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The Chamber of Commerce's lead article (05/16/13) states: "The Keystone XL Pipeline is a viable remedy for many of the threats and concerns that plague small business owners."
The Chamber (and others) spread misinformation that XL will unleash lower energy prices, and create jobs. Temporarily, it might create a few jobs, but TransCanada has been transparent about its intention to sell its hydrocarbon sludge abroad. The petroleum market is world-wide and fungible, anyway; oil is basically sold at the same price, subject to world-wide demand and supply--and speculation. Canadian sludge won't drive prices down, nor even keep them from rising, if China, India and other emerging economies continue to hunger for more--as they will.
The Chamber of Commerce, pretending to represent small business, claims the XL pipeline is needed for small businesses, to promote jobs and lower energy costs. There's no mention that it's one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet, and that its addition to the fuel mix will increase global warming and climate change significantly. Nor does the Chamber mention the recent disastrous spills of this toxic mess in Nebraska and Michigan. The author of the Chamber's lead article promoting this: Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), is Chairman, Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade.
He sells snake oil.It's the line Republican Congressmen, from gerrymandered districts, follow, as well.
You mustn't regulate emissions, but you must protect "job creator" subsidies for Exxon, etc. and you can't let government functions out-compete "free enterprise," like the Postal Service, or Social Security. That's really why both, plus Medicare/Medicaid, have been targeted by the GOP: Yet costs are lower, and public benefits are obvious, while corporations (or their shareholders) don't profit.
From the Chamber of Commerce rightward, there appears to be an alternate reality, and almost half of Americans have been persuaded it's real: government can't do anything good. They've been persuaded that government stimulus even during recession, will trigger galloping inflation, though inflation isn't as high as the Fed has targeted; the minimal stimulus drove us (barely) out of recession, unlike the austerity-driven EU, and the dollar has gained value against other currencies. The right-wing solution for this non-problem, is to cut government expenditures, laying off teachers and police, civil service workers and firemen, cutting government services and aid to those in need: the grand sequester.
Given austerity's dismal failure to resolve Europe's financial problems, why can't we learn from their mistakes (let alone those of FDR in 1937)? Because corporations could profit more from austerity?
The right-wing's alternative universe is wreaking a terrible toll. The only example of more damaging policies would be the Roman Senators, who ran the Fifth Century Roman Empire: they ran it into the ground.
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The US is leaving Afghanistan (too slowly), but just think of the profits big corporations can make on its most important export.
Really, there must be some way Pfizer, Novartis, etc, can profit on Afghan opium (Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's crop). Big corporations increasingly dominate world trade. They're pressing globally for patent rights even to basic food crops. Patents as monopoly grants, provide corporations monopoly profits.
Corporations promote war, any war: they can make obscene amounts on it. They have a near monopsony, as well: the US Defense Department; it buys more from defense corporations than all other buyers combined, close to a definition of the word, monopsony.
The US strides, giant-like, across the world--trampling, too. But it, and almost every other nation, is bowing to a multiplicity of fiefdoms called corporations.
When the Roman Empire was self-destructing in the late 300's to late 400's, it was ruled by a class that created the model for what came after: Roman Senators lorded it over huge latifundias, with estates from Gaul to North Africa, all manned by hundreds to thousands of serfs and slaves. Senators also provided the bureaucratic skills to run the Empire, usually to their personal advantage. Over time, the Senators' holdings grew as there became fewer of them (small families), but then shrank as the Empire withered: losing estates in North Africa, for example, when the Vandals took over there--due to incompetence and rivalry between Imperial services.
But what prevailed became the feudalism of the Medieval period, dominated by Germanic conquerors--rampaging hordes that settled down to enjoy their pillage in one place.
Something similar is happening today. Corporations are the new Senatorial latifundias, spreading their thirst for profits worldwide, but in their own niches. We have feudalism of food production by Monsanto, or of pharmaceuticals by Glaxo-Smith-Kline, or of oil and coal production by the Koch brothers.
Workers are treated increasingly as serfs, as unions are driven out, workers are laid off, wages are cut and the remaining employees work harder in fear for their jobs.
Now, with the secret negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the ascendancy of these corporations lurches forward. Only "stakeholders" (not the public or Congress) are permitted to know what the negotiations entail, but leaked accounts indicate that corporations will be able to sue to block environmental and labor laws, expand patent and copyright rights, and generally override sovereign nations' regulations, as long as they can claim their profitability/interest is threatened.
