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  #201  
Old 12-25-2013, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
I think people who go around saying the US is becoming a banana republic have never visited an actual banana republic.
I was born in one and lived there too. But really I do agree with Exapno Mapcase, the point I do make is that many Republicans, particularly from the south, seem to seek that "ideal". As I said, eternal vigilance is doing a good job to prevent that. So far.

One important memory for me: It was a very rude realization when I saw people like Noam Chomsky getting it right regarding Central America and seeing conservatives like the one that debated him here behaving like the rulers of those banana republics.

http://www.chomsky.info/debates/1986----.htm
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Chomsky

I would be delighted if the United States were to reverse its longstanding policies of opposing democratic forces throughout Central America and begin to support those forces.

Now, to return to Nicaragua and to return to the real world, I never described the Sandinistas as perfect democrats or whatever your phrase was. What I did was quote the World Bank, OXFAM, the Jesuit Order and others who recognize that what they were doing was to use the meager resources of that country for the benefit of the poor majority. That's why health standards shot up. That's why literacy shot up. That's why agrarian reform proceeded, the only place in the region. That's why subsistence agriculture improved and consumption of food increased and that's why we attacked them. It had nothing to do with democracy.

Now, I also did not say that Cruz and Robelo committed atrocities. In fact, Cruz and Robelo sit in Washington and don't do anything. They are figureheads who we concocted. The people who commit atrocities are the Contra forces led by the National Guard. And of all the figures you mention, one is involved: namely, Colero, who is an ultra-right-wing businessman and represents the extremist, narrow business forces in Nicaragua.

Now, if we had the slightest concern with democracy -- which we do not in our foreign affairs and never have -- we would turn to countries where we have influence, like El Salvador. Now, in El Salvador they don't call the archbishop bad names; what they do is murder him. They do not censor the press; they wipe the press out. They sent the army in to blow up the church radio station. The editor of the independent newspaper was found in a ditch mutilated and cut to pieces with a machete.

Silber

Don't you ever -

Chomsky

...May I continue? I did not interrupt you...

Silber

Don't you ever want to put a time value on anything you say...

Chomsky

Excuse me, that was 19...

Silber

...Or do you just want to lie systematically on television?

Chomsky

I'm talking about...I'm talking about...I'm talking about 198...

Silber

...You are a systematic liar...
Good thing that Chomsky was not living there, when one of the most important Jesuit priests mopped the floor with a right winger in a debate like that the Jesuit priest was the one murdered later.

The one opposing Chomsky was John Silber who Led Boston University, AFAIK, he remained well respected and never was taken to task for lying about what was going on in El Salvador. Back in current times I do see a lot of (mostly) southern conservative politicians like Charles DeMint wanting to see those good old days of coups and repression to continue south of the border. And many conservatives in Miami still let from time to time their inner banana republic military troglodyte ideals show.
  #202  
Old 12-25-2013, 06:14 AM
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Some posters are simply being over-the-top melodramatic, cherry-picking individual examples that are hardly representative of the whole.
  #203  
Old 12-25-2013, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
If the definition of a Banana Republic is a sequential, greedy, remorseless, sociopathic, semi-homicidal leadership with a staggeringly ignorant, uneducated population, including a rapid percentage rise of destitution, then yes, the U.S. is becoming a Banana Republic.
Great, then since the definition of "Banana Republic" is not what you put, nor since what you stated actually describes the US, I'm glad to see you're on the side of... well, if not reason, than at least on the side of stumbling onto the correct answer.

I noticed that you just joined, Rigo, so to make things easier, in this forum (Great Debates), you are supposed to back up your assertion with some citations (preferably primary sources.) It also helps to read the thread in its entirety before participating as to make sure you aren't making the same incorrect points that were debunked earlier.

Stuff like the quoted passage should be in IMHO, MPSIMS, or the BBQ Pit.

And, welcome to the SDMB!

Last edited by JohnT; 12-25-2013 at 08:01 AM.
  #204  
Old 12-25-2013, 08:07 AM
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Great, then since the definition of "Banana Republic" is not what you put, nor since what you stated actually describes the US, I'm glad to see you're on the side of... well, if not reason, than at least on the side of stumbling onto the correct answer.

