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The Expansionist
Friday, August 27, 2010
 
Fiting the Good Fite against Comments-Area Crazies (Again). I was feeling combative today, so wasted a few hours answering the loons in the Comments area after a story about a Japanese politician who made some very impolitic remarks:
"I like Americans, but they are somewhat monocellular," he said, according to the BBC. "When I talk with Americans, I often wonder why they are so simple-minded." [Ichiko] Ozawa then balanced those damning words with extremely faint praise. "I don't think Americans are very smart," he said, "but I give extremely high credit for democracy and choices by its people."

After savaging the United States, Ozawa turned his attention to the U.K., declaring, "I don't like British people." * * *

During a visit to the president of the Japan Buddhist Federation last November, Ozawa described Christianity as an "exclusive and self-righteous religion" and claimed that "European and U.S. societies with a background of Christianity are bogged down."
I was a little surprised that few comments replied to the anti-Christian remarks. Alas, there was lots of anti-American viciousness, probably tho not necessarily from Rightwing Americans, who pretend to love this country but seem to hate Americans. So I read thru all the comments and replied to some. I did some research to respond to somebody who claimed that the Japanese have a higher standard of living than we have, but didn't see a place to use it. Here's what I found, in terms of income, which is not exactly the same as standard of living:
Gross Domestic Product per capita: Japan, $32,700, 40th in the world
$46,000, 11th in the world. (Source: CIA World Factbook) These figures account for everyone in society, from the super-rich to the impoverished underclass.
In any case, here are the 55 comments I did leave, constituting some 4,500 words:
Americans work longer, harder, and smarter than almost anyone else on Earth. Add to that the daily commute, and you end up with overstressed people who feel they have no time to research, shop for, and prepare low-cal meals, but must pick up something from a fast-food place or the frozen-dinner section of the supermarket in order to have anything on the table at all; and when both parents work, they have no way to control what their children eat. There are lots of things wrong with the way many Americans live, but most are the result of unfortunate economic arrangements and a modern lifestyle that militates against physical play. As for an ant-farm way of life, who wants that? Japan is a horrible, horrible society that demeans most people -- all that bowing and scraping -- because the country is hugely overcrowded, and the individual counts for nothing. As the entire world becomes hugely overcrowded, we can expect individualism everywhere to be crushed. The obvious solution is to reverse population trends, but nobody is talking about that.
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Let's stick to the topic and not wander to Vietnam and the MILLIONS who died when the U.S., in response to Kremlin-funded agitators, withdrew from Southeast Asia.
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Why is EVERY conceivable topic fodder for the raving anti-Obama types? The fact is that the election of Obama HUGELY IMPROVED the reputation of the United States EVERYWHERE on planet Earth. So of course the anti-Obama propaganda machine asserts the exact opposite of the truth, using the old Big Lie technique (we don't have to say aloud who originated that technique, do we?): if you're going to lie, lie BIG, on the theory that people will assume that no one would be so brazen as to tell a huge lie. Ozawa did not reference Obama; stay on topic.
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The Japanese are not humble in the slightest -- humble people do not see themselves as fit to conquer the world, and kill tens of millions of people who get in their way. Don't say Japan has changed, because ancient cultures do not change in any fundamental way in so short a time as 65 years. Japanese families are in serious trouble in modern Japan. Old people who used to be taken care of by family are now forced to fend for themselves. Grown children live with their parents into their mid-20s and later because of economic hardship, and the resulting strains are producing serious psychological problems and family fractures. Children are subjected to a pressure cooker for 15 years to try to get into the best colleges, pushed constantly not just in regular school hours but also after school and on weekends, relentlessly crushed under family pressure to succeed. Once they get to college -- whichever they can get into -- they tend to coast, esp. since they learn in college that there is little chance they will find a job that suits their education once they get out. Japan kills and eats whales. Japan kills sharks for their fins, and throws the rest away. Japan has perhaps the stupidest television entertainment on planet Earth. Japan had immovable one-party rule for 60 years. The Japanese pay 7X the world price for rice, a staple of their diet. Japan is highly overcrowded, yet Japanese continue to reproduce at a rate that won't see significant reduction is the density-produced misery for 50 years. On and on it goes. Japan is NOT a culture to admire, and there's not one American out of a hundred who would want to live the miserable existence of the typical Japanese person of modest means.
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What does it make a person if he capitalizes words for no reason? Illiterate? Perhaps "Tom" should watch "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" to see how well he compares with American schoolchildren. Not well, I imagine.
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Stay on topic, and stop lying about Obama's politics. There is no "International Laughter" (capitalized why?) at Obama. The world ADORES Obama, and you just can't stand that.
