America The Illiterate

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America The Illiterate

Sorry folks. This one is actually a bit painful to read. But, I think it is important to share as it sheds light on how difficult it is going to be to get the message out. 

 

America the
Illiterate

By Chris
Hedges

November 16,
2008
"Truthdig"
-- - W
e live
in two
Americas.
One America,
now the
minority,
functions in
a
print-based,
literate
world. It
can cope
with
complexity
and has the
intellectual
tools to
separate
illusion
from truth.
The other
America,
which
constitutes
the
majority,
exists in a
non-reality-based
belief
system. This
America,
dependent on
skillfully
manipulated
images for
information,
has severed
itself from
the
literate,
print-based
culture. It
cannot
differentiate
between lies
and truth.
It is
informed by
simplistic,
childish
narratives
and clichés.
It is thrown
into
confusion by
ambiguity,
nuance and
self-reflection.
This divide,
more than
race, class
or gender,
more than
rural or
urban,
believer or
nonbeliever,
red state or
blue state,
has split
the country
into
radically
distinct,
unbridgeable
and
antagonistic
entities.

There are
over 42
million
American
adults, 20
percent of
whom hold
high school
diplomas,
who cannot
read, as
well as the
50 million
who read at
a fourth- or
fifth-grade
level.
Nearly a
third of the
nation’s
population
is
illiterate
or barely
literate.
And their
numbers are
growing by
an estimated
2 million a
year. But
even those
who are
supposedly
literate
retreat in
huge numbers
into this
image-based
existence. A
third of
high school
graduates,
along with
42 percent
of college
graduates,
never read a
book after
they finish
school.
Eighty
percent of
the families
in the
United
States last
year did not
buy a book.

The
illiterate
rarely vote,
and when
they do vote
they do so
without the
ability to
make
decisions
based on
textual
information.
American
political
campaigns,
which have
learned to
speak in the
comforting
epistemology
of images,
eschew real
ideas and
policy for
cheap
slogans and
reassuring
personal
narratives.
Political
propaganda
now
masquerades
as ideology.
Political
campaigns
have become
an
experience.
They do not
require
cognitive or
self-critical
skills. They
are designed
to ignite
pseudo-religious
feelings of
euphoria,
empowerment
and
collective
salvation.
Campaigns
that succeed
are
carefully
constructed
psychological
instruments
that
manipulate
fickle
public
moods,
emotions and
impulses,
many of
which are
subliminal.
They create
a public
ecstasy that
annuls
individuality
and fosters
a state of
mindlessness.
They thrust
us into an
eternal
present.
They cater
to a nation
that now
lives in a
state of
permanent
amnesia. It
is style and
story, not
content or
history or
reality,
which inform
our politics
and our
lives. We
prefer happy
illusions.
And it works
because so
much of the
American
electorate,
including
those who
should know
better,
blindly cast
ballots for
slogans,
smiles, the
cheerful
family
tableaux,
narratives
and the
perceived
sincerity
and the
attractiveness
of
candidates.
We confuse
how we feel
with
knowledge.

The
illiterate
and
semi-literate,
once the
campaigns
are over,
remain
powerless.
They still
cannot
protect
their
children
from
dysfunctional
public
schools.
They still
cannot
understand
predatory
loan deals,
the
intricacies
of mortgage
papers,
credit card
agreements
and equity
lines of
credit that
drive them
into
foreclosures
and
bankruptcies.
They still
struggle
with the
most basic
chores of
daily life
from reading
instructions
on medicine
bottles to
filling out
bank forms,
car loan
documents
and
unemployment
benefit and
insurance
papers. They
watch
helplessly
and without
comprehension
as hundreds
of thousands
of jobs are
shed. They
are hostages
to brands.
Brands come
with images
and slogans.
Images and
slogans are
all they
understand.
Many eat at
fast food
restaurants
not only
because it
is cheap but
because they
can order
from
pictures
rather than
menus. And
those who
serve them,
also
semi-literate
or
illiterate,
punch in
orders on
cash
registers
whose keys
are marked
with symbols
and
pictures.
This is our
brave new
world.

