Archive for the ‘AMERICAN DECLINE’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN BUDGET PARALYSIS – JEFFREY SIMPSON SAYS SHOCK THERAPY IS NEEDED – AND EVERYTHING’S FINE IN DOROTHY’S KANSAS   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TOP A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

If you study American history, you will know that this is a nation which never, never anticipates or plans ahead.

It has gone through many crises only after having pounded its head into a wall many times.

That observation has remained true from the creation of the Constitution – after the pathetic Articles of Confederation – to entering World War II.

Another debilitating American characteristic is its obsessions. There are always obsessions, and the Tea Party is only the latest manifestation of this.

Of course, it never hurts to endlessly be told you are number one in just about everything: it becomes pretty hard for those who adopt this naive faith to believe the country is being driven over a cliff. How can that be for Number One?

______________________

A reader in the U.S. writes:

“Everyday life down here isn’t all doom”

Oh yes, indeed, everything is just fine in Dorothy’s Kansas.

Americans are busy demanding homes with three-car garages, five bedrooms, three baths, and central air out in godforsaken desert sprawls like Arizona or California or Nevada where the future water supply is non-existent.

Or building such crappy chipboard villages on valuable farmland in places like the Midwest.

Granite counter tops as far as the eye can see, and Jack-and-Jill sinks from coast to coast.

All of it requiring more roads, more cars, more fuel, more electricity generation, more maintenance with absolutely no thought for the future at all.

And so many of the buyers have saved no money for what they think they deserve.

And meanwhile you keep hundreds of bases abroad and an armed forces of over two million butting into everyone else’s business. And you cannot even run your own affairs.

You are killing civilians daily in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Yemen, and supporting Israel doing the same in Palestine.

But how very nice that your weather is beautiful.

The quoted reader demonstrates exactly why the United States is declining, declining in economics, declining in ethics, declining in democratic values.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CLIVE CROOK OF FINANCIAL TIMES SAYS IT’S AMERICAN POLITICS AS USUAL AFTER ARIZONA MASSACRE – BUT WHAT ELSE COULD YOU EXPECT?   Leave a comment


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

I’m not sure what else anyone could expect, Mr. Crook.

The cast of characters on the national political scene, especially those on the right, makes mighty poor material out of which to shape a civil political life.

Winning is everything, sophomoric arguments are common, and insults are basic building blocks of American politics, not to mention election fraud.

This political phenomenon is not new to America.

Perhaps many abroad have no real feeling for the history of America’s national politics.

Abraham Lincoln, now the nation’s most beloved president, was commonly called an “obscene ape” during his campaigning. Grotesque cartoons and vicious commentary played regularly on the theme.

There was an undercurrent in all that hatred of Lincoln’s having been believed to be an abolitionist. He most decidedly was not, but that mere fact didn’t stop the hate and excess of opponents just as facts do not stop the hate and excess of today.

Hatred was so intense, Lincoln went to Washington for his inauguration hiding his identity.

Andrew Jackson, as near a mad president as ever there was, fought duels, horse-whipped one politician, and threatened anyone who said anything he regarded as an insult.

Thomas Jefferson had a full-time paid hack to dig up dirt on his opponents, including the man he worked for as Secretary of State, George Washington. When the hack didn’t feel fairly treated by Jefferson, he sold his services to others, disseminating such dark facts he had discovered as Jefferson’s liaison with a teen-age slave girl, Sally Hemmings.

Look at the way the opposition treated Senator McGovern’s running mate, Senator Eggleton, a thoroughly decent man who had experienced some depression. Look at the way nasty graffiti artists treated Senator Muskie during his campaign, reducing him to public tears. Look at the words of Tom Delay – now a convicted felon – about Bill Clinton’s big trip to Africa, words dripping with hate and racism.

There are countless examples of this political insanity in America just during my lifetime. There was the idiot Republican Senator who accused the Clinton administration of running a concentration camp after the poor Cuban boy, Elian, was taken from his kidnappers and sent to a quiet place of refuge following months of being held to ransom and hearing his loving father regularly insulted by shouting voices.

And this stuff is not without real consequences, sometimes far greater than the recent shooting in Arizona. Richard Nixon made a career early on of defaming his opponents – his early election to Congress featured insults and lies toward the woman against whom he ran. Nixon accused her of being “pink down to her underwear.” His reputation as a gutter fighter was so established that President Johnson, in sending the beginnings of an army to Vietnam, was known to be motivated by political fear of being castigated for “losing Vietnam” the way “China was lost.”

The late Governor George Wallace and serious presidential candidate had a famous quote justifying his extreme actions towards desegregation: he famously said he would never be “outniggered” again after losing in an early political fight owing to his then moderation.

America is simply too young a society to have developed genuinely civilized political customs, and there is a raw quality to it that almost encourages the kind of behavior of a Sarah Palin having a cross-hair sight over a politician’s face on her web site.

The effects of this rawness are reinforced by America’s wealth because wealth enables people to publish and disseminate filth and stupidity in vast quantities. They are also reinforced by the totally dominant ethos of, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

I see little hope for any change, except after the passage of a century or so.

America’s now-certain relative decline in the world should help a bit along the way: nothing is unhealthier for manic behavior than quasi-religious faith in being number one.