Sunday, July 04, 2010

American dream

While I'm first in line to wish the good ol' United States of America a happy birthday, the headlines these days do not bode well. I won't list all our troubles. After all, it's a holiday, but I will glance on one touchy subject.

The righties are all still pretty excited about the illegal immigration thing.

Now imagine a day when life on the streets of San Diego or Los Angeles or Phoenix doesn't look much better than life on the streets of Mexico City. When that happens, my dear fellow Americans, you can bet people will stop coming.

Don't believe me? Read this.

Imagine poor Uncle Sam, sniffing with doe eyes as he glances over his shoulder, wondering what happened to the shouting matches and shaking fists that clamored over the poor, tired, huddled masses yearning to be free. Like a has-been movie star that once bemoaned the frantic paparazzi, he'll miss them when they're gone.

Happy Birthday, America. You enjoy yourself today and have a few beers, although the party is already over. Sure there's always tomorrow, but really, how long can you keep waiting on tomorrow?

* * *


Chrissy said...

THEY will still have blinders on... Look at the fools at BP, they had theirs on when they didn't want to have a back up plan in case something went wrong... Its easy for people to keep those blinders on on any subject that may make them think- then again many can't or don't think because they will think someone else will take care of the problem... Accountability went out the window eons ago. So, Erin, can I join u on that bench today? Most are having bbq's like on Memorial Day.. Many still have forgotten what the true meaning of 4th of July and Memorial Day really are about...

Bill said...

I'm afraid your message is accurate. So many serious problems and so few real patriots. What I wouldn't give to be able to know what our country will be on our 300th in 2076. I guess it's better not to think about it. is a great day here. Beautiful weather, plenty of BBQ'd food, beer, family and friends. Happy Independence Day!

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

There was an article in the local paper not too long ago about Hispanic workers returning to their countries of origin. Here in NC, it was mostly due to the fact that a lot of the jobs they were working dried up according to the article. The article didn't have stats on how many of these folks were illegally here, but suffice to say they were leaving in larger numbers than before.

I think a lot of observers have it right when they say if we truly wanted to stop or at least slow the flow of illegals entering the country, we would punish those who hire them knowingly. If the jobs dry up, then there would be little reason for folks to come here, legally or illegally. There are a lot of companies out there, of course, who flaunt the laws regarding this and they are as culpable, IMHO for the illegal immigration problem as is a porous border. Take away the incentive, and folks will stay home.


philbilly said...

Happy Fourth, Erin. You're wrong on this one. The party's just getting started. Legal immigration is up.
I imagine a a day when life on the streets of San Diego or Los Angeles or Phoenix doesn't look much better than life on the streets of Mexico City. Because Mexico City has become a vibrant, thriving place with jobs and justice. Because the phony, cancerous war on drugs has been ceased. Because the police corruption and US gun smuggling to cartel gangs have been abated.
Mexico is a young country based on its constitution,1917. It will take some more time clean up the inequities of the past, just like here.

My brother works often with Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal. They show up on time, bust their ass all day. Around mid morning, they begin to sterno heat cans of beans, then take fifteen minutes for lunch, then back at it. My brother knows that when a jobsite has Hispanic or Amish workers, the job is going to go well. It's the fucking "Americans" that are the problem.

Yesterday, I watched a hood rat throw a half dozen potato chip bags onto the street while waitng at a light. Me being me, I accosted him, loudly haranguing him for being a pig. Even though they outnumbered me 4 to 1, being cowards, they just cursed and drove off. Fuck these pigs.

Let every immigrant that wants to work in here now.

Chrissy said...

@ the retired guy: I so agree w/you.. that';s the problem- too many incentives... then again isn't America known as the 'land of milk and honey, where everyone can have their dreams come true'? little did America know that by having that reputation the problems that also go along w/it..

The Fool said...

Happy Fourth of July, Erin. Erf!

Bill said...

I guess that's the answer! It's the "fucking Americans" Philbilly! We're the problem all over the world. Oh. I'm a proud American.

philbilly said...

You got the quotation marks wrong, Bill.

philbilly said...

Hey, Bill, just got back from old McDonald's a minute ago. I'm on a deadline, so I'm working today. I feel very grateful to be able to work straight through till this job is done. I owe this privelege to Veterans. It happens to be a painstaking project, and I am actually having fun.

