Ignorance Better Be Bliss

Album Cover: Sea Change

"How could this love, ever changing, never change the way I feel?"
Beck / Lonesome Tears

Posted on November 03, 2004 8:37 AM in Elsewhere
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I am ashamed and embarrassed to be an American today.

Comments

an american on November 03, 2004 at 9:20 AM:

I am ashamed too. The Turd Sandwich will stay on for 4 more years.

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Eduardo Hidalgo on November 03, 2004 at 9:29 AM:

I am ashamed and embarrassed to be a human being today.

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Swill on November 03, 2004 at 10:06 AM:

How come it seems nobody wanted Bush, but he's in anyways. Is this a flawed democracy or a lack of education? Are there alternatives? Is there any way to get Bush out other than extreme measures i.e. civil war. We don't want him running your country either because large-scale retaliation won't care about the 49th parallel.

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an american on November 03, 2004 at 12:06 PM:

...better to have said, "I'm ashamed to be so negative when the majority voice has voted."

It seems to me that many of you are whining because you didn't get your way. Have we degenerated so far to the point where instead of making a positive change in the world we end up bitching and moaning about what someone else has done? C'mon guys, get real! The democratic voice has voted and President Bush was re-elected. Whether you agree with this or not is irrelevant now. What you do to improve the world in the next few months, years (4yrs?) is highly relevant.

I for one am interested in doing my part to be an honest, useful human being. And just for the record, "I'm proud to be an American!"

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Branko on November 03, 2004 at 1:28 PM:

To be honest, as a Canadian observing the election, I never really cared for either of the "big guns". I, if had an option, would have voted for Nader. Nader on the other hand, as you can plainly see, is not taken seriously below the 49th parrallel for some reason (less the 1% of the vote!!). Maybe he should move up to Canada, because I am sure he would quite handily defeat any of the turkeys we have representing our political parties; especially our current joke of a prime minister, Paul Martin. Martin, by the way won by 38% of the vote this past summer for any americans keeping track.

At least Bush won fair and square this year with a majority of the popular vote!! If the majority of our american friends want Bush as their man, so be it. One man does not represent a nation........now if he would just get his sticky fingers out of other countries, hiding under the veil of democracy. He has 4 years to redeem himself.

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SiLlY on November 03, 2004 at 1:35 PM:

Wow ! I was born here (USA). I am Puerto Rican. I would have never imagined that ide see the words thats grace the top of this page. You should be ashamed ! Not about the elections outcome.. but about your piss poor attitude. The poster "an american" is 100% right. I dont even know what this site is about. I happen to be "googling" around for stuff and come across this. It was enough to catch my attention and I just had to comment. This wil be the talk of the day in my house hold. Thank You for reminding me and enforcing my pride in "I too am proud to be an American!". Shame that sometimes you need to see ugly in order to appreciate the beauty. God Bless You !

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Jake on November 03, 2004 at 1:56 PM:

I am a naturalized American Citizen. It took me a lot of work to come here and become a citizen.

You guys are all taking this for granted -
you should be ashamed about your capacity for such comments.

SO what if the other guy wins? That is what the democracy is all about

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SiLlY on November 03, 2004 at 2:03 PM:

Wow ! I was born here (USA). I am Puerto Rican. I would have never imagined that ide see the words thats grace the top of this page. You should be ashamed ! Not about the elections outcome.. but about your piss poor attitude. The poster "an american" is 100% right. I dont even know what this site is about. I happen to be "googling" around for stuff and come across this. It was enough to catch my attention and I just had to comment. This wil be the talk of the day in my house hold. Thank You for reminding me and enforcing my pride in "I too am proud to be an American!". Shame that sometimes you need to see ugly in order to appreciate the beauty. God Bless You !

