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Puma
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« on: March 30, 2011, 10:38:12 AM »

I just read a recent Time Magazine article.  One writer says America is in decline.  Another writer says don't bet against the U.S.  

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2056610,00.html

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2056582,00.html

A few interesting statistics:  America is #10 in the world in prosperity.  We're more productive than the Chinese:  one American worker produces as much as six Chinese.   We're not #1 in education, but then Denmark doesn't have the high number of poor immigrants in their schools.   I thought the articles were interesting and liked that they gave an argument on both sides.  

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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 03:36:30 PM »

Not in decline, just waiting till 2012 to get some real intelligent leadership in the White House.
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 09:52:42 PM »

Sometimes I think he's arrogant and far-far-leftist.  Other times I just think he's clueless and wonder how he got through Harvard.  But he's not America, he's one man.  The article also reminds us that as other countries pull themselves up in some areas, our "stats" would obviously go down.  The economic problems we're having have hopefully been a wakeup call for us middle class go-about-our-business people.  We have to pay attention to these knuckleheads in D.C.  They have not learned that when the left and right leave our borders open, we don't just get hard working people looking for work crossing.  They haven't learned that loosening mortgage requirements so that all can have "the American dream" results in disaster.  They haven't changed that Clinton law allowing those financial institutions to get too big to fail.  They haven't learned that they can't keep spending our money without being held accountable for their waste and self interests.  They haven't learned that unions are "special interests" just like oil companies and catering to either is bad for the USA. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 11:00:06 AM »

Bad storms in Lakeland Florida.Over 70 trapped in a convention center,and I hope all are okay
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 02:49:25 PM »

Hope so too.  I haven't had the news on today.  


I'm not 'channeling' Carnut and his ability to find good articles on world events.  I just got a bunch of magazines from a neighbor and I'm expanding my knowledge.  

Afghanistan is Far From Hopeless

despite the enormous level of government corruption and the Taliban's resurgence in parts of the country, there is another story here — of Afghan recovery and progress. But this story is not well understood by many Americans, 6 out of 10 of whom now oppose the war in Afghanistan.

Consider that under Taliban rule there were only a million children in school. Now there are 6 million, many of them girls. During the Taliban era, the phone system barely existed; now 1 in 3 Afghans owns a cell phone. Basic health care has gone from being a luxury to being available to most of the population, and annual economic growth is over 20%.

These kinds of advances explain why 6 in 10 Afghans in a poll last fall said their country is going in the right direction. The positive feelings Afghans have about the trajectory of their country seem counterintuitive given Afghanistan's deep poverty and feckless government, but they become more explicable when you recall what life under the Taliban was like. The Taliban incarcerated half the population in their homes, massacred thousands of Shi'ites, hosted pretty much every Islamist terrorist and insurgent group in the world and were pariahs on the international stage. Simultaneously, they presided over the collapse of what remained of the economy. And before the Taliban, there was civil war and rule by warlords; before that, a communist dictatorship; and before that, brutal Soviet occupation.

No wonder that 6 in 10 Afghans today have a favorable opinion of the U.S. military presence in their country. They understand that the U.S. is a guarantor of a future that is somewhat better than the Afghan past. They are not, of course, expecting Afghanistan to be turned into a central Asian nirvana, but they are hoping for more security and prosperity, and there is reason to believe they are right to do so. The war in Afghanistan still claims far fewer victims than the war in Iraq, a conflict widely believed to be all but over. Last year about 4,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by warring factions, while in Afghanistan, which has a larger population than Iraq, some 2,800 civilians died in the conflict. That makes the death rate of the Afghan war 9 per 100,000. (The murder rate in Washington is 22 per 100,000.)


