Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Setting Sun! Sorry.

From: Michael Busick
Subject: RE: A Setting Sun! Sorry, :o(
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 22:54:39 -0800

You know, it's bad enough that the Bush administration walks away from international treaties (or unsigns them or dismisses them out of hand), but when they start tossing out useful documents like the Geneva Convention, the U.S. Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, it should have been nationwide cause for alarm.

Then when this administration decided to turn its back on the Magna Carta, congressional impeachment hearings should've been held.

It's bad enough that this administration has already forgotten about Vietnam, but it also seems like they were all out sick when their history teachers told the rest of their classmates about the Roman Freakin' Empire.

Our government used to have checks and balances, not signing statements.

How bad does the next president(s) have to screw up for there to be impeachment hearings? I heard about a website that has been keeping track of all of the unresolved Bush scandals (the U.S. attorney firings, Valerie Plame's outing, for just two examples) and the current number is something like 52. Before the last one gets settled, another one follows right behind it and that one isn't settled and this country as a whole can't hold a collective thought in its head long enough to stop thinking about what Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are up to right this very minute.

Cheney said late in the 2004 campaign that there's a danger if American voters make the wrong choice in November that we'll get hit again. If he had been my running mate, he would've been fired before he finished that sentence. I don't blame Bush for hardly anything that's gone wrong since January 2001 because it seems fairly clear to me that Bush has had little or nothing to do with anything that this administration has screwed up. I can't think of a single issue that Bush has had the initiative on because everything I hear him say sounds like something the evangelicals or the neo-cons or both would tell him to say. He's about seven years too late on global warming or Mideast peace. I had to laugh when he told Israel that they shouldn't occupy Arab lands. What does he believe Iraq is?

I'd like to think this current Iraq conflict isn't a Christian crusade, but Blackwater's actions lead me to believe otherwise.

I'd like to think he didn't know in advance something like 9/11 wasn't going to happen, but can any of us come up with a single plan that the Bush administration had for this country that was stopped/thwarted/impeded by 9/11 -- instead of escalated? It seems to me that 9/11 has allowed the Bush administration to do whatever they wanted to do with this country and the Middle East.

Bush himself has given three different accounts of where and when he first heard about a plane hitting the first tower (#1 -- Andrew Card told him in that classroom, #2 -- he was told inside his limo in Sarasota, #3 -- he saw the video the day it happened (which we know is wrong because no one saw that French documentary footage -- about NYC firefighters -- until at least 9/12 except the guys who filmed it).

I'm sure every single one of us still knows where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about what happened.

Yes, I'm ranting all over the place here, but it all comes back to one statement for me -- I can't believe Americans would give our country away so easily to a group of people that are obviously only thinking about their own selfish desires.

I'd prefer not to keep talking about this, though, because I just get more and more angry thinking about it. :)

From: Michael Busick
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 22:32:31 -0800

I'm a huge fan of Olbermann and Maher because (just like Jon Stewart) they skewer both sides when necessary. I'm also disappointed more people aren't paying attention to Olbermann's Special Comments because he's saying good things about important issues.

From: "craigs11"
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 18:15:14 -0800

I was wrong. the Krugman column appeared on Saturday.-- OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Comeback Continent
The next time a politician tries to scare you with the European bogeyman, bear this in mind: Europe's economy is doing O.K.

----- Original Message -----
From: "craigs11"
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2008 5:54 PM

The only reason you feel "far left" is that Americans (by and large) don't SEE what is happening to their country. If it ain't on TV, how would we know?
Take a look at Paul Krugman's column in today's NYT. Somewhat more gently, he is saying what you are saying.

Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 09:32:50 -0800

I haven't been part of this discussion, but I just wanted to second Brian's motion on Naomi Klein (a Canadian). I haven't read the book, but I've been listening to her and watching her for a few months and her analysis is pretty interesting, especially about the uses of torture.

Here is a 6 part presentation of her basic ideas on the Youtube:

Sent: Sun 1/13/2008 1:07 AM
Subject: A Setting Sun! Sorry, :o(

Sorry, for my absence from the discussion. A lot has been communicated and I don't know where to begin. My wife loves to monopolize the computer and I like to use it for research and comedy.

I don't know whether it is easier to approach the discussion point by point, or just try to explain where I am coming from and address issues of commonality, disagreement, or both.

The problem being, I often feel like I am way left of center and need to explain what I know, or how I see things, in order to have a discussion about them.

To begin with, I tend to look at America and American politics from an outsiders point of view. I believe this to be the case because I am married to a foreign national and travel quite a bit. In fact, next month I'm taking a vacation to the PRC and Japan after that.