I noticed that you just joined, Rigo, so to make things easier, in this forum (Great Debates), you are supposed to back up your assertion with some citations (preferably primary sources.) It also helps to read the thread in its entirety before participating as to make sure you aren't making the same incorrect points that were debunked earlier.

Stuff like the quoted passage should be in IMHO, MPSIMS, or the BBQ Pit.

And, welcome to the SDMB!

I said IF the definition is, etc ....... Can I take your word for it that it is not the proper definition? Fine, but I still say the U.S. is all that I said it is. So, perhaps I am stumbling onto the incorrect answer to the definition of Banana Republic but I'm still right about the U.S.

Thank you for the welcome but I don't know who Rigo is. Should I?
  #205  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:05 AM
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Ah, dammit. Sorry about that, Rige.
  #206  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
I said IF the definition is, etc ....... Can I take your word for it that it is not the proper definition? Fine, but I still say the U.S. is all that I said it is. So, perhaps I am stumbling onto the incorrect answer to the definition of Banana Republic but I'm still right about the U.S.

Thank you for the welcome but I don't know who Rigo is. Should I?
Seriously, though, you don't get to redefine terms to fit your preconceptions or else I would write sentences where the lasagna ratios of the gross mercantile indices indicate the probability of furnace water occurring on Wall Street.

And it's true! According to how one defines some terms, of course...

Also, as mentioned, claims require citations. So... cite?

Last edited by JohnT; 12-25-2013 at 10:11 AM.
  #207  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:37 AM
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....... lasagna ratios of the gross mercantile indices indicate the probability of furnace water occurring on Wall Street. And it's true! According to how one defines some terms, of course...
In-so-much their inversely proportional qualities? Yes, I agree.


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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
Also, as mentioned, claims require citations. So... cite?

Because the majority of the people you quote have no quotes of their own but rely on personal experience, so do I. The criteria of what I assumed a Banana Republic might require are my own words. Is there an authority on the subject that would contradict me?

As far as my assessment on the lack of certain U.S. attributes, what exactly would you like for me to establish that isn't already common knowledge?
  #208  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:39 AM
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Ah, dammit. Sorry about that, Rige.
Who's Rige? I know netiher a Rigo nor a Rige.
  #209  
Old 12-25-2013, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
I'll take your word for that, but it does not disprove the insinuation that the U.S. is becoming a "Banana Republic" - or perhaps one should say that it is lagging behind a growing number of nations that are soaring upwards, making the U.S. a default Banana Republic by the fact that progressive nations are leaving the U.S. far behind and former Banana Republics are passing it by.

The population of the U.S. has less rights, less freedom, less democratic principles than it had before. It is well down the International Democracy Index in every category that make up quality of life and the more it falters the closer it resembles a Third World nation - a Banana Republic.
My question to you is the same as it has been to everyone else. When exactly did the "population of the U.S. [have] less rights, less freedom, less democratic principles" than they do now? Name the time. Name the rights, freedoms, and democratic principles that they have lost. Remember that my lifetime includes the McCarthy era, the Nixon era, and the Bush era, and that I have seen the onset of black rights, women's rights, gay rights, and many other advances personally. When exactly are you comparing to?
  #210  
Old 12-25-2013, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
My question to you is the same as it has been to everyone else. When exactly did the "population of the U.S. [have] less rights, less freedom, less democratic principles" than they do now? Name the time. Name the rights, freedoms, and democratic principles that they have lost. Remember that my lifetime includes the McCarthy era, the Nixon era, and the Bush era, and that I have seen the onset of black rights, women's rights, gay rights, and many other advances personally. When exactly are you comparing to?
Are you asking for dates, the tick of the clock, a itemized account point for point? Perhaps you ought to tell me which questions you already have answers to so that I won't waste your time (and mine) with redundancies.
  #211  
Old 12-25-2013, 12:24 PM
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Are you asking for dates, the tick of the clock, a itemized account point for point? Perhaps you ought to tell me which questions you already have answers to so that I won't waste your time (and mine) with redundancies.
Any times, any dates, any specifics. Any facts whatsoever.
  #212  
Old 12-25-2013, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
My question to you is the same as it has been to everyone else. When exactly did the "population of the U.S. [have] less rights, less freedom, less democratic principles" than they do now? Name the time. Name the rights, freedoms, and democratic principles that they have lost. Remember that my lifetime includes the McCarthy era, the Nixon era, and the Bush era, and that I have seen the onset of black rights, women's rights, gay rights, and many other advances personally. When exactly are you comparing to?
Emphasis added. I think you meant to type "more" there. Because I can think of just a few years ago when there were fewer rights and freedoms...
  #213  
Old 12-25-2013, 01:01 PM
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Emphasis added. I think you meant to type "more" there. Because I can think of just a few years ago when there were fewer rights and freedoms...
Quite right, John. I should have reversed the entire phrase. It should have been "When exactly did the "population of the U.S. have more rights, more freedom, more democratic principles" than they do now"?

