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Mar-21-2010 13:19printcomments

The Sickness in the American Soul

Daniel Johnson's 100th article on

End of the American Dream

(CALGARY, Alberta) - “There is a great tendency in this country to refuse to see what is right in front of everybody’s eyes.”[1] says Bob Herbert in a recent New York Times column.

Not Economically Viable

As you read this, there are tens of millions of Americans who are sick at heart, in despair; overwhelmed by desolation, hopelessness and despondency. Some are suicidal; some are near suicidal. These are your friends and neighbors who have lost or are about to lose their homes, their jobs, their self-respect—and in every case their place in society. For tens of millions of people the American dream has become a nightmare.

These are people who have come to rely on food banks, food stamps and private charity just to eat and feed their families (One in eight Americans, and one in four children, are on food stamps). They have been ground down in front of their children who will consequently internalize feelings of inferiority and impotence. Cast aside by society, many will give up, thinking—what’s the use?

Dr. Irwin Redlener, is a pediatrician and president of the Children’s Health Fund in New York. He says: “We’re looking at all these cuts in human services — in health care, in education, in after-school programs, in juvenile justice. This all points to a very grim future for these children who seem to be taking the brunt of this financial crisis.” The impact on children, he says is “frightening.” He said to Bob Herbert: “We are seeing the emergence of what amounts to a ‘recession generation.’” [8]

Michael Douglas in 'Falling Down'

In the Michael Douglas movie “Falling Down”, Vondie Curtis-Hall plays a man protesting outside a bank because they will not approve him for a loan. Eventually, a police car arrives and takes him away because he loudly protests to all and sundry that he is, according to the loan officer, not economically viable. This is the economic condition that increasing numbers of Americans find themselves in. Their crime? Believing in America and the American dream.

What is right in front of everybody’s eyes is the fact that America, for all the mythology and pretending, is a savage society. It’s all about business and making money that goes right to the founding of the nation. As forty-two year old Canadian freelance writer Brennan Clarke wrote in 2008: “As the holder of not one but two undergraduate arts degrees… I am quickly reminded by the working world that being intelligent and capable is no longer enough. You have to do something that makes somebody money.”[9]

Money and its acquisition became objects in themselves in the actual founding of America. As Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Advice to a Young Tradesman:

Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but six-pence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that his only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides….Money is of the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again it is seven and three-pence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.”

The business of America is business,” said Calvin Coolidge in 1925. As sociologist Max Weber had written only a few years before:

The capitalistic economy of the present day is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in which he must live. It forces the individual, in so far as he is involved in the system of market relationships, to conform to the capitalistic rules of action.”

The capitalist cosmos is even more overreaching and overbearing today and even more socially destructive. As Charles E. Wilson, president of GM said during hearings to become Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense in 1953: “what is good for the country is good for General Motors and vice versa”.

Opus 100

After exactly one year of writing (and 100 articles) for and observing, analyzing and commenting on American society, I have come to see the United States through different eyes.

America is a kakistocracy (rule by the worst), and by this I don’t mean President Obama and his ilk. I refer to the capitalists, the money men, who through their greed have nearly (and may still) destroyed the global economy. (Andrew Cuomo said: “They think of themselves as kings and queens.”) I don’t need to elaborate on what they have done to American society. You can see it all around you; read it in the newspaper headlines; and hear the news anchors belaboring it. (You might live in one of the 25% of houses whose mortgages are underwater.)

David Brooks writes: “In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.”[7]

Here are the income/unemployment figures as of late 2009:

  • $150,000+ 3.2% unemployment
  • $100,000 to $149,000 4%
  • $60,000 to $75,000 6.4%
  • $50,000 to $59,000 9%
  • $40,000 to $49,000 9%
  • $12,500 to $20,000 19.1%
  • Less than $12,4999 30.9%

Bob Herbert: “We still have a hideously dysfunctional public education system, one that has mastered the art of manufacturing dropouts and functional illiterates.”[2]

As Susan Jacoby writes: “Our lack of a national curriculum, national teacher training standards and federal financial support to attract smart young people to the teaching profession all contribute mightily to the mediocre-to-poor performance of American students, year in and year out, on international education assessments.”[16]

In 1988 Jon Miller, director of the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University, conducted a survey of Americans for the National Science Foundation asking people about 75 questions to test their knowledge of basic science. The results showed that more than half—about 55 percent—of adult Americans didn’t know that the Earth revolved around the sun once a year—of the 72 percent who answered correctly, 17 percent said one day, two percent said one month and nine percent didn’t know. Miller concluded that “on very basic ideas, vast numbers of Americans are scientifically illiterate” (Associated Press, Oct 24, 1988). Based on a similar survey from 1985, the result was that only about five percent of adult Americans could be considered scientifically literate.

Twenty years later New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a column appropriately titled “Clueless in America” (April 22, 2008) reported that “Ignorance in the United States is not just bliss, it’s widespread. A recent survey of teenagers by the education advocacy group Common Core found that a quarter could not identify Adolf Hitler, a third did not know that the Bill of Rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, and fewer than half knew that the Civil War took place between 1850 and 1900.”

He ended his column saying “nearly 20 percent of respondents did not know who the U.S. fought in World War II. Eleven percent thought that Dwight Eisenhower was the president forced from office by the Watergate scandal. Another 11 percent thought it was Harry Truman.”

Bob Herbert: “The United States is broken — school systems are deteriorating, the economy is in shambles, homelessness and poverty rates are expanding — yet we’re nation-building in Afghanistan, sending economically distressed young people over there by the tens of thousands at an annual cost of a million dollars each.” [3]

I had a lengthy email conversation with a Texan named Don a few years ago. I sent him an article which he immediately classified as a typical "liberal blame article”. He wrote:

Well, I will say anyone born poor, who stays poor, is lazy or stupid. If they're stupid, well then they are doomed. If they are lazy then there's hope. My grandmother was born in a farm house with dirt floors in western Arkansas. She left home at fourteen heading for the ‘big city’ of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She never looked back. Everything she ever attained she did on her own and she left poor behind. She even paid off her house. My aunt and uncle paid off their house. This bs about being poor is just that, bs. In this country there is no excuse for staying poor unless you fit that one single category. STUPID, it's incurable and those are the few who need to be taken care of.