Political
leaders in
our
post-literate
society no
longer need
to be
competent,
sincere or
honest. They
only need to
appear to
have these
qualities.
Most of all
they need a
story, a
narrative.
The reality
of the
narrative is
irrelevant.
It can be
completely
at odds with
the facts.
The
consistency
and
emotional
appeal of
the story
are
paramount.
The most
essential
skill in
political
theater and
the consumer
culture is
artifice.
Those who
are best at
artifice
succeed.
Those who
have not
mastered the
art of
artifice
fail. In an
age of
images and
entertainment,
in an age of
instant
emotional
gratification,
we do not
seek or want
honesty. We
ask to be
indulged and
entertained
by clichés,
stereotypes
and mythic
narratives
that tell us
we can be
whomever we
want to be,
that we live
in the
greatest
country on
Earth, that
we are
endowed with
superior
moral and
physical
qualities
and that our
glorious
future is
preordained,
either
because of
our
attributes
as Americans
or because
we are
blessed by
God or both.

The ability
to magnify
these simple
and childish
lies, to
repeat them
and have
surrogates
repeat them
in endless
loops of
news cycles,
gives these
lies the
aura of an
uncontested
truth. We
are
repeatedly
fed words or
phrases like
yes we can,
maverick,
change,
pro-life,
hope or war
on terror.
It feels
good not to
think. All
we have to
do is
visualize
what we
want,
believe in
ourselves
and summon
those hidden
inner
resources,
whether
divine or
national,
that make
the world
conform to
our desires.
Reality is
never an
impediment
to our
advancement.

The
Princeton
Review
analyzed the
transcripts
of the
Gore-Bush
debates, the
Clinton-Bush-Perot
debates of
1992, the
Kennedy-Nixon
debates of
1960 and the
Lincoln-Douglas
debates of
1858. It
reviewed
these
transcripts
using a
standard
vocabulary
test that
indicates
the minimum
educational
standard
needed for a
reader to
grasp the
text. During
the 2000
debates,
George W.
Bush spoke
at a
sixth-grade
level (6.7)
and Al Gore
at a
seventh-grade
level (7.6).
In the 1992
debates,
Bill Clinton
spoke at a
seventh-grade
level (7.6),
while George
H.W. Bush
spoke at a
sixth-grade
level (6.8),
as did H.
Ross Perot
(6.3). In
the debates
between John
F. Kennedy
and Richard
Nixon, the
candidates
spoke in
language
used by
10th-graders.
In the
debates of
Abraham
Lincoln and
Stephen A.
Douglas the
scores were
respectively
11.2 and
12.0. In
short,
today’s
political
rhetoric is
designed to
be
comprehensible
to a
10-year-old
child or an
adult with a
sixth-grade
reading
level. It is
fitted to
this level
of
comprehension
because most
Americans
speak, think
and are
entertained
at this
level. This
is why
serious film
and theater
and other
serious
artistic
expression,
as well as
newspapers
and books,
are being
pushed to
the margins
of American
society.
Voltaire was
the most
famous man
of the 18th
century.
Today the
most famous
“person” is
Mickey
Mouse.

In our
post-literate
world,
because
ideas are
inaccessible,
there is a
need for
constant
stimulus.
News,
political
debate,
theater, art
and books
are judged
not on the
power of
their ideas
but on their
ability to
entertain.
Cultural
products
that force
us to
examine
ourselves
and our
society are
condemned as
elitist and
impenetrable.
Hannah
Arendt
warned that
the
marketization
of culture
leads to its
degradation,
that this
marketization
creates a
new
celebrity
class of
intellectuals
who,
although
well read
and informed
themselves,
see their
role in
society as
persuading
the masses
that
“Hamlet” can
be as
entertaining
as “The Lion
King” and
perhaps as
educational.
“Culture,”
she wrote,
“is being
destroyed in
order to
yield
entertainment.”