The answer is "never," which is obviously why Riga Marole is not going to try to answer that question.
  #214  
Old 12-25-2013, 01:11 PM
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Emphasis added. I think you meant to type "more" there. Because I can think of just a few years ago when there were fewer rights and freedoms...
And this "few years ago" was before or after the Patriot Act and hunting down Snowden for revealing the truth about the government .... curbing your freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and a few more freedoms?

Look, let's be honest here. Let's say that starting tomorrow the U.S. issues a nation-wide curfew, keeping everyone indoors after 9 PM, banning all radio and TV broadcasts. Then after 2 months they allow you to be out until 10 PM. but keep the rest of it. Will you be telling me then that because you can stay out one hour longer that your rights have been improved?

Last edited by Riga Marole; 12-25-2013 at 01:12 PM.
  #215  
Old 12-25-2013, 01:13 PM
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Quite right, John. I should have reversed the entire phrase. It should have been "When exactly did the "population of the U.S. have more rights, more freedom, more democratic principles" than they do now"?

The answer is "never," which is obviously why Riga Marole is not going to try to answer that question.
Don't be silly.

But I'm happy that you're happy.

Last edited by Riga Marole; 12-25-2013 at 01:14 PM.
  #216  
Old 12-25-2013, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
And this "few years ago" was before or after the Patriot Act and hunting down Snowden for revealing the truth about the government .... curbing your freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and a few more freedoms?
J. Edgar Hoover.

Please learn some history. Actually, please learn a lot of history.
  #217  
Old 12-25-2013, 02:38 PM
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J. Edgar Hoover.

Please learn some history. Actually, please learn a lot of history.
Who's Edward Hoover?
  #218  
Old 12-25-2013, 02:58 PM
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Who's Edward Hoover?
I have no idea, nor the slightest idea the point of your post since he didn't mention "Edward Hoover".

Did you misread "J. Edgar Hoover" as "Edward Hoover" or were you just trying to tweak him somehow or other?
  #219  
Old 12-25-2013, 03:02 PM
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Yes, rights and life for Americans is just getting better .....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygtqaH-hnFs

..... and better.
  #220  
Old 12-25-2013, 03:15 PM
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And this "few years ago" was before or after the Patriot Act and hunting down Snowden for revealing the truth about the government .... curbing your freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and a few more freedoms?
You've never had the right to reveal classified information, and are you honestly going to tell us that Snowdon is the first guy to be "hunted down" after breaking the law?

At any rate, you don't have to go back very far to a time when gays had little or no rights wrt their sexuality. A decade ago things were quite different. And that's about 5% of the populations +/-. Go back a few more, and blacks and whites could not marry in many states. The US has seen a steady move towards more and more freedom over the years, and if anyone thinks there was some Golden Age in the past where we were all so much freeer, I'd like to see when that time was and what sorts of freedoms we had that we don't have now.

Quote:
Look, let's be honest here. Let's say that starting tomorrow the U.S. issues a nation-wide curfew, keeping everyone indoors after 9 PM, banning all radio and TV broadcasts. Then after 2 months they allow you to be out until 10 PM. but keep the rest of it. Will you be telling me then that because you can stay out one hour longer that your rights have been improved?
It's always easy, though not meaningful, to debate against some absurd hypothetical. I'll stick to the real world, thank-you-very-much.
  #221  
Old 12-25-2013, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
Yes, rights and life for Americans is just getting better .....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygtqaH-hnFs

..... and better.
The video maker lost me when he said that Americans are "sheeple".

http://xkcd.com/1013/



It goes then from that to a Godwin by making a comparison to the "loss of freedoms now" to the WWII Holocaust.

