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Old 12-02-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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U.S.: A Third-World Future?

Going south: militaristic, corrupt America increasingly resembles a Third World state. - Free Online Library

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Do indefinite imprisonments, immunity for favored agents, and rule by executive diktat sound like best democratic practice? Crisis-rocked Third World countries eventually move on, setting up truth commissions and holding trials. But the United States remains very much in the grip of a 9/11 emergency mentality.

...

As in so many collapsed countries, an increasingly large portion of American wealth goes toward debt. Infrastructure sags. Only industries favored by the government thrive. The middle class shrinks as it is squeezed to fund programs that keep the wealthy comfortable and the poor from rioting. The only difference is that the U.S. has an ability to continue borrowing--for now.

...


The far Right wallows in paranoia with its dreams of overturning an election by discovering a Kenyan birth certificate. Most on the Left seem too mesmerized by the president to hold him accountable. The media ranges from insipid to hysterical. This country may never see the reasons for--and the parallels to--its disintegration.
Thoughts?
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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I don't see our stardard of living improving anytime soon.
and by many measures it has been declining since the 1970s.


There is a bigger gap between the wealthy and the poor.

It seems many young people, under 30, will not have the same standard of living that their parents and grand parents enjoyed.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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But the risk is not that Americans will bring out the pitchforks and join the protestors. Rather, citizens seem as disaffected and resigned as their Third World brethren, only occasionally roused from reality TV by their favorite pundit peddling the outrage du jour.
mmmhmm.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:41 PM   #4
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Newsweek has a cover story this week on the U.S's future. It is predicting that the economy might bring its downfall.

Ferguson: How Economic Weakness Endangers the U.S. | Newsweek National News | Newsweek.com
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:35 AM   #5
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I generally like to avoid overly pessimistic views, mindful of the litany of histrionic headlines written in the last major recession of the 1970s that didn't turn out to be true. On the other hand, when it seems like it is impossible for there to be anything more than a superficial discourse about any serious challenge the West faces, I can't help but wonder what we'd do about a serious challenge that requires more than the usual weak-willed response we get from politicians.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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I'm not surprised by the article, and I dont think the condition our country is in even close to paralleling the 70s-it's much worse.

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Old 12-03-2009, 02:12 PM   #7
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I can't help but wonder what we'd do about a serious challenge that requires more than the usual weak-willed response we get from politicians.
Can you be specific on what you'd consider a serious challenge?

Not to be glib, but crisis after crisis we have shown a consistent track record of allowing politicians to scare us into submission.

What do you think might change that pattern?
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:19 PM   #8
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Gold prices at $1218 an ounce doesn't bode well. The dollar is turning into the peso.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:16 PM   #9
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Had he been elected the country would be on the mend about now and not sinking into the abyss.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:20 PM   #10
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The dollar is turning into the peso.
Si, Se Puede!
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:49 AM   #11
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Si, Se Puede!
That was Bernanke's slogan?
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:33 PM   #12
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Had he been elected the country would be on the mend about now and not sinking into the abyss.
I've always been skeptical of how much difference a particular person in the White House makes.

Bush made me reconsider that view, but even he didn't act alone.

So far, I don't think Obama has really done anything that radical. This might be heresy to say here, but I think most of the big decisions he made probably wouldn't have been that different if a Republican had been in office. The one exception would be the attempt at health care reform, which definitely would NOT have happened under a Republican administration. But health care reform hasn't actually "happened" yet, and it's debatable as to how much reform will actually come to pass when the final bill appears on Obama's desk.

The rest--his plan on Afghanistan, his bailout and stimulus spending and so on would have been done by a Republican.

A lot of the stuff he gets flack and praise for ("We're shutting down Guantanimo", "We're trying the terrorist in New York", "We're reaching out to the Muslims") is mostly cosmetic stuff.

Obama's tone is different, that's for sure--and that in itself could be important. But running a country requires too much pragmatism for his actual actions to be that different from, say, a President Romeny.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:30 PM   #13
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All fair points Maycocksean, to be honest I couldn't really disagree. Although if there's another thing Bush made me reconsider it's the bit about running a country requiring pragmatism. It is possible to run it as an idealogue. Not well, but possible.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:09 PM   #14
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All fair points Maycocksean, to be honest I couldn't really disagree. Although if there's another thing Bush made me reconsider it's the bit about running a country requiring pragmatism. It is possible to run it as an idealogue. Not well, but possible.
I'm actually not convinced that Bush was that much of a hardcore idealogue either though. He definitely never struck me as being as radical as say Palin or even Huckabee. And he never came across to me like the right wing radio types do. I always felt (without any real proof, I admit) that any of his Christian rhetoric, for example, was more of a sop to the base than any fiery personal commitment. I might say he adopted a neocon foreign policy, but I think that was more the influence of those around him (Cheney/Rumsfeld) in the wake of 9/11 than anything else.

I think he did put a more belligerent stance on America's posture towards the world, but that seemed to be more about his personal style than some sort of Limbaugh-influenced ideology.

Where I question my own philosophy on presidential power and influence is on how Bush got us into Iraq. I had to revise my view that it was impossible for the president to really mess up the country.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:37 PM   #15
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No, but I'm thinking here about the reality that a government is made up of many people.

I'm actually not really singling out Bush per se, as a human individual, since he seemed ineffectual a lot of the time. But, he was surrounded by some pretty shady characters who had their own strongly held ideas which, it seems, they played to his mindset to advance. Cheney, for one. An incredibly powerful figure, scandalously so.

So, I think his administration was pretty ideological, and pretty extreme, and Bush was mostly along for the ride. He certainly wasn't the 'great dictator'.
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