That said, the rest of the world doesn't see us in the same light that we see ourselves. Americans tend to believe that the world either respects us, or fears us. We tend to think of ourselves as the good guys, or at least a net positive for the world. In reality, we are no longer very well respected. For example, on numerous trips to Europe and Asia, people often remarked that America is such a poor country, with a crumbling infrastructure, weak health and environmental standards. Most believe us to be militaristic, greedy and ignorant and above all dangerous. In fact, recent surveys in places like England, France and Germany have revealed to us that, we Americans are considered to be a greater threat to world peace and security than countries such as Syria, China, and Iran.

How can this be? How have things changed? Why have things changed so much?

In 1985, I traveled to Sweden and was amazed at the love and respect that Europeans felt for us. One relative told me, "I think your country is the freest, in all the world." Others would tell me, that although Sweden is a neutral country, "We're really on your side." Today, we don't hear those things. Instead, we are thought of as a lawless nation driven by greed and the profit motive. The world's number one outlaw state that has resorted to terrorism on a grand scale in order to force an imperial hegemony on the face of the earth. We are seen as an aggressor nation, out of control, both within and without. We are a nation with a huge prison population, greater per capita than Iran, Russia, or China! We are seen as a state that has gotten rid of habeas corpus, tortured and imprisoned people without benefit of charges, and trial.

Further, the American media and American politics are viewed through a jaundiced eye. The press is not free, rather it is controlled by corporate interest. That is how they explain Americans complete lack of interest in the fact that a presidential election was stole from them. Or the reality that, many Americans still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, or was directly involved in 911.

Why should it matter? Why should we care, what others think about us? We should care because we are not alone in this world. We need others nations to accomplish goals, things that are essential for security and prosperity, larger than the interests of individual nation states.

America is no longer the shining city atop a hill. We are quickly becoming the world's foremost pariah nation state. For instance, we are the only industrial nation besides Australia not to sign the Kyoto protocol, we are becoming increasingly isolated and irrelevant.

...And as we argue and debate the merits of political candidates, we should remind ourselves that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are small, when looked at from abroad. Because, in reality, we have only two large political parties, we are seen as having very little choice. You know, it's like a choice between Pepsi and Coke, it really makes no real difference at all. Both parties are controlled largely by the corporate lobbyist whose money puts them in power and whose interests mostly trump the needs of the American people.

Lastly, the damage has been done. I don't believe any future president can reverse the fundamental destruction that has been done to our nation economically, or politically.

After-all, in the last twenty-six years we have gone from the world's largest creditor nation to the world largest debtor nation. Outside of the military and government the largest employer of thirty years or so ago was general motors, today it is Walmart.

Need I remind you that the classic definition of a third world banana republic, is a nation which exports raw materials and imports finished goods. America is quickly becoming such a nation. Alas, when you look at our trade deficit, our current accounts deficit, our unfunded mandates, social security and Medicaid, etc., the full picture becomes more apparent. We are a nation in decline. We are taking on the characteristics of failed states. The housing market bubble, predatory lending, the stock market decline and upcoming recession are just symptoms of something much more dire.

An analysis done by the Mackenzie Global Institute found that global capital markets would be able to finance a near doubling of the US current account deficit to one trillion 600 billion dollars a year by 2012, 9% of GDP in five years time. They point out the u.s. will soak up 77% of the total available pool of surplus capital in the entire world and by soaking it up, it means borrowing, it means we'll have to pay it back or give up our country. That's already happening, by the way. Look at who own the ports in this country, not American companies. The SaudiS have a growing interest in Bank of America, to name a few.

Therefore, by 2012 the U.S. will have an external debt of GDP ratio of 46% roughly similar to that of Mexico today. That is what Reaganomics has brought us. This is the Disastrous course that Reagan put us on and George W. Bush has been perpetuating.

Michael, I love the quote by Ben Franklin and believe that Lincoln said, something similar as well. I totally agree with what you had to say about fear and advise you to read Naomi Klein's book, the Shock Doctrine, if you haven't already.

Obermann, on 'fear' : the beginning of the end of America

Bill Maher: The Decider-

Subject: A rising or setting sun?
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 22:09:15 -0500

Now that we've all been able to take some Mucinex and clear the phlem out of our political systems, how 'bout we mosey back to more objective analysis and constructive dialogue? After all, if we're going to live together in this great land of ours, we've got to be able to appreciate the mix of perspectives and work together to solve the really serious immediate and long-term problems we face. Our party leaders and candidates do a good enough job of seeing the specks in their opponents' eyes despite the logs in their own, so they don't need our help with that. I think - the existence of all the campaign and party rhetoric on both sides notwithstanding - where they really can use some bottom-up assistance is in putting party aside to figure out where the common ground exists and how we can work together to find solutions we can live with (as opposed to those we'd like to dictate to the other side). Is this possible, or are we condemned to fight it out in a bloodlust battle to dominate and destroy? It seems that the context of Benjamin Franklin's quote about the colonies moving into revolution has changed drastically, but the bottom line is still the same: We must hang together or we will assuredly hang separately. Thoughts?

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