The Taliban are getting squeezed where it hurts. The southern province of Helmand is the linchpin of Afghanistan's opium trade and a region where the Taliban once roamed freely. Now it might as well be Marine-istan, so effectively does the U.S. control most of it. A recent BBC poll found the proportion of Helmand residents who say their security is "good" has jumped from 14% to 67% since 2009. And in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, the religious warriors have been pushed out of key districts. The International Council on Security & Development, a think tank that has done field work in Afghanistan for years and is generally critical of Western policy, released a report last month that concluded that the U.S. troop surge in Helmand and Kandahar had improved security significantly.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2059521_2059653_2059652,00.html

There's gold, copper and other minerals in Afghanistan, so there's also hope that their economy won't continue to be based soley on poppies and foreign aid.  I didn't copy the whole article, but this is the kind of thing we don't hear much of on the news where it all becomes a political debate.  
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 09:26:23 PM »

I get e-mails from the Campaign for Liberty -- Rand Paul, etc.  I don't agree with everything, but thought I'd post this because it talks about government unions, private unions and non-union taxpayers.  There's some things in there I didn't know, but it's a hot topic and expensive issue.  Disclaimer:  I can't verify the accuracy of the stats and this is a conservative group.  Highlighting is mine. 

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April 4, 2011

Dear [Puma],

I'm sure I don't have to tell you - America is broke.

Americans went to the polls in 2010 and voted against liberty-shredding Spendocrats.  The people were clearly demanding a return to a limited government that lives within its means.

But was Congress really transformed?

We were promised that a new day had dawned in D.C. We were told spending would be cut with a chainsaw instead of a scalpel, Obamacare would be defunded, and honesty, integrity, and the Constitution would be brought back to the halls of Congress.

The new session even began with a reading of the Constitution - just in case any members had questions about what was contained in our governing document.

Instead of fulfilling promises, the new Congress seems to be content nibbling around the edges - initially settling for a paltry cut in spending of $67 billion.  The word on the street is that today, the House will agree to an insulting 1% cut in spending.

That sounds a bit more like a scalpel than a chainsaw.

They've waffled on Obamacare defunding, and back-peddled on cutting the unsustainable budget.

And as if that isn't bad enough, the majority of Illinois' Congressional Delegation cast expensive votes to preserve inflated spending in favor of Big Labor while continuing to discriminate against non-unionized workers.

You see, in the ongoing fight over the federal budget, an amendment was offered to "The Continuing Appropriations Act" to end costly federally-mandated discrimination against private citizens who opt not to join a union.

The amendment failed with a final vote of 210 to 210.


Twenty-six Republicans joined every Democrat in Congress in voting against the amendment - and the real shame is - 6 of the Republicans were from Illinois.

As Ken Braun of the Mackinac Center reports:

 “Guinta’s amendment proposed to put a halt to government construction contracts that require a ‘project labor agreement.’  A PLA artificially restricts the number of contractors who may bid on a public construction job so that only firms with unionized workers may apply.  A study commissioned by the federal government has shown that PLAs can increase costs to taxpayers by almost 10 percent, while other recent research has shown that the added cost may be well above 10 percent...      

“The effect of the federal PLA requirement is to exclude 86 percent of the construction workforce from bidding on government contracts.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that less than 14 percent of U.S. construction workers belong to a union.”
Simply put, this federally-mandated discrimination against the 86% of the workforce who choose not to join a union drives up the cost to taxpayers by 10% or more.

While it is certainly right and proper for citizens to choose to join a union, forcing people to unionize in order to compete for contracts through draconian laws is antithetical to freedom.
And while we were promised huge cuts in spending by the new House majority, 6 Illinois Republicans voted to inflate taxpayer costs for government contracts to appease the unions.

Were free market principles applied to government contracts, union shops would compete with their non-union counterparts, and this would naturally save taxpayer dollars.  Instead, union shops have exclusive access to these contracts, and the lack of competition permits them to inflate the cost to taxpayers.

Please contact the following Republican Representatives and ask them why they voted against the Guinta Amendment in HR 1.  Ask them why they voted for inflated costs and for discrimination against non-union workers.
Randy Hultgren (R-14) 202-225-2976
Timothy Johnson (R-15) 202-225-2371
Bobby Schilling (R-17) 202-225-5905
Aaron Schock (R-18) 202-225-6201
John Shimkus (R-19) 202-225-5271
Joe Walsh (R-8) 202-225-3711
This vote is a betrayal to those who voted these Congressmen into office on the promise of limiting government and restoring our lost freedoms.

And maybe if the 6 from Illinois were more keenly aware of this, they would consider the potential consequences before voting to waste taxpayer dollars and cozy up to Big Labor.

I say it is time to let them know.


