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When no one is left to finance our debt, you can bet there will be war in the streets when the government says "sorry, we need 100% of your tax dollars to build nuclear subs."

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 07:02:15 PM EST
It's getting mighty close to 50% now. I don't see a revolution at 100%. Besides they will never say they need 100% any more than they are saying they need 50%.

Lack of social services at 100%? Already the middle class and the upper class don't seem to depend much on social services outside of the police and military - and the police seem to be more and more self-financing.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed May 16th, 2007 at 07:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no money for roads, police, emergency services, or schools - I can't imagine people just taking that. There is a breaking point, particularly, I think, if it becomes common knowledge that the living conditions in other countries are better.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 12:34:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Currently the conventional wisdom among a nonnegligible fraction of the population is that everywhere outside the US is the 3rd world. See my "depressing though" above" on the chances of that changing.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This of course explains their view of Europe, which is barely a little above 3rd world, and will only pull itself out of its mud hut and starving goat heritage if it does things The American Way.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:36:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're just jealous...
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:50:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(do I need to put </snark>?)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 05:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not really.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 10:03:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barely?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I said "if it becomes common knowledge" I meant it. Your (and everyone else's) point about the state of the information this country is getting is valid, but propaganda of any sort has limits.

While a lot of people will disagree with this, the current difference in social and living conditions between the US and Europe is very narrow. It's certainly narrow enough for that sort of propaganda to work on a certain portion of the populace, even the portion that suffers from our poor distribution of wealth in the US vs. Europe.

If we come to a place where American cities are in full decline, unemployment is rampant, jobs are unavailable, and opportunity is gone (I'm thinking 1930's depression), but the same is not true of Europe - that sort of reality can't be completely hidden. Unless the media comes under full control of the government, such an event WILL be covered, as advertisers have no values, and anything that stokes negative emotions gets people to watch TV.

Not wanting to start a pie fight here, but I don't like the hyperbole contained in your comment. Deep seated fear comes with any superiority complex. When the US was in recession in the early 90's and the auto industry was on its death bed while Japan was conquering the capitalist world, there was deep regret and fear of Japanese prowess and American inferiority. Let's add a bit of nuance.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 01:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
conditions are never better anywhere else -- the grass is always greenest on our side of the fence because it's our grass...

I'm repeatedly surprised at e.g. the number of USians who call Canada "Canuckistan" and consider it a "commie" country -- and/or believe that thousands of people die in Canada from inadequate health care and hundreds of Canadians cross the border begging for superior US medical attention.  this Big Lie about Canadian health refugees (in general the refugee problem is in the other direction) is repeated by wingnuts intermittently and seems a very popular tall tale...  one among many about the inherent superiority of America in every sector.

it all gives me a lot more historical insight into the Soviet reality bubble in its heyday...  it really is possible to construct a kind of information bell-jar, a kind of Truman Show, w/in national borders -- if you have sufficient monopoly/oligopoly control of the air waves and print media.  the current wave of anti-blogger rantings, "urgent need to bring the Internet under control" panics etc. could not unreasonably be viewed as a manifestation of elite fears that there is an information channel not yet under their control;  however the Internet works just as well for their agenda as against it (ah, those busy little Freepers) so... who knows how that will play out in the end.

frankly it all makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  anyone else have those moments?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 03:03:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

frankly it all makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  anyone else have those moments?


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 03:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I go board a plane to sign loans on one billion euros worth of wind farms (more on that soon, I hope).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 03:18:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So where do I invest - or does only Big Wind get to play? :)
by Number 6 on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can buy shares of Wind Turbine manufacturers. Vestas, Gamesa, GE, Siemens...

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 06:36:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!
Greed is Good.
by Number 6 on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 07:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that their stock might be overvalued even assuming the Wind Turbine market has a healthy future.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 07:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
frankly it all makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  anyone else have those moments?

You have moments when you don't want to?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 04:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

But Reality has a habit of intruding.

