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September 19, 2004

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Brian

You're all over the place, Mr. Maguire.

"Reality bites. But why is the Times exposing their readers to it now?"

Has The Times ever tried to make their readers think that everything was just dreamy? It almost certainly hasn't, no more than any other paper would in regards to basic human error. Where is this conspiracy to inflate the hopes of Democrats that you suggest? If we're going to throw out things out for the hell of it, why not say that The Times is trying to energize the Democratic base, who rightly loathes Bush, by making them think that they have a lot of work ahead in order to defeat Bush. That way, the theory goes, when election day comes, they won't be sitting at home.

We could also take the far more likely, sensible conclusion: that Elder and Nagourney are analyzing the goddamn poll results, which change as the goddamn situation changes.

As for the allegedly shoddy reporting of The Times on other issues, like Joe Wilson, how does that relate to telling liberal readers the harsh truths about the election? There doesn't appear to be a direct connection.


docweasel

It may be the Times is trying to pump up Democrat base with scare pieces, so they work harder and get out the vote in desperation. Its a theory anyway.

steve poling

I think that there are several asymmetries to the current situation. I think that when many think Mr. Kerry is hiding something it means more to them than when the same number think Mr. Bush is hiding something. Different things may be hidden. Mr. Kerry, as challenger, is relatively unknown. Mr. Bush may indeed be hiding 30-year-old empty vodka bottles in Kennebunkport, but Chris Lehane told us that the Saturday before the last presidential election. Ergo, hidden things have more potential to hurt Mr. Kerry than Mr. Bush.

Of course, the last bit depends upon the time-stamp on the skeleton in the closet. To hurt Mr. Bush, he has to be found to have done cocaine or gone to the bottle after the 2000 campaign when Mr. Bush established the "repentant sinner" narrative. Mr. Lehane must seek fresh vodka bottles behind the White House.

Because everyone has already heard the TANG story from Democrat opposition research, the shift in focus of the magic typewriter instantly moved from Mr. Bush to Mr. Rather.

Conversely, nobody outside Massachusets heard the Swifties' story before. It was (nationally speaking) a new story. And Mr. Kerry leaned into the punch by saluting at the Democratic convention. Mr. Kerry's "I say I'm a war hero now, and i don't apologize for saying I was a war criminal in the '70s" narrative is, well, as nuanced as the distinction between medals and ribbons. The Swifties found several points of weakness and with neither Soros's millions nor MSM support, they drove the knife in deep at those points. The Swifties can point to form 180 and ask what else is Mr. Kerry hiding and a lot of folks wonder that same thing.

TM

As to the vague possibility that some of the media, possibly including the NY Times, over-rated Kerry's chances, I will pitch Mickey Kaus into the mix.

He has been mocking Adam Nagourney as spinning a liberal cocoon for months. Try Tuesday, June 29 here.

Lurking Observer

Brian:

The relevance of the Joseph Wilson story to the overall election is as follows:

--The Dems have been accusing the President of deliberately lying in getting the nation into war.

--"Proof" of this was that the President lied about Iraqi efforts at purchasing yellow-cake from Niger. This is the so-called "16 words" in the State of the Union Address.

--Proof that the President had lied about the Niger business was furnished by Joseph Wilson. How did he know the President was lying? Because, according to Wilson, he had furnished the White House w/ his report that the Iraqis had had no dealings with the Niger-ites.

--Reporting on Joseph Wilson, including his claim that the President had lied, was provided by the NYT. The NYT apparently did no investigation as to the accuracy/veracity of Wilson's comments.

Once it is shown, however, that it was Wilson that lied, then it would have behooved the NYT to report on the fact that Wilson had lied. Having covered him when he was lying, it was the responsibility of the newspaper to report that its previous coverage was faulty, flawed, or downright inaccurate.

But doing that, in turn, would have crippled a major part of the Democratic charge that Bush had lied us into war.

