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Old 07-11-2014, 06:32 PM   #1
W*GS
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Default Therapy for the Self-Hating Superpower

Therapy for the Self-Hating Superpower Snap out of it, America. You're good enough, smart enough -- who cares if people don't like you?

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America is in decline. America is broke. America is unwilling to lead. America has alienated the world. America is fat. America is addicted to sugar, reality television, and hearing itself speak.

Washington is dysfunctional. Washington is corrupt. Washington is full of liars, con men, and self-promoters who prove that there is no limit to how far people can go in life if they have the right PAC spending dough behind them.

Americans are a violent people. They are narcissistic. They are misogynistic. They are puritanical, hyped up on religiosity, and turning against science, math, and history.

Americans don't read. They don't work hard anymore. The American dream is dead. Today's children will be the first generation who must learn to expect less, not more, than their parents had.

For the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the Earth, having ideas like these bouncing around the Internet and laced into talk-show banter sure does suggest that America has a nasty self-image problem. Call it body-politic-dysmorphia. Call it the self-hating superpower disease. Call the problem whatever you want -- so long as you recognize the country needs to deal with it.

What America needs is an intervention. Not another overseas intervention; it has tried those, and they only accelerated the descent into a collective neurosis that has Americans behaving like they're channeling Woody Allen.
No, what the country needs is a good, strong domestic intervention, along the lines of what someone would do for a self-destructive friend or family member. Americans all gather in someone's living room -- Jay Z and Beyoncé probably have space for everyone at their house -- and start telling some hard truths in the hopes that the country will snap out of this downward psychological spiral it is in.

The intervention needs to show that this mopey, downcast Eeyore of a global power is actually doing much better than it thinks it is. The facts suggest that, come the end of this century, perhaps the only things that will be the same on planet Earth are that America will still be seen as the richest, most powerful nation around -- and the world will still be complaining about it.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:59 PM   #2
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Rothkopf is rich, or stoned, or both.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:04 PM   #3
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Rothkopf is rich, or stoned, or both.
A friend of mine said that a cynic was an optimist with the facts.

There's no doubt that this nation faces some mighty big challenges. But I don't think tossing in the towel is the right response.

Entitlement reform is key to our fiscal future. No, not the kind of **** the GOP proposes - which consists almost entirely of cutting taxes on the rich and writing a blank check to the military.

But the "sequester" was pure political theater. It accomplished nothing.

I recommend the essay as well as Have We Hit Peak America? as well-written and -argued pieces against the doomsterism coming from the progressive left and the regressive right.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:26 PM   #4
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Let's pretend we're not $17 trillion in debt. Don't concern yourself with the never-ending wars. It's not your problem. The teetering economy is just fine. It's self-hatred to worry about these things.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:49 PM   #5
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I think we have achieved a ton of great things and we still can but America needs to get some things done. The issues of long term unsustainable federal government debt, climate change and the need for population growth to facilitate further economic growth are critical Once that is done, we will be in an even stronger position.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:06 AM   #6
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Let's pretend we're not $17 trillion in debt. Don't concern yourself with the never-ending wars. It's not your problem. The teetering economy is just fine. It's self-hatred to worry about these things.
Obviously you read none of what I pointed to.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:36 AM   #7
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I think we have achieved a ton of great things and we still can but America needs to get some things done. The issues of long term unsustainable federal government debt, climate change and the need for population growth to facilitate further economic growth are critical Once that is done, we will be in an even stronger position.
To have even more population is to ensure more misery and chaos. In the first place, economic inequality only gets worse. In the second place, we already see technology and globalization, on a daily basis, removing and/or economically demeaning the jobs of people who are already alive. What do you do with all those who come next? Not to mention, our own sustainability is under serious threat right now and will only increase as climate change progresses. Don't forget, one of the chief factors in the "Arab Spring" was the failure of the Pakistani wheat crop. In America, the price of basic protein has doubled since last year.

There is no such thing as infinite growth on a finite planet. Basic stuff. That concept of capitalism is dead on arrival. Your scenario is a dreamscape that ignores reality, like the OP article. There are lots of people walking around replicating a new manifestation of what I call the "ghost dance." In other words, they can't stand to face what's actually going on and choose to dance for the spirits of the past for salvation. Hopefully, the next generation creates adults.

