Speak Up Now

Blog on Accountability
Subscribe

Archive for August, 2011

Reichstag fire’s 70th anniversary sparks memory of historical event.

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

Accurate Information Shoots Holes in Idea that Brady Act Works.

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

Feeling slighted? Don’t you worry, an apology is coming.

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

Bush versus Kerry. What makes the difference?

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

There’s Nothing Wrong with Single Issue Voting

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

 

This is the Chinese Century

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

This is the Chinese Century
A half-century ago in the aftermath of WWII, European industry stood in partial ruins, while
much of the world remained comparatively primitive. American military power was at its
zenith, and we were the manufacturing center of the universe.
By the sixties, “Japan Incorporated” was flooding the U.S. with manufactured goods at
great prices by “dumping.” Japanese consumers paid on average 40 percent above world
prices to subsidize the penetration of our markets. Thanks to U.S. taxpayers, Japan had
no defense costs.
China presents an entirely different paradigm.
Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward failed miserably in the late fifties. Tens of millions
starved as the Communists controlled all means of production. However, what they
eventually created was a society positioned for capitalism, with hundreds of millions of
compliant workers.
In a Chinese factory, one might see a supervisor-to-employee ratio as high as 1 to 350, far
above western standards. This reflects efficiency, self-discipline, low cost, and the
realization that for every worker who lacks motivation there are hundreds eager to
demonstrate theirs.
For 150 years the developed nations have substituted machinery for labor. Today’s China
is the factory floor of the world. Yet that floor is generally devoid of multi-million dollar
capital investment in the form of automated lines and robotics. Armies of trained hands
produce precision products with no sacrifice in quality. China, with nearly 1½ billion
people, does not have the world’s cheapest labor force. What it has is a huge, reliable, low
cost, skilled labor pool within a stable political environment.
Researcher Ted C. Fishman cites Shanghai’s Wanfeng whose business 10 years ago
consisted of workers literally hammering out motorcycle wheels in a garage. Today
Wanfeng ships alloy wheels worldwide. This year its rubber mallet and cordless drill
equipped workers will hand build thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee look-a-likes that sell
for $8,000 to $10,000.
Another critical factor is the largest migration in history. By 2010, almost half of China’s
population will have moved to cities. A peasant who gives up the farm for the factory can
triple his income to an average $1,000 a year. But that hardly tells the story in a country
where the minimum wage is 30 cents an hour and not everybody gets that. In many
industrial centers, members of China’s growing 100-million person middle class
(practically non-existent 10 years ago) often work more than one job. Factor in 5 times the
buying power of an American and that may translate to $25,000 for a married couple.
Virtually every industry has excess capacity. In 1978, China produced 400 washing
machines and 200 room air-conditioners. Two years ago, those figures were 16 million
and 23.3 million. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, urban incomes jumped
2,250 percent during that period.
China’s economy is growing at uncomfortable rates – 9.8 and 9.6 percent in the first and
second quarters of this year, up over a point from 2003. Faced with energy shortages,
serious water and air pollution in manufacturing centers, and having become a net
importer of food, the government is limiting growth in overheated sectors.
There used to be the retail price and the wholesale price. Now there’s also the China price
– the one to match if you want the business.
Wal-Mart alone accounts for 1 percent of China’s GDP and 12 percent of its exports.
It’s good that Wal-Mart prices are so low, because the American who now earns $9 an
hour, marked down from $28, can’t pay the old retail. It’s a circle, and not everyone’s
happy.
In a quarter century the Chinese have quadrupled GDP to become the world’s 6th largest
economy and the most active trading nation behind the U.S. and Germany. Their lack of
political baggage is enabling a major commercial presence in Africa as they keep their eye
on the ball and not on human rights injustices.
Nor is it all about manufacturing. For instance, the northeastern seacoast city of Dalian
boasts 22 universities with over 200,000 students. Most will receive science or
engineering degrees. Due partly to proximity, Japanese are swallowing old hatreds and
hiring Dalian software engineers at a third the cost. Further, American firms are
establishing R & D centers there, as U.S. schools turn out fewer engineers every year.
The military implications of all this are immense and a subject for another day.
Centuries ago China was called Zhongguo, the “middle kingdom,” because its people
thought they were at the center of civilization. If they weren’t then, they soon will be.
Roland C. Eyears
Copyright 2004