So, by not reporting on Wilson's lies (to nearly the extent that they had when he had actually BEEN lying), the NYT is effectively acting in support of the Dems.

Does that make it any clearer?

Emory

In addition to medical, military and financial records Kerry will not even release his school records. How bad must his Yale record be for him to not want it compared with Bush's? I have written the NYT Public Editor twice about their lack of coverage on this. No response.

abb1

...the Times may decide to balance out their coverage over the entire election cycle, and silence their critics, by piling on Kerry in the last month...

They better help elect Kerry (or anyone else whose name isn't George), or we all are in BIG trouble. I sure hope they have enough sense... But are they that influential anyway?

Ripclawe

NyTimes is scaring their liberal base, slapping around Kerry to wake up and giving space to publish even more advice from Panetta, Brazile, Bob Kerrey and Paul Galtris on today's opinion page. Adam "Spider" Nagourney is a Kerry supporter and spins like crazy to make the Kerry Campaign look good no matter what.

capt joe

Isn't that interesting.

ABB1 who was previously saying that there was a greater truth (my paraphrasing of his commentary) so we should all forget the whole Rathergate issue.

Now, he suggests that the media MUST jump on board to help elect Kerry or DEMOCRACY is in peril.

Consider that the real peril is that of having the media act as propagandists for any party, right or left.

Considering how much you guys get your panties in a twist when ever you imagine that Fox lies in it's newcasts, it is complete abject hypocrisy to make statements like those.

David R. Block

ABB1, huh?

Anybody But Bush, obviously, since anyone but George is clearly stated. But I don't want government take over of the health care industry. Nor do I want someone who introduces legislation to drastically cut funding of the CIA, but then complains that even WITHOUT his cuts the CIA is ineffective some eight or nine years later. If Kerry's further cuts were enacted, things could have been even worse. (Note to nit-pickers: COULD have been, not would have been.)

This seems to be the mantra: "Don't look at Kerry's socialist agenda, vote against Bush!!"

Sorry, not going to follow the blind lemming rush over the cliff for policies and positions that I find WORSE than Bush's.

Crank

I love the guy who worries that Kerry doesn't stand for moral values as well as Bill Clinton did.

Brian

Lurking Observer,

You do have a point, but Bush misrepresented the threat in other ways.

boymoto

LOL

I too, had to laugh, at the ABB1 commentary...
Not wanting the truth, but hoping for lies. The DNC denial, grows toward insanity. Now hoping for an increase, to the sad state of Democratic slant in the News? Pravda would be so proud! Partisans eager for misinformation, to acquire power for personal agenda. Wonderful. Facts be damned... "Empower the Con" screams the 'useful idiot'... If only they realized, without honest, objective reflection, you are blind. You cannot compete. You will never acquire responsible, accurate, effective leadership, or policy, to challenge anyone. If you continue to live in the partisan delusion, you are lost. Nope, just continue to imagine, it is all some 'vast R wing conspiracy', and cling to political bigotry. The laughs will keep coming.

It seems the NY Times has tried their best, over the last 3 and a half years, to diminish the current Republicans in the White House. The results are telling. These Democrat leaning media establishments, may be too scared to realize, their push has become impotent.

CCPDSR

Liberals are hypocrites, period. How else can you explain the fact that in 1998, Bill Clinton made this statement on Meet the Press?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: "What if he (Sadaam) fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost his will--its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal."

and Kerry made these...

KERRY: "I would disagree with John McCain that it’s the actual weapons of mass destruction he may use against us, it’s what he may do in another invasion of Kuwait or in a miscalculation about the Kurds or a miscalculation about Iran or particularly Israel. Those are the things that - that I think present the greatest danger. He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It’s the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat." (CBS’ "Face The Nation," 9/15/02)

KERRY: "I agree completely with this Administration’s goal of a regime change in Iraq ..." "... Saddam Hussein is a renegade and outlaw who turned his back on the tough conditions of his surrender put in place by the United Nations in 1991." - (Senator John Kerry, Speech To The 2002 DLC National Conversation, New York, NY, 7/29/02)

JB

Brian,

"misrepresented the threat in other ways" is code for Speaking While Republican. It's sheer partisan hypocrisy, given the previous administrations stand on Saddam.

