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RTA
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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Peeps wrote: IMO, His focus on reclaiming the rhetoric of "freedom" and "liberty" from the narrow confines of current Western political thinking lies at the very heart of his work.

 

Fantastic.  I’m glad to hear he’s developing that focus.  His writing on that is intriguing. 

 

Peeps wrote: And regarding polling, that's an interesting viewpoint on it. I certainly see his point--continuous opinion polling makes it very hard to pursue the long-term view of issues, as policymakers tailor their decisions to crowd response--which I think most people can agree is not always the most logical animal! I have my own qualms about it, as many polls are only indicative rather than statistically significant.

 

Yes, at one point, he submits the image that pollsters have become “modern soothsayers,” noting that polls can be ambiguous and they don’t necessarily accurately reflect how the attitudes of the public change.  And, thinking on it, part of the argument to support a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy is because the will of the majority is not always responsible or reliable.  So, then, how is it responsible for our elected officials to make decisions according to how the polls read?

 

Again, I’m not sure if I agree with where Zakaria takes the notion of too much democracy.  But I think there’s something to be said for the idea that, in a form of government that elects representatives, perhaps the popular will of the people shouldn’t be as paramount as it may have become.  
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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria : Democracy

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote: 

There is not in the modern world a single democracy, and if there have been any democracies in the history of the world of nations, they have been only for short periods and in insignificant countries.

 

This is a classical view of democracy based upon the method of direct democracy practiced in ancient Greece.  When people talk about modern democacy, as Zakaria presumably does, they mean representative democracy.  To quote the US government website on the subject:-

 

'Democracies fall into two basic categories, direct and representative. In a direct democracy, all citizens, without the intermediary of elected or appointed officials, can participate in making public decisions. Such a system is clearly only practical with relatively small numbers of people--in a community organization or tribal council, for example, or the local unit of a labor union, where members can meet in a single room to discuss issues and arrive at decisions by consensus or majority vote. Ancient Athens, the world's first democracy, managed to practice direct democracy with an assembly that may have numbered as many as 5,000 to 6,000 persons--perhaps the maximum number that can physically gather in one place and practice direct democracy.

 

Modern society, with its size and complexity, offers few opportunities for direct democracy. Even in the northeastern United States, where the New England town meeting is a hallowed tradition, most communities have grown too large for all the residents to gather in a single location and vote directly on issues that affect their lives.

 

Today, [my emphasis] the most common form of democracy, whether for a town of 50,000 or nations of 50 million, is representative democracy, in which citizens elect officials to make political decisions, formulate laws, and administer programs for the public good. In the name of the people, such officials can deliberate on complex public issues in a thoughtful and systematic manner that requires an investment of time and energy that is often impractical for the vast majority of private citizens.'

 

 

The 2002 OED definition of democracy coincides with this definition, whilst acknowledging that the origin of the word is from the Greek: demokratia:-

 

1 Government by the people; a form of government in which the power resides in the people and is exercised by them either directly or by means of elected representatives; a form of society which favours equal rights, the ignoring of hereditary class distinctions, and tolerance of minority views.

 

Here is a description of Athenian democracy for comparison.  And of modern direct democracy.

 

   

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 10-18-2008 04:45 AM
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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

You choose to define the term democracy in a way that it supports your argument.   But of course that is not the origin of the word, and is a careless use of the term.   But if you choose to use careless terminology, that's your choice, and there is no further point in discussion the issue. 

 


RTA wrote:

Everyman wrote: I haven't read the book you're referring to, but if he indeed says that, he displays a curious ignorance of political reality.  There is not in the modern world a single democracy, and if there have been any democracies in the history of the world of nations, they have been only for short periods and in insignificant countries.

 

Uh, Everyman, there are tons of democracies.  Careful—I never said anything about direct democracy.  It’s true that there are many types of democracies, including direct democracy; but, direct democracy does not hold a monopoly on the general use of the term democracy, any more than indirect democracies would.  Democracy is a method of government where the power is vested in the people, either directly or through elected representatives.  Zakaria uses democracy to describe the procedural method for selecting a government.  And I think, though I’m not sure, that he further notes the gradients of democracy with regard to the openness and fairness of an election.  (So a country will become more democratic according to who is actually permitted to participate in the elections.)  He also briefly mentions faux democracies, dictators who put on a show of an election.  He, however, is careful to note that the term democracy doesn’t really speak to the quality or type of government that might be democratically elected.

 

Everyman wrote: At any rate, it is a lack of precision to call our government a democracy rather than a republic with democratically elected representatives (often shortened to a democratic republic).  But if we're going to discuss world governments here, I think we need as much precision as possible, otherwise we will get lost in differing meanings of terminology.

 

If you look very closely at what I wrote, I don’t call our government a democracy, I call it a representative democracy.  And I use that phrasing intentionally, because I was speaking specifically to our democratically elected representatives polling their constituents for their opinions. 

 

Zakaria raised an interesting point on this matter, at least for me.  As a knee jerk reaction, the idea of trying to find out the public’s wishes would seem a good thing, to me.  But, one could ask if that undermines the actual objective of a representative democracy.  Is it a virtue to make legislative decisions according to the ebb and flow of the will of the people?  Could it be argued that part of the point of electing a representative is to elect the person that one thinks will make the best decisions?  And does the constant polling for constituents’ preferences interfere with this purpose? 

