PRIOR POSTINGS ON JACKSPOTPOURRI ARE ACCESSIBLE VIA THE BLOG ARCHIVE OFF TO THE RIGHT. You're invited to submit articles involving politics, satire, economics, media, or wherever your creativity leads you. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. TO RECEIVE (or to cancel receiving) EMAILS ALERTING YOU TO BLOG POSTINGS, LET ME KNOW at email@example.com. Blog can be accessed at https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com or at https://jacklippmanflnynj.substack.com
Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.
Retaliation for SONY Hacking and Some Random Political Thoughts
Obama does not have to worry about running for re-election, so now, he can do
what he feels he should be doing. Prior
to the 2014 elections, he was reluctant to do so because increased opposition
to him would further weaken Democrats running in already precariously close
House and Senate races, more so than it even eventually did. So let’s look at what a free-swinging Chief
Executive is now doing, challenging Congress to go along with him, oppose him,
risk a veto, or whatever, and he no longer cares where the chips may fall!
is speaking his mind on Cuba, pointing out that a half century of isolation
(which the rest of the world ignored) did nothing to change the regime in
Havana. Strident opposition to the
Communist government of Cuba has always been worth votes in places in the
United States where Americans with Cuban background live and among those who
still think we are fighting the Cold War with the now extinct Soviet Union
which we were fighting until a quarter of a century ago. Those days, the President recognizes, are
long gone. Just as we are on more or
less friendly terms with such Communist nations as China and Vietnam, there is
no reason why we cannot live peacefully with and engage in trade with Cuba, our
neighbor a few miles across the Florida Straight. There still are issues to be ironed out but that is not a reason to do nothing. Anyone who opposes such a rapproachment with Cuba should also oppose
our relationships with Vietnam with whom we fought a bloody war and with one of
our economy’s chief bankrollers, China, and this includes any Presidential
aspirant, however hungry for Florida’s electoral votes they may be.
in the Middle East, a similar drama is unfolding where the United States has
one major Muslim nation fighting on its side in the battle to destroy the Islamic
State, which declares that we are its enemy, along with Israel of course, in
blocking its jihadist efforts to establish a world-wide Sunni Muslim Caliphate.
that nation is Iran, the same Muslim nation which imprisoned our Embassy staff there
in 1979, 35 years ago, and issued “fatwahs” demanding the death of author
Salman Rushdie for insulting the Prophet Mohammed in his book, “Satanic Verses.” Iran’s opposition to ISIS has a different
basis than ours, but it puts us in the position of coordinating our air strikes
with theirs. (Shiite Iran opposes ISIS
because it fears a militant Sunni ISIS state in Iraq just across its sandy
Western border, and facing it across the Persian Gulf.) War makes strange bedfellows. Remember that Hitler
and Stalin were allies before they were opponents. Yesterday’s enemies can become today’s
is some precedent in what is about to happen in Cuba for what may happen in
Iran, with whom were already have been involved over the past year in nuclear
negotiations balancing their centerfuges with our sanctions. Of course, any change in the relationship
between the United States and Iran would affect the relationship between the
United States and Israel as well.
Somehow, the President is facing up to this. I feel that a softening of the relationship
between Israel and Iran will be a part of whatever relationship ultimately gels
between Washington and Tehran. Watch
carefully the level of anti-Israel rhetoric coming out of Iran and the level of
Israeli’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear development program, which the Iranians facetiously
claim is purely for civilian purposes.
These are barometers of how well, or poorly, our relationship with Iran
develops. Success in this area may be
the President’s greatest accomplishment.
to now, the President’s mark in history will be the making available of private
(not government) health insurance for all Americans through the Affordable Care
Act. Now that the Republicans control
both Houses of Congress, they will attempt to cripple the Act, which because of
its broad acceptance, is virtually immune to repeal. Such legislation, as well as Court decisions
weakening the Act, will not be meekly accepted by President Obama. He will wield his veto power and stretch the
limits of executive power to the maximum in defending his landmark health care
heritage. There is no reason for him to
of this presents a quandry for those who will be seeking the Presidency in
2016. For Republicans, they probably
would oppose whatever the accomplishments of the Barack Obama Presidency are,
but this is thin ice to tread upon since those accomplishments, by 2016, may be
shown to be beneficial to the nation, and viewed favorably by voters. The economy is recovering and the stock
market is healthy, so Trump-like diatribes about the President’s birthplace
will no longer be taken seriously, even by the party’s right wing. The G.O.P. may not have very much to attack
so they better come up with something positive, a real challenge for them, or
they may be filling the role of being “nattering nabobs of negativism,” a
phrase made famous by former Vice-President Spiro Agnew, dumped in mid-term by
the Democrats have the same worry.