 

read the rest here.....

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21239.htm

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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:


Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant.

 

I hate to say it, by education parental or state we are forced to sit in the realm of consistency. The options open to us in order to change our normal daily lives are both feared and revered by those who have the ability to make changes. After all we are only creatures inslaved by habit, human by name, an animal enriched by technology. If leaders who have the authority don't start to act responsibly you can only imagine the atrocities we will have to deal with.  

Teachers in suburban schools say that the children treat them as performers and expect them to make the classes interesting enough to hold their attention - the opposite of prior models where teachers demanded satisfactory performance from the students. These children expect to be educated by the schools, just as they are entertained by television and sated by prepared foods.

The fact that parents are forced to rely on day care facilities is one of the worst possible indictments of economic growth.

For many decades, Americans believed that we needed growth purely to create more jobs. Economists call the relationship between growth and unemployment "Okun's law," which states that an extra percentage point of growth causes about a half percentage point drop in unemployment. Under Okun's law, it takes an annual growth rate of about 2.5 percent just to stop unemployment from rising. (Even if per capita income reached $1 million per year, Okun's Law would still prescribe economic growth to avoid unemployment.)

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builder
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Re: America The Illiterate

Great Post!

Rest of the article is well worth reading

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Re: America The Illiterate

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Re: America The Illiterate

MGhandi

Great essay, although it largely just affirms what I've known for a long time.  The Lincoln Douglass debates have served as a kind of touchstone for me.  Accounts I've read describe those debates.  They travelled from town to town holding these debates in frequently hot overcrowded town meeting halls.  They would go on for whole days, take a break for dinner, and resume after the break with no reduction in observers.  This was an America that was acutely aware and interested in the issues of the day.  Although probably a much larger proportion of the populace never went to formal school beyond the elementary level, their literacy was much greater than ours.

It is a stunning indictment not only of our education system, but also of 'we the people' for allowing this to happen.

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Re: America The Illiterate

@Doug

I started another thread with this video a few days ago. I think it reflects a major American societal issue

 

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Becca Martenson
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Re: America The Illiterate

The best parentling decision we ever made was to throw out our TV 6 years ago.  Haven't missed it once.

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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:

Sorry folks. This one is actually a bit painful to read. But, I think it is important to share as it sheds light on how difficult it is going to be to get the message out. 

...

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21239.htm

All,

While you may agree with part, or all, of the above referenced article, it behooves you to conduct a small amount of research to find out where it came from.

As it turns out, the referenced article traces back to a one-man operation with some obvious biases (anti-Israel, anti-Obama, etc.). While there is nothing wrong with reading one man's opinion, it is wise to keep in mind that it is just that - an opinion with few facts for backup.

See links below:

"http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/"

"http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/who.htm"

"http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/intent.htm"

Sam....

 

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Morpheus
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Re: America The Illiterate

Sam. With all due respect, I read Christopher Hedges. He's not some anti-semitic Obama hater, whatever that is. 

In fact, the man is an admitted socialist and I am not. I am however, for the most part, very critical of Israeli national policies. In fact, if you and I exchanged ideas on it you might be tempted to slap the "anti-Israel" label on me too. That doesn't imply that I am an anti-semite, and I would hope that you would realize the difference. 

That's a thought stopper. And it's meant to be. It's what is known as "poisoning the well". I see well thought out opinions trashed with regularity on the internet in this manner. I'd appreciate a rebuttal rather than an ad hominen hit job. And I don't ask that in a tone of malice either so please don't personalize it.  

Here's what you may not know about Christopher Hedges. First, he was once a media darling, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New York Times. No, Pulitzer Prize doesn't mean diddly. (I don't ever accept the appeal to authority logical fallacy so I do not offer it). What it does mean is that he was an absolute darling in the mainstream media at one time. A rising star in the establishment press.