 

And, yes, Zakaria is using the term liberalism throughout in the classical sense.  He’s not speaking to social liberalism. 

 

BTW, if there’s a confusion on how I’m using terminology, why not just ask?  I don’t mind defining my terms to make the discussion all the more clear.  I apologize if I caused any confusion, and I’m sorry that you assume that was sloppiness on my part.  I do try to be careful with my language, though I freely admit I don’t always succeed.  You are certainly right, the clearer our terms the clearer our intent will be, and the more successful our discussion is likely to be. 

 

Everyman wrote: By the way, we should also recognize that Russia, China, and North Korea have democratically elected governments.

 

If you’re interested, there’s at least a chapter on what Zakaria terms “Illiberal democracy,” and I remember both Russia and China figuring prominently in that discussion.  As I recall, he describes each country’s different paths towards what may become liberal democracies.  I’d have to review my notes in order to speak more directly to his discussion.  If you’re interested, I could make time, between now and when we start the official discussion, to review most of that material. 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

some people have taken exception to my tone so i will try to "change" it. passion from an opposing point of view is often viewed negatively although the intent was not to arouse anger but to express an opinion and encourage discussion. perhaps my opinion was expressed too vehemently.

i would like to discuss transparency that rta mentioned with regard to zakaria.

if we had fair representation in all forms of our media, print, tv, radio, movies, entertainment etc., in terms of substance and truth, in addition to the one-sided attacks, insults, sarcasm and innuendo, etc., perhaps we could have transparency but with the bias so prevalent, are we receiving accurate information?

for several years our economy was really humming along...., (right up to 2006, i think) but we were told by some of our politicians, through our media, that it was not. we ask ourselves if we are better off now than we were 8 years ago. i propose that we ask if we are better off now than we were 2 years ago when we voted in our first "change". it was then that our economy started to tumble. i suppose, if our media was largely conservative, that would be the news item that would be playing now and that would give us a much different idea about what is taking place in our financial markets. would that be transparency?

if the system is biased or even corrupt in some instances, with similar events being covered differently because of political attitudes, how can we have transparency? people get information in many ways. much of today's electorate gets it from video games, entertainers and soundbites. take the examples of how obama/biden and mccain/palin are being treated by talk show hosts, comedians, snl, the press in general. if the way we receive information is lopsided, can we have transparency?

obama addresses his audiences more eloquently than mc cain. sometimes obama uses sarcasm and facial expressions that seem to encourage his contituents to be rude and to laugh at the shortcomings of his opponents, rather than presenting them with facts for them to absorb. obama doesn't have to insult his opponents. he has many surrogates who do. does our electorate simply want to be entertained?

mc cain publicly reprimands and renounces those comments and people that insult his opponent, even those in his audience, yet he is getting accused of doing the opposite. he asked obama to renounce someone's comments that were offensive, (lewis) and obama would not. i find that to be a problem with obama. he is very stubborn and admits no wrong until he is forced into a corner as with wright. then he flashes his smile and all seems right with the world. for me, there is something wrong with that behavior pattern that has to be explored.

bill maher, on larry king live, thought obama won the debate because mc cain, was like a twitching old man, (he likened him to the adversary of inspector clouseau). he called the people in the white house clowns. i don't hear anyone objecting to these derogatory terms. do we simply vote for a candidate that looks and sounds good without being concerned about his character and his substance? could these types of negative comments be made about obama without being subject to a label of racist? i don't feel that they can. he brands everyone that objects to him with a negative image. now he is after fox news. if it wasn't for fox news on tv, there would be no alternate opinions at all. is this what america wants, just the expression of one point of view the one you favor? i think that is a dangerous idea.

bernhard pretty much threatened sarah palin with rape and yet where was the outrage? suddenly, there is a mention of someone saying "kiill him" etc., in a mccain/palin audience and the world is up in arms even though no one seems to have heard this comment being made, other than the reporter who reported it. it may be bogus and the reporter's intent may have been to inflame. where is the outrage?

obama is accusing the gop of a voter fraud plot and he has totally deflected his involvement with acorn and voter fruad and the unfair voter registration in ohio. the supreme court dismissed the suit because of a technicality and not because there was no voter fraud, but is that out there for the public to understand? does john q public no longer care about voter fraud because he thinks this time it will favor his candidate? is this transparency?

obama may be the best candidate, i am not judging that. i grew up with the mantra "don't judge a book by its cover", so  i believe we have to find out everything about each candidate and not be afraid to ask all the questions needed. in addition, we should expect to have them completely answered until we are satisfied. we do not seem to be doing that this time around. if you feel i am wrong, please explain why. don't accuse of of anything, don't insult me, just tell me why i am wrong and perhaps you will change my mind and enlighten me. believe it or not, my views do change, depending on the information i receive and the issue i am discussing. i am not all conservative or all liberal or all anything. educate me.

this is an entirely different point of view to consider. 

so i guess, i am wondering, is transparency good, bad or even possible?

twj

 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

What is your definition of democracy?  How does it differ from the OED and from your government's definition of the term? 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

You choose to define the term democracy in a way that it supports your argument.   But of course that is not the origin of the word, and is a careless use of the term.   But if you choose to use careless terminology, that's your choice, and there is no further point in discussion the issue. 

