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  • What this country needs most.

    Having thought about the country's current situation, I have come up with two things this country really needs. But first the problems:

    *This country is way too partisian. Not just Republican/Democrat; but conservative/liberal, right-wing/left-wing. People have made these labels too much of their personal identities. As a result people take things too personally if they think their views or people with their views are being attacked. Worse, people are not thinking things thru, instead just agreeing to what others with their label think. In the end they are allowing others to do their thinking for them.

    *Neither side has a monopoly on good/bad ideas. If one insisting on solutions coming from their side, they automatically exclude good ideas.

    *People want to believe they are right at all costs. In fact, people would rather be wrong about something and believe they are right, than to admit they were wrong and find a better solution. If under attack, people harden their positions and refuse to listen to possible other solutions/ideas. No one is right all the time.

    *As much as we focus on the liberal/conservative split, the real issue in Washington is people with influence vs. people without. The first group is influencing Congress to set policies that fit their needs, not the average American. For example, drug companies use their money/influence to make sure they are as profitable as possible, regardless of the pain they cause Americans.

    *Congressmen need money to be elected, and get it from doners. Now they need so much money they have to spend most of their time getting donations. Many former Congressmen have admitted as much.

    *The people with money/influence need Americans to concentrate on the liberal/conservative split. That way they can hide in plain sight.

    *By concentrating on this split, people can blame the "other" side for all the problems. They can ignore that they are often part of the problem.

    *The people with influence will focus the country's attention on emotional wedge issues such as gay marriage to distract people from important issues such as health care. Groups like the insurance groups don't want a solution, because they make the most profits with our current mess.

    *Unfortunetly, we allow ourselves to be distracted, because we think emotionally instead of logically. We focus on issues such as flag burning/gay marriages because they make us feel superior to our oponents and allow us to hate.

    The solution?:

    1. Publically financed political campaigns. Each candidate for President gets $100 million to spend and can't accept any donations. Each Senate/House candidate from both parties get a set amount. This is in every state, for every slot in Washington. The challenger gets as much as the incumbent and neither can accept donations. The power then lies in which groups can get the most voters out, but the important thing is then the power is with the VOTERS. Congressmen can then make decision based on what is best for America, not for the groups donating money.

    2. What we really need is a President who's an independent and doesn't belong to either party. This man/woman then appoints people who are nonidealogical to make decisions. Their decisions are based on what's best for Americans not for their political party.

    I know it's a long shot, but if enough Americans join together, it can be done.

  • #2
    Having thought about the country's current situation, I have come up with two things this country really needs. But first the problems:

    *This country is way too partisian. Not just Republican/Democrat; but conservative/liberal, right-wing/left-wing. People have made these labels too much of their personal identities. As a result people take things too personally if they think their views or people with their views are being attacked. Worse, people are not thinking things thru, instead just agreeing to what others with their label think. In the end they are allowing others to do their thinking for them.

    *Neither side has a monopoly on good/bad ideas. If one insisting on solutions coming from their side, they automatically exclude good ideas.

    *People want to believe they are right at all costs. In fact, people would rather be wrong about something and believe they are right, than to admit they were wrong and find a better solution. If under attack, people harden their positions and refuse to listen to possible other solutions/ideas. No one is right all the time.

    *As much as we focus on the liberal/conservative split, the real issue in Washington is people with influence vs. people without. The first group is influencing Congress to set policies that fit their needs, not the average American. For example, drug companies use their money/influence to make sure they are as profitable as possible, regardless of the pain they cause Americans.

    *Congressmen need money to be elected, and get it from doners. Now they need so much money they have to spend most of their time getting donations. Many former Congressmen have admitted as much.

    *The people with money/influence need Americans to concentrate on the liberal/conservative split. That way they can hide in plain sight.

    *By concentrating on this split, people can blame the "other" side for all the problems. They can ignore that they are often part of the problem.

    *The people with influence will focus the country's attention on emotional wedge issues such as gay marriage to distract people from important issues such as health care. Groups like the insurance groups don't want a solution, because they make the most profits with our current mess.

    *Unfortunetly, we allow ourselves to be distracted, because we think emotionally instead of logically. We focus on issues such as flag burning/gay marriages because they make us feel superior to our oponents and allow us to hate.

    The solution?:

    1. Publically financed political campaigns. Each candidate for President gets $100 million to spend and can't accept any donations. Each Senate/House candidate from both parties get a set amount. This is in every state, for every slot in Washington. The challenger gets as much as the incumbent and neither can accept donations. The power then lies in which groups can get the most voters out, but the important thing is then the power is with the VOTERS. Congressmen can then make decision based on what is best for America, not for the groups donating money.