Truman DID get out of the Show...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 06:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If "The Truman Show" had been reality, the producer would not have called off his storm. Truman got out because it is fiction.
by det on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:27:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disagree: the producer was acting "rationally" in the circumstances.

Simple calculation.

"If I kill Truman: end of show. It I let him live, I might persuade him to stay, and the show goes on."

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point. Truman was lucky he had a rational producer. Unfortunately, I don't know that we can say the same for ourselves.
by det on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:58:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You sound like civilised gentlemen playing tennis.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No-one civilised plays tennis any more....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 09:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as the media controls the message and most American get their news from about 12 minutes TV watching every three days; the country will remain controlled by the elite Imperialists. The weaker the US dollar; the greater ris ein the stock market and house prices.

What I do see the US doing is undermining the strength of the British Pound and Euros in order for the US dollar to 'appear' stronger.

by An American in London on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 12:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for an example of the hermetic seamlessless of the media system I think about recent flaps over shock jocks and hate-talk radio, wingnut TV etc... there's a fuss about some on-air wannabe Goebbels who goes a bit "too far" with his racist or misogynist drivel, and he gets allegedly fired, usually just shuffled off to some subsidiary network of the same corporation;  and then the "first amendment liberals" come out of the woodwork invoking every case of State censorship ever recorded and yapping about the necessity of protecting our precious freedoms of speech from the heavy hand of the State...

like they don't understand that the same 4 companies who own all their media -- including the shock jocks and the hate-talk radio stations -- are the same companies that own the bomb factories and whose revolving doors staff the national policy agencies and whose slush funds buy politicians right, right, and centre...  like they don't understand that the shock jocks are the State, the ideological shock troops of the State... that the State is the corporate elite... the racism and gaybashing and misogynist drek on the airwaves are the unofficial component of the recruitment campaign to send them or their kids overseas to Prove Their Manhood (who wants to be a faggy peacenik) and kill brown people whom they've been trained to despise and contemn by listening to hate-talk radio...  like the Boss doesn't love getting the underemployed, insecure, angry electorate/workers to hate their neighbour or the immigrant down the street or Uppity Wimmin or Unnatural Queers or Inferior Darkskinned Subhumans and blame them for all the unemployment and crumbling infrastructure and dearth of social services and police crackdowns... rather than pointing the finger upwards, at the Old (white) Boys Club that runs the show and shovels our tax dollars into their private pockets.

the Bosses have really got it figured out -- they can pump their propaganda out on the public air waves 24x7, for profit, and get the listeners to agitate angrily and vociferously for their right to be spoonfed state/corporate PR and brain detergent.  it's beyond anything Terry Pratchett could satirise.  it's just a win-win-win situation -- for the Bosses.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in general the refugee problem is in the other direction

It's why the government of Ontario has phased out the original health insurance cards that were red and white, and replaced them with health cards with photos. Too many Canadians were loaning their cards to US friends and family.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 02:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US workers have no guarantee of paid leave
WHEN it comes to paid leave, US workers don't seem to get a break.

While the French get 30 days of paid leave and most other Europeans receive at least 20, the country with the world's biggest economy does not guarantee workers a single day, researchers said overnight.

Most US businesses do give employees vacations, but the lack of government guarantees means one in four private-sector workers do not get paid leave, said researchers for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank.

"The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays," said economist John Schmitt.

"Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn't worked," he said.

"It's a national embarrassment that 28 million Americans don't get any paid vacation or paid holidays."

most expensive, least effective health care system

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world but ranks last compared with five other developed nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes, according to the third edition of a Commonwealth Fund report analyzing international health policy surveys.

While the US did well on some preventive care measures, the nation ranked at the bottom on measures of safe care and coordinated care.

Another new Commonwealth Fund report comparing health spending data in industrialized nations published today reveals that despite spending more than twice as much per capita on health care as other nations ($6,102 vs. $2,571 for the median of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] countries in 2004) the US spends far less on health information technology--just 43 cents per capita, compared with about $192 per capita in the UK.

