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03/14/2003 Entry: "Clark Glymour on the US probably doesn't have much of a future it things don't change right now"

"Finally, there is the cost to us. By his procedure, Bush has made it a fact that an invasion of Iraq is the first shot in a war with Islam, not just the nut case Bin Laden islam, but all of islam, from Turkey to Indonesia. Now I am in favor of undermining all of the non-western impulses in Islam, everything that hints of Sharia, that denies western ideals (never mind actualities) of equality of persons, humane treatment, secular government, western human rights. But that is a conflict that will be won if at all by a war of ideas, delivered in concert with good actions, with food and health care and schools and media. Not a chance in the world it will be won with bombs and tanks. What will be won with bombs and tanks is perpetual low level war, here and in Europe, and the decline of the West's economic dominance. Measured by debt as a percentage of GNP, the United States economic situation closing in on Brazil's. It is as if the Republicans looked around the world and decided they wanted a United States that looks economically and socially a lot more like Latin America. War with Iraq will hasten the realization of that vision."
Clark Glymour, Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University

Wow! I just discovered Clark Glymour today and am very impressed.

Replies: 6 comments

Ginger,

You and most of your posters should be delighted at the analysis by Clark Glymour. You intensely dislike and bemoan the dominance of the United States economically, militarily, and culturally. Thus if as Mr. Glymour is predicting, the United States is losing ground in all of those fields, you should be jumping for joy and praising the progress that Bush and his policies are making in that direction. Bill Clinton is advocating that we prepare for a world in which we are no longer dominent. Granted, Bill Clinton did far more to get us to that state than Bush Inc. have or will but even so, Clymour wishes to give the credit to Bush. Regardless of who is responsible, the end result is supposedly a less powerful United States in all fields which should delight you and should make you a great fan of Bush unless, of course you wish to give the credit Bill Clinton. Must be a terrible decision for you to make.

Posted by Donald Melquist @ 03/14/2003 10:01 PM PST

Hi Donald,

I have no idea what parallel universe you're posting from, but I hope you get this. I will take your comments point by point because I'm in a very good mood tonight:

"You and most of your posters should be delighted at the analysis by Clark Glymour."

Frankly, I am. He is level headed and has a nice turn of phrase.

"You intensely dislike and bemoan the dominance of the United States economically, militarily, and culturally."

Au contraire, M. Melquist, I feel the United States has much to offer the world. Our ideas of liberty, freedom and justice are worth exporting to anyone who wishes to pursue happiness in an equal and enlightened society. We were blessed with a beautiful start and until 9/12/01, we haven't really been able to screw it up. As Mr. Glymour writes:

Now I am in favor of undermining all of the non-western impulses in Islam, everything that hints of Sharia, that denies western ideals (never mind actualities) of equality of persons, humane treatment, secular government, western human rights.

I am as much in favor of western ideals, the enlightenment and even the ideals of the French Revolution (sans the Terror) as you are, Donald, what's not to agree with? Here in the US we have mechanisms to address and change the wrongs in our society. I point you to the Civil Rights movement and the ending of the Vietnam war as examples of that. Our Founders assumed everyone involved in creating and maintaining the new country would be an adult, capable of appreciating and acting within their rights. They were not blessed to see the great Negro and female leadership that would arise later and the benefits of immigration and ethnic diversity. They would also miss the horrors of discrimination, but, as I said we have mechanisms in our government to address things that used to be considered a good idea and now are damaging to us. Such as slavery, Jim Crow, women as chattel, etc.

Economic dominance is a two way street because we import as much as we export, maybe more, I don't have figures in front of me. However, I don't know that we've crushed anybody economically lately, we do seem to squabble with Canada about fishing rights quite a bit. The problems I have with "globalization" are pretty vague. I do think it's wrong that Nike can sell athletic shoes here for $100+ but their manufacture is only a $1 or less and in sweat shop/slave labor conditions. My solution would be to build manufacturing plants, schools, hospitals, y'know, the community thing and pay living wages, but even I can see where this might not be feasible. I also know that if the same athletic shoes were manufactured here, they would cost a fortune. A rising tide is supposed to lift all boats, so you'd think $100+ athletic shoes would be a rising tide for the countries they are manufactured in, but this is usually not the case. And that is my biggest problem with US economic dominance, only the US seems to benefit most of the time.

US military dominance? We're set up to fight conventional and nuclear wars, Donald, and we got kicked in the balls by a bunch of guys with box cutters and flying lessons. We don't need no stinking military dominance, we need Clark Glymour:

But that is a conflict that will be won if at all by a war of ideas, delivered in concert with good actions, with food and health care and schools and media. Not a chance in the world it will be won with bombs and tanks.

