While the Republicans are busy trying to take down a presidency, denying global climate change, allowing presidential hopefuls to dispute Evolution as a fact, listening to and empowering nitwits like Beck and Palin, and cowering before the racist demagogue, Limbaugh; and while we fight with each other over who was meanest to whose president and party, and who's a socialist or a fascist, China and India are gaining on us economically, technologically, and eventually, militarily.
Democrats, too, are busy undermining their own president because he isn't doing what they want--but he is doing what he can do at this time and with the horrible circumstances he's been given--two unfinished wars, a terrible economy, high unemployment, and an opposing political party that won't even admit he's a natural born American citizen. How does anyone accomplish anything under these conditions?
Meanwhile, while the stonewalling, Party of NO! undermines our president, the Left is piling on him as well, weakening his ability to accomplish the difficult things that need to be done. Thanks, Bill Maher. You make your living as a comedian--getting laughs. That's not quite as difficult as what Mr. Obama does is it. Try doing his job, and we'll see how much of a wuss you turn out to be.
Read this article from TomDispatch.com by Alfred McCoy, and understand what fools we are.
"Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.
But have no doubt: when Washington's global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.
Significantly, in 2008, the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America's global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited “the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East" and "without precedent in modern history,” as the primary factor in the decline of the “United States' relative strength -- even in the military realm.” Like many in Washington, however, the Council’s analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American global preeminence, and harbored the hope that somehow the U.S. would long “retain unique military capabilities… to project military power globally” for decades to come.
No such luck. Under current projections, the United States will find itself in second place behind China (already the world's second largest economy) in economic output around 2026, and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America's current supply of brilliant scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an ill-educated younger generation.
Economic Decline: Present Situation
Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar's privileged status as the global reserve currency.
By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11% of them compared to 12% for China and 16% for the European Union. There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.
Similarly, American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane. In 2008, the U.S. was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with 232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400% increase since 2000. A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the U.S. hit rock bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” during the previous decade. Adding substance to these statistics, in October China's Defense Ministry unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one U.S. expert, that it “blows away the existing No. 1 machine” in America.
Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists."
Keep watching "Dancing With The Stars," America. Encourage young people to believe the earth is only 6,000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, keep encouraging our leaders to proudly claim that Evolution is "only a theory," that'll show the Chinese who's mighty and who's powerful.
I once had a personal conversation with a blogger many of us know. She is neither shrill or uneducated.
As we were talking, I asked her why she felt Obama was not as qualified, or as smart as Sarah Palin.
As I cited his educational resume, his experience as a constitutional law professor, his time as a legislator, etc., she stopped me and said, "It all sounds so elitist to me."
I asked her why that was a bad thing and if it changed the truth of the matter that Barack Obama was indeed a very smart man, well educated, and qualified to be President, as compared to Ms. Palin.
She said she had never considered it like that.
There is currently in this country, a disdain for scholarship, introspection, and educated curiosity.
Learning for the sake of learning is definitely on the decline in the US.
I wonder if we are perilously close, or if we have already passed the tipping point regarding education.
On another note Shaw, I posted my thoughts on the Red Sox and Mr. Gonzalez over at my blog.
"Keep watching "Dancing With The Stars. . ."
I can't add anything that could even be considered half-way enlightening. I just feel totally impotent before this great wall of nothingness.
I am sorry but those are just excuses. Obama should not have caved in to the wealthy/GOP. Our country is bound to decline over time--we can't be the resource hog forever. A leader leads.
Capt. Fogg's comment on my WPA arts project articles adds another dimension.
"...extremist movements on the right and left (which may really be the same thing) don't make art or music or poetry or architecture worth enduring. Humor either for that matter."
The reality show fans are as a group lesser literate than the ones they call elitists and by branding someone who thinks or is educated with that word, they snicker in the dark with the bright box on the wall. They listen to radio talk hosts and comedians and believe everything that is said to a laugh track.
It is evidence of insecurity. If you are the loudest voice in the room you get attention, which is noteworthy but not notable.
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