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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

When I last Left Indonesia, I Flew Into a Coup in Bangkok

The President is in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world – having been there I can tell you that it is nothing like what you think. Indonesia is nothing like the Middle East. Indonesians are Asians who are by nature much more moderate. Don’t forget Indonesia is home to the fabled “Bali” island – a tourist mecca that was bombed by terrorists years ago. Indonesia has been hit by terrorism by Islamic extremists. It has fought them. Indonesia’s are a good people we can do business with.

However, the lack of international experience by Americans was exhibited this week when Rush Limbaugh thought it would cost $200 million day for the President to travel internationally (funny, he never said that about Pres. Bush), when the real number was about $10 million -- what it was when Bush traveled, a tiny fraction of that. Limbaugh needs to get a passport and spend some time in the real world if he is going to influence millions of Americans who have the same lack of actual knowledge of these countries and travel costs. Actually I think Limbaugh deliberately airs every lie designed to savage America’s first black President who inherited the worst economic situation in seven decades.

That’s almost as pitiful as Sarah Palin criticizing the Fed for it’s “quantative easing” – a potential Presidential candidate totally ignorant of our system and the fact that the Fed is an independent agency not controlled by Congress or the White House. We really want clueless running our country? The Fed was designed not to be the plaything of politics and politicians like Palin, who is blissfully ignorant of how our American financial system was put together and why.

I was in Indonesia for the first time when I was a just-laid-off-from-the-Fortune500 entrepreneur who was on a mission to start business on behalf of U.S. companies. It was the mid-80’s. Then Indonesia was ruled by one man named Suharto, a “President for Life” jerk running the country. He fell after that. Now it is an actual democracy. When I left Jakarta on that trip for Bangkok, a coup had just occurred in Thailand, changing the government. A couple reporters had been killed. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. It turned out to be a whole another story, because I almost didn’t get out.

Indonesia is a good trade partner for the U.S. because their economy consumes goods we make – whereas its neighbors would rather export to us than buy from us (like China).

We finished our job in McAllen about 5 today – one pane seemed as big as an 18 wheeler, a burglar could have tapped it and carried out a BIG screen TV in the gaping hole, but not now that it has Armor Glass security film! LOL.

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