For any who think that America is doing "better than ever," I suggest they research the term "inverted totalitarianism." I couldn't care less for optimism or pessimism. Those are simply facades we create to more easily deal with whatever our reality might be, depending on our personalities. Then, we argue with one another that one is better than the other. Besides and beyond all of that psychological role playing, there exists reality. What is actually happening?

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Old 07-12-2014, 08:39 AM   #8
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Rho you don't need to worry because God will be ending all of this when he sees fit.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:00 AM   #9
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Rho you don't need to worry because God will be ending all of this when he sees fit.

Don't hold your breath.


It's time to fix problems ourselves and step away from the nonsensical, partisan bullshiit that divides us.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:04 AM   #10
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Rho you don't need to worry because God will be ending all of this when he sees fit.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:11 PM   #11
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An interesting set of questions:

Here, according to Risen, is Richter’s version of what happened when he, another government investigator, and Carroll met to discuss Blackwater’s potential misdeeds in that war zone:

“Mr. Carroll said ‘that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,’ Mr. Richter wrote in a memo to senior State Department officials in Washington. He noted that Mr. Carroll had formerly served with Navy SEAL Team 6, an elite unit. ‘Mr. Carroll’s statement was made in a low, even tone of voice, his head was slightly lowered; his eyes were fixed on mine,’ Mr. Richter stated in his memo. ‘I took Mr. Carroll’s threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract.’”

When officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world, heard what had happened, they acted promptly. They sided with the Blackwater manager, ordering Richter and the investigator who witnessed the scene out of the country (with their inquiry incomplete). And though a death threat against an American official might, under other circumstances, have led a CIA team or a set of special ops guys to snatch the culprit off the streets of Baghdad, deposit him on a Navy ship for interrogation, and then leave him idling in Guantanamo or in jail in the United States awaiting trial, in this case no further action was taken.
Power Centers But No Power to Act

Think of the response of those embassy officials as a get-out-of-jail-free pass in honor of a new age. For the various rent-a-gun companies, construction and supply outfits, and weapons makers that have been the beneficiaries of the wholesale privatization of American war since 9/11, impunity has become the new reality. Pull back the lens further and the same might be said more generally about America’s corporate sector and its financial outfits. There was, after all, no accountability for the economic meltdown of 2007-2008. Not a single significant figure went to jail for bringing the American economy to its knees. (And many such figures made out like proverbial bandits in the government bailout and revival of their businesses that followed.)

Meanwhile, in these years, the corporation itself was let loose to run riot. Long a “person” in the legal world, it became ever more person-like, benefitting from a series of Supreme Court decisions that hobbled unions and ordinary Americans even as it gave the corporation ever more of the rights and attributes of a citizen on the loose. Post-9/11, the corporate world gained freedom of expression, the freedom of the purse, as well as the various freedoms that staggering inequality and hoards of money offer. Corporate entities gained, among other things, the right to flood the political system with money, and most recently, at least in a modest way, freedom of religion.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page3...untry_20140714

In other words, two great power centers have been engorging themselves in twenty-first-century America: there was an ever-expanding national security state, ever less accountable to anyone, ever less overseen by anyone, ever more deeply enveloped in secrecy, ever more able to see others and less transparent itself, ever more empowered by a secret court system and a body of secret law whose judgments no one else could be privy to; and there was an increasingly militarized corporate state, ever less accountable to anyone, ever less overseen by outside forces, ever more sure that the law was its possession. These two power centers are now triumphant in our world. They command the landscape against what may be less effective opposition than at any moment in our history.

In both cases, no matter how you tote it up, it’s been an era of triumphalism. Measure it any way you want: by the rising Dow Jones Industrial Average or the expanding low-wage economy, by the power of “dark money” to determine American politics in 1% elections or the rising wages of CEOs and the stagnating wages of their workers, by the power of billionaires and the growth of poverty, by the penumbra of secrecy and classification spreading across government operations and the lessening ability of the citizen to know what’s going on, or by the growing power of both the national security state and the corporation to turn your life into an open book. Look anywhere and some version of the same story presents itself—of ascendant power in the boardrooms and the backrooms, and of a sense of impunity that accompanies it.


