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This wonderful first-hand piece on the well-loved Ernie Pyle of cartoonists in World War II piece came to me via a friend, who had received it from a friend…. Therefore I didn’t know who wrote it or where it originated. But a little Google-based research showed me that it is by Bob Greene, a CNN contributor, who is described as “a best-selling author whose new book is Late Edition: A Love Story.”

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It doesn’t make sense to try to make a temporary situation permanent. The only thing that assures is failure. This article, which I found on Bill Totten’s website, expresses exactly my understanding of the nature and future of American hegemony — and why we shouldn’t want it even if we could afford it.

Graceful Decline: The end of Pax Americana

by Christopher Layne

The American Conservative (May 01 2010 issue)

The United States emerged from World War Two in a position of global dominance. From this unparalleled military and economic power came a Pax Americana that has endured for more than six decades. It seemed the sun would never set on the US empire.

But America is increasingly unable to play the hegemon’s assigned role. Militarily, a hegemon is responsible for stabilizing key regions and guarding the global commons. Economically, it offers public goods by opening its domestic market to other states, supplying liquidity for the world economy, and providing the reserve currency. A hegemon is supposed to solve international crises, not cause them. It is supposed to be the lender of last resort, not the biggest borrower. Faced with wars it cannot win or quit and an economy begging rescue, the United States no longer fits the part.

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Ventura on Oligarchy (2)

April 23, 2010

How is it that Michael Ventura’s analysis is always so compelling? It can only be because it is never trivial. It’s all right here:

“We gave Oligarchy the power to take our power. The plots and machinations of the Top Tier would have come to nothing had we not been willing and eager to cooperate.”

And when he’s finished explaining how, you have to admit, “damned if we didn’t!” What we can do about it now? That’s another story. But obviously the first thing is to realize what has already happened, and why.

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There’s always someone around who knows what God wants, and how God feels, and what we need to do so as not to “disappoint God.” Seems like there are more of them in Islam than among hard-shell Baptists, or the most intolerant fundamentalist Christians. More so than among worshipers of “science,” even! 🙂

And hard-shell Muslims, like hard-shell fundamentalists of all sorts, may be relied upon to fear sexual energies and, therefore, fear the young women through whom they are transmitted. (For some reason, these people never seem to consider sexual energies a natural part of mammalian life that has to be managed to prevent chaos; instead it is so often seen as evil.)

So, anyway, this news report from the BBC, whose accuracy I am willing to presume, shouldn’t be a surprise. Islhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8631775.stm

But my reactions to the cleric’s statements (again, assuming they have been accurately reported) may not be what you would expect.

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If you can’t see that “your” side of various issues encompasses only part of the good, and the other side encompasses only part of the bad, so much the worse for your eyesight. This article on how our perceptions are shaped by our psychology comes from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36325869/ns/health-behavior via a friend.

5 key ‘moral triggers’ polarize politics

Research: Personality traits keep us from seeing eye to eye

By Rachael Rettner

updated 8:19 a.m. ET, Tues., April 13, 2010

The health care bill may be passed, but the road to reform certainly painted a polarizing picture of America. From a six-hour summit that failed to sway a single Republican, to shouts of “baby killer” and Tea Party protests, politicians and the public seemed to be from different planets.

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Abraham Lincoln breathed his last in the early morning of April 15, 1865. He was mourned throughout the North as the savior of the Union, and many a Southerner knew that the South had lost its best friend on the Union side.

On the Lincoln Memorial, dedicated in 1923, it says, “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” That generation recognized that Lincoln was a great man who saved our country from disunion and freed it from having to continue to drag the anchor of slavery. Who would have thought that this great man’s reputation was not safe forever? But now it is under attack once again. It is time, perhaps, to bring the seventh President to the defense of the sixteenth.

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Ventura on Oligarchy (1)

April 12, 2010

As usual, Michael Ventura’s commentary is not empty rhetoric but analysis, the kind of analysis we so desperately need (and so rarely get) from  the mainstream media. Chances are, you know everything he says here. Chances are, too, that you’ve never quite put it together.

Letters at 3AM: ‘O’ Is for Oligarchy

BY MICHAEL VENTURA

The Oxford English Dictionary‘s definition cites the clunky prose of American Political Science Review: “An oligarchy is an organization characterized by the fact that … the highest degree of authority … [is] free from control by any of the remainder of the [organization].”

“Oligarchy” is a big, bad word that defines a country we still call a republic.

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