Over time, he became highly disillusioned with the phony, aristocratic political ruling class that oogled him like one of their own

And he turned on them in one of the most critical manners that I have ever seen. He's not anti-Obama only. He's anti-establishment. But in the true sense. He's no longer a friend of the blue-blood crowd, the big monied interests, "experts in academia" or the media.

He's a rebel and an independant thinker. I have looked into him in quite depth and know a thing or two about him. I don't always agree with anyone, and for emphasis let me repeat, anyone. And Christopher Hedges is no exception. But if I discounted everyone because they adhered to some concept that I was in disagreement with then I'd have no opinions to read. :)

And if I ever find that someone is in 100% agreement with my opinions then I have to wonder which one of us, me or him, is not thinking.  

But, that doesn't detract from the point of the article. I find it accurate and the general theme of his essay compelling. Actually, I think his numbers are on the conservative side. He's very critical of our nation, and it's culture. And for many that elicits a significant dissonance in contrast with what many of us have been raised to believe. And I fail to see what bearing any issues regarding Israel have on this topic. 

I myself absolutely reject the notion that it is axiomatic to presume that Israel is always the "good guy". I prefer to see both sides of the story. Unfortunately, Hedges' article implies that most of us Americans never do. I'm 42. For all but 5 years of my life I would have to honestly say that Chris (Hedges, not Chris M. LOL) was describing me to a tee. So, it's not like I am holy or anything close. We all have human imperfections, have had them, and will have them. That's axiomatic. Before I could fathom opening myself up to new ideas, I had to be shown, in effect, that I was exactly what Christopher Hedges describes. I probably still am to some degree, but I'm working on it. ;)

A request if I may. When "discrediting" someone that at least I post, would you please explain in your own argument why the author is not credible? I will do the same in kind. Thanks. 

 

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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:

Sam. With all due respect, I read Christopher Hedges. He's not some anti-semitic Obama hater, whatever that is. 

In fact, the man is an admitted socialist and I am not. I am however, for the most part, very critical of Israeli national policies. In fact, if you and I exchanged ideas on it you might be tempted to slap the "anti-Israel" label on me too. That doesn't imply that I am an anti-semite, and I would hope that you would realize the difference. 

That's a thought stopper. And it's meant to be. It's what is known as "poisoning the well". I see well thought out opinions trashed with regularity on the internet in this manner. I'd appreciate a rebuttal rather than an ad hominen hit job. And I don't ask that in a tone of malice either so please don't personalize it.  

...

A request if I may. When "discrediting" someone that at least I post, would you please explain in your own argument why the author is not credible? I will do the same in kind. Thanks. 

MGhandi,

To begin, let me apologize for my misleading earlier post. Whilst I try to be accurate, in this case I mixed apples and oranges by making it appear that I was referring to Christopher Hedges as "(anti-Israel, anti-Obama, etc.)". In fact, I meant to refer to the owner of the "Information Clearing House" (Tom ?) as "anti-Israel" and Christopher Hedges as "anti-Obama".

BTW, please note that I referred to Mr. Hedges as "anti-Israel" not "anti-Semitic" - as you yourself state, there is a difference. Also, I referred to him as "anti-Obama", not an "Obama hater" - again, there is a difference.

 

Why I feel Tom ? is "anti-Israel":

You only have to look at his home page "http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/" to see where his biases lay. I have studied the history of Israel from the days when Palestine was a British Protectorate up through the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 and on through the present day. I've always found it "fascinating" that the Arabs are always the victims and the Israelis are always the aggressor - never mind that most of the Arab states have tried to wipe out the state of Israel since 1948 and have made no bones about their ongoing desire to do so. Also note that Israel has never threatened to wipe out any other Arab country.

 

Why I feel C. Hedges is "anti-Obama":

The last paragraph of his article states (bold, underline added by me):

"The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us."

Note that only Obama was the manipulator (not any other candidate - Democrat or Republican) and the insinuation is that all Obama supporters are illiterate and irrational. As an Obama supporter, I highly resent that implication as do, I'm quite sure, millions of other literate and rational Obama supporters.