------------------------------

In addition, the U.S. still maintains hundreds of military bases and outposts across the planet (including, in recent years, ever more bases for our latest techno-wonder weapon, the drone). In 2014, it still garrisons the planet in a way that no other imperial power has ever done. In fact, it continues to sport all the trappings of a great empire, with an army impressive enough that our last two presidents have regularly resorted to one unembarrassed image to describe it: “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.”

And yet, recent history is clear: that military has proven incapable of winning its wars against minor (and minority) insurgencies globally, just as Washington, for all its firepower, military and economic, has had a remarkably difficult time imposing its desires just about anywhere on the planet. Though it may still look like a superpower and though the power of its national security state may still be growing, Washington seems to have lost the ability to translate that power into anything resembling success.

Today, the U.S. looks less like a functioning and effective empire than an imperial basket case, unable to bring its massive power to bear effectively from Germany to Syria, Iraq to Afghanistan, Libya to the South China Sea, the Crimea to Africa. And stranger yet, this remains true even though it has no imperial competitors to challenge it. Russia is a rickety energy state, capable of achieving its version of imperial success only along its own borders, and China, clearly the rising economic power on the planet, though flexing its military muscles locally in disputed oil-rich waters, visibly has no wish to challenge the U.S. military anywhere far from home.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:25 PM   #12
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I'm a bit disappointed. Rather than discussing some of the interesting arguments made in the article, everyone is falling back to their talking-points and boilerplate rhetoric.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:45 AM   #13
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I'm a bit disappointed. Rather than discussing some of the interesting arguments made in the article, everyone is falling back to their talking-points and boilerplate rhetoric.
That's because your OP is full of ****.

I think those who are in the investor class, the top percentile, should feel the way the OP suggests. For them, things have never been better. The DOW just crossed 17050 and will probably hit 20000 by October. The rest actually are caught in a downward spiral. Our education system is breaking down. Our infrastructure is breaking down. That means bad things for the future of this country. Rhetoric isn't going to change that.

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Old 07-15-2014, 10:43 AM   #14
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it does suck the stock market always does well when the growth of the overall country isn't great.

You have to think that it's because they bail banks out but not us, and the corp tax system allows companies to make money overseas, but not bring any of it home to be taxed. The fact the tax is 35% means the corporations will always choose to offshore those profits.

It allows the big companies the fuel the fortune 500 to rape all the small business that actually grows the economy. It deprives the feds of the revenue they desire to provide services.
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:01 PM   #15
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:05 PM   #16
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it does suck the stock market always does well when the growth of the overall country isn't great.

You have to think that it's because they bail banks out but not us, and the corp tax system allows companies to make money overseas, but not bring any of it home to be taxed. The fact the tax is 35% means the corporations will always choose to offshore those profits.

It allows the big companies the fuel the fortune 500 to rape all the small business that actually grows the economy. It deprives the feds of the revenue they desire to provide services.
50% of the S&P 500's profit is made offshore. The market no longer represents what's happening in this country.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:53 PM   #17
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If this is the country we get when it's handled by the Hippies of the 60s, the Stoners of the 70s, and the Alex P. Keaton's of the 80s, think of what it will be like when the GenX and Millennials get their hands on it...
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:00 PM   #18
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That's because your OP is full of ****.

I think those who are in the investor class, the top percentile, should feel the way the OP suggests. For them, things have never been better. The DOW just crossed 17050 and will probably hit 20000 by October. The rest actually are caught in a downward spiral. Our education system is breaking down. Our infrastructure is breaking down. That means bad things for the future of this country. Rhetoric isn't going to change that.
If you'd read the articles, you'd know that none of the authors claim "All is well, move along".
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:16 PM   #19
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If you'd read the articles, you'd know that none of the authors claim "All is well, move along".
I read them. I disagree with the take. I think this country is on the wrong trajectory and could be in very bad shape by the end of this century if it doesn't change course.
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