As for the battlefield class, that's a lottery. Those who go in do it to get a 'free' education but roll the dice that they might get shot at. They fit in the category of those who are willing to help themselves and that's fine. Class warfare is for the liberal set. I don't give a damn how much some rich person is worth. I can, if I try hard enough attain similar status. The accumulation of wealth is not big on my radar screen. Like most people I'm content with comfortable. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer is total bullshit. This is not a zero sum economy. Also the poor in the country have satellite dishes on the roofs of their houses with a car and a pickup in the driveway. That ain't poor. People need to shut up and quit being lazy.”

The article I had sent was written by George J. Bryjack[10] who wrote:

We have the highest degree of economic inequality in the industrialized world. The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute notes that while the wealthiest 1 percent of stockholders account for just under 50 percent of all stocks by value, one of every six children lives below the official poverty line.”

He wrote that in 2003. We know things are worse today in every dimension.

I gave up emailing Don after that and he never wrote again. I wonder what his position is today, as a reactionary social conservative, to the economic meltdown which has affected the majority of people who could not today be classified as either lazy or stupid? It’s also a fair indictment of American society that many young men have to risk their lives in order to get ahead, when their luckier brethren do not. On this Bob Herbert says: “The idea that fewer than 1 percent of Americans are being called on to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq and that we’re sending them into combat again and again and again — for three tours, four tours, five tours, six tours — is obscene. All decent people should object.”[15]

Paul Krugman, on the need for health care reform: “In every other advanced nation, insurance coverage is available to everyone regardless of medical history. Our system is unique in its cruelty.”[5] (italics added)

Writes Bob Herbert: “We’re not smart as a nation. We don’t learn from the past, and we don’t plan for the future. We’ve spent a year turning ourselves inside out with arguments of every sort over health care reform only to come up with a bloated, Rube Goldberg legislative mess that protects the insurance and drug industries and does not rein in runaway health care costs.”[11]

I am not just cherry-picking “liberal” columnists. Even David Brooks, a bona fide conservative says:

The United States is becoming a broken society. The public has contempt for the political class. Public debt is piling up at an astonishing and unrelenting pace. Middle-class wages have lagged. Unemployment will remain high. It will take years to fully recover from the financial crisis.”[4]

Meltdown of the states

The economic catastrophe that is California is well known. But most of the other states are suffering as badly, or worse. As Bob Herbert writes: “Taxes are being raised. Draconian cuts in services are being made. Public employees are being fired. The tissue-thin national economic recovery is being undermined. And in many cases, the most vulnerable populations—the sick, the elderly, the young and the poor—are getting badly hurt.” [8]

The bigger picture, he says, is that “the states are in the worst fiscal shape since the Depression. The Great Recession has caused state tax revenues to fall off a cliff. Some states—New York and California come quickly to mind—are facing prolonged budget nightmares. Across the country, critical state services are being chopped like firewood. More cuts are coming. Taxes and fees are being raised. Yet the budgets in dozens and dozens of states remain drastically out of balance.”[14]

A few items:

  • Arizona has scrapped its Children’s Health Insurance Program leaving nearly 47,000 low-income children with no coverage at all
  • In New Jersey, schools will receive $820 million less in state aid
  • Massachusetts, which has cut drastically over the last two years, is gearing up for more cuts
  • California has cut billions from education and let thousands of teachers go
  • In the first two months of 2010, state and local governments across the nation have cut 45,000 jobs
  • The Kansas City school board has decided to close 28 of its 61 schools at the end of this school year, reflecting the already dismal facts that fewer than a third of elementary students read at or above grade level and in most schools, fewer than a quarter of students are proficient at their grade levels. The student enrolment is now 17,400 children, who are mostly black and impoverished. [13]

The dooming of America?

The sickness at the core of America’s soul is selfish greed based on the misguided idea of American exceptionalism. Virtually from the beginning, Americans have believed they are a special people chosen by God. As a nation they believed (and continue to believe) that they had the God-given right to rule the earth and do whatever they wished.

This has made America a rogue nation. Over the last century or more, they have overthrown and undermined legitimate governments all over the world. America, even today, feels no hesitation in starting wars and invading countries on the flimsiest (even bogus) pretexts.

Over the last half-century, with only 5% of the world’s population, the United States has gobbled up more energy and resources than any other nation. Americans today use a quarter of the world’s energy and fossil fuels.

On average, one American consumes as much energy as

  • 2 Japanese
  • 6 Mexicans
  • 13 Chinese
  • 31 Indians
  • 128 Bangladeshis
  • 307 Tanzanians
  • 370 Ethiopians[12]

The average individual daily consumption of water in America is 159 gallons, while more than half the world's population lives on 25 gallons.

Did you know?

  • The United States has more shopping malls than high schools.
  • Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily.
  • The average American generates 52 tons of garbage by age 75.

Can such profligacy continue? Not very likely. I never would have imagined it even a decade ago (before 9/11), but it appears that we are seeing the unravelling of the United States before our very eyes.

This does not mean that the physical country or its people will disappear. But a reorganization of the middle of the North American continent is overdue.

As Bob Herbert concludes: “If America can’t change, then the current state of decline is bound to continue. You can’t have a healthy economy with so many millions of people out of work, and there is no plan now that would result in the creation of millions of new jobs any time soon.”[12]

The United States is what I have come to see as an artificial country, i.e., it is a patchwork of regions who have little or nothing in common other than pretending they belong to one nation (just like what is called the former Yugoslavia). Texas and California (25 and 36 million people, respectively) are so different than the rest of the country, that the citizens would probably be happier as their own sovereign countries. The same applies to the New England states as a group, and some of the states in the Pacific Northwest. There are other fracture lines, as well. A decade, a few decades from now will Europeans, Chinese and Japanese be talking about “the former America” just like today they talk about the former Soviet Union?

I can already see the comments by some American patriots declaring me wrong on every count and saying that America is powerful and will always prevail. They are in denial, arguing against the global evidence. But I’m not actually counting America out, not quite yet. There’s an old saying that God looks after drunks and fools.

