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Thread: WTF is wrong with the US?

  1. #1

    Default WTF is wrong with the US?

    The biggest economy in the world, with the largest military force, and the "leader of the freee world" defending democracy.....has become the viral epicenter of a global pandemic. First to fly to the moon, but now we're banned from flying to Europe.

    We are pariahs on the world stage. Hypocrites to the nth degree. Millions unemployed, without healthcare, and millions of families (and children) facing hunger and homelessness. Education by Zip Code. (And don't forget the federal storm troopers.) With a congress that will take their August vacation despite the crises.

    Seriously, WTF is wrong with us?
    Last edited by GGT; 07-27-2020 at 06:14 AM.

  2. #2
    22 views thus far, but no replies.

    Is that because no one wants to talk about WTF is wrong the the US or did I phrase the question wrong? Wouldn't be the first time I created a lame thread.

    Maybe I've been too impatient regarding time zones, or how often people read this forum. Will check back later.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    It's a bit of a vague question, there's so much wrong.

    To be honest the leader of the free world and defenders of democracy was probably always more of an American myth that wasn't shared as much outside your borders, at least during my lifetime.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    It's a bit of a vague question, there's so much wrong.

    To be honest the leader of the free world and defenders of democracy was probably always more of an American myth that wasn't shared as much outside your borders, at least during my lifetime.
    Actually IMO the US has held that role pretty much from mid-WW2 through the postwar period at least until the end of the Cold War. We started ceding the role in some ways in the 90s, but I think one thing about 9/11 that's underappreciated is how much it shifted US geopolitical behavior and thinking, with ramifications for how our role worked in the rest of the world.

    I'm not saying that the US was always a force for good during that period, but we definitely led the West in pretty much any way that mattered, and had very concrete roles as the defenders of Western democracy through NATO and the postwar underpinnings of global security more broadly. All of that has been eroded to varying extents in the last few decades.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Well, it's just that defending democracy seems to conflict a bit with all the actions the USA did undermining democracies all over the world (including in the west). I'm sure the victims of all the dictatorships around the world which were propped up by the US greatly appreciated your commitment to defending democracy.

    Leading nation of the West, yes, that I agree with.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    Well, it's just that defending democracy seems to conflict a bit with all the actions the USA did undermining democracies all over the world (including in the west). I'm sure the victims of all the dictatorships around the world which were propped up by the US greatly appreciated your commitment to defending democracy.

    Leading nation of the West, yes, that I agree with.
    There's a reason for my qualifier of Western democracy. Generally anything in the Middle East, Africa, and southeast Asia was fair game in the context of 'containment', amoral as that position may have been. Parts of Latin America we also behaved the same way.

    I am in no way defending the behavior of the US in the postwar era - some of what the US has done has been extraordinarily good, quite a bit has been pretty awful. But we put our military, economic, and political heft behind securing democracies in Europe, North America, and East Asia. And, by and large, it worked.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    It's a bit of a vague question, there's so much wrong.
    That's part of the problem, there's SO much wrong -- just read the thread titles here (or follow Aimless's twitter feeds).

    Something has to explain why the US has so many Birthers, Truthers, Q'anon etc. who continue to buy into conspiracy theories. It's especially bad when coming from the President and no one in his administration pushes back, but enables "alternate facts" and participates in the propaganda. (See the quack "doctor" Emmanuel for the latest example.)

    There's also a large group of Americans who simply reject science. From Flat Earthers, Anti-Vaxxers, and Climate Science Deniers....to people who just don't believe covid-19 is a serious disease, that social distancing is BS (see the huge house and beach parties and packed bars), or that masks can reduce transmission (Gohmert). We even have physicians in congress who make false claims about immunity and vaccinations (Rand Paul).

    I'm wondering WHY? It can't be explained by polarized politics or anti-establishment/anti-government sentiments -- that's been going on for decades. It can't be blamed on social media or internet news -- Europe has those, too. It's like the US is in a state of collective denial, or cognitive dissonance, or something. Was hoping to hear others' arm-chair diagnoses.