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Someone on November 03, 2004 at 2:45 PM:

Are you sure its democracy? Democracy is just a word used to make us Americans feel better.. you should hang your head in shame that a LOSER and an actual "TERRORIST" has been re-elected to lead us, the American people. Yes, the vote was fair and yes it sounds like i'm whinging, but today is a sad day because we are too ignorant to realise that we have re-elected an idiot who doesnt really care about the American people; only worried about his own agendas since he is a self-centred bastard. I'm proud to be an American, but I'm ashamed at what has happened today; its 2000 all over again. :(


And btw, if your angered by any of these comments; well stuff you, this a supposed democracy and I can what I bloody like. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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Ugly Face on November 03, 2004 at 5:17 PM:

We live in a 'Boobocracy'. Right? The more recent American election only helps substantiate and reinforce my finding. In addition, it is certainly even more disturbing how much money (hundreds of millions of dollars) is invested to attain the postion of 'Commander & Chief', a job which annually pays less than three hundred thousand dollars. I suppose the millions of dollars raised by and for the candidates could have gone towards something better than themselves.

In general, I ask and say:

"Are these the best candidates that America has to offer?"
"...big or little - in this world nobody remains prosperous for long."

Also, those that write-in and declare their oath to American patriotism, fine. However, I still think chauvinistic beauty is an oxymoron (and an ugly one at that).

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Another American on November 03, 2004 at 6:18 PM:

I agree, it's embarassing to be an American - because if you hear what the majority of other countries say about us and that Bush is representing what ALL Americans feel, then it's wrong and gives the wrong impression. I at least had hope that would change with the election. It's not a matter of being a sore loser. It's seeing the state of the nation and feeling helpless of doing anything productive about it because the voice we tried to have represent us didn't get office. As for "get over it" or that it's who the people wanted, let's remember that nearly 1/2 of all Americans didn't want Bush. Bush didn't win by a huge margin. The popular vote was very close. The electoral vote is obnoxious.

Just because Bush won doesn't mean that everything's ok and that democracy won. He's not representing almost 1/2 of all US citizens. That alone speaks for itself. We are a divided country.

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Chris on November 03, 2004 at 7:06 PM:

I, too, am ashamed to be an American today. It is not unamerican to say so. The plain truth is that our President is an embarassment to himself and to our country. He's stupid, ignorant, arrogant and reckless, all of which reflect on us as a nation.

I'm ashamed (and astonished) that just over 50% of this country actually believes that allowing the assault weapons ban to lapse is a good thing.

I'm ashamed that just over 50% of this country is insecure enough to think that same sex marriages are a danger to their own lives.

I'm ashamed that just over 50% of this country has completely lost sight of who is responsible for killing approximately 3,000 of their fellow Americans on September 11, 2001.

I'm ashamed of the fact that just over 50% of this country is comfortably numb enough to ignore the fact that our senior citizens, our baby boomers and those younger face an undeniably bleak financial future as our health care system continues to spiral out of control.

I'm ashamed of the fact that just over 50% of this country actually believes it's OK to throw responsibility to the wind and run up our National debt higher than it's ever been, in the shortest time ever (then again, what the hell? Our whole contry survives on credit - why shouldn't our government reflect our own individual irresponsibility? It makes us feel better about ourselves...).

Nov. 3 has revealed that a huge percentage of the American population to be self-centered, uninformed sheep.

And THAT is unamerican.

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Graham on November 03, 2004 at 7:15 PM:

Americans suck. I hold you all to blame.

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Doh004 on November 03, 2004 at 7:24 PM:

Chris:

You're post does make alot of sense. Sure alot of people are like that, but you aren't taking into account the things that Kerry would have done that won't work and are just wrong.

This election is about choosing the lesser of two evils, Bush and Kerry. Obviously more people believed Kerry's evils outwayed Bush's, so they voted for Bush. I for myself, if I could vote, would have voted for Bush because of that same concept. I don't agree with everything he does, I however don't agree with much, if anything that Kerry says.

Just thought I had to add my two cents in, which by the way is the American thing to do.

