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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

The U.S. and Other. by tucsonmike on 31 December 2006 11:41pm
I wanted to take some of what was on the Saddam thread and respond.

“When is Bush and Blair's turn?
What is their death count compared to Saddam's?
Terrible as he was, there would be at least 600,000 Iraqi's still alive if the Americans had stayed at home.
No offence to U.S Palinites,but do you see how your country is viewed abroad?
In most civilised countries, the death penalty was abolished many years ago, whilst the "Great Libertarians" retain it, mostly for poor young black men and now, under the shameful veil of the "Iraqi Government" for their enemies, which they know would never have been reached under jurisdiction of any other World Authority.”

As far as Iraqi sanctions, they did not really work. Saddam just grew wealthier. As for the Death Penalty, I support it only if DNA can prove beyond a reasonable doubt a certain person committed a certain heinous crime. Face it, there are people so evil, they are irredeemable. A crime of passion is one thing. A robbery of a restaurant where the killer having received the money kills the kids working there for the heck of it, well that is another. As for the larger number of black men committing crimes in most cases the murder victim is black as well. Some poor woman going home from a poorly paying job in one of our worst neighborhoods being killed by someone who wanted the few bucks she had on her. Read what comedian Bill Cosby has to say about such folks.

Cuba and Sanctions: This is not corporate greed but a political payoff to the Cuban Americans in South Florida who are solidly Republican. That is the only reason the embargo is still there.

Hey Kaz, this is for you, doll. Johnny don't forget our PM John Howard who supports Bush and Blair and sent many troops to war. He thoroughly enjoyed the big ego trip.
I don't know how he can sleep at night.
I cannot speak for Prime Minister Howard except I know he wants Condi Rice to run for President.
Read the following Wikipedia Excerpt.

However, in May 2005, several of Rice's associates claimed that she would be willing to run for the presidency if she were drafted into the race.[132] On October 16, 2005, on NBC's Meet the Press, Rice again denied she would run for President in 2008. While she says she is flattered that many people want her to run, she says it is not what she wants to do with her life. Rice told Fox News Sunday host, Chris Wallace: "I'm quite certain that there are going to be really fine candidates for president from our party, and I'm looking forward to seeing them and perhaps supporting them."[133] Interviewed on BBC television's The Politics Show on October 23, she again stated her decision not to run, although she avoided stating that she would not run under any circumstances. Rice has never said that she would not accept the Republican nomination were it to be offered to her, and has consistently avoided repeating the Sherman Oath ("If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.") which myriads of other speculative candidates have freely given before (including Vice President Cheney[134]).

Rice (left) and Laura Bush (second from the right) meet Liberian President-Elect Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (center), the world's first black female president, before Sirleaf's inauguration in Monrovia on January 16, 2006
Certain high-profile political figures, including Laura Bush, Former White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, and world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin[135] and Australian Prime Minister John Howard[136] have also voiced encouragement. Laura Bush has perhaps been the strongest proponent of Rice's candidacy. On CNN's The Situation Room on January 17, 2006, Mrs. Bush implicated Rice when asked if she thought the United States would soon have a female President, stating: "I'd love to see her run. She's terrific."[137] Mrs. Bush then turned to advocacy during an interview on CNN's Larry King Live on March 24, 2006, in which she stated that Dr. Rice would make an "excellent president", and that she wished Americans could "talk her into running."[138]
Rice has frequently been mentioned as a possible opponent of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 election, as is the subject of the book Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race, by political strategist Dick Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann-Morris.
Even in spite of Rice's denials of any presidential aspirations, many recent polls show her as the number one or number two most desired Republican nominee, including prominent ones like Marist, Rasmussen, and Zogby. In fact, a Zogby America poll from December 2005 showed Rice defeating Democratic potentials Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Mark Warner. However, a later WNBC/Marist pollfrom February 2006 showed Rice losing to both Clinton and John Edwards, while still defeating Kerry. Also in February 2006, TheWhiteHouseProject.org named Condoleezza Rice one of its "8 for '08", a group of eight women who they think could possibly run and/or be elected president in 2008.

American Segregation: You will get no disagreement from me on that score John. We rode a tortuous road with that.

John, have you ever been to the United States? Spoken with Americans? You will find many are like me. We love our nation to death, but sometimes shake our heads. There are few countries I can live in, where I will not be a minority, persecuted or even killed.
We do have problems. The majority of us need to start participating and make our government really represent us. All nations do things out of national interest and greed. I posted the stuff about the Great Game. The following two Wikipedia links cover that.
The Great Game.
Geostrategy in Central Asia. Look how many nations are involved.

Poland plays that role in Europe. The Economist predicts in thirty years, Russia and Germany will be the wealthiest European nations. Will that make Poland a giant mall parking lot? My point? History is full of nations being greedy in what their leadership perceives as their self interest.