Cultural dominance is a tough one. I taught English in Poland and Prague and the kids went from hating Russian class to hating English class (not mine because I'm cool and know all kinds of cool language games). But let's face it, English is the world language now. As messed up as it is (Germanic structure with a Latin overlay, yuck) it is a highly flexible and adaptable language. Also, the US might not make the greatest, most profound or even watchable movies, but we make so many that they're hard to avoid abroad. And Jim Carry in "Mask" had 'em roaring in the Prague theater I saw it in, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought (although I did like the Cuban Pete number very much). Frankly, I wonder that US cultural dominance is somewhat overrated. In another Prague theater, I saw "Wayne's World 2: Waynestock" and you could hear the Americans in the audience because we were laughing at the visual cultural references that the Czechs didn't get. Not that the Czechs were missing much, but I thought it was interesting. Of all the things about the United States, most of the world likes our pop culture, much of it likes our serious culture (Camus adored Faulkner before the US did), and some of the world likes the part of our culture were women speak their minds in their blogs, in the streets and at home, drive around in cars, ride bikes, learn to read, hold down good jobs, and every citizen over 18 years of age is allowed to vote. We are far from culturally dominating the world, but if it happens, it will happen through MTV, not ICBMs.

"Thus if as Mr. Glymour is predicting, the United States is losing ground in all of those fields, you should be jumping for joy and praising the progress that Bush and his policies are making in that direction."

Let's see what Mr. Glymour actually said without putting through the Melquistilizer:

What will be won with bombs and tanks is perpetual low level war, here and in Europe, and the decline of the West's economic dominance.

I'm not happy about this at all, Donald, I love my country very much and love the ideals of my country and even though we can't always live up to them, I love that we at least try most of the time. Or did before December 12, 2000.

"Bill Clinton is advocating that we prepare for a world in which we are no longer dominant."

If things keep going the way they are, we might end up like the third world were we have to spend so much money on a military police state, we have no resources to be dominant in the world. Look at Russia since they went broke and fell apart.

"Granted, Bill Clinton did far more to get us to that state than Bush Inc. have or will but even so, Glymour wishes to give the credit to Bush."

Can you back up with a few facts and links HOW the Clinton administration "did far more to get us to that state than Bush Inc. have or will" because I don't follow that at all. The Clinton administration was extremely well liked in the Czech Republic, Poland and Kazahkstan when I lived there. The Clinton administration was very gracious about opening the archives to the Central American countries that were trying to unravel the US financed atrocity that was Reagan and BushI's foreign policy (Robert Parry, "Lost History"). The Clinton administration was able to quickly catch and bring to justice the Oklahoma City bomber and the first WTC bombers and get convictions. The Clinton administration created 8 million jobs (1999 Unemployment rate was 4.5 http://www.stateline.org/fact.do?factId=301 ; 2003 is 5.8 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm [Hey, BLS has a really great website! http://www.bls.gov/home.htm]. So, other than annoy you, what is it that the Clinton administration, because Bill Clinton never acted alone and we're not a dictatorship (yet), did to get us into the mess we're now in? I felt like the Clinton administration did a great job protecting us from terrorists and if the bush junta had listened to his predecessor, 9/11 would not have happened. I mean that and further, had Gore been rightfully president, 9/11 would not have happened because the people who kept us safe for 8 years would still have been on the job or would have done a better job than they did in 2001. Ouch, too much scowling!

"Regardless of who is responsible, the end result is supposedly a less powerful United States in all fields which should delight you and should make you a great fan of Bush unless, of course you wish to give the credit Bill Clinton. Must be a terrible decision for you to make."

I wonder if you're confusing power with influence. I wouldn't mind a healthy, happy US influencing other countries to try Democracy, which coupled with Capitalism, leads, in many cases where the country has the talent and temperament for it, to a better standard of living, universal education and all around prosperity. Not that the US has ever achieved all of that, but we'll never achieve any of it if our current regime is insanely willing to bribe our allies with billions of dollars that would be better invested in the US (like helping the States dig out of their deficits, feeding people, more education grants, better care for veterans and active duty personnel, etc.) and our current regime does not see the error in this.

Donald, I love my country, warts and all, very much and I don't want it to be like the worst of Latin America, were the rich live behind their walls and assume the military dictatorship will keep the poor under their heel. Dr. Glymour again:

It is as if the Republicans looked around the world and decided they wanted a United States that looks economically and socially a lot more like Latin America.

Is he wrong? Is it not true that if we all don't live decently, then none of us can live decently? Making the rich richer, the poor poorer and building up the military so it can terrorize the abroad them perhaps domestically are the fastest ways to destroy the US. Ripping the foundations of the Bill of Rights apart with Patriot Act I and II only lays the groundwork for oppression and impoverishment of most of the country. In that worst case scenario, you and I will be crushed along with the liberals, now crying in the wilderness, that you so despise. You and I are not going to part of the ruling elite, Donald, because if we were, we wouldn't bother to try to be heard on the internet. Like now.