 


RTA wrote:

Everyman wrote: I haven't read the book you're referring to, but if he indeed says that, he displays a curious ignorance of political reality.  There is not in the modern world a single democracy, and if there have been any democracies in the history of the world of nations, they have been only for short periods and in insignificant countries.

 

Uh, Everyman, there are tons of democracies.  Careful—I never said anything about direct democracy.  It’s true that there are many types of democracies, including direct democracy; but, direct democracy does not hold a monopoly on the general use of the term democracy, any more than indirect democracies would.  Democracy is a method of government where the power is vested in the people, either directly or through elected representatives.  Zakaria uses democracy to describe the procedural method for selecting a government.  And I think, though I’m not sure, that he further notes the gradients of democracy with regard to the openness and fairness of an election.  (So a country will become more democratic according to who is actually permitted to participate in the elections.)  He also briefly mentions faux democracies, dictators who put on a show of an election.  He, however, is careful to note that the term democracy doesn’t really speak to the quality or type of government that might be democratically elected.

 

Everyman wrote: At any rate, it is a lack of precision to call our government a democracy rather than a republic with democratically elected representatives (often shortened to a democratic republic).  But if we're going to discuss world governments here, I think we need as much precision as possible, otherwise we will get lost in differing meanings of terminology.

 

If you look very closely at what I wrote, I don’t call our government a democracy, I call it a representative democracy.  And I use that phrasing intentionally, because I was speaking specifically to our democratically elected representatives polling their constituents for their opinions. 

 

Zakaria raised an interesting point on this matter, at least for me.  As a knee jerk reaction, the idea of trying to find out the public’s wishes would seem a good thing, to me.  But, one could ask if that undermines the actual objective of a representative democracy.  Is it a virtue to make legislative decisions according to the ebb and flow of the will of the people?  Could it be argued that part of the point of electing a representative is to elect the person that one thinks will make the best decisions?  And does the constant polling for constituents’ preferences interfere with this purpose? 

 

And, yes, Zakaria is using the term liberalism throughout in the classical sense.  He’s not speaking to social liberalism. 

 

BTW, if there’s a confusion on how I’m using terminology, why not just ask?  I don’t mind defining my terms to make the discussion all the more clear.  I apologize if I caused any confusion, and I’m sorry that you assume that was sloppiness on my part.  I do try to be careful with my language, though I freely admit I don’t always succeed.  You are certainly right, the clearer our terms the clearer our intent will be, and the more successful our discussion is likely to be. 

 

Everyman wrote: By the way, we should also recognize that Russia, China, and North Korea have democratically elected governments.

 

If you’re interested, there’s at least a chapter on what Zakaria terms “Illiberal democracy,” and I remember both Russia and China figuring prominently in that discussion.  As I recall, he describes each country’s different paths towards what may become liberal democracies.  I’d have to review my notes in order to speak more directly to his discussion.  If you’re interested, I could make time, between now and when we start the official discussion, to review most of that material. 

 

 

 

 


 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

[ Edited ]

Democracy is a form of government where decisions are made by the vote of the people.

 

Representative democracy is a form of government where decisions are made by representatives elected by vote of the people.

 

They are not the same thing, and calling the second one a democracy makes it much less precise to define exactly what's happening, since you don't really know what form of government is being talked about.  Precision in languge is essential for accurate communcation.  When terms get loose or sloppy, so does thinking.  

 

And by the way, when "our government" talks about our country in their factual analysis of the nations of the world, they don't call the US a democracy, but a "Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition"

 

And, btw, those who claim I never answer your points are, once again, shown to be simply wrong.   When you make points that are worth answering, I'm happy to answer them. 

 

 


Choisya wrote:

What is your definition of democracy?  How does it differ from the OED and from your government's definition of the term? 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

You choose to define the term democracy in a way that it supports your argument.   But of course that is not the origin of the word, and is a careless use of the term.   But if you choose to use careless terminology, that's your choice, and there is no further point in discussion the issue. 

 


RTA wrote:

Everyman wrote: I haven't read the book you're referring to, but if he indeed says that, he displays a curious ignorance of political reality.  There is not in the modern world a single democracy, and if there have been any democracies in the history of the world of nations, they have been only for short periods and in insignificant countries.

 

Uh, Everyman, there are tons of democracies.  Careful—I never said anything about direct democracy.  It’s true that there are many types of democracies, including direct democracy; but, direct democracy does not hold a monopoly on the general use of the term democracy, any more than indirect democracies would.  Democracy is a method of government where the power is vested in the people, either directly or through elected representatives.  Zakaria uses democracy to describe the procedural method for selecting a government.  And I think, though I’m not sure, that he further notes the gradients of democracy with regard to the openness and fairness of an election.  (So a country will become more democratic according to who is actually permitted to participate in the elections.)  He also briefly mentions faux democracies, dictators who put on a show of an election.  He, however, is careful to note that the term democracy doesn’t really speak to the quality or type of government that might be democratically elected.