I’ll conclude with war. As Sun Tzu and Clausewitz said, in reality it should be the last option. Pete may be right. Down the road, we will not need war. Wonder how long THAT will take?

Re: The U.S. and Other. by johnnythemonkey on 1 January 2007 12:38am
Mike ,First of all thank you for a restrained and well put together defence of your country.
No Mike,I have never visited the U.S,nor do I intend to.I would not feel comfortable risking my family in your violent society.
I was obviously getting carried away with my thoughts on "corporate greed"when I cited it for the the 50 year spiteful embargo on Cuba.You rightly point out the importance of Florida in electoral terms.
If I am right in assuming you are Jewish,then anti-Semitism will not be helped by the U.S Government's refusal to make any real effort to solve the problems of the Middle East.
I am not an expert on any of these matters,as are'nt most "ordinary" voters in both our countries.But it seems to me that the electorate in the U.S is ill-informed on the impact of your foreign policies and in mine,we are ignored.
I just watched some news footage of Saddam's execution,where he was being mocked and filmed on mobile phones in the seconds before his death.Since this would have almost certainly been preventable by the "U.S authorities";Is this what is meant by taking the moral high ground?
I would suggest things such as these are what would make any U.S citizen,not any particular ethnicity,now feel unsafe to travel overseas.Not that many of your fellow citizens do.
Much as I hate to say it,at least Saddam died with some bravery,with his last word being Mohammed and not a retort to his tormentors.
Another great P.R victory for "hearts and minds"?
Re: The U.S. and Other. by tucsonmike on 1 January 2007 3:02am
John, do you mean our criminal violence? That is much better than it was in my childhood. Much of our criminal violence is drug related (if we legalized drugs, most of our crime rate would vanish).

Come visit and check us out. Obviously, I cannot guarantee you would not be victimized by crime, but you would be a sad minority if that happened and I would feel awful.

Yes, I am Jewish with other things mixed in. (Central Asian and French).

I have to agree most Americans do not know much about foreign affairs as we are not really a traveling nation overseas.
Most Americans genuinely believe we try and do good in the world.

I disagree with many in rural America. Many of the religious ones I have met are kind hearted and decent. I've said this before you came on board here. I think part of what frustrates the rest of the world about us is people would rather we were pompous as a people.

Again, we have our problems, what nation does not? Read CNN Lou Dobbs book on the Middle Class here needing to become more involved. Many of our problems are our own fault as citizens.

Mexico is sixty miles South of me. I may have to go there to retire. I cannot become a Mexican citizen. If I went to the Mexican Consulate in Tucson and stated that desire, they would look at me as though I had lost my mind.

The United States is build on an idea, not blood or religion. There are things I want to see made right, but this is still a grand experiment.
Re: The U.S. and Other. by johnnythemonkey on 1 January 2007 3:56am
To find common ground and demonstrate that I do not set out to condemn your country for the sake of it,I will firstly pick up the points where I agree with you.
Drugs are indeed the driving force behind crime in your country and indeed mine.Hence my point about the lack of action on the source of most of the heroin which blights our society,Afghanistan.
However when you refer to rural America;do you mean,as many refer to it as the "bible belt"?
Whilst such people have been the subject of much mocking and ridicule(I myself am atheist)they have been proved right in the results of the moral decline in our societies.
I was brought in a religious household and though I subsequently chose to reject the religion,I
like to think I have passed on the decent way of living,that my parents stood for, to my daughters.
It has been demonstrated time and again that Britain,despite our P.M's delusions,has no influence on U.S policy abroad.
I only hope that the American people will stand up for the ideals that your country was founded on(with the help of many Scotsmen!)
Re: The U.S. and Other. by johnnythemonkey on 1 January 2007 5:14am
I include here extracts from the editorial of "The Mail on Sunday" 31st Dec 2006.
"The scruffy executioners in the grubby shed wore masks, while the condemned man bore himself with dignity and calmly refused a blindfold"
Further on in the article.....
"Saddam was plainly guilty,but his trial was badly botched and far from fair.And he was, when he committed his crimes,the leader of a sovereign state,often acting with the West's encouragement.
There is no good answer to the jibe that this was victor's justice.
In the Middle East, and increasingly at home as well,many ask if leaders of Britain and America will ever be brought to account for the death and destruction they have inflicted upon Iraq."

I suggest that these were the very same points that I had made in the other thread,24 hours before this newspaper,which is regarded as right wing here,published.
As a footnote Mike;How many Americans read newspapers,never mind ones that express such opinions?Someone else(sightsound) I think, posted about the narrowness of the U.S media.
Re: The U.S. and Other. by johnnythemonkey on 1 January 2007 9:52am
Read this and waken up!!
Are Mike and myself the only ones up for debate?
I posted this to bring it to the top of the list and maybe attention.
I can return to posting other drivel,like fellatio,sorry meant to say philately. Oops!!
Re: The U.S. and Other. by sighthound on 1 January 2007 8:52pm
John, we just woke up out here. Was going to respond last night to several points you and Mike made but, well, it was New Year's Eve....