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Britain played almost no part in the U.S. victory in the Pacific Theater. Even Australia sent troops to Europe.
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Family pressure and involvement. Well-educated parents who put enormous pressure upon their children will always produce higher test results -- not necessarily life results -- than well-educated parents who let their children enjoy their childhood without extreme pressue, or poorly educated parents who cannot help, or most especially than poorly educated parents who don't even try to help their kids, nor press them to do their homework, stay out of trouble, and stay away from drugs.
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Perhaps you are not familiar with how astoundingly stupid Japanese TV is. It makes 'Housewives' and 'Jersey Shore' look like 'Masterpiece Theater' by contrast.
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Stop making up 'facts', like the Obama Administration repairing and building mosques in the Middle East. The only mosques we might repair are mosques we DAMAGED with bombs gone astray. As for U.S. education, I need merely point everyone to the NOBEL PRIZES each and every year, without fail. In 1976, the Nobel Committee awarded every single prize to an American. It was a bicentennial present, to be sure, but they wouldn't have done it if there weren't deserving people to receive them.
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What has George Soros ever said or done to lead you to think he favors our not manufacturing anything? As for Congressional term limits, that would require a Constitutional amendment. The reality is that 2/3 of both houses of Congress would have to send such a measure for ratification by the legislatures of 3/4 of the states. Pretty much everyone in every legislature opposes term limits, from self-interest, so such a Constitutional amendment is a "non-starter". The alternative route to amend the constitution is for 2/3 of the state legislatures to call a convention to consider an amendment. Again, self-interest militates against state legislators, many of whom aspire to run for Congress, voting for term limits. A successful Constitutional amendment imposing Federal term limits could not be ignored, unlike the two-term limit imposed upon NYC government by two REFERENDUMS. The City Council just voided those two referendums and permitted a third term for Mayor Bloomberg. As for restoring manufacturing and other things to the U.S., Nancy Pelosi remarked this month that when Congress returns in September, it will consider measures to stop the export of jobs. It is well past time for Congress to do that.
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Jeez. Hideki Tojo was prime minister of Japan during much of WWII. You might look things up before leaving a comment so wrong.
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Actually, tho the resources of the United States are very considerable, there are many things we don't have at all (certain types of minerals) and other things we would at present be hard-pressed to do without, such as oil. Total isolationism is a fantasm: undoable and undesirable.
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Generalizations are always wrong, and sometimes as right as wrong. For every dumb American with poor values, there is a smart American with the best values. As "peoples" go, Americans are among the most genetically diverse, and thus likely among the smartest on Earth. Check the Nobel Prizes each year. Our economic condition is due to insane and treasonous behavior by bankers and by corporations that have exported MILLIONS of jobs to improve dividends for shareholders, without any regard to the impact upon American society. Don't blame the victim for the acts of the criminal. American inventveness doesn't save us, because corporations instantly shift the manufacture of new devices to lower-wage countries. So no, you are not right at all. Not by a long shot.
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The typical American in the WWII era did not graduate from high school, much less go to college, which was an uncommon achievement until long after WWII. Have you PRICED a college education today? Young Americans go into debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars; many don't even get their degrees, but still have to pay off their college loans; others get degrees that give them NO JOBS. A medical degree can cost a person over $100,000 in college-loan debt that will burden them for decades, esp. if they want to get married, buy a house, and raise a family, all at today's and future prices. Doctors educated in India acquire a debt a small fraction of that, and can pay it off in a few years working in the United States.
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First, we have to assume that you are not just making that up, an assumption that I for one will not make. Second, the United States is now and always has been isolationist. This is a very large country, third most populous on Earth, with some 308M people. It is a dynamic civilization, and millions of things are happening all over the Nation every day. No one can keep up even with everything going on here, much less all around the world. Americans have NEVER been much interested in the rest of the world, and people become knowledgeable, voluntarily, only about things they care about. Ask the same kids about their interests, be it video games, sports, computers, and you will find that they are neither stupid nor ignorant, but know a lot more about, for instance, technology, than their parents -- in either Japan or the U.S.
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The idea of a small country destroying the greatest economy in the world, even then, that occupied the entire width of a continent and had 27M more people, by a single sneak attack was STUPID.
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fingernail (on a blackboard?), stop talking nonsense. The Obama Administration did not remove the cross in the Mojave Desert -- tho it should have. That unconstitutional imposition of religion was stolen by vandals, whose motivations we do not know. As for people being fired for saying "Merry Christmas", (a) that doesn't happen and (b) the bulk of employers are private corporations, so the attitude of the Federal Government is irrelevant. ALL of that is IRRELEVANT to this discussion. Try to stay on topic.