For Liberty,

Heather Danielowski
Interim Illinois State Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 06:49:34 AM »

Just seen on Fox News: 

Gas in Venezuela:  $.04
Gas in Saudi Arabia $.44
Gas in America $4.99

 banghead
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 01:05:04 AM »

ANOTHER TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE:  
National Interests
Bin Laden's Great Mistake: What Osama Never Understood About the American Spirit
By Romesh Ratnesar


When President Barack Obama announced on May 1 that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, I was among those who headed to the White House. The mood in Lafayette Square was joyous, ebullient, cathartic — though hardly the bacchanal of vengeful jingoism that some in the media have portrayed it to be, or an expression of "orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed" as David Sirota claimed on Salon.com. An outsider would have been struck by the crowd's diversity, by now so familiar to Americans that we barely notice it. I'd guess that a plurality of the flag wavers were white, but I saw plenty of exuberant black, Asian, Latino and multiracial faces too. An elated young Muslim American, wearing a headscarf, enthused to a television crew about the sense of unity and belonging she felt with those around her. The whole scene would have bewildered bin Laden as much as it would have repelled him. And it goes a long way toward explaining why his war on America was doomed to fail.

Bin Laden's goal on Sept. 11, 2001, wasn't merely to murder as many innocent Americans as possible. To his followers, bin Laden predicted that the U.S. would overreact to the attacks and allow itself to be drawn into an endless, enervating conflict with the Muslim world. He believed al-Qaeda could bleed America into bankruptcy. Like the U.S.S.R. before it, the U.S. was a spent empire, a soft superpower, "a weak horse." As the terrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross writes, bin Laden believed that "just as the Arab fighters and Afghan mujahidin had destroyed Russia economically, al-Qaeda was now doing the same to the United States."

In some respects, he was right. The war on terror has cost the U.S. upwards of $3 trillion, saddled the country with deficits as far as the eye can see and constrained our ability to invest in the future. In the past decade, economic rivals in the developing world have taken advantage of our fixation on terrorism to erase the U.S.'s competitive lead. As Ezra Klein of the Washington Post noted, America's troubles have been largely of its own design: we didn't have to invade Iraq, pass tax cuts we couldn't afford or turn a blind eye while investment bankers played roulette with the housing market. From his bunker in Abbottabad, Pakistan, bin Laden no doubt delighted in our economic travails. But we brought them on ourselves.

And yet for all that — and despite all the hand-wringing about American decline — the U.S. remains the world's most powerful, prosperous nation, while bin Laden swims with sharks. Why? The bravery, persistence and ingenuity of the American military are the most obvious reasons. But the scene outside the White House that night also revealed something about the sources of American strength.

Bin Laden's fateful error was to assume that American society in the wake of 9/11 looked anything like that of the U.S.S.R. during its last decade of existence. By the time the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the Russian standard of living was in decline and population growth had stagnated, eroding the Soviet economic base. The population of the U.S., on the other hand, grew by 13.2% in the decade before 2001. The U.S. added more people during that time than in any period since World War II. In the past 10 years, the rate of growth slowed to 9.7% — in part because of security-driven immigration restrictions. And yet compared with every other Western industrialized country, where populations are shrinking, the U.S. is a picture of vitality. And unlike, say, that of China, the American fertility rate remains high enough to sustain economic expansion for at least another generation.

The secret of American resilience is not just that the U.S. attracts newcomers; it's also what they do when they arrive in the country. In his book The Future of Power, the Harvard political scientist Joseph S. Nye Jr. points out that in 1998, Chinese- or Indian-born engineers ran one-quarter of all high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. By 2005, 1 in 4 technology start-ups had been launched by immigrants. A 2009 Brookings Institution study found that among people with advanced degrees, immigrants are three times more likely to file for patents than native-born Americans. The U.S.'s greatest long-term strategic asset, Nye writes, lies in its ability to "attract the best and brightest from the rest of the world and meld them into a diverse culture of creativity."

That was the culture — the country — on display that night in Lafayette Square. It was a young, college-age crowd. Many were children of immigrants who arrived during the wave of the '90s, members of "the generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden" since 9/11, in Obama's words. What bin Laden never understood is that, whatever the body blows suffered over the past decade, American society retained its capacity to renew itself. The U.S. was able not only to sustain the long war but also to produce innovations that have changed the world: Google Earth, the iPhone, Facebook, Twitter. America today is probably a less open and less confident nation than it was on 9/11. But it has become a more youthful, more diverse and more dynamic one as well.

