Monday, 19 October 2015

Jeb and Crony Capitalism

"As president of the United States, I will use all the powers of my office to disrupt the political culture of a dysfunctional Washington, D.C. We need to clean house and it must start by eliminating the crony capitalism that is pervasive throughout the federal government. There are tens of billions of dollars of corporate welfare subsidies tucked into the federal budget."

-- Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush who is currently running for President

I sat and read the piece five or six times.  Jeb Bush promising to eliminate crony capitalism.....crony capitalism....crony capitalism.

I was probably in my late 20's when I first heard the phrase and read up on the topic.  Generally, the best definition of crony capitalism is where business people sleep with government people...in the sense of one having money to spend and the other begging for 'it'.  So, you buy five-hundred $700-hammers.  Or you buy a bunch of electrical cars which no one really wants to drive and dump them on some poor agency who simply lets them sit in a garage.  Or you buy some fantastic missile which works 78-percent of time as advertised......while you don't whine when it fails the other 22-percent of the time.

Here in 2015, there are a lot of things that you can promise, and people might believe in some of those things.  Sadly, if you are a Republican over the past decade.....you've been promised a lot and they've mostly failed at delivering anything....so your belief level is about seven-percent of what it was back in 2005.

Maybe if Jeb had promised to build some fence down along the Texas-Mexico border, or promised to fire half of the EPA folks, or promised to defund NPR.....well, people might believe him more.  But crony capitalism?  No.

Sadly, this soundbite will be kept around and played over and over, with various people having a laugh because they just don't believe these guys anymore.  That's how bad things have become.

Maybe at the next Republican debate.....some dimwit reporter will ask each guy.....if he too would like to eliminate crony capitalism, and they could each make the Jeb-vow.

Crazy Talk: North Korea

Over the weekend, North Korea hinted that it's ready to work on a peace treaty to end the Korean War (25 June 1950 - present).  Well, to be honest, there is a cease-fire in effect since 27 July 1953, which means the war lasted either 3 years-1 month-2 days or it's lasted 60-odd years.....depending on your view of things.

Beyond the words of simply working on a permanent peace treaty.....nothing much else was said.  The US and South Korea have to be sitting there and wondering....boy, where the heck did this suggestion come from?

Naturally, the Obama Administration is probably thrilled and got a dozen guys talking and working up some basic words for a peace treaty.  South Korea?  I'm guessing they are simply sitting there and wondering how screwed up this might become.

Here's the thing.  There are roughly five consequences to this talk and where it might go.

One.  The Obama Administration would really get enthusiastic and want this to occur before he leaves office, so they might be willing to sign 'anything' (I really do mean 'anything').  This might might be US troops immediately leaving South Korea, no US forces in the region, etc. South Korea might not be that enthusiastic about this happening so quickly.

Two.  The generals in North Korea have one single job and one way of enjoying their lifestyle. If there is no war or threat of war....then their empire collapses.  It's hard for me to see how they'd like this peace treaty idea or endorse it.

Three. Thirty-seven-thousand US troops are part of the defense structure in South Korea.  If they are directed to remove themselves.....they will do so.  What happens to the thirty-seven-thousand?  The Pentagon might be directed to call it cost-savings.....hand those guys a discharge and downsize the US Army and Air Force by the significant numbers.

Four.  If I were Japan.....I might be asking questions because if this results in a consolidated Korea....they'd be a massive economic threat within five years and justify Japan's military in building up.

Five. What happens to Kim, the North Korean 'king'?  It's hard to imagine the world existing without some thug set up as the 'king' of North Korea.  Could Kim end up with a Korea passport and come and go as he pleases?  Could Kim end up in L.A. and be part of some Kadashian-host on a reality show?  We laugh at such a suggestion, but to have some offer of a peace treaty on the table.....well, that's crazy talk.

So, my belief is that the US, South Korea and North Korea will meet.  North Korea will lay out forty-odd demands.  Oddly, the US and South Korea circle thirty of them while sitting at the table and saying "fine"....shocking the North Korean guys greatly.  From the final ten, the US wants to modify some of the talk and this stalls things for a couple of months.  By October of 2016....some idiots in DC work out the final agreement, and there's some fantastic meeting arranged in North Korea for President Obama to fly in and sign the last treaty paperwork.

I know.....it sounds crazy.....but we have new relations in Cuba and it simply makes sense that it'll happen.