 

Everyman wrote: At any rate, it is a lack of precision to call our government a democracy rather than a republic with democratically elected representatives (often shortened to a democratic republic).  But if we're going to discuss world governments here, I think we need as much precision as possible, otherwise we will get lost in differing meanings of terminology.

 

If you look very closely at what I wrote, I don’t call our government a democracy, I call it a representative democracy.  And I use that phrasing intentionally, because I was speaking specifically to our democratically elected representatives polling their constituents for their opinions. 

 

Zakaria raised an interesting point on this matter, at least for me.  As a knee jerk reaction, the idea of trying to find out the public’s wishes would seem a good thing, to me.  But, one could ask if that undermines the actual objective of a representative democracy.  Is it a virtue to make legislative decisions according to the ebb and flow of the will of the people?  Could it be argued that part of the point of electing a representative is to elect the person that one thinks will make the best decisions?  And does the constant polling for constituents’ preferences interfere with this purpose? 

 

And, yes, Zakaria is using the term liberalism throughout in the classical sense.  He’s not speaking to social liberalism. 

 

BTW, if there’s a confusion on how I’m using terminology, why not just ask?  I don’t mind defining my terms to make the discussion all the more clear.  I apologize if I caused any confusion, and I’m sorry that you assume that was sloppiness on my part.  I do try to be careful with my language, though I freely admit I don’t always succeed.  You are certainly right, the clearer our terms the clearer our intent will be, and the more successful our discussion is likely to be. 

 

Everyman wrote: By the way, we should also recognize that Russia, China, and North Korea have democratically elected governments.

 

If you’re interested, there’s at least a chapter on what Zakaria terms “Illiberal democracy,” and I remember both Russia and China figuring prominently in that discussion.  As I recall, he describes each country’s different paths towards what may become liberal democracies.  I’d have to review my notes in order to speak more directly to his discussion.  If you’re interested, I could make time, between now and when we start the official discussion, to review most of that material. 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

Message Edited by Everyman on 10-18-2008 06:43 PM
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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

But don't you think you are doing the same thing with your post, only addressing one side of the issue? You aren't talking about McCain's negative campaiging, his lies, his eye rolling, etc. Maybe McCain and Palin have been the butt of jokes, but they are also going on these  same talk shows. Palin is going to be on SNL tonight. That will make her look like a good sport and SNL is giving her that opportunity.  It feels like you are insulting Obama supporters, as if people that vote for him are uninformed and being led by the media, though I don't think that is your intention. If that were true, how do Republicans get elected into office? It sounds like you are looking for a "right" answer about who should be president and there isn't one. People will vote for who they will based on many different reasons. Some may vote based on ads they have seen, some may do careful research and put thought into it, some will vote party lines, some might just flip a coin. That goes for both McCain and Obama voters. But none of us can predict the future. If McCain wins and does a bad job, we have no way of knowing if Obama would have done better, same as if Obama wins. This election will be decided the way every election is, by millions of different people with different ideas. If you think McCain is better for the job, then you should vote for him, that doesn't make you wrong and I don't think anyone on this board should try to make you feel that way  and I don't think anyone has. If they have, shame on them. Everyone is entitled to vote for who they want.

thewanderingjew wrote:

some people have taken exception to my tone so i will try to "change" it. passion from an opposing point of view is often viewed negatively although the intent was not to arouse anger but to express an opinion and encourage discussion. perhaps my opinion was expressed too vehemently.

i would like to discuss transparency that rta mentioned with regard to zakaria.

if we had fair representation in all forms of our media, print, tv, radio, movies, entertainment etc., in terms of substance and truth, in addition to the one-sided attacks, insults, sarcasm and innuendo, etc., perhaps we could have transparency but with the bias so prevalent, are we receiving accurate information?

for several years our economy was really humming along...., (right up to 2006, i think) but we were told by some of our politicians, through our media, that it was not. we ask ourselves if we are better off now than we were 8 years ago. i propose that we ask if we are better off now than we were 2 years ago when we voted in our first "change". it was then that our economy started to tumble. i suppose, if our media was largely conservative, that would be the news item that would be playing now and that would give us a much different idea about what is taking place in our financial markets. would that be transparency?

if the system is biased or even corrupt in some instances, with similar events being covered differently because of political attitudes, how can we have transparency? people get information in many ways. much of today's electorate gets it from video games, entertainers and soundbites. take the examples of how obama/biden and mccain/palin are being treated by talk show hosts, comedians, snl, the press in general. if the way we receive information is lopsided, can we have transparency?

obama addresses his audiences more eloquently than mc cain. sometimes obama uses sarcasm and facial expressions that seem to encourage his contituents to be rude and to laugh at the shortcomings of his opponents, rather than presenting them with facts for them to absorb. obama doesn't have to insult his opponents. he has many surrogates who do. does our electorate simply want to be entertained?

mc cain publicly reprimands and renounces those comments and people that insult his opponent, even those in his audience, yet he is getting accused of doing the opposite. he asked obama to renounce someone's comments that were offensive, (lewis) and obama would not. i find that to be a problem with obama. he is very stubborn and admits no wrong until he is forced into a corner as with wright. then he flashes his smile and all seems right with the world. for me, there is something wrong with that behavior pattern that has to be explored.