To the dismissed pile it goes..

Last edited by GIGObuster; 12-25-2013 at 03:28 PM.
  #222  
Old 12-25-2013, 03:29 PM
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The US has seen a steady move towards more and more freedom over the years ...

This being some of the proof of it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygtqaH-hnFs
  #223  
Old 12-25-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
Yes, rights and life for Americans is just getting better .....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygtqaH-hnFs

..... and better.
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Originally Posted by Riga Marole View Post
This being some of the proof of it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygtqaH-hnFs

That video is even better the 2nd time around.
  #224  
Old 12-25-2013, 03:49 PM
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"He awoke the Sheeple!!!!

"All is lost!"
  #225  
Old 12-25-2013, 04:04 PM
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That video is even better the 2nd time around.
Did I link the same video twice? Ooooops!
  #226  
Old 12-25-2013, 08:01 PM
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Four hours later I wonder... why did he note the mistake but not make the correction?

Last edited by JohnT; 12-25-2013 at 08:05 PM.
  #227  
Old 12-25-2013, 09:36 PM
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Because he has no argument except "Wake UP sheeple!" When you're utterly wrong, but have convinced yourself, all you can do is keep telling the 'sheeple' that they're blind to what you see. Even if you can't show that what you see is even there.
  #228  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:02 PM
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Yes, rights and life for Americans is just getting better .....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygtqaH-hnFs

..... and better.
This actually raises a serious issue. If posters actually think they can make a political point by linking to a YouTube video, how can you argue that the U.S. is not a country in decline?

It's even bigger than that. Anyone who tries to make the case that the U.S. was better in any of these issues in the past must have been failed by a spectacularly substandard educational system. Ironically, they are their own best argument for their cause.
  #229  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Human Action View Post
Section 8
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
School meal programs in the United States
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Goodwill Industries
Public education in the United States
The U.S. isn't quite the Dickensian free-for-all you seem to imagine. Literally every program you just named exists here.
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I would like to note that HA mentioned only the large programs. The state, city, and county programs are still in existence (50 states, 3,144 counties, 30,000 cities and towns), as well as many private charities such as the Salvation Army, various Food Banks, and more.
My wife and daughter, yesterday afternoon, spent 3 hours at the Food Bank putting together meals for children in day care programs for single parents. 2,000 meals a day get made and distributed, and, again, that's just one of the programs available upon request. This past weekend, we spent an additional 3 hours pulling weeds from the garden and sorting cans. (The SAFB provides over 60,000 meals a week to the needy in San Antonio, btw.)
That is how things work in America. We just don't leave it up to the government, we pull together ourselves and help the poor and hungry with our bare hands (and, yes, checkbooks. Americans give more in charity, in both absolute and per capita terms, than any other industrialized country.)
Thanks HA for providing examples of US programs for the poor. I was actually aware of them.
And John T, I have great admiration for the charitable work you and your family does.
If those programs in place actually worked or were improved, you would not need to be so charitable.
There are no foodbanks or soup kitchens in Sweden or Denmark, there is no need. The poor get cash benefits and they can go out and buy food and clothing as required. People pay for the poor through taxes.
Free health care helps too. The number of online sites I have seen for people asking for donations for cancer treatment or other ailments is so very sad. And that can be from middle class families too since healthcare costs in the US can bankrupt a family.