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Supernaturaltoe on November 03, 2004 at 8:32 PM:

I came here for Firefox and got a tiny flame war instead...

So, just my $0.02NZ: as an American citizen living abroad who voted via absentee ballot, I'm more pissed off at the jerks who didn't even bother to vote. So what if this election had the "highest voter turnout ever"? That's most likely due to the normal increase in our growing population, not an increase in caring about the fate of the most powerful nation in the world.

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Doug on November 04, 2004 at 5:14 AM:

"As for 'get over it' or that it's who the people wanted, let's remember that nearly 1/2 of all Americans didn't want Bush." If this is how you feel, that "he's not representing almost 1/2 of all US citizens" I need to remind you that Clinton won BOTH times without getting 50% of the popular vote. Did he not represent more than half of the population? How about your representatives and senators. If you didn't vote for them I guess they're not representing you? Like it or not these people are ALL representing you.
Bush won with a clear mandate of the people. He won the popular vote and the electoral vote.

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Andrew on November 04, 2004 at 8:30 AM:

Bernie, do the right thing and shut down this blog. There are plenty of other places for the semi-informed to squabble. ;^)

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Alex on November 04, 2004 at 11:53 AM:

I cannot say who of the candidates would be better for this country and for the world. What I know is that one is incredibly boring, and the other is incredibly dumb. And we selected the dumb one.

Democray is a strange thing:

For every job there is some objective criteria that the candidates must fulfill. Even if I want to become a policemen, I have to pass a psychology test. Why? Because I will have a gun. But if I want to be a president, I don't have to pass anything. Why, I will have only the fate of the world in my hands... I may be dumb, mentally unstable, it doesn't matter if I look good on TV. And who is qualified to decide my aptitude for the job? A bunch of people, most of them with minimum education, who does not even know me!

Now, isn't this a great way to select our leader?

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Ed on November 04, 2004 at 11:58 AM:

Yeah, I'm ashamed at times of being an American, too, but not for the same reasons you are. I lived in another country for many years, and saw how the majority of Americans acted when they visited that country as tourists. Generally, they are rude, arrogant, and have a total disregard for the local customs and culture. Of course, they were also mostly young and liberal... coincidence? I think not.

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Alex on November 04, 2004 at 12:09 PM:

Yes Ed, it is not coincidence. The people who tend to travel tend to be more educated part of the population. Those who travel more are not so limited in their point of view as those who dont. Those who are not limited tend to be liberals.

As about the arrogance - well, this is part of the american "culture". And liberals tend to be less rude and arogant than the conservatives. There is no doubt about that.

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Dave on November 04, 2004 at 9:34 PM:

Civil liberties in America over the last four years have gone down the drain, yet 51% saw fit to bring this guy back for another round. We have a president who goes all-out for the wholesale disregard of the US Constitution at every turn, but it seems we're going to have him around for four more years anyway. Free speech, women's rights, religious and ethnic tolerance, due process, etc. all appear to be on their way out, while conerns over "moral values" have done nothing but widen the abyss in American society. For the 51% that welcomed this individual back, here are some questions I want to pose to you:

1) Do you know anyone who has been affected by the USA PATRIOT Act in any way? Do you know what its specifics involve?

2) Have you ever asked an educator what their opinion is of the 'No Child Left Behind' act?

3) Do you know anyone who has had difficulty finding steady employment in the last four years?

4) Have you ever spoken to any of the men or women presently serving in Iraq and heard what they go through on a daily basis?

5) Have you ever spoken to a citizen of Iraq and heard what they go through on a daily basis?

6) Have you ever left the United States and heard what citizens of other countries think of our administration's policies?

7) Have you ever discussed health care with an elderly relative? Ever been the least bit concerned over how expensive all of that has gotten in the last four years?

Sometimes in the voting process it's important not just to think of the implications of your vote on yourself, but also on those around you. Please remember this in the next election.