Although my diabesity curtails my McDonald's sojourns of late, I'd thought I'd honor capitalism and those hard working employees of Ronald with the purchase of a fish sandwich and a diet Coke. The broad that took my order was laughing and cocking around, got the first order wrong. The douchebag that finally gave me the order was the usual combination of rudeness and arrogance. The sandwich was a piece of crap, cold and thrown together. So's I went inside and made them do it again. There I noticed that broady was wearin' dirty daisy dukes and dimestore sandals. Sandwich makin dude was utterly perplexed at how to lift a freshly cooked filet out the basket without burning himself. Amid the buzzing flies, came a barrage of obscenities when the clean-up mope knocked over a bucket of slopwater in the back. I saw the puddle come round the corner, and it was the filthiest mop water I've ever seen in a restaurant. Unfortunately, there was not an immigrant to be found. These were all proud Merkuns, no doubt pissed because they're working this Fourth.
You can have these idiots, Bill. I'll take immigrants any day.

God Bless America, and I'll be calling the health department Tuseday. Then next weekend, my family is in town and we'll see the Tall Ships Festival from the deck of the Goodtimes III, in beautiful Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie in the good ol' USA.
Ain't life Grand?

Bill said...

Philbilly: I'm so glad that you feel that illegal immigrants are the best people to serve you. They sure know how to get that piece of fish out of the oil. Really good at making up your room too! These people are just being taken advantage of by greedy bosses, give a shit politicians, their own government, and violent smuggling rings from their country.

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

Philbilly - you were at McDonalds. What did you expect? Four Michelin stars? People (regardless of country of origin) who actually care?


Anonymous said...

Hey, I scored a "real fruit" strawberry banana smoothie at McD's this weekend (had stopped for coffee while on the hwy and the prerecorded speaker message talked me into it.) Not too bad.

Happy Holiday.


philbilly said...

Bill, we are in total agreement on the exploitation of illegal immigrants, and they in turn put an unfair burden on taxpayers. I'm saying amend immigration laws to fast track employment for those who are ready to play by the rules, including ESL classes.
There is a nation within our nation of "native" "Americans" who are spoiled, lazy, malevolent misanthropic criminals, and I'm fucking tired of paying for their babies, defense attorneys and health care.
In the case of an immigrant at McDonald's yesterday, I was not clear that I envisioned them in a management role, with the best case scenario being a franchise owner. This model has been very successful for many folks, including minority communities, across the US. In time maybe McD's will get hip to healthier food products, this can be a very successful business model using local foods.

I, along with the State of Ohio, expect minimum food service standards to be met.
There is one of the few remaining Arthur Treacher's in Cleveland left out on Lakeshore Blvd. It's owned by a Black gentleman who is a Vietnam Vet. I don't need to subject my arteries to anymore deep fried fish, but when I go there on rare occasion, it's perfect, hot and fast, a pleasant experience.
What we've long, long lost in this country is the respect for honest labor, the art of an apparently simple job done well. When the Greatest Generation returned to civilian roles, they showed up on time, did their jobs, however difficult or mundane. And built the greatest country in the world.

The acid etching I did last night is perfect, and today's brutal humidity will help catalyze the epoxy paint I'm now applying.

I rock.
Erin O'Brien rocks.
America rocks.

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

Phil - if you want minimum food service standards met, McDonald's should be the last place you go. It is what it is - fast food in a place staffed by (in many cases) folks indifferent to the meaning of the word "service." It's unfortunate that this is the case - and I don't know why this is (I do have some ideas should you care to hear them).

In the future, I suggest you seek out a family owned local place for fast food (or something resembling fast food). It's been my experience (most of the time, anyway) that these types of establishments do a better job of service because they're owned by independent business owners. They know their livelihood depends on the positive experience of each guest and generally try very hard to provide it. You might also get a very tasty meal as well.


philbilly said...

Al, agreed, I am interested in your ideas, and will add that yesterday being the Fourth, McD's was it.

Today I brought roast beef(1 slice) and organic spinach sandwiches on Schwebel's whole grain double fiber bread, slathered with homemade horseradish.

Take that, arteries.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Phil - nice job on that sandwich.

The reason service at a lot of fast food outlets is so bad is due to a number of things. Bear in mind this is my take on it - I'd have to get some stats to back much of what I'll say up, but take my comments as just that - my take.