"The United States stands out as the only nation in these studies that does not ensure access to health care through universal coverage and promotion of a 'medical home' for patients," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Our failure to ensure health insurance for all and encourage stable, long-term ties between physicians and patients shows in our poor performance on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and health outcomes. In light of the significant resources we devote to health care in this country, we should expect the best, highest performing health system."

Best and Worst Countries for Mothers and Children -- US/UK tie for 10th place.  Numero Uno?  Sweden :-)

I could go on but really... why bother.  literacy, infant mortality, academic skills by age of student, technical innovation... not a lot of golds for the US these days.  a bronze now and then.  but hey, we incarcerate a higher percentage of our population than any other country on earth, and we consume more energy per capita, so we really are Number One in some things...  by some odd statistical coincidence, the US constitutes 5 pct of the world population and 25 percent of the imprisoned world population;  and the US consumes about 25 percent of global fossil energy resources annually.  the 5/25 symmetry is eyecatching but probably meaningless.

before the accusations of America-bashing begin, lemme just say I'm not saying it's the worst hellhole on earth to live in (though I am, personally, trying to get the hell out).  what troubles me is the disconnect between actual metrics and the persistent USian illusion that the US is the gold medal winner in every conceivable category.  proof is often offered in the form of the flood of refugees and immigrants trying to get in -- even when what they are fleeing from is US bombs or US-installed warlords/dictators, but that's a whole other rant...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 07:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nitpick: "Best and Worst Countries for Mothers and Children -- US/UK tie for 10th place.  Numero Uno?  Sweden :-)"

That was last year. This year the UK is number 12 and the US at number 26

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a bummer posting an outdated footnote -- egg on face -- but a bonus when the updated one makes one's point even more pointedly.  thanks for the correction.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 17th, 2007 at 08:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a series of Golds for the US:

First in Oil Consumption
First in Carbon Dioxide Emissions
First in External Debt
First in Military Expenditures
First in Weapons Sales

"In this gold-medal tally of firsts, there can be no question that things that go bang in the night are our proudest products. No one makes more of them or sells them more effectively than we do."

Who's number 2 (and are they trying harder?)

Nevertheless, Russia retained its position as the second leading arms dealer behind the United States for the third consecutive year, concluding new sales valued at $5.8 billion. Moscow's rank, however, is largely attributed to deals with two countries, India and China, both of which have concluded major co-production agreements with Russia in recent years to make advanced fighter aircraft and, in India's case, tanks. The Kremlin is also working to secure major new sales with Iran and would pursue deals with Iraq if UN arms sanctions were lifted, according to the report.

As they have for the past couple of years, leading European arms suppliers trailed the United States and Russia in negotiating new deals last year. France tallied $2.9 billion in agreements, while Germany had $1 billion in sales and the United Kingdom's sum equaled $400 million. China made agreements to sell $600 million in arms.

On the other end of the trade, Israel ranked as the leading developing world arms buyer with $2.5 billion in agreements for 2001. Other top buyers were China with $2.1 billion in purchases and Egypt with $2 billion.

Over the entire eight-year period, the United Arab Emirates, which signed a contract for 80 US F-16 fighters two years ago, topped all buyers with $16 billion in weapons deals. Its neighbor and fellow US arms buyer, Saudi Arabia, had the second highest total at $14.1 billion. Yet, Saudi Arabia was unrivaled for actual imports, receiving $65 billion in arms between 1994 and 2001. (Amounts in this paragraph are in current dollars.)

footnote

The arms trade functions as quite a money laundry:  a lot of e.g. US "aid to Israel" comes right back home to US weapons manufacturers.  Aid to Bomb Builders is more like it.  When I think seriously for a moment about the colossal amounts of ingenuity and resources being invested in more and more  "efficient" ways to kill or incapacitate large numbers of people, it is mind boggling... maladaptive hypertrophy in real time.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 21st, 2007 at 07:30:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oh hell, I can't resist just one excerpt from the initial URL above...
Maybe the only way to break through this paralysis of analysis would be to stop talking about weapons exports as a trade at all. Maybe we shouldn't be using economic language to describe it. Yes, the weapons industry has associations, lobby groups, and trade shows. They have the same tri-fold exhibits, scale models, and picked-over buffets as any other industry; still, maybe we have to stop thinking about the export of fighter planes and precision-guided missiles as if they were so many widgets and start thinking about them in another language entirely - the language of drugs.