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Very simply, no.
This is not true. The U.S. has not reversed course. It is vastly - vastly - more active in fighting poverty than it was 50 years ago.
I was thirteen 50 years ago so I can attest to the lack of programs in the country. I was what we defined as working class poor. We got nothing at all from government programs.
The War on Poverty did not start until 1965. Most of the programs Human Action listed come from after that time. There may be some noisy voices on the right trying to roll these back but it has not happened yet and there is no public political appetite for them to do so. I don't know where you live or what news you look at, but when I look at the world I see the same pressures for austerity everywhere in every country. (And with some successes, especially when it comes to workers, hours, and pay.) Nothing about the U.S. is unique, and in fact it is rising from the worldwide recession better and faster than most other western countries.
There is virtually nothing about today's society that is not vastly superior to that of 50 years ago. Politically, economically, or technologically, in matters of health, consumer goods, food, education, or basic freedoms, in the condition of cities or farms or housing. And while there continue to be economic ups and downs, and individual people are being hurt, and nothing is perfect, and all that will continue to be true in the future - THE U.S. IS NOT IN DECLINE.
And I say this as a cynical curmudgeon. It is a plain matter of fact. I can - and do - look at the past, at every decade in the past, and compare it to today. They pale before the reality. If the U.S. ever goes into absolute decline in my lifetime I will be out there shouting about it. In the meantime, I say its Creationism and I say the hell with it.
You say this and I grant you that living through it, you must have seen improvements, but havenít you also noted other things?
In 1965, Detroit was still one of the richest cities in the US. Now itís one of the poorest and has gone bankrupt. I can think of no other economically advanced country who would allow a major city to fall so spectacularly as Detroit has, creating slums where there was once prosperity. And there are other cities in the US with similar problems. You say, you have only seen improvements, but surely you couldnít have overlooked Detroit?
Isnít it more like two steps forward, three steps back?
  #230  
Old 12-25-2013, 10:47 PM
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You say this and I grant you that living through it, you must have seen improvements, but havenít you also noted other things?
In 1965, Detroit was still one of the richest cities in the US. Now itís one of the poorest and has gone bankrupt. I can think of no other economically advanced country who would allow a major city to fall so spectacularly as Detroit has, creating slums where there was once prosperity. And there are other cities in the US with similar problems. You say, you have only seen improvements, but surely you couldnít have overlooked Detroit?
Isnít it more like two steps forward, three steps back?
Detroit was absolutely devastated in the Great Depression. Why don't you start your timeline then?

It is obviously and completely imbecilic to state that everything is wonderful today. That's why I've pointedly not done it. I've stated specifically several times that many things are bad and need improvement. A million things. Make a list of them, as long as you want.

But that list is not equivalent to the United States. The United States is, say, ten million things. So nine million things are better than in 1965.

We can play this game all day long. What it amounts to is that I am saying that so many hugely important things have changed for the better that daily life for virtually everybody is - net - better than it ever has been. You can point to individual things that are bad, or worse, or flat-out awful. That is not decline. That is the inevitable product of living in the real world.

If you want to rail against any or all the individually bad things, count me in. I'll be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with you screaming. However, I cannot blind myself to the reality that every single country and every society within every single country has a multitude of individually bad things. No utopia exists anywhere on earth. The totality of the positives of the United States stack up impressively against the totality of the positives in any other country. Maybe the totality of its negatives are also impressive - impressively horrible. I couldn't argue with that. But it has always been so. It will always be so. And it will be so everywhere else, too.

What has happened throughout history is that countries borrow (adapt, steal, imitate) positives from each other. That will continue. The U.S. will borrow good things from Sweden and Denmark. And Sweden and Denmark will borrow good things from the U.S. For the foreseeable future living standards will improve net all over the world. No decline is in sight. The bad stuff will continue to dominate headlines, also as has been true forever. Good. Let's all get mad about them and work to change them. But that's been exactly the process since the Industrial Revolution. Nothing has changed today. Nothing.
  #231  
Old 12-25-2013, 11:07 PM
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My question to you is the same as it has been to everyone else. When exactly did the "population of the U.S. [have] less rights, less freedom, less democratic principles" than they do now? Name the time. Name the rights, freedoms, and democratic principles that they have lost. Remember that my lifetime includes the McCarthy era, the Nixon era, and the Bush era, and that I have seen the onset of black rights, women's rights, gay rights, and many other advances personally. When exactly are you comparing to?
I've had a few discussions with people who claim the US is circling the drain and I asked them the same question: when was it better? The only answer I ever got that wasn't simple dodging like Riga's was "a few minutes before the Patriot Act was signed".

So Riga, when in US history was it better than it is now?
  #232  
Old 12-25-2013, 11:21 PM
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Detroit was absolutely devastated in the Great Depression. Why don't you start your timeline then?

It is obviously and completely imbecilic to state that everything is wonderful today. That's why I've pointedly not done it. I've stated specifically several times that many things are bad and need improvement. A million things. Make a list of them, as long as you want.

But that list is not equivalent to the United States. The United States is, say, ten million things. So nine million things are better than in 1965.