First, look who normally staffs these establishments - mostly teenagers. Now, I don't suggest that there aren't some hard-working teens out there - there are. But most are likely there to earn a paycheck so they have spending money. Some are saving money so they can buy a car, others just want to be able to have money to hang out with friends. Service is most likely the last thing on their minds.

Second, the very essence of fast food is just that - food served fast. While initially this implied "speedy service" (McDonald's first used that term), today it means just getting out a lot of mediocre (IMHO) food fast. Service isn't part of the equation per se, lots of cheap food quickly is. As someone who works in the food service/hospitality industry, I can tell you that service/food quality suffers when speed becomes the primary goal. Those working in such establishments become so focused on speed that they forget everything else.

Third, McDonald's and other fast food outlets aren't really teaching their employees valuable life skills (other than to show up). Knowing how to take care of a customer, which infers interpersonal skills, management skills, etc. is not something taught to the average fast food worker. Sure, they teach their folks that they need to be cheerful, have a smile, address folks as sir or ma'am, etc. but that's about it. While it's generally true that managers of fast food joints are trained and understand the concept of service, their employees are woefully deficient in this key area. In short, the adage "the customer is always right" isn't always adhered to.

Finally, when you're a teenager (or anyone else for that matter) making minimum wage, there isn't a lot of incentive to do anything particularly well (unless, of course, your continued existence and those you're responsible for depends on your performance). If fast food joints were such great places to work, you wouldn't have the personnel turnover one normally sees. Low pay combined with little upward mobility for the future (unless you own a franchise) can't be a positive motivator for the folks who work in such places, and the service you sometimes see reflects that.

For a great take on how the fast food industry trains and treats its employees, see Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation." Schlosser is a definite leftie (he's married to Robert Redford's daughter) but a lot of what he has to say in that book is accurate.


swine said...

we can go back and 'fro on the ills of this country all we want...the truth is we are an empire in decline and most Americans refuse to either believe it, or see it, or comprehend it. remember now, declining empires do so very very loudly, pronouncing all the way down the toilet, their greatness.

happy belated b-day AmeriKKKa.

don't forget, it was immigrants that built you into the great country that you once were; legal AND illegal.

on the war on drugs and its spill over into our borders: take a good hard look at yourself America: who are the drugs for?


Bill said...

thank you reverend wright! anti USA rhetoric is easy to find, isn't it? Che T shirts are on sale too! It is sad, though, that our own "leaders" agree with your sentiments.

swine said...

aww, whatsa matter, bit defensive no? wake up dude. we're an empire in decline, just like all the others in history.

time to figure out how to stop the landslide and actually make progress. holding on to antiquated political talking points (on both sides, mind you) ideas, ideals, melancholic views of "how it used to be" or that whole "mom and pops" bullshit won't do it.

our own "leaders" don't agree with anything i say or think. our "leaders" agree with what corporations tell them.

Che T shirts may be on sale amigo, but i ain't buying any of 'em.

Bill said...

here are some ideas you may or may not agree with: A little extreme? sure, but lots of people, encouraged by the soft left, let's try somehting different because USA sucks crowd, support various degrees of this type of thinking.

swine said...

that's lame man. again, talking points/party points on the Right. boring!

when Americans understand that Reps or Dems don't really matter and that both pretty much have the same political agenda, then we'll maybe have something. get rid of special interests and set up term limits for Congress.

the "natural term limits" that our founding fathers foresaw via VOTING, haven't worked in decades. institute a limit on congressional members, get rid of Big Agro, Big Pharma, AARP, NRA, and all the other bullshitters hanging around the Capitol hallways throwing moolah at these fucking swine politicians, and we'll see.

philbilly said...

I am digesting all these great comments, pun intended.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks to Bill for the Moron YouTube of the Year post.

Bill said...

thank you. thank you very much. and, phil, can you splain that "intended" pun?

philbilly said...

Bill, only that my recent rantings have run the gamut from food service to constitutional law, and I was taking some time to listen to other's opinions, including King Samir Shabaz, my brother in Philly. I'll get to him in a minit.
This comment is in two parts.

First, Al, your take on teenage workforce is very accurate in probably the majority of fast food franchises in the country. However, you and I live in
different countries, in effect, and I mean absolutely no disrespect by that, quite to the contrary. From your posts, Al, I'm of the understanding you live
in a relatively outlying area in Vermont,I believe? This is, in my view, a segment of normal America, mainstream America, and all throughout this nation are healthy, productive communities that rightfully enjoy the fruits of their collective labor.
New England has always been in the forefront of the success of America, including being the first region to proscript slavery.
More on that in a minit.