Normally I would not drag politics into what is supposed to be an arena for financial discussion, but you asked for my reasoning and so here it is.

MGhandi wrote:

In fact, if you and I exchanged ideas on it you might be tempted to
slap the "anti-Israel" label on me too. That doesn't imply that I am an
anti-semite, and I would hope that you would realize the difference.

I very well understand the difference between someone who is "anti-Israel" and someone who is "anti-Semitic". However, in my 65 years on this earth, I find it rare that someone is able to genuinely be "anti-Israel" without also being "anti-Semitic". If you are seriously able to separate the two then you are an uncommon fellow indeed.

Just for the record, I don't always agree with the policies of the Israeli government, but I would wager that if the rest of the countries in the Middle East would be willing to let Israel co-exist peacefully (something they've never been allowed to do in 60 years), Israelis would be happy to do so. I'm sure you wouldn't enjoy living in a town that was shelled daily by rocket fire - well neither do the Israelis.

Sam....

 

 

 

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Re: America The Illiterate

I know this is going to come across as more America bashing on my part......  but you have to see non-American TV to see why WE still watch it.

In 1980 Glenda and I were stuck for a 24 hour stretch between flights in a Los Angeles motel.....  with 100 channels of crap!  We couldn't believe that with 100 channels, there was absolutely nothing worth watching. And we had no money left to go anywhere with!

Some, and I point out definitely not all, of the TV available in Australia is high quality.  I have actually learnt a lot from Aussie TV, particularly history....  British shows in fact!

Another thing I have noticed since participating in several US forums like this one (none of them as good of course!!) is the appalling spelling.  I'm not talking typos here, we can all hit the wrong key, but the use of the wrong word, and using one that sounds like the one they meant to use.  The classic being their/there/they're, and the seeming ignorance of the use of the apostrophe....  like who's instead of whose (I saw this one on this site today!).  Surely this is basic English...  As the article says, too few books are being sold/read.  Our kids are both extremely well read, we have thousands of books in this house... in two languages.  Some of the very first books I ever read were American (White Fang, Last of the Mohicans) which I read in French...  and I still have them fifty years later.

BTW, English is, strictly speaking, my second language.  One of my pet hates is butchering language....  sorry!

 Mike.

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Re: America The Illiterate

Errrr....  can we please stop discussing Israel?  You don't want me to go there...

Mike 

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Re: America The Illiterate

I am all for education.  I, too, do not watch T.V.  I read non-fiction, fiction, Mish's, Financial Sense, the Times, and the WSJ every day.  I also read to my son, age five, and play with him.  He watches no TV but does watch, occasionally, educational videos.  He also has his own computer and ed. games.

While, I too, advocate the highest grade of education, I also know that:

All and/or the best education in the world will not necessarily produce the cooperation and effective measures we need to survive as a nation of "smart" people.  Like chemistry, we as a society need to find an element that will cohere us to form the necessary components for effectiveness in our goals as a society.  Without this type of cooperation we will die.  Many of us are extreme when it comes to conformism and/or individualism.  A balance between them and knowing when to concede is the wisdom that can create the type of world we want.  Somehow we need to find peace and peace can only come from those who are willing to agree and make concessions.  Attempting to gain an 'all or nothing' stance will keep us in the ice age if not into extinction.

Peace to you all and, hopefully, our future generations...

and

Peace to all of Mother Nature and hopefully, our future organisms.

We will prosper as long as we help and depend upon others.

My survival depends upon you and yours upon me.

Smile

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Damnthematrix
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Re: America The Illiterate

Peace to you all and, hopefully, our future generations...

Even though I cancelled Christmas, I was given a T shirt.  It reads:

"PEACE ON TERRA" 

All the best for next year, civilisation's watershed methinks..

Mike 

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Re: America The Illiterate
Damnthematrix wrote:

I know this is going to come across as more America bashing on my part......  but you have to see non-American TV to see why WE still watch it.