Likely nominee Hillary Clinton must establish her own identity, as apart
from that of President Obama, and what that identity will be is still really
uncertain. That is why Joe Biden and
Elizabeth Warren are waiting quietly in the wings. Jack Lippman How to Retaliate for North Korean Hacking
North Korea hacked the Sony website in retaliation for their forthcoming film,
“The Interview,” which depicted a fictitious assassination of the North Korean
Premier. Hacking doesn’t kill anyone,
but a lot of personal and business data was compromised, and North Korea
promised more such hacking if the film were shown. Sony has cancelled the film and to his
credit, President Obama believes that was an incorrect decision. He has, however, promised appropriate
retaliation. And here is how I suggest
topic addressed in several of my blog postings over the past few years is the
Kaesong Industrial District. To bring
you up to date, Kaesong comprises a large factory complex, employing over
50,000 workers, just north of the border between North and South Korea. All of the workers there, except South Korean
management personnel, are North Koreans, paid wages significantly lower than
those paid in other Asia manufacturing countries including China, Bangladesh,
India and Vietnam. The employers there,
however, are all South Korean companies and the District is managed by a
subsidiary of Hyundai, a South Korean company, well known in the United States
for its very competitively priced automobiles.
Supposedly, goods manufactured in these factories do not get the
favorable tariff treatment which other goods from South Korean companies
receive from the United States, but that is very difficult to determine since
companies in the Kaesong District often produce components used in products
later assembled in South Korea.
During tension between North and South Korea in 2013, the Kaesong Industrial District was closed for about five months, but is now reopened and operating.
Kaesong Industrial District
of this however, two facts are important to note:
(1)the profitability of South Korean
companies like Hyundai, which may subcontract to firms using cheap North Korean
labor to produce, for example, automobile water pumps used in the cars they
export to places like India, but not to the United States, is enhanced,
enabling them to price their products competitively all over the world,
including the United States, and
(2)all of the North Korean workers are paid
in US dollars, paid by South Korean firms to North Korea's government, which skims off a large portion for taxes, health insurance, etc., before paying the workers a pittance in North Korean won, a highly devalued currency.
Because of the quantity of South Korean goods shipped to and sold in the United
States, South Korean firms have plenty of dollars to spend in North Korea on plants and labor in the Zone in
this manner. (Although it is hard to pin
down exact numbers, the Kaesong workers are reported to earn about $71 a month,
which does not include overtime pay which can almost double that, but only after the government takes its share and converts the wages into North Korean won, resulting in the North Korean government ending up with all of the dollars.)
would be very simple for the United States to respond to North Korean hacking
by making it impossible for South Korean firms to pay Kaesong’s workers in US
dollars. While North Korea won’t accept South Korean currency, certainly
something other than the currency of a nation they consider an enemy and have
chosen to hack would be more appropriate.
I suggest bitcoin temporarily, and let the South Koreans figure out a way other than in dollars to pay North Korean slave wages. Perhaps, even, they might spend those dollars in the United States, which is the whole reason for the favorable tariffs from which they benefit.
HOW TO BE ALERTED TO
FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.
Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email
every time a new posting appears. If you wish to be added to that
Email list, just let me know by clicking on Riart1@aol.com and sending me an
HOW TO CONTACT ME or CONTRIBUTE MATERIAL TO JACK'S
BY CLICKING ON THAT SAME ADDRESS, Riart1@aol.comYOU ALSO
CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR
COMMENTS. (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a
Comment" link at the blog's end.)
MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT www.jackspotpourri.com IS ALSO
AVAILABLE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICES IN A MODIFIED, EASY-TO-READ, FORMAT?
HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the
appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right,
or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very
bottom of this posting. The “Search Box” in the
right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for
which you are looking.
HOW TO FORWARD
To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for
that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the
envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below,
enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.
You might also want to let me know their Email
address so that they may be alerted to future postings.