To the 48%, I must ask: in light of what just happened, what are YOU going to do about it? What will you do over the next four years to change things for the better? If called upon to do so, would you stand up for the rights of those you might not have previously given consideration to?

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An advise on November 06, 2004 at 5:58 PM:

To all ashamed: It's not that difficult to renounce your american citizenship and become a proud Nobody.

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FISH on November 08, 2004 at 3:40 AM:

1) Do you know anyone who has been affected by the USA PATRIOT Act in any way? Do you know what its specifics involve? - If I am not involved in criminal activity then I don't care if the FBI knows what books I check out, what I say on the telephone, or what I buy at the grocery store.

2) Have you ever asked an educator what their opinion is of the 'No Child Left Behind' act? - How much money does it take to teach a child to read, all the funding in the world doesn't do it and we can't rely on the next great program to do it for us, the goal is simple - be accountable, teach the kids to read

3) Do you know anyone who has had difficulty finding steady employment in the last four years? - Yes and most them are the same one's who had trouble finding steady employment the 8 years before that.

4) Have you ever spoken to any of the men or women presently serving in Iraq and heard what they go through on a daily basis? - I have several friends there right now...Hell on Earth, no doubt, but look at American history, if you volunteer to serve your country then you should have no illusions about your job. You are trained to fight for a reason, the silent majority serve with honor.

5) Have you ever spoken to a citizen of Iraq and heard what they go through on a daily basis? - Life has improved tremendously since our arrival, but there is a long way to go. You have people who have been ruled by fear and continue to be to a lesser extent due to a fierce insurgency (people who are willing to die to stop freedom) The Iraqi people will prevail with our help and will be better for it.

6) Have you ever left the United States and heard what citizens of other countries think of our administration's policies? - Like who? the French? Yes I have been to Europe and I know that the Canadians, for instance, wear patches on their backpacks to insure that they are not mistaken for Americans. I also know that in general Europeans know very little about us and our everyday lives, just as we know very little about them. We established ourselves long ago as the young upstarts in the world, people who are not afraid to fight or to do what is right. The other countries mistake confidence and determination for arrogance...they are jealous and they are wrong.

7) Have you ever discussed health care with an elderly relative? Ever been the least bit concerned over how expensive all of that has gotten in the last four years? - My late grandfather was a retired truck driver and by simply being financially responsible paid $0 out of pocket for $750K of hospital care that ultimately failed to save his life following an accident.

I am the "ignorant" majority, the majority that remembers the principles, morals and values upon which this country was founded, the majority that understands why our soldiers give their lives in far away countries, the majority that believes we were created by a higher power...the same God that continues to bless America.

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kattfisk on November 08, 2004 at 2:17 PM:

"I also know that in general Europeans know very little about us and our everyday lives, just as we know very little about them."

I am a European, and I am quite certain that I know a lot more about Americans than Americans do about me and my people.


"The other countries mistake confidence and determination for arrogance...they are jealous and they are wrong."

You do have both confidence and determination, but you also have a great deal of arrogance.

To name a few exampels of that arrogance.

Withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, thereby showing the world that you care more about you economy than you do about the global environment.

Not waiting for the UN's approval before attacking Iraq, showing that you have no respect for the UN.

Imprisoning people indefinatly without charging them for any crime, disregarding international laws regarding prisoners of war.

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to kattfisk on November 08, 2004 at 5:23 PM:

"Not waiting for the UN's approval before attacking Iraq, showing that you have no respect for the UN. "
Which means that not waiting for the UN's approval before attacking Yugoslavia also shows that you have no respect for the UN, right? Unless we use double standard here...
And it means that having no respect for the UN is not just Bush's thing, but Clinton's as well, and not just the USA, and UK, and Italy, but also France, and Germany, and some other countries who now are blaming us for having no respect for the UN. Some people just prefer not to mention it.