bill maher, on larry king live, thought obama won the debate because mc cain, was like a twitching old man, (he likened him to the adversary of inspector clouseau). he called the people in the white house clowns. i don't hear anyone objecting to these derogatory terms. do we simply vote for a candidate that looks and sounds good without being concerned about his character and his substance? could these types of negative comments be made about obama without being subject to a label of racist? i don't feel that they can. he brands everyone that objects to him with a negative image. now he is after fox news. if it wasn't for fox news on tv, there would be no alternate opinions at all. is this what america wants, just the expression of one point of view the one you favor? i think that is a dangerous idea.

bernhard pretty much threatened sarah palin with rape and yet where was the outrage? suddenly, there is a mention of someone saying "kiill him" etc., in a mccain/palin audience and the world is up in arms even though no one seems to have heard this comment being made, other than the reporter who reported it. it may be bogus and the reporter's intent may have been to inflame. where is the outrage?

obama is accusing the gop of a voter fraud plot and he has totally deflected his involvement with acorn and voter fruad and the unfair voter registration in ohio. the supreme court dismissed the suit because of a technicality and not because there was no voter fraud, but is that out there for the public to understand? does john q public no longer care about voter fraud because he thinks this time it will favor his candidate? is this transparency?

obama may be the best candidate, i am not judging that. i grew up with the mantra "don't judge a book by its cover", so  i believe we have to find out everything about each candidate and not be afraid to ask all the questions needed. in addition, we should expect to have them completely answered until we are satisfied. we do not seem to be doing that this time around. if you feel i am wrong, please explain why. don't accuse of of anything, don't insult me, just tell me why i am wrong and perhaps you will change my mind and enlighten me. believe it or not, my views do change, depending on the information i receive and the issue i am discussing. i am not all conservative or all liberal or all anything. educate me.

this is an entirely different point of view to consider. 

so i guess, i am wondering, is transparency good, bad or even possible?

twj

 


 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

As for Bernhard, I don't listen to anything she says, she is vulgar, but people pay money to see her, so she says what she wants. If she lost money for that theater, they would not support her. It's all about the money!
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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

even if we don't like maher and bernhard, they still have an effect on the public and that was the point i was trying to make. obama has a much larger playing field with all of his surrogates.

this election is unbalanced. more money and time has been expended than ever before. i am not sure any democrat or republican will ever be elected again unless he has megabucks and the media and hollywood etc. are behind him/her.

i thought i was being fair and presenting both sides of the issue. at the end of the post, i gave a link to a website with pretty much the exact opposite point of view from the one i presented.

also, i think everyone has a right to vote as long as they are legitimate voters. i don't approve of any voter fraud and i don't understand why both parties would not feel that protecting the sanctity of the vote is sacrosanct.

i never meant to imply that someone who disagreed with me was ignorant. i questioned how people access information today. having a different opinion and pointing it out should be a tool to open dialogue not conflict.  we don't have to agree. wouldn't it be boring if we all did? we can, however, learn from each other.

we often spend time criticizing the messenger for the message. having opposing points of view shouldn't preclude conversation, it should encourage it.

my dad used to say that smart people knew there was still a lot left for them to learn. i guess i always wanted to be smart and i am still trying!

twj

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

How is this election different than any other election? It's always about money, most of Hollywood always backs the Democratic nominee and if the press is biased, they were like that before. That hasn't kept Republicans out of the White House. The only difference between this election and 2004 is that a democrat is favored to win. So I guess I don't understand your point. And people like Bernhard and Maher are not liked by a lot of people, so when they back Obama, they aren't doing him any favors. That could easily backfire and may very well have changed the minds of some voters against Obama. It just sounds like you are bothered by these things because you think Obama will win. Would this stuff be bothering you if McCain was ahead in the polls? McCain has had more exposure than Obama anyway, because he's tried for the nomination a couple of times before and has been in the public eye for a long time. Maybe that's something that is working against him. If McCain wins, will you think this election is fair then?

thewanderingjew wrote:

even if we don't like maher and bernhard, they still have an effect on the public and that was the point i was trying to make. obama has a much larger playing field with all of his surrogates.

this election is unbalanced. more money and time has been expended than ever before. i am not sure any democrat or republican will ever be elected again unless he has megabucks and the media and hollywood etc. are behind him/her.

i thought i was being fair and presenting both sides of the issue. at the end of the post, i gave a link to a website with pretty much the exact opposite point of view from the one i presented.

also, i think everyone has a right to vote as long as they are legitimate voters. i don't approve of any voter fraud and i don't understand why both parties would not feel that protecting the sanctity of the vote is sacrosanct.

i never meant to imply that someone who disagreed with me was ignorant. i questioned how people access information today. having a different opinion and pointing it out should be a tool to open dialogue not conflict.  we don't have to agree. wouldn't it be boring if we all did? we can, however, learn from each other.

we often spend time criticizing the messenger for the message. having opposing points of view shouldn't preclude conversation, it should encourage it.

my dad used to say that smart people knew there was still a lot left for them to learn. i guess i always wanted to be smart and i am still trying!

twj


 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Here's a link from factcheck.org that discusses the difference between voter fraud and voter registration fraud which is a very big difference.
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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

You're right to point out that they are quite different things.