Viet Nam Vets – A Generation Raped

August 30, 2011 By: Rollie Category: Everyone's entitled to my own opinion" by Roland Eyears

Everyone’s entitled to my own opinion
Viet Nam Vets – A Generation Raped
The first time I met Joe Healy he moved with the distant swagger of what he had
been – a U.S. Marine. He was short, with bright, intelligent eyes, and a leathery
face that made me guess him at 44. Joe was 29. The lines in his face came from
being sent to Nam as a teenager. The slight limp when he was tired was the
result of his second major wounding. After his legs were nearly ripped off by
automatic fire, the doctors said wouldn’t live, then that he’d never walk again.
This crusty New Englander fought his way back through the pain, married and
became a father, started a business, and earned a masters degree that enabled
him to provide professional counseling to other Nam vets. In 1977 Joe was
named Maine Viet Nam Veteran of the Year.
Our entry into what was essentially a civil war was based on a lie. Lyndon Baines
Johnson, elevated to the presidency by the curious death of Jack Kennedy,
claimed that on August 1, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked our
destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. Congress passed Joint Resolution 1145,
presumably for payback. Instead, Johnson used it to conduct a war that cost
58,012 American and perhaps 3 million Viet lives, and shattered countless more.
Every war is different, yet every war is the same. WWII, our last lawful war, bears
but a faint resemblance to the conflicts that have followed. First, support and
participation were virtually universal. Women went to work in factories at jobs
traditionally reserved for men, school children saved dimes to buy war bonds,
housewives saved string, most backyards had victory gardens, and we rationed
just about everything. In contrast, our presence in Southeast Asia was hotly
contested, sometimes by those who meant well and sometimes by those who did
not.
Second, Nam was our first teenage war. The soldiers of WWII averaged 26
years, in Nam just 18 ½.
Third, WWII infantrymen averaged only 6 weeks in actual combat conditions. In
Nam it was practically wall-to-wall.
Fourth, the winding down periods were worlds apart. Following the surrender in
1946, there was scarcity of ships, planes, and trains to move large numbers of
troops. Some did not arrive back in the states for over a year, at which time they
were appropriately honored. With Nam, it was jungle to the streets of San
Francisco in 48 hours where our boys were spat upon and called baby killers.
Had they killed babies, raped helpless civilians, cut off ears, burned villages, and
used peasants in their rice fields for target practice? Sadly, yes, some did that
and more, as did the Viets to each other. Such things happen when politicians
send half a million kids to a foreign country, surround them with enemies who
Everyone’s entitled to my own opinion
wear no uniform, supply full-auto weapons, train and supervise them
inadequately, and see that they are scared 24 hours a day of dying or becoming
quads in a war that has no front line and no apparent chance for victory.
Did the My Lai Massacre really happen? It was only one of hundreds. Most never
came to light. William L. Calley, Jr., who in saner times would never have been
commissioned a lieutenant, followed orders.
In a small town café one night, Joe Healy explained that the vet who lost an arm
got a prosthesis, a pension, and a measure of respect. The vet who lost his legs
got a wheelchair, a specially equipped van, a pension, and a measure of respect.
But what of the tens of thousands who went as boys and returned as disturbed
young men, able to function marginally, but not physically disabled so anyone
could tell. This was the war that made “post-traumatic stress syndrome” part of
the lexicon. I refer to the veterans rendered literally incapable of showing up at
the same time five days a week so they could take abuse from assistant
department heads not fit to shine their shoes. Because they couldn’t do it, they
dropped out, wore their old field jackets, and were labeled “bums.”
Drawn into a hell on earth by machinations beyond their control, these boys
became the most maligned and unappreciated veterans in our history. Because
they answered the call, irrespective of the merits of the cause, they deserve our
respect. Go to the wall – pay homage to the fallen. If you’re a Nam vet and we
happen to meet, make yourself known so I may have the honor of shaking your
hand.
Roland C. Eyears
Copyright 2005


After you visited this site, please do not forget to "Share" our Vial Lido Facebook page (The “Share” function is on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Via-Lido/113135125384472, in the pull down menu under the Settings button, - (the flower / dented wheel sign placed just next to the “Like” button. You will have to "Log In" yourself first). Thanks!