The Kid

There’s the idea of Kerry and the fact of Kerry.

Take a look at his resume: well-born, principled, served in his country’s military during a contentious war, tried to right the war’s wrongs upon his discharge, embarked on a life of public service, faithful family man, now seeks the highest office in the land. Sounds pretty darn good.

Go too deeply into any one of these and one gets uncomfortable. While the Swifties emphasize incongruities in his military record and post-military activities (although they’ve not mentioned how long he served or why his discharged apparently was delayed), his role as a family man is, well, distressing.
He married a wealthy woman, had some kids, got divorced, got no money from the ex-honey, found a second wealthy woman to marry who made him get his marriage to the first annulled (what does that make the kids from that marriage and why is it that politicians from Massachusetts whose last names begin with “K” are able to get annulments so seemingly easily?). During his time in office he hasn’t wasted much money on contributions to charity, hasn’t sponsored any legislation, has a poor attendance record at key committee meetings, and seems to change his mind a bit more than the average bear.

Then meet him, see him in action. He’ll drone on long enough to eventually utter something that you find bizarre. He seems to have such a hard time making the “best” decision that the pressure from those around him push him into a less apt decision.

I wonder if his choice of recreation is instructive. Let the wind or gravity propel him – he’s ready, he’ll make good moves, he’ll reach the hill’s bottom or the shore, you can count on that. But the route, the precise destination, and the time it takes are, well, what they end up to be. And that’s if conditions are right, the wind blows, the snow is good, and nobody gets in his way.

I’ve thought about Kerry more than most. Even some of the elite must be troubled by his indecision, his changing mind and moods. His droning certainly has not caught the imagination of the public; most supporters seem motivated by what he could be, not by what he is.

What is he? A hero? Is he dedicated to some great idea or ideal? Or is he just a pussy-whipped putz? Perhaps Teresa will let him tell us.

Lurking Observer

Brian:

That is called "moving the goal posts." Bad form.

You asked about Wilson and the NYT's coverage of him. The point is that Wilson lied, the NYT reported the initial lies as truth, then didn't talk about him again.

To argue that, "Yes, but, there were other issues" is irrelevant to the initial question you raised, and does not relieve the NYT of its responsibility, as a media organization, to report that one of its sources had lied to them.

abb1

This seems to be the mantra: "Don't look at Kerry's socialist agenda, vote against Bush!!"

Why, what's wrong with socialist agenda? I like it.

Brian

Lurking Observer,

I wasn't trying to move the goalposts. I was acknowledging your point on one front, but mentioning something else.

fallingtree

Did you notice how far you had to go into the article before you got the
percentage support for each candidate?

Brainster

The NY Times isn't ready to lay down just yet, and they are not going to push Kerry hard on his records. They may be laying off Bush for a week or two to establish their neutrality, before they put the hammer down for Nuancy Boy.

Nahann

The problem for you abb1 is that the vast majority of Americans have no desire to have any of your "socialist" agenda.

Now, I do have a suggestion for you...

Europe is chock full of socialsit countries. Am quite positive you would be much happier there. Of course, you won't be able to find a job there because they have killed off their job market. But, no worries! You can live off welfare like 1/3 of Sweden does. You will also enjoy the fact that they are so caring and supportive of Islam, that is until your girlfriend/wife/daughter/mother gets pelted with bags of semen by those nice Islamic immigrant boys for dressing like a whore in their eyes. Do not bother calling the police about it-they are too afraid to do anything about it.