    2. What we really need is a President who's an independent and doesn't belong to either party. This man/woman then appoints people who are nonidealogical to make decisions. Their decisions are based on what's best for Americans not for their political party.

    I know it's a long shot, but if enough Americans join together, it can be done.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that the problem is deeper than that. Today, the USA is considered in many countries if not most, the most dangerous country in the world for the peace issue.

      You have an army that cost you a fortune that went for a war in Irak that was considered extremely unwelcome in most of the world.

      The USA consume more than it produice with credit from China, Japan and others.

      In many ways, the USA acts as a third world country (No universal health care, Universities for the rich only, religious beliefs that can compares only to thoses in Africa, a war that a reasonable country would not do, and so on).

      According to Emmanuel Todd (a French historian) who wrote many books, who predicted the colapse of the Soviet Union is now predicting the colapse of the american system in his book (Après l'empire).

      What he says is that the USA is the least modern of modern countries, with a standard of living lower than any country of Western Europe, a country far less strong than most people believe.

      He gaves for example the war in Irak where Americans are not abble to maintain order. If the USA were a rich empire, they would be abble to maintain order very fast in Irak.

      Another example of America weakness is the hurrucanes in New Orleans, where Americans discovered that there was a third world in the USA and how the autorities where inefective to help the people.

      What he says, is that Americans will soon awake, like Russians in 1990, to the fact that they are not a superpower anymore.

      Another French intellectual (Bernard Henri Levy) has traveled a year accross the USA and wrote the book (American Vertigo). What he says is that he feels a real weakness in America, he does not know what it is exactly (maybe he does not understand the american psyche), but he too feels that America is not as strong as most people believe.

      I tend to think too that the problems in the USA are worst than most people think.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great post, Steve.

        Churchill said something to the effect that the most important thing about democracy was change. Due to problems you mention and gross gerrymandering, the U.S. Congress is changing very little (e.g. having a 98% incumbency rate over the past six years).

        Check out this article:
        http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/ar...60703/3glo.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          BINGO, We have a winner "Steve". I agree!

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:
            I think that the problem is deeper than that. Today, the USA is considered in many countries if not most, the most dangerous country in the world for the peace issue.

            I don't know about peace, but we are certainly not in favor of appeasement. That went out in 1939.
            quote:
            You have an army that cost you a fortune that went for a war in Irak that was considered extremely unwelcome in most of the world.

            Don't take it personally, we just decided to go in before he developed anything that could hit us instead of just you.

            quote:
            The USA consume more than it produice with credit from China, Japan and others.

            If it get too bad we will just nationalize their industries here as we have had happen to us in the past.
            quote:
            In many ways, the USA acts as a third world country (No universal health care, Universities for the rich only, religious beliefs that can compares only to thoses in Africa, a war that a reasonable country would not do, and so on).

            To be honest, we don't want universal health care, deserving students can certainly get a university education, our religious beliefs are our own affair, and, unless you are an ally or enemy our war is likewise none of your business.
            quote:
            According to Emmanuel Todd (a French historian) who wrote many books, who predicted the colapse of the Soviet Union is now predicting the colapse of the american system in his book (Après l'empire).

            This one is hard to argue with. As a Frenchman he has had first had experience with the evaporation of an empire. Is this sour grapes?
            quote:
            What he says is that the USA is the least modern of modern countries, with a standard of living lower than any country of Western Europe, a country far less strong than most people believe.

            I wouldn't bank on it.
            quote:
            He gaves for example the war in Irak where Americans are not abble to maintain order. If the USA were a rich empire, they would be abble to maintain order very fast in Irak.

            Yes, and the French were so very effective at maintaining order in Algeria and French Indochina. Maintaining order in Iraq would be rather simple if we were willing to bear the human cost of doing so. We aren't. If this was about conquest it would be easy. It is about liberation so it is not. I am sorry, but there is no way that a Frenchman could ever understand as the only wars of liberation they have ever fought have been alongside the United States to liberate themselves.
            quote:
            Another example of America weakness is the hurrucanes in New Orleans, where Americans discovered that there was a third world in the USA and how the autorities where inefective to help the people.

            I will let that one pass since you are a Canadian and Canada was one of the few countries that offered aid when we needed it instead of the other way round.
            quote:
            What he says, is that Americans will soon awake, like Russians in 1990, to the fact that they are not a superpower anymore.

            If he honestly believes that Russia is no longer a superpower then he is an idiot and doesn't deserve our time.
            quote:
            Another French intellectual (Bernard Henri Levy) has traveled a year accross the USA and wrote the book (American Vertigo). What he says is that he feels a real weakness in America, he does not know what it is exactly (maybe he does not understand the american psyche), but he too feels that America is not as strong as most people believe.