In 1980 Glenda and I were stuck for a 24 hour stretch between flights in a Los Angeles motel.....  with 100 channels of crap!  We couldn't believe that with 100 channels, there was absolutely nothing worth watching. And we had no money left to go anywhere with!

Some, and I point out definitely not all, of the TV available in Australia is high quality.  I have actually learnt a lot from Aussie TV, particularly history....  British shows in fact!

Now this is strange - I find myself in agreement with Matrix! As an American living in the Northwest (Oregon), I have to agree there is a dearth of decent television programming on the major networks. However, cable does provide some decent alternatives. E.g. PBS, National Geographic, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, many cable news channels, etc. Personally, we watch the evening news (national and local) for a daily diet - not much else. When we see the odd decent program appear on one of the above channels, we use our Tivo to record it for later viewing on our schedule. In the past, we have had the opportunity to enjoy some very good British stuff on PBS. Unfortunately, we don't get much new programming. As an example, PBS has been replaying "As Time Goes By" for years now. Whilst it was fun watching the first time, it's somewhat ancient history now. I do miss "Fawlty Towers" - one of the best shows to ever come to America!

Damnthematrix wrote:

Another thing I have noticed since participating in several US forums like this one (none of them as good of course!!) is the appalling spelling.  I'm not talking typos here, we can all hit the wrong key, but the use of the wrong word, and using one that sounds like the one they meant to use.  The classic being their/there/they're, and the seeming ignorance of the use of the apostrophe....  like who's instead of whose (I saw this one on this site today!).  Surely this is basic English...  As the article says, too few books are being sold/read.  Our kids are both extremely well read, we have thousands of books in this house... in two languages.  Some of the very first books I ever read were American (White Fang, Last of the Mohicans) which I read in French...  and I still have them fifty years later.

BTW, English is, strictly speaking, my second language.  One of my pet hates is butchering language....  sorry!

Mike.

I too shudder when I see the appalling spelling. I cannot understand why seemingly otherwise intelligent people can't spell. Even worse, they apparently don't know how to use the spell-check at the top of this editing window! Since I am British born, emigrated to Montreal, Canada at six, then emigrated to San Francisco at twelve, maybe I am lucky to have had a European influence in my life. Certainly my spelling passes muster!  ;-)

Sam....

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SamLinder
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Re: America The Illiterate
Damnthematrix wrote:

Errrr....  can we please stop discussing Israel?  You don't want me to go there...

Mike 

I'd be willing to go off-line with this one. Drop me an email.  Tongue out

Sam....

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SamLinder
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Re: America The Illiterate
Damnthematrix wrote:

Peace to you all and, hopefully, our future generations...

Even though I cancelled Christmas, I was given a T shirt.  It reads:

"PEACE ON TERRA" 

All the best for next year, civilisation's watershed methinks..

Mike 

 

Hopefully civilization (American spelling Wink) will surprise you and continue to outlive your predictions.

If not, well - it's been an interesting ride................................. Innocent

Sam....

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Morpheus
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Re: America The Illiterate

Sam. I am moving today but would like to respond to your post since you spent a considerable amount of time composing it.

I'll get to it later. Thanks. 

 

PS. I'd rather be posting than cleaning a condo. LOL

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Re: America The Illiterate

I'd love to join an e-mail discussion about Israel, or at least listen in. I don't think I know enough yet to convince me either way, and I trust that you (Sam, Mike, and whoever else) guys are actually going to have a serious conversation Tongue out

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Morpheus
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Re: America The Illiterate

Yes. I do think an Israel discussion might have the potential to get heated. Offline perhaps, here? No way. It'd be disrespectful to the site.

Sam. I'm still going to answer your post, just tired now. Moved today and spent 11 hours at it. More tomorrow. Right now I'm just zoning. Thanks for taking the time though. 