 

OTOH, without voter registration fraud, there would be much less likelihood of voter fraud. 


Both need to be taken much more seriously than they are.  I deeply resent that my carefully considered vote may be offset by the vote of someone who is not lawfully qualified to vote, or who is casting a vote fraudulently.  If both voter registration fraud and voter fraud were to carry very significant penalties, and violations and punishment thereof were widely publicized, there would be much less of each.  

 


debbook wrote:
Here's a link from factcheck.org that discusses the difference between voter fraud and voter registration fraud which is a very big difference.

 

 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

The article didn't say what the penalty is, but it's a federal offense. I would think jail time at least. It wouldn't be difficult it seems to commit voter fraud in some places. I'm not asked for ID when I vote, only a signature.

Everyman wrote:

You're right to point out that they are quite different things.

 

OTOH, without voter registration fraud, there would be much less likelihood of voter fraud. 


Both need to be taken much more seriously than they are.  I deeply resent that my carefully considered vote may be offset by the vote of someone who is not lawfully qualified to vote, or who is casting a vote fraudulently.  If both voter registration fraud and voter fraud were to carry very significant penalties, and violations and punishment thereof were widely publicized, there would be much less of each.  

 


debbook wrote:
Here's a link from factcheck.org that discusses the difference between voter fraud and voter registration fraud which is a very big difference.

 

 


 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Jon_B writes: 

 

The spread of American culture across the world was one aspect of globalization - in many ways following the general spread of western ideas, cultures, and languages that preceded it during the colonial era.  However, rapid developments in technology and continued trends in globalization mean that, in the future, other large nations and the cultures within them might supplant the US as the dominant cultural force on the globe.  Already, for example,  the film industry - in global terms - is now dominated by India rather than the United States.  

 

What do you think these types of change mean for you, on a personal level? 

 

How do you see yourself or your children or grandchildren fitting into a world in which English might not be the "default" language or in which important industries and innovative new technologies are coming not predominantly from the United States or even "the west" in general - as was the case for the last few centuries - but from all over the world? 

 

............

  

I think it will be a long time before English is supplanted as the "default" global language, in fact, I don't think it's even reached the height of its influence, as evidenced by last week's news item reporting that more and more countries in Francophone Africa are bidding adieu to the French language in favor of English. In Rwanda the changes are not merely cosmetic, the country's laws have to be rewritten in the new language, English-speaking  teachers and civil servants will need to be imported, and the change is likely to affect neighboring countries like Congo and Burundi. The Rwandan trade minister explained that English "has emerged as a backbone for growth and development around the globe."

 

It's possible that the global influence of American mass culture as represented by everything from Hollywood movies, fast-food joints, soft drinks, Marlboros, Madonna, and Jayoncé, is, or will some day be waning, to be replaced by home-grown local varieties of basically the same thing, but that might not be so bad. However, I think you have to make a distinction between say, a globally-marketed American novel written in English, and the kind of English-language fiction being written by Indian authors that so often wins book awards in Europe and America. It's possible for there to be a reciprocal cultural influence with English as the medium, just as there can be political objections to American foreign policy expressed in American vernacular language and culture. 

 

As far as the future of global economic power and technological innovation, well, that's what I'm hoping to learn from the book.

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

i like you deb but  i am concerned that this conversation is becoming adversarial so i am worried about continuing this dialoguei am going to try to respond, hopefully, without causing further friction but i think after this time i will lay down my keyboard and stick to book discussions. for me, whomever is elected has been and always will be my president and i support him/her, as i am quite sure you do, as well, and making enemies because of my opinions is not the byproduct i desired. (i hope my hot head doesn't change my mind). someone wrote on a board, (paraphrasing) that people only look for their own opinions to be spit back at them and perhaps that is true, with me as well.
if mc cain is elected against the overwhelming odds facing him, (being outspent and outcovered like no other time in history) i will be extremely surprised. i am a very fair person and i do look at both sides of the issues so if you show me specific examples of mc cain's abuse and don't find an equal and opposite amount of abuse in the democrat's camp, then i would be the first to step up and speak out against those practices if they were overweighted on his end. it is known that the overwhelming majority of the people in the public eye, with a bully pulpit, have used it to support obama and they have, for the most part, been excessively negative and insulting towards mc cain. that and the money does provide a distinct advantage to obama's candidacy.
his campaign has had a carefully controlled campaign which has not allowed many dissenting opinions to come forth with any extensive coverage. you can deny that the coverage is skewed, but it is a fact and in many instances they have attacked the messenger for the message. that is a dangerous precedent from a party that wants to defend eveyone's right to civil rights. the free expression of opposing ideas should be welcomed not squashed or ridiculed when it opposes yours.
also, coverage of mc cain in the past has no bearing on this election, especially  since a good portion of the electorate obama is reaching out to was wet behind the ears when mc cain ran previously and probably wasn't aware of him and/or weren't even interested in voting in the past elections.
btw, i never said i was voting for mc cain. i am still not sure how i will vote. in another post, i admitted that i was a hillary supporter. however, you must understand, that as a jew, i ammore concerned about many of obama's associations and supporters than others might be. itis not personal, it is factual. many people/countries who support him are enemies of israel andthe jews (zionists). that is why i have been so concerned about his candidacy and the control of information that gets out there about him.
i
have been truly hoping to get some input from someone to make me feel comfortable withhim regarding many of my concerns. instead, people seem simply to object to my raisingquestions and become annoyed with my posts without giving me any information to help meunderstand why i should support him. he certainly has charisma and sounds good which is anatural draw for most people. i just want a little more information because of my concerns.