I disagree that the fast food employee experience is devoid of teaching life skills, quite the opposite. In urban/ exurban areas, and in fact around the country, the interaction of a youth in this environment with others often the first intro to a disciplined workplace. The corporate streamlining, hence
regimentation of food prep and customer service does not dumb down the need for diligence and communication, except by default, in the absence of
management, like the dump I was in on the Fourth.

Furthermore, Al, in these economic settings, many of these kids, and a helluva lot of adults including seniors, are working for their rent and clothing and car insurance, these are the hard facts about flippin burgers for many folks now. What was traditionally a bridge job or extra income model in the past is a primary employer in the urban wastelands.

So even though I do not expect even a single Michelin star at a burger joint, my expectation is a relatively inexpensive, fast and edible food product that won't kill me. I know the guy who founded Wendy's had a much higher expectation, but that is the bottom line. People die when food service breaks down.

For all the bitching we do about package waste, and it is staggering, just that fastfood throwaway model of food containers curtails a huge disease vector.

And that chick's sandals were just nasty. And illegal. Oh, and what kind of nitwit works around deep fryers effectively barefoot?

Here's my take on the problem that many kids have assimiliating into a viable work regimen. Starting in the 30's with radio, accelerating with television, and now a full-on sensory assault, children in developed countries are a huge market. Advertisers blow smoke up their asses before they're
born, and by God, it's easy money when you tap into the parents' guilt and vanity. Thus, Junior comes up thinking, nay, knowing, he's sumptin special.

While this has a unwanted stultification of social skills in the relatively affluent world, it is a cancer in the harder neighborhoods, here's how: When
kids don't get love and guidance in the home, they go looking for it. And on the streets, are the worst of the worst, looking to turn out the new talent. Not just at the street level, not by any means, self righteous corporate thugs sell 'em shoes and rap music, too. Think that's a joke? I can show you the spots where the blood was from kids dying for shoes.

In underdeveloped countries, they just pimp the kids straight out, right to the tourist. Here, we wrap shareholder value around the corpses. Glorifying the most base and nihlistic lifestyles to those most vulnerable to the outcomes, for profit. Ol' Hitler knew the power of music on kids, too, you bet yer ass.
Part two:

philbilly said...

So why are these economically depressed regions economically depressed? Because unchecked corporate/ legal/ political gerrymandering has sucked
these communities dry, and left them to rot, afterwhich flows in the next and then the next iteration of parasites, the community spiralling down as
those with resources and something to lose leave in droves. And those parasites include plenty of saviors like Sharpton and Wright.
Having a job matters. That's the first assault, the jobs.

When industrialization took off in the North, 1910-30's, a great migration brought primarily Blacks out of an increasingly mechanized agrarian culture to cluster around urban industrial/ residential areas, near railways and in contact, competition and conflict with earlier-arriving European migrant workers. In the 60's and 70's, rather than re-invest in these areas, corporate balance sheets saw that trucks could now compete with rail, and the sprawl/ abandonment began.

Always the backdrop of race relations influenced and reacted to these demographic shifts.
Got a problem with illegal immigrants? Well check this out, when the US had 4 million people, 1795 or so, 1 in 5 was a slave. Slavery had been outlawed in almost every ranking economy in the world, except here, because it fed the bottom line prior to steam engines replacing muscle. You know, "Big Bad John".
How anyone cannot realize this nation in large part was built on the backs of slaves is beyond me. All Americans, every single one of us, owes a part of our good fortune and opportunity to this terrible period. Including, and especially, black folks. I do see in the Black community of late positive movement in the painful assimilation of this horrific history into the Black American narrative. A new recognition of the contribution,legacy and
responsibility as opposed to a disavowal of inclusion, a being not part of, which in my estimation has historically allowed the carpetbaggers to
modernize and continue to exploit the young.
On the hand,the Philly panther, David Duke, Nagin, Limbaugh, all the closet racists, black white latino et al, are just throwbacks. YOU'RE ILLEGAL HERE, MOTHERFUCKERS. It's in the Constitution, as amended, beyotches. And yet we here are , still fucking around with skin color. Let me break it
Groups that migrated north of the equator over millenia developed lighter skin tones relative to the angle of incidence and duration of the sun. That's it. Period. The rest is all bullshit.