  8. #8
    Having carefully considered your question—and all available evidence that pertains to it—I believe I can give you a definitive and exhaustive answer: it's demon-sex.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  9. #9
    It explains everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  10. #10
    Sounds like praying the gay away. Or thoughts and prayers after every gun massacre.



    I know you guys were trying to find the humor in this, but it's no laughing matter. Maybe there's some validity in tying our disconnects with reality, and wishful thinking, to far-right religious groups who identify as Republicans? Is that what's happening?
    Last edited by GGT; 07-30-2020 at 12:31 AM.

  11. #11
    Or are we just a bunch of lazy, arrogant, ignorant, spoiled, first-world actors who don't understand civic responsibility?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    There's a reason for my qualifier of Western democracy. Generally anything in the Middle East, Africa, and southeast Asia was fair game in the context of 'containment', amoral as that position may have been. Parts of Latin America we also behaved the same way.

    I am in no way defending the behavior of the US in the postwar era - some of what the US has done has been extraordinarily good, quite a bit has been pretty awful. But we put our military, economic, and political heft behind securing democracies in Europe, North America, and East Asia. And, by and large, it worked.
    Even in Europe, definitely in East Asia, that mainly went only up to the point where these democracies produced the results that suited the USA. I'm not denying the US has done a lot of good, especially in Western Europe, but I do not really believe that this came from a commitment to defending democracy.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  13. #13
    I

    Um

    What

    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  14. #14
    There's nothing wrong with that. Peace should be sought a d we should always remember the tragedy and price of war.

    35 years ago Reagan went to a German grave with Chancellor Kohl and said the same thing. He was right then. We shouldn't be refighting the war 75 years on.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    There's nothing wrong with that. Peace should be sought a d we should always remember the tragedy and price of war.
    You don't need to use a neo-Nazi pilgrimage site to make the case for not starting an unjust and unimaginably cruel war.

    35 years ago Reagan went to a German grave with Chancellor Kohl and said the same thing. He was right then. We shouldn't be refighting the war 75 years on.
    The two are not comparable. Reagan's symbolic visit to the cemetery in Bitburg was at the behest of the chancellor—who also suggested they visit a concentration camp, a suggestion that was rebuffed by the Reagan team—and took place in Germany, as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation. Hoekstra's visit to a neo-Nazi pilgrimage site in the Netherlands fulfills no such function. I thought this clown couldn't debase himself more than he already had with the Islamophobia and the on-camera lying, but I was obv wrong.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  16. #16
    I know nothing about it being a pilgrimage site, that's news to me. Who the f**k pilgrimages to that?

    I just saw a cemetery with graves . . .

    Wikipedia says nothing about it being a pilgrimage site, just that it is a cemetery. Considering the person who wrote that is Ambassador to the Netherlands, it seems reasonable to visit war graves in the Netherlands. Were it not for the fascist in the Oval Office I doubt anyone would blink twice had an Ambassador posted that under Obama or anyone sane.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    I know nothing about it being a pilgrimage site, that's news to me. Who the f**k pilgrimages to that?

    I just saw a cemetery with graves . . .

    Wikipedia says nothing about it being a pilgrimage site, just that it is a cemetery. Considering the person who wrote that is Ambassador to the Netherlands, it seems reasonable to visit war graves in the Netherlands. Were it not for the fascist in the Oval Office I doubt anyone would blink twice had an Ambassador posted that under Obama or anyone sane.
    There are Waffen SS soldiers buried in the cemetery, among others. I have seen it cited as a gathering place for neo-Nazis but I frankly don't understand whether it has special significance other than being a gravesite for Nazi soldiers.

    However, it has generally been controversial for politicians to visit cemeteries of German war dead rather than cemeteries full of the victims of German aggression and atrocities. This particular cemetery was visited a few years back by the German ambassador to the Netherlands, and was criticized at the time as well.

