Archive for February, 2011
There will be many news stories covering the governor’s proposed budget, of which we cannot present them all. The links below are a few of the early reactions of the proposal.
It sounded a little like “We the People…”
Some try to predict the future by reading tea leaves, while others seek a peace and serenity from concoctions of the leaf. Few have explored World History, much less the history of Middle East countries as author Tom Standage did through the prism of Six Glasses (including tea).
Tom’s book, apply named “A History of the World in 6 glasses” provides excellent insight into the vacuum of governmental powers left by the East India Trading Company (know today as the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company or A&P), when the company (i.e. the British government) abruptly left the region to rule itself in the 1800s. Perhaps nowhere in the world did a simple cup of tea influence history more.
And again, Tea played an import role in history when American Colonist defended their potential for prosperity, to carry on unfettered trade, as The Boston Tea Party revolted against the Tea Act of 1773 imposed by London. The Tea Act was enacted to raise money for paying off debts from the French and Indian war. But, the act had been imposed on the people without representation.
The well know Boston Tea Party was just the first such revolt, when 342 chest of tea were tossed overboard in the Boston harbor in less than three hours. Other similar “tea parties” followed in other ports, but were less documented in the books of history. Most Americans have come to understand enough history to know that these “weaponless revolts” ultimately triggered the U.S. Revolutionary War, yielding perhaps the greatest document ever drafted, the U.S. Constitution.
For the most part, the recent uprising in Egypt was a “weaponless revolt”, though not perfectly so. Ultimately, President Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, who served as the fourth President of Egypt, from 1981 to 2011 bowed to the voice of the people of Egypt and stepped down on February 11th. It appears that the people of Egypt have prevailed in preliminary attempts to implement democracy.
Meanwhile, many Americans fear the Muslim Brotherhood will take control of Egypt, causing great unrest for the region, Israel and the United States. Such concerns are perhaps warranted, both by the apparent history of the Muslim Brotherhood and the example of a similar fate dispelled in Iran when “students” ousted the Shaw, some thirty plus years ago. No one really knows how strong the Brotherhood’s role was in Egypt these past few weeks, with most legitimate news sources estimating less than 30% of Egyptians are followers.
Perhaps history has proven to the world once again the simple adage, “Absolute Power, Corrupts Absolutely”. Too often, good men (and women) have come to power with good intentions, but find the drug of power itself too intoxicating. Time and again we find persons of power (or politicians) becoming drunk on this drug, to the point they sell off their core beliefs for yet another dose. Maybe the drug of power is a temptation humans cannot easily overcome, like other fruits dangled before us.
It is (to me) uncanny how the founders of this fine nation drafted such a perfect document as the U.S. Constitution. Our U.S. Government balances on a three legged stool, defined by our constitution with checks and balances of power, who’s ultimate source rest in the hands of an educated people. Ah yes, the people who relinquish limited control to politicians from time to time, but ultimately “We The People…” seem to find our way back to self control. I would assert that the peoples of the world (including Egypt and Iran) seem to find their way to self control as well, but their path is often generations long, without the implementation of a perfect Constitution like our own.
For a political leader like Nancy Pelosi, the lack of a central T.E.A. Party leadership brought her frustration, when she could find no one to attack directly with her name calling. She finally resorted to a generic phrase of criticism, “Tea parties are part of an ‘astroturf‘ campaign”, back in April of 2009. Clearly Pelosi, drunken on the drug of power forgot the people she represents. Completely isolated in a house of glass, Pelosi could not (and would not) listen to the people, as she helped to force Health Care Reform on a people so enraged, they sprouted thousands of T.E.A. Parties across the country in revolt. Her time will come, as did that of Hosni Mubarak.
After thirty years as president Mubarak’s love for his country was blinded by the drug of power, when he addressed the people of Egypt on February 10th and failed to step down. Ultimately, Mubarak gave into the protesters of Cairo and relinquished his power one day later. Now the question on the mind of most westerners is, “will the Muslim Brotherhood gain control over Egypt and if so, what will the Brotherhood do with their new found power”?
Will the people of Egypt know to use this moment in history to assert control over the government by the masses, or will they fall victim to a similar fate as did their Islamic brothers in Iran?
The lessons of history appear so clear to us, the enlightened people who have already achieved personal freedoms we hold dear.
Perhaps even the leaders of the T.E.A. Parties themselves will conclude that the voice of membership cannot be overlooked. The concerns of the masses will need to be addressed or they too may become irrelevant in their role. While no two T.E.A. Parties are alike and few members in the T.E.A. Party movement are mirror images, it is clear the movement is a revolt against an existing two party political system, whereby Republicans and Democrats alike who’s party affiliation trumps the interest of the people, will no longer stand unchallenged by the masses.
History has many important lessons, which unlearned, are destined to repeat themselves.
May the people of Egypt find true democracy without the bloodshed of of our U.S. Revolution or the War in Iraq. May the masses of Egypt be educated in global history, to be enlightened in the successes of self government. And, may the Middle East find peace amongst themselves and the world.
Governor Snyder plans to unveil his Proposed Budget on February 17th.
The Governor’s “Citizen’s Guide to Michigan’s Financial Health”
can also be reviewed and downloaded here.
The Macomb Daily reports that Brandenburg has been floating the idea among the Lansing press corps and on Tuesday he said he is standing his ground. Eliminating business taxes would capture the attention of the nation’s business community and draw companies to Michigan, according to the Harrison Township Republican.
“What’s good for business is good for Michigan,” said Brandenburg, a longtime small business owner in Mount Clemens. “We have to send a message to the country that we have made up our minds to be business friendly. And we need to send a message that resonates as a bold stroke.”
US automaker General Motors (Mexican subsidiary) said on Thursday, January 20, 2010 that it planned to invest $540 million to manufacture two types of low-emission engines at its plant located in Toluca, Mexico. Another $215 million will go toward upgrading the factory’s production lines to build a new vehicle for the domestic and international markets,. The investment will be key to maintaining 400 jobs.
Assembly of the vehicle, which wasn’t named, is set to begin in the last quarter of 2011. GM plans for it to “give long-term viability to this plant by gradually substituting some production volumes.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised GM’s claimed repayment of its government bailout loans, saying in an April 21 statement that “we are encouraged that GM has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability.”
Geithner’s statement appeared to be timed to support a national advertising television campaign by GM in which the automaker’s head, Ed Whitacre, trumpeted the claim that the repayment was made “in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse.”