Corporate feudalism is like the Roman Senators, who held life and death power over their 'dependents.' But once the nation-state is pushed aside, will there just be rampaging corporations? No governments will be able to protect the people from the corporate hordes.
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Looking for a house that's energy efficient, in a secluded, beautiful setting? 44 Schultzville, Clinton Corners, NY is a solar envelope house built into a south-facing hill overlooking a woods pond and surrounded by woods, all protected by a conservation easement. After enjoying living in it for 28 years, it's for sale.
Our house is at the north end of High Valley property; it's also just three miles from Omega Institute and three miles to the Taconic Parkway.
The house is built on bedrock, for its thermal properties, and is designed never to freeze. For 20 years we heated it solely with the passive solar windows and wood stoves. We added a propane furnace (forced air) for convenience.
Our house has 4 bedrooms and two full offices (one of which could also be converted into a "mother-in-law" apartment, since it opens onto the garage, not the house, and is plumbed for a bathroom. The upper office has a deck, overlooking the woods.
The living room and dining room/kitchen have vaulted ceilings and alternate walls are sheathed in old barn siding taken from High Valley's 200 year old barn. The floor-to-ceiling fireplace and the outside stonework are of fieldstone I gathered on High Valley's property. The living room floor's wide ash boards were specially milled from a friend's dead tree.
The yard includes a pond and stream in front, a garden space in the back enriched for 27 years, huge oaks in front and back, deep shady maples, and on the west side, an ash tree that turns purple in the fall.
The land is protected all the way from Centre Road to the end of High Valley on Horseshoe Trail, so there are miles of trails between and no houses can be built on any of it, ever.
There are 50 acres of woodland also for sale (only limited agricultural structures permitted), including a gorgeous maple woods across the stream and an old oak forest with huge trees up the hill. There is also a natural spring uphill above the pond. All is in state-certified, tax-favored, forestland, contiguous to the 12.25 acres set aside for the house.
The realty listing is:http://nyupstateretreat.epropertysites.com/indexGo2.htm
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Investment in tar sands (the XL Pipeline) is "foolish," says James Hanson of NASA. He says we're already at about 395 ppm CO2, above the target of 350 ppm that would limit global warming to 2 degrees C. The Earth has warmed less than a degree, so far, and already we have super-storms like Sandy, record-breaking droughts, heat spells and flooding.
Hanson makes sense, but government bureaucrats and officials are wary of him, because his opinions affect things like energy policy. Not what a scientist should be saying, or writing, they imply.
Is it so questionable to say that blowing up mountaintops, piping sludge and blowing apart underground shale formations is also "foolish?" Obama's "all of the above," Hanson points out, is bad strategy: it increases carbon from all the above sources, even if it also promotes wind and solar. Further, "cap and trade" is ineffective. Yet, policy-makers around the world hear mostly from fossil fuel interests, not their constituents, so even marginal policy reforms like the above will likely be rejected.
But humans are "foolish;" the Dutch, by way of example, live at sea-level, and although increased CO2 is already causing seas to rise, threatening their very existence, they continue to burn coal, the most greenhouse gas-intensive fuel.
The world is overrun with foolishness, but one of the most foolish is to subsidize fossil fuels, instead of demanding that fossil fuel producers pick up the tab for external costs: not only for lung disease and heart attacks from air pollution, but for global warming, itself. Sandy alone cost the taxpayers over $100 billion. Hanson proposes a carbon tax to cover external costs, the proceeds to be distributed to all taxpayers.
For the Capitalist, nothing's foolish if you can make money on it, but huge investments in fossil fuels is foolish: they're betting against a stable climate in the long run, for profits in the short-run.
Capitalists are foolish in other ways. They're eager to sell/produce in China, even though the US now documents that China's stealing them blind, of technology and innovation, as well as through corruption. They're stealing American (and European) competitive advantage. They fulfill Stalin's adage: "When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use."
Capitalism, ultimately, is foolish: it's driven by a blind thirst for profits in the short term, regardless of consequences, and growth at any cost. Its proponents demand minimal or no regulation or taxes, and avoid all external costs for as long as possible. Stock newsletters tout oil producers, and even tar sands. Fox News, the Koch's etc. promote misinformation and blindness. Capitalism is not the market: it demands a market with its eyes put out.