    More broadly, if one were to try making a point about the horrors of war, it might behoove you to choose a cemetery full of the victims, rather than perpetrators, of aggression. And, while you're at it, it might be nice to avoid appearing to mourn SS soldiers who participated in the worst crimes of the war. And it might be nice not to do so on an ancient day of mourning for the people who suffered most as a result of those crimes. (For the uninitiated, yesterday was the 9th of Av, the main day of mourning in the Jewish calendar. Among religious Jews, this includes mourning the results of European antisemitism, including the Holocaust.) The timing was... poor.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  18. #18
    Thanks for the background wiggin.

    Especially given the comment about a German ambassador doing the same thing, this seems more cock-up than conspiracy. The timing was poor but do you think it was deliberately so? Or a well-intentioned, but badly executed message?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    There are Waffen SS soldiers buried in the cemetery, among others. I have seen it cited as a gathering place for neo-Nazis but I frankly don't understand whether it has special significance other than being a gravesite for Nazi soldiers.

    However, it has generally been controversial for politicians to visit cemeteries of German war dead rather than cemeteries full of the victims of German aggression and atrocities. This particular cemetery was visited a few years back by the German ambassador to the Netherlands, and was criticized at the time as well.

    More broadly, if one were to try making a point about the horrors of war, it might behoove you to choose a cemetery full of the victims, rather than perpetrators, of aggression. And, while you're at it, it might be nice to avoid appearing to mourn SS soldiers who participated in the worst crimes of the war. And it might be nice not to do so on an ancient day of mourning for the people who suffered most as a result of those crimes. (For the uninitiated, yesterday was the 9th of Av, the main day of mourning in the Jewish calendar. Among religious Jews, this includes mourning the results of European antisemitism, including the Holocaust.) The timing was... poor.
    Probably not accidental in the sense of poor timing, and I'm sure the message is quite clear to those it was intended for. It's like Trump's "accidental" retweet of the old guy chanting white power: Bull Shit it was an accident.
    The Rules
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Thanks for the background wiggin.

    Especially given the comment about a German ambassador doing the same thing, this seems more cock-up than conspiracy. The timing was poor but do you think it was deliberately so? Or a well-intentioned, but badly executed message?
    I am generally inclined to ascribe screw ups like this to sheer incompetence and not malice. However, Hoekstra has no shortage of racist 'gaffes' in the past, including in his political campaigning and public remarks. On the balance of probabilities it's still likely just a really boneheaded attempt to be ambassadorial but the benefit of the doubt wears thin.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  21. #21
    Nothing like a pandemic to highlight systemic flaws, especially our decades-long history of under-funding public services like healthcare. And how a linear/asystemic approach fails to solve complex, societal problems that need a comprehensive/holistic approach. The Atlantic has a good series of articles related to covid-19 and "How the Pandemic Defeated America":

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...ailure/614191/

    https://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...sponse/608596/


    I'm thinking there's something about revering the "rugged individualism" of American culture that's made us stupid about society's connections, our civic responsibilities, and the role of institutions. Especially tax-funded governmental ones. While we're arguing about Freee Market Capitalism vs SSSocialism, feds vs states, and Lives vs Livelihoods, the virus is running thru the country pretty much unchecked. It's like whack-a-mole meets Hunger Games.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    I'm thinking there's something about revering the "rugged individualism" of American culture that's made us stupid about society's connections, our civic responsibilities, and the role of institutions. Especially tax-funded governmental ones.
    Rugged individualism is one of the traits specific to what I refer to as cowboys (just in case nobody figured that out yet) and yes, it makes us look stupid to actual civilized societies.
    .

  23. #23
    Well, you hadn't posted in this thread, but I know what you meant about The Wild West (and cowboy mentality) from other threads.

    I'm also wondering if this pandemic will *shock* millions of Americans out of their nostalgia for our cultural mythology. Or if bars, parties, and haircuts are still more important than children, or health & education.

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