JosephMendiola

Socialist Europe, like Communism-centric Russia and China, is having demographic troubles which their Socialist models are neither strong enough nor flexible nor materialist enough to unilaterally resolve without outside help - West or East, North or South, SOCIALISM has to either adopt AMERICAN-STYLE methods, or else be content with staying as comparatively MINOR STATES per the Hyperpower-and-still-expanding USA!AS FOR KERRY - his new ally for 2004, ex-POTUS Bill Clinton, has already affirmed the US "Reagan-Republican" economy was well-expanding before he Clinton entered office, as well as strongly inferred or implied he Clinton won in 1992 and 1996 only via ELECTION FRAUD! NOT THAT I'M SURPRISED SAVE FOR THE FACT ITS THE COMMIE BILL THATS FINALLY VERIFYING WHAT MYSELF AND OTHERS HAD BEEN SAYING SINCE THE 1990's, NOT ANY SO-CALLED "AMERICA/AMERICANS FIRST, DEMOCRATS SECOND" US DEMLIBS! WILL SAY IT AGAIN - Kerry's defense of his Navy service versus Dubya's is akin to what many many Commies, Socialists, and International Lefties had done in history, and that is to validate their movement by showing how they'd put themselves, and their lives, in the forefront of battle or violence against "the Enemy". in support of alleged "Popular Democracy", "Nationalism",
"Independence" [from Colonialism], "Societal Fairness/Justice", "Fair/Better DIstribution of Wealth",....etc. NICE [POPULAR/POPULIST]THINGS ANY PERSON OR COMMUNITY OR SOCIETY WANTS TO HEAR, fighting for your rights and dignity and bread only to take these away once in power! BY adopting the label PROGRESSIVE, the Clinton-led DNC and Democratic Party has basically drawn a line in the sand between the old and new Democratic Party, with the "New Party" slowly but surely moving towards becoming a de facto Party for NATIONAL- AND SOCIETAL SOCIALISM and [ultimately]COMMUNISM! THINK Paleo-Conservatives = Traditional, MARXIST-STALINIST REGULATORS; NeoConservatives = "New Way" Nouveau/Avant Garde' Conservative Marxist-Leftist Regulators; and Liberal Conservatives, aka SEMI-STATE-IST/DE-REGULATORS - iff the Clintons are now advising Kerry, the Clinton agenda >STILL THE KERRY-/DEMOCRAT AGENDA = US ELEX BETWEEN 2004-2020 IS ABOUT "KIND OF SOCIALISM" OR "KIND OF COMMUNISM" FOR AMERICA AND ITS NEW GLOBAL EMPIRE! PROBLEM FOR AMERICA AND ANY AMERICAN GLOBAL EMPIRE IS THAT THE CLINTONS ARE NOT FOR AMERICA OR THE WEST, BUT FOR RUSSIA-CHINA AND ASIA, AND DO NOT INTEND FOR AMERICA OR ANY AMERICAN SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM TO RULE OR DOMINATE EVEN AS THEY WORK TO EMPOWER SAME!

rob

Joe Wilson descredited? The bookworld section of the WAPO is still flacking his book, recommended as new paperback along with Franken.

abb1

[I] am quite positive you would be much happier there.

Nahann, in fact you're right: I am much happier here - having lived in Europe for the last couple of years. Where I live it's 3% unemployment, the minimum wage is $15/hour and crime is virtually nonexistent.


You can live off welfare like 1/3 of Sweden does.

Well, unfortunately your impression of Sweden is very much incorrect. In fact, unemployment in Sweden in lower than in the US and productivity of labor is higher. As well as France, Italy and a few other countries in Europe - their productivity is higher than in the US. Get your facts straight, man. Then we can talk.

Cheers.

capt joe

Oh BS, where do you live in Europe where the unemployment rate is 3%. Certainly NOT Sweden.

I spent a lot of time working in Sweden (Jonkoping, Stockholm, Malmo, Goteborg, and Linkoping) in projects with Saab Instruments and employment was always a serious issue. Suicide also. All the medicine cabinets had a suicide hotline number since the rate of suicide dering winter was quite high.

