Posted by Jim Spence on Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Posted by Michael Swickard
Labels: New Mexico News
From KOB-TV.com - By: Jeff Maher, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Taryn Bianchin, KOB.com - Eight out of nine city councilors voted to extend Albuquerque's expired camera contract at Monday night's council meeting. All of the cameras had been turned off for the past week because the city’s contract with Redflex, the Arizona-based company which owns the cameras, had expired. Now when the remaining 14 cameras return they won't ticket speeders, just those running red lights. Earlier this year, the state demanded the cameras at Coors and Paseo, Coors and Quail, and Paseo and Jefferson to be turned off because they were on state highways. Now the city will also terminate three more cameras at Academy and Wyoming, Eubank and Central, and Menaul and Carlisle. The reason? Safety. A study presented to councilors on Monday showed that those particular intersections have seen a drop in injury-causing accidents but an increase in rear-end crashes. City Councilor Dan Lewis opposed the contract's extension. After conducting personal research he found that for every dollar the program generated for the city cost taxpayers $11, mainly because of how much the city was paying out to Redflex. "This program over a four year period took over 26 million dollars out of our local economy and sent much of it to an out of state contractor," said Lewis. Read more
On the other hand, the Chinese are not naive or foolish. They wisely concede that there are rare instances and situations where free markets simply do not function properly without some assistance. What the Chinese have managed to do is be practical. They do not endlessly waste resources debating the trite free markets versus central planning issues. Instead, the country, through wise, honest, and practical leadership has incrementally pulled itself away from the horrors of central-planning. And as it has done so, it has steadily prioritized market-based systems that tend to work so well. During this transformative process the Chinese have managed to enjoy a remarkable degree of social order, domestic stability, and breath-taking increases in living standards.
By contrast, Chinese leadership is not forced to commit the same “free market” folly. Instead, the engineering culture, which has increasingly defined the heart of Chinese leadership since 1989, has been able to maintain a more scientific approach to good government based on facts and truths.
Conspicuously, Chinese leaders in Beijing (left) continuously weather relentless criticism from the self-described morally superior leaders (in the west) for China’s “democratic failings.” China is repeatedly demonized for “only” allowing it’s best-educated to play an active role in government decision-making. Ironically, China has carefully avoided one of the market-based systems that is consistently failing in the west.
Having emerged from the depth of Marxist despair and delivered well for its citizens, Chinese leaders have the uncommon luxury of having exceeded the expectations of the vast majority of the population for thirty years. And accordingly, Chinese leaders find themselves in the welcome position of being able to under-promise, and then over-deliver.
It would seem that in the first decade of the 21st century, the Chinese leadership is far ahead of those claiming the democratically “moral” high road in the west. This is so because the leadership understands, at least in economic terms, which parts of the free markets work and which parts should be regulated for the “greater good.”
While Deng “initiated” reform, it was Jiang (left) who systematically implemented cataclysmic changes. Again, without spending much time going over the inner political workings of China, it suffices to say that Jiang began to gather power at the behest of Deng as soon as he rose to power in 1989.
Like Deng, Jiang Zemin was the product of the pre-WWII era. When Jiang was a student, China was occupied and terrorized by brutal Japanese soldiers. However, unlike Deng, Jiang is an engineer, not a military figure. This is a critical piece of academic background information on Jiang that helps mightily with the understanding of his remarkable leadership and the makeup of current rulers in China.
The depth of Jiang’s talents, character, and magnetic personality are hard to overstate. Above all else, Jiang was a leader who loved the process of learning. If you think of the wisest, most well-read, most practical, and most people-skilled person you have ever met, you are describing a person very similar to Jiang Zemin.
To summarize what happened in China under Jiang Zemin, is to understand how China has managed to position itself to dominate the 21st century world economy. No doubt part of the reason why the 21st century will be dominated economically by China is based on what the United States has failed to do. But history will also give great credit where it is due. And China is positioned as it is economically, due in great part to the vision and ability to execute of Jiang.
In the end, Jiang has so many credits associated with his rule it is very difficult to list them all. Each item deserves more discussion than is given below.
• He reformed the Chinese military and eliminated the conflicting practice of military officials corruptly engaging in private trade.
• Thanks to his scientific/engineering background, he understood the importance of and emphasized the rapid development of high technology industries.
• Jiang modernized the nation’s currency and made it convertible, thus freeing up the flow of foreign capital into China. Then, he courted international investors.
• He closed down and/or allowed private ownership of countless State Owned Enterprises (S.O.E.). While risking temporary unemployment, he was able to shed the most inefficient drags on the Chinese economy.
• He boldly called for the inclusion of entrepreneurs and other private business owners in the Communist Party. This was as revolutionary as calling for a socialist “market” economy.
• He supported more academic/scientific freedom and he supported the arts.
• He modernized the media and gradually loosened the party’s reins on the dissemination of information.
• He led by consensus in the party rather than dictating his own personal orders to the party.
• He facilitated a smooth transition of power to the next generation of Chinese leaders including his successor Hu Jintao.
China now boasts over $1 trillion in currency reserves, a vibrant economy, and the strongest national balance sheet in the world. Jiang’s ideological legacy of governing is simplified in the concepts he called the “Three Represents”
1. advanced economic production
2. advanced cultural development
3. advance the fundamental interests of the vast majority of the people
Thanks to the respect for Jiang’s leadership and enduring influence, these ideas were written into the Chinese Constitution in 2002.
When Deng’s practical message eventually won the internal political struggle with Hua, Deng began a slow and tedious process of weaning the party (and to a lesser extent the people) off of the “cult of personality” system. Naturally, Deng did not mind wielding and enhancing the force of his own personality from time to time when it suited his purposes. Still, in the final analysis and despite the autocratic methods of Deng, he must be credited with initiating the greatest national economic transformation in human history.
Deng began the transformation by reforming agriculture and introducing market forces for the benefit of farmers all over China. The response was predictable. Incentives to increase farm production precipitated large and consistent gains year after year.
Read here about the top 10 administration officials (outside of the White House) who have the most on the line:From The Hill.com - Many Democrats are nervous about Election Day, but some are especially nervous. Some administration officials have worked well with Republicans in Congress, but others have infuriated GOP lawmakers during the first two years of the Obama presidency. Republicans on Capitol Hill crave the oversight power that would come with winning a House majority. It would arm the GOP with something they have not had in four years: subpoena power. The Obama administration will be held accountable “like they’ve never been held accountable,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who would be chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee should the GOP win the House, said recently.