Pleasant dreams, Donald, for as long as you can. I look forward to your comments. I have all weekend to reply and I'm in a Googling mood.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 03/14/2003 11:42 PM PST

Ginger,

Now I don't mind a bit, in fact it pleases me no end to write one paragraph that can inspire four pages in response. That is wonderful. I printed your comments out, but won't respond at this time. It is a sunny day and I also am in a good mood. That is not avoidance since your points can be easily dealt with. Too easily. Not even a challenge but I do compliment you on your efforts and your reading lists. Such a waste of time and mental energy but at least you are keeping busy and who knows. The light may shine some day. You mentioned that you are in a good mood. That is great, but then I am almost always in a good mood. To parphrase Walpole, "Those who think, laugh. Those who feel cry". Dry your tears, think and smile.

Now, as to why it wouldn't do much good to refute individually the points that you have made, I have to tell a personal tale that is appropriate to much of the world's discussions and disagreements. My father, born on a Minnesota farm in 1907, was barely allowed to finish eighth grade and a grade year was very short. He was hardly a stupid man, in fact was probably very intelligent, who knows. He was a farmer without much in the way of formal eduacation or book knowledge, but he paid attention to the news and was his own man. Most farmers are quite independent souls. We were a talkative family and many things were disageed about. I was going to the University of Minnesota as a pre-law student after my four years in the Air Force. Every so often, when we had an arguement over something, I would be able to find my facts specified in a book of some type and would prove my point in print. Home for a weekend, we got into some sort of argument at the dinner table. I knew just where to find the information for my side. I got up from the table and headed for my room to get my book. My father knew where I was going and what I was going to do. He was damned tired of that shit and told me in words that I have never forgotten and he has been gone for many years. He said, "I don't care what your damned books say, I know what I know". So Ginger, I will in a snail mail communication go through your contentions and show their inacurracies. But not today. You are no slouch about laying out data but that hardly means that they are correct. Both civil and criminal trials have expert witnesses who, with great credentials and wordy explanations persent views and "facts" that are diametrically opposed.

Another relavant tale. I was a member of the Ironworker's Union in San Francisco for many years. The Ironworker's Union is a small version of a Democracy. It is becomeing less so with more commands and control coming from on high but that is another story. Members have their say and voting is generally fair and honest. The Business Agent was an honest man and we had honest disgreements over different matters. At one meeting, I made a motion on the floor about some issue. The Business Agent spoke in favor of my motion. I nudged a friend near me and told him, "I must have missed something. I am going to have to think this over". Ginger, thus far I have not had to rethink a thing regarding my view of your views of Bush, Reagan, Clinton and the forthcoming conflict in Iraq. For the present time, suffice it to say that the critics of George I and his approach were wrong. The opponents of the action in Afghanistan were completely wrong and the opponents of the forthcoming action in Iraq are equally as wrong. I can only hope that they will be proved as wrong as they were previously. The long delay in accomplishing what must be done may cause far more American casualities than would have occurred had we gone into this sooner. If this be so, the blood of those American troops will be on the hands of those who created this delay as is the blood of the 3,000 American civilians killed on 11/11/01 because of the inaction of Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright and William Cohen. That statement should take you out of your good mood and get the digestive juices flowing.

By the way, my parallel universe is San Francisco. And it certainly is a parallel universe for me. It would not be for you though. You would feel right at home. When Rose Bird was kicked out of office, the statewide vote was 66% No, 33% Yes. I was overjoyed of course and was reading the election results the next morning in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article headline said, Rose Bird Yes 66%, No, 33%. I assumed that this was a typo. Pretty serious glaring typo. Then I read the article. They were giving the San Francisco vote. Yes, Ginger, there is a parallel universe.

Will sent a point by point response to your comments by regular mail. Have patience, enlightenment is on the way.

By the way, Jeanne Kirkpatrick is still at work trying to save America.

Sleep well. We will take care of you in spite of yourself.

Don Melquist

Posted by Donald Melquist @ 03/15/2003 04:50 PM PST

"Now I don't mind a bit, in fact it pleases me no end to write one paragraph that can inspire four pages in response."

Only because that's what it took to untangle the weird stuff you posted, Donald. It's worth it to me because it really doesn't take that long and Google makes it so easy to back up what I'm saying. It's a good excercise for me and one of the reasons I allow comments in this blog is to hear other points of view. I hope I will be able to continue to allow comments in this blog.