And the Swedish had so many holidays, our project deadlines were always slipping. So much for productivity.

michaelt

abb1, do you have a source for your productivity numbers? Everything I see in a Google search reinforces my impression that the major Euro countries lag in productivity growth compared to the US. They certainly don't lead in overall productivity, because then Euros would have higher incomes than the US, which they don't. Euro productivity growth was greater in the decades after WWII, but it has slowed considerably.

Greg F

abb1 displays his economic ‘genius’:
“Well, unfortunately your impression of Sweden is very much incorrect. In fact, unemployment in Sweden in lower than in the US…”

abb1 you should avoid getting your economic education from the DU. The unemployment rate for Sweden was 6.4% (July 2004) whereas the US was at 5.5% (July 2004). Then again, the former Soviet Union had zero unemployment, what a pardise that was.

… and productivity of labor is higher. As well as France, Italy and a few other countries in Europe - their productivity is higher than in the US.

Really. Considering you can’t even get the unemployment rates correct I think it would be good for you to provide some proof of this assertion from a reliable source. I suggest you start here:

"According to a recent study, however, the cat is out of the bag. Relative to household in the United States, Swedish family income is considerably less. In fact, the study concludes, average income in Sweden is less than average income for black Americans, which comprise the lowest-income socioeconomic group in this country."

Which answers your question "what's wrong with socialist agenda?". Socialism has failed everyplace it has been tried. Although, the facts don't seem to deter the emotionally attached.

Get your facts straight, man. Then we can talk.

Indeed, pot meet kettle.

abb1
Swedish unemployment slips back in August

STOCKHOLM - Unemployment in Sweden eased back a fraction to 5.5% of the workforce in August from 5.6% in July, the central statistics bureau SCB said.
In August 2003, 5.4% of the workforce was without jobs.

A total of 248,000 people were jobless last month, an increase of 7,000 from a year earlier.

Allowing for a margin of error, the unemployment figure is in effect unchanged from last year, SCB said, adding that the employment situation was no worse in 2004 than in 2003.

BTW, percent of employed population in Sweden is, I think, around 72% - much higher that the US.

Michael,
I can't find the article I read on Yahoo a few weeks ago, but look here:


The highly regulated workforces of Germany and France have not only eliminated the substantial historic US lead in workplace productivity (GDP per hour), they have actually pulled ahead. Furthermore, between 1992 and 2002, the US lost ground to almost every other regulated European economy in terms of GDP per hour - the most effective measure of productivity. By 2002, 8 of the 15 EU economies - Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, France, Ireland, Denmark and Germany - had higher workplace productivity that the US. In fact the most notable absence from that list is the UK, which has responded to the CBI's demands for low regulation and the adoption of a 'flexible workforce'.

abb1

...Socialism has failed everyplace it has been tried...

Well, I beg to differ. For some reason I don't see any Western European country trying to adopt the US model.

I don't see Western Europeans getting in line to US embassies to get a green card.

Italy, I think, has positive balance of immigration/emigration with the US. Not sure about other countries.

No EU country has budget deficit as large (as % of GDP) as the US.

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Every Western European country has lower poverty rate than the US.

Life expectancy in the EU is generally higher.

If this means that they failed, enjoy your success.

Slartibartfast

capt joe:

I've been to Stockholm and Linkorping. I loved Stockholm, but Linkorping was just stunning. Very pretty town, and very old.

I got to climb around on a Gripen, and see one in flight (didn't go up in one, of course); nifty litte fighter.

Greg F

abb1,

"STOCKHOLM - Unemployment in Sweden eased back a fraction to 5.5% of the workforce in August from 5.6% in July, the central statistics bureau SCB said."

Your comparing apples and oranges. Sweden's in house numbers have to be standardized with other countries to make a comparison. Review the OECD numbers that I linked to above.