Swine, except for the empire in decline angle, I'm with you on the corporitis. This country, this experiment will continue because we just plain let anybody in here. The more the merrier.

swine said...

well put. once upon a time i constructed my arguments as you have...but years later, i refuse to invest that much time laying it all out in a cerebral, methodical, and logical fashion only to be presented with the usual talking points from the other side. i invested much of my time in debates on this blog with pretty much the usual suspects like Al. in the end, i realized my time is worth to me more than making point after point after point only to be called names like Socialist, Communist, hippie, etc. etc. and so now the reason for my foul language.

i do think this country is on its way down...but no one seems to want to admit that. history will outline exactly how hard and how fast we fall.

i am just simply amused now at how we're all slidin' and most people basically cannot see that. they go on paying exorbitant healthcare premiums for very little service, we're fighting two wars (Orwell: War is Peace syndrome) against a phantom enemy (who the fuck in their right minds can actually intellectualize fighting against TERRORISM?? Terrorism is me blowing myself up in a mall...who the fuck can stop that enemy?), we've lost our savings, our jobs, our homes, and yet we trumpet how great we are.

the side not in power presently is giving me bullshit from the Reagan years. what the fuck? i don't wanna go back to 1980. it's the same Lee Atwater bullshit I've been hearing for three decades.

that ain't gonna solve our problems. and so both sides look like buffoons, neither of which has any progressive vision for our country, or getting us out of this shit we've created ourselves.

i no longer construct logical, well-written arguments because i no longer can spend my time talking to robots/automatons.

peace out bros.

Bill said...

Swine: I would be interested in knowing where this utopia, without buffoons and where there is group progressive vision, exists. Which decade, in the USA, has been the most tolerable for you?

swine said...

bill, i never said or implied it existed.
but...and example of a country that jives with what i believe and how i'd like to see things done is Norway.

no decade has been tolerable for me in the States; i've been here since 1979. i am an immigrant from a former Communist country (Romania). the States was sold to me, as it's being sold to everyone else, as a country of opportunity if only you work hard. what i've found has been a systematic exploitation of the middle class/working class by corporations. only, the bizarre thing is that those being exploited are ardent supporters of their oppressors. whereas, in the country from which I emigrated, those being oppressed actually tried subversively to take down the system...which eventually cracked in 1989.

after having observed people, been involved in politics, having worked in the 'mainstream media,' and having paid close attention to the system here, i can only deduce that most Americans of my generation (i am 41) are not interested in much that goes on beyond their shoddily-built picket fence. my conclusion is that we'll all go down the tubes making static about how great this country is.

most people outside of this country know full well that the only thing the united states is good at is marketing itself to the rest of the world as Utopia.

when in fact it's rubbish.

and before you tell me to move to another country i will say this: i am a US citizen who votes and pays taxes. probably i am your biggest fucking nightmare because i won't leave, but i'm going to criticise this system and this corporate culture all the way to my grave. i'm a dissenter who won't shut the fuck up and won't leave.

philbilly said...

Well said, Swine.
I still don't share your view on the impending fall.

Welcome to America.

A friend of mine has a clandestine photo of the blood stains from Ceausescu's execution. That's a story by itself.

Stay and fight the corporitis. We will win. It is going to get worse before it gets better.

Sometimes I eat lunch at a place that sells used machinery. Once or twice a week, they makes burgers and dogs for their many customers. The place is lousy with bull headed mugs who can still make things.

When the economy tanked in 2008, did you notice that productivity actually rose a bit even with curtailed workforces and no new hires?

If I was a suit, I'd be worried. The jig is almost up.

Bill said...