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to kattfisk from FISH on November 08, 2004 at 7:16 PM:

"I am a European, and I am quite certain that I know a lot more about Americans than Americans do about me and my people."

- Quite possibly true, I was drawing from an experience in France when a lovely couple in Tours invited me to stay in their home, fed me, and showed me around. They thought Americans spent the majority of their time eating hambergers and watching TV (true for some Americans, thus obesity, but not the majority)...tell me where you are from and I will tell you what I know


"You do have both confidence and determination, but you also have a great deal of arrogance." - perhaps, there is fine a line between confidence and arrogance and we may at times cross it

"Withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, thereby showing the world that you care more about you economy than you do about the global environment."

- I am not well versed in the finer points of the Kyoto Protocol, however I was able to find this exerpt from the President of the United States:

"As you know, I oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause serious harm to the U.S. economy. The Senate's vote, 95-0, shows that there is a clear consensus that the Kyoto Protocol is an unfair and ineffective means of addressing global climate change concerns." Obviously there is serious concern for our economy especially when it is adversely impacted while others are exempted. I was also able to find this from the Executive Summary of the Kyoto Protocol:

"The most recent report of the IPCC concluded that: “Our ability to quantify the human influence on global climate is currently limited because the expected signal is still emerging from the noise of natural variability, and because there are uncertainties in key factors. These include the magnitudes and patterns of long-term variability and the time-evolving pattern of forcing by, and response to, changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and land surface changes. Nevertheless, the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernable human influence on global climate."

Hence, we think humans are affecting the global climate but we can't really tell.

"Not waiting for the UN's approval before attacking Iraq, showing that you have no respect for the UN."

- respect is not a birthright, it is earned, a record of lots of talk and no walk have rendered the UN virtually impotent. They stood by and watched Rwanda, Iraq, Afganistan, and continue to watch Sudan.

"Imprisoning people indefinatly without charging them for any crime, disregarding international laws regarding prisoners of war."

- These are not people that were innocently walking down the street, they were found with guns or bombs in hand hoping to kill American soldiers, they are men who hate and kill in the name of religion, these are "bad guys"...we are in the midst of a global war against terror and those who support it, if we let these guys go they will go home to Pakistan, trek to Afganistan/Iraq and try very hard to kill American soldiers...why? because their religious leaders promise them 40 virgins for a martyrs death.

Thanks for your comments, please feel free to continue the dialogue.

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

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kattfisk in reply to Anon and FISH on November 09, 2004 at 4:01 PM:

"And it means that having no respect for the UN is not just Bush's thing, but Clinton's as well, and not just the USA, and UK, and Italy, but also France, and Germany, and some other countries who now are blaming us for having no respect for the UN. Some people just prefer not to mention it."

- I did not say that the U.S was the only country not respecting the UN, but the fact that other countries also do it does not make it alright. I also believe (correct me if I am wrong) that the U.S has engaged in more unlawful wars then most other countries.

"respect is not a birthright, it is earned"

- But an institution such as the UN should not have to earn respect, it was formed to prevent war, that should command respect.

---

"tell me where you are from and I will tell you what I know"

- I'm from Sweden.

- Here are a few things that I think is typically American (typically American in the way that these things are far more common in the U.S then in Europe):
- Being patriotic.
- Being religious.
- Believing that their country is favored by god.
- Owning a gun.
- Believing in everyones right to own a gun.
- Owning several cars.
- Not caring much about the environment.
- Disliking taxes.
- Disliking communism and socialism.
- Making a lot of money.
- Having nothing against paying for their own welfare.
- Living in large homes.
- Disliking foreign products.

---

"Obviously there is serious concern for our economy especially when it is adversely impacted"

- Yes the Kyoto Protocol probably would affect the U.S economy in a negative way (even thought some say that it might actually boost the economy) but it is for a greater goal, that of stopping global warming. The U.S emits a very large amount of the worlds greenhouse gases, so the U.S should really take its responsibility and try to lower its emissions. Look at the European countries they don't emit at all as much greenhouse gases and their economy is doing fine.