"I can't find the article I read on Yahoo a few weeks ago, but look here:

And at the bottom of the article it says "Distributed by PR Newswire on behalf of Amicus". abb1 uses a PR piece for making his economic case, ROTFLMAO! Who is Amicus? They are “the UK’s largest manufacturing, technical & skilled persons’ union.” Do you know how to say propoganda?

abb1

Sorry, Greg, I don't see how your stats are better than mine. If you really want to compare apples with apples, why don't you add 1.5% of the US jailed population to the US unemployment?


As far as your amuzment with my source of the productivity numbers - are you accusing them of lying? If so, please, post your own numbers of the GDP per hour productivity, by all means.

Thanks.

Greg F

...Socialism has failed everyplace it has been tried...

abb1 responds:
Well, I beg to differ.

You beg to differ by unsupported handwaving and displaying your economic ignorance. When you do provide a link it is to a PR piece from union hacks.

"For some reason I don't see any Western European country trying to adopt the US model.

Start with Ireland in the late 80's. You might also want to read up on this the Lisbon European Council in 2000, "Europe's leaders committed themselves to an ambitious ten-year strategy for economic reform".

One of their goals are:

"competition - ensuring more open markets, a rigorous competition policy, and less but better targeted state aid".

Oh gasp! Less state aid! And perhaps you haven't heard of the EU. You know, common currency and freedom of labor to cross borders.

Greg F

“Sorry, Greg, I don't see how your stats are better than mine.”

And you probably never will. The reason you can’t “see how” is as Michael Crichton points out.

“ I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people---the best people, the most enlightened people---do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.”

You socialist beliefs are not based in the real world, it is your religion, your beliefs are impervious to the facts. Therefore you “can’t see how”. Having a discussion on economics with you is like trying to discuss calculus with someone who doesn’t understand algebra. Then again, that is not the reason I respond to you as there is little hope you will abandon your socialist religion. I respond for the benefit of the many people who read but don’t post, so they can see the intellectual bankruptcy of the lefts socialist religion.

“If you really want to compare apples with apples, why don't you add 1.5% of the US jailed population to the US unemployment?”

This is so typical of you abb1, you draw a conclusion without supporting evidence. Then you throw in a red herring in an attempt to change the subject. If you want to make this argument then the burden of proof (with supporting calculations) is yours. I await your attempt.

“As far as your amuzment with my source of the productivity numbers - are you accusing them of lying?”

Lying by omission and data dredging would be an appropriate description. Europeans by law work less hours which results in lower apparent unemployment rates as well as a lower standard of living. So how about providing some real data, not some PR piece from some union hack. It would also be advisable to provide the margin of error with those numbers since they are not derived from equivalent base data. What amuses me is your inability to see that understand that a single statistic, unemployment for example, is worthless unless viewed as part of the whole economy. The Cuban unemployment rate, which is less than 3%, is but one example.

abb1

Well, Greg, unfortunately your ignorance shows again.

"Less but better targeted state aid" is your best evidence of Europe moving to the US model? Hello? Do you see them abandoning socialised medical care? Education? Mandatory workers participation in corporate boards of directors? Oh, man.

And what's with Ireland - are you saying their social programs are on the US level?

When you do provide a link it is to a PR piece from union hacks.

Well, let me repeat in case you missed it: are you accusing them of lying? If so, please, post your own numbers of the GDP per hour productivity, by all means.

Thanks.

PS.


“As far as your amuzment with my source of the productivity numbers - are you accusing them of lying?”

Lying by omission and data dredging would be an appropriate description. Europeans by law work less hours which results in lower apparent unemployment rates as well as a lower standard of living.

Talk about ignorance. Greg, my friend, productivity of labor has nothing to do with the number of hours you work. I can work 1 hour a year and have higher productivity than you working 60 hours a week. Productivity of labor is the average value produced by one worker in one hour.

It's true though that the Europeans work less time than the Americans. In France they have a mandatory maximum of 35 working hours a week. And that's one of the reasons their quality of life is higher.