Footnote references
[1] “The Worst of the Pain”, February 8, 2010
[2] “Stacking the Deck Against Kids” Nov 28, 2009
[3] “A Tragic Mistake” Nov 30, 2009
[4] “The Broken Society” Mar 18, 2010
[5] “Why We Reform” Mar 18, 2010
[6] “Markets, Religion, Community Size, and the Evolution of Fairness and Punishment.” By Joseph Henrich, et al, Science, Vol. 327 No. 5972, March 18, 2010
[7] “Getting Obama Right”, Mar 11, 2010
[8] “A Ruinous Meltdown”
[9] “Bachelor of Jeopardy!”, Globe and Mail, Feb 8, 2008 p. L6
[10] “U.S. religiosity in a self-imposed straightjacket” by George J. Bryjack
[11] “An Uneasy Feeling”, Jan 4, 2010
[14] “Invitation to Disaster”, Jan 8, 2010
[15] “A Fearful Price”, Dec 7, 2009
[16] “One Classroom, From Sea to Shining Sea”

Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place

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Oracle April 5, 2010 10:07 am (Pacific time)

"I can’t help but conclude that you didn’t realize that it’s not me writing against the U.S., but merely quoting responsible Americans in a position to know that things are not rosy and haven’t been for a long time." We'll see how that crap plays out...

Jon Nicolaisen April 4, 2010 8:54 am (Pacific time)

"...the United States is the most economically inequitable society in the world of all developed nations. Talk about American Exceptionalism. LOL" Our poorest people have better living standards than the vast majority of those in the industrial world. Recently the UCLA Economics Department did an exhaustive study on the FDR policies during the 1930's and early 40's. Among their many conclusions were that FDR's economic policies (including incorporating some of Keynes hypotheses, which Krugman advocates for today) prolonged the depression by many years, and it was WWII and it's tremendous jolt to our manufacturing base that grew us out of that economic downturn. The UCLA study has been peer reviewed and thus far no one has come forward to dispute it's problem statement, it's design nor it's conclusions. In fact the historical models clearly show that taking the opposite tack of big government spending is what has helped to ameliorate economic downturns in the past. Of course many of these downturns are of a cyclic nature, it is extremely important that we have leadership that understands what they are doing, and be quick to alter policies if current ones are failing. The TARP did it's job, but the stimulus bill has clearly failed. JFK and Reagan (he created 21 million jobs during his presidency) cut taxes to help grow us out of past recessions. Bush via a bi-partisan congress cut taxes and grew us out of a recession he inherited, which was further compounded by the 9/11 attacks. As of 2006 when the democrats took over congress using fear tactics about Iraq, which most of them endorsed and funded [they still fund]) the unemployment rate was at 4.5% as per the Dept. Of Labor. It is now nearly 10%, a year after the "pump was primed" and the "under"employment rate is over 20%. Those who advocated for the Stimulus Bill said by passing it the unemployment rate would never go over 8%. Many past Nobel prize winners have stated that the current approach taken by the administration will destroy our economic system. Unlike the 1930's, we have a highly diversified economy and in my opinion we will be able to hang in there until we get new leadership, whether it is in late 2010 or 2012. I also expect that our healthcare situation will be put on the right track and we will see private industry competition do what does best. Those who look at how the auto insurance industry competes for your dollars, expect a similar approach for your healthcare dollars when we deregulate onerous [different] state laws via the Commerce clause. Those who are in financial need will be subsidized, and we already do that in many cases, so the framework exists do have this program enlarged as per need. The free market system is the way to approach this matter, for that is how many other countries are now trending with their national programs, which have been diminishing in their mission to provide timely healthcare. Expect the American model to be copied all over the world. This will not be a paradigm shift, but a return to sound business principals with minimal government oversight, but certainly enough oversight so as not to allow a monopoly takeover. Our government has not been listening to their bosses, so I expect that we will witness some serious upheaval before too long. The people will prevail, and not because there are over 100 million gunowners, but because we are no-nonsense Americans who have woken up.

Your post is largely a combination of fantasy and denial. Looking at your points, I don't even know where to start, so I'm not going to spend any time on it. You can believe whatever you want and we'll leave it at that. 

Sinse April 3, 2010 1:03 pm (Pacific time)

It is true Krugman has a Nobel prize, so does AlGore. Krugman is out there in the tall weeds opining for Keynesian model economics, which he has completely mischaracterized. I recently chatted with him at Willamette University when he gave a "talk" that was so convoluted, I actually teared up felt sorry for him. His theory of economics regarding the downturn we are experiencing is to turn on the government cash printers and spend ourselves into prosperity. There has never been a country where this has worked, and the other Nobel prize winners in Economics over the years have completely refuted this individual. Keynes never advocated ignoring government debt, in fact he advocated that this debt was a priority to retire. Krugman and those who advocate this free-spending blitz know exactly what happens when this process is pursued. Try it in your own home, spend what you don't have and see what happens. I like what the other poster said about Herbert and Justin Blair, now that is an excellent example why the New York Times is on the way out. They have been selling all their other papers, like the Boston Globe, and continue to layoff people. The American consumer will not tolerate being lied to, whether by direct means or by ommission, and it is the latter that is the most egregious and unforgivable.

I have no idea what your expertise might be, but I'll respond anyway: The world economy was stalled in the 1930s and Keynes knew that governments were the only entities capable of priming the pump. It's the same today. Tens of millions of Americans are destitute--no jobs, no income. They are in this situation through no fault of their own, other than being misled by the powers that be--primarily GW Bush over eight years of giving tax cuts to the wealthy and launching two unfunded wars. They cannot wait for the economy to "turn around" before they get their next meal! In order to keep a roof over their heads, they must somehow pay the Wall Street banks and mortgage companies. The government bailed them out and left every one else hung out to dry. Talk about being lied to!! In the General Theory, Keynes said: "The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and income." (p. 372) Only some of Keynes' ideas were adopted because you now have a situation where the United States is the most economically inequitable society in the world of all developed nations. Talk about American Exceptionalism. LOL


Haggerty April 2, 2010 6:00 pm (Pacific time)

Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman are not exactly the kind of sources reasonable people would use as a resource. My reading of some of this writer's articles to begin with has nothing to do with the sources he sites but his dislike for the United States. Who really cares? My God we have been hated since we were founded, so what! I recall Herbert going to the defense of Justin Blair who also was employed at the NY Times, a newspaper that is ignored by professional journalists, and is nearly bankrupt. So who was Blair? If you know that, then you know Herbert's agenda. Regarding Krugman, he has no more credibility. He has contracts to print his pablum, but when they expire, he can go join Gore.