We can play this game all day long. What it amounts to is that I am saying that so many hugely important things have changed for the better that daily life for virtually everybody is - net - better than it ever has been. You can point to individual things that are bad, or worse, or flat-out awful. That is not decline. That is the inevitable product of living in the real world.

If you want to rail against any or all the individually bad things, count me in. I'll be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with you screaming. However, I cannot blind myself to the reality that every single country and every society within every single country has a multitude of individually bad things. No utopia exists anywhere on earth. The totality of the positives of the United States stack up impressively against the totality of the positives in any other country. Maybe the totality of its negatives are also impressive - impressively horrible. I couldn't argue with that. But it has always been so. It will always be so. And it will be so everywhere else, too.

What has happened throughout history is that countries borrow (adapt, steal, imitate) positives from each other. That will continue. The U.S. will borrow good things from Sweden and Denmark. And Sweden and Denmark will borrow good things from the U.S. For the foreseeable future living standards will improve net all over the world. No decline is in sight. The bad stuff will continue to dominate headlines, also as has been true forever. Good. Let's all get mad about them and work to change them. But that's been exactly the process since the Industrial Revolution. Nothing has changed today. Nothing.
First of all, I chose 1965, as I was putting into your life time.
As for the Great Depression, again, it affected the whole world, and it was in fact one of the catalysts to spur change.

However that may be. I see your point. And I respect that. And agree to a certain extent. I guess the difference is that I'm observing things with some alarm.
  #233  
Old 12-25-2013, 11:40 PM
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Detroit's problems are Detroit's not the US's. This is a dynamic country of creative distruction. We don't hold onto the past just because "things have always been like this". Detroit started out as nothing a little over a hundred years ago, and it may end as nothing a hundred years hence.

I live near San Jose, CA. The largest city that sits inside what is known as Silicon Valley. In 1950, San Jose had 95,000 residence and was mostly an agricultural economy. Today, it has more than 10x that many people, and it's mostly a technology economy. The median household income is > $90k/year.

If you want to make a case that the Americans were better off in 1965 than they are now, let's see it.

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  #234  
Old 12-26-2013, 12:23 AM
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I've had a few discussions with people who claim the US is circling the drain ...
I've noticed that quite often it's nothing more than wishful thinking, although they always deny it. But I've heard the same claims of the US going down the train in the 1970s, in the 1980s, in the ... well, you get the idea.
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:29 AM
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So Riga, when in US history was it better than it is now?
NEVER, of course. It just gets better from one day to the next. Strange that it isn't recognized by the International Democratic Index, though. I put it down to jealousy.
  #236  
Old 12-26-2013, 01:37 AM
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Detroit's problems are Detroit's not the US's.
Detroit! The prototype of a modern, American city! By the time every city is taken under Detroit's benevolent wings you can begin converting the rest of the world as well! I can hardly wait till it reaches my city! Oh joy and prosperity!
  #237  
Old 12-26-2013, 02:13 AM
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Detroit! The prototype of a modern, American city! By the time every city is taken under Detroit's benevolent wings you can begin converting the rest of the world as well! I can hardly wait till it reaches my city! Oh joy and prosperity!
Do you have anything of substance to post, or are you just going to continue with snide comments?
  #238  
Old 12-26-2013, 03:03 AM
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Do you have anything of substance to post, or are you just going to continue with snide comments?
Sorry if you don't you like Detroit. I think it's wonderful.
  #239  
Old 12-26-2013, 07:53 AM
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NEVER, of course. It just gets better from one day to the next. Strange that it isn't recognized by the International Democratic Index, though. I put it down to jealousy.
The International Democracy Index has been published since 2006.

2006 - the U.S. ranked 17th.

2008 - the U.S. ranked 18th.

2010 - the U.S. ranked 17th.

2012 - the U.S. ranked 21st.

What happened in 2012?

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US democracy has been adversely affected by a deepening of the polarisation of the political scene and political brinkmanship and paralysis.
Oh. What a crisis. I expect to be in the gulag by week's end, because the parties say mean things about each other.
  #240  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:24 AM
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So... US democracy is worse off because US citizens, and their elected representatives, are using the democratic framework and processes to debate and decide upon issues that are currently polarizing to the citizenry.

Therefore, I guess the US is worse off solely because there are issues polarizing to the citizenry.

Got it.