     After all, what does a drug dealer do? He creates a need and then fills it. He encourages an appetite or (even more lucratively) an addiction and then feeds it.

     Arms dealers do the same thing. They suggest to foreign officials that their military just might need a slight upgrade. After all, they'll point out, haven't you noticed that your neighbor just upgraded in jets, submarines, and tanks? And didn't you guys fight a war a few years back? Doesn't that make you feel insecure? And why feel insecure for another moment when, for just a few billion bucks, we'll get you suited up with the latest model military... even better than what we sold them - or you the last time around.

     Why does Turkey, which already has 215 fighter planes, need 100 extras in an even higher-tech version? It doesn't... but Lockheed Martin, working the Pentagon, made them think they did.

     We don't need stronger arms control laws, we need a global sobriety coach - and some kind of 12-step program for the dealer-nation as well.



The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 21st, 2007 at 08:37:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British arms export trade:
Three months before his election in 1997, Tony Blair wrote in BAE Systems' newsletter that his government would champion arms exports and a "strong defence industry". That, despite the hoopla surrounding the idea of an "ethical" foreign policy, was always the prime minister's ambition. A decade on, a new set of figures reveals the devastating extent to which he has succeeded.

Yesterday's report by the NGO Saferworld documents the £45bn worth of arms delivered by Britain in the past 10 years, making us the world's second-largest arms exporter. In the past three years, arms have been exported to 19 of the 20 countries identified in the Foreign Office's annual human rights report as "countries of concern". The Colombian military and its paramilitary allies have killed thousands of people in the country's civil war. Yet last year Britain exported armoured all-wheel-drive vehicles, military communications equipment and heavy machine guns, alongside a military aid programme. Indonesia has received more than £400m worth of military equipment since 1997, while using British military equipment for internal repression on a dozen known occasions.

Britain has exported more than £110m worth of military equipment to Israel during its occupation of Palestinian territories and war with Lebanon. Exports doubled in 2001, as Israeli offensive military operations were stepped up on the West Bank. Another growth market is China. Despite an EU arms embargo, Britain has managed to export £500m worth of military and dual-use equipment - nominally "non-lethal" items. These include components for tanks, components for combat aircraft, and military communications equipment.

Over the past four years, 199 export licences have been approved to the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands - territories without armies. The equipment includes small arms and ammunition, anti-riot shields, CS hand grenades, crowd-control ammunition and even nuclear, biological, chemical filters and respirators (for the Cayman Islands). It is anybody's guess where this equipment is destined. And this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Government statistics show the destination of only a quarter of all arms exports - the public are not told where the rest goes.

The Channel Islands???

Who knew there was a major insurgency in the Channel Islands?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 01:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arms exports are thriving not because of any domestic economic benefits. Academic research shows that the public subsidises arms sales by between half a billion and a billion pounds annually - far outweighing any economic stimulus they provide. What drives the growth is that arms sales support foreign policy by strengthening relations with key allies, who are often repressive elites. But there is also a huge influence wielded by big arms corporations, as reflected in the "revolving door" between them and the Ministry of Defence. At least 19 senior MoD officials have taken jobs with arms companies since 1997, while 38 out of 79 personnel secondees to the MoD between 1997 and 2003 came from arms companies.

A truly ethical foreign policy would see the shutdown of Britain's arms export industry. But, at the very least, it must be held up to public scrutiny and forced to halt exports to states abusing human rights.

that's from the same article cited above.  never believe the porkbarrel PR.  the arms industry is a way for the aristos to levy taxes on the domestic peasantry for the purpose of arming their comprador and merc forces to protect their investments overseas...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 02:31:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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