 I see your point. They are successful, internationally respected writers (Krugman a Nobel Prize winner). And you are... who?

You could retort that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, et al are internationally known, but they are not part of the mainstream. I give no credibility to fringe polemicists.  No one, except people on the far and fringe right, would ever quote them  to support any kind of logical argument.

Daniel Johnson April 2, 2010 1:02 am (Pacific time)

Response to Sugar Shack:

Your post was accidentally deleted. You said, that you didn’t like me for being able to write against your country. I can’t help but conclude that you didn’t realize that it’s not me writing against the U.S., but merely quoting responsible Americans in a position to know that things are not rosy and haven’t been for a long time. FYI, here are all the people I quote extensively. Not a non-American among them. It’s time for you and a lot of readers to wake up and smell the coffee. The myth of America the great and wonderful is just that—A myth.

Bob Herbert NYT

Dr. Irwin Redlener, is a pediatrician and president of the Children’s Health Fund in New York.

Benjamin Franklin

Calvin Coolidge

Charles E. Wilson, president of GM (1950s)

David Brooks

Susan Jacoby an American author, most recently of the New York Times best seller, The Age of American Unreason about American anti-intellectualism

Jon Miller, director of the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University

Don (last name withheld for his privacy)—a Texas resident with whom I exchanged emails

George J. Bryjack, sociologist, UCSD

Paul Krugman NYT

Natalie April 1, 2010 8:12 am (Pacific time)

I was talking about the last sentence of your reply.


Natalie April 1, 2010 1:27 am (Pacific time)

That's a nice one. You mastered psychological tricks very well.

You can call them "tricks" but human relationships are entirely about the way we handle psychological interactions where we usually have only minimal reliable information to go on. 

Natalie April 1, 2010 1:04 am (Pacific time)

DJ: So, when you occasionally agree with a reader should it be interpreted as "Ah, yeah-yeah, whatever, here's a little bone for you, bug off now, would you?" under the politeness mask?

I think it's about mutual respect, even if people don't agree with me and in  a case like that, I went too far in my reply. I just wanted to give her (?) a little dash of water in the face.

Otherwise I get lots of good comments from readers and I do appreciate them and what they say. If it weren't for my serious readers, like yourself, I wouldn't bother.  

Corey March 31, 2010 6:08 pm (Pacific time)

Ass-kicking party by your readers? Come now, when everything is distilled down, do you really think that many peoplem are concerned about your opinion on different matters? Hubris?

Corey (if that's your real name) do you actually think that I take any comments or the commenters seriously? Including you? 

Corey March 31, 2010 7:24 am (Pacific time)

Actually when you take the time to measure "freedom concepts," then America is most certainly the country with the most individual this time. Alas the growing protests going on across America deal with our freedoms being constricted. I expect that the lamestream media will continue to misinform and augment disinformation that fit their agenda. Maybe that's why so many out there on the radical side of the political/social equation so dislike, even hate, those who challenge their propaganda. I expect some big time repercussions before the upcoming November elections. These types of conflicts are nothing new to the heart and soul of America, so the future in a way was foretold in the recent senate election in Massachusetts, and another event also in Massachussetts well over 230 years ago. By the way if and when your government allows you to visit us here in the states, I will be glad to buy you lunch Mr. Johnson. RSVP

That's a change. If I ever go to North Carolina some of my readers there are going to host an ass-kicking party for me. 

Anonymous March 30, 2010 11:09 am (Pacific time)

"I never cease to be amazed at the incredible arrogance of so many Americans who actually believe they are the only country on earth with freedom. People like that I just want to shake..." I consider that a threat, and will deal with it, within appropriate jurisprudence, American style. I do not recognize Canadian law or anything else about that backward accumulation of inbred banjo players. No doubt king is a relative, for we sure know how much he hates America by allowing your hateful invective. MFing trash.

You consider "being shaken" a threat? FYI, I don't play a banjo. The only musical instruments where I have any proficiency are the radio and the sex organ. 

Corey March 29, 2010 6:56 pm (Pacific time)

Do you ever come to the states? Our roads and bridges are constantly being repaired and renovated. Our truck and car miles as well as shipping of products is constantly increasing. If everything was crumbling, then using your logic we would be in a constant diminishing state, not the opposite that we have. Your statement "So I understand the American of today: soft and unwilling to do the hard work to stay ahead; mostly thinking that the world owes them a living like when they took oil out of the Middle East at $1.75/bbl. That was what fueled American expansion up to the early 1970s. Those days are not coming back" has no validity. Seems what you know about America is based on a myopic perspective that is woefully wrong. Maybe you should come down here and travel like the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who come, and of course many stay and become citizens. Maybe they like the healthcare and roads? Or maybe they just don't like Canada all that much? Have you ever seen any surveys of why they come? Over the years the exchange rate has not been favorable, but still they came. Maybe it's the freedom that they surround themselves in?

 Did you check out the link in my reply? I don't make this stuff up. It's Americans talking about America.

I'd love to visit the U.S. but the government won't let me leave. Maybe next year, as long as I leave my parents behind. 

I never cease to be amazed at the incredible arrogance of so many Americans who actually believe they are the only country on earth with freedom. People like that I just want to shake until they come to realize that there are other countries on the earth! Has to be something in the American water. 

Zack Willis March 29, 2010 11:15 am (Pacific time)

A common theme that many who are unfamiliar with American culture along with the majority of us who share the same mores and folkways is that when things get tough we will just give up and do nothing, allowing things to get worse. Of course scientific (and replicable) facts refutes that extrapolation quite easily. There have been many people and various organizations that have stated that our gun crime rate would be going up because of increased gun sales and a depressed economy. Well the scientific data shows just the opposite. Also below see how the national average homicide rate has dropped 28%. "Americans overall are far less likely to be killed with a firearm than they were when it was much more difficult to obtain a concealed-weapons permit, according to statistics collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control ( But researchers have not been able to establish a cause-and-effect relationship. In the 1980s and ’90s, as the concealed-carry movement gained steam, Americans were killed by others with guns at the rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population. In this decade, the rate has fallen to just over 4.07 per 100,000, a 28 percent drop. The decline follows a fivefold increase in the number of “shall-issue” and unrestricted concealed-carry states from 1986 to 2006.
The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.
The decline in gun homicides also comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing, according to federal background checks that are required for most gun sales. After holding stable at 8.5 to 9 million checks from 1999 to 2005, the FBI reported a surge to 10 million in 2006, 11 million in 2007, nearly 13 million in 2008 and more than 14 million last year, a 55 percent increase in just four years.

