretend that judicial murder acts as a deterrent to crime, or that adequately looking after the sick and poor is socialism, and view Roe vs Wade as evil rather than a basic human right, that’s up to you. I’m appalled when loopy theocracies like Iran and Saudi impose medievalism on their citizens, but you seem to like this stuff; you vote for it freely and fairly, and that’s your right.

But Mr Obama wants to rein in your military. Mr Romney was opposed to cuts. This matters to me because American military adventurism affects people outside your borders. As the old saying goes, to a man with aircraft carriers and cruise missiles, everything looks like a cry for intervention.

So if the re-election of Mr Obama means you’ll spend your money making life better inside your own borders rather than playing chess with other countries, we’re all better off.

So, thanks.

15 Responses to “ Thanks, Yanks ”

Comment by Gareth

The problem now that the American elections are over is the conflict between Israel and Iran. Both Obama and Romney have said that they would support Israel if they were to attack Iran which means their military intervention outside of their own borders will continue.

I wonder how long we must wait now before Israel makes the first move, Iran stops their oil production, fuel costs jump up to £3 per litre and we’re all in a mess.

Comment by Michael.

I’ve got a slightly different take.
Yes Obama is probably slightly better for the rest of the world (and probably better for the USA as well). But, as they say, the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is simple:
The Republicans say they are going to bomb you, and they do.
The Democrats say they are not going to bomb you, and they do. (Bomb you that is.)

Clinton: Iraq (multiple attacks, including relating to the no fly zones), Ex-Yugoslavia (troops deployed multiple times and places)

Obama: Wanted to stay in Iraq (removed troops according to a timetable Bush agreed to with the Iraqi government). Went in to Libya (though the Yanks weren’t the first this time). Multiple drone attacks in multiple countries, including against a US citizen.

There were also multiple other military deployments according to Wikipedia. I could go back further (Vietnam, various South and Central American incidents) but I won’t. My point is that both “teams” are perfectly willing to use force and bomb other countries (even if under the guise of enforcing UN sanctions or resolutions).

The two parties are different, but they still remain the parties of the corporations, and of the rich. And the USA is not there for your protection, but for the interests of its own ruling class. Regardless of who is actually elected in January.

Comment by Larry

No Bruce, the re-election of this man means different things to the struggling middle class. Socialism is me going to work and having to accept a fucking link card to pay my bills. While the other 47% sit on their asses and drink beer out of 40 ounce botttles. Please restrict your comments to what you know about, like web accessibility. Thank you.

Comment by Bruce

But I do know about socialism! I live in the UK, which is practically twinned with Cuba: we have free-at-the-point-of-delivery health care, labour laws that give us minimum 20 days annual holiday, that protect us from being arbitrarily fired and ensure a minimum wage.

Because of that, my parents rose from being working class; I was the first person in my family to go to University, and I work without having to accept a “fucking link card” (whatever that is). I get money.

I’m interested to see the stats that show 47% of the USA sit and drink 40 ounce bottles of beer. You tell me to restrict my comments to what I know about, yet you’re commenting here, so perhaps you’d share the source of your 47%/ 40-ounce bottle statistics so we can verify it?

By the way, I hear the slums of Calcutta value hard work and lack big government, should you wish to move out of the socialist hell that is the USA from today onwards. I worked there some years ago so can introduce you to someone.

Comment by Larry

alright, I see a lot of drunk people who literally laugh at the idea of work. It’s much higher than 47% on public transportation. I’m sick Bruce. I’m sick of it. My grandfather and father taught me to work, and work hard at what I do. That’s all I do.

Comment by Bruce

“I see a lot of drunk people who literally laugh at the idea of work.” Me too. But I see more people who are out of work because of the ruinous way that the big guys, the rich, the financiers, the business owners have wrecked our economies by unregulated capitalism and being too big to fail.

Or is it your assertion that everyone in the USA who doesn’t have a job could have one tomorrow if they just put down their 40 ounce beers and walked into one of the millions of businesses crying out for employees because their order books are so full?

“My grandfather and father taught me to work, and work hard at what I do.” Me too (except my grandmother and mother also taught me; in the UK we have women with opinions, whom we don’t keep in binders). And working is why I have a better quality of living than those who can’t work and those who refuse to work.

If you leave the poor to roam around, resorting to crime or dying in the streets, do you believe that enhances your life or makes you safer? In the UK we know the answer to that is obviously not. But it explains why you chaps feel the need to arm yourselves to the teeth in your Utopian society.

Comment by Manu Sporny

@Larry – the America that you’re railing against, where 47% of the population “sit on their asses and drink beer out of 40-ounce bottles” doesn’t exist:

Who are the 47%?