Thanks.

TM

It is worth noting that immigration (which I support) has a big impact on a lot of the measures of per capita wealth, workforce productivity, income inequality, public health, and so on.

Sweden is essentially a hereditary country club; the USA lets in new members from poor countries all over the world. I had some thoughts on this, with useful links, way back when.

abb1

Greg, here's the CIA factbook. You trust the CIA, Greg, right?

It shows unemployment in Sweden in 2003 as 4.9% and in the US 6.0%. Why would the US government, the CIA - why would they want to mislead us, Greg?

Portia

abb1 -- I'm sorry I do not believe you LIVE in Europe. I do not believe you're anywhere NEAR Europe.

If you do you live in a cocoon, or you're possibly surrounded by PR people. Or you're really, really terminally dumb (which I'd prefer not to believe of someone who owns a computer and can type.)

Leave the numbers aside for a while -- I think people have made the point that numbers in Europe are not standardized. I'd go beyond that and say most European census, etc. numbers are PFA -- for which the polite version is Pulled From Air. (I say this because I have several relatives who are responsible for generating these numbers and, child, I KNOW how they operate.)

Let's talk social climate. I've BEEN in Europe. Recently. Extensively. I was born there, lived there most of my life and for both family and legal reasons have to visit a lot.

Every time I go back I realize they've slipped yet another notch towards a dispairing and vandalized look. These people are not happy, they do not look happy, and the streets look trashed. Not the mark of a happy citizenry. In any social gathering there are three or four overeducated underemployed or unemployed persons. There's always a senior who's been waiting forever for health care.

When I moved to the US these differences were either not so obvious or they were masked by my perception. But every time I go back, they're more glaring.

One of the marks of a sick culture is the lack of common curtesy in public and, boy oh boy, let's just say New York taxi drivers are polite by comparison.

And then there's that OTHER mark of a sick society -- no matter how the statistics mask this (and soviet Russia has been brought up) a sick society does NOT reproduce. The birth rates of Italy speak for themselves. As do those of France and, oh, yeah, most of Europe.

Should I go on? There is the whole "Better living through chemistry" thing that was big here in the seventies. You know, legal pills to rev you up and cool you down. THEY LIVE on this stuff. (Recent articles on this from France. I don't have time to google.) These are NOT happy people.

And jobs -- to show one of the ways the unemployment figures are viciated -- all of my young relatives -- ALL -- are still in college, at 26, 27, 30. Why? "What's the point of graduating when there's no jobs?" Of course, maybe this is because they're studying impractical subjects, like engineering, veterinary medicine and commercial art.

Then there is the ultimate proof -- other than delluded celebrities and people who think like them -- how many Americans are stampeding towards the European paradise? Compared to Europeans who move here and would move here if they could get visas?

Come on. The communist block was a zero unemployment, happy-worker paradise too. Till the borders opened and only those who couldn't move stayed behind.

Abb1, get over it. Either go to Europe and actually look around -- beyond the ritzy places, btw. Try middle class neighborhoods -- or if you are truly there and are that blind, start getting your news from somewhere other than the equivalent of the (old) Pravda.

And while you're at it, take a few walks down less than well-policed neighborhoods. And look at people's eyes. Just look. And be open to the fact these are not "happy workers."

Because -- you know what, the Titanic that is Europe is sinking, and people like you are not even just re arranging the deck chairs. You're down there, with the ice picks, making hole to ensure the iceberg gets in more easily.

abb1

Well, Portia, what can I say?
I've been here for a little over two years. I've been looking for an opportunity to move here for about two years before that. I intend to stay here for a few years more - at least. The place looks beautiful. Mountains with ski resorts all around. Summer time - flowers everywhere like you wouldn't believe, every rotary on the road is a work of art. City life without stress and without crime. Great wine for a couple euros a bottle. Beautiful architecture in every little village. Places to go, so much to see - my 6-week vacation isn't enough.