(Are there enough rolleyes smilies in the universe for this one?)

Last edited by JohnT; 12-26-2013 at 08:27 AM.
  #241  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:28 AM
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The International Democracy Index has been published since 2006.

2006 - the U.S. ranked 17th.

2008 - the U.S. ranked 18th.

2010 - the U.S. ranked 17th.

2012 - the U.S. ranked 21st.

What happened in 2012?
What happened in 2012? Gosh! Good question! I've been telling everyone "the population of the U.S. have more rights, more freedom, and more democratic principles than ever before ...... and it just keeps getting better!" At least I think that was me who said it? Boy was I wrong, huh!
  #242  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:36 AM
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So... US democracy is worse off because US citizens, and their elected representatives, are using the democratic framework and processes to debate and decide upon issues that are currently polarizing to the citizenry.

Therefore, I guess the US is worse off solely because there are issues polarizing to the citizenry.

Got it.

(Are there enough rolleyes smilies in the universe for this one?)
International Democracy Index rankings are pretty goofy that way. They rank the things you'd expect: electoral process, civil liberties, etc - but also things like "political culture" that amount to a value judgment on what a democracy should look like. I'm more on your side: as long as the government is carrying out the will of the people, even if that's polarizing and ugly, then that government is a democracy. Otherwise, you're judging the people, not the government.

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What happened in 2012? Gosh! Good question! I've been telling everyone "the population of the U.S. have more rights, more freedom, and more democratic principles than ever before ...... and it just keeps getting better!" At least I think that was me who said it? Boy was I wrong, huh!
Well, I quoted you what the IDF report said to justify the ranking. If you want to break it down further, from 2010 to 2012:

"Electoral process and pluralism" was unchanged.
"Functioning of government" dropped from 7.86 to 7.5.
"Political participation" was unchanged.
"Political culture" was unchanged.
"Civil liberties" was unchanged.

So, to you, this justifies a conclusion that American rights, freedoms, and democratic principles are waning?
  #243  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:45 AM
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Well, I quoted you what the IDF report said to justify the ranking. If you want to break it down further, from 2010 to 2012:
OK.


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So, to you, this justifies a conclusion that American rights, freedoms, and democratic principles are waning??

Not at all. I'm sure the Index is just a misunderstanding or a typographical error and the 25 nations listed above the U.S. is due to a Microsoft Word virus that shifted the list incorrectly at the very moment it was published.
  #244  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:49 AM
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OK.
Any insights at all on what they said?

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Not at all. I'm sure the Index is just a misunderstanding or a typographical error and the 25 nations listed above the U.S. is due to a Microsoft Word virus that shifted the list incorrectly at the very moment it was published.
I'll try again, I guess: do you understand that the IDF report bases their rankings on five different categories?
  #245  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:56 AM
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In 1965, Detroit was still one of the richest cities in the US.
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Detroit! The prototype of a modern, American city! By the time every city is taken under Detroit's benevolent wings you can begin converting the rest of the world as well! I can hardly wait till it reaches my city! Oh joy and prosperity!
Congratulations guys, you have discovered the post-WW2 migration to the suburbs.

It is true that the City of Detroit has lost 800,000 people since 1960, of that there is no doubt. However, metropolitan Detroit has gained from 3.7 to 4.3 million since then.

What you had in Detroit was mirrored in other US cities as well. The city of Cleveland peaked at 914k in 1950, is now just under 400k (a greater % loss than Detroit and a better example for your argument, actually. On the other hand, metropolitan Cleveland has grown from 2.2 million to 2.8 million in the same period.

I'm truly stunned that the population decline of a political entity as small as a city (disregarding the population growth of the areas surrounding it) is cited as a reason why the US is a banana republic when:

1. The US population grew from 190 million to 320 million in the same period*
2. The German population peaked at 82.5 million and has now lost 800k souls (the same as Detroit!) and is down to 81.7 million. Are the Germans a banana republic because the entire country is losing population?
3. Berlin peaked at 4.3 million and is now at 3.4 million. Banana Republic?

Y'all got to do better than this.