Unless we can overcome blind capitalism, we're doomed: the Roman Empire did the tiniest fraction of the damage the American Empire--as capitalism unchained--has done and will do, unless somehow many someones can put a harness on it.
Sunday at sunrise I saw a car parked in our parking lot along the dirt road, not far from houses and an equestrian center. A guy got out, did something with his leg, and then, as I approached, he got back in the car and drove off. There was someone in the passenger seat.
The driver had discarded something and its foil wrapper. He was probably proud of himself: it was an oversized used condom. On his way to church?
That pretty much epitomizes relations with our social, natural and international world. We trash the natural world, we trash each other; we also trash other nations: cancer has skyrocketed in Iraq because our depleted DU munitions litter the landscape. Our military is proud of them; they're more effective than lead or steel in penetrating tank armor. Who cares about the Iraqis?
Margaret Thatcher was known for popularizing a politics epitomized by: "Screw you, Jack! I've got mine." Our "conservatives" are less eloquent.
Sequestration was meant to force Democrats and Republicans to agree to something sensible, but the first adjustment insures that flights aren't delayed, so Congressmen and Senators can get home during their break. Meanwhile, cuts to Head Start, schools, health research, medical care, extended unemployment insurance and to so many other government programs cause far more damaging consequences: lives lost, children untaught, research not done, people driven homeless: long-term costs to everyone--except the wealthy.
And for what? Both the Alesina/Ardagna article on "expansionary austerity," and the Reinhart/Rogoff article positing the economic danger of a 90+% budget deficit--Economists' arguments promoting austerity--have been proven false, while real experiments with it in Greece, Spain, Ireland, the UK and Portugal have demonstrated its destructive effects.
I sent two of Krugman's anti-austerity articles to a fundamentalist friend; he refused to read them: said they were "all false," and "ideologies will never replace the wisdom and power of the Word of God." Facts didn't matter. To him, and apparently to a large contingent of Republicans in Congress, "debt is debt," an evil--except for Defense, or corporations, or mortgages, or….
My friend made money in California real estate, The austerian agenda makes sense to him: why should he pay for losers, driven homeless, and/or jobless by the burst housing bubble; he made money, so what's wrong with them?
People like him, and those much wealthier drive the political agenda. We don't live in a democracy; the powerful listen to the one-percent, not to the rest of us--except, maybe, the 5%. Our contemporary Roman Senatorial class has conquered. High unemployment benefits them: it makes workers compliant; bosses can cut wages and raise their own salaries: life is good.
It will last until either revolution or collapse, the latter from the instability inherent in extreme inequality; it contributed to Rome's fall in 476.
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The United States was, for a short time, a democracy, if only of white male property owners--much like early Athens. Counterrevolution began with the Constitutional Convention.
Democratic forces were predominant in other eras in the US, but they didn't last. There was the Democracy of Andrew Jackson and brash new western men. There was the early radical Republicanism of the Civil War. There was the Progressive era: the overweening power of the trusts was busted, at least temporarily. There was the New Deal, extending through the Great Society, in which government made it its business to extend equality and its benefits.
But each democratic era has been followed by a period of reaction and hardening elite rule. However, up until now, America has always had an upwardly mobile society: the son of the worker, farmer, or clerk becoming the new rich. And always before, the elite made way for them, even if they hated "upstarts" and "new money."
Today, class mobility in America is lower than in class-bound Britain; American society is becoming rigid and stratified--though no one will admit they are anything but "middle class." The difference between the new financial wealthy and everyone else has never been greater; CEO's are paid 100's or 1000+ times more than their workers, a greater margin of difference than other developed nations. Inequality increased even more rapidly after the so-called Great Recession and subsequent "recovery" under Obama's leadership. More than 90% of the gains since 2009 have gone into the pockets of the extremely wealthy, while unemployment hovers around an official 7.8% and is nearly twice that when counting workers who have given up looking for work.
The intransigence of conservative Republicans is not surprising, nor the timidity of Democrats: they both reflect the changing balance of power in the US. Unions have declined to single digits of the private sector workforce, and Republicans have sharpened their knives to eliminate the power of public sector unions, as well.
Meanwhile, state legislatures and Congress promote austerity, and cut programs benefiting the less affluent, while attempting to lower taxes and eliminate regulations that irritate the resurgent wealthy.