"As you know, I oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance"

- That is because they are developing nations, and they do not emit nearly as much as industrialized nations, nor do they have the money or technology to lower their emissions as much.

"we think humans are affecting the global climate but we can't really tell."

- It is true that we are not sure, but a lot of scientist say that there is a strong possibility of it being so, and even if it isn't so I doubt that greenhouse gas emissions are good for the environment. The question is if the risk of greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming is worth taking? Global warming has very serious consequences for the whole earth and I think that the economy suffering slightly is a price worth paying.

---

"These are not people that were innocently walking down the street, they were found with guns or bombs in hand hoping to kill American soldiers"

- And I never said so, but just because some one has done something bad doesn't mean that you can just take all their rights away. And since many of them were released (after being held captive for a long time) without ever being charged with any crime I don't think that they had much evidence against them.

- But the thing that scares me the most about this is that the U.S simply choose to disregard international laws, and nobody did anything. International laws exist for a reason, and part of that reason is to prevent countries from doing whatever they want to people.


- And so the war of the words continue.

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Anon to kattfisk on November 09, 2004 at 4:33 PM:

"I also believe (correct me if I am wrong) that the U.S has engaged in more unlawful wars then most other countries."
Not as obvious to me; just consider 2 world wars, both started by Germany...
"I did not say that the U.S was the only country not respecting the UN, but the fact that other countries also do it does not make it alright."
No argument here. Just wanted to note that the latest "the world only superpower" syndrome was actually started by Clinton Administration after the USSR fall apart, but for some reason west europeans don't like to remember it, and attribute it solely to Bush. IMO, there is no drastic difference between those two, and it's highly unlikely that Kerry would be much different.

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kattfisk to Anon on November 11, 2004 at 6:53 PM:

"just consider 2 world wars, both started by Germany."

- The first one was in fact not started by Germany, it was started by Austria-Hungary which had an alliance with Germany.

- For a list of the U.S wars and similar during the last 100 years see theboywhocriediraq.com part 5

---

- I think that what triggered the U.S's hybris was the fall of Soviet. That made USA the sole superpower of the world so it no longer had anything to fear from anyone which led to it gaining an arrogant "we don't need anyone" attitude which has only gotten worse since. So I am aware that the attitude existed before Bush, but he has made it worse.

- The main reason I would have preferred Kerry is because he talked a lot about the importance of cooperating with other countries and improving foreign relations.

---

- I attribute any errors in this to me being very tired when writing it and English not being my native language.

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Anon to kattfisk on November 13, 2004 at 8:56 AM:

You are absolutely correct on WW1 started by Austria after Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; silly of me not to mention it. And I agree with your latest post... well, almost. I just don't think Kerry would make any difference. He didn't even promise to do anything differently except having more consultations with our allies. But - emotions aside - the problem, IMHO, is not "bad guy" Bush or "better guy" Kerry, it's a difference in national interests between the USA, EU, Russia and China, forget other countries for a moment, or rather how the politicians understand the national interests (this people are not capable of thinking long term). Replacing Bush with Kerry would mostly result in somewhat different rhetoric at most, fundamentals would stay the same. Domestic policies is different story... Again, it's just my opinion.

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Anon to kattfisk on November 13, 2004 at 11:09 AM:

You are absolutely correct on WW1 started by Austria after Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; silly of me not to mention it. And I agree with your latest post... well, almost. I just don't think Kerry would make any difference. He didn't even promise to do anything differently except having more consultations with our allies. But - emotions aside - the problem, IMHO, is not "bad guy" Bush or "better guy" Kerry, it's a difference in national interests between the USA, EU, Russia and China, forget other countries for a moment, or rather how the politicians understand the national interests (this people are not capable of thinking long term). Replacing Bush with Kerry would mostly result in somewhat different rhetoric at most, fundamentals would stay the same. Domestic policies is different story... Again, it's just my opinion.