You're right about one thing: "researchers have not been able to establish a cause-and-effect relationship". Washington D.C. is, I think, a city sui generis--high proportion of blacks, lots of poverty and real wealth inequities. I think the demographics would tell us more than gun control laws. 

Corey March 28, 2010 6:34 pm (Pacific time)

Whew! I just finished reading the above article (twice) and all the comments (twice). Mr. Johnson you really don't understand the American psyche nor American history. The diffferent references you make are so unbalanced as to make your thesis completely untenable. No doubt you have some serious issues with my country, but you are essentially blowing into a headwind. America has been in far more serious trouble than it is now, and it has come back stronger than ever. Certainly we have some serious problems right now, and they will get far worse. Americans thrive when faced with adversity, so in time you will see us rally and conclude these bad times with prosperity and an expansion of individual freedoms. As far as the interdependency of the global economy, if we all were in an isolation mode because of say some disease or some catastrophe, who do you think could best deal successfully with that isolation? Are you familiar with our agricultural diversity, our domestic transportation system. In terms of energy importations that we have, there have been such significant energy finds here that we could become totally independent very quickly. Right now there is no financial incentive to do that, but we have the infrastructure and capability to become completely independent for all our needs. How would other countries in the world do? Certain parts of the country will balkanize, but the need to pull together will lessen that balkanization so as to ameliorate that problem.

I don't have to understand the American psyche. I just read what the American media reports and the picture is pretty grim: The most economically inequitable country in the world; the infrastructure of the country (roads, bridges, water) is all crumbling from age.

See America's Infrastructure Report Card. In 15 categories, 11 are graded D and overall grade is D. The estimate to upgrade over five years is $2.2 trillion.


Tens of millions of Americans are without health care and will remain so for awhile; nationally America owes trillions to China and Japan (as the main creditors), most of the state budgets are also badly in the red; unemployment is a disaster; millions (not thousands) of Americans have no cash income but live on food stamps; I could go on.

Now, how is America going to pull itself out of this? You say it's been worse in the past but if you're talking about the 1930s, it took a war to do that. But you have two wars going on now.

America was able to grow and expand in the past because it was always able to exploit the resources of developing countries at minimal cost. Well, those developing countries like China, South Korea, Taiwan, etc. are now developed powerhouses on their own and America can no longer compete with them head to head.

And I do understand the American psyche, having lived next door and been inundated by American news, media, books, magazines, etc. So I understand the American of today: soft and unwilling to do the hard work to stay ahead; mostly thinking that the world owes them a living like when they took oil out of the Middle East at $1.75/bbl. That was what fueled American expansion up to the early 1970s. Those days are not coming back.

Sorry to be so pessimistic, but Americans need a dose of some bad tasting medicine. And they're getting it and will for the foreseeable future. If you have any factual rebuttals, please post them. 

PS at 10pm PDT--I just read that Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (China) has bought Volvo from Ford for $1.8 billion. The news just keeps getting worse. 

Zack Willis March 28, 2010 10:26 am (Pacific time)

We Americans are not ignoring what is happening internally or externally. Never have and never will, which goes back to our founding. A casual glance at our history acknowledges a resume second to none in both achievement and problem resolution. Even during this economic downturn we are able to respond all over the planet by helping others in distress. Not bad for what you call a collapsing country. I agree with you about Afghanistan and Harper, you need some better leadership and decision-makers that understand current events who can extrapolate with more accuracy. As far as Canada's prosperity, my prayers are that it continues, I say that not just for investment reasons, but I have several very close friends in BC and Alberta, who are interdependent with the American economy, as is a significant percentage of businesses within the Canadian economy.

You seem to have half the picture, acknowledging that Canada's economy is interdependent with America's. But in the same way the U.S. economy is interdependent with Canada's and all the other nations on the planet.The sickness I refer to is that America has been a taker on the planet for too long. Sure, America contributes lots of gew-jaws, but of real value? Look at my article again and notice that America is the most inequitable country in the world. There are tens of millions in distress. America is on the verge of becoming a full-blown fascist state right under nose and only a few people have the wit to read the signs. You have a more militarized society than even ancient Rome. Your "second to none in both achievement and problem resolution" is in the past, if it were even true. The cultural problems have become intractable.

Wake up and smell the coffee. It's not the 1950s anymore. 

Zack Willis March 27, 2010 6:20 pm (Pacific time)

"You're falling into your own illogical trap, suggesting that things are "worse" in Canada, rather than acknowledging what terrible shape your own country has fallen into." Incorrect assumption on your part. Actually this phrase is appropriate for you. We Americans are constantly in problem-solving mode whereas you as a Canadian are diverted from your extreme domestic problems by not being fully engaged in pursuing solutions. Canadian problems are noted by us in passing, but no real energy is expended looking for solutions for you, unless it has a benefit for us. Think about it. It's a horse to water scenario I'm afraid, and you seem to be rather myopic in this aspect of critical thinking. I may be wrong, but doubtful. I expect your country could collapse around you but you would still be focused on telling us about our shortcomings, which would only be acknowledged by those who have no understanding of what your agenda is. It's pretty obvious.

You're doing it again. The U.S. is collapsing around you and you're pretending it isn't.  And I don't really care what you and your ilk think about Canada. We have our imperfections, but we're pretty stable and pretty prosperous. We have soldiers dying in Afghanistan thanks to our Prime Minister, Steve Harper, a Bush wannabe.