Why not? Politicians easily accumulate wealth from their connections. Anyone in government, even idealistic Obama staff, can legally line his/her nest by cooperating with the moneyed, our Roman Senators. None live in ghettos, or working-class neighborhoods. None see or hear the people who are hurt by the wealthy bias in media and politics.
And the media, largely owned by our Roman Senators, naturally reflects their bias; so even the poor tend to accept the agenda of the wealthy, insisting that austerity is necessary and even Social Security benefits must be cut.
This isn't just the swing of the pendulum; this smells like "takeover" by the very wealthy, like the Roman Senators' monopoly of power in Fifth Century Rome--before its fall.
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The vaunted American system of politics.
We have endemic and pervasive gun violence in the cities, and frequent massacres of innocents by crazies in the suburbs, and make it easier to buy and keep guns than any other "developed" country. And yet, the Senate can't even get to a vote on expanded background checks (supported by about 90% of Americans), because the murderous, corporate NRA cows most Republicans and enough Democrats.
Immigration reform may be stopped in its tracks for the same kind of reason: a small minority represented by a disproportionate number of Senators and/or Representatives, will try to block any immigration reform bill because, in this case, majorities in the South and the under-populated southern mid-section of the nation, are paranoid xenophobes.
On the other hand, Monsanto can insert special language in the Food bill, privileging GMO's, in what has been unofficially labeled "the Monsanto Protection Act." It passed and Obama signed it.
Finally, we have a Democratic President who won reelection championing defense of Social Security and Medicare, legacy programs of Democratic Presidents, but now he attacks them in the name of reform. Obama proposes to cut benefits through indirection: changing the price index used to calculate Social Security benefits, and by cutting payments to providers like doctors and hospitals, to "reform" Medicare.
Social Security does not contribute to government deficits: over the years, Congress and Presidents have borrowed trillions from its trust fund to pay the bills, and now it needs to be paid back. It has pre-funded the bulge in senior boomers, but 'bidness' wants to get its greedy little hands on those funds. Social Security won't need additional funding until the 2030's. Obama's "reform" is splitting his party, and he still won't get Republicans to support it.
A better case can be made for reform of Medicare/Medicaid: to make medical care more efficient. The US shouldn't spend double what other countries pay for comparable medical care. A restructuring is in order, involving what is paid for: patient outcomes, or discrete tests and hours; drug prices should be negotiated, not monopoly prices and hospital fees need to reflect medical needs, not business priorities. Maybe that's what Obama has in mind.
The most positive aspect of Obama's retrograde offer: Republicans will defend both programs in order to attack him.
It seems that only through the courts, sometimes, can progress be realized, as in the Pennsylvania Judge who found that corporations could not claim proprietary secrets for fracking fluid. How long will that "anti-corporate" ruling last?
The Supreme Court may attempt to sidestep the same-sex marriage issue, yet it boosted corporate power in Citizens United when that wasn't even the intent of the suit.
Who rules? The 0.1% and the corporations they own, whom I've labeled "our Roman Senators", like the Selfish Senators of 5th Century Rome. Their influence may be even more pernicious.
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Lobbies, and the corporations behind them, block almost all change in the US.
Back in the 1830's, de Tocqueville rhapsodized about how the new United States had groups organized wherever he went. He saw it as the blossoming of democracy.
Now, however, organization itself is big business. Lobbyists in the thousands insure that the powers-that-be maintain their monopoly-oligopoly, their stifling of innovation that might threaten a lock on their markets--as well as a government that caters to their interests and therefore discriminates against smaller, more nimble competitors.
The IMF recently held that subsidies for traditional energy companies (oil, coal, gas) were holding back the move to non-traditional sources (wind, solar, bio-fuels). Still, even the elite-led demand for reducing government expenditures hardly touches on those subsidies: billions a year to companies making billions in profits. In addition, thanks to people like VP Cheney, drilling companies are largely free of regulation. We still don't know what poisons frackers inject into the earth in order to force out oil or gas, because that's a "proprietary secret." Pennsylvania even gives frackers powers of eminent domain!
Chemical companies (mostly petroleum based) are also protected. Smaller competitors attempting to replace toxic materials like styrene with bio-based non-toxic materials are stymied: the EPA is not allowed to declare styrene's known carcinogenicity, let alone ban it, and similar hands off treatment is SOP for a whole raft of other chemicals. In addition, Monsanto succeeded in inserting language in the new food law that virtually exempts GMO's from regulation. Meanwhile, the FDA can't require them to be labeled as GMO's, either.