*BTW, apropos of nothing, I knew the kid who kicked the census counter to 200,000,000. I went to school with him in Chamblee, GA, and he was born a few months after me. Nice guy, played baseball, smart, and appeared in a number of ads - for years I kept a clipping of him in a Maytag magazine ad made while we went to school together.
  #246  
Old 12-26-2013, 09:11 AM
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Yawn. Yet another list that shows the US in the mix with a bunch of European countries: lower than Scandinavia, statistically insignificant from others, and above still others.

Somehow I'm supposed to accept that the US is a BR because it ranks 21st on a subjective list, but at #28 (tied with renowned democratic powerhouse Slovenia) France is not?
  #247  
Old 12-26-2013, 09:35 AM
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Congratulations guys, you have discovered the post-WW2 migration to the suburbs.

It is true that the City of Detroit has lost 800,000 people since 1960, of that there is no doubt. However, metropolitan Detroit has gained from 3.7 to 4.3 million since then.
...
Y'all got to do better than this.
Congratulations JohnT. You've discovered the exodus of rich urban tax base to the suburbs.

Yawn.

(Hint: Contrast tax revenue sources for urban underclass between The Land of the Free™ and other developed democracies.)

Last edited by septimus; 12-26-2013 at 09:38 AM.
  #248  
Old 12-26-2013, 10:08 AM
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Yes, but we're not debating whether any particular city has issues or whether the US has issues, but whether the country is turning into a "banana republic." Are you making the point that white people moving 10 miles, from the city of Detroit to the city of Warren, is a strong enough citation to make the US a banana republic?

Not that it matters, but I was going to use "white flight" in the post above, but don't know if Riga and/or NiceGuyJack would know the term.

Last edited by JohnT; 12-26-2013 at 10:08 AM.
  #249  
Old 12-26-2013, 10:32 AM
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Any insights at all on what they said?
Yes. It's a Socialist or even Communist plot to discredit the U.S. The Reds doctored the figures alright, just like they always do.



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I'll try again, I guess: do you understand that the IDF report bases their rankings on five different categories?

I do know that, yes. But I think even an idiot knows that lack of Democratic principles have nothing to do with Freedom of Speech, nothing to do with Freedom of Expression, nothing to do with Civil Rights, nothing to do with who Represents who (people or government), nothing to do with Civil Liberties, nothing to do with Freedom of Choice, nothing to do with the right to Vote, nothing to do with the Freedom to pursue Happiness, and nothing to do with DEMOCRACY.

The U.S. may have far less of those things, than many other countries, but it is the World Leader in Freedom and Democracy! You just try to deny that, huh!!!
  #250  
Old 12-26-2013, 10:57 AM
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Yes. It's a Socialist or even Communist plot to discredit the U.S. The Reds doctored the figures alright, just like they always do.
Huh?

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Originally Posted by Riga Marole
I do know that, yes. But I think even an idiot knows that lack of Democratic principles have nothing to do with Freedom of Speech, nothing to do with Freedom of Expression, nothing to do with Civil Rights, nothing to do with who Represents who (people or government), nothing to do with Civil Liberties, nothing to do with Freedom of Choice, nothing to do with the right to Vote, nothing to do with the Freedom to pursue Happiness, and nothing to do with DEMOCRACY.
Per the IDF index that you yourself introduced as a valuable measure of these sort of things, the U.S. is not on the decline in its freedom of speech/expression/choice/happiness (as the "Civil Liberties" score was unchanged), nor its electoral process, nor its political culture, nor its political particpation.

It did grade the U.S. as decling in "Functioning of government", though without specifying their rationale for this. The federal shutdown wasn't until 2013, so that can't be it. The only clue to be had is that line I quoted about polarization and brinkmanship.

As has alrady been noted, mere polarization of viewpoints or heated rhetoric isn't inamicable to democracy. It stands to reason that the people of homogenous states like Norway and Sweden would have more unified political views, and thus less polarization. If social unity is the measure of democracy, then the U.S. is fundamentally incapable of ever topping the IDF rankings, just by the nature of its demographics. There are just many more groups in the U.S. vying for political power than in Scandinavia. That same diversity pays dividends in other ways, though.

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The U.S. may have far less of those things, than many other countries, but it is the World Leader in Freedom and Democracy! You just try to deny that, huh!!!
It's a leader, along with the other 24 nations the IDF grades as "full democracies".

You seem to be arguing against a strawman position, that the U.S. is Number One In Everything Forever...no one in this thread has said that, because it's not true.
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