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Restrictive immigration laws ended the open immigration urged in that poem. As for the bulk of people admitted before restrictive immigration, they are the bulk of the population of the United States, the richest and most powerful Nation on Earth, which is recognized in the Nobel Prizes year after year, and even dominates the Nobel Prizes in some years.
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The SAT isn't used in many other countries, and even in those few where it has started to be used, it is not used by most institutions, so most people headed for college don't take it. In much of the world, only the economic elite attend college, and kids who are regarded as unlikely to benefit from higher education are discouraged from or forbidden to take academic programs starting at an early age, and are then either pushed into the paid economy or shunted off into vocational schools. Comparing the elite to the more generalized body of students in the U.S. who aspire to college is the old apples/oranges thing.
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Let us put that old canard to rest. The New York Times followed the recount in Florida after the Supreme Court decision and found that YES, Bush DID win Florida -- if just barely --- and thus DID win ELECTION to the Presidency. It is a terrible thing that he won, considering what happened to us, Iraq, and the Nation's honor, but he did in fact win. Let it go.
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Republicans pushed free trade, which produced the export of millions of jobs, and you're blaming Democrats? Is there no honesty whatsoever on the Right?
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WHEN did the United States EVER have full employment? The very same people who bitch and moan about intergenerational welfare and a nonworking underclass are now claiming we used to have full employment under Republicans? Pick a lie, then stick to it.
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How well do you do against the kids on the TV show "Are Your Smarter Than a Fifth Grader"? Educational systems designed for and limited to the elite must never be compared to educational systems that attempt to educate everyone.
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allen..., how is a Nation that accepts hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants a year and is now about 10% foreign-born, xenophobic. Have you watched television or gone to a movie lately? Bunches of TV stars and a very large proportion of all the judges on American talent shows are foreigners. It would take a half hour to list all the foreign stars of 'American' films. What about all those British accents in popular films, in entire series of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films? Every supermarket in the Nation has taco chips and soy sauce. Every major city has myriad restaurants from dozens of cuisines. There are TWO national Spanish-language television networks in the United States! So much for xenophobia. As for racism, perhaps you haven't noticed, but we have a BLACK president, and the most popular daytime talkshow host (ess) is a BLACK woman. Hordes of the most popular athletes are black, and some are Oriental. As for homophobia, something about which I know a great deal (I'm the guy who in 1970 offered the term "Gay Pride" as it is now used), tho Japan doesn't outlaw homosexual acts, neither does the U.S., now. And whereas five U.S. states permit same-sex marriage, no division of Japanese government does. Japan doesn't even permit same-sex civil unions.
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You and other racists are the only ones mocking the U.S. for its brilliantly diverse, and thus strong, gene pool.
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I haven't heard anything about non-Moslems being barred from the proposed mosque. I think it is common practice in the United States for nonbelievers to be allowed into mosques. And that is irrelevant to the topic of the intelligence or intellectual sophistication of Americans as against Japanese.
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Perhaps you haven't noticed that we have more than just a popular, mass culture -- which, however, includes three of the world's best broadcast news organizations and several of the world's best newspapers. We also have thousands of museums, science centers, performing arts centers, ballet troupes, opera companies, symphony orchestras, etc. 8 of the world's top 10 universities are American. Americans dominate science and technology, and scientific journals around the planet are published in English because they have to be, because so much new is generated by American researchers. I have to wonder if the anti-U.S. propagandists in this Comments area are Americans, or just posing as Americans.
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You know the party affiliation and country of residence of strangers who post comments here, do you? Oh. No. You don't.
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That reminds me of an interview I saw perhaps 10 years ago, in which a Korean woman was asked if she thought that two atom bombs dropped on Japan were too much. She paused for a moment, then said, 'No. Maybe 10.'
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There is a great line spoken by China's Dowager Empress in the classic 1963 Samuel Bronstein film "55 Days at Peking": "There is no greater calamity than to underestimate an enemy." Witness Japan's plan to launch a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Alas, weaklings in the U.S. Government, under ALL Presidents, of both major parties, in all recent decades, kept letting Japan go on and on excluding U.S. imports while playing upon free-trade naivete here. U.S. officials insisted on seeing good faith when it was plain to anyone with half a brain that Japan had absolutely no intention to provide a level playing field for American competitors. Still, it is conceivable that the Obama Administration, which has serious reservations about free trade and its effects on U.S. workers, will finally wake up and crack the whip on both Japan and Communist China. Noxious remarks like those of this Ozawa fool might evoke enuf anger to wake up U.S. trade policymakers.