Zack Willis March 26, 2010 12:36 pm (Pacific time)

Bob Herbert: “We still have a hideously dysfunctional public education system, one that has mastered the art of manufacturing dropouts and functional illiterates.”[2] I wonder if Mr. Herbert is addressing just African-American students in his statements? The drop out rate for blacks and hispanics is through the roof, which also translates to a much higher unemployment rate. In Washington DC black leaders opined for more pupil funding and more black teachers along with low student to teacher ratios.They have met those desired benchmarks and then some. They still score the lowest in all national tests by significant margins. Especially compared to other urban school districts that have just a fraction of their funding. Please note that blacks have an approximate out of wedlock birthrate near 75+% and hispanics is around 50+%. Whites have gone from less than 10% in the 1960's to around 25% now. Money is not the answer, but taking personal responsibility may be the best way to confront these issues. Those black leaders who take that side of the argument of taking personal responsibility are ignored by those who prefer to continue with the blame game and demand more money. I also wonder why you think America has sickness in our "soul?" Seems to me that Canada has far more problems, but then confronting one's own problems is not an easy task for those who are unable to see beyond their agendas. America has a method in place to address our problems, and considering that we have over 300 million people who are highly diverse, we are doing well, and will get better.

You're falling into your own illogical trap, suggesting that things are "worse" in Canada, rather than acknowledging what terrible shape your own country has fallen into.

John Chase March 25, 2010 7:02 am (Pacific time)

The Soviets failed because they were wedded to their ideology, so they didn't make mid-course corrections to defuze citizens' anger. Anyone who has read Jared Diamond's "Collapse" understands that.

KB March 24, 2010 9:01 am (Pacific time)

RE: Canadian's loss of all freedom.

You're not posting here, anymore, whoever you are, so might as well go back under your rock.

Keith Brindel March 23, 2010 2:12 pm (Pacific time)

It appears that Canada...

You're posting under a number of different names. You're just a troll. Your rock awaits...

Jennifer Melyssa March 23, 2010 10:06 am (Pacific time)

Update: The vet technician I mentioned in my below post was just fired by her boss. Seems that conservatives don't like to hear about the bad things in America. Seems my neighbors are not too happy either. Does Canada have a censorship problem, or hostility coming from those who don't like to hear negative things about your country? Amanda are you a Canadian citizen? If so, then if you dislike America then why stay? Seems that people living or working around you might not really appreciate a foreigner castigating their country?

Sorry to hear abouut your friend getting fired. Yes, Canada does have a censorship problem, worse than the US because there are so relatively few publishing outlets. I don't know Amanada, but as for America it is not all bad. There are many fine people and fine aspects to the country. If there weren't, we would have to close our borders. The economy and job situation being what it is, I hope your friend gets resituated without too much delay or hardship."

Robbie March 22, 2010 9:57 pm (Pacific time)

I found the references to one being "a graduate of the American educational system" as quite a compliment, and very wise of the writer of this article to notice. I myself do not have the time to do research on the different problems that Canada may have, but seeing that you have some serious polltion problems with your water and raw sewage treatment with no national laws in place to remedy the situation makes me glad that our system here is doing well. Maybe it would be wise if your leaders used us as a model, for we share some of the same waterways? Our educational system has produced an incredible list of scholars and achievements that has benefited the entire world, and will continue to do so far into the future. As far as USA energy consumption, well there are many countries who use far more than we do, and since we have a wide climate range that requires both heating and cooling needs, that is a superb achievement. America will continue to thrive far into the future, regardless of those who pray that we fail.

The biggest problem with America is the short sightedness and ignorance of so many people. Like you, Robbie. Or are you Howard? What is your real name?

The "American educational system" has produced some fine outstanding people, but that's a pretty myopic view. Look at what's happened in Kansas City as I referenced in the article. There are commentators in the article like Krugman and Herbert who are far more qualified than you to comment on the American scene. I have respect for them. I have none for you. Go back under your rock.

Jeff Kaye~ March 22, 2010 12:32 pm (Pacific time)

Wow, 100 articles! Congratulations, Daniel. That's got to be an S-N record. I'll have to go back and read your previous submissions, as I only noticed S-N's remarkable forum last year. Take a break now, so I can catch up... just 99 to go, hahaha. Great work, seriously. I enjoyed this article. I am ashamed of some of the ridiculous, ignorant, or just flat-out clueless commentary by some of my fellow Americans. I was never a big fan of our school system. My kids say "supposably" even after I've corrected them numerous times. A sign on my 10-year-old's teacher's desk says "If your late, you will be tardy." I tried to explain the idiocy (Your late what? Brother? Isn't late a synonym for tardy?) of an educator posting such ignorance on her desk, but it's still there, unchanged. Your articles always get the most comments, because you tell the truth, and we can't stand it. (some of us) Your dialogue after the fact is sometimes more entertaining than the articles themselves, but that's usually the result of some idiot(s) trying to make a point they themselves don't understand. I think a major indicator of the success or failure (or potential for such) of any individual nation is its overall literacy rate. By that assessment, the US is doomed. There's certainly a LOT of room for improvement, anyway. Thanks for caring, Daniel. Always look forward to your work. Have you published any books? You seem to have a way with words. I'd think you'd be a shoe-in for literary success. What's a shoe-in, anyway? Or is it shoo-in? Regardless, (not irregardless, I hate that) I'd read it if you wrote it. I like the idea that our country, continent even, is due for a little reorganizing. We could annex Mexico, if Exxon, et al had their way, and call it Texico. Texaco? Already taken. New Texas. South Texas. South New Mexico. Food for thought. Not that we deserve Mexico, we'd screw that up, too. But you have to wonder why we never tried, we're at least as ambitious as Israel. I hope they're not reading this...

Thanks for your comments, Jeff. Yes, I have published one book and am working on a second. More details in my updated bio. Speaking of words, my favorite is "immediately" by journalists all over the world. They write things like: "So and so did not immediately respond..." implying that they replied later. I think they just use the word to try to add a sense of urgency and weight to an incomplete report. If someone doesn't return a phone call, just say so.