Big Pharma protects its monopoly patents world-wide, but especially in the US, and Medicare/Medicaid is required to buy drugs at inflated prices (often 10 times a possible generic); no negotiated prices are permitted.
So, it's not surprising that Congress, after much effort on the part of gun victims families, gun control advocates, governors and even the President, may or may not pass the most minimal of gun control measures: universal background checks, despite 90% support for it in most polls. Gun manufacturers have organized the NRA and now the even more militantly "pro-gun" Gun Buyers of America, to lobby all their captive Congressmen against any regulation except for militarizing the schools with subsidized armed guards (creating another subsidized market).
The ultimate subsidized market is Defense. Corporate contractors still get cost-plus contracts, still get reimbursed even for hotel taxes in Maryland--and then, Lockheed has the chutzpah to demand that Maryland reimburse it, too! And that's in addition to the huge subsidy derived from US insistence on maintaining hegemony worldwide.
The US is truly a corporate state wedded to outdated technologies, corporate behemoths and the greedy class, our Roman Senators, who own them.
Stalemate will doom it, unless it and the corporations are able to transfer their dominance worldwide. That's why the Indian decision against Novartis is so important: the sclerotic American Empire is losing control.
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George McGovern endorsed a terrible book, The Promise of the Coming Dark Age: it saw the Cambodian Khmer Rouge as the great promise: our communitarian future, in which capitalism would be transmuted into abundance for all.
From 1975-1979, the Khmer Rouge murdered a larger share of their people than the Nazis or Stalin: virtually any non-Maoist with education, or anyone from the middle class and any city-dweller. Later, anyone not ideologically "reliable" was eliminated, as well. The total murdered were between 1.7 and 2.3 million out of a population of only 7 million: between a fourth and a third of all Cambodians.
The idea that attracted McGovern was the Khmer Rouge's advocacy for a communitarian (Communist) agrarian society that was supposed to be fully self-sustaining, and purged of all western influence or technology. McGovern, et al ignored the violence, the authoritarianism, the ideological rigidity and the KR's flight from reality.
Finally, Vietnam ousted the KR in 1979, but Cambodia has suffered famines and near social collapse ever since, unable to overcome the KR's nearly successful attempt to destroy urban Cambodia and western education.
The KR glorified their agrarian past, just as the GOP glorifies a Norman Rockwell view of "real America." Ayn Rand, their ideological guru, glorified the unrestrained entrepreneur stifled by big government. As politicians attempt to put her vision into practice, it might not be so bloody as the KR, but many more will be impoverished. Randism inspires Republican enthusiasm for the sequester, in which the poor and middle class lose the services they depend on, while a small elite benefit from the cuts through privatization and lower taxes.
Ever since Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers' strike, the corporate wealthy have successfully carried Republicans and many Democrats with them. Since 1980, income and wealth have concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Disasters, like Katrina in New Orleans, and Sandy in New York, and the nationwide implosion of the financial sector in 2008, have accelerated the process. Wall Street was bailed out, but the country as a whole is still only slowly recovering. The vast majority of productivity gains and new wealth created since the implosion has ended up in the pockets of the wealthy; the banks that precipitated the crisis have gotten bigger and wealthier, yet last month only 88,000 private sector jobs were created. The nation needs at least 150,000 per month to recover.
The wealthy want the Government to cut back, not because there is a real, immediate debt crisis, but because continuing high unemployment serves them: it keeps wages low, workers compliant.
Unless there is some revolutionary upheaval, some Hugo Chavez, the takeover of the wealthy corporate class will continue, much like the monopolization of wealth and power in the hands of the Roman Senatorial class in the late 4th and early 5th century. It won't end well.
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Did you know that the "oil spill" in Arkansas over the weekend was actually tar sands (the stuff to be piped through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline)? Tar sands are probably exempt from the taxes that fund the clean up of such spills, yet this sludge is more toxic and more difficult to clean up than conventional crude.
Some interesting facts: the first, for me, was Oil Change's report, identifying the spill with Canadian tar sands. It wasn't reported that way in the New York Times, which used the euphemism "heavy crude from western Canada," nor on NPR, which simply reported it as a major oil spill until the following day.