hopefully, you and i can
agree to disagree because i wouldn't want these discussions to cause friction between us on other boards. we have had too many other companionable conversations to let this election atmosphere cause continuing problems.
twj

debbook wrote:
How is this election different than any other election? It's always about money, most of Hollywood always backs the Democratic nominee and if the press is biased, they were like that before. That hasn't kept Republicans out of the White House. The only difference between this election and 2004 is that a democrat is favored to win. So I guess I don't understand your point. And people like Bernhard and Maher are not liked by a lot of people, so when they back Obama, they aren't doing him any favors. That could easily backfire and may very well have changed the minds of some voters against Obama. It just sounds like you are bothered by these things because you think Obama will win. Would this stuff be bothering you if McCain was ahead in the polls? McCain has had more exposure than Obama anyway, because he's tried for the nomination a couple of times before and has been in the public eye for a long time. Maybe that's something that is working against him. If McCain wins, will you think this election is fair then?


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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Maybe the reason why Obama has so many surrogates is because he appeals to more people--and therefore why he is ahead in the polls. And maybe the reason he has more money is because he appeals to more people and therefore they have been donating (many for the first time to a campaign). 
 I agree the election is unbalanced, but I think there are some pretty obvious reasons as to why, and isn't that what we are looking for--someone to emerge as the winner? What would be the point of this whole campaign rigamarole if the whole thing were to be a tie? 
Do you think you would have the same complaints if McCain were ahead?
As to your point about trying to show both sides, I've noticed that your political leanings are always a huge part of any argument you make. I think this my be a large part of the reason why some are not convinced by your arguments. More concrete evidence (with proof) would help. 

thewanderingjew wrote:

even if we don't like maher and bernhard, they still have an effect on the public and that was the point i was trying to make. obama has a much larger playing field with all of his surrogates.

this election is unbalanced. more money and time has been expended than ever before. i am not sure any democrat or republican will ever be elected again unless he has megabucks and the media and hollywood etc. are behind him/her.

i thought i was being fair and presenting both sides of the issue. at the end of the post, i gave a link to a website with pretty much the exact opposite point of view from the one i presented.

also, i think everyone has a right to vote as long as they are legitimate voters. i don't approve of any voter fraud and i don't understand why both parties would not feel that protecting the sanctity of the vote is sacrosanct.

i never meant to imply that someone who disagreed with me was ignorant. i questioned how people access information today. having a different opinion and pointing it out should be a tool to open dialogue not conflict.  we don't have to agree. wouldn't it be boring if we all did? we can, however, learn from each other.

we often spend time criticizing the messenger for the message. having opposing points of view shouldn't preclude conversation, it should encourage it.

my dad used to say that smart people knew there was still a lot left for them to learn. i guess i always wanted to be smart and i am still trying!

twj


 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

I agree the election is unbalanced, but I think there are some pretty obvious reasons as to why, and isn't that what we are looking for--someone to emerge as the winner? What would be the point of this whole campaign rigamarole if the whole thing were to be a tie? 


Do you think you would have the same complaints if McCain were ahead?

 

I think the question is whether what we want to elect for a president is the person who is best qualified, or the person who si the best fund raiser.  They are not synonymous.  

 

This is why we tried, and succeeded for about thirty years, to have the Presidential campaigns funded equally through public donations.  Give the candidates a financially level playing field and let them present their cases with an equal opportunity to be heard (yes, money today equates to opportunity to be heard.)

 

Obama was the first candidate in, what, thirty years to reject this principle, to decide that money should be a major, if not the major, deciding factor in who gets elected.   And not only money, but largely money flying under the radar so we really have no idea whether the law is being followed or not (except that we know that it hasn't been at all times, that his system has invited fraud and illegal donations).  And yes, if McCain were the one who had thrown the public financing system system out the window and set up a system which invited illegal contributions, I would definitely have the same complaints. 

 

If you really believe that the product (and yes, candidates are products and are marketed as such) which has the biggest advertising budget is necessarily the best product, then you should be happy with this election.  If you think that money has a corrupting effect on politics and we should strive to reduce that effect to the greatest extent possible, you should be very, very unhappy at what is happening.  