The majority of the 47% that you talk about voted for Romney (they are composed primarily of the Republican Party), and continue to vote against their own interests! Look at the demographic breakdown above, and the final electoral map:

2012 Election Results

That said, I’m not nearly as concerned about America’s future as you seem to be. I was born in another country (to an American father and a Sri Lankan mother), who raised me with American values. Almost every American I know works very hard to provide for their family, regardless of party affiliation – that’s the constant here. While we differ on our approaches, each party has their own views on how to care for the poor (broad-brush – Democrats preferring social services, Republicans preferring religious-based services). I reject the notion that there is as deep of a rift in American culture as the media has portrayed over the last year. My family is composed of a dizzying array of Christians, Atheists, Jews, Baptists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Republicans, Democrats, Vietnamese, Sri Lankans, Germans, Liberals, Conservatives, and Polish. When push comes to shove, regardless of our political beliefs, we’re all trying to make America better for those that put in good, honest work (which is the vast majority of us). Each of us believes in helping out those in need in our own way.

I don’t think for a second that you would turn your back on somebody that works as hard as they possibly can, but has a family to feed and comes up short every once in a while, would you?

Comment by GreyWyvern

@Bruce It is a fallacy that unregulated capitalism is the reason people are out of work. Unregulated capitalism causes labour to become scarce. It follows that a fully tapped labour force has more power to demand higher wages.

Why were the big banks too big to fail? Not because they were unregulated, but rather because they were regulated by a well-intentioned government into giving people below-cost mortgages which they couldn’t afford. The government thought increased homeownership would benefit the economy, but instead it caused a collapse in market derivatives. Because the government told these banks to give away these mortgages, what else could they do but prop them up as too-big-to-fail? It was either that, or throw all of the other homeowners, which it was originally trying to help, under the bus.

But instead of blaming government regulation for this disaster, we are told that it happened because of too little regulation (AKA capitalism), which just gives the government the excuse to add more.

It’s yet another case of government trying to care for the little guy by throwing money at them, and when it blows up, their response is to throw even more money at the problem. This is the way government works, and is the reason why we can no longer afford it. It is the reason why Greece cannot afford it.

The US government is currently $15 trillion in debt, but that is just the on-the-books figure, for things like roads, education, the military and medical expenses. The US unfunded liability (money promised to pensioners and retirees who haven’t yet retired) is greater than $200 trillion. That’s more than twice the GDP of the entire planet.

Clearly, there is no way an Obama budget can support this. There is no way a Romney budget could have supported this. The US is heading quite speedily towards becoming the next Greece and the US electorate is mostly blissfully unaware. The fact that it’s the world’s largest economy will not save it from a total loss of market confidence forever.

“Free healthcare” isn’t free. “Free edcuation” isn’t free. Governments don’t produce anything; any dollar they give to one person is a dollar they took from another productive citizen. If these handouts can possibly be supported by taxation, that is one thing. However the numbers are clear. Like many other nations around the world which have become, or are becoming increasingly socialized, the US is already bankrupt and running on fumes. Something’s got to give.

Comment by Tarquin

Dear Larry,

You don’t slag Bruce off because he’s from Britain. You slag him off because he’s from Birmingham.

Now do it again until you get it right.

And, yes Bruce, I heartily agree. Thank you America.

Comment by ChickPea

@GreyWyvern- so, regulated banking produces massive overselling? Perhaps that’s why the Scandinavian countries are full of toxic loan scandals, and Switzerland is bankrupt? Duh.

People can’t help it if they’re stupid, but this is willing stupidity.

The overselling was because people got fat bonuses for selling mortgages (and even fatter ones for having people working for them that sold mortgages), even toxic ones that were obviously never going to be repaid.

The banks then parcelled up these loans, and sliced and diced them in complex ways to hide the details, and sold them as “Collateralized Debt Obligations” – a novel form of junk bonds.

And really: unregulated capitalism makes labo(u)r scarce? In what universe? That’s only true if you accept that there is infinite elasticity of demand, which is clearly not the case. Unregulated capitalism will pay as little as they can get away with for staff, while charging as much as they can get away with for product. The last thing they want is full employment – it’s easier to suppress wages when there are people living in cardboard boxes to act as a terrible warning.

And I, for one, am pleased to see that the USA has joined the ranks of civilised countries (albeit in a somewhat odd and diluted manner) in having universal healthcare (even as our government is trying to sell ours off to the highest bidder, dammit).

I do not believe that medical care should only be available to those who survive a wallet biopsy.

Comment by Larry

I can’t believe this shit. It’s like everything is a fucking joke to everyone in Britain.

*Our* founding fathers believed in carrying arms and resisting government dominance even if it was your own. If you think I am a nut, then check out George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Fuck you all, I’m going to make web pages and eat at the soup kitchen. Smart assed bastards. 🙂

(Tongue in cheek on the entire post).

Comment by Bruce

“why don’t all of you just blow Bruce, thought followers.”

something I regularly ask myself. Thanks Larry! You’re first in the queue, mate.

Comment by Larry

lol, I was kind of tripping after the election. I am calmer now. And no Bruce, I will not. Thank you all for your unique viewpoints. Maybe it isn’t so bad after all, except for the debt the U.S. has accumulated.

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