Swine: I never tell anyone to "move to another country". I love our free speech and I love the fact that no one in the US is forced to stay here.'re not my biggest nightmare! I only worry about things I can do something about.

swine said...

i want this country to get out of this insufferable situation. i want this country to start manufacturing again, and paying its workers--American or otherwise--LIVING WAGES. i want this country to get rid of this stupid stigma it puts on intelligent, educated people ("leftist elitists" or "east coast elites"), i want the States to take the lead in finding alternative energy sources, in architecture, in music, in art, in everything.

the smartest people from around the world come here to get educated...unfortunately, we cannot offer them any jobs, and so they go to progressive countries like Sweden or Norway or Germany or Switzerland and work on important projects.

i don't care that those countries are Socialist...Socialism is not a bad system; it's been pretty much proven how ravaging Capitalism can be on regular, hard-working people. the same bozos who have fucked us with creative financing, are the ones left in charge of fixing this system.

it's analogous to the BP situation: the perpetrators of the crime are left to solve it. and so...

i don't understand why Americans can't see that the aim of Capitalism and corporations is NOT to have competition. it's a stupid mantra that we're fed all the time: "competition is good for the consumer." sure it is, only the aim of corporations is dominance and eradication of diversity and choice.

i'd much rather have regulation than this Wild West bullshit from which, it seems, we cannot escape without being broke.

word up.

Bill said...

swine: you could probably get elected to something out here in california. we have had "progressives" running our state for a while now and it looks as though that pattern will continue. we're out of money, even though we have extremely high state income and sales taxes, but i'm quite sure the other, more successful states, will pony up to help us out. yep, there's definitely more stimulus money coming our way. thanks.

Erin O'Brien said...

Yes, I am here. Yes, I am following and above all I love these types of discussions!

Bill said...

Hi Erin! I liked your bar room reporting. We need to regulate basketball salaries. Right Swine?

philbilly said...

On a fairly broad industry by industry basis, like NAICS, what level, if any, of regulation is workable to you? Not a trap, just asking.

Bill said...

I honestly don't know how that is measured so I guess I need to think about that to give you an answer other than, "as little as possible to reasonably protect the public".

Bill said...

Topic appropriate youtube rant:

philbilly said...

As little as possible to reasonably protect the public, is, in my view as well, the correct answer. Clearly not the case with credit default swaps.

As far as the global conspiracy. I maintain humans enmasse are too averse to pain, deceitful, fickle and vain to launch any such conspiracy. The Soviets tried, the best and worst parts of human nature scuttled that big dream.

Here at home, Bush's amendment to posse comitatus was repealed in its entirety. All the mechanisms to return economic power to we the people are in place. It is our responsibility to be an informed citizenry. And that knowledge ain't on TMZ.

The furor over sports is tied to the massive flow of advertiser capital and its reliance on emotion. Taken at face value, sports are an important facet of a complex society.

We the people need more LLCs, self employment, small business startups especially in manufacturing and a new generation of attorneys and CPA's that weren't hatched in law/biz school to fellate the corporate staus quo. They're out there.

swine said...

Bill, the only way to regulate NBA or major sports salaries is the natural way: dwindling audience. That won't happen though. The LeBron brouhaha, while near and dear to Erin, I think, and a whole slew of Cleveland-ers, was, for me, a laughable circus. In these times of extreme austerity, people getting caught up and NOT INCENSED about the money being played with and thrown at this mere mortal whose seemingly only talent is to throw a bloody ball through a bloody iron ring, was a good show for me.

As consumers we hold the power to do anything we want. We don't realize that because we cannot go without comfort for even one minute.

In this respect, I believe American people are, for lack of a more cerebral word, pussies. We cannot be: too cold, too hot, too inconvenienced, left without TV, left without food on the shelves, etc. etc. In a street fight I will take my people (the Romanians) or ANY East European of my generation over a comfy American any day.

We cannot exercise our immense power as consumers because we cannot stand to be without anything. Despite the positive outcome our actions will elicit.

Americans in the 21st Century will not willingly sacrifice anything about their lives. We are addicted consumers, too ill-educated, too tired from chasing the promised carrot of capitalism, to really give a fuck. So give us our HD Cable, our dish, our entertainment scoop on the E! channel, our LeBron, our celebrity gossip, our reality shows, and we're good to go.

Again, I reiterate: we are an empire in quick decline, but also in deep denial. We are sliding down the tubes trumpeting our historical relevance, greatness, and flexing our military muscles. Only...we are broke and being financed by: China, Japan, Russia, Norway, and the UK.

Sound like a strong foundation to you?

Bill said...

Phil and Swine: I actually agree with much of what both of you write and appreciate how well you articulate your thoughts. And, Swine, the street fight analogy is right on! I often compare people as to who I would rather have as a fox hole partner. Yes, we (the USA) is definitely creating a bunch of pussies. Of course, I'm not one of them.