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SamLinder
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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:

Yes. I do think an Israel discussion might have the potential to get heated. Offline perhaps, here? No way. It'd be disrespectful to the site.

Sam. I'm still going to answer your post, just tired now. Moved today and spent 11 hours at it. More tomorrow. Right now I'm just zoning. Thanks for taking the time though. 

MGhandi,

Take your time - I know from personal experience how exhausting it can be to move. Come back when you feel up to it.

 

MGhandi/Futuo,

I agree with MGhandi that this site would not be the appropriate place to hold such a discussion. Perhaps we can do it via email if you two are agreeable to sharing same. Please advise.

Sam....

 

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Morpheus
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Re: America The Illiterate

Well you seem like a nice guy so I assume it would be a cordial and intellectual discussion. Perhaps share viewpoints?

Just a hint of my position. When two guys get into a fight, no one comes out smelling like a rose. :)

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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:

Well you seem like a nice guy so I assume it would be a cordial and intellectual discussion. Perhaps share viewpoints?

Just a hint of my position. When two guys get into a fight, no one comes out smelling like a rose. :)

Hmmm - " ...cordial and intellectual discussion. Perhaps share viewpoints?" I'll be honest with you, MGhandi, that while I enjoy calm, cordial discourse as well as the next guy, I can get a little spirited from time-to-time if I feel particularly passionate about a specific issue.
Foot in mouth

I expect a discussion about the middle east will lead to some strong viewpoints being presented. That said, I'm still willing to give it a try with you and Futuo if you are both still interested.

Sam....

 

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Morpheus
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Re: America The Illiterate

Well then. This will be a test to see if one (in the proverbial sense, not "you") can discuss a contentious issue without personalizing it. Surprised

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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:

Well then. This will be a test to see if one (in the proverbial sense, not "you") can discuss a contentious issue without personalizing it. Surprised

Hey there Sam and Ghandi.

I'd rather we didn't enter into any discussions about middle east politics here.

While I am sure you could maintain your dignity and tempers on the subject, this is a deeply emotional topic for many with immutable beliefs on both sides.   That's a fancy way of saying the possibility for downside to this site vastly outweighs any potential benefits.

Further, there are lots of other sites which specifically and vigorously engage in this topic and I can't see how our adding to that online debate here helps to advance our thinking and preparations around The Three Es.

I'd respectfully request that the discussion be had offline or somewhere else.

Thanks in advance.

Chris Martenson 

 

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Re: America The Illiterate
cmartenson wrote:
MGhandi wrote:

Well then. This will be a test to see if one (in the proverbial sense, not "you") can discuss a contentious issue without personalizing it. Surprised

Hey there Sam and Ghandi.

I'd rather we didn't enter into any discussions about middle east politics here.

While I am sure you could maintain your dignity and tempers on the subject, this is a deeply emotional topic for many with immutable beliefs on both sides.   That's a fancy way of saying the possibility for downside to this site vastly outweighs any potential benefits.

Further, there are lots of other sites which specifically and vigorously engage in this topic and I can't see how our adding to that online debate here helps to advance our thinking and preparations around The Three Es.

I'd respectfully request that the discussion be had offline or somewhere else.

Thanks in advance.

Chris Martenson 

Hi Chris,

MGhandi and I are in absolute agreement with you. Please see posts #15, #18, #19, and #20. What you have seen so far is MGhandi and I trying to make plans for the offsite discussion since neither of us has the email address of the other just yet.

I deeply apologize if we left the impression that we plan on engaging in a discussion of middle east politics on your site. We have no such intention. We respect your site and what it is all about.

Have a Happy New Year and all the best to you and your family.

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DrKrbyLuv
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Tyranny of the sleeping majority

The Chris
Hedges
article is troubling because it hold much truth. The fact is that much of our society is complacent and ill-informed which I think is irresponsible. We could build a free, prosperous and sustainable society if people really cared and were motivated to roll up their sleeves to get the job done.