People are nice and look happy, but I haven't interviewed them to find out in depth how they really feel, of course.

All neighborhoods are well-policed here.


The birth rates of Italy speak for themselves
True. The higher quality of life the lower birth rates. That's a known fact.

I am sorry you had all that bad experience. It sounds like you've been to a real bad place. Don't go to that place again, go somewhere else.

Greg F

“Greg, here's the CIA factbook. You trust the CIA, Greg, right?”

The CIA fact book reports a countries statistics, it does not try to reconcile the different methods to determine unemployment in each country. The OECD and the Eurostat do reconcile the different methods and thus arrive at different numbers (higher in fact for Sweden) then the Swedish government produces. IOW, the Swedish government doesn’t count people that would be counted by most other countries. Your still trying to compare apples and oranges.

“It shows unemployment in Sweden in 2003 as 4.9% and in the US 6.0%. Why would the US government, the CIA - why would they want to mislead us, Greg?”

They are not trying to mislead you abb1, they are assuming your not stupid enough to take those numbers at face value.

Lurking Observer

It is worth noting, with regards to statistics, that the CIA and other sources generally ascribe, for example, Japanese defense spending to about 1% of GDP.

But the Japanese government does not include pension payments and a number of other items in its defense budget, which most other states do. Therefore, the figure of 1% is, in fact, a significant under-count of actual Japanese defense spending. (One suspects that this is done for political reasons.)

Similarly, while abb1 would like to score points with his citation of American inmate populations, the reality is that no nation counts that as part of the employment/unemployment figures. (Feel free to correct me, if I am mistaken.) Therefore, that is a "red herring," I believe.

Greg F

“Less but better targeted state aid" is your best evidence of Europe moving to the US model?”

It was an example. Sheesh! I even told you where to go look to find more information. Your so intellectually lazy you couldn’t be bothered. I am not your water boy.

“Do you see them abandoning socialised medical care? Education?”

Do you see them enjoying the same standard of living as the U.S.? NO!

“And what's with Ireland - are you saying their social programs are on the US level?”

WTF are you talking about? Ireland has the lowest taxes in Europe and a standard of living very close to the US (read - not typical European country). Around the end of the 80’s they did that evil thing by cutting taxes dramatically. The results speak for themselves.

“Well, let me repeat in case you missed it: are you accusing them of lying?”

Are you really that dumb or is your reading comprehension that poor? Let me repeat my challenge. So how about providing some real data, not some PR piece from some union hack. It would also be advisable to provide the margin of error with those numbers since they are not derived from equivalent base data. Now put up or shut up.

“Talk about ignorance. Greg, my friend, productivity of labor has nothing to do with the number of hours you work.”

Let me repeat this, unemployment for example, is worthless unless viewed as part of the whole economy. By the same token so is productivity, especially when one country (France and Germany in the unions data dredge example) has significantly higher unemployment rates. “France has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the European Union (22%), affecting about one in every five of the young active population (one in four for females)”. Productivity is strongly related to age and experience. IOW, the productivity/ hour of an employed youth is going to be significantly lower then the average. If you could all of a sudden employ enough of these ‘youths’ to bring France in line with the US unemployment rate the productivity/ hour worked would go down in France. Put another way, if we close down all the fast food restaraunts in the US unemployment would go up but so would productivity/ hour.

abb1

OK, Greg. Too much flaming, I don't enjoy it anymore.

Let me just say that you are stupid, ignorant, dumb, intellectually lazy and incredibly stubborn moron. Sorry if I forgot something, I haven't read your latest posts carefully.

Other than that you're absolutely correct: the US political and economic system is the way to go; Europe, Canada and Australia are dying, turing into ruins and becoming more totalitarian every day. Soon they will be arresting their citizens at will, declaring them 'illegal combatants' or something and sending them into concentration camps forever without a trial. In Sweden 1/3 of the population on the dole. You totally convinced me.

Cheers.

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