            He obviously does not understand us. Not surprising considering that he is French and they have a history of surrendering just before the first shot.
            quote:
            I tend to think too that the problems in the USA are worst than most people think.

            Well, don't count on it.

            Comment


            • #7
              To OldFrog,

              Well, you have some good points, so I will not answer to every points.


              About Irak, I would say that there was no proof that the country would be a threat to the USA or any western country.

              I would say also that the Irakis do not seem to appreciate their liberators.

              About Russia, I would say that a country where the average income is about $ 5000 a year and has lost pratically all its alleys is not a superpower anymore.


              About 911, where the war on terror began, a lot of people, including Americans citizens believe that is was an inside job. Alex Jones and Meria Heller believe that, and consider themseves to be good American patriots.

              Comment


              • #8
                What we need is a return to the liberal thinking that we founded this nation on, otherwise Eric6420's assesment well be the far more accurate one.

                Having bled for this country and seen its fall from the "superpower" it was the first 30 years of my life to the second rate bully it has become over the last 25, especially the last 5 when it has fallen to a fifth rate pretender, I am pissed off and I will not allow the conservative thinking that has perverted this country to remain in place.

                We have no business in Iraq or Afghanistan, we need to feed our citizens at home!

                BTW, to all those nay sayer's, our standard of living is the lowest among those nations considered "modern" nations and has become so in the last 25 years ... do you see the correlation there?

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:
                  To OldFrog,

                  Well, you have some good points, so I will not answer to every points.

                  Fair enough
                  quote:
                  About Irak, I would say that there was no proof that the country would be a threat to the USA or any western country.

                  An excellent point, and one that will certainly be used by future generations in judging our actions. I will not insult your intelligence by asserting that the weapons were there and were moved because I do not know that to be a fact. I will say that if the Hussein regime had continued to allow the UN weapons inspectors to continue their mission the invasion would never have taken place. I do honestly believe that the administration believed that they were there at the time.
                  quote:
                  I would say also that the Irakis do not seem to appreciate their liberators.

                  And the longer this drags out the less they will appreciate it. That was both predictable and understandable. I was a very reluctant supporter of the invasion because I spent a fair amount of time in the Arab world and was not convinced that a western style democracy was either viable or desirable in that part of the world. Those of us fortunate enough to have been born into former British colonies or Commonwealth nations tend to forget that we have a history of rights and responsibilities that goes back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. We all, particularly the US, tend to think that democracy is the answer to everyone's problem. In other cultures with other histories this may very well not be the case.
                  quote:
                  About Russia, I would say that a country where the average income is about $ 5000 a year and has lost pratically all its alleys is not a superpower anymore.

                  The Russians may be down but I would hesitate to call them out. They have a huge land mass with tremendous national resources, a large population, and a formidable nuclear arsenal. I tend to believe that the average Russian is no different than I am. He/she may not be happy with the current status but he is loyal to the Motherland through and through. If anything, Russia is probably more of a superpower today than it was in previous times. During detente they had a rather large buffer zone of satellite nations to protect them from invasion by land but that has largely eroded. During detente they had a great deal to lose in any type of large scale confrontation but the less they have to lose the more dangerous the situation becomes.

                  quote:
                  About 911, where the war on terror began, a lot of people, including Americans citizens believe that is was an inside job. Alex Jones and Meria Heller believe that, and consider themseves to be good American patriots.

                  I don't personally give that any credence whatsoever, any more than I believe that FDR had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to take place solely as a means of involving the US in the war in Europe.
                  If that were ever to be proven I would consider those responsible to be guilty of high treason.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:
                    Originally posted by OldFrog:
                    quote:
                    To OldFrog,

                    Well, you have some good points, so I will not answer to every points.

                    Fair enough
                    quote:
                    About Irak, I would say that there was no proof that the country would be a threat to the USA or any western country.

                    An excellent point, and one that will certainly be used by future generations in judging our actions. I will not insult your intelligence by asserting that the weapons were there and were moved because I do not know that to be a fact. I will say that if the Hussein regime had continued to allow the UN weapons inspectors to continue their mission the invasion would never have taken place. I do honestly believe that the administration believed that they were there at the time.
                    quote:
                    I would say also that the Irakis do not seem to appreciate their liberators.

                    And the longer this drags out the less they will appreciate it. That was both predictable and understandable. I was a very reluctant supporter of the invasion because I spent a fair amount of time in the Arab world and was not convinced that a western style democracy was either viable or desirable in that part of the world. Those of us fortunate enough to have been born into former British colonies or Commonwealth nations tend to forget that we have a history of rights and responsibilities that goes back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. We all, particularly the US, tend to think that democracy is the answer to everyone's problem. In other cultures with other histories this may very well not be the case.
                    quote:
                    About Russia, I would say that a country where the average income is about $ 5000 a year and has lost pratically all its alleys is not a superpower anymore.

