Archive for East Germany

President Obama a Socialist? Think Again

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Obama

Image: Wiki

Just a preamble to the article on The Huffington Post I link to below.

Right-wingers see the world in black-or-white terms - that a system of government is either 'socialist' or 'capitalist' If the US Postal Service is delivering your mail, it's 'socialist' because, in their view, it's partially paid for by taxes. If FedEx or UPS delivers your mail, it's 'capitalist' because it's a private institution. The US Military, created and run by the government, is a socialist institution, paid for by US taxpayers, but right-wingers are okay with that because they profit from contracts to private firms with it. Right-wingers complain that government institutions are wrong because they produce no profits but that's not their function: their function is to provide services, not to create profits for shareholders.

What I fail to see in right-wing thinking is how governments and free enterprise can work together for mutual benefit. I will take tourism in Switzerland as a very quick example and compare it with a similar mountainous country not far away: Albania. The difference: in Switzerland the government works with private enterprise (ski resorts, hotels, restaurants) to build the roads, railways, tunnels, and other infrastructure for people to visit the country easily. Private enterprise profits from the visitors and pays taxes to the government which continues to build the infrastructure, train workers, keep the country safe, all things private industry would never be able to do on its own. So is Switzerland 'socialist'? Certainly not in the sense Albania was/is? (I haven't kept up with it recently). Not as far as I'm concerned. To the article: if President Obama were a 'true' socialist, he would be trying to increase the role of the government in our economy for its own sake. He's not doing that. His time in office has shown no essential differences to other Democratic presidents. Here's the story:

Here's Even More Evidence Obama Is The World's Worst Socialist. (Full story here.)

In what must be history's strangest socialist dictatorship, hiring by private companies just hit a record high. Meanwhile the government is still not hiring anybody.

Private employers added 192,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday, making up all of the economy's job growth for the month. Federal, state and local governments added nada. There are now 116 million people working in the private sector, topping the previous peak set in January 2008. Federal, state and local governments, meanwhile, employ 21.8 million people, down from a high of nearly 23 million in May 2010.

Incidentally, here's a story about how private enterprise treats its workers:

UPS Fires Hundreds Of Workers Who Defended Fired Colleague

Is that the world you want to live in?

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Overnight: Spreewald Canals near Berlin, Germany

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Spreewald Canal south of Berlin, Germany

Spreewald Canal south of Berlin, Germany

I have always wanted to visit the Spreewald - the forest which surrounds the Spree River, south of Berlin.  I've always been fascinated by canals and rivers of all sorts and one of the high points of my time in camp years ago was a weeklong trip into the Maine wilderness.

The Spreewald is my no means wilderness and was occupied over 1000 years ago but it has remained mostly undeveloped (though it's now a tourist destination).  When I studied in Berlin, it was 'behind the Iron Curtain', as strange as that phrase sounds years after the Berlin wall fell and East and West Germany were reunified.  If you'd like to read more about it, here's the Wiki.  If you'd like to just enjoy a leisurely trip through the canals, here's a video which will let you do just that:

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