That isn't a prescription for complacency. Our infrastructure and public-education system are in dreadful shape, Washington's political class appears hopelessly inept, and we are drowning in debt. The benefits we have reaped from immigration could still be squandered if politicians continue to pander to the xenophobic fringe. The defeat of bin Laden presents the U.S. with an opportunity to rebuild its strength at home. Doing so will mean learning from our mistakes. But there are lessons in success too.

Ratnesar, a TIME contributing editor-at-large, is a Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of Tear Down This Wall: A City, a President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War. His column on global affairs usually appears on Mondays on TIME.com.



Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2070348,00.html#ixzz1M1Zbo800

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2070348,00.html?xid=yahoo-feat


While I agree with some of what he says, and agree that Al-Qaeda underestimated America, this author seems to think that immigration is the key to America surviving the era of terrorism.  Given that we all came from somewhere else at some point in our family's history, I would agree.  I don't agree with the author's seeming insistence that Americans are stagnant, and bringing in new blood on an ongoing basis is the reason we're not going the way of the USSR.  What our capitalistic society, so hated by so many, encourages people to do is  use their drive, ambition, talent and intelligence.  Now if an entrepreneur knows that once he spends 10 years inventing something, building a business -- long hours 7 day a week -- he has to give it to the folks who dash home at the end of the day to watch baseall or CSI, then that incentive is gone.  Some to the left of me don't seem to comprenden. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2011, 01:31:20 PM »

New Mexico town dissolves police dept after gun smuggling scandalBy Liz Goodwin

National Affairs Reporter

PostsEmailRSSBy Liz Goodwin | The Lookout – Tue, Jul 12, 2011tweet64EmailPrint

Former Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega (AP)
The scandal-plagued, tiny New Mexico border town of Columbus is dissolving its police department and asking the county sheriff to protect its citizens.

An employee at Columbus City Hall confirmed to The Lookout that the police force has been dissolved. The Luna County Sheriff's Office will now take over patrolling the town.

The town has been upended since federal authorities arrested Police Chief Angelo Vega, Mayor Eddie Espinoza, Village Trustee Blas Gutierrez and nine other residents for conspiring to smuggle hundreds of guns to drug cartels over the border in March. All of the accused have pleaded not guilty, and their trial is expected in October, according to the Las Cruces Sun News. (You can read the indictment here.)


The Associated Press presciently reported in May of 2009 that a law enforcement "vacuum" had made the town attractive to drug smugglers who moved over the border to settle down in Columbus. The "four-man police force in Columbus has turned over seven times in three years because of scandal or apathy," the AP reported, adding that more residents of the formerly modest town were driving flashy cars and buying fancy homes. Vega, who had then just nabbed the police chief job, told the AP that no illegal activity would be tolerated. "This is a new day for Columbus," he said.

In another strange twist, the Las Cruces paper reported that the New Mexico U.S. Attorney's Office has been relieved of its duties in prosecuting the trial late last month. Now, federal attorneys in El Paso, Texas will take over the case. Neither office would tell the paper what was behind the switch, and The Lookout has not yet received a reply to its a request for comment from us to the New Mexico U.S. Attorney's Office.

Gutierrez, the village trustee, only resigned his post on July 8, months after his arrest; he maintains that the arrest was politically motivated. Gutierrez's wife, Gabriela, has also been charged in the smuggling case, and a federal agent said when law enforcement officers made the arrest at their home she was "attempting to hide bulk cash on her person and within her children's shoes."

A new mayor, formerly the town clerk, was just elected in late June. The three remaining town trustees voted to dissolve the police department on July 7.
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/mexico-town-dissolves-police-dept-gun-smuggling-scandal-184408968.html
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2011, 10:00:36 AM »

Declaration of Rights & Responsibilities

Thus, we the people do hereby declare not only our rights, but do now establish this bill of responsibilities.
 
1. Because I have the right to choose, I recognize that I am accountable to God and have the responsibility to keep the 10 commandments in my own life.
 
2. Because I have the right to worship as I choose, I have the responsibility to honor the right of others to worship as they see fit.
 
3. Because I have freedom of speech, I have the responsibility to defend the speech of others, even if I strongly disagree with what they’re saying.
 