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Nothing is being given to illegals. They are TAKING, first, jobs that Americans don't want, then jobs Americans do want. That is why one major priority of Democrats, who are concerend about American WORKERS, not corporations' executives and shareholders, must be comprehensive immigration reform -- without amnesty.
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"He who fites and runs away, lives to fite another day" was not a rhyme with which WWII Japan was familiar. Islamist extremists don't know that rhyme either. Fortunately, some terrorists kill themselves without getting to kill anyone else. So hush! Don't tell them about living to fite another day!
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But who wants to attack Japan?
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NO, he didn't. You're making that up. Stop. It's not funny, it's not true, and it makes you into a contemptible liar that no one will listen to.
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Jimmy Carter (a terrible President, we know; but great ex-Prez) said that he wanted a Government that was as good as the American people. We haven't had that, ever. The people are brilliant; the culture, brilliant; our science, technology, high art are all brilliant. Our Constitution, the most brilliant in history. So why isn't our Government as brilliant as we are? Perhaps because we don't all vote, and don't have a "None of the Above" option to reject all candidates and require a second-round vote with entirely different candidates.
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Only a bad person refuses to apologize for anything, even when he knows he has done wrong. But I don't recall any "world wide 'apology tour'". You're making it up. Liberals are very proud of the United States, esp. since the election of a black President. We did ALL the good things, starting with the Declaration of Independence -- a document more Radical than Liberal -- and Constitution, then fiting the Civil War to free the slaves, instituting wages-and-hours legislation, safety and food-safety regulations, and every other civilized thing we enjoy today, ALL of which were opposed by "conservatives". Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive ("Liberal") Republican, was the first great environmentalist, which is why he's up there on Mt. Rushmore. He also passed the first antitrust legislation, a Liberal cause. Eisenhower sent troops to desegregate the high school in Little Rock. Nelson Rockefeller gave his name to Liberal Republicans. Liberalism is not a Democratic thing; it's an American thing. And if it weren't for us, you wouldn't have the right to slam the President.
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Americans are not any stupider than any other country's general population. Indeed, Americans are better educated than almost any other country, and the Nobel Prizes each year demonstrate how huge a contribution Americans make to world progress every year. I guess you have forgotten, that, even to this day, 41 years later, NO other country has landed a man on the moon and successfully returned him to Earth. It is sad, but also contemptible, that people who want to be proud of this country are so disappointed that it's not perfect, that they become preposterously, extremely hypercritical. They are like a person so offended by a pimple at the outer edge of his nostril that he would cut it out with a knife, a half inch in every direction. As for Christianity, look around at the world's other religions and tell us of another one so generous, with so many missions to build hospitals in the Third World and send food where people are starving. I'm an atheist, but am delited that the U.S. is culturally Christian. I am equally delited to sign on to Jesus's positive version of the Golden Rule: that we have a positive obligation to do good in the world as we would have others do good to us. (Other religions' version of the Golden Rule is negative, NOT to do bad. It's not quite the same thing, is it?) Look at the cult of mass murder and cruelty that Japan's national religion, Shinto, permitted, then fall to your knees (not in a religious sense) in gratitude that you weren't surrounded by that from birth.
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He's not right. He's nuts. AND impolitic.
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ONE politician in a fundamentally racist and xenophobic country proves to you that Obama -- not the American people, which he was talking about -- are contemptible? The Obama Administration has been in office for a year and a half, and has not yet undone all the harm done by Republican misrule over the course of 21 of the past 30 years. The bulk of planet Earth ADORES Obama, and you know that. You said it yourself: "One Foreign politician" -- out of millions. You can throw silly accusations of Socialism and Marxism at Obama, but cannot come up with ONE single Obama Administration policy or act of legislation that is in ANY WAY Socialist, much less Communist. Even his universal-healthcare legislation requires people to buy insurance from PRIVATE companies. Ozawa was attacking Americans in general, not Obama in particular. If you are American, he was attacking YOU. Hm. Perhaps he was right about you. He sure wasn't right about me.
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Americans aren't arrogant in the slitest. They allow foreigners to judge them on TV talent shows in their own country. Nor are they (we, in my case) ignorant. The preponderance of the best scholars in any field are working in AMERICAN universities and research institutes, and anyone who doesn't know of the DOMINANT role of the United States in pretty much EVERY field of scientific endeavor should check out the Nobel Prizes.
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Reminder: the world ADORES Obama, and his election hugely increased U.S. prestige EVERYWHERE.
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"Birther" nonsense, fingernail, causes all serious people to disregard everything you say.