Tar sands aren't oil. After much processing (requiring much heat, polluting more than coal), this "bitumen" sludge can be converted into an oil feedstock for further refining, but to call it "heavy crude" conceals what it really is and why a spill is much worse than conventional oil.
Toxicity is one of the reasons for blocking the XL Pipeline, which may be why even supposedly "objective" media outlets misled. Tar sands money has corrupted Canada's politics, and is adding to the endemic, legal corruption here. It may inspire right-wing billionaires, like the Kochs, to purchase media outlets like the LA Times.
Look at the contrast between India and the US: here the courts are influenced by major corporations, especially after Citizens United, and demand outrageous privileges, like patent monopolies indefinitely extended.
India is famous for its petty and not so petty corruption, personally observed when I lived there 33 years ago. Contemporary accounts imply it's as bad now. However, in some ways it might be less corrupt than the US, where corporations get anything they want, like Novartis' minor tweaking of an AIDS drug allowing indefinite monopoly protection. An Indian judge did something our Congress and courts have rarely managed: he stood up to Big Pharma, striking down Novartis' claim that its minor modification justified a new patent (monopoly protection) for the 20 years the Indian patent law permits.
In the US, regulators, courts and Congress bend over backwards to give corporations what they want--like the covert insertion of the "Monsanto protection act" into the Food bill.
The US may have fewer officials and politicians with their hands out, but the powerful use legal corruption. Their bribes are more lucrative: campaign funds, insider info, high paying jobs, and promotions when they recycle back from private to public sectors.
They are in service to our ultimate Roman Senators--the Koch brothers, Murdoch or Lockheed Martin--who know that control of the media is key.
Outside the US, people get freer news: in the US, Congress is writing a law to more strictly control the Internet, our best remaining source for a free flow of information.
Are we already a corporate state, a plutocracy like the later Roman Empire? Hard to tell with the managed information we're fed.
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Social progress seems slow, but in societal terms it's probably moving about as fast as it can: acceptance of gays, even if the Supreme Court can't keep up with the changes in society, is lightning fast.
On the other hand, environmental progress is moving in reverse along with economic equality. War and instability have become more destructive, even if there is no "world war."
Post-Citizens United: corporatist conservatives must punch themselves with glee: successes small: sneaking through "the Monsanto protection act" in the Food bill, and big: persuading the chattering classes inside the Beltway that the deficit/debt is an urgent problem that only can be solved by cutting what they derisively call "entitlements," not subsidies to the burgeoning wealthy.
Our media is so skewed towards the agenda of the wealthy and corporations, that it doesn't seem absurd that we're slashing government spending when unemployment is far too high. Our media is more controlled by wealth and corporate interests than it was in Venezuela before Chavez. He opposed it with state-owned media, and selective de-licensing.
US media excoriated Chavez as a dictator, while he won landslides in at least five elections, elections certified by Carter as freer than the US.
Venezuela may have more democracy than we do, since Republicans work assiduously to deny the right to vote to likely opponents, and a Supreme Court Justice derides Voting Rights Act Section 5 as establishing voting rights as a "racial entitlement."
The US claims it's exceptional; it isn't, except in things we shouldn't crow about, like the highest per capita rate of incarceration, the most expensive and least effective health care system, a falling working wage, soaring inequality, and endemic violence fueled by our wide open "gun culture."
We don't, any longer, score high on educational attainment: almost every other OECD nation has higher college graduation rates: the US used to lead.
Our military is exceptional: the US had the world's most effective killing machine--long before we started using drones. But it still loses wars: Vietnam, Iraq (really), and now Afghanistan.
The size of our military is also exceptional, but that demonstrates another American failing: like North Korea, we spend more money on war-making than on any other "discretionary" government function--we substitute brute strength for sense. We value guns over children, even our own children (100+ days since Newtown and no new Federal gun control law). But the Bible is "brought to you by Walmart," an American company. Exceptional!
The American Empire hasn't lasted long; it's failing progressively and making enemies everywhere. Soon the muscle-bound US will be only the second wealthiest nation.
Targeting immigrants and homegrown terrorists with drones, disenfranchising minorities (those we haven't jailed) and the poor, the US is also becoming almost as authoritarian as China, our successful competitor.
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Humans are predators and the US is the most effective of all.
change is accelerating, creating marvels, insability and crisis.
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This (the Apocalyptic idea) is one of the single worst perspectives our leaders can have and is a part of why we will have trouble working out of our problems.