4. Because I have the right to pursue happiness, I have the responsibility to show humility and express gratitude for all the blessings I enjoy and the rights I’ve been given.
 
5. Because I have the right to honest and good government I will seek out honest and just representatives when possible. If I cannot find one then I accept the responsibility to take that place.
 
6. Because I have the God given right to liberty, I have the personal responsibility to have the courage to defend others to be secure in their persons, lives and property.
 
7. Because I have the right to equal justice, I will stand for those who are wrongly accused or unjustly blamed.
 
8. Because I have the right to knowledge, I will be accountable for myself and my children’s education…to live our lives in such a way that insures the continuation of truth.
 
9. Because I have the right to pursue my dreams and keep the fruits of my labor, I have the responsibility to feed, protect and shelter my family, the less fortunate, the fatherless, the old and infirm.
 
10. Because I have a right to the truth, I will not bear false witness nor will I stand idly by as others do.

I can't post a link because this came by e-mail from Glenn Beck.  It might be on his website. 
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 01:19:48 AM »

 soapbox
Carnut posted this on FB.  There's a lot of truth in this and I sure hope the American media and American voters learn something from this mess. 



Rex Murphy: The media’s love affair with a disastrous president
Larry Downing/Reuters
Since 2008, much of the Obama coverage has been nothing more than orchestrated sychophancy.

Comments Email Twitter inShare10Rex Murphy  Sep 17, 2011 – 7:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Sep 16, 2011 2:33 PM ET

As the bad economic news continues to emanate from the United States — with a double-dip recession now all but certain — a reckoning is overdue. American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barrack Obama’s rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign — and it hasn’t reclaimed them since.

Much of the Obama coverage was orchestrated sychophancy. They glided past his pretensions — when did a presidential candidate before “address the world” from the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin? They ignored his arrogance — “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.” And they averted their eyes from his every gaffe — such as the admission that he didn’t speak “Austrian.”

The media walked right past the decades-long association of Obama with the weird and racist pastor Jermiah Wright. In the midst of the brief stormlet over the issue, one CNN host — inexplicably — decided that CNN was going to be a “Wright-free zone.” He could have hung out a sign: “No bad news about Obama here.”

The media trashed Hillary. They burned Republicans. They ransacked Sarah Palin and her family. But Obama, the cool, the detached, the oracular Obama — he strolled to the presidency.

Palin, in particular, stands out as Obama’s opposite in the media’s eyes. As much as they genuflected to the one, they felt the need to turn rotweiler toward the other. If Obama was sacred , classy, intellectual and cosmopolitan, why then Palin must be malevolent, trashy, dumb and pure backwoods-ignorant.

Every doubt they hid from themselves about Obama, every potential embarrassment they tucked under the blanket of their superior sensibilities, they furiously over-compensated for by their remorseless hounding of Palin — from utterly trivial e-mails, to blogger Andrew Sullivan’s weird speculations about Palin’s womb, musings that put the Obama “Birther” fantasies into a realm near sanity. (We are now seeing an echo of that — with a new book promoting all sorts of unconfirmed gossip about Palin, including her alleged sexual dalliance with a basketball star.)

As a result, the press gave the great American republic an untried, unknown and, it is becoming more and more frighteningly clear, incompetent figure as President. Under Obama, America’s foreign policies are a mixture of confusion and costly impotence. It is increasingly bypassed or derided; the great approach to the Muslim world, symbolized by the Cairo speech, is in tatters. Its debt and deficits are a weight on the entire global economy. And the office of presidency is less and less a symbol of strength.

To the degree the press neglected its function as watchdog and turned cupbearer to a styrofoam demigod, it is a partner in the flaws and failures of what is turning out to be one of the most miserable performances in the modern history of the American presidency.
National Post

Rex Murphy offers commentary weekly on CBC TV’s The National, and is host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/09/17/rex-murphy-the-medias-love-affair-with-a-disastrous-president/#more-50938
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2012, 04:32:19 PM »

So with 10 months past now from the last post...I'll ask the question again...Is America In Decline?...I have alot more questions too...any interest in starting up this topic again?...and may choose to go underground to discuss...
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2012, 04:47:58 PM »

We are on a state of change,both good and bad.Time will tell.
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