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For a country of its population and economic clout, Japan has astonishingly LITTLE influence in the world. How much Japanese TV is watched in any other country? How many Japanese films does anybody pay to see? Aside from useful consumer electronics, what impact on this planet has Japan had in the last 65 years? Precious little.
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I keep having to downgrade my estimate of your age. Now you sound like a 3-year-old.
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Manhood isn't measured in inches, and American GI's were astonished at the fiting ability of their diminutive Japanese foes.
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There is NO country on Earth as self-critical as the United States. There is NO country on Earth with as vigorous an intellectual life, so filled with vitality and dissent among so many outspoken communities espousing so many differing principles, as the United States. In short, you are about as wrong as you could be.
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Ozawa's comments about Britain were not retro, back to the Bush-Blair years. He spoke in the present tense. There are, of course, a lot of people in the U.S. who understand the issues. They just generally can't be heard above the noise, from Hollywood gossip to Faux News propaganda. What we must ALL agree on is that EVERYONE HAS GOT TO STOP LYING. Everyone, on every side of every issue, has got to tell the truth, so everyone might judge wisely, because the policies we decide on after public discourse will affect everyone. Stop the lies, stop the ridiculous exaggeration. Address the issues with honest, forthrite exposition and argumentation from honestly held principles. Stop the ad-hominem nonsense and diversions to extraneous matters. Speak honestly about honest concerns, including racial fears, and stop ascribing to others a will to harm, even kill, that Americans in general DO NOT FEEL for each other. What IS simpleminded is the Politics of Fear, but Americans are hardly unique in that. Alas, we have not yet decided to be better than that.
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WWII is not irrelevant, ancient history. In Japan, it's hardly history at all, because Japanese children are not taught about Japan's crimes against its neighbors, the United States, POWs from Britain, etc. Ozawa, and I, were born before the end of WWII, and our generation remember what we heard for decades after about that war. Japan is a uniquely insular society, isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, speaking a language no one else on Earth speaks and is in fact not related to any known language outside Japan. Ancient societies do not fundamentally change in 65 years, esp. when they are not told about the horrors that their culture produced. Ozawa's comments about the U.S., Britain, and Christians are of a piece with the mentality that entitled Japan to take over much of China, all of the Philippines, etc., and kill MILLIONS of people in those areas to make room for settlers from the overcrowded home islands of Japan. Lingering habits of mind -- racist, superior, contemptuous of outsiders -- dominate the worldview of many Japanese in power, just as thoughts of China as the "Middle Kingdom", the very center of the world, dominate the minds of some people in the "People's Liberation Army" and Communist Chinese Government who want to push the U.S. out of Asia, then replace us as the world's sole superpower -- and abuse everyone who is NOT Chinese but who DOES get in their way. We cannot be naive about the evils that lurk in people's minds, in cultures that think they SHOULD be much more powerful than in fact they are.
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People in general are not very brite, all around the world. But Americans are better educated than almost every other nationality, and know plenty about plenty. The U.S. has more first-rate cultural and educational institutions (museums, zoos, orchestras, performing arts centers, ballet and opera companies, and on, and on) than any other country, and 8 of the world's Top 10 universities. Our TV (bad tho much of it is) has more quality programs than any other country's, and much of the world is very happy to import our cultural exports. Many, if not even most, of the best researchers in every field of human endeavor, are Americans, and American archeologists and anthropologists daily add to the world's store of knowledge. I won't put up with absurd assertions of how stupid or uncultured we are. Perhaps YOU don't attend any art shows or other cultural events, but I attend anywhere from 2 to 5 almost every month, and am not up to attending the others offered in my city (Newark, NJ, a city whose cultural offerings would astound most people who think they know Newark).
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Anyone who thinks Japanese and Germans live better than Americans is free to move to either of those countries, or both in sequence, and report back.
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The people of Germany were certain that they could not do worse than the Weimar Republic. They voted for Hitler.
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No, people like Ozawa MUST be brought to public attention. You can't fite cancer if you won't detect it.
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That is not in the slitest funny. Obama is a patriot. YOU are not. Obama is trying to do positive things in the world, tho most people don't agree on all of them. YOU, however, do NOTHING for the Nation or the world. Perhaps that's why Barack Obama is President of the United States, and you are not.
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Few foreigners watch much news about the U.S., any more than Americans watch a lot of news about foreign countries. All countries are more concerned about their own country than any foreign country (except maybe Canada, which has nothing going on as compared to their neighbors). And most foreigners know better than to ignore the government and pay attention to crazies.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,416 — for Israel.)



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