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Anthony on November 19, 2004 at 3:19 AM:

I will never be ashamed to be an American. I served this country in numerous conflicts. It is really a shame that you feel the way you do. I would bet you have never bled for your country. I would also bet that you have never lost someone you knew on the battlefield. I love America. I will never be ashamed of my home. No matter where I live and who I talk with. I will never bash my country. You can use words like jingoism or patriotism, but it really comes down to my personal belief that America is a great country. I am sometimes amazed at how peope throw words around; speaking poorly about their home. But it is your right and I will respect that ability...though you are foolish. Go to a Marine base or a VFW and tell a Marine, or a vet from Normandy, or a vet from the Chosin, or the widow of someone lost on the US Cole, or one of the mothers of a dead Marine from Beiruit, and tell them you are ashamed to be an American. I bet their jaw will tighten and they will have little to say to you. So you be ashamed. You know so little or what you speak of. You also, probably, know so few who have sacrificed. Think about that. It gives me a good chill and a feeling of pride every time I see our nation's flag rise in the morning. I will always love America.

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kattfisk on November 19, 2004 at 6:51 AM:

In response to Anon.

I don't think that Kerry would make a big difference, but I think that the difference he would make would be an improvement over Bush. In the debates that I have seen Kerry has emphasized the importance of consulting with his allies, then the U.S would at least look like it cared about the rest of the worlds opinions.

I agree that the world needs to cooperate much more, most people don't care about others and the same goes for countries. If we all cooperated we could make the world a much better place. I'm not propagating communism, it is a utopia that will never work imho, I am saying that the world leaders need to stop thinking about their own interests, and to some extent even their nations interests, and start thinking about the worlds.

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Guy on November 19, 2004 at 9:20 PM:

Just came here to look at a theme for Firefox, and see that the election is still going on here, anyway. There are a ton of mistakes in fact and in spelling (some of it terrible) and people ought to recognize a few things.

First, the US is not a democracy. It is a republic. There is a big difference. Read The Federalist Papers and your old government/civics books to get more information on why the founding fathers set it up to be that way.

Secondly, Bill Clinton (whom I voted for in 1992) NEVER WON EVEN 50% OF THE POPULAR VOTE! In each election, the majority of Americans voted against him. Saddam always won 98% of the popular vote in Iraq. The US has always been divided. It was set up to be that way.

Thirdly, voter turnout (as a percentage of eligible voters, not as a raw tabulation) was at a level higher than all previous presidential elections dating back to about 1964, if memory serves me right.

I'll stop numbering at this point. Anyway, the Kyoto Protocol was voted down by the US Senate, as well as the governments of countless other countries around the globe. The US became a scapegoat on that. On a per capita basis, developing countries are much more polluting (possibly with the exception of carbon dioxide) than developed countries. I've stayed in Cairo several times. The cars conform to the US emissions standards of the late 1960s. Every day I blew my nose and it was BLACK. The threw trash out the window and everywhere on the street. The Pyramids at Giza still had trash laying out around them in March of 2000 from the Millenium Celebration.

The European economy, generally speaking, is not "great." A quick glance at leading indicators of economic good health reveal that it is anemic by American standards. Any president that resides over an economy that performs at a European standard would be thrown out of office.

In terms of religion, guns, etc, I think that a quick read of early American history should enlighten anyone on the cultural and political origin of these issues. Remember, there's a reason that we're the only former British Colony that drinks coffee instead of tea.

One should review the UN's performance in peacekeeping missions. It's pathetic. The best peacekeeping forces are created by groups of like-minded countries at the request of the two parties involved. The Multinational Force and Observers (of which I was part) is the standard for peacekeeping. They are at www.mfo.org.