I share your absolute disgust with the details of Hussein's execution but the American "authorities" made it absolutely clear that it was to be a strictly Iraqi-run operation. (We're really not stupid enough to want to touch that particular bit of judicial procedure with a ten-foot pole.) However, I think it shows that the sectarian violence will only be getting worse and illustrates that, despite the protestations of it being "justice", the death penalty is ALWAYS about vengenance.

I hope you will reconsider your decision not to visit the United States. If you avoid the drug areas that Mike mentioned (easy to do), we are really a pretty safe place. The United States is huge and, of course, violent incidents do occur but "violence sells" so they are blown up all out of proportion by our national media. (And if you add sex to the violence, like in stories about murdered child beauty queens, you can run the story for YEARS.)

Yes, I was the one who mentioned our totally co-opted media. Most of our newspapers are no better than most of our electronic media as they are both owned by the same huge corporations who bought the media for it's profit potential, not from any desire to explore the truth of world events. The days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are long gone. There are media outlets who still carry the torch of truth but they're not "sexy" so don't get the attention that Fox News ("news"?) does. National Public Radio (NPR), listener-not corporate-sponsored, is one and, while people who don't listen to it regularly, excoriate it as being "liberal" (when did that become a dirty word?) media I have heard much more intelligent conservative views there than on any other branch of the media, conservative views that have even changed my mind on some occasions.

What Mike said: "I have to agree most Americans do not know much about foreign affairs as we are not really a traveling nation overseas. Most Americans genuinely believe we try and do good in the world" is so COMPLETELY TRUE and is the key of why we do such stupid things on the world stage. America is an enormous place and you can do a lot of travelling without ever leaving the country. You can experience the many diverse cultures that are here but maybe without escaping the media "overlay" that interprets those cultures for you as "folksy" and not as legitimate alternate ways of looking at the world. George Bush, despite his wealth, NEVER travelled outside of US borders before he was elected President. He was totally insulated from the fact that not everyone buys into the American Dream/John Wayne view of the world, his tragic flaw. I honestly think he believes all the nonsense he spouts but that makes him all the more dangerous.

Now we get to the comments about the "Bible Belt", a thorny topic if there ever was one. Karl Rove (and, before him, Newt Gingrich) have been brilliant in tapping into the conservative christian dissatifaction with mainstream American culture. But (a very big "but") they used the fundamentalist views on sex to do it because sex "sells" even better than violence. It is very easy to get people with that religious bent to get worked up about abortion and homosexual marriage. Rove et al. manipulated them to the hilt and got them to ignore all the other Christian imperatives to help the poor and promote peace when they voted. But (another very big and really good "but") the Christian fundamentalists are beginning to wake up to the fact that there are things other than sex to be concerned about. There is a growing movement here with the Christian right that environmental concerns are something that they should be concerned with. This is not only good for the environment but also opens up avenues for communication between people who have been polarized into non-communication. (Gingrich is the devil here.)

Well, it's a New Year and we can only go forward and hope to make it a better year.

Re: The U.S. and Other. by johnnythemonkey on 1 January 2007 11:26pm
Lord Michael,
If you are so open-minded and thirsty to travel I will gladly fund you to go to Turkmenistan,North Korea,Chechnya,Somalia,Burma then even a taste of American culture in Disneyland.
I quoted from "The Mail" as it happened to be in front of me and admit it suited my point.Many other national and international newspapers expressed similar views.
You sound like a "Guardianista".Shall I use that to form my opinions?
I realise that unfortunately most countries ,including my own,have no-go areas,due to drugs etc.But the U.S differs from the rest,with it,s proliferation of guns.
There have been many instances of tourists being targeted because their hire cars were easily identified as soon as they arrived in the country.
I recall the incident where one British tourist had been mugged and beaten.He knocked on the door of a friendly local,to seek assistance and was promptly shot dead.
Maybe I'll join you on my suggested itinery,but I will fly home from Burma.
Endearingly yours,
Re: The U.S. and Other. by sighthound on 2 January 2007 12:20am
Well, I must admit that I'm another gun-toting American. I've lived most of my life in rural areas and I've needed guns to dispatch rattlesnakes who tried to colonize my house and to protect my animals who were about to be preyed upon by predators.

This is a big country with many, many venues. Hand guns in cities should certainly be controlled but it is legally difficult to do that without depriving rural residents with the protection that they need. This is a national dilemmna that we will be arguing about for many years.
Re: The U.S. and Other. by johnnythemonkey on 2 January 2007 12:26am
Geraldine,It seems it is possible to buy anything short of an I.C.B.M,surely some controls could be brought in.
Charlton Heston won't be around much longer!Is he still breathing under that rug?
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