Keith Brindel March 22, 2010 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

Regarding the abundant fresh water available to those who live in America and Canada, there is a wide gulf when it comes to responsible stewardship of this "renewable resource." "Unlike the European Union and the United States, Canada has no national standards for sewage treatment that cities and towns must follow. According to Macleans, Canada’s leading news magazine, the sewage is a mixture of water, human waste, microorganisms, toxic chemicals, heavy metals, excreted pharmaceuticals and, potentially, pathogens such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis B. Canada flushes some 200 billion liters of raw sewage directly into natural waterways every year, from the St. Lawrence River to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean. That’s only a fraction of the three trillion liters of sewage Canadians produce annually—about 6 percent, in fact—but it’s still enough to fill more than 40,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. "It is widely recognized that inadequate or no waste water treatment have negative impact on aquatic life, human uses of water, fisheries and human health,” Environment Canada told Macleans. “Therefore it is unacceptable and shortsighted not to maintain and upgrade infrastructure." According to many environmentalists, however, the worst offender in the Canadian landscape is Victoria, the picturesque provincial capital of British Columbia. Not only does Victoria pump its raw sewage directly into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, an arm of the Pacific Ocean, but city officials also claim they are doing the “right and responsible thing” for their community and the environment. They see no reason to change." Maybe the educational system has failed to educate the Canadians about this situation?

So, you found the one thing wrong about Canada. LOL. Actually, there are many things wrong in this country but you refer to Maclean's as "Canada's leading newsmagazine". Let me point out that it is Canada's only newsmagazine thanks to the American media which has, over the last half century, basically destroyed public media in this country. That's why I publish at SN. There is no comparable forum left in this country.

Take all the potshots at Canada you want. It only demonstrates the American psyche of being a bully. At least Canada does not go around invading other countries and overthrowing legitimately elected governments. And most significant: Canada is not and never has been in a position to destroy human life on this planet.

Jennifer Melyssa March 22, 2010 9:29 am (Pacific time)

I am in full agreement with Amanda Leduc. In fact my vet technician just showed me this article this morning (she desearves a special award for her sharing I believe)and am so impressed with the info that I will spread word of this article to all that I can. Count on that.

Howard March 22, 2010 9:09 am (Pacific time)

I saw the below quote by the writer of the above propaganda. Seems all you can do is snipe when points are made. That is the typical response for one who cannot debate. By the way, your formatting may be acceptable to the Canadian school system, but would be rejected by any true academic/journalism professional here. Though considering that Canada's top students come here for their professional training speaks volumes about why your writing skils in both content and format are what they are. No doubt it probably dazzles those who never even completed an undergraduate degree. Oh hum. "If you want to actually debate any of the legitimate points I raise in my article, you can have a fair forum."

I see that you, too, have trouble spelling or is proof reading beneath you? BTW, many of our top students go the UK. Have you ever heard of Rhodes Scholars?

You call it propaganda because you can't refute, or are afraid to debate, any significant points in my article. Have a nice day.

Keith Brindel March 22, 2010 7:37 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for posting the links, and yes I am a past and current participant of the American educational system, and I presume you are trained by the Canadian educational system. How do they compare in the final analysis? That is in terms of achievement? Though retired from the Air Force, I still take graduate courses in personal areas of interest. As those links point out there are (#8) countries that use more per capita energy than America. We also have considerable real estate in northern climates that require more heat than those areas to the south. By the way, those areas to the south get prtty hot and humid and need considerable energy to keep our homes and businesses cool. So in terms of the hot-cold scenarios, we still have a very efficient system compared to #8 other countries. Then of course there is the size of our economy, and we are constantly improving our energy efficiency, which is clearly documented. Our constantly improving technology is the reason we have become more energy efficient over the years. Have you ever reviewed our country's university engineering programs? We also have many renewable energy resources, and that field is growing by leaps and bounds. I hear your country is doing well in that area also. I imagine we share technology, and is not that a great exchange that mutually benefits both our countries?

douglas benson March 22, 2010 6:03 am (Pacific time)

I agree 100% Dan. The only thing that will create millions of jobs is ending the huge drain of available credit by the war machine ect. We need to get back to basics impose more regulation taxes ect on industry and the wealthy . The work at sears and support your family while mom stays at home is over ,we need this type of equality back.

Natalie March 21, 2010 10:34 pm (Pacific time)

Just a few fine points: Talking about the energy consumption, we should take into consideration mandatory 'black-outs', cut- off wires due to inability to pay, forced evenings with candles instead of TV etc. We'd probably see different numbers. As for the water consumption, well, many countries just don't have the luxury of having simple drinking water, even less- taking a shower every day. True, that farmers throw out tons of foods to keep the prices up, but they give away a lot of it almost for free to those willing to pick it up themselves. Sure, there's a question about GM foods and poorly paid labour but that's another issue.

JT March 21, 2010 10:31 pm (Pacific time)

Hey, You Tube guy, keep calm. I was not "shooting off my mouth". Just clarifying in case people didn't realize! And Zionist guy, yeah, we get it, money runs the world and the ties are long and deep...doesn't change the fact that Capitalism is what's ruining America. They are in bed with the Zionists because of are not even arguing with anyone here, we agree with you.

Anonymous March 21, 2010 10:22 pm (Pacific time)

JT; if you look at the comments in the video, I said very clearly that I copied the song from colin hay. If you also do more searching,I do have songs I have written. the text I wrote clearly gave credit to colin hay...this is what i am talking about...people who dont do research,and just shoot off their headline gave clear credit to colin hay.. search and you will find my originals..or go for more of my original music.. please try to read before accusing ok?

Anonymous March 21, 2010 9:55 pm (Pacific time) is not america colin, it is the israeli zionist government that has taken over our country...that is why i get upset. We have a constitution, and maybe ammendents could be made the united nations has a treaty for nuclear weapons. The only ones that dont comply are the U.S and Israel. The riff you see between obama and israel is nothing but a dog and pony show...israel owns our country...And what I get upset at, is their arrogance, thinking god gave them land, and using the u.s. military to further their agenda..quit talking about the united states and find the true evil. Look up the USS liberty for goodness sake.. if ANYONE in our congress, or senate, does not go along with israel, they are history. just ask ron paul or cynthia mckinney among many others. and no, you do not have any zionist per se comments, but you are following their agenda without even knowing it. The freedom that this country was built upon, is being taken away, but its NOT from where you say..its not the US, it is the zionist rothchilds and their friends. either find the truth to save freedom, or find a different hobby.

JT March 21, 2010 9:51 pm (Pacific time)

By the way, that guy posting his You Tube link is playing a cover song...not his own, just so people aren't confused. That song belongs to Colin Hay (singer for Men At Work).

