I walked through Huzhou last Saturday in a desperate attempt to change money. I did not expect a good rate of exchange or stellar service, but I did expect it to be possible. After all, even with the rise of touch-pay mobile phones and nearly-universal use for bank cards it is still advisable to carry some cash. My efforts were futile. Most banks only exchange money on weekdays and only for their customers. The one bank that will exchange currency on weekends for non-account holders is the Bank of China but they require extensive documentation and special residence papers. At that point, I had neither. In frustration I quietly returned to my flat with a small pile of cash in hand that might as well have not existed. I went to sleep nervous. The internet installer was supposed to have come the following day and I could not pay him. At around 1 AM I woke up and decided to give it a last go. A bank was 2 blocks away and they had a secured cash machine. My losing streak broke – my account was open and I could withdraw cash.
Oh, what a difference twenty years makes. Scanning through the finance section on the Telegraph website a piece by Edmund Conway caught my attention. The article, in short, detailed the difficulties the United States would have in financing its debts — particularly since the US bonds tend to have a fairly short maturation — 4.4 years to be exact. This is where the juicy irony comes in… Late in the Bush Administration and now, during the Obama administration, the United States has managed to spend its way into such a hole that it would take generations to pay off. The lion’s share of this, the debts accrued in late 2008 and Obama’s incontinent spending on anything under the sun in 2009 will come due in the period of late 2012-2013. Twenty years before this the Soviet Union collapsed in on itself. The United States will, at that point, be even more reliant on foreign sources for its oil. As the Middle East is rapidly drying-up much of this oil will be Russian. Since the United States doesn’t have two farthings to rub together it will rely increasingly on surplus-states like, say, Russia. to finance its deficits — especially with Mr Hope-and-Change’s spending plans. It is not that I am overly sympathetic to Russia — Russia is Russia and has its place in the world but is certainly not the most kind or just of lands. It just strikes me that, not too long after the United States poked its finger in Russia’s eye at every opportunity — just a few short years after the American establishment mocked Russia and its travails that the United States would, itself, be prostrate.
No, this will not be yet another allegation that Barack Obama was born in Kenya — he most certainly was not. There is not solid evidence, in fact, that he was born anywhere else but Honolulu, Hawai’i. The question which is necessary to pose for this blog is one of the actual legal status of the State of Hawai’i. Hawai’i, for those who do not know, was an independent kingdom until 1893 when a group of American business men decided to relieved the internationally-recognised queen, Lili’uokalani, of her throne and form a “provisional” government of the Republic of Hawai’i. These men, lead by Sanford Dole, yes, of the Dole Corporation, would be the ones who would eventually annex Hawai’i to the United States in 1900. This is where it starts to get interesting — the Republic of Hawai’i was never the legitimate government of Hawai’i so it was never in the position to sign Hawai’i up to anything. It is unconstitutional for the US government to sign a treaty with an illegitimate government. It is also unconstitutional for the US to simply seize and occupy the territory of another nation. In the case of Hawai’i, the United States has and continues to do so. Thus, the statehood of Hawai’i is itself unconstitutional. So was Barack Obama born in the United States? No, he was not. But for “birthers” to accept the real reason why would be far too much to bear.