It amazes me that we are watching our world unravel with such little note or concern. For example, with their first breath, infants become citizens by being enslaved in debt. We are so careless in our consumption that it doesn't even phase us that future generations will be left to foot the bill.   

 

 

 

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MarkM
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Re: Tyranny of the sleeping majority
DrKrbyLuv wrote:

It amazes me that we are watching our world unravel with such little note or concern. For example, with their first breath, infants become citizens by being enslaved in debt. We are so careless in our consumption that it doesn't even phase us that future generations will be left to foot the bill.   

 

 

 

You are absolutely right.  Debt is the sale of the future, whether personally or by our government.  Unfortunately, most "citizens" of this country give little consideration to their own future, much less that of future generations.

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ramsayprior
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Re: America The Illiterate

Its unfortunate to debates the rights and wrongs of the Isreali Arab dispute, in this place.

few can debate this without vituperation.

The Arabs were not asked if they wanted a large number of mainly European, armed and ideologically driven colonists.

The Israelis have irrefutable arguments regarding the whole grim history of the Jews in diaspora - undeniable claims to a homeland and a place of safety from European persecution.

On the other hand, the Palestinians have been presented with several faits accompli. The loss of their land in '47. The indifference of the world at large to the great injustice that caused the loss of their land.

And more recently the fact of their being poorly lead, unpopular, alien and unphotogenic to the West has meant that year by year their rights and their property and their security have been eroded. And inch by inch, new land is given over to settlers and jewish immigrants from anywhere - while they live under seige ringed by wire and walls and tanks.

Noone in Isreal pays any attention to the lamentable condition of the Palestinians in their little Bantustans.

Their absolute impotence in the face of Israel is the cause of the futile rocket attacks and bombings they carry out. After 50 years in camps, what are they to do?

The disproportion of the death tolls tells its own tale. The Israelis have killed more children under five in the past year than the number of Israeli civilians than Palestinians have murdered in the last five years.

Murder is always wrong. Violence itself is always wrong. I feel sad for us all and for our future. The Israelis are of us, they are a part of our Judeo-Christian Western Civilisation. How is this to end?

This conflict in the Middle East can not be won. There will never be peace there without justice. And half of the world looks on in horror as The Israelis roll in for another pre-election shoot-em-up in the Gaza Strip.

I dont deny that many of the opponents of Israel are medieval obscurantists who would be a danger to any country that they were situated in. On the other hand the ideologically driven settlers, armed and entitled as they are, are reminiscent of the Islamicists in Teheran of '79. These obscurantists were weaned in this conflict and formed by it. Who is to blame for that?

As my countryman Dalrymple says of this conflict; 'the poison of one becomes the lifeblood of the other.'

And a plague on both their houses

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Morpheus
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Re: America The Illiterate

@ramsayprior

Ram. 

Mark, Sam, and I, and subsequently with Chris' insistence, have all pre-agreed that any middle east politics NOT be discussed in open forums. 

1. It's going to cause a ruckus. I guarantee it. 

2. It's not particularly germaine to the Three E's. 

3. Typically neither side walks away convinced of the merits of the other position. 

So in short, no one is going to discuss this here. And Chris followed up with an insistence that it be avoided. I agree. I am sure that others do too. It was not my intent to steer this thread into a M.E political discussion. 

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SamLinder
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Re: America The Illiterate
MGhandi wrote:

@ramsayprior

Ram. 

Mark, Sam, and I, and subsequently with Chris' insistence, have all pre-agreed that any middle east politics NOT be discussed in open forums. 

1. It's going to cause a ruckus. I guarantee it. 

2. It's not particularly germaine to the Three E's. 

3. Typically neither side walks away convinced of the merits of the other position. 

So in short, no one is going to discuss this here. And Chris followed up with an insistence that it be avoided. I agree. I am sure that others do too. It was not my intent to steer this thread into a M.E political discussion. 

MGhandi,

Considering what is going on in the ME right now, I recommend we defer our off-line discussion for the indefinite future.

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