JT March 21, 2010 9:41 pm (Pacific time)

I am really not understanding what "Anon" commenter is saying below?? Does this person not get that you are in an intelligent manner saying exactly what they are? Greed and capitalism is destroying the States!! Wow...honestly, how do you get that Daniel is a Zionist?!

JT March 21, 2010 9:36 pm (Pacific time)

Sadly, America has to fall to teach Western society that we need to change our ways. The attainment of "things" will not make us happy, consumerism is selfish and empty. I feel there is a change coming, we will get back to our "roots" we will do it for our children. I am hopeful that it''s not too late. As for the USA, as a super power, their time is up. Congrats on your 100th article!

Thank you.

Anonymous March 21, 2010 9:28 pm (Pacific time)

other people on the planet with desires and aspirations? do you not get it? the banksters, the zionists, own them. and every word that comes out of your mouth supports it because you are their slave. Do you think for a minute, that the corporations care about the world citizens? Look what they did to Argentina, and Iceland, among many other countries..I cry for the people u speak of daily, while you support those that are causing it..why do you think i take the time to type these things here? I have friends that tell me i should type is--ral, instead of israel, or I wil be marked. have you not read the history of world war 2? the rothchilds supported both sides! The country that wins, pays back the loans, the country that loses gets there land taken away at pennies on the you think, for ONE minute, they wont do the same to Canada when the time comes? they are doing it in the u.S. and canada is next. Yes, my video shows much freedom, but if you would do some research, you would find these freedoms get taken away very quickly. Sorry for mis-speling, I really do have a broken keyboard that is frustrating me, new one coming this week.

Anonymous March 21, 2010 9:12 pm (Pacific time)

Coco is the mommy goat, Butters is her daughter...they both gave birth this weekend. Butters just had one, a baby girl, but coco, she had two rascal boys,,,they are so cute... more of a milk person than a meat person, so was hoping for girls...ah well.. I also grow food which i plan to give most away...if you didnt notice daniel (wile putting downmy splling) :-0 I am actually doing something constructive, while you just continue the zionist agenda in writing.. hope your GMO food tastes good :-) but, you wouldnt know anything about GMO food do ya? I know I have been a bit overboard tonite,posting and all, but I really hurt for my country, well, not my country, land is land, but i hurt for truth, and its obvious you dont give truth,

Colin: I don't know what makes you think I am a Zionist. I just did a search of all my articles and the word "zion" and variations have never appeared. I hurt for the world and am very aware of all the damage that America has done all over the globe. America has been a friend to Canada mostly when it benefits the USA. But, from my article, what do you disagree with most?

BTW I do know something about goats. When my son was young he was lactose intolerant and we knew people who had goats and we would get milk from them. I have to admit that I never tried it, not being a milk drinker. Have a good night.

Anonymous March 21, 2010 8:32 pm (Pacific time)

daniel, leaving now, already knowing that you can post anything and get it printed, but I cant.. i know u from your resume and I looked it, not a dumbed down American, just someone who is trying to get thru this mess..this link is my video, i played all the instruments and vocals... and pics where I live...its where i live..

I know you and many other Americans are just trying to get through a hell of a mess. And, contrary to your earlier comment, I do address the root cause--the belief by many Americans in your nation's divine role on earth, not being able to acknowledge that there are other people on the globe with equal rights and aspirations.

Yes, I can write whatever I want and so can you. All you have to do is be positive and constructive and not attack me personally. You can disagree with me, but I am not doing this to be malicious or mean.

BTW, I watched your video and you're an accomplished musician, which I am not. If you want to actually debate any of the legitimate points I raise in my article, you can have a fair forum.

Anonymous March 21, 2010 7:41 pm (Pacific time)

daniel: it my country? no, it is people like you who support the zionist regime, (see newman), that is ruining this country. it is me who is fighting against a regime that has not only taken over our country, but a regime you refuse to ackowledge. They already took over your country, and I find it appalling that you would want us to live in your misery. Yugoslavia and the soviet union? yeesh, of couse I know..and of course i know the main cause which caused it, which, obviously you dont. Because you are not allowed to see the truth. You are only allowed to write about things, that those who looked for truth many years ago, have already are a fraud, i researched your biography...Lets see is salem news censors my comments tonite..we will see

Another graduate of the American educational system. You can barely write coherent sentences. "it my country". Do you know anything about capitalization? I rest my case.

Anonymous March 21, 2010 6:51 pm (Pacific time)

daniel addresses the symptoms, not the root cause.

It's your country. If you want to run it into oblivion it's up to you. Just remember the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union. Nothing lasts forever.

Keith Brindel March 21, 2010 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

I have often heard how America is using more than their fair share of energy resources, maybe that is so, but the below links provides some actual measurements on that consumption in comparison to other energy consumers. I suggest you also consider the rate of consumption in relationship to economic factors, for example the size of a country's economy in comparison to the rest of the world. But in terms of individual average use you may be surprised with the below graphs. The first below link will show that on an individual kilowatt per capita consumption (and all other energy forms), Canadians use approximately 25% more than the American citizen. Look to the grid on the far right for watt consumption. This illustrates all countries individual per capita consumption, and in relation to their economic GDP's. Please note that America's individual consumption in regards to individual use is below seven other countries, and some by significant margins. The following link provides a list of all countries by "total" energy consumption per capita. consumption that compliments the above link.

Well, Keith, it's pretty obvious that you're a graduate of the American educational system. I checked your first link and there are eight, not seven countries above. But you also ignore the fact that five of those countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada and Iceland are northern countries. North = cold. We have colder and longer winters than the U.S. overall. Seeing as I am giving you some free education here, did you also know that the earth goes around the sun? This has been known by educated people since the 17th century.

Tim King March 21, 2010 2:11 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, Amanda beat me to it! I also wanted to offer our sincere congratulations, and thank you for being part of our team and for generating extremely thought provoking articles that make people confront their own national issues and think while confronting the issues in their own backyard.  You deserve a lot of credit.

Amanda Leduc March 21, 2010 2:09 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, you have a way of getting directly to the point and saying what most people are thinking but too scared or uneducated to actually say. These are the realities that American's need to accept before we can make any changes at all! Thank you so much for all of your hard work. You could choose to sit back and worry about the political and social issues of your own country but you take the time to care about the American people and hope that they will "pull their feet out of their own mouths". Thank you, thank you! And congratulations on your 100th story!!!!

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