                    The Russians may be down but I would hesitate to call them out. They have a huge land mass with tremendous national resources, a large population, and a formidable nuclear arsenal. I tend to believe that the average Russian is no different than I am. He/she may not be happy with the current status but he is loyal to the Motherland through and through. If anything, Russia is probably more of a superpower today than it was in previous times. During detente they had a rather large buffer zone of satellite nations to protect them from invasion by land but that has largely eroded. During detente they had a great deal to lose in any type of large scale confrontation but the less they have to lose the more dangerous the situation becomes.

                    quote:
                    About 911, where the war on terror began, a lot of people, including Americans citizens believe that is was an inside job. Alex Jones and Meria Heller believe that, and consider themseves to be good American patriots.

                    I don't personally give that any credence whatsoever, any more than I believe that FDR had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to take place solely as a means of involving the US in the war in Europe.
                    If that were ever to be proven I would consider those responsible to be guilty of high treason.


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:
                      The solution?:

                      1. Publically financed political campaigns. Each candidate for President gets $100 million to spend and can't accept any donations. Each Senate/House candidate from both parties get a set amount. This is in every state, for every slot in Washington. The challenger gets as much as the incumbent and neither can accept donations. The power then lies in which groups can get the most voters out, but the important thing is then the power is with the VOTERS. Congressmen can then make decision based on what is best for America, not for the groups donating money.
                      (To get back on topic...) Steve, thanks for a great post. You have eloquently described the purposely fomented partisan bickering that detracts citizens from the real problems. I, too, have long ago thought about your "solution," but from quite a different approach, to wit: Maybe public financing of campaigns is not the best way to do it, and I'd like to offer this alternative way to reduce the ridiculously high cost of campaigning. Simply put, just outlaw corporate influence with a constitutional amendment that would say something like this:

                      1. No person or entity may contribute money or any other thing of value toward the campaign expenses incurred by any candidate for any office, who is not eligible to cast a ballot for that office or seat.
                      2. The penalty for any person who accepts contributions outside the limits specified herein shall be the forfeiture of that office or seat gained by such acceptance.

                      This way, the candidates have only to campaign to those whom they will represent, not to the whole dang nation! This should greatly reduce the cost of getting elected, and allow many more little people to challenge the rich incumbents.

                      Fifteen or 20 years ago, I read an analysis that showed the cost of getting re-elected to the US Senate requires raising about $65,000 per week for the whole six years of holding the office! Good grief, when do they have time to work for their constituents?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Steve:"This country is way too partisian. Not just Republican/Democrat; but conservative/liberal, right-wing/left-wing. People have made these labels too much of their personal identities. As a result people take things too personally if they think their views or people with their views are being attacked. Worse, people are not thinking things thru, instead just agreeing to what others with their label think. In the end they are allowing others to do their thinking for them."

                        Did you watch 20/20 last night (June 30) on ABC? They were discussing this very topic, how partisan the nation is becoming. The problem is that it is happening on the community level where certain towns/cities are gradually leaning more to one ideology. The mix of ideas of a politically homogenous community are becoming a thing of the past.

                        The number of landslide voting districts went up considerably in the last presidential elections. That means that some districts could have "lifers" in Congress or as their local representative, IOW those who are safely ensconced in their elected seat due to the political lean of their constituents.

                        Steve:"If under attack, people harden their positions and refuse to listen to possible other solutions/ideas."

                        This also was discussed last night on the same show. Except they showed that a group of people who all agreed somewhat with a topic could also agree to a collectively more extreme point of view on that topic.

                        Ultimately, simply talking and discussing your feelings about a cetain topic can move you further from a centrist position, especially if you are discussing it with those too far away from your position. If you agree with the premise, they may move you more toward their position, if you disagree with them, they may move you further from their POV.

                        In fact, both have happened to me in nudist forums. I have become a more hardened nudist both from simply talking to those who are further down the line than I as well as non-nudists with whom I have debated such as Stu.

                        Bob S.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bob, after reading what Steve had posted I was going to bring up the same points. It was a little frightening to see someone who agreed somewhat with something be so easily swayed to agree strongly with it. In my opion, some of it was just to avoid an arguement, but it makes me wander how many laws were made because someone who was on the fence might have been swayed to one side or another just to stay in someones good graces.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            nimrod:"it makes me wander how many laws were made because someone who was on the fence might have been swayed to one side or another just to stay in someones good graces."

                            I think that happens and has happened much more than we would like to know. We will never know how many laws written, wars fought, killings done as a result of an agreement where one person or a group of people agreed to a more extreme level just to "stay in someone's good graces" or to avoid confrontation.

                            Bob S.

                            Comment

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