The thing about the Canadians abroad and the backpack patches is SO TRUE! I don't mind it, though. Europeans have different values than Americans and are different culturally. They forget that as do we.

I had a European woman accost me on a dive trip once about how much Americans drive. She said we should walk more often. My current workplace is 40 miles from home. I'm not sure what she would have me do. Tough to build a train to go hundreds of miles between sparsely populated areas, especially when one must get into a car to drive to the train station. Makes sense in Europe, but not in most of the US.

People should always expect nations, states, cities, and various groups of people to act in their own interests. The American system of governance isn't an attempt to set any one of them in a dominant position, rather it attempts to set everyone in adversarial (self interested, as the founders called it) roles so that the country doesn't go off the deep end with each new trend or majority.

Cooperation is great, but popularity is not everything. Differences of opinion are a natural and inevitable part of life. Most of them are honest and heartfelt, and shouldn't be taken personally.

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kattfisk on November 20, 2004 at 8:06 PM:

"the Kyoto Protocol was voted down by the US Senate, as well as the governments of countless other countries around the globe."

- It was also ratified by many countries, including Russia, Japan and those in the European Union. The reason why so many are angry at the U.S for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is because the U.S was very important for it to work. That is because the U.S causes 22.5% of the worlds CO2 emissions.

"On a per capita basis, developing countries are much more polluting (possibly with the exception of carbon dioxide) than developed countries."

- The Kyoto Protocol is only about greenhouse gas emissions, not about other types of pollution. I will let the following figures speak for themselves.

CO2 emissions per capita 1998 (in thousand metric tons):

The world: 4.1
Egypt (since you mentioned it): 1.6
China (major development country): 2.5
Poland ("dirty" European country): 8.3
Sweden ("clean" European country): 5.5
United States of America: 19.9

I just picked few countries, but from these figures it is quite clear that the U.S emit much more CO2 per capita than most other countries do and that the development countries emit notably less. (This was a very narrow selection but you get the picture.)

Facts from: earthtrends.wri.org
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- If the European economy is in such a poor state then why aren't we starving? Why do European countries have such welfare if they are so poor? Last time I checked the U.S economy wasn't in such a good shape either. You have huge depts, so do we, but the point is that the U.S economy is not that much better then the European and any problems it might have are not related to the Kyoto Protocol.

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"In terms of religion, guns, etc, I think that a quick read of early American history should enlighten anyone on the cultural and political origin of these issues."

- And what about European history? Two world wars, countless other wars, countries breaking free, being defeated, being formed and so on. I see the origin, but that is not all, you can not blame it all on history. The English is not going to try to reclaim America. Why spend astronomical amounts of money on defence when you could decrease it greatly and still have the world most powerful military?

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- I would rather have a leader that cared a lot about his country and the world, than one that cared mostly about his own good. Everything works best when everyone is working for the greater good, not when everyone is looking efter their own interests.

"Differences of opinion are a natural and inevitable part of life."

- Well of course, but there are a few things that I think most countries agree on, like global warming and war being bad things. When it comes to those thing we should learn to work together, that imho would benefit us all.

Now it's 5 in the morning and I ought to sleep.

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Anon to kattfisk on November 24, 2004 at 4:43 PM:

For me it's not about what Kerry promised, in debates or otherwise; it’s rather if I trust him. Our previous president was a democrat, as well as Kerry, and respected in Western Europe much more then Bush, but when I consider his record… He managed to bomb 4 countries in 8 years (Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Sudan), and started the war against Yugoslavia without even seeking UN approval, IMO not exactly a dove. Why should I believe that Kerry will be any better? OK, let’s just admit that we are somewhat disagree on this point.
On cooperation: I believe it is the long term interest for any countries (or people, I agree with you on that), but to achieve it, both countries have to admit and respect each other short term interest, and try to find a compromise on points of disagreement without attempting to take advantage of each other. Not too many such examples in the history of the world… Again, it must be two way street.

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