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

TWJ,I don't think our conversation is becoming adversarial, at least I'm not trying to be and I'm not taking your posts that way either. I guess I'm just trying to understand what you are asking but I do now. You want to feel comfortable with the idea of Obama as president. The thing is I don't think I can tell you anything about him that you don't know, you have been doing a lot of research. I think we are just looking at it differently. Maybe you won't feel comfortable w/ Obama unless ( if he wins) as president he makes decisions that you feel comfortable with, that he isn't going to be an enemy of Israel, which I do not believe that he will. I think more has been made of his supporters than is really true. Ultimately, I have a good feeling about him in my gut. I had this feeling with Clinton. I did not have this with John Kerry nor Al Gore nor George Bush. Unfortunately I do not feel that whoever wins this office will have an easy time of it, because hard decisions will have to be made to fix a lot of problems and that will upset a lot of people because it is hard to look past the short-term to the long-term. And whoever wins really only has 2 years to improve things before we start this whole process again for the 2012 race. This election has become very negative with both candidates, yet I think they both like and respect each other. This is just the nature of politics in our country. Perhaps if campaigns were not allowed to be so long, they wouldn't get this way. If they were much shorter candidates would really have to focus on the issues. I think people are more scared about the economy and about foreign relations than the last election and that makes people angry and I think we are seeing that more at rallies, etc.

I'm sorry that I can't give you anything to make you feel more comfortable with Obama. Maybe in this election you won't have a candidate you feel comfortable with. That is one of the drawbacks to the 2 party elections, not enough choice. I personally would feel happy if Bill Clinton could run again.

 

I enjoy our discussions whether they are about books or politics.:smileyhappy: We can always agree to disagree though I think we agree more than it might seem.


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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

I guess I don't understand the funding policy very well. McCain is also raising money, just not as much. I thought George Bush raised more than Kerry but I can't find a website that is specific about this.

Everyman wrote:

I agree the election is unbalanced, but I think there are some pretty obvious reasons as to why, and isn't that what we are looking for--someone to emerge as the winner? What would be the point of this whole campaign rigamarole if the whole thing were to be a tie? 


Do you think you would have the same complaints if McCain were ahead?

 

I think the question is whether what we want to elect for a president is the person who is best qualified, or the person who si the best fund raiser.  They are not synonymous.  

 

This is why we tried, and succeeded for about thirty years, to have the Presidential campaigns funded equally through public donations.  Give the candidates a financially level playing field and let them present their cases with an equal opportunity to be heard (yes, money today equates to opportunity to be heard.)

 

Obama was the first candidate in, what, thirty years to reject this principle, to decide that money should be a major, if not the major, deciding factor in who gets elected.   And not only money, but largely money flying under the radar so we really have no idea whether the law is being followed or not (except that we know that it hasn't been at all times, that his system has invited fraud and illegal donations).  And yes, if McCain were the one who had thrown the public financing system system out the window and set up a system which invited illegal contributions, I would definitely have the same complaints. 

 

If you really believe that the product (and yes, candidates are products and are marketed as such) which has the biggest advertising budget is necessarily the best product, then you should be happy with this election.  If you think that money has a corrupting effect on politics and we should strive to reduce that effect to the greatest extent possible, you should be very, very unhappy at what is happening.  


 

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Re: Our First Selection: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Bush and Kerry both were limited by the amount of money the law allowed them to raise independent of the public financing, and as far as I know they both raised their limits.  (Unfortunately there are no limits on what other groups can raise on behalf of candidates, though.)

 

I don't know whether McCain gave up public financing this year after Obama abandoned it (despite their both promising early on to comply with the limits; it's clear that Obama was the one who broke that promise).  

 

I have to admit that I am deeply disappointed in Obama for defeating the attempt to limit the influence of money on the Presidential election.  Early on I was actually a supporter of him, but that among other things he did made me realize that he was not a "change" politician in fact, but was a classic machine politician in nicer clothing.  

 


debbook wrote:
I guess I don't understand the funding policy very well. McCain is also raising money, just not as much. I thought George Bush raised more than Kerry but I can't find a website that is specific about this.

Everyman wrote:

I agree the election is unbalanced, but I think there are some pretty obvious reasons as to why, and isn't that what we are looking for--someone to emerge as the winner? What would be the point of this whole campaign rigamarole if the whole thing were to be a tie? 


Do you think you would have the same complaints if McCain were ahead?

 

I think the question is whether what we want to elect for a president is the person who is best qualified, or the person who si the best fund raiser.  They are not synonymous.  

 

This is why we tried, and succeeded for about thirty years, to have the Presidential campaigns funded equally through public donations.  Give the candidates a financially level playing field and let them present their cases with an equal opportunity to be heard (yes, money today equates to opportunity to be heard.)

 

Obama was the first candidate in, what, thirty years to reject this principle, to decide that money should be a major, if not the major, deciding factor in who gets elected.   And not only money, but largely money flying under the radar so we really have no idea whether the law is being followed or not (except that we know that it hasn't been at all times, that his system has invited fraud and illegal donations).  And yes, if McCain were the one who had thrown the public financing system system out the window and set up a system which invited illegal contributions, I would definitely have the same complaints. 

 

If you really believe that the product (and yes, candidates are products and are marketed as such) which has the biggest advertising budget is necessarily the best product, then you should be happy with this election.  If you think that money has a corrupting effect on politics and we should strive to reduce that effect to the greatest extent possible, you should be very, very unhappy at what is happening.  


 


 

 

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