And please don't US Mail me your comments, Donald, just email them. I don't know you well enough to get physical mail from you, thanks.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 03/15/2003 05:11 PM PST

No problem, Ginger.No snail mail. Sounds as if that good mood went bye bye, but that is to be expected. But I finally found something on which we agree. The value of opposing views. I have enlarged my horizons considerably through researching for the specific facts because of disputes. Goggle is wonderful. Just checked some economic facts for 1980. The final year of another ex-president who is making the rounds telling the world how it should be run. In 1980, the unemployment rate was 7.6%, the inflation rate was 12.5% and the prime rate was 21 1/2%. On top of that, 52 Americans didn't have a chance to resign their foreign service positions. They were held hostage in Iran by a regime that Carter was instrumental in helping install. He very deliberately undercut the Shah and (shades of Germany 1917 in shipping Lenin to Russia), got the Ayatolla back to Teharan. Jimmy Carter also was responsible for a disasterous reduction in the US Military which had it continued would have had the USSR expand rather than implode. More economics and this doesn't come from Goggle. I was interested in all the hoopla about the Reagan deficit. My college years were filled with all the Democratic cliches about how deficits were good and you only owed it to yourself and so forth. All of a sudden, the Democrats were raving about the horrible deficit. So, I went to the library. To the US Department of Commerce-US Census. The figures surprised even me. Reagan's highest defecit spending year was 1983 during which government spending was 134 per cent of government receipts. There have been 17 years since 1911 during which the government spent a higher percentage of receipts or incurred a greater deficit. Only one of those years occurred during a GOP administration. That was in 1932 during Herbert Hoover's last year when he had an enormous Democratic majority in Congress who forced through huge spending plans over his objections. The Democrats have controlled Congress and spending since those days except for a short period during Eisenhower's presidency which gave us three of the few surplus years in the twentieth century.

During the 84 years up to 1994 which was the last year covered at the time that I did this research, there have only been 22 years during which the govenment did not spend more money than it took in. Of those 22 years, 16 were during Republican administrations, only 6 were under Democrats. Almost a 3 to 1 ratio. Of Roosevelt's 13 years in office, every year was a deficit year. Six of them were over 200% of receipts verus the worse year of Reagan which was 134% of receipts. Even those amounts were exceeded by another Democratic president, Woodrow Wilson's 347% of receipts in 1918 and 360% of receipts in 1919.

In 12 of the 13 years that Roosevelt ruled this country, the deficit spending exceeded the very worst year of Reagan's two terms in office and Reagan had to deal with a Democrat controlled House and Senate whereas Roosevelt had overwhelming majorities in both houses.

To those who say tht FDR had to deal with the depression and World War II, Reagan had to deal the diasterous economy left by Carter that had the highest inflation rates of the century combined with unemployment numbers that have not been since approached. He also had to rebuild a military devastated by Carter and then went on to win the war. World War II started with freedom for Poland. Poland finally got its freedom under Reagan. World War II was finally over thanks to the gipper. See, disputes cause research among the interested and knowledge for all regardless of their faith. Now, that particular research didn't come about because of our discussion but I am glad that I found out the real facts.

As to Clinton never acting alone. Neither is Bush. Clinton did not have approval from the United Nations for his actions in Serbia where he bombed and killed several thousand innocent civilians including the Chinese Embassy. He also destroyed every single bridge over the Danube and many historical building and sections. Not having France and Germany is hardly the equivilent of going it alone. France did not let us fly over their country after Americans were killed by the Libyans. The bombing did occurr anyway thanks to England and there has never been another attack by Libya. You say that you feel that the Clinton administration did a great job of protecting us from terroists. My mother thinks that Jesus was the son of God and that he is going to return when we will all go to heaven. Not much one can do about faith.

nite nite

Posted by Donald Melquist @ 03/15/2003 06:52 PM PST

Ginger,

Now this is a serious question. I just finished reading an article that states that a very large number of people do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the asassination of John F. Kennedy. I then recalled that not too long along at my barber shop, one of the customers asked the question of the three others in the shop. Now, my barber is a raving liberal in old San Francisco fashion. In the chair was an old customer who is an equally stanch conservative. The questioner was a very well read liberal with whom I had been carrying on a long and interesting conversation. I think that the questioner was throwing this out as a sort of test and I am going to ask you the same question. I am not sandbagging you. The liberal and myself believed that it was a lone venture. The barber and his conservative customer had different ideas but both believed that there were more people involved. Now, I just read this article and I find the attitutes interesting. Old question but sort of a sanity or ink blot test. Do you think that it was a lone venture or were there more people involved. Now that answer I am interested in. Then you can shut me off.

Posted by Donald Melquist @ 03/15/2003 08:24 PM PST

 

 

 

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